Monday, 28 February 2011

B is for Belgium @ Belgo Centraal

Well this madcap adventure continues into round 2 with the letter B. We had many choices with this letter. Belarus; Bulgaria; Benin; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belgium; Brasil; Bolivia and Burmese to name but a few.
After much deliberation over the countries we narrowed it down to Belgium, Bulgaria and Burma. After more deliberation we decided on Belgium, as only 1 of us (me) had been to Belgium, and only two of us had eaten at a Belgium restaurant before. Bulgaria was discounted as two of us had eaten at a Bulgarian place quite recently, and the cuisine is very similar to Polish, which is going to be P. Well we have one Pole amongst us, so it has to be. In that case then, C is gonna have to be Colombia as 50% of us are.
Burma was discounted as only I am a white imperialist, and still call it Burma. Not Myanmar. So that could be M I guess. This seems to be sorting it self out by itself.

I only know of a few places that do Belgium food. Many that does Belgium beer, but not many that do the food. Well when I say many, I just mean the different branches of Belgos.
I do enjoy eating at Belgos even though the food isn’t brilliant, and it will never win any awards for culinary excellence, but it is still quite good for what it is. But the main attraction here is the beer, although the menu does seem to have shrunk since my last visit.

We all jumped straight in for some beers and food. We were told we had the table for 2 hours, which in Belgos is a pretty long time. Between us we had a beef carbonade, the spit roasted chicken with ginger and chilli sauce, moules Florentine and the moules mariniere, but most importantly a Judas, 2 Kwaks and a Cristal. Nothing is more important than those fine Belgium beers.
Even though I am not religious, and really have a disdain for the Church. You have to hand it to those monks who in ways of making money and of course making sure the local population had clean drinking liquid to guzzle on, made some of the best beer on the planet. God bless them.

I never got to try the beef carbonade or the moules Florentine, but I was reliably informed they were very very good. Remember they are non-sharers. The spit roasted chicken with ginger and chilli sauce tastes as it always does and should. It’s a posher version of a Nandos chicken, as Nandos unfortunately do not have ginger and chilli sauce. Maybe they should, as it would save me a lot of cash.

My moules mariniere were made with cream and a little to much of it was added. I think the chef has a twitch as he was pouring it into the pan. But otherwise the mussels were plump and well cooked. Well you’d have to be one shit chef to fuck up cooking mussels wouldn’t you.

I like eating at Belgos. It is as good as you make it really. It’s a good time place to go with friends, have a nice meal, drink a few good beers with a good vibe, then go off somewhere else to finish the night off, as it is rather expensive, and for beers the Lowlander is slightly cheaper and has more choice.

Now looking forward to C. Although I can be sure Canada won’t be winning. I think it’s time to hit Africa for the next one.

Belgo Centraal on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Memphis Dry Rub

The sun is starting to show its head out a little bit more of late. Although it is still getting mugged by gangs of dark grey clouds, and extinguished by frequent showers recently. But it is putting me in a jollier mood. I am so looking forward to 27th March when the clocks change and we get more daylight. Although we loose that hour in the morning, but who cares about that as I never wake up till after 7 anyhows.
The extra 4 minutes of sunshine everyday is making me feel like summer is on its way. I’ve not actually suffered with SAD this year, mainly as I have had other things to keep my mind occupied lately.
But with summer on its way, it’s getting into Bar-B-Q season. Although I do not own a bar-b-q nowadays, as we have no garden of our own, and have nowhere to store one. Our shared shed I noticed recently has no back to it, and it wouldn’t last long if the new crime figures are anything to go by.
So I am being forced to cook my all time favorite bar-b-q item in my oven. Ribs. Baby back ribs to be more precise. Man I love those meat morsels as the tender flesh falls off the bone and melts in my mouth. Yum yum yum.
I’ve made my first batch yesterday, which were ok, but not fantastic. So I am going to try again this week. The problem was the rub. I had some of the “Classic Steak Rub” left over from my last order from The East London Steak Company. It was good, but not great, as I prefer something with a little more spice on my ribs. So I am going back to my mainstay of the Memphis Rub. It’s earthy and has a good amount of heat to it.

