Showing posts in Food

The London List Food Truck of the Week: Sorbitium IcesThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 21 Aug 2013

With the food truck craze taking London by storm, these mobile kitchens are also where you’ll find some of the very best food in the capital. In our new weekly feature we’ll be bringing you the hottest trucks and stands in London, where you can find them, and why you should be lining up for a taste. Show the rest of this post…

Though the summer’s drawing to a close, there’s still plenty of sun to be had before the winter freeze kicks in, and double cones from Sorbitium Ices are what summer days were made for. Suzanna Austin and Pedro Confessore, the husband and wife team behind Sorbitium met while working at Petersham Nurseries, and while love flourished, they discovered an insatiable passion for ice cream too.

Out the side of a glorious 1976 Citroën HY, Sorbitium Ices sell ice cream and sorbet that tastes so fresh it’s like you’re scooping out of the maker. Largely made with egg-based custards, at first the duo flavoured with fresh fruits, nuts and herbs from their allotment, although now they get the juiciest, seasonal produce from Western International Market in Southall.

The sea-salted caramel, rhubarb and ginger, pear sorbet and elderflower, mint and lemon sorbets are all essentials, but you could pick any of their flavours and your scoops will be delicious.

You can find the Sorbitium Ices truck every Friday and Saturday at Street Feast in Dalston Yard, the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at the London Farmers Market in Marylebone and numerous one-off events over the coming months. Tubs are also stocked at Basilico pizza takeaway and more across London.

Find a full calendar of their events on the Sorbitium site:

American Dad put on a Meat Masterclass to celebrate the release of Volume 8 on DVD

Posted in DVDs, Food, TV
By Sam Bathe on 6 Aug 2013

To celebrate the release of American Dad Volume 8 on DVD, we joined the show’s very own Stan Smith for a Meat Masterclass at the Central Street Cookery School in EC1, London. Show the rest of this post…

After a couple of drinks we headed into Central Street’s fantastic kitchen facilities, though with the heavens opening outside, we weren’t going to cooking on the barbie as planned. Kicking things off with crafting a burger each from scratch, after dicing some steak to add to the mince, we seasoned, shaped, and set aside to cook later. With the wise-cracking Stan jutting in at every possible opportunity, next we moved onto the main event, BBQ ribs. Braised and marinated by our excellent teacher Matthew Driver, it’s was up to us to lather the pork with sticky, smokey barbeque sauce, before throwing them in the oven and kicking back in the other room for episode one from the boxset.

With the ribs nice and succulent, 20 minutes later we headed back into the kitchen to fry off the burgers, then paired with oven-cooked potato wedges and fennel-roasted tomatoes, at last it was time to tuck in. Even Stan was kept quiet by the delicious swathe of food. Cook up your own ribs with the recipe below, and pick up American Dad Volume 8 on DVD now.

Barbecue ribs with barbecue sauce


1 rack pork spare ribs (approx. 1 kg)
350 ml American craft style pale ale
1 onion
2 sticks celery
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries

1 medium onion diced
2 sticks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
50 g of ginger, peeled and diced
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
50 g of tomato puree
100 ml of soy sauce
50 ml of Worcestershire sauce
50 g of black treacle
150g of soft brown sugar
vegetable oil


1. Turn the racks curved-side down, have the wider end facing you. Peel the edge of the translucent membrane away from the smaller end of the rack to form a small flap. Pull this towards you, so the membrane peels
off the bones.

2. Depending on the size of your large pot or saucepan, cut the rack into 2 or 3 pieces so that it fits inside. Place the ribs into the pot, pour over the beer and top up with water to completely cover the ribs.

3. Add onion, celery, bay and allspice to the pot.

4. Bring the pot up to a simmer, then place a lid on it and leave to cook for about 1 hour or until the ribs are tender. Once tender, remove the ribs from the cooking liquid and set aside to cool. Leave the pot liquor over
the heat to reduce by about one third.

5. For the sauce, in another pot, heat about 2tbsp vegetable oil then turn down the heat to low/medium.

6. Add the diced celery, onion, garlic and ginger with paprika and cayenne, place a lid on the pot and cook over a low heat until soft and melting.

7. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water or the poaching liquor from the ribs.

8. Warm to dissolve sugar.

9. When the sugar is dissolved bring to the boil then simmer until reduced to thick, sticky glaze.

10. Remove from heat but keep warm.

11. To finish the ribs, once the ribs are cool, cut away from the bone so that you have individual ribs. Using a pastry brush, paint the ribs with the barbecue sauce.

