Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Pizza Pod, Leeds

Another street food contender in Leeds, the Pizza Pod keeps it simple and the results are good. They've got a proper wood burning oven fixed atop a mobile trailer, and serve just three different pizzas plus a daily special.

The regular three are margherita, al funghi or pepperoni and each costs just £3.50. The special on Friday was pecorino, rocket and truffle oil for £4.

The al funghi was generously topped, with a decent balance between cheese, tomato and mushrooms. There was a nicely charred crust and a bit of chew to the base, not the best I've ever had but far better than those you sometimes get that are overly thin and end up with the texture of crackers. Garlic and chilli oils are available by way of condiments.

You can find them on Albion Street on weekday lunchtimes. Well worth a visit as an alternative to a sandwich.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Béres Pork Shop, Sheffield

Beers, Bears, Beresh? I'm not quite sure how you pronounce Béres. The latter perhaps, I know it's Hungarian and that sounds to my linguistically challenged brain to be the most Mitteleuropa way of saying it. Beers might be the more Sheffield way though.

Whatever it's called, of all the myriad wonders I've been discovering about Sheffield, an entire chain of shops devoted to pork sandwiches was one of the most intriguing. I'd been looking forward to a visit for ages. Mmmm pork.

It was an expertly crafted sandwich. The Middlewood branch was a well oiled machine, the staff churning them out in a steady production line: bread sliced and smeared in meat juices, then on goes thinly sliced pork, stuffing, crackling and apple sauce to taste.

I can't say I loved it though. The crackling was great, shattered into little salty shards, and the stuffing and bread were fine. The meat itself was just a bit bland though, making the whole thing slightly heavy going.

£2.25 for the standard size pork sandwich. I'd have another, but not in a great hurry. Back to the bacon methinks.


8 branches around Sheffield

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dine on the Rowe, Beverley, East Yorkshire

That most elusive of meals out: a really genuinely good roast dinner. I can't recall eating one where I didn't pick over something on the plate and think how much better I could have done it myself.

It's not that I'm that great a cook, just that pubs and restaurants always seem to cock up at least one component, be it lumpen, dry Yorkshire puddings, dessicated meat or soggy veg.

I thought that Dine on the Rowe might have been the one to confound expectations, and in some ways it was. The roast platter was a sizeable feast for four, much of which was very good. Lamb and beef were the highlights, both accurately cooked, blush pink inside and with lovely marmitey pan bottom crusty bits on the edges. So far so good alongside proper, well-made gravy, a decent Yorkshire pudding and a dish of very cheesy gratinated broccoli.

The potatoes weren't so good. The roasts looked and tasted like the 'chuck 'em in the deep fat fryer for an even crisp coating' variety, which I don't think really works. You just end up with an extra chunky chip with a mealy middle. The second bowl of potatoes appeared to be boiled and partly roasted herbed new potatoes all mushed up before they were really ready. They didn't get eaten.

The third of the meats was belly pork, which I think had also seen the inside of the fryer. It was cut into thin strips, the result being lovely crackling but dry, overcooked meat. The rest of the vegetables were fine.

I enjoyed the meal, particularly the meat, but other things were disappointing given the wait of almost an hour and the higher end price tag (£13.50 per person for the shared roast). We were looked after very well while waiting though, and service was good throughout.

It's a nice restaurant, comprising a few small rooms in what looks like a converted house in the centre of town. I'd like to return to try the regular menus as there's definitely some skill in the kitchen, but I wouldn't bother with the roast again. If you don't know Beverley I'd recommend a visit there too, it's a lovely market town with lots to see and do (and has the added bonus of being very handy for Hull!).


12-14 Butcher Row
East Yorkshire
HU17 0AB

Monday, 24 September 2012

Two lamb curries

I'm really going to have to fight the urge to have a moan again. If people aren't stealing things from me at the moment (passport, driving licence, phone et al) I'm breaking my own things by dropping them (another phone) or having things taken from my grasp at the last moment just when all the arrangements have been made (a house). And it's raining. Woe is me.

I will fight the urge. No more complaining. This is a food blog, not a lifestyle complaints blog, and I'll never win any awards if I carry on like this. That, in case you were wondering, was a not very subtle hint.

*Shameless self promotion alert*. I'm very lucky to have been shortlisted in the category for 'Best food and drink blog' at the Blog North Awards, so on the off chance you like what you read here, your vote would be greatly appreciated. Failing that I'd recommend that you take some time to read some of the other blogs on the shortlist, there are plenty of talented people in the North sharing their words and thoughts.

