London: Seafood Festival at Morito

Morito, Exmouth Market, London
Morito, Exmouth Market, London

Morito, Exmouth Market, London

London is a very big city. That is not news but it frequently annoys me. It is the best and worst thing about London. I love that I can pop across to the other side of London and have a whole new and interesting experience. I also hate that I have to do that. I am a bit spoiled by it, I think we all are.

Morito Seafood Festival Menu

Morito Seafood Festival Menu

I used to live in the North East of London, so popping to Morito for tapas and a swift sherry was always easy. I have written about Morito before, if you are new and unaware of it, Morito is the smaller sibling of Moro, and is just next door. Now that I am down sarf, popping to Moro is a little trickier. It needs to be planned, and you know I hate to plan anything (as much of a key skill that is for any sociable Londoner). However, Morito’s annual seafood festival is a must, so I made sure I didn’t miss it.

Fino at Morito

Fino at Morito

Morito’s Seafood Festival runs only until October 6th. Lots of dishes that aren’t on the regular menu are available, and suggested sherry matches too. This year the menu isn’t set (as it was last year) so you can go a bit meaty too and I suggest that you do. The chicharrones de cádiz are unmissable (tender melting pork belly spiked with cumin and lemon) and the lamb chops are excellent too (I didn’t have the lamb chops this time but I have many others). The prices are very good, and you will want to order a lot. Do that too. I would suggest booking a table too (at lunchtime only – dinner is first come first served), as it is popular and always busy.

Gilda - pincho of anchovy, olive and guindilla chilli

Gilda – pincho of anchovy, olive and guindilla chilli – spiky and rich. Perfect appetiser.

Ceviche - wild sea bass ceviche with seaweed, dill, sesame and cucumber

Ceviche – wild sea bass ceviche with seaweed, dill, sesame and cucumber – the cucumber acted as a delicate relish and the seaweed emphasises the taste of the sea and freshness of the fish

Octopus with Potatoes

Pulpo a la Gallega – Octopus with Potatoes – slow cooked tender octopus with spiced potatoes

Montadito de cangrejo - toast with crab and oloroso sherry

Montadito de cangrejo – toast with crab and oloroso sherry – the oloroso added a layer of richness

Puntillitas - deep fried baby squid

Puntillitas – deep fried baby squid – perfect tiny octopus – loved this


Tortilla – one of the best in London

Quail eggs with cumin and sea salt

Quail eggs with cumin and sea salt

Chicharrones de cádiz – pork belly, cumin & lemon

Chicharrones de cádiz – pork belly, cumin & lemon – a must have – yielding fatty pork belly with a spiked cumin & lemon crust

Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE 


This Weekend in London: Meatopia. Don’t Miss It.

Josh Ozersky

Josh Ozersky

I may be in Lima in Peru (and really loving it), but a chunk of my food loving soul is very sad not to be in London as I will miss Meatopia. Meatopia is the meaty brainchild of Josh Ozersky, James Beard award winning food writer. We were always going to get along.

As Josh says in the recent brilliant Vice Munchies video  (which you must watch), “Every aspect of my life is utterly immersed and overflowing with the juice of literature and the love of food”. Starting out as an academic and historian, he was diverted to food by his passion and knowledge, and started with the well respected delicious tome Meet Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York City. He hasn’t stopped since, and we are all very happy about that.

A snippet of what you can expect

A snippet of what you can expect (a tri-tip from Grillstock)

I met Josh when he was in London, and here follows a little about Josh, where you must hit at Meatopia, and some grill tips.

Tell me a little about your meat obsession?

I have, from a very early age, identified as a meat-eater. My tiny hands clutched
sausages and steaks from infancy onward, like Hercules strangling the steaks in
his crib. A long and unhappy life followed, which caused me to be a writer and a
glutton and I have brought these arts to bare on a great meat event — possibly the
greatest in history.

I know everything will be awesome, but give me a top 5 hit list for people to check out?

Tim Byres’ whole hog; Richard Turners ribeye cap with anchovy butter; Aaron
Franklin’s brisket, and of course Fergus Henderson’s meat magic…

Any grill tips for novices / amateurs?

Cook with wood or lump charcoal only, ever, with no exceptions; cover everything
with a LOT of kosher salt; and cook fast over wicked heat, finishing on the cold side
if necessary. That’s it. also, you can only end with good meat if you start with good meat.

