KERB King’s Cross, London

once you see the glorious weather that features in the pics to come in this post, you’ll realise that this is a rather belated update – it was on the last officially warm day of the year (it was halloween now that i think about it, just about 3 weeks back now?) that i headed to kerb at kings cross for their friday street food market. i actually needed and hence intended to stay in to get some work done that day, but the amazing sun coupled with lure of good food was too tempting to resist so tutorial prep was temporarily postponed…
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halloween pumpkin patch at granary square

granary square is just one of the locations that kerb brings the best of london street food together at. the opportunity to try the oft raved about yum bun was the main reason why i made the trek there that friday afternoon, but we ended up being treated to so much more! the food loot for 4 people happily sitting in the sun and waiting to be attacked:
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everything was super delish! shall start with the buns from yum bun:
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yum buns from yum bun!
having been treated to delicious kong bak paus (for the uninitiated, kong bak paus are basically chinese braised pork sliders) all my life back home in sunny singapore, i was apprehensive about the buns here – would they live up to the hype or would i be disappointed? glad to say i was actually quite impressed, particularly by the buns themselves which were little envelopes of pillowy goodness that held exciting condiments within.

we opted for 1 of each bun, 2 of them as part of a bun box and 1 individual bun. the hot favourite was undoubtedly the chicken bun – crispy chicken, lettuce, kewpi mayo and chilli dressing embraced by a wonderfully soft and fluffy steamed bun. the fried chicken was a huge hit; it was fried to perfection – crispy on the outside but juicy and tender within. the yum factor was further increased by the addition of mayo and chilli which added a real kick to the bun.

my 2nd favourite out of the 3 we got was the mushroom bun – portobello mushroom, cucumber, walnuts, spring onion, and miso glaze. i loved the combination of mushroom, walnuts and miso glaze. vegetarian options don’t get much better than this, folks 😉
as for the pork, this is what i feared – that i would compare the pork bun with other pork buns i’d tried before and be disappointed. the pork bun consisted of slowly roasted blythburg belly pork, spring onions, cucumber and hoisin. don’t get me wrong – it was a good bun still, but i wasn’t blown away or as excited about it as i was about the rest probably because it wasn’t as novel. plus, i thought the hoisin sauce was rather overpowering and it felt like i was eating a peking duck pancake but with pork and inside a steamed bun!

the bun box came with 2 gyozas and a side of asian slaw which were decent but nothing to rave about. the slaw was a rather yummy and refreshing break from the buns though! at £3.50 a bun or £7.50 for a bun box, i would say the buns are on the pricey side but they’re definitely worth trying and i can say with absolute certainty that the chicken bun will definitely be one of my choices when i return.

we also had a kimchi burrito from kimchinary:20141031_131847 gochujang pulled pork shoulder burrito from kimchinary
unfortunately this was one of the first few things we bought so by the time we started eating when we had gotten all the food, it had gone quite cold 😦 it was good enough for us to note its potential for greatness though! we got the gochujang pulled pork shoulder (love me some pulled pork – i can never resist…) and it came in a toasted tortilla with kimchi fried rice, cheddar sesame slaw, gochujang sauce, spring onion and sour cream. the pulled pork was tasty, moist and juicy and went wonderfully with the kimchi fried rice, both of which the burrito was very generously stuffed with. the slaw added a nice refreshing crunch and everything came together very well to make for a really satisfying burrito. as i said before, can only dream of how much better it would’ve tasted if we had eaten it immediately!

we hadn’t intended on getting pizza initially, but after spying people feasting on drool-inducing doughy goodness, we could not resist and ended up ordering a smoked mozarella and pancetta pizza (their special for the day – £7).20141031_131336wood-fired pizza from fundi
the queue was long but i’m glad that didn’t deter us from joining it because it was worth the wait! the pizza crust was delightfully thin yet thick enough to retain a slight (but sufficiently satisfying) doughy bite (rather than just being crispy right through) and the toppings were fresh and delicious. we watched the dough for our pizza being skillfully kneaded, generously sprinkled with fresh ingredients and then placed into the wood-fired oven. not long after, it emerged in all its freshly-baked glory, smoke and a heavenly aroma emanating from it, and sauce on top still visibly bubbling away from its perfectly-timed stint in the oven.

