Saturday, 12 January 2013

London Trip January

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Last Wednesday Jo & I headed on our first of many (I hope) food trips to London. This time around we decided to stick east and explore what it had to offer. Jo very cleverly made a google map of our stops which you can view here.

First stop was an early lunch at Duck & Waffle. We had both read so much about it so were more than a little excited about our first visit. Going up 40 floors in the lift was more than a little frightening, it reminded me of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory where the lift smashes out of the roof.  To settle our nerves, we started off with a Winter Negroni which consisted of Bombay Saphire Dry, Martini Rosso, Campari & a Antica Formula which was made with date, raisin & chestnut. It sure did blow the cobwebs away and considering it was 11:30 went straight to my head, but nevertheless was a perfect accompaniment to lunch.

We chose 4 things to share starting with the Foie Gras all day breakfast with Nutella. We had both spotted this on the menu in our research and were pretty intrigued about how they would taste together. The nutella was spread onto a toasted piece of brioche topped with foie gras, crispy rashers of bacon, a fried quail egg & little fried black pudding balls. This for me was the highlight of the meal although I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try and recreate it at home.
Next up was the spicy ox cheek doughnut which came served with apricot jam. The waiter warned us that this was a love it or hate it dish which made us feel even more adventurous. The crust on the doughnut was a mixture of sugar and a pretty pungent smoked paprika which overpowered the ox cheek a little. I did however love the addition of jam. The doughnut was really doughy and reminded me of plum knedle from my childhood (which have now been added to my to do list). I was glad we were sharing as this would have filled me up a little too much if eaten on my own.

Next up was their famous BBQ spiced crispy pig ears. This was a first for me but I absolutely loved it, think pork scratchings minus the fat and extra crunch. I loved the wax sealed paper bag they came in too.
Finally it was the turn of their signature dish, the duck & waffle. We were told this was a play on the American fried chicken and waffle and it didn't disappoint. I especially loved the the maple & mustard dressing that came with it, a nice play on the usual honey mustard. The duck was beautifully cooked with deliciously crispy skin and fell off the bone.

I must add that everyone at Duck & Waffle were incredibly friendly, special mention goes to the waiter who let us sneak into the private room so we could check out the best view in the restaurant overlooking the Gherkin & the River Thames.

Next up was E5Bakehouse which is located in one of the arches underneath London Fields station. Only a few days previous, whilst having a clear out of my hoarded magazines I had spotted an article on this bakery so was really excited to pay them a visit and especially to try their  Hackney Wild loaf. We were so full from our lunch that we decided on just a coffee although the sweet treats on offer looked very inviting. We somehow ended up getting roped into being in a photoshoot for a Scandinavian startup which is my excuse for why I didn't take any photos but I'll leave that story for another time. I loved that you could watch the bakers doing their thing whilst enjoyed their wares and the loaf of bread I brought home has been enjoyed every morning since for breakfast.

Next up was Violet located in a cute house up the road from E5Bakehouse. This place is super cutesy and I loved how the tiny open planned kitchen was but it just didn't have the same friendly feel of the two previous places. We shared one of the cinnamon rolls which I thought was a little overpriced for its size and a very tasty iced lemon verbena tea. The upstairs of Violet lacked a little in character compared to the downstairs but the smells of the freshly baked wares that crept up the stairs we enticing.

Fourth on the list was Salvation Jane, the sister restaurant of Lantana. This place is a little taste of Australia in Shoreditch. We landed here at a bit of a dead time in the afternoon which meant we missed out a little on the character (and again I failed on the photo front) but I very much enjoyed my Picolo and a felt a little envious of Jo's last minute change to Little Creatures beer which Tim & I had discovered in Sydney. We took a sneak peek of their lunch & brunch menus which I look forward to trying the next time I'm in London.

Last up was MEATmission. Number 3 of the MEATliquor group. Set in what looks like an old church it is incredibly trendy & full of East London types but I kind of liked the tables laid out with rolls of kitchen paper. It sort of means that everyone ends up on level peggings, after all, no one can look cool whilst eating 'monkey fingers' with their hands. Feeling full from all the treats we'd had all day we shared a selection of things from their menu. Monkey fingers, which in fact were battered chicken strips in a Buffalo sauce served with a cooling blue cheese dip. Fried pickles, which sadly weren't as tasty as I had hoped. I think they would have benefitted from being smaller and would therefore of stayed crispy for longer. Finally the Dead Hippy burger which is seen as their signature burger. A patty split in half with gherkins and cheese in between, their secret dead hippy sauce and cheese. My highlight here was definitely the Brooklyn Larger served slightly strange measurements but the perfect accompaniment to  the greasy food.

 Next time around we plan to head South and although our list is already huge, I would hear  recommendations! Lastly, apologies for the far from perfect photos, I decided to leave the dslr at home for ease and therefor the photos have suffered so maybe it will spur me on to bring it along next time.

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