Archive | Korean RSS feed for this section

Highland Burger with Korean Pulled Pork at Smokehouse N1, Islington

17 Mar

LOCATION: Smokehouse N1, 63-69 Canonbury Road, N1 2DG [map]

PRICE: £15.

BREAD: Seeded burger bun.

FILLING: 5 year old Highland cow burger, pulled pork, lettuce, gochujang mayo.

PROS: Right, RIGHT! Listen up. Listen good and listen hard, because this is important. I do not give out full marks lightly. I hope you weren’t waiting for that bit at the end? Oh. Well anyway since you’re here I might as well tell you that this is one of the best burgers in London and you must go and eat it immediately. Usually I can’t stand pulled pork on a burger. CAN’T. STAND. IT. Then I remembered that’s because there is so much terrible pulled pork out there. You know, cotton wool mushy wush; squeaky flossed fibres. Then I remembered that this is cooked by one of the best BBQ chefs in London. The best, probably. Actually. Neil Rankin. As an aside from the sandwich, Smokehouse N1 is just a fabulous place to sit and eat, particularly if you get a space around the back by the kitchen, where the Big Green Eggs waft their ghostly gusts through the open door. It’s the best BBQ you’ve never been to.

So the burger is made from the chuck and carcass offcuts of 5 year old highland cow and the flavour is intense. It was described by my mate and I as ‘sick’ which is what people younger than us say instead of ‘top brass’ or ‘fookin ace’. It has me scooping at the fall out with my fingers. It’s rare as hell inside and, at the risk of sounding ‘a bit Rayner’ awakens something primal within me. I should probably say something here about needing a cardiologist.

The stuff that looks like cheese, isn’t. ‘What’s the cheese?’ Asks my friend. ‘It just looks like cheese so you think it is’. Huh. It’s mayonnaise and gochujang mixed together, which is just bafflingly tasty considering, well, it’s just mayonnaise and gochujang mixed together.

CONS: Nothing. Honestly nothing. I went on about this sandwich so much during the eating and the digesting that my friends started to blatantly ignore me. I never thought I could be excited about a burger ever again, considering, well, you know, the whole Burger Trend business but fuck my hat if this isn’t the absolute biz.

SCORE: 10/10

Korean Chicken Sandwich at Wishbone, Brixton

24 Jun

LOCATION: Wishbone, Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton Market, London SW9 8BR [map]

PRICE: £7

BREAD: White  sub roll/baguette type thing – I’ll get to that.

FILLING: Chicken thigh nuggets, crushed peanuts, pickled daikon, fermented chilli mayo, shredded Chinese cabbage, spring onions.

PROS: I hurried to Wishbone in desperate circumstances. I was frenzied. Panicked. This sandwich was a special you see, to be plucked from the menu but two days later. As it turns out I wasn’t  the only one to *SPOILER ALERT* like it, and so they’re keeping it on for the foreseeable. YES Brixton! People power!

So what’s all the fuss aboot? Aye? Well, those nuggets  inside are made from thigh meat, which we all know is the way to go when choosing bits of chicken what will be eaten into the face. If you’re not eating a bit that was once sporting bone then it had damn well better be roasted, with crispy skin and a blob of aioli on the side. I’ll take a potato salad with salsa verde too while you’re at it and also some young broad beans; lightly cooked, podded and dressed with a spiky vinaigrette and nuggets of bacon. Ta.

So yes, nuggets. Nuggets nuggets nuggets nuggets. The Wishbone nuggs were succulent and greaseless. Spot on. To be honest though, one would hope Wishbone would have the whole frying of chicken bit down by now, what with being a er, fried chicken shop and everything. The fermented chilli mayo is an appropriately Korean flavoured lube, which is actually surprisingly subtle. Don’t be put off by the word ‘fermented’. Personally I’m drawn to foods that have been shoved in a pot, sealed and left to their own devices for an extended period of time but I can empathise as to why the idea might strike fear into the hearts of nervy eaters. Chinese cabbage, if you’re not familiar, is kind of like iceberg but without the water…no, that’s unfair…it’s like regular cabbage but without the sulphurous twang. An excellent sandwich ingredient (see katsu sando). There are dinky batons of pickled daikon, there are delicate papery rings of spring onion, the crunch of scrunched peanuts. It’s a balanced sandwich and it shows restraint; knowing when to stop is the clincher.

I bet that bread recipe is a well kept secret, too. Wowzers. I dunno who is making it but it’s a goddamn revelation, like a very light baguette, with much of the inside crumb removed to make way for more filling and a sort of polenta-esque sprinkle on top which reminds me of that grainy stuff you get on a Maccy D’s sausage and egg Mcmuff. DON’T PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW.

CONS: My name is Helen and I am a spring onion addict. I can make sandwiches with big ol wedges of spring onion inside and munch them down happily. I often find myself  dunking whole ones in salad cream by the sad yellow light of the fridge. More spring onion in everything, please? YES INCLUDING TRIFLE.*

SCORE: 9/10

They lose half a point for not having thought of this sandwich sooner and half for the fact I’d like more heat, although I guess that’s why there’s hot sauce on the table.

 *not including trifle.