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:
20141031_142438meatballs from capish?
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 ❤

Kimchi Korean Restaurant, Singapore

i often lament the fact that singapore has a lack of good and reasonably-priced korean food, so was rather excited to try out this relatively new joint that opened earlier this year after hearing good things about it! i’m glad to report that it did not disappoint, and i’ll definitely return when craving some korean kimchi goodness.

kimchi korean restaurant occupies a nice and spacious shop unit on the 2nd floor of suntec city. i was initially worried that i’d get lost in the maze of shops in sprawling suntec, but i entered on the revamped side that’s at the doorstep of esplanade mrt (i think its the side known as the convention mall) and finding it was a breeze. we arrived just before 7pm on a thursday night and the restaurant had several available tables when we arrived, but filled up really quickly soon after and was nearly full by the time we left.
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the dining area is very pleasant – tables are big and well-spaced out, good for both meet-ups in groups and cosy meals for two where you can talk about anything in the world without worry that the guests at the next table are eavesdropping. as for the food, the restaurant prides itself on having 100% of its food prepared by korean chefs, and a head chef who has worked in top 5-star hotels and establishments in korea.  i do think their experience showed in the food that was served to us that day and the best part is that the food is not only good but also reasonably priced!

snapped a pic of the order sheet since its pretty much a summary of the menu (the actual menu is a lot prettier with nice pics to go with the food descriptions):
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as you can see from the menu, they have a good range of korean staples – from barbequed meats to rice bowls to stews to soups to bulgogi – , and all are reasonably priced.

we ordered a kimchi soup, a andong jjimdak, and a seafood pancake to share. food was served promptly and soon i had this glorious bowl of bright red piping hot soup sitting pretty before me:
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kimchi soup (with rice/glass noodles) – $9.80

the soup comes with rice but i asked to change the rice to glass noodles instead, and they very gladly obliged. this was a great rendition of kimchi soup – it was flavourful and really packed a good punch (without being tear-inducing spicy), ingredients were added generously, and the soup was of just the right thickness (far from being diluted). the boy who normally detests kimchi (aversion-to-supposedly-sour-things alert) actually didn’t mind this and said it tasted different (in a good way) from the other kimchi soups he’s had and given his stamp of disapproval. i love kimchi soup/stew with glass noodles so was super pleased with this and happily slurped up them oodles of slippery springy noodles. good stuff.

the other main we ordered was the andong jjimdak aka chicken bulgogi, because it came highly recommended in the menu:
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andong jjimdak (with rice) – $15

andong jjimdak is a stew-like steamed chicken dish that made us feel like we were having a lovingly homecooked meal. tender and well-seasoned pieces of chicken were served in a pot together with a myriad of root vegetables (carrots, radish, lotus roots etc) and glass noodles, and doused in just the right amount of some kind of soy-based spicy sauce. the chicken was naturally sweet and the sauce was fragrant. inspired by the chef’s own family recipe, this dish exuded a homely vibe yet was refined and light in taste. wasn’t too blown away by it at the start but the yummy mix of flavours grew on me as we progressed through the bowl. 

no korean meal is complete without some pancake so ordering one was definitely in order (pun unintended):
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pa jeon – $8.90

we opted for the seafood pancake and it was delicious! i really enjoyed it and thought it was certainly one of the better korean pancakes i’ve had in singapore. it was really nicely done – just the right thickness, crisp on the outside but soft and a little chewy on the inside, with seafood generously added to the mix, and pan-fried to golden perfection. the chilli sauce it was served with was also great and went well with the pancake (though it was yummy just having it on its own too). if only there were more pieces… 😛

besides being a restaurant, they also have a small section at the entrance of the shop selling a range of korean goodies including drinks, snacks, noodles for cooking and fresh produce. we left really satisfied with the meal and without burning any holes in our pockets. this place will definitely come to mind when i’m thinking of somewhere to have korean food from now on, and i intend to return to try the barbequed meats sometime soon! 

Kimchi Korean Restaurant
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Convention Mall, #02-387
Singapore 038983 

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkup/2009/01/healthy_vs_healthful.html) 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!

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Bibimbap (Charlotte Street)

10 Charlotte Street
London W1T 2LT

http://www.bibimbapcharlottestreet.co.uk/

Flesh and Buns, London

i’d been wanting to try flesh & buns since i heard that it was owned by the same people behind one of my favourite bowls of ramen in london at bone daddies. the thought of roasting your own green tea s’mores was also too good to resist, so it was flesh & buns that we headed to to celebrate one of my housemate’s birthdays!

occupying a pretty large space in the basement of a building at seven dials, it is an izakaya restaurant (drinks accompanied by food) that made its debut quite recently in the london dining scene. decor is simple and modern, with large tables that make it a good venue to meet up with larger groups of friends. it was rather quiet when we visited on a sunday night:
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its a really dimly lit place so unfortunately the photos aren’t going to be great because all i was armed with was my s3 camera 😦

as their name suggests, they pride themselves on their handmade buns, which are to be eaten with their mains. their buns are basically kong bak pau buns (for those who have absolutely no idea what i am going on about, kong bak pau are chinese braised pork “burgers”) – delicious steamed buns that are eaten with different fillings:
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the menu seemed to be going in the direction of fusion, with a mix of interesting asian and western dishes. they do things tapas-style, the idea being for you to order a number of dishes that the whole dining party can sample.
here’s the menu:20131208_203234

the first dish to arrive at our table was the beef tataki:
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beef tataki with onion ponzu & enoki mushrooms – £10.50
this was probably my favourite starter of the night. the sauce was delicious and the beef was fresh and sliced to just the right thickness – not as thin as beef carpaccio but not thick to the point of chewiness. neither was it stringy, which is another huge plus point! eaten with the condiments that topped it, it was a really yummy burst of flavours in the mouth.

the second appetiser we had was the fried squid aka calamari:
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fried squid with japanese pepper and lime – £8
there was nothing very outstanding about this starter, in my opinion. we really wanted to try the grilled beef skewers (with kimchi & yoghurt) but they had run out by the time we placed our orders 😦 it was good calamari and the batter was light and tasty, but nothing exceptional at all.

we also ordered the eel cucumber roll and the softshell crab roll:
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eel cucumber roll (grilled eel, sweet soy) – £10/ softshell crab roll (jalapeno mayo, chives) – £9
we all thought the rolls were rather pricey for the serving size (5 pieces each?!). they weren’t anything to shout about; i think you can easily get better rolls elsewhere. the jalapeno mayo was an interesting addition i suppose, but again it can be recreated pretty easily at other joints, i feel.

the last starter we ordered was the grilled corn:
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grilled corn with lime spice butter – £4
i loved this starter, especially because i adore corn!!! the corn was grilled to perfection and slathered in butter, naturally sweet but yet made even yummier by the extremely tasty butter. i. love. corn.

now on to the mains, which definitely impressed me more than the appetisers (thankfully!). we ordered 4 to share among the 6 of us.
first up, the crispy piglet belly:20131208_210208
crispy piglet belly with mustard miso & pickled apple – £14.50
the crispy piglet belly was basically like chinese roast pork. but it was a pretty good rendition of it! the meat was tender and juicy, and the skin was thin and crispy. the layer of fat wasn’t too thick and it wasn’t too oily too! it went well with the mustard miso, and we all really enjoyed the amazingly thin slices of pickled apple that were a very refreshing twist to the meat!

we also had the crispy duck leg:
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crispy duck leg with sour plum soy and beetroot pickles – £13.50
the duck was also really enjoyed by all of us – it was like duck confit with a slight asian twist. the skin had that yummy melt-in-your-mouth texture, while the meat within was moist and tasty! if i return, i would probably order this if i’m looking for a meat to go with the steamed buns.

our third choice of main was fish; we got the grilled sea bass:
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grilled sea bass with coriander miso and kimchi pickle – £16.50
i remember this to be very yummy, probably something i’d order if i return! the fish was extremely fresh and grilled to perfection. the skin was crispy and coated in just the right amount of coriander miso, while the meat was firm, moist and naturally sweet. our only gripe was the small serving, given the price we were paying.

the above 3 mains are meant to be eaten with the steamed buns or vegetables (which come together with the buns):
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i thought it was good that they had lettuce and other vegetables to eat with the mains – too many buns would fill you up really quickly, and veggies are always a healthier and lighter accompaniment.

