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

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Benito’s Hat, London

it was an impromptu decision to check this little mexican place out, when our original plans to eat at nearby lantana were foiled because we arrived at the awkward time between 1130am and noon when the cafe was no longer serving breakfast and had yet to start serving lunch.

located along goodge street, benito’s hat is hugely popular with the lunchtime crowd as evidenced by the snaking queue which had formed outside the shop when we were leaving. their menu is simple – burritos, tacos, salads (naked burritos – basically a burrito without the wrap) and soups. service is efficient and food is made to order at the counter:
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in action

all of us opted for burritos that day – we could choose from chicken, pork and a beef special as the meat filling (grilled veggies are also available for vegetarians), and for the toppings you have the choice of adding cheese/sourcream/lettuce/beans (choose from 2 types!)/rice. choose a sauce from the range that varies in spiciness, add some guacamole if you want, and you have your meal all ready to go! here’s the menu on the blackboards:20140117_115328

most people seemed to be getting takeaway, but they do have seats in the shop if you prefer to enjoy your food in-store. the burritos are pretty huge, and they’re all served with a side of nachos:
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the nachos were a nice addition but were missing some sauce or cheese slathered on top. as for the burritos, they were literally bursting with ingredients and their weight was testament to that fact – i was surprised at how heavy mine was when i lifted it to remove the foil! needless to say, it was extremely filling. in fact, i would say that its possible to share one between two small eaters!

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braised pork burrito with guacamole – £5.90 + 70p

i had my burrito with braised pork, and added guacamole for an additional 70p. i actually felt that 70p for the rather small amount of guacamole they added was quite pricey, but what is mexican food without guacamole! avo is always too good to pass on…
the burrito was VERY satisfying. the greens added were fresh, toppings were added generously (besides the guacamole as mentioned above), the braised pork was juicy and tasty, and the refried beans (you can choose between these and black beans) were delicious. it was a wrap that was bursting with flavour and was made even more yummy by the fact that it was freshly-made and warm! trust me, you’ll definitely get your mexican craving satisfied with this hearty goodness.

i imagined a serious carb overload if i added rice to the mix, so i asked not to have any added, but here’s my friend’s burrito which had rice in it: (sorry not a very appetising picture i know!)20140117_120017

we were completely stuffed by the time we had made our way through the burritos, but there’s always room for dessert right? 😉 and thankfully we all embraced the idea of desserts going into a separate stomach and decided to order some sweet treats to share, because the desserts were the highlight of our quick lunch there!20140117_122652
bunuelos: crispy strips of tortilla with cinnamon, sugar and real vanilla ice cream – £3.25

we were really excited when we saw this arrive at our table because we weren’t really sure what to expect and this looked like nothing we had tried before! the strips of tortilla were thin and crispy (just as they were described) and coated in just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar to give them a light sweetness that went perfectly with the vanilla ice cream which was thick and smooth. the oil used to fry the tortillas was fresh and because of how thin the strips were, they made for a lighter and seemingly less oily treat than churros would have been. it actually reminded me of a sweet dessert prata (for the uninformed, this is a delicious singaporean-indian flatbread/pancake-esque thing)!

20140117_122940tres leches cake – £3.75

we actually wanted to order the flan but it wasn’t available that day, so this is what we ended up getting and boy, were we glad we did! definitely worthy of first-pick status instead of the second choice status we relegated it to. the cake was amazingly dense and moist while not being too heavy, while the fresh cream that accompanied it was super duper light. the milky sauce that the cake was drenched in was sweet (maybe too sweet for some people), but not cloyingly so. this was really the highlight of our lunch that day, and this tres leches cake was still referred to with great enthusiasm when it came up in conversation recently, so that’s definitely a sign of deliciousness 😉 it was a pretty generous slice too, so the price you pay for it is rather reasonable.

benito’s hat was a pretty random find on a random friday afternoon, but it probably isn’t going to be random to me very much longer because i’ll be back when i’m looking for a simple, fuss-free mexican meal! they also have a happy hour from 5pm-7pm daily, where cocktails (watermelon/pomegranate/strawberry margarita, anyone?) are 2-for-1 – a pretty good deal worth checking out 🙂

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Benito’s Hat

56 Goodge Street
London W1T 4NB

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