Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Breakfast #2- Caravan

...a man cup of coffee after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

And that's strictly filter coffee and none of that Americano shoddiness. A cup that has been 'dripped' using freshly ground coffee beans is one of the few things that we all take for granted and by the love for caffeine; Caravan serves it and they roast their own beans. Massive tick for that alone.

I could quite easily live near Exmouth Market, not too far away from work..

…and a lovely church.

No stuffiness here and excellent service observed.

GRAIN TOAST –– £8.00

Daughter thought this was the best breakfast she’s had. Although labelled as a fry up, it’s not strictly so- where are the goddamn sausages and beans? She was right though, her platter was very good.

My two poached eggs on grain toast with a side order of an abattoir favourite. I’m a fussy grump but the otherwise perfectly poached eggs were served too cold. The smoked black pudding was an awe-full sight; quite the best thing I’ve had for a long time.

She loved the place and so did I. Highly prized. Lunch or dinner with booze awaits yours truly. Thank you Dos Hermanos.

11-13 Exmouth Market

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Sighburger

Not all food bloggers comply with this: what’s-hot-and-coz-I-wanna-be-in-the-fraternity-like. Some are more mettlesome and they go out and stir the poo and end up inverting the polarity of what’s supposedly food fit only for foodies. Well, if you’re an awkward person then I’m your kindred bro.

The plethora of burger reviews is getting too predictable and saturated. True I was on the bandwagon with my reviews of Goodman, Byron et al, but I’m getting bored, so much so I decided to post this. I wanted to name this semi-notable burger Ermintrude or Friesian, but I settled instead for the Sighburger.

A trip to your local kebab or southern fried chicken shop often hints that because you were well plastered after several pints of hop nectar you’ve been given carte blanche to eat whatever that has been deemed a sacrilegious eugh by sober folks. But, all hands on heart, the doner kebabs or battered wings (eerily each one of them the size of a drumstick from a normal freeranger), you know and I know that they were just about delicious…oh I mean okish. And besides the only symptom you’ll rewarded with is the guilt you ate and enjoyed it the night before…but you still live.

These places (seek out Kilburn, Finsbury Park, Clapton, etc) are also home to the Sighburger. No matter where you go just to seek it, it’ll be consistently the same. The burger patties probably came from the same cash-and-carry or the solitary meatpacker who harnesses the monopoly to supply them. This dairy herd burger fulfils the stomachs and the love of the good but common people.

The colour red has somehow gone amiss from this shot, but I could’ve used Photoshop and added more saturated red hue to it (the paler ones below are chicken); that would be utterly misleading and contravening. Instead the lacklustre looking patties are a good sign that the Sighburger is sold here.

This kind of burger can only be cooked one way- beyond well done.

There you have it, unethical food packed in an equally unethical polystyrene clamshell, how totally complete and appropriate. Service with a smile, he was a gracious dude.

The ½ pounder at £4.80 with Kraft-like cheese and salad that usually accompanies the usual kebab wrap plus loads of fake Heinz ketchup. Why and how does it tastes so vaguely reassuring, well because bone marrow is already included by default and not to mention the spinal cord, sinew, pluck, etc. A gorgeous looking burger that preserves the paste-like meat consistency, not ground or minced but purposeful. Yum, yum…hic…yum. hic…

This post is in response to this. So he might as well add this to his list of burger sighs. Yawn.

NB I was quite sober when I had the burger but not so when I wrote the post.

Like all fast food joints, receipts are hard to come to by….

Express Kebab
24 Notting Hill Gate
Notting Hill

Friday, 9 April 2010

Breakfast #1- The Hackney Pearl

Where the hell is Hackney Wick? Well, chuck all your compasses away and switch off that magnetometer. Take this tip (‘tis simple to follow and pretty much failsafe except for the tedious time it takes to get there)-

Go to Portman Square (yes I don’t give a donks if you don’t happen to reside near Arc de Marbre) where the not so iconoclastic Churchill Hotel planteth. Now wait patiently at the graffiti-free bus shelter for the bus 30 (frequencies vary from 15mins to a dozing 23mins, but worse during lazy weekends). When upon embarking (do watch out for ticket inspectors), start reading Episode 13, Nausicaa from Joyce’s Ulysses. This will take as long as the 30’s destination stop to Hackney Wick (‘bout 67mins). Once alight, obviously with the insistence and assistance of the driver waking you up by shouting ‘last stop!’. A different dimension offering a varying degree of obliqueness awaits you. You’ve now arrived at Hackney Wick, ‘well-lost’ epitomises the place.

