Flat Iron, London

what better way to celebrate release from the evil clutches of exams than feasting on some good food? my friend suggested trying flat iron right after our criminal law paper and we were all so happy that she did, because it was really really good stuff.

got a little lost walking to beak street from school (our brains were fried from the mad rush that writing – or should i say scribbling – 4 essays in 3 hours is) so by the time we reached flat iron at 2pm, we were all super starving. but our hunger pangs were very quickly satiated by what they put on the table once we arrived:Image

POPCORN!!! we all thought it was such a cute/novel touch! along with the mini choppers for knives hahaha.

anyway, the menu at flat iron is really simple and straightforward. there’s steak for ¬£10, and a range of sides and sauces to choose from to have with your steak.

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we planned to save space for dessert so we didn’t order much – just a steak each, and a side of roast aubergine to share!

the steak. was. SO. GOOD.

(sorry these are bad pics i know ūüė¶ the lighting wasn’t very optimal for good pictures with my phone camera!)Image

the meat was perfectly done – every bite was amazingly juicy, flavourful, moist and tender and even though i had mine done medium, it was not AT ALL dry or tough. so so so good. i’m ¬†nearly salivating just thinking of it. srsly. really really good steak. my friend who normally doesn’t take meat was saying she probably wouldn’t be able to finish her beef but once she took the first bite, all such thoughts were banished and her plate was as squeaky clean as all of ours were at the end ūüėČ

we found the portion just nice though i think some might find it on the small side, especially hungry boys! the greens that came with the steak were really fresh and had a nice, light dressing, and the aubergine was a hit among the 4 of us. it was simple but very delicious! apparently the creamed spinach is something thats very popular there as well, but i only found this out after we had our meal so that’s something i will have to try next time!Image

we also tried fred’s sauce, but it was nothing to shout about. personally i think you can give the sauces a miss because the meat by itself is super delicious and really doesn’t need much to make it even better. in fact, the sauces might even mask the natural sweetness of the meat?

the restaurant isn’t very big and i think the only reason why we didn’t have to queue is because we had a late lunch (2pm). they don’t take reservations and the queues are apparently snaking at dinnertime so if you’re planning on going, either go early or go late!

there’s no service charge too, so its really just ¬£10 for a really good steak.

will definitely be heading back when i’m feeling carnivorous…

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Flat Iron
17 Beak St
London W1F 9RW

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Who’s your daddy?

We had initially intended to go to¬†the¬†famed Burger & Lobster for dinner. Owing, however, to the approximated 2 hour wait, we decided to adjourn somewhere else. My buddy Chor Hiang suggested this ramen place¬†just¬†off Wardour Street called Bone Daddies. With a name like Bone Daddies, my visiting friend from Oxford, Tong Hui and I were¬†naturally¬†highly suspicious. I mean what kind of F&B establishment calls itself Bone Daddies?!! After much thought though, I realised, much to my own dismay as well, there again, that what kind of blog is called rockabite, baby?? So cynicism unjustified, I guess: nomenclature is not fully representative and should not be used as a judging criterion. Any doubts that we initially had were eventually, and perhaps even conclusively, quelled when we saw the queue outside the restaurant. It was uber looooong. The queue extended beyond the entire corridor of the restaurant into that of the massage¬†parlour¬†next door. And that wasn’t it; there was another round of queuing inside. Madness, should have just gone back to Burger & Lobster eh. But seeing the number of people willing to queue in the cold dreary weather outside, we willed ourselves to brave the frostbites and got in line.Photo 19-03-2013 07 43 07 PM

Tong Hui, who I must emphasise is of University of Oxford provenance, said that the soup of ramen – being made from boiling pork bone for more than 10 hours – increases one’s chances of getting cancer by 15% or something. *TOUCH WOOD* Seeing the people queuing¬†outside and the people slurping sumptuously inside, I reckoned this was either a myth or that the ramen was so good it was worth the health risk! Not that it mattered, we were going in anyway.

Set up like a bar, with bar stools and not chairs, and with rock music playing in the background, Bones Daddies was conceptually as surprising as its name. Indeed this combination of such a setting with ramen was interesting. The queue inside was rather agonising, especially as we felt so close to the food yet still so far.Photo 19-03-2013 08 18 46 PM

Making it worse was this party of 4 seated in front of us, who had finished their food but continued playing some lame numbers game. They were taking their own sweet time to leave; it was diabetes-inducing. And the clearing of tables for a turnover of customers was also pretty slow by the service staff. This made the wait painfully long, particularly when they give you the menu while you are standing in line.

