Wednesday 19 March 2014

Tommi's Burger Joint, London

In a lost London post of sorts I visited the Marylebone branch of Tommi’s Burger Joint some time back. It has a growing following and has recently opened a second branch on Kings Road. On the way we walked past Patty and Bun, another cult burger joint, with a sizeable queue outside in the punishing cold swarms of Winter.

Thankfully there was no queue at Tommi’s but there were plenty of people waiting inside, half for tables and half for takeaways. The open kitchen gives full view of the burgers being cooked on the grill as well as letting the meatiness waft through the venue.

The menu is a simple affair with a few burgers on offer and limited extras. We opted for the ‘Offer of the Century’ consisting of a cheeseburger, fries and can of pop for £10.50. Having paid we waited about ten minutes before pouncing on the vacated window bar seats.

The food was served soon after and we were quite underwhelmed at first. The burger arrived wrapped fast food style with similar fries to the golden arches. Advertised as cooked medium with lettuce, tomato and red onion the patty was big and juicy once unwrapped. However the lack of veg apart from lettuce and the kraft like cheese raised some eyebrows. The patty however was well cooked and perfectly pink, although it could have done with more seasoning to enhance the flavour of the meat which struggled to come through.

The fries were pretty standard and the billed ‘Offer of the Century’ didn’t quite live up to the hype. I preferred the crinkle cut chips of Shake Shack and the flavour of the burger from Honest, who also do a mean homemade lemonade with the whole package coming in at a similar price to Tommi’s. Maybe the steak burger offered delivers more punch but at a higher price point but based on what we had Tommi’s is acceptable but not the leading light in the London burger offerings.

Tommi's Burger Joint on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Sunday 16 March 2014

Choice, Manchester

Locating Choice was a bit of a challenge with both me and Mr Nom taking the wrong turn off Mancunian way and having to drive around the block to make the right turn. A rare luxury however to have free parking in Manchester. Stepping into the restaurant we were surprised how empty it was on a Wednesday night with only one other table coming to the end of their meal. The d├ęcor appeared to be a bit dated but we reserved judgement for the food.

The glasses on the tables were gathering a layer of dust which put us off ordering wine and instead opted for drinks from the bar. There is a big board recommending dishes, the starter of which was red mullet and scallop which Mr Nom ordered, he was amused that the coral was bigger than the scallop itself. It was accompanied by a smoked cauliflower puree and Beurre Noisette dressing, a well-executed starter.

My smoked duck and pigeon salad impressed me. The puy lentils were subtle with the delicately smoked meat and the pomegranate added the slight sweetness and tang.

The main course of hake kedgeree was not as big a success as the starters. Pan fried hake, Indian spiced egg and a quail egg finished with Raita. The flavours did not agree with me and maybe it was my palette to blame as it was cooked really well.  The portion was generous which made me feel bad as I only finished half of it.

I was eyeing up Mr Nom’s grilled fillets of Sea Bass, beetroot fondant and samphire with sauce Americaine and langoustine tails. I preferred this to my kedgeree, especially the beetroot fondant which were quite unusual but worked.

The recommended dessert was an Earl Grey & golden syrup treacle tart, something I have not tried before and sounded sweet even for someone with such a sweet tooth! It was served with a dollop of clotted cream and it was naughty but indulgent!

Mr Nom’s apple custard pie was disappointing. Billed as an apple pie set with Calvados custard, it came with a scoop of granite over the top which melted quickly over the apple pie and made the whole dessert wet and soggy. 

The food at Choice was not bad, starting off good with the starters, but let down by the dessert at the end. However there are some nice ideas which were well executed and presented which would be a sure hit in a more modern setting.

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Sunday 2 March 2014

Superstore, Manchester

It's funny how I have been to the store downstairs many a time but never realised that the eatery upstairs was Superstore. Situated in the Northern Quarter on Tib Street, I used to walk past it twice a week without realising it was there. 

The menu offers small and larger plates and is quite diverse with influences from a multitude of cuisines. Greedy Mr Nom decided that we should order five starters to share between three of us as it was five small plates for £20. Along with another starter from the specials board of fried pig's trotters which were very rich.

Panko coated braised pork cheeks, parsnip puree, curried split peas, coriander salad. The pork cheek was a little dry but the flavour combination was interesting.

Crispy fried squid, cayenne pepper, lemon & tumeric aioli. Ok without being exceptional.

Roast bone marrow, garlic & thyme, toast. A dish to eat whilst still hot or else it starts to set again, it was slightly over seasoned but an enjoyable dish with the garlic and thyme. I liked how the bone marrow was cut in half as it can be quite messy to dig it out from whole bones.

Curried chicken arancini, mint raita, a pleasant play on the Italian classic. Satay chicken with kaffir lime and yoghurt. It had been a while since I have ordered satay chicken skewers, shame they were burnt on top as the chicken was moist and the dip brought the dish alive.

Root veg tempura veg. Still not sure about this dish as root vegetables are too tough to be deep fried tempura style and were hard to eat.

We asked for all the dishes at once and didn't realise how much we had actually ordered until the table ran out of space when the larger dishes arrived as well!

Pulled Chicken Biriyani, grilled tiger prawn, spring onion, coriander, poppadom basket. Nicely presented and well spiced. Although the prawn was still raw.

Asian marinated hanger steak, cauliflower bhajis, szechuan pepper sauce. The dish of the meal for me, the rare hanger steak was delicious with the Szechuan pepper sauce for a slight kick.

We managed to tackle most of the dishes which surprised our friends who decided to order their own dishes, the lamb burger burger and the beef roast. Unfortunately, the Yorkshire pudding was ice cold but that was promptly rectified.

There were a few blips with the food but they were dealt with swiftly. Overall a good place for small plates with some new ideas and a very chilled and laid back eatery.

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