Bibimbap, London

i’m glad we accepted the invitation to dinner at bibimbap along charlotte street (thank you jeremy!), because it is now somewhere we see ourselves returning to when craving a big bowl of piping hot rice on a cold night.

we visited on a thursday night and it was surprisingly (and impressively) busy for a weeknight! despite the healthy crowd, service remained good and efficient which is always a huge plus point. the space bibimbap occupies is big and spacious, but still has a warm and cosy atmosphere with cute and colourful decorations in the form of polaroids stuck on the walls:
20140213_21113520140213_211119besides the main dining area, they have 2 other seating areas spread across 2 floors in the back, which seem ideal for private parties or large groups looking for a quiet corner to themselves.

didn’t manage to snap a pic of the menu, but you can find it on their website here. though quite simple, the menu is wide enough to include an array of korean favourites and of course as the restaurant’s name suggests, many variations of bibimbap! we started with a seafood pancake, and a serving of chilli squid.

mixed seafood pancake with garlic and sesame soy sauce – £5.45

the pancake was a nice start to the meal that left us in anticipation of good things to come. we liked how the pancake was of just the right thickness – any thinner and it would probably have been too crispy, and any thicker and it would probably have been too dense! it was tasty and not too oily, and the serving size was decent for its price. however, we felt it could have done with a little more seafood in it; a lot of the time we felt like we were just having a plain pancake with some veg and the odd bit of small prawns.

deep-fried chilli squid seasoned with chilli and sea salt, served with a spicy garlic & chilli dipping sauce – £5.45

the chilli squid was a hot favourite for us. the seasoning was delicious and the squid was deep-fried to perfection, without being too oily. the batter was clearly fried in fresh oil, and was wonderfully crispy without being dry and crumbly. the squid itself was juicy and naturally sweet, and size-wise the serving was more than enough for two. it was so tasty on its own that we didn’t touch the dipping sauce at all! would definitely recommend this as a side.

for our mains, we opted for a mixed mushroom bibimbap topped with a fried egg, and a beef bool-go-gi bibimbap topped with a raw egg.
beef bulgogi bibimbap with raw egg – £6.95 + £1 

i (rach) thoroughly enjoyed the beef bibimbap which i got! the beef was very well-seasoned and tender, the other ingredients were fresh, and both were very generously provided! also loved the slightly charred bits of rice at the bottom (though i did feel that there could have been more charring) that were the result of serving the bibimbap in a stone bowl, as i feel it always should be!!!

after mixing everything together:20140213_195407topped with a healthy dose of sauce, it made for an extremely delicious and satisfying bowl of bibimbap, definitely one of the better ones i’ve had in london! i loved how the ingredients were added so generously that there was more than enough to be eaten with the rice. nothing is worse than having to eat plain rice because there just aren’t enough condiments to go around.

we also ordered the mushroom bibimbap and it was delicious:20140213_194842
mixed mushroom (shitake, oyster, white & black) bibimbap with fried egg – £7.95 + £1

nic had this, and as with the beef one rach had, the bibimbap was served in a stone bowl which provided the slightly charred taste that gives bibimbap its supposed authenticity. the portion of mushrooms on top was extremely generous and hearty. after all, there can never be too much-room for mush-room in a dish. the mushrooms were extremely fresh and consisted of a good variety. there were shitakes and also what i (nic) reckon were white and cremini mushrooms. this gave not just a nice variation in taste but texture as well. i also loved the doneness of the carrots and other veggies served in the bibimbap. their crunch made the meal feel far more healthful (yes, healthful and not healthy: than it probably was. however one tiny regret that we (rach in particular) had was that the charring was not intense enough. what we should have done was perhaps left the rice to ‘cook’ a little while before greedily tucking in!

to accompany our rice bowls, we also ordered a tofu soup & kimchi soup.20140213_194851tofu soup with mixed seafood – £6.95

this was supposed to be tofu soup, but turned out to be more like a stew. it tasted really good at first, like something that you would crave when the weather outside is wet and cold (as is London most of the year). however, rather disappointingly, after a few sips, the oiliness (yes, that entire top layer is oil) crept in and it became a bit overwhelming. it would make a nice taster dish, however, if you were to take a trip down to the restaurant with a large group. A couple of spoonfuls is enough; an entire bowl for one person is probably a little of an overkill (in the context of a meal but for the heart as well).

