Bird of Smithfield – Farringdon EC1A

Classy food in a Georgian townhouse, this restaurant is spread over several interestingly decorated floors

On our visit this evening we chose from this menu here. For starters, I had baked heritage beetroots @ £8.00 – very reasonably priced and outstandingly tasty. Just look at those beautiful big chunks of fresh celeriac with a good dollop of goat’s curd – a great mix of flavours along with the beetroot and balsamic and sorrel leaves:

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Baked heritage beetroots starter with goat’s curd, balsamic, celeriac, radish, sorrel

Another starter that went down very well was this pan fried foie gras @ £12.50:

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Pan fried foie gras with shaved turnip, kibbled onion, roasted duck consommé

 

Service was very slow and we had a long wait (and apologies from the waitresses) for food.

For main course, I had this wild Cornish turbot (so good, it was worth the wait!), served with fresh pasta, clams and butter:

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Wild Cornish turbot with hand-rolled farfelle, clams, celery, Swiss chard, shellfish butter

 

Creatively presented, this caramelised duck breast with a pie top looks almost too good to eat. Almost.

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Caramelised duck breast with crushed pumpkin, pickled red cabbage, spiced honey and a braised leg pie @ £23.00

 

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Bird of Smithfield restaurant – in a Georgian townhouse opposite Smithfield meat market in Clerkenwell, London

 

The verdict: Stunningly presented food that’s outstandingly good. The homeliness of the townhouse was very appealing, and the interior is really tastefully designed and comfortable. Service wasn’t great but I’ll definitely be back to try more of this menu.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: British, international
– Address: 26 Smithfield St, Clerkenwell, London
– Postcode: EC1A 9L
– Nearest station: Farringdon, Barbican
– Website + menus: Bird of Smithfield website
– Bird of Smithfield photos: Bird of Smithfield photos on flickr
– Location: Bird of Smithfield map

Bird Of Smithfield Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Rolling Stock Burgers – Haggerston

Huge beer garden – perfect for hot summer days

After a very weird interactive secret theatre experience at the King’s Head in E2 (some really-good-burlesque that turned into a not-at-all-good-zombie-apocalypse in a mucky-Hamleys-style pub full of dead animals; parodying From Dusk Til Dawn) L and I were ready to enjoy a drink, some food and the sunshine, late Saturday afternoon.

We hadn’t gone far along Kingsland Road before we came across Rolling Stock, set in arches next to railway lines. The inside space seems pretty cavernous with all the lovely old arches. Or maybe it seemed that way as it was empty due to the glorious weather. The few customers who were there, were outside enjoying the beer garden. And on the plus side, the Rio Olympics were on, on big screens, both inside and out.

 

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Huge beer garden

 

Bar staff were welcoming and jolly, but didn’t have a clue about the craft beers available, when asked. And at £4.80 a small can of beer, it wasn’t exactly good value. I guess that’s trendy Shoreditch for you but may explain why no one was here on a Saturday afternoon when other places nearby were heaving. No matter, I was glad of the peace and space.

 

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Burger with bacon – served in a seeded bun

 

L ordered a burger with bacon, while I had a rolling smoke burger @ £9.95 with lettuce and caramelised onions. They both included excellent skin-on chips.

 

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Let’s have a look inside…

 

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And see how pink the beef is in the middle – perfect, and the cheese is in the middle of the patty

 

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Empty inside on a hot Saturday afternoon – showing sports

 

 

The verdict: Great beer garden for hanging out on warm days. They describe themselves as an “arts destination” for local “creatives” (as is the whole Shoreditch area, surely?). It could be worth checking their website to see what’s on if you’re in the area. Great burgers and good bottled/canned beers.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Burgers, bar
– Address: 48 Kingsland Rd, Shoreditch, London
– Postcode: E2 8DN
– Nearest station: Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street
– Website + menus: Rolling Stock website
– Photos on flickr: Rolling Stock images
– Location: Rolling Stock Haggerston map

 

Honest Burgers – Spitalfields

Our team night out from work this evening ended at Honest Burgers, Spitalfields.

