Grab a drink/cup of tea and get settled in for a read that will make your mouth water but don’t run away until you’ve ogled at every single photo till the very end. I promise, it’s worth your time!
I’ve got your whole weekend planned for you…let’s go!
Wagamama, Great Marlborough Street:
I’d long forgotten about Wagamama. London’s food scene is fast evolving and us hungry eaters are getting bombarded with all kinds of food every day. So the rule is simple- if you don’t innovate and offer something consistently of great taste and value, you will be left behind. I get an email saying Wagamama has opened a new branch on Great Marlborough Street in Soho and they’re launching a new Japanese inspired breakfast menu. Interest springs! I get intrigued… I headed over for a 9AM breakfast– quite unusual for me as I tend to eat later in the day but hey I’m not going to say no to food 😉 They’ve got quite a prime location and a lot of competition. At the top of Soho, opposite Le Pain Quotidien, right next to Carnaby Street and area surrounded by agencies- it’s a you-snooze-you-loose kinda place! The menu is fresh and a different interior to your usual Wagamama. For starters, you can now sit at the bar and eat,
stare observe the chefs doing their thing while you enjoy your drinks and food.
To do full justice to the menu, I ordered a couple of dishes from the menu along with a Clean Green Juice as per the staff’s recommendation. It had avocado in it along with kiwi and apple. I was ready to give the guy evils if it wasn’t any good… It was soooo good! Really light on the palate which I didn’t expect from the avocado in there. The only thing though, you have to drink it fast otherwise you will see your drink go brown in colour because of the avocado. The breakfast kedgeree was, for starters, a hearty portion and really flavoursome. I wouldn’t be able to eat this first thing in the morning but a few hours in, hell yeah I’d like a bowl of that. A nice poached egg on top was just perfect!
For those craving a Japanese omelette pancake then their Okonomiyaki is for you. It will definitely give you your 5 a day. Stuffed with all the goodness of shitake mushrooms, leeks, coriander, spring onions, red cabbage, wasabi mayonnaise and amai sauce to give it the sweet taste. I think they overdid the amai sauce in this one. Again- quite a filling plate of food. I was done for breakfast AND lunch!
If you follow me regularly, then you know I’ve already talked about Hotbox so I won’t say too much other than it’s one of the best places for brunch. The thing is, I couldn’t resist going there for brunch YET again! However, this time I had to order their Huevos Rancheros. Boy! they were so lush and decadent. Definitely order this to share and don’t be a fatty like I was. Their beef tacos are quality. In fact, I haven’t been disappointed…yet! Let’s hope it stays this way. Definitely visit and add this place to your list! You’ve got Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane right next door so you can always burn off those calories 😉 Website and menu here.
PACHAMAMA Bar+Kitchen, Marylebone:
Quite excited about this one. So my food blogger friends and I descended upon this Peruvian establishment for brunch for our fortnightly meet up. Yep! it’s a thing and you can’t sit with us! Ha #justkidding Peruvian food for brunch you ask? One look at the menu and you won’t question. We had already chosen the dishes we were going to order. Yeah, we take things to the next level haha Pachamama has a lovely tropical decor, a horse sneakily staring at you and for a basement restaurant, has plenty of light coming through. Very well planned and designed! It is located right at the top of Marylebone High Street. I love that area- it’s not super busy and full of great restaurants and cafes. It also boast of two very popular burger joints…guess which ones 😉 (Hint: One of them was featured on my blog…)Our waitress Ines was so nice and hospitable. She told us what to order and recommended some really good dishes along side what we had already chosen. We decided to share everything– which is the best way to eat! So let me torture you with some delicious plates of food. I guarantee you’d want to go especially when you don’t want to miss the crab stuffed CHURROS or the Beef short rib porridge…say wut!? YES! Just book and go! You won’t be disappointed… I’ll let the food do the talking 🙂 You know the best part other than the food and service- the bill came to £15 each.
Here to quash my post-Madrid blues, CHURROS! But not as you know them…my SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY moment right here:
I’m definitely a fan of this restaurant and Peruvian food, in general. Let me know how your experience was! Website and menu here.
