Curry Laksa – Hare and Tortoise, Blackfriars

image

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.

image

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…

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

Advertisements

Small Plates Dinner – Elliot’s Cafe, Borough Market

image

Invited Boom out for dinner last Wed as I needed a partner in crime to join in trying out this restaurant near Borough Market. I walk pass Elliot’s Cafe near Borough Market everyday and am intrigued by the ever changing menu.

image

Looking at some of the more “adventurous” ingredients used, I reckon I needed someone who is always happy to stretch his palate. Boom has always been the best candidate on such culinary missions!

image

After examining the menu and the specials on the blackboard in detail, we both decided that the large plates and the specials did not appeal that night. So we decided on a few small plates, a carafe each of the house white and red wine to match the variety of small plates and the baked on site bread.

I won’t pain myself to recall the exact names of all the small plates but from what I can remember, they were

  • Mullet gravalax with apple
  • Mussels with nduja
  • Pork Head kromeski
  • Deviled ox tongue
  • Steak tartare
  • Squid with curry and cauliflower puree

The bill came up to be close to £90 but we both thought that in all, the meal was worth it but obviously not something we will do everyday!

image

I will cover a couple of the small plates in more detail. As usual, we started eating once the food arrive and only then I remembered to take pics. There are 4 kromeski in total, with 2 already on each of our plates. When asked, the server explained that the pig’s head is stewed then whatever available flesh is shredded, combined and shaped into a croquette. It was indeed crunchy and we wished we could have a couple more though I thought the meat a tad porky for those who don’t like the taste.

image

I was glad I insisted on ordering the deviled ox tongue. The ox tongue was cooked till tender but still maintaining a slight bite. The deviled sauce was tart, slightly sweet and rather tangy and the baked on site brown bread was perfect to perform sauce mop up duty

image

The mussels with nduja is one of London’s Top 10 dishes according to Timeout magazine and indeed it packs a punch! The mussels were cooked just right and the chewy flesh contrasted nicely with the spicy, savoury sauce. Boom noted that it is not unlike the chili mussels we have in Asia and I concur.

image

The steak tartare was the dud of the night I have to say. We could not discern much seasoning in it apart from the mustard sauce on top. It definitely does not have any capers or much shallots. Instead of chips, it was served with crisps which feels like a bit of a cop out.

image

From zero to hero! For me,  the highlight of the evening’s meal was the squid with curry and cauliflower. Was surprised when the dish turned up as the curry referred to curry leaves while the cauliflower is in puree form. When consumed separately, each of the components were just what they were. But when combined, the subtlety of the parts somehow are amplified. The curry leaves tastes more curry like, the cauliflower puree taste sweeter and you appreciate the texture of the well grilled squid more somehow.

I’m going to attempt cooking the mussels with nduja this weekend and will be sure to post the results.

Elliot’s Cafe
12 Stoney Street
Borough Market
London SE1 9AD
0207 403 7436

Singapore Laksa – Mudmee, Artillery Passage Bishopsgate

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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