FOOD REVIEW: Boneyard, Shoreditch

Boneyard Food 136

Formerly a petrol station, we didn’t know what to expect from Boneyard, but what we experienced was one of the best burgers in London in all its American road-trip inspired glory.

With a menu created by Exec chef John Pollard (formerly of Soho House group) and an industrial interior by restaurateur, Robert Newmark, Boneyard serves up a deliciously succulent Bonemarrow burger (the star of the show) alongside ribs, buttermilk fried chicken, and a host of sides.

We started with the seasonal special Christmas Burger (£8). Contained within brioche buns, filled with two patties, one of turkey and the other of pork wrapped in bacon! The cranberry sauce and mustard mayonnaise compliment the dish perfectly with the addition of cabbage, Brussel sprouts and two little pigs in blankets skewered on the top. This burger is huge and could have been shared between two along with some sides. Their signature Bone Marrow Burger (£8.50) could also have been shared but we went the full hog and ate as much as we could. The two patties in this burger are so deliciously rich, they melt in the mouth. As a big burger fan, this really is on the top end of the best burgers out there. There is a wide selection of beer and wine to go along with this type of food but though you’re not allowed to drink inside the actual restaurant, you can drink to the side of the restaurant which is a nice little sheltered area which has two fire pits to keep you warm on the wintry days and evenings.

Daniel, the manager tells us they will be continuing to experiment with seasonal and festive inspired burgers on a monthly basis, so keep an eye out…

If you fancy something a little less rich there is a lovely green salad with butter leaf lettuce, avocado and Lebanese cucumbers (£4.50). The menu also features excellent fried chicken that you can get in halves or just wings. The pork ribs, quite literally fell off the bone too. The food is served until 3am which is great if you are out in Shoreditch with a late-night craving for one of the city’s best burgers.

168 – 175 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE | www.pumpshoreditch.com

Boneyard Food 094

Boneyard Interior 009

Boneyard Terrace 242

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FOOD REVIEW: Chotto Matte, Soho

Chotto Matte is the kind of restaurant that’s busy no matter what the day and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant, based on the corner of Frith and Bateman St in the heart of Soho, is a fantastic example of Nikkei cuisine (that is, the blend of Japanese and Peruvian food which was developed over a century ago) done well thanks to the incredible Nikkei Boys duo, executive chef Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul in the kitchen.

It’s a slick place set over two floors – the ground floor plays host to their always thriving cocktail bar and a more casual dining area complete with a manga-style wall mural, whilst upstairs a polished restaurant. We went along one Friday lunch where it was already packed out with diners well into the weekend swing of things. We were treated to a round of cocktails to start our weekend proceedings – a deliciously fruity Flor de Manzana (mango vodka, sake, apple, lime, passion fruit and elderflower) and a satisfyingly good Lychee Pincante (Calle 23 Blanco tequila, lychee, lemon, chilli syrup and egg white).

We began with a bowl of Padron Peppers covered in an addictively more-ish miso sauce and the Seabass Ceviche (sea bass sashimi, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil, citrus sauce) which was nothing short of outstanding. The chef then brought out the deliciously fresh Nikkei Sepia – calamari to you and me – and the Tentáculos de pulpo – an unusual Peruvian dish with succulent octopus on a bed of purple potato. We also had helpings of the Ojo de Costilla (beef rib eye, lentil panca, chives) and Nikkei sashimi (sea bass, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander, yuzu truffle soy) both of which we’d highly recommend. We’d also urge you to go for the Bacalao negro aji miso – the black cod with yellow chili miso – ours was simply heavenly. Finally out came the Sake Dragon Roll made up of thick cuts of fresh salmon wrapped in rice and topped with perfectly ripened avocado – quite the meal in itself! We passed on desserts on this occasion – purely because we were close to bursting at the seams – and instead finished off our drinks for a sweet end to an epic lunch.

Chotto Matte had it all to offer: great food, a lively atmosphere and some delicious drinks. So the bottom line? If you’re looking for a good time in Soho, Chotto Matte should be your first and only point of call, it won’t let you down.

11 – 13 Frith Street, London, W1D 4RB | www.chotto-matte.com

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FOOD REVIEW: Shackfuyu, Soho

It opened in February last year as a pop-up and had all of London’s foodies raving. After an extensive refurb, it returned in December as a permanent fixture in Soho’s never ceasing to amaze dining scene. Shackfuyu is the latest creation from the team behind Bone Daddies in Soho and Flesh & Bones in Covent Garden – but you probably already know that. What you might not know is that Shackfuyu serves up ‘Yoshoku food’ – a Japanese take on Western cuisine – and it does it rather well. Of course, we already knew it was going to be good, but felt the need to investigate further just to make sure…

For a Sunday evening, the place was buzzing. There were enough bums on seats to keep the atmosphere lively and the Sunday blues at bay. We managed to secure the ideal spot at the back, absolute perfection for people watching (although we were rather taken by the seats at the marble counter bar). We kept things relatively tame on the drinks front (it’d been a long festive week) opting for a deliciously zesty Frozen Yuzu Maragarita (tequila, yuzu & lime juice, agave syrup and orange liqueur) and an Asahi Black before switching to the soft stuff for the rest of the meal. But if you go and decide you want to go all out – Shackfuyu’s got quite the banging drinks list.

