NY Fold

Meal courtesy of NY Fold

Attended and written by Ed @onehungryasian

dsc_4417London is pretty spoilt for pizza these days. You’ve got to contend with the old school classics; the guilty pleasure takeaways; the street food stalwarts going London-wide with multiple stores; newcomers with black charcoal based pizza (gimmick or no?); and, lo and behold, an ever growing awareness that there is indeed more than one style of pizza. Say it can’t be true?!

dsc_4428

Enter NY Fold, bringing a taste of NYC to the streets of London, and only a few minutes walk from the central theatre district. We were invited down for a meal to test out their flavours, and to get our hands on the infamous NY slices they’ve been churning out here, slices that are, as of earlier this month, award winning from the 2016 European Classic Pizza Championships for the UK.

dsc_4436The pizza here at NY Fold is huge, for a start. As with classic NY slices, these are cut from huge 16/20 inch pizzas and one slice is about as big as your face. They’re cooked up crisply across the whole pizza, but gives way to dense chewy bread, before layers of cheese (generally mozzarella) and toppings.

The base here is probably a bit thicker than a traditional NY slice, so while you can fold it in half lengthwise, it’s not entirely necessary as the crispy bottom holds up well when you lift it up. I’m a big fan of this change but beware if you go expecting an exact NYC replica!

dsc_4446We opted for 2 toppings on one 16′, with one half their special Hangover Christmas special, and the other half the Juliet.

The Hangover consists of egg, spinach, garlic, mozzarella, pecorino and oregano (the meat version has sausage instead of spinach). It’s basically brunch pizza, and it is incredible. It will kick your hangover to next week and wake you up. It’s punchy with the garlic, and loaded with enough carbs and cheese to cure any hangover guaranteed.

Our other half of the pizza was Juliet, a parma ham, fig jam, gorgonzola and parmesan loaded beast that was equal parts heaven and part guilty pleasure.

In short, NY Fold is churning out pizza to the London scene that is not only great tasting and unique, but great value. One slice is £3.95, 2 for £7.50 and I was pretty much full after 2 slices, not wanting to risk a third in case I fall asleep in a food coma during the show we attended after!

dsc_4420I’d not heard of NYFold much before my visit, but it definitely should be on your list, even if it’s to pop in for a flying visit to get your hands on one quick slice!

The Grill on the Market

Grill on the Market (11 of 35)
Lunchtime favourite – The Grill on the Market

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of The Grill on the Market.

This was already one of my favourite go-to places for lunch with close proximity to the office – The Grill on the Market has been constantly voted as one of the top places for steak in London. Alongside steak powerhouses, Gaucho and the Goodman chains, The Grill on the Market has one of the finest selection of steaks straight from Smithfields Market, where – it was formerly an execution site!

Focusing on no nonsense food, The Grill on the Market offers something more unique with a variety.

Premium quality steak that’s aged for 28 days to ensure tenderness and flavour

Situated in the middle of the Square Mile, the restaurant is catered and suited for business meetings, party bookings and more.

Seafood is abundant on the menu – namely their oysters, fish and lobsters. Not to mention, brunching on Saturdays here would give you unlimited glasses of bubbly!

 

The meal:

Grill on the Market (3 of 35)
Mint Tea
Grill on the Market (6 of 35)
Smoked Duck Salad £7.00

We chose to have an appetizer to start off with. The Smoked Duck Salad came neatly presented with an assortment of quaint toppings. Walnut dressing gave it a nice nutty kick and completed the balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes, savoury and sweet flavours co-existed with cheddar cheese topping and raspberry vinaigrette. The duck itself was tender and a light touch to start the meal.

Grill on the Market (12 of 35)
Sirloin (Big Boy cut) 340g

If only I could portray how fine the quality of these meats are through the blogging platform, but who knows, 3D blogging may come into existence in the near future!

I went for the big boy cut at 340g (I know.) A salad side was chosen instead of the hand cut chips complement – feel free to ask your waiter to do a bit of a mix and match to suit your dietary requirements. Sides on offer vary from Heritage Roots and Greens to Buttered Mash Potato.

The sirloin steak was succulent. Aged on the bone for a big beefy flavour. It is recommended to be served medium, I went for a cheeky medium rare.

Grill on the Market (15 of 35)
Rib Eye option for Liam

The juiciest cut they say – and it certainly looked it Liam also opted for medium rare complemented with good quality hand cup chips. These steaks are best eaten without sauces, as they contain enough flavour themselves. Peppercorn, Bernaise, Chimichurri and Red Wine & Shallot sauces are available for those who want to go the extra mile though.

Grill on the Market (18 of 35)
Have it however you like it! Delectable.
Grill on the Market (21 of 35)
Sides – onion rings
Grill on the Market (23 of 35)
Medium rare cut
Grill on the Market (25 of 35)
Sauces too, Bernaise and Chimchurri
Grill on the Market (27 of 35)
Sticky toffee pudding £6.75

We were running short of time on our lunch break but we just had to squeeze in their signature dessert. The stick toffee pudding was moreish. Definitely suited for those with a sweet tooth. Fresh from the oven, so much so that it was still steaming with vanilla ice-cream oozing its way out of the center, it’s definitely one of the best cheat-meal desserts you can go for. The sponge itself was soft, soaked in nectarous toffee..

Grill on the Market (30 of 35)
Couldn’t get enough….

Service: Can be a bit slow if you miss the timing in grabbing their attention. If you’re in a hurry for lunch, let them know when ordering. The waiters know their stuff. Simply ask if you’re not sure how you want your steak or what sauce to compliment it with!

Bits and bobs:

  • Membership with The Grill on the Market can get you between 20% to 50% off your food bill all year round

Price: £££

The Grill On The Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

Shake Shack

Shake Shack
Probably one of the most visited burger joints since its opening Shake Shack

History and Background:

Everyone knows Shake Shack, everyone’s seen Shake Shack, everyone’s probably eaten at Shake Shack. On several occasions it has been my choice of food for working lunches with Pete, Grace and Daisy. Shake Shack opened in 2004, and went big in America. 34 locations across the US, with an anticipated IPO of $10 million back in Dec 2014, it sure is worth that much. Centrally located in Covent Garden in the main square, groups of people come flocking daily to grab a quick bite of the antibiotic-free Angus beef burgers. The heavy accentuation on how only natural and premium ingredients are used, makes this the place to go to, over its other fast-food competitors.

The meal:

Shake Shack
A typical single ShackBurger £5.00

You can choose between a single or a double burger, £3.00 extra for a double.

  • ShackBurger – cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ‘Shack Sauce’
  • SmokeShake – cheesburger topped with British free range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce £7.00
  • ‘ShroomBurger – portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce
  • ShackStack – (favourite) – cheeseburger and a ‘shroom burger with the same toppings
  • Bacon, Cheese and ShackSauce additions are £2.00, £1.00 and £1.00 respectively
Shake Shack
Cheese Fries £3.75
Shake Shack
SmokeShack Burger

Unlike most burgers, they use very soft buns, the actual meat of the burger is on the thin side, and the lettuce can be more generous but all-in-all, Shake Shack burgers are easy to eat, great for the taste buds, and served pretty quickly. (I think you would probably classify them as a fast-food chain). Cheesy fries are heaven, they’re my favourite. Crinkle cut Yukon fries, crunchy, and not oily.

Shake Shack
Shack Stack and Cheesy fries combo is my norm….

Other choices on the menu include Flat-Top Dogs, Frozen Custard, Shakes, Ice Teas, Root Beer and Wines. Oh and dog food….

Shake Shack
The portobello mushroom overtakes majority of the space inside a Shake Shack burger

Service: Quick service, friendly staff, they will collect your food for you when the buzzers ready. Very casual, almost very American.

