Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Goodbye Disco Bistro...for now

With Disco Bistro now finished it's residency at the Rising Sun, what better way to celebrate it's success than a closing party with some of the best chefs (and DJs) around. In the kitchen Carl Clarke headed up a 'Triple J' dream team of James 'Jocky' Petrie, James Lowe (Young Turks), and James Knappet (Bubbledogs Kitchen Table). Would there be a power struggle for trying to outdo each others dish, or a synergy for a truly memorable meal. If that wasn't enough, music and revelry played centre stage with top tunes pumping from DJs Ross Cuban, Justin Robertson and Gizzi Erskine. This '3' course meal was something I daren't miss out on

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pig out at Porky's

Porky's @PorkysCamden
18 Chalk Farm Rd

Much has been the success of Pitt Cue Co, being synonymous with long waiting times, it's a surprise there hasn't been many that have challenged them for their BBQ crown, or at least appease the growing appetite for smoked meats. John Salt may have taken their ex-head chef but Rankin's use of the BBQ ends far beyond typical American cuisine. The Rotary Bar & Diner now has smoked barbecue offerings as an extension to their menu. So introducing Porky's, an unashamed American style barbecue joint, offering pulled pork, ribs & tips with house made pickles (sound familiar?). Just down the road from Camden Lock, it's a great addition to an area which is overwhelmed with diversity from traders at the market, but less so in quality that you would actually travel for. Since trying Memphis Minnie in San Francisco, I've been waiting for some more Memphis style over here. Porky's is a welcome addition.

Testament to the lengths they have gone to make this authentic as possible they shipped a smoker across the pond (does no one make these over here? I know the rotary had to do the same). Their main dishes are Memphis style ribs and tips, pulled pork and BBQ chicken cooked low and slow over hickory. Sides include garlic brioche, BBQ beans, mac'n'cheese and fried sweet potatoes.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

You are what they eat

Sometimes, there are books you read that not only change the way you think, but the way you live your life. I've been reading through the Ginger Pig book, as well as some great recipes, it has some fascinating info on rearing, and the conventional way of doing it, which has lead to me cutting out supermarket bought meats. Convenience is killing my meals and my health.

Dexter T-bone from the butchery, yellow fat due to being grass fed,

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

All you need is Lovage - Roganic

19 Blandford Street, W1U 3DH

I have to admit the timing of this review is not the most convenient, but then how many times do you visit a restaurant knowing it's going to close in 6 weeks? Having occupied its space on Blandford Street for the past two years to great success and spawning a very promising career for Ben Spalding (check out our reviews for the now defunct Ben Spalding at John Salt and StrippedBack for more) in its wake, we decided to try the 3 course lunch menu (£30, £35 with wine pairings!) whilst I still had my chance. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Big Dirty Burger

Over the last few years the popularity of 'fast food for middle class' has grown exponentially, with the humble burger being a dominant player. People are no longer satisfied with grilled to death low quality patties, much effort is spent in sourcing rare-breed cows, finely selecting choice cuts to give a perfect meat to fat ratio with the right flavour profile and cooking it to a perfect medium rare (shhh, don't tell Westminster city council). It's got the stage where this is big business, only this week first round of bidding for Byron was for an approximate £100m, based on profits of £10m(!) for this financial year (see The Independent)  Not bad for only 30 odd stores. Put it this way, that's about £920 profit for an average store each day, if open 7 days a week. Obviously, there is going to be a difference between their scale and somewhere smaller like Honest Burger, that won't have the same economies of scale, but still, most of the top burger joints are constantly packed with +1 hour waiting times. With Five Guys and Shake Shack coming over from across the pond, it's hard for new smaller players to get their foot in the door without necessary investment to compete. 
Street food offers that flexibility of not needing as much capital to get going, and less of a commitment as a bricks & mortar place. Notable mentions for Bleecker St Burger, Burger Bear, & Mother Flipper. Big Dirty Burger are plucky young 'part timers' yet to be able to fully commit, but with a great range of burgers, it's worth keeping an eye out for when they appear. Luckily for me, they appear most at Camden Brewery, one of my locals; burgers and Hells larger definitely hit the spot on a weekend!