This is it- I have to do 10 this year.
The Burger Challenge is back and The Map and Route is here.
Please do join me on my stops and MORE IMPORTANTLY, support Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.
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Smell is so important for taste AND local restaurants are so important for laziness. Pure Cyprus, a stones throw away from Finsbury Park offers Greek cuisine for the local folk.
Greek food for me is mezze delights such as Hummous, tahini, tzakiki and halloumi for starters. Then followed by kebab and finally some sweet baklava.
We like the classics and this was exactly what we went for, but not as a Mezze. My initial craving was purely for the kebab but then reading the rest of the menu made me want more. Tahini and Halloumi especially stood out for me. We ordered and we consumed. The starters were good and tasty and with some pitta bread added it was filling up our bellies fast.
It was a quiet 2017 Tuesday night and the restaurant was not very busy. The waiter was attentive and we didn't need to wait at all to order our food or between courses.
For main course, I ordered the lamb kebab and Laura went for Kelftiko (slow cooked lamb). The lamb kebab was well seasoned and covered in garnish of parsley and some onion. The Classic and simple way.
The Kelftiko was and is a longer process of cooking. The meat was slow cooked and marinated with garlic, lemon and oil. This was tender and juicy and fatty too, which is important for that extra flavour. Good in terms of taste as well as portion size too.
A good local restaurant with good food. Not a quick and cheap eat, but a nice cosy restaurant on the back streets of Finsbury Park. It will be interesting to see what happens to Pure Cyprus Kebabs after the regeneration in the area. I wish them all the best of luck.
How do you end 2016? By visiting the new restaurant of the year Temper.
Temper is the child of Neil Rankin, a chef who began his career working in many top places and under some top chefs such as Michael Wignall and Nuno Mendes. From here, Neil went on to dominate his arena of smoked food and charcoal with Barbecoa, Pitt Cue and the Smokehouse restaurants.
In partnership with Managing Director, Sam Lee, Neil Rankin launched temper at the end of 2016 and almost instantly this place has become a fan favourite and a foodie destination.
With a few foodie friends, on New Years Eve we went to temper for drinks and more importantly some good food. New years Eve is always a strange night to go out as most bars or restaurants double the price of everything. Thankfully, temper, kept their prices at the same level and just wanted people to enjoy their food.
In my mind, this was a great way to end 2016 and an even better way to start 2017.
Like Pitt Cue and Smokehouse, the menu at temper is quite brief, this in my mind is a good thing. You do not want to be exploring a menu for ages to find that good dish. Everythign should be good and you want to be able to eat all the good food too.
As there was seven of us, it meant we could order basically everything on the menu and share it between us; so we did.
Snacks to start, Tacos as the starters and then the smoked and grilled meat with sides to finish. Sounds good.
What did we get:
- Everything almost.
We ordered all the Tacos minus the miso pork (three portions of the aged cheeseburger). From the smoked and grilled meat section, we ordered every dish there and for sides we went for all in bar the corn. Quite a feast to end 2016.
So what stood out and would I recommend?
Set in the heart of Soho, off and on Broadwick street, Temper takes you down to a smoked meats and grilled food celebration. Neil has taken what he loves and knows and continued it with this restaurant.
Moving on from Pitt Cue and Smokehouse, Rankin steps up the game with more delicious food and a new vibe for his fans. As chilled as always and with good food to compliment the vibe, Temper will be a place for all to attend.
Go as a group as this will let you share as much of the menu as possible. For Vegetarians, it is probably not the best place to go, but for everyone else, put in on your 2017 list.
London is getting more niche and demanding. People want what they want, when they want.
And now, if you want a Biryani only restaurant, you can now have it. DUM Biryani House on Wardour Street in Soho provides you with exactly this. I was lucky to go last year and have asked its owner Dhruv Mittal to be interviewed, to understand his inspirations as an owner, chef and pioneer of this new restaurant.
