Cay Tre, Hoxton

This week we had our agency away day, and whilst I lasted as long as I could with the drinks courtesy of the company tab (that’s a reasonable while, mind you) the hunger eventually came into play. There’s only so long fries can delay an inevitable, and insatiable appetite. Cay Tre was around the corner and the crowd level was appropriate and suggested the fare was fair. The queueing and service were crappy but the food came soon enough and I enjoyed it. I had the Com suon (£11.95) which consisted of a charcoaled pork steak, lemongrass, five spice honey glaze, daikon and fried egg over steamed rice. The pork was made of good quality and tasty for the most part, I could have done with richer flavours and more char on the meat. Nothing too exciting or different on the rest of the plate but also nothing being a let down. So solid effort and would be up to try a lot more of the menu.

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7/10

Cay Tre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cookie, Melbourne

I don’t often have leaving-the-country dinners, but when I do, I pick the biggest and most central spot I know of. And Cookie is perfect for both of those. The huge space in the centre of Swanston Street accommodates many. As well as the handy spot, there’s no booking required, we could easily find a space for ourselves in the beer hall on the night. At a cursory glance it looks like a mere bar venue, but take a bite and you’ll know there’s a solid Asian-fusion kitchen. The food ordering of the beer hall component is trample-over-people and madly-queue-order at the counter.

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Food came out at a lightning pace, with dishes magically arriving upon mere moments of reclaiming one’s seat. That, or the drinks were getting to me. Probably both. The prices are as enormous as the menu, but the quality is good and I was happy with my green curry with chicken and corn dumplings, yard beans and basil ($28.50). I had swiped some of Jo’s deep fried five-spice chicken ($23.50) and that was also tasty. I enjoyed the service at Cookie for our big group and it did the trick for one of my last gasps of the eating scene.

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7.5/10

Cookie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cookhouse Joe, Soho

Week two of new job and we headed off to Cookhouse Joe for a work lunch to see the weekend through. It’s a popular haunt amongst the crew here, and it’s easy to see why with £7 getting you half a chicken, fries, and a side from a selection of coleslaw, salad and corn. You also get a sauce, mine was garlic and yeah, sorry about that afternoon breath. Not quite an aioli, there’s a rustic chunkiness to this sauce. The chicken’s cooked really well, and you get plenty on the tray for a end of week appetite. Chips are good, but rumour has it that you get way more when you get takeaway. I was a bit meh on the corn, and the chicken could have benefited from a few herbs, but altogether, a fairly good lunch break.

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8/10

Cookhouse Joe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cereal Killer Cafe, Brick Lane

Cereal-isly? You guys have a cereal-themed cafe? I went along, and I’m glad I did, but it certainly wasn’t killer. It’s a super happening spot, no doubt driven by a glow of nostalgia and a ounce of curiosity. Service was a killjoy. You have to queue to order and then only after that, will they let you know you have to float around in the hopes for a table. I seated myself whilst my two friends ordered and even got some flack for that. In terms of food, well, I paid £5 for a bowl of cereal with chocolate chips. The initial novelty is fine but there’s isn’t any finesse or even at it’s most basic level – some effort. It’s just a bowl of dispensed cereal and unnecessary confectionery and the bowl isn’t even a pretty bowl. The fixtures are nice enough to look with makeshift seating from children’s beds. You could say – after one visit, there’s zero chance I’ll be a cereal offender.

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5.5/10

Cereal Killer Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breddos Tacos, Clerkenwell

It took an ex-street stall serving modern, fusion-brunch tacos to convince me that London has some hidden dining gems. And convince me Breddos Tacos sure did. My temporary flatmates and I headed around to Clerkenwell to check out this buzzy, on-trend spot. Dinner time it gets manic at Breddos but we had a relaxed morning pace that we could indulge in. And the tacos that partook – so fantastic. Two standouts in the pork belly and egg tacos and the black beans/ avocado/ egg/ crema/ rancheras on corn tostadas. Simple seeming dishes disguising a delectable contrast of textures and flavours. The fried chicken taco and the churro french toast I had were also fantastic. Colour, freshness and a balance of acidity and flavours in every bite. Service at Breddos Tacos was as perky as the hour of the day for a complete success. Mornings don’t get much more glorious than this.

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The first to arrive and one of my resulting favourites. The black corn tostada makes for a delightfully crunchy base with the earthy notes of the more uncommon-coloured corn. The vegetarian mix of avocado, egg, beans and cheese is a flavour packed bite that is easy to enjoy. A funky mix and highly original. A small size in the portions means plenty of other tacos can be sampled and there’s enough reason to want to work you way through all of the menu.

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For a breakfast replacement taco, the pork belly bacon and eggs  did the trick. A thick slice sizzled to crisp perfection, a swoosh of salsa, and a sunny side egg completing this funky, brunchy bite. Per a conversation I had with my new workmates this week, you can’t have a brunch without egg and this fits that equation perfectly. What I enjoy most about Breddos is it’s creative menu with a willingness to try new things. It makes for a memorable experience and one that worth coming back again to try new creations.

