It’s been ages since my last update! I’ve had a lot of very nice food recently, but all the pictures have turned out dark so no use posting them here. The thing is that I’m waiting for Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc to be released here in the UK, should be any day soon. Apparently, it has a really nice camera and I’ve been waiting for a decent camera phone. So, hopefully more updates with better pictures soon.
Ok, Red N Hot should seriously consider putting me on their payroll because I eat here a lot. I think it’s such a nice restaurant, the food is perhaps a bit heavy but the flavours are great. Tried some new stuff this time around.
Good old pork dumplings, these are delicious.
These are cumin spiced king prawns. I’ve had this twice I think. Really flavourful prawns, loads of cumin, Sichuan pepper and chilli. Such a nice dish! I just eat the prawns shell on, love these bastards!
Slices of pig’s ear in sesame oil. This was actually good, although a bit starchy. The ear was crunchy, thinly sliced and heavily seasoned with sesame. Would definitely try pig’s ear again, perhaps in a different dish.
Here you have, if I remember correctly, boiled beef and beef tripe. This really looks alien! The taste was great! Aromatic, tender meat and a good crunch in the tripe. You really have to not think about what you are eating, it can be a challenge. Great food though!
I have walked past Dong San on Poland Street many times, stopped and looked at the menu and then run away at the sight of all the plastic sushi, sashimi and kimchi on display in the window. However, having read some positive reviews about this place, I decided to give it a go. Actually, I have been here twice now as the food turned out to be very, very good!
Raw beef sashimi! This is so tasty, the beef, cucumber and pear all cut identically, blended together with egg yolk and sugar and sesame oil. I could eat 100 portions of this stuff, perfect!
Kimchi Pancakes, perfectly crispy on the outside and nice and moist on the inside. Love the taste of these pancakes.
I have a soft spot for mackerel. This was a grilled mackerel, seasoned with some lemon and salt. Very, very good. Once again, I could have easily had more of this.
Finally, spicy squid with cucumber and onions and some other vegetables. This was also a cold dish, the portion is huge. I really loved this, I also recommend trying the same dish with whelk.
I must say that Dong San has positively surprised me on both visits and I will be going back very soon. I have no idea what the sushi and sashimi tastes like, to be honest I don’t even know why they bother doing this. I think it might be for lunch guests to make some money, so I forgive them. Please pay them a visit and let me know what you think!
Woo Jung, this is one of the Korean restaurants near the monstrosity that is London Centre Point. I actually visited this restaurant last summer, don’t even know if it’s still there.
I remember not ordering these starters, they were on the house. Kimchi (great!), pickled bean sprouts and cucumber and some weird jelly with hot sauce on the top.
This was what they called something similar to spicy pork soup. I remember that this had no taste at all, very bland.
I have a theory when it comes to spicy food served in Asian restaurants. At some places, not sure if this happened at Woo Jung, they get all excited when you order something that says spicy. Usually they ask you, “very spicy, hot hot, ok?”. Then they walk away with the order and look a bit sceptical. My experience is that when you get the food, it’s not at all spicy or hot! So, what I think they do is that they scribble down the order and then add some funny characters for “white person no no spicy” for the kitchen.
Woo Jung, ok food, but you can have much nicer Korean food at several restaurants nearby in Soho. Sorry guys!
Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the rabbit is here! Not only is this a very cute animal, it also delicious to eat! Nom nom nom!
It seems appropriate to update with a recent visit to Four Seasons in China Town (yes, the tourist Mecca of London). Anyway, I’ve been watching a Swedish TV series on Chinese cooking (Kinas Mat) that is totally the best food series I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. One of the episodes deals with the art of preparing Bejing Duck, I was so impressed by this that I immediately wanted to have a taste of it myself.
However, I did some reading and realised that it is virtually impossible to get an authentic duck in (or outside China for that case), because you have to have a special oven that really only is used to cook the duck in. One 5 star hotel in London has this oven, however, at this particular day I wasn’t up for a fancy dinner so I opted for a roast duck at Four Seasons (which supposedly has one of the best ducks in London).
The meat was very tasty, perhaps a bit on the dry side. Pancakes great, vegetables and condiments really nice.
