Bubblewrap Waffles

Food courtesy of Bubblewrap

Written by Reuben (@reubenwee91)

Bubblewrap has been making the popular Hong Kong egg waffles in London since 2015 and has now officially opened a store at Wardour Street within Chinatown (Such a strategic and convenient location)! Tony and Sunny lead a small close-knit team with their venture. Incredibly inspiring people who had turned, what had started off as an Imperial College project, into a proper business.

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HOW TO ORDER:
You first take a pick from three different base waffles – plain, cocoa and matcha – and then match them with your favourite type of gelato and toppings.

Once you made your pick (and paid for it), one of the workers picks the order and starts making your waffle. Your choice of base (waffle) batter is then poured onto the unique waffle machine. It smells absolutely amazing as the pancake-like batter sizzles on the hot iron. When ready, it comes out hexagon in shape and is then folded into a cone to contain the gelato and toppings. My favourite is the matcha base, topped with dark chocolate gelato and bananas.

Crispy and light on the outside; soft and fluffy inside. You feel absolutely good about eating them on any kind of day in London.

Tang London

Meal courtesy of Tang London

Eaten/ attended by Ed @onehungryasian 

Tucked away near Tottenham Court Road – this Fitzrovia noodle bar is well worth seeking out to satisfy that noodle craving.

In its small but comfortable setting, Tang’s menu encompasses everything from its small plates of dumplings, bao and fried chicken, to bowls of soupy and dry noodles, and rice.

Commendable as well is that the majority of dishes here can be ordered gluten free or even vegan if needed – a welcome change compared to most Chinese/Asian restaurants! Gluten free buns may lack the fluffy feel of classic bao, but when stuffed with the fried chicken or tofu and slathered in homemade miso sauce, will be the last issue on your mind! In fact, the mushroom dumplings and fried tofu were so enjoyable that I’d pick them over the friend chicken or braised beef – especially when slathered in the homemade chilli oil.

And what a chilli oil! I’m dedicating a whole paragraph to it because it is simply fantastic. Made from a special recipe that uses vegetables as a base instead of just onion/garlic, this is a chilli oil unlike any you’ve had before, and packs a serious umami-punch. Addictive like anything, and totally worth asking the restaurant if you can buy a small pot of to take home!

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And onto the main event – the noodles! Tang means, in Chinese, soup, so anything less than great broth would be a bit anticlimactic. Fortunately, the noodle dishes here back it up, largely. The bases for all their noodle dishes were surprisingly light, subtle in flavour but moreish. I personally prefer a more rich base, with deep flavour from long and slow cooking, but a spoonful of that chilli oil pretty much imparted the full flavour I was looking for.

DSC_6925My preference for much punchy flavours reveals itself in that my two favourite dishes were the cold noodle salad, and the beef and rice (both lacking in soup). The cold noodle salad is a more refreshing take on zha jiang noodles (minced pork and bean sauce with noodles) and is an absolute steal for only £6.50, and the beef was tender, unctuous and falling apart in a thick sauce. Perfection.

Desserts aren’t something the Chinese are known for, so you’d be forgiven for passing on the one dessert on the menu, a sugarcane shiso sorbet. Don’t. This was the perfect way to end our meal, and was a well made balance of sweetness and refreshing flavour that brought the meal to a close.

Tang London is a great noodle spot in London, no doubt. The more delicate approach to its noodles vs the ramen overload in past years is a nice change, and it earns extra points for so willingly catering to gluten-free eaters and vegans alike! Throw in the fact it’s fairly good value for money, and the chilli oil here borders on ambrosia, and its a winning combo.

 

Shikumen (O2 – Finchley)

Meal courtesy of Shikumen

Attended and written by Luxmmi V

Shikumen is one of the many restaurants in the o2 centre on Finchley Road. Whilst the centre itself is pretty standard, Shikumen’s sophisticated and smart interior stands out. We were there on Valentine’s Day meaning it was also pretty busy, although not overwhelmingly so.

img_3843After the Shepherd’s Bush branch gained popularity, Shikumen became known for its great value dim sum. Knowing this, we ordered the Cong mushroom dumplings, chive and prawn dumplings, the char siu buns and sticky rice in lotus leaf.  Although the sticky rice was slightly disappointing, the dumplings and buns lived up to expectations with great flavours and textures. The chive and prawn dumplings were especially soft and delicate. Most importantly, you really do get a lot of food for your buck. The majority of dim sum dishes are £4 for 3 pieces.

The mains didn’t disappoint either. The crispy duck and pancakes were better than most we’ve had, with the duck being carved in front of us (always a good sign). The stand out dish, however, was the grilled cauliflower. The charred cauliflower was perfectly crispy and came with black sesame and truffle sauce. The sauce initially was a bit odd. It had a weird tar-like look and consistency, with an equally unusual taste. It took some getting used to but eventually it became the best thing on the table.

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The mango sorbet dessert was pretty standard and a refreshing end to the meal. Unfortunately, the great meal was marred by the fact it took almost half an hour for the bill to arrive.  The staff weren’t as attentive as they could have been, but this could have been down to the Valentine’s Day rush.

Overall, the meal was tasty and well priced; if you ever find yourself in the o2 centre, definitely give Shikumen a try.

HKK Chinese New Year Menu (2017)

Meal courtesy of HKK and Hakkasan Group

Written by me!

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Michelin Star*

This blog is no stranger to the Hakkasan Group, when it comes to giving recommendations, these restaurants have always been high on my list! (see posts on HKK, Yauatcha, Yauatcha City, Sake no Hana, Hakkasan).

Chinese New Year is celebrated very well at HKK London  and the menus they create for this occasion often outwits the class and elegance of others.

hkk-2017-4-of-15HKK boasts a compelling dining experience from traditional Chinese dishes to high-end quality courses of fine calibre. Opened in 2012, it was the latest of the Hakkasan Group but was very quick to impress, with its culinary string of tasting courses. Chinese New Year is celebrated over a fortnight of festivities and culinary celebrations. HKK has geared up a tailored set menu for the new year inclusive of its famous Peking duck.

Chinese New Year 2017 Menu (available until 11 February 2017) (£93.88)

*Please note they also have a vegetarian menu.

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Started off with an amuse bouche of Kumquat flavouring (complemented with lime liquor and chinese spirits) the liquor was strong and sweet which offset the subtle flavouring of the amuse bouche. Both very citrusy. (We forgoned the Orchard’s flight soon after as we aren’t very good with alcohol!)

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Emperor’s bite of spring (king crab, white truffle, winter bamboo shoot). This was the first time I’ve ever had a pancake roll encased in gold and it was impressive, the king crab meaty and overall a nice light starter to it all.

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Second course was the Monk jumps over the wall (abalone, sea cucumber, ginseng) and third, Touch of the heart (lobster and pickle Chinese leaves dumpling, king crab with XO sauce dumpling and sea bass and shrimp dumpling). Both these courses come similar to the servings from last year but with a twist. This time with abalone and ginseng bringing a sense of familiarity to my tongue as my family would make this on special occasions. Very aromatic and great for your health too. You can’t leave a Chinese New Year menu without any dumpling fun and one of HKK’s signature courses cannot be excluded! Different dumplings again this time and my favourite out of the three visits here, the King Crab with XO sauce was my favourite. All of these parcels consisted of very meaty fillings with sauces erupting from every bite.

hkk-2017-8-of-15hkk-2017-9-of-15Imperial cherry wood Peking duck.

The peking duck also did a makeover, bringing in black caviar and fried foie gras illustrating class in the highest form. Never have I thought foie gras would go well with the skin of a peking duck and this was an absolute delight.

Followed by scallop noodles (yu fungus, lemon grass, royal stock) and Eight treasure chicken (guinea fowl, ginko nut, mangalica ham). The scallop noodles was the least impressive and this was mainly from the texture of the noodles in which the scallops were sat atop of. Unfortunately thought it was a bit over cooked and too soft. Eight treasure chicken though, was a visual delight with dry ice steaming from the bottom of the box weaving in and around the plastic wrapped the entree.

Our meal comes to a near end with pre dessert kum quat carrot cake, a consistent theme to this years Chinese New Year menu. Served with vanilla cream, orange foam plated around the  poached kumquat sponge cake. 

The real show stopper was the dessert, the century egg, a mousse-y affair with strong essences of coffee and hazelnut in and around the plate, some sesame on the side too.

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Shikumen (Finchley Road)

Meal courtesy of Shikumen

Written by Reuben @reubenwee91, published by Steph

Historical Background

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Shikumen, when directly translated, means “stone-framed door”. In a broader context, the Shikumen actually refers to a type of architectural characteristic that originated from Shanghai, defined by the stone walls and gates of a Shikumen house. Although shikumen houses are a  part of Shanghai, most of the Shanghai’s shikumen housing has been demolished.

overall-view-of-foodThe restaurant has applied some of this history onto its interior design: the black brick walls, intricate carvings of the walls and the wooden tables. Restaurant was decorated with random Chinese paintings and had a very simple layout. It was clean and service was quick and friendly.

The meal:

Xiao Long Bao, £4.50 for 3 pieces

xiao-long-baoI grew to love xiao long baos as I got older. The size of Shikumen’s xiao long baos were small, but that allowed you to put the entire bao into your mouth. I carefully lifted up the bao and dipped it into some vinegar and had it whole; the bao popped in my mouth and its rich broth burst out to the back of my throat. I was excited; my tastebuds were tantalised. I could not fault it, not even its size.

Yakitori Platter – Skewers of Beef with Crunch Chilli, Garlic and Sesame seed, Miso Marinated Salmon, Chicken Spring Onion, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Mixed Vegetables and Chicken Meatballs (£13.90)

yakitori-platterShikumen also serves skewers. I found the beef skewer the best out of the six. It was juicy and delicious, the chilli gave it a punch too. In fact, the chicken and salmon skewers were juicy and succulent too and were tasty indeed. 

