Southbank Food Market

This post will not be laid out in its usual formality but rather a mosaic style review over Peonie and Steph’s (@cameraeats1st) attendance at the Southbank Centre Food Market 1st birthday festival.

Here’s a run down of what they ate!

One of the main food markets, Southbank Centre Food Market, in London, recently had its 1st birthday party held on 1 April to an evening of festivities and most importantly food! Arranged by @katymarketfresh consisting of a series of well known Southbank Centre food traders, Sambal Shiok, The Hop Lockers and more.

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Cajun crawfish balls from @hankspoboys
Proud Boy - White fish blackened with spicy seasoning in a buttermilk bun
Proud Boy – White fish blackened with spicy seasoning in a buttermilk bun
Hanks’ Po’s Boys

A well known food trader seen at Southbank and Kerb focusing on meat filled sandwiches with a New Orleans twist. Succulent, juicy and spiced up, you’ll be in for your treat with signatures such as their Cajun Crawfish Balls and a good bargain for money too.

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Elephant Juice’s energising fresh fruit and vegetable juices
Elephant Juice Bar

Established in 2008, Elephant Juice Bar has been prominent in the street market and music festivals scene, a stall not common amongst the heavy meat traders and burgers galore. 100% fresh ingredients with fruit and vegetables sourced locally. Makes a good refreshing drink after all the carbs and protein consumed on the day!

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Horn OK Please’s authentic Indian vegetarian bhel puri and Moong dal mini dosa combo boxes
Hork OK Please

Another trader no stranger to food markets, Horn OK please has established a reputation as one of India’s finest for its authenticity and contemporary Indian street food. A regular at Borough, KERB, Southbank and probably more.

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The Frenchie’s famous duck confit burger and melted cheese sliders
Frenchie UK

I first tried my first frenchie burger at Camden Market and was amazed how they can grill duck confit to something mouth watering. Brioche bread finishes it off in style – a must try if not had before. Plus you can’t go wrong with duck fat chips with truffle mayonnaise… my mouth is salivating already.

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Katrina cake slice with graham cracker layers and marscarpone cream cheese frosting from Outside Tart
Outside Tart

Of course Peonie and Steph Y finished in style. Katrina cake slice is more than one’s fair share. An authentic American bake shop and cafe that occasionally appears in street food trading from time to time.

The Lexington

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of The Lexington

Home to a variety of gigs and a foundation for all things social, The Lexington pub is popular favourite situated on 96 Pentonville Road. The lounge bar/ main bar is open to the public and is free entry, the gigs and events are usually held in the club room.

Upon our arrival, a relaxing atmosphere but also a light buzz can be felt around the room, seemingly filled with visitors waiting for the gig of the night to start. Not to mention, we spotted Peter Crouch in the room enjoying his pint of beer on a Friday evening.

Nathan Perrin leads the kitchen which has led to the creation of a pie section on The Lexington Menu. The pies here are award winning, having recently received an accolade for the Beef Bourguignon pie.

The meal:

I don’t often eat pies but to have a review specifically focused on pies it’s a great opportunity trying it in a pub renowned for it. The Lexington is very quintessentially British and pies are as British as it can be. Gravy, meat, burger, pies and a good ol’ pint.

The Lexington (16 of 18)
Beef Bourguignon pie with carrot and swede mash £10.50

I chose their signature, the Beef Bourguignon pie. Buttery and thick pastry with steaming beef filling doused in savoury carrot and swede. Heavenly. The pastry itself could have been hotter but the filling itself and the mash was served at the right temperature. I like my food served steaming hot so it gives me that leeway of 30 seconds for photos!

The jerk chicken Deji tried was just as tasty, the jerk chicken tender and complemented well with the sweet potato. Not too heavy as we ordered sides such as greens to go alongside the pies. Gravy was thick but also liquid enough to act as dipping sauce to the pastry. All in all, a very good meal and a very satisfied stomach. Thanks Nathan!

The Lexington (15 of 18)
Jerk Chicken with Sweet potato £10.50

Service:  Casual dining but when you need help they’re very welcoming.

Bits and bobs:

  • They have events at The Lexington and there is space available for hire.

Price: £

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

Mien Tay

History and Background: 

Meal courtesy of Mien Tay (Battersea)

It was actually back at the end of November when I visited Mien Tay but has been caught up in the midst of all the backlog I’ve had since. A family run restaurant rich with tradition in the heart of Clapham. UK residents far and wide have constantly recommended Mien Tay as a Vietnamese favourite in London. Holding acclaim in The Evening Standard, Metro and Time Out – we were here to try out Mien Tay’s new restaurant menu launch come 2016.

Opened in 2008, a restaurant that seats 80, usually can be seen with a queue in the Clapham branch, flocked by locals eager to get their spring roll and clay-pot curry fix for the night.

The interior is somewhat run-down but don’t let that fool you – it’s a place great for catch ups, casual dining and party bookings. You’re here for the food not for the fine-dining, plenty of that else where, and what’s even better, is that its cheap.

