Curry Laksa – Hare and Tortoise, Blackfriars

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After spending a couple of years in the Continent and getting my fill of the various types of European cuisine, I find myself starting to crave for the common fare readily available in my home country. Laksa was a much craved after item. When I moved to London, was ecstatic when the Asian restaurant around the corner from me have a version of Curry Laksa! From that day onwards, I order nothing else but Curry Laksa whenever I visit Hare and Tortoise. The Boom might tease me for this but I don’t care! To me, nothing else in the menu interest me.

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I have since moved away from where I first lived in London but am glad there is a Hare and Tortoise branch just across the river from where I’m working. The Boom gladly came along as though he is not addicted to the Curry Laksa like yours truly, he has another dish which he can’t help but ordering. Pot and kettle…

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If you are intending to pay the Blackfriars branch a visit for lunch, do go before 1pm and try to avoid Fridays as they tend to be pretty crowded. Having said that, we never had to wait long for a seat even when there is a queue. Some pictures of the menu above and below. Nice pictures to give you an idea of what you are ordering.

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The menu is mostly filled with Japanese options with sushi, tempura and donburi. But they also have some South East Asian options like my Curry Laksa, Char Kuey Tiew and Curry Chicken with Rice. The Curry Laksa is £7.10 which I believe have gone up in price since I first tried it back in the day. Not surprising I guess.

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The topping and noodles of the laksa as always is more than generous. You get 3 big slices each of chicken breast, prawns, squid, naruto and fried beancurd. Big bunch of beansprouts and sliced cucumber adds crunch to the thin rice noodles. The all important gravy made with the typical spices and heavy on coconut milk is rich and creamy. Scattered throughout were curry leaves which somehow I don’t think adds much but perhaps their taste have been leeched into the gravy.

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I think the portion and ingredients is well worth the £7.10. Another dish I would highly recommend is the Miso Ramen while Boom swears by the Char Kuey Tiew as well as the Curry Chicken with Rice.

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Hare and Tortoise
90 New Bridge Road
London EC4V 6JJ
0207 651 0266

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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

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

Mixed Grill Platter – Cafe 1001, Brick Lane

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Some lunches are taken out of curiosity while others are driven by insatiable cravings. Today’s lunch was a result of too many meetings, not enough time. So I was involved in a release that did not go smoothly as well as back to back meetings from get go. Found myself only with 20 minutes to spare before my next meeting and it’s already way past lunch time. No meandering around looking for interesting bites today I’m afraid.

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Felt like a long time ago when I blogged about the Polish Sausage Baguette from Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane. Guess that being one of my first posts, it feels ancient but I have only actually blogged for 3 months. Anyway, thought I take some different pictures showcasing the BBQ area of Cafe 1001. The salad bar with the cash register and big tubs filled with Red Stripe and cider. They are also selling hot mulled wine since the weather turned cold.

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Look at the fat juicy sausages on the grill! Yummy!

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Menu of the BBQ. Was seriously tempted to get the Polish Sausage Baguette again but I know it will be a boring read for you folks. So made the ultimate sacrifice and went with the Mixed Grill Platter. At £6, I still think the sausage baguette is a better value.

The last time I had the Mixed Grill Platter, the chicken breast was plain, hardly any seasoning on it. I’m glad to see that they have improved things by marinating the chicken breast in a Cajun style marinade. Made a huge difference to the meal as now it’s not just simply a dry piece of chicken breast. As usual, the polish sausage was scrumptious, the crispy bacon bits went very well with the fresh salad. The only letdown were the potato wedges, they were dry having been resident in the oven for too long. I think they should consider marinating the wedges or at least give it a spicy salt coating.

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Cafe 1001
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
0207 247 6166