Rox Burger – Lewisham SE13

Really good restaurants might be in short supply in Lewisham – Rox Burger is among the few leading the way.

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Rox Burger  – step inside off the Lee High Road

 

Winner of New Openings’ “London’s best burger” competition in March 2016, Rox Burger was awarded “best rated burger in the UK” in 2015 by TripAdvisor (and currently ranks #32 of 17,000+ restaurants in London as of June 2016). No mean feat. It was time to check it out for ourselves.

With a small entrance on the indistinct Lee High Road, you could easily pass by and miss it, as I did.

 

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Up the spiral staircase – special mezzanine area for the six of us

 

On arrival, our table for six is ready – it’s on the mezzanine, accessible by a spiral stairway. A great use of limited space, we welcome the privacy of having our own little dining room and – as there are two kids in our party – the freedom to move about in the space.

 

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Ground floor restaurant – viewed from mezzanine

 

We order drinks including some Kernel pale ales @ £4.90 a bottle and a small margarita @ £6.50, and a variety of burgers including the Rox Bacon – handmade burger with cheese, bacon, egg, jalapeno pepper, mayo in a brioche bun @ £8.95, and a veggie portobello mushroom – with cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, mayo in a brioche bun @ £6.00, along with two types of chips: sweet potato fries @ £3.20 and Rox fries with cheese and oregano @ £3.20.

 

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Burger menu  – click on image to enlarge

 

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Drinks menu – wines, craft beers, cocktails and more

 

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Rox bacon burger –  with cheese, bacon, fried egg + jalapeno pepper

 

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Portobello mushroom – with cheese, lettuce, tomato + grilled onions

 

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Another Rox bacon – in a brioche bun

 

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L: sweet potato fries @ £3.20, R: Rox fries with cheese + oregano @ £3.20

 

Rox Burger pride themselves on only using fresh ingredients, locally sourced – nothing’s frozen. The burger patty was really juicy and the bacon and egg were crispy. It’s a really good burger with interestingly seasoned chips too (oregano and finely grated cheese) – good for a change.

 

The verdict: Good service, pleasing use of space with quirky ‘home made’ furnishings (like the cushioned-pallet benches we sat on, on the mezzanine) and fine quality burgers. Probably all the more impressive for being in this part of Lewisham, where good eating establishments are a novelty.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Burgers
– Address: 82 Lee High Rd, London
– Postcode: SE13 5PT
– Nearest station: Lewisham
– Website + menus: Rox Burger website
– Photos on flickr: Rox Burger images
– Location: Rox Burger map

 

Rox Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

LardButty in Berlin – Peperoncino Italian in Kreuzberg

Following an afternoon at the Carnival of Cultures and beers at the Von Loon boat bar (on the Landwehr Canal) in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, we headed for Peperoncino on D’s recommendation. She used to live near here and this Italian restaurant was already tried and tested, and very much a favourite of hers.

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Peperoncino Italian restaurant in Kreuzberg, Berlin

 

Located in a somewhat residential area, the restaurant was busy with all tables taken. D had booked ahead knowing that it’s a popular spot with the locals.

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Inside Peperoncino – a popular spot

 

The restaurant is run by Adriano and Ewelina, and service was welcoming from the moment we arrived. Ewelina was so hospitable we had the impression of being pampered in someone’s own home, while Adriano created a special antipasto sharing platter for the three of us (off menu). Some prosecco bubbles seemed like a good way to begin.

 

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Special antipasto sharing platter – aubergine and bean mix (a ratatouille veggie stew type dish – this was especially nice), ham, salami, artichokes, mozzarella, and smoked cheese

 

For main course, K had a gnocchi special – black truffle stuffed gnocchi in a truffle/butter sauce (gorgeous but being quite rich, it was a small portion), D had spaghetti with prawns and I had gnocchi classico – in a tomato sauce with mushrooms, prawns and salami (very tasty, dense and filling so K helped me out once he’d finished his smaller gnocchi special).

