The Ivy, Covent Garden

 The first hurdle was getting in but after several laps of the building we found door that was very much so a door. How did we not see it sooner? We were greeted warmly and shown to our table. Set in a beautifully furnished room and sat right next to an incredible bar our hopes were high for the food to come. You might know The Ivy as being rather expensive and you wouldn’t be wrong but there is a very reasonably priced set menu (two courses for £21.75). I was umming and arring but when I caught a glimpse of the food buzzing around me, my mind was made up. For starters:
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Fried duck egg, black pudding bon bons, girolles & toast. It was the perfect starter – hearty enough to not feel like you’ve been served a plate of fresh air but not so feeling you feel threatened by the idea of a main. The egg was cooked as an egg should be and beautifully runny and rich. For mains:
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Cornish cod fillet, creamed spinach, cauliflower, trompettes & bacon. Trompettes? What a great word. Well it’s a kind of mushroom and a tasty one at that. In fact they were possibly one of my favourite parts – big up to the trompettes. The cod had a lovely crispy skin and flaked away like a dream come true.
So don’t rule The Ivy out if you’re not up for splashing the cash. The set menu provides a good selection and is kind on the wallet. Granted it’s still a tad bit more expensive than your standard 2 course menu but you pay for great, attentive service as well as some mighty fine loos.

Dishoom, Covent Garden

The rule that if a place looks busy then it must be good is a rule I like to live by. When I saw the the long queue forming outside of Dishoom I thought, well, this is a place I need to visit. We shipped in some friends straight after work to get us a table and joined them a tad later. The smells coming from the open kitchen on the ground floor assured me we were in for a treat. Treats all round! For main I had the Chicken Ruby – ‘a good and proper curry redolent with spice and flavour. Tender chicken in a rich silky ‘makhani’ sauce’ according to Dishoom. With it I had garlic naan and basmati rice. It sure was a treat and made for a fantastic Monday night.

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The curry was packed full of flavour, the sauce nice and thick. It had a slight kick but it didn’t overpower the dish. The chicken was so tender it just fell apart in my mouth. And let me tell you, dunking that garlic naan in the curry was a dream come true. I was full to the brim but decided whilst I was here, a dessert was in order. I had pineapple and black pepper crumble… tangy fresh pineapple infused with black pepper and Keralan vanilla, bedded beneath a layer of crumble topping. Served warm, with custard on the side. I do love a good crumble and this one was up there in my crumble rankings. The pineapple wasn’t too sharp, a delicious crumble filling I have to say!
image 4By this point I really was ready to burst. The food overall was heart-warming and true in true comfort food style tasty yet plentiful. I really want to head back soon to try the Dishoom brunch menu which looks fantastic. So get in line and try Dishoom. It’s a comfortable and warming place to eat with really friendly staff.

 

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.

Patty and Bun, Liverpool Street

I don’t want to alarm anyone – I think you had better take a seat… BUT I think I have found the best burger in London… and breathe. I thought about this bold statement long and hard but in the end decided, hang on, my tastebuds don’t mess around. I had the ‘Hot Chic’ Chicken burger. Wait, there’s more; it was marinated buttermilk fried chicken with spicy slaw, pickled cucumbers, lettuce and garlic aioli in a brioche bun. HELLO. Need I say anymore?! Well, I do have a bit more to say on the matter actually. It was fricking delicious. My tastebuds dream of the day  I devoured that burger… (the picture doesn’t do it justice)…
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I had a side portion of chips with rosemary salt, dipped in roast chicken mayo & chicken skin salt. If you’re mouth isn’t watering right now… well… I don’t know what to say about that but I’m not happy about it.
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Not only was the food amazing; I loved the atmosphere too. You order at the counter and take a seat. Whilst you can’t book a very nice waiter helped us find somewhere to sit after asking us if we were eating in or taking it away. There were lots of lone diners… you don’t need conversation in this place, it’s a date with a burger (please do not interrupt). A fellow burger fan asked me “How was the chicken burger?” – I loved this! Talking to strangers (in London – what?!) about burgers might be one of my favourite things to do.
Anyway, get yourself to Patty and Bun QUICK. In the meantime, if you know of any burgers you are willing to back like I am with P&B, please do let me know. I would love the opportunity to speak to more strangers about burgers.

Banana Tree, Clapham Junction

I have been to the Banana Tree twice now and both times I have been delighted with the food served. My most recent visit was during the week, yet the place had a lively atmosphere and there wasn’t an empty table in sight. The menu proves for difficult decisions; my mission is to try each dish – mission accepted! After much to-ing an fro-ing I decided on the crispy chicken with mango & sweet lime sauce with sweetcorn cakes, jasmine rice and the Indo house salad (combo meal).
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What an absolute treat for the tastebuds. The chicken was sticky in a wonderful sauce and the meat itself was juicy and tender. There was a little bit of everything one could possibly desire on the plate with this choice. I managed to size it all in – it wasn’t hard.
Sarah had the kajang satay sticks served with a really delicious peanut buttery sauce and steamed palm leaf rice. She also had some of the sweetcorn cakes served with a yummy dipping sauce. Again, the chicken was so tender and the sweetcorn cakes were balls of gooey goodness.
image 4We left with full tummies and happy heads. It will be difficult to not have the crispy chicken on my next visit but I am willing to branch out for the sake of the mission.

The Breakfast Club, Clapham Junction

I’m a big fan of breakfast when it’s done wholeheartedly with no corners cut. The Breakfast Club certainly see to that and provide a huge selection of mouth-watering breakfast and brunch dishes. It was a tricky decision deciding what to have but I pulled through and decided to have the slow roasted pork with BBQ seasoned cannellini and butter bean mix with a fried egg and eggy bread.

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My oh my. Never have I had a brunch so full of flavour. Not only do they serve up a fab selection of food (both indulgent and healthier) but they have a great range of drinks and so I decided to balance out my naughty food choice with a smoothie.

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A yummy Mango Go which consisted of Mango, Strawberry and Orange – wonderfully fresh and zingy. So when you’re thinking of all the places you could go for brunch – here’s the answer, The Breakfast Club. Eat up!

Source, Battersea

After hearing about Source after moving to London it has been high on my list of places to try. So when my Aunt came to visit it seemed like the perfect time to visit! Source offers seasonal, locally sourced food so it has a small yet yummy menu which is constantly changing to reflect the best produce on offer. For starter I had grilled sardines with Isle of White tomato gazpacho, whipped feta, olives & oregano… I’ve never had a dish like this before; it was a light and refreshing and the gazpacho was wonderfully flavoured.
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My Aunt had the Charcuterie Board – Cobble Lane (a british charcuterie maker from Islington) Charcuterie (Fennel Salami, Bresaola, Saucisson) and house cured ham. Served with Balthazar bread, pickled crab apples, smoked tomatoes and pickled beetroot. The meat was flavourful and she really enjoyed the tomatoes and beetroot with them. One happy Aunt.
For main I had monkfish cheeks and cuttlefish thick stew with smoky peppers. It was absolutely delicious; so filling and warming on a cold evening and the fish was lovely and meaty. I need more bread to mop up the stew – I wasn’t leaving anything behind. My Aunt, being a ceoliac was only able to eat two items from the main options so she went for the hake; something she wouldn’t usually have but she was extremely pleased with her decision…
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Source is the place to go if you want real food. Not just real food but carefully thought through wholesome food packed full of seasonal, delicious food. With the ever changing menu I can’t wait to go back to see what is on offer.