Thursday, 28 April 2016


Tarka dal

Almond and apricot cake

Another weekend, another brunch as my motto seems to be at the minute. This time Steve and I visited a local Highbury brunch destination, Frank's Canteen before a visit to The Emirates to see Arsenal.

Steve had read about Frank's Canteen in on of those 'best brunch places in London' type books and being in the area that weekend we knew it was worth stopping by. Open until 3pm we were lucky to grab ourselves a table an hour before closing and before they'd run out of food.

We ordered the tarka dal (spoiler: it was incredible) and the roasted ham and sweet potato hash. The tarka dal is a veggie dish and one of the best brunch plates I HAVE EVER HAD. Toasted naan covered in thick dal, chilli chutney, cheddar cheese, crispy onions and two perfectly poached eggs - this was an indulgent dish packed full of flavour. I really wish Steve and I hadn't decided to share because I wanted to eat every last scrap of this myself.

The ham and sweet potato hash was lovely but after trying the dal there was no way anything was going to compare. Despite almond and apricot cake not normally being too my fancy we wanted a little sweet for the road so ordered this cute little cake to share. It was perfectly spongy with a lovely splodge of fruit on top.

Our visit to Frank's Canteen was a last minute decision that I couldn't be happier about. The menu changes all the time but I think certain dishes rotate a bit so I'm sure you'll be able to try the tarka dal for yourselves at some stage. It's open for brunch and Sunday roasts but they don't take reservations so be prepared to wait a little as the space isn't huge. If you live in Highbury I am extremely jealous that you have this local gem.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016


Cornish seawood and cider salami

Smoked pork belly and pea croquettas

Mazzancolle prawn

Courgette fries

Cornish crab tagliarini

Confit swordfish

I feel it's a little redundant writing about Olyroyd as it was so long ago that I visited but I've had these photos sitting around in my saved folder for ages so it seems a shame to just disregard them completely. Note to self: write up restaurant reviews within a week next time.

Tom Oldroyd was one of the brains behind Polpo but now he's opened up his own restaurant slap bang in the middle of Upper Street, Angel. There's definitely a distinct Polpo vibe to the place, a sharing plates, Mediterranean style menu in a causal but refined setting but I'm not complaining because I adore Polpo. The menu is seasonable so I doubt anything I ate will be present at the minute but that doesn't really matter because well thought out, simple dishes with excellent ingredients will carry through from season to season.

We popped in for a very early dinner one Monday which is why the place looks so empty but by the time we were leaving every table was full. The restaurant is pretty small with a few tables around the bar downstairs and a slightly bigger space on the first floor. We had our pick of tables so sat in the covetable corner spot to survey the rest of the space.

We started with the seaweed and cider salami which didn't really taste like either seaweed or cider but I enjoyed it regardless. I didn't realise the dish was going to come with cornichons, I'm not a fan to be honest.

Next up were the pork belly and pea croquettas which were wonderful - deep fried fluffy parcels with a bright green interior and an earthy truffle mayonnaise on the side.

We probably should have ordered a mazzancolle prawn each but they're actually pretty big and meaty so you can just about share one.

I remember loving the courgette fries, crispy and not at all soggy which is quite often the case with these sort of chips. I love how wild they look in the bowl.

I was taken aback by the size of the crab tagliarini, it was huge. Essentially a massive pile of spaghetti tossed with shellfish with a tasty olive oil based sauce this was the probably the simplest dish we had but it was still enjoyable.

The confit swordfish was definitely a stand out plate. This was a big portion of food and the fish was incredibly meaty yet soft and succulent, the sign of a well cooked dish. Packed full of flavour from the herbs and bean salad this was delicious.

Oldroyd is great and I'm definitely keen to return again. With an ever changing menu and a fantastic set lunch option this is a fantastic North London destination that I'm sure will continue serving wonderful, simple yet talented dishes for a long time.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016


Bao Diddley

Mr Bao

I love bao so I was excited to try the newly opened Mr Bao on an impromptu trip to Peckham at little while ago. We arrived at the restaurant for an early dinner but front of house told us the place was full so they took my number to give us a call in an hours time. Perfect, no queueing outside so we popped to the pub across the street. An hour later my mobile started to buzz so we headed back where a little table for two was waiting for us.

The menu is a small plates, designed for sharing type vibe and split into small sharing plates and baos so we ordered a little of everything. Steve had a Taiwan beer whilst I drank an extremely delicious peach flavoured beer.

The small plates really stood out, especially the fried chicken (succulent and crispy) and the soy glazed steak special (perfectly rare). I also loved the ponzu dip that came with the broccoli. The sweet potato chips were perfectly fluffy on the inside and crispy on the out. Afterwards I was told by a friend that the beef soup is amazing so that's definitely on my list next time I visit.

