Queenswood, Battersea

Queenswood – a cosey restaurant set in Battersea Square with a small but strong brunch menu. Our visit started with a frosty welcome and service was a little slow with things like tap water and sauces failing to arrive. But overall the staff were friendly and welcoming. I spent a good ten minutes trying to decide between the Mexican Egg and the Smoked Haddock Kedgeree… I went for the Mexican Egg but wished I had gone for the latter after it arrived. The egg was over baked and looked like it had been left under a heat lamp for a few minutes too long. The smoky pepper sauce lacked the smokiness I was hoping for… tasty but rather mediocre. The bread also had the same appearance as the egg – something a bit softer would have been nice for mopping up the sauce.

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Sarah went for the avocado on toast with a side of bacon. I had food envy and food envy does not suit me. I don’t deal well with it. She gave it a solid 10/10. It had a healthy helping of avocado and an egg cooked to perfection. Do I sound bitter?

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We had one gluten free diner who went for the QW English – unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of gluten free alternatives for the sausages and bread so these were removed. I thought it was a little off that they still charged the same price for the dish and didn’t offer to replace for extra bacon or beans.
I will definitely be heading back here to sample the dinner menu which looks right up my street.
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Dip and Flip, Wimbledon

Gravy. No roast is complete without gravy. I feel strongly that this could be extended to chips, sliced meat sandwiches and burgers. Obviously. To make all your dipping dreams come true Dip and Flip serve up a side of gravy with every burger and sandwich. As if they weren’t tasty enough already, the gravy adds that little bit of… hmm… that little bit of… DAM tastiness. You get me? Wondering why my sandwich has a candle in it? Yeh! It was my birthday meal venue of choice and I don’t regret it one bit.
I went for the sliced beef sandwich with Dijon mustard, gherkins and white cabbage slaw. Gravy in it and gravy on the side. Chips were smothered in mozzarella and… gravy!
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On previous visits I’ve had the Dip and Flip burger – cheese burger topped with sliced lamb…

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This is a no book kinda establishment so get in early or be ready to queue. The Wimbledon branch is the biggest so head here if you’ve got a large party. Otherwise go to Clapham Junction or Tooting. For true comfort food that goes above and beyond your standard burger, Dip and Flip is the place.

Department of Meat & Social Affairs, Northampton

Now that’s a mouthful. You’ll also be getting a mouthful of top notch British produce crafted into beautifully mouthwatering meaty treats at Dept. Meat. The menu boasts an array of burgers and hotdogs which are topped with things you have only dreamed of. Now if that doesn’t tempt you I don’t know what will. Well, may be the TRAYS of meat, now I like the sound of meat, on a tray. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the menu here.
Five of us piled into the cosy venue at the bottom of Bridge Street – depending on which way you approach it, you can’t miss it. The food they served up did not dissapoint:
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Hot dogs were GOOD. Burgers were GOOD. Sides were GOOOOD. We opted for a burger/hot dog each and shared five sides between us including chips (x2), nachos, onion rings and mac n cheese. All were quickly inhaled. My hot dog (the one with mac n cheese AND bacon) was delicious. The only thing I’d say is that I preferred the taste of the side mac n cheese as opposed to the one on my hot dog (probably because it had even more cheese and you can never have too much cheese). But I would order it again and again and again. Well, I wouldn’t because I plan on trying the whole menu and that would just slow me down.
What surprised me about the place is that it was remarkably light and quiet (noise wise, not people) for a place that I thought would have dimmed downed lights and loud music. We were sat in the same room as the bar which only had two tables and so the other room may have had a more lively atmosphere. This prompted mixed reactions from my fellow diners. Let me give you some examples:
  1. Dad – it was jolly nice to be able to hear each other talking (Dad also mentioned that it is very reasonably priced – he couldn’t believe how the amount of food and drink we got for what he paid).
  2. Those below the age of 30 – the atmosphere was a little lacking, a good place to take those who don’t appreciate having to battle with loud music.
So if you’re looking for a burger in Northampton I’d head to Dept. Meat if you’re going for a family meal. If you’re heading out for a more larey evening then head slightly more into town to MuMu. Both however have the following thing in common – they know how to cook a good plate of food.

DF/Mexico, Shoreditch

If you like…
  1. Mexican food
  2. Enough Mexican food to have the desire/need to undo the top button of your trousers… for under £10
  3. Mexican food that arrives in a flash
…then, would you believe it, I think I’ve found the place for you/my friend has found the place for you but I’m the one writing about you so I’m going to attempt to take the credit.
DF/Mexico is a self service style restaurant (but there are lots of friendly people too) with a great menu and very importantly, a great sauce collection too. If you like the sound of chipotle ketchup or mayo or may be salsa verde in a bottle then all your sauce dreams have come true. For those who aren’t excited by this, you may need to reconsider your priorities. I went for the daily special which was a buttermilk fried chicken torta (Mexican sandwich served New York style in a toasted brioche bun with smashed avocado, slaw and house pickle) served with crinkly chips. Let’s take a quick second to ponder on the thought that is WHY AREN’T CRINKLY CHIPS EVERYWHERE I GO?! Yep, let’s get crinkly chips of the chip map people.

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These delightful lot went for the chilli beef torta as well as the slow cooked pork burrito. They were also happy chappies – big up to Rosie the burrito eater for the recommendation.

 

You may be thinking – “why are they all picking up their plates… is that normal?” Well I can tell you they all ate it in one, plate and all. If that isn’t a strong recommendation for a meal that I don’t know what is. Let’s start the crinkly chip revolution!