it was a really yummy pizza and as i type this post, i feel a twinge of regret over the fact that we did not order another one… #midnighthungerpangs #suchislife

lastly, we ordered a serving of meatballs and salad (last-ditch effort to make this meal remotely healthy) from capish:
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these were some great beefballs – they were huge, chunky and hearty with a warm homely feel to them. despite being so large, they were well and consistently-seasoned so that they were tasty right through, and cooked perfectly so that the meat remained naturally sweet, moist and juicy. we all agreed that you could definitely taste that they were freshly-made and they were so hearty that at some points i felt like i was eating a premium burger patty in large spherical form.

we were rather pleased and quite impressed by the food we sampled at kerb that afternoon. not sure if the wonderful weather (isn’t halloween supposed to be cold/wet/rainy/dark/gloomy/dreary? so ironic.) played a part in making the food taste especially good, and i guess there’s only one way to find out… a return trip is in order! 😉
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KERB – King’s Cross
4 Stable St, Granary Square
London N1C20141031_125421

PS. check out in advance what stalls are going to be at whichever location you choose to visit on the day you’re planning on going here so that you won’t be disappointed! kerb is at granary square for lunch every tuesday-friday.
PPS. oh, food markets… just one of the many reasons why i love london ❤

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White Mulberries, London

“we really shouldn’t be going out but that’s why we’re heading out early and coming home right after seeing the poppies to do work.” prime example of #wishfulthinking because after paying the tower of london and its beautiful sea of ceramic red flowers a visit bright and early at 9am earlier this week, the call of brunch was too strong to resist and we found ourselves checking out this wonderful little hidden gem tucked away at st katharine docks, just a stone’s throw away from the tower. we had to eat anyway… (#excuses)

even though we all had essays to go home and work on, nobody regretted this sidetrack (or sidetrek? bahaha) to brunch because the coffee was great, the food was good, the atmosphere lovely and the company even better. i have to say that my expectations were exceeded, and we all thought it was quite deserving of its well-earned accolade of being london’s best coffee shop in 2014.

white mulberries occupies a cosy shop space facing a charming waterway that’s like an oasis of calm in the heart of bustling london. they serve a range of food throughout the day (but are closed for dinner) and everything is all laid out at the counter, sitting pretty and begging to be eaten. some of what they have: banana bread, muffins, croissants etc for breakfast, sandwiches and burgers for lunch, and cakes, tarts and cronuts (!!!) throughout the day mmm…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we were hungry and excited so may or may not have ended up ordering a tad too much for three people – OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
brunch for 3 – filled croissant (£4.50), burger sandwich (£~5), yoghurt granola with fruits and seeds (£4.50), cronut with lemon zest (£3), banana bread (£2.80), mocha (£2.80), latte (£2.50), chai latte (£~3) (note: additional charge of 50p for eat-in)
it was certainly quite a spread for a trio who hadn’t even intended on having brunch out before going home, but i suppose we knew it was unlikely we’d be back soon since it is a bit further out from where we normally hang around, so all out we sure went!

starting with the drinks, i had the chai latte and i absolutely loved it! definitely one of the best chai lattes i’ve had in london (the only other one i remember as fondly being from bea’s of bloomsbury if i’m not wrong) – robust yet lightly fragrant, perfectly spiced and not too sweet, this big cuppa warmed me up from inside on this bright and chilly morning. the others were very pleased with their coffees too!

as for the food, i cannot emphasise how much i enjoyed my big bowl of granola:
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i normally avoid ordering granola in cafes because its something that can be rather easily replicated at home as long as you have the right combination of ingredients and everything is added in the right quantities. i spied this at other tables when we arrived though, and just could not resist ordering it! absolutely no regrets – it was super delicious: refreshing, light, tasty, and made with the perfect mix of the different components in perfect quantities. i particularly enjoyed the addition of plum and white mulberries, and loved the yoghurt so much that i was tempted to ask them what brand they were using (but i didn’t). quite a sizable portion too, so i was really pleased with my choice!

as for the other food we ordered, the savoury croissant was equally delicious. stuffed generously with some greens, cheddar, tomatoes and ham, this croissant was full of strong flavours and was highly satisfying. would recommend trying this if you’re looking for a savoury and hot breakfast option (they toast the sandwiches).

we also tried a burger sandwich with german sausage, rocket, cheese of some sort etc (sorry for the etc – i just cannot remember what exactly was encased between the wonderfully soft bread!!!) and it was yet another great combination which offered very strong and satisfying flavours. particularly enjoyed the sausages because they had bite and were clearly not the highly processed mass-manufactured type.

