Boopshi’s, London

pictures of boopshi’s succulent schnitzels accompanied by good reviews were popping up too frequently to ignore on various social media platforms throughout last term and so sometime in the middle of it, i decided that a meal there was most definitely in order.

specialising in austrian schnitzel and spritz, boopshi’s is a relatively new addition to the buzzing fitzrovia restaurant scene. with large glass windows letting plenty of natural light in and simple wooden furniture, this corner shop is simple and nothing fancy at all, but certainly a great space for a casual meal. we had an early lunch on a friday afternoon and the place was empty when we first arrived at about 1230, but soon filled up with the lunch crowd.

they serve a range of dishes, but look around and you’ll see that what 99% of the hungry diners have before them is a schnitzel – it is after all what they pride themselves on. besides those sumptuous slabs of breaded meats that they offer, they also have various sides and other plates on the menu:
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the schnitzels in buns sounded like a really good deal but we were there for the meat and didn’t want any distractions from bread, so all of us got whole schnitzels, along with 3 sides to share – spatzle n cheese, fries and sauerkraut. i can never resist the promise of a glistening egg yolk, so ordering a duck egg to top my schnitzel was an absolute necessity:
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rare breed pork schnitzel with duck egg – £10.50 + £1.25
five pairs of eyes sparkled as our schnitzels were placed before us – to hungry souls, there are few things better than being presented with huge slabs of delicious breadcrumbed and freshly-fried goodies! what you see in the picture above doesn’t do justice to the generous serving sizes, for some reason my schnitzel was a little smaller than the rest… one of my friends was served a pork schnitzel so big that the plate beneath was nowhere to be seen, i kid you not.

i’m glad the gravy took a while to get to the table because it allowed me to try some of the schnitzel as it was, and to fully appreciate the fine breading and naturally sweet pork. the juicy and tender meat was moist and coated in just the right amount of breadcrumbs such that the dish remained light despite it being so meaty. i also liked the fact that it was not drenched in excessive amounts of oil and i didn’t feel like i was eating anything that was exceptionally greasy (wishful thinking? denial?). the lemon definitely helped; a healthy dose of some lemon juice added a lovely refreshing zest and helped to lift the taste of the schnitzel. taken with the gravy that was very tasty, this was a suitably hearty and satisfying treat.

as for the duck egg, it was an egg lover’s dream come true. cooked to absolute sunny side up perfection, the egg was slightly browned on its underside and had a yolk so large that it was enough to slather all over the schnitzel upon the all-important popping of yolk, and so creamy that it left me craving duck eggs for a few days after (subsequently scored half a dozen from fortnum & mason and was super eggcited).

given how big the slab of pork was however, i can imagine it getting a bit monotonous to eat without any sides or toppings, so good thing we ordered sides for the table:20141114_124134L to R: frites (£3.50), large spatzle ‘n’ cheese (£6.50), sauerkraut (£3.50)
they did not disappoint and were a great accompaniment to the main event. starting with the fries, they were thin-cut shoestring-types which though appeared a little undercooked for fries because of their very yellow hue, were actually cooked very well! crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. as for the spatzle n cheese, it was essentially austria’s take on mac and cheese – firm and chewy pasta (texture reminded me of gnocchi) generously enveloped in creamy but light cheese. i thought it could have been a little more flavourful but all was good otherwise; it was like a warm homecooked hug 🙂 last but not least, the sauerkraut was probably my favourite side. it was a great rendition of this traditional dish, wonderfully seasoned and cooked just as sauerkraut should be, soft but still retaining a slight crunch. i could have had a whole serving of this to myself!

as you can see from the pictures, the servings here are big and we were really full after (even though we arrived at lunch feeling ravenous and ready for attack) all that intense savouriness, but all felt like we needed something sweet to end off the meal so we ordered a serving of apple strudel to share:
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oma’s apple strudel – £5.50
given the apple strudels i’m accustomed to (think ritz apple strudel – super flaky, crisp pastry and chunky apple slices), this was not quite what i expected. i loved the apple filling which consisted of plump raising and thin, moist and juicy slices of apples which were heavily spiced with cinnamon (one of my friends actually found it too cinnamon-y), but was not a huge fan of the pastry that encased it. although it was light and thin, i would have preferred it to be flakier, airier and crispier; here it almost seemed dense because the many layers were stuck together. the fragrant vanilla ice cream brought everything together rather nicely and was a good complement to the very cinnamon-y apple filling. perhaps it is a matter of personal preference of how one likes their apple strudels to be (catering to commercialised tastebuds vs very traditional as boopshi’s does it), but i was a little disappointed because this came highly recommended as one of their specialties. would probably skip dessert and focus on the mains when i next return! oh and on the topic of desserts, i was also disappointed that the waitress seemed completely unfamiliar with the menu and didn’t know any better than us what a “kaiserschmarrn” was; she had to check with the other restaurant staff.

