Egg custard tart…oversized!!

Have you ever seen an egg custard SO big!?!?!?  Oh my word, my favourite cafe in London Bridge not only has incredible food, but also amazing baked treats. This monster of an egg tart caught my eye and I had to buy it! It was a bit too sweet – tasted a little like an egg custard tart and a creme brûlée had a gigantic baby. And as it was so big, it got a little bit much. But wow – look at it! It’s as big as my hand!! *___*

 

Real Food Market, Southbank – post 2

So, after we finished up at Le Cirque Invisible at Queen Elizabeth Hall, me and my sissypants were delighted to find that the Real Food Market was still very much alive and kicking.  There were so many yummy treats on offer – large pans with sizzling calamari, in preparation for paella. Risotto balls, falafel wraps, macarons, mini roasted potatoes and many other delights.

One of my weaknesses is grilled sweetcorn.  As is street food.  So when we were caught by the smell of cooking sweetcorn, we gravitated towards a stall called Squid and Pear.  My sis is a fan of oysters, so I wanted to get her some but they had sold out. I wanted to get a piece of corn, and after some deliberating and checking out the menu, we decided to go all out and get a meal (decision which, was helped along by some people infront of us buying one and it looking stunning).

We went for the Hand Dived Kind Scallops and were seated at a little table with a scallop shell that had sea salt and ground pepper in it (nice touch!) while we waited for it to be prepared. When it arrived, we were greeted with the sight of salad, potato/chive salad, tomatoes, a lemon, the essential piece of corn, and two big king scallops on top.  Seriously, I haven’t seen scallops this size before so our eyes were wide as saucers.

Scrunching some salt on top, squishing a good splash of lemon on and lasting all of a few seconds before we started tucking in, we were so pleased that it was delish.  This is one of those meals was utterly memorable. The portion was great, the tomatoes were seasoned beautifully, the potatoes were fab, the salad and the dressing was yum.

Now, it wasn’t perfect. Firstly, the scallops, were not cooked through. I don’t mind raw fish and will happily chomp through sashimi and all kinds of raw fish, so this didn’t bother me. Nonetheless, I would have liked for the scallops to be just shy of being cooked through, rather than being half cooked/half raw. They were sooo juicy though, that I didn’t mind so much. The other thing, was that the grilled corn had been sat on the grill for far too long while waiting to be purchased – when I came to eat it, it was dry in many places that was was chewing on dry, ‘plasticy’ kernels. I haven’t experienced this before, and whilst merrily eating this amazing meal, it was surprising.

Howeveeer…. this was yum. SO yum. Even as I write this, I can recall the flavours all over again. I initially baulked at paying £10 for a portion of scallops, but it was so so worth it. Amazing. I can’t stop looking at the picture and wanting another portion. =) While we were eating, a couple came to purchase Moules Marinières but they had none ready to serve. So instead, the lady there made a batch from scratch and used the remainder of their stock to make a huge portion for the lucky couple. It looked devine – if they had another portion, I would have definitely bought one. Next time!!

Take a look at Squid & Pear‘s site and try to catch them. SO worth it!

Real Food Market, Southbank

Oh I do enjoy London. Especially during the Summer, and especially when there are fantastic food markets such as Southbank’s Real Food Market.

My sister had come to visit one weekend and we went to watch Le Cirque Invisible at Queen Elizabeth Hall. In true Chan style, we were cutting it fine to make it on time and were running through Southbank when we passed these strawberries. We were desperate to get some, but had no time to stop. Luckily, during the show’s interval we dashed out and got some.  And they were SO satisfying! Big, juicy strawberries, sweet and tasty and with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. They had all been prepared – stalks removed and ready for immediate consumption. The sun was shining, the deckchairs were out, the market was bustling, the gentleman serving them was so cheery and the whole experience was devine! ^______^

Got to love ‘Ciao’! :)

Ciao, which is by Leicester Square, is an Italian cafe that specialises in gelato and snacks/drinks such as teas/coffee and filled, toasted croissants etc. The main reason that I love returning is definitely the ice cream. Every time I take a friend in, I’m always amazed at the extravagance that is presented before us. Fruit-filled delights and novelty ice cream dishes that resemble spaghetti or fried eggs, this is a definite must-visit!

Now I’m full of ice cream, time to head back and to my bed!

Hema – mini stroopwafels

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Ying came back from her trip to Amsterdam with treats!

These are amaaaaazing. So buttery, so sweet, so delicious.  They’re a smaller version of the ones you see in coffee shops and German markets.  In a smaller form, they appear less deadly until your teeth start crying.  But so devine and great with a cuppa! =)

Candy Cafe, Leicester Square London

Tonight, I could see my friend had a lot on her mind. In times like this, the only saviour is a jolly good rant…and dessert.

Lurking in the smallest of doorways, just off the beaten track in London’s China Town is a small staircase into a dessert house called Candy Cafe. Their speciality are desserts of the Far Eastern variety – think mango, sago, sweet dumplings, bubble teas, herbal/grass jelly and a wide range of quirky sweet treats that will have you wow-ing and taking pictures.

Last time I went for the crepe, with cheesecake & ice cream inside – this was such an amazing combo that it was a no-brainer for me until I decided I wanted to try something I hadn’t had before.

After some advice from the lovely gent who works there, I went for Sago Coconut Milk and got this with two toppings – honey peach and aloe vera. My friend got a dessert (the name escapes me) with grass jelly, red bean and green tea ice cream. Both puds together cost £8-£9 and were tasty, satisfying and refreshing. Light and tasty without being OTT sweet, I really enjoyed mine (and the cheeky stolen spoonful of my friend’s one!). The Matcha Ice Cream on top was nice with a good flavour of green tea (rather than the ones you can get where you can barely distinguish the flavour) and everything works happily in the dishes in a unique yet tasty blend. Mine was yum and after having a few tentative nibbles, it quickly turned into happy and hearty spoonfuls. =D

We stayed for a while, relaxing and chatting until it was time to go home. They have a loyalty card with a stamping system. I am now over halfway to getting a free pudding and after much girly chit-chat, ranting and putting the world back to rights, we went home happy and with smiles on faces! Job done. Thanks Candy Cafe!

