Real Foods Market on Southbank

Hooray! Real Foods Market is open during the week again throughout the Paralympics. This means I get to pop in for dinner before my Wednesday evening run.

Today I went to Community Kitchen for a delicious spicy lamb and chickpea tagine wrap. There were so many things that I loved about this meal. The flatbread is home-made and delicious. It’s also medium sized and thin. So often wraps are all pita and a little bit of filling. Not this one! It was filled so much that it was served with a fork.

The lamb was really lovely. What was fantastic was the balance of flavours. So often seasoning can be so strong that it overpowers the flavour of the meat. Not on this occasion. The spices complimented and enhanced the intense flavour of the lamb. Similarly the tagine really focussed on the natural taste of the chickpeas. This is not to suggest that it was bland, I actually lost the flavour of the minted yoghurt because of the strength of the other components.

The salad bed of tomato and red cabbage brought a wonderful fresh crunchiness. Lovely to have that contrast in texture. Without it, the wrap could have been a bit mushy-feeling, particularly given that the lamb was minced.

The whole meal was filling, and refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable! I’d definitely recommend it.

20120829-185156.jpg

Advertisements

More streetfood exploration

Continuing my love affair with London’s streetfood scene here are reviews of three of my latest samplings.

Fleisch Mob
I’d heard of Fleisch Mob over Twitter and was intrigued, so was delighted to discover their presence on a recent trip to Eat St at King’s Cross Boulevard. While the frankfurters were tempting it had to be the rare breed pork schnitzel with rocket on a cibatta roll for me. Following the recommendation of the vendors’ I elected to have it with a ginger and rhubarb compote (made from mum’s home grown rhubarb apparently, love it!). The schnitzel was freshly made in front of me, it hadn’t even been pre-breaded. It was interesting to see that it was cooked in a mix of oil and butter. Definitely added to the flavour. As for the taste…fantastic! The quality of the meat shone through and really was something special. It was perfectly cooked with a golden and crispiness on the outside and tender meat inside. The compote was surprisingly lovely. Sweet with a lovely freshness resulting from the ginger. Absolutely delicious and I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

20120821-095431.jpg

Bell and Brisket
I came to Bell and Brisket absolutely famished. I’d decided to go to Streetfeast London at the Camden Brewery for lunch after my run. However a change of plans meant I was significantly delayed and didn’t arrive until 4pm. Bell and Brisket offers a range of salt beef options and from them I chose the old timer on rye – a classic combination of salt beef, pickles and mustard. I have to be honest, while it was a nice sandwich, I really wasn’t blown away by it. The most disappointing aspect was the bread. It just had no flavour. What it really needed was a strong sourdough or heavy rye to give it some oomph.

20120821-095530.jpg

Bhangara Burgers
Still hungry after my salt beef sandwich I went in search of more food and ended up at Bhangara Burgers. I’d seen them around at many events but just hadn’t taken the step of actually placing my order. Now I’m left wondering why, why, WHY did it take me so long? I think I can safely say this was the best streetfood burger I’ve had to date. Following the chef’s recommendation I opted for the lamb jalfrezi burger, and I had it with every condiment available. The burger is served in a flatbread which works really well because the bread doesn’t get in the way of the taste of the ingredients as much. And boy, was there taste! Such an explosion of flavour in my mouth. The chilli pickle was just the right heat and the lime pickle delicious! Lots of crunchy fresh vegetables – red cabbage was a particularly inspired addition – gorgeous sweet mango chutney to offset the tang of the lime and then a wonderful yoghurt based dressing. I’m drooling again as I write this!

20120821-095641.jpg

Supperclub Summit: Mamalan, Two Hungry Girls & Wild Serai

When I first heard about the Supperclub Summit I was really excited. Yet somehow as the events approached I found that I still hadn’t gotten around to booking my attendance. Finally I sorted myself an and on Saturday I went along to the Mamalan, Two Hungry Girls & Wild Serai supperclub, a collaboration of three Asian supperclub chefs. Unusually, the event was held in the Goethe Institute. Every other supperclub I have attended has been held in somebody’s home. I suppose three chefs in one household kitchen would have been a little challenging.

