Hana Korean restaurant – Battersea

Hana Korean restaurant on Battersea Rise was a truly serendipitous find for us last night – we’d been to the first beer festival at Clapham Grand (disappointing, nowhere near the standard of Wandsworth Common Beer Festival events at Le Gothique – many beers had run out, bar staff were clueless about beer, we were served several incorrect beers and left early) and then – being a Friday night – many restaurants in Battersea were heaving.

Hana Korean had some free tables (the main reason why we chose it) and it seemed appealingly different as none of us are especially familiar with Korean food.

Assorted kimchee – cabbage, radish + cucumber

Hite lager + shots – bek se ju in foreground, soju behind

To warm us up on this cold, wet evening, H and K both had a shot of soju, a clear distilled spirit that tastes like sweet vodka (nice enough, not very exciting) and I had a bek se ju, rice-based alcoholic drink with 10 herbs and ginseng (unusual, medicine-like, glad I’ve tried it but probably wouldn’t drink it again).

And we all had a hite, a Korean lager brewed from barley, malt and rice (nicely malty taste) along with modum kimchee or assorted pickles @ £7.00: cabbage, radish and cucumber (crunchy in a very hot chilli sauce). K can’t bear cucumber but he loved this.

IMG_1507_ohjing oh bok eum
Ohjing oh bok eum – stir fried squid in a spicy chilli sauce (4-chilli rating…hot!)

IMG_1509_veg dumplings
Mandu – vegetable dumplings with soy sauce

We shared two starters between the three of us: ohjing oh bok eum, stir fried squid and vegetables in a spicy chilli sauce @ £6.90 (one of the hottest menu items with a four-chilli rating/warning) – the squid was tender and the sauce fiery, and mandu, vegetable dumplings @ £5.90 that were quite simply the best dumplings any of us had ever had (soft, squidgy veg in the middle, inside a crispy toasted parcel).

IMG_1512_prawn bibimbap
Prawn bibimbap – served unstirred, with an egg yolk, in hot stoneware

Prawn bibimbap – with Korean chilli paste mixed in

For main course, I had a prawn bibimbap @ £10.90 – tiny prawns, vegetables, rice and an egg yolk served in a hot stone bowl with Korean chilli paste (the stone bowl is so hot that all the ingredients cook through, as you mix them together).

IMG_1511_pork bibimbap
Marinated pork bibimbap – fresh ingredients served in hot stoneware

H had a pork bibimbap @ £10.50 and K – we agreed – totally lucked out with his dish of barbeque beef bulgogi @ £12.20 (as recommended by our waiter), “thinly sliced beef marinated in a delicious blend of fruits, soy sauce, seseame oil, black pepper, onion and garlic, served with lettuce and soybean paste” which he ate in lettuce leaf sandwiches as you can see…

Barbeque beef bulgogi – divine!

Although we were full, we shared two desserts between the three of us:

Green tea ice-cream @ £4.60

Mango + chilli ice-cream mochi @ £4.00, with a steamed rice cake coating

The verdict: A serendipitous find, Hana Korean restaurant seems to be a well kept secret. Great quality food, fabulously spicy, and good value too. I’ll be trying one of the meaty barbeque dishes (a bulgogi) next time.


Restaurant interior


Hana Korean on Battersea Rise


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Korean
~ Address: 60 Battersea Rise, London
~ Postcode: SW11 1EG
~ Nearest station: Clapham Junction
~ Photos on flickr: images of Hana Korean food
~ Hana on facebook: Hana Korean page
~ Location: Hana Korean map

Hana Korean on Urbanspoon

Red Dog Saloon – Hoxton

K’s only request for his birthday meal out was that he wanted to be taken to a barbecue/smokehouse kind of place. And somewhere new to us (so, not old fave Bodeans).

Given it was a Friday night and we didn’t want to queue (some of those places don’t take reservations), I selected Red Dog Saloon on Hoxton Square after doing a bit of research.

Carnivore platter – before…

By the time I arrived for our 7pm booking (the restaurant was full) K had already read the menu and fancied the carnivore platter to share @ £22.50 each. So that’s what we ordered, along with Camden IPA @ £5.00 a pint and a bottle of Good Hope Chenin Blanc @ £19.50.

