Monday, 26 November 2012

Hong Kong - The Casual

There's a time and a place for fancy-pants Michelin starred and high-end restaurants. I enjoy them but what I really love are the down n' dirty local places, where normal people eat, that are devoid of business lunches and celebrating families. Day-to-day places that feed you well and cheaply are plentiful in Hong Kong. Cha chaan teng means 'tea hall' - well, 'tea food hall' technically - where you can eat at all times of the day affordably, sometimes under strip lights, sometimes uncomfortably close to a stranger slurping their noodles. 

We visited one for breakfast one morning and the choices were simple; macaroni and ham in soup (top) with fried eggs and a bun on the side, or satay beef instant noodles, with scrambled eggs and a bun on the side. It made me really very nostalgic; I used to go to a cafe with my grandmother in Shau Kei Wan to eat this. Sometimes I would have a crispy-fried slice of spam in place of the ham, and a fried egg on top. Hong Kong-style hot strong tea made thick with evaporated milk is best sweetened with a heavy hand and for a handsome breakfast you would pay about £3. You can find these places all over Hong Kong, but perhaps the most famous are Tsui Wah (best known for an extensive menu and staying open for 24 hours to feed drunken revellers) and Australia Dairy Company, best known for their egg sandwiches. It doesn't sound like much, but for me it is comfort food and typically Hong Kong.

Likewise, dai pai dongs (street restaurants - usually just a bunch of plastic chairs / stools under cover) were a much more common sight when I lived in Hong Kong, 14 years ago. The numbers have dwindled since the authorities cracked down on hygiene, but one that has stayed through time is Lan Fong Yuen in Gage Street, Central. It is barely detectable, hidden behind fruit stalls and given away by businessmen and students alike patiently queuing for a seat at lunchtime. The food is junky but delicious, like the french toast (above); thick sliced bread dipped in egg and then deep fried. Golden syrup is poured over it liberally at the table and it really is artery-clogging, but wonderful. If I wasn't still suffering from that morning's dim sum binge I'd have nailed that plate on my own.

My lunch of instant noodles was dotted with some token vegetables and topped with a whopping pork chop. For a mere £3 or so, this was a filling lunch with a decent amount of noodle. We also had the chicken chop on the side which is not to be missed; crispy skinned and succulent meat, it was doused in a soy and spring onion sauce. Finishing that off did me in and I retreated back to the hotel for a lie-down.

We had a day off free from the confines of the itinerary and I knew I had to go to Din Tai Fung. With branches all over the world except London (sob) they are widely regarded as being excellent makers of that revered soup dumpling, the siu long bao. We arrived at the Tsim Sha Tsui branch half an hour early from its 11:30am opening. By 11:15 a queue had started to form. We were seated and had ordered by the time 11:35 had rolled around.

The instruction card tells you to carefully dip the dumpling in the sauce you're to make yourself, concocted of 2 parts soy to 1 part black vinegar. Shreds of ginger were placed in each saucer for each person at each table of the restaurant - we guestimated at around 70 tables. Pity the poor person that has to do that slicing. I'm not in entire agreement with the instructions though, as they tell you to pierce the dumpling onto your spoon, slurp the soup out and eat. I prefer to go for the more dangerous approach of stuffing the entire thing in your mouth and biting down on it so that it pops like a balloon. It's a risky strategy this one, as if your dumpling hasn't cooled sufficiently you are in for some mouth burns. So that's my disclaimer if you decide to emulate my renegade approach. It is infinitely more satisfying though.

Aside from the classic pork dumplings that were suitably porky and with a nice gingery broth, we also chose prawn and vegetable. Light in flavour but clean-tasting from the sweet prawns, these were a nice deviance from the norm.

Even more impressive were the pork and crab roe siu long bao - they had some serious crabby flavour to them. Slightly granular in texture, they were the essence of crab with some pork-flavour behind it. My friend was in raptures over it and rather rightly so. We stopped there, as we had a lot of eating to do that day. While waiting for the bill we admired our neighbour, sat alone with 2 vegetable dishes in front of him, 2 baskets of dumplings and slurping away at a bowl of noodles with ease. We paid around £17 for 3 baskets of 6 dumplings.

