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Review: Ladudu

I read somewhere earlier this year that Vietnamese food would be big this year. With the opening of House of Ho in Soho & numerous outlets of Pho around, Vietnamese food has definitely become more accessible than it was a few years ago. However with most Asian cuisines, people need educating before they know what to order which is why going to a traditional restaurant with local waiters is great as you can quite easily learn what is what.

Having arranged to meet with a friend and her husband on a Friday (my veggie day) I was all the more conscious of having to find somewhere with yummy veg food. The fiancé & I had popped into Ladudu in West Hampstead for a drink a few weeks ago and having sampled the Vietnamese spring roll, I’d decided we’d be going back some time soon. So when my friend suggested we meet somewhere near Finchley road, Ladudu came to mind and a table was booked.

Design_logos_Ladudu

When we arrived the restaurant was 2/3rds full. We sat down and awaited for Mr & Mrs U who arrived shortly after. It didn’t take long before the waitress came round to take our drinks orders. The guys both ordered health conscious Green Tea, Mr R going for the slightly more interesting orange green tea. These arrived in pretty little glass tea pots & we soon realised that the only difference between the two tea’s was that the orange green tea had a few shavings of orange rind for added flavour.

The waitress was soon back to take our starter orders. Being a Friday, I joint Mrs U and selected a few veggie dishes for our tofu overload meal. Mr U and Mr R had a far more exciting selection of food to choose from and did a good job of narrowing down their choices.

The veggie bits were first to arrive.

I have a bit of an aversion to papaya salad so couldn’t resist the vegetarian version with mushrooms and tofu. Other than the fact that this was missing some shrimp and didn’t really need the mushrooms or the tofu, the flavours were good although not overbearingly traditional. The papaya wasn’t overly soggy which meant that it still had a great texture. Overall we were all pretty pleased with this.

Green Papaya Salad with Tofu & Mushrooms

Green Papaya Salad with Tofu & Mushrooms

At the same time as the Green Papaya salad arrived the warm rice paper crepe stuffed with mushrooms. Anyone whose tried a South Indian dosa will appreciate that this wasn’t hugely dissimilar to a dosa. Except for it was stuffed with mushrooms and was served with a dipping sauce that wasn’t green coconut chutney!! Although I would have liked the rice paper crepe to have been slightly more crispy, it was nice none the less, albeit very slightly bland. However the sauce soon sorted out that issue!

Warm rice paper crepe stuffed with mushrooms

Warm Rice Paper Crepe stuffed with Mushrooms

To round off the veggie starters, we’d ordered Chilli & Garlic Tofu.

Chilli & Garlic Tofu

Chilli & Garlic Tofu

For the veggies out there, Chilli & Garlic Tofu is  a bit of a fail safe on most Chinese/oriental menu’s. However I must admit, that the coating on this tofu was slightly different to normal which made it slightly more crispy. There was a good amount of garlic and spring onion served with it which helped to enhance the flavour of the tofu which at times can be quite bland.

Whilst we tucked into our veggie starters, the Guys made a quick start on their non veg starters, however I was quick to stop them so I could take pictures!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Although the picture above doesn’t do the best job at describing how these Vietnamese spring rolls tasted, the sounds coming out of the guys were positive so I can fairly assume that they were good. I have to admit though, as I mentioned at the start of this post, it was the Vietnamese spring rolls that I’d sampled on my last trip which bought me back, so I can vouch for the fact that they were pretty good.

I heard less comments from the guys for the Vietnamese pancake with Prawns. Other than the fact that they said it was nice, the lack of noise would suggest it was only nice, not outstanding. Its fair to say that Mr R is a self proclaimed connoisseur of all things, well anything so the fact that there was very few comments on the pancake can only mean they failed to knock his brightly coloured Ted Baker socks off his feet.

Vietnamese Pancake with Prawns

Vietnamese Pancake with Prawns

After a little pressure was put on us by our friendly waitress, we finally got round to ordering mains. Given the tofu themed starters, we decided to simply continue and order one of the few vegetarian main courses on the menu. So after a little  wait time, our mains arrived.

