Barcelona Eats: Part 3

My favourite part of the trip took place in La Boqueria. This place was food heaven for me. There are a variety of market stalls there from meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit. Lots of fruit.

I went to La Boqueria on two occasions. On the first day, I tried the fresh fruits, fruit juice and some dried fruits. I came across a stall with many dried fruits, such as apples, mangoes, strawberries, pineapples, bananas. I can honestly say that I dried pineapples are my new favourite snack. No added sugar, but they retain a lot of sweetness. You’d think you’re eating candy to be honest.

The fruit stalls are vast and the pricing is cheap compared to London. You can get a fresh cup of fruit juice for a little as €1.50 if you search hard enough. The same goes for bowls with chunks of fruit such as pineapples, dragonfruit, kiwi, mangoes, strawberries and more. Search hard and you’ll find a bargain.

There are also hot food stalls where you can have anything from paella and empanadas, to churros and pancakes. The options are endless.

And then they have spices from all over the world. But one thing I had to get my hands on was the king of all spices. Saffron. And Spain was the perfect place to buy it from.

The second day at the market was for tackling some savouries. I tried a spinach and cheese empanada which was great; spinach and cheese being one of my favourite combinations. I had some tasty vegetable croquetas as well – it was actually my first time trying these and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The meal of the day however, was the paella from Ramblero de la Boqueria. Again, this was my first time trying this dish. It came with prawns, squid and mussels (my favourite trinity in terms of seafood), all cooked perfectly. I can’t fault this meal and La Boqueria in general.

I’ve booked a cheeky weekend away back to Barcelona, so I’ll be enjoying the food again quite soon!


Barcelona Eats: Part 2

Part 1 went off to a mediocre start, but now, it only goes up from here.

The first evening was spent at La Barca del Salamanca – a seafood restaurant – again on Moll de Gregal. This restaurant was recommended to me by my brother, so I trusted it would be a good meal.

La Barca del Salamanca

To start, my friend and I ordered some tomato and olive oil bread, and I got a serving of padron peppers too. The grilled monkfish was ordered for my main course. For drinks, a pitcher of sangria of course!

Tomato and Olive Oil Bread

I’ll keep this one short and snappy: very moreish and because I ate so much, it was a mission finishing my main. We also got olives with this, but I’m not a fan of them.

Rating: 5/5

Padron Peppers

Blistered just right and topped with crunchy sea salt, these padron peppers were bursting with flavour. The portion was large as well which helped me forget about the price!

Rating: 5/5

Grilled Monkfish

This main came with potatoes, asparsgus, tomatoes and a slice of lemon. The monkfish was fresh and the portion overall was large. At this point I was ready to fall asleep and the sangria was not helping. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this dish, it just needed a tad more salt and pepper.

Rating: 4/5

The service was great, however, if you’re not careful, you’ll be convinced to order the whole menu. So, be sure to stand your ground and say no thanks. The night finished with free mini cakes to our surprise and a shot of lemon liqueur. A night well spent, I must say.

I need to go back to this restaurant!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Part 3 will include adventures around Las Ramblas.


Barcelona Eats: Part 1

The trip to Barcelona was an eventful one, to say the least. It was originally planned for 4 days, but my best friend and I faced a cancellation five hours before our scheduled departure. The next available flight was in a further two days. I was annoyed at first, but then I realised there’s nothing we can do, so we may as well enjoy the extra two days!

This meant more opportunities to taste the great food of this beautiful city.

After landing early in the afternoon, we decided to go for lunch. We took a short walk to the beach and went along the strip of restaurants on Moll de Gregal. We were stopped by a greeter of one of these restaurants and was convinced to give it a try. I usually read reviews before I try a restaurant, but this time, I was feeling very lax.

Vitaminas Burger & Beach Bar

I ordered the patatas bravas, calamares and a pineapple, apple and ginger smoothie.

Patatas Bravas

It’s hard to go wrong with patatas bravas, so I wasn’t disappointed in what I received. The portion was a good size, and the fried potatoes were served with cheese, paprika and were piping hot. Very crispy and enjoyable, although a tomato/spicy sauce with it would have taken it to the next level.

Rating: 3.5/5

Calamares

As soon as I saw the calamari, I knew never to order it in Barcelona again. Don’t get me wrong, the seafood is fresh, but where was the seasoning on these calamari? The calamari was fried in a batter similar to the ones you get at your local chippy, but the salt wasn’t anywhere to be found. A bland disappointment.

Rating: 1/5

Pineapple, Apple & Ginger Smoothie

On a brighter note, the pineapple, apple and ginger smoothie was amazing. It was so refreshing and definitely saved my meal overall. Since being back in the UK, I’ve been making myself similar smoothies as it was just so tasty.

Rating: 5/5

To summarise: would I return here for food? Probably not. Would I come here for a great smoothie? Definitely.

