Where to Eat in London: Onthebab

Onthebab | Korean Streetfood | Lunch/Dinner | Old Street, Shoreditch | Website
– reservations not available –

Onthebab is a lone Korean restaurant in the heart of Shoreditch. I headed there around 12pm on a Tuesday with V.A of Chopstickpanorama.

Onthebab is a tiny restaurant located on Old Street, yet they’ve managed to fit in as many tables (and a bar) as possible, without it feeling uncomfortable. The interior matches the exterior, making sure the minimal chic feel of the restaurant stays in touch with it’s Shoreditch roots. We were greeted by a very welcoming waitress, and an empty restaurant. I gave a sigh of relief that we had made it before the lunchtime rush. We had a hard time choosing which dishes to have, not because there were too many, but because they all sounded delicious. We finally decided on the Spicy Pork Buns (to share) and a Bulgogi Bibimbap (each). I started my meal with a refreshing Cinnamon Punch – a Korean soft drink that I don’t see often. I was a little worried when the pork buns arrived, with their almost glowing red innards. No matter how much I try, my tolerance for spice is extremely low. They were spicy, but just under my barrier, and boy were they delicious. The flavour inside one of those tiny little buns is immense! I imagine this was partly due to the cut of pork and the way it had been cooked to perfection. I found myself fearful at the impending last bite. Unfortunately it came, but I was eager to try my Bulgogi Bibimbap so I recovered pretty quickly. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean rice dish with vegetables and gochujang (chilli pepper paste), usually served with a fried egg and meat. Well at Onthebab you get the whole shebang! We chose the bulgogi beef as it’s a favourite of ours. The dish was large and came with plenty of meat, egg, fresh vegetables and rice. It didn’t taste spicy, so I added a little more gochujang to mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Towards the end of our meals the lunchtime rush had hit and the restaurant was almost full. Still, the service was fast and impeccable. I left satisfied, and impressed with the food and the lovely people running the establishment.

It’s not often that I crave a particular dish, but I can honestly say that I will be back to Onthebab for the Spicy Pork Buns alone . Of course I’d also love to try out more of their delicious dishes too. This is one restaurant you can not overlook!

You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.

Photo Diary: The London Coffee Festival

On Saturday I headed to the London Coffee Festival with Nuffnang. That probably sounds a bit odd as I don’t drink caffeinated drinks, right? Well I wanted to find out what other options were available, such as decafe etc. However the rest of the Nuffnang crew had avoided coffee all morning in preparation. Luckily for me I wasn’t let down and there was much more than just coffee on show. There was art, food, music and even fashion stalls on display.

I headed round with some of the girls to get all the info on the exhibitors. Amongst the various brands there were more than a few that stood out for me: One Water, Sprinkled Magic Cupcakes, Impossible iPhone Printer, Novus Tea, Nut Shot Peanut Butter, Joco Reusable Cups, and Evoni Design.

Yes, I do feel bad that I headed to the coffee festival and couldn’t fully enjoy the coffee. However I did catch some amazing smells, and I even had a cheeky little latte at one point. It was a day of laughs, learning and discovery, and I would definitely recommend it.

You can find out more at The London Coffee Festival.

Where to Eat in London: Violet Cakes

Violet | Cafe | Dalston | Website
– reservations not available –

Violet’s is a well known cafe hidden in the heart of Dalston. You may have visited their stall on Broadway market on a lively Saturday. I headed to Violet’s cafe with my fiancé on a warm, Spring Saturday afternoon.

The first thing I noticed was how small the cafe was, and it’s surroundings. I know Dalston houses a variety of small establishments, but I wasn’t expecting to find a teeny tiny cafe in the middle of some houses. That didn’t dent my eagerness though as we snatched a seat from someone who was just leaving. Luckily the weather was gorgeous so we were fine sitting outside, however if it hadn’t been I fear our journey may have ended there, as there is no indoor seating. Inside the staff were busy making cakes and serving customers takeaway delicacies in little monogrammed paper bags. The staff were friendly, although noticeably rushed, however they didn’t let it affect them. We ordered some tea, and two toasties, as I’d heard from a friend that the toasties at Violet’s were pretty scrumptious. I loved the crockery that everything was served on, and it felt so in tune with the cafe – very granny-chic. Our toasties were as delicious as we’d been promised, if a little bit greasy for my tastes. Although the side of cornichons made me incredibly happy – they’re a favourite of mine. We left soon after but didn’t leave without grabbing a mini cupcake and whoopie pie for the walk home. The cakes have made Violet’s famous, and are why their Broadway market stall is sold out every weekend. So did they live up to their high standards? They certainly did. The cakes were moist, full of flavour and we devoured them in a second!

I can definitely see myself going back and buying more of Violet’s cakes.
They’d be absolutely perfect for a picnic in London Fields on a gorgeous Spring day.

You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.

Where to Eat in London: Bone Daddies

Bone Daddies | Japanese Ramen | Lunch/Dinner | Soho | Website
– reservations not available –

Bone Daddies is a ramen bar based in Soho. This is a rather spacious take on the Japanese ramen bar, with a simple interior.