We decide to share a couple of baos as we knew we'd fill up on the small plates. Not being a fan of lamb or mushroom we were left to order from the Mr Bao (slow braised pork, pickles, peanut powder and coriander) and the Bao Diddley (fried free rang chicken, wasabi mayo, kimchi and coriander). Both were tasty, I particularly enjoyed fried chicken as my love for anything wasabi related is increasing at an alarming rate plus I like the juxtaposing contrast in texture between the crispy meat and soft cloud-like bun.

As soon as I saw the menu I knew I'd be ordering dessert. Fried bao, toasted marshmallow and chocolate sauce is basically anything I could every want in a pudding, I loved it!

I enjoyed my meal at Mr Bao and the fact you can book a table makes it less hassle than visiting Bao in Soho. The food is excellent value, you can choose 3 plates per person for £15 maximum and the portion sizes are generous. Whilst I probably wont go out of my way to Peckham for Mr Bao alone I'll definitely eat here again next time I'm in the area.

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Friday, 22 April 2016


Fried Chicken, Egg & Croissant Waffle

Moroccan Eggs & Sobrassada Toast

Avocado & London Feta on Toast with Poached Eggs

Macaroni Cheese

I think it's pretty clear how much I love brunch, most of my recent reviews have been breakfast-come-lunch hybrids. I want to say that all this hard work (eating) is for the sake of my readers as I track down the best brunch in London but let's be honest, I'm just being greedy.

This time Foxlow is my restaurant of focus and I only have good things to report back. I was gutted when I missed the soft launch at the Balham branch which isn't too far from Wimbledon as I do love a 50% off treat. Nevertheless I finally managed to visit a few months ago when a much need girly catch up in a somewhat central London location (Clerkenwell) was needed.

I always knew I was going to have the fried chicken and croissant waffle option and I was not let down. Chicken is tricky, it's quiet often overcooked rendering it tough and dry but my meal couldn't have been further from this description. The chicken was succulent on the inside with a delightful crisp from the batter on the outside. The waffle, a pressed croissant, was perfect (not too stodgy) and combined with the runny fried egg and heavenly rich sausage gravy this was an incredibly delicious, indulgent meal.

The baked egg were very tasty with a rich tomato sauce and perfect runny yolks, plus the large portion of tomato bread on the side was much appreciated. The mac n cheese was some of the best I've had (rich and creamy) and I've been told the avocado and feta on toast was great too. I didn't have dessert on this occasion but you can't possibly go wrong with a salted caramel and chocolate mousse combo.

All-in-all Foxlow really hit the brunch time spot. The food is decent value with many dishes being generously sized and under a tenner plus the quality of the cooking is excellent. The Clerkenwell branch is a much appreciated haven away from the noise of other popular zone 1 destinations and it's made me want to pop in for a work lunch or early dinner very soon.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016


Lemon and za'atar chicken

Aubergine and halloumi

I love street food and one of my favourite new food trucks is Laffa, a gorgeous blue converted horse trailer, that specialises in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.

Laffa are doing a roaring trade on the London lunch time market scene and it's no surprise because their freshly made wraps are absolutely delicious. Last time I stopped by for lunch Steve and I shared an aubergine and halloumi (£6), and lemon za'atar chicken (£6.50) flatbread wrap. Whilst the chicken and halloumi is grilled whilst-you-wait, the wraps are stuffed with fresh salad and a harissa and tomato sauce. The final combination is a delicious blend of fresh, crunchy and slightly spiced salad with a generous portion of flavoursome protein. The veggie aubergine and halloumi wrap is my personal favourite but the chicken really packs a punch as well and if you're feeling greedy you can have a combination of the two.

I love Laffa, the food is extremely tasty and they're the only food truck offering Mediterranean wraps that I've come across. They also do the occasional pop-up where they serve a wonderful assortment of cold and hot mezze so make sure you keep an eye on them for their next location. In the meantime, get yourself down to one of their food truck locations for a might delicious, excellent value lunch.

Currently trading at Rupert St, Soho every Wednesday to Friday lunchtimes and Broadgate Circle on various weekdays.

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Monday, 18 April 2016


Corn and polenta cakes

Beef brisket hash


Brunch is quickly becoming my favourite social meal and every weekends brings about an opportunity to try somewhere new. The location of choice this time was Ottolenghi's NOPI in Soho and yesterday I met Sophie for brunch. I've never been to an Ottolenghi deli before and whilst I've always liked the sound of the middle eastern / healthy food vibe I hear they're overpriced. However, a quick browse of the NOPI brunch menu and I was pleasantly surprised, nearly all the breakfast plates are under a tenner.

Being the two little pigs that we are we decided to order three plates of between us because #YOLO.

First up was the corn and polenta cakes; two fluffy little parcels topped with a fried egg and plenty of dressed greens. I really enjoyed this plate, the cakes were light yet flavoursome and a great vegetarian option if you're fed up of eggs on sourdough.

It wasn't long until we were tucking into a generous portion of beef brisket hash which was melt in your mouth tasty. This came with another fried egg and was possibly the only meat option on the menu (for any carnivores out there).

Our final plate was the shakshuka (braised eggs, piquante tomato sauce, smoked labneh), a somewhat signature dish at NOPI and the most expensive item on the menu. I loved baked eggs, I love how the runny egg yolks blends with the tomatoes to create a rich and silk sauce. Perhaps we left it too late before eating this but the egg yolks were a little on the hard side for my like. That being said this was probably my favourite as the spicy sauce and smoked yoghurt were very flavoursome.

NOPI was lovely, the bill came to £43 which included three breakfast plates, two glasses of orange juice and a 12.5% service charge which I think is pretty reasonable for central London. I'd say the portion size varies a little between dish but three things between two was the perfect amount as our hopes for dessert at the Fortnum and Mason ice cream parlour afterwards were quickly dashed. NOPI is a great choice for a centrally location brunch spot with a twist and whilst I am intrigued to try dinner I think that could be a little on the expensive side.

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Friday, 15 April 2016


I'm going to get to the point straight away, The Good Egg in Stoke Newington is my favourite breakfast spot in London!

I first discovered The Good Egg a couple of years ago when they had a brunch pop up at a cafe in Islington. Steve lived around the corner at the time which was perfect because we were only a few minutes away from baked eggs and breakfast burrittos. Unfortunately Steve and I moved to Wimbledon and The Good Egg team moved further north to open their first proper restaurant in Stoke Newington, but alas their brunch is so delicious I don't mind the trek to the literal other side of London to try it.

I've been to the restaurant 3 times since it opened at the end of last year. Once for brunch during the soft launch, one for dinner a week later and more recently for another brunch visit. Steve's parents live in Angel so when they're on holiday we like to stay at their house and have our own little North London holiday.

The menu hasn't changed much since the opening and the food is just as delicious with it's Jewish / middle Eastern influences akin to the likes on Honey & Co, Palomar and Ottolenghi. The only noticable change I saw was the lack of the Jerusalem Breakfast which featured as 'coming soon' on our first visit. But to be perfectly honest I'm mainly there for the baked eggs.

Cornbread slice

Iraqi Aubergine Pita

Montreal Smoked Meat Hash


My advice for tackling The Good Egg is to arrive hungry. If you can manage to share three dishes between two people you are in for an absolute treat. Taking advantage of the 50% off on our first visit that is exactly what we did.

We ordered cornbread as we mulled over the menu, it's freshly made and arrives on your plate with a golden yellow glow. It's a thick slice but still remains light and buttery plus the honeyed butter and green chilli dip have a delightful twang to them.

We ordered the Iraqi Aubergine Pita to share which is one of my favourite items on the menu (once I've poked out the cucumber). The pittas come fully loaded with roasted veg, pickles and semi-hard boiled eggs. They're huge in size and beyond delicious. Whilst they're already covered in tahini sauce I love to add more of the green chilli dip for a bit of heat.

The Montreal Smoked Meat Hash was Steve's choice and definitely has an NYC deli vibe to it with the house cured pastrami brisket with fried potatoes. The fried eggs on top supply the perfect dip.

My absolute favourite is the Shakshuka, which is baked eggs on top of tomato and peppers with a preserved lemon yoghurt. It comes with a freshly made challah roll and a choice of rare-breed merguez sausage or halloumi (apparently you can have both if you ask nicely but I prefer halloumi). This dish is heavenly and once you break the eggs everything combines to make a wonderful rich tomato based sauce. I saw the bread till the end to wipe up the tomato and eggs remains. This is comfort food at its absolute best.

Cornbread slice

Iraqi Aubergine Pita

Breakfast Burritto


On our second visit we had the same again except for swapping the Montreal Smoked Meat Hash with the Breakfast Burritto. Everything was just how I remembered it, delicious. The burritto is packed full with eggs, chorizo, sauteed potatoes, cheese, refried beans, guacamole and hot sauce - basically everything you could possible want from a Mexican style breakfast.

The Good Egg is amazing, it's my favourite place to grab lunch without a doubt. The menu is interesting and excellent value considering the size of the portions. You can make a reservation and there's even a brunch focused cocktail menu for those that really want to go all out at 11 am on a Sunday morning. Considering this place takes me the good part of an hour to reach is a testament to how much I love it so visit immediately as you will not regret it!

PS I like dinner here but breakfast is definitely the show stopping choice.

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