Seafood Laksa – Yanwo (Golden Fish Noodles), Farringdon

image

See, told you I’m addicted! Yes, it’s laksa for lunch today. Was feeling a tad hungover and was head down bum up at work, non-stop till way past 1 o’clock. Thought I give myself a treat and went to checkout this joint just across the road from where I work.

image

Golden Fish Noodles is located along Farringdon Road, across from Mount Pleasant and just next to Exmouth Market. I was intending to grab something from the food trucks in the market but most of the trucks had a long queue of customers and Junk just could not be arsed queueing up today.

image

As you can see from the menu, definitely not as budget as Chop Chop but it won’t break the bank either. I really should force myself to try other stuff apart from laksa. Perhaps the Beef Ho Fun in a sauce or the Belachan Chicken Fried Rice can be my next target.

image

Seeing I’m feeling a tad hungover, decided to be health and have tea instead of a soft drink. Ordered the “Iron” Guanyin tea. Also asked for a glass of ice on the side so I can make my own ice tea.

image

At £7.80 which is close to £3 more than the Chop Chop version, one would expect more ingredients in this Seafood Laksa. So there was 2 big deep fried prawn wonton, 3 fish balls (don’t laugh!), 4 big slices of squid, quite a few cubed fried tofu, loads of green beans and bean sprouts in a thick and satisfying gravy laced with curry leaves.

image

I’m glad they use thick egg noodles here instead of the more common rice vermicelli. Though the noodles felt mushy, they were actually very well cooked with still a slice bounce. The only complain I have is I could do with more gravy and the spoon had a massive bowl which makes scooping out the gravy awkward.

image

Empty bowl, satisfied tummy.

Hmmm… did not notice there was service charge added to the bill till later. I would not have tipped as generously as I had if I’d known. Then again, the service was very good. Both the waitresses were attentive and efficient. They really should reprogram the till to show the right business name soon.

image

Golden Fish Noodles
102-104 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3EA
0207 7837 5293

image

*Update: It would seem that my point about the restaurant reprogramming the till to match the restaurant’s name was partially accurate. Walked by the joint today and noticed that it was no longer Golden Fish Noodles but Yanwo instead! Would seem like I visited in midst of a transition. Makes me feel like a revolutionary!

image

Yanwo Restaurant
102-104 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3EA
0207 7837 5293

Singapore Laksa and Kway Teow – Chop Chop Noodle Bar, Kings Cross

image

Oh no! Not laksa again I hear you say? Yes, Junk is almost addicted to the stuff and this post and next will be about one of my all time fav dishes.

So one day last week towards the end of the working day, I found myself a tad hungry and could not get the ideal of having a big steaming bowl of laksa out of my head. Started looking around on Google maps for any potential to appease my craving. Lo and behold! Found both Chop Chop and Hare and Tortoise outlets within walking distance from the office.

chopchopshopfrontChop Chop is a budget place serving a range of Asian/Chinese dishes. By budget, I really mean budget. One can have a starter, a drink and a main course easily under £10. Quality is not fantastic but portions are always generous.What the Boom might call, a reliable “Chew and Spew” joint. Apart from the outlet in Kings Cross, I know of one in Shepherd’s Bush and another near Fulham Broadway. There are many reviews complaining of rude or bad service which I have never encountered and I have visited all 3 outlets.

chopchopmenuOnce you are seated, you will be given a pen and a marking sheet with numbers representing dishes on the menu. Simply indicate the number of portion of the selected dish on the marking sheet.

image

Of the umpteenth times I have eaten at Chop Chop, I have always told myself to try out some of their other dishes. But I could never tear myself away from their Singapore Laksa, it’s simply one of my comfort dishes.

image

A bowl of Singapore Laksa at £4.90 (this have increased their prices over the years. I still remember when a bowl was only £3.90) will contain 3 good size prawns, maybe 5 thick slices of fish cake and a handful of fried tofu. The small plate of chilli oil in the first picture cost 50p more.

image

They use thin rice vermicelli here and believe me, the portion is huge! The rice noodles are accompanied by crunchy bean sprouts all drench in a spicy, rich coconut milk based sauce.

