Review: Brunch at The Dynamo, Putney

One of the other main foodie loves in my life (beside burgers) is eggs. Fried, scrambled, baked, poached and of course the dippy egg. Served with toast, bubble and squeak, chips, or in a bacon sandwich, I just love eggs. As long as it has a runny yolk (I warn you now, never, ever serve me up a non-runny yolk. I will and have sent eggs back for such a crime) you can pretty much guarantee I’ll love it.

 photo Dynamo_zpsqc4v05mt.jpgI almost ruined eggs for me though. My pre-exam meal throughout my final-year exams was two slices of toast, two slices of ham and two poached eggs. Mushrooms if I had them to hand. Now I struggle to stomach the thought of poached eggs, and I haven’t eaten that particular combo since my last exam. In fact, I’ve had poached eggs a grand total of two times since – both whilst out for brunch.

Once was at Cambridge Street Kitchen with some blogging gals – nothing special, toast too crunchy and eggs only just the right side of ‘done’. Another 5 seconds and I’d have sent them back (though considering it took an hour for them to materialise, maybe not…).

Then there were these. The. Best. Eggs. Ever.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 9_zpsxfnekvaa.jpgI’m not even exaggerating. I mean, just look at that yolk.

Dynamo is a strange pizza-brunch-cylist workshop-cafe type place just around the corner from us. It’s dangerously close given it’s menu, though somehow we’ve only eaten there twice since moving in back in August (plus a cheeky Deliveroo order, because it was raining and I needed pizza). I’m not exactly sure what kind of concept and vibe they were aiming for, but it works. It’s the kind of industrial interior that looks good on your Instagram feed. The kind of menu that makes you go ‘oooh’ and have to ponder for a while. Smiley staff. And a bike workshop in the mornings if that takes your fancy… You can even take your dog, which I’m SO doing next time he comes to stay!

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 11_zpsgt6olcja.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 12_zps985di4b8.jpgThe pizzas (I know, this is a brunch review) are some of the best I’ve had. Pillowy, soft sourdough base which some really interesting toppings. There’s a good selection (three!) of white pizzas, including a totally irresistible Pancetta, Fennel & Pomegranate combo. Try it and thank me later.

And now to brunch.

Also a ‘different’ menu. No traditional Full English here. The ‘Full Dynamo’ features sweetcorn fritters, there’s blueberry pancakes with bacon, chorizo hash and all kinds of other egg-based delights.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 5_zps8vly6r1e.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 4_zpshr3uofj7.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 2_zpsd5sfii8i.jpgW had the Chilli Scrambled Eggs – “Scrambled Eggs, Nduja Toast, Feta and Zhoug.” Yep, we had to google Zhoug too (it’s a green chilli sauce). The scrambled eggs were some of the best we’d tried, which considering we have very different ideas about what scrambled eggs should be (I’m creamy and barely cooked, he’s firmly set but fluffy) is a pretty tall order to satisfy. The nduja and zhoug added just the right amount of spice, and the feta added a gorgeous fresh tang. Scrambled eggs, but not the nursery supper from your childhood. He certainly had a happy face after eating!

Then there was my order. Eggs Eddy, a spin on my favourite Eggs Benedict – “Poached Eggs, Black Pudding, Citrus Hollandaise and Seven Seeded Sourdough.” Guys, black pudding instead of ham is a revelation. I know not everyone is a fan of it, but I LOVE it and this worked so, so well. It was perfectly cooked (crispy outer, soft and melting inner), topped with perfectly cooked eggs. Gooey yolks, just set whites and no firm yolk in sight. And the colour. And flavour. So good. The citrus hollandaise was delicious, with the zing cutting through the rich meat so I didn’t feel (too much) like waddling out afterwards.

 photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 6_zps7tztzscx.jpg photo Dynamo Putney Brunch 8_zpssa9hiopd.jpgThe only complaint (from both of us) was that we’d have loved an additional bit of toast, or a thicker slice. A little thing, and we could have easily ordered some had we not been off to devour birthday cake!

So yep, this is my local brunch spot. Safe to say I’m not planning on finding a new flat any time soon! I’d highly recommend a trip out to deepest SW15 if you’re looking for a new brunch spot…Now all I need to do is find out who supplies their eggs!

Where’s your favourite brunch spot?