Go to Meatopia if you love meat and a little fun. I would be there, if I could. And watch this.


Burger Monday (on a Wednesday) at Shake Shack in London

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, founder & CEO of the Union Hospitality Group (& therefore Shack Shack) and  Daniel Young of Burger Monday and Young & Foodish

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, founder & CEO of the Union Hospitality Group (& therefore Shake Shack) and Daniel Young of Burger Monday and Young & Foodish

I got a sneak peak of the new Shake Shack in London yesterday evening, via Daniel Young of Young and Foodish and his terrific Burger Monday. I am not a burger obsessive by any means, but I appreciate good food (natch) and when a friend brought me to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Gardens, NYC, I didn’t have very high expectations. A burger is a burger, right? Right. Well, not really.

Weekend in Williamsburg NYC

My Shake Shack burger in NYC Madison Square Gardens last year

I loved it. For the simplicity, the size of the burger, the flavour, moisture, sticky cheese slipping over the edge and the the lovely potato bun. It was a good solid burger, and I went back the next day. It became a favourite. Now, they have come to London,  the burgers are made from 100% Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, the SmokeShack (my favourite) features British free-range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon and the concretes (frozen custard blended at high speed, a rich elegant ice cream) include Paul A Young chocolate and St John Bakery products.

I focussed on the burgers last night, there is only so much that even I can eat. My favourites were the SmokeShack with bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce and the Shack Stack which was a combination of the ‘Shroom Burger and Cheeseburger in one. The ‘Shroom burger is a rare thing, a vegetarian burger with deep flavour and texture, but I will continue to have mine with a cheeseburger ;) Get some cheese fries on the side too, crinkle cut chips topped with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce.

We already have some great burgers in London, but this is a good addition to the scene. It opens tomorrow, the 5th of July, so check it out, and expect some long queues.

Some pics for now, and I will be back to try the rest of the menu.

Shake Shack, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RD


‘Shroom Burger


Cheesy Fries


SmokeShack Burger


One of the very cheerful staff members with lots of Shack Stack Burgers


Red Velvet Concrete


Posh Lunch Club at Pizarro

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 26

To refresh your memories and to introduce new readers, Posh Lunch Club is all about finding the best fine lunches at bargain prices. So set menus, and all that jazz. Mainly in London but also anywhere that I might find myself. Which is a lot of places, at times. I have a long list to hit in London, and will be focussing on that for the next few months.

I love Posh Lunch Club because it makes London restaurants so accessible. I really believe that you don’t need to have a lot of money to eat well, either at home or out on the town. When I first moved to London and existed on a pittance, I took advantage of the amazing ingredients available to me and taught myself to cook more, as I couldn’t eat out that much. Now I can, but I still relish a bargainous and delicious discovery.

Posh Lunch Club isn’t a real club. I have had requests to join but sometimes there is only one member – just me on an indulgent solo lunch – more usually it involves one other, and sometimes, many more. The membership lasts for as long as lunch, and that is that. The real idea is for you to use this as a guide for your own posh lunches. I will show you the best and most delicious places to spend your hard earned cash.

Let us begin.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 01

My first Posh Lunch Club of 2013 was at Pizarro. One of my favourite restaurants, they have started doing a brilliantly priced Menu del Dia (as is typical in Spain) for £20 for 3 courses or £17 for 2. I have a confession, even though I normally stick to the menu, when in Pizarro I can’t resist going off piste and bumping things up a bit. I adore the jamon there (with a glass of fino, natch) and the cod fritters are very hard to resist. So we started with those.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 15

The cod fritters are crisp with a fabulously light & fluffy center. The jamon is nutty, rich and melts in the mouth. I can taste it now as I type. The jamon that is served at José (Jamón Ibérico Manuel Maldonado) is sold at £1000 per leg retail elsewhere, so it is a bargain, even at £20 a plate.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 05

On to the starters. There are three choices, but I can’t look beyond chorizo, even if I have no idea what Trinxat is (Trinxat, chorizo was on the menu). It turns out to be a refined sibling of bubble and squeak with tiny diced chorizo, fried and crisp on top and on the side with some crisp greens. The cake itself was just holding together and when I touched it, it seemed to sigh and fall apart.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 09

For my main course, I went for the pork chops with jersey royal and apple. The pork chop was very large and with a big coating of fat. The pork itself was delicious but the fat was divine. I left none behind. It lay on some apple puree, not over sweet and still perky. The jersey royals played a small supporting role with a herb dressing. My friend had mackerel plancha, which was super fresh as mackerel should be (but often isn’t).

