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Haché

6 Jun

I’m a very demanding girl to have around, and I admit that. So when I exclaimed to Boy that we were going to try out a new place to eat, I think he pretty much knew I wasn’t going to be taking no for an answer. “How about we just go to Blues Kitchen again?”. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the Blues Kitchen (aside from the disappointing service last Sunday. That limp pile of slightly browning bagged salad was certainly NOT a micro herb garnish as stated on the menu), but I’ve been there and done that. Multiple times.

Of course, I got my own way and I was soon dragging him off to Haché; a postage stamp of a restaurant down Inverness Street, where one of Camden’s famous weekend markets usually stands, opposite the Electric Ballroom. Very discreet and unimposing.

We soon nestled into a corner and stared at the menu. There’s crazy amounts of choice, including the ‘Louisiana’, topped with crunchy peanut butter and melted American cheese. Not to my taste but fair play. To be perfectly honest, nothing was really jumping out at me (apart from that peanut butter), so I opted for a simple classic with a bit of flair; The Bavarian, you guessed it, topped with Bavarian cheese and caramelised onions. Boy went for a pulled pork special they had on. Ciabatta or brioche bun? “BRIOCHE!”  Boy didn’t have a say in the matter. He would get what I suggested and he would like it that way.

It really is a tiny establishment. We must have arrived in the nick of time because no sooner had we sat down but all of a sudden the hungry hoards turned up! Much to Boy’s disgruntlement. He didn’t appear to much enjoy having a larger lady’s bottom poking him in the back of the head whilst he was trying to enjoy his glass of Zinfandel, but I guess queuing patrons have to stand somewhere. (I did offer to swap with him by the way. I can be nice sometimes.)

burger 1

My burger was stacked high. So high I had to cut it in half just to attempt to get it in my face. (Messiness occurred. I do not enjoy a messy face/hands/chin) Opening up the bun was like peeking into a back street fromagerie. An enormous disc of Bavarian cheese sat atop my oozing beef patty like a menacing warning to arteries and vegans alike. Under that, a pile of sexily chunky caramelised onions. Then the burger, and then all the other ‘burgery’ type ingredients; red onion, lettuce blah blah blah. I didn’t detect many condiments, but the burger and onions provided plenty of lubricant and flavour that it was actually quite nice not to have tomato sauce swaggering around the place and contaminating everything with sugary tartness.

burger 3

I had a mouthful of Boy’s burger as well. Mmmmm. BBQ’d anything is one of my few but powerful vices, but pulled pork is somewhere right near the top of the list. Topped with a crispy onion ring and a cheeky rasher of bacon, it was good; although to be honest, I’ve had it before. A little overpowered by a store-bought sauce, and a little bit too ‘pulled’ for my liking. Either way, it was still tasty and he devoured it as I’ve seen him devour most meals.

burger 2

The burgers don’t come with accompaniments, so you have to pick them yourself (and pay for them separately, boo). We have a penchant for sweet potato anything, so we ordered a basket of the sweet potato fries to share. And they come in a little miniature fryer basket! Awww! Perfectly crispy, not soggy or burnt, they are probably the best sweet potato fries I’ve EVER HAD. They were gone in seconds, and I think we might have actually had a fight over the last one.

All in all, a delicious pre-cinema dinner. Reasonably priced. Intimate. Quaint. I wouldn’t dub it ‘the best burger restaurant in London’ like Time Out did back in 2005, but yes, it’s very good, and worth the money. Although I think with the sudden influx of trendy burger joints popping up across London (Patty & Bun, Lucky Chip, take your pick…), they’re going to need to do something to up their game. There’s too much choice on the menu, and all a little predictable. But still, if you’re in the area and hungry for something other than a market Chinese (as IF that would ever happen!) head on over.

Haché
24 Inverness Street
Camden Town
London
NW1 7HJ

http://www.hacheburgers.com/

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Shoreditch Sunday

7 May

Spitalfields and Brick Lane are undoubtedly a Sunday mecca for the young and trendy, which is probably why I’ve avoided them for so long. But, being a new London resident and living payday to payday, there isn’t really much to do on a weekend that doesn’t cost money. And since they’re only a £1.40 bus ride away, it seemed like it was time to swallow my pride and find out what the attraction was (and hopefully find something sexy to eat whilst I was there).

Whilst waiting for the bearded one for over an hour (he got the wrong rail replacement bus and ended up in Homerton…*sigh*), I decided to take a little walk. Not far from the Shoreditch High Street bus stop, I stumbled across a disused lot, stuffed with street food and happy customers! Sweet heaven. I spent the rest of the day thinking about what sweet treasures it may hold.

Finally after chatting to some t-shirt designers and illustrators (it’s always time for a little networking) it was home time, and beardy boy agreed to go check it out before we jumped on the 67.

Inside, we found 3 vendors, none of which we’re foreign to me.

By the entrance, there was Yalla-Yalla. Recogniseable by their signature bright yellow branding, they serve up Lebanese and casual middle-eastern fare that critics have been going nuts over since 2008.

Deeper into the belly of the beast, we came across Street Kitchen. Straight from UK farms, sexed up, bistro style British. The slow roast pork on their menu read like a wet dream.

But there, shining like a beacon in a bright red 1959 vintage Citroen fire truck, was Engine. I had been excited about these guys since reading about them in the Evening Standard back in 2012 (remember that really sexy shoot with their red truck and the sexy 1940’s army babes? yeah…), and since I only had a tenner in my pocket, they seemed more than the obvious choice to grab a late lunch.

