Of course being located in Clapton The Kenton doesn't come fully hipster free. However on the Sunday we went there was a good mix of twenty something professionals, families but also some proper Eastenders that you could tell have frequented the place for quite some years. The place is tiny which makes it even more cosy and after a little bit of hovering around we found two low stools and a repurposed 80’s video game table (oh so retro) to make our home for the evening, heading to the bar shortly after to order our roast dinner of choice- no table service of course as should be the case at a proper pub!
I went for
their veggie offering which here includes a mushroom and nut wellington served
with roasties, Yorkshire pudding, braised red cabbage, broccoli in a stilton
and cheddar sauce, crushed swede and carrot, steamed greens, parsnip crisps and
gravy. It sounds like a mouthful and, coming in at a mere £14.5m not only convinced in it's sheer quantity
but also in it's superior quality of food. Every element was beautifully prepared, well
seasoned and not overcooked or bland as so often is the case with roast
dinners, drowned in gravy to give it some sort of flavour. No, here every
vegetable element was a flavour delight, with particularly the broccoli in a stilton and cheddar sauce and the veggie wellington (SO often done so bad when
dining out) really standing out in their excellence. My friend was equally
impressed with his choice of free range roast chicken which was served with the
same sides and also came in at only £14.5 (in fact all roast dinner options
are £14.5 including the lamb and beef making this place not only an utter steal but
able to please everyone) and we washed it all down with some pleasant rosé,
equally reasonably priced at £6 for a big glass.
for money for the standard of food served here is rarely seen in London and
though the Kenton may look like a rather average East end hipster boozer it is
a true, true hidden gem and managed to convert even the biggest critic of
classic English cooking (i.e. me) that a properly cooked roast dinner CAN be a
culinary and comforting delight, made to warm you up on a cold winter's day. I
for one will add this little spot to my black book of local favourites and
cannot wait to return soon (although you may have to roll me out after)
serves their roast every Sunday between 1pm and 7pm but don’t come too late and
risk your roast of choice being sold out!
I love adding a roll neck under a more summery dress to instantly transform and winter-prove a look. Don't shy away from finishing a look with a statement piece for an extra wow factor like I have done here with a knitted jacket in bright colours. Layers are the most interesting way to keep warm so experiment and see what works!
Throw a tailored tweed coat over your LBD to protect you from the cold in a timeless and elegant manner and finish the look with some killer accessories.
COMMIT TO A COMFY KNIT!
A LBD is perfect for layering under your favourite chunky knit on those days where you want to be stylish and comfy. I like adding a few colour pops as finish touch to keep a bright state of mind even when it's miserable and cold outside.
Shackfuyu has been on my list of places to try for quite some time now. By the same people as Bone Daddies, which of course has become famous for serving ramen noodle soups with a modern twist, Shackfuyu serves some of the finest and most affordable Japanese / Western fusion this town has to offer and as a result quickly became one of the hottest dining spots in town. This inevitably meant that it got pretty impossible to secure a table here without a lengthy waiting time during normal dining hours (i.e. any time between 7-9pm) which is the main reason why this place had eluded me thus far.
A lucky coincidence then that I had bought my friend Henry, a big musical aficionado, tickets to see An American in Paris as birthday present which meant that we were on the hunt for a post-theatre late night dining venue, able to elegantly dodge the Friday dinner rush! Even luckier that Shackfuyu happens to offer an excellent express menu, designed to show off the best of their menu for a more than reasonable price at off peak times (here it is offered everyday until 6:30pm and after 10pm).
For only £22 you get a starter, main, dessert and a choice of drink (a glass of house red or white or a soft drink), which is, considering what hype surrounds this restaurant (their french toast dessert with green tea soft serve is an insta sensation in itself),a rather excellent deal especially as the options are not in any way second rate but instead taken straight from their main menu.
We were more than excited then after a fabbuuuuulous few hours watching an American in Paris (which I can only recommend getting tickets for especially when like me you enjoy ballet) to finally head to Shackfuyu and it being 10:30pm were immediately sat down in the sleek yet intimate dining space. After a bit of online research it became pretty clear that we had veer away at least a little from the express menu and order one of their infamous yuzu frozen margaritas. It was quite something - zingy notes of yuzu combined with that classic margarita taste, making it one of the most moorish and refreshing cocktails I have had in London for a while.
In terms of menu there are three starters, three mains and of course their iconic green tea dessert on offer, with options to satisfy any meat, fish and veggie eater around! We couldn’t resist additionally ordering their “prawn toast” as a starter to the starter, particularly as I have a real soft spot for okonomiyaki (a type of Japanese savoury pancake topped with Japanese mayo and bbq sauce) and it did not disappoint with it’s rich flavours, far superior indeed to what one would usually classify as prawn toast.
As our actual starters we both picked the sublime sea bass ceviche with pickled tomatoes which was fresh, flavourful and a feast for the eyes though I would have also happily tried their enticing sounding veggie option of grilled mushrooms with miso butter.
For mains Henry went for the beef chuck tender with chilli sauce which left him more than impressed while I went for the miso aubergine topped with a kind of Japanese version of rice crispies which may sound odd but was one of the most outstanding veggie mains I have ever had in my life. Aubergine isn’t easy to get right but here the combination of miso with extra crunch on top and an aubergine cooked just tender was simple outstanding. This was fine dining that showed off a sophisticated hand in cooking and truly succeeded in elevated a humble vegetable into something absolutely amazing. Though the mains aren’t huge portion wise they are served with perfectly prepared sticky rice, ideal for soaking up the flavours, and mean one has enough space left for their oh so famous dessert.
Indeed I had seen their kinako French toast with green tea soft serve many, many times on the internet, it becoming an almost infamous dish in the London restaurant scene in the last year or so which got me more than excited to finally try it. It of course looked the part, a perfectly crispy and sweet French toast slice with a luscious swirl of green tea soft serve but I am happy to report that it was also quite uniquely delicious. Yes, the green tea soft serve is not everyone’s cup of tea in its earthy flavours but it works an absolute treat with the French toast which is soft on the inside and crispy from the caramelised sugar on the outside. It’s something like I have never had before and not only visually stunning but a flavour combination everyone should experience.
Rounding up the evening with one last yuzu margarita and fully stuffed from our 3 (well maybe 4) courses we were left utterly won over by Shackfuyu’s innovative and fresh western take on Japanese cuisine especially considering the amazing value for money their express menu offers.
This place fully deserves the praise it has gotten and should be more than enough reason for all of you to have a later (or indeed earlier) than usual dinner to experience the wonders it has to offer at a price that will make you feel like you are almost cheating them. Shackfuyu is a real London dining gem that showcases the creativity of our food scene without the price tag of a Michelin star joint and should be cherished for that, i for one will be back.
Not too long ago I posted a very nice snap of me wearing a very nice outfit in front of a very nice backdrop on my Instagram page.
Anxiously refreshing my notifications ever so often the post simply wasn’t getting the amount of likes I was accustomed to and I suddenly caught myself caring a lot more than I should about this lack of engagement, indeed going as far as questioning whether the outfit was any good at all and if had suddenly lost sense of style.
Of course after some reflection I quickly realised how utterly ridiculous I was being but it made me realise the undeniable truth that we have all to some extent become addicted to the validation we feel every time someone presses “like” on our pic, a desires ‘high’ of digital acceptance every time we post a selfie, holiday snap or fancy meal. This has whether we like it or not at least to some extent led to us to becoming obsessed with having to constantly show us from our most “likeable” side online, often omitting the not so glamorous parts (I mean who would Instagram doing their laundry?!).
I know my follower numbers are no where near the dizzying heights of that of some of the fellow bloggers that started out around the same time as me and who have done a fantastic job in making a full time living out of it, but I realised a long time ago I was never going to change the way I dress or how I post on social media to facilitate growing a huge following. I have probably lost at least part of my audience when I got rid of my statement fringe or when I stopped wearing crazy hats but... fuck it, I grew up and my style changed, for the better in my opinion, and I am not going to “dress up”’to please any social media audience.
I also don’t use a bunch of useless hashtags or spend hours talking about myself to my phone via endless insta stories (mainly because no one needs to be subjected to my annoying voice) because that is just not me. I don’t judge anyone that does do any of the above and who as a result manages to make a bomb from sponsored posts, in fact I salute you for your entrepreneurship.