Crabmeat and Prawn Dumpling (£4.20)

crabmeat-and-prawn-dumpling-2crabmeat-and-prawn-dumplingNice presentation and loved the salty pop of black ‘tobiko’ (flying fish roe). The steamed dumpling skin was thin and crabmeat and prawn were sweet and fresh. The tobiko gave contrasting texture at each bite; it was brilliant.

Prawn and Bean Curd Skin Cheung Fun (£5.90)

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Really like the cheung fun. They did not flood the cheung fun with soy sauce as the intention was to keep the fried bean curd skin as crispy as possible. The prawns were fresh and I liked how they added strands of black fungus to give it some crunch to the soft cheung fun. I thought it was one of the most delicious cheung funs I had tasted.

Grilled cauliflower with black sesame truffle oil (v) (£4.90)

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This had the strongest flavour out of the dishes served. The fragrant smell from the black sesame truffle oil and its incredibly thick and luscious sauce made it one of my favourites.

Scallop Siu Mai topped with Tobiko (£5.20)

This is actually one of my favourites too. The scallops were fresh; together with the prawns, they were perfectly steamed and came well as a combination.

Black Sesame Ball in Ginger Tea (£4.90)

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The skill is there, the filling within the ball was kept intact and the ginger soup (tea) was actually good. I liked the fiery gingery taste.

Summary:

Food is good, and should definitely order more of their dim sum when I visit the next time.

Slightly disappointed that they did not bring over the Musang King Durian Puff to the Finchley Road branch. That was one of the most anticipated dessert but it was not part of the branch dessert menu – you can try them out at the Shikumen Shepherd’s Bush (A must try, along with the Crispy Eel and Nori Cheung Fun)

overall-view-of-food-2Latest recommendation for classic dim sum with modern twists in London.

Chinese Cricket Club – Dim Sum Masterclass

Courtesy of Chinese Cricket Club

Attended and written by Ed @onehungryasian and published by Steph

DSC_3665.JPGWe’re fans of Chinese Cricket Club here at Eat With Steph. We previously checked them out for their Chelsea Flower Show menu, and they impressed us then with their fresh and flavour packed dishes, all presented beautifully and with a certain refined style similar to that you’d find at high end traditional Chinese restaurants.
I snapped up a chance to come back to take part in their dim sum masterclasses, especially as in the City area high quality Chinese restaurants (and especially dim sum ones) are hard to find!
We were presented with an introduction to Mailan, a dim sum master chef formerly from Hakkasan, who took us through how to make 3 classic dim sum items. First up was spring rolls, filled with freshly cooked vegetables and carefully rolled. Surprisingly easy to roll up once we’d learnt the technique from Mai. Next was chicken wontons, with their unique shape causing confusion amongst the group. And finally, the classic siu mai, which are served here with a scallop on top.
The chefs and Mailan are on hand to guide you through all the steps, and it’s a fun and hands on experience to introduce you to classic dim sum dishes, and earn your dinner!
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We followed this up by dining on some of the head chef’s speciality dishes including the special crispy duck and pancakes and sea bass covered in a unique garlic and ginger sauce. But the absolute stand out dish for us was the belly pork, braised for 5 hours then thinly sliced over a portion of sticky rice. That pork was SO tender, it quite literally melted in my mouth. Somehow the plate of it ended up by me for the majority of the dinner…
dsc_3671All in all, Chinese Cricket Club offers some stand out Chinese dishes in the heart of the city, and the fresh dim sum here is worth making the trip for. Get some friends together, book it in for a client dinner, but make the effort to do the dim sum workshop and try out the food here at Chinese Cricket Club!
The next dim masterclass is on the 21st November, and tickets are £35 including a glass of prossecco on arrival, a workshop including 5 dishes, unlimited tea and a goodie bag when complete. 

Malaysian Food Festival

Event attended by Reuben, invited by FourteenTen PR

What do most Malaysians miss most when living abroad? “THE FOOD!”

The Malaysia Festival 2016 was back once again at Trafalgar Square in London. The festival was meant to showcase the country’s food, culture, fashion and tourism, but it was the food stalls that attracted the most attention. Incredibly busy and vibrant on a sunny day in autumn!

There were about 20 food stalls serving on the day itself, offering a variety of dishes that were reasonably priced! At 12pm sharp, the food stalls opened and people rushed in to start their food adventure. I however started the festival with a cooking workshop with Chef Norman Musa instead.

We were brought to a cooking tent and there laid all cooking tools and ingredients for the recipe that we were about to cook: Kapitan Chicken Curry

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Chef Norman Musa was really friendly and always asking if we needed help.Once that was finished, went around the square and tried the authentic food.

Had Satay Chicken (£5.00), Beef rendang (£5.00), Mee rebus (£5.00), Tofu Rojak (£5.00), Roti canai (from Roti King), Peanut pancakes, Malay kuihs (6 for £5.00), Coconut shakes and cendol (£3.50).

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At 3pm headed to the Hospitality Area to hear a quick speech from the Minister of International Trade & Industry (MITI), Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed.

All in all the festival did not disappoint. Also, thanks to Malaysia Kitchen for the very kind goody bag!