Monthly Archives: December 2012


I’d been wanting to go to this friendly looking Vietnamese café for a while, and I conveniently found myself starved and in the area yesterday.  I was pleased to find upon our arrival that the café is really pleasant inside, spacious and light with friendly staff.


We started with a Vietnamese coffee each; one iced, one hot. These were great, both very strong coffee but with just the right amount of condensed milk layered at the bottom of the cup.  The hot one was served with a jazzy on-cup coffee filter which I loved, and found I was also able to buy for only £3.50- bargain.


We ate lunch, having one dish each with a side salad to share, which was far more than we needed.  Be warned, the main dish portions are huge.  My sister had the Com Dia Chicken Satay Curry (£6.50).  The curry was thin and could have been a little more seasoned for my taste.  The chicken thigh was really tasty, and the spicy potatoes in the curry were delicious.  The dish was served with sticky rice and a quite endearing little salad garnish.  We both shared a Goi Prawn and Pork Salad (£5.50), which was the highlight for me.  It consisted of vermicelli noodles with grated carrot, spring onion, peanuts and various other treats and was seasoned perfectly; spicy, salty, sweet and sour.  It was a generous size for the price, and thoroughly enjoyable.



I had the Nanh Canh Noodle Soup with Pork, Prawn and Crab (£7.90).  This was a hefty bowl of soup, with a good serving of all 3 meats.  It was also served with fresh lemon and chilli for you to add to taste, which I liked.  My only beef with the dish was that the homemade noodles were perhaps a little thicker and gummier than I would have liked, but overall I really enjoyed it, and felt thoroughly satisfied, if a little heavy, by the end of the meal.


As you might have noticed, we didn’t try the Báhn Mì, largely because it was such a horrible day that we felt in need of something warming, but I definitely intend to go back and give them a go.  However, the dishes we had were pretty decent overall with a special mention for that amazing Goi salad.  Given the price, I would definitely return for a speedy, but tasty, lunch.


Báhn Mì Bay

4-6 Theobald’s Road




 a.k.a. Ridiculous Meal for one

I left work one night this week having thought about steak pretty much all day.  Since bout 8am my eyes had been pretty much glazed over, as I was thinking about every steak I’d ever known.  I even googled a few steak images (and, in doing so, found this gem of a tattoo.)

However, I realised that it was a night where my house was (unusually) empty.  Usually there are at least 3 of us together at dinnertime.  Not so tonight.  So, as I was rattling around the shops picking up food I was thinking, ‘Just me tonight. Light salad. Probably just have, like, a pitta.’  And then I saw a steak.

What followed was probably the most ludicrous meal for one I have ever cooked, for myself, on a work night, alone.

Small handful cherry tomatoes


1 Banana Shallot

½ a Red Chilli

1 Clove Garlic

1 tsp Sugar

First chop the tomatoes into halves or quarters.  Thinly chop the shallot, chilli, garlic, and parsley. Mix together in a bowl with a glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and a teaspoonful of sugar.  Leave to…I want to say ‘macerate’?


1 large Maris Piper potato

Few springs of Rosemary

Peel the potato and chop quite evenly into 1cmx1cm squares. Heat olive oil and a few sprigs of rosemary in a frying pan, and add the potatoes.  Cook the potatoes over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, tossing them in the pan every minute or so. The pan should become quite dry, but the potatoes will not stick, but should slowly begin to brown as they cook.

1 Steak

When your potatoes are almost done, season your steak and rub a little oil onto it. Place into a very hot pan for 1-2 minutes each side for a rare steak. I’m not sure how to do other levels of cooking but I assume just leave it in longer.

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 black peppercorns

3 egg yolks

225g Butter


When the steak is done, take it out of the pan and leave to rest while you do your Béarnaise.  Boil the vinegar & peppercorns until they reduce by half, then strain into a heatproof bowl, over a pan of gently simmering water. Don’t let the water boil and touch the bowl, come on now.  Then add your eggs and whisk furiously until it becomes light and frothy.  Take off the heat and whisk in the melted butter, salt, pepper, and tarragon.


