Sunday, 26 July 2015

FoodPunk Goes Street In Dalston

A few weeks ago a couple of my mates, Oli and Alex, invited me to go out for drinks and a bite to eat. I’m not going to lie I did find it a bit strange when they texted telling me to head up to Dalston. I’ve never been to that part of London before and the only thing I knew about it was that indie rockers Razorlight wrote a song about it many moons ago.

So anyways I didn’t question it, I just headed up there and after meeting them I did ask “Why Dalston?” To which my friend replied “Street Feast!!!!”. As soon as he said Street Feast, my jaw dropped, he didn’t have to expand on that. Those two words said it all.

Tucked away just behind a busy street in Dalston lies an oasis for all foodies, a place to kick back, relax and stuff your face with some of the most amazing food East London has to offer.



The whole place just blew my mind away, I couldn’t believe the amount of food stalls there were, ranging from smokey barbecue’s to finger lickin’ fiery jerk chicken to even, wait for this… LIQUID NITROGEN MADE ICE CREAMS.

So the question that evening was, how am I gonna tackle this beast of a place? And who am I gonna hit? (not literally).

First stop was The Bell & Brisket.

 They offered a whole range of mouth-watering bagels, each with different fillings. Naturally in true FoodPunk style I went for “The Duke”. A grand name for a grand bagel. But as you can see below they have other varieties to fill that hole as well as offering "Filthy fries". I would have gone for them but other places awaited me and I couldn't fall at the first hurdle.

 I honestly couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and after five minutes there she was, the most beautiful, sumptuous looking bagel just waiting to be devoured.
The beef was so moist that drops of juice seeped through my holder and splattered onto the floor (and that’s before I even had my first bite!!!) Oh boy was I going to enjoy this and it seriously didn’t disappoint. The spicy jalapenos, the cool refreshing sour cream, mixed with the sharpness of the pickled onions worked so well with that tender beef. You couldn’t help but make a mess of it and I definitely made a big one, but it was so worth it.
Within minutes of eating that banging bagel, I went on another recon mission scoping out for my next meal.
Everyone knows how much I love my chicken so it was to no surprise that I jumped straight for Mamas Jerk.
These three lovely and bubbly ladies were so welcoming and infectious. I loved them and they brought the Jamaican party to Dalston.  


As for the food, well it was Jerk at its best. The chicken was moist, meaty and packed a damn good  punch. It had the right about of spice where it just coats the lips and gives that numb, warm feeling, and you know its hot and spicy but you keep going back for more, that's what Mamas Jerk does to you. Luckily I had a refreshing cold beer on hand to cool things down a little. I did the Asian thing where I put the whole bone in my mouth trying to get as much meat as I could off of it. Every bit of that wing was gone. By the end of it, my hands and my mouth was covered in jerk spices.
Mama Jerk, I salute you and I cant wait to get more of your awesome wings.

The night was still young and myself, Alex and Oli were eager for more street food and so we branched out and stumbled across Smokestak. This place was a major disappointment and the staff were a little awkward at times. In fact their food sucked, it was just boring and lacked character. I very rarely give a bad review but the less said about it the better.

We were determined to get over that major fail and luckily within seconds we found Rola Wala, Indian street food.
Rola Wala serve up a variety of blinding fluffy naan sliders topped with a whole range of different meats and spices. The best way to eat these little bad boys is to fold them and take a huge chunk out of it. They look pretty, they taste beautiful and if you really want to switch things up a little then top one of your naans with a naga ghost chilli. That will soon heat things up a little.

I honestly don't know how the three of us continued with our street feast adventure but we somehow prevailed and the next foodie treat that we checked out was probably not the best thing to eat so late in the evening especially after the foods that we had.


Cheeky Italian offered Crab Mac 'N' Cheese and there was no way I was gonna turn my back on that. It caught my attention when we first arrived, so naturally it would have been rude not to give it a go. For £6.50 I got a shed load of Mac '' Cheese crammed with crab meat, smothered in cheese sauce and topped with crispy, golden brown fennel breadcrumbs.
The Mac 'N' Cheese definitely finished me off for the evening. My tummy couldn't take anymore food or drink, but Oli had to go just one step further. He dragged Alex and I for one last hurrah - Chin Chin labs.
Made to order ice creams using a kitchen aid and blasting the mix with liquid nitrogen.
Because Oli chose this place Alex and I left him to queue behind a sea of people all waiting to get their hands on this.
After some time he approached us with a bowl of ice cream sandwiched between two ginormous, gooey brownies and I tell you something that was probably the smoothest lushest ice cream I have ever eaten.  
I don't know how we ate all that food without falling into a coma but I tell you something we didn't scratch the surface with Street Feast. There were a ton of other joints waiting to be tried and tested but overall I can safely say I had an amazing time meeting some ace people running extraordinary food hotspots.
Street Feast is a place that everyone should go down to. They have food suited for everyone and the range is unbelievable. For three pound entry, you simply can't argue with that.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Turkish Delight in Bromley

