Reviews

Burger & Bacon Bender 

   

 

This weekend I had the good fortune of trying out 2 eateries that had been on my list for a while; Electric Diner in Notting Hill, and Lerryn’s cafe in Peckham. 

As I was taking it easy on the wine this weekend, it only seemed fitting to indulge on eating out and ordering the most calorific comfort food one can only truly appreciate without a hangover and so Saturday afternoon’s sober burger craving was confronted at Electric Diner. 

For a catch up with a bezzie over casual food this place provided a great backdrop- tables were perhaps a little squeezed together and sittings ushered in and out (we were given an hour for our table, and presented with the bill without asking) but this is Portobello Road, and the buzzing, exclusive atmosphere was too good to pass up.  

I ordered the single cheeseburger (£9) and fries (£5) which is steep. I don’t know anywhere that charges a fiver for a side of spuds, and I thought this price was a bit ridic- when somewhere like Honest burgers gives you fries with your burger at no extra cost, a benchmark is set and if Electric Diner wants to rattle up the burger scene then it’s going the wrong way about it. However, I had not come to a burger restaurant, and it was packed with people ordering steak, knickerbockerglories and honey fried chicken which all looked very good. For the record, my burger was very tasty, held together well with good brioche, but when Honest Burgers is a couple of doors down, you can’t help make comparisons and theirs is better!

My friend ordered the hot dog and this was well sized, generously sauced and seasoned and came with a pot of caramelised onions and a pickle. She was very pleased, and she is German therefore not to be contested. 

   

 

The brunch is big news here and since it had such a good atmosphere- low lighting, upmarket twists on classic diner decor and good music- I’d defo go back and be sure to watch a film too. 

The following morning a trip out to Peckham for a nose in Rye Wax records with my boyfriend required a stop off so we strolled down a sun basked Rye Lane to Lerryn’s – I’d heard Lerryn’s was a no fuss, top quality cafe serving good coffee and sandwiches so we decided to check it out. 

A specific hipster demographic had collected here, both stark contrast and ironically familiar in style to the rough and tumble that is Rye Lane, and as we slotted in and suitably ordered our soy latte and Americano, we rolled our eyes when it arrived in a glass jar, of course, to mark it’s alternative stance. Although this looks nice, and the use of handleless mugs is well practiced in Northern Europe, I do prefer to be able to pick up my coffee without scalding my fingertips! 

  

I am by no means slating Lerryn’s- it serves great coffee, food is made fresh In the exposed mini kitchen and it has attracted good loyal clientele who appreciate the bright side of gentrification in this area. We ordered bacon butties which came on thick toasted sourdough with chilli jam and optional extras – I went for the fried egg. The menu was centered around the sourdough, with halloumi, avocado and peanut butter all possible variations and they all looked good. Sunday papers were provided which was a nice touch and service was with a smile. 

At just over £12 for breakfast for 2, it’s very reasonable for such a popular area, and is a great place to spend a few hours on a Sunday without breaking the bank.  

 

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my kitchen

Cinnamon & Raisin Granola 


 

Granola is one of my favourite brekkies and the best way to jazz up rolled oats once I’ve exhausted porridge through winter. With a dollop of yoghurt and honey, it feels more of a dessert than a breakfast, and although the most thrify option is to buy it by the kilo from Tesco, I mostly avoid it as this can disappear as fast as a bag of popcorn, which is very fast in my company. If you have a good stock of nuts and seeds, I’ve found you can make your own over and over for next to nothing, and play around with combinations you won’t find in the supermarket. 

I never properly measure ingredients in cooking, not because I’m a culinary expert but simply because I can’t be arsed and am more of a ‘throw it in’ kind of girl, living by the belief that cooking is more of an art than a science of precision. As such my baking efforts are hit or miss, although I have generally aired on the lucky side having recently won the wooden spoon award at a bake off competition at work (brag alert). I estimated my granola ratios at around 3 parts oats to 1 part nuts and seeds, plus a generous gloop of honey and golden syrup- the more used, the crunchier granola you get. I love anything with a sweet and salty balance so I made this batch with a sprinkle of cinnamon and Maldon sea salt, and nuts wise opted for almonds and Brazil nuts for their buttery texture. I’ve seen recipes using whole nuts, but I found chopped made sure they were evenly distributed and toasted. 

