House of Ho - Lunch special

House of Ho has launched a lunch special for August where some of their signature dishes can be had for a fiver (unless stated otherwise)! All inspired to “...get you in hungry and out happy in 20 minutes!”. Sounds too good to be true?

Mr E (whom is a regular lunch companion of mine) and I meandered over to the restaurant around 12:30 to be seated straight away and were quickly given menu's and water. The staff seem to be perfectly well aware that the clientèle will be wanting to eat and zoom back to work pronto - perfect! 

The menu is pretty good considering you're eating in a restaurant for around the same as your average sandwich/sushi lunch.

Lobster cellophane noodles was my choice for grub and for a fiver I was rather pleased. The photo is deceiving however you get more than enough noodles and plenty of lobster, well, far more than I imagined for the price! It was steamed lightly in sake however I couldn't taste much of this as a flavour, I didn't find that a problem at all. Topped with fried crispy onions, a smattering of spring onions and coriander made for a really pleasant lunch time dish. 

Mr E had Bun Bo which was a beef noodle soup type dish. This was a great feast in itself. Packed full of goodies, greens, herbs, carrots, seeds - definitely well worth the money.

Feeling rather ravenous due to a semi fuzzy head from the evening before at WC I decided to have a couple of sides to share between us which Mr E accepted gratefully...

Hot crispy rolls (3) with pork, prawns and mushrooms. Like many Vietnamese rolls should be these were light, crisp and packed full of filling. The simple flavours weren't complicated or over powered by any form of herbs I thoroughly enjoyed these. Even more so when dipped into the hot sweet sauce. The accompanying cold noodles and lettuce wasn't needed however these were still polished off. 

The following two dishes were in the £5 for two 'wok tossed' section. 

Plentiful and moreish, the beansprouts with shrimp, ginger and scallion onions satisfied my need for a crunchy veg, such simple flavours but still delicious. 

The morning glory in shallot oil and crunchy garlic slightly disappointed in that is was a little soggy and claggy. Perhaps just a little too much oil and possibly a little too long in the old wok.

The House of Ho has mixed reviews for dinner, due to poor service or disappointing portions (I am yet to go at night). Maybe to go on a lunch was a better idea as service was fast and food was fab! 

I still feel I am yet to find a seriously good Vietnamese to replace my beloved Mekong (Howard, come back!!). Reader's please help me! 

 Square Meal

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WC Clapham

The trend for reusing old Victorian loo's is still amongst us, and 'WC' is the newest member to this club. 

Playing on the name WC also stands for 'Wine and Charcuterie' which is what this place does well, very well. Eight of us girls gaggled around a booth table for the youngster's birthday and ordered our first of many bottles of prosecco (around 7:30pm) within what was a relatively calm and quiet wine bar. Towards the end of the evening it was a different matter. The lights had dimmed, the atmosphere buzzing and the ten or so tables filled with happy customers and many, many dates (it's rather cute and romantic, if ever an old loo could be!).

Charming French wait-staff made sure we were constantly watered and quaffed throughout our time there which made for a really pleasant evening. The interior has been renovated to still have the Victorian charm and almost all of the furnishings look to be reclaimed, let's hope they gave the floor a good ol' scrub!

Pop into the (actual) loo's and you'll find original old love letters in the women's and 60's pin up pictures in the men's which had been found when they started the building work. It's lovely that they've kept so much of the charm and history. There's even scrawling on the walls which look like they've been there for many, many years...some of which is rather amusing! 

So, onto the main event(s). The menu here is simple - Bread, meat, cheese, DONE! With a couple of added nibbles of olives, biltong and pork scratchings (picture below: these were SO.GOOD!).

We ordered the lot (literally)...

p.s. it's really dark underground so please excuse the dreadful photos!

Mixed stuffed olives and mixed olives...

The cheese board was suggested for two people but this went a long way. A fantastic mix of hard, soft and blue cheese served with a delicious chutney, ciabatta and pickles. 

The mixed meat board comprised of a huge selection of air dried hams, saucisson, bresaola and terrine (plus more breads and pickles.) All expertly sliced each ham was exquisite (I think I tried almost all) and for £13 you can't really get a better plate of meat. The terrine, for one, was exceptional. 

We had a wonderful evening which went well into the night and didn't leave us out of pocket too badly. A place you could happily pop in for a glass or stay put for an evening it's informal yet you feel rather special being there. 

As the birthday girl said 'cheese, wine and meat three of (my) favourite things' they're onto a good thing here. Add a handful of friends or a gorgeous date and your evening at WC will be a winner. 

Bookings: no bookings unless over 5/6 people 0207 622 5502
Add: Underneath Clapham Common tube station, London. SW4 7AA (what a fab address!)
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Ben's Canteen , Battersea

So, after a few years of popping up and down St John's Hill to visit friends/family, we finally made it to Ben's Canteen. This neighbourhood hang out always has a long snake like queue forming for brunch and happy customers stuffing faces with delectable breakfast goodies. 

On Sunday we met with three of Mr D's university friends and headed down for 11am to be seated straight away - perfect! However the queue was beginning to form so we considered ourselves lucky...

