Happy New Year All. I hope you have a great 2017.
A few late posts about dinner and more last year.
A birthday and foodie treat for my wife. As she is now four months pregnant we did not want food to be the main reason to go out and instead we wanted some form of activity. But nothing too strenuous, because she is pregnant. So after some discussion and head scratching we decided to go for a movie experience that included food.
My friend recommended we try theFirmdale group and their film club. The group contains many lovely hotels and restaurants and in London these are
The timing worked perfectly for us and more importantly Laura. On December 23 (actual birthdate and two days before Christmas) they were showing a nice Christmas Classic, The Miracle on 34th Street with Richard Attenborough. Good timing by me obviously.
The film was to start at six, so the question we had was to eat before the film or after. We decided to eat beforehand and had a chance to sample the afternoon tea at The Charlotte Street Hotel. The restaurant here is called Oscar, which seemed fitting for a film club. Clever!
The Afternoon Tea was a nice treat for us. It was also a good excuse to be healthy and not drink any alcohol. We went for darjeeling tea instead of Earl Grey as a chance to treat ourselves to something different.
The tea selection was divided into three plates. The top section was a dessert platter with a cranberry macaroon, ginger bread biscuit, Chocolate Christmas tree cupcake, Spiced Plum Egg Nog and a mini mince pie to share.
The middle plate was the sandwich selection, which included a smoked salmon sandwich, ham sandwich, turkey sandwich, a mushroom and brie tart and a goat's cheese truffle. Lastly on the bottom plate was our scones with jam and clotted cream.
A good selection, deserves two exclamation marks!! Even more helpful and amazing was that due to Laura being pregnant, they crafted a special sandwich selection for her, which meant no smoked salmon and no goats cheese either. Top class service from the Oscar team.
The food was all very tasty and well balanced. The sandwiches to start were moist and full of variety and flavour. The Christmas tastes was welcomed and they were very scrumptious.
The desserts were just as good and on point. I'm not usually a big fan of macaroons but this cranberry one was a delight and I only wished there was more. The rest were nice and cool and kept our palettes at a good level for the soft and tasty scones at the end.
Afternoon Tea is a foodie treat and Oscar and the Firmdale provided a real trea. The icing on the cake, was literally the cake at the end. For Laura's birthday they bought out a cake with a candle (as above) to celebrate. Our waiter even went through the effort of singing Happy Birthday too; a true gentleman.
The film club after continued the feel good vibe that Laura and I had from the Afternoon Tea, The cinema room was cosy and relaxing and Laura and I each grabbed an armchair each to sit back and watch the film.
Popcorn was handed out, drinks served and ordered and the film fun started.
A great experience on the whole and one I would thoroughly recommend to anyone and everyone.
Thanks Firmdale group and Charlotte Street Hotel. Have a great 2017.
Coriander as a herb is quite similar to marmite. People either love it or hate it and some even say that it is based on genetics too. So, I have to my thank parents yet again for making sure that I love coriander.
Why the preamble about coriander? Well, the latest restaurant I was invited to visit was called Coriander. I was grateful that Humayun Hussain, food consultant and future restaurant owner, got in touch about a trip here. After a few emails back and forth and date changes, Laura and I scheduled a visit in for a Wednesday night curry session.
Coriander based in Hatch End, north west London is a popular venue for locals and many, many more. Just recently, Coriander and its owner Salim, won restaurant of the year award at the UKBCCI awards - a UK Bangladeshi awards show. Some words below about Coriander, by Coriander:
"The founders of the Coriander bring over five decades of experience and passion in offering traditional menu classics, together with a subtle, contemporary twist.
Just as the Coriander name is inspired by the subtle embellishment the coriander leaf lends to classic cuisine, so too. Fine dining at the Coriander brings a connoisseur’s experience to all who visit."
We had open minds this evening and with such prestige and high praise awarded to Coriander we decided to let Salim choose what we would have. We only had one requirement, no shellfish, as Laura is now pregnant.
Salim, ordered for us Fish Tikka, Chicken tikka, Lamb chops and Shingara (spicy veg in pastry parcels). It sounded like a lot for starters but I couldn't say no as they all sounded amazing.
I was initially unsure about the fish tikka, as previous trials of fish dishes weren't that great. They usually are a bit bland and they have tended to be a bit watery too. This one thankfully was different. The fish was cooked like a tandoori chicken, which meant it was both smokey and had a good char. What was great too, was that the fish was still very tender and by no means watery. Nice, crisp and tasty fish and out of all four starters was the dish that Laura and I finished off. The plate was nice and clean.
The rest of the starters were a bit of the same ol', same ol'. They chicken tikka and lamb chops were both tasty, chicken more so as it was juicier. The lamb chops, were a bit tougher but the flavour of spices came through strongly to make this a go to dish, when I go back. The spicy veg enclosed in the parcels were more hot in terms of temperature rather than spiceness. Once it cooled down, it was a good package, but not that great. Probably, the least favourite of the starters for us.
A great way to start from Coriander and Salim. A lot of starters for two/three hungry people.
Laura and I have been here before. We had too much to start here and therefore could not manage a lot for the mains. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.We only went for two main courses along with a Portion of rice and two garlic naans between us.