Now to the food. Where to begin? It’s best you go hungry and with someone that likes to share (and if they like everything you do –  you’re onto a winner! If they don’t… whip them into shape!). The menu is full of small plates all designed to mix and match. The first of our glorious food parade to arrive was the devilishly good Korean fried wings – sticky, messy, spicy and oh so wonderful – they’re a no brainer in our opinion. Another no brainer if you catch it on the special menu: the individual hand dived roasted scallop. Beautifully done and served swimming in a chilli miso butter. Arriving next was the Wagyu beef tartar served with peppered prawn crackers, topped off with a yolk hat, just waiting to burst and pour itself over the beef. Next up were the satisfyingly more-ish Tako tacos (octopus, shiso avocado, gochujang), satisfyingly more-ish and from the selection of larger plates, the Grilled partridge with chilli ponzu. The final dish to arrive was the sukiyaki style wagyu picanha, served in a Korean hotpot that bubbled away in front of our eyes. Truly delicious and set us off into a truly stuffed slump.

Of course, when the only dessert on the menu was one of the most talked about of 2015, we weren’t going to refuse. The Kinako French toast with matcha ice cream had all of London hooked and it was easy to see (and taste) why. Whilst yes, it was a little bizarre to eat an indulgent breakfast dish for dessert it was surprisingly light and disappeared from the plate all too easily. Get it – even if you’re full. You’ll only regret it if you don’t.

14A Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TJ | www.bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu

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FOOD REVIEW: Kricket, Brixton

POP Brixton is the new “community campus” for start-ups and small businesses which opened in January this year. Businesses of all sorts are housed within empty sea containers – from sushi shops to cocktail bars to vintage pop-ups and yoga classes – meaning there’s plenty of reasons why you need to check it out. Our reason was Kricket.

Kricket is a 20 cover restaurant offering up Indian small plates and doubles up as a cocktail bar. It’s located somewhere upstairs within the ‘campus’ in a very narrow, long container. At the far end is the compact kitchen where chef Will and team get busy cooking, whilst the main area plays host to a long table where diners quite literally get up close and personal with their neighbours. The menu is kept short, changing every now and again, with dishes that advocate a modern approach to Indian cooking. We were recommended 3-5 dishes to share and went for it, ordering half the menu and waiting with intrigue as to what we’d actually ordered (the names don’t really give all that much away).

First of the five dishes (coming out as and when they’re ready) was the Bhel Puri. The most unusual but delicious dish of puffed-up rice covered in yogurt and tamarind with raw mango, served cold. Following on were the delightful samphire pakoras, lightly battered and drizzled with date & tamarind chutney, served with chilli garlic mayonnaise. Next up was the rich Bombay Butter Garlic Crab, scooped up with crisp seaweed papad and followed by the warm and hearty Kichri dish – smoked haddock, yellow moong dal, pickled cauliflower and topped with egg yolk. Saving the best till last, our final dish was the all-round crowd pleaser: Keralan Fried Chicken. Deliciously more-ish plump pieces of chicken served with a curry leaf mayonnaise and decorated with discs of pickled mouli. One of those dishes you can’t leave even when you’re about to explode like we were at this point.

Dessert was a matter of ‘do we/don’t we’ (we’d definitely need rolling down the stairs afterwards) but of course there was no way we could leave out the only sweet on the menu and so the guys sent over a small taster for us to share – the Gulab Jamum with carom seed crumble, pistachio and clotted cream ice cream which practically sent us over the edge. In the best way, of course.

Kricket two big thumbs up from us. It’s unlike any other Indian we’ve ever tasted – so if you’re tired of the usual Indian cooking, then Kricket is the ideal place to refresh those tastebuds and discover something new. Make sure you go hungry as you’ll be wanting to scrape the bowls clean.

www.kricket.co.uk | 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

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COMING SOON: The Lighterman in Granary Square, King’s Cross

Set to open early 2016 is The Lighterman – a new pub, dining room and bar in Granary Square, King’s Cross. Spanning the entire eastern side of the square, the brand new standalone building designed by Stanton Williams will offer all-day drinking and dining across three floors, with outside seating overlooking both Regent’s Canal and Granary Square.

Each floor will feature a series of dining and drinking areas, covering casual drinks through to destination dining. Interiors will be industrial and minimalist with large open spaces, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, exposed concrete walls and a neutral pared-back colour scheme.

