Patty & Bun – Liverpoool Street, London

WHERE: Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PD
WHEN: 20/05/14
WHY: Long overdue catch-up with a travelling friend

I had the task of of taking an Aussie friend for dinner somewhere East, easy, fun and quick (as our evening was more about cheap wine & chatting then about the food)

I thought that the newly opened Patty & Bun in Liverpool Street would be a good shout as I hadn’t tried it yet – I have been James Street branch before and had an amazing time (would HIGHLY recommend)

The Liverpool Street P&B is more take-away focused; there are a small number of benches and high tables rather than tables, they don’t serve booze, the menu is slightly more condensed and the space is smaller. We were totally down with that though and didn’t actually have to wait long to nab a table! (Just under 10 mins I think…may have been because it was a Monday or even because people don’t like burger hype as much in Liverpool Street?! who knows..)

I went for the Smokey Robinson (naturally) and my co-diner chose the ARI GOLD Cheeseburger (I think he was a little scared of the unknown so went for the safe option).

I also chose the  Thunder Thighs as a I side which I instantly knew was a mistake. I had these before and vaguely remember disliking them for some reasons – unfortunately, to me, they taste like tea. Like actual PG tips tea and and I seriously hate tea. My co-diner was having a ball though and couldn’t get over the fact “the meat is just falling off the bone!” I do think they are good thighs – they are definitely saucy enough, but just not for me.

Collage1 final
Our burgers had arrived with the wings and we got stuck in – they came on nice little trays which I suppose is trendy and there emphasis the take-away focus.

The meat is so incredibly juicy, juicer then any other burger I have tried. So juicy I would actually advise making a small well with your wrapper to collect all of the said juice!
They get literally get everything right…the bun, the condiments (the burger sauce they use is DELICIOUS) how they cook the PATTY (all burgers come medium-rare unless specified I believe) and the caramelised onions that come in the Smokey Robinson are perfection.

I’d say this could be my favourite burger place in London, I just prefer the James Street (London) branch because you can sit down and make more of a meal out of it.

Juicy

Mid-range price for the burgers (£7.50-£8.50) and the meat sides are £5.50, slaw is £3 (stupid price for slaw) and chips are £2.50

My Aussie co-diner was actually in awe, he couldn’t believe how tasty a proper burger could be. He didn’t speak for a while why he processed what had just happened to him.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Check out the website here 

BAKING: Wonderful WHOOPIE pies!

After going to Southbank in London the other weekend and paying £3.25 for a average tasting, hard, marshmallow-less Whoopie pie; I wanted to give them a whirl and see a) how easy they are to make and b) if I could do it better myself. 

A quick google search led me to Simon Rimmer’s BBC Good Food recipe and I chose it because it was pretty straight forward and had simple ingreients. INGREDIENTS & METHOD AT THE BOTTOM

I got to work and made sure I took my time doing everything right (I feel like whoopie pies are a little like Macaroons in the sense they are extremely sensitive so I wanted to avoid any mishaps)

Step by step
The batter turned out ganache-like; thick, shiny and very chocolatey. I used a measuring (table) spoon to measure out the whoopies on the baking tray – this would have been SO much easier if I had used an ice-cream scoop so I could get them all the same size (so they match up) annoyingly I have found printable size guides for Macaroons (that go under baking the parchment) but not for Whoopie pies 😦 it was hard as I had literally no idea how big the halves needed to be.
Whoopie

Unfortunately there were a few important factors that were left out of Simon’s recipe which made the whole experiance a little tricky! These being…

1) An indication on how well baked the whoopie pies should be after the first half of cooking is complete before you add the ‘mellows and re-bake. I think mine were a little underdone
2) How long should whoopie pies be left after the first bake (before you put back in with mellows) I wan’t sure if they needed to be completely cooled or not – mine also ripped a fair bit as I took them off the tray
3) What the overall consistency of the whoopie pie should be when finished cooking. I think mine were ever so slightly under-baked. Although, this did make them deliciously chewy, a bit like brownies and they went down a TREAT
4) I think the timings are totally wrong, I know all ovens are different but they were literally raw after I had baked for 6-8 mins

They also came out a little cracked, which has confused me, so I need to investigate as to why this happened.

the end
I made some friends very happy with these; they were relatively easy to make and so incredibly tasty. A definite must try!
I will be making these again for sure and perfecting before (the sizing being the real hurdle for me) I move on to the many amazing different types of WHOOPIE pies you can bake.

INGREDIENTS & METHOD BELOW (link also to webiste above):

Ingredients

  • 125g/4½oz butter

  • 150g/5½oz chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, plus extra for melting (optional)

  • 225g/8oz sugar

  • 3 free-range eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 250g/8¾oz flour

  • 30g/1¼oz cocoa powder

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 18 marshmallows

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.)
  3. Whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together, then fold into the chocolate and egg mixture.
  5. Place tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking tray (the mixture should make 36 biscuits) and bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside half of the biscuits on a cooling rack. Turn the remaining biscuits over and place a marshmallow on top of each. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until the marshmallows have softened.
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack to cool slightly. Press the cooled biscuits on top.
  8. Optional: Melt 100g/3½oz extra chocolate and pour this over the cookies, then set aside to cool.