Review: Honest Burgers, Covent Garden

I subtly alluded a few weekends ago that I quite like a burger.

 photo Honest Burger_zpsgd83mpms.jpgScratch that, I pretty much shouted from the rooftops about my love for burgers. This year I’ve made it my mission to find my ultimate burger. I’ve got a meat grinder attachment for the KitchenAid to try and make my own. I have an ever-growing list of places to try (and please, please feel free to add your favourite burger to it!). I even, much as I am ashamed to admit it, day-dream about burgers. Please tell me I’m not the only one?!

When we moved to London Honest Burgers was top on my list of places to visit, but despite my office being literally on top of one, it took me until November to visit. Then I went again in December. And again since. It’s taken me until now to pen up a review, and I’m not entirely sure why. Because, quite simply, I could have summed it up with a simple Instagram post and a “Yum” #thumbsup.

 photo Honest Burger Review 1_zpsgeseavtn.jpg(Fun Fact: my flatlay of Honest burgers was my first Instagram photo to smash through 100 likes).

We visited after a few drinks, and before more drinks, with a small-ish group of friends one Saturday night. Despite going to the small Covent Garden branch, we maybe waited 20 minutes for a table (heading off for more drinks whilst we waiting for the all important phone call!) – definitely not the wait we were expecting!

Between us we probably ordered most of the menu. A couple of cheeseburgers, a couple of “plain Jane’s”, a couple of Tributes, a chicken, the special at the time (some with black sesame seeds and kimchi) and my “Honest” burger. Everything comes with chips (a nice surprise!), and we also grabbed a couple of buckets of onion rings to share.

 photo Honest Burger Review 5_zpsn4fklxkd.jpg photo Honest Burger Review 10_zps7nbor936.jpgI always think that if a restaurant names a burger after themselves, it’s got to be a bloody good burger. Byron made that mistake (it was a bit disapointing), but Honest really nailed it. For one, it didn’t contain tomatoes. At all. It’s rare I can enjoy a relish, or even not have to trust them to not put a sneaky tomato slice in, but this was pure tomato-free goodness. A thick meaty patty cooked just right (plenty of oozy pink, but nothing too slime-ily raw about it), seasoned well and actually tasting of beef. Lots of oozy cheese. A good spoonful of onion relish, but not too much it took over. Crisp but not tooth-shatteringly so bacon. A token bit of salad. Some gorgeous lightly picked cucumber – slightly sharp, still crunchy and adding a gorgeous refreshing element. All held together in one of the best brioche burger buns I’ve tried. Despite the juiciness of the patty it held together pretty damn well. I didn’t get it all down my front at least…

 photo Honest Burger Review 3_zps3wha0un7.jpgOther burgers got similar reviews. W had the kimchi special, which I didn’t try (I’m not a fan of kimchi or sauerkraut flavours at all) but it did look and smell good – and disappeared in super-quick time. The chicken burger also looked damn good, even if I never order them. And whilst the cheeseburger did look good, when you can add bacon and relish I’m just not too sure whether I’ll ever order one…

The chips were also a revelation. I’ve become used to disappointing chips, and nothing is worse than a limp fry – but these were stunning. Chunky, almost chip-shop style, but with lots of crispy bits. Drenched in a rosemary salt, they were incredibly moreish and I hoovered up the massive portion size. On my second visit I went after work in my tightest pencil skirt. Bad decision. I forced the chips down and then couldn’t sit down on the tube to get home.

 photo Honest Burger Review 7_zpscwpzqxr3.jpgIn fact, the only dud were the onion rings. And I was super disappointed. One, because I bloody love onion rings (number one place so far has been Burgers & Cocktails, followed rather closely by Ed’s Diner). Two, because I’m heard so many people raving about Honest’s onion rings. Sure, they were reasonably crispy, but the onions inside were watery, and the batter thick and almost doughy. A raw spice taste to them too – despite only two portions between 7 of us, they were the only thing we failed to polish off…

 photo Honest Burger Review 9_zpshsqynyy2.jpgOnion rings aside, Honest Burgers jumped straight to the top of my ‘favourite burger’ list. Excellent meat, good buns, supremely moreish chips. They’ve recently had a ‘Sunday Roast’ burger special with bacon gravy (!) and roast potatoes that I’m desperate to try, and I’m only gutted I didn’t manage to grab one of their Christmas specials. This year, this year.

Have you ever been to Honest Burgers? What did you think? Where’s your top burger in London?