I'm a born and raised Bromley Punk but the one thing that always puzzles me is the lack of decent restaurants there are in the town centre.
Ok like many other places you get your usual chains such as Maccy d's, Burger King, Nando's etc and we all go there as its quick and convenient but for Bromley, its a bit embarrassing not to have a few restuarants to shout out about. We are after all meant to be the biggest borough outside of London.

However, there is one particular joint called Havet that has given Bromley something to show off and perhaps encourage the town to have more top places.

Ever since Havet has opened it has grown and grown and every time I walk past it there's always a massive crowd of people enjoying some proper authentic Turkish-Cypriot culinary treats. Its got to the point now where there's a queue of hungry diners waiting to get in on some of the action but believe me guys to avoid disappointment you're better off booking a table.

I've been there a fair few times now and honestly it gets better after every visit. Its clean, fresh, spacious and has a great uplifting party atmosphere. The staff are a brilliant bunch of polite, friendly and outgoing people, always looking out for their customers and I Particularly love it when they crank up the Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday song for someone's special occasion. Some might consider it cheesy but hearing it definitely gets me in the party mood and puts a smile on my face.
Another example why I have a lot of time for their staff is that they're very patient and calm even at their busiest period. They don't mind the questions if you're unsure about something and they do their utmost to make sure you're relaxed and comfortable. TOP PEOPLE!! :)

Now for the food. No matter how much I rave on about it, I believe it won't do it enough justice. It is as I said earlier proper authentic Turkish-Cypriot food. Everything is hand made on site from the bread to the mezze's and the kebabs.
For me I have my regular dish that I will order every time which I'll show later.

The first time I visited I ordered a bunch of mezze items to share and now I order just a few along with my favourite kebab. Check out the menu below and believe me it will get your taste buds going. If it doesn't then quite frankly there is something wrong with you.

As you can see from  the pics above I had to split the menu pictures but there's a great variety to choose from and you can see why I only had mezze on my first visit. 

The food really does showcase the Turkish cuisine and culture and I think the owners have got it spot on with the menu and having the diners see their food cooked in an open kitchen with massive grills all having a load of different style kebabs being cooked to order. You can even smell the food from a mile off and believe me when you get one whiff of the food coming out of the restaurant you can't but just help go in there for a bite to eat.

Just behind the baking hot grills is a massive furnace where they slowly bake their other dishes all wrapped in foil as well as a mountain of homemade bread which is impressively made by this guy right here.

On Saturday evening I did the rookie school boy mistake of not booking at table for dinner. I thought I would chance it after going to the cinema but as I said the crowds get out of control and there was no chance of me getting a table but I salvaged the situation by booking for Sunday lunch. I had some of the best food I have ever consumed.

In typical FoodPunk style I ordered a whole bunch of vegetarian mezze items as well as a two combo choice kebab plate with two sides. You know me I will never learn but it was so worth it. Before I show you these epic food pics can I recommend for all you meat eaters out there that the lamb liver mezze dish is to die for.
However on this particular occasion I was with Sian and bless her I couldn't hog all of the orders with meat hence the veggie mezzes.

Halloumi and grilled peppers

Potato salad

Kisir (cracked wheat, onions, celery ,peppers, parsley and peppers)

Baked falafels


Feta cheese, spinach and red peppers in filo pastry

Homemade bread
What's fantastic about the mezze is that its not too heavy and there's plenty to go around for a large group. The choices available caters for everyone and if you're not able to eat a kebab then its the perfect alternative. It's light, refreshing and not to mention very, very ,very tasty.
After polishing up the mezze my awesome kebab came along and it was well worth the wait. Moist and flavoursome spiced chicken adana on a bed of doner meat accompanied with a fresh mixed cabbage slaw and spicy rice. I never get bored of ordering it. I feel that Havet removes that stigma surrounding doner meat. I know we all associate it with kebab houses after a Friday night out but this my fellow punkers is doner meat with out all that disgusting grease and its there's no gristle or crap when you're eating it. Moreover its proper shavings of meat. They really don't scrimp on the portion sizes here.

