Pad Prik King Pork and Green Chicken Curry – Grab, Mansion House

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Dragged the Boom out for lunch again today to try out another place I spotted across the bridge. So once again, the picture above is lunch for 2! Stop saying Junk is a glutton…

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Grab is a Thai takeaway joint with a focus on dishes served with white or brown rice. Apparently they have another outlet near Old Street with a bigger menu but this outlet by Mansion House is nice and convenient for moi! What really piqued my interest is the breakfast menu where they serve congee which to me is the quintessential comfort food as well as brekkie staple in most of Asia. I really need to get my lazy butt over the bridge in the morning to try out their congee! Will definitely report back with my findings.

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As you can see from the menu above the counter, the options are limited which is not a bad thing for those who are indecisive. It’s a 3 person operation and not very efficient as 1 person is permanently squeezing fruit and veg for the juices on offer. The foot print of the shop is miniscule so be prepared to queue outside. Having said that, they do have a small sit down area where you can eat downstairs. Would said it can sit 10 at best.

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The Boom decided to go back to basic and got the Green Chicken Curry on brown rice while I went slightly left field with the Pad Prik King Pork on brown rice. They were £6.25 and £6.45 respectively while the Som Tam which we shared was £3.95 I think. With 2 Cokes, the total bill came up to be around £18. Not cheap but did not break the bank.

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We both enjoyed the Som Tam,  made with julienned green papaya, carrots, green beans, cherry tomatoes and crush peanuts, it was tart, crunchy and refreshing.  Don’t be fool by the container size. The portion was more than ample for 2 as a side dish. Do watch out for the smashed up bird eye chilies in the dressing if you can’t take the heat.

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Boom gave his Green Chicken Curry a 6 out of 10. Typical Westernised, White-man version of a Thai classic. Typical of Boom, there is not enough protein in his portion. He would have liked more chicken.

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My Pad Prik King Pork was a bit of a disappointment. The problem: it was too dry, especially when paired with brown rice. I had to load up the container with soy sauce, Siriracha and the dressing from the Som Tam to moisten the dish. I know it’s a stir fry dish and this would probably be passable if the dish and rice were served separately. More sauce in the stir fry next time please?

The best gauge of how much I like a shop is would I make a return visit? Unfortunately, except for the breakfast congee.

Grab
68 Queen Victoria Street
London EC4N 4SJ

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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

Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree Salad and Homemade Cauliflower Cheese Soup – Chop’d, Old Spitalfields Market/Junk’s Manor

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Poor Junk, victim of rubbish meeting scheduling again today. Back to back all day with only  1200 – 1400 free. To best make use of my time today, decided to pickup lunch on the way to the office. I know that Chop’d at Old Spitalfields Market prep their pre made salad in the morning so got one on the way. What? Only salad for lunch? Is Junk ill? No, I also have some leftover Cauliflower Cheese Soup I’ve made over the weekend so it will still be a 2 course lunch today.

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Won’t talk too much about the Cauliflower Cheese Soup just that I got the inspiration while glancing at the recipe section of a freebie newspaper. It’s basically onions, garlic, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, bay leaf, nutmeg, cream and lots of cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Gruyere cheese is crucial, it gives the soup a slight, sharp tang. How is it cooked?

  1. Saute the onion and garlic till soft
  2. Add in veg and water, boil till veg softens
  3. Save a few pieces of cauliflower for later and remove bay leaf. Give it a good whirl with a hand blender
  4. Add cream, nutmeg and grated cheese
  5. Season to taste

When I served it at home, I topped the soup with more grated Gruyere and gave it a few minutes under the grill. Makes it resemble it’s moniker. Give it a try, it’s not a bad recipe.

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Of all the pre made salads available at Chop’d, I settled on the Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree Salad as it has brown rice and I’m a rice bucket. I think the salad is an attempt to deconstruct kedgeree, a dish rich in colonial history so it contains most of the typical ingredients of the dish with the addition of salad leaves. Because I selected a pre made salad, it is not dressed and I was left to decide what dressing I would like. I settled on the green pesto dressing which I regret on hindsight, a creamy dressing would have worked better. But overall, a pretty satisfying salad. Pieces of smoked mackerel combined well with the boiled egg and hints of tarragon. The occasional morsel of raisins brings a slight sweetness. At £4.75, not a bad deal.

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Chop’d
2 Horner Square
Old Spitalfields Market
London E1 6EW
0207 247 8757

Chicken Katsu Curry – Asta, Liverpool St

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Decided to venture further a field today and recall there are a couple of small takeaway shops in the The Arcade (formerly Metropolitan Railway entrance) on Liverpool Street. Apart from Asta where I bought my lunch, there is another Chinese takeaway, M&S Food, a cafe and some shops.

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I think I might have been subconsciously influenced by Mr CSS and his addiction for Katsu Curry Rice. He has been eating the Katsu Curry Rice from Japanika for the past few days for lunch even though he kept complaining that it’s expensive. As a tease, I told him how easy it is to make the Japanese curry sauce at home, even went as far as buy him some to try it out! Mr CSS – You promised you will try to cook it next week, don’t let me down now! So when I walked into Asta, the only item I was interested in was the Katsu Curry Rice, sad but true

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More about Asta. The shop occupy 2 units in The Arcade. On the left, you have a refrigerated area with sushi, salad and bento boxes. In the middle section, there is a steamer table with hot food of the day and the left most section is a deli with more westernised items like sandwich and more salad. The menu on Asta’s website shows a good rotation of dishes, might be good to check out the special of the day before going there.

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Back to the Chicken Katsu Curry Rice. Strictly speaking, the offer from Asta is not Chicken Katsu Curry Rice. To be fastidious, it should be Chicken Karaage Curry Rice. Why am I throwing a big fuss you might wonder? It’s just crispy chicken. Well, the difference is that a Katsu is usually a breaded cutlet, depending on where you get it, the meat might be reconstituted while a Chicken Karaage is more often than not made from pieces of deboned chicken thigh. Thus more tender and succulent.I like the fact that Asta serves the curry sauce on the side, the chicken does not get soaked in the sauce and lose it’s crunch. Also, you get a choice of white or brown rice. I went with brown, small attempt at trying to be healthy. Apart from that it is a pretty standard curry rice, nothing I can’t replicate at home. But at £6.80 (£0.10 more for brown rice), same price as Japanika, it’s not value for money. I would go to Wasabi anytime, I think you will save over a pound at Wasabi.

Asta
4 – 6 The Arcade
Liverpool Street
London EC2M 7PN
0207 626 5660