20120813-221758.jpg

Upon arrival we were served a complimentary pink cocktail. Also unusually, wine was available for purchase. Supperclub are usually BYO events. The tables were simply laid and on the brown paper “tablecloth” the elements of our impending feast were described. Curiously, next to the fork was a red an gold envelope with a coin and a note asking us not to lose it. Prior to our meal we were introduced to the chefs, who explained that the meal would be served in the traditional banquet style. We were also reminded not to lose our envelopes.

20120813-221900.jpg

Our first entrée was a mini lamb bun. It was served streetfood style from crates hung around our waiters’ necks each had a coin jar for “payment”. This is where the contents of the red envelope came into play. The entrée itself was really nice and flavoursome. I added some of Mamalan’s excellent chilli oil to give it a bit of extra kick. Not as outstanding as other elements of the meal but a good, solid course all the same.

20120813-221944.jpg

Our next entrée was poached chicken with a spring onion and ginger dressing wrapped in lettuce leaves. This course was served in its components so we were able to construct it according to our tastes. I liked this approach to food. I’m generally not the greatest fan of poached chicken, but in this instance it worked well. There was a wonderful punchiness of ginger in the dressing.

20120813-222238.jpg

Alongside this we were served a wonderful Malaysian Nyonya salad of celery, mushrooms and beans. Really simple and fresh. I particularly liked the flavour of the mushrooms and couldn’t resist picking at it throughout the rest of the evening.

20120813-222150.jpg

Next were the much revered Mamalan’s pork and chive dumplings. They were perfectly cooked, crispy on one side, silkenly stodgy on the other. The flavours were amazing. Very complex but so well partnered that I couldn’t isolate any single element. Dipped in a mix of soy sauce, Chinese vinegar and chilli oil…perfect!

20120813-222359.jpg

Again this was accompanied by another fantastic salad. This time we were served a mix of pickled vegetables including white cabbage, carrot and cucumber. The pickle was sweet, tangy and beautifully refreshing. It didn’t last long at our table!

20120813-222320.jpg

Finally we moved onto the main courses (yes there was more than one). First out was the pork belly with crackling. And here I entered heaven. When the pork belly hit my tongue I had to take a little moment to close my eyes and just enjoy the pure pleasure of the flavour. I think my dining companions might have found that a little strange. Eh, whatever. Have to say. It was the best pork crackling that I have ever had! Thin, astonishingly crispy, and very well seasoned. Surprisingly this was served with English mustard, as well as broccoli and rice. I have to note that the rice was beautifully cooked. It was sticky without a hint of glugginess, and soft it just disintegrated in my mouth.

20120813-222359.jpg

We were advised not to eat too much rice because we would need it for the next course. When it arrived I completely understood why. It was a mountain of chilli crab with the most wonderful sauce that I just wanted to drink it! Now on the scale of seafood preferences crab is pretty low on the list for me. However, it did lead to much table conversation and hilarity as we struggled to penetrate the crabs’ armour and ended up splattering ourselves and each other with crab juice and chilli sauce in the process.

20120813-222905.jpg

I was also a big fan of the mantou buns served with the meal. The crust had a subtle sweetness and the bread soft, had a beautiful grain and was gorgeously flavoured. Excellent for mopping up more of the delicious sauce.

20120813-222955.jpg

Another excellent salad accompanied this meal. This time it was a combination of pineapple, cucumber and chilli. It was beautiful and provided a refreshing contrast to the richness of the chilli crab.

20120813-222830.jpg

Once we’d had some time to clean ourselves with multiple serviettes and towelettes, we were provided with a delicious mango and cumquat palate cleanser – which do it’s job perfectly- before moving onto the spectacle that was dessert.

20120813-223027.jpg

We were presented with a halved log of bamboo hollowed out and filled with ice. On top were pieces of fruit (rambutan, watermelon, cantaloupe, apricots, and strawberries) and bowls of panacotta with peach and caramelised nuts, and honey ice-cream with dates and sweet lotus root. Fortunately The panacotta was nice, but nothing spectacular. The nuts were my favourite part. But the ice-cream was outstanding! The lotus root was interesting, but somehow it worked.

20120813-223118.jpg

We thought that was it and by this point the strain in my stomach was certainly telling me that this should have been the case. But no, to see us off we were given mini pandans and chocolate ganaches, and a cold tea that I really didn’t like. Both the pandam and ganache were really lovely, although I felt the latter was just a bit rich after such an extensive meal.

20120813-223153.jpg

20120813-223215.jpg