Nardulli, London 05-2020

Lockdown has been ongoing for about 7 weeks or so. One of the common questions asked is "what will you do/eat once lockdown is lifted?" There are many possibilities, but I stuck to a simple one - gelato outside.

With the weather warming up (although I accept gelato on a cold day when rugged up warm is probably better overall), a cool afternoon of 12C and the surprise discovery of the local gelateria being open meant serendipity. Apparently they had just opened over the weekend (this was a Monday) and the queues went all the way to the tube station in 2m intervals.

Unfortunately they were out of pistachio, a light green (maybe a little more green than I usually like) so will have to try that next time. Instead there was hazelnut and a yoghurt/cherry. The hazelnut was very mild in flavour, much more so than the true Italian nocciolas. The yoghurt/cherry was alright with the cherry being glaced but not like those horrid sweet bright versions. The textures were good and no ice crystals.

I'll be back to try the pistachio and to support the local business and my own gelato tendencies. Although I think I may need to get some Grom/Remeo/Waitrose pistachio for home anyway.

Nardulli Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Black Axe Mangal, London 02-2020

BAM has been on my eating list for quite a long time with the menu looking delicious of meats, offal and flatbreads. Finally on a rainy Saturday lunch we managed to get a table in the mid-afternoon just before they were closing and only after a short wait.

The menu is a real mixed bag - hints of Turkish from the mangal side, but influences from random places creating borscht, mapo tofu and other bits. Points for being creative if nothing else.

- Smoked pig's cheek & prune doughnut £8.5 - delicious and full bursting with flavour. A chunk of fat which was a bit less appealing, but overall really good;
- Oxtail & anchovy flatbread £13 - a nice bread with meat, anchovy, pickles, very mild chilli and parsley complementing well;
- Dextor onglet, roast bone marrow & green chilli, shoestring fries 23 - a very tender cooked meat with a chimichurri. The bone marrow didn't have that much flavour to it (not my thing I suppose) and one of the reasons we ordered it was seeing the next table have those fries. Unfortunately we expected freshly fried hot potatoes, but they were the dried form you buy in supermarket packets - disappointing.

I've been wanting to get my hands on a cookbook too, but might need to take a closer look to see how many of these things I can/will realistically try making first.

It was nice to tick it off my list finally and the food was great but probably not exceptional (probably the fries put me off). I'm interested in trying it for dinner sometime with the more extended menu. If I can get a seat.

Black Axe Mangal Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Udderlicious, London 02-2020

After a meal at Afghan Kitchen, it was time for an evening stroll and given we were moving from the area soon, it seemed a last opportunity to finally try Udderlicious. I had walked past several times before, but never stopped in for several reasons, some of which were it was closed after movies.

But I wouldn't be denied this time and the the perfectly pale brown pistachio was complemented by a chocolate. There was one or two ice crystals, but the flavours for good and reasonably strong, particularly the pistachio.

I would have no qualms (other than distance) to go back. I don't know if I'd try any of the creative flavours, but who needs to when you know what you like. I might replace the chocolate with hazelnut next time, if there is one.

Udderlicious Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Afghan Kitchen, London 02-2020

After walking past many times, trying to get in a few times, and finally discovering that they actually take bookings and so guaranteeing us entry the final time, we made it into this Afghan little eatery in Angel.

The food is good, particularly the lamb with spinach £8. Fish stew with potatoes £8 was ok too. The aubergine with yoghurt £8 was a overpriced for 3 pieces. The £3.5 evening bread was very impressive to see and alright. £25pp overall wasn't as cheap as I expected.

Overall decent and glad to have tried it and supported a local business. Would happily go back but wouldn't need to.

Afghan Kitchen Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

The Joint, London 03-2020

After starting work in Tooting Broadway, I was pleasantly surprised to find a host of food places in the Broadway market there (no relation to the fantastic Saturday Broadway market near Hackney). Quite a few were closed in the evenings and maybe because it was a weekday. After bypassing the nice sounding (but a bit expensive) Latin American El Chuzo, and noting the very cheap £1-2 takeaway Chinese boxes (not worth it really I found out a few weeks later), I sat down for some BBQ meats complete with the endorsements they list on the side.

Smoked crispy chicken wings £5 small with Korean sauce, toasted sesame seeds, spring onion was good. Crisp outside, a bit chewy on the inside though, and with a nice sauce that I expected to have more chilli/gochujang flavour to it.

16h Smoked pulled pork in homemade bun £8.5 spicy (ginger, spring onion, chilli, coleslaw, salad) was ok from a texture point of view, but the pork didn't really have much flavour to it. I ended up needing to request and add a lot of hot sauce to give it more character.

I suppose I still have to go back to try the ribs and best voted beef burger, but that time may not come and I don't currently feel I will have lost out if not.

Opera Tavern, London 02-2020

 I'd known about Opera Tavern since 2012 when their Iberico pork and foie gras burger made headlines. Unfortunately they don't serve that anymore, but a half price Sunday deal got me there enjoying the Spanish fare.

- Jamon & manchego croquetas £7.5;
- Courgette flower, monte enebro & blossom honey £5.5;
- Chargrilled lamb cutlet, heritage carrot, sheep ricotta & offal meatball £12;
- Skrei cod, jamon sauce, chanterelle mushrooms & pickled iberico tomato £10.5;
- Patatas bravas £4.5;
- Cantabrian anchovies on straciatella with largueta almonds £9.5.

Delhi Grill, London 01-2020

After watching the incredible Jojo Rabbit at Vue Islington, the first dinner of the New Year needed something tasty and convenient. I'd regularly walked past Delhi Grill but never been inside. It has a modern look about it amongst some of the grunge of Chapel Market - not sure if that's necessarily a good or bad omen, but I suppose in a nicer area we prefer a nicer looking place (that isn't anything near glamorous).

Inside the TVs are all playing Bollywood.

- Vegetable samosas (potato & pea) £2.95 - simple and nicely done;
- Kurkuri bhindi (fresh okra fried in crispy batter) £4.5 - fine but a bit expensive;
- Railway lamb on the bone (spicy lamb & potato slow-cooked with tamarind) £9.95 - a deep earthy delicious curry;
- Chicken biryani (marinated chicken cooked in layers of basmati rice served with raita) £9.5 - decent with a slightly milder flavour. More on the wet side, which I didn't mind but others might prefer the classic drier basmati texture;
- Garlic & chilli naan £2.75 - ok but could use more garlic and chilli.

A good local option for curry.

Delhi Grill Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Hache Burger Social, London 10-2019

It has arrived - a vegan burger that tastes like meat. I would even go so far as to potentially choose this burger over a beef one (not only for ethical reasons but even taste). However the cost then becomes a factor...

I had seen the name Beyond Burger but didn't know what it meant up until now. Elements combined together to form a vegan patty to resemble the atomic structure of meat. A 50% lunch offer at Hache to promote it was all I needed to try it. After a wander around Camden and a massage, the holistic day brought us to Hache. It is otherwise a relatively expensive French gourmet burger place.

Beyond Le Fume (Beyond Meat vegan patty, grilled aubergine, smoky semidried tomatoes, Violife Cheddar, zucchini straws, Rubies in the Rubble mustard mayo, toasted ciabatta bun, presented in a smoke-filled dome) £13 full price is majestic and has it all. Theatre, taste, dripping "meat" juice and accompanying grilled smoky vegetables to help. It is wonderful and flavoursome more than I thought. It has taken over the #1 vegan meat patty burger title from the tomato-based one at Temple of Seitan/Camden (

Truffle fries were alright, but the truffle oil was very strong and made it all seem a bit too fake. I'll stick with the burger. At £13 and more expensive than any meat one, it takes some consideration though.

Hach Burger Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

Kahani, London 10-2019

A fancy Indian restaurant in Chelsea opened by a Michelin-star chef who used to be at Tamarind. The somewhat discreet location off the main road and the prices probably mean it really is a fancy dinner place generally, which is why the offer of 50% weekday lunch came about and worked well for me. Even half price with a cocktail and service charge is not a small number - although to be fair we almost certainly over-ordered.

(Prices are before 50% discount)

- Soft shell crunchy crab with Mangalorean spices, kachumber, smoked tomato chutney £12;
- Smoked Malabar prawns marinated with fresh turmeric, coconut, curry leaves £16 - big juicy firm-texture prawns that are really excellent;
- Guinea fowl tikka, chettinad spices, smoked tomato makhni sauce, Ajwain roti £20;
- Tandoori Somerset lamb chops with Kashmiri chillies, Nagercoil clove £16;
- Lobster tail, tossed with shallots, brown garlic, crushed peppercorns £28 - nicely cooked with meat that had texture and wasn't mushy, but probably a bit expensive still and wouldn't get it again;
- Hydrabadi Biryani with Prawn, braised fragrant basmati rice, exotic spices, mint, coriander £25;
- Garlic naan £4.

The food is good, what can I say. Probably not that much better in my mind to justify a return at full price over the cheaper options (probably equal to the half price amount) as say Dishoom, but I would gladly return if the special was running again. Although at full price, I'd still have difficulty choosing it over Farzi.

Kahani Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato

14 Hills, London 11-2019

Located high up on level 14 near Bank, is the newly opened 14 Hills restaurant. It is a lush area full of green and I can only imagine how many landscape people must be responsible to keeping everything alive. Even the entrance to the lift (complete with door person) has wow factor with the impressive enormous LED screen on the ceiling entrancing you while you wait.

Once upstairs, you are greeted and then we were shown to the bar. There are expectedly good views from the top, including a small part of Tower Bridge on display. The Xpress Martini sounds excellent, but not wanting to have a late night awake, I opted for The Hive (Patron silver, Olmeca blanco, Montelobos Mezcal infused with thyme, aperol, amaro montenegro, honey, fresh lime) £11.5. It was an alright drink with a bit of smoke to it. I couldn't understand the honeycomb and stirrer on top, which really seemed for art decoration but little functioning else.

We waited 30mins for the table, which I think was because they forgot about us (maybe confused us for another couple). People who arrived with and after us were already seated, and it wasn't because the place was full. It was however, their opening night and so I think a little concession needs to be made (as the food was 50% off).

The French FOH staff and the French waitress made me think they was something French about this place. And the menu confirmed there certainly was. Some good quality bread (excellent crust) with butter started things off in typical French fashion.

- Crab (white crab, crab essence, cauliflower, oscietra caviar) £17.5 - warm bits of crab meat covered by a foam. Pretty good although I would have preferred a stronger crab flavour;
- Game (pork, duck & pistachio terrine, pastry crust, brandy cherries) £14 - a cold dish with reasonable crust (given it is cold) surrounding the the meats and asparagus. Pretty good actually;
- Turbot (roasted, with cuttlefish risotto, beurre blanc) £26 - a nice fish albeit bony with a rich sauce and a thick black risotto;
- Rossini (beef fillet, mushroom duxelle, seared duck liver, toast, madeira & truffle sauce) £36 - very tender, very rare (to request) fillet, with tangy mushrooms and an excellent piece of foie gras (that didn't have a very strong liver taste). Really good dish all around.

I'm generally not one to go for French food, but the quality of cooking here was very high. It has a nice setting too if you are willing to pay those prices.