Beef Donburi and a Crispy Chicken Hirata Bun

I was in Bristol on a Tuesday and I went to the Temple Quay Market. It now happens twice a week, on a Tuesday and a Thursday. There wasn’t a large number of stalls, but I did quite fancy the Korean fried chicken from KokoDoo. However when I arrived there was a huge queue for the KokoDoo van with their crispy Korean fried chicken.

Temple Quay Market

Instead I went off for a walk, changed my mind, and in the end did walk back. Based on the queues and I did fancy something to eat, I went to SheSellsSushi. Actually realised that the queues, though different in size, were in fact moving at roughly the same pace.

Last month I had a delicious meal from She Sells Sushi. I was quite tempted by the Tofu Puff Katsu Curry, but in the end, I went with my favourite Bento Box combination of the beef donburi and a chicken hirata bao bun.

The beef donburi was slow cooked teriyaki beef rib on a bed of rice, topped with crispy onions and pickles.

This a street food dish I have had many times, as this was just as nice as I’ve had on previous visits. The beef was full of flavour and the garnishes added to the dish.

I’ve enjoyed the hirata buns from the stall, the chicken hirata bun was tasty. This was a charcoal bao bun with two pieces of crispy chicken, lettuce, pickles and sauce.

It might be that I walked back to the office to eat my food, but my chicken was cold, compared to previous meals. I will say I prefer the crispy chicken that came with the original Finzel Flapper bun they did a few years ago. However saying that, I did enjoy the hirata bun, it was rather tasty. 

Overall I did enjoy the food.

Time for Society

I was up in Manchester for some meetings. After a long morning meeting I headed out into Manchester city centre for something to eat. On previous visits to Manchester I had seen Society before, I had even gone in there to see what it was like, but I had never actually eaten there. So, on this walk around the centre, and having looked around a few places, I ended up at Society.

A fresh addition to the city’s vibrant cultural space, Society is a hub of street food, craft beer, wine and cocktails and boasts an impressive line-up of talented independent traders. Society features four independently-owned kitchens, from the towering burgers of Slap & Pickle, pan-Asian specialists Manzoku Street Food, flavoursome Indian street food from Chaat Cart and experts in Korean street food, Yoki Social Table. Society also houses a cocktail bar and specialist taproom by craft brewery Vocation.    

The process is quite simple, take a seat, note your table number, scan in the QR code, place your order on your phone and wait for your food. With some of the traders you can order at the counter if you want to.

I did first peruse the different (phyiscal) menus and noted that Manzoku had a January special of bao buns. Now I quite like a good bao bun, so this was quite tempting.

I sat down at a table with a glass of water from the bar and looked over the menu. I decided to have the crispy chicken bao buns with a portion of crispy squid.

The January Special Bao Chicken was two fluffy bao buns filled with ginger and garlic chicken thigh in a crispy coating, with Japanese pickled slaw.

They looked great. The chicken was a little dry and overcooked for me, but did have a nice flavour. The rest of the dish was great, fresh and flavoursome.

Alongside I had the Spicy Salt & Pepper Squid. This was deep fried marinated crispy salt & pepper squid with a kick, chilli mayo, and togarashi spice.

When eating this I was reminded of the chilli squid I have eaten at Wagamama. It was crispy on the outside, tender squid on the inside. Nice spicing and I enjoyed the chilli mayo.

Overall I did like both dishes and really enjoyed them. It was a little more than I would normally pay for lunch, but I do think it was value for money. I would certainly have a night out at Society, having a beer and a few dishes from the different street food traders.

Beef Donburi and a Crispy Chicken Hirata Bun

Went out at lunchtime for a walk on Thursday, I decided to head to the Temple Quay Market. In the end I succumbed to temptation and ordered a bento box from She Sells Sushi, going for the Beef Donburi and a Crispy Chicken Hirata Bun. I noticed that they now also sell an XL bento box, which allows you to choose three dishes. I decided I wasn’t that hungry.

This a street food dish I have had many times, as this was as good as I’ve had on previous visits. The beef was full of flavour and the garnishes added to the dish.

The chicken hirata bun was tasty, a charcoal bao bun with two pieces of crispy chicken.

I will say I prefer the crispy chicken that came with the original Finzel Flapper bun they did a few years ago. The mayo dressing was spicier than I remember.