 

Restaurant Review: Mac & Wild, London

Scotland is somewhere super-close to our heart. And I love burgers. So when we found out about a Scottish restaurant who made London’s best burger of 2015, there was no question about where we were spending our anniversary. We donned some fancy-ish clothes (me bringing out a dress I love, but is too dressy for every-weekend wear, too low-cut for work), I whacked on the date-night makeup (because wearing Mac Diva is great for eating a burger…) and we headed out for a much anticipated evening.

mac-wild photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 1_zpsykqkcpjl.jpgAnd it didn’t disappoint.

I could just finish the review of Mac & Wild here, by telling you to go, to go book a table, eat plenty of meat, drink lots of whisky and feel very merry, very happy and very full. It would sum up exactly how I felt about the place. But obviously I’ll have to tell/show you exactly why you should make the effort to get to this Scottish gem in the heart of London.

It’s small, it’s cozy, it’s ‘trendy’ lighting didn’t make for great photos. Walls were adorned with stag’s heads and rather graphic photos. Staff were outstandingly welcoming and friendly, taking the time to talk us through the menu and ask about our days. And the food was damn good.

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 2_zpshnhr7kff.jpgWe started by splitting a ‘lighter’ choice alongside a heavier one. The Bone Broth was deceptively heavy, in a good way. Rich, unctuous, this is the kind of thing you crave when ill. I’d happily bulk buy and store in the freezer. The Scotch Egg was a heavier choice. A perfectly cooked egg (no set yolk here), encased in wonderfully flavourful venison meat, covered in crisp breadcrumbs and served with a mustard so perfect I’m tempted to contact Mac & Wild and find their supplier. I was a little wary that the meat was rare, but it was piping hot, tender and worked well all together. Definitely a filling portion!

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 3_zpsenykwgk9.jpgW went ‘date-night suitable’ for his main, choosing the Venison Steak with Bearnaise. The steak arrived pre-sliced, and cooked as it’s meant to be cooked (there was no choice given upon ordered, so be warned if you aren’t a fan of rarer meat!). It was gorgeous – extremely tender and beautifully rich in flavour rendering the silky and buttery Bearnaise unnecessary. I stoke a piece and almost, almost regretted not suggesting sharing a Chateaubriand.

The reason for not regretting? Well, London’s best burger of course…

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 5_zpsgn6iiev0.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 6_zpsz7at3wrc.jpgWhilst I’m not quite sure it deserves that title (more research needed, you see), it was a damn good burger. Both patties were cooked well – tender and moist, a slight hint of pink to the beef. They were well-season whilst remaining a good ‘meat’ flavour; you could tell which was which. The Bearnaise added moistness and richness, the cheese and mustard (more of that addictive mustard!) adding a salty kick. I usually pick the pickles out of a burger, but here they worked perfectly to add a much needed tang. I added the Candied Bacon, but honestly I’d say it’s not really necessary (shock horror!) – I found it got a little lost amongst all the flavours, and wasn’t quite crisp enough to add an extra texture. The bun held it all together, but the big issue with the burger? It was just too big. It was impossible to eat all elements at once and ultimately I felt it suffered. And date-night suitable? Definitely not. My lipstick was down my chin before I was halfway through the burger…

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 7_zpspossdcak.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 4_zps2xqiqurt.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 8_zpseuo5yvwv.jpgWe both went for sides of Haggis Mac & Cheese. I’m a huge mac’n’cheese fan (if you hadn’t already guessed), and haggis is a major foodie love of mine. The two together was something I’d never considered (though I’m now anxiously awaiting Burn’s Night) – it’s a pretty good combo! The Mac was cheesy and rich, the haggis moist and peppery, and the crispy topping by far the best topping on a restaurant one I’ve tried. My only complaint? It was a little dry, though I saw ones at different tables that looked a lot looser and creamier. I was a bit jealous if I’m honest!

 photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 10_zpsril5vxv3.jpg photo Mac amp Wild Restaurant Review 9_zpscejbwlag.jpgPuddings were also a success. The Cheeseboard came with a good selection, though we were a bit perplexed at the lack of biscuits considered one of them was a softer cheese. My desert, however, was the winner. The “I Shouldn’t But I Will’ was a dark chocolate Nemesis, salted caramel sauce, orange, almonds, & taffy crumble base. I was recommended a side of salted caramel ice-cream; I declined but rather wish I hadn’t as the portion did need something to break it up a little. That said, we both enjoyed it – I just preferred the savoury options and rather wished I’d tried the Haggis Pops instead!