So for the rub you will need:

2 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne powder

Mix everything together with your fingers and store in an airtight container in a dark place. It normally keeps for a good few weeks before starting to loose its bite.
It goes excellent with ribs or chicken.
Ribs to follow soon. 

Friday, 25 February 2011

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Trullo - Highbury's Finest

I made the reservation for Trullo about 6 weeks in advance. I’ve never been that organised in my life before, but sometimes you just have to plan ahead. I’ve already made a reservation for the River Café at the end of March, but that’s for my birthday and that’s different.
I’d been wanting to eat here for quite a while, but in some cases I feel it is best to let a restaurant run for a while, before charging in like a bull in a china shop, and criticising it for basic start up errors, which hopefully should iron themselves out over time. So over 8 months since its opening, I thought it was time to give it a whirl.
I had seen the interior of the restaurant from the outside many a time from the 19 bus, but once you are inside, it is surprisingly small but yet still spacious. It has a simple but kind of industrial look about it, with scaffolding planks masquerading as shelves, even a few books on them as well.

The menu is short and sweet and comes in several parts. Beginning with the antipasti, primi, then the mains from the grill or the oven, followed by the deserts and then the finale of cheeses.
I’ve never been keen on antipasti in restaurants, as the price outweighs the quantity of the food that you get. So I always give them a miss.
Tonight’s menu offered us a nice range of offerings, but there were more dishes we were not keen on than we were. Which is a shame, but wrong night I guess. There were a few offal dishes to keep us entertained, so all was well in the Highbury world of Italian restaurants.

So for starters we ordered the borlotti beans with grilled ox heart and the papperdelle with a beef shin ragu. Both were presented nicely, well I thought so. They were very rustic and simple in look, but who needs to be complicated. Both had Parmesan wisps grated over the top. Taste wise, my pasta was silky smooth and had a great feel to it, I just wish I could say the same about the ragu. It was lifeless and boring. The meat had been cooked to the desired tenderness, but it lacked any real flavour at all. Had they forgotten to season it, had they tasted it? Obviously not.

The same disappointment was met after tasting the borlotti beans with the ox heart. The beans were again lacking any real taste. Some of them were chalky and slightly undercooked. The ox heart was perfectly cooked, but again it did not taste of ox heart. It could have won the tasteless ox heart of the year award. A big shame. This did not leave us with high hopes for the mains.
The mains came and looked lovely. 10/10 for presentation for these guys. I had the Venetian calves liver with polenta and a rocket salad. For me, this made up for any shortcomings on the pasta dish. The liver was cooked spot on. I could not fault that at all. Perfect, perfect perfect. Excellent. The polenta had been griddled so was kind of crunchy on the outside, whilst still being creamy on the inside. It did need a smidgen of more seasoning, but the liver was still sending my senses into heaven that I didn’t mind. The rocket salad was as sharp as it should be, anymore and it would have been too much and been totally ruined.

The problem came with the 2nd main. This was from the grill. The pork chop, potatoes and braised celery. On first appearance it looked great. Taste wise, the chop had bags of flavour and was still juicy. The problem was the potatoes. They were still fridge cold. Unbelievable. Had they forgotten to take them out in time, and just remembered whilst they were plating up and hoping we wouldn’t notice.

We called over the waitress and told her the tatties were cold. She had a most surprised look on her face. She took the dish away without a word, and then we waited. By the time the dish came back we’d more or less polished off my liver. But there was no word of apology from anyone. In fact, more or less after that we were ignored. I’m not sure why, I can only imagine it was because the staff hadn’t been trained how to apologise. It’s like some of the agents I use overseas, when all goes well, all is fine. When things fuck up, they really fuck up, as they have no idea how to handle it.
But for a restaurant that was charging £16.50 for a dish, you’d expect a) the tatties to be hot, b) you’d expect an apology. Period.
I have to say the dish that we got back, and it was a brand new dish was pretty damn good. The chop was as juicy and tender as the last one, the celery had a lovely crunch to them. Even the now warm tatties were nice.
The lack of an apology has left a bad taste with us. We were not expecting anything off the bill, and we never got it, but we expected a simple sorry. Nada.

