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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.

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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.

 

4/5

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Yesterday was a great day at work.  Not only did I find a forgotten fiver in my desk drawer, but I was lucky enough to be invited along to Pierre Hermé for a tasting at their London Boutique.  I had heard of Pierre Hermé a few times before from Parisien friends.  I knew he had a reputation as a superstar pâtissière, but I had no idea of the delights that were to come.

We were greeted by our contact, the impossibly beautiful, impossibly French Matilde.  She told us about Pierre Hermé’s history.  Sometimes known as ‘the Picasso of Pastry’, PH studied under Gaston Lenôtre and previously consulted for Fauchon and Ladurée before setting up his own boutique in Tokyo 16 years ago.  The past 2 years have seen the first 2 British outposts.   I was pretty surprised to hear that his first shop was in Tokyo, but I think something of the very simple branding of the product, and the complex fruit and floral notes of his monthly Jardin D’antan collection probably reflects those Eastern influences.  Below is the picture of PH that we were shown which I found inappropriately hilarious. It looks like the caption might read “Chocolate macaroons?? I dunno, maybe add some foie gras?”

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Anyway, on to the actual tastings.  Firstly, it’s worth noting that the macaroons really are remarkably beautiful.  The shop had a macaroon Christmas Tree decoration, and the beautiful shine and colouring in the macaroons looked incredible when assembled into a structure in that way.  Even under the glass counter they glistened and sparkled, all ranges of colours and contrasts.  Another thing that is instantly noticeable is that they are significantly fuller than most macaroons (I’m looking at you Ladurée)- with a sizeable hunk of ganache between each shell. YUM.

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The salted caramel macaroon was a perfect mix of sweet and savoury, and the almost bitter taste of very dark caramel worked beautifully with the tang of sea-salt.  The signature ‘Mogador’ macaroon (Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit) was a beautiful yellow flecked (apparently by hand) with dark brown, and tasted of intense passion fruit, whose sharpness was tempered by the smooth milk chocolate.  It was delicious, although admittedly the name is a little too Lord of the Rings to be instantly appealing.   The one macaroon I regretted not trying was the Dark Chocolate and Foie Gras variety.  I really didn’t believe it could work, but after trying his White Truffle macaroon (below) I realise I should have trusted him enough to request one.  My colleague did try this one, and she assured me that it was beautifully rich, and perfectly balanced between sweet and savoury.

The best macaroon I tried was genuinely unlike anything I have ever tasted before.  The White Truffle and Hazelnut macaroon.  My initial reaction to this is that it was probably a bizarre and thoughtless mashing of luxury ingredients.  I was wrong.  This macaroon is (necessarily) seasonal, and it LOOKS festive, shining like snow in white and silver. As soon as you lift it to your mouth the fragrance of the white truffle hits you, and- I admit- I was nervous to see how this would work with the sweet Macaroon.  The answer is: incredibly.  The closest I can come to describing it is to see imagine eating a mouth meltingly sweet piece of garlic. But of course it is so much sweeter, and so much more subtle and complex with the truffle flavouring.  It was genuinely astonishing.  Admittedly, it probably isn’t for everyone, and my colleague had a small retch at her first bite.  For me, it was perfection and I know I will be returning for a box for Christmas day.

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Thanks to the lovely Matilde and Jenny for such a wonderful morning. And to PH I guess, for making the best macaroon I’ve ever tasted.

(Photographs courtesy of the lovely Sarah Blaize-Coar @sassyblaize, image of Pierre Hermé from telegraph online).

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Like everyone who has a job and has a vague interest in politics,  I have been borderline addicted to the Leveson live stream.  Yesterday however, I was in meetings all day,  and was so forced to watch coverage of Paxman from afar, and silently, on the office projection.  I have to say, silent Paxman looked formidable, yet I didn’t get the impression anything too shocking was going on. I later learned that the great revelation of the say was that Paxman claims that Piers Morgan ‘told him how to hack phones’.  Conclusions we can draw having watched his testimony WITH the sound on?  Firstly, Piers Morgan is probably a bit awful;  the impression of him that I got from Paxman’s anecdote was one of a boorish and bullying dinner party guest.  Which is strange for me, as I’ve always liked him rather more than popular consensus does.  Secondly, Paxman’s use of the phrase ‘Wet around the ears’ was hilarious.  And finally,  if we really consider the guests at this lunch it sounds like a really rather odd celebrity Come Dine With Me:  Victor Blank, Jeeremy Paxman, Piers Morgan, Phillip Green and Ulrika Jonsson. 

As you might have guessed, the above is Morgan’s retaliatory tweet.  Not sure Paxo’ll be too gutted.

Kiran Stacey’s piece on the FT Westminster blog this week comments on the likelihood of DVD Dave’s camp having leaked the story, knowing it would play well with the public.  I have to admit that, if this is the case, my last post is playing rather into their hands.  I stand by it though.  Not sure why, but I do.

Photo: Steve Back/Rex Features

This weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Andrew Hough’s ‘DVD Dave’ piece http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9276511/David-Cameron-how-karaoke-and-tennis-make-PM-a-chillaxing-champ.html.  I have now re-read it several times, and am still unable to put my finger on the exact tone of the article.  Superficially, it seems to be lauding David Cameron’s ability to take a break from a high pressure job (‘Mr Cameron’s enthusiasm for pursuits other than work is a healthy sign of an appetite for life.’) but it definitely has something rather more accusatory in its tone. ‘DVD Dave’ loves boxsets, date nights with SamCam and tennis fuelled with ‘3 or 4 glasses of wine’ on a Sunday if we are to believe this weekend’s revelations.  Friends have commented that ‘If there were a gold medal in Chillaxing, he’d win it’.  Putting to one side my instant queasy feeling when The Telegraph/ Tories/ Anyone over 16 uses the word ‘chillaxing’,  I found the whole thing rather unusual.  On one hand, we want our politicians to be refreshed (as Ed Cumming’s rather more pro-Cameron Telegraph article commented snidely This is what ‘the premiership of Gordon Brown taught us’)  but we also don’t really want them, relaxing and happy?  I suppose I’ve always thought that way too.  I suppose I’ve thought of the leader as the somewhat austere embodiment of the state itself, and yet that is of course, unfeasible.  While I’m sure most PMs are predominantly occupied with serious matters of state (Since Berlusconi left office at least),  four years is a long time to have no fun.

So I say gan’ on DVD Dave.  I have a lot of problems with DC’s premiership,  but him liking the occasional episode of The Wire isn’t one.