Salim recommended we have the lamb shank and the chicken karahi. These are two contrasting dishes for me, the chicken is a dish I get quite frequently and the shank is a dish I love, but don't order much as previous attempts have not been that great.
The chicken karahi at Hatch End was cooked in a nice creamy sauce with mint and other herbs with a good range of spices and heat. It was an okay dish, tasty enough but it didn't blow me away. That tribute went to the lamb shank.
The lamb was as expected, fall off the bone tender. This was never in doubt and has been the case at other venues too. Where Coriander stepped up was the taste and flavour of the shank and the sauce which drenched the meat. The aromatic spices and use of herbs in this dish made it stand out. The thick tomato sauce was doused in such flavours too and made it part of the dish instead of an overpowering sauce. Great choice Salim; thank you for this early Christmas present.
The Coriander team stood up and delivered. Well done Hatch End with hosting the winner of the best restaurant of the year. A good friendly service was provided by the team who were very busy at the time too, due to many Christmas parties.
Hatch End with its raft of restaurants and people to feed is definitely home to a good curry house; this is essential to any British high street. Salim and the team are deserving of a great award earlier this year and this will be a restaurant which I will be back to. Thanks for the hospitality and the food Coriander. Have a great 2017.
Chicken Chicken, the new craze is chicken. Once again, The Life of Shayan team took their time coming to this party. Yet, thankfully, Clutch Chicken in Hoxton has kept the party going and welcomed me with open arms.
This along with Chick 'n' Sours and Chicken Shop were the originators of the London Chicken Scene and now we have Mother Clucker, Ma'Plucker and many, many more. Why not, the Chicken mark up is so good and so many wonderful things can be done to this meat. especially when fried.
Clutch has been around for a minute and I am glad I had this impromptu visit on a pub crawl. A table was booked and the excitement began to set in, this was enhanced by five cocktails and the chance to be indoors on a rainy day.
What is Clutch? Well, let Clutch tell us:
"Tucked away in the backstreets of east London, Clutch Chicken is one of the city’s leading restaurants, and one that truly offers dining with a difference. It’s a place for people to eat, drink, relax and let loose in an atmosphere like no other. We invite our guests to come and enjoy our truly exquisite, guilt-free food, the finest quality drink and, last but by absolutely no means least, life’s ever important R’n’B beats!"
And they truly deliver. Long benches which cater for both small groups and large ones. They have a thrice frying process and free range chickens too. What more do you people want?
Chicken in its various guises is delivered to you. They call it Soul Chicken. To me Soul means fun and hearty. Soul means love and family. To Clutch it must also mean, Chicken, Fried, Crunchy and coated in many flavours.
On this eve, pub crawl eve, we ordered between the six of us:
Chicken Wings (2 x 6 wings of Sour & Chilli and Buffalo)
Chicken Tenders (Fried fillet pieces)
Chicken Thighs (LARGE = 2 x thighs, 2 x legs 2 x breasts)
Korean Chicken Burger (Special - spicy garlic mayo)
Fries & Coleslaw
How did it go? GREEAAAAATTTTT
In the season of Christmas times and many birds of various sorts to be eaten, the chicken is still legendary. When you have the buttermilk coating in such quality, you know for sure you don't have to travel to the good ol' US of A.
The sweet and sour chicken pieces were a favourite amongst the group and these were literally finger licking good. The sauce was nice and sticky and clung onto the coated chicken first and then my lips and tongue. These were a fave of all of us and woudl of been the top dish if not for a special.
The special was the burger below. Off Menu Special in fact.
The Korean BBQ spicy garlic mayo burger. A mouthful in many ways.
The chicken burger was absolutely amazing. The garlic mayo coupled with the Korean BBQ sauce packed a punch, right in the B&@LS!
Filling food, relaxed vibe ( proper seating would have been better, instead do benches) and good times. Clutch does fried chicken thricely and nicely. With good music banging throughout, this is a venue for a good evening with friends and a destination initself. Thank you Clutch, a good way to enhance a pub crawl and more importantly, your SOUL.
We all like good food and foodies will try most things in the quest for good food.
As an Iranian meat eater, and someone who medically needs red meat in their diet, Hearing about Vegans and Vegetarians does make me slightly uneasy.
However, in the last few years, I have definitely learnt to appreciate vegetarian food.
So how does Ethos work? Two words, weight plate. Think ottolenghi style food; vegetarian salads, with broccoli, butternut squash and kale and then add more veg main dishes too.
On offer this evening was a full array of dishes. On my plate abve I had a beetroot salad, some dauphanoise potatoes, gnocchi (more potatoes), flat bread, Guacamole, broccoli, humous and a veggy scotch egg. A mismatch of food, a pick 'n'mix of flavours and an assortment of textures and flavours. Exactly what the doctor ordered.
This plate above price was at £10.50 as they measure the weight. Not bad for such a variety of food.
Basically there is no reason to feel sorry for Vegetarians. After a visit at Ethos and a chance to see what is on offer, I can easily why so many people like Ethos and visit here.
A nice location in London in Fitzrovia, Ethos I good for a date, a quick meal after work and a healthy meal too. With everything on offer, you can choose your own selection of starters and mains and then tuck into the desert later too.
Thank you to JPR Media Group and Ethos for the invite. My brother and I really enjoyed it and look forward to going back.
Maybe when the new year diet needs to kick in.