The first post on this blog was the 26th June 2007, however that didn’t mean that’s when I started drinking coffee and eating food. However it does mean that I didn’t really record some great meals and food.
On this day fourteen years ago, back in 2006, I went to London for a meeting and had one of the most delightful tasty meals that I can remember.
The meeting was at The Jolly’s Hotel close to St James’ Park. The hotel was all dressed for Christmas so was full of decorations and Christmas Trees.
It was a good meeting as I recall, but then it was time for a break. We had lunch in the hotel and we went down to the dining room. In front of me was this amazing display of Italian antipasto, salami, olives, anchovies and a range of salads. I thought what a wonderful delicious looking buffet. However I was little concerned about the amount of salt in the food so I asked one of the waiting staff if there were some more non-salty choices as I didn’t want to have too much salty food. He then pointed me over to the other side of the dining room where there was a carvery counter. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It was probably the best carvery I have ever had. They had a huge choice of meats, I went with some beef and new for me some veal. Adding all the trimmings, I sat down, it was absolutely delicious. The roast meats were tender and full of flavour. The trimmings were exciting and tasty.
After that it was back to the meeting and alas work.
It was one of those meals that I wish I could have again. I always meant to return to eat there again, however I never had a meeting in the hotel again, and never had a chance to go there to eat. Now fourteen years later I seriously doubt that even if I did go there it would be a similar wonderful experience.
Now as we enter a second lockdown I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal.
Back in December 2019 I was heading South of the river in London for an event where I was delivering a presentation. With time for lunch I headed off to Wahaca on the Southbank. This was the branch where I had first eaten food from Wahaca back in August 2016. Then I had really enjoyed the fresh delicious food and thought at the time that I would really like to go again. Since then I have been quite a few times, however I hadn’t been to the Southbank restaurant for a fair few years.
The restaurant on the South Bank, is built from eight recycled shipping containers arranged across two overhanging levels. These brightly coloured containers make for an interesting eating environment. The team were friendly and welcoming.
I went with three dishes from the street food menu.
The Ancho Chicken Tacos was two larger corn tortillas, grilled and filled with grilled chicken and avocado, with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa.
These were very nice, I enjoyed the spiciness of the accompaniments and the fresh tender chicken..
On previous visits I have gone with the steak tacos, though this time I went with the slow cooked beef brisket tacos.
The beef was beautifully tender and I liked the accompanying pickles on top.
My third dish was the delicious crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.
I’ve had these before and these were really nice. The florets were larger than other times I’ve had this dish, but this didn’t make a difference, it was a delicious plate of food.
Overall I really enjoyed my meal and thought all the dishes were delicious.
In this blog post I am remembering my most recent visit to Low and Slow, which took place some weeks before the lockdown in February.
Having been a staple of the street food markets for many years I was pleased to see Low and Slow find a more permanent home in St Nicholas’ Market in Bristol. I have eaten there once or twice I think since they moved in, but I have noticed on more recent visits to the market that they have sold out quite quickly of their slow smoked beef brisket, so I have missed out. What was happening was I was going for a walk at lunchtime I would walk through the market see the Low and Slow stall and think, I’ll come back here to get some food for lunch, but by the time I returned they had sold out! So I then go somewhere different.
On a recent visit to the market, I went early and remembering what had happened before, I decided to order there and then, and managed to secure a delicious lunch. I went with the Barbecue Box which consists of a slice of slow smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends and your choice of two sides. This time I went with fries and slaw.
The brisket was full of flavour and had a melt in the mouth texture. It’s so delicious and tender. When I have had brisket in barbecue restaurants it’s never as good as the brisket from Low and Slow. I enjoyed the pulled pork and the burnt ends were rather tasty. The fries added texture and the slaw freshness. It was a delicious lunch and I will miss going back there, as we seem to be in lock down for a while now. I also hope that all the stalls in St Nicholas Market survive the temporary closure, and I for one will be back to support them when the market reopens.
A little late in posting, but I do find these posts useful for future years.
I had originally planned to cook three roasts for our Christmas lunch. With limited space in the oven and thinking we might have too much food, in the end I decided to cook only the two three bird roasts and leave the beef joint for another day.
So on Boxing Day, we went with the Sirloin of Beef, dry aged for 30 days.
It didn’t look anything like the picture on the box, but it was probably the best piece of beef I have cooked and eaten.