ImageServe the steak with a jug of Béarnaise, a good spoonful of tomato salad, your PDTs and a nice glass of Prosecco.  Voilà – a ridiculous meal for one.

P.S. apologies that I didn’t wipe the jug clean properly. I’d never make it in a top kitchen.


So, the time of year has come again…when everyone is totally disgusting and ill.  Given that basically everyone I know has been struck down with what my dad has always inexplicably called ‘stomach on the chest’ (?!), I felt the time was nigh for some comforting chicken dumpling soup.

Now my initial approach would usually be, chicken soup, drop in some Matzo balls, done. But, I remembered a while ago seeing Rachel Khoo (of The Little Paris Kitchen fame) making chicken quenelles in a broth and so I thought why not give that a go.

Chicken Stock:

Chicken carcass, bashed up a bit (hence this is perfect for a day-after-roast-chicken dinner),  alternatively you could use some wings and drumsticks, and remove them and pick the meat off to whizz up for the quenelles.

2 onions

2 carrots

2 celery sticks

Couple of Bay Leaves, bit of Rosemary & Thyme.

Fry off the veg in a big pot with a glug of oil until they’re just softened.  Season liberally with salt and peppercorns. Add the chicken and herbs, and fill pot with cold water.  Bring to the boil, skimming the gunk off the top as you go.  After 1.5-2 hours, sieve the mixture, leaving a tasty, almost clear chicken broth.

You can use as much of this as needed for the soup, and freeze the rest.

Or…buy some chicken stock and tell no one.


Chicken Quenelle Soup (Based on Rachel Khoo’s recipe):

Chicken Stock

2 Carrots (peeled and sliced in rounds)

5 Slices white bread (no crusts)

200g Chicken Breast

1 Egg & 1 Egg Yolk

100ml Double or Single Cream, depending on how heavy you want them


Handful chopped mushrooms

Heat a large pan full of chicken stock and add the chopped carrots.  Bring this to the boil while you blitz together the bread, chicken, eggs, cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper.  If you’re feeling really decadent you can also add 50g butter to the mix. Make quenelles from this chicken paste by passing it between two spoons, and drop them into the simmering soup base.  They should float, and take only about 5 minutes to cook.  A couple of minutes before they’re done, add your sliced mushrooms.  I like Chestnut or even Shitaake. Serve with an absolute tonne of chopped parsley on top.



This soup is really comforting on a cold winter’s day, and the quenelles are surprisingly rich and filling.  This will serve 4, but I don’t think it keeps very well so best to use it on the day.  Apologies for the filters on the pics.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking there.  Also, they make red wine look like coke.  Interesting.


I wanted to try Bone Daddies after reading that it was the place that one of my favourite food bloggers, Lizzie (aka Hollow Legs), was going to break a bout of veganism.  Since mostly I have found her to have a similar insatiable appetite for all things excessive and meaty, I knew I would like it.

Having opened only a month ago, Ross Shonhan’s self-styled rock’n’roll ramen bar is already massively popular.  We went at 9pm on a Tuesday night and waited about 20 minutes for a table for 3. The wait was crowded but not wholly unpleasant, as the staff were friendly, and there was a bit of queue-chat going on.  The venue is all high tables and stools crammed quite closely together, with walls of rock’n’roll images of Tokya biker gangs etc. overall, it’s pretty vibrant and fun from the moment you arrive.

Once seated, we received our drinks (reasonable prices, good selection of Japanese Shochu and Whisky) and ordered food immediately.  For a kind of starter, we had the long stem broccoli (£4.50) and the fried chicken (£5).  The broccoli was totally up my street- cold and with a bite, served with Yuzukosho mayo (I think!) which was perfectly spicy and tangy.  We also had the fried chicken which was served with a squeeze of fresh lemon: chewy and salty and delicious.