After working in the City as a Project Manager, Dhruv decided to follow his passion and change career paths. Leaving City life, he retrained at Le Cordon Bleu as a French Cuisine and Patisserie Chef, going on to work in the finest Michelin-star restaurants with amazing Chefs, including Claude Bosi from Hibiscus, Sat Bains, and Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck.
Again following his heart, he undertook a culinary journey through India to rediscover traditional recipes, while working with The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in both Mumbai and Agra. With all that he has learnt, he has opened DUM Biryani House on Wardour Street in Soho.
Who inspired you to open a Biryani restaurant?
Karam Sethi is someone I really look up to. The way that he’s transformed Indian cuisine in London, with the focus on fine-dining, really inspires me to do the same, but in a more affordable and casual form for millennials. What inspired me to open a biryani restaurant specifically was one thing: the lack of authentic regional Indian cuisine at affordable prices, and especially ones aimed at the younger generation.
What do you want your customers to think of DUM Biryani?
Casual, intimate, original, and more than anything – true to Hyderabadi biryani.
When did you first want to be a restaurant owner?
I first wanted to be a restaurant owner when I was 16. I was (and obviously still am) passionate about food which is a big reason why it became my dream, but restaurants were also where I had my fondest memories of big family gatherings, where everyone came together over a good meal and enjoyed themselves.
Where do you see Indian food in London going?
I see traditional Indian takeaways and restaurants slowly dying out, due to their lack of authenticity as Londoners continue to become more informed about Indian cuisine in general. I also think there’s a large gap in the market, which is slowly being filled, by modern Indian restaurants and contemporary Indian dining where chefs and restauranteurs are taking Indian food to the next level using modern techniques with traditional Indian flavours.
Why hip hop music in a Biryani restaurant?
Which 5 restaurants are your favourite in London?
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Berber and Q
Dhruv, Thank you so much.
For both the food and for the interview.
Well fed and well spoken, do go to DUM Biryani house. It will feel you up and great music too.
What other way is there to start a new year? A diet right? Well not really, but I agreed to take part in a new product and thought I would wait until after Christmas before having a go.
The product is called Huel; or Healthy Fuel. This is a meal replacement and can help you achieve one of many goals. Increase muscle tone and worthy, stableiise and be healthy or lose weight too. My goal is to lose a bit of wieght and be a bit healthier- i say this knowing full well that in three weeks time I am attempting to eat 10 burgers in 10 hours.
A bit more about Huel below- from Huel:
"Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the European Union's "Daily Recommended Amounts" of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. So you know you won’t be deficient in any essential nutrients.
It's been formulated by the renowned nutrition expert James Collier BSc (Hons), RNutr. James has over 25 years of experience working in nutrition and dietetics, including 7 years as a Clinical Dietitian in the NHS. He also has an Honours Degree in Nutrition with Dietetics.
Huel is 100% vegan (better for the environment and animals), super convenient, high in protein (148g per 2000 calories) and fibre (35g), contains just 4.6 grams of sugar per 2000 calories (no added sugar), requires minimal packaging and has a shelf-life of 12 months (so zero food waste)."
So far with Huel I have been taking this as a replacement for breakfast. One and a bit scoop of the vanilla flavoured Huel with four parts cold water and I'm good to go. I have chosen breakfast as it is the meal I don't have time for in the mornings.
How is it going so far? At first I thought it would be difficult, because as a foodie I never like to miss a meal. I also thought I would still be really hungry.
Huel in the mornings is great, especially during the week when I don't have time to make breakfast. Quick and easy I'm done and full. I do not feel the need to eat anything and can happily go without grub well into lunch. The most important thing we all have to realise tis that without exercise this "diet" would be useless, so I need to do some to compliment the Huel.
This post is more of an FYI to let you know I have started. I will keep you psoted to see what the effects are in a month or so and if I achieve my goals of losing some wieght and tonign up.
Good luck to all and have a great and healthy 2017.