Back to the real point of this post. If your spirits are down and it's pissing it down, what better remedy than to cook a curry. This is really just the one curry, split in half at the last and customised two different ways for a slightly different finished article.

Both versions are gently warming, aromatic rather than fiery, and richly satisfying with either rice or bread. The aubergine version has a smokier taste, the chickpea one is nutty with a pleasing tang and sweetness from the addition of tamarind.

This takes around 3 hours from start to finish but you'll only actually be doing anything for half an hour or so. It might look like a lot of ingredients and effort, but it really isn't. For the most part it's a case of throwing stuff in a food processor and leaving a pan to simmer.

Serves about 4-6 people in total

Base ingredients
2 onions
tin tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
900g lamb shoulder
bunch coriander leaves
vegetable oil

Wet curry blend
8 cloves garlic
1 or 2 long green chillies
2 thumb sized piece of ginger
stalks from a bunch of coriander

Dry curry blend
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 dsp cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

for the aubergine version
6-8 baby aubergines
1 tsp cumin seeds
oil and sea salt

for the chickpea version
400g tin chickpeas
1 dsp tamarind sauce

What to do

1. Peel and quarter the onions, then chuck them in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put them in a large pan to sweat on a low heat with a splash of oil.

2. Roughly chop all of the wet curry blend ingredients, then chuck them in the food processor and blitz into a loose paste with a splash of water.

3. Put all of the dry curry blend ingredients in a dry frying pan and heat over a medium heat until they start to brown just a little and become aromatic. Tip them into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, leave to cool for a few minutes then grind to a powder.

4. Trim and chop the lamb into bite sized chunks. The onions should have started to soften by now so remove them from the pan, turn up the heat and throw in the lamb to brown it.

5. After the lamb has browned for a few minutes remove it from the pan and put it with the onions. Put the pan back on the heat and throw in the wet curry blend. Fry, stirring so it doesn't stick, for a minute or two. Add more oil if it needs lubrication.

6. Throw the dry curry blend ingredients into the same pan and fry for another minute or two, then add the onions and lamb back into the pan, and fry for another couple of minutes.

7. Pour in the tin of tomatoes plus one empty tin's worth of water, then add the tomato puree and give it a good stir. Bring to a gentle simmer, put a lid on the pan, and leave it be for a good two hours. Give it a stir after an hour or so if you feel like it.

8. After two hours the sauce should still be quite runny but the lamb should be tender. At this point set the oven to maximum heat, prick the aubergines then give them a coating of oil, sea salt and a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

9. Split the curry into two separate pans, half in each. Put the aubergines into the oven, roast the hell out of them until the edges are slightly blackened and the innards mushy. This will only take ten minutes or so.

10. Into one pan of curry put the chickpeas, drained of all the can juices, and a spoonful of tamarind sauce (you could make tamarind juice up yourself from pulp, but I find this works just as well). Bring it to a gentle simmer with the lid off for about twenty minutes.

11. Bring the other pan of curry to a gentle simmer as well, and keep it bubbling gently with the lid off. As soon as the aubergines are ready chuck them straight in.

12. The curries are ready to serve as soon as the sauce has reduced to your liking. Garnish with coriander leaves and eat with rice and breads.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Yuzu, Manchester

On my second day this week in Manchester I thought I'd stick with the healthy eating theme and go for Japanese. Fish, rice, nourishing broths and vegetables. That sort of thing.

Japanese food remains a bit of a mystery to me, I keep intending to give it due attention but I'm so easily distracted by the more obvious, dirtier delights of Sichuan, Thai or Indian that I've never really learned to appreciate its subtlety and elegance.

With those thoughts in mind I rocked up at Yuzu and ordered the epitome of health, subtlety and elegance: deep fried pork, or tonkatsu to give it its proper name.

Each of a concise list of lunch specials comes served with rice, miso soup and garnish (some lightly pickled cucumber and daikon), mine being the most expensive at £7.95. The tonkatsu was an enormous pork cutlet, expertly fried. They really do know how to deep fry things the Japanese. The crumb coating was grease free and crunchy, the pork within beautifully moist.

There was a little jug of sauce to go with it (I wasn't sure whether this should be poured on the pork or rice, so opted for both), which tasted like sweet, thick Henderson's relish. The internet tells me this is Tonkatsu sauce, and it is indeed a Worcestershire sauce type confection.

