Crispy Squid

One dish I eat on a regular basis at restaurants is crispy squid.

I’ve recently eaten crispy squid at Las Iguanas, though the squid in my opinion was rather overcooked. 

I also had chilli squid at Wagamama.

That time I was expecting to have soft tender squid in a crispy batter. What I actually got was rubbery squid in a hard crunchy batter.

The second time I had calamari from La Lola at the St Nicholas Market in Bristol it was excellent.

calamari

The squid was freshly cooked, nice crisp batter, tender squid and was delicious, served with a slice of lemon.

Alas the calamari from Kingfin from the street food markets in Bristol was one of my favourite lunch dishes. You got a decent portion of squid. It was quite tasty, you could certainly taste the difference with the fact they cooked the squid from fresh.

However they have changed their menu recently so you can’t get it anyore.

As well as eating crispy squid I also make it at home. This is a recipe for making my own gluten free crispy squid.

I take some squid, sometimes I use fresh squid, I score the squid and slice into chunks. Other times I use defrosted squid rings that I cut so I get strips of squid rather than rings.

I coat the squid in seasoned gluten free plain flour. This I leave for at least fifteen minutes and check that all the squid is coated in the flour.

I then deep fry the squid in hot oil. Season and serve.

No time for waiting

I was staying in Birmingham and was looking for somewhere for lunch. My original plan was to go to Pierre Bistrot, as I did quite fancy some French food.

I went in, there was the usual “please wait to be seated” sign. So I waited, then I waited a little more. Finally someone saw I was waiting and I asked for a table.

I sat down and looked at the menu. Then I waited, I waited and I waited.

I knew I had a meeting in my diary in less than an hour, but looking around seeing other people waiting for food and others waiting to order. I realised that there was no way I was going to order, get my food, eat the food, and pay my bill in the hour I had for lunch. So instead of waiting, I left my table and exited the restaurant, which was a pity as I did like the idea of eating French.

Still knowing I needed lunch (and that I was going to eat late that day) I headed off to Wagamama at Brindley Place.

Much better service. 

I went upstairs and there was no queue and I was quickly shown to a table I looked over the menu and chose to have some chilli squid, which I hadn’t had for a while and yasai yaki soba, which I had had more recently.

I didn’t have to wait too long before the food arrived. The yasai yaki soba arrived first and looked like the dish I had before and on the menu.

This was soba noodles with mushroom and vegetables, egg, peppers, beansprouts, white and spring onions. garnished with fried shallots, pickled ginger and sesame seeds.

Though I enjoyed the dish, I don’t think it was as good as the last I had it, which surprised me a little.

The chilli squid arrived and I liked the look of the dish.

This was crispy fried squid dusted with shichimi served with a chilli coriander dipping sauce.

I was though disappointed with my squid. I was expecting to have soft tender squid in a crispy batter. What I actually got was rubbery squid in hard crunchy batter. I think it could have been so much better. I think I should have had the bao buns instead, maybe next time.

I used the QR code process to pay the bill, so I didn’t need to wait for that, and left feeling I had a nice lunch.

Disappointing Deliveroo, well not really

Despite the pandemic and the growth of delivery services, it was only in July of this year that I finally bit the bullet and used a delivery service.

I was away, working in London, and I was staying at a hotel which didn’t have a restaurant. I didn’t really want to go out to eat, so decided that maybe this time I should use a service like Deliveroo.

There was an opening offer, so that made it quite cost effective and cheaper than I thought it was going to be.

I looked over the choices and in the end went with Wagamama.

I was quite hungry so I ordered Yaki Soba with Chicken and Prawns, a portion of Chilli Squid and some vegan mixed mushroom bao buns.

The process of ordering was really quite simple and the communication was good as well. There was a slight issue in the driver finding my hotel, but a quick phone call sorted that.

So why was the meal disappointing?

The food was cold and I had to reheat it in my hotel room (which luckily was equipped with a microwave).

I did think that initially this was down to Deliveroo.

Well I actually don’t think the problem was with Deliveroo, but actually was with Wagamama.

When I went to Wagamama in Edinburgh recently, they were preparing orders for delivery services and the food was left on a table without any thought to it getting cold. I suspect it was a similar process when I used Deliveroo for my Wagamama meal.

The thing is that, this really put my off using Deliveroo again for a hot meal delivery. I did use the service recently for some wine from Morrisons which was also efficient and quick.

So what about the actual food.

Well the Yaki Soba was rather nice, and once warmed up in the microwave was tasty. 

The chilli squid though looked great.

chilli squid

This was crispy fried squid dusted with shichimi. served with a chilli coriander dipping sauce.

However this dish was quite cold, and even though I warmed it up in the microwave, I do think this made the squid somewhat rubbery and softened the crispiness. It was certainly not as good as when I have had it in the restaurant fresh to the table.

There was though one star dish amongst the ones I ordered which was the (vegan) mushroom steamed hirata buns.

mixed mushrooms + panko aubergine hirata steamed buns - two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with coriander and vegan mayonnaise

These were mixed mushrooms + panko aubergine hirata steamed buns – two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with coriander and vegan mayonnaise.

These were delicious and I really enjoyed them.

So the next time I fancy some food from Wagamama, I think I will take the time to visit the restaurant and eat there.