Review: Little Social

I’ve seen Jason Atherton on Saturday Kitchen quite a few times, he wears tight t-shirts in that: “Yeah, I’m a middle aged man, sure, I look after myself. I like a couple of pints with the boys but I’m equally happy with a kale smoothie? Absolutely. What’s the big deal?” kind of way. And fair play to him.

Jason has 74,000 restaurants spread across the world. Many of them have the word ‘social’ attached to them.

City Social – you’re only allowed in if you had a part to play in the financial crash.

Social Eating House – the menu is inspired by bricks.

Pollen Street Social – the waiting staff all buzz constantly, only stopping once they’ve stabbed you and they perish.

And then there’s Little Social where the chef is a midget. It was here we went for a birthday lunch back in January! I know! So many questions, like: How has it taken me so long to write this up? Why didn’t I take a photo of the menu so I could remember what I ate? Aren’t professional kitchens potentially hazardous to midgets?

What I can tell you is that I had a cocktail, here’s a picture of it. It was very nice indeed.

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Here’s a photo of some butter, which I almost certainly had with some bread. If memory serves me correctly this was also perfectly pleasant.

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Here is my starter. Now, this was a beetroot based starter, and I do remember it as it was very nice.

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Here’s a mackerel. I think it was alright, I mean mackerel is always alright isn’t it really. Cheers mackerel.

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Here’s a bottle of wine we drunk. Notice the butter in the background, it’s been partly eaten. This lends weight to my earlier point about having consumed the butter with some bread.

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What can you say? A lunch time menu – 3 courses for £30 (I think, it was in that ball park) enjoyed in the knowledge that you’re helping a midget. Perfect.

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3.5 boys out of 5.

Review: The Quality Chop House

You know that tricky scenario when you want to go for dinner but you’re also poor?

There are options available to you, such as:

  • Nandos
  • Take a Pepperami to a Michelin star restaurant and eat it in the toilet before leaving
  • Have a Pot Noodle in the park

Sadly I’m not allowed to lower myself to these levels as I’d have my official #Foodie hashtag removed.

So, rewind to Monday 27th February, one day before pay day. I remember it well, I was hungry and I was poor.

I’d wanted to visit The Quality Chop House in Farringdon for ages and never got round to it, then on Monday 27th February I discovered they do BYO on Mondays.

I should specify here that the ‘your own’ here refers to wine – not chops. Going to a ‘chop house’ and bringing your own chop is almost always frowned upon – you wouldn’t rock up to KFC with your own chicken would you?

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Quality Chop House Menu

I booked a table and headed to Tesco to grab as many bottles of Echo Falls I could carry. Three bottles of Echo Falls is as many as I could carry – one under each arm, one clutched in a hand, with one hand free for other activities.

“Good evening, would you like me to pour your wine?” The waitress asked.

“Erm? Decant it first for goodness sake.”

“Of course, and can I take your order?”

“Perhaps first you could advise what would best compliment my Echo Falls Peach And Mango flavoured wine.”

“Oh, without doubt the leeks followed by the mince on toast.”

“Very well.”

Starter

Leeks and anchovy

Leeks and anchovy

The burnt leeks and anchovy was underwhelming. Fine, but not great – which is why I used the word ‘underwhelming’.

Now I think about it, I’m not sure it’s the right word – if the leeks had blown my mind would I have described it as ‘overwhelming’? I doubt it. Being ‘overwhelmed’ by leeks sounds like something that might happen to a frail old man at an allotment. Think on.

Main course

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Mince on dripping toast

That’s a dreadful photograph, I blame the fact I’d just polished off my second bottle of Echo Falls – this time I quaffed Strawberry And Lime flavoured wine.

This dish was not underwhelming, if it was appropriate to use the word ‘whelmed’ I’d say it well and truly whelmed me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The beef dripping toast made me feel all warm inside.

I also had a delicious treacle tart, but I didn’t take a picture of that as after the bottle of Echo Fruit Rose Summer Berries flavoured wine I could no longer operate my phone.

All in all, a ruddy good experience.

Four boys out of five.

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Review: Il Pampero

Greetings! Welcome to another food blog! YAY! Hopefully we can expect some of this:

“I perused the menu.”

“Oooh, this sausage is cooked to perfection.”

