Monday, 25 June 2012

Outsider Tart: Chiswick London

So a few months back I was in London staying with my sister and she was working so I had the day to myself. She suggested I braved the Circle and District line and went to explore Outsider Tart. It is a cute little local bakery owned by two American guys who she said are a real scream as she had attended one of their cookery demonstrations. They are called David and David and she felt I would particularly enjoy chatting to the Southern David who is a real joker and we could have chatted about my days at UGA! Sadly after the trek from North London they weren't in the shop but I settled on a carrot cake whoopee pie and a key lime pie soda (they have a great range of American sodas) and sat for an hour chatted away to the waitress and a local who was a real hoot (as if I can't remember her name - I can do a great impression of her east end accent though!) and she even walked me to the nearest tube stop afterwards. I think this community sense is what they are all about and what they stand for - perhaps why they opted to open their shop in 'local' area as opposed to central London where it would be mostly tourists not local customers.
Since publishing their book they said many fans are making it an essential stop whilst visiting London, despite it's less than central location. They have a delicious range of bakes and I also tried their Mile High Club slice which had oatmeal and raisin cookie dough chunks and was gorgeous. Their bakes are all inventively named and all look just as tasty and full of different American style flavours and a refreshing break from cupcakes and other recent baking trends.
Their signature bake is their Hepburn brownie which has a delicate Cinnamon flavour and is pictured in the middle (I picked up these slices at their market stall - check out their blog for details of when they will be a food markets).

They have won an award for best shop design and I believe non-Southern David was formerly an architect. It has got a very welcoming feel with the bar with cakes on and stools so that everyone is sat together and can chat - as we did. Lots of locals popped in as they stock lots of American goodies like pancake batter, American sodas and lots of cake mixes etc.
So if you're in London I would highly recommend a visit - if not check them out at one of the many foodie markets.

Friday, 15 June 2012

La Comptoir: Stratford Westfield

After lots of fast food indulgence this plate of goodness caught my eye when out shopping in Westfield over half term with my sister. It is from Le Comptoir Lebanese cuisine - which I've never had before but always wondered about as I've seen a Lebenese in Leeds and always wondered what it would be. I am a huge hummus and so I went for the mezze platter and shared it with my sis. It was delicious, fresh and full of exciting flavours. The salad in the middle was yummy, the pulses (I think its tabouleh), the hummus was served nicely and wasn't too pungent, the falafel was hot and yummy and the baba ganoush was my favourite part of the whole platter. The fluro pink thing is a pickle and I was dared to try it, but it just tasted like a standard pickle! The little pastry was called a fatayar and it was stuffed with pine nuts and soft cheese and it was really tasty. The pita was useful for finishing it all off.
There was a great choice of drinks too and I went for the freshly made lemonade with ginger and lime, it was recommended to me and it was really refreshing.

I will defo be coming here again over the Olympics...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Bill Grangers: Westbourne Grove

We love this area of London as it has really upmarket vintage shops and I always pick up good bargains here. My sister is a really foodie and she had read about Bill Granger's new place opening and so we swung by to check it out. There is a no booking policy and so we arrived early (before 12) and sat in the bar for about ten mins, but it was well worth the wait. It is a really light and airy place with a mirrored wall to make it seem a lot bigger than it is, you're pretty cosy with the tables around you and it can be difficult not to listen in to other people's conversations (or maybe I'm just too nosy!) The service was quite good, not overly friendly but quite quick and efficient.
The menu is quite small, but everything coming out of the kitchen looked fresh, delicious and well made. We shared a plate of courgette fries with corinader and lime mayo to start and they were so yummy I could have had two more plate fulls. Really tasty sauce too. Then we shared the canelloni with spinach and ricotta and the ricotta hot cakes with fresh banana and honey butter. Both dishes were delicious. The pasta was tasty, well seasoned and creamy and a good sized portion. The hot cakes were delightful and a real treat - but the ricotta gave them a savory/sweet pairing.

I would highly recommed this place as the atmosphere was great, the prices reasonable and the food really great quality. My only bugbear was the 12.5% service charge - not what you expect for a lunch and something which always irritates me when the service is just average.

* patio like light and airy ambience
* no booking so you may have to wait
* delicious, seasonal and fresh dishes
* great place for a brunch

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Stratford London: Franco Manca best pizza ever!

My fav thing about the malls in America are the food courts. We used to spend ages deciding what to eat and it's great if your in a group and want to mix it up a bit - you can even get little dishes from a few stalls. For this same reason I LOVE food markets, food trucks and anywhere with a variety of well cooked dishes.
We were in London for the Jubilee and our first stop was Westfield in Stratford. Our first visit here we had some samples of Franco Manca pizza and we went back and brought a whole pizza to share as I am not kidding it is the tastiest pizza ever.
They describe their pizza as:

About Franco Manca
Franco Manca's pizzas are made from slow-rising sourdough and baked in a wood burning brick oven made on site by specialised artisans from Naples.  This oven produces the slow levitation and blast-cooking process which locks in the flour's natural aroma and moisture, ensuring a soft and easily digestible crust.

I think it is the sour dough and the delicate mix of flavours which makes it - I always just get the margarita when I go as sometimes simple is best. 

  I can't tell you about their drinks as we always get rootbeer at the rib shak or juices at the juice bar but I can totally recommend their yummy pizzas or garlic bread.
Where do you eat when you go to Wesfield?