the kimchi soup, on the other hand, was perfect! it was a wonderful rendition of a classic korean favourite:20140213_200054
kimchi soup with pork – £6.95

light but tasty, it was not overly sour, which was good as the taste of the kimchi and associated ingredients came out far more prominently. this was my (nic’s) favourite dish that night. and just look at how, again, the serving of ingredients is so generous. it literally filled up the entire surface of the bowl. also, contrary to what other restaurants serve, this bowl of Kimchi soup was divine in that it wasn’t oily at all. i could have 10 bowls of this and still feel fit enough to run a marathon!

all in all, we left bibimbap as extremely satisfied customers! we thought the bibimbaps especially, were some of the best we’ve tried in london (both in terms of taste and serving size) especially given their reasonable price! the restaurant is perfect for a casual night out with good food and friends, and is an affordable option along charlotte street for some yummy asian food. we will certainly be returning for more!


Bibimbap (Charlotte Street)

10 Charlotte Street
London W1T 2LT


Honest Burgers, London

and the search for london’s best burgers continues, this time with my visit to honest burgers in soho to give their much-raved about burgers a try. arrived around 630pm on a thursday night to get my burger fix, just in time to snag one of two outdoor tables to have our meal at. we were told that we would have to wait for about half an hour to get a table inside, so our protesting empty stomachs got the better of us and made us opt for the alfresco dining (in winter?!) option. it was nice anyway, because honest burgers is located in a cosy shop along a short residential side street that hardly sees any cars going down it.

the menu at honest burgers is simple; they have on offer a chicken burger, 3 types of beef burgers (each with more toppings than the one before), a vegetarian option, and a special that changes quite often from what i can see on their facebook page:
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thank goodness for the menu’s simplicity, because i would probably have been super indecisive and taken ten times the time i took to decide what to order if it was any more extensive. it was hard enough deciding between the honest and the special, but i eventually settled on the honest since i decided i had to try the house special before moving on to other things that might have too many distractions from the basic burger!

service was rather slow but we (kindly?) attributed it to the crowd, and the fact that we were seated outside so it was more difficult to get their attention. luckily we got our food when we did, because we were starting to feel the effects of sitting outside ie our hands were getting cold and we needed to get them busy stuffing our faces with food!20140206_190052
honest burger: beef, red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber & lettuce – £9.50 (comes with a side of rosemary fries)

we were pleasantly surprised and very pleased that all the burgers (at the prices stated on the menu) come with a side of fries! because i was nursing a bad throat that day, i requested for the beetroot and apple coleslaw instead, a request that they very gladly acceded to. extra points for that! 20140206_190351
picture of topless burger so you can see the red onion relish!

the burger was decently-sized, and they were generous with their portions of sides. i’ll start with the beef patty – it was meaty, chunky, very tasty and cooked to moist and juicy pink perfection. all their meat is supplied from the ginger pig, none of that processed patty meat here; this was some high quality meat and you could definitely taste it! what made it even better was the generous amount of cheddar melted on the top – mmmmmmm… my only qualm was that i felt the beef patty could have been a tad bigger. the smoked bacon was delicious and very tasty, but it wasn’t fried till it was crispy so if you’re a fan of crispy bacon, you’d probably be a little disappointed. veggies at the bottom of the burger were fresh, and i liked the addition of large chunky pickle slices. the red onion relish was also a lovely addition, adding sweetness and moistness to a burger that might otherwise have bordered dangerously on being dry due to the lack of sauce.

i was disappointed by the burger bun, though. it was rather dry and i was hoping for something more glazed and brioche-like. maybe that’s not what they were intending to go for though? at least it was served freshly toasted so it was nice and warm.

think you can tell that the bun was rather dry from this pic:20140206_190640

it was otherwise a very satisfying burger. was generally quite a clean eat (ie no sauce dribbling unglamorously down our forearms) and not heavy because of its focus on simple but high quality ingredients.

moving on to the sides, the rosemary chips were quite possibly some of the best chips i have had. they are a must-have!!! i was having a sore throat, but i simply could not resist having more after having one chip. the rosemary flavour is strong but not overpowering, and my friend and i felt that the chips were of just the right size and thickness. they were crispy on the outside but thick enough to have a nice soft potato-ey bite hidden within that crispiness. finger-lickin’ good! they also weren’t too oily, which always makes the chips-eating experience more guilt-free (deceivingly so!!!). we happily lapped up every single chip that the burger was accompanied by.

