Sweet Chilli Chicken

I wanted a quick meal at Paddington Station, but wasn’t really sure what I was in the mood for. Well I was hoping to get some tacos from Barburrito, which I had really enjoyed on a previous visit. However like Chilango, they’ve stopped selling tacos.

I’ve had the sushi quite a few times from Wasabi at Paddington and have enjoyed it. However I didn’t really want sushi. At the Holborn branch of Wasabi I once had the Sweet Chilli Chicken and didn’t really enjoy it.

I quite like sweet chilli chicken, but in this case the sauce was overpoweringly with sweetness and stickiness, even with the heat of the chilli.

 I did decide in the end to give it another go.

Yes the sauce was, again, overpowering, rather too sweet and had a lot of chilli. Yup, probably not the best choice in the end.

Grilled Chicken

I did grilled chicken thighs, roasted potatoes, and salad. The chicken was done with chicken seasoning and a little salt and pepper.

Kebabless Chicken Kebab

I am not sure that kebabless is an actual word. 

I was short on time, so rather than thread chicken cubes onto wooden skewers, I decided to miss that step.

I took some cubed chicken breast and marinaded with some chicken seasoning, salt, pepper and some olive oil.

I then took my griddle and put it on a high heat. I then cooked the chicken on the griddle. I turned it once, and then covered the chicken with some baking parchment. This ensures that the chicken is cooked through, by acting as a “lid”, but avoids steaming the chicken, so that there is still some crispness to the chicken from the griddle.

I served it with salad and rice with a homemade tomato sauce.

Grilled Chicken Bao Bun

I was up in Manchester looking for somewhere for lunch and Banh Mi Co Ba on the Oxford Road has been somewhere I have been meaning to try for a while. They have a wide ranging menu, but I ordered the Grilled Chicken Bao Bun.

The Bao was filled with salad, chicken dressed with sauce.

I will say I wasn’t impressed, I’ve had better and even made better myself. The Bao was a little cold, the chicken was reheated and I wouldn’t have said it was grilled. The salad was probably too much and I would have served it with less. The sauce was nice though.

On the barbecue

Over the weekend we had a couple of barbecues. It is one of my favourite ways of cooking. Even a little rain wasn’t enough to put me off.

On Saturday we had burgers, seasoned chicken and lamb ribs. Sunday we had a similar spread, with beef kebabs, lemon chicken and more lamb ribs.

For the lemon chicken, I marinaded some chicken thighs in lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic oil and some Schwartz Chicken Seasoning. This is then cooked on the barbecue. 

I find that you have to be careful to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, so I use an old wok lid on top, to cover the chicken, to “roast” the chicken as it is grilled. I really like the crispy chicken skin that you get on the barbecue.

For the seasoned chicken I followed a similar process, but used a new chicken seasoning (from Morrisons) which had turmeric, so the chicken was quite yellow. It was delicious.

The lamb ribs were from Waitrose and I seasoned them with salt, pepper and rosemary before placing them on the barbecue.

I did think that they might need longer cooking, but they were tasty and tender.

The burgers and kebabs were from Aldi and were quite good.

Hoping the weather continues to improve so we can have more barbecues.

Tapas at the Brunello Lounge

My first visit to a “Lounge” was back in 2013 when I went to the Portvio Lounge in Gloucester. I didn’t know at the time that it was part of a chain, but since then I have visited a few others.

The Brunello Lounge in Weston-super-Mare opened in 2017 and I have visited it quite often, usually for breakfast or for coffee.

Recently we decided to pop in for a drink and a lunchtime snack. It was rather busy, but we decided to queue. They had some tables free but we were warned that there was a thirty minute wait for food, which we accepted.

We placed our order at the bar and waited. We did think it might be a “wagamama” thirty minutes, in other words it would be closer to fifteen minutes. However in the end it took fifty minutes for our food to arrive, by which time we had drunk our drinks, which had infant arrived quite promptly.

We had ordered some fries and a selection of tapas. We got three dishes, patatas bravas, crispy squid and buttermilk fried chicken.

The best of the three dishes was the patatas bravas. This was cubes of deep fried potato served with a spicy tomato sauce. The potatoes were nice and crispy, well cooked and I enjoyed the tomato sauce. In my opinion the crispy squid was overcooked, it was certainly crispy, but it was very very crispy and dark as well. The buttermilk chicken was nuggets of crispy chicken served with a chipotle mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was nice, the chicken was a little dry.

Overall I think these could have been three great dishes, but the final result was not as good as they should have been. One was really good, the others needed a little more refinement. I did wonder if the volume of orders was causing problems in the kitchen. In the past the food we’ve had at the Brunello Lounge has been excellent.

Having said all that I might go again and try the tapas again.

Well, what can I say?

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had had some excellent meals, delicious food, well presented and very tasty.

So when I ordered a starter of Sweet Vietnamese Chicken Wings I had quite high expectations.