It was just after the lunch time rush, so the place was quiet, but I was given a warm welcome and lead to a table. Each Wahaca I have been to, has a different feel and look and the Soho branch has a unique individual environment. There is a somewhat industrial feel to the place, but it’s warm and friendly, not necessarily cold and inhuman.
I looked over the menu and as it has been some time since I last went to Wahaca, there were some new choices on the street food menu. I did think about having my usual grilled steak tacos. Last time I was at the Soho branch they did a new (more expensive) version of the dish with ribeye steak. Back then I said:
The new recipe called The Rib Eye, consists of two larger corn tortillas with chargrilled steak and is served with grilled cheese & fresh guacamole. You do get more steak and it is very tender compared to the skirt steak they use to do, but it is also more expensive, about three pounds more than the old steak tacos price (60% more expensive). It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the tacos, I did, but I felt that the original recipe was really good and this wasn’t much of an improvement and certainly not a 60% improvement. I probably wouldn’t order them again.
The new version is similar to the original version, but you have to have the cheese, unlike the original version where it was an option. However this time I decided that I would have something different and would not go with the steak.
I did think about having the buttermilk chicken tacos again, I have enjoyed them before. However as I was thinking about having the crispy cauliflower bites, I decided that I didn’t want too much crispy stuff, so decided to choose something else. For similar reasons I also decided not to go with the duck croquetas, crispy duck & sweet potato balls with smoky hibiscus & chipotle salsa, which I really liked the sound of. When the waiter came to take my order, he showed me the specials, there were two, the grilled fish tacos looked interesting and tempting.
In the end I went with some beef tacos, grilled chicken tortillas and the crispy cauliflower bites.
The first dish to arrive were some slow-cooked beef tacos with mild spices, with black beans, served in three soft corn grilled tortillas.
These were excellent, the beef was full of favour, not too spicy. I really enjoyed the addition of the pickled cucumber on top of the tacos. It was a great blend of tastes and textures. They are certainly something I would order again.
The next two dishes arrived at the same time. One of the things you either like about Wahaca or you don’t is that dishes arrived when they are cooked rather than all coming together. This is fine if you are sharing dishes or eating alone, but less great when as a group or a family you have ordered individual dishes.
The first of the pair of dishes was two larger corn tortillas, grilled and filled with grilled chicken and avocado, with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa.
These were generously filled and I really enjoyed them. The chicken was sightly over-grilled for my liking, but they were still nice. I liked the avocado and the green tomatillo salsa added some nice spice to the dish.
My final dish was the crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.
These sounded really interesting and they looked great and tasted even better. I was really pleased to have ordered these. The little florets of cauliflower were covered in a light buttermilk batter, deep fried and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. When I have tried to cook this kind of dish at home, I find that my batter is too thick. This kind of dish and inspired me to try again with a lighter thinner buttermilk batter. The roast serrano allioli was interesting and really worked well with the cauliflower. I think this was my favourite dish of the trio I ordered and would like to have them again.
The service was excellent, warm and friendly welcome, attentive, efficient service. Overall these were three excellent dishes and I really enjoyed them.
It was a Thursday and I was in Bristol and it was the week that the Temple Quay Market was on in Temple Quay. Sometimes in the winter, inclement weather conditions can mean that the market doesn’t run. On this Thursday though I was lucky, the market was running.
I hadn’t thought much about what I might have, they usually have a really good spread of stalls and food choices. As I walked around I considered what to have, and then in an unexpected twist I nearly bumped into the SheSellsSushi stall. Well that was that I decided I would have something from Lisa’s stall.
I have had quite a few meals from her stall from the Finzel Reach Market on a Friday in Bristol, but as I wasn’t expecting her to be there, it was an unexpected delight that her stall was at Temple Quay. It was a double delight, as the last time I went to her stall at the Finzel Reach Market, it was rather late and she had sold out of virtually everything. This time I was early and there was all those wonderful choices.
I went once more with the Bento Box, and had the delicious Beef Donburi. This is succulent short rib slow cooked in a teriyaki style marinade of soy, fresh ginger and garlic. It was served on a bed of rice with beni shoga, mayu and spring onion.
As usual it was delicious and full of flavour. The beef was meltingly tender and the garnishes added to the dish. I always love the care and attention that Lisa pays to each and every dish. This isn’t just thrown together, this is food artistry made with love and passion. The result is amazing cooking and delicious food.
I once more went again with the tempura chicken hirata bun. The steamed bun is made with activated charcoal and inside I had the tempura chicken, known as the Finzel Flapper, complete with spring onions and Japanese mayo.
