Tuesday, 13 January 2015

London dining round up

I got back from a brief tour of the London dining scene on Sunday, which was inspirational and motivating as well as expensive and filling. I’m only really after small portions of vegetables for the foreseeable future... I thought I would share a brief roundup, as pretty much everywhere we went was very good.

We started at Lyle’s for supper, a set menu from ex St John Bread and Wine chef James Lowe, in the old tea building in Shoreditch. The menu included pollack, pheasant and a few other things, five courses in total, and it didn’t set my heart racing. It turned out to be delicious, really clever, wonderful cooking. The first course was a tumble of roasted celeriac ribbons coated in some kind of wonderful stock and hiding in the middle was a beautiful poached egg and fresh tarragon, it was lush.

Also of note was 40 Maltby Street, a wine bar with food in a railway arch, in amongst the stalls of Maltby Street market. Another trendy food market, but it was a nice atmosphere and good stalls, even on a rainy January day. Some of the make shift ‘restaurants’ have their chairs and tables laid out in and around piles of wood, tools and everyday life. 40 Maltby Street occupies one end of an arch, slightly make shift in its pallet furniture and tiny kitchen, they sell lots of bottles of wine, with a few by the glass and delicious plates of food. Ham and cheese, cuttlefish stew on toast, duck hearts with bread sauce, salsify fritters; it was all really, really good. You should go.

After suffering another away defeat at Chelsea (we suffered it last year too), we headed over to a little smoky bar in Soho, The Smoking Goat. It seems to be reviewed everywhere I look at the moment and doesn’t take reservations so I was concerned we might not get in and had a back up list of other non reservations in Soho (Koya, Tonkotsu, Barnyard, Pitt Cue, Duck Soup, Copita...) but it all turned out fine... The dining gods seemed to be on our side all weekend. 

The Smoking Goat is a ‘wood Ember Barbecue with Thai flavours’ kind of place; it is fun, busy and smoky and has good food. We had a lovely aubergine salad full of spice, smoked lamb ribs and roast duck, a selection of dips, Thai salads and rice arrived too, with some lovely red wine. Having gone to eat so early due to the match and reservation fear, we had finished dinner by about 7pm, so we then went and got a bit drunk in a weird Spanish bar...

The final day’s lunch at Bocca do Lupo sorted out any hint of a hangover, delicious bagna cauda, hare ragu, deep fried salt cod, ox cheek with chocolate and baby cornettos made for a very pleasant lunch...

We also managed to take in Sager and Wilde, Shoreditch Grind, Trullo, St John bar, St John Bakery, Ace Hotel cafe and J Sheeky (all good), as well as a couple of exhibitions... good going really...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x