Another stand that caught my eye at Winter Wonderland was Square Burger, the only stand that serves burgers with square patties. While I didn’t buy one myself I did try a bit of Kyri’s burger and once you get over the whole square-ness novelty it’s not really much better than what you would get from any other burger stand, there wasn’t anything wrong with it but it by no means lives up to the BBQ House pulled pork burger we had earlier.
the idea of food made freshly in front of you everything Yalla Yalla serves is pre-made and warmed up which really ruins a lot of the appeal of it for me.
Having never tried Shawarma this was a new experience
for me with mixed results. The lamb mixed with tahini sauce was very nice albeit very hot but what surprised
me the most was that even though I usually don’t like pickled food I had no problem with the pickled turnip. The food is quite nice, not £4.95 nice but nice enough for me to write about on here and recommend you try it out if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous.
Having visited Winter Wonderland and loving it so much my friend Kyri and I decided to visit again just three days later although this time it was mainly for trying the food. Wanting to get the most out of the evening we both opted to not eat beforehand which was a good idea but we also vastly overestimated the amount of stands we could try out.
The first and best of those stands was one called BBQ House and while I desperately wanted to get the ribs they were so popular that they ran out and I had to get the pulled pork burger instead, which in retrospect was not a bad move. The pulled pork clumped together to create a succulent patty-like structure with a smokey BBQ taste to it, sadly the bun was just a regular plain white bun which really let down the rest of the burger, I feel like if it had been served inside of a brioche bun it honestly would’ve earned its price tag of £6 but alas it didn’t.
The day after coming back from Prague myself and Kyri visited Brick Lane and explored the many amazing food stands in the area including Pork & Brisket. After talking with the owner Daniel we found out that it’s a relatively new stand and while there wasn’t any social media or online presence Pork & Brisket was going through a rebrand and would soon be making a name for itself.
While they only served a small amount of things all of them were freshly cooked in front of you and the amount of variables was enormous with four types of sauces (mustard and coriander, spicy, BBQ, hot) and six types of extras including pickles, onions and coleslaw, I ended up being boring and ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a smokey BBQ sauce. The flavour
was very sweet for what was meant to be a smokey flavour although it was still very nice with a heavy emphasis on the succulence of the pork. Unlike other pulled pork sandwiches this one was surprisingly clean and didn’t get my hands sticky which i’m still trying to figure out wether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I was a little disappointed that the bun was clearly a standard store bought bun as so much attention went in to the pulled pork and it just threw things off balance, people need to realise
brioche is usually the way to go when it comes to burgers and other types of hot sandwiches.
I also got the chance to try some beef jerky which is not something you usually see at food stands but a welcome appearance. The jerky had a very smokey flavour with a hint of black pepper, it was succulent and tasted juicy despite their being no juice whatsoever. While £3 may seem a lot for
a small pack of jerky it’s a matter of quality over quantity, you’re not going to eat this stuff regularly so when you have the chance to treat yourself you might aswell do it right.
During the Christmas period my mum took me to Bar Boulud which is a part of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park for lunch. As expected the design, service and food were all incredible, when you walk in you’re asked if you want to leave anything in the cloakroom then showed to your seat, once sat down you’re poured some water in to a lightly coloured glass and given a bucket of fresh bread and butter all of which get refilled throughout the course of the meal.
For starters we shared a calamari and onion rings platter as well as having the bread and butter which constantly got replaced when we were close to finishing it. For the main course I wanted to try the ménage á trois which was a tasting of all 3 burgers (Yankee, piggie and BB) but I knew my appetite couldn’t handle it so I decided to go with the BB burger which came with a beef patty, foie gras, red wine braised short ribs, truffle, frisée, horseradish mayonnaise, confit tomatoes and a black onion seed bun although I chose to get the horseradish mayonnaise on the side.
When you order such as mainstream meal as a burger at a 5 star restaurant you expect it to wipe the floor with every other burger you have ever had and let me tell you this came pretty close. The combination of the quarter of a pound patty with the red wine braised short ribs gave you a succulent, rich, meaty flavour while the rest of the ingredients served only to compliment the flavour. Having never had truffles or foie gras before it was interesting to taste what they were like and while it did go with the burger I honestly think that there are more compatible ingredients and they were there just to uphold what is expected to be in a £23 burger.
Throughout the meal we were constantly being checked up on to see if the meal was absolutely perfect, water and bread were topped up as discreetly and efficiently and possible and any requests were handled very quickly such as wanting to know how much wine is in the bottles above (approximately 27 glasses). It’s those little touches that make it worthy of being 5 star and while my limited income means I won’t be coming here again any time soon I assure you it has nothing to do with the food.
After a great lecture at Ravensbourne my friend Amin and I decided to get something to eat at Chiquito. Having only eaten a small portion of noodles all day I went ahead and ordered the biggest burger on the menu the Texan Smoke Stack, which consisted of 2 beef patties, onion rings, cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce.
As a starter we shared a piece of grilled halloumi which was my first time having it. It was surprisingly nice for a cheese based starter it looked and almost tasted like chicken although I thought the cranberry sauce accompaniment was a bit too sweet to compliment the it. In-between the starter and main course my chocolate milkshake came and it was mediocre at best, there was very little thickness to it and after just a few gulps it was almost half finished by the time my burger cam it was all gone.
It’s always nice to see burger patties in the shape of something that isn’t a circle not that a flower pattern added anything to the flavour but it was a nice touch. The meat was cooked well done which is not my preference but it’s still nice, overall it was a good burger but what stopped it from being a very good burger was how big it was there is nothing wrong with a big burger and a mish-mash of ingredients but this one was just so big that you couldn’t get all those wonderful flavours in a single bite.