 

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Gnocchi special

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Spaghetti with prawns

 

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Gnocchi classico 

 

We shared a dessert platter of profiteroles, fruity ice-cream and chocolatey-truffley-ice-cream:

 

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Dessert platter – as served

 

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Desserts – underway

 

 

The verdict: Tucked away in a neighbourly area in Kreuzberg, this was a top recommendation from D. A great find. The patrons couldn’t have been any more hospitable and the Italian food was very good. I’d certainly visit again when in Berlin…

 
Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Italian
– Address: Urbanstraße 137, Kreuzberg, 10967 Berlin
– Nearest station: U Südstern (U-Bahn station)
– Website + menus: Peperoncino website
– Photos on flickr: Peperoncino images
– Location: Peperoncino map

LardButty in Berlin – Café am Neuen See

When the weather’s fine enough to eat outdoors, Café am Neuen See restaurant and biergarten in Berlin’s beautiful Grosser Tiergarten is the place to be.

In a tranquil lakeside location, the beer garden stays open until sunset, serving beer – on tap and bottled – along with tasty Bavarian and Italian specialities like freshly made pretzels, weisswurst (white sausage) and leberkäse (meat-loaf), sourdough bread and stone baked pizza. Admiring the lake-side view and listening to the tweeting birds while sipping a cold weiss beer is a mighty fine way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

 

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Franziskaner weissbier and picnic benches at the biergarten in the Tiergarten, Berlin

 

The Café am Neuen See restaurant serves breakfast, and coffee and tea and cake throughout the day, as well as more extensive food options if you prefer something more substantial. But it really comes to life after dusk, once the biergarten closes and the restaurant’s outdoor area is lit up with fairy lights and candles.

 

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Fairy lights at night in the restaurant’s outdoor area

 

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Weissbier by night

 

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Flammkuchen – gorgonzola, pear and almonds

 

K and I order wheat beers and two flammkuchen (Alsatian baked flatbread) to share – one with pepperoni sausage and mushroom (this one has a tomato base, like a stone baked pizza) and one with gorgonzola, pear and almonds (no tomato sauce base) which is just stunning and delicious.

 

The verdict: Gorgeous food in a gorgeous setting. What more could you ask for?

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Alsatian, German (in Germany)
– Address: Café am Neuen See, Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787 Berlin (in Tiergarten)
– Nearest station: Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten
– Website + menus: Café am Neuen See website
– Photos on flickr: Café am Neuen and Tiergarten images
– Location: Café am Neuen See map

 

Tiger Inn – Cosy country pub Knaresborough

Situated in the village of Coneythorpe on the outskirts of Knaresborough, the Tiger Inn made for a handy stop for us, driving along the A1(m) to York last Sunday. We stopped for a pub lunch and were suitably impressed with our food choices and the range of drinks, including real ales and prosecco.
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Sea bass – seared fillet of sea bass with new potatoes, chorizo, baby spinach and orange @ £12.95

 

The menu offers Sunday roasts, steaks, a variety of pub staples like fish and chips or steak and ale pie, and some more international dishes such as Thai curry.

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Cosy country pub – nicely furnished

 

Between the four of us, we had these starters – the black pudding with ham  hock croquettes was the outstanding dish in this course:

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King prawn starter – with sweet chilli, ginger, spring onion and pitta bread @ £6.25

 

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Crispy black pudding starter – with ham hock croquettes and grain mustard hollandaise @ £5.50

 

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Brie starter – baked in crispy crumb served with sweet chilli sauce and leaves

 

And for main course, K had steak and ale pie @ £12.50 (really juicy, filling pie with perfectly cooked and salted chips), B and K both had sea bass (nice and light, served with a tasty mix of ingredients) @ £12.95 and I had Thai chicken red curry @ £10.50 (quite spicy and creamy without being firy hot):

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Steak and ale pie – shin of beef, local ale, short crust pastry with market vegetables @ £12.50

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Go on, have a taste – beef and ale in juicy gravy with vegetables

 

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Seared sea bass – nice and light

 

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Thai chicken red curry – with sticky coconut rice, pak choi, peppers and prawn crackers @ £10.50

 

The verdict: Great spot in the pretty village of Coneythorpe, handy for stop-offs from the A1(m). Good quality gastro pub food and pleasant service.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: pub, British, international
– Address: off Shortsill Lane, Coneythorpe, Knaresborough, HG5 0RY
– Nearest station: Knaresborough, Cattal
– Website + menus: Tiger Inn website
– Photos on flickr: Tiger Inn images
– Location: Tiger Inn map

zomato

The Stable pizza place – Whitechapel Rd E1

It’s been a fortnight of team lunches, after-work drinks and altogether much merriment. Seems like Spring’s on the way. And to celebrate Lottie’s birthday today we wandered over to the newly opened Stable on Whitechapel Road for a cheeky lunchtime cider and pizza.

 

The Stable is a new chain across the UK that takes pride in “best quality food” and a “keen interest in cider”. With over 80 ciders to choose from at this, the first branch in London, they’re not kidding.

 

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Former industrial space

 

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Lunch and pizza menus

Most pizzas are £11.00 – £13.00 but there’s a lunchtime offer between 12-3pm on weekdays whereby pizzas and wraps are only £6.50.

 

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Many ciders to choose from …and other drinks

 

There’s an extensive choice of both ciders and perries – on tap and bottled – at the bar. With such a wide choice it’s probably best to ‘try before you buy’. It’s a fiver for a pint or £2.50 for a half. I ordered a West Country Gold @ £2.50 (nice but too sweet for me, so I moved on to Devon Gold).

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The birthday girl having a taster or two… it’s a big decision

 

Sticking with the West Country theme, I also ordered a West Country salad which read as though it was pretty exciting on the menu – “crabmeat infused with red chilli, roasted red peppers, avocado…with a lemon creme fraiche dressing” – but paled into insignificance when the flat, stonebaked pizzas arrived at our table.

 

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Crab salad @ £7.00

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Hawaiian – dried pork loin (bacon), pineapple + avocado @ £6.50

 

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Pizza – the one with field mushrooms and roasted red peppers @ £6.50

 

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And another with dried pork loin

 

The verdict: It’s newly opened so it’s got the novelty factor for now. The industrial style space is pleasing, as is the choice of ciders. While the pizzas are really good, there are other good pizza places nearby (like Pizza Union) that serve freshly made, stonebaked pizza (much cheaper too). Worth visiting at lunchtime for the £6.50 pizza offer though.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Pizza, Cider bar,
– Address: 16-18 Whitechapel Rd, London
– Postcode: E1 1EW
– Nearest station: Aldgate East
– Website + menus: Stable website
– Photos on flickr: The Stable images
– Location: Stable map

 

The Stable Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

JinJuu Korean restaurant – Soho

Following a matinee performance of Bug The Play (disturbingly good) L and I arrive early for our reservation at JinJuu in Soho. Call it late lunch or early dinner – we’re both ravenous and thirsty and are ready to get stuck into some Korean food and drinks.

 

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Bo Ssam pork belly for two – twice cooked pork belly, marinated pork tenderloin, salad, cabbage

 

The restaurant is almost full despite being mid-afternoon, so between peak meal times. We’re taken to an alternative table that’s ready now (as we’re early) and order a bottle of prosecco @ £38.00 and munch on Jinjuu “bespoke ssam jang handmade prawn crackers” @ £4.00. Nicely spicy with a substantial crunch.

 

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Prawn crackers

 

The menu is exciting without being overwhelming (must remember to check out the special set menus on Sundays).

We order some squidgy and crispy dumplings to share:

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Mandoo – juicy steamed beef and pork dumplings seasoned with Korean spices, served with soy dipping sauce @ £7.00

 

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Short rib & Kimchi mandoo – crispy dumpling stuffed with braised beef, mushrooms + kimchi, with a dipping sauce @ £7.00

 

The dumplings are so good we only just manage to restrain ourselves from ordering more.

For main course, we tackle a Dwe-gi Bo Ssam Pork Belly platter for two @ £26.00, comprising:

  • Twice cooked large black Berkshire pork belly
  • Marinated grilled pork tenderloin
  • Dwengjang & gochujang glaze
  • Spring onion salad
  • Traditional homemade radish + cabbage kimchi
  • along with rice, tons of lettuce + Korean-style pork crackling

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Pork, pork, pork crackling, rice + more

 

We are no longer ravenous.

And so – for dessert – we share what’s meant to be a small portion of ice-cream but it arrives with four generous scoops:

  • Salted miso ice-cream with kkae kang jung (sesame candy)
  • Nokcha (green tea) ice-cream with nokcha rice topping

 

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Three scoops (shhh don’t mention the fourth) of ice-cream @ £6.00

 

We also enjoy a leisurely cocktail – I have a gorgeous, refreshing psy sour – Hwayo 41 (rice spirit or soju), Kamm & Sons (a bittersweet botanical spirit), red ginseng and honey tea, fresh yuja fruit, egg white, lavender bitters and ginseng candy @ £11.00.  And L has a lychee lover – lychee infused soju, lychee liqueur, aromatic bitters and prosecco @ £10.00.

 

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Psy sour – with sweets and entertainment. Cute.

 

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Ground floor restaurant and main bar

 

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Downstairs: basement dining area + kitchen

 

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Korean spam… apparently

 

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Pretty boy band posters in ladies’ loo cubicles

 

Wandering around the restaurant it’s hard not to find something that makes you smile, whether it’s the posters of pretty boys while sitting on the loo or decor that includes Korean spam designs.

Our total bill for two is £122.62 including tip (roughly £50 for food, £60 for alcohol). Ok so we’ve splashed out on booze but it is possible to have a mighty fine meal here without breaking the bank.

The verdict: It’s all a bit spesh. Go see for yourself…

 

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Korean
– Address: 16 Kingly Street, Soho, London
– Postcode: W1B 5PS
– Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus
– Website + menus: JinJuu website
– Photos on flickr: JinJuu images
– Location: JinJuu map 

Jinjuu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smith + Wollensky London – The Strand WC2

Smith & Wollensky opens first branch of restaurant chain outside USA – in London

 

Smith & Wollensky has opened on John Adam Street, just off The Strand in central London. Having enjoyed their steaks in New York, we were keen to give this new UK branch a try. My birthday was approaching and it just happened to coincide with an OpenTable promotion: prosecco, tomahawk steak, lobster and sides @ £35.00 per person.

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Cocktails at the bar

 

Arriving early, we had a leisurely cocktail at the bar. Service was attentive and my margarita @ £14.00 was made to my taste: not blended to slush with ice, and with a salt glass rim rather than sugar. K had an Old Fashioned @ £13.00. All good.

We were taken through the sumptuously decorated restaurant and downstairs to our table in the basement restaurant, where there was a business function going on in the bar area – busy with mostly male groomed suits and – we counted – two females.

 

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Basement restaurant

 

Perhaps foolishly – given we had a mountain of main course food coming – we ordered starters: crispy squid @ £9.00 and crab cake @ £18.00 (to accompany a glass of Prosecco each). The crab cake was particularly good.

 

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Signature jumbo lump crab cake

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Crispy salt + pepper squid with mango chilli sauce

 

 

For the main course – a sharing platter of 1kg of tomahawk steak and a whole lobster tail – we chose wild mushrooms and carrots as our two sides, all at £35.00 pp. Along with some French fries @ £4.00, and a bottle of Malbec @ £42.00. The steak was rare and tender in the middle and nicely charred on the outside. The lobster was served simply, with butter.

 

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This wasn’t a cut of steak I was familiar with but I’d have it again. Unsurprisingly, after sharing 1kg of meat, we were absolutely stuffed and thought we’d eaten all the best bits. Our waiter tried to tell us that the remaining burnt bits close to the bone were also good (a bit like burnt ends?) and somehow managed to cut off a load more. He was right, it was good. But we were defeated. Too full to even consider a doggy bag.

The verdict: Excellent cocktails and steak in a classy, elegant space (the footman on the door is a good indication of the level of style – bordering on stuffy). A whole host of serving staff looked after us during our meal – some better than others, and were quite full on (a continuous stream checking if everything was ok. It still was…). Somewhere to go for a special occasion when you’re after a bit of pomp.

 

 

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Steakhouse, American
– Address: The Adelphi Building 1-11 John Adam Street, London
– Postcode: WC2N 6HT
– Nearest station: Charing Cross
– Website + menus: Smith & Wollensky website
– Photos on flickr: Smith & Wollensky pics
– Location: Smith & Wollensky map

Smith & Wollensky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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