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The fried chicken taco was complemented by a zesty sauce and a token helping of slaw. This made for a colour-filled and texture-contrasted pocket of enjoyment. It wasn’t as spectacular as the other two dishes, but solid by any other means. Awesome quality ingredients, well prepared and presented with a sharp eye for detail.

breddos-frenchtoast

My stomach demanded a sweet finish to our tale, and I went for the special of the dulche de delche churro french toast. I don’t quite get the churro integration but it is a yum french toast execution.  There’s a delectable caramel sauce that lashed across the toast, coating multiple slices of fluffy, sweet bread. The berries, fresh and powdered, lighten an otherwise saccharine plate which also offers additional dulce de leche on the side. I ate this right up. Breddos tacos made for a super great start to the morning and a truly fine brunch! #teamlondon

9.5/10

Breddos Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Itsu, Victoria

Itsu a good deal after hours, with 50% off at the chain when it’s thirty minutes from closing. To say, it’s achieves equilibrium value for money at this time, and this time only. On the way home I braved the other cheap-chasers to get the vegetarian dumplings on rice, fruit salad and white chocolate dessert for an easy £5. Dumplings on rice is a odd offering, it reminds me of student eating when you combine something cheap with something cheap. The teriyaki sauce helped it go down, it was otherwise falling a bit bland. Fruit salad was fair but the ratio is whack. Six gigantic sticks with a few token blueberries and pomegranate seeds. A little unwieldy to eat. I was a fan of the sugar-rich white chocolate/ salted caramel dessert. Super addictive. All-in-all reasonable fun at a discount price. Would avoid any other time of the day.

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6.5/10

itsu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MOMO Dumpling Plus Tea, Prahran

Hidden along the back streets of Prahran lies MOMO Dumpling Plus Tea. It’s here to satisfy all your dumpling cravings. And your tea ones, naturally. With its spacious and minimalistic interior, this place is sure to fire your senses and the rather large space is ideal for group bookings. The focus is firmly on the food here, and rightfully so. Or if the dumplings aren’t really your thing, the menu provides a surprisingly wide variety of Asian cuisine to suit any guest or palate. Spicy to sweet, savoury to subtle, there’s a classically enormous number of eating-based avenues to explore.

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The bar menu at MOMO Dumplings Plus tea offers a solid range of house made cocktails which we started the night on. The teas will have to wait. I had the Momojito (white rum, lychee wine, green tea, basil, mint and lime) while my partner in crime for the night, Beau, had the Red Lotus (Vodka, lychee puree, cranberry juice, goji berry and almond flake) Very refreshing on both counts and a nice match for the flavours that would await us.

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Entrées came out quick and fast with grilled Pork and steamed Chilli oil dumplings. As far as the dumplings went these were good, but perhaps nothing we haven’t seen or tasted similar before. Solid efforts of course, and worthy of the inclusion in the name.

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The speedy dumplings were then followed by the house special Dan Dan Noodles which was fresh and spicy. This bowl consisted of fried green bean, chicken mince, spiced bamboo shoot, radish and chilli. With a bit of DIY mixing, you have a right ready meat and noodle goodness right there.

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The standout dish for me was the Szechuan Hofen flat noodles which had king oyster mushroom, snow pea and fried bean curd tossed in Szechuan chilli sauce. The sheen of the noodles is lovely and enticing and it sure goes down a treat.

dessert

Dessert was a bit of nostalgia for me as the flavours took me back to my childhood. This Sago, black bean and coconut concoction was a great way to end the night. Creamy, easy eating that sure settles the stomach after a busy night’s eatin’.

7/10

MOMO Dumpling Plus Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoNote: author dined at invitation of the restaurant

BRGR.Co, Soho

This week I’ve tried a new service called MealPal that works as a pseudo-meal subscription service. Originally starting out in the states and having made it its way to London, it offers your first three meals for free and then about £4.60 for pre-paid, pre-ordered lunches (offer since changed). Up first was BRGR which offered a classic but ever tantalising cheeseburger with fries. I got in a few minutes early which was ideal for getting in with minimal sog. Oddly, at BRGR they don’t put any condiments on the burger but I felt it was certainly needed. Luckily, the staff gave me some mayo on the side before I made it back. The chips were a huge size and the tastiest I’ve had here so far, so props on that. The patty was a nice red, but lacked a bit of flavour, especially without any friends like bacon or sauce. Awesome value with the MealPal package and that could be highly addictive in time.

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7.5/10

Brgr.Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KFC, Wood Green

There didn’t appear to be a heap of options open for my pre-movie dinner, so the time was up for a K-Fed comparison feed. The KFC in the UK is reasonably akin to the ones back home (and other home). They do operate with a considerably different context to the Antipodeans, with so many other chicken-knockoff chains around. Not that they appear to be really trying. I had the zinger combo (about £6) with wings, coleslaw, fries and drink. The wings were well. Great crunch, along the batter being super flavourful. A familiar and comfortable sensation. The coleslaw was average here. Also, the fries are not like the fries back home at all. They put normal salt on them, like for real. No chicken salt. And they’re not proper thick ones either. Like shoestring but sadder. The zinger burger was alright, seemed on the small size and not just because of the angle of the camera. A better quality feed than most of the chicken offerings, but without the discount price tag.

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6/10

KFC Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rasa Sayang, Chinatown

There’s something undeniably comforting about a gigantic plate of noodles. For me, it reminds me of carefree childhoods and going out for a rare, fancy but economical family outing up in the city. I tried to relive some of that grandeur thorough checking out a Malaysian place called Rasa Sayang, which is across the road from the new office. Decently busy for a weeknight and super fast service. Which was needed, as the staff had my order wrong on the first round. Still, a quick swap and only a mere few minutes of additional waiting meant no drama. The chicken and the vege were on the side of ordinary but the noodles and the sauce sure did it for me. Not quite as rich as the midnight dark hues of the ones back in Auckland, but the savoury, soy notes of the sauce were exact to have evoked fond memories. Authentically crafted and an ideal stopgap for a cheap and traditional fix.

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7.5/10

Rasa Sayang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato