Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sylvan Post

24-28 Dartmouth Road
SE23 3XZ

So it’s not often that you see a post office converted into a pub. And by post office, I don’t mean one of those elaborate historical post offices, I mean a modern day drab 60s concrete block kind of post office. But if you were going to do it, you should definitely aim for something like the Sylvan Post, which has quirky features aplenty (some little snugs in the back that look like jail cells?), a phenomenal beer selection, and food that is better than the average pricing would imply. For a pre-Christmas gathering, we all piled into catch up on stories and stuff ourselves silly – my main of mutton with some truly excellent chips on the side was everything that I wanted on a cold winter’s night. Can’t wait to get back there soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014


38 Arwenack St
TR11 3JF

We visit A’s mum C in Falmouth fairly frequently but there are still always new places to try. This time we took cousin P with us and C suggested an African restaurant called Amanzi. I’ll be honest and say I know very little about the cuisines in Africa – I love Eritrean / Ethiopian food, and know that South Africa involves a lot of barbecued meat, but aside from that I am clueless. I was surprised by how much seafood was on the menu (and then opted for something clearly not African – the Singapore chilli crab dish). This was good, if a bit overly salted, and incredibly messy to eat, just as it should be. A tip for you – don’t get the chilli crab dip to start if you’re having the chilli crab as a main – they’re basically the same thing. A had a trio of fish, while C had a pretty incredible looking seafood platter, and P opted for espetada, which was cubes of beef skewered and presented hanging from a hook. This is a dinner I remember more for the good company than for the food though, so that probably says a little bit about it – next up is a pub lunch in Cornwall that we all definitely remembered for the food!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


63-69 Canonbury Rd
N1 2DG

Smokehouse has replaced an Islington pub called The House, and I am grateful – for some reason I never really liked The House and found their food overpriced for the quality. Smokehouse, on the other hand, is certainly not cheap, but at least a lot of effort goes into the food and they’re serving dishes I would never dream of making at home. Plus the beer selection is broad and varied, which makes it easy to convince A to visit. We started with the chopped brisket roll & gochujang – shredded brisket meat is shaped into a cylinder and then breaded and deep fried and served alongside a kicky Korean-inspired dipping sauce. I could have happily eaten an entire one on my own but A and I are getting better at sharing. He had the peppered ox-cheek with cauliflower cheese & gravy, while I was so overwhelmed by choices I opted for three sides for my dinner - Smokehouse salad, which consisted of a garden’s worth of vegetables smoked and grilled to impart some extra flavour, the lamb stovies which was quite a hearty dish of lamb stewed with potatoes, and the Korean pulled pork, which is exactly as fall-apart-tender as it needs to be. I think we had a dessert too – the krun chee nut – but I’d skip it next time as I think their strengths are really in the savouries.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cafe Bonito

162 Wood St
E17 3HX

A rainy Saturday found me cycling around Walthamstow to see the neon signs at God’s Own Junkyard. There was quite a lot of uncertainty about whether they’d have to close after losing their lease so I made it out there on their last official weekend, but thankfully since then they’ve secured a new location not too far away. After looking my fill at incredible intricate neon art, I wandered around Wood Street and stumbled across Café Bonito, which serves a mixture of normal café food and Spanish specialties. The Spanish hot chocolate with freshly fried churros caught my eye and was the ideal antidote to the dreary skies – I relaxed with a book until the showers passed and then wobbled home, full of warmth and cinnamon goodness.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


205 Richmond Rd
E8 3NJ

I’m becoming very fond of going to the movies on Sunday afternoon or evening – it’s something to look forward to on a day which usually just feels like the end of freedom. Sometimes we need a bit to eat before the movie as well, so on this occasion, P, AJ, A and I had an early bird dinner at Lardo. My octopus starter was great – chewy yet tender octopus chunks interspersed with briny capers and fresh greens. This was a light beginning which was then followed by pure indulgence – a pizza topped with lardo, spinach and a just-set egg. I loved it, though the rest of the table thought it was over-the-top and couldn’t quite get used to eating pig fat. They liked the margherita pizza more. A wild boar pasta and a hen-of-the-woods pasta were also perfectly savory with a good al dente chew to the fresh noodles. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and it’s a good option for Italian if you’re not friends with AJ who can cook all this stuff at home!