finally, we went for the spicy beef hot stone rice aka flesh & bun’s take on bibimbap:
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spicy beef hot stone rice with mushrooms and sesame butter – £8.50
i think this was probably the most reasonably priced out of all the mains we ordered – the serving was definitely the biggest of everything we had ordered! i really enjoyed this dish and how the many ingredients and sauces added culminated in a big bowl of goodness. i felt that there was something different about it when compared to what you get in regular korean restaurants, but couldn’t quite place it. it was really tasty and the veggies added were fresh and retained their crunch. this dish had me scraping at the burnt bits at the bottom of the pot when we were done (not the healthiest thing to do, i know).

and finally, definitely last but not least, we had our dessert – one of our main motives for going to flesh & buns. out of the 4 we ordered though, i felt that only 2 were worth the hype and out of those 2, only one was something i’d return for.
the dessert menu:
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first, we had the bone daddies sundae:
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bone daddies sundae: matcha ice cream, blueberries, jelly, honeycomb, cream – £7
i felt there was too much going on with this sundae – it was nice and exciting to have a huge range of toppings added to the sundae, but the (major) downside is that i thought the matcha taste of the ice cream was almost completely masked. there was also something in it that we could not identify, but that made the whole thing kinda sour..? i’d probably give this a miss if i visit again.

we also had the yuzu meringue pie:
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yuzu meringue pie with raspberry yuzu sorbet – £7
this was very refreshing! the combination of yuzu and raspberry made for a very tart but yet not too sour dessert, and was a good break from the sweetness of all our other dessert choices. i thought the yuzu pie was delicious, as was the raspberry sorbet. i’m not really a fan of meringue so can’t say much about it! if you’re into sour things, this is definitely for you!

we also had what flesh & buns has become pretty famous for (how could we not) – the green tea s’mores!
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s’mores: marshmallows, biscuits, green tea chocolate – £8
we were beyond excited when the charcoal stove was brought to our table for us to roast the s’mores. there was definitely a major novelty factor there – the idea of DIY roasting not just regular s’mores, but green tea s’mores at your table. it was a really fun experience (though the marshmallows ended up being kinda burnt), but i wouldn’t rave abut the taste. we all agreed that the green tea chocolate was pretty lightly flavoured, but teamed with the biscuits and melty marshmallows, still made for something rather satisfying. given that we were only given 2 s’mores though, i would again say this isn’t really value-for-money though it might be worth paying for the fun experience.
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birthday girl with the completed s’more

and finally, on to my favourite dessert and quite possibly my favourite dish of the night:
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kinako donuts with black sugar custard – £8
these. were. amazing. DELICIOUS. amazing. they were like giant sugar-coated exploding donuts. pictures to illustrate my point:
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just look at that!!! the outside of the donuts were as good as the inside – they were light and fluffy, of just the right thickness to hold the amazing oozy custard, and coated in sugar. so sinful but so good, especially because they were served warm. the black sugar custard actually tasted quite like normal custard, but it was extremely smooth and creamy and not too sweet at all! if there’s only one dessert you have space for after dinner, its these amazing balls of goodness that you must go for!!!

all in all, we had a pretty good experience at flesh & buns but i’m not sure how soon i’ll be returning just because i thought it was rather pricey (though looking at the pictures of the donuts again, i now realise that they are indeed quite hard to resist :P)! some of their dishes are rather novel though, so i suppose its worth trying at  least once. they also have a lunch set-type thing, which seems quite reasonable!
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Flesh and Buns

41 Earlham St
London WC2H 9LXProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_20131209_101906
night out with my chicas bonitas aka best housemates ever 😉 ❤

F.A.T by Freddie, London

a while ago, a friend sent me a facebook message: “You’re a foodie right? www.hot-dinners.com/Gastroblog/Latest-news/f-a-t-by-freddie-brings-gourmet-sandwiches-and-ice-cream-to-fitzrovia“. thank goodness for it and major props to him for chancing upon the online article, because it led me to this lovely little gem of a pop-up sandwich, pickles and ice-cream store just off charlotte street!

