19 Oct 2014


Los Angeles, USA

Cafe 50s is a classic diner with three locations in LA. I had a craving for a typical American breakfast, and found this place online and headed over. We walked through the doors and were met by a welcome gust of cold, conditioned air; a nice break from the Los Angeles heat. We sat down in one of the booths, and a friendly waitress brought us the menu. I went for a short stack of Buttermilk Pancakes with bacon on the side, a lump of butter, and lots of maple syrup. The pancakes were as expected; tasty and much too filling. The bacon was perfectly cripsy; it's hard to come across this type of bacon back in London. My friend went for Huevos Rancheros with all the trimmings. To drink we split an Elvis Milkshake and sweet Ice Tea. They have a huge selection of Deluxe Milkshakes, and our chosen option contains vanilla ice cream, peanut butter and bananas. Everything was super tasty and exactly what I had in mind. The reason I'm not giving Cafe 50s top marks on the Hanger Meter is because it's a chain, and you can tell. Even though it only has three restaurants, it is clear that the decor is planned to look unplanned, and that the diner style is almost too obvious, the walls being plastered with vintage posters and flags. It is a family friendly restaurant, and the crowd is not 'cool'. It's missing some of the charm found in a place like The Apple Pan. The whole experience felt quite rehearsed, but to be fair they have got the American diner down pretty darn well. We walked out into the sunny parking lot full and happy after a calorie packed meal.

Cafe 50's on Urbanspoon

8 Oct 2014


London, UK

Tonkotsu East Bar & Ramen is the second to open in London, after the Soho spot, reviewed previously by the Food Grid. Unsurprisingly, the East branch is located beneath your typical railway arch, one block off Kingsland Road. It is simply and elegantly decorated, with huge, spherical lamp shades and timber furniture. Unlike its Soho counterpart, it is a very inviting space. At the end of the room there's a glass wall that displays their very own noodle-making machine. Around mealtimes there is a bit of a wait to get a table, but only about 15 minutes, so no Soho-style hour long waits. My first visit was on a Saturday at lunch time, and there was no wait at all. Once seated by the long table at the wall, we checked out the concise menu, and of course started with some gyozas. Out of the selection of pork, prawn and shiitake handmade gyozas, the prawn is the best in my opinion. All of them are pretty spectacular, but I don't think I would prioritise the mushroom one again. For the main ramen dish, we tried the Tonkotsu, a pork stock soup with pork belly and a soft boiled egg. In the menu, the meat is described as melt-in-the-mouth, and it truly does. Both the texture and flavours were delicious. We also checked out the vegetarian option, the Shimeji, Shiitake & Miso Ramen. I am a big fan of anything with mushrooms, but the miso-based soups always miss a bit of the punch of the meat based broths. The perfect situation is if you have a friend who is willing to share, so you get to taste the best of both worlds.  The portion size is more than enough to satisfy you, and along with a fried dumpling starter you will walk out very full and happy. 

Tonkotsu East on Urbanspoon