Wednesday, 31 December 2008


No worries, we'll ride through this.
Happy New Year everyone.

New Year Eve's Supper

Lazy sod dinner- poor and lacking in nutrients!


Tonight’s auspicious dinner is simply a throwback from my uni days. Meals were simple then and the usual culprits included beans on toasts, cornflakes (usually consumed late at nights), tinned spaghetti and of course this dish.

Prepare a pack of your favourite instant.
Get a pack of unsalted and unflavoured crisps.

Chuck the piping hot noodles into your favourite bowl (yes that blue thing has been with me since time immemorial!)

Administer a generous amount of the said crisps on top of the noodles, and let it soak the soup up gradually.
Now slurp and enjoy the 'crispy' noodles without a care in the world.

NB The unflavoured crisps is taken care of by the triplets of E621, E627 and E631 (don’t Google this, they are simply variants of MSG), and salt (huge amount as per usual) from the soup base powder. I tell you Sybil, where would we be without instant noodles.

23/01/09 reprise-

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wahaca, White City


Highly enjoyable lunch with daughter. I don't really care about the authenticity of this place I thoroughly enjoy the food here.

Guacamole and Tortilla Chips

Pork Pibil Tacos

Citrus Fizz

Char-grilled steak Burrito plus extra addition of Baja Cheese

Devon Crab Taquitos

Churros y chocolate

The service, although erratic, was friendly and genuine. Three cheers for Wahaca!


A place that bloggers detest, but not me!
Wonderful Wahaca!

There’s an unhealthy perversion in myself that wishes to bring a certain type of restaurant down by penning a dire review. There is a kind of restaurant that has been overhyped beyond belief, more often than not for the wrong reasons. Wahaca is one such outfit, it demanded an immediate appraisal from yours truly.

After two disappointing experiences at both Benito's Hat and Chilango, I’d all
but given up on the Mexican taquería way of eating in London. Wahaca thrives on feeding people quickly, affordably and with well-sourced ingredients; a sound approach, but not one that’s enough to convince me. Besides the idea of basement dining and the constant queues at the Covent Garden branch were off-putting enough, period.

Westfield Centre is a place I don’t go gaga over (I’m no shopper you see) but the draw of the fifty or so eateries offering dishes from duck burgers to beef noodle soups is enough to validate any visit. Wahaca is where I had my first Westfield meal, the default came about as they had a table available for my solo supper that involved no arduous queuing.

Wahaca described their site on The Southern Terrace as beautiful, I beg to differ as this sort of architecture adopts a very dated look in no time.
The ambience is not too unlike the restaurant that’s attached to a random airport, its raison d'être being purely to kill time. The service I’m glad to say didn’t mimic the synthetically overbearing one found at Covent Garden as reported by other bloggers. Despite the smiles and cutely looks from the waitresses, the efficiency is woeful (doubly so considering that Wahaca has been opened here for two months).

A quick pointer before I talk about the food, this sort of cuisine demands that you turn up with a group of friends so that the huge varie
ty of dishes offered on the menu can be shared, savoured, tried and enjoyed.

The first order of chicken Taquitos turned up pretty quickly (my word, they don’t mince what they say about feeding people quickly!)-

Of what little chicken there were in the tortillas, they were extremely tender and gorgeous, obviously aided by the wonderful combination of the Lancashire cheese and tomato salsa filling.

The second street dish that followed soon after was the tacos filled with pork-

This Yucatecan recipe was an absolute triumph; subtly spicy, the delicious pork shreds were more ‘pulled’ than the inferior one found at Bodean’s.

Alas the pudding of Churros y Chocolate was less successful- the doughnuts, although cooked to order were greasy and didn’t taste of much; likewise the accompanying chocolate lacked kick and intensity.

Judging by the wonderful Tacos and Taquitos I had this evening, I can’t wait to try out the Quesadillas, Tostadas, Enchiladas and the mother of them all, the Burrito. I’ve taken my hat off to a few food heroes this year, of what’s left of 2008 I would more than gladly take my sombrero off to Thomasina Miers. Thank you.

1074 Westfield Shopping Centre,
Ariel Way,
London W12 7GB

Monday, 29 December 2008

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

These are the following criteria needed to be my dream dining companion:

1. Female- I prefer the company of women, simple as that and totally non negotiable.

2. Intellect- Important, the slightest indication of two short planks gives me
goose pimples.
3. Charisma- This rare trait can be exchanged for number 2.
4. Talent- Mother Nature furnished us all with at least one talent, sadly a lot of us opt not to realise it. (Mine was* red wine tasting, I could tell which grape variety or blend, where it came from, what vintage {well
± 3 years} and so on)

That stated, here's my roll call;

Kirsty Wark- I can never get enough of current affairs, the inclusion of which can only cause the meal to be
libacious. Besides it would also be a foregone conclusion for Kirsty with her charming accent to recite Address To a Haggis on Burns' night (then again it needn't be 25 January, as I'll still include the haggis in my dream dinner anyway ).

J. K. Rowling- My absolute cuppa. As a
purveyor of all matters relating to wizardry and witchcraft, I'm sure her presence alone at the table will be magical.

Sue Perkins
- We all need someone to provide the laughs during a meal. No one can spontaneously wisecrack better than Sue. Her contribution to the BBC’s The Supersizers Go...simply cemented her inclusion; the woman ate everything that was presented to her without a fuss. She’s a dudette.

Montserrat Caballé
- We need a singing voice, a beautiful voice for "Casta diva" from Bellini's Norma. I know that with all due respect she's getting on a bit, but I'm totally confident she'll comply and sing the said piece to accompany the ortolan dish.

Liz McClarnon- Imagine being locked up with her in a well-stocked kitchen. This young lady is indeed blessed, what with the pop thing and then the food. I found her demeanour on Celebrity Masterchef to be fresh, no nonsense and what you see is what you get. It's gotta be that scouser thing.

On the bench (just in case of any pullouts)- Charlotte Uhlenbroek, IsabelleHuppert, Shami Chakrabarti.

There, there. I shall keep you posted on the menu.

*was, because I no longer drink.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Bob Bob Ricard

I’ve only just gone and done it. I came here and had the most expensive Full English this year.

Bob Bob Ricard is apparently the name of the two owners, so if you don’t mind I’ll hazard on the collective names of Robert and Tricky.

Although I’m neither a fan of David Collins nor any other interior designers for that matter, the dining room here did elicit a delightful decadence and the ambience I found simply beguiling.

As expected the service is top notch and despite the rather indifferent comments on the pink jackets and waistcoats worn by the male waiting staff, I found this detail to be salubrious for London dining.

The toaster found on each of the tables has already become an iconic feature of BBR. The thing that niggles is what happens when you knock your glass of Buck's Fizz onto the powered toaster; I duuno but litigious tendencies come to mind.

The expensive fry up I had consisted of good ingredients but I can’t help but quibble at the mean portion of one of everything on the plate- one rasher, one sausage, one egg etc.

Together with a pot of decent loose leaf Earl Grey, I did enjoy my breakfast, one never felt rushed nor did the elbows end up greasy.

To offer 18 hours of continuous near posh dining daily is nothing short of a niche worth striving for. For this alone I welcome BBR to the fold and long may they thrive.


Saturday, 27 December 2008

Of tangerines, clementines and satsumas.

If I'm gasping for a puff of that dreaded weed, I have one of the above. I could quite easily gobble up to ten of these within a day. I'm not entirely sure as to what sort of repercussions might entail from the overeating of these fruits. A friend has suggested the worst case scenario of 'slowly but surely' poisoning from related insecticides. I'm sure that fags are a lot worse.

Anyway while I'm at it here's my tuppence worth;

Tangerines taste the best out of the three but they have seeds in them (I abhor spitting) and the best fruits come from Morocco.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Malaysia Kopi Tiam


Take away dinner of fried chicken wings at £3.00 and Char Kway Teow at £5.00. The latter was commendable.

Came back here on the back of Su-lin's visit.
Faux 'al fresco lunch' (pollution filled Charing Cross Road) but thankfully MKT lived up to its well above average billing.

Yong Tau Foo at £2.80

Hakka Mee at £6.50

Dinner with Loveless George.

Chicken Feet and Mushrooms on the side- £3.00 Cheap, considering the ingredients. Good.

Hokkien Mee- Hokkien Fried Noodles or Black Noodles. Nigh on authentic. Recommended.

Cantonese Fried Ho Fun- or to be literally precise, Slippery Egg Fried Ho Fun. Pretty decent as well.

The mains have certainly diminished in size but the taste is all there. Thank you Mr Kikunae Ikeda.


All credit to samantha_tan for her review in Trusted Places.

‘Kopi tiam’ is the Hokkien dialect for coffee shop and an important part of Chinese Malaysian culture where it’s the perfect rendezvous for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Malaysia Kopi Tiam (MKT) has stalled and started twice before, first at Wardour Street and then at Dean Street. Now third time lucky, I hope this new home of theirs is more permanent for the sake of the diners and of course MKT’s own ephemeral reputation. The new premises is located in perhaps the worst of all arcades (ironically for MKT as most of the past tenants here have been evidently short lived) ever designed in London or perhaps the world, it’s grim and totally loveless.

There’s absolutely nothing chic about the dining room and the prefabricated ambience must have been included as part of the deal from Restaurants "R" Us. In line with most Malaysian eateries, you can expect a fair bit of acknowledgement and at least a smile from the waiting staff.

Iced Soy Milk

Iced Coffee with Condensed Milk

I’ve been here twice and also glad to report that the food here is indeed authentic and extremely good.

The Curry Laksa (I’m au fait with the gravy being rich and thick) was to date the best I’ve had in London and it was also good to see that it came with proper chicken pieces on the bone and none of that bleached white and synthetic tasting breast meat.

The noodle dish of Hokkien Mee (main components being thick yellow noodles fried and braised in thick dark soy sauce (and preferably loads of lard!)) is notoriously difficult to recreate, thankfully MKT has done a respectable job with this delicious offering from Kuala Lumpur.

Nasi Lemak was another dish that made the mark, no obvious shortcuts, perfect chicken curry and proper coconut rice were duly observed.

Yong Tau Foo

Deep Fried Fish Tofu

Other suggestions like Yong tau foo (Stuffed beancurd and veg), Kangkung (Water Convolvulus) fried in Belachan and Pig skin soup are not to be missed. Perusing the rest of menu is enough to make me feel hungry.

Generous portions and good value all-round. MKT is currently the best non-halal Malaysian in London.

NB For some strange reason MKT bill themselves as serving both Malaysian and Thai (!) cuisine, so it goes without saying; ignore the latter altogether and stick to the former.

67 Charing Cross Road
London WC2