Miss U and I had both spotted the Tofu Hotpot on the menu and quickly decided it would be our main course. Having failed to read the description, we were quick to order a side of fresh flat rice noodles. The description however stated the dish was “fresh tofu with shiitaki mushroom, tapioca glass noodles with Ládudu’s special lemon grass sauce, served in a clay pot”.

Tofu Hot Pot, Fresh Flat Rice Noodles and Stir-Fry Fine Beans with Garlic

Tofu Hot Pot, Fresh Flat Rice Noodles and Stir-Fry Fine Beans with Garlic

I have to say, we really didn’t need the noodles at all. The Tofu Hot Pot was delicious, the sauce was lemon grassy by slightly sweetly savoury if that even makes any sense. My only issue with the sauce was the fact that it felt ever so slightly too thick. I guess however the thickness meant that the tapioca noodles held the sauce far better than they would have done if the sauce was less thick. We ordered a side of Stir-fry fine beans with garlic which were equally delicious and served to satisfy Mr U’s hunger given that his Pho took so long to arrive!

Whilst Mr U continued waiting, Mr R’s main arrived. Having read the description on the menu, we were all expecting something moist and tender with crispy skin. The following arrived:

Crispy Skin Chicken

Crispy Skin Chicken

Again from the comments I heard coming out of Mr R I can’t say I was too convinced that the chicken was either moist or tender. In fact the chicken looked slightly more dry than it did moist. Bare with me whilst I await a statement from Mr R to confirm his thoughts on the chicken.

(10 mins later)

I finally have a comment “The chicken was flavoursome, but the chicken was a bit dry, however this was expected. I would have preferred some kind of sauce with it..”

Ten minutes was about as long as Mr U had to wait for his Pho to come after all the other food arrived. However he dug into it so quickly I was unable to even capture an image of it. Despite not taking a picture I can confirm that Mr U was very very satisfied by the Pho. See the great thing with men is if they like something, it is perfectly obvious to see. The fact that Mr U was going on about how nice and clean and flavoursome and large his bowl of Pho was, I think its fair to say even though he had to wait for it, he was perfectly happy with the outcome.

We decided not to get any dessert and simply skipped to the bill.

I must say I did enjoy the food and would definitely consider coming back, if only to try the Pho. Next time your passing through West Hampstead, definitely give Ladudu a try, especially given the fact that they have happy hour on cocktails & also have freshly squeezed juices!

Ladudu – 152 West End Lane, London, NW6 1SD 

Review: Shoryu

Since getting back from new York, I’ve been having major ramen cravings. There are a number of ramen restaurants that have opened up in london in the last year and I needed a reason to make a visit.

When a dinner that had been organised some time ago finally came around, I made a snap decision to find a ramen restaurant that was veggie friendly.

We arrived at Shoryu on lower regent street at 6.30 on a Wednesday evening. Although it is one of these new style “no booking” restaurants, we were seated pretty much right away. Upon recieving the menu, we realised Happy Hour was due to be finishing in 30 mins, so we quickly chose our 4 cocktails each (yes I did just say 4) and then signalled for the waiter to take our order.

To soak up what was going to be a fair amount of alcohol & satisfy the hunger in our bellies, we also ordered some Hirata buns & the very yummy sounding Schichimi Mushrooms.

Two cocktails arrived with a side of Hirata Buns.

Hirata Bun

Hirata Bun

When I asked the waiter which of the non vegetarian hirata bun’s I should choose, he highly recommended the belly pork. So obviously I obliged. Miss Veggie went for the veg option of halloumi & shimeji mushrooms. My first issue was the fact that the actual bun was not hot, my second was the fact that they had used mayonnaise which basically made this taste like a nicer version of a McDonalds Hamburger. 

Next up was the Shichimi Mushrooms, essentially pan fried asian mushrooms with tofu & 7 spice.

Sachimi Muchrooms

Shichimi Muchrooms

I have to say, these were rather delicious. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and silky, the tofy was crispy and the shichimi spice added a kick of spice. Perfectly well rounded dish in my humble opinion.
Having finished our two starters, we were left to happily chat away and consume copious amounts of alcohol. Shoryu has a pretty decent Cocktail Menu and of the 8 drinks that we ordered I would highly recomment the Yuzu Mojito, the Rising Sun Berry Martini & the extremely delicious Espresso Martini (half of which ended up on Miss M’s trousers thanks to the guy on the next table).
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Having mopped up the Espresso Martini, we decided our appetites had returned, so we went on to order the ramen. Given that there was only one veg option on the menu, Miss M’s choice was pretty much made for her. I however had a much more difficult job deciding what to indulge in. I finally decided on the Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu.
Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu

Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu

Described as rich and spicy fried minced pork in white miso & garlic with added lemon, garlic and chiu chow chilli oil on the menu, I was completely satisfied when it arrived. The Minced meat made the dish slightly heavier than it needed to be, but the broth was delicious albeit slightly spicy. The meat was perfectly seasoned and the hint of garlic added a lovely addition. Whilst I was unable to get through all of the noodles, I happily slurped my way through the broth.
Miss M was equally satisfied by her Natural ramen – a shiitake & konbu gluten free soy broth, tofu, kikurage, seasoned beansprouts, spring onion, sesame and spinach.
Having made out way through started & mains, it was time for a little dessert to end the meal.
Matcha Cheesecake and Matcha & Sesame Ice Cream

Matcha Cheesecake and Matcha & Sesame Ice Cream

Miss M went for the Matcha Cheesecake, which I obviously had to sample for the sake of my reading audience (I did it for the people!). The texture which was slightly jelly like was silky and perfectly set. The matcha flavour was delicate and not at all overpowering. I definitely could not fault  it in any way.

For those who are unaware, I have a slightly obsession with Matcha Ice cream, whenever I see it on a menu, I must order it, so obviously I did just that. However to widen the barriers slightly, I ordered it with a side of sesame ice cream. Both ice creams were great, Miss M commented that the flavour in the Matcha Ice Cream was actually stronger than the flavour in the Matcha Cheesecake and I have to admit, she wasn’t wrong. The sesame ice cream was interesting, with a very slight sesame flavour, but enough to be noticeable. On the whole we were both perfectly satisfied.
When we arrived at Shoryu, it was clear to see the place was popular and by the number of bowls on tables, it is clear that the place is popular for one thing  - the Ramen. For those planning to visit, try a few of the starters but leave space for the ramen. If you only have space for one thing, the Ramen should be your choice and you will not be disappointed.
Shoryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

And so we arrived at our final day in New York. With a list of bits and pieces to finish off, we headed out and were instantly shocked by how cold it was. In fact cold is an understatement, the wind was fierce and it was bitter.

First stop for the day was the apple store, followed by Abercrombie and then to Breakfast. The original place Miss NYC sent us to was closed so we headed into The Peninsula Hotel and when their menu failed to satisfy us, the waitress offered to check with the concierge for us. The concierge advised the best place to get breakfast would be Sarabeths on Central Park South.

So we cold footed it back up 5th avenue, shimmied past Trump Tower, skipped round The Plaza and finally found ourselves at the door of Sarabeths.

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

Although Sarabeth’s wasn’t on any of the lists we were given,  I’m so glad we were sent there. The kind of restaurant for ladies that lunch and slightly over priced, but perfectly special for the last day in New York – plus they served breakfast well into the afternoon. 

We were fairly quick to order as all three of us were starving. Miss Mel & I went for breakfast options whilst Miss Mat decided on a lunch starter.

We didn’t have to wait long before our food arrived.

I went for the Buttermilk Pancakes with fresh strawberries. The pancakes were soft, light and spongy, just as you’d expect pancakes to taste in New York. The portion of strawberries was slightly stingy, but when I asked for more, they happily bought over a bowl full so I couldn’t really complain.  In good old american tradition the pancakes were served with Maple Syrup – the only thing that was missing was the whipped cream!

Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries

Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries

Miss Matt who was seeking something hot went for the soup. What appeared was a tomato, vegetable and cheese soup which was apparently quite delicious!

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Soup

Miss Mel however fancied something a little more eggciting  (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!) and went for the Cheese Omelette with a side of Croissant. The fact that  she said very little during the eating process can only mean she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Omelette

Omelette

Having paid up and 2pm quickly approaching, we decided to partake in the last of our New York activities, so with the help of Charlie our fabulous furry friend, we froze our backsides off on a little trip around Central Park.

Central Park

Central Park

And with that it was back to our hotel to pack up our room and Au Revoir New York – Thank you for having us!

New York, New York

New York, New York

Sarabeth's on Urbanspoon

Along came Sunday. We had grand plans to go to a Brunch Party, however none of us had any desire to brunch after the party on Saturday night. So instead we finally managed to get in some site seeing. Given Miss Mat & I had visited the concrete jungle before, we weren’t as bothered as Miss Mel, however we bit the bullet and headed to the Empire State. Our concierge had convinced us that the queues would be super long so we bought the queue jump tickets, only to arrive and find not a single person in site. Turns out queue jump is best used for when you leave the Empire State as its approaching sun set, so it came in slightly handy.

Post the Empire State we headed back to the hotel to pack up and take a well deserved nap. Site seeing was always on the agenda for Sunday evening, the plan was to walk around New York post Brunch, but as Brunch had been cancelled, we decided instead to walk around Time Square post dinner.

Ippudo was on a list that was sent to me by a friends boyfriend whose friend had specified that the Hirata buns were a must. So after a quick look on Google to check the resident vegetarian would be have a few options, we headed out.

Ippudo - 321 West 51st Street, New York, NY

Our cab dropped us outside and after walking through the quirky wooden door, we entered the restaurant. Essentially three rooms of red, white and brick and a bit of wood thrown in too. We were quickly shown to our booth in the restaurant area which even for 9.30 on a Sunday, was pretty jam packed.

We barely had to wait before our very very helpful waitress came over and asked if we wanted to order our drinks. At the same time, we ordered a few of the starters, which Miss Helpful advised would arrive as soon as they were ready.

First up was the Edamame with spicy salt. The salt wasn’t particularly spicy, unless of course you were the poor sod to pick up the piece of edamame that was drenched in the powder.

Next up was the Ippudo Salad which we chose to order with a side of Avocado. The salad consisted of thinly sliced radish, crispy lotus root, juicy tomatoes and assorted salad leaves with a shot glass of a wasabi goma shoyu dressing. Miss Mel did a wonderful job of pouring the dressing over the salad and then convinced us to follow the Malaysian tradition of “tossing for good luck” which is normally used for a special Chinese new year salad. Given that this was our last night in New York, we thought we’d give it a go anyway, so we poked our chopsticks in and gave it a good old toss! 

The Avocado was chopped up and faced down in a puddle of the same dressing (i think). I’d never seen an avocado served in this way, but wow did it work well. The flavours in the dressing complemented the creaminess of the avocado perfectly.

Ippudo

Ippudo

Next to arrive were the Hirata Buns. This was the must order on the list I’d found the restaurant and subsequently, two New York friends also recommended them highly. We ordered the Pork Hirata Buns for Miss Mel & I and Miss Mat ordered the Veg Hirata Buns  which consisted of fried eggplant & eringi mushrooms. The pork was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside whilst soft and fleshy on the inside, not that dissimilar to the slab bacon at Jackson & Rye. The actual bun was perfectly soft and fluffy. To those who haven’t yet tried the Hirata bun, the pastry (if you can even call it that) is much the same as Chinese bao. Miss Mat was equally complementary of her veg option and quickly demolished both. 

The Salmon Yuba Maki arrived at the same time as the Hirata buns. This was essentially ssalmon sashimi and fresh yuba wrapped in paper thin cucumber and served with a sesame wasabi dipping sauce. Whilst this was ok, the salmon didn’t taste like it was at its freshest and the sauce was required to give it any major flavour. 

Described in the menu as “a more bold, modern translation of the original “Tonkotsu”(pork) broth; thin noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil” – this came highly recommended by Miss Helpful so both myself and Miss Mel gave the Kamaru Modern a shot. I ordered mine with a side of chilli sauce which helped to deepen the flavours even more. Miss Mel found the meat slightly fatty, however it was so soft it just melted in your mouth. The noodles were very slightly doughy but the broth was amazingly flavourful and truly delicious.

Miss Mat went for the gluten-free, vegan friendly Sho-jin ramen – also the only vegetarian main on the menu – Miss Helpful described the flavours as delicate however Miss Mat found it slightly bland, until she added some of the chilli sauce.

We decided not to order dessert and instead pick something up from Time Square – which sadly didn’t happen.

On the whole we were all pretty impressed with the offerings of Ippudo - definitely one to check out if you find yourself in New York any time soon.  Here’s the best bit, since being back I found out that we’ve got Ippudo (which also turns out to have outlets all over the world) coming our way in June! Woohoo! 
Ippudo Westside on Urbanspoon

Stanton Social - 99 Stanton Street, Between Orchard St & Ludlow St

Saturday was Woodburry common day, a place you can’t do quickly. By the time we were done and headed back to the hotel, it was 8ish. We were booked for dinner at Stanton Social with my cousin in-laws friends. Funnily enough Stanton Social didn’t appear on either of the lists I was given, but I’m so glad we were taken here as the food was so good, albeit not any particular type of cuisine.

The table was book at a rather ambitious 9.30. Obviously given our mammoth trip to Woodberry, neither us or the locals were on our way until 10ish. We rocked up at the New York cool restaurant after walking straight past it when our cab dropped us off. Finally locating the door, we pushed through and were told to grab a drink at the bar whilst they prepared our table. By the time the others arrived, we stumbled down the stairs, cocktails in hands, only to be told we were going to be dining in the bar as we’d shown up far later than we’d booked.

Slowly dragging ourselves back up the narrow staircase, we settled ourselves in whilst complaining about how loud the music was, unbeknown that as the night went on, the music only got better!

For once I had very little to do with the ordering, Miss NYC got to it and did a bloody good job, ordering everything I would, including the French Onion Soup Dumplings which was how she sold the restaurant to us in the first place.

Stanton Social

Stanton Social

French Onion Soup Dumplings  - I can only really describe this as a cheese and pickle sandwich, in a ball, topped with a crouton. As odd as it sounds, it really was very good. The onion flavour came through in the pickle which really did taste like the good old English favourite – Branston Pickle.

‘Chicken n’ Waffles’ – The whole sweet and savoury flavour is fairly typical of american foods, what with the breakfast favourite of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.  This wasn’t that dissimilar in terms of flavour, the chicken was cooked well, but a little dry whilst the “aged cheddar waffle” was good, but didn’t at all taste cheesy. Not a bad dish, however neither I nor Miss Mel who had the other half of my portion braved the maple syrup.

Red Snapper Tacos – These were served with avocado and a mango salsa, both of which really enhanced the flavour massively. 

Tuna Snapper Tacos – Although these weren’t on the menu, some how they appeared on the table and were absolutely amazing. The tune was very fresh, the tacos were crisp and with a little squeeze of lime, these were perfect, I wouldn’t change a single thing. In fact, we liked them so much, we ordered another plate!

Spicy Lamb Souvlakis – These again were delicious, the meat had the most amazing flavour, like seriously flavoursome. There’s not much more I can say other than wow. 

Spicy Lamb Souvlakis

Spicy Lamb Souvlakis

Mac & Cheese – The crumbly topping was a great addition to this rather cheesy mac and cheese. I’m not a massive fan but it did go down fairly well.

I know for sure we did order a few other dishes, however given that I didn’t try them (the ravioli, potatoes, mini veg burgers) I can’t really give an honest opinion as to how they were. I can advise that the following day, both of the veggies on the table were still talking about the potato dish, however again I can’t seem to see it on the menu.

