Bone Daddies Development Kitchen

I love phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) and I know what you’re thinking, that’s not a picture of phở. But it’s an important part of my journey with food.

I had never really clicked with ramen, certainly not as much as I had with phở – a deliciously light and fragrant, herby broth soup typically made with beef bones and flat rice noodles. Now I think I might even like it more than phở.

Ramen is quite different, whilst there are many different variations of ramen depending on the originating region, tonkotsu (pictured above) is a complex meaty broth made with pork bones. A Japanese dish of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a broth, with soy sauce and miso with an array of toppings, such as: sliced pork, nori, mushrooms and spring onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation.

So where do I go for ramen? I’m glad you asked!

You may know the name Bone Daddies, they have a few restaurants in London. You might even know their latest restaurant adventure: Flesh and Buns; but do you know about the Bone Daddies Development Kitchen?

Here they have a menu featuring a few favourites from the main menu of the other restaurants, as well as a changing selection of their latest creations.

I prefer this branch because it’s a little off the beaten track, I’ve queued for the branch in Soho and walked out when I was given the seat next to the door – having had person after person bump into me to wait in the queue.

I also like this branch because it’s nice to try new things; I think we are all so used to ordering our usual choices at our favourite restaurants and it’s nice to be presented with other options. Also the manager of this restaurant is lovely and always extra attentive.

I like the tonkotsu (pictured above) and it’s always ever so slightly different on each visit. If you’ve ever wondered why ramen might taste different from one bowl to another, or if you just love ramen then you must watch Ramen Heads. It is a beautiful documentary revealing every single step Osamu Tomita takes to create the perfect soup and noodles. I learnt so much about what it takes to make the broth, how to dress the bowl and even how to eat it.

Whilst you’re here, you may also like to know that I think Cafe East serves the best steaming hot bowl of phở in London. I order as I’m seated and I can be back on my way home 20-25 minutes later, I’m only there for the phở and I want to be in and out quickly.

🍜 KF

La Bodega Negra, Soho

It’s a hazy, warm evening and you’re walking through Soho, weaving in and out of the crowds in search of refreshment and possibly dinner.

Head to La Bodega Negra on Moor Street, sit in the window on the right, a small window bar with only two seats – a pleasant distance away from the hub-bub of the main restaurant area and a welcome distance between you and Soho’s bustling side roads.

When I was there I chose the original frozen margarita and the chef’s selection of 6 tacos. It was just the right amount of food for a light dinner.

However if you’re feeling ready to brave the mean streets of theatre go-ers, then you should head over to Gelupo on Archer Street for a delicious scoop of gelato.

Also! If you like tacos then make sure you go to Tortilleria El Pastor @ Stanworth Street, under the railway arches near Bermondsey / Maltby Steet Market. Their tacos are excellent.

✌🏻 KF

The Sportsman

 photo DSC04360_zpslf1lcm9x.jpg

The coast along south-eastern tip of England is one of my favourite places to be, crisp salty wind, pebble beaches and pockets of fishing towns.

I discovered a quiet strip of the coast along the estuary of the River Swale, a trail path that meanders along the beach, behind beach huts and stretches as far as the eye can see. The walk starts next to The Sportsman, an unassuming pub by the sea.

The Sportsman is a Shepherd Neame pub that was awarded a Michelin Star in 2008. Philip and Stephen Harris took over The Sportsman in 1999 to serve good quality food in relaxed surroundings.

The Telegraph named them as the top gastropub in Great Britain and it was this very article that prompted me to call and make a booking. That was back in March 2016, it wasn’t until June 2016 that I was able to visit due to the high demand of their Tasting Menu. When the day finally came around I made my way down to Whitstable to enjoy a stroll along the harbour, a tasty seafood lunch, a beer in the sun and a walk around Reculver before heading over to The Sportsman where I was greeted by a charming pub with endearing staff.