For my main, I couldn’t resist the Tonkotsu (£11) due to the ’20-hour bone broth’.  I added corn to mine (roasted and freshly sliced from the cob), but the range of possible add-on toppings was wide, and very reasonably priced.  One of these add-ons was a pipette of animal fat- possibly this would be nice with a lighter broth but it absolutely was not required in the case of the Tonkotsu.  The pork was delicious and falling-apart, complemented by crisp spring onions and pickled ginger.  The noodles were plentiful, the bamboo was soft and tasty, and the egg white was gelatinous with a runny yolk. The broth itself was delicious- incredibly deep with layers of rich pork flavouring. My only problem with this was that it was almost too rich.  Every spoonful coated the mouth (in a not-unpleasant way) but I found I couldn’t quite finish my bowlful, and felt VERY full after.

All in all, Bone Daddies is a raucous, fun and most of all tasty experience. Go with friends, expect to wait, have a few drinks, and slurp down some Ramen.  You’ll have a class time.




So to preface this I’m going to have to say I KNOW I’m late to the game with this one, but- in my defence- I’m pretty new to London, and Brixton is bloody miles away from where I live.  But yes, Honest Burgers is now known as a Brixton Village institution, despite its relative newness.   With 5 star reviews from Time Out, and similarly high praise on review sites, I had high expectations, which I’m happy to say were not disappointed.

Being a person who has barely been south of the river, finding Brixton Village was a little tricky for me.  Just to save those of you who are new to the area a bit of wandering, if you are coming from the tube you take the left hand entrance to Brixton Village (c.f. the right, where the delights of Wishbone lie).  Brixton Village on a weeknight is a bit of a ghost town, and Honest Burgers was the only place open in the area we were in.  Given there is always a wait, this could be a little annoying, but they take your phone number and give you a time estimate meaning you can wander off to a pub that’s a little further afield.


When we did get seated in the busy, makeshift-looking venue, we swiftly ordered a carafe of red wine (£11 and quite tasty) and went for the honest burger (£9).  They also had a fantastic sounding festive-y special (including cranberry and Camembert if I recall correctly), which looked lush, but I thought I should go with the classic.  It was beautiful. The beef is from Ginger Pig (meaning like me, it is Northern) and the quality of the meat was apparent thanks to the perfectly rare cooking; it really was exceptionally rich and juicy.  This was offset by the sharp pickled cucumber, and sweet onion relish.  It also included just the right amount of salty melted cheese (cheddar?) and a really tasty crispy bit ‘o’ bacon.  I’m a massive bread fan, and the bun was amongst the finest burger buns I’ve had the pleasure of tasting.  Sweet and perfectly toasted.  Each of the elements came together perfectly, and the result was undoubtedly one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.   All of the burgers come with Rosemary fries, which were perfectly salty with a real hit of rosemary.  My one criticism here is that ours were a little cold, but still very enjoyable.


Service-wise, our waiter was friendly and efficient (given the high turnover even late on a Tuesday night) and had an impressive tendril of mullet creeping out from under his pork pie cap.

In terms of negatives there were only 2 real drawbacks- the chips, as mentioned, were a bit cold and not quite as fresh as I’d hoped.  This is a very minor criticism, and I definitely could still have eaten another bowlful.

My second criticism is more about London’s weather than the restaurant itself.  It was around -4 outside when we visited, and despite being full to the brim, the restaurant’s ad hoc venue wasn’t much warmer.  On top of which around half of the tables actually ARE outside, and despite the canny fleecy blankets that are left on each chair, the lack of heaters mean they probably won’t be too pleasant from now until about March.

In spite of these minor criticisms, I would HIGHLY recommend going if you haven’t already.  I have also heard from friends that the original Brixton Village restaurant is preferable to the Soho version, so, whatever the weather, grab a coat and get y’sels down there.