We paired our food courses with whiskies, generally going with their suggestions (apart from my desert; I was recommended a smoky Islay whisky of which I’m not a fan, so went with my favourite tipple). All were deliciously drinkable and did complement the dishes perfectly. We left clutching our stomaches and swaying slightly…

Mac & Wild definitely impressed us, and it’s certainly left us wanting more. I know without a doubt I’ll be back to sample more. Their Sunday Roasts sound rather intriguing, they have a delicious sounding brunch menu, and their Dirty Buttery Mash sounds too good to miss.

Have you ever tried Haggis? What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Lifestyle: Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Whittlebury Hall

I love a good old fashioned Afternoon Tea, I’m a huge fan of chocolate – so it doesn’t get much better than a Chocolate Afternoon Tea. Add in a gorgeous spa hotel, comfy sofas, gossiping with my mummy and some Champagne and you’ve got a perfect way for me to while away a few hours.

 photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 7_zpsz7lz3oyv.jpgWith university and exams getting in the way, I shamefully realised in August that I hadn’t yet treated my mum to the lunch I promised her for Mother’s Day. Way back in March. Whoops! To rectify things I booked the Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Whittlebury Hall – this was the perfect treat to indulge our sweet teeth (tooths?) and spend some quality time together ahead of my move to London.

The afternoon tea setting was gorgeous. A large room full of sofas and comfy chairs, bookings are limited to avoid overcrowding and allowing tables to stay occupied for as long as possible. We were there for approaching three hours and never once felt rushed. We were also able to gossip away without feeling like we were disturbing nearby tables, perfect for a girly afternoon.

 photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 10_zps5dw8s04q.jpg photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 6_zpsvyazvkxa.jpg photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 5_zps0kim67zh.jpg photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 4_zpss5uo8z38.jpgThere was a bit of a mix-up with our afternoon tea – a not very chocolately one arrived, but we assumed it was fine so tucked in. It was only after we’d polished off the scones (me picking out the dried fruit, very classy) that we saw the actual chocolate tea being delivered to another table. We enquired to the most loveliest waiter who promptly refreshed our top layer of cakes and pastries to a chocolate one, offered us the chocolate chip scones (declined for fear of our waistlines) and poured us a complimentary glass of ‘apology’ champagne. Damn good service right there! The standard AT included a peach cream, mini Victoria sponge and many other dainty little bits.

Pots of tea were unlimited, myself having a malty Assam, and mum the good ol’English Breakfast. Both loose leaf, both with plenty of milk and sugar and extra pots of water provided. And very good tea it was too.

 photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 2_zpswxsq5vhj.jpg photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 3_zpsmt2rqjvr.jpgThe sandwiches were obviously made fresh, lovely soft bread and generous fillings. I was pleased to see the cucumber had been deseeded, which made the world of difference to what is usually quite a soggy sandwich. The salmon was fresh, though neither of us are the biggest fans of it. We also weren’t hugely taken with the ham and mustard; a combination I normally love, I found it a little sweet-tasting. And the best part of an Afternoon tea, for me, is the top plate so I didn’t want to fill up too quickly!

Scones were good, though being of the fruit variety I ended up picking at mine. Served warm, the cream melted into the soft inner, and I loved that they were served with a raspberry jam. I much prefer it to strawberry, and for me it compliments rather than clashes with the clotted cream.

 photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 8_zpsai7bxbve.jpg photo Chocolate Afternoon Tea Whittlebury Hall 9_zpslwys8rut.jpgAnd now for the top plate. Once ours was swapped for the chocolate version, we were delighted with our choice. I also found out that dark chocolate and champagne was an unexpectedly enjoyable combination. We had an ‘ice cream’ cone filled with a light chocolate mousse, a chocolate macaroon, a few different ganache covered cakes and a white chocolate and raspberry tart. Everything was gorgeous, though I was most impressed with the macaroon (intensely chocolately despite its pale colour) and the tart which added a burst of freshness. Everything was well prepared, tasted fresh and clearly used good quality chocolate. Not an afternoon tea for the faint-hearted, perhaps, as it was rather rich, but perfect for a girly afternoon.

I’ll just have to head back soon to sample the chocolate-chip scones!

Are you a fan of Afternoon Tea?

