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London - Foody Trip Review

k
koudman Feb 8, 2012 12:51 PM

Last weekend we went to London to enjoy some suggestions that I picked up here :-) (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826015

)

Friday

Arrived just before lunch in London and decided to head to Borough Market because I read some good things about it and wanted to try some street food there. It was a really nice experience - lots of different (international) food to be tried. I had the Chorizo roll @ Brindisa and it was nice and spicy and lovely :) My girlfriend had the Beef and Jalapeno Baguette @ the Guildable Manor and the meat was very good, the baguette was so so.

That evening we went to the 1st Chow recommendation - Boca di Lupo - and it was very, very good. We had the Radish & celeriac salad (all strong flavors but perfectly balanced) and crescentine with fennel salame and squacquerone (the salame was to die for and the combination was very good!)

As pasta we had the Malfatti with ricotta and spinach which was nice and soft and the Orecchiette with 'nduja' which was nice and spicy!

For main we had the sea bream that was very fresh and had a nice smoky grill flavour to it, the teal with sumptuous wet polenta (my girlfriend would go back for the wet polenta by itself...) and cime di rape (nice and fresh).

We shared a cassata as a desert and that was sweet and heavy and my least favorite dish of the evening.

Saturday

We went to the Cinnamon Club - It was refined, good and special so another point for Chow ;-). We had the Welsh Lamb with nutmeg and sweetbread bhaji that was very nicely flavoured and the crispy sweetbread was heavenly and potato and spinach cake with apricot and curry yoghurt - hmmm to die for as well :)

For mains we had the Hot and sweet king prawns with Alleppey curry sauce - perfectly cooked prawns, coconutty, creamy and spicy sauce... Salivating typing this so it was THAT good. Murg methi – tandoori black leg chicken breast - again very good, nicely spiced, subtle heat. We had some good sides as well and they were a nice extra for the mains and loved the spices on those.

Deserts were OK but not too special (normally I skip these at Indian restaurants because this is something they tend not to get right but the rest of the meal was so good I had to try).

Sunday

Breakfast at the Garrison in Bermondsey to start the day. Eggs benedict were great (very great tasting eggs), Scottish pancakes were jummy and the home made granola was nice but could have used some more yoghurt. Great place for breakfast would have liked to do diner there as well but we ran out of evenings :-)

Time for Sunday roast @ the Bull and Last! What a find, it's so far off the beaten track that you need a place like Chow to recommend it otherwise we would not have found this...It was lovely, nice and busy Sunday afternoon. We had the chicken and beef roast (preferred the moist chicken over the slightly dry beef) and loved it, need to bring that tradition home :-). For starter we shared the rabbit terrine and that was nice especially with the red onion compote. There was no time for desert... (cut it a bit too close with our flight) but all in all it was well worth to go here :)

Conclusion: London = foody heaven, with lots of great food and loads of variety (Borough market and Brick Lane markets were something special)

We need to go back and try some more of those Chow recommendations :-)

(sorry for the somewhat long review :-))

-----
The Cinnamon Club
The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU, GB

The Garrison
99 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XB, GB

Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

The Bull and Last
168 Highgate Rd, Camden Town, England NW5 1, GB

  1. m
    ManInTransit Feb 9, 2012 02:00 AM

    Thank you so much for reporting back Koudman, many people don't and it's great to hear people's experiences particularly when they are broadly so positive.

    You got yourselves a lovely variety of restaurants (I love the Garrison) which are all good value and I'm not surprised you had a great time but very pleased nonetheless. Good call on the Brindisa chorizo roll as well.

    14 Replies
    1. re: ManInTransit
      k
      koudman Feb 9, 2012 06:19 AM

      Trying to give back to the community :-) It's tips like yours for the Cinnamon Club and from someone else for the Bull & Last that make chowhound what it is (a great foody resource)!

      1. re: koudman
        zuriga1 Feb 9, 2012 06:35 AM

        A few years ago, I was laughed at here for suggesting Cinnamon Club, which I (maybe as an inexperienced American back then) thought was lovely. I'm glad you enjoyed it and maybe it's not for purists, but it's a fine spot.

        1. re: zuriga1
          k
          koudman Feb 10, 2012 07:07 AM

          I really don't understand this perhaps it has changed in the mean or maybe it's too far from the Indian main street type of food? I don't know but all I know is that I have dined at lots of restaurants and the Cinnamon Club definitely is on my memorable dining experiences :-)

          1. re: koudman
            zuriga1 Feb 10, 2012 11:39 AM

            Many British people have grown up eating homemade subcontinent food, and I think they quibble about a modern take on some of the dishes. I fell in love with the Cinnamon's Club ambiance and beautiful room - must get back there one day soon but so many choices in London!

