Archive | November, 2011

The Asian Express

29 Nov

Ready for the plate up. Five hundered salmon nigri please.Christmas is nearly hear and I was trekking through the Trafford Centre on an obligitory death march or ‘shopping trip’, whichever floats your boat. On the way, we decided to drop in to Selfridges for some Saturday shushi at Yo! Sushi. The sushi chain opened in 1997 in London to very favourable reviews, not only for good quality sushi but becasue who wouldn’t love a restaurant where your food moves round on a tiny conveyor belt. On a side note, I do sometimes wonder if they would have to close if that belt broke down. I’m not sure it would be the same to just have your sushi ‘handed’ to you.

Inari pocket is a sweet little treat

Regardless, we plowed through a mix of sushi and sashimi and other bits and pieces. The Inami Pockets were a great little start with rice and pickled radish surrounded by a fried soya bean roll (inami) which was sweet and sour in the right amounts. A spicy seafood udon soup had a great spicy tinge to the king prawns and squid cushioned on top of the thick udon noodles. The prawn katsu curry had the reliable comforting katsu curry sauce with fried prawn topped with tangy japanese pickle. From the sashimi menu we went with the classic salmon, which was a little on the bland side but more than made up for by the beef nigiri we had next. The crispy salmon skin ISO (inside out) roll was saltily good and a strong case for more use of salmon skin in dishes other than sushi. Before sushi fatigue set in, we made it to just one last dish of a crab hand roll and what a way to end. Tempura fried crab, rocket, more japanese pickle and a sweet chilli mayo wich proceeded to leak out onto my hand.

The higher end of noodle soup - Spicy Seafood Udon soup

The food is delicious and its one of the few restaurants where the food rotates more often than the customers your sat next to at the counter…

We didn’t stop there however as my sisters called and said they were coming down to do some shopping and would we like to get something to eat with them. ‘Could it be’ I thought. ‘Could I really be about to sample the forbidden delight of Double Dinner?’

So that happened a few hours later. This time we were in Tampopo sampling pan-asian cuisine. I hate that phrase ‘Pan-asian cuisine’ as it sounds strange in my brain, like the sound of a cat clearing its throat or listening to Enya. Its not wrong, just weird. Given that we’d already eaten, we went for a Tampopo Platter to Share. To cut down on the explination time, here’s what’s on the platter Goi Cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls), Gyoza (Dumplings), Bulgogi (mmm…beef), Coconut Prawns, Satay Chicken & Tod Man Khao Pod (sweetcorn cakes. The mix was amazing, six mixed starters and six sauces. I loved this dish more than I thought I would. The up-market, street restaurant style has a strange mix of trendy and traditional; the plush cushions on wooden benches is the best example of this. The decor was secondry though as this platter disappeared in about four minutes flat. Not bad from two people having their second dinner of the night.

The Tampopo Sharing platter - drink it in

 

Double dinner took us across the Asian continent. Now all I need is a balti and I’ve got a full house. Next time: Triple Dinner?!?

 

 

The pub down the road

24 Nov

“We’re off down the pub for a few pints and some dinner”. That sentence couldn’t be any more English if it was covered in clotted cream and its first name was Nigel.

The pub is a staple of British life, or at least mine. The development of the gastro pub has raised the standard of pub food from the traditional chicken in a basket of years gone by. So the Horse and Jockey on Chorlton Green is no slouch in pairing fine food with fine brews.

Since undergoing a massive overhaul several years ago, the Horse and Jockey has really become a corner stone of the local community. Hosting everything from Farmer’s markets to Bonfire night displays, this pub has also stepped up the food and drink on offer. As well as an extensive drinks selection, the pub now has its own microbrewery producing some tasty beers under the Bootleg Brewing Co. brand.

The food is split into two with the restaurant style menu and the pub menu intertwined. When I popped down with a few friends we took the sensible approach and ordered a few beers and more food than we could sensibly eat. The meal was nearly entirely derailed by the shocking announcement from the bar that there were no Manchester Eggs. Now I assume that a staggering demand for this god-like snack left them egg-less, because to have under-ordered would be bordering on criminal negligence. Anyway, hiccups aside we order our meals and waited.

All starters should be served in slab form

All starters should be served in slab form

The starters arrived first, as is the custom and the envy across the table was palpable. My choice of nachos could not have been more wrong. While the dips were good and the cheese was salty, they were average at best. My girlfriend’s choice of the chipolatas with Coleman’s English mustard couldn’t be a bad call as the sausage meat was great. The best choice by far on the table was the potted ham hock terrine with wholegrain mustard dressing and crusty bread. While I didn’t get to taste it, I’m assured it was good.

Corned beef isn't posh but its 100% class

Corned beef isn't posh but its 100% class

The mains were good, but my really interest was in the classic take of corned beef hash with fried egg and HP sauce. The hearty, meaty texture looked spot on and again the taste (I was told) was good. I would have asked for a bit but my steak and ale pie with fat chips or creamy mash, carrots and peas , a mammoth pie and mash combo capable of filling the gaps in your hunger like concrete filling foundations. It is however a little tastier. The main event for me was the burger. Specifically, the ‘Ultimate Burger’ which towers above puny normal burgers. I have a photo proving that this burger was as big as my girlfriend’s head, but she won’t let me use it, so I’ve done this artist’s impression.

My girlfriend and 'The Ultimate Burger' (To Scale...ish)

All in all, the food was good standard pub fare, but in a pub as long as the food is warming and homely, the beer is cold and crisp and the atmosphere is good, then I’ll happily stay for another pint.

Chocolate, Banana, Toffee and Lemon

14 Nov

Dictionary.com defines a cupcake as:

  1. A small cake baked in a cup-shaped container and typically iced.
  2. An attractive woman (often as a term of address).

As I would never be so crass as to discuss the second definition, I am of course talking about the first.  Sweet Tooth Cupcakery on Oswald Road in Chorlton. Situated next to some old garages in a building which you could easily pass off as being in need of some good demolition, the interior is what you would expect from the name. Floral patterned, pastle colours and a beautifully quaint wooden pull-draw display case housing the delicate looking cupcakes.

Despite really loving the cupcakes, I’ve found this blog really hard to write. Don’t imagine that this is because I didn’t love the cupcakes, because I really did. Even after a big sunday dinner, I still manged to eat two of them and that cream on top is rich and dense. The truth is I get a little too emotional about desserts. A long love affair with sugar based dishes started with my grandfather making me chocolate Angel Delight and carried on ever since. So now when faced with anything sweet and delicious, I find it hard to put into words how good it is.  So for a change and to get me out of forcing out an unsatsifactory blog, I’m going old school with a ‘Hartbeat’ flavour.

If you can’t see the gallery clips below, they are up on my Facebook page. I would also recommend having the Hartbeat gallery music to acompany this in the back ground, which you can find here. So as the irriplacable Tony Hart used to say ‘Now, it’s time for the gallery’

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