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At only a fiver a pop, my companion and I both opted for the Yoshi Dog. A Japanese style beef dog with the perfect ‘snap’ (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask Adam Richmon), smothered in Takoyaki sauce and Wasabi mayo, and sprinkled with crispy onions and seaweed. All washed down with a shandy no less. A perfect combination; and the seaweed sticks to your lips in a rather hilarious fashion.

photo (1)

Also on the menu, is The Big Richard – ‘9 inches of smoked pork loving’ (“pun intended”), dill pickles, crispy onions, ketchup & mayo (so a bit of a classic then), Hose ‘A’ – 100% beef dog, smokey chipotle sauce, sour cream, crispy onions, cheese & jalapenos, and last but not least the Bacon Cheese – Double smoked ‘9 incher’ (pun probably also intended), melted cheese and rare breed streaky bacon.

Pocket friendly, thoughtful food, great service (I didn’t catch his name, but we had a nice chat with the guy serving us as to why it was definitely an excellent idea to serve shandy).

You can find them at their new permanent home alongside Yalla-Yalla and Street Kitchen –

HACKNEY HOUSE
186 Shoreditch High St
London
E1 6HU

@EngineFood
@Streetkitchen
@YallaYallaUK

Borough Market

28 Nov

Last weekend, myself and my boyfriend Matt took a little trip down to Borough Market as I wanted to get some really special chutneys and preserves for my Brother and his wife for Christmas. So here’s what I got and what I thought!

Our first stop was England Preserves, where I picked up some Red Onion Marmalade and Pear, Date and Ale Chutney. Both been done a million times over, but generally done very well by England Preserves. Especially the Red Onion Marmalade, which I didn’t find too sweet, which can often be the case. Also worth a mention is their Red Currant, Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam. So unusual! In a good way of course. Cute packaging as well!

See where England Preserves are and what day they’re at the market here.

Next up we have Gujarati Rasoi from which I got some Apple Chutney. Now, I’m not a fan of Indian spices (my brother definitely is), but this apple chutney was lovely. Not too sweet or sour, and would be great if you wanted something a little different on your cheese board. Or just a break from traditional mango with your curry!

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Check out when and where you can find them at Borough Market here.

Now, over to Fitz Fine Foods. Wow, what a selection! From Truffle Sea Salt to Foie Gras, there was so much to see and try. Although having come to Borough Market specifically for preserves and condiments, I thought I’d better stick to my mission.

I settled on sampling their selection of mustards, and what a selection there was! After trying most of them, I decided on a jar of Wild Celery Mustard, and a couple of jars of Cassis Mustard (one for me!). The celery is really interesting; hot but really flavourful. You can definitely taste the celery! The cassis is a lot more mild and sweet, which I suppose is as to be expected with mustard made with blackcurrant liqueur!

A special mention has to be made for their Wow Wow Mustard; which, as the name suggests, literally made me go ‘WOW’. That stuff is HOT! (Well, to me it was. You will learn over the course of this blog that I am a major wimp when it comes to heat.) Lovely flavour though, and not sharp like an English Mustard can be.

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Location and times here.

Onwards and upwards to Temptings. Now, my only problem with Temptings, despite their wide selection of goods and generally friendly manor, was that it wasn’t easy to sample their stuff. Whilst taking a look at their stall, Mrs. Sandhu (well, I presume it was her), was seeing to another customer and preparing samples for them. I would have been perfectly happy to sample their wares myself, but just wasn’t able to. I can understand the dedication to customer service, with preparing samples for and seeing to each customer individually, but at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon when it’s an absolute zoo at the market, perhaps this wasn’t the most customer friendly approach?

Either way, I ended up buying a little jar of their Mint & Tomato Chutney, but I can’t let you know what it was like as I didn’t get to taste it!

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Temptings doesn’t have a website, but you can check out their bio and times/location here.

Now, this next stall, I have to say, was my absolute favourite of the day. Westcountry Preserves was an absolute delight, not only for their fantastic jams and chutneys, but for their customer service, friendliness, and reasonable prices!

I’m assuming the man I spoke to was David Trehane, and if so, he was an absolute pleasure! I asked him questions, and he gave me proper answers! (What would you recommend for Christmas? What spices are in this? If I eat this, will I need to call the fire brigade?) Funnily enough, I did end up trying something rather spicy, and he immediately passed me a cracker laden with blueberry jam “to take the heat away”. How incredibly kind! The guy is a gem.

I ended up getting 4 different jars from him – Special Real Ale Chutney, Cranberry Sauce with Port (for Christmas day turkey!), Hot Garlic Pickle, and last, but most importantly, Tipsy Strawberry Extra Jam with Champagne. Which, I can honestly say is THE BEST strawberry jam I have EVER tasted in my life. EVER. It’s absolute heaven. And I’m not even a strawberry jam sort of gal (definitely a raspberry person).

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The biggest jars of the day and the most reasonably priced. I’d recommend making the trip to Borough Market just to visit Westcountry Preserves!

No website unfortunately, but check out the bio and times/location here.

A special Mention has to go to Pate Moi, who’s mushroom pate was absolutely delicious, but unfortunately doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life. I’d definitely recommend it for entertaining! Or, you know, just yourself!

Times/location here.

ImageI also got this rather fetching shopping bag for a fiver. Good ‘ent it? 🙂

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