The meal: 

Mien Ty (11 of 22)
Whole Grilled Semi-Dried Squid with Sweet and Sour Dipping sauce
A new starter, the whole grilled semi-dried squid. Unfortunately I wasn’t such a big fan of this as I am accustomed to either boiled squid, battered squid, or completely dried squid. With a completely dried squid, you see these often in Asia as a street food snack where you are able to strip these like ‘cheese strings’. The semi-dried squid was very chewy but did not have enough moisture to tempt me for more. The sweet and sour sauce made a great dipping sauce for it though.

Mien Ty (19 of 22)
Mains – Stewed Snakehead Fish
After being welcomed with Mien Tay Classics such as their Vietnamese Summer Rolls, we moved on to trying the new dishes rolled out for 2016 with mains such as Stewed Snakehead Fish. My first time trying this fish – a meatier texture but not as hard cooked as sword fish. Seasoned strongly with trimmings and chilli, adding more flavour to the dish.

Mien Ty (6 of 22)
Deep Fried Monkfish with Salt, Pepper and Garlic
This was one of my favourite dishes of the night, I love all things associated with fish. A starter, the – Deep fried Monkfish had just the right about of pepper and garlic, prepared over crisp coating of battered fish. The insides soft and tender, creating a melt-in-your mouth sensation.

Mien Ty (7 of 22)
Pomelo Salad with Chicken and Prawn
I am very big with pomelo, I have this almost every day at home, which may give reason as to why Vietnamese cuisine is one suited to my appetite. The pomelo salad was very refreshing, with processed Vietnamese chicken it really reminds my of my grandma’s cooking who grew up in Saigon for most of her youth.

Mien Ty (14 of 22)
Kohlrabi Salad with Squid

Mien Ty (17 of 22)
Whole Grilled Poussin with Honey and Herbs
The poussin was very tender, and when honey roasted you can’t really go wrong. A good dish in all but something that could be made at home – I would suggest to venture out with more exotic Vietnamese dishes on the menu. If you’re craving honey roast by all means go for it though!

Service: The Mien Tay restaurant family are very welcoming – they’ll be one of the most formidable hosts you’ll find. Friendly and not intrusive.

Bits and bobs: 

  • Another branch more north of London – Shoreditch and Hoxton
  • It’s a BYO establishment
  • Party bookings available

Price: £

Square Meal

Mien Tay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shanghai Supper Club

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Fine dine with Shanghai Supper Club

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of Shanghai Supper Club

Supper club reviews are becoming more of a frequent appearance on eatwithsteph and with so many reasons for this. They are addictive. With many predicting this is the new thing for 2016 – why you say? People need different dining experiences. It’s not just sitting in a typical restaurant having your standard 3 course meal anymore. The London food scene has since evolved.

Shanghai Supper Club is run by Lillian, who was brought up in Shanghai cultivating her culinary skills alongside her Grandma’s home-cooking. Shanghainese cuisine is not common in London and most certainly non serves the Sheng Jian Baos which Lilian is most notable for.

Lilian herself is a one-woman powerhouse, offering takeaway, catering, cooking lessons and of course her pop-up dinners. One guest explains she ordered 100 dumplings at a time from Lilian after developing an addiction to them!

 

The meal: (@£50.00)

Worthy to note that supper clubs are BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) – we had a chance to taste some of Elyse’s sake, her particular specialty, (if interested see uk.japan-gourmet.com).

Shanghai Supper Club (18 of 49)
Tofu Skin Roll

The drunken chicken and the tofu skin was one of my favourite starters. Fine knife work comes side by side when it comes to Shanghainese cooking. Something that is evident as you see the imagery throughout this post.

The tofu skin roll is wrapped over chinese vegetables creating a soft and chewy texture.

Shanghai Supper Club (20 of 49)
Drunken Chicken
Shanghai Supper Club (5 of 49)
Drunken Chicken

Drunken chicken was aromatic. Served cold, and are one of my favourite Chinese dishes, usually cooked with wine or alcohol, in this case with rice wine, a common ingredient in Shanghainese cuisine.

Shanghai Supper Club (15 of 49)
Finely chopped tong ho and tofu
Shanghai Supper Club (12 of 49)
Egg plant and sesame oil dressing

The egg plant was delicate and with sesame seeds and sesame oil seasoning, it became a very fragrant dish. The cubed tofu with tong ho was similarly refreshing but I tend to be quite picky with how I eat my tofu and prefer softened, silkier tofu. I think both dishes would have been even better served hot.

Shanghai Supper Club (14 of 49)
Finely chopped greens
Shanghai Supper Club (24 of 49)
Sheng Jian Bao!

Shanghai Supper Club’s most notable dish. Sheng Jian Bao – pan fried pork buns! Now I devoured this. The base was crispy and with the rest of the bun similar to a mantou. The dough was thick enough to give a soft texture, holding a meaty pork filling within. I was surprised at the amount of soup the buns have managed to withhold, each mouthful was as appetizing as the next.

