Just Do it! When the opportunity arises, go for it.
On a catch up with a friend, on Commercial road with many food places available and within our grasp, we decided to jump at the opportunity to go to a restaurant we had wanted to visit for a while.
Som Saa, on Commercial Road in East London has been wowing diners for a while now. With stiff competition on the road from the likes of Gunpowder, Madame D's and Hot Box, this place still is packed out every night.
My friend and I had booked a table and after a few drinks and debates about whether we wanted to go, we took the courage to go to Som Saa and tackle this famous Thai restaurant. Oh, how glad we were we did.
We didn't order too much between us as we were not overly hungry but also because it all sounded like it would be enough too.
The chicken (above) started our adventure to Som Saa and this was a good warm welcome. Grilled with the extra char to add more depth, the sauce was a must with it. Dipped and becoming nice and sticky. A good start to the evening.
The two curry dishes or pork and beef were also very tasty. They brought along the Thailand kick with the thai chillies knocking my friend for six and some. He was literally out for the count and had to take a time out. He risked eating a whole chilli - lesson learnt.
The Sea Bass was the star of the evening and the restaurant and probably my whole week. Fried to almost perfection with good amount of meat. Fragrant, spice, fresh and zingy. Oh so Good
GOOD TIMES: Vibe, food and venue- All
WATCH OUT: Book well in advance to not be disappointed with a potential two hour wait
OMG: It's all about that Sea Bass.
Bowls of Soup in the autumn and winter months are a must. Kanada-Ya has been around in London for well over a year now and the queues formed daily are a sign of its quality.
Usually I copy and paste the restaurants 'about' section here, but Kanada-Ya have been much more inventive and have a story board feature on their site: www.kanada-ya.com/story
We waited in the queue for 25 minutes. It felt like a long wait as we could see seats going. The staff were friendly-ish; they maintained their focus on the customers inside rather than those waiting (in the cold) outside.
Once in, we went about browsing the menu. Based on a colleagues recommendation, I knew that I wanted to try their fried chicken out to share as a starter. From here, it was about which ramen I wanted.
I chose the:
Pork and corn fed chicken bone broth, chashu pork belly, wood ear fungus, seaweed, spring onion, exclusive to London
I went with my colleague Jon and we shared the chicken and some edamame as side dishes too:
Japanese fried chicken and yuzu mayo
Black truffle salt
Verdict: Well worth the wait!
Even after the twenty five minute wait outside and the slightly slower service in, the food was why we were there and why I will go back. The broth was deep and thick and I gulped it away, spoonful after spoonful.
Trying to style out the meal, I did my best to avoid slurping the noodles and make a big mess. The pork was a bonus and the broth itself is worth the wait and entrance.
The fried chicken we treated as our starter and were a much classier and tastier version of a fast food chains popcorn chicken. This juicy chicken dipped in yuzu mayo was a delight. The truffle Edamame at the end was a struggle, purely due to the richness and filling nature of the Ramen. Next time, I will ask if they can bring this and the chicken as the starter and then go from there.
GOOD TIMES: special edition ramen to London, go for it
WATCH OUT: be ready to queue, you will need to be patient
OMG: that broth yo, Oh My!
Did someone say there was a new restaurant in town? Have I been? Of course I have and this time I didn't have to wait around too long. si-BAR-ita in Covent Garden is a Tapas restaurant on Malden Lane. A popular foodie street, alongside Polpo, Big Easy, Franco Manca and a few more.
I booked a table for a busy meeting and I was looking forward to it. Hype was there, hungry people were on there way and my camera was ready for this blog post.
It felt good to be given the responsibility of choosing a restaurant for many people.
And to cut a long story short, it goes well. I will share why below.
As is my new tradition, steal a few lines from the restaurant site itself; here is what they say about themselves:
Restaurateur and chef Victor Garvey is partnering with his father for this project, fulfilling a long held ambition of theirs to open what the latter describes as “the kind of laid-back wine and cheese joint we like to go to ourselves.” It’s intended, says Victor, to be “fun, casual and affordable, a place anyone can drop into at any time on their way to or from somewhere else.”
