Monthly Archives: April 2012

Song Que Cafe – London

 

A bright sunny morning led us on an exploration to the east of our normal stamping ground in Islington. With mum and gourmet uncle in tow we caught the 394 bus to Homerton Hospital which weaved through well utilised parks and bustling estates to this well regarded vietnamese cafe in Hoxton on Kingsland Road. This  ‘Little Saigon’ area of London had a number of cafes huddled around the junction which tempts me back to explore further.

The room is bright and well lit. Tables are close together but it wasn’t terribly busy so we had plenty of room. Service is a little brusque but definitely not Chinatown level of just plain rude. The menu is absolutely huge so I went for a couple of favourites and a wildcard. Summer rolls and a combination of rare steak and well done flank Pho. Pho as you probably know is there utterly delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. My wildcard item was a traditional crispy pancake with prawn, chicken, salad and herbs.

Crispy Pancake

The summer rolls were very good. Nicely chilled, packed with prawns and noodles and a good spike of coriander and mint. They do not skimp on herbs here and you get a good plateful of them with each dish. The crispy pancake was delicious, like a light but crunchily crisp omelette stuffed with bean sprouts, prawns and chicken. We all dived in and polished off in no time.

Finally the Pho which came smelt incredible, The steaming soup stock topped with thin slivers of rare and well done meat, noodles, bean sprouts and herbs. Again a huge plate of herbs came to accompany it.

Wonder Pho

It was fantastic. I still dream about it now. In fact as I write this sentence I am salivating thinking about the deeply flavoured beef stock. Off course, like a lot of soups, it is all about the stock and Song Que’s is so deeply flavoured I have no idea how they achieve that level of beefiness. It is like a the contents of a drip tray after roasting a huge rib of beef. Lightly flavoured with aniseed it is immediately addicting.

I would not hesitate in returning to Song Que and I urge you all to head there immediately!

Score: Excellent 10/10

Address : Sonq Que
Address : 134 Kingsland Road
Postal Code : E2 8DY
Telephone: 0207 613 3222

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Rules – London

Dinner with friends that we met on our recent round the world jaunt tempted me to book a restaurant reflecting where we met in Peru but I remember them mentioning an affection for Covent Garden stalwart Rules and as I had never been there, that was where we booked.

The restaurant was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 and stands unchallenged as the oldest restaurant in London.

I was looked up and down by the doorman as I arrived which worried me that I was under dressed but after explaining our reservation he smiled and let us through. The entrance was very welcoming and we were taken through the eclectic dining room to our slightly awkward table for 4 near an alcove. Looking around though it seemed clear that there was a slight awkwardness to a lot of the tables so we got comfortable and took a look at the menu. Having had a few plates of tapas at Moritos at lunchtime we decided to go for main and most probably dessert.

I had the steak and kidney pudding and Rich had the Saddle of Lamb. Prices are around the £20-30 for mains so this is not cheap territory. The wines also started around mid twenties and quickly escalated though we found a decent enough Merlot for about £28 and enjoyed that.

My pudding was delicious and was packed with kidney and rich steak in gravy. Thankfully I was also given a boat of extra gravy to anoint the pudding. It was only served with a small amount of cabbage so sides are ordered which normally annoys me but they are pretty good sides and despite what they tell you are enough to share. I had excellent roast potatoes and Richard had the celeriac gratin. My pudding was so excellent that it turned a normally wary kidney eater like me to an out and out kidney fan. Sadly Richards lamb was, whilst cooked correctly a little tough and tasteless. The waiter asked his opinion before he even had a mouthful and sadly didn’t return for the verdict.

Desserts were on the whole superb especially my apple and blackberry crumble which came with a satisfying jug of custard and Brenda had a super retro white and dark chocolate arctic roll which came with extra chocolate sauce. Sadly Rich struck out again with his steamed chocolate pudding which was dense and even for him un-finishable. Being the generous man I am, I shared my crumble with him.

All in all an excellent meal if you choose wisely and I look forward to returning during game season to try the game there.

 

 

Its been a while…

ImageTime to restart the old food blog again. I do have a pretty good excuse as in May 2011 I decided to take a year to travel around the world. Well that year is up, and I came back a changed man so have decided to resign from work and to think about what to do next.

While I’m looking, I’ve got some time on my hands so I’ll have a go giving you the best food stories of the last year andprovide some ongoing news from my homes in Sheffield and London. The central part has now gone as I have left Leicester now (Bye bye Firenze **sob**)

Thanks for taking an interest.

Mike