Slurp, slurp, chew, slurp, there, all done!

image

Also got a takeaway portion of Boom’s fav dish, the Kway Teow. This also cost £4.90 and I was intending to have it for lunch the next day as it was my WFH (work from home) day. Came the next morning, thought better of it and gave it to Boom for his dinner instead. What a nice person I am huh?

image

So the Kway Teow is quite rightly made with thick rice noodles, prawns, char siew, fish cake, bean sprouts all stir fried with dark soya sauce. Boom told me the next day that the Kway Teow was a perfect cure to his after drinks cravings and boy was the portion big he said. The Boom don’t lie.

image

Chop Chop Noodle Bar
1 Euston Road
London NW1 2SA
0207 833 1773

Piri Piri Tonkotsu Ramen – Shoryu, Soho

image

A couple of weeks back, had the opportunity to run some errands before having to fly up north for work. Seeing I’m in the Soho area, thought I pop by Shoryu to check out their tonkotsu ramen.

image

Shoryu is the sister ramen bar of the Japan Centre which recently relocated to Piccadilly Circus, just round the corner from the Shoryu on Denman Street. In fact, after having my ramen, I pop by Japan Centre to check things out and was very impressed by their range of sushi available for takeaway. Dragged the Boom the very same week to grab some for dinner. That pig out is a story for another day 🙂

image

I was very tempted to crush some garlic onto my ramen but got lazy as the entire bulb is still intact. Didn’t want to stink up my fellow passenger on the flight.

image

Apart from ramen, Shoryu offers various other items from yakitori, yakimono, sushi, sashimi and a huge selection of sides and drinks. Was torn between the singature Shoryu Ganso or the Piri Piri Tonkotsu but ultimately settled on the spicy option.

image

Overall, I was not really impressed by this ramen. The broth though creamy is not as rich and porky as I would like it to be. The noodles had a good bite initially but turned soft when I got to the bottom of the bowl. I could not discern much Piri Piri apart from the few slices of jalapeno peppers garnish. Being not a big fan of ginger in general, I should have pushed aside the generous sprinkling of pickled ginger as crunching on slivers of piquant ginger with every noodle bite was rather jarring.

An average and forgettable bowl at £11.90, perhaps I should give it another try before I pass the final verdict.

Shoryu
3 Denman Street
London W1D 7HA
* They don’t do reservations, walk-ins only

15 Course Tasting Menu – HKK, Liverpool Street

image

The Boom decided to splash out and took me to HKK for their 15 course tasting menu yesterday night. The location of HKK is rather obscure, on the edge of Shoreditch and the City. Also, the facade is unassuming, no name of the restaurant, just frosted glass and cool blue lights.

Finally something worth blogging about. Won’t write much since there are so many pictures!

image

See! 15 course tasting menu at £95! You can check out their menu online.
image
Cripsy taro puff with Canadian scallop. This is the upmarket version of your typical dim sum taro puff. Instead of minced pork, it’s filled with diced scallop. I could happily have a few more puffs. The Boom liked this as well though he thought the mushy taro “dirtied” the fresh taste of the scallop.

wpid-wp-1391865598542.jpeg Cold jumbo crab. Chunky piece of crab meat on a leaf of chicory with a Shao Xing rice wine sauce. We thought the bitterness of the chicory leaf will overpower the delicate taste of the crab but luckily, the inner tender leaf of chicory was used so our fear was moot! Apart from Shao Xing wine, we both think some wasabi was used. Nice and refreshing with a tad of bite.

image
Cherry wood roasted Peking duck. This was the highlight of the night! A slice of duck skin, a thick slice of duck breast with skin and a wrap with duck meat, skin and slivers of cucumber and spring onion.

We were instructed (yes, instructed!) to dip the skin in the sugar and hoi sin sauce and eat that first, followed by the breast meat with skin and lastly the wrap. Boy! This was some good stuff. Simply the best Peking duck I have ever tasted. The skin is crispy with a bit of duck fat that just melts in your mouth. The slice of duck breast was juicy and moist, simply delightful! The Boom wanted more and was waxing lyrical about how his life will be complete if he can have a whole duck with a bottle of nice red wine. The Boom and his duck craze, don’t blame him, this duck is top quack!

image
The yummy duck roasting away in the kitchen.

image
Truffled seafood soup with Osmanthus flower. We were once again instructed to lower the spoon filled with sea bass and scallop into the soup to warm the seafood up slightly before drinking the soup. We were expecting a light bodied soup and thus was surprised this was more like a chowder. Rich and totally umami.

image
Dim sum trilogy. We both loved the deep fried dumpling that is wrapped in vermicelli and topped with caviar. The skin of the white dumpling is far too thick and the mouth feel was gummy and not pleasant. The red spicy dumpling fared slightly better, thinner skin but still too thick but have an interesting filling. Ginger, five spice and Szechuan peppercorn. Disappointing overall.