We should all go and sign Mr Noodles' petition and bring Din Tai Fung to London. PLEASE. 

Din Tai Fung 

Shop 130 & Restaurant C, 
3/F Silvercord, 
30 Canton Street, 
Tsim Sha Tsui (there is also a Causeway Bay branch)

I couldn't leave Hong Kong without a decent noodle binge. Last time I visited I was told Mak's Noodle make the best wonton noodles. I've since heard that many people are split between them and Tsim Chai Kee, directly opposite on the same street so this time it was Tsim Chai Kee's turn.

Not a large bowl by any means, but my combo was packed with 2 huge handmade fishballs and 2 wontons ($27 - around £2). The noodles were decently springy, the fishballs spiked with ginger and adequately bouncy, a property sought-after in fishballs. The wontons were slippery and filled with big crunchy and sweet prawns. I couldn't tell you who my favourite was really. I suspect on my return (whenever that may be) Mak's Noodle might take precedent due to the larger variety of dishes on offer. Avoid lunchtimes as you'll have to queue, for both places.

Tsim Chai Kee 
98 Wellington Street
Hong Kong Island

Immediately afterwards I took myself off to Kau Kee, on Gough Street just round the corner. Famous for their beef brisket, I'd been before two years previously and had the beef brisket in curry sauce but this time, given the wonton noodles a mere 10 minutes previous, I opted for the lighter. Traditional broth with brisket and ho fun noodles were again, a mercifully small bowl. The brisket was tender and flavoursome, deeply beefy. Another £3 spent and I left a happy fat thing. Again, avoid lunchtimes. I was there at 3pm and there was only 1 space left, though people don't linger here. Also, don't get it confused with Ngau Kee which is at the top of Gough Street - it's not the same.

Kau Kee
21 Gough Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong Island

A favourite snack of mine when I was a kid was 'bolo bao' which translates as pineapple bun. There isn't actually any pineapple in it, but the sugary crust that tops the sweet, soft bun is said to resemble it. Oh..kay. A little internet research told me that Kam Wah Cafe, helpfully near our hotel was a good bet for these and after a little bit of getting lost, a few pleas for directions in my sketchy Cantonese, we arrived. A small place packed with people slurping on noodles and chowing down on buns, the waitress asked me if I wanted my bun stuffed with a pork chop. Alas, my breakfast was still sat in my stomach so I settled for one plain, warm and fresh from the oven. Heavenly stuff. 

Equally as good was the egg tart, also warm from the oven with a custard that was just set, wibbling as you bit into it, the short pastry rich and slightly salty. I could have hoovered back at least 5 of these.

Kam Wah Cafe
47 Bute Street 
Mongkok, Hong Kong

I wish I'd had more time / capacity to do more casual eating as I loved squidging into cafes and slurping down noodles so common and plentiful in Hong Kong, yet so rare in London. Next time. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hong Kong - The High End

I had previously alluded to an impending break in VeganVember. The 30 days would potentially be split in half by 5 days, and this was because I was invited by the Hong Kong Tourist Board to go to Hong Kong. It was confirmed, and the itinerary was packed full of eating. In a city that celebrates pork in all its forms, veganism just wouldn't be possible. Saying no to said trip would also have been a bridge too far for me; Hong Kong is my birth place, where I grew up and any opportunity to go I just can't turn down. You would do the same, right? Good. So I was at day 14 when I departed for Hong Kong, and thank god really. Veganism was beginning to make me really miserable. You have to think about everything. No popping out for casual meals. Never be without a spare banana / packet of nuts in your bag, lest you lash at out anyone passing by with a Maccy D's. Savoury desk-breakfasts are almost impossible and don't get me started on the difficulties of hangovers without pork products. Without this trip to Hong Kong I probably would have had a meltdown. 

We flew with BA and a top tip I picked up is to select a 'special' meal when you're booking. Since we were on a night flight I was still technically to be eating vegan. I got my meal about half an hour before everyone else and I happily chowed down on roasted vegetables and cous cous before drifting off to sleep while everyone eyed up the passing trollies. You won't be guaranteed a breakfast though, as my 'spinach, hash brown and mushrooms' label actually lied and it was an eggy thing. They had nothing to replace it on board, though the flight attendant was very apologetic and sweet about it. 

