Butchies Buttermilk Chicken Burger – Red Market, Shoreditch

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Sorry folks! Junk has been too obsessed with her underwater hobby to eat much, let alone write recently. Luckily, managed to dig out some pics from an outing a few weeks back with Boom so shall attempt to trawl through my memory of what was on offer.

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Heard about Red Market from the foodie grapevine but did not managed to visit last year. So when I heard they are back this year, dragged Boom who just works around the corner for a recon. See! We were so unfashionably early that the sign to the market was still being painted!

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The night we were there, the follow outfits were present, Deshi Roti, Mei Mei’s Street Cart, La Casa Del Burrito, Bare Bone Cue, Last Gelatiera, Butchies and Dough Brothers. We did have the Hoisin Duck Jian Bing from Mei Mei’s Street Cart but once again both Boom and Junk committed the carnal sin of food bloggers. Thou shall not eat before thy snap! But from what I recall, we both enjoyed the Chinese crepe though we both felt the hoisin sauce a tad sweet.

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Next, we decided to give the Buttermilk Chicken Burger from Butchies a try. Also threw in a portion of twice cooked chips to share. If I recall, the burger was £6 while the chips were £2.50.

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The twice cooked chips were pretty good, cut from fresh spuds and served with chipotle mayo. Unlike frozen chips, they have the earthy spud taste. Sorry! Pic taken after half the portion was consumed.

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We both enjoyed the burger! Deep fried chicken thigh marinated in buttermilk with bacon and lettuce, dressed with chipotle mayo and guacamole, stuffed into a sweet toasted brioche bun. Total yum!

More picture taken of the market, enjoy!

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Red Market SS14
288-299 Old Street
London EC1V 9DP

 

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Half Yard Hotdog – Cap’N Jaspers, Plymouth

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Muahahahaha! Talk about having a long one! Junk and Wallace bailed getting wet to sink their grubby gob on a supposedly club tradition.

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So was out at Plymouth on the first May Bank Holiday weekend hoping to have 6 full sessions of bubble blowing. But the weather did not want to play on the Sunday thus off to town we went.

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We were told by an ex club member to hit Cap’n Jaspers, a harbour side food stand and stuff ourselves silly on the Half Yard Hotdog, apparently the club’s tradition when they are diving at this neck of the woods.

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The menu consist of mainly burgers with various toppings and some hotdog options. Prices were reasonable and all made fresh upon order. The Half Yard Hotdog was £4.25. The Wallace and Junk decided to share the half yard hotdog thus making it a quarter yard each.

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After you get your order which was ran as a numbered ticket system, you get to load your burger/hotdog with a choice of condiments. Gherkins, tomato/corn relish, sweet chilli sauce, coleslaw and the usual sauces.

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The dressed hotdog. Boy it was long. Like cradling a baby.

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Junk’s portion. So how does it taste like you ask? Well, nothing fantastic really. Just a cheap sausage, freshly griddled and stuffed in a long soft roll. The condiments made a huge difference but it’s just what it was. Junk food!

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No doubt about it. It’s popular with the locals and tourist.

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Cap’n Jaspers
Whitehouse Pier
Plymouth
Devon PL1 2SL
Tel: 01752 262444

Bun Hue, Bahn Mi and Rolls – City Caphe, Cheapside

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I know this looks like a big lunch but I had a partner in crime for lunch today. Though I could happily finish everything if I wanted to!

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Was reading another food blog and there was a post about City Caphe which I realised is pretty close to where the Boom works while only a 15 mins walk across the bridge from me. When it comes to Asian food, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Thai food are pretty well represented in the City but not Vietnamese. So City Caphe is a much needed find.

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When the Boom and I got to the place, the queue was about 15 deep but it moved pretty quickly and we both got our orders after 5 minutes. Not such a bad thing to be in the queue as it gives you time to decide what to order. In general, the choices includes soupy noodles like pho or bun hue, vermicelli salad or rice with a choice of grilled meats, bahn mi filled with grill meat options and either fried spring rolls or summer rolls.

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The Boom went with a bahn mi with chargrilled pork (£3.50) and the fried spring rolls (£3.75) while I went for Beef Bun Hue (£6.50) and the summer roll (£3.75).

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The problem with eating lunch in the city is finding a place to sit. There are limited seats in City Caphe but as food were made to order, it was pretty stuffy in the shop. Most people bring their food back to the office but sometimes taking a break from the office setting relaxes the mind. Thanks to the Boom who found this peaceful and tranquil setting near the Guildhall.

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The Boom enjoyed his bahn mi. His one minor gripe is the bread could be lighter in texture.  Get the lady to go easy on the sriracha as Boom was scorched by the sauce half way through his sandwich.

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We shared both the rolls and Boom preferred my summer roll while I have yet to have mine as my Bun Hue was very generous portion wise, especially the thinly sliced beef. The fried spring rolls was served with a portion of nuoc cham while the summer roll was served with a different sauce.

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Once again, I’m always impressed when the herbs are provided in a separate container. In this instance, there was sliced chilies, basil and some beansprouts. I would have loved more beansprouts. Word of caution, for those of you who can’t take the heat, suggest you go for the pho rather then the bun hue.

