Suda – Thai at Covent Garden

“The best chicken green curry outside of Thailand, guaranteed” claims Suda’s menu. A bold statement, no? I was sucked in, and had to put it to the test.

But first, S and I shared a starter of tod mun and prawn skewers (not ‘lollipops’) @ £5.95. The tod mun fishcake balls were perfectly squidgy and spicy, while the deep fried battered prawn balls were a pleasant enough texture contrast but not particularly exciting.

IMG_1642b_Suda_tod mun and prawn skewers
Tod mun + prawn skewers

For main course, S had kao pad pak ruam @ £8.25 – mixed veggies stir-fried with brown rice (healthy and tasty) and I had the Gaeng kiew waan gai – “the best” green chicken curry @ £11.00, which has a 2-star spice rating (an “intermediate” spicy level, and was spicy-tasty, not spicy-firey-hot).

Kao pad pak ruam – brown rice packed with tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers etc

At first glance the green curry looked very soupy and watery but the liquid was packed with flavours, particularly basil which I love. And the sticky rice @ £3.00 readily absorbed the juice.

Of all the green Thai curries I’ve eaten in the twenty years since I went to Thailand, I honestly can’t say if this was “the best” of them all (I can’t *remember* them all) but it was up there, ranking highly.

Chicken green curry @ £11.50 – gorgeous basil + nicely spicy flavours

To drink, I had a couple of glasses of Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc from Thailand’s Hua Hin Hills vineyard (my first wine from Thailand) @ £5.10 a 175ml glass – medium dry but with sweeter after notes than Chenin Blanc normally has, which made a perfect pairing with spicy food.

I was a bit of a sucker for these cute wooden carvings (table decorations) too, particularly the goat, with its tufty beard and tall horns:

IMG_1648b_Suda_ wooden table decorations
Table decorations – wood carved animals

The verdict: Spacious restaurant that felt comfortable and relaxing with its black patterned walls and dark decor and soft lighting; attentive and pleasant service and great Thai food, reasonably priced. If you’re in to puddings, the choice is limited.

Inside Suda restaurant – dark decor, spacious

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Place, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2E 9AB
~ Tel: 020 7240 8010
~ Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross
~ Website + menus: Suda website
~ Photos on flickr: Suda photos
~ Location: Suda map

Suda on Urbanspoon

Guy Fawkes Arms – Scotton, Knaresborough

Last Saturday was a gorgeously sunny and mild day in Scotton, a small village just two miles from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. A fine day to be celebrating my parents’ golden wedding anniversary at a country pub.

The Guy Fawkes Arms is under new management, and mum and dad had already done a recce (thanks for passing on the research skills, pops) and decided this was where they wanted to celebrate their fifty years of marital bliss.

Staff were welcoming, friendly and really helpful from the word go, and there was a good selection of real ales on tap from around the region (including Leeds Pale from The Leeds Brewery) and a good choice of wines too (we had a Viognier – dry white – with our fish courses, reasonably priced at around £25.00 a bottle).

IMG_1544_Guy Fawkes lunch menu
Sample lunch menu – click to enlarge

Our table for eighteen was in a separate room from the main bar area, just off the kitchen.

For starters I had seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – just gorgeous, with palate-cleansing ginger flavours and a generously sized fillet (more like a main course dish so quite filling).

Seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – starter

Feta, sundried tomato + olive salad with balsamic drizzle – starter

For main course, I had battered haddock with chips and mushy peas. The haddock was *huge* with the lightest batter I’ve ever had – it literally shattered when I put my cutlery in it. So good. The chunky fried chips were perfect too (soft in the middle, crispy on the outside) as were the minty mushy peas.

Haddock, chips and mushy peas – huge main course portion

IMG_1561_steak and ale pie
Steak + Black Sheep ale pie

IMG_1559_seafood linguine
Seafood linguine – with some mashed potato and mixed veg too

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Game breasts – pheasant, pigeon, partridge

Dauphinoise potatoes

Others had steak and Black Sheep ale pie in short crust pastry, seafood linguine with white sauce and parmesan (containing large pieces of filleted salmon and white fish), and a trio of game breasts + dauphinoise potatoes – pheasant, pigeon and partridge with a redcurrant glaze, for their main courses. No-one was disappointed.

This is seriously good gastropub food.

Sticky toffee pudding

For pudding, K had sticky toffee pudding *and* a cheeseboard of Wensleydale, goats cheese, Yorkshire blue and Cornish yarg (most of which ended up being taken home, unsurprisingly).

Cheeseboard – Wensleydale, Goats cheese and Yorkshire Blue, Cornish Yarg

The verdict: Quaint old country pub in a lovely location, excellent staff and service. With Martin Peachey as head chef (formerly at
Becket’s, top Knaresborough restaurant) the food is excellent – in a league of its own.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Pub, gastro-pub food
~ Address: Main Street, Scotton, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
~ Postcode: HG5 9HU
~ Tel: 01423 868400
~ Website + menus: Guy Fawkes Arms website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Guy Fawkes Arms
~ facebook page: Guy Fawkes Arms on fb
~ Location: Guy Fawkes Arms map

Nearby dining + drinking:
~ Black Sheep Brewery – tours + visitor centre, Masham
~ Carriages – Knaresborough
~ Drum + Monkey – seafood in Harrogate
~ Major Tom’s – craft beer + stonebaked pizzas, Harrogate
~ Storm at The Dower House – Knaresborough
~ Sukhothai – Harrogate, top Thai in Yorkshire
~ The Tannin Level – Harrogate

Guy Fawkes Arms on Urbanspoon

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!)

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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(1) and M both had a prime British cheese burger with skinny fries, ale onions, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise @ £11.00 (there was a long wait for the arrival of one of the burgers, but it was good when it eventually arrived – long after A and I had finished eating).

A(2) 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 plateful 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 (service is a bit hit and miss). Lovely, quaint historical feel. Gorgeous views and location. Great food (not cheap – it’s about £20 for a main course) and drinks selection.

Sunday roast beef (slightly tough + gristly) with vegetables cooked in goose fat @ £14.50

Pub + dining info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 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


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