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 07

And this is where we stopped. No more food, and I finished with a coffee. But were I stronger, more greedy (or less greedy at the start), I would have had the Santiago tart. Really, I would.

A perfect breath of new life for Posh Lunch Club and about time I reviewed Pizarro. A wonderful restaurant, all heart and great food, those two courses cost only £17. There is a great sherry & wine list too.

It gets very busy, but there is almost always a seat at the bar. I have spent many a Saturday there. Enjoy it.

Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey St, London Borough of Southwark, London SE1

I am still experimenting with video. Here is a little one of Pizarro. A little shaky, but not bad for a phone at all. Imagine you are on a train as you watch it ;) (I think a little tripod for it would be very useful, I will perfect it!).


With thanks to Carphone Warehouse, who supplied the Samsung S4 which I used to take all photos in this post, and the video. Not bad, is it?! 


My Favourite London Places to Eat (my Top 10 London Restaurants, if you will)

I have a shortlist of must eat places that I visit every time I am back in town. Places that offer comfort, deliciousness and that make me feel right at home. Bowls of loveliness and pies of joy, spicy fabulous curries and fatty fabulous seekh kebabs. This is not a list of anything specific, like my favourite fine dining or cheap eats, but a list of the places that I think about when I travel and head straight for when I get back.

I always promise that I will share these, but I never do. (I don’t know why, I suspect it is because I find things like this a bit of a Sophie’s Choice). There are restaurants that I love that aren’t on here as they are more occasion type places for me (L’Anima, Racine & The Ledbury, for example). They are centred around Soho, and in South London where I live, but these are places that I travelled to before I lived here from the North and East and are destinations for me. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.

So, here you are, enjoy. I know you will love them as much as I do. I have eaten at each one many times. (Photos are random and are a mix of camera phones and random cameras – I will update with proper photos as I go).

Koya – the best udon in London, these are as good as any (and better than some) in Japan. Made fresh daily using the traditional 5 hour under-the-foot method, bonito is shaved fresh for the soup stock (which goes a little way to explaining the flavour and vibrancy). Everything is good here, and don’t ignore the specials. I recently had a divine udon with tempura hake, wild garlic and leek, and I just can’t stop thinking about. When ordering udon, be sure to order tanuki (crispy tempura bits) and onsen tamago (slow poached egg). Served cold may sound odd, but when cold they have terrific texture. I let the weather choose whether I go cold or hot. The drinks list has some lovely sakes, wine, beer and cider. I try to stick to sake when I go. When in Rome (or in London) etc.

Koya, 49 Frith St, London, Greater London W1D 4SG, United Kingdom, no reservations

José & Pizarro – I can’t mention one without the other, José and Pizarro are two restaurants owned by Spanish chef José (yes) Pizarro. José is a relaxed tapas and sherry bar on a street corner in Bermondsey, always full and with a brilliant atmosphere. All of the food is great but especially good are the tortilla, jamon, gazpacho and croquetas. With a glass of sherry, of course (the list is excellent). A 5 minute walk away sits the younger sibling, although it feels a little more mature. A touch more formal, although really not by very much, Pizarro serves a more structured menu and an excellent and great value Menu del Dia during the week.

José, 104 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UB, United Kingdom, no reservations
Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey St, London Borough of Southwark, London SE1, United Kingdom

Prawns at Pizarro

Prawns at Pizarro

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar – Bone Daddies is fierce. It is the type of ramen that grabs you by the chops and wrestles you into submission. Big flavours, lots of heat, and rich broths, this is the real deal and is really considered. The tantanmen was my favourite until I became too weak or it became too hot. Now I favour the super rich and silky tonkotsu, and the kimchi tonkotsu when it is on special. With punchy kimchi, corn, and some fine grated parmesan, it hits every spot, even some that I didn’t know I had. Soft serve ice cream is a must. The flavours change daily, I have had the green tea and I hear that the black sesame is very good. There is a great sake list and this is where I focus my attention, although the Fever Tree ginger beer is pretty good too.