Overall a really nice lunch.

Frites at Frittenwerk

I was staying in Berlin in December, for a few days attending a conference. The last time I had been to Germany was in 1985 staying for a couple of days in Munich on the way back from a camp in Yugoslavia. This was my first visit to Berlin and the first visit to a unified Germany. I was staying at the NH Collection Mitte ‘Checkpoint Charlie” in the heart of what was East Berlin. I had various meals and snacks while I was there in Berlin.

One lunch was chicken shawarma poutine from Frittenwerk. I had liked the look Frittenwerk and it also was busy, which is a good sign I think about a place. When I was planning my trip, I had anticipated focusing on German food, but though I had some good German food when I was there, I also had other cuisines as well. This is why I ended up ordering Canadian poutine in the German capital.

I had considered ordering a traditional poutine, but in the end went with something different. I didn’t really fancy cheese and gravy. The chicken shawarma poutine comprised a large portion of fries with marinated chicken, tomato and avocado salad, paprika and chilli dip and lemon ajoli.

Frittenwerk poutine

This was a quick, hot lunch, that was relatively inexpensive at €9.70.

The dish was made to order and as I waited it arrived very quickly.

It was a tasty dish and I really enjoyed it. The chips were nice, the chicken was tender and tasty, the sauce certainly was zingy. In all very nice.

Sosu Amoy Donburi Meal Kit

I had picked up this meal kit shopping at Tesco and had it in the cupboard for a while. 

Japanese style meal kit with individual sachets of miso cooking paste, teriyaki cooking sauce, furikake seasoning and sticky rice.

It was pretty easy to cook and rather tasty.

First stage was to preheat the oven to 180℃.

In a saucepan, I added the Sosu Sticky Rice and 250ml water, brought it to the boil, covered and turned to a low heat for 12 mins. When the rice is cooked the water will have been absorbed and the rice will be sticky and soft. I kept it in the pan with the lid on until I was ready to serve.

I took some boned chicken thighs, broccoli florets, and strips of butternut squash. I squeezed over the Sosu Miso Cooking Paste and mixed well.

This was baked in the oven for ten minutes.

I took the chicken out of the oven, poured over the Sosu Teriyaki Cooking Sauce, as a glaze, and returned to the oven for a further 3 mins.

I took the cooked rice and divided between two bowls, topped with the chicken, butternut squash, and broccoli and added grated carrot and sliced spring onions. I then scattered the Sosu Furikake Seasoning over the dish.

It was rather good, and I would get it again.

Well, that was terrible!

Prior to flying out to Berlin I was staying at The Thistle hotel close to Heathrow Terminal 5. I picked this hotel as it was convenient to the airport and they had autonomous pods that carried you from the hotel to the terminal. They also served dinner.

When I looked over the menu there was a choice of things to have. For my starter I had the prawn cocktail.

Over the menu there were quite a few choices, but in the end I went with the fried buttermilk chicken burger. This was described as a crispy golden crumbed chicken escalope, toasted brioche bun, pickled cabbage slaw, mayo, lettuce & tomato.

Sounded quite good, but this is what I got!

fried buttermilk chicken burger. This was described as a crispy golden crumbed chicken escalope, toasted brioche bun, pickled cabbage slaw, mayo, lettuce & tomato

First impressions was that this might be okay, but it wasn’t.

On the good side, the chips were nice, the roll was fresh.

However, the chicken escalope was overcooked and was more crunchy than crispy. I would expect the 99p chicken burger from McDonalds would be better than what I got. As with my prawn cocktail I do think that they could have spent some time and effort to make this an outstanding dish, but they didn’t.

I really should have complained, but it was late and I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I am also not sure what they could do about it as well.

Greek time at the Cranside Kitchen

Having enjoyed my previous meal at the Cranside Kitchen, I went there again for dinner the next night.

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I had planned to just eat in the hotel restaurant, but found that the restaurant wasn’t open. Well that wasn’t helpful. I had a look around the area on Google Maps and found that, apart from other hotel restaurants there wasn’t much choice close by. I could have walked up to Argyle Street, but it was dark and cold, and to be honest I didn’t fancy walking back.

