Tuesday 27 May 2014

Where should you go for the best liver and bacon?

This is one of my favourite dishes of all time, something that I consider to be a real treat, mostly because I am the only person in my house who likes it. Therefore, it is served in Chez Stokes very infrequently. Liver and bacon is one of those things that seems hard to get right and is always at either end of two extremes : great or awful, never anything in-between. In my experience, approx. 10% are great and the remaining 90% are awful. This is what makes a great one really special, and a rare (no pun intended) find. So, where is the best place to get one, in London at least?

For me, it has to be at the London Steakhouse Co., in Kings Road, Chelsea; part of the Marco Pierre White stable of restaurants. The liver is cooked PERFECTLY; just the right shade of pink and deliciously tasty. I could eat this every week and never tire of it. For the record, the rest of the menu is good too, but nothing is quite as great as the liver and bacon. An easy SUPER-DISH, go and try it NOW!

N.B. for non-British readers, liver and bacon refers to calves liver; anything less just isn't cricket.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Superior Grill, 4701 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35242

I’ve visited Birmingham, AL twice now and I have been really surprised by how great the food has been. I’ve never even had an average meal anywhere in this city, it has always been excellent. On a recent visit, my new friend Arthur recommended this place for lunch and we sat down starving hungry at 12:01pm ready for some food!

We both had fajitas, which is what Superior Grill is famous for, quite rightly. The beef was truly amazing, the kind that is easy to find in America but so much harder to find in Europe. It was flavoursome, tender and it melted in the mouth. The portion size was also very generous and I struggled to finish, as well as being very reasonably priced. With a small bowl of bean soup on the side and a large glass of root beer, this was a lunch to die for. And die is what would happen to you if you ate it every day, but you would at least die happy!

Bizarrely, every bit as good as the beef fajitas were the nachos. Freshly cooked and crispy and served with a beautifully fresh salsa, these were so moreish… I’m going to award these a SUPER-DISH as these were a revelation; I need to learn how to make nachos that taste this good!

Another great meal in AL. On my way out at the airport I bought an Alabama cook book, by a guy who has visited over 300 local family restaurants all over the state and collected some of the very best recipes. From curried ginger salmon burgers to Oka Uba (a local beer) mustard sauce to Hartley’s (restaurant name) fudge pie, I can’t wait to try some of these out.

Jon McClure has pulled together some GREAT recipes. My job is hopefully going to take me to at least 25 out of the 50 states over the next few years, will try and buy a recipe book from each one; much better than a snow globe!


Monday 19 May 2014

Five Guys, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent

I wanted to write a few brief words about Five Guys. Everybody knows that Five Guys make EPIC burgers and hot dogs. There are five or so in central London and (having been a few times) have never had anything less than a great experience. Cheese and bacon burger with BBQ sauce and pickle is my favourite, with an embarrassingly large portion of fries on the side, with the excellent Cajun powder.

However, when places like this start to go big, and to open locations in shopping centres, this is not necessarily a good thing. This can dilute the quality of the offer and even ruin a hard-earned reputation. Given that this company have plans to open more locations within shopping centres, this question of quality is important. Has this reduction in quality happened with Five Guys at Bluewater?

In a word: no. Not at all. The burger in Bluewater a few Saturday’s ago was every bit as good as any other experience in a central London outlet. So, nothing to worry about then. You’re welcome.