Fritto Misto

I have always enjoyed the calamari from the Kingfin. My introduction to Kingfin was back in the summer of 2019 on a visit to the Finzel Reach Market. Kingfin have recently revamped their menu. They have lost their calamari, but you can now have a softshell crab burger, a cod goujon wrap or fritto misto.

Since I found out about the new menu I was tempted by both the softshell crab and the fritto misto.

So when I was in Bristol one Thursday, this meant that for lunch I could visit the Temple Quay Market. It was nice to have the opportunity to get some tasty street food and I was pleased to see Kingfin at the market.

 A few weeks back when I was in Bristol, I had intended to pay a visit to Kingfin at the Finzel Reach Market to try out their new menu. However upon visiting the market they weren’t there, so went to La Lola at the St Nicholas market.

So I joined the queue and ordered the fritto misto. There was a bit of a wait as they had a bit of backlog, a sign the stall was popular. They had already sold out of the cod goujons and their kedgeree scotch egg.

Whereas the calamari came with rosemary chips and salad, the fritto misto was just fritto misto. I could have ordered chips for another £3 but I wasn’t that hungry.

The dish contained calamari, prawns, whitebait, small pieces of cod, and some courgette slices. It was served with a slice of lemon and some bright yellow garlic aioli.

Overall, if I am honest, though I enjoyed the dish, I was a little disappointed. The calamari was great, but the rest of the fish was a little soggy, despite having just being deep fried. There were two prawns in the dish, one peeled prawn and one whole prawn. The courgette was floppy and was quite greasy.

I really loved the calamari special I’ve had in the past from Kingfin and would be happy to order that again. Would I order the fritto misto again, probably not.

Time for some Oishi

Back at the beginning of September I was staying in Brentford for work and I needed to have something to eat. I did think about going out to eat, but I was tired. I knew that there were a few takeaway places nearby, one which caught my eye was Oishi.

Having had some great sushi at Obon a few weeks earlier I did quite fancy some more Japanese food. 

I went with the Yaki Udon, stir fried Udon noodles with vegetables, garnished with pickled ginger, spring onion & sesame seeds.

I also ordered the Assorted Tempura which was two crispy battered prawns, two soft shell crabs, three squid, and six vegetables.

I ordered online for pickup. This process was simple and the staff were friendly.

Getting back I looked at what I had. The Yaki Udon was in a bowl and the tempura was split across two individual bowls.

I have to say it looked good, but alas it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be.

The Yaki Udon was overpowered by the sauce, so much so, that I couldn’t actually finish the dish. It needed a lot less sauce.

The tempura was interesting, quite greasy, more like something I would get from a chip shop rather than delicate crisp tempura. I did enjoy the tempura, but the greasiness eventually got to me.

Overall I had high hopes for the food, but was left disappointed.

Time for some paella

I do like a good paella, though I have been told a fair few times that what I cook and call paella, isn’t paella.

That I get, I am not trying to cook an authentic Spanish version of paella, but one that we like and find tasty. I have been cooking this dish for a fair few years, but got told once by a Spanish person that what I was cooking wasn’t authentic paella, which is correct, so I normally describe this as a Spanish inspired rice dish.

To make this paella I took my large paella pan added a splash of olive oil.  I then  added some pancetta, diced onion and sliced red pepper. This is then cooked off slightly before I added some mushrooms. Once the onions are softened I add the paella rice and stir it into the onions and peppers. I added a paella mix from Waitrose, but you could, of course, use your own spices, herbs and saffron. I then added some stock.

This is then left to cook, without stirring, definitely without stirring.

In a separate pan I cook the sliced cooking chorizo and add this to the paella when it is nearly cooked. I do a similar thing with the butterflied prawns.

I then finish off with finely chopped parsley and some lemon.


Yo! more takeaway

Salmon and Tuna Box

I do like sushi and if possible I prefer to eat at Yo! Sushi, but sometimes needs must and I get a takeaway. Yes you can buy sushi from Marks and Spencers or Tesco, but this isn’t the same. For one they use smoked or cooked fish over raw fish, secondly the sushi from Yo! Sushi is much fresher and as a result much tastier.

I bought three boxes (for the two of us) and it came to £20. Obviously this is more expensive than buying takeaway from a fish and chips shop, but about the same if I was going to a Chinese takeaway.

The Mixed Box contains 3 sashimi: salmon, tuna, coriander seared tuna.3 nigiri: salmon, prawn, tamago. 2 iso: crunchy prawn & avocado, YO! roll. 2 cucumber maki

This is a nice selection and if I was eating on my own, say I wanted sushi for lunch then I probably would go for a mixed box. I enjoyed the sashimi.

The Maki box 3 salmon maki, 3 cucumber maki, 3 tuna maki,
3 avocado maki, 3 prawn & chive maki. This is simple sushi in many respects, but the simplicity is what makes it really nice.