We ordered a few deserts, but the only one worth mentioning was the Warm Doughnuts. These were in fact warm balls of yummy goodness, dusted in a cinnamon sugar. The amazing thing is they weren’t greasy at all & were served with 3 different sauces (Caramel, chocolate & raspberry), which really weren’t required. 

For anyone visiting New York, this “International Tapas” restaurant is most definitely one to visit. If you have no intention to speak to your fellow diners, then get seated in the bar, the music is great, the drinks are delicious and the food is amazing. If however you like to hear what your fellow diners have to say, request a table in the restaurant and don’t show up late!

Stanton Social on Urbanspoon

Last weekend I was in New York – The big apple, The Concrete Jungle. Whilst our trip was to celebrate my best friend’s 30th Birthday, we were also there to shop, eat and have some fun. Obviously what happens in New York stays in New York, but the food, I can comment on. In a nutshell, this was our New York Gourmet adventure..

Buddakan - 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 

On Friday we dinnered at Buddakan. A friend’s friend sent us there under the pretence that “you’ll always get lots of veg food at chinese restaurants”. My New York geography is pretty crap so I’m not gonna give directions or locations, however the restaurant was pretty much what you’d expect when you think of New York. Big, high ceilings, double floor, mood lighting, not that dissimilar to the old Buddha bar in London. We were a little late and it took them a little while to seat us, but once we were seated the waiters were very attentive.

We ordered a number of dishes including Edamame dumpling, Carrot Dumpling, Wild Mushroom Chow Fun, Asian Stir Fry Greens, Crispy Szechuan Eggplant with smoked tofu and pickled daikon and the birthday girl ordered a Chilli Rock Shrimp.

Buddakan

Buddakan

Certain elements of the meal were delicious – namely the garlicky silkyness of the Edamame dim sum and the crunchy texture of the Carrot dumpling. Just sitting here writing, I’m craving the Edamame dim sum. Miss Mel also raved about the rock shrimp, however by the time I got round to tasting it after 12, it was slightly soggy, i’ll take her word for it though!

Certain elements of the meal were good – the Wild Mushroom Chow Fun (known as Ho Fun in the UK) was the right mount of gloop with some quite yummy mushrooms thrown in. Ho Fun is a bit of a comfort food and this really did hit the spot. The Asian Greens were stir fried with pine nuts and garlic chips, I would have never thought to have put pine nuts in a chinese stir fry, but it worked really well.

Certain elements of the meal weren’t so great – Miss Mat loved the idea of the Crispy Szechuan Eggplant with smoked tofu and pickled daikon, so we went ahead and ordered it. What we received was a giant aubergine, stuffed with some kind of sweetish filling with a salad of smoked tofu (slightly rubbery) and pickled daikon on the side. Not really sure what was meant to be crispy about the dish but we got through about a quarter of it before giving up.Definitely one to miss.

On the whole, some parts of the food were better than others – but this is generally the case with most restaurants. I think were slightly spoilt in London – we get authentic takes on so many world cuisines that when we get something slightly different, its easy to criticise. I would visit again to try some of the meat/fish options, however not in too much of a hurry.

Buddakan on Urbanspoon

Being a blogger & general foodie, I’m constantly on the lookout for new restaurants. Some time ago I read about and quickly informed Mr R about the fact that my favourite Spanish Restaurant El Pirata has opened a sister restaurant on Westbourne Grove. Whilst I do this quite often (mention new restaurants), Mr R doesn’t always take the hint. This time he did.

We rocked up at El Pirata de Tapas on Saturday, albeit 25 minutes late after spending 20 minutes looking for 15 Westbourne Grove when the restaurant was actually 115. After making the designated driver perform a slightly dodgy three point turn, we parked up and walked down.

Having visited the Canary Islands a number of times whilst my sister lived there, I am a big fan of Canarian style tapas – something that El Pirata is excellent at. I’d read up on the restaurant a while ago and appreciated that El Pirata de Tapas is a more “modern” take on Spanish cuisine – usually this simply means smaller portions and higher prices.

