After seeing that the KFC in Wimbledon was closed Kyri and I wondered around until we found a new restaurant called Sama: Asian Kitchen. It had a weird vibe of having a similar ordering system to Wasabi while also providing plug sockets for people to have the option of staying longer while on their laptop.
The menu is kept very simple but with a lot of room for customisation including 2 different types of rice, 4 different types of protein and 3 different types of soup. I decided to have my bowl filled with jasmine rice, chicken and pork balls, mushrooms, no crunch, thai herbs and katsu curry with a bag of prawn crackers on the side. It was surprisingly nice considering all the food was pre-cooked and at £7.95 for a large bowel it’s a very good alternative to traditional fast food or splashing out on a restaurant.
After learning that Patty and Bun were opening a new store in Liverpool street and giving the first 1000 people a free burger on their opening day I quickly arranged to meet up with my friend Kyri who inspired me to start Food For Thought in the first place.
The place opened at 10.30 so I decided to get there at 10.15 and even then there was still a queue so big it almost stretched the entire street. It took significantly less time than I thought it would to be served apparently after 2.5 hours all the free burgers had been given out so I can only imagine how many they must have cooked throughout the whole day.
The first time I went to Patty and Bun (which was my very first food for thought post) I ordered the Smokey BBQ Robinson so I thought that this time I should get their flagship burger the Ari Gold. After seeing that Patty and Bun got my name wrong on the receipt we went to the park and proceeded to eat our burgers.
After unwrapping it and spilling some sauce on my leg I took a big bite of the burger and just as I expected it was incredible, the patty was so thick and succulent and the cheese was in a perfect melted state of half way between solid and liquid. The pickled onions were also a nice surprise although I prefer the grilled onions found in the Smokey Robinson burger.
Although we didn’t have the atmosphere that comes from sitting inside a restaurant the quality of the burgers was as amazing as always and I would gladly recommend Patty and Bun to anyone looking for something a little less mainstream. Just be aware that their burgers aren’t always free.
When it comes to fried chicken there aren’t too many options other than KFC which is a little too mainstream and suffers because it’s classified as fast food. Having just finished our Patty and Bun burgers less than an hour ago we stumbled upon a converted army van selling buttermilk chicken in Brick Lane.
After realising a few minutes after Kyri ordered his food that I could pay by card I decided to get a box of strips for myself as I had never tried buttermilk chicken before and thought this was the ideal time to try them. I was wrong, an hour after eating a meal is not the right time to have a fairly big snack however I pushed on and loved every second I pushed beyond repletion.
There are 4 strips to a box and they come with garlic mayo and roast chilli pepper dips. The buttermilk coating made the skin so crispy and lighter than I ever would’ve expected, the hot cajun flavour really brought the chicken to life and because I didn’t like the garlic mayo that came with it I was begging for a glass of water afterwards.
The strips and everything else is served in a white paperboard box with no features on it which although I understand is cheaper I still have a problem with this type of thing as there is so much potential to use the packaging as a way to expand the brand. Pedantic’s aside Mother Clucker’s chicken was the best I have ever had.
As I had just eaten beforehand and now made myself uncomfortably full for the sake of discovery I decided not to push my luck any further by trying their Cluckwitch or Mac and Cheese although they do look like something I will have to try the next time I am down in Brick Lane.
During the Global Service Jam Smithfield I found a bratwurst sausage restaurant which I decided to get my lunch from and eat in one of the brainstorming rooms. Like many speciality restaurants Kurz & Lang have very few items on the menu however there are a lot of different variations on them including 7 different types of sausages.
At first it didn’t look too appetising, the chips were okay and the ketchup I asked for was replaced with a sweet sauce which was still nice but not what I asked for. The main Bratwurst sausage was good and had a nice meaty flavour but it really could’ve been better if it was part of a hot dog rather than just by itself. Overall i’m not too fussed about this place it’s fine but I wouldn’t go there again unless I was with someone who specifically wanted to.
