25 Aug 2013


Trancher is an entrecôte restaurant in Oslo, Norway. It is located in the lively Grünerløkka, the city’s equivalent of Shoreditch in London. There is only one main course on the menu: roasted entrecôte. They also have a small range of starters and sides, which makes choosing easy. I went for the small steak with potato gratin, onions and mushrooms and chips on the side. You cannot choose how well done you want the steak, as it comes from one large piece roasted whole. The trade mark salad that is served in all steak places like this forms the first impression of the restaurant, and it was unfortunately not a very good one. The dressing tasted too strongly of mustard and there was a lot of water in it. It didn’t do the place justice, as the rest of the meal was much better. The food arrived swiftly, after we had a few sips of a decent Côtes du Rhône. To me the beef was a perfect size, although one of my friends regretted not having ordered the large size. It was however a tad too cold by the time I had arranged all the different sides and sauces on my plate. It was very tender however, and I enjoyed it. I tried most of the sauces, and my favourite was the delicious and punchy peppercorn gravy. Another interesting and successful condiment was the foie gras butter. I wasn’t fond of the mushrooms, but both types of potatos were good. Even though there were several things that were far from perfection, I liked Trancher a lot because it felt like a falvoursome, home cooked meal, and the price is also very reasonable.

Thorvald Meyers Gate 78, Grünerløkka, 0550 Oslo, Norway

21 Aug 2013


Kimchee is a huge Korean restaurant in Holborn, with an equally extensive menu. After queuing for a short while in their cosy garden-like waiting area, we were seated by the window bar. The interior reminds me of the Busaba Eathai chain; sleek but not too authentic-looking. The waiter was ready to take our orders immediately even though you need a good 10 minutes to even get your head around the large selection of dishes. We started with fermented cabbage kimchee, which I am still not convinced that I managed to make myself like, but from what I can judge I think it was a pretty good one. We shared everything, and went for the Yang Yeum fried chicken in chilli sauce. I already knew I liked this from Han Kang, and even though it was quite different here, I loved it. It is a tad spicy, so it’s good to have some white rice on the side to calm it down. Another successful dish was the Marinated Rib Eye with garlic and sesame oil. It also came with an amazing red sauce that tasted like miso paste. The Soft Shell Crab didn’t impress me, but this was perhaps due to the fact that I was starting to get quite full by then. The Pa Jeon seafood pancake was ok, but again not spectacular. The thing that I was the most excited about, Portobello Mushroom with garlic and sesame, didn’t taste of anything at all. It was a meal of ups and downs, but I do think I would go there again now that I’ve ruled out some things that I won’t order. 

71 High Holborn, Loncon WC1V 6EA

Kimchee on Urbanspoon

18 Aug 2013


I went to try the new Milk Tea & Pearl in Boxpark, the bustling pop-up mall in Shoreditch. They serve authentic Taiwanese bubble tea, a chilled drink that has been around in Taiwan for decades, but is rather new to London.  It can be found on every street corner in Taiwan, and first appeared in London in their store near Oxford Circus. Milk Tea & Pearl now also occupies a small and bright space upstairs in the assemblage of shipping containers by Shoreditch High Street.  There is a shared outdoor seating area for the various cafes around, and it was very crowded and lively even on a weeknight. I asked for the most traditional type of bubble tea, which I was told was the Assam Black Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls. I also tried a sample of all the different toppings, which were really fun to eat. You use oversized straws to suck the pearls up. They are all natural even though they don't necessarily give that impression with their crazy textures. I was particularly fond of the Lychee Jelly, which reminded me of salmon roe in sushi with the way it pops in your mouth. The tapioca pearls are really chewy, also very fun to chomp on, but it was tiring for my jaw. It was so fun though, so I finished them all. The tea was a refreshing alternative to iced coffee, and if you ask them to go easy on the sugar like I did, it won’t be too heavy. It is still almost a meal in its own right though, but in a good way. There is also a bunch of colourful, fruitier options for the summer that I will try next time I go. Bubble tea is something worth trying, as it is truly a novelty. Part toy, part drink, part dessert, Milk Tea & Pearl has brought something new to London. 

