Restaurant Review: Bibimbap

After the success of last weekend’s Korean meal, I jumped at the opportunity of trying yet more Korean food. Rather than eating BBQ again, we went for another authentic Korean meal, Bibimbap.

Contrary to what that looks like, that’s actually fillet beef and not beetroot

Bibimbap is a signature Korean dish which literally means ‘mixed rice’ and is served in a boiling hotpot.

We called into Bibimbap* on Charlotte street to sample the food.

The great thing about the hotpot is how varied and surprisingly healthy they are. You get your choice of meat or tofu served with a huge selection of vegetables and sticky rice. When it arrives you’re supposed to stir it together quickly with chop sticks to continue the cooking process. It’s also usual to top your hotpot with an egg; either fried or raw.

What to pick? decisions decisions 
Decision made – Beef bool-go-gi

I went for a marinated beef dish together with a fried egg. M was more adventurous and went for raw fillet beef and raw egg which he ‘cooked’ himself by mixing everything together rapidly.

M ‘cooking’ his meal 

The end result? An exceptionally tasty bowl of goodness.

Bibimbap in my mind is an excellent Wagamamas alternative. The food arrives quickly, and is importantly great value at about £7 per hotpot.

PS Order a green tea – it’s amazing!

After stuffing ourselves with delicious Korean food, I realised that my second stomach aka ‘dessert tummy’ needed satisfying and we popped into the nearby Le Pain Quotidien for dessert and coffee. I was good for once, and plumped for a fruit salad with a macchiato.


A guide to Bubble Tea

I’ve been craving bubble tea for absolutely ages and I finally satisfied my craving on Saturday.

For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, here’s my mini guide to bubble tea.

Bubble tea is a hugely popular drink in Asia. It originated in Taiwan in the 80s.

It’s a really refreshing iced tea which comes in an infinite number of flavours. It’s so called because of the tapioca balls served with it which you suck up with a huge straw. It took me a few attempts to like them as they’re unlike anything we generally eat in England, but now I love them. They’re like a stiff jelly and it’s really fun sucking them up the straw and chewing them with a gulp of tea.

Don’t get too fazed by the huge number of flavours. Broadly speaking you can either go for milk or fruit flavoured tea. For bubble tea virgins I’d recommend a fruit tea. Passion fruit flavoured tea is a particular favourite of mine.

passion fruit and kumquat bubble tea

Bubble tea is widely available. I bought mine in Mooboo, Soho.

Korean Restaurant: Asadal, Holborn

Last night we went for dinner with some of my favourite people, Frankie and Simon. Frankie is so great at picking interesting places and last night was no exception.

We tried Korean for the first time. We went to Asadal in Holborn. The menu is extensive and we started with a vast array of soups. I chose egg soup.

We then sampled some appetisers in the form of marinated chicken wings and fried courgettes.

This was followed by the main event – the BBQ. You pick a selection of meats – we chose pork, beef and ox tongue.

The hot plate is lit before you and then you fry your meat yourself. Really fun and different. You then eat it with lettuce and spring onions – it’s like a really healthy taco.

At £8 for a relatively small plate of meat it’s not cheap, but I would recommend Asadal to anyone who’s after something a little bit different.

Have you ever tried Korean?

Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

The weather’s been so dreadful of late that all I’ve wanted to do is be huddled inside with warm and comforting things.

This sticky toffee pudding is incredible. I would go as far to say that it’s the best I’ve ever eaten both at home and in restaurants.
I used this recipe from BBC Good Food and made a couple of adaptations. Simple to do and with a fabulous result, it won’t fail to raise a smile.

I made it in a large dish, as opposed to small ramekins for ease of making.

Serves 8

225g dates (I buy them pitted for ease, otherwise remove the stones yourself)
175g boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g SR flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
85g butter, softened
140g Demerara sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml milk

For the toffee sauce:
175g light muscovado sugar
50g butter, chopped
225ml double cream
1 tbsp golden syrup

1. Grease a 1L ovenproof dish. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Soak the dates in the boiling water for half an hour.
3. If possible use a food processor to whiz the dates and water into a fine paste, otherwise mash with a fork.
4. In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
5. In a second bowl, beat the eggs together.
6. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
7. Add the eggs a little at a time to the butter/sugar mixture before adding the black treacle and golden syrup.
8. Fold in a spoonful of flour at a time, alternating with a spoonful of milk until well combined.
9. Finally stir in the date mixture – don’t over mix.
10. Pour into the oven dish and bake for 45 minutes or until nicely set on top.

To make the toffee sauce: melt the sugar and butter together with half the cream on a low heat. Stir in the golden syrup, switch up the heat and bubble for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally until a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the cream.

What’s your favourite comforting pudding?

Restaurant Review: Mes Amis

We were due in Hammersmith last night for a friend’s dinner so I spent time researching on Trip Advisor for somewhere to eat beforehand. After the excesses of Christmas and the New Year we were both after something healthy that wouldn’t dent the purse too much.

After reading lots of reviews, we plumped for Mes Amis.

Situated on a quiet residential street in Hammermsith Mes Amis is unique.

The decor is amazing – I’ve never seen so much ‘stuff’ in all my life. Every inch was crammed full of knick knacks. The cuisine itself is Lebonese.

Our chef and his kitchen

Our starter of large mixed mezze was delicious while our mains were pretty disappointing. Although it’s definitely not the best restaurant I’ve ever been to, it’s definitely worth a visit to just experience the place.

All the cooking is done in the same tiny room you eat in. A little man does it all in front of you so you know it’s super fresh.

You can find Mes Amis here – there isn’t a website and it’s probably worth booking in advance as it really is very small.

Greenwich Market

We attempted to go to Greenwich last week, but the terrible weather had other plans for us and we ended up in the National museum and China Town for Dim Sum instead.

Today we finally made it there – it was a cold and blustery day but fortunately for us not raining.

Why has it taken me over 2 years to go? Greenwich is a great place to spend an afternoon.

We obviously had to start at Greenwich market because that’s where all the food is. There were lots of place to choose from, but for me it had to be my first burger of 2014. Stupidly, and greedily, I forgot to take a photo before it was well and truly demolished.

The food market sell everything from halloumi wraps to vegan cupcakes.

I stopped dead when I spotted these insane looking cinnamon buns. At £2.50 they were ridiculously well priced and they were the massive. Ours was served warm and I can safely say they were the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever sampled.

There are plenty of other stalls selling beautiful homemade leather goods, bags and clothes but somehow they never hold as much interest for me as the food stalls.

Feeling rather full, we decided to attempt to work off our lunch by going for a leisurely stroll around the Cutty Sark before ending up at Greenwich park.

Greenwich is great place to visit – I’m just looking forward to visiting on a far sunnier, warm day, although judging by current weather, that sounds like a complete impossibility.