I do like the combination of flavours and textures in the bun. She also does a pork belly hirata bun, which is just as tasty, but I like the textures you get with the tempura chicken.
So though I went with my normal order, of the bento box, I also added a side order of Takoyaki in octopus and duck varieties. These are freshly cooked on the stall and always look really nice.
They are covered in a range of sauces and garnishes, and I couldn’t tell you what they were, but thankfully Lisa on her website describes them as dumplings with tonkatsu sauce, Japanese mayo, toasted seaweed and bonito flakes. I did enjoy these and I was quite full, as might be expected.
Now though as the summer weather has gone, I might just try out the ramen next time. Oh and one day must try the sushi.
I know in my last blog post about SheSellsSushi I said that I would go for something the next time I went to Lisa’s stall. Well I did and I didn’t.
I once more had the delicious Beef Donburi. This is succulent short rib slow cooked in a teriyaki style marinade of soy, fresh ginger and garlic. It was served on a bed of rice with beni shoga, mayu and spring onion. Do I know what they are? Well I know what spring onions are, as for the others I would need to Google them.
As usual it was delicious and full of flavour. The beef was meltingly tender and the garnishes added to the dish. I always love the care and attention that Lisa pays to each and every dish. This isn’t just thrown togther, this is food artistry made with love and passion. The result is amazing cooking and delicious food.
I once more went again with the tempura chicken hirata bun. The steamed bun is made with activated charcoal and inside is a couple pieces of crispy tempura chicken.
I do like the combination of flavours and textures in the bun.
So though I went with my normal order, I also added a side order of Takoyaki in octopus and duck varieties. These are freshly cooked on the stall and always look really nice.
They are covered in a range of sauces and garnishes, and I couldn’t tell you what they were, but thankfully Lisa on her website describes them as dumplings with tonkatsu sauce, japanese mayo, toasted seaweed and bonito flakes. Again some googling required for some of those ingredients. I did enjoy these, however having had them from SheSellsSushi (and Yo! Sushi) I don’t think they are my favourite dish, so next time it will probably be the just the donburi and the hirata bun. However if the summer weather has gone, I might just try out the ramen. Oh and one day must try the sushi.
After a last minute change of plan I found myself in Bristol on a Thursday, which meant that I had the opportunity to attend the Temple Quay Market. There was a wide range of stalls and a lot of choice. As is my usual practice, it was a quick look round to see what was there, what was available and where the queues were. It was a beautiful day, quite hot and sunny, and the market was proving popular and the queues for most stalls were quite long.
I was tempted by the pasta at Socarrat Catering, this always sounds delicious, but felt it wasn’t quite the weather for pasta. I did feel like trying the seafood chicken & chorizo paella from Chef De Maison, however it had proved popular and there was none left when I looked. I do like squid, so the South Street Kitchen with their crispy squid was tempting, as was the Neapolitan style pizzas straight from the wood fired oven of Wood Chop Pizza.
In the end I splurged at Lisa’s She Sells Sushi stall. I know I could have chosen something new or different, but SheSellsSushi is really delicious, very tempting and certainly a favourite of mine. There was quite a queue, so it game me time to think about what to have. Lisa has started selling ramen and it did sound rather nice, and as I got closer to getting served I did see how it came together and it looked delicious. The sushi looked wonderful as usual and looked very tempting, as did the Takoyaki available in octopus and duck varieties. As I stood in the queue the woman behind me was chatting with her friend and I couldn’t help overhearing her, how she always intended to have something different, but in the end always went with her favourites of the Beef Donburi and sushi. That I could certainly identify with.
I try not to have what I have had before, this time I went again with what I had before. Which was exactly what I did last time I visited the stall. Next time I am promising myself to go with something different.
As is typical for me I took a bento box with the Beef Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce with a hirata bun.
Like last time there was a choice of two hirata buns, pork belly with kimchi and a chicken tempura. Both served in a charcoal steamed bun. Previously there was only the choice of the pork belly bun. This time I was (slightly) different and went with the chicken tempura hirata bun,
The Donburi beef was again delicious, the flavour is great, it was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions, great rice with some really tasty savoury tender beef. Really tasty and moreish.
I really enjoyed the tempura chicken hirata bun, the chicken was flavoursome, as well as being nice and crispy. I also did enjoy the soft charcoal steamed bun it came in.
Again it was really nice, delicious food and I know I will probably have it again, but next time I am planning to go with some variety, the ramen did look very tempting.
Sometimes having too much choice can be a bad thing. I was up in Sheffield for an event and aiming for a quick meal I popped to the dining quarter of Meadowhall within there are a range of eating options.
