Friday, 27 July 2012

LCC Goodge Street: 19/20*

Location: 61 Goodge Street, W1T 1TL


Visit: Friday night, and it was PUMPING! 

To Note: Go early or book if you want a seat, this could get messy...

Ambiance 5/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 5/5
Staff 5/5
Extra LBC star: * Of course, that's for GM Lee 

I arrived about quarter past six on a Friday and nabbed the last two bar stools though a group looked like they had been enconsed in the back for hours and couples would like the booths that run down the wall as you enter and look out on the action. It did get busier as the night went on, being lent over on occasion to place orders, but the bar men are incredibly on the ball with keeping everyone happy and drinking. 

I started with an Aviation, made with Bombay Dry I was delighted to see and a delicious, fresh cherry was a nice touch. I also had a little bowl of the honey nad mustard sausages and I cannot recommend the food enough! Like Callooh Callay, there is some serious work going on in the kitchen and the pairings are well wroth checking out from sliders to popcorn. Then when my friend arrived and ordered a Pina Colada, a drink I avoid at all costs, I had to take a sip and found it balanced really nicely (as well as a big tasty garnish). We moved onto some more classics (of The LCC) but the smokiness of the Bacon and Eggs (a favourite of mine) was too much for her so I took over and passed over a daiquari type drink that was made for me and which she promptly ordered again! 

I finished on an Earl Grey Martini served with a strawberry topped custard cream on the side of the tea cup. Another triumph, that's all I can say. 

Fabulous team behind the bar. Awesome music. It took all i had to drag myself away for dinner. At 9pm. 

I will be back. 

Presenting...The Korean FATTBurger

I took advantage of the scorchio weather recently to enjoy sitting in The Sun and 13 Cantons, at a table for 8 people with big couches, completely undisturbed as the crowds piled onto the pavements. What we had come for was not something you would want to balance on a window sill. This would get messy. 

FATTBurger, another of the fabulous burger outlets that keep appearing, this one based in Dalston, is gracing this Soho pub for a few months and a very good thing it is too. It seems that we were the only ones to know that this was going on despite the menus on tables, or perhaps other customers did not know just how good these burgers are. We both opted for a single burger per bun - I recommend this unless you can dislocate your jaw - and I decided to go with their advertised Korean with salad and kimchi, a korean fermented pickly cabbage dish that is fabulous (try Kimchi Cult too) and perfect on a burger. On the side was a small skinny fries and onion rings.

So how was it? Dripping with tasty goodness and perfectly cooked, I doubted throughout the meal if i could fit the burger into my mouth and if i could actually carry on. I could. On both fronts. Our lovely waitress understood our need to "graze" on the chips as we digested. I do not know what the sauce was - Korean influence and somewhat mayo like - but I licked my fingers clean. Love the packaging, love the burgers, not as good as street food Kimchi Cult in terms of the kimchi (their's has smaller chunks so easier to squish into the burger) but worth a visit and at these prices...

Burgers £6/£7 + Small Chips £2.50 + Onion Rings £1.50 = BARGAIN

Chase Presents... Rock The Farm

On a surprisingly pleasant Sunday morning a crowd from “the industry” boarded a bus to Hereford for a special event run generously by William Chase and his team – Rock the Farm. On arrival the lovely marketing girls (thanks Hattie!) dished out the wrist bands, we then pitched out tent and headed out for pizza and the first drink of the day: HOBSONS ALE. This is from a local brewery and I tried the Twisted Spire. This was really fruity and a great summer drink, I will look out for it again in London. They also have an ale – Old Prickly - which donates money from every pint sold to hedgehog preservation, LOVE it!

Next we signed up for a farm tour led by eldest brother Harry Chase. This was one of the most interesting parts of the visit for me, really seeing the spread of the farm including fields of potatoes (on a 1 in 5 year rotation) interspersed with orchards and they also raise cattle on the side. (The waste is invaluable!) This year has not been kind with the rain and wind, and many of the fields had patches completely flattened with a fifth of the oil seed crop was lost. It was especially interesting to talk about biodynamics, how the moon affects the growing cycles and also see techniques – like drip irrigation – that have been taken from Argentinean wineries and used in an English orchard for the younger trees. It was also, simply, beautiful.

Onto the tasting room and for the first time I was half way convinced by Chartreuse. This is a spirit I had always decidedly avoided, as it normally came out at the end of a dinner party with somewhat middle class friends or I remember my dad putting it in hot chocolate when ski-ing. It comes in two colours, who knew?! The green, a blend of 130 herbs still made by monks, is 55% so this explains my revulsion at drinking it straight from the off however the yellow! The yellow has the addition of honey and this sweetness really rounds the bitterness of the green herbs and would be lovely, I think, with a cream soda mixer. As for the green, add some limoncello, soda and some citrus and this is a great refreshing drink to mix up for friends and they will be surprised by what is in it!

Onto the cider next, another product from Hereford and we had Tom Oliver, the man himself, to talk us through the range of Olivers Ciders. What really stood out for me was the medium dry Perry blend. This was so good I would genuinely consider replacing sparkling wine at an event for this bubbly goodness, wonder who would notice…? There “premium” range is even made in the champenois method and then we moved onto the vintage stuff, from 2010. “Blue cheese!” I declared as my mouth ran ahead of my brain but in fact this is correct, and strange as it sounds it was very tasty but would go better with food. You cannot deny the passion that drives these guys too.

Onto the Chase stand and we worked our way through, well, everything! And those boys have been busy with cask finishes from Bourbon, Islay Whisky, Brandy, Rum…and then there is the Raspberry Vodka, Rhubarb Vodka, Juniper Vodka (?), Marmalade Vodka and of course the classic Chase that is still one of the creamiest vodkas I have encountered and the single product that has held me captive since they started. One last look around led us to the Top Secret products, and yes of course we tried the Stupidly Hot Vodka. Perhaps I had tasted too much by then but it was, well, nice… Yes there was burn but I think for a Bloody Mary with a kick you couldn’t do better!

So after that we descended into general bad behaviour and debauchery with music from Reverend and the Makers amongst others and an awful lot of dancing.

Thanks to my tent buddies Gin Monkey and Sarah (who has a great post found here), the LCC crew for an awesome time, the Exhibit guys for rocking with us, all the producers who shared their passion and products and of course the WHOLE CHASE TEAM for their fearless 2nd year of entertaining some of the worst behaved crowd around! 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Seven and LAB G, Brixton Village: 17/20 and 8/10

Location: Brixton Village, wander till you find it! 


Visit: Saturday night

To Notes: go downstairs if you can, out the front gives great people watching

Ambiance 5/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 3/5
Staff 5/5

Was it booking through my blog that got me the best spot in Seven? I don’t know but I was delighted to pull up on a Saturday night having nabbed the last reservation to perch on a high stool looking out over the entertaining Brixton market maze of corridors (and directly into the “Religious Relics” shop managed by a  cowboy?!)

The evening started very well with a bottle of chilled water filled with cucumber (on of my must haves) and the cocktails all looked great. We opted for a Basil & Ginger Beer Mojito and “Guns of Brixton”, a twist on the Old Fashioned. The first was a little boring but the latter more than made up for it with an orangey smoke haze captured in the bottle!

Then we wandered to the back to choose some Pixtos (mini tapas from Basque) to keep us going whilst browsing the menu. These change daily and you just keep the skewer it came on to be added at the bill at the end. Chorizo and Manchego chunks disappeared quickly and the refried beans were delicious and very moreish. As good as the food was, I would start at Seven for a cocktail and pixtos then move onto another of the restaurants, partly because there are so many places to explore and partly because they are great value for money.

From the “a la carte” we went for Patatas Bravas – my tapas staple and ultimate test – sharing board of meat and Pimiento del Padron. The peppers were some of the best I’ve had and what looked at the outset to be mayonnaise and ketchup on the potatoes turned out to be a lovely combination of spicy tomato and garlicky sauce, if only the potatoes were a little smaller than the half roasters we had! And with the meat board covering four different meats with gherkins, that was us full!

The upstairs was hosting a private costume party at the back – one I have noted for my birthday – and there is one toilet and a few more seats and a lovely haphazard selection of furniture. Staff were knowledgeable and friendly and I look forward to returning soon.

Visit: Saturday night

To Note: Not much...

Ambiance NA
Design NA
Drinks 5/5 (i.e. ice cream)
Staff 3/5 (end of the evening tiredness had set in...)

After this we wandered to LAB G after I had read how good the ice cream was. There was not the crazy selection of flavours I was hoping for but my god the salted caramel was good. And they really squeeze a huge amount into a one scoop tub. Great value for money, great flavours, will be back for more!