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar, 31 Peter St, London, Greater London W1F 0AR, UK, no reservations

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Lima – my favourite Peruvian food in London and great cocktails too. The ceviche (sea bream) is the best in town, as is the pisco sour. Braised tender octopus with bubbles of bitter rich olive and suckling pig with lentils are divine, and the chocolate with blue potato crystals – trust me – is a must. I need to go back and familiarise myself with the rest of the cocktail list, I rarely stray from the sours.

Lima, 31 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1JH, United Kingdom

Octopus with olive and quinoa at Lima

Abbeville Kitchen – local to me, but worth the journey, Abbeville Kitchen is a perfect local restaurant. Modern British, I love to go with friends and order some of the food to share, from Desperate Dan style pies (my favourite was venison and pickled walnut) to rib of beef, chips and bearnaise to share. Starters are lovely too, the charcuterie is particularly good. House cocktails make a perfect aperitif and the wine list is very fairly priced and accessible.

Abbeville Kitchen, 47 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9JX, United Kingdom

Trinity – great food, great wine, accessible prices. Possibly the best priced tasting menu in town. Chef Adam Byatt and his team make many delicious things, but their taramasalata is the best I have ever tasted and their signature trotter dish is divine. Wine matching is excellent, and the prices aren’t intimidating. I brought a friend last year and he goes back now all the time with anyone that he can find that hasn’t been there yet.

Trinity, 4 The Polygon London SW4 0JG, United Kingdom

Pig trotter on sourdough with sauce gribiche, crackling and quail egg at Trinity

Lahore Karahi –  a small and way too bright Pakistani restaurant tucked away in a corner of Tooting, the Lahore Karahi is one of my favourite curry houses in London. I started obsessing about the lamb chop masala, four tandoor lamb chops in a thick, rich lamb masala sauce. I would always have these with the lamb seekh kebabs, and the chicken and fenugreek ones. But then I discovered the haleem. Which is a divine concoction of 3 types of lentils and lamb, smooth as silk and rich as velvet. It is only available at the weekends which is just as well. The prices are brilliant, with main courses circling £7 or less. BYO & no corkage, treat yourself to a visit.

Lahore Karahi, 1 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN, United Kingdom

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Jen Café – I go here for the dumplings and the bubble tea in hungry moments in Chinatown. The dumplings are very simple, Beijing dumplings with pork, steamed and sometimes, if I am in the mood, fried. Always with a dipping sauce fashioned from the condiments on the table: black vinegar, (often a little too much) chilli oil, and a little soy sauce for sweetness, salt and balance. Never more than £10 and always satisfying. Althhough the staff can be quite rude, and they are inconsistent. (Update October 2013 – I now prefer to go to Leongs Legend Continues around the corner for the Xiao Long Bao, which are some of the best in London, and a cup of tea).

Jen Cafe, 4-8 Newport Place London WC2H 7JP

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Gelupo – gelato and granita, in cups, cones or sourdough donuts, there is very little not to love at Gelupo. Blood orange granita is a must, although the recipes are seasonal so be sure to explore. Look beyond the counter to the fridge for some chocolate covered ice cream, ice cream cakes and bon bons. At one point the even sold (terrific) charcuterie from sister restaurant Bocca di Lupo across the road.

Gelupo, 7 Archer St, London, Greater London W1D 7AU

Chilli Cool – I am adding this at the end and slightly tentatively as I used to love it here but haven’t been in a bit so including it here is slightly risky. I do often think of returning for the firey grouper and tofu hotpot, smothered in chillies and spiky sichuan pepper corns, a piece of fish or tofu rescued from the oils beneath is delicious. I was first brought here by a friend of a friend from Chengdu who loves it and did all of the ordering. I have been hooked to Sichuan food since. I last brought a friend who was so shocked by how hot it was – despite my pleas for him to drink aloe vera juice to soothe his palate – that he insisted we leave half way through. If you like hot food, you will love it. I do.

Chilli Cool, 15 Leigh St, London WC1H 9EW

Chilli Cool - Grouper Hot Pot

Have you any favourites that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments :)

Coming soon: more favourite London places, incl for fine dining, posh lunch, cheap eats, coffee, wine, brunch etc.