            1. re: zuriga1
              PhilD Feb 10, 2012 04:05 PM

              I am in Delhi quite frequently and there are popular restaurants there that are as mondern if not more modern than CC. So yes CC is different to the British high street but not that far removed from some of the new interesting places in India.

              1. re: PhilD
                howler Feb 11, 2012 04:38 AM

                modern indian restaurants are a giant fake, conduits for the black money swirling around. they are monuments to bad taste, much like modern indian art.

                one day, when we regain our confidence, we'll jettison all this pretentious nonsense and go back to our amazingly varied cuisines. like this for example:

                http://ismailimail.wordpress.com/2012...

                1. re: howler
                  PhilD Feb 11, 2012 04:53 PM

                  And the irony of the link is that Neelam's favourite show is MasterChef India - I expect there is quite a bit of that "pretentious fake" food on the show.

                  But seriously why can't the magnificence and vast range of Indian food accommodate innovation as well as tradition? Good food is good food, it doesn't really matter if it is handed down from mother to daughter across generations or created by an inspired chef. It is still good food. No-one would argue that the new replaces the old, there is plenty of room for them to coexist. I will happily seek out and enjoy traditional food as much as I enjoy the stimulating modern food that some chefs create (like Cinnamon Club). Why this food apartheid?

                  1. re: PhilD
                    zuriga1 Feb 11, 2012 10:30 PM

                    No one during this discussion of Indian food has mentioned the word, 'fusion.' Is the modern, creative food created part of this food movement? It seems to me that a lot of of the restaurants in London, even the 'French' Deux Salons is doing just that, combining both French and British dishes.

                    I don't mind it as long as it tastes good. I'm not much of a purist. If there hadn't been creative chefs along the way, we'd still be eating bear meat and grass.

                    1. re: zuriga1
                      m
                      medgirl Feb 12, 2012 02:09 AM

                      i think Howler is being unreasonable here. There is no law against Indian food being presented in innovative ways. If it exposes a larger audience to Indian flavours, then why is it such a bad thing. Some people may prefer to experience Indian food in an upmarket setting; if sufficiently impressed, they may choose to seek it further in a more 'authentic' form.

                      1. re: medgirl
                        k
                        koudman Feb 12, 2012 03:53 AM

                        I like both the upmarket and regular setting it just depends on the occasion. On Chow there seems to be a group of purist dinners who don't want to see any innovation...

                    2. re: PhilD
                      howler Feb 12, 2012 06:08 AM

                      its not food apartheid. its a refusal to be cynically exploited.

                      here is the point: food is evolving all the time by tinkering around the edges. over time that leads to innovation, but that innovation is rooted firmly within a deep tradition.

                      as pointed out in vir sanghvi's article, india does not have a restaurant tradition. now there are two possible ways forward: embrace the zillion different cuisines with their drop dead deliciousness or leave it to a bunch of mediocre chefs to come up with plating, dubious flavourings and charge a fortune for this faux french nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with any cuisine from india. you guessed it.

                      i bet you atul kochar and their ilk can't cook as delicious a meal as is routinely served in millions of households daily .. but suddenly they've got michelin stars and are geniuses?!

                      1. re: howler
                        PhilD Feb 12, 2012 06:20 AM

                        "here is the point: food is evolving all the time by tinkering around the edges. over time that leads to innovation, but that innovation is rooted firmly within a deep tradition." That is so true, but it is so true of any cuisine, not just indian.

                        Why do you think it is exploitation, do you really think this is some sort of conspiracy to debase Indian food. Can't some chefs simply respond to the demands of a niche in the market and develop a style that sells? If it i good it will survive if not it will fall out of fashion and cease to exist. But, that said, my experience of in India and other cities is that this is a trend that is resonating with diners in London, India and other cities.

                        If it is good lets celebrate it, but let not react against food becuse it is new and different. That seem to be quite a weird food fundamentalism.

                        1. re: PhilD
                          howler Feb 12, 2012 06:36 AM

                          oh i'm all celebrating good things. who isnt?

                          but when i'm at these frenchified indian joints, i - along with almost every indian i know - find the food weird and mostly unpalatable.

                          i'm not against anything because its new and different. i'm against it because i'm repulsed by the food. and i'm annoyed by the implicit assumption that luxury dining equals frenchification. i wish indians would pay up to learn about each others cuisines. but lacking a restaurant tradition, we get hijacked by these con artists who couldn't probably get a basic meal right but are nifty with sous vide.

                          as a contrast, i offer you bollywood. no ones writing sonatas with indian scales - instead, they've gone ever deeper into regional funkiness. but thats because bollywood is confident and brash and doesn't need to cower under a concerto for tabla to trap all the intellectuals.

                          1. re: howler
                            The Chowhound Team Feb 12, 2012 07:20 AM

                            Hi Hounds, sorry to interrupt the chowtalk, but it looks like you have a parallel discussion going on Food Media and News. Please consolidate your discussion on vir sanghvi's article there: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833109

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