neverthelesss, boopshi’s is a great spot for a hearty meal that adds to the wonderful mix of dining options along charlotte street. definitely worth a try if you’re up for some schnitzel!20141114_135609

Boopshi’s
31 Windmill Street
London W1T 2JN

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

Herman ze German, London

charlotte street is home to a few new eateries, and the newest branch of german sausage shop herman ze german is one which i was very pleased to welcome into the hood. having heard about their top quality sausage offerings, i was intending to pay the soho branch a visit sometime soon, but was saved the trip to soho by the appearance of a new branch of theirs just a stone’s throw away from home in my fave fitzrovia; hurrah!

herman ze german occupies a nice little shop space next to yog along charlotte street. it is simply decorated but very warm and inviting – wooden floors, chairs, and little knick knacks and pictures adorning the walls with punny catchphrases and unabashed use of the word “ze” that make you giggle. there are a few tables on the ground floor and more in the basement which make for plenty of seats to go around.20141022_121601
this picture was taken just slightly past twelve before the lunch crowd came in, but soon after that a steady stream of customers were coming and going, many doing takeaway while others sat down for a quick and casual bite.

they pride themselves on their wursts – “our wurst is ze best” is plastered on many surfaces throughout the shop -, and after sampling them i can see why. their gluten-free and lactose-free homemade sausages are all imported from a family butcher all the way in the black forest in germany, and to accompany these treats, they have a range of german beers and non-alcoholic beverages. here’s the menu:
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i opted for just a bratwurst in a roll, while my friend went for the same but as part of the wurst deal – for £4.10 more, you get fries and a drink.
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bratwurst in a roll with ketchup, mustard and crispy onions – £4.45
the bratwurst roll looks (and actually is) very simple, almost like something i could put together myself as long as i have the right ingredients, so i was very pleased when i discovered that it tastes more special than it looks! my favourite part of the roll was definitely the bratwurst – a finely minced pork and veal sausage. it was grilled to perfection and gave a loud satisfying crunch sound each time i bit into it; the outsides were crisp while the inside was succulent, juicy and very tasty. the crispy onions were the next best part – they added a super satisfying crunch and tastiness to the roll; i’m definitely going to ask for plenty of this when i return. golden brown goodies sitting atop the super sausage drizzled with ketchup and mustard and enveloped by a warm, soft and fluffy white baguette, this made for a really satisfying hot dog meal.

as for the fries which you see in the background of the picture above, they were pretty good! freshly fried, warm, crisp on the outside, tasty, and yummy when had with a healthy dose of ketchup, mayo and mustard. the best part about them is that they’re healthier than regular fries because they are air-fried which means very little oil is involved and this was evident in the lack of grease on our fingers even after greedily attacking them pommes frites with our bare hands.

we were so pleased with our wursts that after polishing off both our rolls, we decided to order an additional currywurst to share. for the currywurst, you can choose from 4 levels of spiciness for the sauce, and any wurst to go with it.
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currywurst (bockwurst) with sauerkraut – £3.95
since we’d both had bratwursts in our rolls earlier, we opted for the bockwurst here. the bockwurst was a smooth and slightly salty smoked pork sausage. compared to the bratwurst, the bockwurst sausage itself definitely had a stronger flavour to it. it also seemed to differ in texture – the bratwurst seemed a little crunchier and chunkier (but it could also have been because this was doused in curry sauce?). we had the third highest level of spiciness for our curry sauce, and it was yummy and packed a sufficient punch. it was more sour-ish than spicy though, so i might go for the spiciest one in future. the curry sauce was thick and tangy, a perfect complement to the sauerkraut on the side as well as the remaining fries we had, which we used to mop up every last drop of the sauce. again, a generous serving of crispy onions was icing on the cake.

herman ze german runs like a fast-food joint, so service is not only friendly but also really quick and efficient. it is perfect for a quick lunch, but also suitable for something more leisurely given the ample seating space and large and comfortable tables. the food is good and prices don’t burn too large a hole in your pocket, though i felt that £8.55 for the wurst meal was quite steep and there are several other good meal options around for that price. nevertheless, i’ll definitely be back when a wurst craving hits!

ze wurst is yet to come. prepare for ze wurst. zis wurst is ze best.
(sorry i just had to :P)

Herman ze German
43 Charlotte Street
London W1T 1RS20141022_121444