Bad Egg, City Point, Moorgate, EC2Y



London’s best food isn’t always of the dinner variety. Sometimes it can come in the form of an egg. Once we heard that Neil Rankin was expanding his empire to include a place specialising in eggs, we knew it was going to be epic.

Opened last November we decided it was time we visited this egg-cellent establishment (it had to be done!). Walking in we are greeted with american diner style booths and dim lighting with the walls laden with graffiti. We like it already.

Once seated we couldn’t help but look around us to see what others were eating and what was coming out of the kitchen. You can tell the dishes are lovingly prepared and attention to detail is key. We settled upon Poached Eggs and Gaucamole on Sourdough and the Breakfast Tacos. For drinks its had to be tea (TeaPigs of course!). The Poached egg is as it should be, round and soft with a runny yolk centre. The gaucamole was fresh and you can tell it has been made on site and not from a shipped-in box. The Breakfast tacos were also delicious. Creamy scrambled eggs mixed with gaucamole, chipotle and  sour cream nestled on top of three mini soft tortillas. No knife and fork required – two bites and they were gone! I think 3 may be too little, perhaps a 4th would satisfy the stomach. The all day diner aspect of this place is what really makes sense. You can come at any time of day and have some really good food. They also have a brunch option for the weekends!

We only sampled the breakfast menu but we can say it is somewhere that we will come back to. It’s reasonably priced and worth the visit. Next time we will sample the all day menu as Neil has stated the baked eggs are the champions of the dish. Can’t wait to find out.

Bad Egg
City Point, Unit 1b, 1 Ropemaker St, London EC2Y 9AW

Nopi, Warwick Street, W1B

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of many chefs who we admire immensely here at London’s Dinest. His food, inspired by north African flavours and tastes of his home town of Israel, is full of vibrancy and punchy tones that we just adore.

Nopi, one of four under the Ottolenghi name, is nestled just off Regent St, bordering Soho making it a great spot for all. We had reserved a table (a rarity these days in London) and were greeted by the lovely front of house who showed us to our table right in the middle of the dining room.

The interior of Nopi – think marble, glacial and white. Very slick and clean cut with the only colour coming from the fresh salads on display and the food from the kitchen. Intentional perhaps? It definitely did make us look at our food a whole lot more!

As we had arrived pre-6pm we were given the option to order from their pre-theatre menu. A great option for those who are going onto a show straight after. For us though, we stuck to the a la carte and promptly requested Prosecco whilst we decided what to order.

We opted to share a few dishes to get a real taste of what the menu has to offer. We chose the Burrata with blood orange, coriander seeds & lavender, Roasted aubergine with black garlic, chilli, broad beans, & basil, Courgette & manouri fritters and the Valdeón cheesecake with pickled beetroot, almonds and thyme honey. The Burrata was fresh and light like you would expect and the coriander seeds added some heat which is something we wouldn’t normally expect. The aubergine had a gorgeous smokey taste and we loved the flavours that had been infused. It is served cold but could easily work hot. Up next were the courgette fritters. They were delicious. The Manouri cheese is one we haven’t tried before and It mirrors that of feta but without being too salty, which makes it a perfect partner for the courgette. Finally, the cheesecake. By far our favourite dish. Hot fondue-like cheese bubbling away topped with the almonds to give it a crunch. This has to be one of the best dishes we have sampled in a long time.

All in all our experience at Nopi was excellent. The service was friendly without being too invasive and the food was on point and really showcased flavours that you wouldn’t normally expect. Cookbook purchased, time to try and recreate the Ottolenghi magic at home.

Nopi

21-22 Warwick Street, Soho, W1B 5NE

 

Smoking Goat, Denmark Street, WC2

Entering this dimly lit restaurant you’re welcomed with the lovingly familiar smell of a barbeque. You’d think it was summer but this was a bitterly cold night and the warmth and aromas inside this establishment changed everything. There’s a lot been said about Smoking Goat and we’re very glad to tell you it’s all credible.

