Restaurant review: Bao, Fitzrovia, central London

Last week Elodie came over to London for a little holiday before her Korean trip so we decided that needed celebrating. Where else could be better than Bao? We opted for the Fitzrovia branch as you could book. It's never about queuing to eat when you've got nearly a whole year of gossip to catch up on!

Specialising in sharing plates, Bao is famous for its steamed buns and serving Taiwanese-style dishes. The menu offers five different types of Bao to choose from. I tried the black cod and confit pork. Both were delicious but the black cod was on a whole other level. I can't quite put into words just how amazing it was and I can't wait to visit again to have it! I then opted to try the beef cheek and tendon nuggets. Served in a portion of two, they were incredibly moreish. The others tried the chilli langoustines with a fried bao, aubergine with minced tofu and mapo sauce and bone marrow rice served with pickles and egg yolk. Having tried a mouthful of each, I can confirm that that the bone marrow rice is a must order if you visit.

I waited a while to try Bao and it was worth the wait. It's not cheap by any means and you do have to order quite a few dishes to feel full. This can work out to be to be expensive. They recommend three dishes each but I found this wasn't really enough. I'd recommend about four dishes each and a side with one of the bigger dishes to share. Although not everyone will be as greedy as me! Service was a little slow but the wait staff were pretty friendly so it balances out. Bao is a great place to go if you don't mind splashing out - the food is certainly delicious!


Restaurant review: Roti King, Euston, north London

As I've mentioned before, next year is going to be a pretty intense travel year and I need to start making sacrifices to make it happen. One of these sacrifices is cutting down on the amount of time I eat out. Something I've been missing terribly. So I've been keen to find the cheap eats in London and I've stumbled across a gem.

Earlier on in the week, I met up with Hannah and Michelle for an evening of gossiping and Malaysian food. I'm actually off to Malaysia next year and really wanted to try some of the local cuisine before I jetted off. When Michelle mentioned her dad, who is actually Malaysian, declared Roti King as the best Malay food in London I knew I was in for a treat. You're unable to book for Roti King and most likely will encounter a queue. But stay put as it moves very quickly. Also be sure not to judge it from the outside because it honestly doesn't look like much. But you're here for the food, not the decor. 

After waiting for 40 minutes we were finally shown to a table and the fun began. As Michelle is a veggie we opted for a few vegetarian dishes. So what did we order? We tucked into roti Canai which is a bowl of dal, not as lentil-heavy as an Indian Dal, alongside two flaky roti. The gooey cheese roti was absolute heaven and we actually ordered another one once we scoffed the first one. In fact, I think I'd just order six plates of these next time I visit. Cooked in shrimp paste, Kangkung Belacan or Morning Glory is a endless pile of stirfry water spinach. It was the perfect accompaniment to the other dishes. Hannah and I shared a beef and spring onion dish on Michelle's recommendation which was very moreish and we all snuck a bite of Michelle's sea spiced aubergine. Delicious! 

Roti King is not somewhere where you sit and linger, you eat your grub and you leave. But service is done with a smile and the food is very quick to come out. We ate six dishes with a soft drink each and  it cost £14 per person including a tip. Almost unheard of in London! The food was so tasty and it's definitely somewhere where I can see myself visiting time and time again. In fact, I'm trying to arrange a date with my boyfriend so he too can try it before we jet off. I'm now so excited to eat all the food in Malaysia! 


Restaurant review: The Good Egg, Stoke Newington, London

The Good Egg is a restaurant that's been on my list to visit for a good few years. The Jewish eatery, basing its menu on Tel Aviv street food, has won lots of praise for its brunch menu. But the original one is based in Stoke Newington, an area of north London not known for its transport links so I've never made it down to the area. But this year I'm keen to explore parts of London I've not been to before so we arranged a day out with Hannah and her boyfriend Steve to hunt for records in charity shops, go on a mini bar crawl and stuff our faces.

Located in Church Street, a road in Stokey that's known for delicious places to eat, The Good Egg is famous for having large queues but luckily we only had a ten minute wait when we arrived. Settling down we scoured the menu and decided on a few dishes to share. I opted for the the vegetarian option   of the Jerusalem Breakfast with crispy halloumi. A feast consisting of little versions of the breakfast plates on the menu. I adored the delicious dips of whipped green feta, house Labneh and beats and dills. They were so addictive. I just wish there was more of the pita bread to dip. We shared a spicy halloumi Shakshuka which was a little too tight on the cheese for my liking, but still pretty tasty, and fluffy cornbread paired with a herby spread.

Service was brilliant, prices were very reasonable and the food was amazing. If you're looking for something a little different from the bog-standard brunch places then The Good Egg is your guy. You can't book at the Stokey branch but they have another one more central in Kingly Court where you can. I'm desperate to go back and sample the dinner menu. The short-rib shawarma is calling my name!


Restaurant review: Tank and Paddle, Heddon Street, central London

A email popped into my inbox asking if I fancied trying out the new Tank and Paddle restaurant in Regent Street. Pizza and beer? How on earth could I say no? So I invited the BFF and we took ourselves off to London for an afternoon of stuffing ourselves silly and putting the world to rights.

There are now three different branches in London with a pretty simple concept. You're seated by a the wait staff and given a menu. Once you've chosen what you're going to eat, you hop along to the bar to order both your food and drinks. Then it's all brought to your table and you can tuck in like your life depends on it.

After deliberating for a while, we decided on a pizza each and a Mac and cheese to share. After all, you can't not order Mac and cheese when it's on the menu can you? If you don't then I'm not sure we can be friends... I'm a massive fan of spinach and chicken on a pizza so opted for The Chick-Flick. A delicious concoction of tender cajun spicy chicken, fresh Pappadew peppers, wilted spinach and soft red onions. Tank and Paddle certainly don't scrimp on the toppings. I loved the fact the tomato and melted cheese went pretty near to the edges and the base was crispy and super thin. No soggy pizzas on their watch! Jay had the Holy Smokes pizza. A BQQ base was topped with pulled chicken and smoked bacon. The ideal one for those who all about the meaty pizzas. To share we had The Smoky Mac and cheese with mini bacon strips hidden amongst the oozing cheese. The portions are huge so you could easily share a pizza - in hindsight we probably ordered a bit too much. But of course we ate every last scrap for the purpose of this review!

Tank and Paddle is a great place if you're on a strict time schedule in London and looking for reasonably priced grub. Food comes very quick yet cooked to a high standard and you can order in your own time at the bar. There's plenty of choice for both meat lovers and vegetarians with a good selection of beers to wash the pizza down. I know I'll definitely be back! Thanks so much for having us guys.


Restaurant review: Tandoor Chop House, the Strand, central London

Tandoor Chop House has been on my to-try list since forever. I'm a massive fan of Dishoom and I had heard it was pretty similar. Offering more of a 'street food' Indian food option rather than the bog standard curries you get in a British curry house. I love those curries as much as the next person but I love the more authentic Indian dishes even more.

My birthday proved to be the perfect excuse to try it out and I booked it for lunch on my day off. Hannah and Sarah had been a few weeks before so I already had a good idea of what I was going to order. Tucked down by Trafalgar Square, the menu is meant for sharing so we order four dishes between us. Two mains, two sides and a naan bread.

First up was the House Tandoor Chicken. Devilishly tender, full of flavour and incredibly Moorish, this was my favourite dish. In fact, I can't stop thinking about how juicy the meat was and wishing I could recreate it at home. Now I wouldn't normally opt for a vegetarian main course but I'd heard great things about the whole tandoor roasted cauliflower. Perfectly charred around the edges, it has a drizzle of a coriander chutney, crunchy roasted chickpeas and pomegranate jewels to add a much welcomed sweetness to the dish. The gunpowder fries had a great kick to them and the black dahl was deliciously rich. Whilst the bone marrow naan was cooked well, I feel like it could have had a bit more flavour it it. But it was great dipped into the dahl.

It was well worth the wait to visit Tandoor Chop House. I'd go back in a heartbeat and I'm dying to try everything else on the menu. I just wish we took the plunge and ordered the lamb chops. Next time for sure!

Restaurant review: Curious Yellow Kafe, Hoxton, east London

Last weekend I went into town to help celebrate Hannah's birthday early. It was no surprised that the self-confessed scandipile chose to go somewhere Scandi-themed for her birthday lunch so we ended up in Hoxton. You'll find the Curious Yellow Kafe in Hoxton, about a ten minute walk from Old Street Station. Offering a Swedish inspired menu, the little eatery has a great neighbourhood cafe feel. It was full of locals and has a lovely chilled vibe.

I went for the Swedish meatballs served on a bed of creamy mash and lashings of gravy. Topped with chives and dill, it was like a hug in a bowl and exactly what was needed for a slightly chilly autumn day. Our waitress noticed us handing out gifts and very kindly gave us two brownies on the house to help celebrate Hannah's birthday. If that isn't good customer service than I don't know what is! Michelle opted for a delicious looking brioche bun stuffed to the brim with halloumi, roasted peppers and smashed avocado. Served with sweet potato chips, I wish I'd ordered it too!

The Curious Yellow Kafe is a great little find and well worth a wander over if you find your self around Old Street. I'll definitely be back!


A foodie trip to Cardiff

A few weeks ago we took a road trip down to Cardiff to celebrate Gem and Martyn's wedding. We stayed the night at Hannah and Steve's in south London before heading across the country. Wales is a good three hours away from us, so as with taking any type of road trip it's essential to make sure your car is up to the challenge. No one ever likes breaking down hours from home! Make sure you keep your car up to date and in good shape by getting it regularly checked. Use companies such as Ossett Tyre House offer car servicing in Dewsbury if you need a little help. 

Despite visiting for the weekend, we probably only had a full day in Cardiff so decided to do what we do best. Eat, eat and eat some more. Take a look at all the places we stuffed our faces in and take some notes for when you make a trip to the Welsh capital. You don't want to miss out!

I knew as soon as it was decided we week sharing a house with Hannah and Steve, a Scandi-inspired trip to somewhere would be involved. This time it was a breakfast trip to the Danish bakery Brød. This cosy coffee shop offers an incredible selection of pastries and cakes alongside delicious savoury options which include meatball paninis, loaves of bread and mini pizzas. The cafe has a great atmosphere and the staff are very friendly, more than willing to to talk you through the menu. It's a little way out of the city centre but it's well worth the trip.

Got Beef
This small but perfectly formed burger restaurant features an open kitchen where you can see the chefs work their magic. It's not the best burger in the world - so spoilt in London - but it's a good solid choice.  I opted for the Soprano. A tasty concoction consisting of a juicy beef patty, smoked streaky bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, spicy jalepeno mayo and chunks of chorizo sausage. As you can imagine, it went down a treat!

The Potted Pig
Gem's wedding wasn't until 5 so we wanted a good substantial meal to keep us going - and stop us from becoming lightweights when we started on the prosecco. The roasts at The Potted Pig had come highly recommended. I'm not a huge roast dinner fan - take my British passport away immediately - but this one was amazing. Located in a former bank vault underneath the city, they offer an amazing set menu on a Sunday which includes two courses for £15. The pork belly was heavenly and I'm still dreaming about the cauliflower cheese now.


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