Unit 58 Boxpark, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY

   We were invited to review Milk Tea & Pearl, but the opinions expressed are our own.

14 Aug 2013


La Cucaracha is a French restaurant, with a bit of inspiration taken from across the border in Spain. It is located in Bidart, near the charming town Biarritz in the South-West of France.  I have been to this place three times now, as I love the atmosphere and the food. Their house special salad is a must, although its contents change often, so it's not always equally good. The last time I went it was served with calamari fritti, but I enjoyed it the most when it came with grilled scallops. The faux filet is juicy and amazing, and the portion is huge. The two-person serving is more than enough for three, given you supplement it with some of their delicious starters too. The oven-baked mussels with butter and cheese are a must, as is a plate of Serrano ham and bruschetta. If you are not in the mood for a huge steak, go for one of their fresh, grilled seafood dishes. The house rosé wine is wonderfully pale, but their cocktail mixing skills are not good. Stick to the wine. La Cucaracha is always lively, especially when the anthem of the Bayonne rugby team is played to commemorate the birthday of a guest. The older crowd (60 +) gets up to sing and dance, and I really want to go back there one day far off in the future to celebrate my 65th birthday and have the time of my life.

Rue de l'Hubahia, 64210 Bidart, France

11 Aug 2013


We have previously written about the quality crêpes and galettes at La Crêperie de Hampstead on the blog (see link). When I went there again for a Chocolate, Banana and Coconut Crêpe I learnt that the pub on the corner are trying to have them evicted. If you have been there and liked it, or if you want to try it, please sign the petition to save this piece of history on Hampstead High Street.

The following is copied from their website:

La Creperie has been in business on the site next to the King William IV pub at 77 Hampstead High Street for 33 years. It is a gem in the heart of Hampstead and is much loved by the Hampstead community and visitors and helps in part to provide the Bohemian feel in this part of theworld.
It is under threat from the actions of King William IV pub and the ultimate landlord of the pub, which is Heineken UK Limited.
The Hampstead community:
(a)       call on Heineken UK Limited immediately to grant a new sustainable lease to the creperie which would regularise its trade from these premises and permit it to continue to serve its customers with certainty;
(b)       call on the King William IV pub to leave the creperie alone and immediately to cease and desist from impeding its operations and facilities, part of which are on the premises of the pub so that it and its customers can have quiet enjoyment of its business;
(c)       call on the King William IV pub to work out a way of co-existing with the creperie which leaves it to enjoy its business.
The manageress and owner of the company which leases the pub has, on a number of occasions, made it openly and aggressively plain to the proprietor of the creperie that she wants him to leave. The community want this action to stop so that the creperie can continue to exist
for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.


7 Aug 2013


This is a place worth travelling to if you love tapas. Taberna Gran Sol is located in Fuenterrabía in the Basque Country of Spain, a town with rigorous pintxos contest. This means that competition drives this town to bring out some amazing food. The restaurant does not look spectacular; it’s a casual place with outdoor standing tables and a few, busy indoor seats. In high season (July-August) you have to fight for a table, and if you do not succeed there are steps to sit on outside. You order and pay at the bar, leaving your name so that they call you to pick up the food as each tapa is ready. Whenever our group’s name was called, we would run with excitement to pick up some of the tastiest little plates ever. These are not your typical tapas, but unusual concoctions with adventurous flavours and textures. I’m not sure what most of the dishes consisted of in detail, but my favourite one is a soft-boiled egg served with thick chicken stock and crispy grated potato. The contrasting consistencies and the taste is truly special. There is too much good food to mention it all, but some of the highlights included a deep fried mushroom with cream sauce, octopus with ink and rice, cod and foie gras. Each plate was very rich and filling, and I was so happy each time a new dish arrived. To drink we had several rounds of refreshing Tinto de Verano, a mixture of red wine and lemonade served with ice. The bill was surprisingly low, especially compared to London. The only comment on the price is that one or two of the pre-paid dishes are often omitted, but by that time you are doubtlessly full, and I guess it could count as a form of service charge. Taberna Gran Sol is exquisite, and one of my favourite restaurants in the world.

Calle San Pedro 63, 20280 Hondarribia / Fuenterrabia, Spain