I have passed Shake Shack many times while visiting Covent Garden and finally I decided to eat there (because it had the shortest line on a Saturday night). Like many burger restaurants the menu is simple but has a huge level of customisation to it ranging from the classic ShackBurger to hot dogs made using rare breed pork and shallots.
As this was my first time I decided to keep it simple and have a ShackBurger with lettuce, tomato, Shacksauce and two beef patties with a side of fries and a black and white shake. After I ordered my meal I was given a device that looks like a refurbished taser and told to wait in line until it vibrates. This was an interesting touch although it seems a extreme to have when you could just use a screen saying when your order is ready or perhaps a person shouting your number but in any case it’s nice to see something unique.
After my buzzer went off and an order for ‘Rishi’ came through (worst spelling of my name ever) Kyri and I went to find a seat and enjoy our meals. The burger had amazing flavours on the first bite although that big meaty impact wasn’t there, it was by no means a bad burger but I just expected more emphasis on the patty as places like Five Guys and Patty and Bun have succeeded in doing.
The fries were good although you have to add your own salt to them and they don’t seem to be seasoned. As usual I tried to save a bit of money and fat by not getting the cheese fries which I regretted as soon as I realised the cheese was actually a thick, creamy cheese sauce that you dunk your fries in to instead of just grated and melted cheese on top of the fries. Perhaps the best part of the meal was the black and white shake which is remarkably simple consisting only of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce yet the flavours are so powerful.
Shake Shack has a strange atmosphere to it just like Five Guys in that it’s doesn’t have that restaurant vibe but it certainly doesn’t feel like fast food from McDonalds and the amazing flavours they give you are more than able to contend with what you can find in restaurants, some might even argue they are better. Sadly the Shake Shack in Covent Garden is the only one that England has and probably will have for a while although now that I know of and have tried this place I will surely go back to in the future.
After networking at the Moo.com event I was hungry so I decided to try a burger at a pop-up shop called Bukowski. As every pop-up shop is contained within storage containers space is limited although the use of space had been used very well and can sit a decent amount of people inside or outside.
The menu is quite limited although just like Patty and Bun it’s about quality and not quantity, their beed patties are sourced from Hereford and their condiments are homemade. They are known for their ‘burger of the month’ although I decided to go with something a little less extravagant and got a burger with double gloucester cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise and pickled gherkins. Only a little less extravagant.
Although I was sat in a corner with barely enough room to take decent pictures it was just right for the casual customer having a bite to eat and the food came pretty quickly. The meat I asked for was medium rare although I think it was a bit more towards rare for my liking however it was a very generous size and contributed the most to the overall flavour of the burger. I’m not a fan of steak fries (thick cut chips) but these were pretty nice and just the right amount to go with the burger however the one thing I was not impressed with was the Ketchup.
It may seem like a minor complaint but I feel Ketchup to be an important part of the burger experience (enough to capitalize it in this sentence) and while I like that it was homemade it was way too sharp for my taste which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it only complimented the food or was part of the spread inside the burger but having it with the chips was a huge mistake. Every time I ate the chips with Ketchup I just couldn’t get over the sharp taste it was just too overpowering and stayed with me even after I left which is a real shame as everything else was so lovely.
I love the simplicity and attention to detail they go to when making their burgers and the atmosphere of a storage container turned restaurant but I just can’t get over that Ketchup, maybe it’s just me but that is the only time I have ever tasted something so sharp I decided to stop eating it. That being said it wouldn’t stop me from eating at Bukowski again in the future.
After I finished looking around the whole exhibition and asking questions to help write future articles I got something to eat at a stand called The Frenchie. The only thing they served was a duck confit burger in a brioche bun with homemade red-onion chutney, rocket and mustard, you also could choose either smoked cheddar cheese or grilled goats cheese and truffle honey to go on to top of your burger. I got mine with no chutney and cheddar cheese, very basic but still very nice.
