Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eating our way through London

So it was Christmas day. We landed in London and by around 2pm, it felt like 6pm. It was cold, it was getting dark - it was time for a snack. We found one of the rare places still open on Christmas day in London, a city where even the public transport system is at a total standstill, the "Coffee Bar".

As the name suggests, my partner ordered a coffee - an expensive and slightly poor one. My hot chocolate was slightly but not awesomely better. Likewise for the cheesy chips. Even if the chips were hot and crispy to begin with (which I somewhat doubt), after putting on the cheese and making it melt in the microwave, it was just an oily starchy pile of stuff. Hmm...

Coffee Bar

Cheesy Fries


Hot Chocolate

We were also in search for famous sausage and mash (at S&M cafe) and... amazingly found it closed on Boxing Day. As such, we settled for pub food at "The Castle".

The Castle

My sausage and mash came with three short plump sausages sitting atop a pile of creamy mash and drizzled with red onion gravy. Mmm... it was super yummy (or maybe I was super hungry).

Sausage and Mash

My partner's steak burger with chips came super late. As they made us wait so long, we got it for free!!! Awesome~ The burger, however, was slightly ordinary. Whilst the pattie was good, the bun seemed to slightly crumble at my partner's touch.

Beef burger with chips

Another meal took us to Chinatown. I think it was only around 5 or 6 pm - but I swear it felt like 10pm. Hungry, we ordered a salmon avocado roll, a chicken teriyaki ramen, and a chicken katsu curry rice.


The sushi wasn't bad. It was fresh and tasty and we gulped it down super quickly.

Salmon and Avocado roll

My terriyaki chicken was a lot more disappointing. Coming from a noodle-lover like myself, that is saying a lot. The chicken itself was good - the noodles were the let down. The noodles were WAY overcooked and too soggy. The soup base was also just so so. Hence, I concluded that London people probably don't get very good Jap food.

Chicken Terriyaki ramen

My partner's chicken katsu curry seemed a little bit better. Appeared like any ordinary average chicken katsue curry, it failed to excel itself to redeem the quality of the restaurant. Oh well... I guess when in England, we ought to stick to more traditional English cusine.

chicken katsu curry

One traditional english eat is the humble pie. We wandered into "The Centre Page" close to St Paul's Cathedral in search for pie. Whilst my partner expected awesome flakey pastry with chuncky steak and ale insides, it appears as though the English do a thick, almost short-crust pastry type pie. Whilst the pastry was not to my partner's liking, the steak and ale were acceptable.

The Centre Page

Steak and Ale Pie

We also ordered a nachos to share and I had my jacket potato with caesar chicken. The nachos were okay - the cheese wasn't quite melted enough and there were no refried beans involved. However, it was a pretty decent snack.


My jacket potato was also average. The ceasar flavoured chicken was kind of in a luke-warm state and the potato skin wasn't crispy, the potato wasn't fluffy. But it was kind of tasty anyway.

Caesar Chicken Jacket Potato

In search for yet another tasty but cheap meal in London we wandered across "The Stockpot" in the Soho area.
The Stockpot

The Stockpot offered awesomely cheap set menus, as well as reasonably priced soups and mains. My partner had a creamy leek soup whilst I had a creamy broccoli and mushroom soup. Slightly on the salty side, it was an awesome winter warmer, leaving me feeling all good, warm and fuzzy inside.

Leek Soup

Creamy broccoli and mushroom soup

For the mains, my partner had a turkey roast with veges including potatoes, carrots, and brussel sprouts. The whole dish was sprayed with a thick tasty gravy. Honestly, it was my first time eating brussel sprouts. It tastes like cabbage - but a tinier and minier. I ordered a penne cabonara. Many bits of penne, and bacon abounded and the whole pasta was super creamy and tasty and filling. I could barely polish off half the plate when I gave up. So yummy yet so full :(

Turkey loaf and veges

Penne Cabonara

Another meal took place after a brief visit to Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII resided just outside of central London. In their Tiltyard Cafe, a cafeteria style lunching place, we ordered a cheap kids meal of chicken pie with veges and chips, and a french onion soup with bread and croutons. Mmm... super cheap meal - AND we got a further 10% off from the London Pass.

Food quality wise, the pie was again made with that thick pastry that my partner did not approve of. Other than the pastry, however, the pie tasted pretty good, as did the thick cut chips. My partner's onion soup was also extremely tasty and rich. Slightly tasty and oily, it tasted exactly like what a vegetable stock with caramelised onions ought to taste like. Yum!

Tiltyard Cafe at Hampton Court Palace

Chicken pie with veges and chips

French Onion Soup

Now we couldn't leave London without trying their famous fish n chips. Whilst Australia is known for fish n chips, England is probably where this awesome combination was born. We've seen many people order this in the pubs and cafes we entered. I've always wondered why most people ate the fish and left the batter. Only after chopping into a fish n chips did I understand why.

The fish is heavily battered in super duper crunchy beer batter. Don't get me wrong - it was awesome! You elicit a huge CRUNCH sound with each bite. I don't think I've ever had such a tasty crunchy battered fish in my life. However, all good things must come to an end and after probably the 5th bite, I just couldn't handle the batter. The fillet of fish was huge and to manage to eat it with the thick batter seemed like a recipe for disaster for my stomach.

Fish and Chips

Lastly on our London menu - my partner had been trying to hunt down the best Sausage and Mash in Town. And we found it - at S&M cafe on Portobello Rd. Whilst our first visit here found the shop closed, our second visit left us dissappointed too. We were too early for the lunch menu and instead, were forced to order the brekky menu.

S&M Cafe

Now normally, I dance a dance of joy when I find out I can order breakfast at a cafe - this time, however, I really just wanted sausage and mash. No can do said the bad service providing dude.
Hence, we both settled for brekky with unlimited toast, coffee and tea.

On my plate was a sausage, egg, mushies, thick style chips and bubble and squeak mash served with toast. My partner had traditional baked beans instead of my mushies. Honestly - it was an awesome breakfast (despite having chips instead of hash browns). But when we saw what the sausage and mash looked like at 12 noon, we knew we had been short changed. The sausage and mash drenched in caramelised red cabbage/onion gravy looked sooo sooo soooo awesome! I think we need to go back one day. Too bad their service was so poor and they really had no clue how to waiter (what sane waiter puts 2 people at a 6 person table, 1 person at a 4 person table and 4 people at a 2 person table???)

Coffee and Tea in cool mugs

Brekky: Sausage, mushies, egg, chips, bubble and squeak and toast

Brekky: Sausage, Egg, Bubble and Squeak, Baked Beans, Chips and Toast

All in all, despite warnings about how expensive everthing is in London, we managed to hook ourselves up with awesomely cheap cheap cheap meals which were still decently tasty and yummy.

No comments: