Grilled Octopus and Bavette Steak – Chez Boom

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It has been a pretty good summer this year though The Boom and Junk did not have much luck BBQ wise. So, an end of summer BBQ do was due!

Junk having to maneuver her rump into town, offered to make some additions to Boom’s bavette steaks. According to the horse’s mouth, it was a rare cut at the local SuperM and 500g of cow for £6 was not half bad.

In the meantime, I was forewarn by Boom that whatever I managed to forage from Borough Market needs to fit well and proper on the BBQ grill, no fish baskets or the likes which means my catch needs to be big….OK….biggish!

Got the idea of Surf ‘n’ Turf in my head and off I went to….

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And this is my friend on the hot tube home!

Junk feels cheated! Count the feet….only 7? And this cost me £16+!!! At the very least, it has been gutted and cleaned. No possibility of an ink related incident!

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Recipes from the interweb all said to boil/stew the octopus for at least 45 minutes in a concoction of dry white wine and various herbage… or none!

Tossed in a handful of black peppercorn, bay leaves, few cloves of smashed garlic and a quartered onion.

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No white wine… so dry cider it shall be! Half a can…

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After 1 hour, what a beauty!

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Are you feeling the heat?

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How about now?

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Carved up…

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And served!

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I think I boiled the octopus a tad too much. Folks! Stick to 45 minutes instead of an hour!

Boom – Ease up on the steak marinade next time ok?

Chez Boom
Somewhere in West London
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week
Only by invitation

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Live from @truckstopLDN

OK people, not going to write much. Just showing all the trucks at Truck Stop and a couple of nosh pics I remembered to take before stuffing my face!

Enjoy!

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The crowd, all well behaved.

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Vanduke, brother truck of Naamyaa Cafe

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Engine, serving hotdogs.

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Yum Buns, we actually had 2 yum buns, a chicken and a pork but Junk forgot to take a picture. £3.50 each or 2 for £6. Highly recommended.

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Baba G, Indian food. I was tempted by the Bhaji Box which at £4 is a good option for sharing.

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Healthy Yummies, they were selling pan fried scallops in the shell. A colleague of mine tried it and she said it was good. Long queues though, be warned!

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Spit and Roast, the Tweet got the Poutin here. For £3.50, you get a big tray of fries topped with cheese curd and rich, full of umami roast chicken gravy. We were not expecting the gravy to be filled with shredded chicken, good thing though! The Tweet wolfed the whole tray down in a couple of minutes. Spudcaterian!

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Cheeky Italian, I think they were serving arancini balls and calzone.

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Gurmetti – Italian pork burgers

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That’s Bleeker St Burger! They won the Young and Foodish burger bash but I didn’t feel like burger today.

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Mama’s Jerk Station – Pretty self explanatory.

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Bell & Brisket – Salt Beef Bagel

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I got this from Mother Clucker. Wanted whole pieces of chook but apparently it takes to long to cook. So settled for cup of cluck. Nice!

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Anna Mae’s – Mac & Cheese. I was truly tempted but the stomach protest

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The bar! The booze!

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Original Fry Up – Typical fry up, All Day Breakfast

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Daisy Green – Frozen Yogurt

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Shawarma Shack – Kebabs

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Fishdog – Coley fish fingers

Anyway, time to get sloshed, over and out!

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Truck Stop
Somewhere in Canary Wharf
Do buy tickets in advance to get tokens for 2 drinks!
@truckstopLDN

 

Traditional Lamb Tagine – Ealing Blues Festival, Walpole Park Ealing

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A couple of weekends back, I dragged the Boom to the inaugural Ealing Blues Festival in exchange for weeding his driveway. Why on earth did I agree to this deal, I’m not sure. It’s not as if he did not enjoy the outing *grumble*.

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Summer is festy season and everywhere you go, you will see promotions for festivals big and small all around the city, in local councils and around the country. Back in the day when Junk was a spring chicken and the Boom was just boom, we were big festy fans and we try to go for at least one festival yearly. Nowadays, we shudder at the thought of trekking through mud, long toilet queues and going for days without a hot shower. A day fest is all we can take which makes the summer festival held in Ealing a perfect option.