After 15358230231051 years, we were led to our seats. First thing I noticed was that the layout of the tables was pretty cool. They had chilli oil, sesame seeds, chopsticks and this interesting garlic masher. Photo 19-03-2013 08 40 37 PM Photo 19-03-2013 08 40 52 PMPhoto 19-03-2013 08 40 05 PMI guess this gives people a choice if they want their garlics whole or mashed. Or to have their ramen completely without an excess garlic-y taste at all. The item that caught my attention the most was, however, the bottle with hair bands in it. I felt it was a nice and thoughtful touch as peeps with long hair often get their hair into the broth, making both the hair and broth disgusting. Photo 19-03-2013 08 45 42 PM Photo 19-03-2013 08 48 05 PM

Anyway we placed our orders and we each got the purportedly famous tonkatsu ramen. On the menu it was stated that the bones are  boiled for 20 hours Рwhich makes, assuming Tong Hui was not bs-ing, us doubly susceptible to cancer compared to the average ramen eater elsewhere! Anyhow, Chor Hiang, the friend who recommended this place, mentioned that the servings were a tad small. It was also suggested that we enhance the flavour of the broth with a topping of cock scratching (£0.80), whatever that was. I was undecided but after considerable scratching (of my head), however, I decided to stick with the tried and tested extra bean sprouts and an extra egg.Photo 19-03-2013 08 16 52 PMPhoto 19-03-2013 08 18 26 PM

Alas the ramen arrived and it smelt great.  Before we began eating, we saw this group of Caucasian ladies taking pictures of their food. Stereotype disproved! And I guess it also suggests something about the quality of the food there that others, and not just this food blogger extraordinaire, were keen to capture their palettes in photos.Photo 19-03-2013 08 51 02 PMPhoto 19-03-2013 08 42 33 PM

On to the ramen. The bean sprouts were crunchy and juicy. The egg yolks were runny and viscous at the same time. Done almost to perfection! It was really rich in taste as well. And the texture of the yolk in your mouth Рit just melts.Photo 19-03-2013 08 52 45 PMPhoto 19-03-2013 08 53 44 PM

The serving of meat was decent, two big pieces that were thinly sliced with a nice decent amount of fat, making it supple and tasty without an overly swinish (yes, yes, I know it’s still pork, nonetheless) and oily taste. Looks sinful, I know; but if it’s healthful, chances are it won’t taste as nice!Photo 19-03-2013 08 56 36 PMThe broth was really thick. It was almost as though I was drinking a cream of ramen soup instead. I guess it was nice, and I doubt you can justify charging 3 quid for extra broth if it isn’t good! There was also a judicious amount of spring onions and radish slices in the broth. Some veggies to justify the indulgence. However, the radish taste was a bit overpowering and I think this may put some people off, especially if they’re not radish fans.¬†The noodles themselves, though, were pretty average. No special taste or extra ‘bounce’ that other famous ramen restaurants profess to have.

Halfway through, I decided to add some¬†chilli¬†into the mix. I felt it enhanced the taste of the soup in a good way, giving the thick broth – which gets static in taste after almost an entire bowl – a bit of an extra kick. Not too much¬†chilli¬†though, it was rather spicy and may overwhelm¬†one’s palette if too much is added.Photo 19-03-2013 08 59 51 PM

It was funny that their bowls had a ‘thanks’ written at the bottom, almost as though they expected everyone to finish the broth to the last drop. Well, I did anyway and was amused by their sense of humour. The bowl of ramen was filling, unlike my friend had previously warned. Maybe it was the extra egg and bean sprouts.Photo 19-03-2013 09 03 15 PM

On a side note though, what I had mentioned previously about the radish proved right too – my friend left all his radish untouched, citing the fact that it tasted strong and he didn’t really like radish. Perhaps they could consider doing something like the whole garlic pieces with radish as well?

Overall, it was really good ramen, the soup was really rich, perhaps a tad overly so for my liking. But the eggs were really appetising and the quirky combination of a bar setting and rock music with ramen was truly something original. Would I be back? Not if I had to endure another almost 2 hour wait, especially in the kind of cold we endured. However, for a tad under £15, it is a place that I would definitely recommend, at least once Рfor the entire experience (queuing aside) if not just the food. Is it, then, worth the repeated exposure to cancer risk? I think not.DSCN1589

Bone Daddies
31 Peter St,
London W1F 0AR

The Breakfast Club, London

i LOVED the breakfast club. food and ambience-wise, it definitely lived up to my expectations (which were extremely high having heard so much about it). but what didn’t just live up to my expectations but EXCEEDED them, was the queue. despite the fact that we made a trip there on a weekday afternoon at 130pm (a time we assumed would mean a thinning post-lunch crowd), we had to queue out in the cold for a good 30-40 min before finally being let into the warmth of the cosy little place.¬†OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
some of our fellow queue-mates gave up and left the queue halfway, but i’m glad we didn’t ¬†because i thought it was worth it!!!