12. Place the ribs on a medium hot barbecue. After a few minutes turn the ribs over and glaze again. Repeat until nicely glazed and then serve with extra sauce on the side.

American Dad! Volume 8 is out on DVD now from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Umami Burger go fast food with U-Mini

Posted in Food
By Sam Bathe on 7 Jun 2013

California (and one location in Florida) doesn’t know how lucky it is. With 15 Umami Burger location, mostly across LA, they’re more than flush with one of the best burger chains in the world, things just got a little better, and a little faster. The latest addition is a restaurant in Westwood as with the new U-Mini, Umami are hoping to take on the likes of In-N-Out and the golden arches with a new fast food take on their famous burgers. Cool Hunting spoke to founder Adam Fleischman about adapting their menu for the even faster food world, and their positioning in the industry, offering a far superior product for a slightly higher price over some of their new competitors.

U-Mini Westwood, 1131 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024

The London List Abroad: Restaurant Review: Le Pur’ at Park Hyatt Paris-VendômeThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 28 May 2013

Waiting for our table at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme’s Le Pur’ restaurant, we had a feeling of overwhelming luxury. Show the rest of this post…

Welcomed for a cocktail at the bar while our table was being prepared, everyone knew who we were, when we were eating and were happy to help with our every question or request. It might have been what you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant led by Jean-François Rouquette but attention to detail from all the staff was really impressive.

After arriving a little early, we had expected we’d maybe be seated upon arrival, but when we were asked to our table on the dot of 8pm it became apparent why the staff held us back. Treated to an extended 12-course taster menu, it was obvious the kitchen had been preparing our meal for some time. After a few minutes to settle and take in the ambiance, we were served the tasting wine for our first course before the dishes started to come out of the kitchen.

Kicking off as Jean-François Rouquette meant to go on, duck foie gras lollypops accompanied a fantastic amuse bouche. Though the foie gras might have been a little rich for anyone not used to the rich taste, the amuse bouche blew us away. Including a mini steak tartar, black and white sesame sticks and two other elements, the tartar was so flavourful yet subtly seasoned I could have had it as a main, while the sesame sticks were the perfect side accompaniment.

After tasting two beautifully creamy butters for the breads that popped up throughout the dinner, the next course was a French cheese with garden peas, crumble and a fish jelly. Served a very measured amount of the cheese, not too much for those who aren’t big dairy eaters but enough to take in the strong flavours, they were an interesting pairing with the jelly, the textures proving surprisingly complementary.

Moving towards the main, the next course was a duck foie gras ravioli in a delicious root broth with garden herbs, paired with a wonderfully crisp 2007 Kiraldyurvard Sec white wine from Hungary. Broth often struggles with feeling bland when it is a side element but here it set the ravioli off even more. Two strong flavours in the ravioli might have been too much for your palette but the dish was delicate enough to avoid overpowering, and with just five of them, the perfect amount considering the number of courses left.

After quite rich starters the next two courses were the perfect to refresh the palette. Accompanied by a 2011 Schiste from Coteau de Cevins, green and white asparagus from Mallemort were served with souffléed revered rice, coconut milk and lemon zest to complete one of the most delicate and delicious courses of the dinner. Its freshness was matched by another beautiful course to follow.

By this point we had grown hugely impressed by the paired wines with each course, and the next was no different. Alongside a plump yet delicate poached/grilled anglerfish, served with broad beans arabica tonka and white and green Swiss chard, the wine to match was perfect. Complementing the taste of the fish with some sharper notes the 2009 Clos Saint Philibert Monopole was one of the best white wines I’ve ever had.

Though by now we were starting to get a little full, the next course was the best of the night. Served with French toast with speck and salsifi with cocoa butter and pickled pears, the clutch of medallions of sautéed venison was one of the best meat dishes of my whole life. Like a knife through butter, the venison was so tender and delicate to say it was cooked to perfect would be an understatement. Keeping up appearances, the paired 2010 Clos Lalfert wine was similarly impressive.

As I’m not a big cheese eater, I was a little worries by another cheese course before the deserts, but the Beaufort cheese and chicory went down with ease before a part of the menu we had been looking forward to since the start.

Desert is often where chefs can show off their creativity and the three-part end to our fantastic tasting menu paid testament to that. The first was a creamed chocolate with Mexican vanilla and berry jus, delicately flavoured so it wasn’t over sweet.

The showpiece, however, was a dark chocolate leaf filled with a light mascarpone mouse, served alongside tangerine preserved in ginger syrup. While there were two on the plate I could have eaten another 10, impressive considering we’d long-lost count of what course we were on, such was the ease at which they slipped down the throat. Each came with yet more delicious paired wines.

Accompanied by a sumptuous Ethiopian Moka espresso, the final course was an amuse-bouche of mini doughnut fingers, almond sponge and dipped ice cream lollypops.

After 12 courses I don’t think you need question whether we were full, but thanks to the measured portions it stayed just on the right side of being comfortable – after the tasting wines, we were feeling a little tipsy too – but what stood out was the restaurant as a whole. The food was a fantastic mix of fine dining, conceptual flavours and a home-cooked warmth. Given space to take in the ambience and enjoy the company of your fellow guests, tables are placed with a lavish amount of room to breathe as Le Pur’ easily ranks amongst the very best restaurants we’ve ever dined at. I’d heartily recommend opting for the tasting menu as the flow of dishes and service from the exceptional staff really makes it feel like a special experience.

Without a doubt we will be going back and I won’t be surprised if by then, head chef Jean-François Rouquette is showing off a second Michelin star on the door.

Booking information can be found on the Le Pur’ website:
Le Pur’, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, 5 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris

The London List Abroad: Restaurant Review: Le Garde Temps, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2013

Walking around Paris at 7pm, you’d think you have the pick of the restaurants. Show the rest of this post…

Everywhere you look there are rows of empty seats, especially those with great reviews and a fantastic looking menu, but step inside and all you’ll hear is “we’re fully booked”. Apparently the French don’t eat until later.

Luckily we found one restaurant that was happy to accommodate us, despite apparently being fully booked themselves, at least there were actually two other people dining at the same time though. And to be honest, I’m happy we weren’t there at the peak, because every table down one side is literally touching the next one, having to be slid out to let patrons sit down.

Starting with a superb soup – although the usually perfect French bread was a little stale – our mains were even better. With a subtle hake on one side of the table, I had the pork neck (not entirely what I had expected after some details getting lost in translation) but it was simply delicious. So tender and flavourful, both were accompanied with a smooth and tasty celeriac mash and the most beautiful of sauces. Both dishes were the perfect blend of warmer home cooking with more technical and enticing flavours.

Both pretty full, for desert we got something to share, but if was our best pudding of the holiday. A delicate apple tart with salted caramel ice cream, it was as good as anything from the very best patisseries in Paris and almost worth the price of the whole dinner alone.

Le Garde Temps, 19 bis rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009, Paris, France

The London List Abroad: Arnaud Delmontel, The Best Macarons In ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2013

I didn’t make it a secret that our trip to Paris would be something of a macaron tasting weekend. Show the rest of this post…

I think in total we had macaroons from over 10 different patisseries or specialist shops and though while most were delicious, there was definitely one clear winner.

With three locations in Paris, Arnaud Delmontel simply blew us away with their magnificent macarons. Though the selection might not be as experimental as some shops in the French city, each macaron had the look of perfection, and fabulous, colourful gift boxes to take them home. Any where I go, salted caramel and rose are generally my favourites and the two at Arnaud Delmontel were flawless. The part-buttercream, part-caramel centre of the salted macaron was fantastic, and with a slightly chewy core to the sweet meringues, it’s probably the best macaron I’ve ever had. The rose was equally good, with a subtle yet lasting flavour, and from chocolate to passion fruit and more, the whole selection is delicious.

Arnaud Delmontel have shops at 39 rue des Martyrs, 75009, 57 rue Damrémont, 75018 and 25 rue de Levis, 75017, Paris.

Where the other of Paris’ big names, Ladurée, falls flat, Pierre Hermé does stand up to its reputation, and with seven boutiques across Paris, you don’t have to walk far to find your next stop. With limited edition flavours to keep you coming back when you think you’ve tried it all (you won’t be surprised a salted caramel and rose concoction thrilled me no end), Pierre Hermé can go a little more experimental but still fall back on a very solid signature range, and the taste and quality is, almost, second to none.

