Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie

As I walk around London there are quite a few posh looking pâtisserie shops selling exquisite cakes and pâtisserie. I might look in the window, but I rarely spend my pennies (well pounds) in there.

I was having a look around the TooGoodToGo app and saw that Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie had a magic bag. £18 of cakes for £6. I checked their website and quite liked the look of their offerings. I saw this magic bag as an opportunity to try out the cakes without spending a large amount of money.

Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie is a specialist pâtisserie close to Covent Garden. It describes itself as a micro-pâtisserie offering modern, hand-crafted desserts.

I had to wait around a bit to pick it up after work, but it was a nice sunny day.

I was given a warm welcome and went inside and told them I had a TooGoodToGo deal. After tapping and swiping, they popped into the fridge for a box, for a second I thought that was all I was going to get, then they picked up another box. I got a bag and placed them both in there.

Overall I got four cakes. Two chilled fresh cakes and two ambient cakes.

Now I actually have no idea what I actually got, as there were no labels. Now checking their website I can check what I had.

This was the Matcha Orange canapé.

Orange Madeleine enclosed within matcha mousse with white chocolate sable. It was quite nice, and you could taste the orange.

This was the 100% Pistachio canapé.

Pistachio Financier, pistachio cream and pistachio sable. This one I did guess as pistachio and was similar to the Matcha Orange canapé. I didn’t feel it had that intensity of pistachio flavour I would expect from pistachio pâtisserie.

I also got these two pâtisserie, which I have no idea what they were.

This was very nutty.

This had nuts and ganache.

Both were very nice.

I did enjoy the pâtisserie, but I am not sure I would go out of my way to get them again. They were good, but maybe I had high expectations, I was expecting excellence, what I got was delicious, great looking pâtisserie. What I didn’t get was an amazing pâtisserie experience. Maybe it might have been different if I went to the cafe there and had the pâtisserie with coffee, soaking in the atmosphere and the ambiance.

I quite like TooGoodToGo as a mechanism to try places out, see what they sell and how good it is. So in this instance, yes I felt I got a good deal, nice cakes, but would I go back, probably not.

Back in January…

So there I was going though some photographs from January when I saw some delicious looking dishes from Wahaca. I realised that I had this great meal and hadn’t written (well I had started but not finished) a blog post about it.

Well, so back in January I was in London for a morning meeting, so I had been up early and was feeling hungry so was looking somewhere for lunch. I know how much I had enjoyed the food at Wahaca I decided it was pretty much a no brainer to go there for lunch, especially as I had a special offer in my email inbox.

The nearest branch to me was the Covent Garden one. Each Wahaca branch has its own style and feel. The Covent Garde branch is downstairs in the basement, but does feel quite bright and open.

There was a lovely warm welcome from the staff and I sat at the table and viewed the menu.

I had a special offer which meant I could get a dish for a pound.

Pack your January with veg and treat yourself with our ultimate range of vegetarian street food dishes. From buttermilk cauliflower bites to our mushroom and grilled cheese tacos there’s plenty of delicious veggie dishes to add to your meal. Just show this email to your waiter to get your dish for £1 

For me that was an easy choice and I went with the crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.

crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.

These were delicious crunchy florets with a soft melt in the mouth centre, accompanied with a tasty allioli. I really like these and enjoyed these.

I had another dish, the prawn cocktail tostada. 

prawn cocktail tostada

This was sustainably sourced prawns with red chilli mayo, crisp lettuce & avocado on crispy tostada. This was the Wahaca version of the prawn cocktail. It was not as good as I hoped, the prawns lacked flavour, as did the avocado, but it was still fresh and tasty.

My third dish was grilled mushroom & cheese tacos.

grilled mushroom & cheese tacos

These were sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms with crispy grilled cheese. The mushrooms were delicious and I really enjoyed that strong flavour of funghi and spicy ancho. I do find that Wahaca often add crispy grilled cheese to dishes, which I don’t always see that it adds anything to that dish.

I was feeling hungry, so I went with another dish and went with the steak and cheese tacos.

steak & cheese tacos

This was chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese, chipotle salsa & avocado. Again more grilled cheese. This use to be an optional extra, but now was part of the dish. I’ve had this dish a fair few times, and this was not the best version I’ve had of this dish, but it was still quite tasty.

Overall I enjoyed my four dishes, the mushrooms and cauliflower were certainly the ones I enjoyed the most.

Carbon – charcoal grilled bavette steak

On a previous visit to London I found Carbon in Convent Garden, I was trying to find Wahaca when I chanced upon this eclectic charcoal grill. I said to myself the next time I need to buy lunch in London I am going to try it out. So the next time I was in London I did just that. I really like food cooked over a charcoal grill, I also really like freshly cooked ingredients for lunch too.

There was a queue, which in my experience is a good thing. There is a wide menu of stuff including lamb kofta, prawns, spiced lamb merguez sausage, or lemon and thyme seared halloumi.

In the end I went with the seared bavette steak. This was served with a chimichurri salsa, baked potato with cheese and a citrus tender leaf salad.

The Argentine from carbonsoho charcoal grilled bavette steak with salad and a jacket potato.

I had quite high expectations about eating this and I wasn’t disappointed. The steak was perfect, I loved the chargrill, it was tender and full of flavour. The rest of the box was nice too. A nice mix of solid filling potato, light salad and piquant salsa.

Skimming over their Twitter feed I did like the sound of some of their specials. So the following day I went there again and the special was charcoal grilled leg of lamb with couscous and spiced vegetables. I thought to myself, yes please, alas many others had thought the same and they had sold out. Pity, maybe next time.