Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Lucha Libre, Liverpool

Strange as it may seem, it was eggs that brought me here. After seeing an image of a dish called Chilaquiles, a dish of tortilla chips, salsa, and cheese, reminiscent with nachos and cheese which we all love No?  but this dish was topped with two fried eggs. 

I realised how much I love eggs, a staple of the food world but equally synonymous with finer dishes like steak tata, eggs Florentine and souffle. 
My thoughts turned to breakfast dishes like mashed avocado on toast topped with fried egg and a dash of Tabasco, gloriously unctuous. Huevos rancheros, and my fave eggs Benedict and who doesn't love dipping hot buttered soldiers into dippy eggs? 
Then on to lunch, frittata, omelets of all descriptions, egg and chips, egg mayo sandwiches, and a picnic ain't a picnic without scotch eggs.

Classics like corned beef hash has to be topped with gooey fried eggs, same with special fried rice, bubble and squeak. I'll even chuck one on top of beans on toast. 

I could go on but lets get to Lucha Libre .......
My partner had sent me a text during the day suggesting we eat out that night and for me to choose where? I suggested Lucha Libre, I  just had to try that dish after all I was now in the mood for eggs! 

With a no reservation policy we went handy and arrived at 7pm. The restaurant was already busy with most of the tables taken. Once seated we were quickly given the menu and drinks orders where taken whilst we decided what to eat.

We drank tequila cocktails with pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, Moledo Negra beer and the obligatory Vanilla salted rim.

My drink pictured above was a Mezcal cocktail, a very smokey Del Maguey Vida, watermelon, hibiscus, lime & pacifico with an orange salt rim. 

Below Chilaquiles the dish that brought me here ! 

Chilaquiles , tortilla chips smothered in a mild salsa roja, molten cheese served with fresh coriander, jalapenos, & fried eggs.  

I'm glad to say I loved this dish it was every bit as nice as I had imagined. Fresh and crisp, the crispness coming not only from the tortilla chips but also the pickled red onions and slithers of radish, it was not over cheesed and all stuck together like you sometimes find with dishes of this kind. The eggs were the star attraction, rightfully on top like a crown. Piercing those golden yolks added that unctuous gooeyness it was divine! 

This Quesadilla was the surprise favourite. My partner not liking pineapples didn't expect to like this at all but it was a clear favourite with us both!  And now a convert to pineapples ( well hot ones anyway) 
This quesadilla called the "Gringa" was filled with marinated belly pork & grilled pineapple. A great combination of savoury and sweet wrapped in a hot flour tortilla.

Pil Bil slow cooked pork marinated in orange juice & achiote, served with pickled red onions.
Again beautifully marinaded pork but I can't say any more about this dish as by now we were both stuffed and after one bite we were beaten ! 

Sides were re fried beans and red rice, again they were hardly touched due to the extremely full bellies.

We had a great time at Lucha Libre, great food , fun environment and knowledgeable staff. Would highly recommend .  

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Goshawk, Mouldsworth Cheshire

We currently have our house on the market and looking to relocate to a village in Cheshire. We both thought it was a good idea to spend much of our free time exploring the areas we like and consequently eating at the local pubs and restaurants. The plan being when we eventually move, these areas will not feel totally strange to us. A good plan we think and we are having fun doing so. 

On one lazy Sunday afternoon drive through west Cheshire with a plan to stop off at any pub that took our fancy, we found ourselves driving through the small village of Mouldsworth and came across The Goshawk. A striking looking country pub complete with window boxes, hanging baskets, and attractive shrubbery. It was one of those pubs that makes you step on the brakes.

On this occasion we just had a drink and a look around, we liked the look and feel of the place and the menu was appealing so we made a mental note to visit and dine sometime soon. There is also a very large and new looking decking area with plenty of tables which overlooks a bowling green and fields, very picturesque. 

Last week we tried and failed to get a reservation as they were totally full but this week we managed to bag reservation. On arrival we were given the opportunity to either sit in the bar and peruse the menu with a drink or be seated right away. We were starving so wasted no time. 