We also tried the lobster meat with straw mushrooms. Tasty, but a bit slimy. Then again, this is Cantonese food and I’m not a big fan of the slimy sauce. OMG, my Cantonese readers will most probably hate me now.
Some really great Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan), quickly heated and seasoned with garlic and soy sauce. To be honest, this was perhaps the best part of the meal. Perfectly cooked vegetables with clean flavours.
All in all, good food if you are a fan of the Cantonese kitchen!
Hi guys, sorry for not updating for ages. LOL, that’s such a common excuse on blogs around the Internet. I’ve got like 10 posts to write, all great food that I’ve eaten this year.
Let’s start of with Yoshino, this great restaurant near Piccadilly Circus. This place has offers some REALLY nice fish at a very reasonable price. The place itself is not that cosy, very average decor. The staff is very kind and attentive, nothing to complain about!
For starters, edamame and Japanese cucumber salad. Both really good, the second one VERY overpriced though. It was about 10 slices of cucumber in vinegar, the same prices as 4 slices of fish!
The fish, OMG, looking at this picture makes me hungry. From 1 o’clock we have tuna, followed by mackerel (my favourite), the good old salmon, some slimy squid (this is always slimy) and finally eel.
I’m definitely going back, you should pay them a visit as well!
This is the second (or third) time I write about Red ‘n’ Hot on this blog. It is one of the Sichuanese restaurants in London that I visit on a regular basis. They consistently serve good quality Sichuanese food and they keep it authentic, if it says spicy it is spicy and no bell peppers or other random vegetables here. It’s always packed with (young) Chinese people, not perhaps the most cosiest and romantic of restaurants – then again, who needs romance when you can have Sichuan pepper?
Here’s pictures of some of the food I have had there this autumn.
Hot and sour vermicelli soup. This is an interesting and very tasty dish, I love the dried soy beans (I think it’s soy beans) that they top this soup with.
Dan Dan Noodles. This is very different from the other Dan Dan Noodles you get in London,the noodles are thinner and it’s more mild.
Here we have the same noodles, this time cold served in a hot and sour cold broth (under the noodles). This is topped with cucumbers and sugar! Mix it together and enjoy. Love the vinegar on this one!
Pork Dumpling with Chili Oil, very nice and tender.
Wonton noodles in chicken broth, these are so soft and velvety, lovely!
Water cooked pork, a favourite of mine. This comes in a very spicy and flavourful broth (not a broth really). Generous amount of Sichuan peppers and chillies. I really love this!
Mapo Tofu. There is something with this dish that makes me go crazy. The tofu, the leek and the minced pork in the very spicy sauce. I LOVE MAPO TOFU! I’d have children with mapo tofu, I’m not sure it’s possible though.
I’d love to be in a Chinese kitchen to see how they prepare their fish because it is so different from what you would get in any fish restaurant. Extremely soft, delicate but yet firm. The fish is always expensive (£15+), you do get a decent amount though. This was a white fish served with some green leaves and tomato skins. Wonderful!
Soho has so many wonderful (and cheap) Asian restaurants, Taro most certainly belongs to this category. This is a Japanese restaurant with an extensive menu, here you can get your sushi, ramen, sashimi or yakitori or whatever you might fancy.
We started with a selection of pickles, great flavours and a nice crunchy texture.
How can you not order Gyoza? These were perfectly cooked, really nice!
When it comes to Asian soups I really have a weak spot for Ramen. This was a shoyu ramen, a selection of nice and fresh vegetables, black cloud mushrooms and some fish cakes. The noodles were really nice and the broth excellent! One of the best ramens I’ve tried in London this year.
Chicken Ramen, a meatier and more bold version. A great mix of bean sprouts, spring onions, seaweed and chicken. Loved it!
Taro is actually part of a chain (ok, they have three restaurants in London so I’m not sure if you would call it a chain). This is the Brewer Street restaurant, not sure about the other two but I will definitely be going back here! I love ramen!
We were walking down to Hipster Town and lo and behold a brand new Sichuanese restaurant in London! Why have I not heard about this place before?
The management was very friendly, introduced us to the menu and gave us some good (although safe) alternatives to pick from.