The bowl arrived promptly and I did think they looked good.

These were crunchy coated chicken wings in a sweet chilli sauce dressed with sesame seeds.

However, I was in the end quite disappointed. They weren’t quite what I was expecting. They tasted overcooked and as you might expect the sweet chilli sauce was a little overpowering. There wasn’t too much of a crunch either. Whereas with most meals I’ve at Drayton Court Hotel I would order them again, the chicken wings, I wouldn’t.

Great donburi, disappointing hirata bun

For me it was a bit of a no brainer when I visited the Finzels Reach Market and I saw SheSellsSushi had their stall. As I joined the quite lengthy queue, I looked at the menu. They had a Japanese panko chicken curry, their beef donburi, hirata buns, sushi and Takoyaki.

I did think about the curry, but decided I would go with my usual favourite, the Bento box with the beef donburi and a hirata bun. 

There was a bit of a queue, but in the end I got served my box of beef and a bao bun. 

The hirata bun contained a piece of panko crumbed Katsu chicken breast in a charcoal bao bun served with house salad and sriracha mayo. 

I have to say I was a little disappointed. I found the chicken rather dry and lacking flavour. Compared to the tempura chicken hirata bun, the Finzel Flapper I’ve had in the past, this new version of the hirata bun was nowhere near as nice. I think if I order again I will go for the Takoyaki instead. It has also put me off trying the Japanese curry as it looked like that dish was based on the same panko chicken katsu. Having said all that it was so much better than the bao bun from Ah-Ma’s.

 The beef teriyaki donburi was delicious as always.

Tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

Time for Las Iguanas

I have been tempted many times by Las Iguanas, but have never actually got there until recently when I was in Birmingham.

Looking for a place to eat the choice available was a decision maker for the group of friends I was with. Las Iguanas as they have a large menu covering Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, and beyond.

The place was really busy, but despite not booking they found us a table.

I looked over the extensive menu and thought about what I wanted.  For my starter I went with the Calamares, crispy squid served with creamy aioli.

The squid was certainly crispy, overcooked in my opinion, but this was more than just squid rings, this was squid in batter with a rather garlicky aioli.

For my main course I went with the Xinxim. A classic recipe from North Brazil. Chicken and crayfish in our creamy lime and peanut sauce. Served with spring onion rice, shredded greens, coconut farofa and sweet plantain.

This arrived in two dishes, the spring onion rice, shredded greens, coconut farofa and sweet plantain on one plate, and a bowl with the Xinxim. 

Here is the plate with the rice and the plantain.

At first I didn’t think there was any crayfish in the dish, but it was hidden at the bottom. I added the bowl of Xinxim to the plate of rice. I did quite like creamy lime and peanut sauce and there was plenty of chicken. I would like to have seen more and bigger crayfish in the dish.

The rice didn’t seem to have much spring onion in it and the shredded greens were okay. I have to say I didn’t really like the sweet plantain, but having never had it before I couldn’t tell if this was representative of plantain or not. Something I might try again when I next visit the Caribbean Wrap in Bristol.

Overall I was a little disappointed. I think this was more down I had quite high expectations about the food, and it was just okay. I don’t think I will be going out of my way to visit Las Iguanas anytime soon.

Time for something that was not as good as it could be

In my first visit to Manchester since September 2019 I was needing a place to eat dinner. I did consider going to Reds the barbecue place, but in the end decided that the last time I had eaten at Reds, in Leeds, it wasn’t the best meal I had had. Back then the brisket was a little dry. The menu had changed, so I couldn’t order the mixed platter with the short rib as I had done in Leeds. I then decided I quite liked the idea of tacos, but Chilango who did some nice tacos back in October 2016, tacos were no longer on their menu. They did burrito and boxes, but I fancied tacos.

In the end I went to Wagamama. It was quite busy, but they found me a seat. I looked over the menu and thought about what I wanted.

I wanted to have the shu’s ‘shiok’ chicken, turmeric, garlic and ginger marinated chicken, roasted and served on a bed of coconut and lemongrass dressed rice. pickled slaw and radish. chilli. coriander. caramelised lime. However they had run out of the turmeric, garlic and ginger sauce. This also meant they couldn’t do some of the other dishes as well.

In the end I ordered the teriyaki chicken donburi, this was chicken in teriyaki sauce with sticky white rice, shredded carrots, pea shoots and onions. garnished with sesame seeds and served with a side of kimchee.

It did look really nice. The chicken alas was overcooked and a little dry. It could have done with a  little more sauce in my opinion. I enjoyed the rice.

Alongside I had the vegan mixed mushroom hirata buns. These are two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with coriander and mayonnaise.

These were nice and full of flavour. I also had a green tea which alas wasn’t hot.

Overall it was okay, certainly not as good as I have had at other branches.

I then went back to the hotel where I had a (hot) green tea.