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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



BOLAVEN

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Photographs: David Straight

We need more places like this. Bolaven is named after the Bolaven plateau, in the high country of Laos – owner Sip Mounlath’s parents came from Laos in the 1970s and so her new restaurant has that wonderful and rare combination: cute fitout, decent wine list, authentic food. It opened a few weeks back and, as of last week, is now open three nights for dinner.

It’s lovely. Sip and friends did the fitout: timber, ply, metal, brick. It’s light-filled and bustling by day and a cozy, candle-lit space by night. Service is friendly, casual. By day there are freshly made juices and a cafe menu with Lao highlights: recently, we’ve eaten fried eggs with sticky rice and a Lao tomato chutney ($12.50), a dish that Sip serves her kids: you smudge the egg with the rice and soy sauce and chilli and make a delicious mess. And then there is pho ($19.50). A generous big bowl of beef broth with lightly charred strips of fillet and a pretty collection of additions – lime, chilli, peanuts, ginger. It makes for a perfect early lunch.

We went back for dinner and ate a sublime green vege curry ($19), grilled eggplant with lemongrass and tomatoes ($13), all gooey and grilled, as well as a fabulous salad of prawns and pan-fried squid with Lao dressing and smashed cucumber. There was caramelised pork belly with a braised egg ($22), sticky and gloriously sweet, and mok pa ($26) a package of hapuku cooked in banana leaf with lemongrass and coconut milk. Flavours are punchy and clean: it takes us straight back to Laos. Keep an eye on this one. SFG

HOURS Breakfast & lunch, seven days. Dinner, Thursday to Saturday.

ADDRESS 597 Mt Eden Road, ph 631-7520. bolaven.co.nz

IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings (unless there’s more than eight of you).

BURGER BURGER

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Photographs: David Straight

Burger Burger is very small and very narrow and very loud: we like to sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen. The service has attitude, just enough. The burgers are $10 and extras – lettuce, cheese, bacon, etc – are $2, the sides are $6, and they cook the patties medium-rare. The meat is free range. There is a great whisky list and Lion Red in big swappa bottles. Oh, and there’s Martinborough Te Tera pinot noir by the glass. So far, so genius.

It’s the latest venture from Mimi Gilmour, one of the founders of Mexico, and some of the hallmarks are the same: it’s not very expensive, it has pace and bounce, and the booze flows freely. You can eat a burger and a beer and leave for less than $20, which we like very much. And so, at the moment, if you go for dinner the wait is anywhere between half an hour and an hour.

There have been quibbles, though not from us. Never have we heard such earnest discussion of a burger. We’ve had some great burgers here – you must have the fish and make sure you add lettuce, and the classic beef is excellent – and we’ve had a couple of not-great burgers. But think about it for a second: this place costs less than most takeout burger joints, only here there is table service and you can get a stool and a beer. It’s fun. And the vanilla thick shake is a thing of beauty. SFG

HOURS 11.30am until late, seven days

ADDRESS The Lane, Ponsonby Central, 136 Ponsonby Road. burgerburger.co.nz

IMPORTANT DETAILS There is 30 minutes free parking in the Ponsonby Central park out the back.