“The asparagus had a real depth of flavour.”

“I’m not paying for this so I’m not actually going to tell you it was BANG AVERAGE.”

As a top, London foodie influencer I receive emails about soft launches of restaurants. I don’t really like the phrase ‘soft launch’ as it makes me think of Donald Trump wearing a sailor hat, trying to thumb his flaccid penis into you having forgotten to take his viagra.

Restaurant soft launches are basically a chance for them to make sure everything works before officially opening their doors to the public. Usually they will only charge 50% for food, so it’s a good chance to go somewhere you might not normally visit.

With this in mind, a few weeks ago I found myself in Belgravia. ME! In Belgravia, with my reputation (my reputation as someone really fucking cool who used to live in East London).

Basically I really like Italian food these days, so saw a soft launch for a new Italian place there and thought: “well, surely it’ll be good because posh people have great taste right?”

WRONG

Il Pampero is the restaurant in the Hari Hotel, which is owned by Harry Styles of One Direction fame (this is included for SEO purposes).

I ordered a Negroni to start, which was a pretty good Negroni. It came on a little bit of wood with a bit of fake, old newspaper on. Quirky, but bloody annoying having to peel it from the bottom of your glass every time you took a sip. I only had like four sips though as I’m an absolute, bloody, raging LAD.

Negroni

Negroni plus paper

My starter of sweetbreads with mushrooms was pretty good. I’d give it a good solid 7/10. Here’s a picture of it.

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Sweetbreads

My main was less good. Saffron risotto with veal ragu and crumbled bone marrow.

The veal ragu and crumbled bone marrow could have been literally anything in the whole wide world and you wouldn’t have tasted it over the massively over-powering saffron.

Saffron risotto

Saffron risotto

If I hadn’t have been here on the soft launch that risotto would have cost £19.50. Imagine! Fortunately they took it off the bill so I didn’t have to weep.

Two boys out of five.

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Ferdie’s Food Lab – Supper Club

The Foodie Boys have tired of the restaurant scene of late.

“A table for two please.”

“Do you have a reservation?”

“No.”

That sort of thing. Boring.

No! Calm down! Be still your beating dicks/fannys. That doesn’t mean our days of blogging about food are over!

No, we’re branching out down some exciting new avenues – or streets as we say in Britain.

We can often be found wandering down British streets to see if we can find something satisfying to fill our stomachs. Fortunately London is full of people hanging about down streets who are happy to oblige.

One such street was ‘Ethalburga Street’ in Battersea.

“Ethalburga street – Ethal Burger street. A burger made by a woman called Ethal. All women called Ethal are at least 80, would you eat a burger made by an 80 year old? I think it’s too risky to eat anything cooked by anyone over the age of 60.”

This was just a snippet of the conversation we had as we walked down Ethalburga street and towards the London Cooking Project which was hosting Ferdie’s Food Lab.

To sum up, we’d been invited to a supper club. The only supper club we’d ever been to before was in Battersea. Do supper clubs only exist in Battersea? We don’t know, but we were delighted to accept the kind offer of our host Simon.

Ferdie's Food Lab Menu

Menu (taken with an Android)

We’d been sent a list of wine pairings for each course before we attended, meaning we could raid the local Asda for Rollbacks. Our wine strategy consisted of one bubbles, one white and one red.

We were bemused to be asked to leave Asda for refusing to stop singing Take That’s ‘Shine’. It was only after we left that we realised that advertising campaign was for Morrisons. A full apology has been sent to Asda head office.

On arrival we met our fellow diners over a glass of prosecco, which was a nice bonus. ‘Met’ here = Tony asking all of them whether they had an iPhone 6 charger. With every person he asked, the haunting realisation dawned on him; we would have to use my Android phone camera to photograph the supper.

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Lamb rib (not taken with an Android)

To begin Simon presented us with slow cooked lamb rib in a croquette style thing, dip and garlic Afghan bread – just like grandma used to make. If your grandma was Afghanistani, which fortunately neither of ours are/were (some of them are dead).

The cubes of meat were delightful, and would have probably gone down really well with the suggested wine pairing of Pinot Noir. However, we were busy getting as much prosecco as possible in our thirsty, horrible faces.

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Purple salmon

After this out came the purple salmon, beetroot and horseradish parfait.

“This will go nicely with the prosecco,” Tony remarked.

“I’m not eating purple fish.” Toby responded.

Next, a green bomb appeared. We don’t entirely know what this was, but it was nice and the spicy cucumber salad that came with it was a healthy kick in the balls.

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Veal

The highlight of the dinner was the veal. Which if we had a way with words we would describe here, but believe me, it was very nice.

The chocolate cherry dessert had somewhat fallen apart, and frankly the appearance may have put some people off, but they would have been wrong. It was great.

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Cherry tart

Foodie Friendship Boys

Of course, a supper club is FAR from all about the food. It’s a social occasion. We were relieved to be placed near another food blogger. Ordinary people just don’t understand how important what we do is.

Flo, one half of Flo & Elle (we can’t comment on the mysterious absence of Elle) came to the rescue, when she offered to send us her photos of the night. This means, aside from the menu picture, we didn’t have to use Toby’s Android phone.

The conversation with Flo flowed, perhaps where she got her name. We discovered a lot about her, much of which we cannot publish here for fear of repercussions.

What we can publish here is our wine battle. How did our wine choices fare against hers? Bafflingly, she hadn’t gone to Asda.

Our Riesling (name of which we can’t remember) scored a rather respectable 3.6 out of five on Vivino. Poor Flo’s only got a 3.4.

“You can’t trust these shit apps,” she shrieked as she smashed the bottle against the table and lunged at Toby’s neck. Jerking backwards, Toby dodged out the way.

“It’s all kicking off!” we shouted at Simon.

“Erm, this is supper club, not fight club,” Simon roared as he took Tony out with a roundhouse kick.

We all took to our seats again, made our apologies and ate some nuts coated in chocolate and finished our last bottle of wine, which scored a pathetic 2.2.

Thanks to Simon who was a thoroughly welcoming host and chose some fantastic food and wine pairings.

Four boys out of five.

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Review: The Laughing Gravy – Tony

On Saturday I found myself watching football and enjoying a beer when I received a text message.

“Looking for somewhere for dinner, but everywhere seems to be booked up. Any ideas?” Said the text message.

“What do you think?” I replied.
“Not sure. Do you know anywhere?”
“Are you seriously asking a FoodieBoy if he knows anywhere to go for dinner?”
“What’s a FoodieBoy?”
“I’m 50% of them.”
“Do you know anywhere to go for dinner?”
“Only if I can come.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really.”

So, I had myself a dinner date! All because they’d never heard of the OpenTable app.

After cross-referencing what was available with thorough Google research (we could really do with someone to do this for us, email foodieboys@gmail.com for unpaid internship opportunities) I found us somewhere and booked.

The Laughing Gravy

“Why is the gravy laughing?” was my immediate worry. Is the gravy amused by the poorly cooked meat it’s being poured on? Surely the Awestruck Gravy would have been a better name to entice customers in?

Let us not get bogged down with that, but please do contemplate it.

The food

Starter: Beetroot three ways.

Beetroot three ways

Beetroot three ways

This was unusual for me as usually a starter consists of some meat, some fish or, if I’ve panicked when giving my order, a soup.

Beetroot has only recently been placed on my radar, I enjoy the excitement it gives to a toilet visit after eating vast quantities of the stuff.

This dish looked lovely, “Oh, doesn’t that look lovely!” I exclaimed as the food was placed on the table.

It tasted good too especially the goats cheese mousse which accompanied it.

Main: Venison Wellington.

Venison Wellington

Venison Wellington

Do you mean beef? No, I mean venison.

This was very nice indeed, with the meat cooked to perfection, a relief after my earlier concern.

The truffle purée was subtle enough to not overpower the dish, it was very nice indeed.

Dessert: Dark chocolate cylinder

Dark chocolate cylinder

Dark chocolate cylinder

“Gregg Wallace would spunk in his Y-fronts,” I shouted as I broke into the chocolate cylinder full of white chocolate and yoghurt mousse.

It also had vaniilla fudge, popcorn and something like honeycomb with it.

What a dream come true when one of my fellow diners got up to use the bathroom, allowing me to gobble their remaining salted caramel cheesecake too, sadly due to my haste I didn’t get a picture of that.

A fine meal.

Four boys out of five.

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