Tuesday

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! once seated however the queue was beginning to form so we consider 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 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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Wednesday

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... 


SEA BREAM (CEVICHE) 
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. 


CORNISH POLLOCK
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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Thursday

Chiltern Firehouse...red hot!


I made it onto the hottest booking sheet this year... So, after confirming a table almost 3 months ago for a Friday evening, my time finally came. 

There's not been a day go by where Chiltern Firehouse hasn't popped up on the Daily Mail gossip column and I don't think they've had an evening off paps being sat outside...it's THE restaurant to go to at this point in time. And I can't see it being knocked off the top spot for a while...



It was a belated celebration for our yummy mummy's birthday. Rarely having the four of us together we treated it as a family do and met around 7pm for pre drinks before our meal at 8pm. Your greeted by front of house the moment you step out of your taxi, which is a lovely touch and one which makes you think immediately that this place is rather special. 

The bar was pleasantly full however we were still about to perch on the bench seating and have a table. Swiftly being greeted by the bar manager with a 'I hear we have a birthday' and handed our drinks menus. The staff already showing high standard and finesse from the moment we stepped inside. 


Interior pic from Standard Online
After a couple of champers we were lead to our banquette table which, for four of you was a lovely arrangement. The room is an impressive vast space still with the history of what it once was. They have cleverly kept the large fire doors, the roof is made of woven old fire hoses and, making up the main element of the room, is a wonderful open and buzzing kitchen. It has a rustic feel to it but oozes NYC glamour at the same time.



Our waitress showed us some of the snacks which are 'ideal to start with' and we happily accepted her recommendation of the infamous 'crab doughnuts' and 'crispy fried chicken'. The doughnuts were a mini brioche bun, filled with a generous portion of wonderfully fresh crab and sprinkled with a coral 'dust'. Light, sweet, and yet incredibly more-ish. 



The crispy chicken was super crunchy, tender and grease free. Dunked in the decadent bacon dip this was seriously spot on.



The menu reads almost too well for its own good. I for one couldn't decided for at least 20mins which could have been our downfall later when they wanted to turn the tables...



For starters, I finally settled on grilled octopus with aubergine, daikon and mushroom. It was amazingly tender having been braised first there wasn't a single rubbery bit to it. It was a plate full of different textures which all come together perfectly. A hint of a Far Eastern taste to it made this dish a really enjoyable first course and showed off perfectly how well Chef, Nuno Mendes know's his flavours and boy, can he cook. 

The family had the following and all loved every single one:



Birthday girl: Roasted Chicken Wings, slow cooked egg, rice broth and morels


Dad: Sea Trout Crudo yellow mole and coriander



Brother: Red prawns, almond milk and smoked grapes

Mains had as much flare and fabulousness as the starters. Mine being the Roasted Turbot seaweed fregola, cucumber and crème fraîche. This was delicious, a triumph and one I will remember for a long time. The fish, perfectly cooked matched well with the sharp pickled cucumber and sour crème fraîche. A pretty sprinkling of nasturtiums, tiny, tiny courgettes and a very green but delicious seaweed sauce completed the dish.




The rest of the bunch had:



2 x Chargrilled Iberico pork roasted garlic and collard greens - served rare.


Spring lamb minted greens, radishes and goat's curd.

All were plated beautifully and again, tummies were satisfied greatly.

We actually had puddings however, by this point my battery had died and therefore, sadly, I cannot put pics up. But I had some of the hazelnut ice cream which was scrummy...Mum was presented with a candle atop her dessert which, I cannot recall what pudding it was but that extra touch was really thoughtful. 


Our two hour time slot (my pet hate in restaurants) was up and we moved to the bar area and carried on the evening finishing off our bottle of wine and having a few night caps... I think we could have gone on and on, sensible thinking got the better of us and we headed home around midnight - it's another one of those restaurants where time seems to just drift away...

Chiltern Firehouse has the most spectacular buzz, everyone is incredibly energized which rubs off onto everyone within the restaurant. The staff are attentive and really knowledgeable, all seem genuinely happy to be working there. It really is a special place and I cannot wait to go back...if I manage to get another booking.


Address: 1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA

Prices:
££££

p.s.I recommend you book for later in the evening to get its full atmospheric potential. 

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Tuesday

Kerbisher and Malt... fantastic fish and chips


Another exciting foodie place popped up on Abbeville Road early this summer and I was kindly invited (thank you) down for a Sunday evening supper, being a local foodie. 

Having what can only be described as a rather hefty week of late evenings and boozing Mr D and I couldn't have been happier to have this to look forward to. I LOVE fish and chips and I try to keep it as a treat supper otherwise I would eat it every other day!

Kerbisher and Malt popped up on Shepherds Bush Road a while ago and every time we have driven past I have been dying to pop in. It is known to be a certain high trouser wearing male celeb's favourite take away spot so, another place which comes with high praises...



Arriving at 6pm we were greeted with friendly wait staff and shown to our banquette table at the front of the restaurant. The décor is industrial twinned with retro and is as far away from any other 'chippy' I have been used to (being a girl from the Midlands...). 



The menu reads simply and easily. 'Fish', 'Favourites', 'Butties' etc...it's not overly fancy and nor does it need to be. We decided to try a decent range of the menu without totally over ordering. 




A cider for him, a rosé pour moi.


 


I wanted what they are famed for, the battered fish and chose to have the pollock(your fish can come grilled or in matzo meal which is a type of bread crumb). At £6.80 a portion for sustainably sourced fish, you can't really complain. My batter was light, crisp, not overly greasy and the meaty fish stayed perfectly juicy and flaked away with my fork. I am told they only cook from fresh - never frozen...


Mr D had the fillet of fish burger which was fab. For £4.50 this was something of a bargain and we both said we would have this happily any night of the week. The lemon mayo was a nice added zing to each mouthful, served with some lettuce, tomato and onion. Yum!



Double cooked chips were as one remembers fish and chip shop chips to be... crisp on the outside and wonderfully fluffy on the inside. However these were slightly more refined, less greasy and yet with lots of those wonderfully over-crisp bits at the bottom of the bowl which had soaked up the vinegar and salt, de-licious! I was transported back to those mid week school holiday evening treats. 



The calamari, I had heard, was a must. These came breaded atop a lovely little salad. There was a light chilli kick running through the matzo meal crumb and the calamari was kept tender and well seasoned.



Sauces and sides, well... we had plenty. Enormous pickled onion rings were again, very crisp and certainly plentiful (we couldn't eat them all so had them to take-away for the rents...). I loved the addition of having the onion pickled which made them a little bit more special than your average pub version.  


 



My favourite, mushy peas, which were as I remember them. None of this souped-up peas with mint, herbs etc. They could have done with being a little more runny, however, this certainly didn't put me off. I was scraping the side of the bowl for every last drop... i LOVE the stuff!



Curry sauce... not the kind one finds up North but this was actually red curry sauce. It was possibly the only part of the meal I wasn't so sure of. It just didn't seem right... may be due to the fact that I still adore the algae coloured stuff you find in your local. It was slightly over-sweet for my tastes. 

Sweet chilli sauce - another goodie and an excellent match again with the calamari. 



And... A gherkin, not much to report on it was...gherkiny.



We were too full to sample desserts however, I didn't mind. We had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and one I know we will find ourselves returning to over and over again (they do take away which was hugely popular whilst we were there!). 

Thank goodness for the local gym.


Address: 50 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9NF
Closed Mondays

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