And there you have it people, Bromley's first proper top notch establishment. Havet has arrived giving me a reason and many others to go up to town and experience a treat. After all these years there's a restaurant that's arrived, building a solid reputation and hopefully its here to stay. Havet get the Foodpunk thumbs up for sure :)

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Smokehouse Pub And Restaurant. In The Words Of Jim Carrey "SSSSMOKIN!!!"

This week has probably been the hottest summer as far as I can remember and what better way than to spend a Monday evening with hipster Reid than to check out a place in the Islington area which has been on everyone's list recently (as well as featuring in this weeks Metro newspaper) called Smokehouse.

Being a Spurs fan I had to have a beer to calm myself down at the thought of going into Gooner territory but anyways football aside, the weather was awesome and I was ready to go drinking and chow down on some blinding food.

As we usually do when we meet up, Alex and I had a few beers and a good catch up and I probably ordered one of the campest cocktails which was made in homage to the tennis at Wimbledon called Love Deuce. It was basically strawberries and cream mixed with gin (or at least I thought it was). I'm not gonna lie, it was bloody nice.

Anyways after hydrating ourselves and intoxicating our bodies with ice cold beer from the finest pubs in North London, Reid and I made our way down to Smokehouse.

This place looked seriously cracking and the staff were quite simply a bunch of incredible and lively group of people. They were very chatty and made sure that the pair of us were well looked after and having a great dining experience.

I loved the menu as it had influences from many different cultures such as Jamaican, Korean, Thai and French. All of the dishes looked so appetising and if I could stomach it I would have ordered everything off it.

In true FoodPunk fashion even though it was baking hot I was going to tackle a variety of dishes. Besides I had a refreshing homemade lemonade to cool me down.

This is what we started with:-

  • Chopped brisket roll & gochujang
  • Burnt leeks, fried egg, Portobello mushroom, truffle & parmesan
  • Foie gras, fried egg & apple pie

The starters look good right??? and indeed they were. Its hard to pick which one was my favourite because they were all equally as delicious. You simply can't go wrong with a croquette jam packed with a load of smoked shredded beef or mouth watering melt in your mouth foie gras.
Even the vegetarian option was out of this world, mountains of layered grated parmesan all over the leeks and mushrooms was too good to turn down. I'm a man that's never been a fan of truffle but I have to admit that they got the balance spot on with it, it wasn't overbearing as we all know truffle can be and talking about balance even the brisket wasn't too overpowering with the smokiness.

It was a perfect start to proceedings and those small plates set myself and Alex up for the main event which was:-

  • Shortrib bourguignon
  • Smoked pork belly, tattie scone, black pudding & apple, beurre blanc

Wait until you see these mega mains!!!!!!

Oh and that wasn't the only thing that came out. When I go out to eat with my friends, I've gotta order sides as well.

  • Caramel roast potatoes
  • Korean pulled pork

Now I know what you're probably thinking, its summer and the food looks quite heavy and you would be right, the food was rich but after sharing three starters of course it was going to be a bit of a challenge for us, but we came with a game plan like we always do, hit it hard, hit it fast.

Ultimately this is why I love my food. The mains were perfect examples of simple, great tasting honest plates of food. The pork was thick, juicy and tender and underneath it was sweet chunks of apple, crumbly black pudding and a rich beurre blanc to mop it all up with. As for the short rib, it was to die for with bits of meat just falling from the bone, soaking up the jus with crispy shallots, decent sized salty lardons of bacon and smooth creamy mash to go with it.
I admit I wasn't a fan of the Korean pulled pork. I know shock horror being half oriental but I couldn't work out why. I honestly don't know what it could have been that was in it but you can't like everything in life and it certainly didn't put a downer on the meal.

Somehow Alex and I tackled our orders. I definitely was suffering from a food coma the next day, I didn't touch anything for at least a day but it was worth it.

So Foodpunkers get your asses down to Smokehouse especially whilst we are blessed with a great summer. The combination of refreshing drinks, down to earth staff and moreover banging food gives this place such a great vibe.  The food they produce here is honest grub and you certainly won't be upset.
Restaurants like Smokehouse deserve to be visited again and again and I know for a fact I'll be going back for more smoked meats and delicious sides. I also need to squeeze in a dessert or a cheeseboard when I go back.
If you can't get to the Islington one, they have another one situated in Chiswick.
Fantastic place and it was such a pleasure going there, no wonder these guys are getting more and more exposure from magazines and newspapers.