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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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Braised Chicken and Veg Mapo Tofu – Woolfson & Tay Cafe, Bankside

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Another great find thanks to Twitterverse! Came across a tweet about this South East Asain Food Market which leads me to this bookshop nearby that also serves homecooked South East Asian dishes for lunch. Since it’s just a short walk away, off I went!

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Woolfson & Tay is a small independent bookshop with a even smaller cafe which also doubles as the cashier. There are 2 dishes daily, veg and non veg, £5.50 if you eat in and a discount of 50p for takeaway. If you are greedy like me, you can also have the half and half (i.e., half portion of both dishes) at £6 if eating in. Same discount applies for the half and half for takeaway.

I discovered this quaint little place on Thursday which was when one of my all time favourites, laksa was on the menu! But I bought my own lunch for that day so had to put my appetite on hold. I was so excited the next day that I was at the bookshop before food was ready, the glut, the shame…

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The setup for lunch service was the epitome of simplicity. A food warmer holds one dish, an electric pot holding the other with a rice cooker by the side. Shows you don’t require complicated setup to run a food business. As you can guess, I went for the half and half to go which cost me £5.50. The 2 dishes available were Braised Chicken in Spicy Bean Sauce and Veg Mapo Tofu.

My first reaction when I took my first mouthful was “this is homecooking, like what Mom would make”. Humble, simple and heart warming.

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Chicken thigh was used to make the braised chicken which I highly approved. The umami of the slightly spicy bean paste was offset by the freshness of the chinese leaf which accompanies the chicken pieces. Not unlike what I would cooked at home.

The Veg Mapo Tofu was equally good. Instead of minced meat, finely sliced green beans, baby corn, carrots, wood ear fungus and other veg was used. I like the idea of mixing both silken and fried tofu. Gives the dish another dimension in mouth feel.

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Can’t wait to see what’s on the menu next week! You bet I will rush there and report back on either Nasi Lemak or Curry Laksa day.

Woolfson & Tay
39 Bear Lane
London SE1 0UH
0207 9286570

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

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

Meatball Rice Box – Leon, Bankside

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Got off my lazy butt and took a walk to continue my forage for lunch. Headed out to the Bankside development again to give Leon a try.

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I have came across Leon quite a few times during my other gigs in Canary Wharf as well as in the Fleet Street area. Never thought to give it a try though they have quite an interesting breakfast menu. Was told by others that the food is good but portions are a bit small for the money.

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The format is basically a few savoury options where you can have with rice, as part of a salad or in a wrap. There is also a fridge area where you can pick up drinks and pre made salad if you are in a rush. The decor and seating looks pretty cosy I have to say.

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Been awhile since I had rice and I have always favoured brown rice. So it’s the Meatball Rice Box for me today. At £6.30, it’s slightly on the steep side.

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In all, I counted 6 meatballs and I really enjoyed them. Slightly on the lean side but they are nice and moist. The rich, tart and tangy tomato sauce goes very well with the brown rice and the yoghurt dressing gives a nice creamy touch. The coleslaw combined very well with the meatball, sauce and brown rice. It’s crunchy, slightly sweet and the ample mint and parsley was very refreshing. Perfect companion to the rich tomato sauce.

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Enjoyed this lunch, the portion was just right but could be slightly cheaper.

Leon
7 Canvey Street
The Blue Fin Building
London SE1 9AN

Chipotle Chicken Salad – Tossed, Bankside

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The weather is still cold as we speak and the forecast looks to be staying cold till end of March! Looks like spring will be awhile yet. Have not been feeling great digestion wise so decided to have a salad today. Took a walk to Bankside and visited Tsuru’s neighbour for lunch.

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Tossed is one of those salad places where you can either get a house menu salad or mix and match your own concoction on the spot. Identical in concept to Chop’d which I have blogged about  before. Apart from salads, they also have stews and what they call tossed pots which are various toppings on brown rice. Places like these can be bewildering while you decide which salad component goes well together so the house menu option is always a good bet. Posters around the joint stated that their Chipotle Chicken salad is a best seller so hedged for that to give my brain cells a breather.

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For the salads, you have a choice of medium or large or for it to be served as a wrap. I went with a large and it cost £5.95. There are quite a few other house menu options, some costing as little as £3.95. You place your order at the counter, pay then proceed to the collection counter where they assemble your order. Was wondering why my receipt has the name Jordan on it. Only figured out that each order is assigned a celebrity’s name when I overheard Justin Bieber and David Hasselhof summoned before mine. Ironic since I’m not really a breast person.

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There is also a fridge area where you can pickup pre made items if you are in a rush. Did not managed to explore that section much as my order was ready in a jiffy.

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Was not expecting much from my order by the looks of it but this is a standard case of don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I thoroughly enjoyed the concoction! The crunch of the tortilla chips and lettuce leaves, the creamy avocado, mixed beans and tender chicken breast, the tangy salsa and ranch dressing to the heat of the jalapeno peppers all complimented each other exceedingly well. A word of caution though, they were quite liberal with the jalapeno so for those who can’t stand the heat, do ask to go without.

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I will definitely be back to try the rest of the stuff on Tossed’s menu.

Tossed
6 Canvey Street
London SE1 9AN
0207 928 2928