The theme is Thai and the overtone is barbecue; two things we have no issues with. We were lucky enough to meet Ben Chapman who is the chef and co-partner of Smoking Goat after asking the waitress about some of the flavours being used. He’s clearly an intelligent guy given the combinations on offer here so we take our hat off. The venue is small and that’s not a bad thing, with a few tables arranged around the bar where there are quite a few stools for informal dining. We also loved the soundtrack on offer and it was clear the place was playing vinyl, we loved that.

The menu is small and it’s safe to say we ordered everything on it that was available. It is divided into ‘Small’ and ‘Wood Grill’ and we started with Coal Roast Scallops & Red Nam Yum, Chilli Wings and the now very famous Fish Sauce Wings. The scallops were cooked perfectly and came in the shell with a red nam yum sauce. It’s not often you drink the sauce out of the shell like you were eating an oyster and wow it packed a punch! The chilli wings were a pretext to the finale which I will mention in a second. These were cooked well and had a crunchy batter which you rarely see. They weren’t oily and again packed a punch. The sauces and opportunities to dip all items in high class ingredients changed the way you thought about the food here; the dish is as good as the sauce that accompanies it. Now for the fish sauce wings. These are hands down our favourite wings eaten to date. They echo the sentiments earlier about the chilli wings however took it up a fair few notches with the fish sauce incorporated in a glaze. These are outstanding and it’s easy to see why these sold out later on in the evening.

Next up were the lamb ribs. Another rarity on a menu but one we’d quite happily eat again. These are smoked and basted with fermented shrimp, chilli and palm sugar. Just reading those ingredients again show you the level of complexity in the flavours on offer here. These were excellent and we were tempted to order more when the duck legs came out. These are slow roasted and marinated with galangal, lemongrass & kaffir then basted with ketjap manis & white pepper. For those wondering, ketjap manis is an Indonesian soy sauce – it’s a bit thicker and slightly sweeter. These, again, were fantastic. It’s not often you get duck served up like this and they didn’t last long at all. The lamb ribs and the duck legs are both served with papaya salad (som tam) and sticky rice. The som tam has a lot of chilli so be warned! However what a vibrant dish to accompany a meal. The sticky rice in our eyes was there just to mop up the leftover sauces and juices, which makes sense! For drinks we had a bold bottle of red and it mixed well with the strong flavours on offer.

Smoking Goat is a Thai barbecue feast. Be prepared to get your shirt to get splattered with an array of sauces and know that your fingers will get finger-licking messy. Served up is some of the best Asian flavours around and you’d be hard pressed to find more intelligent cooking. There’s no phone and there’s no bookings so come hungry and arrive early.

 

Smoking Goat

7 Denmark Street, Soho, WC2

The Jones Family Project, Great Eastern Street, EC2A



We’d heard about this place for a while and it was a relief to finally make it recently. When you see the words ‘Steak’ ‘Bar’ and ‘Grill’ we are always interested over here at London’s Dinest and we weren’t disappointed. Recommended by many, it’s not hard to miss The Jones Family Project but if you’re having difficulties it’s opposite the Hoxton Hotel!

Once we’d arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by a friendly waitress (always a good thing if there’s no wait for this; there wasn’t). We were told we could have some drinks while our table became ready as we hadn’t reserved. The bar upstairs isn’t the biggest but it is a beauty. Dark walls, friendly staff and a lovely bar. The cocktail menu here is pretty extensive so make sure you have a look through the entire menu before ordering! We went for a couple of Diplomatico Old Fashioneds and some champagne cocktails, all were lovely. It wasn’t long before our table was ready so we headed downstairs to the lively restaurant.