Overall Rating: 3/5

We’re off to a mediocre start, but I promise, it gets way better! Stay tuned for more posts on my eats through Barcelona!


On the Bab: A Review

Korean food is becoming more and more popular where I’m from, and for very good reason. I first tried Korean BBQ some years ago with friends. It was a nice and modern restaurant with grills built into the tables. Back then, when I used to eat meat, Korean BBQ was always a great option.

Now that I only go for veggie or fish dishes, it’s a good challenge finding new places to eat. On this occasion, the Korean food spot I went to was called On the Bab.

I visited On the Bab after recommendation from my brother. It’s a Korean restaurant for casual dining. I went there with two friends from university – I hadn’t seen one of them in two years, so it was essentially a reunion. We went to the branch in Old Street, London, around 3pm.

Although this branch does not do table bookings, we were seated straight away, which was quite lucky. It was a small restaurant with tables placed quite close together, typical of a lot of restaurants in this area. I ordered the Gimari Salad, Toppoki and ‘On the Buns’.

Gimari Salad

Price: £4.50

The Gimari Salad is a fried seaweed roll salad. Each roll was nice and crispy and the salad underneath made this starter refreshing. If I could eat these little seaweed rolls all day, I would!

Rating: 5/5

Toppoki

Price: £4.90

My friends swear by Korean rice cakes, and I can see where they’re coming from. This was my first time trying these and I was not disappointed. I had no expectations of the Toppoki, so just went in blind. It was served with a boiled quail egg and a sweet and spicy sauce.

Rating: 4/5

On the Buns – Mushroom Fritter

Price: £8

Two fluffy buns with large mushroom fritters. I had to tackle these with my hands and eat them like burgers. These were so tasty and the textures of soft buns, crispy batter and meaty mushrooms made the experience even better.

Rating: 5/5

On the Bab is a great Korean street food spot and I recommend you visit. I will have to go again to try other vegetarian and pescatarian options. If you’re a meat eater, definitely try their their Korean Fried Chicken, I’ve heard fantastic things about it.

There are four locations all in London: Shoreditch, Covent Garden, St Paul’s and Soho. There will be one opening soon in Paris too!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Location: On the Bab, 305 Old Street, EC1V 9LA

Website: http://onthebab.com/shoreditch/#3rdPage


Dutch Pancakes and the Best Fries Ever

To celebrate the end of university, a friend and I took a quick day trip to the Netherlands.

Just for some background, I started my degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2014. It’s now 2019 and I’ve completely the four-year Integrated Masters along with a one-year placement. Five years later and I’m free of education!

For now.

We have suffered long enough, so it’s time to treat ourselves!

The return flight cost just £49 which was great for our pockets. We landed in Amsterdam before noon and took the typical tourist photographs by the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign outside the airport.

The first place we ate was at a pancake restaurant called Pancakes Amsterdam. The branch we were at was in Amsterdam Centraal.

They have options of traditional Dutch pancakes – sweet or savoury – American style pancakes and Poffertjes (mini pancakes). What’s great is that they have gluten-free and lactose-free options for their Dutch pancakes!

I decided to go for the traditional Dutch pancake with apple crumble, cinnamon and ice cream.

The Dutch pancake alone was fantastic, but topping it off with apple crumble pie? Next level!

Rating: 5/5

The second food spot we went to was a place called Manneken Pis. One of my brother’s suggested I go try these fries and I was not disappointed at all.

The logo may be of a child taking a piss, but don’t be put off. I went for the small portion of fries with ‘Samurai sauce’ – a mayonnaise and ketchup combination with a spicy kick.

The fries were thick-cut (my favourite kind), hot, and very crispy. They reminded me of Kettle Chips in the form of fries, and I love Kettle Chips. I wish they had something on par here in London, because I can’t stop thinking about those fries!

Rating: 5/5

My friend and I managed to do a lot in the space of eight hours including visiting:

  • I Amsterdam sign
  • Pancakes Amsterdam
  • Tropenmuseum
  • Windmills at Zaanse Schans
  • Manneken Pis
  • Gluten-free McDonald’s
  • Exploring the city

Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands will definitely need to be visited again – there is so much more to experience. However, my next stop will be Barcelona in July, after graduation!


HAZ: A Review

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Mediterranean food and it is definitely in my top three types of cuisine.

Turkish food specifically is always a solid choice for me when it comes it eating out or ordering in. Borek, lahmacun, moussaka and more, the ingredients are simple, yet the flavours are fresh and bold.

I visited HAZ in St. Paul’s, London, for a birthday dinner back in January; seven of us in total. I had booked a table in advance.

The atmosphere was modern and slick, with a great bar and plenty of dining space. I ordered a bottle of Haz Rose Çal Karasi, Kalamari to start and the Steamed Atlantic Cod for the main. While we waited for out orders to come in, we were served with a basket of Turkish bread.

Haz Rose Çal Karasi

Rose

Price: £5.50/glass or £19.95/bottle

The house rose is described as having ‘fresh red fruits, cherry and raspberry with a fruity and vivid palate.’ This was a fresh and dry rose, not too sweet. The bottle lasted the majority of the evening between myself and a friend. The server gave us a bucket of ice to keep the wine chilled which was great.

Rating: 4/5

Kalamari

Calamari

Price: £6.45

If I see calamari on a menu, I’ll order it straight away. It is one of my favourite things to eat. I was surprised at how large the calamari was at HAZ – and only £6.45? A bargain compared to other places. They were served with a yoghurt tartar and a wedge of lemon. These were the best calamari I’ve ever tasted, honestly.

Rating: 5/5 (If I could give more points, I would)

Steamed Atlantic Cod

Cod

Price: £15.95

The cod was steamed with ginger and shallots. It was served with baby new potatoes and a plum tomato and pepper sauce. This was such a flavourful dish and the new potatoes on my plate were a bonus as they were not mentioned on the menu. This main was a great end to the evening – I was stuffed by the end of it!

Rating: 5/5

HAZ will definitely be seeing me again when I’m back in London. It might be my new regular spot as the food was fantastic and the service was brilliant. I can’t wait to try out the other menu items and some of their desserts (if there’s enough space in my stomach!).

There are six branches of HAZ in the City of London: Bishopsgate, Finsbury Square, Houndsditch, Plantation Place, Premier Place and St. Paul’s.

HAZ is available for delivery too!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Location: HAZ, 34 Foster Lane, St Paul’s, London EC2V 6HD
Website: https://www.hazrestaurant.co.uk/

Mooshies Vegan Burger: A Review

“Vegan burgers? No thanks.”

Before giving up meat and fish, I was a huge burger fan. I’ve had fantastic beef and chicken burgers from Honest Burgers, Patty & Bun, The Blues Kitchen and more. I didn’t think that a vegetarian or vegan burger would be able to be on par with, or even better than a ‘traditional’ burger.

But, joke’s on me because I’ve found some fire!

It’s been six months since giving up meat and fish, and the burgers I’ve tried were mostly average. However, a couple of burger joints gave me glimmers of hope, including:

  • The ‘Cheese Melt’ burger from Byron (London)
  • The ‘Juicy Boris’ burger from 7Bone Burger Co. (Portsmouth)

Other than the two mentioned above, burger options typically had a bean patty, or a portobello mushroom with some kind of cheese.

After hearing about Mooshies from a friend, I checked them out on Instagram and Facebook to see what all the hype was about. I saw great reviews about their ‘Pulled Mooshie’ burger which has slow-cooked BBQ jackfruit and coleslaw, and their ‘Cheese Sticks’ looked amazing.

When visiting, I ordered the Fillet-Om-Phish, Cheese Sticks, and French Fries. My friend ordered the Pulled Mooshie, and Homemade Guacamole with Plantain Crisps.

The Fillet-Om-Phish

Burger

Price: £7.50

This has battered aubergine, tartar sauce, seaweed, lettuce and cheese, all in between a multigrain seeded brioche bun.

This definitely reminded me of a fish burger even though there was no fish in sight. The seaweed took it to another level and the various textures made it enjoyable to eat. Somehow, my burger bun disappeared towards the end which made the final bites a little messy, but other than that, a very nice burger at a very good price. This burger is definitely up there as a favourite.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Cheese Sticks

Cheese Sticks 2

Price: £6.50

This came as three large vegan cheese sticks with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

The outside was crispy, and the inside was filled to the brim with hot and bright yellow/orange vegan cheese. I was excited to taste this as I love cheese. I had my first bite and it took a while for me to understand the flavour. And then I realised that it had a similar taste and colour to American Cheese. The sweet chilli sauce helped that processed-cheese-like flavour though. On another note, a few £s should be slashed from the price!

Rating: 2.5/5

The French Fries

Fries 2

Price: £3

You can’t really go wrong with French fries can you? These were a great portion size, and they came out hot, with a crispy outside, and a fluffy inside. I just gave it a pinch of sea salt and pepper as I usually do. Job done.

Rating: 5/5

While my meal as a whole was great, my friend’s was quite the opposite. She described the Pulled Mooshie burger as just ‘coleslaw and bread’! Another visit may have to be made to find out if this is true or not, because there was so much hype about the BBQ jackfruit.

I will definitely be having the Fillet-Om-Phish again, along with some other sides. And a bonus for those local to Brick Lane in London: Mooshies is available for delivery via Deliveroo and Uber Eats!

Overall Rating: 4/5

Location: Mooshies, 104 Brick Ln, London, E1 6RL
Website: https://veganburger.org/