The platter comprised these slow-cooked, sticky blackened meats:
~ brisket
~ pulled pork
~ sausages
~ chicken
~ sticky ribs
Plus four sides to share: we chose BBQ beans, ice-berg wedges with blue cheese sauce, mac cheese + collard greens.

All of these meats were gorgeous but the pulled pork and brisket both stood out as specialities (probably down to the fact that pulled pork is smoked for 16 hours and brisket for 12, both just fall apart and melt in your mouth).

Carnivore platter – after

This was a serious plateful for two and – as we were ready to pop – we left some brisket and chicken (declining a helpfully offered doggy bag). Service was great – speedy, friendly, and our servers were on the ball. We’d definitely go back, and would have the same platter again.

There’s also a branch of Red Dog in Clapham, South West London.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: American, barbecue, smokehouse
~ Address: 37 Hoxton Square, London
~ Postcode: N1 6NN
~ Nearest station: Old Street tube, Shoreditch (Overground)
~ Website + menus: Red Dog Saloon website
~ Photos on flickr: pics at Red Dog Saloon
~ Location: Red Dog Saloon map

Red Dog Saloon on Urbanspoon

La Porte des Indes – Marble Arch

K and I came here back in 2001 (when we worked together in the Marble Arch area) and thoroughly enjoyed it. We remembered it being ‘posh Indian’ (as opposed to the street food kind of Indian cafés that are popular currently) but we hadn’t been back until now. Hey ho, that’s London – there’s so much choice.

La Porte des Indes differentiates itself from other Indian restaurants by offering French-Creole influenced dishes from Pondicherry, a former French colony in India, in a relaxing, stylish environment. There’s a soothing waterfall wall feature, a marble staircase and Indian furnishings everywhere (see photos here).

And on this occasion, we were after an up-market Indian restaurant in the Marble Arch area so it met our requirements. Time to re-visit.

Lamb rasoul – puff pastry parcels

Parsee fish – sole fillets steamed in banana leaves

We started off with cocktails and – for a starter – I had lamb rasoul, curry puffs with lamb and green peas, served with a sweet and spicy créole sauce @ £8.00, while K had parsee fish, fillets of sole encased in a mint and coriander chutney and lightly steamed in banana leaves (Chef Mehernosh Mody’s speciality) @ £12.00.

Samudri thali – a taster selection of seafood dishes

Shahi thali – a taster selection of meaty dishes

For main course, I had a samudri thali “a galaxy of seafood for the adventurous” @ £26.00 (included blackened salmon, a monkfish curry dish, rice, potatoes, etc) and K had a shahi thali “a royal feast of tantalising curries and tandoori specialities” also @ £26.00 (included a chicken curry and a lamb curry along with rice and veggies etc), and G had a selection of side veggie dishes (sag paneer @ £8, Bombay aloo @ £8, a mushroom curry @ £8, basmati rice @ £4 and naan bread @ £3.50).

Inside La Porte des Indes

For dessert, S had Indian tamarind sorbet @ £6.50 and G had Belgian chocolate mousse @£8.50.

Tamarind sorbet – seriously good, kinda tangy and completely unlike any other flavour of ice-cream or sorbet

Belgian chocolate mousse

Including a bottle of Chenin blanc South African dry white wine @ £29.00, our total bill for four came to £243.58.

The verdict: it’s not cheap but you get what you pay for – really good Indian food that’s a bit different. And waiting staff are very professional and attentive.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Indian (posh Indian)
~ Address: 32 Bryanston Street, London
~ Postcode: W1H 7EG
~ Nearest station: Marble Arch
~ Website + menus: La Porte des Indes website
~ Photos on flickr: images of La Porte des Indes
~ Location: La Porte des Indes map

La Porte Des Indes on Urbanspoon

Mildreds – vegetarian in Soho

Thoroughly enjoying being a tourist (and staying in central London) while G was in town earlier this week, we were out and about in Soho and more than ready for brunch by 11.30am on Wednesday.

Mildreds seemed like an ideal place to go to (G being vegetarian, and it having been on my hit-list for a long time) although we had to do a few laps around the block (Carnaby Street, so not a problem) as it doesn’t open until 12 noon.

Waiting for Mildred’s to open – brewing up a storm

We were the first in but then it filled up very quickly (it’s quite small – probably under 50 covers) and the take-away salad bar was immensely popular too.

