Archives for the month of: April, 2012

Restaurateurs must be rubbing their hands together with glee that understated decor has become ‘cool’. It must have slashed the cost of opening a restaurant leaving them quids in!  Instead of putting the perfect finishing touches and creating a welcoming homely feel the trend is for industrial unplastered walls, unpainted ceilings and rough wooden floors. You are half expecting to see a cement mixer doing it’s thing out the corner of your eye or waiter revealing a builders crack bending as he bends down to pick up a fork.

The rough-around-the-edges décor is not necessary indicative of the food however. One place that takes the unfinished feel to the extreme is Byron in Angel (I actually believe they run out of cash to renovate and thought they’d try their luck). And with a slightly more subtle industrial feel, one of my favourite haunts, Pizza East.

Pizza East

Located on Shoreditch High Street in East London, Pizza East has transformed a spacious industrial warehouse with low ceilings into a super cool and inviting place to hang out.  The exposed brick walls and overhead air conditioning ducts give the feeling that you have gone back to the 1930’s.

The food is great; they serve a range of delicious Italian pizzas using traditional and rustic ingredients with a wide selection of toppings. If pizzas are not your thing, the menu has a great selection of antipasti plus two of my favourite dishes which deserve recognition – the lamb meatballs in tomato sauce and the calamari which was very tasty (not too oily and cooked to perfection).

Byron

With surroundings more suited to Shoreditch, it was this restaurant that prompted this post.  The place looks as if the renovation contractor went on strike with the job half finished. I wonder whether before first opening its doors to the public they had an average restaurant environment which they decided to destroy by pulling down half of the ceiling, striping the walls of paint and revealing some old gas pipes, or conversely whether it was just a building site that they just decided not to properly renovate.

When looking to see what others thought about Byron’s decor, I stumbled across this review which made me chuckle:

 ‘The only criticism I have is with the decor.  Its taking distressed to a whole new level, as Chris described it the first time we went it’s like dining in Chernobyl’

The décor in Byron is not going to be to everyone’s taste but it is definitely worth seeing and of course sampling the menu.

The burgers are very tasty and reasonably priced. I see myself as a traditional burger connoisseur and what I like about Byron is that they keep their burgers simple, cooked medium unless asked otherwise, with the option of spicing them up with extra toppings, sauces and dips.  You also have your typical sides of skinny chips or the tastier homemade skin-on ‘real’ chips’, which are a great accompaniment to a perfectly cooked medium pink juicy beef burger.  Dishes are well presented – an interesting juxtaposition to decor! This is definitely a favoured burger establishment of mine.

Both places are well worth checking out – we’d love to hear your thoughts if you do.

 

Everyone is partial to a bit of naughty dining especially when you’ve had a few too many the night before. Whether it’s a greasy end of night kebab or whopping 1,000 calorie Sunday afternoon pizza, every now and then we all feel the need to indulge in fast foods. 

Having been in London for sometime now and being spoilt by the variance and choices when dining and eating out, I am slowly losing the urge to dine on unhealthy foods.  London offers a fantastic array of different cuisines through its 100s of restaurants, cafes and specialist food markets, that can be enjoyed at a fraction of the calorie intake of the fast food alternative.

Let’s be honest, what do you think of when you think of kebab? Are you like me and think 3 o’clock in the morning, drunk, greasy lamb doner, chilli AND burger sauce? Well if you do you certainly know how to live… however, for me those days are now gone.  I’ve not stopped eating those types of kebabs; I do in fact have them at least once a week but I have now opted for the healthier and tastier grilled meat alternative accompanied by a salad, mint yoghurt and flat bread.  In Dalston especially, there are a wide range of Turkish and Kebab places to choose from.

My two personal favourites include “Uludag” on Kingsland Road for the perfect flat bread wrap and “Tad” on Mare Street for a delicious mixed shish kebab served with rice, salad and a tasty grilled onion side.  Tad has a wide selection of meals on its menu and includes fantastic options for vegetarians.  It was recommended to me by a vegetarian friend, who was really happy with the choice of non meat options (try the grilled aubergine).

Why pig out on a Dominos or a McDonalds only to spend a few hours regretting it and feeling bad about your choice, when you can keep your taste buds guessing and pop down to say:

  • Borough Market on a Saturday lunchtime and enjoy a wide selection of international foods – fast food without (in most cases) the risk to your waist line.
  • Brick lane is another one of my favourites that captures the heart and soul of this diverse and exciting London community.  The market hall is bursting with flavours and food vendors from around the globe – from Ethiopian food stalls to steamed Dim Sum to a flaming Caribbean grill.

Tuck in, try something new and lay off those greasy fast foods!