The Goshawk is lovely inside, interlocking dining areas with wooden floors open log fires although not lit as its summer but this place will be a nice cosy snug in the winter. The menu which you can view HERE has a good combination of typical Gastro fare, sausage and mash, steak and kidney pies and burgers but it also has more refined dishes like Hake in parma ham, crayfish salad, lobster etc... So there's something for everyone. 

The wine list is good and in particular a good selection of wine by the glass for those who are driving. Those who like good beer will love this place too with many guest beers on offer.

We decided to skip a starter and dived straight in to the mains, we both fancied a steak. 
I ordered a 10oz Ribeye and was cooked medium perfectly, juicy and pink with a nice charred flavour from the grill, this came with the most awesome bowl of chunky chips, really crisp outsides and fluffy inside, two meaty flat mushrooms and the usual garnish of a baked tomato. I also ordered a béarnaise sauce which came in a little pot, divinely buttery with a hint of anise from the tarragon , it was so good the chips were dunked in too! 

My partner had the Surf and Turf, same steak, medium rare topped with four massive juicy prawns and was equally enjoyed. 

We were quite full after our steaks but had saved just enough room to sample a couple of puds. Passion fruit creme brûlée and Strawberries & Lime cheesecake with a citrus syrup.  

The creme brûlée was Devine and served with two shortbread biscuits. My only gripe was the custard was a little more set than I like. I prefer a more smooth thick silky brûlée but this in no way detracted from the taste and the crack test of the topping was a winner, smooth and as thin as glass, top class.

Although this looks like a large potion I was told this cheesecake was very light and tasted great. 

One other thing that stood out to me, as strange as this might seem but I loved the fact the wine glass that my wine was served in was absolutely sparkling clean, you could actually feel it when you picked up the glass. Who doesn't love a clean glass ? but it's rare. This was a large 250ml glass which they serve in a little carafe so you can top up as you need too, a lovely touch.

Service was a little slow between courses but this was not a problem. Everything came out fresh, piping hot and most importantly it all tasted great . 

We are both looking forward to making the Goshawk one of our locals.  

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Duck & Waffle, London

Oh here we go, a restaurant on the 40th floor with a 360 degree view of London. 
Readers of my blog will know this place is right up my street. 
Duck & Waffle is the restaurant inside Heron Tower, Bishopsgate.

After taking the fastest lift I think I've ever been in to the dizzying heights of the 40th floor you first arrive in a very cool looking bar even from here your looking down on the Gherkin. 

Inside is very spacious, bright and airy with breath taking views of London. I'm already a happy bunny.

After our waiter described the menu to us and how the dishes would be served, basically not in the order we ordered but as each dish was ready, confusing at first but as the menu is small plate (tapas) style we didn't mind too much. There are plenty of small dishes to choose from or larger dishes for the table.  

We ordered a mixture of dishes to share, BBQ spiced crispy pigs ears,
Roasted octopus / chorizo / lemon / caper.
Pollock meatballs / lobster cream / parmesan.
Harissa spiced Herdwick mutton sliders / lime creme fraiche / charred tomato jam.
Spicy ox cheek doughnut / apricot jam. 
And a couple of cocktails to wash it all down with, a whiskey sour for me and a Spring Negroni for my partner.

The BBQ spiced crispy pigs ears arrived in a brown paper bag complete with red wax seal. A fun way to start the meal. 

These were lovely the BBQ flavour was good and they were very crunchy, but half way through I noticed the thin white strip of ear through the coating and it became off putting and I became a bit squeamish. My partner however loved them. 

The octopus was a dish my partner chose, beautifully presented. I'm not a fan of seafood in general but I did try some of this and was surprised, very tender but the octopus didn't taste of much. The flavour of this dish came from the chorizo and capers. 