The flavours were incredible, the duck stole the show and that is exactly how a burger should be, everything else was a wonderful accompaniment to the burger which added nice subtle flavours to it but didn’t steal the focus away from the warm, succulent, tender pieces of meat.
The Frenchie appears at different markets on different days of the week including Camden Lock and Brick Lane. It just goes to show you how great street food can be and it is something I would buy more often had it not be a tad on the expensive side.
Last Saturday I was at Hyper Japan in Earls Court with some friends while covering the event for my blog. We took full advantage of this event to try out some Japanese food which would be rare/not as authentic anywhere else.
Firstly we tried the Karaage both on a stick and in a sandwich. It was a nice little snack which suits being on a stick more than in a sandwich although both were very nice, we all had ‘Japanese sauce’ on top which is apparently a variation on sweet and sour sauce and made it taste a lot nicer. If we had the stomach for it we would’ve tried it again but with BBQ sauce instead although there were plenty of other foods waiting to be tried.
The second stand we went to had takoyaki which I knew of from it being mentioned in anime sometimes so it was exciting to finally try it, I was disappointed that the batter to octopus ratio was about 70/30 but other than that it was very tasty. They give you 6 balls which is actually quite a lot for sampling but last quite a long time so it’s probably the best advised food for snacking on throughout the day as opposed to eating all at once. I also tried from the same stand some tempura wrapped in a large sushi ball which despite the hefty price of £2 each was without a doubt the best thing I ate while there and would love to have it again any day.
We stayed away from the ramen and rice/noodle based dishes as we thought it might be a bit much if we are to try a lot also we might plan to try those at markets or in China Town to get that same authentic experience again. Two other things we tried which were unexpected were a green coloured tea flavoured chocolate as well as a variety of different flavoured macarons.
We wanted to try the ice cream stand as well as the sushi experience unfortunately we were too full after sampling the snacks and sake too go through with it. Overall Japanese food was a very pleasant experience and I will be on the lookout for more stands or restaurants selling authentic snacks to try in the future, maybe even some things that are a little less mainstream.
From the outside it is a fairly small but obviously popular restaurant which goes for quality rather than quantity, the menu consists of 6 different types of burgers, 4 different sides, 3 flavours of ice cream and a small selection of drinks. In the words of the proprietor Joe their philosophy seems to be based on ‘few things done as best as they can possibly be, rather than doing a number of things half assed’.
Their main burger is known as the ‘Ari Gold’ cheeseburger and has all the main components of a burger but on a brioche bun and with their own personal sauce although we did not have that instead we had the ‘Smokey Robinson’ burger which had caramelised onions instead of pickled onions as well as bacon. I was very pleased with how quick it came without compromising the quality that a lot of fast food places tend to do by having batches of burgers ready to grab and go.
The burgers came beautifully packaged with a sticker holding the paper together while the chips sat in a separate dish as if they didn’t want to take any attention away from the main part of the meal. I was originally skeptical about ordering the Smokey Robinson burger as I usually don’t like caramelised onions but everything was balanced to give the right flavour throughout. The chips were seasoned with rosemary salt and just like the burger there was not a single part of them that there was too much or too little of. We also tried the ‘Winger winger chicken dinner’ which brought back memories of an interview with Charlie Sheen when I first saw the name. They have a very thick smokey flavour which honestly I think would be a bit much for one person to handle on top of their meal but was perfect for sharing.
There were nice little touches throughout the restaurant such as illustrations on the walls, an embossed logo on the receipt and a stamped logo on the menus. If I had to nitpick the only things I would mention is how I would’ve liked if the chips came in a container that was made of metal rather than styrofoam as the material felt very disposable as well as how it would’ve been nice to have my Coke in something other than a can since both of these things don’t share the same quality as everything else in the restaurant. This is just nitpicking though.
Overall I was amazed at the quality of Patty and Bun and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try something a little less mainstream. With the option to take away your food or eat outside on wooden crates you can enjoy your meal on the go or in the wonderful atmosphere that can only be found at Patty and Bun.