as for the beetroot and apple coleslaw, it was a very refreshing change from the burgers and chips; a great option if you’re looking for something healthier! it was light, fresh and tasty. general taste was like normal coleslaw though i thought it was definitely less tart than coleslaw can sometimes be when made with raw cabbage. it also had less of a thick mayonnaise-y kind of consistency and a lovely sweetness that came from the apple and beetroot combination.

additional sides can be ordered at £2.50 per serving.

honest burgers conquered:20140206_194106

honestly (pun completely intended 😉 ), i still prefer the burgers at patty & bun, though i also must say that they’re just different types of burgers. the honest burger is more of a classic burger with very good traditional toppings while the patty & bun burgers have more interesting recipes with exciting sauces and combinations. so it really depends on what kind of burger you’re looking for… honest is probably worth going to for their amazing rosemary chips, but patty & bun has their amazing wings too! i definitely feel that the patty & bun burger bun is better though!

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Honest Burgers

4A Meard St, Soho
London W1F 0EF


St John Bakery, London

there are some places i know i will love writing about once i step in, and that was exactly what happened when my friends and i ventured to st john bakery in the (okay fine, not so) wee hours of the Saturday morning that just went by. despite the excitement over this gem of a find, there is an inescapable reluctance to write about it as i begin this post. some things are better kept as secrets, away from crowds and droves of tourists because that is precisely where their charm lies. but sharing is caring, yes? just promise me you won’t tell too many people. here goes..

st john bakery is located just behind the main maltby market stretch of stalls (more on this in another post to come!). walk through a dank and dodgy-looking tunnel and you’ll find yourself along a street with blue-shuttered warehouses. at this point you’ll probably be thinking you’re at the wrong place because it really doesn’t look like there’s going to be any food there, but fear not and go forth beyond the graffitied walls! tucked under a railway arch at number 72 druid street, you will find quite possibly the best doughnuts in all of london.

we had heard of the legendary doughnuts they sold on weekends there, and were told that they would sell out if we didn’t get there early enough. after a quick cost-benefit analysis, it was decided that the cost of getting up early after a late night the night before was less than the benefit of sinking my teeth into one of those decadent delights (their decadence was confirmed by pictures i had googled). so, it was at 830am in the morning on the second day of chinese new year that we ventured towards the river and past the more “mainstream” borough market for maltby, located in bermondsey and not as accessible by the underground as we would have liked. nothing stands in the way of us and good food though, so we found our way there in good time and arrived to watch the shutters of st john going up for the day.

st john bakery is part of the st john restaurant group, and on regular days when they don’t open their doors to sell their goods, their bakery just serves as a place for them to bake the bread supplies for their restaurant and shops. pretty randomly located amidst a stretch of warehouses, you’d probably happily go right past it if not for the steady stream of customers that leave with brown paper bags filled with doughnuts and cakes and breads. there is no seating within the shop; it is literally just a few makeshift tables set up at the front of functional bakery space for their saturday morning sales:

20140201_091021the queue just slightly past 9am

nothing fancy about the set-up at all, but it certainly does the job of facilitating brisk business! we were (very proudly) their first customers of the day, and were greeted with this spread:
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freshly-baked custard doughnuts – £2 each20140201_091856 freshly-baked breads20140201_091919

but really, its ALL about the doughnuts. and this is why:
20140201_09090320140201_091355vanilla custard doughnut in all its glory

they had vanilla, chocolate and apple jam (not on display, had to ask for them!) doughnuts available on the day we visited. i started with the vanilla custard doughnut, which is always available (the rest change) and what they are most well-known for. it really set the standard rather high for the rest – it was one pretty damn good doughnut.

the doughnut itself is incredibly light and fluffy – it has a brioche-inspired consistency, and is dusted with just the right amount of sugar that makes it sweet as a doughnut should be, but not overly so. as for the custard cream, can i just say, best doughnut filling ever?! the pregnant doughnut literally explodes in your mouth when you bite into it; the vanilla custard oozes out and the vanilla-bean cream is so fresh and light you feel like you could have an entire tubful of it without feeling ill. it is creamy, smooth, and of an amazing consistency that results in it being dense but not heavy. the whole dough ball of goodness is so pillowy, light, and relatively grease-free that you almost forget its deep-fried! this is definitely dangerous – it makes you have one after another without sparing a thought for the calorie party going on in the depths of your very satisfied tummies.

