Monday, 28 May 2012

A god damn fit burger: MEATliquor

I was late to the party with MEATliquor, but my god was it worth the wait.

These burgers, are quintessential food porn that quite shamefully I spent a week drooling over photos of. And it wasn't just the photos that amped me up for this birthday meal, the word on the street is that these burgers are the bomb.

To start, entirely unnecessarily we ordered the chilli fries, chilli chicken wings and deep fried pickles to share between 6. This was a hell of a lot of food, and was gluttonously delicious. The chilli on the fries, topped with runny cheese, jalapeƱo and mustard looks like a heart attack in a bowl but were a moorish highlight for me, where as the boys will have dreams about the chicken wings soaked in chilli sauce for days.

Burger time, it was almost Dead Hippies all round. This burger was so delicious its hard to find the words that aren't just yummy noises. Two insanely meaty patties sat on top of pickles and lettuce, covered in cheese, dripping 'special' sauce that was essentially what Big Mac sauce would be like if it weren't from McDonnalds. As you eat this burger juices drip down your arm and you don't even care, all you want to do is get it in your mouth and moan "oh yeah".

Ive heard about the ghastly queues MEATliquor experiences, but at 2.30pm on a sunny Saturday there was absolutely no wait. With such high expectations we could have easily been disappointed, yet all 6 of us have been raving about the meal since... and that was 4 days ago.

MEATliquor on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Peru hits Soho: Ceviche

I've been day dreaming about Peru and Bolivia a lot lately while planning my next big adventure to climb a mountain, so Ceviche with all it's hype seemed like the perfect place for a lazy grazey lunch.

Ceviche, is one of the newest small plates swanky-casual restaurants to open in Soho, yet still manages to stand out from it's peers. I arrived and shuffled through the narrow entrance past the trendy pisco (traditional Peruvian spirit) bar with single diners perched at the counter, to the chilled yet sophisticated dining room where I met my friends who were waiting with their first drink, a pisco sour.

Not having tried peruvian food before, we let ourselves be guided entirely by our waiter. She was excellent, and her knowledge of the elements of every dish was impeccable. She knew we were newbies yet didn't want the safe options and advised what dishes would work together. We ordered to start the house specialty Don Ceviche - fresh seabass in an amarillo chilli and lime tigers milk, Alianza Ceviche - fresh prawns fish squid and octopus in a rococo chilli tigers milk and quinoa salad with chilli, fresh tomato, avocado and butter beans. Both ceviches were fantastic, I'm not sure what I expected but these were both better than I imagined. I had thought the tigers milk marinade would be much of the same and the fish would drive the flavours, however this wasn't the case. Although the fish tasted perfectly fresh, both of the marinades provided a very different experience. It was the Don Ceviche that I favoured, but only ever so slightly. The lime was interesting in the marinade, it was zingy and added a second dimension to the dish that the Alianza Cebiche just didn't have, and the seabass was simply delicious with an incredible smooth texture from the tigers milk. The quinoa salad was equally impressive, with loads of ripe avocado and fresh tomato.

The steak skewers were cooked rare and were a delight to eat, yet were a little understated without the additional punch from the anticucho sauce. A work of art on a plate was the causa mar which boasted an overpoweringly dense potato cake. The Arroz Con Pato rounded off the meal nicely. The confit duck was well roasted and full of gamey flavour, and the coriander rice not only added colour, but kick.

We weren't sure desserts were necessary, and if you find yourself in this same dilemma please trust me and try one! We went for the cinnamon sponge soaked in pisco with dulce de leche Ice cream and chiricahua fruit mouse. Both were to die for. The sponge packed a massive cinnamon sweet punch, the perfect textures of the mouse melted at first bite. Utterly delicious.

I can certainly appreciate the hype surrounding Ceviche. It's unique, conceptual, delicious, fresh and a welcomed break from the rich or meat heavy London small plate craze. I want to go back, and I want to go back soon.

Ceviche on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Salvation Jane: the newest addition to the Aussie brunch club

Being one of the many Australian expats living in London I feel I can often be a breakfast and coffee snob. This sentiment based entirely on having been spoilt with good coffee and creative and innovative breakfast menus from all across my sparse homeland.

That said, London is becoming a strong competitor but is still in need of more good coffee and breakfasts that aren't a variation of a british fry up. And so it seems my fellow antipedians agree, Australian and Kiwi owned and run restaurants are popping up left, right and centre. Thankfully, most recently the big sister of one of my personal favs Lantana in Fitzrovia finds home in Shoreditch.

