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.

 

Cafe Monico

Meal courtesy of Cafe Monico
Visited and reviewed by Vicky
cafe-monico-soho-2Cafe Monico is part of the Soho House Group so you know it’s going to be a polished affair. And it was.
We were shown to our table on the mezzanine floor right by the window so we could watch the buses and tourists go by on one side and on the other we could see the enormous and stunning chandelier leading your eye down to the central bar on the ground floor.
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There is white linen on the tables, green leather chairs, good music playing, nice staff and a wonderful atmosphere. It feels like a wonderfully stylish place to brunch.
The Food
This European brasserie serves French-Italian dishes from breakfast through to dinner, seven days a week. Inspired by the original Cafe Monico, established nearby in 1877, the menu consists of shellfish, pastas, salumi, grilled meats and fish.  We were dining from the Sunday Brunch menu.
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There are of course the standard brunch items on the menu at Cafe Monico – croissants, eggs, french toast and fruit – but I like having the option of having a heartier brunch every now and then. And this menu is great for that.
Whilst we perused the menu we enjoyed a glass of prosecco and snacked on the bread and gorgeous salted butter. We ended up with a very seafood-centric order!
To start we ordered the cured salmon and cucumber and a portion of calamari friti with aioli. I couldn’t believe the size of the portion of salmon that arrived. Thick slices of fish partnered with sweet pickled cucumber was a lovely way to start the meal.
The batter surrounding the calamari was light and crisp and who doesn’t like a whole pot of aioli to dunk it in!
I usually ask the waiter what they recommend when I dine somewhere new, and this occasion was no different. Our friendly waiter was happy to help and talked us through all his favourite dishes! He pretty much professed his undying love for the crab ravioli so we knew we had to order it.
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These perfectly cooked parcels of pasta were stuffed full of delicate crab meat and dressed simply with butter, black pepper and chives. The flavour in these ravioli was just remarkable, I’ve been thinking of them ever since!
The veal milanese was also a recommendation and it was very good too. I drenched the crispy breadcrumbed veal in lemon juice. I find it so moreish!
To finish we ordered dessert that we really didn’t have the space for! The apple crumble coup was fine, though too rich for me with the whipped cream. The absolute winner was the scoop of mandarin sorbet! A beautiful palette cleanser and just such a sweet flavour.
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The Verdict
The menu is not ground breaking, but does it always have to be? I can’t even find the right words to describe the incredible flavour packed into the crab ravioli and the mandarin sorbet was utterly delicious!
There is a great atmosphere in here. That kind of atmosphere that you can’t put your finger on what makes it a nice place to dine but it just is.
I am going to have to come back, just to try the Sunday roast – we saw a few come out and they look pretty epic. They serve yorkshires almost as big as your head, always a good sign.

Ma’ Plucker

Meal courtesy of Ma’ Plucker

Attended and written by Vicky – http://dalton-banks.co.uk/

Fried chicken has really taken off in London. And I definitely like the trend – I am always happy to eat chicken! To continue my research I recently went to try what Ma’Plucker in Soho’s had to offer.

We walked in on a heaving Friday night and once the drinks were ordered (frozen raspberry margarita for me and boozy ice tea for him) we started the deliberations on what chicken we would try.

The Food

Ma’Plucker promises to bring the Deep South to London’s doorstep with their signature 3-way chicken: Buttermilk Fried, Chipotle Roasted and Slow and Low Pulled Chicken. You pick your chicken, choose your ‘base’ (brioche bun, house bun, maple waffle or salad) and then decide which sauce to top it off with – MP Chicken Skin Gravy, Chipotle Chilli Sauce, Kansas, BBQ, Herb dressing or Maple Chilli Glaze! The sauce selection makes me happy. I am definitely a condiment girl.

There are also a few other options including the chicken caesar salad or buttermilk fried patty. We were here to eat chicken and we most definitely were not here to eat just salads!

We wanted to try their signature way of doing things and so opted for the chicken 3-ways. Having decided to order the buttermilk dipped chicken and the rotisserie chipotle chicken, we asked the friendly waiter which way he recommended we have them.

And so the feast was ordered…

maplucker-chicken-soho-3maplucker-chicken-soho-8Crispy coated thighs (they’d run out of wings!) were ordered on top of the maple waffle base with the chicken skin gravy – I ordered an extra little pot of maple syrup on the side because sweet and savoury loving. We went for half a roasted chipotle rubbed chicken on a simple salad with the Chipotle Chilli Sauce but ordered fries, coleslaw and one crack n cheese please on the side.

When the food arrived we both looked at each other as if to say ‘woaaaah, we’re never gonna finish all this’.

We did. It’s chicken after all. It’s like dessert – separate stomach.

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The crisp-coated buttermilk chicken thigh was a little over cooked with the coating being a bit crunchy in places. But the flavour was great – the lightly spiced coating went great with the chicken skin gravy, as recommended.