We started with a selection of starters (clockwise from top sweet and sour spare ribs, walnut kernel with sesame, spiced beef soaked with soy sauce, green beans in a ginger sauce and in the middle Sichuan Folk special flavoured chicken). All great!
I also ordered a plate of smacked cucumber in a hot garlic sauce. Actually, not that hot, very pleasant.
Our first main course was mapo tofu, this was a really nice version. Perfect tofu, nice seasoning but could have used some more Sichuan pepper.
Special flavoured duck cooked with beer. I’m sorry to say but this dish was not nice. It was too dry and starchy, lacked flavours (nothing special about it). And I really disliked the use of bell peppers, why? I hope they wouldn’t have played safe with the dish, I am sure you can make it more authentic and bursting with flavours.
All in all, I might go here again if I would happen to be in Hipster Town. However, I might just go crazy with starters as these were really the highlights of the meal. Please pay them a visit and let me know what your thoughts are.
I was desperately hungry and found myself seated in this random Vietnamese restaurant in China Town called Vietnamese Restaurant. That, and the fact that I was ushered to an empty table by a member of staff wearing a cheap leather jacket, made me fully aware of what was to follow.
This was a mix meat Pho. Ok meats, the soup did not have much flavour and the noodles were boring.
Add some cilantro, lime, Thai basil and bird eye chillies and fish sauce and it gets a bit more exciting.
Deep-fried spring rolls. These were good, but you know, how can you even go wrong with this dish. All in all, not worth the visit if you are looking for a nice Vietnamese restaurant, does work if you want a cheap stomach filler. Plenty of those around in China Town, Vietnamese Restaurant is perhaps one of the less awful ones.
I know some people have been waiting for an update on these duck tongues. I had a quick dim sum lunch in one of the restaurants on Gerrard Street in China Town the other day (I really don’t remember which restaurant it was, they are all more or less the same).
Duck tongues, I’ve seen them on the menu at some other places before but I have been a bit hesitant to try them. I just think of Donald Duck and the big birds in Hyde Park and that has really put me off. It does not really help that I suffer from a minor bird phobia. Then again, having been served about 30 duck tongues, I was very happy as this meant that 30 birds are now in bird heaven! (There are no birds in my heaven, they go to a separate place where they can freely spread germs and sh*t all over the place).
Ok, so back to the food. The tongues were served cold on top of some pickled vegetables. They were cooked in an aromatic broth, the taste was a mix of Chinese spices including cassia bark, star anise, ginger and dark soy sauce. I’m quite sure that there was about 5-10 more spices in the sauce because it was really developed in flavour. The actual tongues were a bit tricky to eat as there is a piece of cartilage in the middle, like a bone but you could easily bite through the bone and crunch it down with the meat. I used the same technique as you would for a chicken wing, eat around the middle and leave the bone on the plate. The tongues had a pleasant texture, difficult to describe. Definitely not soft and slimy as you could imagine ( I did), more like dry and medium-soft. You have to try them for yourself, I definitely will again!
When I arrived at Wing Yip Superstore in Croydon I almost started to cry. From having access to only limited Asian groceries back in Sweden (it was literally a shelf with the cheapest low-quality brands) I am now in London and I have full access to everything you can ever imagine!
The centre in Croydon is a very good one for stacking up on all the basic ingredients you might need. It is particularly good for cooking utensils and serving dishes. The range is really extensive, however, they tend to have a little of everything so if you are looking for variety and especially if you are only interested in Chinese food then I would suggest that you try one of the Chinese supermarkets in China Town. Having said that, I did manage to spend over £100 on all sort of wonderful stuff here!
This will give you an idea of what it looks like inside, it’s like an IKEA. This is the section for restaurants or people who eat like elephants, everything is in enormous bags and jars. There is also a regular supermarket section where you can spend hours browsing (if you’re a food junkie like me). Please pay Wing Yip a visit!
I’m back, sorry for the wait! Last night we had a fabulous hot pot at Chilli Cool, the restaurant I reviewed earlier on this summer. They provided us with unlimited ingredients for the hot pot. Look at this picture, ridiculous amounts of food!
