Thursday, 28 March 2013

Alba: Unfortunately Forgettable

Just that morning my flatmate was asking about reasonably priced Italian places in London. I was racking my brain, at half past eight in the morning refused to work. Bocco di Lupo, Locanda Locatelli, L'Anima? All bit OTT for your average Londoner in search of a better-than-average bruschetta. Polpo and Trullo probably comes closest but one doesn't take reservations, and at the other trying to get a table at a time approaching normality is a rarity. Plus, Islington is a right slog for us staunch Southeners. 

So then, that night I was meeting my father for our usual father-son catch-up dinner and he had booked Alba in Clerkenwell. A quick peruse of the menu showed it to be a mid-priced Italian jobbie with underwhelming choices. My hopes were that the quality of the ingredients would gild the otherwise unimpressive lily. Unfortunately my instinctive apprehension was well placed as it proved to be correct as the food was simply rather forgettable and the interior was a little lacking in style and seemed a little dated. There were several tables of elderly folk tucking into the set menu. I'm not one to bash the elderly, but a general rule of thumb is that if a restaurant has a large number of them, the food is often less than inspiring.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Yum Bun: Best Buns in Town

You have to respect anyone who actually chases their ambitions above and beyond just sending out a few CVs and sloshing back a few glasses of mid-priced overly acidic Sauvignon Blanc at another networking event. To look at your life, with a solid job and steady income and say “fuck it, i’m out”, takes balls that require a wheel-barrow for transport. Everyone thinks about it, everyone talks about it: “Oh yeah, recruitment is like totally just a short-term thing. What I REALLY want to do is move to Indonesia and become a scuba instructor.” Well, fuck me Mr Cousteau, please don't let me be the one to stand in the way of your dreams. Just this morning on the tube I had an idea about peer-to-peer medical services done over video chat. Doctors from around the world would log on whenever they were free and patients would be matched by language proficiencies. The video diagnoses could even be checked by a cloud of doctors for an additional fee. I thought about who to contact, how the business model would work etc. Am I ever going to do any of this? Come on, I can’t even get the motivation to change the batteries in the TV remote and just sit rolling them back and forth trying to eek out the last electrical drips.

Blythburgh belly pork with hoisin, sriracha, cucumber and spring onion

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

BrooklynFeast: A Cold Feast in Dalston

Streetfeast is one of a handful of London organisations that seek to bring street food to the masses. Between them, WeFeast and KERB, multiple events run every month to serving up incredible food at interesting locations with an party atmosphere.

Streetfeast had been in hiatus for a while and the BrooklynFeast was their return to the forefront with a rather trendy event in Dalston on a bitterly cold Tuesday evening. The venue was as hipsterish as it gets, an old car park which itself was a disused building full of shipping containers and beaten up old bangers. The team in charge had done a great job in filling the space. Plastic chairs and some floodlights this was not. Glow lights and back-lit signs were hung in and around and across the open spaces between the traders vans. Several large marquees were put up and filled with plentiful seating for a change. Best of all, they actually stuck their head out the window, realised it was beyond ‘just a bit nippy’ and rented a dozen heat lamps. For more pictures I’m sure Kate Beard from took some great pictures so keep a look out on her blog.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lucky Fried Chicken at The Grafton: Clucking Brilliant

Lucky Chip are known for their top quality burgers with celebrity inspired names. What you may not know is that they have also started doing some pretty phenomenal fried chicken. The bad news is that they are only doing it till the end of this week. You can find them at the Grafton Arms, however don't be a twat and simply Google the pub and end up somewhere near Warren Street like I did. They are based in the Grafton Arms near Kentish Town tube.

The Grafton itself is one of those vast expansive pubs that likely seem very lonely during the day when its half empty. Fortunately full with punters the atmosphere was great and it was slightly surreal seeing dozens of sober people calmly tucking into family sized buckets of chicken. Upstairs is a smaller space with beautifully tiled walls and comfy booths while  above the bar is the traditional back-lit takeaway menus complete with retro 70s font. As for choices, the only real choice is what size bucket you want your chicken to come in. Alongside your bucket you get some authentic Southern sides: mash slathered with gravy, slaw and hot rolls. Fries are a optional extra. They also have two burger options but these were unfortunately off the menu the night we went.
Picture says it all