The modern British all-day menu will be overseen by Executive Chef Diego Cardoso, who joined Open House in 2014 to launch their first restaurant and bar, Percy & Founders, in spring 2015. The extensive drinks menu will include draught & bottled beers, craft ales and seasonal cocktails, together with a well-curated and affordable wine list.

The Lighterman will feature a canal-side bar with an alfresco terrace, a top floor with panoramic views across the square and canal, a wood-fired grill and a pizza oven. The ground floor will serve everything from breakfast through to dinner in a more formal dining experience meaning it will be perfect for long lunches, dinners and private events.

3 Granary Square N1C 4BH | www.thelighterman.co.uk@TheLightermanKX

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NOW OPEN: Sexy Fish, Mayfair

You might have heard a thing or two about the latest from Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings as Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square is making quite the splash. Now open in the heart of Mayfair, the Asian fish and seafood restaurant has everyone putting on their glad rags and is even giving the great Chiltern Firehouse a run for its money, challenging its title of ‘hottest spot in town’.

The kitchen is run by chef Ben Orpwood (Zuma, Japanese izakaya, Daniel San) with the menu being split into robata grilled fish, a raw bar, sharing platters, market fish over charcoal and caviar. The restaurant itself has been designed by Martin Brudnizki and features work by famous artists including Frank Gehry (think installations of shimmering fish hanging above the bar and a giant crocodile crawling across the wall) and Damien Hirst. There’s also a huge ceiling mural from highly respected fashion figure Michael Roberts, Style Editor-at-Large of Vanity Fair.

The restaurant is huge, seating 190 and the ‘Coral Reef Room’ private dining area which seats 48 comes complete with its own huge coral reef tank.

We know it should all be about the food, but we kinda want to make a reservation just to have a tour of the place – who’s with us?

www.sexyfish.com

1-4 Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR | For reservations call 020 3764 2000 | Twitter @sexyfishlondon

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FOOD REVIEW: Royal China Fulham

The Royal China group of restaurants are a bit of an institution. They’re where you go if you’re looking for traditional Hong Kong Chinese dishes in London and like us, want to avoid the crowds of Chinatown at all costs.

We went along to The Royal China in Fulham, situated along the Fulham Road just a short walk from Parsons Green tube station. It’s the smallest of the group but as expected, impeccably decorated with striking gold and black features and the group’s signature Chinese mural taking centre stage covering the wall.

We poured ourselves over the never-ending menu – page after page of mouth-watering choices. We opted for the House Dinner Menu for two, a selection of all the best dishes from starter to dessert. We began with the Chef’s Imperial House Hors D’oeuvres – a filling array of the signature starters including sesame prawn toast, spicy smoked shredded chicken, Vietnamese pancake rolls, sweet Mandarin pork chops and crispy seaweed. The only thing missing from the platter was their deep-fried baby squid with spicy salt – so naturally we just had to order these too. Our next course was undoubtedly the one we were most looking forward to: the Crispy Aromatic Duck served with pancakes and all the trimmings was as good as we’d hoped and we made sure not even a shred of cucumber was left. Next to arrive were a duo of sautéed dishes: the classic beef with chilli and black bean sauce and the prawns marinated in a delicious red chilli sauce ‘Szechuan style’. Accompanying the mains were sides of stir-fried mixed vegetables to add a touch of green and steamed rice, which we opted for instead of the fried rice (in our attempt to be… healthy).

We finished with a scoop of green tea ice cream to satisfy our sweet tooth and sipped our respective teas of Oolong and Jasmine, feeling fully satisfied but without the heavy feeling you can often get after a Chinese meal. Throughout the night, the restaurant was buzzy and filled with families, friends and locals – something we never tire of seeing in good neighbourhood restaurants.  With good food and attentive staff there’s not much more you can ask for – so when you’re next looking for that traditional Chinese dinner, think Royal China and you won’t go far wrong.

You can find the other Royal China Group restaurants in Queensway, Baker Street, Canary Riverside and Harrow.

Visit www.royalchinagroup.co.uk

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NOW OPEN: Il Cudega, London Fields

Now open in London Fields is Il Cudega, the new deli, wine bar and restaurant (or ‘eco-gastronomia’ if you’re more acquainted with Italian!) offering an array of Italian dishes and produce from the northernmost region of Lombardy.

Created by Italian-born Hackney resident Giovanni Brighi, his Milanese business partner Luca Gaggioli, and head chef Paolo Eslebani who joins the team from Brescia in Lombardy, Il Cudega promises to offer a truly authentic Italian culinary experience.

Il Cudega features a café for sit down meals and a deli for take away produce and freshly prepared meals to enjoy at home. There’s also a standalone Focaccia and Espresso bar for those who really want to live the Italian dream (and get a caffeine kick that will last them a lifetime).

Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week, this new pocket of Italy is guaranteed to make you want to hop on a plane to the real thing quicker than you can shout Bellissimo!

Arch 358 Westgate Street, E8 | Mon – Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat – Sun 9am – 6pm

Website: www.ilcudega.com

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