Month: August 2011

om nom nom’ing in Iceland: Fjöruborðið – Stokkseyri

You simply can’t go to Iceland without having lobster. Lots and lots of it. Which is precisely what we did at Fjöruborðið, a small, but famous seaside restaurant on the southern coast of the country, about a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik.

The menu is simple. You choose how much lobster you want, the trimmings and wait until the bring you out a bowl of goodness.

We chose the 3-course feast, which started with an incredibly rich bowl of lobster soup scented with a hint of nutmeg and luscious chunks of tender lobster meat. The communal main course came with 300g each of lobster, new potatoes, salad, couscous

Each lobster was smaller than I would have imagined – more the size of a giant giant GIANT Tiger Prawn. Messy and succulent, each was an absolute delight, smothered in the best garlic butter I’ve ever had. And even though 300g doesn’t sound like a massive amount, I had never been so full in my life by the time we finished.

We waited about 30 minutes before we could even contemplated dessert. I’m still not sure it was a good idea to have it at all. On one hand, the giant Mars Bar Meringue, fresh Carrot Cake and decadent Chocolate cake were all incredible, but on the other, I think my stomach could have likely burst by the end.

The meal was amazing, but I have to say the highlight of the experience may not have even featured food at all. On the drive back to Reykjavik, we stopped on the side of the road to take pictures of this:

The perfect end to a perfect evening.

Fjöruborðið
Eyrarbraut 3a
825 Stokkseyri
Iceland
Tel: 00354 483 1550

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Wagamama – Westfield (an ode to Pork Dumpling Soup)

Food bloggers don’t normally write about chain restaurants unless there’s a *slightly* more sinister reason behind it (like Chris of Cheese & Biscuits’ amazingly hilarious encounter at the Aberdeen Steak House. Best post ever).

Most chain restaurants are either horrible, or just good ol’ reliable places to eat that don’t really warrant any sort of commentary. For me those reliable places are Nandos, Busaba and Wagamama. I eat at all three fairly regularly, but have never felt the need to say anything.

Until now.

Because last night at the Wagamama at Westfield, I tried the Pork Dumpling Soup, and I was blown away.

wagamama pork dumpling soup

For £9.10, you are treated to a bowl of tender sweet char sui pork dumplings, slices of spicy sausage, a hard-boiled egg, leeks, spinach and spring onion served brimming to the top in a lovely aromatic lemongrass and coriander broth. It was fantastic – and it’s probably the first single dish at a chain restaurant I’ve gone out of my way to praise.

Wagamama is almost always reliable (the Chicken Katsu Curry DQ had was just as good as it always is), but I do love how every once in a while, ‘reliable’ can still be amazing.

Bob Bob Ricard – Soho (revisted)

Those who talk about Bob Bob Ricard generally mention three things: the awesome ‘Press for Champagne’ button installed at every table, the absolutely stunning and unique decor and the staff’s reluctance to ever let anyone order tap water. It’s always ‘Still or Sparkling’ as pointed out in an Evening Standard article earlier this week. The latter certainly remained true, as every time someone at our table took even a sip of our £4 per bottle water, it was promptly refilled, clearly in an effort to make sure we worked our way through as quickly as possibly so we’d have to order another.

This was my second visit to ‘the Bobs’, the first being a blogger event, and just as before, the incredibly eclectic menu of both British and Russian favourites did not fail to impress me.

I started with the only dish I’ve had there before, the Scallops, Black Pudding and Apple (£10.50), and it was just as good as I remember it. It even managed to change the mind of a staunch Black Pudding Hater at our table.

Unfortunately, the Chilled Tomato Soup (£6.75), complete with a futuristic over-the-top presentation, was a total miss. The first sip was pleasant, but shortly after it descneded into what I can only describe as the Gardens of Hell. A bit like drinking grass, really.

Across the mains, the Vareniki (£14.50) were lovely little dumplings bursting with a fantastic combination of truffled potato and mushrooms, topped with tiny fried onion rings.

The Veal Holstein with Quail’s Egg, Anchovies and Truffled Mashed Potatoes (£21.50) was quite the hearty portion or pounded veal, served schnitzel-style. It made me very glad I didn’t go with the extra side dish our server tried to up sell. The serving of potatoes was much more than ‘a garnish’, as she tried to suggest.

I was tempted by dessert. The souffle looked lovely, and I remember just about dying for the salted caramel ice cream, but as our food settled, I felt as if my stomach might pop if I put anything more into it. Still, when a small plate of Profiteroles (£6.50) arrived at the table on the house (presumably because I tweeted I was going that night), I couldn’t turn them down. The Rose Petal and Earl Gray and Chocolate, in particular, were fantastic.

The buzz around Bob Bob Ricard seems to have decreased since last year, but I still found it to be fairly consistent with my last experience there. If one ‘not great’ dish and overly attentive service are the main detractors, I’d say they’re doing alright.

Princess Victoria – Shepherd’s Bush


The Princess Victoria is in Shepherd’s Bush, but just barely. It’s a good 20 minute walk West from Shepherd’s Bush Market station down a rather unpleasant stretch of Uxbridge road, which in 30 degree heat and a pair of high heels isn’t very nice at – especially when you’re late for a working lunch with a journalist friend.

But upon arrival, you’re immediately transported into the refined and elegant surroundings of what clearly is a gastropub with a fantastic interior design budget. Gorgeously striking navy walls, vintage chandeliers, old newspaper clippings framed on the wall and the sort of chairs and tables that cost £600 a piece at Portobello Road Market make it a rather lovely place to have lunch.

The menu is standard posh gastropub with a rather large selection of nibbles, bar snacks, starters, mains and desserts – probably a good 30 dishes in all.

We decided to go for a variety for starters, including the Chorizo Scotch Egg (£3.50):


It was small, but packed a punch. I know I’m going to cause some groans from a few readers on this, but there is a thing as too much chorizo. The casing completely overpowered the quail’s egg. I really wish they would have opted for a full-size hen’s egg instead.

The Gazpacho (£5.50) was a more popular choice, especially for such a hot summer day. It was fresh, light and perfect. It could stall other gazpachos flat, I was assured.


There was a similar reaction to the plate of Oysters, and unbelievable value for £10.50.


For my main, I went with a sharing plate normally reserved for the starters section: the Pork plate (£12.50):

So much pork has made my memory a little fuzzy as to what was on the plate (and the Princess does not list her menu on her website, for shame), but I do remember some salami, pate-type spread, homemade blood sausage and something I can only describe as shredded-pork heaven rolled in bread crumbs and fried to perfection. Yum!

Also on the table was the Potted Shrimp (£8-ish), which on the smaller side of starters-as-mains. We weren’t impressed as a whole, especially at the layer of butter over top that weighed down the sweet, fresh prawns.

The one proper main on the table was the Guilt Head Sea Bream (£15-ish):

A generous portion of fish, but unfortunately no sides unless you count the smear of pureed cauliflower (which I do not). It was a decent dish, but from my view it looked a little too oily once you got past the thin layer of skin, and my friend left hers half uneaten.

Despite the mixed bag, I really did enjoy the Princess Victoria. We made a few wrong choices, but I’m quite confident there is enough on the menu for even a table of 10 to be happy all around. For those who live in the area, I can imagine it being a fantastic place for a lazy Sunday lunch or a post-work drink.

Princess Victoria on Urbanspoon

om nom nom’ing in Iceland: Cheap eats in Reykjavik

Two things about Iceland that you need to know before you read this post:

  1. It’s awesome
  2. I’ve always always always wanted to go, so regardless, I’m probably going to be a bit biased

But seriously, what an amazing, bizarrely wonderful place. In three days, I managed to hit the beach, see a glacier, trek through mountains, get up close and personal with a giant waterfall, go whale watching (though admittedly I spent the whole time below deck, violently sea sick), eat puffin and whale (perhaps in retaliation for not being able to see them on a boat), and not once see the night sky.

It’s also not as expensive as one would have you believe – at least food wise. Our proper nice meal was lobster at Fjorubordid in the slightly dodgy-looking/slightly-charming seaside village Stokkeyri, but in all honesty, it deserves its own post.

Instead, here is a quick roundup of cheap eats in Reykjavik should you find yourself there on a limited budget.

In terms of Icelandic cuisine, you must absolutely not miss what is literally the most popular restaurant in Reykjavik: Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Just your normal everyday hot dog stand.

For about £2, you get ‘the works’ a classic Icelandic mix of spicy mustard, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion, and remolaði – a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. It was amazing.

Also not to be missed, the lobster soup at Saegreifinn – The Sea Baron. Luscious and rich, with huge chunks of fresh lobster. We ate outside looking over the harbour of fish boats, and it was a total delight.

And of course, what trip to Iceland could be complete without trying those adorably cute puffin and morally-compromising whale? We tried both at Tapas Barinn, an Icelandic/Spanish small plates restaurant in the heart of the city that had a dining room darker and redder than Satan’s soul – which means none of my pictures turned out. So here’s this instead:

The verdict? I liked both. Smoked puffin tastes like smoked duck, and surprisingly Mink Whale tastes like beef. They weren’t the kind of thing I’d jump through hoops for, but both were pleasant enough!

My surprise of the trip was the hamburger at Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar (“Búllan”), considered to be the best in Iceland. For about £8, you get a burger, fries and a coke. It was an absolute bargain, and truly was up there with the best I’ve ever had. It put #MEATEASY and The Meat Wagon to shame.

It is more than possible to eat well on a budget in one of the most expensive countries in the world. Reykjavik isn’t huge – only about 180,000 live there – so you really can see and do (and eat!) quite a lot in a few days. It was one of the best trips I’ve had, and for about two weeks I’ve been telling everyone to go. If you get the opportunity, take it.