Baxter’s Gourmet Choice, Borough Market London

Borough Market is one of those heavenly places where you could whittle away the hours, seeing what the stalls have to offer, sampling lots of treats and marvelling in all the foodie delights. It’s open Thur – Sat and a definite ‘must visit’.

Every week, I go with the girls in the office and the recent favourite has been Thai Green Curry with rice. This week though, I felt like a bit of a change after seeing numerous people walking past with juicy-looking burgers.

My search led me to Baxter’s Gourmet Choice – lured there by menus offering wild boar sausages, venison and steak rolls, the long queue gave me enough time to deliberate over the choices and finally settle on a steak roll (decided because I wasn’t in the mood for sausages).

Steak rolls I’ve had before, have been dry with not enough meat and so I wasn’t 100% sure whether I had made the right decision. When it was my turn though, I was pleased to see a good helping of salad leaves go into a soft white roll, ready for the meat. When this came, 2 long slices of meat plus onions went in and I had the option of peppercorn or spicy sauce. I went for peppercorn and was slightly delighted when a generous amount was poured over the meat in the roll. With an array of sauces, and accompaniments to choose from, off I trotted with treasure in hand.

While shuffling along amidst the busy marketplace and with a box full of meaty/saucy/leafy sandwich, it was tricky eating it with my hands. Using a fork to pull off bite-sized pieces worked rather well, and as the sauce soaked into the bread, this was probably the least messy way to eat!

So how was it?

Good. =D The roll was nice and soft, though not so soft that it would disintegrate under the sauce/juices. The meat was tender, though a little chewy – not sure what cut the meat was but it required some carnivorous tearing at times! The peppercorn sauce was delicious and I enjoyed how it soaked into the bread and made everything super tasty. I also really liked the jar of pickles/gherkins which I had a generous amount of. So overall, I had a pleasant eating experience. It would have been nice if the meat was a little pink but otherwise, the service was great, the selection was good and no major complaints. Next time I go, I’ll be trying the wild boar! Till next time, over and out!

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Wahaca

My friend Paula and I had been doing some late night shopping at Westfield and bring the good little shoppers we are, come 9pm+, we had worked up quite an appetite. =)

Wondering from chain restaurant to chain restaurant, we were peering at menus and trying to suss out what cravings we had and what seemed appetising. Did we want steak? Did we want Japanese? Italian? How hungry were we and what did the other person want?

After much deliberation (put two indecisive people together and you’re waiting a while before grumbly tummies are put to rest!), we came across a cosy, lively, little place called Wahaca. Now, neither of us had been before and the inviting glow of the restaurant, the big smiles and the busy vibe tempted us in. It had been a while since either of us had Mexican so the decision was made!

Inside, the restaurant was nice. There was lots of interesting paraphernalia around the walls and room to aid an authentic feel. We were pleased to see that there was a variety of nice cocktails with a twist and also a tequila menu! Now, this wasn’t going to be a boozy night and we were pretty thirsty.  I went for an Agua Frescas while my friend ordered a Citrus Fizz.  One thing to note here: these drinks are marked as being large/long drinks, which was fab because that’s just what we wanted.  When they came, they were super tasty and definitely a nice change from standard fruit juices or soft drinks, but they were very average sized.  Not long.  Not large. Just normal.  Lol…

Onto the food.  While we were waiting, we were given plain tortilla chips and also two of their homemade salsas. I like to think that my tolerance for spicy food isn’t too bad, but between the bottle of Habanero sauce on the table and smelling the two dips (one red, one yellow), I thought that I might be out of my league.  I did try a teeny amount of the dip and it left the tip of my tongue numb, so I didn’t go to dip my tortilla chip in there!!  (I have since revisted Wahaca at their Soho branch and the dip wasn’t as bad I thought. =)  It has a nice kick, but not to the point of being an A&E case)

For mains, I couldn’t decide whether to go for some of the ‘Street Food’ dishes – varieties of smaller dishes which a similar idea to tapas. In the end, I went for Fish a la Pimienta, which is ‘grilled mullet with a melting onion, black pepper, fresh lime and pumpkin seed sauce, served with green rice and salad’.  When it came, I was glad with my choice – it looked tasty.

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I am pleased to say, that it taste as good as it looked! I was really happy with the salad – big, tasty, soft leaves holding  a medley of tasty goodies – sweetcorn, olives, chives… much more exciting than the usual bit of ‘salad’ that gets thrown onto plates to fill them up.

And the main meal was yummy too.  The mullet was cooked well, still really tender and succulent with a crisp, grilled skin.  The rice was delicious, as were the onions and pumpkin seeds on top.  The only thing that let this meal down, was underneath the rice was a pool of olive oil which was larger than I would have liked.  It meant that as I was picking up mouthfuls of rice, the dominant flavour at times was oil. I have since had this dish again at a different branch, and thankfully it wasn’t the same, so I think this may have been a one-time, over-enthusiastic rice frier.

So yes, yum! As our bill came, we were given a little packet of chilli seeds to grow our own chilli plant, which I thought was a really nice touch!  I ended up asking if we could take a few more as many of my friends are fans of spicy food.  Overall, I had a really enjoyable evening in Wahaca.  I would (and have since) go again, and would recommend it to people who enjoy Mexican food, and people enjoy somewhere nice to drink/eat.