Category Archives: £

Constancia

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a well cooked carnivorous meal. Amongst the stands lining Shoreditch’s Food Market, this stand stuck out the most. I could smell the meat from a mile away. I went directly to this stand without second thought because Argentinean beef is my weak point- the Argentineans really know how to prepare their beef. The sandwich exceeded my expectations- a mouth watering, medium-rare, excellent quality beefsteak glazed in a nice garlic-y Chimichurri sauce, with melted cheese and salad. A simple but perfect combination, I seriously recommend these sandwiches to any meat-fanatics. They have a restaurant located in Bermondsey (South London), which no doubt serves food just as great as this stand does, but with more choice.

£20 (2 people)

52 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3PH

Constancy: Website / Menu / Facebook / Twitter

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Herman Ze German

The German stereotype is taken to another level with ‘Herman Ze German’; the menu and decorations are bound to make you laugh. “Our Wursts are Ze Best” is written in neon lights on the wall, they have replaced the word chips with ‘pommes frites’, and they refer to women as ‘Fraulein’. The hotdogs themselves are perfectly cooked and juicy, and the sauerkraut is pleasantly combined with crispy onions. However as I prefer my hotdogs very saucy, I believe a healthy dose of mustard and ketchup is required. The bun I would say is the weakest part of the experience- very basic bread that doesn’t add much. The atmosphere however is cosy, the staff are friendly and service is great. It is the ultimate solution for a hot dog craving.

£14 (2 people)

33 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 5JP

Herman Ze German: Website / Menu / Facebook / Twitter

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Beijing Dumpling

It was the day after the clocks went back, and although it’s supposed to be the warmest October in years, the one hour change somehow made it feel that winter had descended upon us. On such a day, one must listen to the heart. And the heart pointed towards some good old steamed dumplings.

So I wandered into Chinatown and followed this dumpling compass to Beijing Dumpling, a fairly typical looking Chinatown eatery with the chefs situated near the entrance so curious travellers treading upon the West End’s Silk Road (otherwise known as Lisle St) can marvel as long threads of dough are flipped and kneaded into all sorts of dumplings, wontons, and buns. The restaurant was near empty, but for the smell of soy sauce and steamed pork balls, which made it as full as I need it to be. I went with the plate of Siu Long Bao. I also ordered their “Special fried rice.” Although I wasn’t expecting much, the service at this place wasn’t the greatest. The main waiter seemed to take great offence every time he was called, and hence he wasn’t exactly a pocket full of sunshine while interacting with me.

The Siu Long Bao dumplings were decently tasty, however the outer layer was a bit too thick, so there was a bit too much of a wheat taste instead of that of the pork ball in the soup. Also, I felt there wasn’t enough soup in the dumpling, making it a bit dry. The fried rice on the other hand, was extremely well made. The “Special” turned out to be a Yang Zhou Fried Rice, which is in my opinion the best kind of fried rice anyway. With minced barbecued pork, prawn, egg, and vegetables, it offers a mix of flavours like no other fried rice dish across any cuisine I’ve had. These guys got the texture and flavours all right, including the amount of soy and MSG to add which can be tricky, so props to them.

Charging £5 for 8 pieces of dumpling, and £4.5 for a very authentically and deliciously prepared fried rice, Beijing Dumpling definitely gives a good bang for your buck. Worth a visit if you are in the mood for a decent Chinese meal under £10!

£20 (2 people)

23 Lisle St, Chinatown, London WC2H 7BA

Beijing Dumpling: Menu / Facebook

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Baozi Inn

If someone closed my eyes, kidnapped (or gently transported), and dropped me in the middle of Newport Court, I would swear I was on a by-alley in a Southern Chinese city. The first restaurant on Newport Court is Baozi Inn, a typical, compact restaurant that serves a (surprise surprise) Southern Chinese and Sichuan Chinese fare.