Salvation Jane is a lot bigger than Lantana, and boasts a far sexier and stylish interior. The menu is similar in it's creativity, exciting me to see my favourite pork belly beans alongside new offers such as smoked haddock hash cakes. After we dove right into a flat white, we ordered. Sauteed mixed mushrooms on grain toast with poached eggs and lemon herb feta, Smoked haddock hashcakes w fresh spinach, poached eggs and dill mayo, and for myself - the girl who can never make a decision - a bit of everything with scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with a side of the beans, streaky bacon and roasted mushrooms.

Stealing a mouthful of the haddock hash was wonderful, the fish was super chunky and the creamy and runny poached eggs and dill complimented them nicely. The mushrooms from the mixed sauteed dish and also in my own side were amazing. They were soft, flavorsome, cooked beyond perfection and dusted with the slightest touch of sea salt. A highlight of the meal for me.

I think aside from the creativity, option of vegimite and impeccable quality of food at both Salvation Jane and Lantana, what impresses me most is the selection. Riding Horse Cafe and similar trending breakfast spots seem to always sport the same options, but these Aussie run establishments are really out to impress. And for every indecisive eater like myself, there are more than enough options to design your own ideal brunch.

Salvation Jane on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Love me or hate me, still an obsession: social media milestones

Today I accidently, after months of reluctance clicked a wrong button and got Facebook Timeline, and it freaked me the hell out! My very first status update, photos of my hair go from short to long to blonde to brown to red, ex boyfriends and ex coworkers, holidays and boozy night out, days I was all to happy to remember and nights I'd rather forget all appeared in front of me... Yikes! How is it that only now has it become clear to me that I am one of the millions of twenty-somethings who grew up on social media? Even with the proof right in front of me. And, why is it that even though it's been a part of us for as long as we can remember we're all so reluctant to welcome social media into our lives.

Someone, not me: "I don't tweet... I don't care what you have to say in 140 characters or less"

Yes you do, and that's why you're complaining to me about the fact that you have to hear my opinions about the Apprentice, and then you have to read them again later online. You then hate that you laugh and hate that you have to admit I might be funnier in 140 characters. Then to top it off, you hate that if you had twitter you would retweet it. And then probably tweet about the Apprentice too.

I don't care what people say, swerving to the left to avoid the social media bandwagon does not make you anti-socialism, non-conforming, anti-consumerist, or anti-anything. What would we have done without, dare I say, Myspace. Our high school days would have been spent vandalizing desks and googling Josh Hartnett (more so than we did), rather than MySpace stalking the very real teenage crush that sat opposite us. We loved MySpace, we loved that it gave us an identity, that we could prove how indi and alternative we were by adding a Midnight Juggernaughts or Taking Back Sunday sound file to our profiles, we loved how we could find our best 'MySpace photo' angle with our friends and most of all we loved that we could be mouthy teenagers in a globally public, yet still somehow private forum.

Then post-graduation Facebook came along, it wasn't as pretty but god was it cool. We signed up, because signing up meant we had moved on from MySpace and high school, and we were cool because we could unload even more information about our private lives into a public sphere. We could also connect to people, and places and things. We could 'Like'... olives, and cats, vintage and John Hughes films. We fell victim to social marketing campaigns and hated that the internet now somehow knew all our interests, even though we knew we had ignorantly told it them. Social media had become clever, more clever than us.

Twitter started flapping about, and of course we loathed it. By this point, I was a proper (young) professional marketer and not only trying to find my own online voice, but also that of the theatre shows I was selling to a middle aged, social media illiterate audience. I didn't care that someone I worked with had a roast for dinner, but I did care about cheap tickets and exclusive information about things, and I did care how many followers I had even though I never said anything of interest... I was determined to find the balance, in 140 characters or less.

Facebook status updates got shorter and became tweets, while blogging became the next big thing. As we grew up, and got smarter so did our need for online interaction. By now we all had smart phones and we looked the tech-savvy social media junkie part. Our tone of voice was out there but visually we wanted to brag about stuff that no one would care about offline, so we embraced Instagram.

Now everyone I know Instagrams and tweets, and instead of writing home we blog and share a link on our Facebook walls. Next, in an incarnation of Facebook liking, blogging and Instagraming someone in the big old internet world has given us Pinterest. At first glance I of course think it's pointless, another 'creative' channel for anyone who lacks creativity, a hub for pro-ana sites and home decoration. And you know what, with no surprises I hate it, while knowing perfectly well it's only a matter of time before I embrace it. Before it marks another social milestone in my life.

PS. I just pinned myself to a picture of a cat with a pink cupcake on it's head. Shit.