F.A.T shares a shop space with a hairdresser (sharps) and a coffee shop (Dunne Frankowski), and has a menu of gourmet sandwiches and desserts available at lunchtime that changes once in a while.
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coffee at the first counter, sandwiches at the next, and a hairdresser in the back

when we visited on a wednesday afternoon, here is what freddie (the very nice girl who single-handedly runs her sandwich shop and very recently made the career switch from being a creative director to this) had to offer:20131023_130639

my friend and i couldn’t decide between the kimchi cheese sandwich and the duck pate sandwich so we decided to order one of each to share (indeed, sharing is caring)! service was rather slow despite it not being very crowded, but its because freddie lovingly prepares everything by herself. so go if you’re not in a rush, and i suppose the upside is that you’re guaranteed quality? 🙂

2013-10-23-14-00-21_decowe were beyond excited when the food arrived; we couldn’t wait to see if the sandwiches tasted as good as they looked and sounded!!! and *drumroll please*… we all thought both sandwiches did! after much deliberation, half of us decided that we preferred the kimchi to the pate one while the other half preferred the pate to the kimchi so i suppose it can be concluded that both of them are equally good, it just depends what you’re looking for? 

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kimchi and stilton grilled cheese sandwich – £4.50

i LOVED this sandwich; its something i am definitely going back for and will miss when its gone 😦 it wasn’t just the filling of the sandwich that i adored, i also thought the big slabs of white sourdough were amazing! served wonderfully warm, they were toasted to perfection and i was in food heaven with all that melty stilton cheese and kimchi sandwiched between it.
20131023_134311some might say the combination of stilton cheese and kimchi sounds odd but trust me, if you are a kimchi and a cheese fan you will probably LOVE this. when i took my first bite, i was surprised at how well it went together but now that i think about it, i wonder why i didn’t think of the combination earlier! hahaha. definitely one of the most satisfying sandwiches i have had in a while; i would say this is a must-try if you visit if not because you love kimchi or cheese or good bread then just to give this novel combination a chance!

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duck pate sandwich with parsley salad, pickled beets, and chillies – £4.50

if you prefer having something light for lunch, then this would definitely be the choice for you instead of the kimchi sandwich. the pate was extremely fragrant, smooth, and creamy and topped with pickled beets (which they sell in jars at the counter), parsley, and shallots. everything came together and resulted in a very refreshing open sandwich, full of light flavours! 20131023_133410if you’re someone that needs something more substantial for lunch though, then this might not be the perfect choice for you since the serving isn’t very big or filling. very yummy though!!! maybe have this AND something else? 😉

and of course we couldn’t leave without sampling some of freddie’s desserts after those delightful sandwiches, so we ordered 2 slices of pie to share:20131023_140648
pumpkin pie with stout ice cream & gingersnap crunch – £3.50

20131023_140659chocolate and pretzel pie with black pepper szechuan ice cream – £3.50

the “safer” choice of pumpkin pie was the more popular of the 2 among us. the 3 components really complemented each other – the pumpkin pie and ginger crust together were really very yummy, and the combination was made even better with the stout ice cream that topped it! the pumpkin filling was light and not overly sweet, with the natural taste of pumpkin really shining through.

as for the more “adventurous” choice of the chocolate and pretzel pie, i enjoyed it but the rest were not quite fans of the szechuan ice cream! the dark chocolate pie filling was rich and yummy, but without the black pepper ice cream, the pie would actually have been pretty normal in my opinion. the black pepper szechuan ice cream though, is definitely something to write about. what i thought was most interesting about it was how strongly it tasted of szechuan spices! there was barely a hint of any sweetness in the ice cream; it was purely savoury which explains why it is just not some people’s cup of tea, but i thought that was what made it really special! the fact that i was having in ice cream something i am so used to having as seasoning for chicken and other chinese dishes was rather exciting hahaha. another thing to note about the ice cream at F.A.T is that it is unusually thick and sticky (freddie told us she uses a lot of cream to give it this texture & consistency) so i guess not everybody will like it (though we did!).

given the lovely environment in the shop, the affordable pricing and the yummy food, F.A.T is certainly not your run-of-the-mill pop up shop and is definitely worth a visit before it moves on at christmas. freddie also has a selection of baked goods at the counter and i wouldn’t mind heading back to try some of them as an accompaniment to a good cup of coffee. am already looking forward to the next time i get to sink my teeth into the kimchi + stilton cheese sourdough sandwich 😛

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F.A.T by Freddie (pop-up)

Sharps, 9 Windmill Street
London W1T 2JF

Koba, London

so lecture was cancelled on thursday, which gave me the chance to head out for lunch with 2 of my homiez, followed by a trip to the natural history museum! yay!

why it was an amazing afternoon:
1. the sun was SHINING
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2. nothing beats traipsing around a relatively empty museum on a weekday afternoon with not a care in the world
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3. lunch was YUM:

despite having been to charlotte street on multiple occasions, i never noticed koba which is located just off charlotte street on rathbone street. we had planned to have korean food for lunch and had kim chee at holborn in mind, but it was my korean hallmate who suggested that we try koba instead. i am so happy we had that conversation about good korean restaurants over hall breakfast that morning, because it was YUMMY.