Under the pile of meat (beef, pork and lamb) we had fresh white fish, prawns, crab, Chinese sausage, bean curd sticks, frozen spongy tofu, crab sticks, straw mushrooms, cloud mushrooms, sea kelp, vermicelli noodles, Chinese leaves, cabbage, potatoes. The actual hot pot (forgot to take one as I got carried away with eating) was a half spicy / half white soup, great flavours and a seasoned to perfection with Sichuan spices.
When we had finished the stuff above we asked for some more meat and fish, the waitress brought us a new plate with everything! We were struggling to manage to eat everything, so much food! I must say that this was the best hot pot I’ve had so far – definitely coming back! I love Chilli Cool – now on my top pick list!
God bless Bar Shu! I have always wanted to go to this restaurant, the original (and most expensive) of the trio of restaurants that Fuchsia Dunlop consults for. Once again, God bless this place! I’m getting religious…
So, the place itself is very nice. Spacious, nice decoration and attentive staff. The menu is extensive and has anything a Sichuan food junkie like me could wish for. One of the dishes, in addition to Mapo Tofu, that I always order to compare restaurants is Shui Zhu Niu Rou (boiled beef slices in extremely hot sauce). This is also one of my favourite Sichuan dishes as it really demonstrates the great flavours of Sichuan food.
Here is Bar Shu’s take on Shui Zhu Niu Rou.
The camera and the light does not really do the dish justice because this was the best thing I have had for a very long time. Perfectly seasoned, great tender meat and very spicy. I loved it!
We also ordered a steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions. The waitress removed the head and bones before I took the picture but here you have it.
This fish was amazing. So tender, perfectly cooked and the seasoning was light and delicate. I really enjoyed it, probably the best fish I have had in a very long time.
Bar Shu is officially my favourite restaurant in London and I will be going back very soon!
Centrepoint Sushi is one of the restaurants just behind Centrepoint, the (ugly) landmark at the end of Oxford Street. There a few Korean restaurants in this area, one of which will be reviewed later. Ok, so Centrepoint Sushi is above a Japanese/Korean supermarket and we were hungry from and tempted to try some of their food.
The menu is a mix of Korean/Japanese/Chinese food. The food is actually quite expensive considering that this is not a fancy joint. I had some Kimchi Jigae, it was ok, but really nothing spectacular.
This was the Chirashi Sushi, I looked great and was good. Again, nothing spectacular and the rice was not the best. Why am I even saying stuff was ok? The service was great, I just remembered that. Shy Japanese girls, did not understand or speak much English. However, very polite and attentive.
Verdict: spend your money somewhere else. If the mains were -£2 then I might consider this one again, but not really at the rate they are charging today.
Look at this wonderful food!
I was really hoping that the stuff they serve at Chilli Cool would be hot, spicy and flavourful and it was! I visited between lunch and dinner, so the place was actually empty. This is always risky, the head chef might take a break and leave a junior chef in charge. I do not know who was in the kitchen, but the food was just great.
I had Shui Zhu Niu Rou, or water-cooked beef. This is something I really like, a great mix of beef and vegetables (usually bean sprouts and leeks) in a very hot and fragrant broth. The portion was huge, probable enough for two people. I ate it all by myself in less than 15 minutes, it was just perfect. I am most definitely going back very soon. They had an impressive menu and I really liked the place! Might end up on my top pick list very soon.
I was reading about Sichuan cuisine and started imagining having a nice bowl of Dan Dan Mian, or Chengdu-style Dan Dan Noodles. I have had these before at Ba Shan and at Baozi Inn, and I really like the dish. If you are interested in learning more about this speciality, there is some basic reading on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_dan_noodles.
I googled my way through some of the more inexpensive London restaurants that offered the dish and ended up at Noodle Oodle on Oxford Street (sic!). The place had received a fair number of positive reviews, however, here is a not so positive one.
The noodles were great, hand made and cooked to order. Perfect texture and taste. However, there were so many other things wrong with the dish. No pork or pickled vegetables, no Sichuan pepper or oil any other sign of this being a Sichuan dish. The chicken on top had no taste, although the soup base was quite nice there was just too much of it. It was definitely peanut/sesame flavoured, but lacked depth. I guess that is what you get for paying just £6, however, you get the same dish for the same price at Baozi Inn and it is so much better.
Xiao Long Bao, also made to order. Nice and juicy pork, however not much soup in the dumplings. Noodle Oodle, they try but they fail.
Jen Café is a classic China Town eatery. They have a small, very Spartan restaurant were they serve their famous Bejing Dumpling and other sort of home made dishes. It is very inexpensive, the service fast and friendly. Definitely not a place to take somebody on a romantic date, but a great place for a snack or fast meal.
I had the Bejing Dumplings, with a nice and juicy pork filling. There are some condiments on the table, I mixed a soy-vinegar-sugar dip sauce and poured it over my dumpling. Great, and only £4.
This was today’s special, a noodle soup dish with shredded pork and preserved green cabbage. I really liked it, although it was a rustic meal. I will revisit Jen Café in the future for the dumplings, I might also try some other specialities from the menu. What a great place to fill your tummy!
* Update 10/08/22 *
It did not take me long to go back to Jen Café! Once again, I had the dumplings and they were fantastic! I really think they are one of the better ones that I have ever eaten. I also tried some BBQ Pork with Rice, this was only a stomach filler. I must say that I was not that pleased with the dish, they actually microwave it to order. In the future, I will stick to the dumplings and if I am still hungry then there’s always the street stall ju that sells all different kind of buns just across the street.
Kingsland Road in London offers numerous Vietnamese restaurants to the food enthusiast. It is really the Vietnam Town of London, without all the tourists.
We decided to try Song Que, a place that has received a fair amount of very positive reviews. The restaurant can take quite many people, so expect a busy environment in the evening. The service was still very fast and effective. Actually, I am not that fussy when it comes to service. For me, the quality of the food is always the most important. I even think that it can be a bit hilarious with rude staff, one of my favourite Chinese restaurants is a place where the waitress shouts Goodbye when you enter the place and literally throws the menus on the table.
Back to the food. We started of with Vietnamese Summer Rolls, very tasty.
The meal was then followed with two bowls of Pho, one with seafood and one with beef and tofu. I really liked the soups, noodles and the herbs and vegetables to mix in. This is what Vietnamese food is all about!
Please do visit Sonq Que, a great place to sample some nice food.
On my way home I walked by this newly opened Japanese restaurant (with non-Japanese staff) on Lisle Street. They had a 50 % offer on their entire menu, this was really a temptation I could not resist of. I did not even notice the name of the place when I entered, however, soon I realised that they were playing Lady Gaga on the stereo and they had Ga Ga specials on their menu. I most say, that this was perhaps the most confusing thing with the restaurant. The interior is new and fresh, feels very clean but lacks warmth.
I ordered the following items from their menu (which was really a Japanese/Chinese/Korean mix).
Gyoza. These were actually really good, soft and tasty.
Kimchi. OMG this picture is just awful. The problem was my camera and the fact that it was served in a deep bowl so it made it even harder to get a decent picture. The first thing on my list to buy when I get my next pay check is a new camera. The kimchi was a mix of cabbage, carrots and other vegetables. It was actually very good, a bit different to all other kimchi I have tried. the sauce was a bit smoother and thicker and there was much more garlic in Sushi Ga Ga’s version. Still, I enjoyed this very much.
Chirashi Sushi, one of those stomach fillers! The fish came cut in cubes, the first time I have encountered this. Not sashimi quality fish; hence, the cubes I guess. However, it worked out really nice and I found the dish really nice.
The chirashi sushi came with a small Soba noodle soup. This was not good, I actually just had a taste of the soup and some noodles and decided not to eat it. A boring texture to the noodles, the soup was too sweet and really was not something I would enjoy eating. It was also a bit strange to have a carb supplement to a carb main dish.
All in all, I might go here again if they have some good offers on the menu. I would definitely order the Kimchi and perhaps try one of their nigiri plates or Bento boxes.
I am so happy to finally be in London with all the excellent food available here! We were visiting Sunday UpMarket on Brick Lane recently and just happened walked by this food stall selling La mian noodles, freshly made on the spot. Amazing! It is not actually located in Sunday UpMarket (where you also can get some nice food), it is away from the market, past Truman Breweries. The location perhaps changes according to the market, I need to confirm this on my next visit there.
I shot a video of the chef preparing the noodles. Yes, I know, the quality is awful and I need to get a new camera. The stills are below, he was so fast making the noodles – very impressive!
