My friend Eleanor and I had spent the night at the Dutch Press Awards (I was nominated, didn’t win owt though) and needed a lunch that would act like a breakfast, lunch and pick-me-up all in one. After a night on the cheese we headed over to IPPUDO in Villiers Street, London for a Japanese feast.
The place was absolutely rammed. Windows steamed. People going one-in, one-out, with paper bags clutched to their chests. We squeezed in, waited for a few minutes whilst starring heart-eyed at the menu, and then we were seated at the back of the restaurant under the red neon light/instructional notice that read ‘ZuZotto’, apparently meaning ‘to slurp’.
Well, feast we did. Whilst my favourite soft pork bun can still only be found at Yuu Kitchen, we did discover some delicious new foodie finds, such as Goma Q – crunchy sliced cucumber with sesame dressing, and Chashu Curry Sticks – deep fried spring rolls filled with pork and onions.
Probably my favourite thing (apart from the Ramen) was the Kari- Kari Ton Kara – crispy fried pork belly slices, bathed and seasoned in special garlic soy sauce marinade. (Think deep fried squid, and then think again!)
The Villiers Street restaurant has it’s own speciality ramen, so of course this was a must. Hakata Niku Ton – Tonkotsu broth topped with simmered sweet and spicy pork. Totally delicious!
And, it might seem like an impossible feat, but we even had room to share a green tea and vanilla ice cream!
At home we’ve been trying out the new teas from Roqberry. I’m a sucker for tea, and in particular the packaging it comes in. I was happy to find that Roqberry isn’t just all about the looks, it’s about proper flavours too. No wishy washy here! I was amazed at how the Peppermint Cream could taste so much like something that does not usually come in liquid form! Orange and Root is sweet and blossomy, and the Turmeric Chai the least turmericy turmeric drink I’ve drunk, which is good news for me because I could enjoy the flavour and the health benefits without having to hold my nose and swallow! The Big Smoke tastes amazingly like rich, dark soot. An acquired taste, I think, but very nostalgic, and quite incredible.
Other artisan products I’ve been sampling include these cute little snack salamis from Woodalls Charcuterie. I recently joined the Woodalls team and Chef Mark Hix at Tramshed in Shoreditch for an evening celebration of charcuterie, cheese and vodka. Winning!
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen me talk about the Black Cow Vodka, made from the waste whey produced when making the Black Cow Cheddar. If you’re a vodka fan and you’ve not tried this one yet, get to it! It’s creamy and smooth, delicious and great quality. Get me some cheese while you’re there!
I’ve been a big fan of Woodalls for quite some time now (they supplied charcuterie to the Titanic you know!) so it was really nice to get together with them for a night of good food and good chats. Mark Hix created some fabulous canape style treats for us and it was just a joyful evening. These little salamis come in original, spicy and gin flavour – something for everyone then!
One last shout out this month goes to Florentine Restaurant in Waterloo, London and specifically to their Tuscan sausage and stilton flatbread. Proper yum! I had a meeting here the other week (with one of the nicest people in PR that you could ever meet) and couldn’t take any notes as my hands were full – fresh lemonade in one hand, flatbread in the other!
And, in other foodie news…
Don’t forget it’s National Tea Day on the 21st April. To find out more about National Tea Day and to book tickets for the Fes-Tea-Val, visit nationalteaday.co.uk
The Cheeky Boy chaps have released a Hot Mayo Sauce called HMS Sussex to commemorate the forthcoming Royal wedding.
Cocoamester have launched their new website with all sorts of chocolately goodness available (I should know, I photographed/ate much of it!)
YUU Kitchen have made some exciting additions to their menu, and I for one cannot wait to try them. I’m especially interested to discover the Pork Sisig Lollipops (7hr pineapple juice braised pig’s head, Japanese panko, chives, tangy adobo mayo, chicharron dust) and the Crispy Pig’s Ears (3hr slow cooked pig’s ears, honey soy glaze, sesame seeds, pickled radish, chives).
And, exciting news for Spitalfields Market – Yuu Kitchen will launch a brand new stall in the newly refurbished market with a traditional Filipino menu offering. The Lunchboxes will be priced at £7per box. The stall will be called “Hoy Hoy” (meaning “hey hey”) by Yuu Kitchen.
I’ll be back next month with some more Foodie Finds to share, until then, if you’ve got something you think we should know about, please get in touch… send biscuits!