For location please visit the Pierre Hermé website:

The London List: The Monocle Cafe, MaryleboneThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 9 Apr 2013

Monocle continue their brand extensions with their first London café, opening on Chiltern Street in Marylebone, next Monday. Show the rest of this post…

Housed in a long 18th century terraced shopping block, the two-floor café will seat approximately 15 guests with a warm wooden interior was conceived by renowned designer Yoshitsugu Takagi in collaboration with the Monocle team. Allpress Espresso will be providing the coffee, while food will run off a seasonal menu from Japanese chef, Masayuki Hara (formerly of Le Gavroche), including macarons, green-tea roll-cake plus Swiss-inspired bircher muesli, a hearty Monocle toasty and a Midori salad. The ground floor boasts a striking custom-made red oak counter, Ebolicht pendant lights from Manufactum, bar stools by Australian brand One/Third, with magazine racks dotted about with current and back issues of Monocle for guests to read. Though more interestingly the downstairs space is actually available for private hire to subscribers only, packed out with vintage Ercol chairs, tables from a local manufacturer and a projector for presentations.

The Monocle Café opens April 15th at 18 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7QA

The London List: Monkey Shoulder’s Malt Jockey At Factory 7, ShoreditchThe London List

By James Massoud on 27 Mar 2013

Monkey Shoulder’s a quirky, fun name for a whisky isn’t it? Show the rest of this post…

And renowned for their entertaining events as well, they didn’t disappoint with their latest ‘For One Night Only’ event, The Malt Jockey.

The latest night saw Monkey Shoulder’s Global Brand Ambassador, Dean Callan, unveil his new Manhattan cocktail – Malt Jockey – to an excitable audience in Shoreditch. The theme for the night was ‘An Evening at The Races’, with attendees invited to race remote controlled horses around a Scalextric track. And while people were playing jockey with their trigger fingers others could place bets on the races.

Professional bartenders kept guests liquidated throughout the evening by serving up delicious Monkey Shoulder cocktails, while Street Kitchen sated any hunger with their tasty snacks. For wannabe mixologists the recipe and method for the Malt Jockey is below. And if you want to join the fun next time round register your details here.

Mix your own Malt Jockey
40 ml Monkey Shoulder
30 ml Sweet Vermouth
10 ml Maraschino Liqueur
3 dashes Chocolate Bitters

1. Add all ingredients to mixing glass
2. Add ice and stir
3. Once dilution is reached, strain into chilled glass
4. Garnish with a twist of orange

The London List: The Faulty Towers Dining ExperienceThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By James Massoud on 18 Mar 2013

Let me ask you three questions: Do you enjoy live comedy? Do you like dining out? Do you like Faulty Towers? Show the rest of this post…

If you answered yes to all of the above then you’re in luck because the Faulty Towers Dining Experience ticks all of those boxes. Based at the Charing Cross Hotel, Sybil, Basil and Manuel play host to a group of guests who are ready to eat, drink, laugh and feel all nostalgic.

From the minute the triumvirate enter the room, humour isn’t far behind. It’s a delightful hark back to the comedy that was so prevalent in 1970s sitcoms – obvious gags, practical tomfoolery and casual mockery. You can see some of the jokes coming from a mile away such is their obviousness, but they delight precisely for that reason – it’s feel good humour, albeit be it at the expense of poor Manuel.

The three actors playing the beloved characters have their mannerisms, voices, laughs and jests down to a tee, as well as their poor running of a hotel. Basil and Manuel bounce off each brilliantly, while some of the more memorable gags from the hit series are re-enacted, much to the amusement and applause of the guests-come-audience.

I shall not reveal what’s on the three-course menu because I didn’t know myself upon arrival, however, should you be crying out for a spoiler alert­ (stop reading now if you don’t want to know) then I will tell you that Basil does do the goose-step!

The interactive dining experience has already toured the world and topped Timeout London’s list of Best-Selling West End shows, now extended in London until the end of the year.

Visit the website for booking details:

Short Film: Speciality Coffee

Posted in Food, Short Films
By Sam Bathe on 30 Jan 2013

Part of their fantastic Subculture Club series, Thrash Lab explore the world of speciality coffee, talking to three coffee companies about the taste, look, smell and pour of the perfect cup, whilte keeping a traditional experience.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

We’ve been featured on the front page of Reddit and produced off-shoot club night Friday Night Fist Fight, launched a Creative Agency and events column The London List.

FAN THE FIRE is edited by founder, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief, Sam Bathe. Site by FAN THE FIRE Creative.

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