Arang, Picadilly Circus

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This is definitely one of my most highly rated restaurants in London.  Arang is in Golden Square, Picadilly Circus (take Exit 1 at the station) and serves quite authentic Korean food.

To start with, you get given a variety of appetisers.  There is kimchi, the classic Korean version of sauerkraut.  Then you get a mustardy potato salad with cucumber and carrot chunks, and then marinated beansprouts.

For meat-eaters. definitely order the raw beef starter (Yuk Whe).  It sounds daunting yes, but I’ve not met anyone who doesn’t like it after trying it.  It is a wonderful concoction of thinly cut strips of raw beef in a tasty soy and sesame oil marinade mixed with a raw egg and sliced pear.  The only way I can describe is a carnivore’s heaven.

Then order Chap Che, delicious stir-fried glass noodles with beef.  The glass noodles has a really nice texture, it’s not as soft as your average noodle but at the same time totally absorbs the marinade and the seasoning.

The Jeuk Bokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork) is another must-try.  It is slightly spicy but very tasty.

We then ordered deep fried beef with terriyaki sauce.  The beef is so tender it’s almost like eating butter.  All the beef pieces are lightly battered and the teriyaki sauce is just sweet and sticky enough to coat the beef pieces.

The staff there are always friendly and welcoming without being intrusive.  We got there on time for our reservation but the people at the table before us stayed for later than they’d expected so we got offered free drinks on the house.  That’s good service!

For more details (like a number to book a table there for!) go to their website http://www.arang.co.uk/

New love for Mexican food!

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Went to Wahaca for dinner this evening, it was amazing! Everything was served to us hot and fresh, the waitress was friendly but not intrusively so.

To start with we ordered some tortilla chips with guacamole.  The guacamole was fresh and was very delicious.  Then we had a portion of tacos to share, it was made with soft flour tortilla wraps and beef.  Then I had a British Steak Burrito for my main — the black beans were very fragrant and the beef was tender, slightly pink;

If only I had another stomach I would have ordered their churros for dessert but unfortunately I was full to the brim after having had all that tasty food!

Would definitely recommend Wahaca for anyone who loves Mexican food!

Le Bouchon Breton & Albion

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Went to Le Bouchon Breton at the Old Spitalfields Market with some friends last night followed by Albion on Shoreditch High Street for dessert.

For starters we had Salade de Tomates et Mozzarella, Les six Escargots de Bourgogne and Remoulade de Haddock et d’Endives.  They were all very tasty, especially the escargots which were really well seasoned and tender.

Then for our mains, we ordered a Chateaubriand, Poisson du Jour (which was seabrill) and Steak Tartare.  The Chateaubriand was cooked to perfection (we ordered it to be cooked rare and it came rare), the Béarnaise sauce was delicious; the only exception was the steak tartare which was too mustardy for my taste but it was prepared in front of us, a very nice touch!

For dessert we walked to Shoreditch High Street and ate at a nice little café restaurant called Albion.  At the table we had Eton Mess, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Bakewell Tart, Bread and Butter Pudding, Apple and Blackberries Crumble.  The best surprise was the pot of tea that I ordered, I would go as far as saying it was a perfect cup of tea — it was properly strong without being overpowering (I suspected it to be yorkshire tea)

I would definitely recommend these two places to whoever’s reading this.  Look out for discounts at Le Bouchon Breton as well, all the things we ordered were 50% (apart from beef dishes which were only 30% off)!

 

Vegetarian Chilli (serves 2)

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The meat version will follow, but I thought I’d balance my previous post with a vegetarian one 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 5-6 chestnut mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large tin of kidney beans
  • 1 small tin of butter beans
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Cornflour (optional)

Method:

  1. Chop the carrot, celery, onion and mushrooms into relatively similar-sized cubes.  Sweat this and the crushed garlic in a saucepan with a little oil.
  2. Add in the kidney beans and butter beans.  (I find that stirring in a little of the juice in the tin of kidney beans helps thicken the sauce)
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, soy sauce and tomato purée.  Add in the chopped chillies.
  4. Bring to a simmer until the chilli thickens.  If necessary, mix a little cornflour with a little water and add in to thicken.

Beef Stroganoff (serves 2)

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One of the all-time favourites!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 quick cook steaks (use fillet steaks as a treat 🙂 ), sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 6-7 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300mL sour cream

Method:

  1. With a little oil, saute the garlic and mushrooms until soft.
  2. Take mushrooms off heat and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Fry the steak slices in a little oil until just cooked, add in soy sauce.
  4. Stir in the sour cream and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add in the mushrooms, first with half the juice (the mushrooms will end up sweating a little in the bowl) and then however much you want depending on how thick you want the sauce to be.
  6. Serve with pasta or rice.

Aladin Brick Lane

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Opted for curry at Brick Lane today, seeing as it”s one of the things Brick Lane is famous for.  Personally it was an excellent choice.

To start with, we were given some poppadoms with a choice of 4 condiments:

The condiments were all lovely and tasted very nice.

Then we had 3 mains (Lamb Tikka Sugathi, Tandoori Butter Chicken and Balti Madras Chicken) and a Saag Aloo to share, as well as Garlic Rice.

All of these were really tasty and nicely cooked, they all came piping hot and smelt really fragrant.

Apart from the fact that despite having booked ahead and being 2 minutes late, we still had to wait for around  5 minutes for a table only to find ourselves having to share a table with 2 other diners, I would definitely recommend this restaurant to curry lovers.  The waiters were all very friendly and efficient and catered well for one of our party’s peanut allergy.  The restaurant was of the noisy type but at the same time it created a very laid-back atmosphere.

You can look at their website and look at the menu should you be interested in dining there!

http://www.aladinbricklane.co.uk/

Special Request: Lemon Chicken [Serves 2]

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Anyone who has experienced ordering food from a Chinese takeaway would probably have at some point in their lives ordered Lemon Chicken (unless of course you are a vegetarian).  However, as you may be aware, takeaways are not the healthiest option so I have decided to put up my recipe for this all-time favourite

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of mini chicken breast fillets (or 1 chicken breast each, depending how big your appetite is)
  • Cornflour
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • White sugar (it really depends on how sweet/sour you want it to be, I used about 5 tbsp)
  • 250mL chicken stock

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken up into one-inch long pieces (I find that this size cooks faster so you won’t have to be worried about undercooked chicken!).
  2. Pour over some dark soy sauce, just enough to make sure all the pieces get some soy sauce on them.  Add in the sesame oil.  Let this sit aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. On a large plate, or flat work surface, pour quite a bit of cornflour and mix in a pinch of white pepper.  In another bowl, beat the egg.
  4. Heat up about 2-3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan until it is smoking.
  5. Shake off excess marinade from a piece of chicken and dip first in egg then cornflour, before frying in the oil.  Repeat for all the chicken pieces.  Turn over after a minute or until the pieces are golden brown.  As they are fairly small pieces, they should cook quickly.
  6. Once the chicken has been cooked, drain and set aside.
  7. In a large pan, heat up the lemon juice, chicken stock and the sugar and bring it to a simmer.  Cook until reduced and sticky.  Pour over chicken and serve.

Enjoy!