Mid-week cheer! Wuzzaaaahhhh! …ummm ok no.
I can almost smell the weekend and there’s nothing like a jam-packed food post to get you all excited 😀 I promised part 2 of the ‘Light’ bites series will only get better and I guarantee it will!
So without further adieu…
Chick n Sours, Kingsland Road E8 4AA:
I knew the moment this place opened, I wanted to go and visit it! I LOVE fried chicken…in every shape and form. After having ogled at A LOT of their photos on Instagram, I had it and got 2 of my trusted eating buddies to go and check these guys out.
Our mission was to order pretty much everything on the menu!
We started off with some starter/extra like this Szechuan Aubergine which was absolutely AMAZING! Crispy aubergine, tangy and sweet sauce, covered with spring onions, fresh chillies and sesame seeds- OMG…I am salivating while I write this. One of my friend doesn’t particularly like aubergine and he walked out a convert.
You can’t go to Chick n Sours and not order THE Bun. I mean there’s only one (it’ll feel left out if you don’t order it!) and it packs a punch! That korean fried thigh is nicely nestled in between the crunchy carrots and lettuce, perfect bun to hold it all together and generous lashings of the mayo… if only I had four tummies I would’ve devoured a whole one of these in a jiffy!
One of my summer favourites is the use of watermelon. I’ve seen this fruit used in several menus with different versions and I simply love it. Who knew the humble watermelon was such a versatile fruit. This side of pickled watermelon, peanuts and coriander definitely balanced out the palate. Eating too much meat in one go gets a bit overwhelming so this watermelon side was perfect to cool things down! 😛
These disco wings were quite animated and came out shrouded in smoke- spicy, sticky and hot! Just as described. There was definitely a disco happening- in my mouth!
There is an oriental inspiration in the menu like in this Guest Fry-chicken drumstick sitting on top of the sticky glaze and covered with crunchy spring onion, chillies and spring onion. I could’ve done without the pickled green beans but didn’t really mind them either. Overall the dish had varying textures, the meat was juicy and the sauce at the bottom was on point that helped in making the perfect bite of this dish.
By now, we were all holding our tummies and looking at each other thinking: “This was amazing but now we are too full for dessert”. NO! We didn’t come all this way, battling through the traffic and traveling through the stinking tube to give up on the ONE thing that would complete our journey here- the dessert.
This time it was the chocolate soft serve ice cream with salted popcorns. The popcorns were too salty so I couldn’t really eat much of it but I liked the soft serve ice cream. They have a new soft serve ice cream on the menu that comes with white chocolate and miso crumbs on top- sounds so good!
The bill was served!
Guys, if there’s one place that needs to be on your list of places to go and eat at- then Chick n Sours is the one to chick out! (see what I did there?! :P) They really do the best fried chicken I’ve had in London, so far. For all other information and menu, check out their website here.
P.S: Some of the photo credits go to my friend Mark Fletcher for being as glutinous as me hence taking some really mouthwatering photos! 😀
Dinerama by Street Feast London, Shoreditch EC2A 3EJ:
Note: Dinerama is currently closed due to a fire that broke out a few weeks ago. As per their website: Dinerama will (probably) return to Shoreditch on Thursday 13 August. Open four days a week, Thursday to Sunday from noon until late. All. Summer. Long. Keep an eye on their Twitter for updates.
I remember the first post I wrote about Street Feast London ( I feel OLD!) and it’s so amazing how far they’ve come and how they keep on reinventing themselves. One thing that has stayed constant is their passion for food and finding the best up and coming street food vendors. People of London should forever be indebted to these guys for giving them a purpose outside of drowning their sorrows in a pub everyday! I’d take eating any day! 😛
I love how I’ve discovered some amazing food vendors through Instagram and one of them is BBQ Lab. Touted as serving one of the best (if not THE best) chicken wings in London, these guys take their passion for BBQ to the next level. Staff dressed in white lab coats and assembling trays full of chicken wings and ribs, you can’t help but stand next to them and observe them in action. These guys and gals mean business!
The great thing about these guys is that the menu is never the same– they keep on experimenting. The bad news is, if you really liked something you had there, you probably won’t get to eat it any time soon!
They had 3 different flavours of chicken wings so we decided to try all three. There is no other way to try them!
By far the spiciest of all- all three flavours were mind blowing! Definitely the best chicken wings I’ve had to date, unless anyone can recommend someone else?
You can’t go wrong with the soft pillowy buns filled with Taiwanese fillings of either roast duck with hoisin and ginger or their fragrant shrimp with lime and coriander…I practically inhaled these and hated the fact I had to share them! Word of advice: DO NOT SHARE YOUR FOOD!!! 😛
There was a lot to eat and reasons to be rolled home, the last pit stop before I called it quits was You Doughnut! Not a fan of doughnuts, but these guys some how called out to me and I got carried by the waft of their delicious aroma and next thing I know, I have a bowl full of these bite sized salted caramel doughnuts with chocolate ice cream. Again, why o why did I ever agree to share my food!? When you order these DO NOT SHARE! I will be going back to these guys for more. These are the only acceptable doughnuts!
Ariana Afghani Restaurant, 108 Bourne Terrace, London W2 5TH:
Some places are made just for enjoying their food. Do not expect creative interiors or any token Afghan ornaments displayed around the premises, because there are none. It’s a simple hall style dining area with a TV playing the latest Bollywood music.
Note: The closest station is Royal Oak and they do not seem to have a website.
This place was recommended to me by my Afghani friend who said this is one of the places they visit when there is a special occasion or a family function. They serve both Afghani and Iranian dishes. My mum’s side of the family is from Afghanistan but she grew up in Pakistan so there was never any Afghani influence in her cooking.