Trullo does do very good food. Some highs (liver), some lows (ragu) and some schoolboy errors (cold potato’s). But it come across to me that the pricing and the bad service that it is really punching well above its weight here. But when you look around this part of North London, there really isn’t anything that can come close to the quality that it does turn out. But that doesn’t excuse bad service.
I’d expect that in Nando’s (although I’ve only ever had good service there), but not in a restaurant where you pay £40 + per person.

Good food, bad service. I won’t be going back unfortunately. 

Trullo on Urbanspoon

Monday, 21 February 2011

Noodles at Ramen Seto

For some strange reason I have never walked down Kingly Street before. I know, it’s incredible. Just why hadn’t I ever crossed over into the back part of Carnaby Street. I’m glad I did as I’ve discovered a whole host of gems. Deshea being one of them, and Ramen Seto being the other.
We were in need of some soupy nourishment. As we walked past 2 happy campers in the window were eating two large bowls of noodles. We were hooked and decided to return later for lunch after some also much needed shopping was completed. 
Luckily when we returned the same 2 window seats were free, and even better it was soupy warm inside. That warmth you only get when everyone is eating noodle soup, so the air smells and feels like noodle soup. Not sure if that explains it but I’m sure you get my drift.
Ordering was pretty easy. We both wanted the ramen soup. Lina had the Seafood extravaganza, and I opted for the pork chashu ramen. It had been a long day so far, so we ordered a small plate of gyoza to get our stomachs happy until the main even came along.

These little pot stickers were first steamed then finished off in the pan, they had a lovely crispy coating that made them easier to pick up with the chopsticks. The filling was a wonderful pork and vegetable, nicely seasoned, nicely cooked. With a soy sauce dip they were the perfect way to relax and get ready for the main event.

I cannot recommend the ramen soups here enough. Both of them were jammed packed with fillings. The seafood was literally spilling over the edge of the bowl. OK a slight exaggeration, but I’ve never had a bowl of noodles so stocked with filling before. Squid, prawn and some very tasty fish balls mixed in with some nice noodles and a pretty good stock base.

My chashu ramen noodles were just as good and packed out. The thin slices of pork were slightly dry but the stock moistens them up somewhat. Thankfully the half slice of boiled egg was not over boiled. Phew. A personal pet hate.
OK the stock base was not the strongest or the best I have ever had, but at these prices it was a whole lot better than it should have been. It was quite mild, but it did allow the other ingredients to speak for themselves.

Ramen Seto will never compete with Koya, but then again who can. But it offers a good bowl of noodles at a good price. Something of a rarity in London these days. I shall return.

Ramen Seto on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A Great Takeaway from Sunderban Tandoori