What I have learnt though is that I am not going to get upset when I spot that I have lost some followers or that my post isn’t seeing the amount of likes it should or used to get (everyone seems to struggle with that since Instagram introduced their pointless algorithm these days anyway) because it’s not a reflection on whether I am good person or whether I love fashion and expressing that through my outfits. I will continue to shoot my looks and write restaurants review because I love it and if I brighten up just one person’s day with a post than that is an added bonus.
Social media should not be social anxiety inducing but a creative outlet for ourselves to share with others, taken with a big pinch of reality salt.
This week a short and sweet review for anyone seeking a quality roast dinner in London with a difference that won’t cost the world!
I have to admit roast dinners don’t usually feature highly on my culinary agenda when it comes to eating out. Why? Well as a none meat eater my choice of what to order at most restaurants serving this quintessentially British dish is reduced to a dry, heavy and tasteless nut roast or, even worse, a cop out risotto or stuffed pepper option so that the restaurant doesn't have to go near the idea of being a little innovative when it comes making a veggie friendly roast. Not one to give up and with hearty food season well and truly here I began to conduct a little research on where to find a roast with a difference and stumbled across a true gem that also happens to be in my back yard.
Indeed I had been to 100 Hoxton, a cosy yet stylish dining spot serving Asian fusion small plates with a hint of Ottolenghi on Hoxton Street, many, many times before, mainly to make the most of their fantastic happy hour (which I have written about it on this blog before) but had actually never managed to eat there. Their menu looked amazing no doubt but their small plate dining approach slightly put me off, this type of menu often turning a dinner into an expensive affair, especially when like me you are greedy and want to try everything, which is why I was both excited and intrigued to find out that they offered an affordable and unique sounding Sunday roast menu, including a rather fantastic sounding vegetarian option.
Sunday plans were quickly hatched to try their offerings with my friend Henry and after we had downed a couple of Aperol Spritz’s at my flat we were on our way (not a hard task with the restaurant only a 5 minute walk away). We couldn’t help but time our dinner to be during their happy hour, which is on every day, including weekends, from 5 to 7 and offers 2 cocktails for £11 cocktails from their fantastic list. Again there is an Asian twist on classics but it is far from gimmicky, rather resulting in some absolutely stunning mixed beverages at a value for money that is hard to beat in London. My all time favourite is the aptly named 100 Hoxton- ginger, chilli, lychee liqueur, lemon and fizz, but we also tried and loved their take on the Mai Thai on this occasion, spiced with plum jam and with a hint of pineapple. The drinks here are undoubtedly better than what most restaurants and even some well regarded cocktail bar serve in this city and are not to be missed even without happy hour on.
Back to what we really came for on this occasion though, the food, and rather than going straight for the roast we couldn’t help but try at least one of the small plates that had eluded me so long, sharing it as a light starter between us. It was far from easy to choose just one but we eventually settled for the roasted cauliflower with preserved spiced lemon yogurt, walnut and pomegranate salsa and boy it was an utter flavour explosion, so good in fact that I am just going to have to bite the bullet and come here for a proper a la carte small plates experience soon, it of the same culinary standard as far more renown dining spots such as Ottolenghi.
This of course heightened our expectation of the roasts to come and I am happy to say that they did not disappoint. 100 Hoxton doesn’t completely abandon all the classic components of a roast; red cabbage, roast potatoes and mini Yorkshire puddings come, cooked to perfection, on the side, but instead add their unique culinary twist in a different way that doesn’t feel forced or pretentious but is subtle and shows a real understanding of flavour and cooking.
Henry chose the duck breast with confit garlic jus in the end (though he struggled to pick with slow cooked pork belly with apple sauce as well as 28 day aged rib eye beef also on the menu ) and was seriously impressed, not an easy thing as he is a proper foodie, while I of course went for the veggie option- stuffed eggplant with portobello mushroom, pine nuts, parmesan, herbs and, wait for it, tonkatsu gravy, which without exaggeration was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Served with cabbage and potatoes on the side this was fusion done to perfection, a roast dinner reinterpreted to elevate every single flavour on the plate and that all for 12(!) pounds. Indeed the most pricey roast, the beef option, comes in at only at just £15, making this extraordinarily good value for London, especially when you consider how damn tasty everything served here is.
It’s cheap, it’s bloody tasty, serves amazing cocktails and takes reservations. If there is a better place for a Sunday roast in London I’d like to see it to believe it. Highly recommended.