When I had looked at the Cranside Kitchen the previous day, from the outside it looked like it was now an Italian place called Romano’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Italian, so walked around the area a bit more. In the end I went to Cranside Kitchen. I found out then it was a little more than an Italian place. You scanned the QR code on the table and placed your order online. As well as the Italian menu, there was also Chinese, Thai and Japanese.

On my next visit I found that on that that evening there was a Greek option. Well quite liked the idea of Greek so went with that choice.

I had three dishes, the crispy calamari, chicken souvlaki, and a Greek salad.

The crispy calamari was battered squid rings with a garlic dip. 

As calamari goes it was okay, I have had better (and I have had worse). I do think as I have it quite often, that I find it a good benchmark to compare places.

The chicken souvlaki comprised two skewers of grilled chicken on a rather sad and limp salad. The chicken was quite tasty.

The Greek salad was cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, olives and feta cheese.

The olives hadn’t been stoned, and the feta cheese was rather bland and lacked flavour.

Overall the meal was just okay, nothing special and nothing outstanding. Compared to the previous meal I had at the Cranside Kitchen it was a little disappointing.

Confusing Fried Chicken

I wasn’t really intending to get lunch out, but I was walking through the St Nicholas market in Bristol and did feel a little peckish. It was quite late during the lunchtime period, so I could see some places were low on stuff. I did think about having something to eat at the Spanish place, La Lola, but in the end thought to myself I would have something I hadn’t eaten before. Across from La Lola is Woky Ko.

Located at the heart of Bristol’s historic St. Nicks Market is our lunch spot offering quick and tasty lunch boxes designed by you, made the Woky Way. Here you will find us serving out the BEST chicken Katsu curry or Korean fried cauliflower with noodles or rice. 

I have been tempted before, but this was my first visit. I do think it is an interesting perspective with Korean fried chicken served with a choice of either Japanese Katsu sauce or Thai red curry sauce.

This is three different kinds of Asian cuisine, which to be honest I am not sure actually works. I would like to have a Korean BBQ sauce with my chicken, but that wasn’t available. Is this fusion cooking, I didn’t think so. I did fancy the Thai red curry, but they had run out, so I went with the Katsu.

The fried chicken was served on rice covered in the sauce with some salad on the side.

The chicken was nice and crispy, the sauce was quite tasty. I did enjoy the dish, but I don’t think it would be something I would have again.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.

I had initially decided that I wouldn’t have a burger, as I have eaten quite a few burgers recently. However I haven’t had a chicken burger for some time. Reading the description, fried butter milk chicken burger with red-hot sauce, blue cheese sauce, pickled cabbage slaw, lettuce, mayonnaise, tomato, pretzel bun, I wasn’t sure I was going to like that.

I did think about modifying the burger and getting rid of the sauces, but in the end I went with what was described. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I do like to try new things and see how they taste.

It arrived and it did look quite good.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

The pretzel roll was a nice change from the brioche roll which seems to have become the standard across gourmet burgers these days.

The chicken was nice though it wasn’t as crispy (or crunchy) as I would like. The sauces I thought might be overpowering actually weren’t.

The accompanying chips were crisp and tasty.

Pollo Cacciatore at Bella Italia

I was out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.

We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.

I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.  In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini, which I enjoyed.

For my main I did initially think about having their new(ish) Pinsa Pizza.

With a bigger, thicker, crispier base, this traditional premium Italian Pinsa is hard to beat

I suspect if they had a white base pizza with mushroom and truffle then I would have gone for that. In the end I decided I would go with a pasta dish and I chose the Pollo Cacciatore – Roast chicken, pancetta, chestnut mushrooms and red onions tossed with pappardelle pasta in a white wine and tomato sauce. I did look at the image on the online menu and liked the look of the dish.

The dish which arrived didn’t quite look like the picture on the online menu!

This is what I received.

This is what the online version looked like.

Having said that the pappardelle pasta was cooked well, and I liked the mushrooms and red onion in the dish. I could have quite easily lost the chicken though. The sauce was tasty and I had some extra parmesan added which enhanced the dish.

For dessert I had the Tiramisu.

Overall I did enjoy my food and I enjoyed all three dishes I had from the set menu. I think after having such an excellent meal back in June 2021, I was a little disappointed. I think that it didn’t help that the dishes I received on my table didn’t reflect what was on the menu. Maybe they shouldn’t publish photographs of the dishes on the website. I probably will visit again at some time.