Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2015

Illy Coffee

So what food, drink and coffee blog posts were people reading this year? Interestingly none about coffee?

At number ten is an article entitled, Alba Ristorante Part Two. Back in 2008 when attending Handheld Learning, one evening we went to a local Italian next to the Barbican in London. I do remember the meal, it was delicious. This was a really nice upmarket Italian restaurant but with quite reasonable prices, especially for London.

The ninth most popular post was a Classic Heineken Advert from 1976.

Classic Heineken Advert from 1976

The eighth post was about cooking Chorizo, Cooking Chorizo. as was the seventh post Chorizo Frito al Vino.

The post at number six was about Basil & pine nut marguerite and a simple pasta recipe was at number five, Pasta in Tomato Sauce.

The fourth most popoular post was not about just any pork medallions, but Marks and Spencers Pork Medallions.

Reminiscing about Newquay Steam Beer was the third most read post on the blog.

The second most popular post was one of the many on the blog about squid, this one was about the Chilli Squid from Wagamama.

The most popular post this year was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google.

Well here’s raising a cup of coffee and wishing you all the best for 2016.


Wagamama Pork Ribs

You don’t really have starters at Wagamama there are side dishes that arrive when they are ready. Out with friends we ordered a few alongside our main noodle dishes.

These ribs in a spicy pan-asian barbeque sauce were on the specials menu.

Wagamama Pork Ribs

They weren’t freshly cooked, they had been pre-cooked and then reheated to demand when ordered. I understand why restaurants do this, it saves time, but wonder if they realise the impact this has on the quality of the food. A similar technique is often used with chicken wings, there is a big difference between chicken wings which have just been cooked and those that are already cooked and are just reheated. I wonder if there are techniques out there that allow for cooking from fresh quickly so negating the reheating technique.

Or…. if it does take time to cook and prepare, is there a way of knowing that your order is going to take longer to get to the table and as a result you’ll wait. I know restaurants will want to get people in and out quickly, I personally wouldn’t have a problem sitting in the bar, ordering in the bar and thirty minutes later I get my table and my freshly cooked food. I suspect though I can do that already, but need to pay a lot more money for the food than you do at places like Wagamama.

Back to the ribs, as a result of the reheating the texture of the meat on the ribs was soft, but you wouldn’t call it tender though. The sauce was nice, not too sticky sweet and the spiced just how I like them.

Asahi Beer

On my most recent visit to Wagamama alongside my squid and donburi I had a very nice ice cold Asahi beer.

This was a very refreshing asian beer that complemented the spicy food really well.

Duck Gyoza

You don’t really have starters at Wagamama there are side dishes that arrive when they are ready. Out with friends we ordered a few alongside our main dishes.

Though generally I enjoy most items I have eaten at Wagamama I was less impressed with the deep-fried duck dumplings served with a spicy cherry hoi sin sauce.

Not that they were bad, more for me the dumplings in themselves lacked flavour and the hoi sin sauce was very overpowering. The texture was good and they were crunchy.

Teriyaki Chicken Donburi

Having to stay overnight in London for a meeting I needed somewhere to eat and as I had enjoyed my last meal at Wagamama decided to go to the branch in Covent Garden.

I did consider having a ramen, but thinking that I always go with ramen so time to go with something different I thought. I looked carefully over the menu and in the end I went with the Teriyaki Chicken Donburi.

Rice

Grilled juicy chicken glazed with orange teriyaki sauce, sticky white rice with thin sliced carrots, pea shoots, spring onions and sesame seeds and a side of spicy kimchee.

I really did enjoy the dish, the combination of chicken, sticky sauce and rice combined with the freshness of the carrot and pea shoots worked well. The sauce has sweetness and sourness and though I expected strong orange overtones, but there weren’t any.

In case you were wondering I decided to give the kimchee a miss…

More Chilli Squid

Having to stay overnight in London for a meeting I needed somewhere to eat and as I had enjoyed my last meal at Wagamama decided to go to the branch in Covent Garden.

I recently wrote about the Chilli Squid from Wagamama that I had when I was in Leeds.

This looked fantastic, was beautifully cooked and tasted delicious. I really liked the squid and the dipping sauce added to the dish without overpowering it.

Though there were other things on the menu, but as I do like squid I went with the squid again.

Squid

The menu describes it as deep-fried squid seasoned with sea salt and shichimi. It was served with a chilli and coriander dipping sauce.

This squid looked great and quite different to the squid I had in Leeds.

I would say the squid in London looked a lot better and I thought the squid in Leeds looked nice.

However though the squid I had in Leeds tasted delicious, the version in London was not as tasty. Still really nice though and the dipping sauce was great.

I think next time I go to Wagamama I will probably try something different.

Pork Dumpling Soup

I was up in Leeds earlier this month and with some old friends we went to Wagamamas. I have enjoyed my previous visits to the noodle chain and was looking forward to the meal, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was tempted to go with the Seafood Ramen that I had on a previous occasion, but in the end went with one of the specials, a pork dumpling soup.

Pork Dumpling Soup

Somen noodles with sweet and spicy char sui pork dumplings in a pork, coriander and lemongrass broth with sichuan spicy sausage, tea stained egg, bean shoots, leeks, baby spinach, garnished with spring onions and garlic chive.

The broth had flavour though for me was a little salty. I really liked the char sui pork dumplings which had a great flavour, good texture and weren’t overpoweringly spicy either. I was expecting the sausage to be more spicy than it was, but it was just okay. Most interesting was the tea stained egg, which at first glance appeared to be weird within the dish, but did in fact work well.

Overall I enjoyed the dish, it looked fresh, appetising and tasted delicious.

Chilli Squid from Wagamama

I was up in Leeds earlier this month and with some old friends we went to Wagamamas. I have enjoyed my previous visits to the noodle chain and was looking forward to the meal, and I wasn’t disappointed.

You don’t really have starters at Wagamama there are side dishes that arrive when they are ready. We ordered a few alongside our main noodle dishes (I will cover mine in a later blog post). One of the first dishes to arrive was the squid.

Deep-fried squid seasoned with sea salt and shichimi. Served with a chilli and coriander dipping sauce.

This looked fantastic, was beautifully cooked and tasted delicious. I really liked the squid and the dipping sauce added to the dish without overpowering it.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I am a real fan of squid and it’s almost a benchmark for me on how good a restaurant is. Squid is a relatively simple dish to cook and if a place can’t cook squid properly than what hope is there for any other dish from the place. At Wagamama the squid was excellent.




Seafood Ramen

Recently at Wagamamas I had the seafood ramen. It is ramen noodles in a vegetable soup topped with grilled smooth dory, prawn, squid, kamaboko, wakame and seasonal greens. garnished with menma and spring onions.

Very nice it was too.