Brunch in the east

Mr Buckleys has been very much talked about amongst my foodie friends. Located along Hackney Road, I have been there once prior to my return visit today. They serve brunch all day and have cocktails for day time drinking if you fancy it. The space itself is very simple and is a fantastic place to catch up with friends over breakfast.

Having been disappointed with my breakfast choice on my previous visit, I decided to go for a crowd favourite today. I ordered their potato & courgette rosti, bacon, avocado & poached eggs. My friends decided to go with the minute steak with poached eggs, spinach and béarnaise on sourdough and they thoroughly enjoyed it. As for me, I preferred my eggs a little bit more well done and the whole breakfast ended up being a little too dry for me. The potato and courgette rosti was not crispy on the surface and fell apart when I cut through it. It was not as seasoned as I wish it was but the bacon did the job.

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On this occasion, the service was a little slow with only three people servicing the floor. It came up to about £15 for my breakfast with a coffee and tea. Given that this was my second shot, I am not quite sure I will be back again anytime soon.

Dishpiglets’ rating: 6/10

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A Very British cookbook – Roast

Three years ago, I did not own a single cookbook. Fast forward to today, my shelf is now home to a couple of beautiful cookbooks in addition to my architecture collection. Inside one of them, the recent Plusixfive cookbook has a full page spread of a photo I took! It is such a pleasure to browse through these cookbooks when out of ideas on what to cook for dinner. My latest addition is Roast – a Very British cookbook by Marcus Verberne.

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Roast restaurant opened in 2005 with a mantra that is “to use produce from the nation’s farmers and fishermen to bring a new level of energy to British cooking.” Located in Borough Market, on the mezzanine level of the Floral Hall, one needs to look up to admire this jewel directly above Brindisa and the Ginger Pig stall off Stoney Street. Its elegant white interiors and amazing high ceiling space offers diners another perspective into Borough Market and gorgeous views out towards the Shard and St Paul’s.

Last week, I was invited to Roast for the launch of their first cookbook written by their head chef. I have never been to Roast but have heard good things about the breakfast which they serve.

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Shortly after we were seated, Marcus Verberne, Roast restaurant’s head chef came out to our table to welcome us to the restaurant. He gave us an introduction to his first cookbook and how he went about writing it. Originally from New Zealand, Marcus has been living in the UK for the past 12 years. His career in food began in Wellington before he moved to Melbourne and finally London. It was a pleasure to listen to the passionate chef talk about the thought process behind the cookbook and his love for British produce.

The cookbook’s recipes are written to be accessible for home cooks. It is filled with gorgeous photos by Lara Holmes whom Marcus spent quite some with during the documentation of the cookbook. Besides recipes, the cookbook has step-by-step photos from how to fillet fish to carving meat. You can even scan the QR codes in the cookbook to watch a video for further information! Amazing!

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Prior to us ordering our dinner, Marcus took the opportunity to explain to us about their menu and where they have sourced their produce from. It was featuring some of the recipes from the cookbook and we were given recommendations on what to order. As it was Thursday, Marcus mentioned that they had roasted a whole rare breed suckling pig which was their Thursday daily special. What I really enjoyed during the evening was listening to Marcus whilst flipping through the visual cookbook and there it was, a slightly charred roasted suckling pig on the third page of the cookbook.

However, I did not end up ordering the roast suckling pig but instead went with the chef’s recommendation of roast breast of Yorkshire cock pheasant with sprout top hearts, chestnuts and wild boar bacon for mains. It definitely did not disappoint! The roast pheasant breast was so tender and well complemented by the sweet chestnuts and saltiness of the wild boar bacon. Giulia and I both had the same and loved it! For starters, I had the seared Isle of Mull hand-dived scallops with whipped apple mash and smoked black pudding which was delicious.

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When it came to dessert, I chose the sea buckthorn berry pousset to end the evening. I was extremely intrigued by Marcus’ explanation on how they picked this berry as the branches of this shrub are thick, dense and thorny. The dessert which came was an amazing orange, almost fluorescent and was delightful to taste. Federica had the poached pear with ginger shortbread, walnut and honey ice cream whilst Giulia chose the sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and Neal’s Yard creme fraiche which all looked amazing.

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It was a pleasure to have met Roast’s passionate head chef, Marcus and tasted the outstanding dishes of Roast restaurant. I cannot wait to try out some of the recipes in the cookbook. Stay tune!

Roast – a Very British cookbook is now available from all good retailers, online and in store, for £25 (RRP).

*There is a twitter prize draw going on now for the month of November held by Roast Restaurant where you could win a signed copy of the Roast cookbook!

Roast Restaurant
The Floral Hall, Borough Market
Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL

*I was a guest of Jori White PR & Roast but all views here are my own.

Novikov

Novikov is located in Green Park, right in the heart of classy Mayfair. I recalled walking past many times whilst heading to the shops and have always wondered what it is like in there. Novikov serves both Italian and Asian cuisine in two separate rooms and underneath these restaurants is their fashionable lounge bar.

On this occasion, I had the opportunity to check out their aperitivo drinks menu at their lounge bar. From one of my conversations with Federica (The Daily Out), aperitivo originated from Milan. It is the pre-dinner drinks which comes along with some complimentary nibbles. Similar to the complimentary tapas served when you have a drink in Andalucia but perhaps the Italians might dispute this.

There was a good selection of drinks including Negroni and Aperol Spritz but I went with a prosecco to kick the night off. We were then served little bites (cichetti) which came in large platters. There was a good selection which included mushroom and truffle bruschetta, marinated olives and mortadella. This was followed by cold cut meats and a delicious board of cheese. Out of the lot, I was addicted to the crispy bread which I was told was Sardinian crispy bread. There were lovely rosemary sprinkled on top and it was so thin and crunchy to the bite, I couldn’t stop reaching for it!

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If you are in Green Park and seeking a trendy lounge bar to head to, Novikov is a good option. Their aperitivo menu is served Monday through to Friday, from 5.30pm until 7.30pm. Like the Milanese, you could pop by for a pre-dinner drink and get served some complimentary cichetti!

Novikov Restaurant & Bar
50 Berkeley Street
London W1J 8HA

*I was a guest of Jori White PR & Novikov but all views here are my own.

Dishoom

Dishoom is probably old news in the food blogging world but today was my first time at the Shoreditch branch. I have only ever been to the one in Covent Garden but this morning, we found ourselves on Boundary Road ready for breakfast.

When we stepped in, it was really quiet except for a few early birds. The interior is simply amazing. I felt like I was stepping into colonial times. The interiors were designed by Russell Sage Studio who also did the Zetter Town House. As there were not many around, we got to choose where we sat and headed to the verandah area which was heated.

The breakfast menu at Dishoom is so full of delight. If you head there, order the house chai! I normally have two cups. It is fragrant and simply delicious! As there were three of us, we decided to be greedy and ordered the fresh fruit and yoghurt, bacon naan, egg naan and the bombay omelette. We were extremely satisfied by the end and nearly licked our plates! This place comes highly recommended by many and with breakfast prices like that, I would have a bacon naan every day!

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Dishpiglets’ rating: 9/10

Dishoom Shoreditch
7 Boundary Street
London E2 7JE.

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