I have been a bit lazy these past few days and really cannot get my arse in gear to cook anything. So after eating out three or four times over the last few days, we needed to eat indoors and tighten our wallets. Well that was the plan anyhows, but after getting back from a day of shopping and photography, I again couldn’t be arsed to cook, plus I was too tired to go out and eat. A takeaway was called for.
We’ve tried quite a few takeaway joints around Highbury and on Blackstock Road area. Most are average at best. But what to have? Wasn’t in the mood for pizza, as had it at the last monthly meeting at work. I generally do not like Chinese food in a takeaway form, as it is 9/10 pretty bad. Plus I ate an average Ma Po Tofu the day before at work. Again.
I am eating a lot more Indian food, which is not surprising really, as I am working for an Indian company staffed by Indians, to which some of them or their wives are damn good cooks. Being spoilt rotten I am. Excellent.
We’ve tried Desh (below average), Shahi Spice (average), Ruman Balti and Tandoori (very good, but I was very drunk and very hungry, so no idea really). I’ve wandered past Sunderban on many an occasion, and it is always populated. I’ve been meaning to try it for a while now, but never got round to it, but now was its chance.
Sundermans is your typical small Indian restaurant. It seats around 20 odd people, plus it has the obligatory take out table at the back by the bar.
The menu has the normal favourites that we are so used to, plus one or two other surprises that I was not expecting.
As I sat perusing the menu I ordered a pint of Kingfisher. I always find a nice cold beer helps the choosing process run a bit smoother.
I was tempted to go for some of our regular choices, such as a Korma, Dansak, Jalfrazi or my personal favourite the Lamb Biriyani.  But something was telling me to try some new dishes, especially as it was the first time here.
So I opted for a Lamb Dupiaza, (which is supposed to have twice as much onions to meat), a Chicken Begon (I asked what this was and was told it was cooked with aubergines and quite mild), a sag paneer, pilau rice and a keema naan.

As I waited for my food, the manager or owner was chatting away to a regular customer about this and that. It’s nice to see interaction on a personal basis in a restaurant, as it is so rare these days.
The food when I got it home was pretty damn tasty. Everything was well cooked, well seasoned and quite mild, but I had ordered it that way as the wife was feeling a tad ill and I did not want to make feel any worse.
The star of the show was the Begon or Begun. Very mildly spiced but had a wonderful aubergine flavour that was really different and has now become a dish I want to eat more of.
The Dopiaza, again as mildly spiced and well cooked, although not a great deal of onion was present. The sag paneer, was a delightful creamy combination of cheese and spinach that lived up to my memories of this dish when I’ve eaten it back in India recently.
All in all Sunderban does a very fine takeaway, and I will to go back and enjoy their food, but next time I sitting in their restaurant and hopefully have a chat with the staff.

Sunderban Tandoori on Urbanspoon

Friday, 18 February 2011

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cook the Books : Made in Italy Food & Stories - Spaghetti al Crudo

I made this and took the photos way back in June last year, before I went on that trip. I just forgot it was there until recently, but as it is a great dish I though I would share it with you all.
Since returning from Colombia back in March 2010, I haven’t had the same passion for cooking that I once had. No idea where it had gone. But it went somewhere. Maybe the one dimensional cooking style of Colombia zapped it out of me. But slowly it is coming back, so maybe I will put more recipes on here. That’s the idea anyhows. But we’ll see.
I know I am a good cook. I’m a crap photographer who had a crap camera. Now I have a good camera, which took a beating over those 10 weeks. As I took over 4000 pictures. At least 3500 of them were of hotels and the like. All very dull. Now I just have to name them all for work. No idea when I will get around to that. (It’s been 6 months since I returned and I still haven’t got round to it)

So back to the recipe. This is a great dish for those summer months, when tomato’s are at their juiciest and most favourable, which is what Italian food is all about. The quality of the ingredients. It is worth for this one dish to buy the best of everything.
The below recipe is from Giorgio Locatatelli’s book: Made in Italy Food & Stories. A truly great coffee table book, with lot’s of great stories and pictures. Some of the recipes are not even worth trying unless you have an army of chef’s to hand. But it is full of practical advice and good tips which you can use in everyday Italian cooking.

The many times I have eaten at Locanda Locatelli I have enjoyed the food and the ambiance of the restaurant, although the bill’s have been some of the highest I have paid for food in London, and always left with a feeling that I wanted more. Especially for the price you pay. Over priced. Maybe. Good food. Definitely.
So anyhows the recipe in the book calls for

2 Tbsp Capers
4 Tbsp Pitted Black Olives
5 Finely Chopped Anchovy fillets
2 Chopped Best Quality Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Tomato Passata
400g Spaghetti
Bunch of Basil
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

  1. Put all the ingredients except the spaghetti, basil, ½ the olive oil and seasoning in to a pan.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add salt and the pasta.
  3. Whilst the pasta is cooking, put the sauté pan on top of the pasta pot, and let the steam gently warm those ingredients up a little.
  4. When the pasta is cooked. Drain and reserve some of the cooking liquor.
  5. Add the pasta to the sauté pan and mix through. Add some of the water to loosen if need be.
  6. Add the rest of the oil and toss.
  7. Season and then tear the bsil leaves. Add them and them toss again. Serve. Enjoy.