The lower level is mainly fast food chains, but I was intrigued by Yangtze, a Chinese takeaway, but the queue was quite long and I really fancied taking my time being waited upon. On the upper level I did like the idea of the Spanish Tapas place, but felt it was quite expensive for what was on offer. There was also Las Iguanas which I don’t think I’ve been to, but looked tempting.
In the end I decided to go with Wagamama. I wanted to try out the Tama Squid, crispy fried squid balls, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. finished with aonori and bonito flakes. I thought to myself I wouldn’t also mind trying Wagamama’s hirata steam buns to see if they are as good as the ones from She Sells Sushi. For the main course I thought Yakisoba would be a good choice.
As I queued for Wagamama, which seemed to be taking a long time, I thought about it, well of the three dishes I wanted, I could get the same three , well three similar, dishes at YO! Sushi as part of their blue plate Monday offer. So reflecting, I turned away and headed off to YO! Sushi.
As I arrived I could see how busy YO! Sushi was, but was given a warm welcome and they found me a seat very quickly (which was simplified because I was on my own).
The thing about YO! Sushi is you can look at the menu or just take things from the conveyor belt.
While I perused the menu I took a plate of avocado maki.
I then ordered some hot dishes, which took a little time to arrive, but I was expecting that so didn’t mind.
The maki were nice and fresh and was a great start to my meal.
Whilst the ordered dishes arrived I took another dish from the belt, the Beef Tataki Sashimi, which is pepper-seared rare beef and a tangy coriander pesto.
I’ve wanted to try this dish for a while and it matched my expectations. The beef was nice and tender and I did like the tangy coriander pesto which enhanced both the beef and the grated mooli on the dish.
The next dish was the Vegetable Yakisoba, described as yakisoba noodles in a tangy sauce served with crunchy, fresh vegetables.
I wasn’t impressed with this dish, the tangy sauce wasn’t to my taste and I didn’t like the texture of the noodles so much. I think I should have gone with a rice dish instead. I did wonder if the Wagamama version would be better?
I really like the Spicy Pepper Squid from YO! Sushi.
The spicy marinated squid, fried until crisp was garnished with red chilli and spring onions. I really like the texture and taste of this dish and it did not fail to impress.
When I was placing my order, the server recommended the Cod Nanbanzuke, which though not on the blue plate menu was part of the blue plate deal. The menu describes it as “Japan’s answer to sweet and sour! Crispy fried cod bites in a sweet and sour sauce.”
Though I did think it could have been a little more crispier than it was, I really did enjoy this dish. The cod was tasty and the sweet and sour sauce didn’t overpower the taste of the fish. This was quite a big portion as well.
A little later the final of my four hot dishes I had ordered arrived, a portion of Takoyaki.
The menu says that this is Osaka’s number one street food! Lightly battered dough balls with octopus, topped with mayo, bonito and lots more.
I thought this was a really nice concept, but wasn’t too hot on the execution of it. It was too much dough and to little octopus.
My final dish was fish. Salmon Sashimi Our freshest cuts of thick-sliced Scottish salmon, with mooli and lemon.
I hadn’t planned to take this dish, but seeing the chef preparing them and thought if there’s any left on the conveyor belt then I will have one. It was a nice clean refreshing dish to finish the meal off with.
Overall I had a really nice meal and the blue plate offer made a difference to the value for money.
I am not in Bristol on many Friday’s so I often miss the Finzel’s Reach Market. At their first birthday though I was lucky enough to be in Bristol and went to the market. There is usually a wide choice of stalls to choose from.
In the end I splurged at Lisa’s SheSellsSushi stall. I know I could have chosen something new or different, but SheSellsSushi is really delicious, very tempting and certainly a favourite of mine. So though I try not to have what I have had before, this time I went with what I had before.
I took a bento box with the Beef Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce with a hirata bun.
This time there was a choice of two hirata buns, pork belly with kimchi and a chicken tempura. Both served in a charcoal steamed bun.
It was hard making a choice, so in the end I went greedy and had both.
The Donburi beef was as usual delicious, the flavour is great, it was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions, great rice with some really tasty savoury tender beef.
I really enjoyed the tempura chicken hirata bun, the chicken was flavoursome, as well as being nice and crispy. I did enjoy the charcoal steamed bun it came in.
The pork belly one was nice too, but it wasn’t as good as the ones I have had previously.
Overall it was really nice, delicious food and I will probably have it again.