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Cute pictorial to link Vietnamese words to the food it represents. Will definitely go back to City Caphe when I’m craving for soupy noodles.

City Caphe
17 Ironmonger Lane
London EC2V 8EY

Hot Dogs – Street Kitchen@The Miller, London Bridge

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Boy! These dogs are really hard to come by! Took me 3 attempts to The Miller before I could lay my chomps on them. In all, I guess it was worth the effort.

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Apart from wandering down mysterious lanes and alleys in search of interesting grub for lunch, I also resort to Google maps very often to find any potential outlets to try. The Miller was one such place. Located around the Guy’s Hospital vicinity, I would probably not find it in my wanderings. The Street Kitchen is in resident whipping up some mean dogs and reading other reviews, decided to give it a try.

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My first visit was a pure recon mainly to check out the vibe of the place. So ended up having a pint of cider and reading the menu. Loved the way they named the hot dogs after dog breeds and both the Boston Hound and Bull Mastiff looks to be potential junk candidate.

A couple of days later, managed to knock off work early and feeling a tad peckish, thought I give the dogs a go. Lo and behold! There is no food service between 1500-1700hrs. Had to settle for a bag of crisp and another pint of cider in the beer garden.

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Junk is nothing but tenacious! So another couple of days later, managed to drag Tweet along to give the dogs a run for it’s money and finally managed to score proper. I went for the Boston Hound, hoping that Tweet will get the Bull Mastiff but yes, as usual he went for the virgin option, the American Pitbull. The Boston Hound with more topping cost £7.50 while the virgin American Pitbull was £5.50. Also threw in a portion of Skin Chips with Rosemary Salt for £2.50 to share with the portion of slaw on the side that comes with every dog.

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Starting with the chips, we both enjoyed this a lot for its “rustic” character. This is not the on trend double/triple cooked chips so common nowadays but a totally different creature. Reminds me of when I was a kid, and my dad attempts to make french fries by simply cutting up spuds with skin on and frying them in a wok. Leaving the skin on and slow frying the chips gives it an earthly yet sweet undertone. So much so that the Tweet thought perhaps some of the chips were made with sweet potato.

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According to Tweet, he enjoyed his American Pitbull especially the snappy texture of the smoked pork sausage and the long strings of crispy onion. He thought I might find the ketchup too sweet but he was ok with it. I’m surprised he did not complain about the cucumber slices as it’s not his fav. I think being pickled and with slight hint of dill cut down the bitterness that he associates with cucumber.

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As for me, I did not enjoy the texture of the sausage as much. The snap of the dog was fine but I don’t like how some smoked sausage becomes slightly dry and “waxy”, much like a salami. In contrast, the thick slice of pork belly was heaven! Soft, tender, smoky, melt in your mouth and was perfect with the veg accompaniments. The only disappointment was the small bits of what I think are pork crackling. I was expecting much bigger pieces but these are more the size of bacon bits, feels like an after thought.

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In all, we both enjoyed our meal and also the ambiance of the pub with its lovely beer garden and kooky decor. I might just make it my local office pub.

Street Kitchen
@The Miller
96 Snowsfields Road
London Bridge
London SE1 3SS
0207 402 2690

ze Wilde Bock – Herman ze German, Embankment

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Had an offsite event work wise today and decided to take a quick 5 minutes diversion to try  out a joint which I had my eye on for awhile. Whenever I’m in the area, it was never meal time so today it’s the perfect opportunity as it close to lunch and Junk’s tum is rumbling.

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Herman ze German as you can guess is a shop specializing in all things wurst and I believe I saw something on the menu board that resembles a frikadeller though they call it a meat ball. From my time in Germany I understand that a bockwurst is boiled while a bratwurst is grilled. It would seem that my understanding is not entirely accurate. From the wiki articles, the difference between the 2 is whether it is smoked or not. So a bockwurst is the smoked weiner.

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Of the variety on the menu board, I went with the ze Wilde Bock which I felt had a bit of everything I would like to try. It had pomme frites (chips or fries for those of you not in the know), fried onion, the curry sauce which I went for burner strength (the hottest which is meh!) and I added some sauerkraut for 30p more.

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The ze Wild Bock was £4.95, extra sauerkraut for 30p and a bottle of sparkling water for £1.25. They really get you on the drinks don’t they? Without the liquid, I felt the meal was a pretty good deal for it’s portion size.

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I really enjoyed my meal! The pomme frites were lightly seasoned with a spicy salt and not oily at all as they are baked. The roll was light and crusty but not so chewy that it hard to eat. The bockwurst had a snappy casing while the filling was uniformly smooth. The smoky taste was what made it special and it went very well with the tangy curry sauce which I would like more off. The sauerkraut rounded things off perfectly with it’s fresh crunch and I appreciate that the cabbage is really thinly sliced, nothing gets in the way worse then a big hunk of raw cabbage.

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I’m glad I finally got to try this. Well worth the wait and diversion.

