Monday, 31 May 2010

franco manca and rosie's deli

i’ve been wanting to go to brixton market for a while now and a surprise holiday from work provided the perfect opportunity. so a part sunny, part cloudy friday afternoon found a, s and i at brixton tube station. together we walked into brixton market on electric avenue and lane. i have to admit, i didn’t take much to brixton market. it’s chaotic with the not just the constant shuffle of human beings but the push and shove of being in a constricted space too. there is a proliferation of meat shops displaying hunks of meat in a rather crude fashion. blood drips from lambs and goats. there is also the pungent smell of fried foods and a large store with a sub-continental name selling foods from all imaginable parts of the world.

Thursday, 13 May 2010


summer continues to elude britain. post-yoga on wednesday i wanted something warm and soothing for dinner so o and i headed to koya, a new udon bar. it’s been reviewed a lot on blogs and in the metro which explains the queue outside it. we stood shuffling and fidgeting in the cold for a good twenty minutes before being let in. i love udon especially if it is boiled to perfection, unlike the tangled sticky mass served up at some places around town. i’m an udon novice though, only ever having eaten it hot. at koya udon comes in different forms, hot in hot broth, cold with hot broth, cold with a cold dipping sauce. it’s a bit daunting for the first timer and i’ll probably do a little research before i go back next.

that said, given the elusive summer both o and i settled for hot udon – i went for the udon with tofu and o for the chicken hot pot. for starters we had umeboshi [pickled plums] and japanese tea for o and hot ginger for me. the ginger tea was a tad bit too sweet. i like the slightly punchy note of ginger and was slightly thick so i think i’ll forgo it the next time round. i loved the strong tartness and sourness of the pickle which i am sure isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. it’s nice with tea though.

my hot udon was really good - a clear deeply flavourful broth with plenty of thick udon. i was however disappointed by the meagre tofu, almost akin to the garnish of spring onions. o’s hotpot was a bowlful of spring colours, greens wilting in the heat of the broth, a pearly white poached egg and slices of chicken. he said he enjoyed his.

i haven’t quite made up my mind if i’ll be going back again. i don’t doubt the excellence of the udon but have mixed feelings about the frugality with which condiments were added. the meat dishes are understandably pricier than the veggie ones but for almost a tenner they were on the steep side.

49 frith street| w1d 4sg

Koya on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 8 May 2010

byron hamburgers

byron proper hamburgers say ‘why have a dry, dull hamburger’ when you can have one that is ‘cooked medium’ and ‘cooked pink’. now i know that none of us would willingly eat a dry hamburger but sadly finding the perfect hamburger in london has been an arduous task. but i am pleased to say that i have found the near to perfect burger in london. on a more than wet bank holiday monday, o and m nipped into byron burger. you could say that hail stones were the reason for our choice. byron hamburgers in islington has a slightly scratchy white façade with its name painted thickly on it. on the inside it is exposed beams and has the feel of an old industrial unit with bulbs and wires to add light and character. other than that it is basic with sturdy wooden furniture and ample space between the tables.
i like the fact that the menu is compact with no frills and fuss. it doesn’t take long for me to settle on the classic six ounce and ask for it to be cooked medium rare. o has the classic with courgette fries and a chocolate malt milkshake. the burgers are served simply on a white plate accompanied by a thick chunky gherkin. the patty peeps from under the white bun, with its imprint of glistening grill marks. while i was busy putting a dollop of ketchup and french mustard to accompany my burger o was already chomping into his and telling me that i was silly for waiting and that i had to eat the burger whilst it was hot and that i didn’t know what i was missing. he was absolutely right. byron hamburger’s are incredibly succulent and juicy with the slight crunch of fresh lettuce and tomato. the meat is seared dark brown on the grill on the outside but maintains a ruddy juice pink in the centre. o's courgette fries are fried crisp with a light batter, they are piping hot and really good!
next time you want a burger come to byron hamburgers. let’s hope that byron manages to sustain the quality of its burger especially the perfectly cooked patty!

Byron Islington on Urbanspoon