Ambience wise it is just what you’d expect from such a place. The tables are essentially on top of each other yet seat multiple different groups. You’d have to struggle quite hard to not eavesdrop, however if you get my luck and the group sitting next to you talks about literally nothing other than chicken farming for 45 minutes, then it becomes less of a struggle. Also, don’t expect any sort of traditional Chinese music that you might hear at tourist traps. Here, they stick to the most authentic of Chinese restaurant music – yelling in every dialect China has to offer.

I ordered a plate of boiled pork Beijing dumplings, Chengdu pork wontons in a spicy garlic sauce, and Pork Dan Dan noodles. The dumplings were £7.50 for 8 pieces, and the noodles £7.80, very reasonable for the size of their portions. The Beijing dumplings were excellent, with great texture and perfect size of the pork balls inside. My only criticism would be that there should be even more of the boiled soup inside, so that the taste of the dumpling explodes in the mouth after biting it. The wontons were quite spectacular, completely doused in typical Sichuan chilli and garlic, with a great blend of tangy and spicy. Taking my first look at the noodles, I held my breath in fear, as it looked like just noodles and minced pork, with no chilli sauce!!! However, the gods were kind and I found that there was a significant amount of Sichuan chilli sauce, it had just sunk to the bottom. So if you eat this, make sure you properly mix the noodles with the sauce, as the sauce is what makes any Sichuanese dish. This dish most definitely held true to that as the sauce, like with the wontons, had a fantastic mix of spice and soy/tangy flavour that complimented the minced pork excellently.

A peculiar aspect of this restaurant is that the waiters seem to be in a rush to take away your plates when they have the slightest suspicion that you’ve finished eating. So in case you’re taking a slight break but are not done yet, keep a close eye on your plate as it might be snatched away at any second. Do this, and I’m sure you’ll end up loving this typical Southern Chinese gem as much as I do!

£30 (2 people)

26 Newport Ct, London, WC2H 7JS

Baozi Inn: Website / Menu / Twitter

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Al Forno

Al Forno by Shepherd’s Bush Green is delicious, if not slightly misleading. So I ordered a 13 inch Margarita Pizza (£4.80). The pizza was cooked to perfect and service was incredibly fast, even for pizza. The place certainly had an Italian rustic feel and the food was definitely worth it in my opinion. Especially with prices as low as this place, anyone who doesn’t give a place like this a try is missing out. I certainly will be going back so I hope to catch you there. Might try something different next time, maybe a lasagna? Also, the decor (inside & outside) is personally worth the visit whether you’re buying food or not.

£11 (2 people)

4 Romney Court, Shepherds Bush Green, London, W12 8PY

Al Forno: Website / Menu

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Panini House

Panini House on Exhibition Road has an unusual vibe, but lovely food! The Chicken Panini was a little too mayonnaise-y, but the flavors completely made up for it. The bread also was not great, so I cannot really explain why the sandwich worked so well. I was also served three salads, cole slaw, spinach & cucumber, and cuscus. I did not expect to like any of them, but I tried them all for the sake of this review and was thrilled! May have been the best coleslaw I have ever had. The other two were tasty as well and the whole plate was an unusual combination, but worked together flawlessly! I was planning on just eating most of the sandwich and getting to class early, but I took my time and ate it all. The Panini House also has very fast and quality service, which can be a deal breaker, even at the best restaurants. The interior confused me a little bit, everything looked very modern, but it was crowded and stiff.

£8.50 (2 people)

58 Uxbridge Road London W12 8LP

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Liz Cafe

Liz Café on Shepherd’s Bush Green has a great interior and inviting display case. The presentation is perfect for their style of bakery and manages the space well. I bought their Millionaire’s Shortbread (£2.30) to takeaway. (Keep in mind that it was damaged slightly on the way home, so the pictures are a little misleading.) The short bread and caramel were divine; I couldn’t get enough of those. The dark chocolate ganache was stale though. I really did not want to find fault with this cute bakery and yummy shortbread, but the truth is that their product was old. I haven’t been back, but I am curious to see if this was just a fluke, wishful thinking I suppose.

£10 (2 people)

7 Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8QQ

Liz Cafe: Facebook / Menu

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