Recipe: 

Approx 300g oats

100g chopped nuts 

50g – 100g pumpkin and sunflower seeds 

100g honey 

50g golden syrup 

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Handful of large raisins

Sea salt and cinnamon seasoning 

Preheat the oven to 150 C. Mix all the dry ingredients including the seasoning in a large bowl. Gently heat the syrup, coconut oil and honey and pour into the oat mix, stirring with a couple of spatulas or wooden spoons. Add more if necessary making sure it all clumps together, then spread out onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins, stirring halfway through to make sure everything gets toasted. Don’t be tempted to leave it in for longer as this easily burns- you will taste the burn on your nuts and seeds and you will be sorry! Once done allow to cool and mix with your raisins before transferring to an airtight container. 

Delish with coconut yoghurt and sliced banana, this definitely tastes more wholesome and flavoursome without the addtitives of shop bought granola.  If you have any more experimental granola flavour combinations for me to try, I’d love to hear them.

 

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Reviews

Brew Cafe, Clapham

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Having racked up a brunch bucket list that that has been too long neglected due to the indulgence of hangovers and homemade bacon butties, this weekends pre holiday prep called for an early start, and so it was time to tick off a trip to Brew cafe on Northcote Road.

Inspired by Aussie all day cafés in Sydney, Brew has a chilled out atmosphere and a menu boasting creative twists on brunch classics, burgers, pizzas, juices and cocktails to take you into the evening . I’ve heard it even does a breakfast in bed special where you can lie and sip prosecco, horizontal as you please, though only at their Putney branch. Dishes such as Turkish pide, one of 2015’s NBTs, and panko crumbed chicken burger showed influences from worldwide cuisines, and it’s spot on with it’s menu buzzwords such as ‘folded’ eggs, which sound much more sophisticated that scrambled eggs.

We got the blueberry pancakes which came stacked with creme fraiche, hot caramelised banana and obv maple syrup. I have a bit of a soft spot for pancakes; I often pick up a 6 pack of scotch for a quick fix at work, and was pleased to find that these lived up to expectations. They were American style, thick and hot out of the pan which is vital. The ratio of egg to flour was higher than that I would use at home, but this didn’t detract from the from the fluffiness. The maple syrup was a little stingy, and had it not been for the crème fraiche I’d have requested some on the side.

To drink I had a sweet and spicy cinnamon latte, and opted for a brownie bite on the side which was a dense chocolately chunk studded with hazelnuts, with more of a truffley than cakey brownie texture. It was deliciously rich, and only 50p extra.

Brew on the whole isn’t cheap- this set me back £13.50 (including 12.5% service charge) and it wasn’t the biggest portion. This isn’t the kind of place you can while away the afternoon with your papers, not least for fear of the bill you could rack up but for the glares from hungry locals waiting for your table. Taking this as a good sign, and with temptations such as toasted banana bread with pistachios and red velvet cake, its somewhere I’d happily revisit for a weekend sweet fix. For dinner and drinks, I’d head to their bigger Putney venue.

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Reviews

Nordic Bakery, Soho

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Since my uni days in Sweden, I’ve often craved hot doughy cinnamon buns or Kanelbullar, the swirled pastries that lined the counters of quaint cafés in Lund and were a favourite for afternoon fika. Rollers cafe in the Manchester Arndale centre do a pretty decent version, seeped in an especially good cinnamon cream Cheese which made me particularly greedy when they offered out their frequent free samples, and often served as an indulgent post lecture snack. Now quite beyond my reach, it was with delight I discovered Nordic Bakery in Soho, decked out all scandi smart with that enticing scent of spice unique to Scandinavian baking.

So, at the sight of the long queue ordering cinnamon rolls in unison, I got one to take out so I could enjoy it in the morning, warmed it in the oven so the syrup oozes out. Dense and more filling that I’d expected it was the perfect Winter breakfast. They had an impressive selection of specialist scandi bakes, including Finnish Karelian pies made with cream and rice, which I’ve not seen anywhere in London. I still savour the memory of the traditional one I had in Helsinki with Lina of The New New Yorkers blog, and must try one here to compare.