finally on to the sweets, we ordered banana bread and a cronut to share! didn’t manage to finish these two but took them home in a little box to share the love with the other housemates heehee. we all felt the banana bread was a little dry, especially towards the edges. i also thought it would have been nicer if accompanied by some sort of cream/sauce/drizzle/custard/yogurt/fruits/whatever it is people have with banana bread, just to give it that added kick. as for the cronut, we took it home and heated it up in the oven later that day and it was pretty good, though nothing i’d really rave about.

at the end of our little brunch date, i declared white mulberries officially one of my favourite cafes in london. such a pity that its far from our usual stomping ground though, or i’m sure i’d be there a lot more often, whether it be for a warm chai latte on a cold day or for a quick hearty sandwich lunch. if you’re in the vicinity, i highly recommend giving this cafe a try and hopefully you’ll be as pleased with your discovery as we were. see you there! 🙂
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White Mulberries
D3 Ivory House
St Katharine Docks
London E1W 1AT

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PS. sorry for being mia for a bit – was off in marseille for reading week (had an amazing time) and now that school has resumed, reading which was meant to be done during reading week has been keeping me busy/the biannual essay season is here 😦 promise to update whenever i get the chance to!

PPS. the poppies were a stunning sight:
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#remembrance

Lobster Kitchen, London

lobster kitchen is one of the newest kids on london’s restaurant block, having just opened its doors a few days ago on a glorious tuesday afternoon. as its name suggests, it is a seafood shack serving a multitude of lobster dishes, and is tucked away on the ground floor of the st giles london hotel, just a stone’s throw from tottenham court road station.

what brought me to this cosy little place at 1pm on the dot on opening day along with 299 (or more) others was the promise of free lobster rolls for the first 300 through their doors. the line was snaking and took us about an hour to get through, but hey, one never turns down free food right? and a free lobster roll at that! they were being made-to-order which explained the very slow-moving line, but we were greeted by the sight of a charming little place when we finally set foot within the shop. the shop space is rather small but there is ample seating and an open kitchen at one end where you can observe the chefs working their magic:20141028_140400

wooden buoys line the tables and hang from the ceilings while the walls are clad in wood. teamed with wooden tables and chairs and warm yellow lighting, the place exuded a laidback and quaint cosiness which made me feel like when i stepped back outside with my lobster roll in hand, i’d find myself right at a beach with seagulls circling overhead and the sound of waves crashing against the shore… (a girl can dream).20141028_140303

on to the food, besides the different kinds of lobster rolls one can choose from, they also have a range of lovely-sounding lobster dishes including lobster bisque, lobster salad, lobster tails, lobster mac and cheese etc (see menu here). i opted for the garlicky lobster roll:
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the garlicky one – toasted brioche bun stuffed with lobster, with chopped garlic sauteed in butter and fresh parsley (£15, or £19 with side and soft drink)
we were super excited when we opened our boxes to finally see them delicious-looking lobster rolls glistening under the light! but we didn’t tuck into them immediately – the weather was simply too good to not bask in, so off to russell square we headed to enjoy our rolls under the glorious sun. when i finally took my first bite though, i have to say i was a little disappointed. perhaps my high expectations were due to the long wait and my by-then-rather-immense hunger, but i couldn’t help myself comparing this lobster roll to the one that burger & lobster offers, and concluding that the latter still offers a better one. the brioche bun was not bad but a little on the dry side. as for the garlic, it was tasty and had the potential to be rather delicious, but i wish they had been more generous with it and spread it more evenly throughout the roll. as for the lobster itself, it was pretty decent but nothing to shout about – the meat just didn’t seem as juicy and naturally sweet as what burger and lobster offers. moreover, we all felt that there was certainly room to be more generous with the stuffing in the roll, especially when one pays full price of £15. but since we didn’t pay a single cent, we really didn’t have a right to complain about anything and were thus quite satisfied nevertheless.

i was definitely not bowled over, but because they’re offering 50% off food till 28th november if you join their “claw club”, i have been sufficiently tempted to return to try the other items they have on their menu. not gonna lie, have been thinking about having some lobster mac and cheese since i saw it on the menu 😉 will keep this space updated if i do return, so stay tuned!

The Lobster Kitchen
111 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3NQ