Once landed, we arrived at our hotel (more about that later) to freshen up and we were straight out again. Nanhai No. 1 is 30 floors up and has one Michelin star. So named after a ship the theme is nautical and it was somewhat incongruous on the first night in this city to see the serving staff dressed in Breton-style blue stripes. It's all darkness inside, strategic spotlights to illuminate your dishes. A wall of glass overlooks the Hong Kong harbour, and we were treated to the 'Symphony of Lights' laser show that the harbour-front buildings put on every night at 8pm. It was a bit lost on me, perhaps because of the lack of music, perhaps the 12 hour flight taking its toll. It just looked like a bunch of lasers flashing around

To break my veganism, strips of scallop were sweet and barely cooked, dressed in sesame oil and tangled with greens for a little crunch. This was a clean and reviving dish, to contrast the crispy shredded yam that had been deep fried and doused in sweetness. Hot and sour seafood soup was a little too on the sour side for my taste, but it was packed with sweet baby scallops and tiny prawns. Minced pork was cooked in a black bean sauce with vegetables, and served in a lettuce cup it was refreshing and light, albeit a bit messy. Best of all was a giant prawn cooked in a spicy coconut gravy, the flesh being sweet and delicate against that punchy sauce. A fried mantou (steamed bun) was deployed eagerly to mop up that delicious sauce.    

Asparagus were stir-fried in garlic with 'chicken leg mushrooms', so called as the mushroom resembles chicken meat. A dish of crispy noodles was about to be placed on the lazy susan before our host asked the server to split it out to individual portions; a shame, as I love wheeling that lazy susan around but that's not to say it detracted from the dish. An ending of enormous hollow sesame balls, snipped in half in front of us rounded off the meal sweetly. Osmanthus jelly squares with wolf berries were regarded by the group of journalists warily, but in reality they were slightly herbal, a bit sweet and altogether inoffensive. It was a very classically Cantonese meal, each dish balanced with another contrasting one, executed well and with refinement. 

Nanhai No.1
30/F, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2487 3688

Another night, and another bolt up an elevator, ears popping, brought us to the stomach-clenching 101st floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon. Dragon Seal is the highest restaurant in Hong Kong and it certainly gave us an amazing view which neither my iPhone nor my camera could capture well. 

The menu was selected already for us, and a platter of starters set before each person.  This is atypical to how the Chinese usually dine; usually, dishes are placed on the lazy susan to revolve around each diner to select a bit of each and indeed the families and groups of businessmen dining there did so. As we were having a set menu pre-organised we were served individually and our lazy susan remained redundant.

Pork belly cubes were served with mustard and had a crackling that was thin, crisp and salty - basically perfect. Lobster and black truffle soup was a creamy concoction and was served in a bowl perched atop a tea light in a box. Cute in execution but I hurried to eat my lobster pieces that were bobbing around lest they become over-cooked. 

Mantis shrimp steamed and served on top of soft tofu with a light soy and spring onion glaze was my pick of the bunch. The flesh was only just cooked, still slightly translucent and with a firmness that made your teeth slightly crunch through it. I've made that sound awful but really it was delicious, both texturally and in flavour. 

 Another highlight was this pork and hairy crab siu long bao (soup dumpling). It takes immense skill to make the dumpling skin thin enough so as not to be stodgy, yet sturdy enough to hold the hot broth that lurks within. Although the flavour of the hairy crab was undetectable, this was still a fine example of a siu long bao. 

We finished up with lobster rice soup. Brought to the table in a steaming cauldron, crispy puffed rice was added to the soup with a sizzle before it was taken away again to be portioned. It was much like the lobster soup we had previously, though made more substantial with the addition of rice and more texturally interesting with the puffed grains. Sweetness came in the form of a mango jelly with tapioca that was palate cleansing and light on our over-stuffed stomachs.

It was a stunning setting for the evening, and somewhere I imagine would also be during the day when they serve dim sum. The food was, again, classically Cantonese with some twists such as the addition of black truffle. It set us up for a night on the beers in Lan Kwai Fong that involved in jelly shots and dancing to Gangnam Style. I'm not proud.