I do remember my dad taking us (when I was 5-6 years old) to this Afghani restaurant in Islamabad’s Blue Area that served one of the most delicious “Chickpea Pulao” and “Namkeen Gosht”. The massive naans served with equally massive Chappali Kebabs are one of my most favourite meals EVER!
It was Eid-ul-Fitr, so my friends and I decided to go to Ariana. With no website and no public contact number, it was difficult to get hold of them at first. But we took our chance and got there in the end. Due to Eid, we could see some families gradually making their way to the restaurant and some that had organised a lunch party for their friends and family, just as we do back home.
No meal is complete without the obligatory Kashke Badamjan, which is an Iranian starter. The pureed aubergine made with herbs and onions is just out of this world!
A slightly different aubergine starter is the Borani-e-Badenjan which is served with yogurt and dry mint which is equally as good but Kashk-e-Badenjan will always be my favourite!
The BEST thing about Afghani/Iranian food is the quantity- it’s always MORE than enough and quite cheap as well.
The Ghormeh Kofta is also a favourite I always order. The mince meatballs with split chick peas is rich and full of flavour.
What you absolutely HAVE to order is the Kabuli Pulao, also known as Qabuli Mahicha. It’s a mountain of rice with carrots and raisins and underneath is the most tender piece of lamb shank…
If all that food wasn’t enough, we also ordered the lamb chops with salad (to make ourselves feel better :P)
They don’t have a website, but for menu and more information, here’s a link to their Zomato page.
Gelupo, Archer Street Soho W1D 7AU:
One of the best ice cream and gelato places that need to be on your London list! I have no photos of the ice cream as I am always too much of a pig and forget to take photos. Their chocolate sorbet is my favourite flavour and they also do these mini cones which means I end up buying 2-3 of them in one go!
P.S: They also own Bocca Di Lupo opposite which is on my list of restaurants to go to but some how keeps getting pushed down the list. Damn you London and the crazy amount of food joints! For all things Gelupo, check out their website here.
Whaam Banh Mi, Great Windmill Street Soho W1D 7LY:
Vietnamese Banh Mi’s are really popular in London yet I was never tempted enough to try them. I’m not a massive fan of sandwiches but the ones I do love, I keep on eating them till I get sick of them.
So when I heard of Whaam Banh Mi, I thought here’s my chance to break my Banh Mi virginity. I wanted to try this Vietnamese fusion Banh Mi and see what all the fuss was about.
I am a sucker for bright colours, great graphics and branding- these guys definitely nail that! You can either have the baguette or have the fillings with a salad form. I obviously chose the baguette because a SALAD? Just no…
My friend opted for their BBQ shredded pork which is their best seller where as I went for the thai fish cakes because that sounded really delicious. What I also love how they make their baguettes is that there is an option of either chicken or mushroom paté to line the baguette before they put in all the filling. That gives a really nice flavour to the Banh Mi and a much better option than plain butter or what not. My friend highly rated the shredded pork banh mi, however found it a tad dry.
My thai fish cakes banh mi was amazing– full of flavour, loved the crunchy carrots, sliced cucumber, fresh cut chillies and the crispy shallots. I opted for the mushroom pate as the base and that really brought all the flavours together. What really sold the banh mi other than the filling, was the bread. It wasn’t hard to eat like the usual baguettes, I prefer the bread to be on the softer side. It was a really well made roll of bread. I need the recipe!
They make theirs with rice flour which gives it the softness. Otherwise you end up eating A LOT of bread and less of the filling. I usually give up halfway but this baby, I finished it ALL!
It’s all made fresh to order. I also tried their summer roll which was perfect for a hot summer afternoon in London and super healthy for all you body conscious folks! 😉
They also take online orders so check out their website and what else they have on offer, here. Would I be going back? Absolutely!
Street Food Union,Soho:
After my sojourn at Whaam Banh Mi, as I walked through Soho (on the recommendation of the gentleman at Whaam Banh Mi), I came across Street Food Union. A street food market that runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. By the time we got there, they were all packing up, ready to leave. Good for me as I was already quite full from the banh mi…BUT…
LOOK WHAT I FOUND! These guys called Bad Brownie…who do super ‘bad’ brownies- so bad and indulgent but SOOOO good! I opted for the Peanut Butter one as it literally got me drooling. Did I mention I was quite full at this point? Yep, let’s skip over that minor detail.
These brownies have crunchy peanut butter in the brownie, with roasted peanuts, and they are topped with smooth peanut butter and peanut brittle for a bit of crunch. Foodgasm anyone?! 😀
This brownie was the baddest!! haha Rich, a little gooey and loved the crunch from the crushed peanuts. If that’s not all, they also take orders online and deliver…SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Go order yours here.
Pulled UK, #PumpShoreditch, Shoreditch High Street E1 6HU:
Last but not the least are these guys from Pulled UK (@pulleduk). They are currently situated at Pump Shoreditch, the street food market at the old petrol station in Shoreditch. It’s right next to where Urban Food Fest takes place every Saturday!
London cannot have enough of these street food markets and us Londoners keep on lapping it up!
Since I wanted to try a bit of everything, we opted to go for the Slider Trio that had the spiced beef, moorish lamb and duck confit. My favourite of the three was the duck confit. The other two would be good on their own but I felt their flavours were really rich and overwhelmed if eaten together as a trio. Still, a great way to taste what they are offering on their menu.
Next up was the lobster rolls from Seafood and they turned out to be the sister brand of Pulled UK. So I’ve had the lobster roll from Smack Lobster and truth be told, these lobster rolls were way better than the ones I had at Smack Lobster. The abundance of lobster meat, seasoned well and topped with salad with a choice of spicy or mild- I was sold! Definitely one to order if you’re a fan of lobster rolls.