The mutton sliders where very good but very small they were gone in three bites . I know, I know ! sliders are small but at £8 a pop they were not good value, £16 for these two little burgers ! 
Pollock / lobster cream / parmesan 

This was one of the tastiest dishes for me after the sliders, the pollock meatball itself was very subtle but the lobster cream and parmesan gave lots of flavour, I could have easily ate both of these but I was sharing. 

Spicy Ox cheek doughnut / apricot jam was a huge Disappointment.

Added this second picture just so you can see how big they were and with not enough filling inside they were too doughy and heavy, the sweet and spicy coating just didn't do it for me. Dipping it in the apricot jam made it more palatable but this was a dish neither of us could finish, we just didn't  like it enough. 

Our experience was souring as we still hadn't received our cocktails we had ordered at the beginning of the meal. We had to remind our waiter, It seems they had forgotten. The restaurant was not that busy ? When the drinks eventually arrived our waiter kindly said they were on the house.

After the long wait the drinks were not great and we had to send them back which made us a bit uncomfortable as I hardly ever send drinks or food back. But at a cost of £24 for two drinks that were unpalatable (for us ) it was the right thing to do. 
My partners spring negron left a really awful bitter taste in the back of your throat, very unpleasant and the whiskey sour tasted way to artificial, I 'm not a hundred percent on this but I felt the foamy top was the culprit, I think an artificial chemical emulsifier had been used to give the frothy white head. I understand lots of bars will now use this and not raw egg whites in their drinks for fear of salmonella.

It did look rather pretty like a lemon meringue but to me it was no Whiskey sour. 

The waiter replaced our drinks for two others but I'm afraid these were not great either. 

What we felt was although Duck & Waffle is a lovely environment to have a meal, the service was hit and miss the food although OK for most parts, is very over hyped and over priced. As you can see from the bill and this was without the drinks added.
We've eaten far better (set lunches ) at Michelin starred restaurants for the same price. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar. Soho London

On our recent trip to London we had decided to make dining a more casual affair. We had read rave reviews about Bone daddies and with it's no reservation required policy this fitted the bill perfectly.

This was my very first ramen experience. I had read the queues can be quite long at lunch time so waited till 15 minutes after opening time to pounce.

We opted for a seat in the window just me and my partner facing the world outside as the tables are bench like and your likely to be forced to share it with strangers, which ain't a bad thing in general but the very idea of slurping noodles in front of strangers is a bit daunting.

Within minutes of us being seated the place started to fill up the music and Atmosphere cranked up a notch it was buzzing.

Inside Bone daddies

In front of us was an array of condiments garlic and crusher, hot chilli oil, soy sauce, sesame seed grinder and eating implements chop sticks, bibs (very necessary) for first timers and hair bands for those with long hair to tie back a brilliant touch, not that I needed it.

Choice of ramen was great, we both opted for the Tonkotsu the idea of a broth made from pork bones for 20 hours was too much to pass. We also ordered an extra portion of Cock scratchings ( deep fried chicken skin ) to you and me.

Whilst waiting for our ramen we supped on Asahi's and soaked up the atmosphere. Once the ramen arrived we donned our bibs and got stuck in.

Tonkotsu ramen - With spring onion, chashu pork, 20 hour bone broth, soft boiled egg, crispy garlic, spring onions and extra cock scratchings.

I was a bit disappointed with the broth at first it seemed to lack the flavour I imagined but after everything started to mix together it became more tasty with every mouth full.
I always struggle with noodle or rice dishes as they seem to fill me up very quickly and it happened again, when I had finished it looked like I had hardly ate anything but I was truly stuffed. I was gutted I couldn't even fit in The green tea or black sesame ice cream everyone raved about and said so to our waitress. when she told us it wasn't on the menu that day I breathed a sigh of relief I hadn't missed out because of my own doing.

Feeling sorry for us she brought over this ice cream covered in sweet sesame seeds on the house ! so bravely we tucked in and I have to say it was the most delicious ice cream I have ever had.

Evidence of the polished of ice cream.

Bone Daddies was great fun, we loved it. good tasty food, great upbeat staff and the music was fab, I could have stayed all day.