Hot Dogs – Street Kitchen@The Miller, London Bridge

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Boy! These dogs are really hard to come by! Took me 3 attempts to The Miller before I could lay my chomps on them. In all, I guess it was worth the effort.

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Apart from wandering down mysterious lanes and alleys in search of interesting grub for lunch, I also resort to Google maps very often to find any potential outlets to try. The Miller was one such place. Located around the Guy’s Hospital vicinity, I would probably not find it in my wanderings. The Street Kitchen is in resident whipping up some mean dogs and reading other reviews, decided to give it a try.

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My first visit was a pure recon mainly to check out the vibe of the place. So ended up having a pint of cider and reading the menu. Loved the way they named the hot dogs after dog breeds and both the Boston Hound and Bull Mastiff looks to be potential junk candidate.

A couple of days later, managed to knock off work early and feeling a tad peckish, thought I give the dogs a go. Lo and behold! There is no food service between 1500-1700hrs. Had to settle for a bag of crisp and another pint of cider in the beer garden.

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Junk is nothing but tenacious! So another couple of days later, managed to drag Tweet along to give the dogs a run for it’s money and finally managed to score proper. I went for the Boston Hound, hoping that Tweet will get the Bull Mastiff but yes, as usual he went for the virgin option, the American Pitbull. The Boston Hound with more topping cost £7.50 while the virgin American Pitbull was £5.50. Also threw in a portion of Skin Chips with Rosemary Salt for £2.50 to share with the portion of slaw on the side that comes with every dog.

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Starting with the chips, we both enjoyed this a lot for its “rustic” character. This is not the on trend double/triple cooked chips so common nowadays but a totally different creature. Reminds me of when I was a kid, and my dad attempts to make french fries by simply cutting up spuds with skin on and frying them in a wok. Leaving the skin on and slow frying the chips gives it an earthly yet sweet undertone. So much so that the Tweet thought perhaps some of the chips were made with sweet potato.

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According to Tweet, he enjoyed his American Pitbull especially the snappy texture of the smoked pork sausage and the long strings of crispy onion. He thought I might find the ketchup too sweet but he was ok with it. I’m surprised he did not complain about the cucumber slices as it’s not his fav. I think being pickled and with slight hint of dill cut down the bitterness that he associates with cucumber.

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As for me, I did not enjoy the texture of the sausage as much. The snap of the dog was fine but I don’t like how some smoked sausage becomes slightly dry and “waxy”, much like a salami. In contrast, the thick slice of pork belly was heaven! Soft, tender, smoky, melt in your mouth and was perfect with the veg accompaniments. The only disappointment was the small bits of what I think are pork crackling. I was expecting much bigger pieces but these are more the size of bacon bits, feels like an after thought.

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In all, we both enjoyed our meal and also the ambiance of the pub with its lovely beer garden and kooky decor. I might just make it my local office pub.

Street Kitchen
@The Miller
96 Snowsfields Road
London Bridge
London SE1 3SS
0207 402 2690

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Pork Tonkotsu Ramen and Chicken Teriyaki Donburi – Japanese Canteen, Middlesex Street

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Junk is capable of healthy activities apart from those conducted in pubs. Yesterday’s outing was case in point. Bought a couple of vouchers for African Drumming class after work and had to look for something quick to eat for dinner. Most of the dinner places around the Spitalfields area are sit down, big menu, slightly long drawn out affairs unless one resorts to pub grub. Luckily, I found this place.

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Japanese Canteen is another Jap food chain catering mostly to the lunch crowd. But this branch at Middlesex Street, a stone throw away from Spitalfields also serves dinner. It was rather empty when we were there and it’s perfect for a quick eat and run dinner. I think this branch is rather new as it was not there when I was working in the area less then a year back.

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The menu is extensive and one can chose between donburi, bento box, ramen, sushi with a couple of non Japanese options like bibimbapgua bao and even Dan Dan noodles. Prices are very reasonable and definitely won’t break the bank!

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As expected, I could not resist any soupy noodles on a menu and seeing that the ramen is freshly made and they have a tonkotsu soup base, I’m sold! The Tweet being his usual boring self, went with the mundane option of Chicken Teriyaki Donburi. *Yawn* To each his own I guess. Total bill came to £11.40, good deal on paper.