we were too busy stuffing our faces (promptly rejoined the queue for a second round after a short break) to get a picture of the chocolate cream one, but it was very very good as well. i am not a fan of chocolate, but enjoyed this nevertheless because like the vanilla custard cream, the chocolate cream was dense and satisfying yet light. also, the chocolate used was definitely of a good quality.

finally, we tried the apple jam doughnut:
apple jam doughnut

for those who fancy something fruity, this will undeniably be your cup of tea – a dreamily pillowy doughnut pumped full of tantalisingly fresh apple jam. the jam packed a real punch; it was super apple-y and sweet (hopefully more naturally than artificially) and was thick and very delicious. i really enjoyed this, more than the chocolate cream doughnut! but i do still think the star was still the vanilla cream custard…

warning: it is almost impossible to eat these glamorously. be prepared for a sticky face, but they are definitely worth the momentary lack of elegance.

we also had a madeleine each.
madeleine – 60p each

like the doughnuts, they were very impressive. my friend promptly declared them to be “kueh baulus on steroids” (for those who don’t know what kueh baulus are, they are malay traditional sponge cakes) and for those who don’t know what to make of that statement, don’t worry, it’s a very good thing! they were freshly-baked and warm, crusty on the outside but so soft and fluffy inside. at 60p each, i would have definitely gotten more if i wasn’t already stuffed from our other maltby eats (stay tuned for another post!).

st john bakery is worth getting up early on a saturday morning for – leave your lie-in for sunday morning, and start your weekend right by getting your hands on some of these decadent to-die-for doughnuts!

PS. i hear they have salted caramel custard doughnuts sometimes. need. to. get. some. need.

St John Bakery

72 Druid St
London SE1 2HQ

Open Saturdays, 9am – 2pm
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Daisy Green, London

it was a 3-course brunch deal which i spotted on timeout that prompted me to check this quaint little well-kept secret out; i wouldn’t have known about it otherwise! i guess you could say its slightly off the beaten track given that its not part of the soho congregation of food places, tucked away from the hustle and bustle but still a stone’s throw away from marble arch.

occupying a corner shop along seymour street, i knew i’d like this Aussie cafe one i saw the neon window decor and cute/quirky things they had placed just outside their shop:
me t(h)ree?

the first floor consists of a counter (probably busy with takeaway orders during lunch hour on weekdays, i would imagine!) where they prepare their “cold” foods – wraps, frozen yoghurt, sweet treats (cakes, brownies etc) – and drinks, and a few window seats:20140118_11014820140118_134019first floor of daisy green

head down the stairs and you will find yourself in a larger dining area that is split into 2 sections. i loved the whimsical decor down in the basement – it was full of bright, happy colours and really reminded me of the alice in wonderland tea party! if their intended effect was to get people excited and in the mood for good food, then they definitely succeeded (at least for me)! 20140118_11393420140118_112522

here’s the menu (they pride themselves on preparing healthy & quality aussie-style food!):
20140118_112050our amazing timeout voucher allowed us to pay just £25 for £50 worth of food, so we had a lot of eating to be done between the 2 of us. thank goodness the menu had a great range – we were spoilt for choice and didn’t have problems planning our exciting feast 😉

beginning with drinks, i opted for the detox juice (which i thought sounded pretty interesting) while my friend went for the avocado smoothie.
L: green detox juice – cucumber, celery, spinach, green apple & mint – £3.50
R: avocado smoothie with lemon, yoghurt and agave syrup – £5

we both really liked our drinks! the freshly-squeezed green detox juice (odd and off-putting as it may sound) was extremely refreshing. i normally detest celery (yes, there are things i actually do not particularly enjoy eating heh) but the combination of ingredients in this was such a good mix that the taste of raw celery was almost completely masked! everything tasted so fresh and light and it was something very different from regular juice that you get off the shelves in supermarkets – i know it probably looks a little too green to be appetising for the veggie-averse folks out there, but trust me, this was really good and not to mention super healthy!
as for the avocado smoothie, it was really a taste of home for us because in singapore they do similar avocado juice/milkshake things at hawker centres! we were very pleased – the smoothie was super thick and creamy, and the lemon added a nice twist/lift to avocado that otherwise has the tendency to be quite heavy.

service was really slow that day and our food took quite a while to arrive. i’d like to believe the best and attribute it to the fact that they were very busy and it isn’t normally like that! nevertheless, it was worth the wait! i had the shakshouka while my friend had the bondi.

