I had a nice dream a couple of months ago… It was about a cosy place somewhere in London where not just I was surrounded by beautiful potteries and beautiful people, but where I was also being served authentic Chinese food (a lot of food actually) at extremely cheap prices!
I spoke about this dream with my friend Namiko and when she told me that place does actually exist and that is owned and managed by two really good friends of hers I kindly told her to shut the f**k up!
She took me down to Uncle Wrinkle in New Cross that very same night! And since that day I now have faith that sometimes dreams actually do come true!
Kwan and her husband Patrick are specialized in:
Ceramics >> My opinion on Kwan’s potteries (even if I’m not an expert on this subject) is that are designed to make people happy and that they have a perfect combination of beauty and simplicity.
Smiles >> A lot of them! And all free of charge!
Noodles >> Especially the Singapore style vermicelli.
Pork belly >> Yep, you read that right. Pork belly! The best I’ve tried in London by far!
I think I’ve already used too many words… I’ll let the pictures do the talking now!
Uncle Wrinkle is located just outside New Cross Gate station (299 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AS) – Go and say hi to Kwan & Patrick… I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Music Music Music! I’m going on a massive tour with my band Arrows Of Time starting Oct 3rd and I’m very excited! Some sort of details can be found on the video here below…
Spring is coming dear B&G lovers! You happy? Well I hope so… In case you are not I have great news for you: Bibs & Gigs is now on Instagram!! I know I mentioned Facebook in the last poll (thanks for the ones who voted, especially who gave their preference to the Smelly Armpits option) but I’m 100% sure that starting a FB page will make me lazy towards the blog activities.
So stop doing whatever you’re doing (unless you’re having a delicious meal or some great oral sex), open Instagram, find the B&G Marshmallow Man and click follow (or simply click the picture below)!
Talking about food (and not about drugs): I went to Silk Road in Camberwell (click here for their menu) last Sunday after hearing a lot of great things about it.
The food was a bit oily but pretty good (the Double Cooked Pork Slices and the Home Style Aubergines were soooo tasty!) and, since I’ve been in China during my travels, I felt while in there a sort of tradition which I never came across when having dinner in Chinatown.
As me and Lucy were very hungry as usual we also ordered a bunch of ox tripe and lamb skewers, some freshly prepared handmade dumplings and a very big portion of hand-pulled noodles with lamb.
Cheap prices, friendly and quick staff, relaxed atmosphere, generous servings. Will definitely come back!
Gigs&Tips: Going to see Swingin’ Utters tonight at the Pipeline and since I’m around there I may go to have some tacos at Lupita… I’ll let you know how it goes!
Let’s put it this way – being on a diet sucks major d***s (sorry Susan, I know you hate me swearing), and writing about food when fighting against the post-Christmas extra kilos is very counterproductive.
Thankfully two days ago I finally decided to flip the bird to the healthy side of food and here I am back on track B&G lovers, ALL YOURS.
Happy New Year Ladies & Germs! Did you get any cool presents for Christmas? Or did you just get fat like me? Let’s face it though, being chubby and always putting the pub before the gym is way cooler than having a six-pack and being late for the Xmas eve dinner with your grandma because you just couldn’t miss that 5 hours session with your personal trainer. On top of that everyone knows that people with that little bit of extra weight are funnier compared to walking bread-sticks.
Apart from getting fat I also received some lovely wooden tools for “Homemade Gnocchi Making” and an entire day spent with my lovely Nonna Carla preparing tons of gnocchi for the rest of the family, plus getting a bit of her unbelievable cooking skills.
In terms of my great and helpful and ALWAYS amazing recommendations about where to go to stuff your face with quality food, I finally want to introduce you to my local Camden heroes: O Tino in Plender Street (Next to Belushi’s back door).
All I can say about this family run restaurant is that I felt at home from the very first time I stepped through the door!! Elisabete’s smile is one of the most honest, warm and welcoming smiles that you can find in London, Tino is always up for some good Italo-Portuguese jokes and their son (I forgot the name unfortunately) is one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever came across since I’ve lived in this city.
Their signature dish is the Bacalhau (cod), which they cook to perfection in a lot of typical Portuguese ways, but also the Gambas (king prawns) and their selection of meats are extraordinary.
Not surprisingly, my favourite dish is the H-U-G-E rib eye grilled steak – it’s delicious, it comes with fries and salad, it will easily feed 2 people and is just £16! Bargain! If you feel like trying something different go for the Carne de porco a Alentejana (pork medallions and potato cubes with white clams).
On top of all of that they serve cheap Sagres and Super Bock bottled beers and you can always end a meal with a glass of Porto wine! Muito Bom!
I’ve took so many friends over there and not a single time I’ve seen a disappointed face – Just big smiles and food coma situations! Muito Bom X 2!
Before getting into the Gigs&Tips section I need your help with an important decision:
Shall I create a B&G Facebook page or not? Yes to the blog on the Zuckerberg’s social empire means less words, more pictures and me posting directly from a restaurant or from a gig (with the position/location shared). No to that will allow me to concentrate more on the WordPress side of things, with less posts but with much more details compared to the ones I would be adding to FB.
Please vote! I’ll make a decision in the next 3/4 weeks.
Gigs&Tips: Can’t wait to see these guys playing next week (Thursday 12th) at The Dome in Tufnell Park!!!
These Mothercluckers are the kings of fried chicken in London! And I’m not saying that just because today I won a free meal through their Friday Instagram competition, but because every time I go visit them I always get quality food at a reasonable price. And the portions are huge, which is always a bonus for a chubby Italiano like me.
As well as producing amazing Mac&Cheese, with the magical addition of jalapenos and courgettes, they’re also a great bunch of people. You’re always welcomed with a warm smile, and, although there are sometimes queues at lunch time, it’s never more than 20-30 minutes from the moment you join, to the glorious moment you get the food in your hands. Definitely worth it!!
I can’t imagine London without Denmark Street and its incredible vibe… Guitars and drums shops, people like Noel Gallagher, Ronnie Wood and Patrick Stewart (Spock!) hanging around there, the iconic 12 Bar Club, the Alleycat (Regent Sound Studios back in the 60s, where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album), and all the tiny Korean restaurants round the corner.
Unfortunately due to the Cross Rail development starting from January 2015 the all area will be transformed and will definitely lose its greatness. There’s an online petition going on at the moment – I don’t know if it will really help to avoid the inevitable but hopefully it will postpone it a little bit. If you have a second please sign it here.
Last Saturday after band practice at Enterprise Studios (located in a little alley behind the 12 Bar) I had a late lunch at Seoul Bakery with my girlfriend Lucy.
SB is a really small Korean restaurant run by smiley and friendly people, where the ingredients are fresh and the food is made with love.
I ordered a delicious Spicy chicken soup with Udon Noodles, that came with a portion of Kimchi as a side dish, and Lucy got a Bulgogi Bibimbap.
If you’re not familiar with Korean food:
Kimchi is a traditional spicy and sour Korean side dish made of cabbage with a variety of seasonings;
Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with vegetables, seasonings, a fried egg and sliced beef. It is also a funny word that I use a lot when I’m drunk… Don’t ask me why as sometimes I’ve got no idea of what’s happening inside my head;
Bulgogi = grilled marinated beef cooked using Korean traditional grilling techniques;
The only bad thing about this pretty place is that soon it will be gone, as the whole building will become a charming Bus Stop (A big Thank You to the Crossrail pricks for making this happening so quickly). I don’t know if they will reopen in another location but even if they do it surely won’t be the same unfortunately.
If you’re still new to this type of cuisine I reckon a cheap lunch (YES! SB not just is good, it’s also cheap as chips) at Seoul Bakery this weekend could be a great introduction to this new world of magnificent aromas.
Gigs&Tips: I’ll never get bored of telling everyone how fun a night at the 12 Bar Club can be! They have live music 7 days a week, door charge is always under £10, good beers, a pool table, a cool outside area at the back. So hurry up and go get a taste of the Denmark Street madness before it will turn into a Prada store or a Pret a Manger.
Last but not least: These guys are on tonight at the Brixton Academy. It’s sold out but some last minute tickets may be available outside the venue..
Most of you already know a lot of stuff about the Duck & Waffle: in the heart of the City, great place for a date, breathtaking view, super fast lift, amazing food & cocktails, reasonable prices, open 24/7 etc. So I won’t mention any of that as you’ll probably get bored after 2 seconds.
But what I will do is give you a quick summary of my recent lunch experience.
It wasn’t a date, unfortunately, but a convenient business lunch paid by my company. To be honest though, who needs romance when free food is on the table?
I opted for a beer, rather than a cocktail, but by the look of the bar I can tell that they definitely know what they’re doing with the mixers!
Their signature dish, the Duck & Waffle, is delicious, so is the roasted octopus – fresh and cooked to perfection, which is not easy to find in London.
The only disappointment for me was the fillet of Angus beef Carpaccio – way too much Pecorino cheese, as you can see from the picture, and not enough meat.
Also, the menu is a bit too fancy and not clear enough – If it wasn’t for the lovely waiter explaining it to me I’d probably still be there choosing what to eat.
Don’t get me wrong folks, it was a lovely experience, and even if I promised I wouldn’t mention the view, it really will leave you speechless. Get the table in the corner if you can and make sure you book in advance for lunch and dinner.
Gigs&Tips: Next week it will be my flatmate Alban’s birthday and since I love buying gig tickets for friends (despite the fact that he’s never read my blog – what a simpleton!) I’ve booked to go and see The Mad Caddies in November at the O2 Academy in Angel…
Lido in Chinatown is not just a paradise for Dim Sum and Noodle lovers, but it also has that type of chilled out environment I normally look for when trying to get rid of terrible hangovers.
Since the day my flatmate Alban talked to me about this place it became my favourite within the area of Chinatown: Good food, friendly staff, reasonable prices.
A couple of times I tried following Time Out’s advice about some other good restaurants around there and not only was I disappointed, I was also absolutely pissed off about the shit food, the bad service received and the fact that I still follow suggestions from these “We-know-everything-everywhere” hipsters!
Yesterday at lunch time I was around Shaftesbury Avenue for work, so I decided to go there on my own, as my colleague is on that period of the year where if you drink, eat, sneeze or fart before the sunset you’ll be cursed by for the rest of your life.
Trying to be on a diet is depressing for a million of reasons, the good thing though is that I didn’t go crazy when ordering the food as I normally do when going there with friends for Dim Sum on Sunday lunch time.
I “just” got a portion of really tasty Malaysian style Ho-Fun Noodles (Ho-Fun are the wide, flat, rice noodles, the Chinese version of Italian Tagliatelle) and a delicious Crab+Seafood (3 dumplings in total) Dim Sum.
Needless to say that this time a doggy bag wasn’t necessary…
As mentioned before, if you spent the all Saturday night up to no good, Lido Restaurant will be the right place to spend your Sunday lunch. Order a can of Coke and get messy with their wide choice of Dim Sum platters, you surely won’t regret it!
Gigs&Tips: Up the pints people! It’s Friday, it’s sunny, the storm is over and The Black Keys just announced a UK tour coming this March..
A couple of weeks ago I finally found the “miraculous” Bleecker St. Burger van at the KERB street food market just under the Gherkin building in the City.
I remember getting a Double Cheeseburger and a portion of Angry Fries and I also remember they got demolished in less than 3 minutes!
I promised to myself that I wouldn’t do any reviews about burger places, as everyone seems to be doing them nowadays, but the Bleecker experience was probably the best lunch break I’ve had since I started working in the City (AKA The Land of Corporate Robots).
The menu is straightforward and simple (a bonus for an indecisive dude like me) and the Combo deal was literally an “offer that I couldn’t refuse” (good old “funny-chin” Marlon Brando): £10.50 for a Double Cheeseburger and a portion of Angry fries.
The juicy patties were perfectly cooked (maybe I’d have left the meat 10 more seconds on the grill) and the Angry fries, even if they were not at the level of anger that I’m normally used to, were super tasty, with a pretty decent chili sauce mixed with melt cheese and mayonnaise.
I won’t tell you that these guys are better than others or worse or whatever. What I’m suggesting here is that you should do yourself a favour and go out and find this black van of magic! You won’t be disappointed!
I heard good stuff about this place even before they opened! Well, that’s probably not quite true, but if you like salt beef and pastrami you will love Monty’s.
Typically, if you decided to start a blog, you have to remember to take pictures of the food before you start to eat it… however, when the waiter put in front of my face the Reuben Special (a RIDICULOUS pastrami and salt beef sandwich on toasted rye with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, sauerkraut plus pickle and coleslaw on the side) I just couldn’t do it.
Thankfully my mate (and fellow blogger) arrived a bit late so, on top of the 25 minutes he had to wait for his sandwich, he had to wait 3 more for me to take pictures (I know that 3 minutes are normally gone in the blink of an eye, but tell that to a hungry+angry man – he obviously wasn’t in the best mood about it).
My girlfriend opted for another pretty big sandwich with an “impossible-to-pronounce” name, the ‘Meshuggener’: salt beef, pastrami, liver, non-toasted rye bread and no cheese. This was also really good and packed full of meat, but I love my cheese so I reckon the winner for me is definitely the ‘Reuben Special’.
The location of Monty’s is perfect – it’s right in the middle of the superb Maltby Street Ropewalk Market (a 10 minute walk from London Bridge station) and its incredible food stands (the pulled pork burgers looked unreal! I’ll be returning to try one or two of those bad boys).
The staff were super friendly, the service was really good as was the value for money (less than a tenner each for a proper “Jewish feast” on rye + soft drinks).
As my good friend Cozza would say: “Mate, this place is the Proper Tits!!” … And I really can’t find better words to describe it!
Gigs&Tips: Monty’s deli and the Ropewalk market could be the right meeting point if you’re going on later to a gig at the O2 arena on a Saturday night: Couple of sandwiches, easy going atmosphere, a couple of little places where to get cheap drinks and, when you’re good to go, you can either walk to Bermondsey station and get the Jubilee line or, if you’re too pissed, share a cab.
I’ll leave you with some lunchtime funky grooves..
The first time my friend Sunny took me here and told me on the way “it’s a vegetarian restaurant” I politely replied to her with something similar to “F**K THAT!”
However, since that day I’ve come back to this East Ham gem 6 times and every time I’ve returned, apart from the Polish waitress, me and my mates reassuringly seemed to be the only westerners in there.
My flatmate arrived in the area an hour before us and since he couldn’t find a pub he decided to wait at the restaurant. By the time we arrived he had already demolished 1 plain naan, 2 huge samosas and a Kadhai Paneer (pretty tasty), but the guy really can eat so for him that was just a little Entrée.
The moment that the menus were left on our table a little revolution started with the amount of food plates we chose. We ordered as if there was no tomorrow. Our requests to the waiter rapidly followed: “We want this.. And That! And please also this one! In fact make it two! Actually, 3!” (I should also add that every time we order way too much food… but I can promise it’s worth it!).
We started with a lovely ChilliPaneer, an Indian cheese with an amazing chilli sauce – pretty spicy and sweet (just at the right point so as not to be a common sweet and sour taste) and a portion of Masala Vada, 2 fried doughnuts with Sambar sauce and some Chutney.
The Masala Dosas that followed were INCREDIBLE and incredibly huge. The Chef’s secret Dosa was a little too overfilled with peppers for my liking and not on the same level as the Masala ones.
Even though that amount of food could have fed an entire family we fearlessly decided to carry on, and with a blink of the eye we had on our table a massive Garlic Naan (they probably used 10 garlic cloves for that), a lentil curry called Dal Makhani and a potato based dish called Aloo Methi Masala.
I should point out here that unfortunately ‘Taste of India’ does not serve alcohol and it was probably this lack of beer on the table that allowed us to continue bravely on the second leg of our food voyage.
Two points to consider: Point number 1 – the incredible flavours of the Aloo Methi (see next picture) made this dish a winner over the Dal Makhani, which wasn’t bad but just a bit tasteless.
Point number 2 – After eating the entire garlic bread my breath was so bad that I had to call an exorcist the next day to return it to normal.. It was well worth though!! Amazing Naan! But be warned!
They also have a good desserts choice but it was literally impossible at this stage to eat any more!
The final bill came to £45 total with tips included and, considering how much we ate, I can tell you it’s a really fair price. You can literally go there and stuff your face with a fiver but hey, we do have big stomachs.