If you would like to buy the book you can here. Or sample some of Giorgio’s food here. But for sure try this recipe in the summer if you can. It’s worth it.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday Roast @ The Royal Inn On The Park & The Pub on the Park

We are currently in the process of finding somewhere else to live. Not only are we paying too much for this place, but our landlady has decided to increase the rent once our contract exprires. Can’t blame her really, I’d do it also, but we don’t want to pay it. So we are moving.
We have been thinking about moving out further east for sometime now, mainly as the rents are cheaper, living is cheaper and it gives me another excuse to quit my job and look for another one. Now I can blame the distance, amongst other things.
So off to Victoria Park we tromped to look round a few houses that we just about had enough money for. Just. But they were all the same. Nice area, crap flats. Finding this a lot recently. So scrap Victoria Fields off the list. Phew. I did find the area a tad dull to be honest so I am not too unhappy that we won’t be moving there. Except that there is the Lauriston there. Which is part of the group that owns my own personal favourite pizza pub, the Regent in Islington. So all is not bad.
Whilst visiting the area one Sunday we decided to grab some food at the Royal Inn on the Park. I can only describe this as an old time boozer jazzed up into a gastro but still has the old time boozer feel about it.

I was half expecting to see the two old guys at the bar with their little Jack Russells standing over half empty glasses of bitter putting the world to rights. Maybe they have been scared off by the new clientele.
The menu for a Sunday was quite standard. Pork, beef, chicken, lamb and the token veggie dish, which I cannot remember what it was. It was that memorable.
I’d hate to be a veggie, as most places really do not cater to them. Most chefs scorn veggies like they are the scum of the earth and only under duress and pain of death put one option on the menu for this mutant breed of being.

I went for the lamb, and Lina had the chicken, well it was a poussin. Same same but different no.
They must have an experimental chef in the kitchen. As the poussin came with the bread sauce napped over the breast of the poussin. I had a most odd mint sauce. I’m still tying to figure out what those cubes were.
My lamb was well cooked, it never had a strong lamby flavour, so slightly disappointed in that. The poussin again was well cooked, nice and moist. The bread sauce was really well seasoned and creamy. Nice.

The veggies were ok. Nice carrots, broccoli (good to see on a roast menu) and courgettes (this I hope never to see again on the same plate as a roast). All were well cooked, seasoned and had a slight bite to them. Nice.
Potatoes were not as crispy as I like, but were floury and fluffy inside. The yorkie was small and a tad soggy. But it was hiding underneath both our meats. It needed to assert itself on this plate and be the star of the show. The gravy had a nice meaty flavour to it and was quite thick. A relief, plus as a bonus the plates were hot.

