Archive | Seafood RSS feed for this section

Tuna Panuozzo at Theo’s, Camberwell

20 Oct

panuozzo

LOCATION: Theo’s Pizzeria, 2 Grove Lane, SE5 8SY [map]

PRICE: £5

BREAD: Lovely sourdough pizza base.

FILLING: Tuna, mozzarella, chilli, black olives, sliced onion.

PROS: I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, because for years I have upheld the belief that the tuna melt is basically the most disgusting sandwich of all time. I mean, tuna with cheese, FFS. Fish with CHEESE. Fishy cheese. Chishy feeze. Can you think of any other dish where that’s a thing? I can’t. Fish pie, maybe, if you’re the kind of idiot who puts cheese on a fish pie, in which case your opinions aren’t valid anyway. No, it doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be done and yet, here we are.

The reason Theo’s gets away with this, I think, is the quality of the ingredients. They use Ortiz, which, in case you don’t know, is basically really good tinned tuna. Not that grey mushy shite you get from Prince’s that looks like it was scraped out of the tumble dryer lint collector. No students, anywhere, are mixing this with mayonnaise and putting it on their jacket potatoes. So there’s that. Then there is the mozzarella which I know is Bianca la Bufala flown in from Naples because I asked about it when I wrote this review of their pizzas. Again, brilliant. There is sliced onion and chilli to give it some bite and there are shiny black olives. I don’t know anything about the olives except that they’re very good and I’m sad when they’re all gone. They’re glossy and plump and they slip around and out of the sandwich and you pick one up and eat it and feel happy.

It’s just a really classy sandwich, is what I’m saying. Tuna and sodding cheese.

CONS: Head fuck.

SCORE: 9/10

Shrimp and Crab Sandwich at Joe Allen, Covent Garden

26 Mar

Joe Allen Crab Sandwich

LOCATION: Joe Allen, 13 Exeter Street, WC2E 7DT [map]

PRICE: £13.95

BREAD: Brioche bun.

FILLING: Crab, mayo, shrimp, salad, micro-herbs.

PROS: I was supposed to be eating at an awards ceremony the evening I ate this sandwich (yeah, yeah, get me etc.), but when I arrived it became clear that the event was sponsored by a home delivery company, and consequently I would be eating mass catered curry while watching people I didn’t know step onto a stage to receive an award I didn’t care about and I thought you know what? Fuck this, I’m having dinner elsewhere. We ended up in Joe Allen because I’d never been and it’s somewhere that should really be ticked off the list. The history is that theatrical types like um, actors, or whatever, used to go there post-show because a) it’s close and b) it’s open. There are pictures of famous people all over the walls, a pianist and a TV showing films that would be referred to as ‘classic’ (old).

So anyway crab is my favourite thing to eat in the whole wide world, which is both a blessing (it exists, I eat a lot of it) and a curse, because if it’s on the menu I can’t order anything else. I always have a really bad case of FOMOOC (Fear Of Missing Out On Crab). Now I’ve eaten some very memorable crab sandwiches in my time, e.g at El Pescadore Fish Market and Point Loma Seafoods, both in San Diego, and yes of course they were better because I ate them on the coast in San Diego but really, that’s not the whole story here.

The plus points with this sandwich were that a) it had crab in it (INSTANT WIN), and b) it had prawns in it. Both were fresh and um, actually I’m a little bored just thinking about it again.

CONS: It was just fine, you know. The crab was in a little ball in the middle, plenty of white meat but crying out for more of the brown to give it that sort of funky, sea-offal flavour. It was polite and unremarkable, a bit like the rest of the menu. The prawns were cut in half and balanced around the outside in a dainty fashion. The bun was very sweet, even by brioche standards and the whole thing was small. Celebrity-sized. The Kylie Minogue of sandwiches.

SCORE: 5/10

Lobster Roll at Burger and Lobster, Mayfair

4 Mar

LOCATION: Burger and Lobster, 29 Clarges Street, Mayfair, W1J 7EF [map]

PRICE: £20 including chips and a side salad.

BREAD: Brioche roll.

FILLING: Lobster meat bound with mayo, sprinkled with chives.

PROS: Everything about this sandwich is perfect. It brims with big chunks of tender, sweet lobster meat; the perspective on the photo doesn’t do justice to the generosity of filling. I was worried there might be too much mayo but no, just enough to bind everything together and lubricate. Perfectly judged. As much as I enjoy working over a lobster, there’s a lot to be said for having it all there, ready and waiting to be stuffed in my face. The bread is absolutely incredible too, the butteriest brioche I’ve ever tasted; the texture impossibly light and fluffy within, crisp and toasted on the outside, the butter in the bread leaving it caramelised. Bite after bite of that stunning, rich brioche and that decadent lobster meat, the subtle oniony tingle of chives. Heavenly. I ate half then made sure to finish my chips and salad before polishing off the rest; an experience to be savoured and repeated, often.

CONS: None. The first ever perfect 10 on LROS. I knew as soon as I took the first bite.

SCORE: 10/10

Smoked Eel and Horseradish at Quo Vadis, Soho

3 Feb

LOCATION: Quo Vadis, 26 Dean Street, London, W1D 3LL [map]

PRICE: £6.50

BREAD: Sourdough (I think), toasted

FILLING: Smoked eel and creamed horseradish

PROS: Two little squares of charred sourdough sported just the right amount of bitter char. A peek inside revealed a generous slice of rich, oily, delicately smoked eel, smothered with freshly grated, properly nostril-searing creamed horseradish. Is there a more perfect flavour combination than that pungent horseradish and luscious, creamy-fleshed eel? Not when you’re eating this sandwich there isn’t. The overall richness was countered admirably by a dainty wee pile of pink, lightly picked onions and it took every ounce of my strength not to shove them in the sandwich too, pick the whole thing up and make a right old mess. Quo Vadis is a proper restaurant though, and it’s such a glorious and smart little ‘wich that I didn’t mind eating it with a knife and fork, thus saving my companions the embarrassment of dining with a woman sporting a fishy face mask. The sandwich is small but to be honest, due to the richness I wouldn’t want it any bigger (lies, lies).

CONS: The splendour of the sandwich was offset by a couple of mistakes with the meal. It’s perhaps a little unfair of me to mention it considering this is a review of a sandwich and not the restaurant in general but it left a slightly bad taste in the mouth and so I’m knocking a point off.

SCORE: 9/10

Shrimp Po Boy at The Diner, Soho

22 Jan

LOCATION: The Diner, Soho (18 Ganton Street London, W1F 7BU). Map.

PRICE£6.40? Around the £6 mark anyway (I’ve lost the receipt and it isn’t on their web menu)

BREAD: A soft white sub.

FILLING: Battered, deep fried prawns with a mayo based sauce and shredded lettuce.

PROS: Um. Ummmmmm. Right, so the sauce was okay – piquant yet sweet mayo, with little crunchy bits of onion and ummm, ooh, the sub roll was nice and soft.

CONS: Crikey. Okay so, the prawns. This is a shrimp po boy right, so that means the shrimp/prawns are the  most important ingredient. If the prawns at The Diner did not come from a freezer bag I would be very surprised indeed; they tasted funky, almost ‘high’ with unpleasant fishiness and were coated in the kind of batter one finds surrounding a sweet and sour chicken ball. Po boy prawns should be coated in a cornmeal batter, surely? These tasted of grease and meals at TGI Fridays circa 1995. The sub was nice and soft, as I said, but really, I was clutching at straws.

You may, quite rightly, be wondering what I was thinking ordering a sandwich from a chain restaurant in soho. The reason I did is because I’d heard good things about a limited edition burger they’re soon to launch and the po boy – honestly – did look nice when they posted a picture on Twitter. Also, where else does one get a po boy in London? I was so excited to try this famous Louisiana creation but it seems I may have to make my own version at home, pending my lottery win which will take me on an eating tour of America.

SCORE: 2/10

My po’ boy recipe here.