Dragon Seal 
Shop C, 101/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West,

Tel: 2568 9886

Monday, 12 November 2012

Kenchinjiru - Zen Buddhist Vegetable Stew

It's Day 12. I miss eggs. This wasn't truer than on Saturday; upon waking up in a fug of gin fumes from the night before, I could only think of eggs. I'd been at the launch of
Wishbone, you see. My toughest challenge yet was to go to the opening party of Brixton Market's latest addition, a fried chicken restaurant. I worriedly shovelled down vegan tacos beforehand, miserable chunks of grilled courgettes and red peppers on top of a floppy flour tortilla, watery salsa dribbling out of the sides. It was grim work but I had a horrible feeling that had I not done so I'd be found in a corner, cover in chicken grease, sobbing with guilt. That evening, platters of fried chicken subs, buffalo wings and chips drenched in delicious-looking buttery sauces wafted past me and I had to look resolutely at the floor, clutching my eggless gin sour. They open Tuesday 13th at 12pm, by the way. 

So yes, I've been mostly craving eggs. Wobbly poached ones, topped with a sunshine yellow hollandaise sauce, perched on top of perhaps some ham, definitely spinach, maybe both, drenching a toasted muffin with its yolk. I'm crying as I type this. Instead, I've been eating this.

Yup, that there is a bowl of vegetables - albeit exotic ones! - simmered in water, flavoured with a little sake and soy. Called Kenchinjiru, it is a Zen Buddhist stew, so named after the first temple it was made. Alliums and garlic are omitted as they are believed to cause anger and sexual mischief (!), so I added a little spring onion because sexual mischief doesn't sound all that bad. 

In truth, it's a comforting, clean-flavoured bowlful. The flavours are subtle; sweetness from the Chinese turnip and carrot, earthiness from the burdock root. Tofu and konnyaku, a jelly-like thing made from yams, added texture. You can get these ingredients at an Oriental supermarket, or largely interchange the vegetables with others - swede or squash might work well, a mixture of mushrooms, leafy greens too. Some miso paste stirred in would also give it some richness and oomph, should you feel it needs it. 


Serves 4

1/2 a block of firm tofu
Assorted vegetables, such as - 1 small Chinese turnip (also called mooli or daikon) or use normal white turnips
2 carrots
A couple of cabbage leaves
A handful of mushrooms (I used enoki)
A few inches of burdock root
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 250ml boiling water. Reserve the liquid
1/2 block of konnyaku
100ml cooking sake
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp light soy sauce
15cm piece of kombu seaweed
600ml water
2 tbsp sesame oil
greens of 1 stalk of spring onion (optional)

Add the 750ml water to a pan with the kombu for 1/2 an hour, then bring to the boil and switch off. Remove the piece of kombu.

Meanwhile, drain the konnyaku - it smells weird, this is normal - and slice into slabs, simmer for a couple of minutes and drain. Chop the vegetables appropriate to the cooking time - so turnips cook a little quicker than carrot, so they'd be in larger chunks. Peel the burdock root, then slice diagonally as thinly as possible and place in iced water so that it doesn't brown. Heat the sesame oil and stir-fry the root vegetables with the burdock. Add the kombu stock and the sake, then bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes without the lid. Add the salt, then add the shiitake mushrooms with the mushroom water, straining for any grit. 

Crumble the tofu into pieces with your hands and add this with the konnyaku. Add the soy sauce, then simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. To serve, shred the green of the spring onion and garnish the dish with it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chilli

I don't really like butternut squash. But it's one of those things that come up all the time when you're looking for vegetarian or vegan recipes, and I thought it was probably high time I got over this dislike. There's not much I can eat now dammit; I'm slowly realising this as I approach Day 8 of veganism. Any limitations on what I actually like should be (s)quashed. 

If I'm going to eat squash, then it needs some bold ballsy flavours to help me along with it. I attended the launch of a new Mexican chilli sauce called Gran Luchito; its deep smoky spiciness seemed to be the perfect foil for this sweet squash. Made with Oaxacan pasilla chillis which have been smoked to dry them, the sauce is sweet and addictive. I resisted temptation to use it all in a mezcal bloody mary. That's for the weekend. You can buy it here.

I won't lie, this is one spicy mother. With no sour cream to temper the flames, I made a chilli-less guacamole to try and offset the burn. It worked, for a while. The sweetness of the squash actually works really well here, balancing out the rich black beans in its tomatoey sauce. 
I brushed some flour tortillas with oil and grilled them until crisp to make a pretty damn fine lunch. The squash was edible, which is pretty high praise for the squash-dodger I am. You won't get me eating the root of all evil though, those cursed sweet potatoes.

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chilli

Serves 4

1 tetra pack of black beans in water (I used Sainsburys Organic)
Half a butter nut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 chipotle in adobo, or a chipotle chilli rehydrated in hot water and minced
1 onion
1 carrot
1 rib of celery
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp Gran Luchito smoked chilli tapenade (or substitute for another chipotle, and a tsp sugar)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can of peeled plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar 

Dice the onion, celery and carrot. Mince the garlic. Fry them in a little oil in a saucepan, then add the chillis & sauce until the onion has softened and then add the cumin. Add the black beans with their water, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the butternut squash chunks, then add the tomatoes.

Add the salt and sugar and then simmer gently for 35 - 40 minutes. Stir occasionally - if it's looking a little dry pop the lid on and lower the heat some more. 

Serve with rice or tortillas as described above, with guacamole. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sagar Vegetarian, Fitzrovia

It was Day 2. Friday night, we'd had some ciders (Stowford Press is vegan, hooray!) and we needed to eat. Normally, a curry you'd think would be quite safe - just have the vegetable curries and hold the yoghurt, right? Except they may have been cooked in ghee. It's a minefield. Happily though, Sagar Vegetarian, a South Indian restaurant with 3 branches around London is vegan-friendly and we headed there for some much needed sustenance. I was feeling weak and light-headed. 

The menu is vast and informative, with wheat free, nut free, onion and garlic free menus available online. The 8 of us ordered a mish-mash of dishes and hoped for the best. On the waiter's advice, a couple of dosas (opening picture) were ordered and they were a golden pancake stuffed with potatoes and onions. The pancake was crispy, the potatoey innards creamy in texture and spiced. Creamy! Oh joy. A thin curry sauce was surprisingly spicy, and the red coconut sambal tempered it somewhat. Kancheepuram Idli (above) was a steamed rice and lentil patty, again with the red coconut chutney and the curry sauce. Surprisingly light, this was a hit with the table, especially with the green spicy coconut.

Pani Puri, from the Bombay Chowpatti Special section, were DIY. Crispy hollow spheres were served with a thin sour broth with chickpeas - you poke a hole into them, fill it with chickpeas and a little of that broth and then pop it in your mouth whole to burst like a balloon. They were a nice little mouthful. Sev puri, as above but topped with onions and garlic and a yoghurt sauce were hoovered up quick smart by those still able to eat dairy.

Okra, aubergine and chick pea masalas were also ordered to go with some garlic rice and were deftly scooped up by puffy pooris (below). Onion and chilli uthappam was described as a 'rice and lentil pizza' but it was more like a flatbread, and our waiter warned us it would be spicy; indeed, with all of the dishes they didn't hold back with the spicing, and we were pleased for it. Brows became a little clammy and sniffles were heard around the table.

Washed down with a couple of beers and a few bottles of wine, we ate handsomely for £22 a head. All of the table claimed they didn't miss the meat and I agree; it was tasty stuff, and we didn't have to go through the awkwardness of "er, is this... vegan?" Post vegan-madness, I'll still be going back. Maybe this veganism thing isn't so bad after all. (I dreamt of feta cheese last night.)

Sagar Vegetarian
17A Percy Street
London W1T 1DU

Tel: 020 7631 3319

Sagar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Potato, Onion & Anchovy Bake

Last month John Lewis asked me to submit a recipe for their Delicious Magazine Hotpoint fridge competition which is now live; the brief was to create something that can be made with all the odds and ends you find in your fridge. With Vegan Month swiftly approaching, I made hasty use of the leftover anchovies swimming about in oil and the tub of cream that was near its souring date. A comforting bake of thinly sliced potatoes, softened onions and cream was perfect for the Autumnal weather; a sprinkling of dill throughout each layer gave it some fragrance. 

