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BIWON KOREAN BBQ

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Photographs: David Straight

Just off Link Drive, near the Freedom and behind the foodcourt and next to the hospice shop, you’ll find Biwon. Such inauspicious surroundings: such fantastic food.

They do all the Korean standards here – bibimbap and soup and so on – but you’re really here for grilled meat. You might be familiar with the format: each table has an extractor fan and a grill in the middle, only here they bring out a bucket of red-hot charcoal and put it in the grill, and then you start to cook. One of the owners used to be a butcher: it shows in the marinated scotch fillet, and the beef in special sauce ($15), and the mok deung shim, pork scotch fillet ($17). The meat is tender, beautifully marinated, full of flavour.

But it’s the service that makes Biwon. They’re more than friendly: they’re effusive, helping clumsy whiteys with their barbecue, bringing out tidbits of pork belly or the special salt imported from Korea. It is a treat. SFG

HOURS Tuesday to Sunday,11.30am to 3pm and 5pm until 10pm.

ADDRESS 29 Link Drive, Wairau Valley, ph 443 6761.

IMPORTANT DETAILS If you’re unfamiliar with Korean barbecue, they’ll help you out – but honestly, it’s super easy.

MARIGOLD THAI E-SARN

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Photographs: David Straight

It says a lot that this is only the second review of a Thai restaurant we’ve published on EHN, and the first cheapie. Quite why it took so long to find this place is beyond us, except to say we’d just given up on good Thai in Auckland. Too sweet, too thin, too bland. In short, too crap. We’d hear about a place we just had to get to, and then we’d go and check it out and it would be just like all the others.

Then we gave Marigold Thai E-Sarn a go. You’ll find it in Food Alley, though the sign just says Thai Isaan. It is the business, producing food from Thailand’s north – pungent, zesty flavours and, more particularly, sticky rice. In particular, we love the salads: recently we ate a som tam (made with carrot rather than green papaya but we forgive them because the dressing was great) and a perfect chicken laab. It’s fiery and tangy, sour and not too sweet: bursting with flavour. Just as Thai should be. SFG

HOURS 10.30am to 10pm, seven days.

ADDRESS Food Alley, 9-11 Albert Street, City.

IMPORTANT DETAILS Pick up some of their home-made chilli and shrimp paste ($6.50) – it’s amazing, utterly addictive and will keep in the fridge for months.

EHN x AMISFIELD

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Photographs: David Straight

We had such a good time on Thursday night. Thank you to The Botanist – in particular to Eden for her beautiful flowers. Thank you to Amisfield and the team for coming all the way from Queenstown, as well as Al Brown & Co for loaning us their test kitchen for the day. But most importantly, thank you to everyone who came.

Chef Jay Sherwood cooked us a fabulous four-course feast – we started with pinchos, which seemed to go on all night: anchovies and peppers, a fabulous grilled spring onion with romesco sauce. We loved the cod carpaccio. There were piquillo peppers stuffed with chevrego, and grilled octopus with preserved lemon, the octopus all charred and beautifully tender.

The kingfish marmitako was fabulous – a rich, but not overwhelming, fish stew. And then we ate the steak: chargrilled bone-in rib eye, beautifully charred and perfectly medium rare, served with pimenton potatoes, roasted mushrooms and braised kale. Lord. Dessert: torrija, roasted pear and sheep’s milk ice cream.

Keep an eye out for our next event. It’s going to be a good one. SFG

EXCURSION: EAST LONDON BY NATALIE SMITH

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Clove Club

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Pavilion Cafe

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Climpson & Sons, Broadway Market

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Leila’s

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Rochelle Cantine

Photographs: David Straight

Clove Club I’ve always dreamed of finding a very simple restaurant (wooden tables, denimed waiters, casual but good service, pottery plates) that served wildly adventurous, delicate food. This is it. Inside the old Shoreditch Town Hall, the Clove Club serves whimsical, gorgeous degustation menus that, accompanied by their inspired wine flight are something verging on phenomenal. Happily for vegetarians, there is an entirely considered degustation menu just for them – crafted, not an afterthought. No a la carte, book months in advance. Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT +44 20 7729 6496

Pavilion Victoria Park is often overlooked for bigger, more exciting options like London Fields or Hyde Park. I prefer its quiet areas and this cafe in its centre is much of the reason why. Coffee with milk direct from their Sussex farm, fresh pastries, fluffy ricotta pancakes, a very good sausage sandwich – it’s a weekly Sunday destination. For lunch, the Sri Lankan breakfast is wondrous – gently spiced and warming lentil curry, whole boiled eggs, stringhoppers (what a great name for a nest of noodles!) and coconut sambal. Watch out for ducks. thepavilioncafe.com

Broadway Market No Saturday is complete for me without a trip to Broadway. I pick up vegetables, British cheeses, organic meat and eggs, Climpson’s coffee, table wine from Borough (5 pounds ina refillable glass bottle) and flowers. Then, I try something new from one of the snack stalls that seem to be ever expanding – a black pudding toastie, a steamed pork bun from Bao Bun, a scallop and bacon buttie, a Persian wrap. Broadway Market, London Fields.

Leila’s I always feel so wholesome after a Leila’s breakfast. The uncomplicated menu, wooden tables that always seem to sit in a patch of sunshine and Arnold Circus location feel very Gentlewoman magazine. Have the sage eggs (buttery, served in a Le Creuset pan and accompanied with cut-your-cheeks crusty sourdough), freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit juice and a milky coffee. Calvert Avenue, Arnold Circus

Towpath Café The ex-food writer owner of this canalside café is delightfully stubborn. No takeaways, no card payments, no soy milk, only open in summer. It’s pleasantly disheveled and the food is gorgeous – simple French and Italian standards of the freshest produce. I recently enjoyed a Campari and soda in the sunshine before tender bavette steak with green beans and pickled walnuts followed by coffee and a slice of olive oil cake. Open 9am ‘til dusk on weekends, 8am til dusk on weekdays. Regent’s Canal towpath London N1 5SB – no phone, no website, no bookings. Watch out for cyclists.

G&T: A hole-in-the-wall oasis of healthy in grimy Bethnal Green, this is where I stop for my morning green juice and almond milk flat white on the way to the office. It’s also good for the not so virtuous – their coffee and cake is exemplary. gandtlondon.co.uk 

Other favourites:

Bistrotheque: For burgers served on proper plates, big birthday dinners and fancy Sunday brunch (with mimosas). bistrotheque.com

Rita’s: Pale pink booths, watermelon ‘ritas, swish take on American diner food. ritasbaranddining.com

Tonkotsu East: Best ramen in town – handmade noodles, lush, rich pork bone broth, Japanese craft beers. tonkotsu.co.uk

Rochelle Canteen: Margot Henderson’s converted bike shed is pleasingly simple, as is the menu. New potatoes. Green Salad. Crab and toast. Cheese. A pragmatic list that belies the tastiness of the dishes. No booze, but it doesn’t matter. arnoldandhenderson.com

 

 

EHN x Amisfield

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There was the oyster afternoon at Michael Lett, the chaotic dinners at home in Grey Lynn, the long and languid Sunday lunches at Golden Dawn… Now it’s time for a new Supper Club series.

On August 7, EHN is pairing up with our good friends at Amisfield to celebrate their book at the Botanist – I’ve been working with them on it for a couple of years, and I’m almost as excited as they are.

Chef Jay Sherwood and the Amisfield team are bringing a little piece of Central Otago to the industrial surrounds of the City Works Depot, working with the Botanist’s head chef Sara Simpson to develop a multi-course feast.

Dinner is $55 a head, with Amisfield wines available for purchase on the night. And, if you’d like to buy the book, you can pre-order that along with your dinner ($110 for the two) and we’ll get Jay to sign it. We’d love to see you there. SFG


EHN x Amisfield