Casting around for a new theme for the week we decided on British and as we had already had some haggis, we made a beeline for fish and chips. We reviewed Olley’s Fish and Chips in one of our takeaway competitions – see here and here. We have always given it a high rating (if we ever did ratings) despite the fact that it is expensive. They have with several delivery options – last time we went with Uber Eats, but this time chose Deliveroo. Continue reading →
We ate it in Brixton, but it didn’t come from Brixton. Hakkasan is a Cantonese restaurant in Bruton Street, Mayfair – we know it isn’t open, so we couldn’t squeeze it into our five minute bus ride section. But it was a Christmas present and we think that every now and again we need a bit of a boost with a high class meal – this was it for the month. The website talks about the Michelin star and that it has “…dishes inspired by ancient recipes”. It has a fantastic menu and a fantastic way to begin the Year of the Ox
Our set menu for two included starters of Classic steamed dim sum and Crispy pork salad, main dishes of Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot, Grilled Chilean sea bass in honey, Black truffle roasted duck, stir fried pak choi and Steamed jasmine rice. This is a lot of food for one evening so we left the duck for the next day.
I think I will run out of hyperbole in describing the food – the dim sum was pretty and incredible, the pork – just as it is described crispy and the best (I am not prone to over-promising) the best I have ever had). the beef was peppery, the fish just cooked (they clearly solved the scientific equation for cooking and steaming on the Deliveroo journey), while the next day’s duck was easily eaten and came with homemade rice and vegetables.
No more words – just pictures.
We were delighted to receive a promissory note for this posh dinner as Christmas present from a friend. So we don’t know the cost, but we would like to thank him again for such a fabulous gift.
The Year of the Ox has started, so it is Chinese week. It began with a blow-out meal from Hakkasan, which we didn’t quite finish. So with the leftovers we produced a duck inspired meal with wok fried vegetables and jasmine rice – both from the Chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue. None of the pictures looks that appetising, but they were all delicious.
We love mushrooms (Tesco’s finest) so this is again a stir fry with seaweed and coriander – again from the Chinese supermarket
Mapo tofu – tofu again from the Chinese supermarket. They have loads of things to browse but it is difficult to choose one type of soy sauce from the many on offer. But they do have some that is gluten free. The only problem with Mapo tofu is the grit from the ground Sichuan pepper that never seems to be in small enough grains.
To make a change from rice, our last dish in Chinese week was spicy spinach (chili spice) with noodles – an incredibly tasty but fantastically easy dish to make. A long time family favourite that introduced the children to spicy food. Back then the only place to buy oriental ingredients was the little Chinese store in the long-lost Station Arcade.
Another week of lockdown 3.0 and we were still on the lookout for a new experience. Also the end of Italian week. We ended up with pizza! This place has a good score on Deliveroo and we hadn’t tried it for a while. We reviewed it some time ago (see here). The menu is certainly a little different to the run of the mill. As well as the margherita, napoli, marinara and funghi, they also had pistacchio, caramellata and salsiccia and porcini.
We chose a the salsiccia (tomato sauce, mozzarella fior di latte, Italian sausage, porcini mushrooms, grana padano, basil) and the pistacchio (mozzarella fior di latte, crema di pistacchio, mortadella, crushed pistachios, basil) – look carefully if you are vegetarian – the little symbols have a key at the bottom of the menu.
The pistacchio one was definitely nutty and the basil was a great smell and taste. I am not fond of mortadella, but it was good on the reheated portion the next day.
The salsiccia version was lovely – hot occasionally with a bite of of the Italian sausage and the rounded taste of the mushrooms.
You can see that they are not so particular about having them perfectly round, but I suppose it gives them more of a artisan look. Anyway, we enjoyed them both, but mostly on the following day. The reason was they were a little burnt on one side and we ate that one on the first day leaving the softer, less carbonised pieces to the next day. We know a pizza oven can be a little unpredictable but …. check the underside before tucking in.
The bill, without any drinks and before adding a tip, came to £29.71, good value when you have leftovers.
We are trying to improve our culinary creativity by concentrating on a specific country’s cuisine and doing our best with the ingredients provided in Brixton. We are following up our Maremma takeaway (see here) by going for Italian. The first offering in “Italian week” was designed by happen chance – you agree to all the substitutions in the online shopping and then discover that you now have not a standard sized haggis but the jumbo one. This fed us on Burns night, with some going to neighbours and family (no contact delivery nearby of course) but we still had some leftover so, after the haggis toastie, we invented “Left-over haggis with rigatoni”. Which was delicious with the added tomato and impossible to eat without a glass of red wine.
