Monday, 21 September 2015

Carousel; Tom Ryalls

Rotation Stations!

Carousel has expertly slipped into the London dining scene without a fuss but with all the talent it can get it’s knives and forks on. As a platform for some of London’s most exciting young chef’s to showcase the food that gets them going, you can expect a deliciously unique experience each month. 

This month (from 8th - 26th September), from the kitchens of Moro and St John, it’s the return of Tom Ryalls for his ‘Horn of Plenty.’

Ryalls doesn’t mess around. He describes his style as “quite stripped back and old school” but he has expertly mastered modern techniques to bring the most out of his carefully selected ingredients. In the gorgeous warmth of Carousel, we knew we were in for a treat!

We couldn’t get enough of his citrusy sardines, wrapped in thin, buttery pastry and dusted with just the right amount of Ras el Hanout for a little extra kick. 

Before you sit down to your four course dinner delight, rescue his very own Damson in Distress cocktail (£8.50) (Grey Goose Vodka, Damson Syrup, Antica Formula, Prosecco), dusted with his home grown Lemon Verbena. 

His seasonal ingredients will welcome you gently into the prospect of Autumn with meaty terrines, fresh greens, flavoursome seafood broths, dream-worthy curried scallops (our winner of the evening), roasted vegetables and grilled bavette steak.

To top it all off, a sweet plum crumble with lemon verbena ice cream is placed in front of us and we discover our second stomachs! The citrusy notes of the ice cream combine perfectly with the tangy plums and sweet crumble. Autumn in a bowl!

Come and experience Ryalls' Horn of Plenty for yourself. It's £35 for 4 courses and the vibe is relaxed, warm and the hours just drift away, perfect for the onset of the rain this week (ugh). He'll be done and dusted by 26th September so get your skates on!

I was invited as a guest of Carousel on behalf of Twenty Something London

Square Meal

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Waffle On @ The Watch House

Waffling On 

Bermondsey has another gem to add to the area's collection of super spots. With Cecil's providing a 1930's taste of the orient, Casse Croute serving up authentic French cuisine, Bermondsey Arts Club bringing an array of beautiful boozy cocktails, Maltby Street and Druid Street covering all things food market (Blu Top, Monty's Deli, Hansen & Lydersen etc etc), enter to the stage The Watch House.

Already the one stop shop on Bermondsey street for artisan coffee and cake, situated in a 19th century listed building, The Watch House is now home to Waffle On (fame found amongst Maltby Street, Broadway Market, Streetfeast, KERB, Secret Garden Party and Camp Bestival) and serving their signature buttermilk sweet and savoury waffles everyday from 5pm till late.

Here's where you want to be ending your date; two forks, a vague air of Autumnal romance (jumpers, rosy cheeks etc), plenty of chocolate sauce and a cheeky grin. Sold! 

We went on a rampage through the Instagram heaven that is square waffles on square slates. Please prepare to drool over the onslaught of waffles that are about to grace your eyeballs! 

All the waffles are freshly baked to order on cast-iron waffling machines as the entire place is swathed in deliciously sweet aromas.

The Savouries: 

Chicken & Waffle (£7)
Southern fried spicy buttermilk chicken with maple syrup butter

Slow-Roasted Duck Waffle (£6.50/ £7) 
Asian spiced slow roasted, shredded duck, plum sauce & optional biodynamic egg

Goats' Cheese Waffle (£6)
French Melusine goats' cheese, blueberry coulis, honey, figs, blueberries

The Sweets: 

Seasonal Fruit Waffle (£6.00)
Summer fruits including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, summer fruit coulis

Italian Plum Waffle (£6)
Baked plums with crushed Amaretti biscuits and Italian Zabaione cream

Cheeky Chocolate Waffle (£5)
Thick Belgian chocolate sauce, meringue, vanilla cream

And for September only, Gizzi Erskine's signature 
Bananas Foster Waffle (£8)
Caramelised bananas with a chilli & honey butter, creamy rum sauce, pineapple jam and a scoop of Sorbitium vanilla bean ice cream.
(£1 from each sale will be donated to Action Against Hunger).

Enjoyment is an understatement. The groans of delight and queues stretching outside The Watch House made it quite clear that this genius new collaboration is going to be a huge hit. Each month, there'll be a new special to keep us coming back for more (no doubt here)!

 Head over to Waffle On's Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with their whereabouts and waffles of the day. We caught the ooze, make sure you do too!

We were invited as guests of The Watch House & Waffle On.