 

Review: Burgers & Cocktails, Brighton

Seriously, could there be a more perfect combination? Other than perhaps “tea & cake” I think not!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 5_zpsxez9ugj2.jpgWhilst wandering the North Laines of Brighton we stumbled upon Burgers & Cocktails (part of the Giraffe group). Drawn in by mention of two of my favourite things, we clocked the tummy-rumble-inducing menu, spied the student discount sign and our evening meal was sorted. We strolled up just before 7 to find it virtually empty; a sign that ususally puts us off, but we pererved as I really wanted a good burger. I’m glad we did. A good burger I definitely got.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 1_zpsupvfjljp.jpgStarting with Mojitos (my cocktail of choice, sweet, sharp, strong and yum), we deliberated over burgers and combos of sides for far longer than socially acceptable. Burgers are a serious business, you guys! W eventually went for the Green Chilli Popper Burger, described as a little on the hot side. With a beef patty, green chilli relish, cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers & fondue raclette cheese this wasn’t a small burger! We were initially disappointed at the flat ‘McDonalds’ style patties, however it really worked well in both of our burgers. They were definitely good quality despite the thinness, with a good beef flavour coming through – and there’s no way you could eat these with a thick patty!

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 3_zpswh5asdg3.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 4_zpszyta5fwn.jpgFor me, there was only one real choice (though I did have a little food envy at the sight of the fondue raclette cheese!) – the Mac Mountain. A self-confessed mac’n’cheese addict, this one had had my mouth watering all afternoon. Allergy info checked, thanks to our fab waiter who said it had “red bits” he needed to check weren’t tomato, I was soon tucking into “beef patty topped with mac ‘n’ cheese, special sauce, smoky relish, lettuce & pickles” minus the sauce, relish and pickles, plus two rashers of bacon. Because everything needs more bacon. This was perfect, pure carbs-on-carbs indulgence. The bacon was perfectly cooked, crispy without being dry and brittle. The brioche bun squished well around the filling.

The mac’n’cheese deserves a special mention. Spiced up with jalapeño and chilli (the aforementioned red bits) this was lighter than expected, but still wonderfully cheesy and rich. The side portion W ordered came crisp with breadcrumbs, my portion tasted wonderful in my burger.

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 2_zpsa5og87zm.jpgAs I was already on double-carbs, I avoided fries on the side. Not for the salad option (we were on holiday) – I demolished a portion of the best onion rings I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I’m a huge fan of them, but they can often be lacking onion flavour, watery, soggy, greasy or (ultimate crime) breadcrumbed. These were great – properly oniony, crisp, a light batter and they stayed crunchy right until the end of the bowl. I’d go back for these alone.

And because we had been greedy enough, we went for Hard Shakes instead of a dessert. I know, we deserve a medal…

 photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 7_zps4nsnlzvm.jpg photo Burgers and Cocktails Review Brighton 6_zpsfelerkxz.jpgI highly recommend saving room for these! W’s “Chocolate Monkey” (banana shake, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, chocolate liqueur & vodka, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream) was a little banana-y for my taste. However my “It’s Not Terry’s It’s Ours” was divine. Triple sec, crème de cacao, delicious brownie pieces, whipped cream & vanilla ice cream made for an amazingly thick shake, chocolatey, orangey and a massive alcoholic kick.

So if you’re in Brighton and in need of a burger, this place is great. Don’t come expect gourmet burgers, mediumly pink. Expect filthy burgers (don’t come on a first date), massive toppings, and a need to lie-down afterwards…

Where’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

 

Review: Handmade Burger Co, Leicester

I have a few major loves in my life. Family and friends, obviously. My dog. Burgers come very close behind.

I’ve talked about my love of burgers before, I’ve moaned about how difficult it is to find a good one. I’ve since made it my mission to try as many burgers as possible (hell, it’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to move to London later this month!), to try and find my ultimate burger.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 5_zps1hrdwp51.jpgIf I’m honest, my American Cheese from Handmade Burger Co came close. Their beef patty was definitely one of the best flavoured beef patties I’ve eaten. Properly meaty, a good beefy taste, an almost crunchy outer and soft inner – but it was served well-done, with no option for to-order cooking. A medium patty would have had this burger at near perfection for me.