Herman ze German
19 Villers Street
London WC2N 6NE

Maryland Buttermilk Chicken Burger and Samurai Fries – The Drift, Bishopsgate

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Today’s lunch venue was purely a result of assumption. Assume = makes an ASS out of U not ME. Well, one of my favourite sayings came back to haunt me today!

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Was suppose to have lunch at The Slug and Lettuce between my office and Boom’s as I have a 25% discount food voucher if I use my new contactless debit card. Unbeknownst to me, the branch I chose is right smack in front of the Gherkin and was jammed packed came lunch time. Not wanting to fall back on high street chains, the Boom and I decided to give The Drift at the Heron Tower a try.

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I have been to The Drift’s sister bar The Folly on it’s opening bash and was impressed by the party thrown with free food and drinks for about 3 hours. I got pretty smashed that night if I recall but have not been back since. Another thing that left an impression was The Folly was refreshingly decorated with a shabby chic vibe, homely but ever so slightly opulent. Compared to her sister, The Drift has a more utilitarian decor but still impressive nonetheless.

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The main eating area is on the upper floor which has views into the open kitchen. View from the upper floor to the bar area is pretty impressive as well.

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Had a moment of indecision after checking out the menu. Should I go for an Asian style salad or should I go for something else. The one thing that caught my eye was the Maryland Buttermilk Chicken Burger and with Boom and the waitress breathing down my neck to get my orders in, I committed. Also shared a side of Samurai Fries with Boom which was ample for the two of us as the Boom lashed out on a double cheeseburger. Final bill with 2 pints of soft drinks came close to £40! Well, I’m not complaining as I’m not paying!

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Was disappointed with the Samurai Fries as I was expecting the katsu curry sauce to be served on the side. It would seem that the fries are tossed with the sauce prior service. The thin coat of sauce was neither here nor there, I wouldn’t have known if not told. I can understand the fries will be soggy if too much sauce was added but at least serve some of the sauce on the side. At £4.25, the portion size was ok, but still feel it’s a tad on the steep side.

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So did my Buttermilk Chicken lived up to the expectation? Unfortunately not! The batter was nice and crispy and kudos to the chief that it was not oily and the chicken breast was not dry. The problem was the batter seriously lacked seasoning! I can’t taste the tartness of the buttermilk at all and it was totally bland. I think someone forgot the salt, let alone the  herbs and spices I was expecting. The pitiful squirt of mayonnaise on the buns did not remedy the failure and I had to resort to ketchup to save the day. The saving grace was the nicely toasted brioche bun but still not worth £9.95.

In all, I think it’s all style but no substance. Nice enough place for a pint or some cocktail but don’t count on the food.

The Drift
Heron Tower
110 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4AY
0845 468 0103

Gourmet Hotdog – The Picture House, Stafford

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This was a lunch stop on a recent trip out of the big smoke and have to say what a gem Tweet and I managed to find. The original scheduled stop was another couple of hours away and we both didn’t want to have lunch at 4pm in the afternoon. So made an impromptu stop at the next closest town on the motorway with absolutely no idea what we will find.

The only thing we know about Stafford is it’s famous for Wedgwood pottery. Lately the high streets of small towns are blighted by pound shops, charity shops and payday lenders, was not surprised Stafford suffered a similar faith. Fortunately, the town center has enough distinctive architecture to make it not as depressing as the some of those we have been.

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So while walking down the high street looking for possible lunch location, came across this Wetherspoon pub and took a punt knowing the food though not out of this world, the price will definitely be a bargain. What we saw made our jaws dropped!

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Apparently, this is an old cinema which Wetherspoon had taken over and remodeled into a pub in the 90s. The building kept the old style ticket booth and also has weekly movie nights where punters are encouraged to dress up in the spirit of the movie on show.

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The interior of the pub was equally impressive. The moldings on the ceiling was probably as per how the cinema had it and the full length bar under the movie screen was a fantastic showcase. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Anyway, seeing it was a nice day, we headed out to the beer garden which is above a small river, or should I say canal. If you don’t fancy the intimate lightning in the main cinema hall, the beer garden is a good alternative.

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Enough ambiance gawking,  on to the food. As you can see from the menu, there were many deals to be had. From 2 for chump change to meal deals with drinks.

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The last time I went to a Wetherspoon, I missed out on the hot dogs so I decided to go for the Gourmet Hot Dog with an alcoholic drink which set me back £6.95. Look at the size of the dog and the generous chips and onion rings! Not bad for £6.95 eh?

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Taste wise, have to say I was disappointed. The frankfurter was missing the compulsory snap and the filling was slightly too mushy for my taste. The chili and melted cheese helped the lackluster texture of the hot dog to be let down again by the baguette. It’s a hot dog and thus it should be soft and fluffy hot dog buns. I have nothing against baguettes but the crunchy crust and chewy texture is just wrong and makes the entire thing hard to eat.

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Anyway, at £6.95 with a pint of cider, can’t really complain especially when it is served in such an unique location!

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The Picture House
Bridge Road
Stafford
Staffordshire ST16 2HL
01785 222941