check out all the accolades they have – i always trust a tripadvisor rating ūüėČOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the interior of the cafe oozes hippie vibes and has this lovely charm and a funky eclecticism about it. the atmosphere is laidback and super chill, and the staff are friendly and rather efficient!2013031515551495520130315155503833 

we knew what we wanted almost immediately as we had plenty of time to inspect the menu placed in the shop window while waiting in line outside.
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i had the pancakes with berries and OMG I thought they were the best pancakes EVER. i know my friends concurred because louisa proclaimed at the end of the meal that she was really full and satisfied but could do with more pancakes ūüėČ
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they were of just the right thickness and were drenched in the perfect amount of maple syrup. the edges were crispy but the insides were soft and fluffy, and the cream that topped the stack was just amazinggg – light, fresh, and very tasty! they were also really generous with the berries which is something i loved; i hate it when restaurants are stingy with their toppings and you end up with either a lot of plain bread/pancakes etc without any toppings left, or too much toppings left because you scrimped and saved on the number you ate with each bite of the main (am i the only person who does this???). i am already looking forward to the next time i get to go back to have these pancakes; its going to be hard deciding between trying something new and having these again! maybe pancakes with banana and bacon next time? ~DROOLS~

louisa had the poached eggs with avocado on toasted bread and it was super yummy as well.
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the avocado was divine – it was topped with chilli and lime which brought everything together amazingly well. the avocado pieces were of the right size, not too pureed and not too chunky, and the texture and consistency of the mixture was great with just the right amount of bite. it was also neither too wet nor too dry. they were really generous with the avocado toppings once again, with a huge pile heaped onto the toast! lou did mention that she would have preferred the egg to have a runnier yolk though.

janus ordered the typical boy meal – the full monty.
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it came piled high on a huge plate like a breakfast mountain. i think it had potatoes, beans, sausages, mushrooms, black pudding, toast, eggs, a tomato, and bacon. like i said – BOY MEAL hahaha. surprisingly, it wasn’t too oily – in fact, we didn’t find a pool of oil collecting below all the food on the plate as i had imagined. i didn’t have much of this as i was pretty much preoccupied with my pancakes, but i did pick at the beans, sausage, black pudding and egg.
the scrambled eggs at the breakfast club aren’t the creamy/milky type so if that’s what you prefer, don’t go for the scrambled eggs here. they are of the drier variety, but pretty good nonetheless. as for the sausage, i thought it was quite nice as the skin (is that what its called?!) was crispy and the filling was soft, but louisa didn’t like it because she prefers firmer sausages. the bacon was yum and we all quite liked the black pudding, and janus said the potatoes were good! the serving was HUGE and janus couldn’t finish it despite being a growing, hungry boy. he also thought it was all quite messy and would have preferred the food to be more separated. but then again, isn’t that what a huge traditional fry-up is all about? in his words “its like… you find egg in your beans and beans in your egg” (he is not a fan of beans btw, hence the despair).

since we had queued for so long, we each went all-out and ordered a smoothie each too. 20130315144155749
clockwise starting from the light pink: the big breakfast, green is good, blue monday

green is good & blue monday were much lighter than the big breakfast and you will understand why once i tell you what went into the big breakfast. green is good had spinach, mint, mango & apple and it was a very light and refreshing mix, perfect to accompany a heavy breakfast. as for blue monday, it had blueberry, strawberry & apple so if you are a berry fan, this is the one for you!
i had the big breakfast and should have guessed from the name and the list of ingredients that it could probably constitute a meal on its own – strawberry, banana, oats, honey, yoghurt and milk. i finished it all despite it being very thick and extremelyyy filling because it was so goooood but next time, i’ll probably share it with someone.
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happy at the breakfast club!!!

total bill: oh dear, i can’t remember the exact sum but i think it was around ¬£35-¬£40

ambience: relaxing, hip, funky, eclectic, cosy, warm, friendly

who i would recommend this to: anyone who loves and appreciates a good, hearty brunch in generous servings, and has enough time to spare to queue for a table! there is a queue outside this place at almost all times of the day (though when we left at around 3pm, there were empty tables – perhaps this is a good time to head there! for tea/ a late lunch) and i heard that on weekends, the queueing time can be as long as 1.5h (which even i am turned off by)! but if you have some time to spare, just take the queue as part of the experience –¬†salivating as you peer through the window and see people feasting on their hearty meals, letting the anticipation of sinking your teeth into some good food build up ūüėČ

will i return? YES! loved the vibe of the place and the food was really very satisfying. there are so many other things on the menu i would love to try! and the best part is, they serve breakfast from 9am to 5pm ūüėÄ and if i’m not wrong, they even have some breakfast items that remain on the menu even after 5pm!

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The Breakfast Club
33 D’Arblay St¬†¬†London, Greater London W1F 8EU
020 7434 2571

-rach