Unfortunately it was as expensive as Sweden too; their smoked salmon on rye was £4.40 which is a lot for what is essentially half a sandwich and a minute one at that, even in Soho. But the cosy yet studious atmosphere has truly replicated that of my favourite coffee shops in Sweden, and for this I will be back.

The only other coffee shop I’ve come across with proper Nordic authenticity is Takk in Manchester, read about it here .

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Reviews

Cereal Killer Cafe

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A month after the opening of Cereal Killer, in a restrained attempt to avoid the Brick Lane length queues of diehard fruit loops, it was time to make the inevitable trip for one of their crunchy cocktails.

There’s been a lot hating on Cereal Killer as of late, many arguing it is ludicrous to pay 3 quid for a bowl of cereal; that these middle class wankers, to quote directly from their Facebook page reviews, have taken gentrification to a suffocating new level. Have these people never paid upwards of 3 quid for a coffee, never marvelled at cost price this actually amounts to and never considered the money they are contributing to tax dodging multinationals purely for the novelty of a branded take out cup with their name on? Run by 2 lads who’ve had the balls to follow their dream and poise as the Jedward of cafe culture, the novelty and originality of it makes it, in my opinion, much more worthwhile than getting a coffee to go.

I went for the Lion King cocktail of lion bar cereal and coco caramel Shreddies topped with Mars mix and served with a cute little bottle of caramel milk. It took several panicked scans of the walls shelved with pretty boxes to create endless combinations before I could order. I was overwhelmed, in a good way, and threw on a side order of Pop tarts to take my excitement to sugary new highs. Even the pop tarts section of the menu was 14 strong: we went for the confetti cupcake and hot fudge sundae flavours ( 2 for £2.50).

Slightly unnerved by eating from a glass cereal bowl, whilst giddy with the shovel of Mars mix which proved to be a wonderfully chewy contrast to the crunch we vowed to come back ASAP for another fix. There were minor flaws; I was thankful for my extra side of coconut milk (40p) as my caramel milk portion was stingy, and wasn’t the mars milkshake style indulgence I’d envisaged but simply milk with a dash of caramel syrup. I was also irritated by the cereal bowl shaped integrated table light which was so bright I had to cover it with my scarf. However, this did not detract from the Pokemon and Jurassic park cereal wall of nostalgia, and there were thoughful touches- various syrups just in case you needed any more sugar, and toast with a multitude of toppings for a full brekkie experience.

It was busy, and it was mid week at 7pm. These fellas must be raking it in- I’ve heard they’re already looking at another property in Camden. In the meantime I can’t wait to go back for a bowloccino with a Happy Hippo on top!

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my kitchen

Bombay Brunch

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Inspired by a recent trip to Dishoom, renowned in London for serving up the pinnacle of English/Indian fusion breakfasts, I decided to recreate their bacon Naan roll at home given this week’s hype for our upcoming trip to Mumbai and Goa.

Quite simply combining crispy fried honey cured bacon from Lidl with a slather of soft cheese, chopped parsley and a dollop of tomato and chilli chutney inside a hot buttery Naan, this was certainly a step up from your classic bacon butty. It was so good I made a mental note to put an alternative spin on my bacon every weekend, as I have grown tired of the HP & white bread combo, knowing but never pursuing the potential a few smoky salty rashers possesses. This would probably also work with mango chuntey but I think the sweetness of the tomato with the kick of the chilli marries so well with the bacon that this roll needs no alterations. Except perhaps a fried egg with a runny yolk and sprinkle of turmeric as the Indians would do for extra sauciness and spice.

Alongside this I served a classic Chai latte brewed with Tesco finest chai teabags, brown sugar and hot milk. I always crave something sweet and creamy in the mornings and this was the perfect weekend treat. I doubt I’ll be feasting on brekkies as Anglophiled as this in India but nonetheless this got me excited for something spicier in the mornings when I’m finally over there!

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