A good selection of beers and wines to be had here, good friendly staff, and if we did move here, which we are not, I’d be very happy to spend at least one Sunday a month eating a good solid roast with a few pints of real beer.
The next area on our list was London Fields. Who doesn’t want to live near to Broadway Market, and all those lovely people that frequent it every weekend. Well me for one, but the rents on the otherside of the park were cheap. With good reason as well. Crap areas and crap flats. The only good thing we found was the Pub on the Park. A really quality place.
We’d been told about this place after some friends of Linas got married and had their after vows drinks there. These I missed, but made up for it later at a different pub somewhere on a dodgy estate in Hackney.
We’d already eaten and were passing when some friends called us to meet up for a drink and some nosh. You really need to be lucky to find seats downstairs, when we arrived it was heaving. In fact it was more than heaving, there were people sharing seats it was that busy. We did however manage to find a small table that just became empty as we arrived. So the table for 3 now became a table for 5.
If you can, I’d recommend sitting downstairs. The vibe up above was a tad flat, mainly due to two children sleeping on the sofa and their parents giving everyone the evils if you spoke above a whisper. If you want your kids to sleep put them to bed in their beds, not in a pub. Grrrrrrr.
As we had eaten, we had to sit and endure the other three munching on their very good roast beef lunches. Even though I was full, I was tempted to order one for myself.
I never tasted any of the food, as the other three are non-sharers. But we were told it was delicious. The beef looked quite nice, quite thickly cut. Good mix of veg, and several (yes I say several) good size roasties. Nice looking Yorkshire pudding and it was crispy. Good amount of gravy and all this for less than a tenner. Not bad.
But for me the vibe made the place, shame we were apart from it upstairs and the mum with the evil eye.
As we are unlikely to be moving to or around London Fields, as the places we liked are out of our price range, which is a shame as we really like the area, even if some of its inhabitants are not to my taste.
Next stop South London.

Royal Inn on the Park on Urbanspoon
Pub on the Park on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sunday Roast @ Le Mercury

Le Mercury is a good, not too expensive place to go and get some nice nourishing food. What it isn’t, is a good place to go for a Sunday Roast.
The food was good, I mean it best Sunday Roast I’ve ever had, but it also wasn’t the worst Sunday Roast. That still sits with The Bull. Still having nightmares about that.
What really spoilt it was the vibe of the place. If I was pre or post theatre, or on an early date with a girl, then this is the perfect place. It’s all very dimly lit, candle lit, romantically lit type of place.
The service is a little more than you would expect in a place such as this. It’s all a bit formal. It’s all a bit pre or post theatre.

It’s not for a Sunday Roast.
Saying that, the roast wasn’t bad. Nice cut of well cooked, juicy beef. A bit tight on the roasties, but they were good none the less. Well cooked carrots and broccoli. Pretty tasty gravy. The plate was restaurant plated, not Sunday Roast plated.
It’s just the vibe that killed the roast. I’m not really into eating Sunday Roasts in the evening, although I’ve done it a few times recently and there is something about it, that isn’t right.
It’s not for a Sunday Roast.
I want to go back during the week, and have a romantically candle lit dinner with the wife, and I know we will enjoy it.
It’s just not for a Sunday Roast. 

Le Mercury on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Homemade Burgers

I love burgers. There is something about a mound of minced beef, seasoned and either grilled, bar-b-q’d or fried, then slapped between two bits of bread, sauced up and then biten into it. It’s heaven. Pure heaven.
I’ve never been a big fan of the burgers from a certain well known chain with a pedo looking clown as its marketing piece. I used to have nightmares about that.

I was surprised that in the states their burgers are exactly like those chains we despise so much. But after tasting burgers from the Shake Shack and the Burger Joint, I realized we are doing it all wrong.
We use way too many fillings, sauces etc over here. I mean who wants or needs their burger dripping with some concoction of a sauce. That’s for ribs, not burgers. I want to be able to taste the meat, not swim to get a bite out of it.
I used to have to make the burgers for a while at Café Boheme. They were piss easy to do, and it’s still the way I make them today at home.

  1. Take minced beef
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Weigh out to 150g
  4. Mould into a burger shape. We used to do this with a lid from a large jar of black peppercorns
  5. Cover and pop in the fridge for a while to set
  6. Cook on the griddle until done. Medium rare is my preferred doneness
  7. Pop between a toasted bun, pop in some sliced onion, a slice of tomato and enjoy

Sometimes now, I may add an extra seasoning like cumin powder or merquen (Chilean smoked pepper flakes), but that is generally about it. My mince normally comes pre ground from either HG Walter by Barons Court tube or the Ginger Pig. Both sell excellent meat, so I’ve never needed to experiment with buying different cuts of meat and then grinding it yourself. It would be interesting to try that though.
As I do not have a griddle, I am using a large frying pan to cook the burgers. It works very well. Just need to remember two things. Let it get smoking hot, and only oil the burger not the pan.