Dishes will feature Picos de Valdeon Azul, La Serena and Tetilla cheeses, while charcuterie will be sourced from all around Spain and include several varieties of jamon iberico de Bellota 5J. Among the new dishes created for Sibarita are Crispy ‘Calamares a la Romana’ with Alegria Pepper and Toasted Coriander; Free- range Chicken ‘Chilindron’ with Crispy Serrano Ham Salpicon; and Oven-baked Torta Del Casar cheese with Farmer’s Market Crudités and Garlic Bread.
The menu is broken out into sections. Ideally, the aim is for you to choose from each and share between you.
We obliged and went for Camembert from the Cheese section. Jamon Aragon from the Charcuterie; Pork Belly, Chicken, Ceviche and Octupus from the fish and meats and Croquetas of the Day and Padron Peppers from the side dishes. Enough?
It was all really lovely and delicious. With Polpo on the same road, Sibarita is easily on par if not slightly better. Tapas equals sharing and here, this is ideally. With nice drinks for all and larger sharing options available too, I am sure I will visit again.
GOOD TIMES: Croquettas and Jamon
WATCH OUT: small restaurant so make sure you book in advance
OMG: all dishes were great. Go with the intention to share
I have made it to R, which means only eight more letters left.
The vote was a close call, but, Russia with lots of love and maybe election rigging won the vote. It should be no surprise actually.
I struggled to initially find out what the national dish was; because there were many. One dish though did stand out and this was Pelmeni.
Pelmeni is Russian Dumplings and these were my first time making dumplings. See me in the flow below.
The source i used for this recipe was The Spruce. It was all quite straight forward this recipe.
The filling for the dumplings was pork mince, beef mince, salt and pepper and grated onions.
This was encased in my pastry, which was a bit more work, especially with more flour needed than the recipe asked for. How did it turn out?
The dumplings look nice don't they. They sure did taste nice too. Frying the dumplings in butter after definitely did help, This added a bit more texture to the dumplings and everyone likes a bit of extra fat in their food anyway.
I was happy to try this dish as I am often afraid of anything pastry related. However, I conquered the pastry and the sticky dough and made good food for my wife and father-in-law.
I actually had some pastry and filling left over that I was able to make sausage rolls the night after and burgers the night after that.
Moving to a new area, means going to new local restaurants and trying out the food. I have tried out a few restaurants in Enfield now, the majority near Enfield Chase station.
The Beautiful South, a French restaurant on the high street was one I had not tried yet. With my new neighbours, Laura and I, with Lucas too, went to visit.
Chef James Greer met his wife Moira whilst at work and in 1998 they opened the Beautiful South for the Enfield massive.
“Over the last 15 years I have developed and adapted the menus to show off my passion for cooking and would now describe the food as modern French with a British influence.
I prefer to use seasonal produce in the dishes and menus that I create. I select local suppliers whenever possible, allowing me to get the freshest products ingredients delivered daily.
We create and cook all our dishes in the restaurant which also includes a fantastic selection of desserts. We also have experience of banqueting in major London hotels and are able to cater and offer help with organising any special events such as Conferences, Weddings, Christenings, Birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs etc.”
After a nice late summer walk to the restaurant, we finally got to looking at the menu. We were offered the Sunday menu on arrival, but the original menu was on the table too. So to our delight and both menus we all chose what we wanted from the whole range of The Beautiful South.
After some back and forth, especially for me with what type of chicken I wanted, between Laura and I this is what we went for:
The food here was very hearty and welcoming. I would almost go as far as say it was quite homemade. But not. It was better than my cooking and I didn't have to go back and forth between the kitchen and conversing with guests. I sat back, relaxed and eventually ate my food (Lucas needed feeding in between).
The mushroom sauce for the chicken was rich and flavoursome. This on top of a well seasoned piece of chicken was a filling lunch. The two potatoes on the side were a good size to, this made sure I didn't need any extra sides, albeit, I still wanted dessert.
I had a bite of Lauras' Duck and this too was lovely and rich. The plum sauce added a nice acidity to the meat and veg. Duck can be a tricky meat to cook, but done correctly you get the crisp skin with tender meat. Every foodies dream. This duck may not have been the best dream duck ever, but it was tasty and worth the price at just over £14.
Up North, there is a nice restaurant called the Beautiful South. We were well fed, looked after and it was baby friendly. No complaints from me. Not the best restaurant ever, but one I would recommend if people ventured up to Enfield for dinner.
Good Times: Good food all round at a decent price
Watch Out: You can book off both menus on a Sunday
OMG: Drink some wine treat yourself