Westegg, Notting Hill

A lazy Saturday in Notting Hill, and we’re in search of lunch with a terrace! The plan is to bike up to Golbourne Road and see if we can snag a table there, but as we bike by what used to be Raoul’s, you can see that it’s changed names and interiors…. and there are tables outside! Interesting…

So we dock our Santander Bikes and come back to claim a terrace table, and check out the menu. There are a few good brunch dishes, some salads and sandwiches, but also a special “Back from Greece” menu that seems perfect for me  (including shakshuka, all sorts of fresh salads, and what i finally ordered…

I went fo rthe kagiana, which is Greek-style scrambled eggs cooked with buffalo butter, fresh tomatoes, and feta. It reminded me of Turkish menemen eggs, which I love!  Andre got shakshuka, which is like no shakshuka I have seen…. you have the tomatoes and onions, but the egg on top instead of cooked inside… and some yogurt on the side. He was a bit disappointed with his lunch, as I would have been… it tasted fine, but really wasn’t a shakshuka!

But given the large menu with all sorts of different brunch items, and a terrace, this is definitely a place to come back to, when in Notting Hill and needing lunch.

Advertisements

PEARL Hackney Wick

A Friday afternoon and I’d taken off to grab lunch with Andre in East London… I’d booked Cornerstone, a new restaurant with Cornish vibes that looks absolutely delicious…. and when we got there, it was closed! Checking the reservation, I saw that I had booked for the next week… damn.

So, we went across the road to the cafe nearby and decided to have lunch there instead. The options on the menu are simple, with lots of egg dishes, a few salads, and a few burgers.

I went for the haloumi and falafel salad, which was quite substantial, served with roasted aubergine, tomato, and big, leafy greens. The falafel wasn’t overfried, and the haloumi was generous.. it was a big dish! Topped with drizzles of a tahini-based sauce, I enjoyed this salad quite a bit (if not as much as I would have, a lunch at Cornerstone!)

IMG_4856

Andre got an omelette with tomatoes and mushrooms, with some salad on the side… it was HUGE.

While we waited for our food to come out, we started to play chess… then, overwhelmed by the idea of how long the game could take, abandoned it pretty soon after the food came!

IMG_4858

Shuang Shuang, Soho

A while ago, I saw that a new hot pot place was opening in Chinatown, and took note, but it was only recently that I actually made my way there. Shuang Shuang’s claim to fame is that not only is it a hot pot restaurant, but it also has a conveyor belt… so you can choose your hot pot ingredients! Genius.

Everyone gets their own individual hot pot station, with the pot, a dipper, dish, spoon and a sieve spoon to catch your cooked food.

Shuang Shuang has a Market Lunch Special for £10.5, where you get to choose three green or white dishes, one black dish (intended to be noodles, but they also have a few other black dishes floating around), a side dip, and broth.

I went for the original broth, the Black Bird broth which is a chicken broth that’s especially fragrant, with jujubes floating in it… and the House Sauce, wihch has a blend of sesame butter, red beancurd paste, and a dab of chili oil… the chili oil wasn’t very apparent, and the sauce tasted much more creamy, and less spicy than I wanted… so I added a good extra dash of sesame oil to it!

So, here’s what I tried out. Lots of greens (cabbage, boy choy), some tofu, and some slices of beef… all which came under the green and black dishes (there are other coloured dishes which are more… in the end, you pay per dish, so you can have as little or as much as you want).

I was impressed with the beef slices, doused in the creamy, spicy dip… and the tofu was delicious once it had soaked in the hot pot broth for a while… also dipped in the sauce!

Now, I’ve been back again, so I’ve been here twice at this point, and both times, took the Market Special and ended up getting two extra dishes of food to feel full.

This is a perfect place for lunch, where you can come with someone else but choose exactly what you want to eat – and, healthier than other Chinese dishes with sauces or noodles, you’re cooking you lunch in a hot broth and adding a bit of sauce at the end if you want… an easy, interactive and heatlhy lunch!

Eat by Chloe, Covent Garden

A few months ago, by Chloe opened up in the UK… for those of you that don’t know it, by Chloe is a vegan “fast food” joint that has popped up all over the US. When I saw that they were opening a store in Covent Garden, I was pretty excited…

So were a lot of other people… I waited in line for more than five minutes… checking out the surroundings and the Grab + Go section (that has salads, juices, and other beverages.

The seating area is also quite cool, and well-decorated… doesn’t it make you want to sit and spend some time here?

And the cash registers… four total, with a place to pick up your meal on the left. Like at Shake Shack, you get a beeper that lets you know when your meal is ready to pick up…

So what I liked was that every employee I saw in the store was a woman… both up at the counter, but also in the kitchen. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just by chance?

Here I am with my takeaway bag… made with eco-friendly ingredients.

Then, back at my desk, I got to check the food out… I went for the Guac Burger (a sweet potato, quinoa and black bean burger served with a corn salsa, guacamole, tortilla strips, onions, and topped with a chipotle sauce, served on a whole grain bun).

And it was pretty delicious. The patty itself was very tasty, with a good amount of flavour and spice, not tasting like meat, but like the best veggie burger patty I’ve ever had (and I’ve actually had quite a few!)

The corn gave it crunch, the guacamole gave it creaminess, and the lettuce and tomato gave it the normalcy of a typical burger… all encased in a really nice, firm but soft bun… impressive!

The sweet potato air-baked fries were also very good… I ate the entire box!

So, my overall thoughts? This is a new, exciting place to visit in the neighbourhood, especially as I’d like to try their vegan macaroni and cheese with shitake bacon, along with some of their tasty-sounding salads.

At the same time, I was stuffed after eating the burger and fries, in a way that I’m not typically, even after having eaten a bigger meal. Maybe it was the extra-fluffy bread? It wasn’t the protein, as there wasn’t too much of it in the patty (or elsewhere…) so who knows!

One of the things I always wonder about with vegan food is how healthy it really is. Everyone goes on and on about the lack of meat, and I agree that it’s healthier to mainly be eating plants… but when you think of the cashew cream and all the other very fatty foods you end up substituting for things like milk or meat, you can end up eating many more calories… and even if they are healthier, it can make a difference over time.

I had checked out the calories for this food, out of interest, on the website, and no information is listed… other than a note saying that the focus is that “By eating carbs from veggies, healthy fats, and plant-based proteins you will stay full longer, maintain your blood sugar levels, and experience increased energy” – I agree with that, but it still doesn’t give us much information. They suggest that you go talk to one of the employees in-store about it. And that’s what I’ll do next time!

Foley’s, Fitzrovia

Meeting my friend Michelle for dinner one night, we tried out Foley’s, which has great reviews and a cosy atmosphere… walking up to the restaurant, I loved that there is an oped window at the front with a little bar attached…  what a cool idea! Check out that mint, it would make a killer mojito…

But I ended up going for a chili margarita, Spicy Tommy’s Margarita, delicious! It was perfectly smoky and spicy without being too much.

Then, we started ordering food – the menu all looks delicious, and many of the dishes are quite substantive, but the one plate that Michelle insisted on getting was the cauliflower, which is char-grilled and served with tzaziki, a coriander chutney, grated tomato, and smoked peanuts. (See the middle dish)

We also ordered the aubergine (on the right) served with pomegranate, chili-lime yogurt, date molasses, feta and puffed quinoa.This was good, but not as amazing as it sounded… the aubergine was slightly overcooked which took away from the taste…

And finally, the Korean fried chicken on the left, this was very juicy with a nice crust and topped with sesame seeds and scallions… served with a Korean dipping sauce. Good, but this was a small plate, I would have ordered twice this much!

Hot Wok Kitchen, Holloway Road, London

A Friday when I was out and about, I stopped by a local place that I had been eyeing on Holloway Road after a meeting.

Hot Wok is always filled with people, and I do love my Asian food, so I decided today was a good day to try it out! The menu contains a mixed of Asian foods, all kinds of noodles from pad thai to stir-fried noodles, Chinese noodle soups and pho to laksa, and other stir-fried dishes.

As it was cold out and I was craving a heavier soup, I went for the Singapore laksa with tofu. It was darker and less creamy (ie, less coconut milk) than your typical laksa, with lots of spring onion, sprouts and tofu. The only thing I found weird was the noodles, they had put both vermicelli (which I love) and egg noodles (which I don’t so much) in the soup – I’m not sure if that’s their typical thing or if they had just run out of one kind of noodle… but it wasn’t great.

But, the soup was good and everyone else looked like they were enjoying their food too… so I’ll be back to try some other dishes soon!

The Wondertree, Gatwick Airport

A Friday afternoon as I was heading to Lisbon, I waited until I got to the airport to grab some lunch. The North Terminal has SO many better options than the South one, it’s crazy…

After wandering a bit and checking out different menus, I opted for the Wondertree. The place is decorated whimsically… but it somehow comes off similar to the airport restaurants in the Cancun airport…

For whatever reason, I was in a veggie mood, so went for a veggie burger and small Caesar salad. The burger was really good, a mix of spiced yellow peas and shredded veggies, served with arugula, hummus, tomato relish, slaw, and relish. It was a very good veggie burger!

With this, a small Caesar salad, with kale, avocado, gem lettuce, and Brazil nuts, in a smoky Caesar dressing. This was also delicious.

So? I will definitely be back here, the menu is varied and looks good… and I was able to have a really good meal!