I had booked the Tasting Menu, you can also enjoy a smaller tasting menu or choose dishes from their daily menu. I enjoyed the fact that each course was a surprise as it came out. Here’s a look at what I had that day:

 photo DSC04354_zps6gby94mg.jpg
Courgette Tart, Pickled Herring with Rhubarb Jelly on Soda Bread + Lamb Liver, Cheese + Melba Toast
 photo DSC04359_zpsjvw8n478.jpg
Poached Egg Yolk with Smoked Eel + Coriander
 photo DSC04365_zpsh9qka6p8.jpg
Homemade Chorizo, Caviar + Rhubarb Granita and Seaweed
 photo DSC04367_zpsb3wobeqx.jpg
Rock Pool with Japanese inspired Dashi
 photo DSC04370_zpsqrzn9myj.jpg
Homemade Soda Bread, Sourdough + Focaccia with Homemade Butter
 photo DSC04374_zpslrb4dudj.jpg
Young Vegetables pickled in Grand Cru Vinegar with Verbena, Mint and Yoghurt Dressing
 photo DSC04378_zpsk6ci2bya.jpg
Grilled Slip Sole in Seaweed Butter
 photo DSC04380_zpsumrtimdp.jpg
Braised Turbot with Smoked Roe + Green Beans
 photo DSC04385_zps12t2s7lh.jpg
Crisped Lamb Belly with Homemade Mint Sauce
 photo DSC04389_zpss5ipihhu.jpg
Lamb from Monkshill Farm with Vegetables
 photo DSC04393_zpscnvssvhl.jpg
Elderflower Posset with Buttermilk Foam and a Deep Fried Elderflower on the side
 photo DSC04396_zpsgbpprn8g.jpg
Rhubarb Soufflé served with Vanilla Custard Ice Cream and a Rhubarb Sauce
 photo DSC04398_zpspqv4gzbt.jpg
Macchiato
 photo DSC04401_zps4vinkbee.jpg
Dessert Tarts

The Tasting Menu was £65 per person (in 2016) for ten delicious courses, lasting for the duration of 3.5-4 hours. The coffee pictured above was not included in the price, but it was necessary for the drive back home!

Watch this short film to see how chef Stephen Harris creates his signature Slip Sole.

I have returned to The Sportsman twice since this visit, and have experienced a few variations on the menu. Including:

Herring with Apple Jelly on Rye, Cheese and Tomato biscuit, Duck with Mustard
Turbot tata with yoghurt and a soya foam
Cream of Vegetable Soup, with Vegetables from the Garden
Crab, Carrot Hollandaise
Black Bream, Pea Sauce and Pork
Rump, Slow Shoulder Roasted Lamb, with homemade Mint Sauce
Strawberry Eton Mess

 

The Sportsman, Seasalter

thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk

✌🏻 KF

L’Entrecôte

L’Entrecôte — here’s what you need to know:

There is one starter (lettuce-and-walnut salad), there is one main course (steak-frites), dessert is optional and the house red wine is essential. Welcome to L’Entrecôte, one of my all-time favourite meals.

L’Entrecôte is the collective name of a group of restaurants that were created by the Gineste de Saurs family. There are three groups of restaurants, each with the same concept but their own variation of the unique butter sauce that accompanies the steak.

I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia page for the full history of the L’Entrecôte dynasty and restaurants.

Le Relais de Venise in London

In London there are three branches, and I’d recommend visiting Le Relais de Venise at Throgmorton Street in The City. I’ve also visited those in Marylebone (long queues) and Soho (poor service) and find Throgmorton Street’s branch relatively easy to get a table on short notice and the service is always excellent.

img_7707-1
Le Relais de Venise, City of London
Le Relais de Venise, House Red, available in Half or Whole bottle
The starter: “green salad dressed with a tangy mustard vinaigrette and crushed walnuts”
The main: “the best steak frites in town served with our famous sauce”

L’Entrecôte in Bordeaux

The restaurant spans 3 floors, each decorated differently but in keeping with their brand. Be sure to have a peek in the the kitchen (visible as you go up to the second floor) and arrive early to avoid the fast moving, if very long queue.

Outside the restaurant
Le Bordeaux de L’Entrecôte, House Red, available in Half or Whole Bottle
The starter: “salad with nuts”
The main: “finely trimmed sirloin steak (slice of beef of 170 grams) accompanied by its famous secret composition sauce, homemade fries at will”
The kitchen!

Le Relais de L’Entercôte: to be explored…

Thoughts and images are my own. Quotations are from the respective restaurant websites.✌🏻 KF

GoGo Pocha

It’s pouring with rain, you’re in central London and you’re craving a meal that will warm you up from the inside out. In the good old days you could take yourself to Tottenham Court Road, through the bustling streets to a quiet road behind the busy underground station and find a table at whichever of the Korean restaurants could fit you in. These days it’s harder to come by, since Crossrail closed all of the Korean restaurants on Giles High Street.