I did enjoy this meal, but it didn't quite give me my Japanese food breakthrough, just seeming a bit too plain for my tastes, like the meat and two veg of the Asian food world. It could just be that my palate has been beaten into submission by aggressive spicing over the years though.

The restaurant itself is plain but rather nice, with wooden tables for four and a long sort of bar with stools making it a comfortable place to dine alone. Service was efficient and prices look to be very reasonable at dinner as well as lunch. I'd like to return in the evening, this might just be the place where I learn to love Japanese food.


39 Faulkner Street
M1 4EE

Yuzu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Whitworth Art Gallery Café, Manchester

After a week of loafing around snacking and boozing thoughts inevitably turn to healthy eating, so of all the recommendations given to me for lunch near the University in Manchester the Whitworth art gallery café seemed like the best bet (thanks to North West Nosh for the tip).

The soup and salad meal deal was really rather good, and a more than generous lunch for £6.50. More than generous as in bloody loads and more than I really needed to eat. Does it still count as healthy eating if you eat two healthy lunches at once, or have I blown it?

Either way it was nutritious and vegetarian so that's a start. The roasted tomato soup was simple but well made and came with excellent sun-dried tomato bread (from the Barbakan deli if I recall correctly). Full marks for not using little pre-packaged pats of butter too.

Everything on the salad plate was distinctive in its own right, there was none of that melange of dressing/mayo mess you sometimes get when several mediocre salads are plonked together in a bowl. There was potato salad, properly dressed leaves, good hoummus, a few grapes and olives, a sweet, oniony roasted vegetable mix and best of all, a lovely nutty chickpea one with cumin and carrots.

I really enjoyed this, and it's always nice to see cultural institutions outsourcing the catering to small companies who care (as opposed to execrable catering giants like Leith's). Highly recommended.


Oxford Road
M13 9PL 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Northern Food on tour: Self-catering in Spain

My love for all things Spanish was put to the test at the start of last week's holiday. We'd planned a very relaxing week; simple food, sunshine and plenty to read by the pool.

So what we really, really wanted to happen, an hour or so after the plane landed, was for our hire car to be broken into, most of my useful possessions stolen, and then to have lots of fun driving a left hand drive for the first time, around a foreign city on a busy Friday afternoon, racking up the data charges using my phone as an impromptu satnav, attempting to locate a police station and the British consulate.

After two further trips to Malaga, to collect police reports and an emergency passport, some serious relaxation was due. We barely left the villa and didn't eat out at all save for a couple of tapas in a bar outside the consulate and burger and chips at a beach side cafe on the coast.

Moaning aside, sometimes it's nice to self cater on holiday. Sat on our terrace in splendid isolation with nothing and no-one else to worry about was marvellous. Here's my quick guide to eating in Spain.


We were on holiday, so let's start with the booze. There has to be sherry. An all rounder that will match virtually any savoury food is a good place to start, I'd go for either a fino or a manzanilla. We drank a bottle of La Guita manzanilla that was happy alongside anything and everything: olives, ham, peppers, clams, chorizo or just a bowl of crisps.

I'm no wine expert but everything else vinous we drank was very good. There was white rioja and red, Albarino, and a couple of bottles of cava at less than three euros a bottle that were better than bottles of champagne I've had costing thirty quid.

Onto the beer, I've no idea whether Spain has a craft beer movement or anything comparable, but I had no intention of finding out. What I want under a blazing sun is icy cold, crisp lager in a glass bottle. Of the major Spanish brands I'd recommend Mahou (the five stars variety in the red bottle).

Finally Spanish cider is worth a shout. A light, refreshing bottle of it from Asturias in Northern Spain is just the job if a cold beer doesn't tickle your fancy.


Buy anything salty, pickled, fishy or piggy and serve with sherry and beer as per above. You really cannot go wrong with this formula.

On the ham front I bought 100 grams of iberico de bellota which was enough to last the whole week. Expect to pay over ten euros for 100g of the acorn-fed ham (that's the de bellota stuff, mine was about 11.50) but you can get decent stuff for less than half that price, around 6 or 7 euros for 'de recebo' that's partially acorn fed or 4 or 5 for good quality grain fed, known as 'de cebo'.

Olives here are splendid, I'm not sure there are any finer olives than those grown in Spain (maybe Greece or Italy?). My preference is for fat, meaty gordal olives in brine or perhaps stuffed with anchovies or chilli and citrus. A three euro pot of gordal olives lasted the week with ease.

On the fishy snack front I just had a few boquerones on this trip, plump anchovies marinated in vinegar. They're readily available and also great value. I didn't have any this time round but it's also worth seeking out the dried fish products, mojama (air dried tuna) being the obvious example, though I'm not sure whether it's sustainable or otherwise.

Other than that who doesn't love ploughing through one of those unfeasibly large bags of ready salted crisps so beloved of our continental cousins?


Spain produces excellent beef, lamb, and of course pork. Weirdly on this trip lamb was conspicuous by its complete absence from anywhere we looked for it. If anyone could shed any light on this mystery I'd love to know why there wasn't any lamb?

Good thick steaks of a stature your rarely see in UK supermarkets are readily available, and in my experience are generally better hung and of higher quality than our supermarket versions. Look for chuleton de buey, basically a beef chop - sirloin often with the bone in. You'll be wanting to slap one of those on the barbecue.

While we're on the subject, a barbecue every night is the way to go in this climate. It's so dry that lighting them is often possible with a single match, far easier than the stiff breeze and damp drizzle British efforts.

Pork-wise if you want to pay extra you can get iberico pork, which is great though not as exciting as it is when cured into hammy things. Fillets (filete de cerdo) have plenty of flavour and make fantastic kebabs. Some of the cheap and nasty pork products are utterly vile though, so I wouldn't mine the bottom end of the market. I inadvertently tried some budget black pudding (morcilla) that was horrid. Stick to the quality stuff and morcilla and chorizo make lovely tapas fried off alone or with a splash of wine.


I'm stating the obvious here, but you really can't go wrong if you stick to the Mediterranean stuff. The peppers, tomatoes and aubergines are all excellent. A dish of veggies baked with herbs, sort of a ratatouille, finished under the grill with a cheesy topping and scooped up with crusty bread, was one of the best meals of the holiday.

Salad vegetables are also very good, I do like a continental schnozzcumber (the little knobbly cukes) and there's a great variety of lettuces and leafy things.

For snacks and starters of a healthier persuasion a bag of little peppers for frying is a good choice, they'll be labelled 'semipicante' which is nonsense in practice. Most of them won't be spicy, the odd one might be.

Last but not least my new favourite way with corn is to barbecue a fat ear until it's just starting to char, then smother it in butter and smoked paprika.


The range of seafood that's routinely on sale in Spain is nothing short of astounding. I counted about twenty varieties of shellfish in one large supermarket, at least half of which I'd never even seen before, and that's before you even get started on the crustacea, fish and squidy type things.

We bought clams (almejas) which make a fantastic tapas dish steamed with a glass of sherry and sprinkled with parsley. I also completely ruined an octopus on the barbecue (paprika flavoured rubber bands if you must know) but done properly, Galician style, they're bloody lovely. Look for pulpo a Gallega or pulpo a feira on tapas menus. What you'll get are tender slices of the stuff doused in sea salt, paprika and olive oil.


One word: melons. Spanish melons are great. Ripe, sweet and very juicy. An enormous watermelon lasted us the whole week and we still had to chuck half of it away. Nectarines, peaches, plums, greengages and citrus fruits of any type are all marvellous too.

Baked goods

I don't think they're quite as good as the French, but they're still fine bakers in Spain. We ate crusty bread, open textured baguette style stuff and denser pan rustico, the champion sauce mopper. There was also a slightly sweet loaf that we ended up with by accident that reminded me of a French loaf that I think is called gache.

What else?

At breakfast time in Europe there must and shall be Nutella. I know it's just chocolate flavoured sugary oil but it's bloody delicious. Good jam and creamy butter is also a must.

Onwards to lunchtime and I'll confess to a fondness for vacuum packed, pre-cooked tortilla. Warm them up in the oven then serve in wedges with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. They're really quite nice, and featured in our lunches for most of the week.

We didn't eat a lot of cheese and I've not had a lot of experience with those from Spain. I know they make good cheese, I'm just not sure I've eaten the best of it other than some decent Manchego and Cabrales, a pretty full-on blue that's made from cow's milk blended with sheep or goat's.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bacon Sandwich Quest: August

I'm really getting sick of this blog feature now. Why did I decide to do it? Why? Roll on December is all I can say. August was hardly a thrilling month in bacon sandwich world, but at least it wasn't as bad as July.

July really was the pits of the world. It rained too much, I didn't go on holiday anywhere less rainy and nowhere near enough bacon was involved.

August was a three sanger month. But there are only two sandwiches pictured below I hear you cry. You'd be right, I ate two of them at once, as the magnificent Buffet Box of Cumbernauld does a special breakfast offer: 2 bacon rolls and a tea or coffee for two pounds.