The restaurant itself is huge, and located around the corner from Highcross it needs to be. It has been rammed full on each of our visits, though the service has always been quick and, if not friendly, very efficient. Modern, clean, it’s perfect for a quick pit-stop when shopping. We ordered a lot, making the most of my student discount before (sob) it ended. Luckily W’s will start again relatively soon, and once I begin studying professionally I’ll be back in possession of an NUS. But for now? I’m missing it. On our table we had four very different burgers, and three very different portions of fries.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 6_zpsowjnnzsk.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 3_zpst6h14wwg.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 2_zpsgxyhxbxr.jpgMy American Cheese burger was slathered in plenty of cheese, topped with a couple of gloriously crispy onion rings. With the burger being well-done it was a little dry, though nothing that wasn’t solved by a quick drizzle of mustard. I’d recommend adding bacon to this, and certainly will be doing next time. The Peppered Beef (Onion rings, flat mushroom, caramelised red onion relish, peppercorn sauce, mayo, rocket & red onion) was loved by my cheese-hating mum, the first time she’s had plenty of choice from a burger menu. My sister’s chicken burger (I forget whether it was Peri Peri or Cajun) look delicious and certainly disappeared quickly. Dad made short work of his Mexican (Handmade Mexican salsa, hand crushed avocado, fresh tortilla chips, jalapenos, chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato & red onion) and I have to say, it gave me huge food envy. Damn allergy.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 4_zpsxb3ebxnb.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 1_zpssvmuwpek.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 7_zpsxkggapdd.jpgThe fries were also good. Their standard fries come with a moreish and rather addictive rosemary salt. The sweet potato fries, once seasoned to taste, were crispy without being burnt. And the best? The Hipster Chips (handmade chips topped with jalapeño slaw, finished with Sriracha mayo & fresh spring onions). A great combo of spicy, crunchy, salty. Just yum. And so, yep, I highly recommend the Handmade Burger Co. Let’s just hope they offer medium-cooked burgers soon!

Burger time!

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

UPDATE: We visited a few weekends ago, after penning this post. We found the service to be terribly slow, with a milkshake arriving after the burgers. All five burgers were overcooked and dry, though not inedibly so, but it was definitely a bit more disappointing! Having said that, apparently the Peanut Butter burger was pretty yummy, and I loved the Rosemary Salted Fries…

I do, however, highly recommend the Oreo milkshake. Just don’t order if you have to have a quick meal. Or tell my wedding-dress-maker…

What’s the best burger you’ve ever eaten? What are you favourite burger toppings?

 

Review: Brunch @ Goodliffes, Loughborough

I love me a good brunch, but it’s very rare I have the opportunity to go. Typically, during this summer (the last time I will have nothing to do for weeks at a time!), the place where I’m living has pretty much zilch brunch options. Certainly no-where offering the oh-so-instagrammable dishes I love so much…

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 6_zpsdhnf09ag.jpgWay back at the end of May, just after exams finished, I joined W and his friends for a post-university celebration. We made a strange sight, students wandering around the town pre-9am, but it was definitely worth it! Goodliffe’s in Loughborough is somewhere we’d previously only visited for dinner (their Fish Finger Sandwich is insane), but had heard great things about their brunch menu. We weren’t disappointed.

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 1_zpstdnaskrr.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 3_zpsuog71klc.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 2_zpsc4rd3xgw.jpgI couldn’t resist ordered my absolute favourite, Eggs Benedict. This is my idea of perfection, salty meat, freshly toasted carbs, sharp but creamy hollandaise and gorgeous runny egg yolk. However, it’s so easily done wrong. Too much vinegar in the sauce, overdone eggs (I once sent a dish back to the kitchens for this crime), burnt muffins. This was a good example of the dish, though not perfect. Whilst I appreciated the idea of bacon replacing the ham, in practice it didn’t work. The bacon needed to either be back bacon (trimmed of most of the fat), or streaky bacon grilled until crispy. Unfortunately what I was served was a bit flabby and fatty – but still delicious having trimmed it. An Eggs Royale next to me was declared to be spot on.

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 4_zpsbrmvp9oc.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 5_zpsl1eprfmq.jpgOther than a Vegetarian Breakfast (halloumi, pesto and eggs sound like a dream combo to me!), the rest of the table went for a full English. Despite one plate arriving with a lack of bacon, the consensus was this was a good breakfast. It certainly looked it, though again I personally think the bacon could and should be crispier. Highlights were the black pudding, local sausage and hash-brown (I ordered one on the side of my eggs – my waistline may have objected, but it was damn good!).