Bits and bobs:

  • Large outdoor seating area, rare to get an indoor (may have to queue for a seat sometimes.)
  • Open 11am-11pm every day, but Sunday where it closes 30 minutes earlier
  • Expect queues at peak times

Price: £

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Flat Iron

So everyone’s talking about Flat Iron, what do you think?

History and Background:

Situated on the edge of Soho – or what I just call Oxford Street. Opened for a few years, word of this place had never really gotten around as it had started as a pop-up, but now with solid ground and having gone permanent, the food has been the talk of town. If you want great steak and at affordable prices, Flat Iron is the place to go to. Queuing to get in is part of the experience, as they have a ‘no reservations’ policy, queues can be an hour long, but don’t worry it’s worth the wait (see ‘the bits and bobs’ below).

They have a few branches. Soho, Covent Garden, Shoreditch.

The meal:

The menu is kept simple. There is the signature flat iron steak for £10.00, and off the menu specials such as Wagyu Beef for £18.00. These are random and may run out by the time you come in the evening, so be sure to head out early if you’re looking for something other than Flat Iron.

DSC08938
A little something given to you when you’re sat down at the table
Wagyu Beef served with house leaf salad for £18.00
Flat Iron Steak with house leaf salad £10.00

Sides are an extra to the bill:

  1. Dripping cooked chips – £2.50
  2. Creamed spinach – £3.00 (highly recommended)
  3. Market Greens £2.50
  4. Sophie’s salad – £3.50 (Blue Cheese, Candied Pacans, Lemon Dressing)
  5. Roast Aubergene £3.50 (Tomato, Basil and Parmesan)

Sauces are £1.00 extra.

  1. Bernaise
  2. Fresh Horseradish Cream
  3. Peppercorn
  4. Fred’s Sauce
Fresh and succulent. Pity it was actually quite warm by the time we ate it… we took time taking photos.
DSC08951
Roasted Aubergine was top notch. I would definitely order this one.
DSC08952
Nat, Kathy and Mel were my lucky lucky eating companions that day.
DSC08955
Simply picturesque…

Service: Food came quick, the staff were always cheerful. There was a guy who greeted us upon arrival who had a purple beard. Very trendy staff.

The bits and bobs:

  • If you choose to wait you can be given something that buzzes when your table is ready while you nip down to a local pub
  • Go on a Sunday, or go at opening time at 12pm. No queue and plenty of seats
  • Flat Iron operates on a table sharing system – since the restaurant layout is set in long tables
  • There’s actually a dessert menu if you ask. We didn’t.

Price: £

Flat Iron on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Homeslice Pizza

DSC01645

History and Background:

A small post for a small restaurant that serves one of the largest, if not, the largest pizzas in London. This pizzeria is already very well known amongst the people in their low-mid twenties, serving American style pizza with wood-fired ovens, hand tossed, and homemade. A very trendy place, very pub-like, with beers and drinks accompanied with pizzas in abundance, loud music that fills the room and almost 90 minute queues to get in for a slice, this restaurant sure knows how to pull people in. Started up in the courtyard of an East London Brewery, Homeslice soon moved to Covent Garden for a more permanent setting. Opened in June 2013, situated in Neal’s Yard (Seven Dials), and only pizza is on the menu at 20 inches for £20.00. For which you can order as a whole or by slice at £4.00 per slice. Options are available for mix and match offering some very unique flavours such as bone marrow.

The meal:

Salami and cheese, and the other half mushroom

 Due to the enormity of the pizza, it can be very sloppy, but nevertheless tasted amazing, all the juices and condiments intact, savoury yet sweet. It was scrumptious. You can see just how large it is by comparing it to Kinhoe’s pint of beer. Unfortunately even with my SLR camera with me, Homeslice lighting was awful, you can’t really take any photos and I had to result in using flash from snapchat… Yes, snapchat..I would be sure to try again during the day time, where possibly there would be less of a queue… and therefore better photos!