The chipotle roasted chicken doesn’t, in my opinion, look like the most appetising chicken but let me tell you, the flavour of this juicy chicken was amazing. Oh and it really is half a chicken, just look at the size of it! I am so glad we ordered it with the leaves! The Chipotle Chilli Sauce was like mayo perfectly spiced and slightly smokey.

maplucker-chicken-sohoThe coleslaw was creamy and the fries nice and skinny though at £3.50 for a ‘mug’ of fries I thought it was on the expensive side. The crack and cheese comes served as a huge ball of deep fried mac n cheese goodness. Again quite small for £4.50 but really very good.

maplucker-chicken-soho-4maplucker-chicken-soho-5We were restrained and decided not to order two desserts but just order the one slab of cherry pie with ice cream to share. Boy, is Ma’Plucker’s cherry pie good. Thin layers of pastry packed full with juicy cherries.

maplucker-chicken-soho-7Overall

Ma’Plucker is a really fun spot in the heart of Soho for a Friday night bite to eat. They had a wicked playlist of old-school tunes, frozen margaritas that actually tasted like they had tequila in, and the place was full to the brim.

The buttermilk fried chicken was not completely faultless and I think it’s something they need to master but overall we really enjoyed our meal and if I’m in need of chicken when in Soho I know where to go.

Yauatcha

Yauatcha (19 of 69)
Star quality dim sum at Yauatcha

History and Background:

1 Michelin Star

Meal courtesy of Yauatcha Soho. The dim sum at Yauatcha represents an oasis of calm and beauty within the vibrant city of London. Opened in 2004, it’s no stranger to the Chinese dining scene, with a recent new opening of its second branch within The City, Liverpool Street. Below, a video from the Yauatcha website, a video that best represents the wealth of expertise and reputation Yauatcha currently holds in the restaurant and food industry.

Yauatcha Kitchen from Touchfood on Vimeo.

Yauatcha’s dim sum teahouse offers all day luxurious dim sum distinctive from its Chinatown competitors. Perfect for a family meal, with friends, large parties and celebrations. Cantonese dishes flood the menu, with influences from all parts of China slightly altered with a modern touch. The traditional tastes remain.

Renowned for their 38 types of tea, their cocktails and their patisserie. See this post for a more inclusive summary of what their patisseries have to offer.

The meal:

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Sauces served at the table prior to ordering
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茉莉香片 Jasmine Green Tea from Taipei, Taiwan – £3.80 per pot

With an extensive tea menu, you can order pots of different types of tea such as green tea, white tea, black tea, dark tea, flower tea and more. They notably have the Dan Cong Song Zhong tea from Guandong, China priced at £13.30 a pot. There is a reason for this expensive price tag, the Dan Cong Song Zhong tea leaves are harvested from 200 year old trees from the Song Dynasty. Song Zhong is considered the best of its variety, and are heavily treasured by the Chinese. It has a distinct orchid-like sweet taste.

We ordered the Jasmine Green tea. They’re taken from Jasmine blossoms, it is subtly sweet – Jasmine tea is one of the most famous teas in China. Highly fragrant and aromatic!

Yauatcha (5 of 69)
油烹麥片鮮魷 Fried chilli squid with oatmeal and curry leaf £11.20

Between the two of us, we chose 4 dishes (you would want to make some space for the desserts to come). The fried chilli squid was finely crisped and had plenty of crunch. A generous portion that satisfied our stomachs, it wasn’t very spicy though! We had the sauces on the side to increase the spiciness levels however.

Yauatcha (9 of 69)
腐皮蝦腸粉 Prawn and beancurd cheung fun £8.20

This is the real deal. I’m a massive fan of bean curd and prawn and beancurd cheung fun is something I always order at restaurants. Done very well here, crisp but chewy, the addition of the prawns created a very smooth texture overall. Light, sweet soy is usually poured on to these give it the extra sweetness.

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豬肉蝦燒賣 Pork and prawn shui mai £5.90
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薑蔥龍蝦魚子餃 Lobster dumpling with tobiko caviar with ginger and shallot £9.80

I have always been awe of the dumplings and siu mais sederved at restaurants within the Hakkasan Group. Elegant and exquisite, the prawn shiu mai, is an open topped steam dumpling made with wheat flour wrapper. The lobster dumplings for me was something new, the filling was rich with lobster meat and the orange touch of tobiko caviar finished off the colour co-ordination for this dish. The translucent wheat starch skin was stretchy, chewy but not tough. Perfectly steamed alongside the succulent lobster filling.

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The chopstick shot!
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The intricate layers of the beancurd
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Exquisite dim sum designs from Yauatcha

Desserts at Yauatcha are highly recommended, I won’t go into it too much here as there is a separate post for this, but here’s a taster of what’s to come!

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Service: The waiters here have a breadth of knowledge, ask them anything and they’ll recommend you dishes suited to your taste buds!

Bits and bobs

  • A great selection of teas, some are slightly pricier than others but their teas are a must try!

Price: ££

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Yauatcha [Desserts]

Yauatcha (27 of 69)
The Yauatcha extravagance
History and Background:

1 Michelin Star

Desserts courtesy of Yauatcha Soho. For an introduction into Yauatcha, see here. Its a rarity to see the combination of Chinese dim sum and European patisserie work together, and Yauatcha is a true example of this.