And the best thing? They do brunch cocktails! Mango Fizz sounds like a winner…

Are you a brunch fan? What’s your go-to dish?

Review: Burger Brothers, Deal

Burgers are one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. I don’t eat them often, but when I do I want juicy, well-seasoned meaty meat, a soft tasty bun, gooey melted cheese, and good quality ‘extra’ toppings. I don’t want a dry, overcooked patty, I don’t want verging-on-stale bread, I don’t want limp lettuce leaves and fridge-cold cheese.

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 4_zpspieutvz8.jpgWith my ‘burger pickiness’ it makes trying out a new place rather difficult. I’ve gone off Bryon after finding my last few burgers completely overwhelming (and an issue where they simply removed a slice of tomato rather than cooking me a fresh burger put me off completely!). I find GBK can give me a little bit of a ‘delicate’ stomach, though it’s currently my favourite, and the ailment may be entirely down to the amount I eat…

A fair few weeks back on our visit to Deal, me and W earmarked Burger Brothers as our lunch venue of choice. It had a lot to live up to, with some fabulous reviews, and although I agree the service was questionable, the burgers were pretty damn good…

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 7_zps4qnpausn.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 6_zpshgyzlalq.jpgW ordered the Cheese’n’Jam (Beef patty, choice of Kentish Blue, Swiss, Cheddar or Jack with a dollop of bacon jam), and I have to admit it looked amazing. Plenty of cheese, a good salty-sweetness from the bacon jam, this disappeared rather quickly! We were a little disappointed with the Mac’n’Cheese though – a little dry and lacking in flavour, though improved considerably with a good dosing of black pepper (I also dipped mine in mustard).

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 8_zps6vvoio6p.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 5_zpsytegfkjo.jpgI was crafty with my order, and went for something W wouldn’t touch – no sharing for me! The Mushroom Swiss (Beef patty, sautéd Shitake, Chestnut & Oyster mushrooms, mushroom salt, mushroom ketchup and melted Swiss cheese) was filled to the brim with mushroom-y goodness, and as such repelled a usually greedy fiancé. I did notice a lack of ketchup on my burger (possibly due to it containing tomatoes?!) however I didn’t really miss it. The beef patty was well seasoned, the mushrooms tender but still with a bit of bite, the cheese glorious. An unusual combination, perhaps, but one that really worked. I’m of the thinking that it could have been improved with bacon, but then what can’t?! My bun was a little burnt, and this seemed to be a common problem on the day – seeing as the smoke alarms went off twice during our visit.

Again, my side was a little disappointing; although crisp the sweet potato fries were horrifically underseasoned and served a little on the cool side.

The biggest disappointment though? Neither of our burgers, nor any we saw coming out to other tables, were cooked the advertised medium. Now, I don’t mind a ‘well-done’ burger as long as it remains juicy (and my pinafore bore evidence to the fact that these were definitely juicy). But I do mind not getting a medium burger when the menu prides itself on serving them. I reckon just a little less firmness in my patty (and a non-burnt bun) would have made mine perfect!

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 1_zpsdhgodzke.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 2_zpswfxmfiqf.jpgWe didn’t stay for desert, though the ice-cream sundaes were certainly tempting…and I’m pretty sure I will be back. The French Dip burger (Beef patty, sliced rib of beef, American cheese and horseradish cream served with a side pot of beef dipping jus) has my name on it! And how could you resist eating what was a pretty good burger with a view like this?! Beats substandard fish’n’chips any day!

Are you a burger fan? Where do you recommend this burger fanatic to try next?!

Lifestyle: Overload at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Canterbury

You know me, I love a good burger! My ultimate burger definitely includes cheese, quite possibly bacon, and I can’t resist some soft, beautifully caramelized onions either. Just the thought is making my mouth water to be honest!

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 8_zpsx5hxvgf9.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 2_zps7qg4ynqn.jpgBurgers are a pretty simple thing, but they’re rarely done right. I’ve loved offerings at Byron before, and I love Five Guys for the ‘so bad but so good’ junk food fix. Unfortunately though I’d had some really terrible burgers. Patties so overcooked they’e bypassed pink, sped past just-about-appetizing and firmly entered grey’n’tough territory. Stale bread rolls so dry they actually crunched (and nope, they weren’t toasted). Bacon that was barely fried, let alone crisp. Fridge-cold onion (raw onion is fine, cold fried onions is a no-go). Some might call me fussy, but all I want is a well-cooked burger, preferably medium but I don’t care as long as it is juicy, some gooey cheese, a fresh bun, a bit of crispy bacon, basically a bit of love going into my meal.