I was sad when I saw the closure and tried other restaurants that had relocated or that were new, but none of them seemed to provide the same experience or quality of food. However, all was not lost and GoGo Pocha reopened (from Giles High Street) in Waterloo. It was a little hit and miss to begin with, but now I find myself going back repeatedly and the experience is how I remember it.

I specifically go to GoGo Pocha for Bibimbap with a side of Kimchi. If there’s more than one person at the table then a Seafood Pancake too.

Seafood Pancake
Bi Bim Bap – Raw Beef
Kimchi

GoGo Pocha, 30 Lower Marsh Street, London, SE1 7RG

There is no website, like some of the best little known restaurants, but you can find all the details you need through your favourite search engine.

Whilst on the subject of Korean food in London:

There are three meals that I love at a Korean restaurant: Bibimbap, Hot Pot and Korean BBQ.

I recommend the Kimchi Hot Pot at Asadal in Holborn.

For those with a car, or a desire to find more Korean Food (and supermarkets), you should head to New Malden. I’m told the restaurants are excellent, but for specifics I can refer you to a friend with experience.

Thoughts, views, images are my own.✌️ KF

Sparrow, Lewisham

Sparrow is a restaurant in Lewisham that first caught my eye on Instagram. The food looked delicate, complex in flavour and the location interested me greatly. The venue is unassuming, basic, with an open kitchen area that is surprisingly quiet. I was surprised that a restaurant with seemingly good quality food would appear in the heart of Lewisham; an area that is always busy, with ever-growing apartment blocks, yet it has a high street that never seems to change.

The restaurant describes the menu as seasonal, and a sample menu is available on their website. I noticed a few repetitions from the sample menu and the menu I saw on the day I dined, which leads me to believe they have a few core dishes that may slightly alter depending on availability of ingredients.

On your first visit you will be advised that the menu is designed to be explored, and shared. They recommend that you order 2-3 dishes per person, we shared 4 dishes between 2 people. Here’s a look at the menu provided on the day.

IMG_7683
Menu as of 8th August 2018
IMG_7684
Cured Salmon, Lemon Fennel Dressing, without Creme Fraiche
IMG_7685
Fresh Baked Olive Oil Focaccia
IMG_7686
Fennel and Brown Shrimp Salad
IMG_7688
Massaman Beef Cheek Curry, Scorched Rice

I enjoyed the salmon, with the side of focaccia. The lemon zest on the smoked salmon was a bold and delicious touch, am I used to dressing it with lemon juice and this is something I would try at home.

The fennel salad was light and tasty, I particularly liked the very small capers. Previously I have chopped capers to make them suit a dish I made, however I will look for these from now on.

The massaman curry was my favourite dish, it was actually the dish I planned to have before I knew it was a tasting menu. The beef cheeks were soft, light and extremely tender. The curry sauce was a medley of so many flavours, with crisp curry leaves, sweet small shallots, slices of gingers, lotus and lemongrass.

I’ve enjoyed a similar meal at The Sportsman in Seasalter, Cornerstone in Hackney and I’m delighted that this is on my doorstep.

Click here for the Sparrow website.

Menu and pricing as of August 2018. Images are my own. ✌ KF

Cornerstone

Cornerstone @ Hackney Wick, is a restaurant by Chef Tom Brown, previously Head Chef of Michelin starred seafood restaurant Outlaw, at The Capitol Hotel in Knightsbridge.

Grab a beer at Beer Merchants Tap before heading over to the restaurant, it’s a one minute walk away.

IMG_6248

The menu:

You are encouraged to enjoy a few dishes, and a Tasting Menu (all items with an * for £45). We opted for the Tasting Menu, in order to try a few dishes, and added the sourdough – because I love bread, and I especially like sourdough.

IMG_6239

 

Sourdough Toast with Coral Butter, toasted on a grill
Sourdough Toast with Coral Butter, toasted on a grill

 

The Tasting Menu:

IMG_6251
Pickled Oyster with Celery, Horseradish and Dill
IMG_6253
Raw Hand Dived Scallops, with Isle of Wight Tomato Dressing
IMG_6259
Baked Fennel, Anchovy and Spenwood
IMG_6260
Roast Hake, Cafe de Paris Hollandaise
IMG_6263
Ray Wing, Spiced Aubergine Puree, Basil, and Ginger
IMG_6264
Cider Braised Cuttlefish, Lentil, Apple and Spring Onion Dressing
IMG_6265
Apricot Crumble, with Clotted Cream, and Lemon Thyme

 

Menu and pricing as of May 2018. Images are my own. ✌ KF