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Apart from the blues festival, the Ealing Summer Festival collection also include a comedy festival, a jazz festival, open air cinema and many other similar events. We tried the jazz and comedy a couple of years back and hope we will enjoy the blues one as much.

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For Boom, his main focus when at a festival is the location of the beer tent and the “facilities” i.e., toilet. As for Junk, her food radar will be on high alert once pass the festy gates. Junk was pretty happy with what she saw on offer.

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After settling down in front of the quieter and more tranquil second stage, with beers and cider in hand of course, my stomach started to rumble. So off I went to checkout the food offerings proper.

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Decided to get some tagine from Exotic Tagine and some snacks from the Thai store. The Traditional Lamb Tagine cost £7 while the snacks were £1 each or 3 for £2.50. I got 2 veg spring rolls and a chicken samosa to share with the Boom.

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The lamb tagine was pretty good. Generous portion of lamb tagine on fluffy couscous with sides of mixed veg tagine, a puy lentil stew and some fresh salad. The bright red sauce on the edge of the plate as expected tasted like the typical salty sambal olek but with the addition of preserved lemon. My only complaint is at £7, I think its a tad steep especially when you are allowed to bring your own food into the festival ground.

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Apart from food, there are also a few stalls selling stuff to satisfy those who can’t help but shop. Both of us were pretty impressed with the variety of herbs on sale at this stall near the second stage. Was tempted to buy some as the herb pots were a couple of quid each but couldn’t be arsed carrying them on the bus for home.

Ealing Blues Festival
Walpole Park
Ealing West London

Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Linguine – Founder’s Arms, Bankside

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* Sorry folks! It would seem that even after close to a full year of blogging, I’ve still yet got into the habit of photo before food! Luckily, this time I remember to take a pic after I have stirred the dish. No bites were taken, I swear!

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Due to the recent good weather, the team I’m working in went out for lunch last Friday and I gladly tagged along. It’s normally a pub lunch on Fridays and the Scrum Master decided on a pub by the river.

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Founder’s Arm is located just down the bank from Tate Modern and we were all worried that it will be jammed packed due to the weather and the throng of tourist. We were not fussed whether where we were seated and luckily, the crowd we saw outside the pub while we were approaching was solely confined to the outdoor seating area. Inside the pub, there was plenty of empty tables available and the views are as impressive on the inside.

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Apart from the menu, there is a daily specials board and the selection as expected is similar to your regular pub fare. Most of the team went with a burger of some form so I decided to break the monotony and went to the only pasta on the menu. I was probably tempted by the light tomato sauce which I thought will be refreshing on a hot day. At £13, I was expecting big tiger prawns.

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Alas, big prawns was not to be! I counted only 2 medium sized prawns in the pasta. As to whether they are tiger prawns, I can’t be sure since they were shelled and totally smothered in a rich and thick tomato sauce. The amount of chorizo pieces made up for the lacking of crustacean but they were there more for texture, unlike the smoky chorizo I love. My main complaint was the linguine. I’m not sure how one can cook pasta such that they are mushy on the outside and yet still tough and grainy on the inside? Especially when the linguine is not a thick pasta. Baffling!

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Yes, not a very good lunch I’m afraid, the only saving grace was the rocket which I’ve stirred in. Next time, I’ll stick to proper pub grub and not be the contrarian.

Founder’s Arms
52 Hopton Street, Bankside
London SE1 9JH
0207 928 1899

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

Duck Confit Sandwich – Le Marche du Quartier, Borough Market

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I hate Borough Market! Ok, I know that sounded a tad strong. I’ll correct myself and be slightly more PC. I hate Borough Market from Thursday through to the weekend! When I first came to London and visited Borough Market, I used to be in awed by the variety of food and produce available. But nowadays, not only have the variety dwindled, most of the clienteles on full market days are 90% tourist! They mill around like mindless sheep, getting into everybody’s way and buys nothing serious. Makes my blood boil!

