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

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Singapore Laksa – Mudmee, Artillery Passage Bishopsgate

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Managed to find some free time today so decided to have an eat-in lunch rather than takeaway. Passed by this small Thai restaurant Mudmee if I snake my way from Liverpool Street Station to Brick Lane via the small passageways and decided to give it a try.

As I was pretty early, managed to get seated as soon as I walked in. Dare not take too much photos of the restaurant and food as I was given a couple of dirty looks by one of the waiters while I was taking pictures of the restaurant’s facade. Looks like apart from the regular menu, they also have an Express Takeaway lunch menu.

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Unfortunately, nothing on the Express Takeaway lunch menu took my fancy so I went with my numero uno comfort food, Singapore Laksa! Sacrilegious to order Singaporean food in a Thai restaurant but I need some TLC today. To make it a 2 course lunch, I also ordered Peek Gad Yud Sai which is deep fried stuffed boneless chicken wings. The laksa was £7.90 while the chook wings was £4.90 which takes the total to £12.80. Not exactly cheap, let’s see whether it can live up to my fav from Keke’s.

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Both my orders came within 5 minutes and I’m glad the laksa looked the part. Gave it a stir and was pleasantly surprised that they used both rice vermicelli as well as thick egg noodles. There was generous slices of fish cake, squid and prawns all in a coconut milk and spiced based soup. Taste wise, pretty good, 2 thumbs up! Well, it’s not exactly Singapore Laksa, more like a Thai rendition with strong hints of lemon grass and slightly on the sweet side like a Thai Red Curry. There was quite a few curry leaves scattered throughout I guess to replace laksa leaves and my only complain would be it’s missing some crunch, some bean sprouts would be nice.

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What about the stuffed chicken wings? Looks wise, it fits the bill but was sorely lacking taste wise. Both the wings and stuffing lacked seasoning and requires furious dunking in the plum sauce provided. They have also been over fried, though crispy is tough and dry. Really disappointed.

If you intend to lunch here, be early. It was jammed packed with queues snaking out the door by the time I’m halfway through my lunch.

Mudmee
12a Artillery Passage
Bishopsgate
London E1 7LJ
0207 247 0772