image
Braised organic Duke of Berkshire pork with Mantou. I was expecting a white fluffy bun stuffed with the braised pork and so was very surprised by the 50p size bun. Taste wise, the bun was just bad! Slightly crispy on the outside with texture of wholemeal bread on the inside. Totally out of character. The moist and tender braised pork saved this dish to be let down once again by the overly sweet sauce. Even the Boom thought the sauce to be too sweet.

image
Sugar snap, lotus root and water chestnut in XO sauce. This dish showcase the different texture of the vegetables. Nice, but nothing spectacular.

image
Hawberry red bean cake and glutinous sesame ball served with white peony tea. Junk has done it again! I ate my portion of this dish without taking a pic so had to hijack the same dish from the neighboring table for a snap.

We both thought the the proportion of the hawberry jelly could be more to better balance the coconut red bean cake.

image
Wok fried lobster in garlic sesame sauce. The Boom thought the lobster was slightly on the tough side. The sauce was just meh.

wpid-wp-1391865909137.jpeg Char grilled Chilean sea bass. This dish we both love. The smoky char taste contrasted wonderfully with the naturally sweet taste of the sea bass.
image
Seared Wagyu beef in VSOP sauce. The Boom say this is like pulled pork which I can understand. There is a slight moo to the beef but could not discern the fatty marbling I would expect from a Wagyu. Perhaps because the cut has been braised?

image
Seared Rhug Farm organic lamb with pan mee. This was average. I was expecting handmade pan mee noodles. Instead, the noodles tasted more like pad thai. The lamb pieces was way too salty I thought.

image
Lemon cream, citrus sable and yogurt sorbet. Most of the other reviews I’ve read of HKK all said the dessert was a let down. I thought otherwise which is rare as I’m not a big dessert fan. We both loved this dish. The tart of the lemon cream and sorbet balanced the rich butter biscuit base. Only thing I would say is though well executed, this is not a typical Chinese dessert.

image
Chocolate velvet, roast banana and five spice crouton. Another non Chinese dessert but utterly delicious! After the tartness of the last dish, this was rich and warming. The roast banana goes so well with the rich chocolate mousse. Slightly let down by the crouton. Way too hard and tough.
image
Selection of petits fours. This reminds me of Pick and Mix from Woolworths… meh!
image
The final verdict! Not cheap, won’t be repeating it again soon but a worthwhile experience.

HKK
Broadgate West
88 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BE
020 3535 1888

Nasi Lemak and Curry Laksa – Woolfson & Tay, Bankside

A couple of post back, I promised to return to Woolfson & Tay to check out their Nasi Lemak and Curry Laksa when they are on the menu. True to my word, I managed to do both this week! Why the rush you might ask? Well, my stint in this part of town is ending soon so best put in the effort when there is still time. Not that eating some of my favourite food is much effort 🙂

image

First up was the Nasi Lemak for Tuesday’s lunch. The topping option was Curry Chicken or Veg Curry and as usual, went for the half and half which cost £5.50. Also packed a portion for my Pinoy tester who was gamed enough to give this a try.

image

The Chicken Curry like the Braised Chicken was made with chicken thigh pieces and was perhaps a tad too spicy for the typical Caucasian. The gravy was rich and thick with coconut milk.

image

The Veg Curry was also pretty good with fried tofu slices, cabbage and other mix vegetables. What I loved about the Nasi Lemak was the small but very crispy Ikan Bilis which provided the crunch in contrasts while the humble slices of cucumber adds a refreshing note.

image

Overall, pretty good. Only gripe would be that the rice was a tad mushy, especially after the gravy assault from the 2 curries.

image

Next up, the Curry Laksa. Once again there was a chicken or veg option and yes, I went with half and half at £5.50. The Pinoy chickened out this time. Apparently her stomach said today is not a curry day. I was wondering how the laksa will be packed for takeaway, was half expecting those big soup containers but I think packing the gravy separately is a much better idea.

image

The chicken comes in the form of a dry chicken curry, very similar to what was served with the Nasi Lemak.

image

The same goes for the veg curry. Was glad that thick rich vermicelli was used, soft and silky, goes so well with the crunchy beansprouts and blanched green beans.

image

Totally satisfied! I might just repeat the effort next week.