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Clapham Junction

The GBK menu is one that filled me with confusion and despair. I have never seen such a long list of delicious sounding burgers. Do not fear though, it was a Saturday afternoon and I had all the time in the world to decide which burger to choose. After a lot of deliberation, writing up pros and cons of my favourite sounding burgers I went for the Camemburger. Want to know more… it had camembert, hash brown, truffle mayo, onion jam and relish all in a brioche bun.  Want to see more…
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Don’t tell me that isn’t one fine looking burger. Well I can tell you it sure tasted like a large helping of heaven. The Camemburger had it all. Juiciness, crispiness, cheesiness and just great old tastiness. Naturally I had to have a side of chips. I went for the sweet potato fries with baconnaise. BACONNAISE. Why haven’t I heard about this before? Why isn’t it next to the mayonnaise in the supermarket because that stuff is out of this world. It’s freshly made in the GBK kitchens which means we may have to wait a little longer until we can stock it in our own fridges so for now get yourself to GBK to try this taste sensation.
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I don’t want to seem over dramatic or anything but I walked out of GBK that day feeling great. Yes, I had just eaten my bodyweight in not-so-healthy food but YES it was brilliant and I don’t regret it one little bit. I can’t guarantee you’ll get this sense of achievement too but I would like to say it’s pretty dam likely.

Revolution Birmingham Cocktail Masterclass

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to experience Revolutions new cocktail masterclass. With it being my first ever one I was excited to get stuck in and try a few new drinks! We were greeted with a flute of prosecco which loosened us up for the shaking and games to come. 

My favourite thing about the masterclass was the fact that after the bartender served each cocktail, a small appetiser flew out of the kitchen to accompany the drink. First up was a Strawberry Woo Woo which came with a delicious deep fried cheese bon bon topped with a strawberry.  

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Secondly, a mojito with a panko breadcrumb and sweet chilli prawn.

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A cosmopolitan and a nacho with guacamole. Despite the fact that this wasn’t my favourite nibble (it was a tad boring), I was obviously enjoying it too much and forgot to take a picture.

Lastly, to finish us off was a Tennessee mud shake with came with a chocolate bon bon topped with a raspberry.

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Pairing the cocktails with a nibble is a fantastic idea and really appealed to the inner foodie in me. It really does give Revs an edge on their masterclasses, offering people the opportunity to learn even more about cocktails and frankly, to have a good old nibble in the process. 

After being shown how to make the above we were given the opportunity to each pick a cocktail to make ourselves. I love a good mojito so I decided to make the Passion Fruit and Strawberry Mojito. A really delicious, fruity cocktail. Michal, our cocktail bartender, was absolutely brilliant and kept the evening fun for everyone even when others were making their own cocktails.

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After we were all armed with our own cocktail, the games began. The first game involved making a Strawberry Woo Woo. Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that… in pairs, one person had to stand behind the other and thread their arms through their partners. The person behind had to use their hands to make the cocktail whilst the other looked on, barking instructions. We also had to rely on memory, back to Michal’s demonstration. The first pair to finish won, however there was also a taste test so both pairs had to take a shot in the end. 

IMG_4102 The next game also required people to pair up. I paired up with my friend Katie, against another pair. This time, it was a race to make a mojito, however, only one person in the pair was allowed to make it at any one time and the other person had to be at the other side of the bar. When Michal shouted swap, Katie and I had to swap places and the other had to continue the cocktail. Again, it was a race but both pairs had to take a shot after the more slowly made cocktail tasted better (hmm, are they trying to get us drunk?!). 

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Finally, two members of the group hadn’t participated in a game at this point and so had to have a ‘shake off’. It was great fun to watch them shaking their cocktails in the strangest ways and it was an overall draw! 

The games were over but we weren’t ready for the fun to stop. Michal constructed cocktail domino train which plunged a different flavour of vodka into a tumbler of lemonade. It looked great and was a brilliant end to the evening (especially as we all got one of the drinks!). 

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We were so pleased with the evening we decided to stay for a few more cocktails. My favourites were: Rum Bongo, Pornstar Martini and Passion Fruit and Strawberry Mojito. However, after the cocktail class, service did seem to deteriorate. The cocktails we ordered were slow to come and arrived at the same time as our food and they seemed to be out of a large number of dishes. Nonetheless, my meal; king prawn & chorizo stone baked flatbread served with chilli mint jam was really tasty and I would not hesitate to eat here again. 

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Overall, Revolution have a brilliant cocktail masterclass packed full of fun, treats and the all important, top quality cocktails. Their cocktails are the real deal with no corners cut and they have some snazzy concoctions to keep you on your toes.

Chilli and Garlic Prawns with Noodles

Chilli and Garlic Prawns with Noodles

Prawns are perfect on a warm, summery evening. This dish is fresh and crisp yet the noodles fill you up – just what you want from a supper.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1 bunch of spring onions
200g of fresh bean sprouts
250g of cooked prawns (or raw if you prefer)
3 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp of groundnut oil
100g egg noodles

Method:

1. Begin my cooking the noodles (as instructed on the packaging). Once drained, run cold water over them and then set aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of groundnut oil and add the bean sprouts and the majority of spring onions. Cook until softened, at which point add in the noodles. Add a little extra oil if they need loosening.

3. Once the noodles are heated through remove them from the pan (or wok if you have one). Pop them onto a serving dish and wipe down the pan.

4. Return the pan to the heat and heat 1 tbsp of groundnut oil. Cook of the crushed garlic and chopped chilli for about a minute, take the pan off the heat and turn down the temperature if it browns too quickly.

5. Add the prawns and mix together. Add the light brown sugar and soy sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer lightly to heat the prawns through.

6. Put the prawn mixture on top of the noodles and sprinkle the remaining raw spring onions on top.

I have the leftover for my lunch tomorrow. I can’t wait to enjoy it in the sun.