Tag Archives: Take out

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Restaurant Review – Patty & Bun, Liverpool Street, EC2M

One of mine and my brother’s favourite stories about our dad is the time he complained about the service in the Tunbridge Wells branch of McDonalds. Patience isn’t the Hedges’ strong suit, and my dad took issue with the fact that he had to queue for “fast” food. I have inherited this trait. Andrew’s most worn-out phrase to me is, “Zos, just chill out” because I am so impatient in that awful muttery under breath kind of way. And you know who else I’ve discovered isn’t patient? City bankers.

More often than not I work in Shoreditch, and sometimes I have cause to go into the City – the Square Mile where apparently all bankers congregate to get bonuses and screw over Iceland (hazy on the details). The cause this week was to pay in a cheque like it was 1995. I don’t like going into the City much because I hate sharing space with bankers or whoever they are (lawyers? other people who still wear suits to work – who are they?!). City-dwellers are, on the whole, consistently incredibly rude and arrogant – constantly ploughing into people on the pavement with a kind of “I’m more important than you” attitude and sighing when shop assistants don’t give them special treatment and bump them up the queue just because they’re wearing a suit from T. M. Lewin. Basically The City is like Berkmageddon and I hate it.

When I was down there yesterday on my lunch break I decided to cheer myself up with a trip to Patty & Bun’s new branch on Liverpool Street. It’s more of a takeaway feel than their site in Fitzrovia, but the menu is the same – burgers and chips. The place pulled me in like it had a tractor beam.

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It’s set up sort of like a rustic version of McDonalds. You go to a counter, order your food and then you’re given a receipt (novel!). If you’re eating in then you can sit at one of the little tables around the sides of the restaurant but if you’re taking out you’re told to go outside and wait by a window for your food to be passed to you. I am not sure what they will do when it’s raining, or have really considered that people might want to wait in the “10-15 minute” wait for their food – I’m sure it’s a stumbling block they’ll overcome.

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As I waited for my food (which took 5 minutes max), a steady stream of suits strode up to the window and demanded to know where their food was. One suit turned to me and I gave him a sympathetic smile and he said “Don’t think they’ve figured this thing out yet, huh!” to me. I just raised my eyebrows (I don’t like talking to strangers – I am not friendly). He had come directly out of the restaurant to the window and complained. What a… banker.

My food arrived in double-quick time. I picked it up from a girl who looked so deeply sad and panicked at the same time – like someone facing the firing line. Who can blame her when dealing with tosspots all day? Anyway, I took my food – in a massive MASSIVE bag – and dashed back to the safety of Shoreditch.

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I went for an Ari Gold, which is a hamburger basically. It was delicious. Medium-rare tasty patty, lots of lovely pickles and a sturdy brioche bun to keep it all together. My desk buddy, Kat, was very annoyed that I had such a delicious lunch. She had Covent Garden soup. Haha.

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The chips were, well, they were chips – neither outstanding nor terrible. They didn’t have enough rosemary on them to really constitute being called “rosemary fries”, but this is a minor quibble.

And as for those impatient bankers? Well, I didn’t have a problem waiting five minutes for my lunch so I don’t see the problem. I can imagine even my dad would wait that long… and he’s a retired banker.

Service: 5
Venue: 3
Value: 3
Overall: 7/10

Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7PD

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street (30-second walk)
Patty & Bun Liverpool Str. on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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Restaurant Review – Banh mi 11, Great Eastern Street, EC2A

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A market in Vietnam

When I was 22 I went travelling around the world and was lucky enough to spend four months in Asia. What I wasn’t ready for when I got to Asia was the culture shock. I got incredibly homesick at times for people but also things. I was a typical western brat who missed the familiarity of things I knew. Everything in Asia seemed so alien.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a great time, but by the time we reached Vietnam, three months into our tour, we were craving a taste of home. And boy were we excited when we discovered banh mi. Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich – a sandwich! I hadn’t had one in three months! – and it came in a French baguette-style loaf – again, bread! Amazing! Banh Mi is sold from lots of little stalls and carts on the road in Vietnam, along with the other Vietnamese favourite, pho.

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Pho being made and eaten on the curbside in Hanoi.

So anyway, banh mi is more to me than a sandwich – it brings back to me all these lovely feelings of comfort while away from home, when I was feeling a bit scared and afraid (I know, I was a wimp!).

So recently I went to sample on of Great Eastern Street’s many banh mai offerings at Banh Mi 11. Accompanying me was the lovely Abby (Wanderlust & Bake). image (7)

There was a queue out of the door – both a good and bad sign – but it was moving steadily. Amazingly this place is just around the corner from one of my clients’ office, but I’d never heard of it before. And I was missing a gem!

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There was a lot to tempt me, not least the yummy looking summer rolls. But I kept focused and went for a pork belly banh mi, which came with crackling and lots of yummy Vietnamese-style pickles and herbs.

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The bread was lovely and fresh – the outside crust was crunchy but yielded under a bit, just like the ones from my memories of lunches in Vietnam. Inside the pork belly was soft and sweet with a generous portion of headily savoury crackling. The pickles and herbs gave it that lovely fresh and sweet kick that is so much part of Vietnamese food.

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And all for under a £5. It was brilliant and I will certainly be going back. Wonderfully, Banhmi11 do take out for those who need lunch in a hurry.

Service: 4

Venue: 3

Value: 5

Overall: 8/10

Banh Mi 11, 101 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3JD

Nearest tube: Old Street (5min walk)
Banhmi11 on Urbanspoon

Food Review – Koshari Street, St Martin’s Lane, WC2

Koshari

It’s my last week working in Covent Garden for a while, and having put of visiting Koshari Street for one reason or the other (rain, laziness, other shiny things caught my eye), this week I was determined to get a visit in.

Koshari is an Egyptian dish which is a mixture of pasta, lentils, pulses topped with chickpeas, tomato and garlic sauce, caramelised onions and some herbs. It is carb-tastic.

Koshari Street sell koshari and pretty much nothing else. Here is the menu so you can check if I’m wrong.

Koshari Street menu
Koshari Street menu

Oh they do a salad as well. Alright, I was wrong. Let’s get over it and move on.

So I ventured in, and was helped to a medium bowl of koshari by two very nice staff in what was a pretty empty shop/restaurant. I got to choose from the level of heat in the tomato sauce: mild, hot or mad. I went hot. I’ll let you into a secret: it wasn’t that hot at all.

I got back to my desk and took out my swag…

Voila! What a take out looks like... I know, exciting, right?
Voila! What a take out looks like… I know, exciting, right?

Inside, well, it didn’t look that pleasant. I blame the caramelised onions, which kind of look like meal worms…

The koshari
The koshari

Eh. They tasted delicious though! As I excavated through the layers, I was pleasantly surprised by all the flavours in the koshari. The portion was incredibly generous, and I couldn’t finish it all though. Here’s a picture of the layers… (It’s not a great photo. Standard.)

Koshari

Would I go to Koshari again? Sure, it is delicious – but massively filling. A perfect warming dish for winter though, or perhaps a perfect hangover cure. And it’s perfect fodder for tourists, workers or theatre-goers deep in the heart of theatre land.

Rating: 5/10

Koshari Street, 56 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4EA

Nearest tube: Leicester Square (3min walk)

 

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