Perhaps I’ve been lucky (often with my bearings switched off), most of the folks who live here have been accommodating enough to direct me to The Counter, Fish Island, Wick Café (model greasy spoon caff), 1500m vantage point of the 2012 Olympic Stadium, BSM hotspots (driving lessons…lemon squeezy three point turns) and Oslo House where The Hackney Pearl inhabits.

The Hackney Pearl is a café and bar. And like all the new and fringy establishments of its ilk, it excuses itself on the simplicity and no-nonsense school as far as the grub and interiors are concerned. Fact of the matter is that I love the ambience, the unrelenting airiness, genuine welcome and the enticing looking menus. As for the food, well I can only pen about the breakfast and coffee, methinks a second posting if and when I come back here for lunch or dinner.

Does an elephant have a good memory or a spider need four pairs of Ray-Bans? Indeed, Square Mile Coffee is served here.

Americano- call me a stupid git for ordering such an ineffectual preparation…diluted espresso…deep down I thought it might provide the virtuousness of good old filter…so through no fault of Hackney Pearl I’m an ignorant buffoon…poor. £1.80

Flat White- the barista is still coming to terms…more time needed. £2.00.

Double espresso- a redeeming embrace after the Americano miscreation


Bubble & Squeak with Fried Egg- Companion’s choice. Nice she said. Sure? I asked. Yes, she said. £6.00 is a lot for a portion that’s bordering on meagre.

Scrambled Free Range Eggs on Toast with free range Devon Bacon- Yes this post is a breakfast series and this is no full blown fry-up, but the eggs were cooked beautifully and the bacon rasher (gawd I’m sure there was only one so hence singular) was very good. But the problem was the night before I’d too much obnoxious Retsina… a single piece of toast is simply not enough to soak up the self-inflicted excesses… I was still hungry after that serving. £6.00.

The Counter, 8.5mins walk away, although more erratic in its service and dare I say the haggard furniture, serves better coffee and brekkie*. But The Hackney Pearl is jewel nonetheless, not a rough diamond but simply unpolished. I look forward to either lunch or dinner here soon, follow-up post beckons.

*The food service at both establishments can be excruciatingly sluggish, think slow food movement, so please don’t throw a wobbly if your tummy starts to rumble. Curb that kvetching!

11 Prince Edward Road
(Grnd Flr Oslo House East Wing)
Hackney Wick
London E9 5LX

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Whatever ambitions I might have for mastering the art of coffee cupping are unfortunately still put on hold, as my sense of smell remains iffy. Came here because of three reasons; a lady I met at Climpson & Sons told me about it a few months ago, peered furtively about it from my ever reliable flickr contact and the person who's contributing to the rest of this post. Been here twice and I'm convinced (fingers crossed) that Wilton's have somehow provided yours truly with fantastic C8H10N4O2 healing. The flat whites conferred properties of blissful caffeine exhalation, I think I may well be hooked once again. I'm recommending this place as well as ahackinhackney, so over to her-

In the backstreets of Hackney E8, its café-fication steps up a level … this is, of course, something that I am delighted by, my fondness for whiling away time in cafes has often been remarked upon, measuring out my life in, yes, yes, coffee spoons.

In a street in what is now fashionable London Fields, across which I very much doubt Martin Amis ever strod, his shortened jeans flapping away in the breeze, despite the name of his novel, hey there Mr Walk on the Wild Side, Candy Darling would like a word! (I always thought his was writing for those who don’t read… however, I digress.)

Wiltons café, on Wilton Way, is a bright, light venue tucked away in an obscure street behind the Hackney Empire that has been carefully designed to maximize space and using reclaimed materials creatively, its blank canvas walls decorated with some beautiful spare prints.

This cafe also boasts its own radio station, London Fields Radio ( which broadcasts a fascinating and diverse range of shows.

Serving good quality sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee, (Climpson’s) and the most delicious flat whites that the esteemed Bellaphon tells me he has tasted this year, unfortunately I am no connoisseur All I can report is that my coffee was delicious. Wiltons is a lovely jewel.

Thank you Hack for the write-up.

63 Wilton Way
London, E8 1BG