We were seated at our table towards the back of the restaurant and despite having called ahead to see if we could increase our table of 2 to 5 only to be told they were fully booked, we were surprised to find that 10 minutes into our sitting, a table was added to the end of ours. This would have been fine if the lights were slightly brighter so that the waiters didn’t keep banging into it. I digress.

Sat at the back of the restaurant, we started by selecting our drinks, Mr R went for a traditional Sangria & the fact that I didn’t even try it obviously means that it was a good one. I went for the Rasberry Bubble – raspberry, chambord, vodka, lime & topped with cava. To be fair, the drink was far too strong. Once the ice melted a little it tasted a bit better, but it was far too alcoholic to enjoy.

We went on to order our mains.

Bread & Alioli

Bread & Alioli

The Bread was slightly dry but the alioli was delicious with just the right amount of garlic so we pretty much demolished it. I however have no doubt that I could have demolished it alone!

Toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, olive oil with serrano ham

Toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, olive oil with serrano ham

The tomato on the bread will obviously have the effect of making it slighty soggy. The first slice I ate however was perfectly crisp, the tomato was perfectly seasoned and the serrono was delicious. By the time I got to the next slight it was slighty soggy, but yet the tomato and serrano were delicious.

Mackeral & cheesy mousse – “Escabeche mackerel, idiazabal, pine nuts mousse & veil of basil gelatin”

Mackeral & cheesy mousse – “Escabeche mackerel, idiazabal, pine nuts mousse & veil of basil gelatin”

Both myself and Mr R were blown away by the size of this dish, the fact that it looks so tiny in the picture is not down to my camera being useless, it is in fact a tiny dish. The mackeral was perfectly cooked, the all but 3 pieces were placed on a jelly circle (I wasn’t too sure what this was at the time but no know it was a “veil of basil gelatin”) with a cheesey mousse underneath. The flavours worked well together & the makeral wasn’t too fishy so I couldn’t really complain. I just wish I knew what the green jelly was (if had been yellow I would have been convinced it was from the inside of a jaffa cake).

Beetroot salad – “mix leaves, manchego cheese, pine nut & beetroot puree”

Beetroot salad – “mix leaves, manchego cheese, pine nut & beetroot puree”

This was essentially a mixed leaf salad with thinly sliced monchengo cheese and a beetroot paste. Again whilst not the largest of portions, the leafs were well seasoned, the beetroot paste was a good accomplement. I was overall quite satisfied by the dish.

Serrano Ham Croquettas

Serrano Ham Croquettas

These are always good. The potato and jamon mix was silky smooth and seasoned just right. Croquettas always remind me of my childhood but these were so much better given that the outside was so crunchy whilst the inside was smooth as a baby’s bottom (not in the literal sense).

Chorizo topped with alioli – “grilled chorizo & roasted garlic alioli”

Chorizo topped with alioli – “grilled chorizo & roasted garlic alioli”

I am a real fan of Chorizo, more so since I discovered a chicken and Chorizo soup. This was essentially chorizo pieces topped with a dollap of alioli. Whilst it is pretty simplistic as an idea, the flavours meshed well together. The sausage was thickly cut which meant it held the flavour of the alioli that much better. Overall a good dish. 

Patatas Bravas – “patatas bravas, triple cooked potatoes with spicy sauce”

I tried three times to get a picture of these, but I’m guessing the excess oil from the triple cooking meant my flash kept distorting the image. Sad times. To be fair these weren’t great, the potato’s were far too crispy so they didn’t go soggy when the sauce was added..sad times.

Crema catalana two ways

Again for some reason I completely failed to take a picture of what was actually a fairly yummy desert. It was in no way a normal Crema Catalana, so I’m slightly mad at myself for not taking a picture to show you. The desert consisted of two elements, one being the a crème brulee and the other being a bit of a layered banana custard. Slightly sweet but the fact that you got two for the price of one – I can’t complain.

On the whole, whilst the food was good, I still prefer the traditional element of the original El Pirata so may not come back too soon!
El Pirata Detapas on Urbanspoon

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