Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Little House on Charlotte Street

Ollie Dabbous' latest venture has everyone clucking with excitement and reading 5* reviews at every turn sent Barnyard directly to the top of my to-do list. With a no bookings policy, kiss goodbye to the notorious month-long waiting list you're likely to experience down the road at Dabbous although I can guarantee it won't be long before the queues are stretching out of Barnyard's door.

Barnyard is everything you want out of a Sunday lunch destination (or any other lunch, or dinner for that matter but I'm biased about Sunday lunch on this occasion). We arrived in front of the aesthetically lovely white picket-fenced exterior and grinned at the lack of queue - this isn't going to be a secret for long!

Inside we were greeted by checked shirts and a delightful tweed flatcap amongst trees, more fence and neatly lined jugs. So neat. This boded well since I have a (not strange) affection for things that line up neatly; a backlash from the chaos of my childhood bedroom perhaps. Or not. Anyway, there was nothing not to like about this cute interior that we had just wondered into.

The walls were covered in corrugated iron and the lamps hanging from the ceiling cast a warm glow around the room creating that warm fuzzy feeling that can't help but calm you down and make you smile.

Taking our seats, it was time to peruse the menu. 10 minutes later we were still perusing. Everything just looked so damn delicious and it is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady in possession of a good menu must be in want of, well, all of it!

After our decision making had reached ridiculous lengths, we finally ordered and sat on the edge of our seats in anticipation. Diners around us were being brought steaming bowls of all manner of comforting dishes and food envy was rife. The main dishes were simply lovely. Exactly as explained on the menu and accompanied by fantastic sides. First up, tender beef short rib with a light, creamy dill sauce..oh and a gherkin (though I must confess, I chose to gerk-out)!

My partner in crime went for the suckling pig and crackling. Such great crackling!

The cauliflower cheese was a showstopper with an added sprinkle of nostalgia.

Lard on toast was, well, lard on toast but it was as good as lard on toast should be! Lets just say lard on toast again for luck. Lard on toast. Ok, I'm done.

Lastly, the chargrilled broccoli to complete the rainbow or at least infuse it with a little bit of green. 

What we have here is the sort of meal I could happily eat all the time and the value for money was another reason to add that extra skip to my step. This new little house is definitely a reason to leave the confines of your sofa and I urge you all to hurry on down before it becomes the talk of the town. 

And now let us turn ever so slightly to the toilets. As is often stated, one can tell a lot about a place by looking at its 'facilities', so lookee here!

Slip out of your barrel chair ... 

... skip past the fence and down the stairs ...

... reach the wood and iron corridor ...

... and enter to find the exact same care and attention has been given to the bathroom as to the rest of the interior. A traditional basin with lavender in the corner and rustic tiling completes the pretty picture.

Back at the table we sipped on vanilla and popcorn milkshakes .. literally popcorn in a bottle. I'll have that all the time please. Full to the brim and ready to be launched into the awaiting food coma, the dessert menu will have to wait for the Little Brown Book's return.

Barnyard has been catapulted to somewhere circling the top of my favourites list and I am eager to drag everyone and their (metaphorical) dog to have a taste so I really don't know what you could possibly be waiting for!

Square Meal 

 Barnyard on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Dub Jam

A Jammin' Bar

Take a splash of rum, an explosion of colour and a little space between two buildings and here you have Dub Jam. Almost impossibly nestled in Covent Garden lies the latest Jamaican reggae jerk bar. 

Upon entry, feel your cares drift away and the sounds of London become a distant memory. You’re in the Caribbean now so pull up a seat (if you can find one) and bob along to Marley.

With only 17 covers and quickly becoming the talk of the town, I’d hurry on over before everyone and their sister finds out about it.

We timed our arrival well. At somewhere very close to 6.30 (impeccable time keeping is something one should always strive to achieve), we threw open the door and hopped in. Not quite full to the brim, we managed to nab the last two seats while we awaited the rest of our party.

With tins of rum punch in hand, we took in our surroundings with delight. Buoys hanging from the ceiling lit up the multicoloured graffiti scrawled walls and a couple of metres away jerky aromas wafted from the tiny kitchen behind the bar.

We were treated to a bit of card trickery by the masterful magician/ waiter/ owner/ manager/ tie-die shirt-wearing dude (delete as appropriate) before we leapt onto the table opposite as soon as its previous occupants had vacated the area. Hawk eyes have nothing on us!

Two became four and we tucked into sweet potato fries, chicken and halloumi skewers and sipped on the fruity rum punch. More fruit than rum, this batch probably wasn’t going to cause us to sway too much and eliminated the ever-upsetting danger of headache filled work the following day. Definitely not a bad thing on a school night.

Dub Jam is perfectly chilled out and excellent for when an escape from the crazy that is London is required, so jam on over and taste the vibe for yourself. I'll certainly be back!

Find the menu on Zomato

Square Meal

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sticks 'n' Sushi

Serious Sushi!

Welcomed by an array of Danish greetings, smiling faces and swooping sushi laden plates, I tumbled into Sticks 'n' Sushi with a protesting stomach and high hopes. Get on the phone and book a table right away, this fantastic spot is quickly becoming the talk of the town.

The room extended up, down, forwards and backwards with tables of all shapes and sizes nestled between a good old bit of brickwork and wooden panelling.

On my list as soon as I heard about its opening, I was determined to test this new sushi joint for myself. I’m never one to say no to sushi and luckily I found a similar mind in Becks of The Not So Secret Diary

It always puts a spring in my step when I find a new partner in crime, and this was no different. Becks and I have recently(ish) embarked on an incredibly exciting foodie related project that I will divulge ever so soon. I know it will be of interest to lots of you out there so perch on the edge of your seats for now and enjoy the spot-lit wall. Oo what a wall!

Back at our table we were presented with the menus. I have recently accepted my love of puns. However, I am a little distressed to admit this since I have always been pretty confident it was a pleasure was reserved solely for dads. I was wrong. This one made me smile.

Upon opening the menus, it was very much a 'Houston we have a problem' situation. Overwhelming is a serious understatement and our jaws dropped at the sheer enormity of choice. This posed a number of dilemmas

- Firstly, our combined decision making ability evaporated (if it had ever really existed in the first place) and we were confronted with some of the most attractive photographs of food I have encountered in a while. 

Secondly, our simultaneous announcements of ‘yeah, I eat anything’ which at any other time would inspire delight from chefs, dates and, well most sensible people, did not work in our favour. Basically, everything looked incredible and we wanted it all. We decided to have it all. Luckily, help was at hand and we chose a special selection of all the favourites and waited gleefully for our feast to arrive. 

After enjoying our leathery non-stick table and hearing a virtual drumroll, the sushi laden plates arrived in all their glory. First up were crispy duck rolls wrapped in slivers of cucumber and rice pancakes. Phwoar.

Next to be placed infront of the two droolers was the sushi platter. Double phwoar! California rolls, spicy tuna rolls, sashimi, salmon rolls..sweet mother of..yum.

In our excitement, we forgot about the sticks. How could we have forgotten about the sticks? Half of the restaurant's namesake! Anyway, here they are, juicy, sticky and absolutely mouth watering.

Downstairs was were the magic began. The chefs rolls and fried and squished and stirred and steamed. We thank you, you lovely creatures! What a fabulous meal. Back for more in no time!  

Our indulgence led to a little after dinner tipple too. A brave shout by my standards in choosing the old chocolate fashioned. Somehow it was only when it arrived that I realised I'd been a little blinded by the 'chocolate' element and neglected to appreciate what it was I had actually ordered. Well, I like whisky now apparently! 

Sticks N Sushi on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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