TWO pounds for TWO bacon sandwiches. AND a hot drink. They're small but very well formed. Similar to the offering just up the road at the Old Inns Café and plenty of other places in Scotland for that matter. Smoked bacon on a crusty-ish roll, smear of brown sauce, friendly service. These were just let down a touch by a surfeit of cheap marg.

The other one was from the café at Rivelin Valley Park in Sheffield. The bacon and bread were good here, and had it not been for some poorly drained tinned tomatoes rendering the whole thing a bit soggy, I'd have been impressed. Thick cut bacon with a mild cure, very soft fresh bread and not badly priced at £2.50 to eat in.

Four more months to go. I must and shall complete this challenge. It really hasn't turned out to be much fun though. Perhaps I should have upped the ante a little, bacon sandwiches are so 2010 what with everyone on the internet shoving bacon in any foodstuff imaginable. Ooh look at me I made a bacon trifle and it was AMAZEBALLS and just wait 'til you try my bacon and black pudding pavlova you'll go blind with pleasure.

Here's the leaderboard as if anyone were interested:

Monday, 3 September 2012

Lunya, Liverpool

As a little warm-up for my impending holiday in Spain I thought I'd have a little tapas session while I was in Liverpool last week. The city is blessed in this regard, being home to both Lunya and Salt House, the pair just a stone's throw apart on the edges of the Liverpool One development.

Last time around I chose Salt House, primarily as the menu at Lunya was a little overbearing. Multiple pages describing a great many things in some detail. The menu is still comprehensive but has thankfully slimmed down to a more manageable single page crammed full of goodies.

Having eaten there I understand the rationale behind the extensive menu. Lunya is also a deli and importer of Spanish and Catalan foods, and the long list is clearly borne from a desire to show off the marvellous ingredients rather than any tendency to overcomplicate. This was evident in bowl of gordal olives stuffed with orange and chilli flakes, which were as good as any olives I've eaten anywhere, ever. The only ones I think come close are the gordal olives from Brindisa.

A glass of manzanilla, which took an age to arrive, was fantastic with the olives and well worth the wait. Tinder dry and a bit salty, but somehow cool and refreshing with it.

Catalan fish stew, or sarsuela, was simple but delicious. The thin, savoury saffron spiked broth was brimming with good quality, plump mussels and prawns and several chunks of what I think might have been red mullet.

Pear, rocket and valdeon cheese salad was enormous, and all about the cheese really. The ripeness of the blue dominated the flavour but not in a bad way. It was smooth and sweet rather than bitter, and the whole had a pleasing texture from the freshness of the leaves and added crumbled walnuts.

The only duff note of the night were the ham croquetas. Nothing wrong with the taste but they'd either not been fried for long enough or dunked in oil that wasn't hot enough (I'd guess the latter) rendering them a touch heavy and rather greasy.

Bread was a fine example of the usual Spanish stuff. It can seem a bit heavy at first, lacking the finesse of a French loaf, until you realise the denser texture is perfect for soaking up whatever delicious juices happen to be swimming around your various dishes asking to be devoured. In this case it became the vehicle for a good half bowlful of lovely fishy stuff. Splendid.

Save for the drinks being very slow to arrive, and the oil for the bread never arriving at all (though I didn't really miss it) service was excellent. The food arrived quickly and the guy serving me knew the menu well and was happy to offer recommendations.

It's also very good value here. Offers are available on every week night, on Wednesday it was any five tapas for a fixed price dependent on when you order, £18 before 6, £19 before 7 and so forth. As a result before service I paid £20 for the food and £4.25 for a generous 125ml measure of sherry. Full prices are still more than fair, with olives cheaper and far better than other places nearby (Jamie's Italian to pick an example at random) and an almost main portion sized fish stew chock-full of seafood costing only £6.95. Well worth a visit.

Roll on Friday when I'll be heading south for more of the same.


18-20 College Lane
L1 3DS

Lunya on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Good things to eat [Volume 11]

A few more things I've been enjoying recently but haven't written about elsewhere.

Plum puddings

Not plum puddings in the Christmassy sense, plum puddings meaning any dessert made from plums. After last years magnificent damsons I'm on the look out for anything vaguely plummy. Damsons themselves are yet to appear but I've made a couple of lovely puddings with some Victoria plums and some cheap and cheerful purple supermarket plums of unknown variety.