First in – to the comforting sound of rain falling on the roof glass

We both ordered a fresh juice made of carrot, apple, beetroot and ginger @ £3.75 (so good we both slurped through our straws ’til our glasses were completely dry).

Juice (no, not that kinda Juice)

For a starter we shared Thai tofu fritters with mango, coconut and chilli sauce @ £6.25 (excellent; an equal alternative to my usual choice of Thai tod mun fishcakes when ordering Thai starters).

Thai tofu fritters + gorgeous mango, coconut + chilli sauce

For main course, G had a large mixed salad plate @ £7.95 (a selection of salads from the fresh salad bar) and I had a black bean burrito with red pepper and green tomatillo rice, topped with tomato salsa and cheddar with iceberg, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo @ £10.25 (again – excellent, and pretty spicy too).

Mixed salad plate – from the fresh salad bar

Black bean burrito + tons of guacomole and salsa too

Neither of us could finish our plates (disappointingly). The total bill for two came to £30.88, including service, which seemed very reasonable.

Mildred’s menu

The verdict: Excellent service (chipper waiting staff), really good menu choices (I was spoilt for choice and didn’t miss meat at all, even though I’m not a vegetarian) and excellent, freshly prepared food. I’ll be back. Hopefully soon.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Vegetarian
~ Address: 45 Lexington Street, London
~ Postcode: W1F 9AN
~ Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus
~ Website + menus: Mildreds website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Mildreds
~ Location: Mildreds map

More Soho dining:
~ Andrew Edmunds
~ Kettners

Mildred's on Urbanspoon

Cutty Sark pub – Greenwich

A Young’s pub with beautiful views over the River Thames taking in the O2 dome, the Cutty Sark pub is under new management (not sure since when, but don’t be put off by poor reviews for the former Cutty Sark Tavern).

Originally built in 1795, this pub – with its dark wooden staircase and walls, and cosy corners – offers a good range of craft beers including Hop Stuff pale ale from just up the river in Woolwich Arsenal (founded in 2013, Hop Stuff is London’s only equity crowdfunded brewery) and a selection of Greenwich Meantime brews.

Pork pie – packed meat, lovely jelly and perfectly crumbly pastry

I ordered ale battered haddock with triple cooked chips, mushy peas + tartar sauce @ £11.00, which arrived speedily. The fish was whale-sized and steaming hot, and the chips were huge chunks of potato, done light and fluffy. Gorgeous.

Whale-sized ale battered haddock + triple cooked chips

A and M both had a prime British cheese burger with skinny fries, ale onions, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise @ £11.00 (there was a bit of a wait for the arrival of one of the burgers, but they *were* worth waiting for).

A and B both ordered a ‘posh’ chicken kiev with bacon, scallion and truffle mash and hispi cabbage @ £12.00. There was nothing posh about it but it was a big plate full and went down well all the same.

Sample menu – Cutty Sark pub

The verdict: Great pub to while away a few hours on a weekend. It gets packed so it’s worth booking ahead if you’re planning to eat. Lovely, quaint historical feel. Gorgeous views and location. Great food (not cheap – it’s about £20 for a roast main course) and drinks selection.

Pub + dining info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British, pub grub
~ Address: 4-6 Ballast Quay, Greenwich, London
~ Postcode: SE10 9PD
~ Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Maze Hill, Greenwich
~ Website + menus: Cutty Sark pub website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Cutty Sark pub
~ Location: Cutty Sark pub map

Cutty Sark Tavern on Urbanspoon

2014 in review – LardButty stats

Those good old WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. You gotta love em.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.


And it’s a good start to 2015 for LardButty – up to 8th place (out of 1,000+ top London food blogs) on Urbanspoon’s London leaderboard.

It may not last long so here’s how it looks today:

Urbanspoon London blog rankings_LardButty number 8_Jan2015

Keep munching! Best wishes for 2015


Gordon Ramsay’s Maze – Mayfair

Gourmet five-course tasting menu experience – French and Asian cuisine

This five course dinner tasting menu with champagne for two was a very generous wedding gift to K and I earlier this year, from my old and much-loved university friend G.

