Month: January 2012

Arianna II – Kilburn

Since moving from the leafy streets of Maida Vale to the slightly more ‘authentic’ (and a lot more cheap) Kilburn, I’ve been doing two things: saving money and exploring new places to eat. DQ and I have already found our staple takeaway places…

  1. La Basque for pizza
  2. Alex Plaice for fish and chips
  3. The Haandi House for curry
  4. Woody Grill for a messy kebab at 3am

I was ready to find somewhere to sit down, and the first place we tried was Arianna II, an Afghan restaurant on Kilburn High Road and an absolute gem of a place. Brilliant food, cheep and cheerful, and BYOB. Can you think of a better combination?arianna ii kilburn

We started with the Kadoo Buranee, a wonderfully aromatic warm pumpkin dish perfect for a winter evening. Along side, we enjoyed some fresh hummous, pita and some piping hot  meat samosas, smacking of ground cumin and chili.

I was insanely excited for the Kabuli Palow, and it didn’t disappoint. The shank was so tender that as soon as I picked up the bone (see Exhibit A), the lamb literally slid off the bone. Served on top of a sort of pilau with carrots, raisins, almonds and pistachios, it was the perfect combination of savoury and sweet.

arianna ii kilburn

Exhibit A

DQ went with the slightly more boring, but all together tasty Chicken Kebab. It was surprisingly spicy, and certainly enjoyable, if not a little predictable. He’s a boy who likes his chicken though, so what can you do?

Dessert was Firnee and Afghan-style pistachio pudding with a consistency not unlike a flan. After this much food, it was a welcome, light and slightly sweet note to end the meal.

arianna ii kilburn

All this, plus BYOB meant that our bill came to £25.00. That’s in total. Not per head. Rock on, Arianna II. We’ll be back.

 

Ariana II on Urbanspoon

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My Top 5 meals of 2011

A slight cold and travelling over Christmas has delayed the drafting of this post. However, that means I’ve had time to think about. My Top 5 meals of 2011 are a completely mixed bag, from the super cheap to the super expensive. I think only one is a ‘gimmie’, but you can’t fault the flawless execution of an internationally-famous chef. The rest I hope will be a bit of a surprise and inspire you to try some fantastic, not so well known, restaurants in London and abroad.

In no particular order, here are my most memorable, most delicious and most unique meals of 2011…

Kateh – Maida Vale
Although I’m no longer in Maida Vale, Kateh would be a reason to return. One of London’s only Persian restaurants, I still dream about the Koofteh Berenji starter of Persian meatballs I had. As an added bonus, it’s next door to the Windsor Castle pub – hands down the most delightful in a neighbourhood of over-priced drinking holes

The famous Meat Fruit from Dinner

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – Knightsbridge
Heston’s first London outpost made many-a-list this year, and it’s no surprise why. Our entire meal from beginning to end was expertly crafted and executed. I can say with certainty that the ‘Meatfruit’ deserves the amount of praise it received, as did the rest of the menu.

Heron – Paddington
Heron has made a little bit of noise over the past couple months. Rarely am I the early adopter of food bloggers, but finding Heron almost by accident in October was a real treat. It is hands down the most authentic Thai experience you can have in London. The menu is all in Thai, the food will make your eyes water and the random karaoke will have you in a fit of giggles.

900g of lobster at Fjöruborðið

Fjöruborðið – Iceland
Lobster is the name of the game at this tiny seaside restaurant. About 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik, it’s worth the trip. You will leave stuffed and happy.

Arianna II – Kilburn
It’s a bit of a cheat, because I haven’t written this up yet, but Kilburn’s only Afghani restaurant is (so far) my favourite restaurant in my new neighbourhood . With cuisine somewhere between Moroccan and Middle Eastern, it was a cheap, cheerful and delicious.

I know that I’ve slowed on the blogging in general, but I fully intend to pick it back up in full force in 2012. I may not be the best food blogger or the most influential or even with the ‘in’ crowd, but that’s not what this is about for me. It’s a love of food and dining out that keeps me going – and I hope that I will continue with it for many years to come.

Thanks for reading :)

BrewDog – Camden

‘Hello! How are you?’ These are that questions you should say to every beer you drink.

If it doesn’t answer you back (in a manner of speaking), you’re not having Brew Dog.

Luckily, the six beers I tasted at BrewDog’s new bar in Camden were full of words. They wouldn’t shut up, to be honest. Considering, I’m not the biggest beer drinker, this was a good thing. However, I still brought along the boyfriend (nicknamed DQ for the purposes of this blog) to give his expert one-line, beer-loving opinion along with my totally amateur one.

  1. Tokyo
    Me: This is the first beer I tasted, and it actually wasn’t part of the event, meaning that I had a half pint of an 18.5% beer that that tasted like a chocolate-covered cherry. Trust me, that gets a 5’3” girl tipsy in about 3 sips.
    DQ: A beer that tastes port. Yes.
  2. Punk IPA
    Me: A bit strong, sort of citrusy. If you don’t like beer a whole lot, I would skip it
    DQ: Nice, tastes a bit weird, but I like it (Editor’s note: we were back at Brew Dog two nights later, and he had two pints, so I think ‘like it’ is a bit of an understatement)
  3. 5am Saint
    Me: Almost like a bitter honeycomb. We’ve been told it’s been boiled for 90 minutes and hops are added after fermentation, sort of like brewing tea.
    DQ: I like this. Full of flavour.
  4. Scotch Ale
    Me: It’s dark like the Tokyo, and I’m immediately disappointed that it’s not.
    DQ: It’s like coffee and beer had a love child (Editor’s note: can you tell we were a bit far gone by this point?)
  5. Hard Core IPA
    Me: Yes, hardcore. Way too hardcore for me.
    DQ: Very hoppy, slightly acidic, overall pleasant
  6. AB08
    Me: I can’t really taste anything at this point.
    DQ: Smells like a farmyard, but in a good way. It’s a combination of hay and manure, but tastes like coffee and honey

Beer isn’t the only thing at Brew Dog, though – and that’s where I come in. There is a very small menu devised by Masterchef winner Tim Anderson, which features a rolling menu of burgers, pizza and cheese plates.

During the tasting, we tried the Santa Ana pizza – a hot little tamale of corn, onions, chilli, spicy salami and crème fresh. If you’re sensitive to spice, it’s not for you. I loved it, though.

Later on and still hungry, we bought the Milwaukee burger (£6.95), and absolutely perfect blend of pork, sauerkraut and a sauce I can’t quite remember, that is surely a contender for best burger in London. It was amazing.

Actually, the whole place was so amazing that DQ and I found ourselves back there two nights later. I’ll be honest, I’m not the hugest fan of Camden, but Brew Dog is enough to sway me. I’ll be back in a heartbeat.