Saturday 20 July 2013

Hanoi bike club

I really like this place. We went for lunch on a hot Saturday. Luckily for us the place opens at 11 am so we were able to fill our grumbling tummies early on. We were the only people there which suited us fine. The iced Vietnamese coffee hit the spot although they were larger than expected. I had thought they would be served in a small glass- a shot, a layer of condensed milk and an ice cube but what we got was probably more sensible on such a hot day. Despite the large volume the coffee was still strong.
We ordered quite a lot of food. Two lots of the summer rolls as they were so good, maybe more prawns could be used but light, refreshing and tasty nonetheless,
especially with the light garlic vinegar dipping sauce, a welcome change from chilli dipping sauce.
The green tea smoked chicken was again my favourite. Peanuts, lime juice,fresh Thai basil, coriander and mint with fresh chilli made this very fresh and zingy.
The pan seared mackerel was tasty but the portion quite small. Could have eaten a lot more of it.
The mains were less successful. The pork meatball and belly bun cha sounded good but the broth although savoury lacked the zing of the starters. The meatball had an odd taste which I could not figure out and so all three were left.
The okra and aubergine probably was a good dish but in my eyes and to my palate doesn't compare to my mums preparation so I probably shouldn't have ordered it.
We left very full and very happy and hit Nardinis, to get some very good vanilla and equally good chocolate ice cream to cool down in the hot sun.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

John Salt

I remember getting drunk in the Keston Lodge which was the JohnSalt was in a previous life. Unfortunately, we missed out on the Ben Spalding stint and were keen to try out the work of Neil Rankin of Pit Cue Co, although it would seem we just missed him too! He has joined forces with our local in London, the Pig and Butcher to head up the Smokehouse, another venture in Islington. Replacing him is Luke Findley who was his sous chef at JohnSalt and previously worked at the hand and flowers and Nopi. It was also a menu that seemed Noah friendly so ever keen to add to the list of good child friendly eating venues we had lunch there.
Its self service, you find yourself a table, go up to the bar and order, pay for your good and drink and take your cutlery to your table. Suited us fine with Noah in tow. The hanger steak was a hit as were the whitebait, in fact we went back a second time for these two dishes. Honourable mention must go to the coal smoked potatoes which had a good mouth feel, the crunchy fries and the lamb of which there was too little compared to the very generous steak dish.
 Everything else was good but not memorable.