It's fairly important to keep the slices of the potato thin, so that you get a nice layering effect. The anchovies dissolve into the cream to add a savoury yet not fishy tinge, and the softened onions some sweetness.

Serve this as the main dish - it's too tasty to be a side - with a tangle of salad leaves dressed in a mustardy dressing. You need something sharp to cut through the creaminess of the bake. If you haven't got dill to hand, chopped parsley or sprigs of thyme might work nicely too. I shall spend November revelling in the memory of how deliciously, waist-expandingly rich this was.

Potato, Onion & Anchovy Bake

Serves 4

4 medium floury potatos
2 white onions
12 anchovy fillets in oil
A handful of fresh dill
300ml double cream
100ml milk
2tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
50gr butter
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Slice the onions into half moon shapes and slowly fry in the oil with the sugar and vinegar in a non-stick pan. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes thinly, to the thickness of a 10p piece - a mandolin does this easiest, or a steady hand and a sharp knife.

Heat the milk and cream on the stove. Layer a casserole or pie dish with a layer of potato slices - some of them can overlap. Season generously with pepper and lay 3 anchovies evenly across the potatoes. Scatter with dill and place a quarter of the onions on top. Cover with some of the cream mixture and top with more potato slices and the rest of the onions and anchovies and the cream to create four or so layers in total, pressing them down as you go. The top layer should be potato slices. Dot with butter and place in the oven. 

Bake for an hour, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

To browse John Lewis' range of cookware and fridges, visit their website.
In case it wasn't obvious, I was paid a fee for this recipe.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Beard to Tail, Shoreditch

The 'last meaty meal' had to be an epic one. No more meat for a month? There was a sombre sense of occasion yet one of excitement at the impending meat sweats. On paper, Beard to Tail sounds pretty awesome. The menu is a meat-lover's dream, the cocktail list expertly crafted - and you'd hope so too, coming as it has done from the people behind Calloo Callay.  

The reality isn't as rosy, alas. The cavernous restaurant space is oh-so-very-Shoreditch with exposed silver extraction tunnels and brick walls galore. We were wedged into a row of awkward first-daters in two-seater tables by the kitchen. We ordered 'meaty fingers' from the snacks menu while we decided on what to eat and were taken aback when rectangles of toast arrived. I can only imagine they were fried in dripping / some sort of animal fat to give them their name, but they were not the sticks of meat I was hoping for. 

Black pudding and deep fried hen's egg salad was not a salad. It was two wedges of black pudding, surrounded by cubes of potato and topped with an (admittedly good) soft egg with a crispy coating. Three wispy micro-leaves and some fried red onions dotted about the plate. It's as if they ran out of salad leaves, or you know, vegetables and they thought 'sod it, just wang some potato bits on there'. The meat on a half rack of ribs were slow-cooked to a texture suitable for a geriatric, while the grilled corn on the cob was tough and on the dry side. The marinade on the ribs were incredibly salty (rather a theme for the meal) and the accompanying sauce incredibly sweet.

My main course of sweet-cured pork chop with cockles, apple and sage was so salty it was inedible. I struggled with a few bites but I had to abandon it for fear of my insides shrivelling up like a raisin. When the waitress came to ask how we were doing, I told her of my woes but declined the replacement offered. Pulled featherblade of beef (pictured) with a green hollandaise sauce was quite enormous, sloppy and served rather bizarrely in a huge lettuce cup on a wooden board. Grilled courgettes and green peppers made a boring vegetable element, and the aforementioned hollandaise managed to taste of pretty much nothing. Floury, doughy flatbreads were left untouched. Sides of 'Eastside slaw' was a cup of textured brine, for three and a half of your English pounds, though the battered potato scallops were pretty good. 

I was a bit surprised to see the Salt Bomb dish appear on the bill and I had to ask our waitress to remove the offending item, which after a discussion with her manager, happened. All was not lost though I suppose - the cocktails, at least, are good. At a total of £90 including two cocktails each and a shared dessert, it's not bank busting but it did leave a disappointed (and salty. Did I mention the salt? So much salt.) taste in our mouths. 

Beard to Tail

77 Curtain Road

Tel: 020 7729 2966

Beard to Tail on Urbanspoon