Our latest box from En Root (see here for details) contained aubergines this week and with the excellent Lidl parmesan we were able to produce “Melanzana Parmigiana” (Aubergine Parmesan) with some culture clashing patatas bravas and beans.
One of the favourites of the week was produced from the “Friends of Mine” Italian delicatessen in Coldharbour Lane. They sell large bags of coffee beans and an array of wine, cheese and pastries. We cought our Pasta di Semola di Grana Duro con vino Barolo – Pink pasta – and matched it with a mushroom cream sauce.
But towards the end of the week and in the current rainy weather you need something hearty and we did have a lot of leftover veg. So we made a sort of Italian vegetable soup – but not a classic minestrone. We used the stuff in the fridge plus home-made pesto and again some leftover rigatoni. Warming and delicious and surprisingly vegan, apart from the Parmesan of course.
For a special occasion – New Year’s Eve – we ordered the special menu from Maremma. We were already fans for both the eat-in and at home options – see here, here and here. The menu isn’t on offer all the time, but I am sure the dishes will reappear. The meal was definitely a special event, four courses, so not for everyday munchies. But Valentine’s day is approaching so perhaps that is the opportunity for a special romantic meal at home, but you will need to get in quick. Continue reading →
We needed something to do to make lockdown a bit more bearable. So, after the takeaway from Kuma, see here, and some hints from Nigella, we embarked on a Korean week. Lots of dishes seem to come with a fried egg and heavy doses of gochuchang, but that’s no hardship. Gochujang is Korean food’s hallmark red chili paste made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean and salt.
All the food comes from local Brixton supermarkets, especially Wing Tai, the chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue, or the market. You do need tofu, chickpeas, spinach, bean sprouts, radish, rice and a bit of salad, together with a secret ingredient, fish fingers. We added some relishes – kinchi (Wing Tai on this occasion but you can make your own) and cucumber pickle – made in house. All are really simple to make. Here are the dishes:
Tofu and peanut Bibimbap
Fish finger sandwich with Gochuchang mayonnaise and salad
We also had a rice dish with fish fingers, but we were so hungry that we ate it all before we remembered to take a photo.
We were lost for a new kind of takeaway having exhausted the more usual ones recently – Indian, Chinese, Japanese and definitely all the Italian ones. So we rang a friend who lives in Kennington – so thanks Richard for the recommendation of something new – Korean. We know there is one in Brixton but the menu is limited and we visited not that long ago. We have never eaten at this new one, but they do have a long menu and are clearly very popular, especially on a Saturday night.
There are “appetisers like tempura, gyoza, Kokkoke (mashed potato with chopped vegetables fried and served with a tangy sauce – now wish I had ordered that one), different Kimchis and many, many more. More substantial offerings come in the form of Bibimbap with different accompaniments (beef, chicken, tofu etc), Noodles – soba, udon etc – with delicious descriptions, stir-fried rice, Donburi and then you get to the Korean Barbecue, curry, Teriyaki …… and now I am bored. The problem is the overwhelming choice and the number of changes made to the order. In the end, as usual, we ordered too much.
Our meal consisted of Gim (Crispy dried seaweed squares coated in sesame oil & salt), Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi pancake served with soy dip), Nasu Dengaku (aubergine topped with sweet and savoury miso), Gul Twigim (Deep fried oysters served with Japanese brown sauce) , Yang Yum Chicken, (Medium size Korean crispy fried chicken in sticky gochichang sauce), Prawn Bokkumbap (spicy stir fried rice with king prawns) … too much of course for two people. If it hadn’t been for the helpful friend’s suggestions we would have ordered more.
Despite having to travel all the way to Brixton, the food arrived hot enough to eat, although, as we ate in waves, we ended up putting the rice in the microwave. It was all really interesting – even the fried oysters which were covered in well-seasoned crumbs and batter (and I am not that much of a fan of fried oysters).
We loved the kimchi pancake and will certainly try a version at home – the added crunch made you feel like you might be a vegan some time. Although for kimchi it was pretty mild. The aubergine (sorry no photograph) is what I would eat every day – sweet and sticky and a bit slimy, but in a good way, and not too much so that you would need to chew.