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Honest burger at Honest Burgers Spitalfields

 

Good burgers made from prime beef are all the rage and they’re not hard to find. I do wonder how all the big burger chains manage to differentiate themselves. But somehow they seem to.

My honest burger @ £10.50 made from dry aged beef packed with red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber (gherkin) and lettuce was meaty, juicy, tasty and *amazing*. Pleasingly, the bread bun was smaller than usual so it wasn’t over-facing.

It’s the onion rings that really stand out though – they remind me more of my homemade onion bhajis than regular onion rings, in that the batter contains fennel seeds providing a subtle aniseed flavour.

I had also ordered a portion of apple, beetroot and red cabbage coleslaw @ £3.00. It sounded delicious but it never arrived at the table. Not even when I chased it with the server. Which was probably a good thing, as I was full.

 

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Spitalfields restaurant – wooden interior

 

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Aha, mystery of the missing coleslaw solved…. Found spilt on the stairs on a trip to the loo (definitely don’t want it now…Just being ‘honest’)

 

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Honest menu

 

The verdict: Good honest burger. Just what it says on the tin.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Burgers
– Address: 12 Widegate St, London
– Postcode: E1 7HP
– Nearest station: Liverpool Street Station
– Website + menus: Honest Burgers website
– Photos on flickr: Honest Burgers images
– Map: Honest Burgers Spitalfields

 

Honest Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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

 

Mudville 9 – Traditional American + craft beer New York

After a fun-filled afternoon at Barcade in Brooklyn playing games like asteroids and drinking craft beer, we explored Williamsburg but struggled to find somewhere really appealing to eat. K had already got his eye on Mudville 9 – a traditional American restaurant with the largest selection of craft beer in Tribeca (over 150 beers) – so we headed back to Manhattan. Great choice.

 

The restaurant was busy and nicely buzzing on our Saturday evening visit. We were greeted promptly and experienced really efficient service throughout. Our server was really on the ball – she didn’t even write down our order but everything arrived correctly.

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Single portion (10) of wings @ $12.50

 

If ever there was a time to convert K from his dislike of chicken wings, it was here in New York, at a proper American barbecue and burger joint. We ordered a ‘single’ portion of 10 wings to share (a generous portion) with sauce @ $12.50. And guess what –  he’s converted and now likes chicken wings. Tick.

We ordered side dishes of truffle mac n 4 cheese @ $9.00 and onion rings @ $8.00.

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Onion rings, truffle mac n 4 cheese

 

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Mudville 9 food menu

 

 

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One of the drinks menus – craft beer

 

For main course, I ordered beer battered cod sandwich platter with tartar sauce @ $13.50 while K had a bar-BQ burger sandwich platter with Bonelick BBQ, hardwood bacon and onion rings @ $15.50. Both were served with hand-cut fries.

 

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Beer battered cod sandwich platter with fresh tartar sauce and fries @ $13.50

 

 

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Bar-BQ burger platter with onion rings and fries @ $15.50

 

 

 

The verdict: This was a seriously good meaty meal with an excellent choice of drinks. Given the size of the portions, it was really good value too. Good, straight-forward American food. I hope to visit again.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Traditional American, BBQ, burgers
– Address: Chambers Street, Tribeca, New York
– Zipcode: NY 10007
– Website + menus: Mudville 9 website
– Photos on flickr: images of Mudville 9 food
– Location: Mudville 9 map

Mudville 9 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pacata – burgers, curries, Asian fusion street-style

After a cultural Sunday outing in London – visiting the Soundscapes exhibition at the National Gallery followed by a coupla beers in a (fairly scuzzy) traditional pub – H, K and I wanted to eat out somewhere.