Pitt Cue Co., Carnaby Street:
Notoriously small and busy, this BBQ place packs a punch. I’m never been disappointed every time I’ve gone here. I love the fact they work with fresh produce and amongst the regulars on the menu always have some specials on the day. This time I opted for the Ox cheek with slaw and a side of their creamy mash minus the bone marrow gravy (I don’t eat pork. But definitely order it with the bone marrow gravy if you do. I’ve been told it’s amazing!) Love the attention to detail and their food. Top joint! Beware of long queues during peak hours… Website here (no menu)
PRINCI, Wardour Street, Soho:
Oh what’s lunch without a cheeky trip to the ever popular, Italian cafe, Princi in Soho?? I went for the Cappuccino cake. One word- Heavenly!
BLEECKER BURGER, Spitalfields Market:
I remember these guys selling burgers from a van and the queues during lunch hour used to run so long that I wondered if people just love wasting their lunch hour or what?! A guest from Germany wanted to go food hunting with me and for starters I took her to Bleecker Burger. We ordered a cheese burger to share with…wait for it…MIXED FRIES. Such a simple idea but works so well. I don’t always want to eat sweet potato fries. Some times I want normal fries. And these guys were on the same page as sooo many of us fat arses so there…we got it! Dreams do some true…
Verdict on the burger?? Hmmm…..WTF-JUST-HAPPENED?! Or how about OMUHERGAAD…Or simply put- it was ONE of the best burgers I’ve had. Once you have this burger, you would know why people go crazy after this simple and humble burger. They recently opened in Southbank too so you guys don’t feel left out. Now go stand in queues there 😀 Website and menu here.
INITO UK, Liverpool Street/Shoreditch:
The name itself wouldn’t give it away…I didn’t know it was an Indian restaurant until I saw their Instagram feed and I was like hang on a second- are you near where I am because I’ll be all over you guys! So the next place on our food hunt was this joint just off Liverpool Street Station on Bell Lane. I loved the branding and bright vibes of this place. It had a lot of natives and locals coming in so that was a good sign! It was National Vegetarian Week and I’d already looked at their special menu. Obviously I knew what I was going to order 😉 haha
I LOVE Kadhi. It’s vegetarian curry make with Pakoras/Bhajis and it is a yogurt based. Served with a simple bowl of white rice and it is the most satisfying dish you will ever have. Just like Daal chawal. This food makes me miss my mom’s cooking even more!
The curry was seasoned perfectly. It had the right amount of spice and tanginess of the yogurt. However, the pakoras were too hard and not soft as they should be.
We wanted the Aloo Papri Chaat but sadly that was finished. They very kindly improvised and made Samosa Chaat for us instead. It’s another popular street food in Pakistan and India. It was delicious!
I love my Nihari. It’s a special Mughal dish that we usually eat for breakfast. Yep, we eat this for breakfast on a Sunday and then just sleep…for hours! haha I can’t do that all the time in London but when I do have it, I like to have it with all it’s garnishes i.e. sliced ginger, fresh green chillies and lemon juice ( ask them for it and they will happily provide!). The gravy for the Nihari was slightly on the sweeter side- not how it should be but it was still good enough. The lamb shank was so tender and the meat was just falling off the bones- exactly as it should. Dunk those pieces of fresh naan in there and you would never want to eat salads ever again! haha There’s a reason why I will never have abs… All in all, a great experience and luckily quite easy to get to! Website and menu here.
BAO London, Soho:
Quite excited about this one. When I wasn’t ogling at the Baos everyone was devouring, I was impatiently waiting for when I will visit them at their cool new Soho branch. Word of caution: You will be waiting…for a loooong time so bring snacks. I did! 😛 What is a BAO you ask? Imagine you’re biting into the softest, warmest, pillowy bun that looks like a cloud. And inside are a variety of fillings- meat based or vegetarian. The perfect street food that has become SO popular that anyone and everyone is giving it a go. I had similar Hirata buns at Flesh and Buns as well as the newish pop-up Beer and Buns. I hate queueing up for food and it has become such a London thing to queue for EVERYTHING! Even if the restaurant is mediocre, the hype will make people queue there for hours… you know who you are. So, if this queue was not worth the wait- I knew who I would be blaming. EVERYONE on my feed on Instagram 😛 An hour and a half wait later- we finally got in! YAYYYYY!! It was half 9 at night and I was STARVING. It was wayyy past my dinner time and those popcorns I had, had already dissolved into my blood stream within 5 seconds. SO! We got our menus and pencils at the ready and started ticking off the items we wanted off the menu. Pretty much everything. The website doesn’t have the menu so the photos won’t have the exact names.
I ordered their cold foam tea to start with. The BaoZhong. Foamy, cold and cleanses the palate nicely. Full marks!
We ordered a handful of starters including the sweet potatoes with a spicy sauce drizzled on top, crisps and an aubergine starter that resembled the Pakistani/Indian version of a “Bhurta”. It was definitely the less spicy version!
The lamb boa with the jalapeños and the green chutney was delish- I had two of these. #notevenashamed
The classic bao everyone is going crazy for! (contains Pork)
Next up was the friend chicken bao…more like BAO-ZINGER!! Or ZINGAAAA (depending on what part of town you’re from 😛 haha) It was good…it was REALLY good. You could hear the crunch of that juicy piece of friend chicken. The herbs, the sauce and the seasoning. Top that with their own sesame buns- who are these guys!? Yes- I had two of these as well. Again, not sorry 😛 . In my defence, their sizes are small so don’t be fooled by the photos. They are more of a slider portion than a main.
Did you know you can also customise your own Bao?! Yep! So my friends thought they would FRY the classic Bao. One bit of these and they were speechless. I think that meant this meal was really worth waiting for.
I would definitely be going back here again AND AGAIN. The best times to go are either after 2:30PM during weekdays or after 9PM at night. Take your pick or prepare to queue up! Bao London is giving everyone a run for their money in Soho. You’ve got Yauatcha and Tapas Brindisa just next to it yet these guys have the long queues. Go try them out for yourself! Website here.
Eat Tokyo, Holborn/Chancery Lane:
I had heard a lot about Eat Toyko so to celebrate a friend’s birthday a group of us headed to their branch in Chancery Lane/Holborn area. Quite small and cramped so we had to wait for 10-15 minutes before they were able to give us a table. I had been craving a good Katsu Curry for a while so ordered that and the soft shell crab (another favourite) off their menu. As you can see the ratio of rice to the chicken was a bit off 😛 The curry was good- not the best. The soft shell crab was a disappointment. I’ve had better. All in all a mediocre experience. I am not going to base my judgement of the whole place by these two dishes. May be I should try some other dishes and go there for another visit to see why my friends and flatmate rate it. 😀
Only Parathas, Harrow:
Parathas- oh how I missed you! I love my friend for introducing me to this place in Harrow. Not the nearest for me but it was well worth the visit. These are perfect for breakfast and stuffed with fillings like potatoes, radish, cauliflower or even lentils were my favourite meal of the day! Have them everyday and you’ll have the waist line of a whale… A heaven for vegetarians and a paratha menu that has so many ways of stuffing a paratha that I couldn’t decide what to order and what NOT to order. Classic first world problems. Contrary to the name, they don’t do just parathas. They also do delicious chaats. Hallelujah! I was really looking forward to this food coma.
The samosa chaat- spicy, packed a punch, full of flavour and unapologetic. This is how we have it back home and this is how they serve it. And I loved it!
Then came the parathas- I ordered the Aloo with methi (fenugreek) paratha and the plain aloo paratha. All parathas come with a side of condiments like the channa masala, daal, raita and salad. I had ordered two so I got twice as much! Me-1, Tummy- 0 (0 because of the pain from overeating after!) The good thing about these parathas is that they’re not dripping with oil and they have more of a roti texture which is good as I really wanted to cut down on those extra 20 calories 😛