This burger was so big that I couldn’t even fit it into my mouth and after a few failed attempts of converting in to 2 half burger they turned in to a meaty, drippy, naked mess of a burger which would’ve made for a nice salad if that was the original intent.
If you’re going to an event like Hyper Japan you pretty much have to try the Japanese food despite how expensive it is. One of the most interesting taste experiences I tried this year was eating mackerel that has been dipped in to a glass of warm sake I don’t know how or why it tastes so good but it does, it tastes almost as if the mackerel was marinated in champagne and in every bite you get such a rich flavour on top the meatyness of the fish. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone whenever the opportunity arises.
I for one have never really been a fan of macarons but for those of you who are you are spoiled for choice not just with the sheer number of flavours but also the attention to detail with some of these aesthetically, who wouldn’t want a macaron shaped like a cute bear’s face? I tried the sakura (cherry blossom flower), rose and lavender which were all very nice, I as tempted to buy a box of assorted macarons but as a rule of thumb any food at a convention will always costs a lot more than outside of it.
The final food I tried for the first time was something I have seen before but always been cautious of, i’m talking about green tea flavoured ice cream. At £2 per cone it’s not too much more than a traditional ice cream but it’s so much nicer, of course being inside a stuffy convention hall means you have to eat it quickly or else it will melt.
Of course I had to have the usual street food favourites takoyaki, karaage, gyoza and a dragon tail. The dragon tail (above) is the simplest and cheapest of all the options and makes for a nice snack but flavour wise it’s not much more exciting than you would expect it to be it’s just rice, shrimp and nori.
There were other foods and drinks I wanted to try including instant miso soup dispensers, ramen and everyone’s favourite drink Ramune but one can only eat so much over 3 days and it’s good to have something new for next time.
After visiting the Late Turner exhibition at the Tate with Kyri we decided to get some lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Takeout. While my last experience there wasn’t a very good one I take the blame for it as I found out the sauce used on the burgers is Russian dressing which I personally don’t like, this time I decided to get a hot dog specifically a dirty dog which comes topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and spring onions.
The taste was quite powerful and oh so meaty yet the spring onions made it not go over the edge, just like last time I found the bun to be a disappointment as tasted, looked and felt like it was store bought and didn’t care wether it mixed well with the other flavours of the hot dog. A selfish bun that was only their to be healthy wether you like it or not. As usual all hot dogs and burgers come with free coleslaw on the side which would be great if I liked coleslaw but I don’t.
For the price I think Jamie Oliver’s Takeout is a great place to get a quick bite to eat if you’re looking for something a bit better than McDonalds however if you have some time on your hands then Jamie Oliver’s Diner is situated next door to the takeout. I have not eaten at Jamie Oliver’s Diner before although when I do I hope the food will be at a greater standard than what is served downstairs.
After going to the London Design Festival networking event at The Future Laboratory I wondered down to the Shoreditch Box Park and got myself a burger at the Bukowski Grill pop-up stall. Looking for a change I decided to go with the burger of the month The Reuben which is based on the American classic American sandwich, the burger consists of a beef patty, sauerkraut, lettuce, gherkin, pastrami and Russian dressing although I got mayonnaise instead as I don’t like Russian dressing.
This is perhaps the first time I have tasted meat that could be described as sweet and tangy and not in an excessive way. The sauerkraut, gherkin and mayonnaise blend together to create a crunchy additional flavour on top of the thick and juicy patty. It’s nice to see alternatives to the classic menu burgers and while The Reuben was only available for a month for that month people could experience an american classic reimagined in a storage container in shoreditch.
For a while now I have known that my friend Amin works at a restaurant called Javitri in Uxbridge, the restaurant used to be a cultural style style similar to Jimmy’s world bar and grill although now it specialises in Indian and Bangladeshi food. Every 6 months they put on a Bollywood themed night where you can enjoy a special 3 course menu and dance the night away on the dance floor, seeing as I hadn’t been to Javitri before I decided this was the perfect time to try it out.
While my other friend Gilmar who was meant to come with me couldn’t make it due to delays at Notting Hill Carnival I experienced Indian cuisine at its finest. There was a meat and a vegetarian starter to choose from I chose the starter meat one, the starter was a platter of different Indian food including chicken, the hottest onion bhaji and the most stuffed full of mince samosas I have ever had as well as a side salad. There was another dish that came with it too which I thought was a type of soup and like an idiot I ate it, liked it then later found out it was mint sauce to be put on the starter.
For the main course I chose the lamb tawa which I had not had before. The portion size has huge almost too big actually as this could’ve easilly fed 2 people, in fact I think that is the point of it as usually dining is done with more groups that are larger than 1 person. I also like the traditional style of having dishes you serve yourself with instead of the English style where you get only what you order on your plate, this style of serving encourages people to share food and try new things they might not have before.
While I may be good at some things dancing is certainly not one of them but the two dancers who entertained the restaurant were simply amazing and they even encouraged people to come on to the dance floor and bust a few moves but theres something about having your friend stand you up that doesn’t put you in the best mood for dancing so I passed. I also decided to pass on dessert as it was getting late and I had to get home (which thanks to the night buses was a challenge in itself). Javitri is a good sized restaurant with many different types of seating, a great selection of food and all for what I consider reasonable prices. The staff were nice, the atmosphere was relaxing and there is even an outside area for those warm England days. If you fancy something traditional and don’t mind it’s far down the high street location then this is definitely a place i’d recommend.