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Enough of my ranting, on to today’s post. So last Thursday, feeling guilty about not blogging as much as I used to, I decided to risk a walk to Borough Market wanting to checkout a Caribbean Jerk stall which was opened the day before. When I got there, it was not opened and I was at a lost with what to get for lunch. As it is I was running out of time as I have meeting soon and the throng of tourist did not help. Anyway, finally decided to have the Duck Confit Sandwich from Le Marche du Quartier which I have been promising myself to try.

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Le Marche du Quartier also known as The Market Quarter is a french shop selling french supplies. You can find tins of confit de canard, pate, goose fat, foie gras etc. Typically french stuff. When the shop is open, they also have a make shift stand selling shredded duck confit stuffed into a ciabatta with a few token fronds of rocket. At £5, it’s pretty affordable by Borough Market standards. If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see a blue movement behind the steam. That’s the chap busy mopping up the fat from frying the duck confit.

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As you can see from the gleam of the filling, this is seriously fatty stuff! I was a tad worried that apart from being fat, it will be really salty as well. Luckily, the hearty ciabatta overcame the saltiness of the duck confit. The portion was very generous but I would prefer to have more rocket which will also help to cut down the fattiness of the stuffing.

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If you are not a fan of fat, suggest you stay clear of this. Even 5 thick sheets of napkin cannot overcome the power of the grease!

Le Marche du Quartier
Middle Market area
Borough Market
Stoney Street
London SE1 9AA
020 7378 8679

Small Plates Dinner – Elliot’s Cafe, Borough Market

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Invited Boom out for dinner last Wed as I needed a partner in crime to join in trying out this restaurant near Borough Market. I walk pass Elliot’s Cafe near Borough Market everyday and am intrigued by the ever changing menu.

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Looking at some of the more “adventurous” ingredients used, I reckon I needed someone who is always happy to stretch his palate. Boom has always been the best candidate on such culinary missions!

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After examining the menu and the specials on the blackboard in detail, we both decided that the large plates and the specials did not appeal that night. So we decided on a few small plates, a carafe each of the house white and red wine to match the variety of small plates and the baked on site bread.

I won’t pain myself to recall the exact names of all the small plates but from what I can remember, they were

  • Mullet gravalax with apple
  • Mussels with nduja
  • Pork Head kromeski
  • Deviled ox tongue
  • Steak tartare
  • Squid with curry and cauliflower puree

The bill came up to be close to £90 but we both thought that in all, the meal was worth it but obviously not something we will do everyday!

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I will cover a couple of the small plates in more detail. As usual, we started eating once the food arrive and only then I remembered to take pics. There are 4 kromeski in total, with 2 already on each of our plates. When asked, the server explained that the pig’s head is stewed then whatever available flesh is shredded, combined and shaped into a croquette. It was indeed crunchy and we wished we could have a couple more though I thought the meat a tad porky for those who don’t like the taste.

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I was glad I insisted on ordering the deviled ox tongue. The ox tongue was cooked till tender but still maintaining a slight bite. The deviled sauce was tart, slightly sweet and rather tangy and the baked on site brown bread was perfect to perform sauce mop up duty

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The mussels with nduja is one of London’s Top 10 dishes according to Timeout magazine and indeed it packs a punch! The mussels were cooked just right and the chewy flesh contrasted nicely with the spicy, savoury sauce. Boom noted that it is not unlike the chili mussels we have in Asia and I concur.

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The steak tartare was the dud of the night I have to say. We could not discern much seasoning in it apart from the mustard sauce on top. It definitely does not have any capers or much shallots. Instead of chips, it was served with crisps which feels like a bit of a cop out.

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From zero to hero! For me,  the highlight of the evening’s meal was the squid with curry and cauliflower. Was surprised when the dish turned up as the curry referred to curry leaves while the cauliflower is in puree form. When consumed separately, each of the components were just what they were. But when combined, the subtlety of the parts somehow are amplified. The curry leaves tastes more curry like, the cauliflower puree taste sweeter and you appreciate the texture of the well grilled squid more somehow.

I’m going to attempt cooking the mussels with nduja this weekend and will be sure to post the results.

Elliot’s Cafe
12 Stoney Street
Borough Market
London SE1 9AD
0207 403 7436