Kimchinary first came to my attention last year at Taco Wars. Of all the delicious tacos on offer, this one was a masterpiece that captured my tastebuds like no other: succulent slow-braised bulgogi ox cheek supporting a piece of soju- and gochujang-battered cod cheek, hidden under a blanket of homemade kimchi, and finished off with a teetering pile of toasted seaweed, chives, chilli powder, radish and sesame seeds. I was instantly hooked.
Over the next few months I happily stuffed myself with every iteration of toasted burrito to be found at the cheerful red food stall. The hefty burritos, with their multi-textured and wildly flavourful contents, are swaddled tightly and turned on a griddle to give them that slight satisfactory crunch. Inside, the main ingredient of choice (slow-braised bulgogi ox cheek, pulled pork belly ribs, or aubergine and braised kale) nestles comfortably with gochujang-slathered kimchi fried rice, apple slaw, spring onion sour cream, sesame seeds, chilli powder, etc… and at £6.50, it’s one of the best value-for-money street food items you can find in London. Are you drooling yet?
The Mince Pie Project is returning for its third year with an exciting new line-up of chefs, a delicious array of one-off mince pies, and two wonderful new charities (Foodcycle and Kids Company) that will be benefiting from their efforts. Foodcycle seeks to use some of the 400,000 tonnes of edible food that is wasted in the UK each year. Using volunteers, spare kitchens, and surplus food that is donated, Foodcycle brings nutritious, fresh meals to people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. Since their inception in 2009, they’ve served over 80,000 meals to people in need. Kids Company provides practical, emotional, and educational support to 36,000 vulnerable kids in London. With their four centres, outreach work, and services in 46 schools, they seek to support kids who face challenges in their family homes and neighbourhoods.
If I told you that a new pub was being opened by a highly successful restauranteur, one of the last places you would think of it being is Cambridge Circus. Straddling the border between touristy Covent Garden/Leicester Square and the dining goldmine of Soho, it sits unused and unloved except by Pizza Hut and Leon de Bruxelles. For months and months the former site of the Marquis of Granby, the pub that once graced the circus, sat empty; I’m sure people wondered which brightly lit chain with tourist-friendly express menus might take over the site next.
Most people I follow on Twitter, who have a better pulse on the restaurant openings than I do, probably knew a while ago about the impending opening of Russell Norman’s new venture. His other restaurants, Polpo (“a Venetian bacaro in Soho“), Spuntino (“London’s best Brooklyn diner“), and Mishkin’s (“a kind of Jewish deli with cocktails“), all probably have a pile of press clippings a few feet high, showering them with praise. Despite this, I’ve never been to any of them yet. I know! Horrible. Please don’t close this tab in disgust. Luckily for me, Wilkes secured a spot for lunch on the first of their two soft launch days and invited me along.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, then you might have noticed that Dishoom is fast becoming one of my favourite haunts in London. I’m not sure why it took me so long to make it to the restaurant for breakfast. I’ve heard tales of their legendary breakfast rolls for a long time, seen many a filtered photo of them and drooled over the lightly toasted, soft bread embracing a few rashers of tantalizingly crisped bacon. Once I had a taste of it for myself, there was no going back. And by that I mean no going back to a life before the bacon naan cravings – because once you taste it, you will most certainly be going back to Dishoom.
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably can tell that I have a bit of a soft spot for KERB, the street food collective that resides at King’s Cross, University College London, and (as of today) Maida Vale. I love visiting their markets, trawling their stalls for delicious food, and photographing the vibrant and exciting events they put on. But it goes a little deeper than that, and you’ll have to pardon me for getting a bit sappy and misty-eyed. You see, last Friday, KERB celebrated its first birthday – October 4th, 2012 marked the transition of the organization formerly known as Eat St. into the street food collective we currently know and love. This website also celebrated a birthday of sorts: it marked the beginning of A Southern Belle in London. View Post
It’s National Cinnamon Bun Day! Well, at least it is in Sweden. If there’s one item that has come to symbolize Swedish food culture better than anything else, it has to be the beautifully braided kanelbullar, oozing with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, topped with a delicate sprinkling of pearl sugar. The canny staff at the Hembakningsrådet (Home Baking Council) decided back in 1999 that establishing Kanelbullensdag would be a great way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their founding.
Since it’s founding, National Cinnamon Bun Day has come to be a bit more of a pan-Scandinavian food celebration, but it’s still just as delicious – the more kinds of bun, the better! If you’d like to celebrate Sweden and Scandinavia’s tastiest holiday here in London, I’ve gathered some of the best places to have a fika and a delicious, sticky bun. View Post
On the heels of my jaunt to Eastbourne, my wanderlust was somewhat satisfied – but not for long. The trip was a soothing, temporary relief, but it didn’t address the root of the problem. Besides the occasional trip home for some Christmases and Easters, I had not left England since moving here in 2010. The whole of Europe was on my doorstep — just a short flight or even a train ride away — and despite this, I always had excuses that kept me from going. One of the biggest of these excuses was, of course, money. Travel is expensive — there’s no denying that. But it came to a point where I sat down and reasoned with myself: travelling Europe is a lot less expensive for someone based in the UK than someone based in America; there was no guarantee that, when my time in university is over in two years, that I will be able to renew my visa and stay here. Suddenly, two years seemed like a very short time to fit all the European travels I dreamed of into.
My wistful pasttime of browsing budget airline sites took on a new, intent fervor. Where did I want to go that I could go for cheap? When would I go? I wanted to eschew touristy places that would be packed during the summer months. I took a look at the week I had set aside as my travel week, and noticed that it would encompass the summer solstice. In that moment, I knew where I had to go – Sweden. View Post
Forza Win’s newest adventure, fresh on the heels of their second summertime pizza supper club, is heaven on earth for meat lovers. In their own words, CUTS “sprang from a mutual love of meat and flames”. Capturing the summertime spirit and love of a good bbq, CUTS has set up in a disused space in East London with a custom-built grill, choice cuts of meat, and an excellent list of drinks to give you a wonderfully meaty evening. View Post
In case you haven’t heard about it yet, there is a great new pop-up running at King’s Cross at the moment. I know, I know – pop-ups. They’ve become a bit of a dirty word for Twitter’s cynics, sneering at every new food pop-up that appears in London like trendy daises. This one, however, is bringing something to London that I have seldom seen in the city: roller skating.
Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar is the recent reincarnation of Navajo Joe’s, a restaurant on King Street in Covent Garden with Tex-Mex food and an impressive selection of tequila. Food from the Deep South (“dirty” fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, etc…) has become a recent fascination of the London food scene; the savvy owners at Navajo Joe’s saw this happening and decided it was time to rebrand the restaurant. View Post