Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Man vs. Cat

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wild Honey

December involved quite a bit of eating out - which is fine by me because it means I leave the washing up to others. Manbacon and I decided to head for a restorative meal at Wild Honey instead of battling other elbows at the post-Christmas sales. The dining room, hidden behind a set of billowing (and slightly confusing) red velvet drapes, was satisfyingly calm. 
I don't drink much alcohol, but since it was the holidays, I decided to go a wild and order a cocktail. I know, how crazy. I don't remember what it was called, but it had peach nectar and a rosemary spring in it, and was rather refreshing. 
Starter  - steak tartare
To keep things simple (and because I take an age to decide on what to order), we both went for the Working Lunch set - a really good deal at £27 for 3 courses. We were also given a choice of bread and a pat of butter to tide us over before the food came. Our starter of steak tartare was just the right size and served with a lovely, unctuous orange egg yolk. I love a good egg yolk...
Salmon with broccoli  and sea lettuce (I think?)
The salmon came served on a hefty, earthy, pottery plate which I was very tempted to try and ferret away with me. You can never have too many nice plates (even if you have to keep some of them under the bed because there isn't any more space on your kitchen shelves). The fish itself was perfectly cooked - so tender and succulent that I didn't even need a knife. One of my chief gripes with salmon is that so many people and places tend to cook it to death - really, there's no need to stick a tiny piece like that in the oven for 20 minutes, that's just over the top! Anyway, this was cooked exactly the way I would have wished, and the veggies on the side helped provide a lovely crunchy element. Manbacon made a wisecrack about the foamy bit being 'saliva' (haha, hilarious...) but it was rather tasty and surprisingly rich. And not at saliva at all.
Classic custard tart

You get to choose between a cheese course or a dessert. The cheese that day was Comte, which, although tasty, wasn't the most exciting choice, so we both went for the custard tart. I had already unfairly dismissed it as a boring, stodgy pudding, but I am a bit of an idiot sometimes. It was amazing!  I don't know how they kept the custardy bit so light and soft, yet managed such a sharp, neat cut. The custard was smooth and almost runny, yet kept it's shape perfectly. I'm going to have to make a bunch of custard tarts in the near future so I can try to replicate it. Who wants to be a taster?
12 St. George Street
London, W1S 2 FB

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Royal York Hotel

Some pictures of The Royal York, a funny, slightly grandiose, almost falling apart kind of hotel that we stayed in during our weekend in Brighton last month. My favourite bit was the scaffolding propping up the main staircase. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Duck and Waffle

Happy New Year, peeps! Now that the festivities are over and we're back to our usual (grumpy) selves, let's rewind back a few weeks to the Friday before Christmas, when I met up with the Bake Club crew for an apocalyptic meal at Duck and Waffle. We decided on the venue purely because of it's status as London's highest restaurant - a good view of the proceedings is necessary if you're watching the world end.

Getting up to the venue was akin to being in a SuperMario game - first you have to get past the scary dragon (a Jonathan Ross-alike doorman without the rhotacism but armed with an enormous clipboard), then board the lift for the flight up to the 40th floor (rather exciting and earpopping), then get looked up and down by a black-clad, sylph-like figure, before finding your way through the labyrinth (of tables and much too cool and shiny diners) and finally ending up at the table where the rest of your motley crew awaits. Don't forget to collect your mushrooms on the way!
Spicy ox-cheek doughnut with apricot jam
Raw scallop with apple, lime and black truffle
Carlingford rock oysters served with lemon, Tabasco sauce and red wine vinaigrette 
Rosemary and garlic bread
Let us start with the starters. We were intrigued by the ox-cheek doughnut, which isn't something you see on menus everywhere. I don't remember much about the taste of the meat itself, except that it was tender and went very well with the sweet jam. I must try and seek out ox-cheek more often. The sliced scallop came beautifully presented on a block of pink Himalayan salt. However, the apple that came with the scallop was bland and had the texture of styrofoam. Styrofoam - good for finishing up school projects, not so much for eating. Fotunately, the generously-sized oysters helped redeem the seafood section's pride. Bread...I don't remember much about you, except that you looked like a focaccia and was nicely chewy.
Cornish fish stew - fish of the day with baby vegetables
Angus burger with Gruyere, onion jam and chips
I didn't taste the Angus burger, although the general reception from the others seemed to have been positive, so if you're the type who goes for burgers, go for it. It's probably a good choice. The fish stew was the priciest item on the menu, but was bountifully filled with fish and vegetables. I intend to revisit the place just so I can order it and have it all to myself.
Duck and waffle - confit of duck leg, waffle, duck egg and maple syrup
And now to the eponymous duck and waffle dish - a confit of duck leg, served with a waffle, fried sunny side  up duck egg, and ranekin of maple syrup. The skin was salty and crispy, just the way I like it. However, my enthusiasm was slightly dampened when I discovered the meat wasn't fall-off-the-bone tender. In fact, a knife had to be used to encourage it off the bone! (I know...how devastating.) My preference is towards a fork-tender confit - it means much less work for the lazy and is also much easier to handle for the clumsy. The egg was perfectly cooked though, and went nicely with the waffle and maple syrup. I've actually been thinking of getting myself a waffle iron after that meal, just so I can breakfast on fried eggs and maple syrup. It seems like it might be just the right meal for lazy weekend mornings.
Also, here's a view of the kitchen if you fancy that sort of stuff. Their waitstaff are generally on the goodlooking end of the spectrum, if that sort of thing interests you. You eat with your eyes, and all that...

Heron Tower
110 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4AY