The secret is in the cooking. Neither variety of plum was that exciting to eat alone, not juicy or sweet enough to give much pleasure. But slowly baked under a thin, crisp topping the juices ran and the flavours came alive.

It's far too early for a full-on crumble and custard is out of the question, so I just make enough topping to barely cover the fruit. A large knob of butter rubbed into a tablespoon each of oats and flour and a dessertspoon of sugar.

Think of it as a late summer plum crisp, and serve it warm rather than hot with a dollop of thick, cold cream or vanilla ice cream (or even better, both). Heaven.

Lamb from Rivelin Valley farm shop

As with the plum puddings a slow roast shoulder of lamb smacks of autumn, conjuring up images of pillowy piles of mash and jugs of gravy. It doesn't have to be that way, have it with roast new potatoes and minty summer veg and you've got a splendid Sunday dinner for August.

The lamb on this occasion was from the farm shop in the Rivelin Valley, and I'd thoroughly recommend it. There was real depth of flavour to the meat, quite strong and very slightly gamey. The farm shop is one of the more basic survivors, there's no plush barn conversion tea room or any other frippery, just fine produce.

Proper jerk

Jerk how I love thee. Proper jerk is one of the finest foods known to man. It really is. Sadly there's a lot of crap out there sold in the name of jerk, so you might have been given the false impression that it's just another chilli sauce and grilled meat combo, caribbean Nando's if you like.

Jerk chicken, or whatever other meat you choose to jerk, is so much more than this, it has real complexity of flavour from the marinade, allspice and scotch bonnet chillies being the dominant forces. It's a hot, smokey, fruity, spicy, lip-tingling thing of wonder.

The jerk in the photo was just such a thing, marvellous it was. I bought it at the Bristol balloon fiesta, a huge event with dozens of food stalls, of which this jerk stall was the least professional looking by a country mile. Mis-spelled menu scrawled by hand in felt tip, a makeshift counter made from an assortment of camping furniture and a great big fuck-off kettle drum barbecue.

These are always the best places for jerk, it's usually better to shun anywhere that looks vaguely professional (especially any upmarket caribbean restaurants, which are all expensive and boring) and make a beeline for the most ramshackle stall or a takeaway carved out of the front room of a terraced house.

Custard tarts from Ho's bakery, Leeds

I'm not always sure what to make of Chinese baked goods. If I'm in the mood I quite enjoy the sweet, doughy buns stuffed with all manner of bits and bobs, roast pork being a particular favourite. I do have to be in the mood though, sometimes they just seem a bit weird to my British palate. I always bite into them half expecting jam or that fake cream stuff they love at Gregg's or anything other than pork.

I do love the custard tarts though, especially when they're done as well as those at Ho's bakery in Leeds. They're really delicate with a wobbly, barely sweet filling and light, flakey pastry. I could eat half a dozen.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Dirtyburger, Kentish Town, London

Those of you who spend rather less time than I do obsessively scouring the internet for all things food related may not have realised that, in these benighted times, the streets of London are no longer paved with gold, but with burgers.

There are a hell of a lot of burgers in the fair city of London, a hell of a lot. An entire sub-genre of food blog devoted to chronicling the burgers of London has sprung up of late, and they really do make me hungry. In the grand scheme of everything I like eating I'm not even that big a burger fan, but there's just something enticing, some basic urge that needs satisfying when I see all these photos of dirty great slabs of beef, glistening with cheese 'twixt bread. Want burger. Drool.

Want burger I certainly did on a very brief foray down South last week, and as luck would have it I wasn't too far away from Dirtyburger, which was also conveniently located down the road from Hampstead Heath, a quick yomp up Parliament Hill afterwards would count as a cursory effort at working off some of the grease.

My dirtyburger wasn't that dirty, I've undoubtedly had dirtier, half pound chilli cheeseburgers from Big Mama's of Headingley spring to mind and it's a decade and more since I've had one of those.

It was bloody delicious though, the taste of fantastic quality beef being particularly prominent despite some assertive pickles. The bun was up to the task too, holding together 'til the last even though the meat was very pink and juicy. Only the cheese seemed to have gone awol, it was definitely in there but didn't really taste of anything.

Crinkle cut fries were crunchy and moreish but I wish I tried the onion fries instead (who am I kidding, as well as). There's beer if you want it and Fentiman's pop. £5.50 for the cheeseburger, £2.50 for fries. Bring a coat in winter, it's a sort of shed out the back of Pizza East (same owners) and heating looks unlikely.


79 Highgate Road
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