LOVE FOOD, LIVE FOODIE:
It doesn't matter that it took over four years to finish, but i have now finished. 25 different dishes cooked (no X) and each one had its own delights and traumas.
But now with Sadza, the National dish of Zimbabwe made, I can now rest and eat other peoples food and relax.
I went through the usual procedure. Put a public poll out per country, wait until more than three people vote and then research the dish from the chosen country.
Once chosen dish found; start getting anxious about actually making it and finding all the ingredients, procrastinate for about 3 months and then cook the dish in under an hour. Eat it in under 5 minutes and FINISHED.
As always, part of the work is the research (finding a recipe that I can follow). For Sadza I used Zimbo Kitchen. Sadza is a very simple dish in itself. Similar to making porridge, add the cornmeal (mealie-meal), add water and cook. It will form into a paste and then whilst you let it bubble away it will get thicker and thicker and hopefully be like a mash potato consistency. SIMPLE.
Alongside the Sadza, I made Nyama, which is a beef stew. I used my usual source of 196 Flavors. https://www.196flavors.com/zimbabwe-beef-stew-nyama/
Sadza on its own isn't that great, but with the addition of Nyama, it gives flavour, more textures and makes a filling meal.
Thank you Sadza for being a staple for Zimbabwe. Think Mash and therefore the potentials could be endless. Any more advice on what I can do with it would be great. Croquettes? Dumplings?
New places; there are a lot of these in Covent Garden. A key reason is that there are a lot of empty shops/spaces. Whenever a shop/restaurant closes, I get quite sad for that business, but optimism quickly takes over around what may take its place.
Clear example is On the Bab on the corners of Neal street. I was devastated when it closed, but elated shortly after when fafa's Pita took its place.
Another example now is the opening of Apple Butter Cafe. This has taken over from Balans on Seven Dials.
Casual Dining in the heart of Seven Dials, Apple Butter is a heart-warming concept neatly tucked away on Monmouth Street providing an oasis of calm away from the circus of Seven Dials.
Apple Butter Café offers a warm welcome for all with its all-day dining menu, cosy yet sophisticated surroundings in amongst an iconic and ultimately instagrammable apple tree, planted centre stage for all to see and enjoy.
The concept has been created by successful Middle Eastern-born business operators and brothers Saleh and Mohammad Alayan alongside Faycal Abdel Khalek, each delivering something special and unique to its ultimate creation. Collectively bringing years of experience, passion and success with all things hospitality, the trio chose the heart of London to launch their debut east meets west fusion café concept.
The 65-cover exquisitely built café hot spot with a cosy front terrace will serve a wide range of specialty coffee alongside gourmet sandwiches and salads, indulgent Middle-Eastern inspired desserts and daily freshly-baked cakes and pastries piled high; just the smell will be enough to lure you in. With quality and taste at its core, Apple Butter Café will also offer a full gluten and diary free range to suit all tastes.
When looking at the menu, I couldn't decide what I wanted. A lot of the dishes sounded really good, yet vague. We decided to ask the waitress for help and although she was helpful in telling us about a lot of the dishes, she wasn't able to narrow it down for us.
Dish X was great as was dish Y, but also dish A and B and even C were great too. What do you do?
When this usually happens, I ignore all of their advice and go for something that I know I will like and won't offend me if it is not that great either. The Safe Zone.
Apple Butter is 100% a great addition to Covent Garden.My only fear is that due to the high costs in the area and usual turnaround is that this restaurant will be closed in about a year.
I think their price point is slightly higher than I would like to return here more frequently. At a slightly lower rate I would be happy to visit more often. The dishes we had were the Grilled Cheese & Truffle sandwich, which had a Kashmiri Mix (a middle eastern spice mix) with it AND the chicken waffle with rocket. We also had sides of zucchini fitti and parmesan fries just to fill our stomachs.
I would recommend both dishes, but wouldn't say that they were the best versions of each I have ever had.
One thing which we were told to look out for later on was the daily pastry selection, which the chef (depending on his mood) would create and experiment. I feel like the breakfast here would be a good one.
GOOD TIMES: The food and decor is lovely. The price does add up quickly for a quick lunch out
WATCH OUT: A lot of options, with no real stand out.
OMG: The tree in the middle. Let's hope an independent cafe does last in the area. Fingers crossed.
Sometimes fate plays into your hands. You are wondering out on Valentines, looking for something different, a bit romantic and a bit spontaneous too. When you look for all three, you invariably have to make compromises.
On this day however, we got all three in its various forms. Hatch St Albans was not where we were planning on visiting. As a happy, hungry couple we were looking for something different and a chance drive-by led us here.
AND... as fate would have it they served burgers.
The burgers were tasty and I would go back if in the area. Think home made BBQ meets pub grub on to Honest Burgers. Good size, juicy and filling. You can see all that from the picture above.
A burger is a whole package, and at Hatch rather than being a sum of all it's parts, this burger is probably more just lots of individuals hanging out together (catch my drift?).
The venue is nice and quaint, the think that intrigues me most is there evening menu. Here, they hint at buffalo chicken bites, King Prawns, 8 oz ribeye steak and Schnitzels. This plus a night drinks menu offering cocktails gives the vibe of a trendy high street bar.
So from a burger joint to now an all day joint, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Hatch appeals to all. It may not be the go to place, but it is a decent place to visit which provides value.