Woolfson & Tay
39 Bear Lane
London SE1 0UH
0207 928 6570

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup – Hing Loong, Borough High Street

image

I know the weather is balmy and not exactly right for soup noodles. But when the soul needs warming, the weather is sometime not be enough to do the trick. Last week, managed to find some time to visit a local Chinese joint I have spotted on my wanderings.

image

Located along Borough High Street, Hing Loong unlike a typical Chinese takeaway, has ample seating with simple, yet modern decor. The main menu looks like a typical Chinese food establishment but the lunch menu looks to be OK especially the 2 course lunch menu at £7.50 which include a drink. But I was tempted by Beef Brisket Noodle Soup and at £6.50, not exactly cheap, but we shall see.

image

image

My order came within minutes of ordering as 1. The joint is not packed 2. Looking at the menu, they must have a big pot of brisket stewing away in the kitchen. The big bowl of noodle soup steaming which is a good sign, I do like my soup scorching hot. I went for the egg noodle option as I did not feel like ho fun (broad rice noodles) and the waitress promptly provided me with crush chilli oil when asked.

image

I would give this 6 out of 10. The temperature was good, the noodles were not overcooked, the chinese leaf and slice spring onion garnish was adequate. The main problem I think was with the beef brisket stew. Can you see the white bits floating in the soup? That’s the fat rendered out of the brisket, probably through over stewing. The beef brisket submerged at the bottom of the bowl were soft but mostly disintegrated. Also, the stew could do with more five spice especially star anise. A good dash of Shaoxing rich wine will not go amiss as well!

image

I might visit again when I need some soul healing…. but it will probably be awhile. Do like the hazy border around the closeup shot. If only it was as dreamy as it seem…

Hing Loong
159 Borough High Street
London SE1 1 HR
0207 378 8100

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

image

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!

image

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.

image

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.

image

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).

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

Pork Tonkotsu Ramen and Chicken Teriyaki Donburi – Japanese Canteen, Middlesex Street

image

Junk is capable of healthy activities apart from those conducted in pubs. Yesterday’s outing was case in point. Bought a couple of vouchers for African Drumming class after work and had to look for something quick to eat for dinner. Most of the dinner places around the Spitalfields area are sit down, big menu, slightly long drawn out affairs unless one resorts to pub grub. Luckily, I found this place.

image

Japanese Canteen is another Jap food chain catering mostly to the lunch crowd. But this branch at Middlesex Street, a stone throw away from Spitalfields also serves dinner. It was rather empty when we were there and it’s perfect for a quick eat and run dinner. I think this branch is rather new as it was not there when I was working in the area less then a year back.

image

The menu is extensive and one can chose between donburi, bento box, ramen, sushi with a couple of non Japanese options like bibimbapgua bao and even Dan Dan noodles. Prices are very reasonable and definitely won’t break the bank!

image

image

As expected, I could not resist any soupy noodles on a menu and seeing that the ramen is freshly made and they have a tonkotsu soup base, I’m sold! The Tweet being his usual boring self, went with the mundane option of Chicken Teriyaki Donburi. *Yawn* To each his own I guess. Total bill came to £11.40, good deal on paper.

image

So is the deal as good taste wise? The Tweet was not impressed by his Chicken Teriyaki Donburi and neither am I. The chicken pieces according to the menu were supposed to be grilled but we could not see scorched marks nor taste any smokiness. Worse yet, the chook was tough and dry! The teriyaki sauce was typical, sweet, savoury and sticky while Tweet thinks the rice is too mushy. With just a sprinkling of spring onion as garnish, we both think this dish needs some other taste sensation. I had to donate all of my bok choy to Tweet to make his meal more enjoyable.

image

What about the more complicated ramen dish? At £5.95, I was not expecting much from the Pork Tonkotsu Ramen especially when I was disappointing by the much hyped Tonkotsu in Soho at more than double the price. One should not underestimate chain outlets I’d say, like the offering at Wagamama, I was impressed!

image

The toppings were generous with beansprouts, half a boiled egg, menma, nori, bok choy, spinach and 2 cuts of pork. The thinly sliced pork belly was tender but would be better if they were grilled while the shredded slow cooked pork was great soaked in a slight sweet and smoky sauce. The freshly made ramen could be cooked less but I’ve always prefer my noodles with bite. The star of the dish has to be the broth! Rich, milky with a slight hint of porkiness, just right and not too overpowering. The slight sheen of pork fat with a slight sweet and savoury taste complimented everything exceptionally well. The Tweet asked whether it was a 2 thumbs up and I violently nodded my head.

I have tried another branch of Japanese Canteen awhile back and I was not impressed. After this experience, I will definitely locate another branch near me to be my staple for lunch!

Japanese Canteen
100 Middlesex Street
London E1 7EZ

Seafood Ramen – Taro Takeaway, Cannon Street

image

Summer is finally here in Borisstan! Took a walk across the bridge to check out this small Japanese takeaway place I spied in my wanderings. Would seem like Taro Takeaway is a spin off from two restaurants but somehow it’s not mentioned in their official website.

image

Located diagonally across the Kruger outlet on Cannon Street which I have yet to try, Taro is a small little shop catering mostly to the takeaway crowd. It does have a couple of small tables which you can eat in but to be avoided during lunch as the place will be filled with customers waiting for their takeaway order to be made.

image

The menu is pretty extensive for a small place with donburi, ramen and fried noodles, bento boxes, chahan and assortment of sushi and salads. You pickup sushi and salads, basically anything cold from the fridge, while orders are placed at the cashier for the hot items and cooked on demand. The open kitchen is right behind the cashiers and you can see your food being cooked thus can be sure it’s fresh!

image

As per my usual self, it’s a two course lunch for me and I decided on the Seafood Ramen at £5.90 and the Wonder Roll for £3.50. Was wondering which rolls I should get and I guess I got suckered by the word “Wonder”.

image

So how “Wonder” are the rolls? To be honest, it was not that wonderful as they were just your plain old California Roll with extra tobiko and teriyaki sauce topping. The rolls themselves were fine, the filling was generous and the extra tobiko gave the salty bursts and adds interest to the rolls. My issue is with the teriyaki sauce, sweet, sticky and rich, totally unnecessary, taking the freshness from the rolls.

image

Looking at the menu, I had the option to make the ramen spicy which I did. It’s either I have a bulletproof mouth but more likely, I think the cook forgot to add spice to my order. As mentioned before, I got to see the cook put together my ramen. The noodles are boiled on the spot and not pre cooked like many other places. Next he adds a generous portion of shredded carrots, beansprouts and sliced spring onions. Lastly, he topped the container with soup, added some pan fried mixed seafood and added a final topping of beni shoga.

Overall, the noodles were ok, the soup was savoury and rich, portion was generous. I would have exchanged a smaller portion of seafood for bigger pieces. If I’m desperate and up for a stroll across the bridge, I will try it again. But then again, I might feel differently about their other offerings? Chicken Katsu Curry Rice anyone?

Taro Takeaway
44A Cannon Street
London EC4N 6JJ
0207 236 0399

Penang Beef and Ginger Chicken Noodles – Bangkok Kitchen, London Bridge

image

Had to make a trip to the Post Office during lunchtime today so decided to pickup some lunch from the Bangkok Kitchen food truck parked just outside the Post Office.

image

I have blogged about Bangkok Kitchen not too long ago and if I recall, I thought the food was ok and definitely value for money. There was a couple of people before me in the queue today and I managed to pickup some ordering tips from the gentlemen. The menu say all dishes with rice and noodles for £4.50 but was not specific on whether it’s one dish or you can have a bit from the options available. The gentlemen in front of me asked for 2 dishes with noodles and he only paid £4.50 and I decided to do the same.

image

Not that there were options galore  As before, there were 3 choices and today’s were Red Chicken Curry, Penang Beef Curry and Ginger Chicken. I chose the Ginger Chicken as I don’t want 2 curries and went with the Pad Thai noodles instead of rice. The Penang Beef looks suspiciously like the Red Thai Beef Curry I had previously but I went for it since I don’t want to end up with 2 chicken dishes. I also added a Vegetable Spring Roll for £1 and went a bit overboard with the chili sauces as I always do.

image

I won’t say much about the Vegetable Spring Roll as it’s just what it is. Packed full with a mixture of glass noodles, cabbage, carrots and black wood ear mushroom, it seriously lacked seasoning. Luckily, sweet chili sauce is included which solved the taste issue. For £1, can’t complain.

image

It would seem that unlike Singapore Noodles which does not exist in Singapore, Penang Curry exist in Penang! Compared to last time, I think I made a much better choice this time. The beef in the Penang Beef Curry was tender probably due to the stewing process. The Ginger Chicken was the surprise dish for me. It taste strongly of ginger in a good way and was made with chicken thigh which I preferred over chicken breast. Apart from chicken, the dish also had slices of capsicum, onion and button mushroom. The Pad Thai noodle was ok, perhaps a bit mushy and too tangy for my taste. Do take my comments on the Pad Thai with a pinch of salt, I have never liked Pad Thai in the first place so am probably biased.

Bangkok Kitchen
Next to London Bridge Post Office
19A Borough High Street
London SE1 9SF