shakshouka: baked eggs with tomatoes and spices with a chunk of wholewheat bread + frenched lamb cutlet – £9 + £5

i cannot resist good baked eggs and i was not disappointed with daisy green’s shakshouka rendition! the tomatoes used were fresh and naturally sweet, while the spices added a nice, tasty tunisian lift to the dish. together with the huge chunk of sourdough (which i really enjoyed), this was really satisfying but managed to remain light because of the pure tomato base of the shakshouka. i think i would’ve preferred it to have some kind of meat in it though, because the taste (albeit really good) was pretty much the same throughout the entire pot; adding some meat to the mix would probably have made it even more delicious! (i clearly have not forgotten about the amazing lamb shakshouka i had at artichoke in singapore) it was thus good that i ordered an extra frenched lamb cutlet to go along with my shakshouka. i actually expected it to be bigger since it was an additional £5 but serving-size aside, it was tender, well-seasoned and perfectly grilled – juicy and not dry. the strong taste of lamb that many fear was also absent here!

the bondi: 2 poached eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, six hour tomatoes & avocado on sourdough + spicy chorizo beans – £12 + £3

this is basically daisy green’s take on the big breakfast. my friend had most of this but i did try components of it – the sausage in particular i remember to be very tasty, crisp skin on the outside, with a really flavourful inside! i also remember the avocado being perfectly ripe and it was a very nice and refreshing addition to the plate amidst all the cooked food. i would order the bondi for the variety it presents on a single plate, but taste-wise i wouldn’t say it was anything exceptional.

the spicy chorizo beans that we added on as a side however, were super yummy:
chunks of chorizo nestled among beans in a spicy tomato-based sauce made for a perfect addition to our brunch! i really loved these beans which were something different from the regular beans you get at breakfast. they were extremely tasty and went absolutely perfectly with the toast provided! i’ll definitely order this the next time i eat there, as an accompaniment to whatever i’m having!

the servings were pretty big and we were rather full by the time we finished our mains, but i had been eyeing the croissant bread and butter pudding from the moment i spotted it on the menu and so some space just had to be made for it in our stomachs. we were not disappointed at all:
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croissant bread & butter pudding with double cream – £5

one of the best bread and butter puddings ever!!! we LOVED the idea of a croissant bread & butter pudding – it was extremely buttery (as croissants are) and hence more moist than a regular bread & butter pudding. the raisins in it and the crusty top also had parts to play in its deliciousness, and not forgetting the warm double cream that we drenched the whole pudding in. surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet and though dense, it was not heavy; probably because of the fluffiness that the bits of undrenched croissant retained! you can’t really see this from the picture, but it was a very generous serving; we ended up not being able to finish it! i recommend this as a must-order when you’re at daisy green – worth every penny and calorie 😉

we also decided to try their frozen yoghurt after seeing a daisy green mobile froyo van parked outside their shop. the recommended toppings were berries and brownies so that’s what we opted for!
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetthe yoghurt was thick, creamy and smooth so if you like your frozen yoghurt icy then you probably won’t fancy this. i personally really liked it though, because that’s exactly the way i like my froyo! if i’m not wrong they only have natural flavour (which is what we had). i loved how it wasn’t tampered with by artificial flavours; there was a subtle sourness that many yoghurts tend to lose when in fancy flavoured forms. toppings were added generously and the berries were super fresh and sweet while the brownie was very yummy too!

the brownies, along with a few other treats are baked in-store. i know this because we were given a small door gift with a mix of all the treats they had available that day to take home with us:
20140118_141443we got a mix of their mars bar, brownie, coated banana and a flapjack-type thing if i remember correctly! all were pretty good (though i wouldn’t really rave about them) and the best part is, if the sticker that sealed the box was stating the truth, so guilt-free (or at least more so than their equivalents elsewhere) too!20140118_141434

all in all, our experience at daisy green was a lovely one. great food and drinks, great dessert and decor to boot, tucked away in a great location that is central yet quiet, and everything at reasonable prices! what more could one ask for? its been added to my list of places to go for brunch in london; i’d have a meal here over any of the bigger chains anytime.

PS. i hear their coffee is great, as are the wraps. oh and the banana bread! will definitely be back to give them a try!

Daisy Green

20 Seymour St
London W1H 7HX

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