Once seated our drinks order was taken and one thing I loved on the menu I had to have - purely as I just wanted to order one and see how it came...Berocca by the glass... 

I'm not entirely sure how they did it but seemingly just by adding some ice, limes and orange segments made this so utterly refreshing that, if it wasn't going to totally OTT my Vit C levels I would have ordered another. Maybe it was watered down more than when I mix it up but it really was thirst quenching... 

The boys amongst us knew immediately what they were having and opted for the 'Eggs Pig Out' - pulled pork, on muffins with hollandaise. Quoted on the menu as 'Outrageous' they weren't wrong... 

I went for one of my faves 'Sweet corn fritters' served with avocado, bacon and a spiced cherry tomato salsa (not the best photo).

The 'fritters' had an excellent flavour however, I much prefer the crispness of the fritters from Barossa Fulham. Ben's were more of a pancake consistency whereas on previous orders, of the same dish, they had a little more bite to them. However, still a great breakfast staple and I can't fault them for their own version. The bacon here is crunchy and the smashed avocado was delicious. My only gripe was that the salsa lacked spice, I didn't really notice it at all apart from the off tomato flavour hit. 

The two Others round the table had the smashed avocado on toast (exactly what it says on the tin and a good one at that), and a smoked salmon poached eggs on toast. Both going down a treat.

Coffee's were excellent all round, so we had double helpings of these and nestled in for a couple of hours catching up over our summer antics...

The vibe is relaxed, the staff friendly and the food? - Exactly what you need when feeling a little woolly. I'm looking forward to going back to try the soft shelled crab burger which kept going past - it looks insanely good!

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Franco Manca - Balham

Every so often I get this craving were all I want in life right that moment is Pizzaaaaaa. It's never when I'm hungover which I wish it was (my hangover craving is expensive - sushi or Chinese, never anything else). This particular evening the newly engaged (YAY!) Miss K and I met up mid way from our homes and headed to Balham. 

Franco Manca has been part of our London food scene for quite some time however, never actually making it over since living North of the river until recently. I will tell you this...I will NEVER order a delivery Pizza again these are the shizzle.

The menu is short with only 6 pizza options (numbered 1-6) two side salads and 2 ever-changing specials. Drinks are also kept to the minimum showcasing a couple of reds, whites and beers - perfect!

My lovely date for the evening had the number '5' (shown above and below)- tomato, garlic, oregano, capers, olives, anchovies and mozzarella. Pretty much a bargain at £6.70. To this, she added some extra mushrooms (you can basically add more or less anything you want for 50p or £1) and it arrived looking fantastic...I was slightly jealous in fact.

Yours truly ordered the number '6' tomato, cured organic chorizo (Dry and semi-dry ) and mozzarella another bargain £6.95 and I added plenty of fresh (you guessed it) chilli and (I'm sorry Mr D) anchovies, I love anchovies on a pizza, but only the brown salty kind...mmmmmm...

The sour dough base on these pizzas was incredibly light, fluffy and a crispy crust like no other I had tasted. The toppings were plentiful and simply spot on. My chorizo (Brindisa, I may add) was rich and fiery, absolutely delicious.

I gobbled the whole thing up and loved every mouthful. Every ingredient of this pizza has been researched and sourced to get the best possible outcome and their hard work shows. For less than £20pp with booze or £10 without it's incredibly good value. 

Don't make my mistake and leave it YEARS to head here, you won't regret it. 

Website: here
Address: All over
Bookings: No bookings taken. But the queue moves quickly!

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A quick catch up at Claude's Kitchen

I made it back over the river last night to have another wonderful supper at Claude's Kitchen. As many of you will know, I am a huge fan of his cooking, most of which showcases every aspect of each dish to the absolute maximum. Last night was no exception. With the delightful Mr Herries as our 'child' for the evening we nestled down to some of the most charming service and the freshest and tastiest food I have had in a long while... 

Martini - Raspberry - Dill - Carrots. A really vibrant, refreshing dish the bream was so fresh I wouldn't have been surprised if Claude was battling with a flapping fish mere minutes before. 

Red Grape - Chickpeas - Paprika - Red Onion. One of my favourite fishy dishes I've eaten at Claude's Kitchen to date. Another dish which had perfectly paired ingredients and that pollock was cooked to precision.

BEEF SHORT-RIB, Chimicurry - Burnt Chicories - Celeriac was devoured by Mr Herries and came with no complaints whatsoever.

Mr D had the BBQ'd rabbit which again, could not be faulted.  

Pud was shared amongst the three of us... MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
Pimms - Cucumber Ice - Burnt Cream - Lemonade Jelly - Mint. Simple, sharp and boozy and one of those dishes we came away talking about for moments afterwards. A bowl full of summer, Claude crammed in every yummy taste imaginable, a dish I will attempt to recreate. Once I have a kitchen...

The seasonal and sustainable weekly changing menu at Claude's Kitchen never fails to disappoint. We love every minute we spend there and I just hope one day he'll venture South of the river...just for me, please? 

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