The rice kept giving little surprises like the odd tasty spice and sometimes a hot burst of chili. Prawns can get a little overcooked in this sort of dish, but you have to go with the flow. If they were under-cooked when they left the restaurant they would be steamed by the time they reach us – so will remember that next time.
The Korean fried chicken was covered – as they said – in sticky sauce and fingers are required and a lot of kitchen paper and races to wash your hands.
Then we were left with the Gim – it is the sort of packet seaweed that we buy from the Chinese shop in Electric Avenue, or from Tesco for that matter. It was good to have that salty boost in between courses and went really well with the drink we ordered.
Last on the list was alcohol and they have a large variety (beer, sake, soju, Korean wine etc). You need ID to buy it, but I expect the sight of greying hair appeased the delivery guy. The one we ordered was 300ml of Nigori Creme De Sake (descibed as aromas of melon, marshmallow and fresh white cream with a smooth wholesome texture and noted of vanilla ice cream). It was really a sort of Sake flavoured Baileys – there is still some in the fridge.
We did order too much, so had rice and chicken left over for another day. The bill came to £57.20 including a service charge but the sake was £14.50 of that bill. We will order again – in fact we may have another go at ordering this coming week which is being devoted to Korean food. You have to have something to aim for in Lockdown 3.0.
A new place in Brixton offering Jamaican goodies from Market Row. This is part of a small chain in Shoreditch, Fulham, Canary Wharf, Borough Market and now in Brixton. If you are fed up with traditional fare then this is a lovely Afro-Caribbean alternative. The menu has four main sections – Likkle, Real Jerk, Yard Classics and Wraps. For the sweet tooth they have one offering – Rum cake and cream.
We ordered Jerked Chicken Wings with a sweet sauce, Rice and peas, and Ackee and Saltfish all from the Likkle menu and from the Real Jerk menu, we ordered Jerk Chicken (medium) which comes with rude sauce (very spicy) and jerk gravy.
Despite being described as Likkle – it wasn’t and the ackee and saltfish came with the best festival (sweet corn fritter) I have ever eaten. We have eaten a lot of ackee and saltfish and this was good….really good. Well seasoned with an occasional piece of chili, not too mushy and no fish bones – delightful.
Rice and peas were also up there with the best tasting ones and we will certainly order it again. The jerked chicken wings were hot but not enough to make you blow your nose until you had finished and they were spicy, savoury and sweet not quite in equal measure.
The jerk chicken was excellent as well and the choice of medium was right for us. Others might want it hotter to get that Scotch bonnet high, but still enough to make it special. The cole slaw was fresh and crunchy, providing a good complement to the jerk flavours.
There was enough to save for lunch the next day – definitely microwaveable and a feast on these cold, rainy days. We drank beer (not ordered with the meal although you can) and the bill, including fees and a tip for the rider, came to a few pence short of £40. Given that this, in effect, provided two meals, it offers great value.
We have been in-person to Silk Road and loved it, so we thought we would try a delivery. It’s a well-known Sichuan restaurant in Camberwell, where in normal life you have to book to share a table. We went with a takeaway via Deliveroo.
There are hot, cold and Xinjiang Style Dishes, as well as dumplings and side dishes. We avoided the tripe and the gizzards which appear several times – we were just a bit squeamish. There is a very good guide on heat and whether it is vegetarian. We mostly chose slightly hot, which is the right level for us. Hot and very hot are also available.
First there were the dumplings – egg leek and shrimp filled, then we ordered Special cooked lamb noodle (Lamb, onion, cabbage and chili with hand-pulled noodle), Xinjiang Lamb Shish (lamb pieces and fat roasted over charcoal, seasoned with salt, cumin and chili – described as a traditional street food popular throughout China), Homestyle Aubergine (stir-fried aubergine with tomato and green chili) and a box of boiled white rice.
The dumplings were warm and after adding some soy sauce were yummy. There were 10 of them so some were saved for the next day. We can definitely say that the heat is described well, as the Shish lamb described as “hot” was definitely a level up from the other dishes. But the heat was just right for this barbecued dish and barbecuing the fat meant that there was plenty of juice and it was really tasty.
The noodles were great as well. A bit on the soft side, but packed with flavour as well as a gentle heat. Finally, the aubergine dish was slippy and a great complement to the lamb and the rice. It had a bit of bite but not much and was “slightly hot”.
The meal for two (with one meal leftover) was about £31.00. It was more in total, as it involved a service fee, a delivery fee and a rider tip. We drank it all with Brixton IPA beer.