I cook them for a time on one side until they self-release, then flip them over and add a slice of cheese to the top, and as it finishes cooking the cheese slowly melts over the burger. I then pop it under the grill to melt a tad more then whack it between two buns.
The toppings all depend on how organized I am. Which at the moment is pretty much none of the time. But these could range form a slice of tomato and some onion. I like to sweat off onion slices until they are soft and starting to take on some colour, then I whack up the heat and fry them until they are a dark brown colour. Man they taste good on a burger.
Burgers done this way may not look like gourmet burger but they will taste a 100 times better than a certain kiwi chain I know of.
Happy eating. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Birthday Treats @ Moro

It has been so long since we were last at Moro’s, it really is quite sad indeed. When we first went there, it still had a big reputation of being full of tosser media types, and it was pretty full of those types back then.
Nowadays it doesn’t seem to attract those twats as it used to, although there were a few in when we arrived.
Everything else about Moro was just how we remembered it, from the warm welcome to the buzzy vibe, to the great food and that great kitchen. How I always wanted to work in there.
I really cannot understand why it has taken us over 5 years to return to Moro. I know it will not be as long before we return, but I’m pretty sure we said that last time.
I brought the first Moro cookbook when it came out, and have been regularly cooked from it for many a year now. Although I kinda prefer some of the recipes from Claudia Rodens Middle Eastern book. They have been cooked over many generations and have a long tradition. Moro’s recipes are modern and chic, just like the restaurant.
I wasn’t that hungry when we came to ordering, as we’d been house hunting in Herne Hill, and had a pretty good late breakfast in a small café near to the station, plus I wanted to save some room for the pud, so I passed on the starter.
Lina however was pretty keen to get stuck in. She was very glad that the dish she had the last time, which still haunts her even today. Scrambled egg and prawns was not on the menu.

This time she opted for a dish of mojama and wilted spinach. Mojama is dry cured loin of tuna, which is normally sliced very thinly and served with almonds and olive oil as a tapas snack in Madrid bars. Well that’s how I’ve had it before. Moro served it with some warm wilted spinach drenched in lush olive oil.
The mojama was not as dry as I remembered it, it had a slight tuna taste to it, but was as silky as the texture. A lovely starter, shame I wasn’t allowed but a few mouthfuls. But at £8.50, I wouldn’t have given her much either.

Our mains were wood roasted chicken with stuffed cabbage leaves and seasoned yoghurt, and the wood roasted seabass with cabbage puree and piquillo peppers cooked in white wine. Now that’s a mouthful.
My chicken was perfectly cooked, still very moist and not dried out, but it did lack any hint of being wood roasted. The cabbage leaves were stuffed with a lentil and rice pilaf, they were well cooked and well seasoned. The yoghurt dressing was nice and light and not too thin. A very easy dish to conjure up back home, but what sets Moro apart is the quality of the cooking.

From what I remembered of the Seabass (I was too involved in my chicken) was that it was again well cooked and well seasoned. The piquillo peppers were cut into slithers and were a treat indeed. I do love these small sweet spicy red angels. But I was blown away by the cabbage puree. Such a great cabbage taste, but yet so smooth and velvety. Wow. That would work well with a Sunday roast.

We shared the yoghurt cake with pistachios and pomegranate. This is how I remember yoghurt cake form the Middle East, with the added goodness of pistachios and pomegranate seeds on top, it was a great way to end a great meal.

The strangest thing is that the bill including service came to £88.88p. A most certain lucky bill. One I was happy to pay. It was a shame that our lottery numbers were not that lucky that night, or the fact that I got a bit of a roasting come Monday morning at work. It looks my good fortune was confined to a few hours on a Saturday night in a great restaurant on Exmouth Market.

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