Here’s our weekly diary of what the Bunch have been eating and drinking this week…
Bella: The food in Indonesia has been incredible and as I can’t stay forever (pesky 31 day visas) I thought the best way to try to keep some of these tastes available to me was to go on a cooking course. I joined the Anika Balinese Cooking Class in Seminyak, Bali. We started with a tour of a local fruit and vegetable market which was really interesting and colourful.
And then got onto the serious business of cooking; the Balinese believe that hand grinding in volcanic rock bowls produces a much better flavour than any food processor and I’m inclined to agree based on the delicious product of this but it did require a lot of bicep work. We ended up making a feast of corn fritters, nasi goreng, yellow rice, fried sambal, peanut sauce, chicken satay, 2 types of Gado Gado, beef rendang, fish curry and had banana fritters and banana cooked in coconut milk to follow. Time will tell if I will be able to source the ingredients at home however I am the proud owner of a certificate stating that I could, in theory, recreate all of these dishes myself.
Grant: I’m a huge fan of street food, and Kerb is one of my favorites. They have been doing a special Indian food event at Southbank Centre, and I decided to swing by for some lunch before meeting some friends for gaming later in the day. I started with some magnificently crispy and decadent onion bhaji with mango chutney from Dosa Deli. They were probably some of the best onion bhaji I’ve had. I moved on to grabbing a burger from Baba G’s. My original plan was their saag paneer burger, but when I saw the special of a double naga burger, the spice fiend in me made me change my mind. The burger was delicious, but I was expecting it spicier with the naga chillies. Perhaps my spice tolerance is too high! I then had to try Blu Top ice cream to build my own ice cream sandwich, as I had heard so much about it. They had an amazing selection of Indian flavors, and I went with the chai ice cream with cardamom butter ice cream and salted caramel. The flavors worked together impeccably, and I can’t wait to try their ice cream again. All in all, it was a great street fair with a great selection of Indian food, and a great thing to do on a holiday weekend.
Vicky: I spent the weekend in Berlin and needed a gourmet break after wandering around museum island. Vau off Gendarmenmarkt was a fantastic find! Everything from the first bite of bread to the last bit of foam on the apricot tart was fantastic and I’d love to revisit for dinner (though they only do tasting at dinner, so it’ll be hard with an 8 year old nephew-in-residence tagging along…).
Sanj: After a disappointing dinner my boyfriend had the inspired idea of stopping at The Diner in Soho for hard shakes on the way home. I hadn’t tried the chain before but it’s a fun atmosphere with all-American style booth seating and we took two of the red leather high chairs at the bar. His shake was too peanutty for me but mine was to die for – a ‘Choconaut’ of Kraken rum, dark choc liqueur and chocolate ice cream. It tasted like boozy Belgian Chocolate Häagen-Dazs, which HD fans will know is unique in its delicious chocolatey flavour. Cue some very When Harry Met Sally esque noises from me!
Grant: Yet another weekday visit to Kitchen Table. This time it was for guest chef Shaun Searley of The Quality Chop House. He’s a huge fan of using all of the animal/plant/whatever you’re cooking with, so I was excited to give it a try. While most of the evening was an enjoyable experience, there were a few dishes that weren’t up to the usual Kitchen Table quality. But I still loved it, and I’m looking forward to my next visit (although this time, it may have to be for a non-guest chef event)!
Linzi: What does a one year dating anniversary call for? Silver? Gold? Platinum? Nope, fabulous cocktails in glamorous surroundings. To celebrate our one year together, my boyfriend took me to The Luggage Room in Grosvenor Square. We walked up to a tucked-away front door next to The Mayfair London Marriott and knocked on the door. How very cloak and dagger it was! I can recommend the Philadelphia Fish House Punch and the Army and Navy, if you want a kick in the pants. It certainly isn’t cheap, so make sure your date is worth every penny 😉
Linzi: If you’ve been following along on the previous Munch you’ll know I’m on a mission to find the best ham and cheese croissant in London. To call it a mission might be too frivolous, surely it’s a quest, a pilgrimage, a search for enlightenment… The next stop on my odyssey took me to that most prolific, pastry peddler of them all, Pret. On every street corner, in every town, it’s impossible to avoid its power. The Pret ham and cheese croissant is a troubled affair, not merely content with enrobing delectable ham and cheese in a flaky pastry embrace, it seeks a higher plane of existence: smoked bacon lardons, cured ham, Emmental and a rich tomato sauce.
But alas, despite its claim to superior ingredients, Pret’s offering fails the crucial bite test. Tomato has no place in a ham and cheese croissant causing the much-vaunted cured ham to slide away and scorch your tongue like a fiery French uprising. Look at this mess! You won’t win this breakfast war, Pret… unless I’m hungover and it’s raining.
Reviews from the week…
It’s been a puntastic week with Vicky trying new local The Chipping Forecast in Notting Hill, while Sanj hit up new Austral-Asian opening Dickie Fitz for a whole suckling pig feast. Yee Gan was a little disappointed when he put Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s to the test, and the Bunch’s book club members have a dining tip for the National Theatre that’s way better than all the chains around there. Meanwhile if you’re struggling for foodie gifts (or just want to get more post) Grant has a round-up of mail order subscriptions to do the trick nicely !
Have you had any memorable food or drink in the last 7 days? Or maybe you’ve tried one of our favourites? Let us know in the comments below! Who knows, the Bunch might just check out your suggestions for a future review…