The Meaty Box doesn’t contain fish, but has 2 crispy duck futomaki. 2 spicy chicken katsu iso. 2 seared beef nigiri. 1 spicy chicken salad. I actually was quite looking forward to it, but was a little disappointed. The spicy chicken salad was good, but in a takeaway box though there was a fair bit of chicken, but lacked enough salad for me. I thought the seared beef nigiri would be tasty, but the beef lacked flavour and was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. The futomaki and iso were nice, but the duck and the chicken was a little dry. Overall this box was a disappointment and I don’t think I will get it again. Maybe I should read my own blog now and again, I actually thought this was the first time I had a Meaty Box, but according to my own blog I had one in March 2012 and back then I said:

I don’t usually have meat when I have sushi, favouring the fish, so this was a first for me. I though the seared beef nigiri was interesting, but lacked the depth of flavour I was expecting. Whereas the spicy chicken katsu iso was a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. There was also a lot of flavour in the crispy duck futomaki. Though I enjoyed the spicy chicken salad I do think we needed more of it.

A very similar experience…

Not quite a Premier Dinner

If you are looking for a cheap hotel, that isn’t Travelodge, then I am usually quite pleased with Premier Inn. I’ve felt that Premier Inn, which is generally not that much more expensive than the Travelodge have nicer rooms and definitely much nicer breakfasts. On a recent trip to Cambridge I stayed at the Premier Inn near to the A14. Knowing that I was arriving late on a Sunday, I decided to take advantage of their £22 meal deal.

Enjoy a delicious three course evening meal from our Meal Deal menu featuring specially selected dishes, plus a drink of your choice. Then the next day, eat as much as you like of our freshly prepared Premier breakfast, all for just £22.

As breakfast on its own costs £8.25 I thought that wasn’t such a bad deal.

Having arrived ordered a pint of bitter (part of the deal) and looked over the menu.

For the starter I went with the classic Prawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

rawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

Interestingly the menu you download from the web site says that this can’t be chosen as part of the meal deal, whereas the menu at the hotel says it can be. There were similar inconsistencies across other items too. As for the prawn cocktail, well I was surprised to see large prawns, I was expecting the smaller prawns you normally find in prawn cocktails. It was apparent that the Marie Rose sauce was from a bottle and there was slightly too much paprika! Alas the prawns lacked flavour and were too chilled and so were overpowered by the sauce. The salad was fresh and crisp and the lemon was a nice touch.

For my main I went with the 10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome. I think they meant to say tough, chewy and bland! Okay it’s a rump steak and in terms of cuts of meat that is not a tender melt in the mouth option, it normally is firm and chewy. I thought it lacked flavour, which is normally the reason for chewing, sorry choosing the rump cut.

10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome.

As you can see from the photograph I didn’t get a grilled flat mushroom, I guess the kitchen had run out.

For desert I made a mistake and went with the Caramel Apple Crumble. This was an apple crumble smothered with sweet, sticky caramel served with custard.

Caramel Apple Crumble

This was way too sweet and the sticky caramel sauce was horrible, it clung to the top of my mouth and stayed there. I didn’t finish the dish and left most of it.

So as the blog title says this was not premier dining and for the price I don’t think you can expect it to be. However in terms of value for money and convenience it wasn’t too bad, but I wouldn’t have the crumble again…

Oriential Monkfish and Prawn Soup

This dish was inspired by regular visits to a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant for lunch. Don’t recall the name or the address, but it was in the vicinity of Liverpool Street Station and you could see the Gherkin… anyway onto the recipe.

I did this for two people, but by increasing the quantities you could do it for more.

In a large pan heat some sunflower oil. Once hot, add some oriental spices, I used Thai Seven Spice, but you could use Chinese Five Spice or what ever spices you like.

Add some sliced onion and some red pepper cut into strips, stir fry for a few minutes. If you like your oriential food hot and spicy add some chilli at this point as well.

Whilst this is cooking fry the monkfish in a little oil, keep the fillets whole. You could use other fish and this could be fried or steamed depending on the fish.

Add some courgette (zucchini) cut into strips and sliced mushroom to the stir fry.

After this has cooked (after a minute or two) add some sliced spinach (I would have used pak choi, but I only had spinach in the fridge).

Then add some stock, plain water will be fine or chicken or fish stock, don’t add too much as you don’t want your soup too watery.

Add the noodles, if you are using dried noodles they will need some cooking, I used prepared wok noodles for speed. If you are using raw prawns add these now (also if using other shellfish such as mussels or scallops and using squid, add these now as well.

Once the raw shellfish and noodles are cooked serve into bowls, ensuring that there is sufficient broth in each bowl.

Take the cooked monkfish, slice into thick slices and arrange on top of the soup bowls, there should be sufficient vegetables and noodles to ensure that the monkfish doesn’t sink!