Announcing: A Weekend Long Food Blogging Masterclass at The Guardian HQ

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

I was extremely honoured to be asked to curate a food blogging masterclass at the HQ of The Guardian newspaper as part of their series of masterclasses. As curator I have asked the best food bloggers in the UK to join me in sharing our knowledge with you. It will be useful, informative and hands on. We are planning it right now, and I will be back soon to share some more details for you.

For now, here are some details on my fellow tutors. There will also be two influential keynote speakers, details on those soon too. The course will run on the 13th and 14th of July and therre are only 36 places. Classes will be taught in groups of 18 so it will be intimate and everyone will get lots of attention.

Book on Eventbrite via The Guardian website.

Niamh Shields – me! – social media, etiquette and food & travel blogging 

You know about me :)

Daniel Young – food criticism for bloggers

Daniel is the “Young” behind young&foodish, a London-based website and food events company. He is the creator of the BurgerMonday, PizzaTuesday, SpagWednesday, WichThursday, FryFriday and CoffeeSaturday series of pop-up dinners, working with such chefs as Giorgio Locatelli and Nigella Lawson. He was restaurant critic of The New York Daily News and has written about food for such publications as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit Magazine and Gourmet Magazine.

Daniel is author of eight books, including The Paris Cafe Cookbook and Made in Marseille. In February 2013 was named one of the 50 food websites and one of the 15 sites the foodies love by The Times. In May 2013 Young was named Online Food Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.

Signe Johansen – recipe writing

Signe is a food writer and cook who grew up in Norway and now lives in London. She trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, and after graduating worked in some of the UK’s top restaurants. Signe has a Masters in the Anthropology of Food from SOAS, a degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge and has written about Scandinavian food for Sainsbury’s magazine, Delicious magazine and the Financial Times as well as contributing recipes to all the major mainstream and trade publications in the UK.

Signe has recipe tested cookbooks such as Hawksmoor At Home, both the Fabulous Baker Brothers’ books, Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook and the Pitt Cue Cookbook. Saltyard Books published Signe’s books Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious in 2011 and Scandilicious Baking in 2012. Signe’s blog Scandilicious specialises in modern Scandinavian cooking, baking and living and her supper club EatScandi was recently featured in the New Yorker.

Jeanne Horak-Druiff – food photography

Jeanne Horak-Druiff is a South African by birth and a Londoner by choice who has been writing her blog Cooksister since May 2004. CookSister! was named as one of the Times Online’s top 50 food blogs in the world and is also a four-time winner of Best South African Food Blog in the South African Blog Awards. Jeanne started Cooksister at a stage when she did not even own a digital camera, and is a self-taught food photographer who fully understands the challenges and limitations of shooting food in a makeshift home studio with a limited budget. She is passionate about teaching and has run a number of photography workshops both in the UK and South Africa.

Peter Langdon – web design and building your blog 

Peter works on the Guardian web team designing and building web pages and managing digital marketing for Guardian Masterclasses. He has also worked at Amazon and as a freelance web designer on a wide variety of projects. He regularly teaches blogging masterclasses and you can find his own blog here.


Tickets Now on Sale: Bacon Masterclasses on Wednesday 20th & Friday 22nd March

Bacon Cookery Class - Bacon Jam Fudge

Bacon Cookery Class – Bacon Jam Fudge

I am woefully late announcing these, but here you go! New bacon masterclasses on Wednesday 20th and Friday 22nd March, in just over two weeks time.

These are a new format and in association with Bacon Connoisseurs Week. They will be held at Food at 53,  gorgeous cookery school between Old St and Islington. As always, they will be really fun, and very sociable. Come on your own, or with friends, I promise you will be comfortable.

We will kick off with a Bacon Bloody Mary, then get into the cooking three recipes.

Chipotle Bacon Jam – better than any you have tasted with only the best ingredients. Chipotle fuelled, smoky and sticky.
Bacon Jam Fudge – it takes time but it is fantastic, and it is amazing with a single malt
Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles – smoky, rich and fabulous

Then we will finish with a bacon curry. You will go home with a goody bag of everything you have made with all of the recipes.

I have kept the prices as they were, £75 for 3.5 hours. If you book through eventbrite, there is a processing  fee of £5.15. If you want to avoid this, you can pay me directly, just email me at

Book tickets here: