1. New Post: Something you should serve… Methi and Chickpea Tikki with Red Cabbage Achar and Tandoori Baby Chicken

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/something-you-should-serve-methi-and-chickpea-tikki-with-red-cabbage-achar-and-tandoori-baby-chicken/

    Something you should serve… Methi and Chickpea Tikki with Red Cabbage Achar and Tandoori Baby Chicken

    These delicious recipes come from Carom, the pan-Indian restaurant in Soho that unveiled a new look and menu this summer.  The dishes only take 30 minutes to whip up, making them a perfect choice for starters (or a quickie tapas-style meal with a bit of naan bread on the side). Enjoy!

     The Methi & Chickpea tikki with Red cabbage Achar  (Serves 4)

    Ingredients

    For the tikki 

    • 300g Fresh Methi (Feugreek leaves)
    • 200g Cooked Chickpeas
    • 100g Boiled Potatoes (Grated)
    • 1 tsp Cumin
    • 20g Green chilli
    • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
    • 20ml Vegetable oil
    • Salt (to taste)

    For the Achar / Pickle 

    • 250g Red cabbage
    • 50ml Vinegar
    • 5ml Vegetable oil
    • ½ tsp Mustard
    • 1 Whole red chilli
    • Salt (to taste)

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    Method

    Prep for Tikki:  10 mins

    •  Roughly chop the methi and green chilli, grate the potatoes and smash the chickpeas
    •  Heat oil in a pan, add cumin until oil crackles and follow by adding the green chilli then methi. Sauté over slowly, add turmeric powder.
    •  Add the chickpeas and potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add salt to taste.
    •  Cook until if forms a good mixture and a consistent green shade. Remove from pan and allow mixture to cool.
    •  Roll out balls of approximately 60g, place between palms and press gently to form a patty. Keep refrigerated.

    Prep for Achar / Pickle:  10 mins

    •  Shred red cabbage as thin as possible. Rinse in cold water, to remove excess colour. Soak in vinegar for 1 hour. Drain excess water
    • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and allow to crackle. Add chopped red chilli, cabbage, sauté for few minutes, add salt to taste and the remove the pan from the hob
    •  Once cool, store in an air-tight container

    Cooking & Presentation:  5 mins

    • Heat a thick bottomed grill pan over a slow flame, add oil sparingly. Gently add patties, turn around after two minutes or until golden brown on either side
    • Add a spoon full of your favourite chutney, push it across the plate with spoon edge to make a nice arch, place two patties per person, and a tsp of red cabbage pickle

    Chef’s Tip:

    •  May add red wine vinegar instead of normal vinegar, to enhance flavour

    Tandoori Baby Chicken (Serves 4)

    Ingredients 

    • 300g Baby Chicken-Poussin
    • Butter
    • 1 lime

    For marinade

    • ½ g Saffron
    • 200g Greek Yoghurt
    • 10g Cumin powder
    • 15g Garam masala
    • 30g Ginger & garlic paste
    • 3 chopped Green chillies
    • 15g Vegetable oil
    • Salt (to taste)

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    Method

    Prep: 10 mins

    •  Cut chicken in halves and remove skin
    •  Mix all your marinade ingredients together
    • Apply this over the chicken, cover and leave in fridge for an hour

    Procedure to cook: 20 mins

    •  Pre heat oven to 180oC, place the chicken in centre and cook for approx 15 minutes
    •  Baste the chicken applying butter or oil regularly while cooking. Check the thickest part towards the bone is fully cooked before serving
    •  Once cooked, remove the chicken from the oven, apply a knob of butter and finish with a generous squeeze of lime

    Vishnu Natarajan, chef:  “This is not a normal red coloured Tandoor chicken that you find most places. It should be a yellowish colour due to saffron, with golden brown marks obtained from roasting. Personally I love to have it with a bit of curry – presented on a bed of curry in a serving dish with the Tandoori chicken on top to bring all the senses together: colours for eyes, flavours, temperatures, textures and finally the taste to remember”

     

  2. New Post: Something you should serve… East London Liquor Company Gin Cured Salmon

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/something-you-should-serve-east-london-liquor-company-gin-cured-salmon/

    Something you should serve… East London Liquor Company Gin Cured Salmon

    This recipe comes from Natalie Coleman, the former credit controller and techno DJ from Hackney  who won Masterchef in 2013. She teamed up with East Village London earlier this month to create a menu which used locally sourced ingredients from the East End.

    East London Liquor Company Gin Cured Salmon

    Serves 12 people

    Ingredients

    • 1 side of Salmon Fillet – skin on and pin boned (1kg)
    • 300g Rock Salt
    • 100ml of dry gin (preferable East London Liquor Company)
    • 250g Caster Sugar
    • 1 Tbsp Juniper Berries
    • 1 Teasp Black Peppercorns
    • 35g Dill – Roughly Chopped
    • Zest of 2 Lemons
    • Zest of 2 Limes

    To serve

    • Crusty Sour Dough
    • 250ml Crème Fraiche
    • Cornichons – small jar
    • 1 Tbsp Fresh Dill – finely chopped

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    Method

    1. Toast the peppercorns and juniper berries in a dry pan for 1-2mins.
    2. Once toasted then crush them in a pestle and mortar. You don’t want to grind then to a powder, only lightly crush them.
    3. Then in a large mixing bowl place all of the ingredients (except the salmon) and mix so everything is incorporated well.
    4. On a clean work surface, then lay cling film for the salmon to sit on. It’s best to use two lengths and overlap so they make one sheet. I like to let the cling film overhang the work surface to its easy to roll up, and you want to roll around 50cm in length.
    5. Place the salmon fillet onto the cling film and pat dry using kitchen paper, and then spread the curing mixture over the fillet evenly.
    6. Then carefully wrap the fillet up. Once wrapped, re-wrap in 3 more layers.
    7. Place this into a roasting tin or something of similar size, and then place another roasting tin on top of the salmon to weigh this down. You can use tins/jars for added weight.
    8. Then put this into the fridge and leave for 2-3 days. After this time remove from fridge and unwrap, and then discard cling film and rinse under a cold tap to remove the rest of the cure. Pat dry using kitchen paper.
    9. To serve, slice the salmon into thin slices and serve with toasted sour dough and crème fraiche.

    Natalie’s cookbook Winning Recipes: For Every Day comes out on 2nd October.  For more info, visit: www.nataliecolemanchef.co.uk/book

     

  3. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-go-conflict-kitchen-london/

    Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London

    It doesn’t want to force a message down your throat, but it hopes that by the time you leave you might have digested more than just dinner. Conflict Kitchen London wants to be a restaurant with a conscience.

    The pop-up eatery, launched ahead of the International Day of Peace on September 21, is serving traditional food from Myanmar, Jordan and Peru to encourage discussions about the prospect of peace in those countries.

    More than 100 people attended the first week of the three-week residency at Monikers, a space in East London.

    A mixed crowd of locals, foodies and nationals of Burma, the country now called Myanmar, got a chance to meet new people and try dishes including hincho, a spicy soup, and a chicken-and-coconut curry served with egg noodles.

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    As the £35 three-course meal was being prepared, guests broke the ice with strangers, using conversation cue cards about everything from Myanmar’s largest exports to the number of years its opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, spent under house arrest.

    They could also order themed cocktails, with a Negroni masquerading as a “Rangooni”, after the original name of Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.

    Debbie Riehl, an up-and-coming Myanmar-born chef and artist who conceived and prepared the dishes, said the restaurant catered to a number of needs.

    “To talk about global issues over a meal? I just had to get on board with this,” she said. “It’s non-confrontational, people are having conversations about things, and exchanging ideas, thoughts, views, everything.”

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    The agendas for debate are far from rigid. On one table conversation soon swayed towards the topics of the Scottish referendum and the current state of music education in the UK.

    On another, a pair of Burmese friends discussed how they had never attended such an event before and could usually share Burmese food only in one of the few Buddhist monasteries in the capital.

    Debbie added: “A lot of Burmese people have come as well. They’re thrilled that there is a Burmese pop-up but also to be associated with something like this because they’re obviously more aware of the conflict in Burma.”

    The creative decor is designed to bring diners up to speed with the issues. A large rolling chalkboard outlines the history of Myanmar as a creative infographic. Communal tables have placemats with world maps.

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    A bell rings before each course is served, followed by a “fact” shared by Phil Champain, director of Emerging Programmes at International Alert, the charity behind the concept.

    He outlined the history of Burma’s independence from Britain in 1948, decades of authoritarian military rule and the reforms in 2010 which could lead to the country’s transition to a full democratic government.

    “But peace is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

    He added that Conflict Kitchen London was inspired — loosely — by Cocina del Conflicto (Conflict Kitchen), a project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which only serves food from “countries with which the United States is in conflict”.

    The non-profit pop-up is part of International Alert’s current Talking Peace festival, which offers a series of peace-related events across London.

    “It’s very much looking at this kind of food as a way of bringing people together to ultimately resolve differences and reconcile and also deepen understanding,” Champain said.

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    A few days later, diners were invited to think about Jordan, facing pressure from an influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

    The final week will put the spotlight on Peru, where there is conflict between indigenous people and companies over land rights and natural resources.

    “I think it’s unusual to have food mixed with politics but those are two things I enjoy,” said Nina Harris, an 18-year-old student from London who came to the Jordan evening with her sister.

    “I’ve really enjoyed the evening. It was good to mix with different age groups, people with different jobs and backgrounds.”

    Robert Sutton, a 36-year-old American living in London, agreed. “It’s a good way to meet a lot of people to talk about issues that are current topics in the world. You can talk to people about their views and enjoy food represented from their countries first hand. It’s really good.”

     (First published on Reuters, 18th September. Editing by Michael Roddy and Andrew Roche)

    For more information about Conflict Kitchen London, visit: www.grubclub.com/conflict-kitchen

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  4. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… Trade

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/somewhere-you-should-eat-trade/

    Somewhere you should eat… Trade

    Trade is the sort of cafe I dream of owing one day. From the retro-inspired interiors to the beautifully presented food, this new drop-in on Commercial Street makes a good first impression, representing the quality produce that can be found nearby in New Spitalfields Market. I’m told businessfolk and locals flock here around lunchtime while tourists take care of the weekend – and after an invite to check it out, you soon discover why. The coffee is good, really good – and the lobster roll for a tenner is incredible, made with warm brioche, hints of dill and a welcome chilli kick. There’s an impressive array of dessert too; if you ever wanted a carrot cake to rival the best you ever had, their super-moist prized bake is an easy contender. Trade opens 7 days a week but for more info visit: www.trade-made.co.uk

    Check out pics from our recent visit below:

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  5. A hearty round of applause for @jacksonrye! I popped in for lunch this afternoon and their jalapeño cornbread, blackened salmon with grits and mac and cheese took me right back to the US! Was so full I could only manage the peanut popcorn crunch for dessert! Lovely ambience too and the portions were just right. I definitely plan to return for the peanut butter cookies! For more details visit: http://www.jacksonrye.com/

     

  6. New Post: TCé meets: Chef Rainer Becker, founder of Oblix

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/tce-meets-chef-rainer-becker-founder-of-oblix/

    TCé meets: Chef Rainer Becker, founder of Oblix

    It’s been just over a year since chef Rainer Becker opened OBLIX in the European Union’s tallest building, but he admits the mission is not quite accomplished.

    “It takes time for a restaurant to be there, where I have it in my head,” Becker said, sitting in a corner of the 32nd floor restaurant in the Shard – the London skyscraper that looks a bit like a castle from the “Lord of the Rings” films.

    “I think the first step, we achieved. It’s busy and successful but there’s a lot of detail work to be done that most people don’t see, but I see.”

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    The award-winning, German-born chef opened OBLIX in May 2013 in a departure from the Japanese tradition of the iconic Zuma and renowned Roka restaurants that made him famous at the turn of the new millennium.

    After training in Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany, his love for Japanese food was established when he lived in Tokyo for six years working at the Park Hyatt hotel. He moved to London in 2002 to open Zuma in Knightsbridge with business partner Arjun Waney.

    The launch of OBLIX came after 11 years of rapidly expanding the Zuma and Roka brands across the globe, so the plan was to venture into New York-style urban dining that would offer Becker a lunchtime alternative.

    “I eat too much Japanese food every day,” he said. “Japanese food is my passion because I lived in Japan. But I didn’t want to do a Japanese concept. I like simple food and New York is one of my favorite cities.”

    “They have great restaurants and they’re very multicultural, like London. We said, ‘Let’s do something where you can’t pinpoint what we’re doing’, so it’s not American cuisine. Like London, there’s not really a London cuisine. It’s multicultural.”

    On a weekday, the stylish restaurant, with its stunning views over the British capital, is buzzing with businessmen, tourists and young couples, including a famous footballer and his TV presenter girlfriend. It is a mixed clientele that Becker believes is one of the advantages of being based in the Shard.

    “It’s a tourist attraction and a destination, so we have a very broad audience,” he said.

    MENU TWEAKS

    The menu has gone through a number of tweaks since the opening, although the flavorsome duck with mango chutney has become a signature dish. Another big draw is an interactive sommelier station which allows guests to try new and vintage wines and match it with their meals. Wine-tasting classes may become a larger part of the dining experience.

    Pic: Touchfood

    Pic: Touchfood

    Becker says he has learned a few lessons since OBLIX opened, which have inspired the changes. This includes ironing out the teething problems before the critics experience the venue.

    “Every restaurant opening is tough but a lesson is, ‘Don’t let the critics come in the first week’. How can you deliver a product in the first week to the best possible standard? We’re not machines, it’s all human beings,” he said.

    “Guests come at the same time and then they wait half an hour for starter. That’s the way it is. But three or four weeks down the road, everything is much smoother.”

    Despite the restaurant’s popularity, he said it’s too early to plan another one.

    “I think it’s very unique to the Shard,” Becker said. “If there’s another building in a European city where you have similar aspects coming together, maybe there’s an opportunity.”

    In the meantime, he’s working on planting another Roka in Aldwych in central London in September after opening one in February in the up-market Mayfair district.

    He is also taking Zuma to New York and Abu Dhabi as he enjoys launching new venues, which he compares to the adrenaline rush he gets from car racing, one of his favourite pastimes.

    “Besides cooking, I always love the aspect of understanding how (business) all functions and works together,” he said.

    “When you expand you cannot do everything yourself anymore and naturally you have to look after the business aspect, probably more than the other aspects if you have the right people doing the other things. Then you grow more into that field. But the balance has to be right.”

    With 14 restaurants under his belt by the end of year, he is also determined to keep the quality and experience of his restaurants as high as possible.

    “The bottom line is, when you go to a restaurant you want to have a good time.”

    This interview was first featured in Reuters on 17th June 2014. 

     

  7. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Hai Street Kitchen, Leadenhall Market

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-hai-street-kitchen-leadenhall-market/

    What we’ve been up to… Hai Street Kitchen, Leadenhall Market

    Sushi burritos anyone? Yea, we never heard of ‘em either until an e-mail pinged into TCE’s inbox with news of a Japanese casual bar that’s attempting to revolutionise everything we ever knew about sushi (well maybe they’re not pitching their ambitions that high, but they’re certainly daring to be different). Hai Street Kitchen and Co is what we’d call Japanese-Mexican fusion with a light and quirky touch; tasty sushi rolls are prepped at a counter alá Chipotle and rolled in the style of a burrito – or served in a bowl – with an emphasis on fresh, Japanese and Mexican ingredients and speedy Gonzales service.

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    Clearly pitched at a city crowd who would appreciate both of those things at lunch time, it’s still worth a pop-in if you’re in the Leadenhall Market area, just for the chance to get your paws on these colossal rolls which might be a bit tricky to chow down at first bite – they’re really that big! – but it’s nothing a spoon, chopsticks and a few napkins can’t handle. We recommend the flank steak roll with asparagus, wasabi guacamole – and if you’re on the move, grab a bag of the super moreish yucca chips to snack on for later.

    For more info about Hai Street Kitchen, visit: www.haistreetkitchen.com

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  8. New Post: TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – October 2013

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/featured/tce-picks-a-selection-of-things-to-do-and-places-to-go-october-2013/

    TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – October 2013 

    October, October, October – the month where we’re not only reminded of how close we are to the end of the year, but which also offers the last of the worthy happenings around town before everything starts to take a certain red and green tinge (with a whiff mixed spice). So here’s your chance to join forces with fellow bike enthusiasts, catch a flick at the LFF or salute Nelson Mandela, amongst other top things we’ve picked out. Enjoy!

    Alternative

    London Bicycle Film Festival at Barbican, October 3-6th – It’s officially a decade since the Bicycle Film Festival was created to celebrate urban cycling around the world, so this year’s events are quite the milestone. The London leg kicks off with a party at Hackney Downs Studio followed by a symposium and a selection of  insightful short film screenings at the Barbican – all worth checking out, especially if you’re a lover of bike culture.

    Arts & Culture

    Mandela and De Klerk 2011 by Richard Chauke

    We Love Mandela: Art Inspired by Madiba exhibition, October 3rd – 16th – The touring exhibition of paintings, photographs, sculptures and  artefacts were created to celebrate the milestone birthdays of the South African leader and comes to London following a stint at Johannesburg’s Peacemakers museum.  It makes a brief visit, so catch it if you can.

    Arts & Culture 

    BFI London Film Festival, October 9-20th  - After a run-of-the-mill summer movie season, autumn really needs to start with a bang. Thankfully, the 57th BFI London Film Festival is more than up to the task. The LFF has assembled its strongest line-up in years and  there is something for every film lover in this twelve days celebration of the magic of cinema.

    Music

    Bilal at Islington Assembly Hall, October 24th – This Philly soul singer has collaborated with some of the best in the biz (Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Robert Glasper), but has always put on a heck of a show when rolling solo.  We’re looking forward to seeing him in action when he hits North London at the end of the month.

    Eat & Drink

    PipsDish, 15 Exeter Street Covent Garden - The Islington pop-up makes a permanent home on Exeter Street in Covent Garden this month,  promising to bring something new to the table. They’ll be serving brekkie for starters, and will continue their “no-menu” tradition of offering a variety of seasonal dishes made with quality, locally-sourced ingredients.

    Best bits from last month

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  9. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-up-to-butlers-wharf-blackout/

    What we’ve been up to… Butler’s Wharf Blackout

    If you ever wanted to experience a candelit dinner with stunning views of the Thames – with a twist, of course – then Butler’s Wharf Blackout could be the answer until September 15th. As a new addition to the capital’s annual hoorah (the Thames Festival), BWB is a collaboration with riverside restaurants Le Pont de La Tour, Cantina del Ponte, Blueprint Café and Butler’s Wharf Chophouse where they’ve all agreed to cut the lights after 8:30pm in honour of the history of the Thames (which is said to take its name from an ancient word meaning “dark water” ). But that’s not the twist; the pop-up 40-metre, 140-seat banqueting table is where we could be found on Saturday night, enjoying “swim & tonics” (G&T’s in a fishbowl bag), a delicious Crayfish & cherry tomato with basil starter from Cantina del Ponte, blackened pork with baby radish and black potato from the Blueprint Café (see what they did there?), and a kentish bramble syllabub with shortbread we could have eaten twice over from the Butler’s Wharf Chophouse. After the meal, we headed over to the pop-up bar Neon Noir to dance in the dark at the silent disco and get a load of more creative cocktails. It was the loveliest of evenings and a clever way to celebrate the river – so check out our pics below!

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  10. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Shake Shack

    http://www.theculturalexpose.co.uk/eat-drink/what-weve-been-up-to-shake-shack/

    What we’ve been up to… Shake Shack

    For all the fanfare that surrounded the launch of this US import last month, we wanted the dust to settle before we got a whiff of the burgers, dogs and fries at Shake Shack, which has seen endless queues since opening on July 5th. So what’s the fuss?

    Well, it’s legendary status in New York has understandably peaked the interest of ex-pats and burger lovers, despite coming into an arena already heaving with every kind of burger outlet you can think of. So if you’re after a meal that will trump some of the finest in town and absolutely blow your mind, you won’t quite get that here. However, what you will get is pretty darn good meal that prides itself on freshness, in fanciful surroundings (gotta love Covent Garden!) and presented with a neatness that adds to the novelty of a fast food-cum-bougie burger bar.

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    The Shack Burger is a simple, compact sandwich that can come as a double and is served with the softest bun we’ve ever tasted – so a definite  thumbs up for that. But we preferred the super tasty Shack-cago dog, and it’s lavish dressing of relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard.

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    Add to that a side of awesome crinkle fries washed down with a shake-made lemonade and you can see why Shake Shack’s quite a fun visit as they do what they do well. But If the mains don’t woo you, the frozen custards probably will, coming plain and simple or in a range of creative flavours that change every month.

     

    Shake Shack Covent Garden

    Much has been said about the pricing at Shake Shack (which is a tad steepish for what you get), but the trade-off is a uniquely American experience with a pretty cool menu that’ll save you the plane ticket abroad.

    For more info, visit: www.shakeshack.co.uk

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