This distinctive trait is what sets Yauatcha apart from the rest, a characteristic worthy of its accolades. The video below is shared from its own website, go ahead and click play!

Yauatcha Sweets from Touchfood on Vimeo.

Executive Head Chef Graham Hornigold leads the pastry team and highlights 3 main characteristics that the Yauatcha desserts have;

  1. Should act as a palate cleanser and should not be overly sweet
  2. Should be light, dim sum and Chinese food can be carb heavy, aerated mousses and citruses are therefore used
  3. Correct balance of flavours to off-set the strong flavours from the dim sum

Yauatcha (28 of 69)
Rainbow coloured macarons
The desserts:

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The Yauatcha Mooncake, £3.00 retail, £6.20 served with a vanilla ice cream and crème anglaise
As we are currently nearing the Mid-Autumn festival period, Yauatcha has released their take on the moon cakes. Moon cakes have been a long standing tradition at the Mid Autumn Festivial and are regarded as an indispensable delicacy.  The exterior, made like the crumbly, sweet pastry you would typically have, filled with thick Chinese custard for its interior. Usually, traditional moon cakes consist of a lotus seed filling and main contain yolk from salted duck eggs.

These small Chinese pastries are spherical in shape to represent the full moon and unity.

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Passion fruit mango dome £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

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Chocolate pebble £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

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Red fruits fromage frais £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)
The Red Fruits Fromage Frais and Raspberry Delice caught our eyes, so these were the ones we ordered. The Raspberry Delice consisted of raspberry, Madirofolo chocolate and lychee. The intricate design with the touch of a silver leaf is always an eye opener. The mousse is light and the intense chocolate sponge can be tasted. The lychee pannacotta is creamy and complements well with the lychee flavoured ice cream. The Red Fruits Fromage Frais is equally as spectacular, fresh fruits and white strawberries are even used! The layer of pistachio at the bottom surprised me, adding further flavour to the dish. The mousse was light and fluffy with a subtle hint of soft cheese.

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Raspberry delice £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

Yauatcha (50 of 69)
Raspberry delice £5.90 (the price between Monday to Thursday)

Yauatcha (57 of 69)
Chinese custard filled moon cake
Our choice of cocktail came from the Hakkasan Signature – the Earth Asian. This was made up of mount gay black barrel rum, apricot jam, lychee juice, lime, jasmine syrup and black walnut bitters. It was surprisingly a really refreshing drink and not too strong.

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Earth Asian £11.00

Yauatcha (65 of 69)
Who can’t resist a box of moon cakes? Best served warm (heat in microwave for a few seconds)
Of course, we brought some mooncakes back for the family as well as buying some of their signature macarons. £1.80 per piece of £9,70 for 6, which is a pretty reasonable price in comparison to some other bakeries. What makes Yauatcha’s macarons distinctive is the influence of Asian tastes incorporated into each flavour. Toasted Rice, Sesame Cashew, Sesame, Coconut Lychee and Pandan are just a few they sell. Traditional favourites such as matcha pistachio are also available on the menu.

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Brought some macarons home too!
Service: The waiters here have a breadth of knowledge, ask them anything and they’ll recommend you dishes suited to your taste buds!

Bits and bobs

  • A great selection of teas, some are slightly pricier than others but their teas are a must try!

Price: ££

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Shackfuyu (Desserts only)

Shackfuyu (2 of 4)
A MUST TRY
History and Background:

(I’ve talked about Flesh and Buns which is also under Ross Shonhan here)

It was first introduced as a Bone Daddies pop-up meaning that its not here to stay for long (12 months in fact), with the name of the restaurant deriving from ‘Shack’, I guess, meaning a ‘Shack’ and fuyu which translates to ‘winter’ in Japanese. (It opened during Winter of 2014.)

Desserts:

Shackfuyu (1 of 4)
(There is actually only one dessert option)
Can I first, please mention that you can definitely come in just for desserts. I highly recommend you to.

The first visit (with Winnie and Allan), we just about ordered nearly everything on the menu, but dishes were over-seasoned, salty, and simply not up to par. You can actually smell the oil and salt in the air from the bibimbap ordered from next door…

Take-out green tea ice-cream can be ordered for £3.50, and it’s a very generous pot of serving. So if you are craving some soft serve you know where to go!

Shackfuyu (3 of 4)
Kinako, Japanese for roasted soybean, french toast, and green tea ice-cream….nothing can go wrong with this (£6.00)
Shackfuyu (4 of 4)
French toast is thick, and sweet, topped with Kinako powder, accompanied with a massive soft serve of green tea…I’m already salivating
Bits and bobs:

  • You’ll probably have no problem coming in during weekdays, come Friday and the weekend, expect a queue. Most recent visit was actually Friday evening (05/06/2015) and it was a half hour queue.
  • Queuing – you will receive a buzzer, be brought down to the far back of the restaurant to its downstairs bar where you wait… (we chose to stand outside)

Price: £

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