Gigantic, colossal, humongous @ £20.00

My second visit with Daisy was also on the weekend, with 45 minute waiting time, some better photos below:

Bone Marrow and Mushroom options with Homeslice
IMG_5505
Because one photo isn’t enough

Service: Very trendy staff, between I’d say 20-30 years of age, all very friendly and down to earth. They also start busting some moves when their favourite song comes on. They also take orders with an iPad. Modern huh?

Bits and bobs:

  • They do takeaways
  • Very long queues, and very crowded

Price: £

Homeslice on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Bubba Gump Shrimp

Mel, Daisy and Wendy having fun with the friendly staff at the American chain, Bubba Gump

History and background:

Forest Gump fans and seafood lovers squealed of excitement when news broke out that the popular American chain Bubba Gump was coming to London. With seats for 400, spread across two floors, plus a memorabilia souvenir shop, it became an attractive and appealing place to go.

An extensive range of dishes from lobster linguine to the more traditional signature dishes, and motivational movie quotes taken from the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the opening of this restaurant in September 2014 was a very welcomed one.

The meal:

This wasn’t a great meal. Don’t let the food photos fool you. With basically everything breaded or fried, I guess it really lives up to what people think ‘American’ food is. SImilar to KFC or McDonalds, where we would be exclaiming how good the food is once you’re eating it, but in reality the after effect leaves you pondering why you ever ordered them in the first place.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms £5.95 A

Well we all know how much I like mushrooms, this was actually pretty good, but I really recommend ordering something like this and then add a salad or something less greasy. Greenbow County Favourite, topped with Parmesan Cheese

Lobster Linguine £16.75

There’s a bit of recycling going on here with the ingredients, but I’m not sure what. Very buttery also. This dish wasn’t that great, fish topped with very fattening sauce. Tender Lobster sauteed with Broccoli in Lobster Sauce, served over a bed of Linguine.

Shrimp Shack Mac & Cheese £8.25

Noodle mixed with sauteed Shrimp, Cheddar, Montery Jack and Parmesan Cheese. Topped with golden brown Bread Crumbs. Good. But can you see where this is going? Not a surprise that we got very sick afterwards… the Bubba Gump Shrimp menu isn’t exactly the best when it comes to healthy options…

Shrimper’s Heaven £19.50

As timeout also insinuated, this is a rip off, most of it was raw cabbage with a layer of the so called signature dishes. Cheap fries too. Not impressed with it at all. The sauces tasted like they came from cheap, mass produce, no authenticity at all.

Hand breaded Coconut Shrimp, Peel n Eat Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, Japanese style Tempura Shrimp with Fries, sauces like Tangy Asian, Cajun Marmalade, Zesty Cocktail
Shrimps everywhere at Bubba Gump. Be sure to try… but not to everyone’s taste buds!
Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken £12.95

This is what Wendy got, it looks unimpressive. Not sure about the taste but considering the amount of fried food and starchy condiments we had, she probably didn’t even enjoy this. Looks like KFC doesn’t it? Well go for KFC. It’s cheaper, and tastier.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae £6.25

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookie served warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, peanuts and lots of whipped cream! This was unbelievably good, probably the best thing from here. I love warm cookies – can get a bit sickening with the caramel and the cream, I can’t take things that are too sweet!

DSC07427
Alabama Brownie
DSC07426
Best of the Best Sample The Hook, Line, and Sinker £8.75

The Best of the Best Sample dessert is probably the least impressive of the desserts. The warm cookie dough didn’t even taste anything like the actual warm cookie dough I had. The others… the sponge cake looking one was so hard, and probably came straight out of the fridge, not fresh.

Warm cookie dough…. scrumptious
Brownie services warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with expresso sauce and whipped cream

Brownie and cookie dough is probably one of the desserts I’d come and eat again, and I’m not a big chocolate fan, but it was good! Less on the cream and it would be even more perfect.

Service: An attempt at the American style of serving doesn’t really work here in London, too enthusiastic and very overstaffed.

Bits and bobs:

  • Try and vary what you order. Although I’m sure you would see a lot of the same ingredients in each dish
  • If you like quotes, spend some time reading the ones up the stairs, some are very inspirational!

Price: ££