HONEST Burgers, London

WHERE: Honest Burgers, 4 Meard Street, London, W1F 0EF (Soho Branch)
WHEN: 12/05/14
WHY: Long overdue catch-up with a good friend

I shamefully have never been to Honest Burgers, so when my friend suggested we go, naturally I was “proper buzzing”.
It feels far more humble than Meat & Liquor (whose burgers I don’t actually rate) and the door lady was very friendly…she doesn’t make you queue – she had an ingenious system of taking your name AND TELLING YOU WHEN TO COME BACK! Who’d of thought aye, an actual system that means you don’t have to stand outside in the rain like a pillock and queue for 2 hours (I’m still digging at M&L here if you haven’t guessed)
We  asked to sit outside in the rain (under an umbrella thing obviously – were not that crazy) to avoid waiting at all!

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I love love loved the menu, so simple and small (I have previously mentioned my love of small menus) and it’s on a beautiful wooden board. 

I ordered the Cheese Burger (wasn’t feeling bacon at the time) and my dinner date went for the Honest Burger. Both burgers came with rosemary salted chips (amazing!) and we got some red slaw on the side.

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The burger was absolutely incredible….I asked for medium rare, and yes, some bits were still mooing, but it was so SO tasty. Just the right amount of condiments were on it, it wasn’t too rich and the brioche bun was to die for. Sometimes ‘trendy’ burgers can be overloaded with bits and bobs and tastes and flavours, but not this baby. The rosemary chips were great too but a little too much rosemary for me.
The waitress was lovely and we had an amazing waiter come over and take our cash, he loved telling us that he had eaten 3 mistake burgers already that day!

 The bill came to….wait for it…£20.50! For two burgers with chips and a side of slaw.

We thought it was a joke, it wasn’t.

To conclude, I had a really great time at Honest burgers and thats me being honest 😉

Here’s the website – click here to check it out

Zealand Coffee – Roman Road, London

One of my favourite coffee shops EVER is Zealand on Roman Road, Bethnal Green.

I used to come here a lot a few years ago when my sister, who introduced me to Zealand, lived in Bethnal Green. I forgot how much I loved it!

Mr A. and I decided to take stroll and grab a coffee and bite to eat for breakfast (at 1pm ha)
The decision to go to Zealand was THE BEST DECISION WE MADE ALL WEEK.

This place is effortlessly cool, a little on the small side (not nice to sit outside when it’s cold!) and of course very rustic and healthy. The menu is so simple and the food is delicious – I do love a place with a small menu, always means that they can nail what they have on there!

We ordered two flat whites and had to sit outside for a bit while we waited for a comfy seat inside.

Coffee & menu

I went for the ‘brie, mixed leaves & caramelised onion granary s/w’ and of course, I added bacon – they had to put it on flat bread though as they had run out of granary (which totally made it better in my eyes!) Mr A. went for the ‘avo toast with chili flakes & lemon’ and also added bacon (I don’t like chili or flakes but I’ve been told this combo is one of the best known to man – and probably, if you have been to AUS or NZ,  you are  hooked anyway)

Avo

The staff could do with being a little bit nicer but hey ho. Maybe it’s not cool to be nice?!

Of course we finished it off with cake and of course it was a flour less chocolate & orange cake BUT IT WAS SO DARN TASTY.

£19 for all of that and a fresh mint tea…not the cheapest but a definite must visit.


BAKING: Creme Egg Brownies

I had a random day off today so I thought I would go crazy and bake something I’ve been thinking about for a while…

CREME EGG BROWNIES (well, it is almost Easter!)

I have had some tough times with brownies recently so I was a little nervous that I’d mess up (I spent about £7 on chocolate alone!) but I took the plunge anyway…

Actually – before we start, I’ve calculated that these come out about 430 calories per brownie (if the batch is cut into 12)

After a quick google search I settled on the Woman’s Own Recipe (<—that’s a handy link to the recipe and ‘how to’)
I liked this recipe as it was simple and included a no fuss brownie mixture, it was easy to follow so I was happy (you can see the easy steps in my wonderful step by step below ha)

ImageMy favourite part was smushing the halved creme eggs into the slightly cooked brownies (see photo number 5). Cutting the Creme Egg’s was a bit tricky so make sure you use a really sharp knife and do it quickly (without cutting yourself!!) otherwise the Creme Egg mushes and crumbles and that’s not what we want…(see photo number 4)

I think they were a little overcooked as the edges were a tad crispy (probably because I had my oven too low to start with so I ended up cooking them for longer than recommended – hmpf!) but they did actually turn out well. They were so goey and chocolatey and lovely and rich….actually, they were really delicious. An all round winner I’d say!

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Marvelous Mezze, Bethnal Green, London

WHEN: 21/03/14
WHERE:Mezze Barbeque Restaurant, 150 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0RY
WHY: We, a group of hungry locals, wanted some good food.

Since moving East, there has been a Lebanese food shaped hole in my life, so naturally I was thrilled when my friends suggested we go to Mezze on Roman Road. I had actually already been to this place a couple of years ago but totally forgot. I was excited to go back and actually remember what I had eaten…

The restaurant décor/space itself is nothing special, it actually looks like a low brow (can you say ‘low brow’!?) café but the staff are LOVELY…we had a great Geordie girl who was not afraid to crack some (average) jokes.

It is also Bring Your Own Booze which is amazing.

Menu and BYOB

WHAT DID WE ORDER?
Starters..Halloumi Wrap, Hummous and the Mized Meza platter
Mains…Lamb Pide (pronounced pi day) and Mixed Meza Grill.

Bread And Starter

The Halloumi wraps were amazing…they were almost a meal (well, lunch) in themselves. In my beloved Tooting Bec Meza, the wraps are literally melted Halloumi in pitabread but here, they are so much more – you get salad, dressing, the lot. The Mixed Meza platter was also great, there were some creepy beans on there that we were not sure of but with the gorgeous fresh bread they bring over with it really makes it a winner.

Pide and Meat

For mains we went for a Lamb Pide and a Mixed Grill. In hindsight, we could have ordered an extra dish. What we did order though was bloody great. The Pide is really special – the waitress described it as “Lebanese pizza shaped like a small canoe”
The meat here is beautifully cooked and well seasoned.

Overall, the restaurant and food do feel very authentic. The staff and great and we had a lovely, lovely time. Also…the food came to a total of £10.50 EACH! £10.50!

We were all extremely full after our great meal smugly headed off to a local pub (The Victoria on Grove Road, in case you wondered)

Here, you can see us being happy, full people…

HAPPY

THE BEST CHINESE FOOD IN THE WORLD at My Old Place, Liverpool Street, London

I think it’s fair to say that My Old Place in Liverpool Street is THE BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT IN THE WORLDDishes
WHEN:
I last went Friday 28th but have been here over 10 times in the past 2.5 years
WHERE: 88-90 Middlesex St, London E1 7EZ // 020 7247 2200
WHY: Why what? Why is it the best Chinese restaurant in the world? You should go for yourself and find out why.

I cannot explain (or put into a blog post) the happiness I get when I am at this restaurant. I have been to this place over 10 times and never have I been disappointed (apart from the time I ordered the scallops – don’t ever do that)

The menu is crazy, its a small NOVEL and has so many dishes that couldn’t be more un-westernised – your local take-away’s favourites will either not be in here or they will be written completely differently.

It’s probably easiest if I quickly run through the best dishes I’ve had/can remember…

Dry fried sweet & sour porkIn my local take-away this is called “sweet & sour pork Hong Kong style”
I’m not sure I can say anything to do this dish justice. It is sweet, sticky, delicious, well cooked, not too heavy, a great amount of pork. More than 4 of you eating and you will probably need 2 portions!

Green beans with minced lamb and garlic
Small green beans covered in garlic and yep, you guessed it, minced lamb (and a bit of chili). The beans are so perfectly cooked and the garlic is not bitter/over powering at all. This is a truly delicious dish. Again – more than 4 of you eating and you will probably need 2 portions!  You can see the marvellous little eating utensils you get alongside the green beans below..

Plate and beans

Sizzling beef filet in black pepper sauce
Beautiful small pieces of beef (not a beef filet as you would imagine) in a lovely black pepper sauce where the black pepper does not over power. Great amount of veg also.

Prawn fried noodles (they also do chicken and other meats)
Just your standard egg noodles – nothing too exciting but tasty and a great dish to accompany the more dominant flavours. All of the rice’s are great also!

Lamb skewers
These are the Chef’s speciality apparently – I can never seem to find them on the menu but if you ask for them then they usually know what you mean! They do run out of them a lot so be warned they may not be available when you go

Sizzling beef, green beans, fried boodles & dry fried pork and some happy thumbs up

Sizzling beef, green beans, fried noodles & dry fried pork and some happy thumbs up

The staff are extremely rude here, by far the rudest I have ever dealt with (they even hung up on me when I tried making a booking last time) but don’t let this put you off. The food is too good to worry about what is going on around you!

It is also very, very cheap. 4 dishes and a rice along with a bottle of house wine will cost you about £15 each and you will be truly full up (the I-can’t-physically-move type of full up)

Also – they won’t take bookings under 4 people and there normally a small queue. But who doesn’t love to queue for food? ; )