The Watch House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Blu Top Ice Cream

Ice Cream You Scream

News Flash!! It has been announced by the powers that be, that summer is returning to us. Load up the ice trays, wheel out the barbeque, slather on the factor not enough and grill yourself in the (err) just about 20 degree heat. Now what would be more perfect than a cold tasty treat?
I woke up last weekend with a craving that only one thing would satisfy. An ice cream sandwich. Niche I know, but having heard that Blu Top Ice Cream was patiently waiting for me at the new Druid Street Market in Bermondsey, on the tube I went to get my hit.

To keep a continuous churning of choice, Blu Top make all their ice creams in their Battersea Ice Cream Cave (or kitchen) in small batches to make sure it is just right. A bee line was made towards the glistening blue van and without any shame or hesitation, it was decided that ice cream for breakfast was on the cards. I clearly wasn't the only one interested!

3 Steps to glory was all it took (and an extra 5 minutes umming and ahhing over the choices).

Step # 1 - Pick an ice cream - I went for white coffee and doughnut (a trial flavour but I was a very happy guinea pig)!

Step # 2 - Pick the cookies - It was a double chocolate on one side and a brown butter on the other - double the trouble!

Step # 3 - Pick the toppings - Salted caramel sprinkles and a generous drizzle of pecan sauce completed the superb handful.


Photo credit: Matt Hickman

To accompany your sandwich of wondrousness, how about a root beer float? I'll be back for mine next time! There absolutely will be a next time because this is one special sandwich .. droolworthy doesn't even begin to describe it. 

The guys at Blu Top are at Kerb in West India Quay every Friday, here at Druid Street Market every Saturday and are available for hire (quick, think of an event and book them in)!
If one ice cream sandwich isn't enough for you, Timeout has compiled a great roundup of their favourites here. Just around the corner from Druit Street is Maltby Street Market where Milo & Hector's have thrown their hat into the game - time for a sandwich off?! Game awwwwn!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Chick n Sours

Cluckin' Great

Another carriage has been added to the Stokey train and this one is full steam ahead into poultry land. Chick 'n' Sours rolls onto the platform with superbly succulent chicken cooked in various guises accompanied by tankards of tongue tingling sours. It's all in the name!

The tiny laminated menu ticked the cute factor but also the incredibly difficult to read in the unflattering neon light factor too. Once we'd had our grandad moan about locating our reading glasses, we turned to beverage ordering. 

A strong sours list ranging from their popular House Sour (Gin, Sugar, Lemon, Raspberry, Chilli Vinegar, Vermouth,) to their Tequilla based Paloma Sour and their Negroni Rosewater Sour kept us busy. Also on offer are house wines and Fourpure Pills Bermondsey beer with a guest beer changing as and when.

Interior wise, Chick 'n' Sours has strayed away from the stripped back look that we have come to know and love (or love to hate, or hate to love, or just hate), and grabbed a ton of wrapping paper (I guess also known as wallpaper) and covered every exposed brick with that instead. 

Add a couple of neon lights and ram a sweet, sticky disco chicken wing into the mouths of anybody who complains. That should keep 'em quiet! (Seriously, those chicken wings are up there with some of the best).

I'm not going to say how the chicken had me clucking with delight because on the pun scale, that's pretty low in the pecking order. *hangs head in shame* Instead, I'm simply going to suggest that instead of staying cooped up at home, you make the journey to this new roost. 

We visited not long after opening and suffered at the hands of popularity .. they seemed to have run out of buns so the burgers were lettuce wrapped, a healthier version than we had expected but still delicious. While I thoroughly enjoyed this method of guilt-free burger consumption, the boys were not so convinced. This wasn't going to put anybody off however, with Korean fried thigh, Gochujang Mayo and crunchy slaw amongst guest chicken fry's, grilled Szechuan aubergine and fries all still very much available.

Teething problems aside, when all the chicken they had left in the kitchen arrived to the table, we were happy as Larry. Oh Larry you shouldn't! The chicken marinades were sticky, sweet, spicy and packed just the right amount of punch. Pickled watermelon, corriander and peanut salad won the sideshow, fresh, tangy and sweet all in one juicy mouthful.

After we'd gobbled up our table, the bill arrived and (to our delight and total distraction), business cards in the form of temporary tattoos. This little piece of creative genius has us entertained with damp napkins flying around and chickens slapped on all exposed skin. 

Tats applied, (these guys were never coming off), we paid up and went our merry ways, excited for the next trip (it's going to have to be brunch because yes, they do brunch)! Who's in?!

 Chick 'n' Sours opening times:

Monday - Closed

Tuesday - 6pm - 10pm

Weds - 6pm - 10pm

Thursday - 6pm - 10pm

Friday - 6pm - 10:30pm

Saturday - 12pm - 3:30pm | 6pm - 10:30pm

Sunday - 12pm - 3:30pm | 6pm - 9:30pm

390 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA

Square Meal

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