Steak is relatively simple to describe and here it comes from their Josper charcoal oven. The meat is sourced from the famous Ginger Pig and we have no complaints when it comes to that. The seafood menu changes constantly and once we heard of the salmon special it wasn’t long before we’d ordered our meals. To start we had the Jones’ charcuterie board spiced crispy squid and the Jones’ fillet steak tartare, both of which were excellent. The steak tartare especially was one of the finest we’ve eaten in a fairly long time. The squid had a lovely kick to it and the bitter lime hints added to a lovely start.

For mains there was a rib eye steak, the salmon special and a chuck burger topped with slow-cooked oxtail. These three were big hitters and we’d have happily eaten more had we not been so full. Accompanying these were truffled macaroni cheese and some greens. The former of these was quite easily one of the best we’ve had as a side dish – it could easily be a main dish on its own. The steak was cooked perfectly, the burger would be at home in any burger restaurant and the salmon was fantastic. The staff here are really friendly and it’s great to see a big wine list accompanying such a great menu.

Unfortunately this time we had no room for dessert but we can imagine they are great. If you’re looking for a lively restaurant that’s a lot of fun with excellent food to match then head on over.

The Jones Family Project
76 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3JL

Berner’s Tavern, Berners Street, W1T

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Jason Atherton is a name that is quickly becoming one that we all want to know. Now having 4 eateries over London, his culinary empire is forever growing, and we are embracing it with open arms. Head chef at Berners Tavern is Phil Carmichael, who used to be Jason Atherton’s senior sous-chef at Maze restaurant in Mayfair.

Having eaten at Social Eating House, we knew to expect wonderful things when we visted Berner’s Tavern recently. From the moment we entered we knew we were in for a treat.

Having arrived slightly early, we were warmly greeted by the Maitre’D who kindly asked to wait at the bar while they got our table ready. We didn’t need to be told twice! The lovely bar with its extensive list of wines and spirits kept us busy. Settling for Gin and Tonics we sat at one of the cosy tables and took in our surroundings. high ceilings, dim lighting, gorgeous artwork surrounded us. A level of grandeur that we were very much intoxicated by.

Our table was ready within 10 minutes and we were shown to one in the corner of the restaurant close enough to see into the kitchen, but far enough away to still enjoy the bustling dining room.

We moved onto wine, red of course, to go with our food, opting for two glasses of their 2012 Argentinian Malbec.

Now the food. What can we say but, simple divine. For starters we had Ironbark pumpkin risotto with crispy quail egg and kale and the charred mackerel with fennel, carrot and orange salad. Firstly the risotto, it is one of the best we have ever eaten. The risotto was cooked perfectly so still had a bite to it. The quails egg added a depth and the kale finished the dish with an earthy flavour that leaves you wanting more. The fish was also fantastic. Mackerel can be an acquired taste but when cooked like this we have no problems recommending!

For mains we chose the Wild mushroom Orecchiette with pickled trompettes ad the Roasted Goonsnargh Chicken Breast with Bacon, mashed potato, smoked garlic & salsa verde and a coq au vin sauce.

We have to say the pasta was lovely. It wasn’t as outstanding as we had hoped after sampling some gorgeous Mac n Cheese at Social Eating House, but was still very tasty. The star was definitely the chicken. Tender melt in your mouth with a gorgeous sauce and some of the fluffiest mash potatoes we have had in a long time. We couldn’t get enough of it!

We saved some room for dessert and opted to share their caramel apple eclair with salted caramel (on the recommendation of our waitress who said it was her favourite). Each mouthful was more delicious than the previous. The pastry was light but was still able to hold the apple and cream. The accompanying ice cream was one that we would happily have had a whole bowl full of.

Overall we had a great dining experience at Berner’s Tavern. The service was smooth and friendly but not so over bearing that you felt rushed. It can’t compare to SEH, only because we had a completely different experience there. One thing we do think is slightly missing is the connection with the kitchen. It would have been great to actually see food coming off the pass and into the restaurant, showcasing the many talented chefs’ work first hand.

Another great restaurant Mr. Atherton. Thank you!

