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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Beef Rendang Set Lunch – Sedap, Old Street

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Sorry folks! I have been on hiatus for a couple of weeks between jobs and also took a well earned holiday along the way. Now I’m back and I’m glad to say I’ve moved location and hopefully the better, newer and varied food available will give me the kick to eat and write more!

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Lunch today is just a trot down the road and I’m proud to say I steer cleared from the laksa on offer and opted for the set lunch. Sedap is a small restaurant along Old Street which I have visited awhile ago. My experience previously was not too bad though I thought the portion was a bit on the small side. Read other food blogs about the place and it would seem the standard and portion size has taken a plunge recently so I’m keen to verify my fellow blogger’s observation.

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For the set lunch, you select a main course from item 16 to 41 of the main menu with prawn, duck or fish dishes costing £1 more. I tried the Beef Rendang the last time I visited and if I recall, it was not perfect but totally serviceable. So I ordered the Beef Rendang as my main, the Kerabu Vegetable Salad as the starter and Egg Fried Rice as the protein. Total came up to £7.80.

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I think everything I’ve ordered was pre prepared as I was served within minutes of placing the order. Can’t complain as rendang needs a lot of stewing while the salad is more of a pickle. I was really looking forward to the Kerabu Vegetable Salad and thus was a tad disappointed at the minute portion. Taste wise, it was good though. Thin slices of cucumber and wood ear mushroom pickle in a sweet and slightly sour dressing which I think contains tamarind. Crunchy and refreshing, wished the portion was bigger.

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For those of you aficionados of Beef Rendang (Boom, I’m referring to you!), you would think that the colour of the rendang is slightly off. I thought so too as the version I’m accustomed to is usually dark brown and rather dry. This was green and had quite a good amount of gravy. Taste wise it was reasonable, the whiff of pandan leaves was prominent and the gravy went very well with the egg fried rice. Once again, portion size was my main gripe. 5 pieces of stamp sized beef which could be stewed more till tender was not worth the £7.80 price tag.

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The Egg Fried Rice was the surprise of the meal. Almost all rendition of Egg Fried Rice I have encountered is just rice fried with scrambled egg. One will be lucky to get some garlic and seasoning. As you can see, Sedap’s version added some dark soya sauce which adds an extra dimension to the otherwise easily boring rice dish. Simple, basic but I really enjoyed it. Could eat another big plateful with no problem!

In all, I think my fellow bloggers were correct. The portion and standard of Sedap has indeed took a nose dive since my last visit. But I will check out their laksa in the near future before I give my final verdict. Will be sure to report back!

Sedap Restaurant
102 Old Street
London EC1V 9AY
0207 4900200

Squid and Chips – Cicerello’s, Mandurah WA Oz

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There was time to do some sightseeing when Junk and Boom was down in Ozland. It has been quite a few years since we have been to Mandurah and with the rare sunny winter’s day, thought a day out at the marina will do the spirit some good.

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After checking out the marina, property prices and the leisure boats on sales, Boom felt peckish and wanted some squid from Cicerello’s, supposedly WA’s No1 Fish ‘N Chip restaurant. Not feeling hungry and knowing the portion size in Oz, suggested to Boom that if he were to get an order of squid with chips and some gravy, that should be enough for the 2 of us.

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Eating out in Oz sure is not cheap! Perhaps I did not take the currency exchange into consideration but a portion of Squid and Chips for AUD$15.80? They also get you on the drinks here. A bottle of Solo for close to AUD$4! Then again, Boom paid so I can’t really complain.

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Pics of the menu so you can see the price range.

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And the ordering area.

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As you can see, I was right about the portion. There were 10 squid rings in total but they were not great for the batter tend to fall off the rings when you bite them. Was not expecting the portion of coleslaw as it was not mentioned on the menu. Glad it was included as the coleslaw was fresh and crunchy with bits of red onion which we both loved.

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The highlight of this snack was the gravy! Rich, beefy and totally slurpable! Definitely not of the Bisto quality, this is truly good stuff! Even after dunking each and every chip we had as well as the squid rings in the gravy, we were left with close to half a bowl. Boom suggested I drink the gravy from the bowl. I thought better but wished instead that I have asked for a takeaway container to doggy bag the remaining gravy!

Cicerello’s
Unit 2/73 Mandurah Terrace
Mandurah WA 6210
Australia
+61 8 9535 9777

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

Bulgogi Beef Dosirak – Kimchee, The Strand

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This is another place I found in my wandering through town. Since I have a fellow colleague nearby, decided to drag him to lunch and give this place a try.

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Kimchee as the name might suggest, is a Korean outfit serving Korean cuisine. Looking at there website, they have 2 outlets focusing on takeaway food with some seating area, one at The Strand and the other at New Oxford Street. There is also a full fledged restaurant somewhere in Holborn. So all within center of London.

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The layout of the takeaway outlet should be familiar to most by now. There is a cold fridge area with drinks, salads and cold dishes while another warm area with the hot food. I fought my usual Noodle Queen urge and went for the warm rice boxes.

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Decided on the Bulgogi Beef Dosirak which I understand is the Korean version of a bento box at £6.95. Added a side of kimchi at 99p and a Plum Tea at £1.45 (I’, pretty sure it is Plum Tea though the receipt says Citron Tea). Total bill at £9.39 which is rather steep.

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The weather in London has been a blessing recently. My mate and I found ourselves eating on a park bench under bright sunshine. Feeling a tad hangover, the refreshing Plum Tea came to the rescue. Slight tangy, not too sweet, was the perfect cure for my parched throat. Served on crushed ice, that would challenge a Pimms anytime!

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Have to say I’m a tad disappointed with my main choice. The beef which should be the star of the show was a tad dry and I would like it to be more seasoned. There were 2 gyozas which was average and the rest of the sides fared the same. The rice luckily was well cooked, not too dry with the rice grains intact and still sticky.

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The kimchi, namesake of the outlet was a pleasant surprise. Fresh tasting, the right amount of tartness while still maintaining the crunch of the cabbage. I would gladly have eaten another portion.

I might give the soup noodles a try if I’m ever back that way but it won’t be in a hurry!

Kimchee
388 Strand
London WC2R 0LT
0207 240 4515

Chicken Pho and Rainbow Side Salad – EAT, Bankside

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The HR department where I work always give out freebies or offer vouchers as long as you make an afford to pay them a visit and collect the freebies in person. Last week I scored 2 free bottles of anti dandruff shampoo (no, I do not have dandruff!) while this week was £1 off when you spend £6 voucher from EAT. Seeing the voucher is from EAT, reckon there must be one nearby so I went on the hunt.

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This is the first time I’m exploring this stretch of Bankside as it is a bit out of the way from my office entrance. Apart from EAT, there is a Zizzi, Pizza Express as well as The Real Greek and the omnipresent Starbucks.

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Feel a tad under the weather today and needed some comforting, I got the Chicken Pho at £4.99 and the Rainbow Side Salad at £2.59 to take the bill over £6 so I can use the discount voucher from HR. Boom is correct, £6 is not a figure plucked out from thin air, you need to at least purchase 2 products to enjoy the discount and I got suckered into it. Total bill after discount came up to £6.58.

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I used to have the noodle pots from EAT all the time and though I do make it a point to try their limited edition noodles when available, the Chicken Pho is my staple as it is light, refreshing and the cheapest of the noodle pots. I always appreciate the high ratio of veg vs noodles, it almost makes you feel healthy eating it. Don’t forget to get the server to add chopped chili to your noodle pot and a hard squeeze from the lime wedge will give your noodles a slight wicked edge.

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Over the years, I have noticed that EAT has been tweaking the recipe for their Chicken Pho. If I recall correctly, egg noodles was used when they first started serving this. Then there was a period when they swap to thin rice noodles or bee hoon for those in the know. It has been awhile since I had the Chicken Pho and I’m glad they now used the correct rice noodles, the broader kind known as kway teow or guo tiao depending on which chinese dialect you speak.

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Continuing with the healthy theme, the Rainbow Side Salad was made up of muki beans, pomegranate seeds, lentils, barley, cranberry, melon seeds, capsicum, shredded carrots and chives. I hope I did not miss anything. The zingy and tart mint dressing compliments the sweet components of the salad very well while the beans and pulses puts your jaws on a workout.

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I know, some people might think EAT is boring and I guess it can be. But when you need some comforting, nothing is better than trial and tested food that you know will not let you down.

EAT
Unit 3 Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
Bankside
London SE1 9HA
0207 636 8309

Sushi Takeaway Dinner – Tsuru, Bankside

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Heatwave! The past couple of days, the weather has finally taken a turn for the better with bright sunshine, nice cool breeze and plenty of flabby, pasty looking skin on show. With the weather forecast not looking too great for the weekend, thought I tempt the Boom with a cold sushi dinner tonight and in exchange, he sponsor the booze. As usual, when it comes to food, the Boom is always keen.

So took a walk to Tsuru at Canvey Street, Bankside and bought a collection of sushi bento boxes for dinner. The last time I wrote about Tsuru, it was the Chicken Katsu Curry and I have yet to try the scotch egg version which I’m told by the Yank that is fab. I’m hoping that of the boxes I have picked up, it will match my expectation. Run down of what I got:

Edamame with Chili – £1.95

Potato Salad – £1.95

Prawn and Sashimi Salad – £5.95

Salmon and Tuna Box – £6.95

Tempura Prawn Maki – £4.25

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Compared to Wasabi, not exactly cheap with the total at £21.05 but as dinner for 2, I think it’s not half bad. A quick run down of what I think of the items.

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The Salmon and Tuna Box and the Tempura Prawn Maki were pretty nice, the fish was fresh and seeing that the Tempura Prawn Maki was premade, was not expecting it to be crispy. Not blow your mind fantastic but not too bad either. Perhaps it might be slightly overpriced?

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Both the Boom and I enjoyed the Prawn and Sashimi Salad. There is a tendency for rice to be dry or bland but the rice in this salad box was a joy! Moist but not mushy with scattered sesame seeds throughout, we were happy to just eat the rice on it’s own.

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I bought the Potato Salad on a whim as I thought the presentation was rather quaint, molded into 2 quenelle shaped lumps. This is not the Western potato salad one would expect. It’s more like a colcannon, mashed potato laced with chopped onions, chives and carrots. Interesting but it needs more seasoning.

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There seems to be a fad to spice up the humble edamame recently. Was at another Japanese restaurant just last week and apart from the normal version with rock salt, there was a kimchee version which turned out not half bad. Unfortunately, the Edamame with Chili was not well received. Generous lashings of what I think was shichimi togarashi seasoning was added to this version and the taste of raw chili overtook the freshness of the bean completely. Boom also thinks the beans were under cooked while I think it’s just because they are served cold.

In all, it was an alright dinner but I think what I bought today is better off served as lunch.

Tsuru
4 Canvey Street
London SE1 9AN
0207 928 2228