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we were all excited when we got seated at our table and checked out the lunch menu because it was really extensive – many places tend to have fewer items on their “set lunch” menus, but koba is different. they seem to have nearly everything korean that you would possibly want to eat (at least for me) and it was the kind of menu where there was something for everyone, which is great!

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their specialty seems to be their barbequed meats and so it was the “beef lunch barbeque” that I opted for. it came with a side dish with the usual mixed korean appetisers, soup, salad, a baby bowl of bibimbap (it was REALLY baby-sized; more on this later) and meat to be barbequed; there was plenty to eat and i was a very happy bunny.Image
i’ll start with the bibimbap – it was delicious and the ingredients were fresh and generously heaped on top of the rice. the amount of chilli sauce that the waiter added was also perfect – it was very tasty and satisfying. my only qualm was that when they described the bibimbap in the menu as a “small pot bibimbap”, they really meant it – it was TINY and if not for the fact that i was taking small mouthfuls to savour it, it would probably have been gone in 2-3 mouthfuls! but i’m not complaining;the star of the set is probably meant to be the meat anyway.

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moving on to the beef, they gave a very generous 12 slices with the set. they were sliced thinly so if you are looking for something thick, its probably better to order it off the a la carte menu. they bring it to the table raw, and the waiter helps you cook the slices on the stove in front of you. Image
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the slices were tender, juicy, marinated well, and had a slight taste of the barbeque, just as they should have! seemed like good quality stuff and so my fears of quality of the meat being compromised since it was a set lunch were unfounded. the salad provided a good balance to the “heat” of the barbeque – the vegetables were fresh and crisp with a light japanese-type (though in this case, i should probably say it was korean) dressing.
i felt that what i ordered was really quite value-for-money, which is always important for students attempting to keep to a budget 😉

my friend ordered the bulgogi (she was dying to get the barbeque set too, but was recovering from a funky stomach illness from eating oysters at brighton – DO NOT EAT RAW OYSTERS BY THE BRIGHTON PIER; you have been warned. In fact I am heading there tomorrow and will be staying far away from them wahahaha but okay, I digress. Back to the korean food.) and she was really satisfied with it too! the serving was generous, and it came with appetisers and soup as well.
here is a picture of her taking a picture of her food before tucking in. #ASIANALERT

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my other friend ordered bibimbap and got a nice full-sized bowl (unlike my tiny one – but at least they did mention that it was a “small pot” in the menu), which she was pleased with.

total bill: £28.70 for 3

ambience: neat, clean, modern, bright, airy, generally very pleasant. OH YES and very importantly for korean restaurants that have hot plates/barbeques – there is surprisingly NO heavy smell of barbeque hanging in the air; we walked out of the restaurant smelling as lovely as ever 😉

who i would recommend this to: anyone looking for a place that serves reasonably priced korean food, with an extensive special lunch menu. the tables are well-spaced out and the restaurant does not feel cramped at all. a possible venue for larger groups and a relaxing lunch. there was a steady stream of customers and the tables were filled throughout the time we were there, but it seems like getting a table shouldn’t really be too much of a problem since they are efficient with their service and turnaround time is not long, at least when we were there.

will i return? YES. my new go-to korean place for now. compared to assa (where i used to go for my korean fix), i felt that the environment was nicer: bright, airy, nice-smelling (one does not walk out of assa without the smell of food lingering on your clothes for the rest of the day – best to visit it on a day you’re planning on doing laundry hahaha). if you’re craving some hotpot goodness then assa might still be the place for you though!

PS. the koreans at the table next to us were making loud, satisfied noises (accompanied by satisfied stomach-rubbing – or maybe i was imagining this part) and that is always a sign of good food right? natives giving their stamp of approval!

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Koba
11 Rathbone St  London, Greater London W1T 1NA
020 7580 8825
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rach 😀