Berner’s Tavern
10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP

Dip & Flip, Battersea Rise, SW11

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With the weather turning cooler, at London’s Dinest we tend to turn to comfort food. You know, gravy, anything with melted cheese, pies and burgers etc. Now what if we were to tell you that putting the former and latter mentions together, brings you one hell of a meal!

After a few days abroad and eating poor attempts at burgers and fries, we headed on down to Dip & Flip just near Clapham Junction for a meal of extremely messy fingers and cheesey (quite literally) grins. Once you head on in to the restaurant, you’re greeted with bare brick walls and a view into the kitchen. We could see the head chef preparing some fresh beef into their amazing patties. The staff are great and it wasn’t long before we were sat down and having a look around at other people’s tables and the variety of food on offer.

Dip & Flip is a Canadian way of doing burgers and we have no complaints at all! The premise is such, pick a burger, pick your version of fries and never forget your selection will come with gravy. (We are firm believers that gravy makes everything better!). There are a few options in terms of burgers, with bacon and chilli as well as a selection of sandwiches. However the reason to be here is for the Dip & Flip burger which comes with roast lamb or roast beef on top, which is also dipped in gravy. You’re probably thinking it’s a little messy and that’s why there’s a full roll of kitchen roll to make things right. The burger itself is cooked to perfection and we liked that we weren’t asked how we wanted it cooked, giving us faith in the chefs knowing how to cook a good burger. Topped with mustard, ketchup, pickles and that aforementioned roast beef, this is one of the best burgers we have tasted in a long time. A side of cheesy (mozzarella) fries smothered in more gravy was fantastic and the milkshakes are delicious. Utilise that extra bowl of gravy they provide for dipping and you’re on to one hell of a meal.

We left Dip & Flip extremely full and welcomed another great burger restaurant in this glorious city. Well done.

Dip & Flip
87 Battersea Rise, SW11 1HW

Afternoon Tea – Cake Boy, Battersea, SW18

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When it comes to eating in London, we are lucky to have so many different ways to enjoy good food. Afternoon Tea is just one past time that where we can indulge in some gorgeous cakes, sample lovely pastries and devour fresh sandwiches.

We visited Eric Lanlard’s Wandsworth based cafe,  ‘Cake Boy’ after pre-booking their champagne afternoon tea. For those of you who don’t know, Lanlard is a celebrity chef who has produced cakes for the Beckham’s, Madonna and even the late Queen Mother! We knew we were in for a treat!

Upon arrival at the cafe we were greeted by a friendly waiter who already knew we were hear for tea, which led us to believe this is the main reason why people visit the place. The decor of the ‘tea room’ is far from traditional, with large arm chairs and quirky tables in bold colours of pink and black. Very different to likes of the Ritz or Claridges, but still very comfortable nonetheless.

The waiter took our drinks order (Lattes and teas) and also brought over our glasses of champagne. Then out came the sandwiches and cakes. What a sight! The waiter explained all of the sandwich fillings and described each delectable cake in detail. We were also supplied with a small menu outlining everything too.

The sandwiches, again not your traditional finger on white or brown bread, but large overfilled rolls consisting of mozzarella and roasted veg, parma ham, and houmous and salad. All of the breads were freshly baked and were delicious. We polished off all the sandwiches rather quickly!

Onto the stars of the day. The cakes. Lanlard’s inventive streak was certainly on display through each little beauty. Below is a photo of the menu describing each in detail.

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All of the treats were unique in taste and simply divine. When thought has gone into the creating of  individual cakes like these, you really can appreciate the skill level of the talented chefs behind the scenes! Our favourite was the Dark Chocolate square. The mousse was the lightest we have ever tasted and the cherries were a great addition and complemented the dark earthiness of the chocolate.

We would recommend a visit to Cake Boy if you live south of the river and are around Wandsworth/ Clapham. It is slightly out of the way, but we like that. Means it is a secret between us and Eric, for now any way!

Cake Boy
Unit 2, Kingfisher House, Battersea Reach, Juniper Dr, London SW18 1TX