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So is the deal as good taste wise? The Tweet was not impressed by his Chicken Teriyaki Donburi and neither am I. The chicken pieces according to the menu were supposed to be grilled but we could not see scorched marks nor taste any smokiness. Worse yet, the chook was tough and dry! The teriyaki sauce was typical, sweet, savoury and sticky while Tweet thinks the rice is too mushy. With just a sprinkling of spring onion as garnish, we both think this dish needs some other taste sensation. I had to donate all of my bok choy to Tweet to make his meal more enjoyable.

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What about the more complicated ramen dish? At £5.95, I was not expecting much from the Pork Tonkotsu Ramen especially when I was disappointing by the much hyped Tonkotsu in Soho at more than double the price. One should not underestimate chain outlets I’d say, like the offering at Wagamama, I was impressed!

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The toppings were generous with beansprouts, half a boiled egg, menma, nori, bok choy, spinach and 2 cuts of pork. The thinly sliced pork belly was tender but would be better if they were grilled while the shredded slow cooked pork was great soaked in a slight sweet and smoky sauce. The freshly made ramen could be cooked less but I’ve always prefer my noodles with bite. The star of the dish has to be the broth! Rich, milky with a slight hint of porkiness, just right and not too overpowering. The slight sheen of pork fat with a slight sweet and savoury taste complimented everything exceptionally well. The Tweet asked whether it was a 2 thumbs up and I violently nodded my head.

I have tried another branch of Japanese Canteen awhile back and I was not impressed. After this experience, I will definitely locate another branch near me to be my staple for lunch!

Japanese Canteen
100 Middlesex Street
London E1 7EZ

Pork Ramen – Wagamama, Clink Street, London Bridge

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Today’s post might not to everyone’s liking since I’m going to blog about a High Street joint. There is a Wagamama just around the corner from work and I was starving and craving for something nice and warming. Sorry if you’d thought I sold out.

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With the recent ramen craze sweeping major cities around the world, London is in on the act as well. Recent openings like Tonkotsu, Ittenbari, Bone Daddies and Shoryu were all blogged to death by regular food blogs. I did try out Tonkotsu with high hopes but sadly they were dashed beyond oblivion. Understand that Wagamama revamped their menu slightly to jump on the ramen bandwagon so thought why not give it a chance?

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Decided to go with the Pork Ramen seeing it’s supposedly new on the menu. Also gave myself a treat with a side order of Tori Kaarage, for those of you not in the know, tori = bird in Japanese, i.e. Chicken Kaarage. Also added some sliced red chilies as I can’t live without heat! The ramen was £8.50, the kaarage was £4.85 while the sliced chilies were £0.70. All in lunch was £14.10. Service was not included and since the servers were all very attentive, I dropped £16 when the bill came. Junk deserves a treat sometimes.

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I was glad I gave this a go! The Tori Kaarage had a very crispy and well seasoned coating of batter which has seaweed mixed into it. Unlike most places, the kaarage were truly bite size pieces, like the popcorn chicken from KFC. While the size is convenient for popping into your mouth, I think there is a higher tendency for some pieces to be dry as the size means the moisture in the meat is more exposed to the heat. The dipping sauce that came with it complimented the kaarage well, a mix of soy sauce with some chili and garlic. Recommend that you squeeze some of the lime juice into the dipping sauce to give it a tangy edge.

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On to the Pork Ramen. Ok, I really pimped this up with the chili oil and shichimi togarashi provided. On hindsight, I could have saved £0.70 for the sliced chili since the complimentary condiments gave me the heat I wanted. Pimping aside, the miso and chicken broth was deep but not too coying, the noodles had a nice bite while still maintaining the fresh ramen texture, the menma, wakame and pea shoots added some crunch while the half tea stained egg could be marinated a bit more. But the true delight of this dish has to be the barbecue pork belly slices! The portion was generous, the belly slices were tender with melt in your mouth fat yet has the smoky and charred flavour typical of a good searing. Thought I died and gone to heaven.

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So in all, Junk was a very satisfied customer. Two thumbs up!

Wagamama
1 Clink Street
London SE1 9BU
0207 403 3659