A red letter days experience

The night before new year’s eve seemed like a perfect time for the booking – following an afternoon of retail therapy (mostly K’s) on Oxford Street, during our long Christmas holidays. And hopefully a climactic LardButty entry to end 2014.

Bar area purple decor and Christmas decorations

Arriving early so we could relax in the cocktail bar, K had a barrel aged old fashioned (Woodford Reserve bourbon, sugar, angostura and orange @ £15.00) and I had a margarita with salt foam (excellent Don Julio Blanco tequila margarita with all the salt but no mess @ £15.00 – the salt foam is made from salt, egg whites, xanthum gum and nitrous oxide and had a real novelty factor while looking like a lemon meringue pie too).

001_cocktails at Maze
Cocktails – orangey old fashioned and salt foam margarita

Tasting menu – click on photo to see enlarged copy

On being shown to our table, a waiter then sommelier explained the choices (with the vast wine list being presented on an ipad). We started with champagne, an amuse bouche of crumbly cheese, onion and salmon and some light and tasty cracker breads (mixed seed, chocolate, cheese, prawn cracker, paprika, and a variation on peas pudding).

002_crackers and amusebouche at Maze
Cracker breads + amuse bouche – a cheese, onion + salmon canapé

Flight of three wines from regional Spain – Louro, Navarra + a Priorat

To accompany a variety of foods, we chose a flight of three Spanish wines starting with a nicely dry white Louro, Rafael Palacio from Galicia, followed by a red Navarra, Emilio Valerio (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache blend) and a Priorat, Planetes, Nin Ortiz (Grenache and Carignon blend).

The first taster course was the English breakfast. How elegant does this look? Digging down into the shell, was a treasure trove of tomato and bacon pieces.

#1 English breakfast – egg, bacon + tomato served in an egg shell with soldiers and crunchy ‘hay’

For the next three courses, there was a choice of two dishes. We ordered one of each and shared so we got to try everything.

The cured salmon was served with mango, pickled onion and tempura crisp – an outstanding treat of flavours, while the octopus had the appearance and texture of a meaty sausage (albeit very tender), served with Szechuan pepper, tomatoes and rocket mayonnaise.

003_octopus and salmon at Maze
#2 Choice of octopus or cured salmon

004_dumpling and sea bream at Maze
#3 Choice of dumpling (seafood) or sea bream with enoki mushroom

The light, melt-in-your-mouth, gyoza-style dumpling was packed with lobster, tiger prawns and salmon. And the sea bream was just amazing – served with enoki mushrooms, dashi (miso soup base) and ginger, some of my favourite ingredients. For me, the sea bream dish was exceptional.

005_pork belly and duck breast at Maze
#4 Choice of pork belly or duck breast

On to course number four. Could it possibly get any better? Somehow it does, as each course thrills and delights just that little bit more.

The tender pork belly with a thin crispy crackling top was served with smoked bacon, tiger prawn and miso broth and decorated with bean sprouts and spring onions.

Again, the duck breast was tender with a perfectly crispy skin (we were so pleased to have recently discovered we both like duck breast) and was served with romanesco (beautiful edible green flower bud that tastes somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower), wild mushroom and lemon.

#5a Blackberry + apple sundae with custard

Swiftly following the blackberry and apple sundae (the first part of the fifth course) came profiteroles with chocolate, Baileys gel and ginger ice cream (divine) and cheesecake – a white chocolate log with ice cream, sprinkled with coconut and Szechuan powder (pepper) on a thin bed of pineapple (which was difficult to cut and could have benefited from being served with a sharp knife – my only, and very minor, criticism of the evening).

006_profiteroles and cheesecake at Maze
#5b Choice of profiteroles or cheesecake

To accompany the desserts we shared a glass of white Castelnau Suduiraut @ £13.50 and a red recioto corgegiara @ £11.00.

Dessert wines + a happy new year y’all

Everything about this experience was simply stunning from restaurant comfort, decor and atmosphere through to service, food and wine. I can’t see how our evening could have been improved. For that reason, Maze gets 5/5 in the LardButty index.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
~ Type: French/Asian
~ Address: 10-13 Grosvenor Square, London
~ Postcode: W1k 6JP
~ Tel: 020 7107 0000
~ Nearest station: Bond Street
~ Website + menus: Maze website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Maze food
~ Location: Maze map

Maze on Urbanspoon


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