I headed there on a Saturday afternoon, with 3 friends. I was a little worried we would be queuing for a while as we headed there about an hour after they had opened for lunch. Luckily there was no queue and we were seated as soon as we arrived. I’d heard a lot about Bone Daddies, and being a big fan of ramen (and deeply missing sitting at a noodle bar with strangers in Tokyo) I was really hoping the hype was justified. The food menu is simple yet plentiful, and the drinks menu were aptly themed, however I personally would have loved to see some umeshu on the menu. I choose the ramen salad as I fancied the asparagus and corn. My friends chose the Tantanmen (spicy!) and T22, with a side of fried chicken. My ramen was delicious but I don’t think it was clear enough as to what I would be getting, yet I didn’t mind…because it was so damn delicious. Everyone else enjoyed their food too, making me wish I’d had one of everything. The service at Bone Daddies was friendly, and everything was dealt with promptly. Yet I was still left feeling like I’d missed something. The atmosphere just wasn’t there, and people were left queuing along by where our bags were hooked making it a bit cramped. My bowl was chipped, which isn’t a big deal to me but actually bothers quite a few people I know. The prices are close to extortionate, compared to the ramen bars in Japan (where the quality is just as good). I know this isn’t Japan, but I feel that if you’re going to run something so niche you need to do it justice. As much as I enjoyed the food I don’t think I’ll be going back, purely based on the price and atmosphere.

Where to Eat in London: Village East of Bermondsey

 Village East of Bermondsey – Lunch, Dinner, Weekend Brunch – Bermondsey: Website
– reservations available –
Village East of Bermondsey is a European bar/restaurant located on Bermondsey Street. The outside is welcoming, and inside the decor is simple and stylish. I headed there on a Friday evening with 3 friends. Bermondsey is not somewhere I head often. I’ve only been there twice and I never really expected to find any ‘decent’ restaurants. Luckily a foodie friend of mine just moved to the area and had already checked out the place. We had made reservations and were lead to our table as soon as we arrived. It turned out that we were sat directly opposite the kitchen, and this wasn’t any little ol’kitchen with a window. This was an open plan kitchen with chefs plating up the food right in front of you. I thought it might be a bit noisy and off-putting to start with, but it added to the lively atmosphere, and we all enjoyed watching the chefs and wondering if it was our plate heading out next. We ordered a main and a dessert each; I went for the Soft Shell Crab Bap, and the Pineapple & Mascarpone Trifle. My crab bap originally seemed like an odd choice for an evening meal but my woes were left behind me as soon as I took my first bite. The bun and crab were delicious, and the sauce & garnish complimented it wonderfully, whilst the chips were cooked perfectly. I didn’t want it to end. As for the dessert, I felt it was a fun and tasty take on the traditional British trifle, but it lacked a little extra something. I think next time I would go for something a bit sweeter.
The service at Village East of Bermondsey was perfectly on point. The waiters were friendly and fast with our food and orders, but didn’t make us feel as though we had to be herded in and out. I will definitely be heading back, most certainly to check out the brunch menu.

Where to Eat in London: Madsen

Madsen – Lunch, Dinner, Weekend Brunch – Kensington: Website
– reservations available –
Madsen is a Scandinavian restaurant that offers traditional and contemporary dishes.
They use fresh ingredients so that every mouthful is full of goodness and flavour.
“The emphasis at Madsen is on freshness, simplicity, purity and taste.”
I headed there on a Saturday evening with 3 friends.
We had made reservations but actually ended up wanting to move them forward an hour due to our schedule, and luckily the lovely people at Madsen were able to accommodate us. The setting was clean, stylish and modern – we were all impressed. I always order a starter and main, or a main and dessert, purely because I can’t eat anymore, so it’s always an internal struggle to choose between the two options. Madsen made this even more difficult for me as all of the dishes sounded delicious. Still, I was able to finally decided and ordered a Pear Rekorderlig as I waited for my veggie risotto dish to arrive, whilst the others ordered meat dishes; rump steak, pork belly and Danish meatballs. As our meals arrived we commented on how they had been presented so nicely – I like my food to look as good as it tastes, and taste as good as it looks….which thankfully these did. My risotto was perfectly creamy, and the Swedish cheese gave it a wonderfully strong flavour. The dishes may not look filling but they certainly were and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tempt myself with a dessert, but the Swedish Waffle was calling to me and so I gave in. Thankfully it was very light, and tasted better than any other waffle I’ve had before. I think I may have also dreamt about it that night.
Madsen is a wonderful restaurant with delightful staff who went out of their way to help us. I’m not sure I would go back for dinner again though, purely because I feel that I’ve experienced the dinner menu, thanks to the 4 of us ordering 2/3 of the mains and desserts. However I am intrigued by their lunch menu and I would certainly pop in if I was in the area.

Photo Diary: Masturi in London, Dalston Roof Park

Last weekend, the fiancé and I headed down the road to Dalston Roof Park for Matsuri in London.
For those who don’t know ‘matsuri’ is Japanese for festival, which means food, drink and a good time.
The event itself was set up by Fumio Tanga of Sho Foo Doh & Tim Anderson (Masterchef 2011 Winner).
Some of London’s best Japanese street food, cocktails, cinema, music and artists gathered for the event.
We arrived to Dalston Roof Park and a very long line of confused people – some had tickets and others didn’t. It took a bunch of us enquiring for the problem to be solved but eventually after waiting for a bit we headed in. We were greeted by a very sunny & hot roof top, where we proceeded to jump upon refreshing green tea cocktails. It was good that we had bought tickets as the venue soon started filling up and buzzing with excitement from eager foodies etc. We indulged in okonomiyaki and karaage burgers whilst lounging on the roof top, taking in a bird’s eye view of East London. It was pretty relaxing and the food was more than good. However we didn’t notice or hear about any of the ‘special events’ that were supposed to be taking place. I was also a little sad when I went to buy some matcha soft cream and was told the flavour was changing, and I would have to wait 30 minutes. Sorry guys but I only wait for matcha.
Overall I had a good time at the event, thanks to good food and company.
I’d definitely head to Dalston Roof Park again and I hope another ‘Matsuri in London’ is held next year.