Here are the final products:
Chengdu Dan Dan Noodles with preserved vegetables. Grrreat!
La mian with pork wontons, amazing.
Since writing the previous review, I have actually revisited Baozi Inn twice! I like their central London location, the service is always fast and the prices are very reasonable.
I wanted to try some more of their soups, they actually have quite many on the menu.
Here you have Bbq spare ribs noodle soup, very dark and rich in colour and flavour. Definitely worth trying!
This was one of their house specialities, Sichuan spicy noodle soup. To be honest, the soup was not at all spicy and it was very oily so you would be mad to finish the dish. The flavours were ok, but nothing spectacular.
Mapo Tofu! It was served on top of a very generous serving size of rice and came with a small chicken soup (picture below). The flavours were all there and I really liked that they had sprinkled loads of ground Sichuan pepper on top of it. It was perhaps a bit dry if I were to criticise something, however, a great dish!
Finally, pork baozi. A bun with a great lump of pork in the middle. Actually really nice and a good way of filling your stomach! You are not given any cutlery to eat the bun, sorry for the bite marks on the bun.
* Update 10/08/26 *
Today I visited Baozi Inn again. I had two dishes; one pork/spicy noodle and one sour-hot tofu side dish. I really DISLIKED the food today, it had no taste and it was just bland. I might stay away from the place for a couple of months and see how things develop. It is definitely not on my top picks list any more.
Time for a great Chinese budget alternative in China Town. Baozi Inn, the street food alternative to Bar Shu and Ba Shan, serves a mix of noodle, soup and regional signature dishes. The place itself is not fancy, but the service is great! We really find everything on the menu to be interesting and the prices were extremely reasonable (£6 for main courses). There were also a number of nice starters and side orders to pick from.
We started off with egg baozi. The dough was delicious, the filling was vegetables (a lot of leek) and egg. The taste was fantastic and I would strongly recommend trying these.
The first main course was Chengdu Dan Dan Noodles. They came in bowl on top of some spicy broth, with minced pork and greens to mix it all in. I loved this dish, the noodles had a perfect texture and were full of flavour.
In the second main course, the noodles were in a aromatic soup. Topped with cilantro, greens and beef; this was a warm and filling soup. Great colours and great flavours.
I will most definitely be going back to Baozi Inn, they had so many things on the menu that I want to try out. Please pay them a visit and enjoy the nice food!
OMG OMG OMG!
This was the best food ever, God bless Ba Shan! Let all of his angels protect this place from all things bad that is known to happen to mankind.
Look at the insane amount of Sichuan chili on this first cold starter. Awesome! OMG, this was so good that I am turning into an American shouting awesome at stuff. Seriously, look at it. There’s about 203234 chillies in this dish. In addition, there was a generous amount of gorgeous Sichuan peppers in the mix.
Voila! Here you have the dish itself. Cold, thinly sliced pork kidney and cucumber. Outrageously tasty. This was my first time having cold kidney and I have to say that it was just great.
Pork dumplings, definitely made from scratch. The dough was supreme, the Sichuanese dip sauce was amazing.
Mapo tofu, what a joy. This had the perfect balance of flavours and is officially on my top 3 list (I’m making one as we speak).
Ba Shan, very good value for the money you pay. Not cheap, but not as expensive as Bar Shu across the street. I loved Ba Shan! I want to throw money at them and hope that they will be successful forever and ever. Please use the link below to get some more information about the restaurant, read reviews and see the menu in more detail. Urbanspoon rocks!
I reviewed Toku in October 2009. Now they have moved, together with the store, to a new location on Regent Street. The restaurant is smaller and the menu is different. They do not offer ramen anymore, which is a shame. There seems to be a mix of Japanese and Cantonese food on the menu, a bit strange to be honest. Here is what we had:
Tofu with soy sauce, on the house. This was a premium brand silken tofu, very nice.
Sashimi, a tiny tiny plate which actually was way too expensive. Nothing spectacular.
Shumai pork dumplings, nothing spectacular.
Steamed pork dumplings, these I liked.
Salmon don, very basic dish.
In summary, the new Toku does not even compare to the old Toku. Sad, but true.