Shanghai Supper Club (43 of 49)
Stir-fried rice cake with tat soi and chicken

The shredded chicken with glutinous rice cakes was chewy and moreish. I am so used to having rice cake Korean style it was nice to try this without the sweet and spicy seasoning that tends to overshadow the taste of the rice cakes themselves.

Shanghai Supper Club (35 of 49)
Octopus braised with pickled mustard green

This was a hit and miss with some of the guests I was dining with, some had never tried octopus before so it was a new experience! I loved the combination of the pickled mustard green with the octopus. This paired really well with simple boiled rice. Due to the seasoning it is salty in nature so I would recommend not having too much of it too quickly…like I did!

Shanghai Supper Club (26 of 49)
Couldn’t help myself but refer back to these dumplings

 

Shanghai Supper Club (37 of 49)
Hong Shao Rou pork belly

This is a classic Shanghainese dish and one which my mum also makes a lot. This was braised very well, seasoned with soy sauce and rock sugar to give it a savoury but also sweetened taste. It can take a lot of hours to prepare this, to braise it long enough so the pork belly meat crumbles away inside your mouth to give you a melt-in-mouth sensation.

Shanghai Supper Club (45 of 49)
Sticky rice balls with black sesame in fermented rice soup

We finished off with some tong yuen, or the English name glutinous rice balls in black sesame filling. I don’t think Lilian prepped the actual rice balls herself but it’s the way it has been served which is different. Her Shanghainese influence in this dish comes with the fermented rice soup where rice wine and goji berries have been added to boil, to create a very fragrant finish.

 

Service: Lilian and her family are very hospitable, with her sons welcoming you upon your arrival to her husband greeting you out as you leave the premises. ‘Service’ doesn’t really exist with supper clubs its more of a homely and welcoming affair.

Bits and bobs:

  • Lilian holds her supper clubs quite frequently. Best check her website for more information – you may not find it on sites like grub club.
  • BYOB!

Price: £££

Sake no Hana (Sakura Menu)

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of Sake No Hana and some photos are provided by Sarah, Fia and Peonie

A sushi fine dining establishment set in the centre of Mayfair. Revolving doors and centrally lined escalators at its foyer lead us to an elegantly designed interior, bamboo lines up the walls with pseudo-screened windows to facade the busy streets of St James. Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. 

Within a modern Grade II listed building and a 13 seat sushi bar, it’s an ideal place for post-work dinner or business meetings. Sake no Hana, as you would expect, has an extensive list of liqueur, from sake of various types to high quality fine wine. 

The concept this time for Sake No Hana is the cherry blossom season, a season very fitting by name. In fact, as I write this very post I am in Tokyo for that very reason. Hanami, which literally translates to “cherry blossom viewings” is a must do/ must see popular attraction in Japan around March and April every year. Sake no Hana successfully introduces this tradition to London with a Sakura Menu concept. 

As part of their new Sakura Menu roll out, intricate and exquisite cherry blossoms lines the restaurant’s entrance.  The delicate nature of this design continues with the ceilings interior. A different view day and night, both of which are as equally eye opening as each other. Be sure to visit Sake no Hana if you want to catch a glimpse of Japan now in London!

The bar at Sake no Hana has been transformed into a cherry blossom garden. It will transform from day, with falling petals, a grass floor, and moving blossom projections, to night, when the garden will be lit with hundreds of twinkling lights, paying homage to yosakura, or ‘night sakura’.

The meal:

The Sakura menu in question is £34 per head and full details are shown here

Created by Head Chef Hideki Hiwatashi, the new menu is available until 18th June.

Fia and Peonie attended on behalf of the blog. 

Cocktails were very interesting. Playful in nature with the added element of spray ‘perfume’ to add extra flavour their cocktails made from behind the bar. Gin based and there was violet, cherry and elderflower to follow the Sakura element to the evening. Tangy and sweet and yet refreshing.

The miso shiru consisted of edamame and tofu which was similarly unique, the miso albeit a bit too weak in flavour. 

More restaurants now use acrylic boxes which I have not found the reason as to why yet but it definitely does give the visual appeal. 

The bento boxes are available with either vegetable tempura, teriyaki salmon or teriyaki chicken. Fia and Peonie opted for the salmon and chicken as seen in respective photos. Keep an eye out on the bamboo wrapped Seabass sashimi, very fragrant and very tender. Bamboo wrapping allows to keep the flavours intact and ensure a fuller flavour. 

The salmon was firm and had a few bones in it, best eat this alongside rice or other condiments in the bento box as the salmon can start to taste a bit salty after a few bites given the strong seasoning. The egg mustard sauce is rich and creamy and there is also a healthier element to this as no butter or cream is used. 

The chicken was tender and also aromatic, with the shichimi sauce not too spicy and added a kick to it.

A Haiku reading was given on the night by little onion where rules on how to write a traditional poem was taught.

The night ended with desserts following the Sakura theme with cherry scented macaroons and sorbet. Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Service: Hakkasan Group excel in customer service you’ll find no issues here.

Price: ££

Square Meal

Sake No Hana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato