Friday, 9 June 2017

Eating Out, London: Putney Canteen

It's no secret that I LOVE a brunch. Waking up late on a Sunday, meetings friends and drinking endless amounts of coffee at midday while mostly eating eggs and avocado is what I live for. 

In an attempt to see friends more reguarly, it's become the norm to find a new brunch spot once a month, usually around South West London, never visiting the same place twice. 

Last month's pick was The Putney Canteen, just around the corner from Putney Bridge station. One first view, it's a cute little spot with rustic interiors, seemingly popular and everything you'd expect from a London cafe/restaurant. 

The menu had everything you'd expect, from poached eggs and avo to pancakes and we were dribbling at the thought. Unfortunately, it was over an hour before we actually got to eat anything. 

After arriving, we decided what we wanted to order after about 15 minutes and waited to be served. It was a Sunday morning so you do expect it to be a little slower than normal and after waiting about another 15 minutes, our order was taken. 

Deep in conversation, we hardly noticed that our drinks were nowhere to be seen and we'd been waiting about 30 minutes. Not wanting to complain, we simply called the waitress over and stated we hadn't received our order. She promptly brought them over but the glasses were dirty and an order of apple juice was still missing. After complaining about the glass, we were told to use a straw (not the most hygienic option I've been given). 

At this point, we had been in the restaurant for over an hour and only had drinks to compress the hunger. Another half an hour had passed, with not one waiter or waitress coming close to our table. The food eventually turned up (wasn't amazing but it was the most enjoyable part of the morning), we quickly ate and made a swift exit to the bar to pay and get out of there. 

Not usually one to complain, we felt the experience had been so bad it was needed. We asked to speak to a manager and were greeted by a very unfriendly face who, after hearing about our experience, simply said 'what do you expect, it's a Sunday and we're busy?' - not quite the response we were expecting.  


It might have been a one-off but it's put me off and I won't be going back. The food wasn't good enough and the experience was awful - let's just say we didn't leave a tip!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Eating Out, London: The Roxie

If, like me, you LOVE Flat Iron but hate not being able to book, resulting in at least an hour hovering in the area killing time until your table is ready, then you need to read on. Having moved to Wandsworth about 16 months ago, I’m appalled that it took me so long to wander up the road and into The Roxie. 

Recommended by a friend, The Roxie is predominantly a steak house, matching almost everything on Flat Iron’s menu and more. Fillet steak is my absolute favourite so when I saw a large 240g portion on the menu at £16, I couldn’t resist. Cooked medium-rare (pictured), it was extremely soft and tender but a little too pink for me. That didn’t stop me eating the whole thing but it definitely affected my decision the next time I went.



Also pictured, we ordered creamy mash, creamy spinach (anything creamy is a winner in my eyes!) and some triple cooked chips to share. Each side was delicious, perfectly cooked and completed the whole experience. Anyone looking to not overload on carbs, there are healthier sides available such as green beans, sautéed mushrooms and side salads.


The second time we visited, we decided to go for the steak sharer. £37 for 500g of sliced fillet served with a side and sauce each. It’s advertised as béarnaise sauce and fries, but they kindly let us swap for peppercorn and creamy mash. Again, the steak was perfectly tender, this time cooked medium, and certainly saved us a few pounds.

I cannot recommend this place enough. I visited the Putney branch which is about a 2-minute walk from East Putney station, but they also have restaurants in Clapham, Fulham and Earlsfield.




Thursday, 30 March 2017

Eating Out, London: Five Guys

If you haven’t heard about Five Guys, you’re doing it wrong! The American burger chain has been in the UK for a while now, dotted around the country, and the best way I can describe it is a more expensive, much nicer McDonald’s (although I’m sure they would hate that as they’re all about using real meat, nothing frozen). The menu is pretty basic, featuring classic burgers that you tailor with as many toppings as you would like. You pay for the burger, around £8 for a standard cheese burger, and the toppings and sauces are free. Toppings/sauces include mushrooms, onions, pickles, bacon, mustard and ketchup.  I always then add Cajun fries and a refillable drink to make it a meal so always end up paying around £14 in total. The chips come in massive portions so I recommend sharing a large portion with a friend and definitely choose a refillable drink as the selection is incredible. The drinks machine is one of those fancy ones that offers multiple flavours of the classic fizzy drink, for example, lime coke, vanilla Dr Pepper and every flavour of Fanta that you could imagine. It’s always hard to commit to just one so I usually find myself filling only half the cup, then going back for a different selection every 5 mins.


 Everything is absolutely delicious. The burger is sloppy and messy, the chips are perfectly seasoned and you even get free monkey nuts while you wait. There isn’t a plate in sight and you pay upfront so no waiting around after you’ve finished for the bill or for the table to be cleared.


If you’re tempted, check their website to see if there’s a restaurant near you – they’re expanding quickly so I’m sure you’ll never be too far away. 

Eating Out, London: Yolkin

Summer in London really is something spectacular. Londoners are usually renowned for being miserable – who wouldn’t be when you have to come face-to-face with sweaty commuters every morning and evening – but something happens when the sun comes out. Suddenly, everyone is wearing a smile, as well as notably less clothing, and talking to strangers becomes acceptable.
 
At this point, we have experienced about 2 full days of sunshine and luckily for me, I was out and about in Covent Garden for one of them. As you walk down from Covent Garden station towards the Lyceum Theatre, tucked away is a little store called Siam Eatery that’s easily miss-able (unless you’ve previously researched it like I had) but trust me, you do not want to just walk past.
 
It’s a tiny little shop with no more than 10 seats inside, serving Yolkin macaron ice-creams. I think there are 4-5 flavours available and they are incredible. Unfortunately for us, we got there quite late and they only had one flavour left, so Rocky Road it was!


 Although it may not have been my choice if all other flavours were available, oh my, it was fantastic. Chocolate ice-cream with nuts and marshmallow throughout inside a chocolate/caramel, I’m not too sure which, macaron. Being all brown, it didn’t make the best Instagram pic but I absolutely couldn’t fault it. It was £4.90 for one, which isn’t the cheapest, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re in the area.
 
We walked around in the sunshine with our ice-creams and I think it was up there with one of the happiest 10 minutes of my life. Please don’t just walk past!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Eating Out, London: Manze

Pie and Mash (I'm capitalising as it should be it's own brand!) is by far my favourite food, ever. I could eat it every day if it didn't result in a growing waistband. To most, when you say pie and mash, they picture a nice strak pie with mash and gravy but to anyone who grew up in East London, it has a whole different meaning. See below. 


As once described as 'herby jizz' by a friend, that green, gooey mess on the plate is the pièce de résistance - the parsley sauce. Creamy mash, a mince meat pie (or two if you're obsessed like me), parsley sauce and lashing of vinegar probably sounds a bit gross but it works perfectly.

If you're new to London or simply visiting and fancy a bit of culture, I'll call it that anyway, head down to Manze's on Walthamstow high street. I've been going since I was a baby in a pushchair and the decor and the staff have barely changed. Wooden pews with old-fashioned tiling and an old-school till, it's cheap, cheerful and a typical East-End experience. 

Eating Out, Somerset: The White Post

The roast to end all other roasts. I usually review food places in London as that's where I live and I know a lot of people coming into the big city can get a bit overwhelmed by the vast variety of cafes and restaurants. However, today's review is dedicated to The White Post in Somerset - I'm simply couldn't ignore it!


I went for Sunday lunch after it being recommended to me, so naturally I ordered the classic roast. As you can see, a mountain of meat arrived at our table shortly after ordering and I could have sworn I had died and gone to heaven. 

As all three of us had ordered the same, it came served together on one massive wooden serving board, with a selection of meats, vegetables and sauces. We had thick cuts of lamb, beef and pork, lashings of apple sauce, horseradish and mint sauce and giant Yorkshire puddings that I filled with gravy as soon as it was placed infront of me. 

If that wasn't enough (I definitely had to unbutton my jeans), I couldn't resist ordering a chocolate brownie with red cherry compote and salted caramel ice cream because, well, why not? It was delicious, I probably could have eaten two. When my mum asked me if she could try a piece, I was secretly annoyed that I had to hand it over. 

The service was good, we were pretty much left to our own devices which I like. It wasn't too pricey for what it was, I think we paid around £15 per main, around £5 per dessert which is pretty standard, and the decor is quaint and welcoming. Overall, The White Post gets 15/10 from me and I will definitely be going back. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Eating Out, London: The Brew

Definitely my favourite place to brunch, cause everyone in London needs a go-to brunch spot apparently, The Brew offers classic meals, such as avocado on toast, a bacon sandwich or pancakes, but with a twist. For example, the bacon sandwich is made using treacle cured bacon and has aioli, baby gem, tomato jam and wine tomatoes and it is to die for (and I don’t use that phrase lightly).

Other menu options include toasted banana bread with honey yoghurt and pistachios (pictured), woodland mushrooms on brioche with yoghurt, spinach and pesto and the famous brew melt (pictured). I’ve yet to try something I didn’t like and trust them enough to try something new every time I visit. 



You should expect spend about £15 for brunch and a drink so it isn’t the cheapest option going, but the price is reflected in the quality. They have restaurants in Clapham, Wandsworth, Putney, Wimbledon, Chiswick and Kew so if you live towards South West London you are bound to be close to one. I honestly cannot recommend it enough – the perfect spot for a Sunday brunch with friends.

*I have only been there for the breakfast/brunch menu so cannot comment on the evening menu.