With my burger-love it was with some trepidation that I accepted a invitation to review the relatively-newly opened Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Canterbury. A fellow burger-love, Libby joined me (she was extremely gutted the Satay Chicken wasn’t available the day we visited, though it gives us an excuse to go back!).

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 5_zpslabnnqep.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 6_zpsrgb2marh.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 4_zpsryegwdjg.jpgWe both opted for a side of Sweet Potato Fries with Baconnaise. These fries are some of the better ones available (Ed’s are so far the best I’ve tried, but these are infinitely better than Bill’s!) – and the baconnaise is addictive! Salty, intensely savoury, with a mild but pungent garlic flavour. So good. 

Onto the burgers, and Libby went for a Taxidriver. Beef patty, American cheese, house onion ring, Cajun relish, smoked chilli mayo, dill pickle, salad, brioche bun. It looks amazing and she seemed to enjoy it – and I certainly wish GBK offered brioche buns on more of their burgers.

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 9_zpseb1vc9yr.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 7_zpslnoxjgot.jpgI opted to ‘Build my Own’ using a starting point of a 6oz Patty with Smoked Applewood, and adding bacon and onion rings. Unfortunately there was a slight mix-up with my order, and despite them noting my allergy and removing the tomato it came coated in a tomato-relish – oops! They were lovely about it and quickly made me up a fresh one, though I was quite concerned to be told that it was lacking salad as that comes pre-prepared with tomatoes (I’ve always had salad in my burgers there before, so if this is the case I’ve been lucky not to have a reaction!). My burger was huge, perfectly cooked, full of melty cheese and plenty of mayonnaise (that wasn’t fridge cold either!). The bacon could have been crisper, but the extremely crunchy onion rings more than made up for it – a delicious lunch that I struggled to finish!

*Disclaimer: I was invited to review GBK and received a voucher as part-payment. The restaurant did not know I was there to review (though they may have wondered about the camera!) and all opinions are my own. I genuinely really, really, *really* love burgers…

Are you a burger fan? Where’s the best burger you’ve ever tried? What are your ultimate toppings?

 

Lifestyle: Dinner At Bill’s, Soho

For some reason it took me until this September to visit Bill’s – despite reallyyy wanting to go for ages. In the end we squeezed in a visit after trying and failing to get food anywhere on a Friday night in Soho.

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 6_zpsymqxevqy.jpgThe problem with wanting to visit somewhere for ages is the constant studying of the menu. And the 1001 things you end up wanting to eat. Being the cheapskates we are, we only went for mains and a shared pudding – but it was more than enough. Even if I was slightly jealous of the ‘meat platter’ at a neighboring table…

The restaurant was busy, even at 8:30pm we had a thirty minute wait for a table – I’ll blame the opening night of RWC2015 for that one! We were eventually seated, had a very friendly waitress and got looking at the menu!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 7_zpsbrduttkc.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 8_zpss7kcbn5l.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 5_zpszyqrxtka.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 4_zpsinrw93kf.jpgI went for the special at the time – a battered chicken burger, with spicy mayo (swapped out for aoili due to the presence of sneaky tomato powder!), and sweet potato fries. I devoured it pretty quickly, so it must have been good! I felt the coating on the chicken could have been crisper, but it was definitely yummy. I wasn’t so impressed with the sweet ‘tato fries – a little overdone and cold for my liking unfortunately…

W went for the lamb koftas, and I have to admit to a little bit of food envy. Beautifully presented, well flavoured, just the right amount of spices – he really enjoyed it. It’s definitely an option I would consider next time I visit Bills!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 9_zps0ffqkjku.jpgSuitably stuffed, we shared a pudding. I couldn’t resist the doughnuts and dipping sauce – and it was SUCH a good choice. Warm fluffy doughnuts drenched in cinnamon sugar, a dark chocolate sauce, and plenty of strawberries on the side too. The portion size wasn’t skimpy either; I was glad we were sharing!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 1_zpsbs1kb9n9.jpgI enjoyed my visit to Bills, I found the staff immensely helpful with allergy information, the food generally yummy, and it was well-priced with a good atmosphere – a pretty good place!

Have you ever been to Bills? What did you think?