Londoneer: Pretty Flowers and Little Lambs, Urban Style

I went for a walk down to Brick Lane and over to Columbia Road flower market with a friend today. It gave me a chance to indulge in a bit of gratuitous photography, including some great examples of urban art:

We also wandered around Hackney City Farm for a while, which I’ve visited before, but this time the brand new lambs were tottering about- they must have been born in the last week or so – everyone say ah 🙂

We finished up at the Flea Pit coffee shop/bar/performance space on Columbia Road, and left very disappointed. We were served by an extremely sullen waitress and had a *ten minute* wait for two very mediocre coffees. If you happen to be down this way on a Sunday morning I’d patronise one of the many other venues around – not this place… being “organic” is no excuse for absolutely attrocious service.…

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Londoneer: A Polish Discovery Around The Corner – Londek

Living in London I think it’s always important to keep your eyes wide open when you are wandering around, just in case you miss something. I learned my lesson earlier this evening when I discovered, next to the Polish delicatessen in Stratford which I have actually visited previously, a little Polish restaurant which I had no inkling was there, called ‘Londek’ (Londek is the cutesy way of referring to London in Polish as I understand it).

This place is a gem, and serves food familiar to me from my many trips to Polish cities over the years – they serve various sorts of Pierogi (the Polish staple of boiled ravioli-style parcels stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables) as well as Gołąbki (pronounced ‘gowomki’ which is rolled cabbage leaves stuffed with mince and rice in a spicy tomato sauce) and Bigos (a spicy sauerkraut soup with with various meats). Apart from that they have a fantastic selection of specials almost as long as their normal menu and a wide selection of Polish cakes and pastries – ideal if you happen to be wandering by in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon (or at any time in my case!).

The big plus about this place is the price – the main courses are all about £5, including a side of vegetables, not very much more than what you’d pay anywhere in Poland for this kind of food. I’ll leave you with a little tip – if you happen by for a meal you must order a glass of their ‘kompot’ – a mixture of fruit juices that actually has whole berries floating in it – the acidity of the drink is great for cutting through those heavy Polish dishes 🙂…

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Sampling The Spanish Dining Experience With Richard Bigg At Camino Puerto Del Canario

Earlier this week I was a guest of one of London’s taste-makers, the ‘self-proclaimed Hispanophile’ Richard Bigg (who runs London’s three Camino restaurants and bars as well as being the co-owner of Brick Lane’s Big Chill bar) for a dinner at his Westferry outlet, Camino Puerto del Canario.

That’s not where our evening started however, as Richard joined us on the Thames Clipper at Embankment pier, with the sherry (bottles of Manzanilla and Amontillado) starting to flow as soon as the engines kicked into life. Conveniently, Camino is located just next door to the Canary Wharf river pier over on the western edge of the Isle of Dogs, so the river service is probably the most convenient (and a rather special) way to get there.

With all the decor in the venue sourced from the home country, this space overlooking the river really does feel like a little part of Spain – if you avert your eyes from the glittering spire of The Shard off on the horizon you could be in a trendy restaurant anywhere from Bilbao to Seville, and that description definitely applies to the food!

Dishes that arrived at our table during the evening included tiny pots of Sopa De Alcachofa (Jerusalem artichoke soup with oxtail and truffle oil), light-as-a-feather Croquetas De Jamon (Serrano ham croquettes), spicy little Pimientos De Padron (sautéed green peppers with sea salt) and one of my all-time tapas favourites, a buttery bowl of Arroz Negro (black callaspara rice flavoured with cuttlefish and squid ink).…

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