After much deliberation (over another beer of course) we decided on a Thai restaurant in Covent Garden that we’ve been going to for over 15 years. Initially disappointed that it was closed, we were – ultimately – delighted to stumble across Pacata while aimlessly wondering what to do.

Situated on New Row (a quaint, narrow side street just off St Martin’s Lane) Pacata’s shop-front is small and unimposing. A printed menu propped up in the window caught our eye – an Asian fusion menu serving dishes as diverse as burgers, Thai curries, steaks as well as ramen and pasta, all with an Asian twist and in the currently trendy ‘street’ style. Something for everyone, deliberations sorted.

The restaurant interior was appealing from the moment we stepped in, with its mish-mash of wood furnishings and eclectic lamp collection.

 
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Restaurant interior – downstairs space, creative lighting, wood wood wood
 

Ordering a bottle of Chenin Blanc, Stormy Cape 2013 (South Africa) @ 16.00, we chose these starters to share from the bar-snack menu:

~ Tod mun fishcakes – Thai fishcakes with chilli sauce @ £4.50 (slightly anaemic, under-flavoured and disappointing – the only weak link in the meal)
~ Popcorn chicken in larb powder – bite-size chicken snacks in a spicy coating @ £6.90
~ Beef skewers – with roast mushroom, spring onion and soy sauce @ £4.50 (yum!)

 

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Starters – Tod mun fishcakes, popcorn chicken in larb powder, beef skewers
 

For main course, H and I both chose grilled chicken breast served with mushrooms, green beans and Jasmine rice @ £12.95. There’s a choice of curry sauce (green Thai, Massaman or Japanese) – we both chose green Thai.

The presentation of the sauce was such that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience choosing how *you* want to eat this unconventional Thai green curry.

 
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Chicken green Thai curry – as served

 

So do you:

a) pour your green Thai curry sauce over the chicken first
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Sauce over whole chicken (H’s option)

 

or

b) cut up the chicken and remove bones before pouring your sauce (so more of the chicken is coated in curry)
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Chicken strips coated in curry sauce (L’s option)
 

Either way, it feels like a good and different experience, that engages you (the eater) to customise your Asian curry food in the way you want to eat it. Simple but effective.

K chose this tom yum chicken ramen with a twist: a complete chicken breast on the bone served in a tomato cream soup with egg and spring onions @ £12.95.

 
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Tom yum ramen – spicy tomato cream soup with egg and chicken

 

We were having such a relaxing, comfortable experience here we felt like lingering. And so ordered a round of digestifs (our waitress was unfamiliar with Courvoisier and took several attempts to serve it with “no ice” but at room temperature as it’s meant to be). Altogether, our bill for three people came to £127.00 including service.

I’ll be back. Probably for a ‘burger n beer’…

Restaurant info:
Sample menus:
~ Bar-snacks
~ Burger n’ beer @ £8.50 deal

~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai, Korean, Asian
~ Address: 4 New Row, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2N 4LH
~ Nearest tube stations: , Leicester Square, Covent Garden
~ Website: Pacata website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Pacata food
~ Location: Pacata map

 

 
Click to add a blog post for Pacata on Zomato

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.


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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).


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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.

 

Update Oct 2016:

 

Red Dog South at Clapham North, visited 2 Oct 2016:

 

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Kansas BBQ at Clapham North

 

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Red Dog menu – as of October 2016

 

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Wing sampler – 12 wings @ £14.50 with three sauces, we chose original buffalo (spicy hot), maple + bacon (interesting, a bit sweet, wouldn’t have again), teriyaki with spring onion + coriander (gorgeous)

 
 
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Carnivore platter @ £22.95 a head: a selection of slow cooked meats including smoked brisket, pulled pork, jerk chicken, sticky ribs, beef short rib, sausage along with three sides (we chose wedge salad, mac n cheese, sweet potato fries)

  

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5 – based on the Shoreditch and Clapham branches
– 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 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato