Thursday, September 8, 2016

UK Food #2: More London (Rock & Sole Plaice, The Rajdoot, Cinnamon, Marlborough Head, and Kabab & Burgers)

This is part two of food from London. A friend who grew up in London gave me a list of foods he misses now that he's in the US. The list included fish & chips, curries, Yorkshire pudding, and donor kabab. This post is about eating foods from that list in London...

Rock & Sole Plaice:

This is where I had fish & chips in England. They were located near Covent Gardens, but seemed to be a few blocks outside the really touristy area. I was told I should get fish and chips from a restaurant specializing in the food rather than eating it in a pub or elsewhere. Rock & Sole Plaice fit this criteria.
I ordered what I was supposed to. The portions were huge, as they should be because this was one of the most expensive meals I had on my trip. The fish was bigger than the plate, deep fried in a crispy batter. It was tasty, but I think I had my expectations a little too high for having a stereotypical British food in London. It tasted like fish & chips, but nothing mindblowingly different from fish & chips in the US. Especially for the price here, it was just okay...
I also wasn't a big fan of the fake malt vinegar served with the fish & chips. There was a bottle of malt vinegar flavored sauce on the table which I'm assuming was this. It was much weaker than actual vinegar and lacked the sourness. If I'm eating authentic fish & chips in London, I want actual malt vinegar to pour all over everything!

I got the tip later on that you'll find some really good fish & chips if you take a train to Brighton. Makes sense getting better seafood at a beach...

The Rajdoot:

In order to cross curry off the list, I got the recommendation to try The Rajdoot. This Indian restaurant had a small ground level dining room with more seating in the basement. It took me a moment to realize that I was hearing mostly American accents coming from the other diners in here. The restaurant was recommended to be by another American tourist. It was strange and the only place where I noticed this happening on my trip. 
I was trying to decide between lamb or chicken and the server recommended a dish called the Rajdoot since it came with both. Can't go wrong with a dish named after the restaurant. This was lamb and chicken tikka with onions and tomatoes. It was very tasty and wasn't one of the standard Indian restaurant menu items where you could get anywhere.


My second Indian food experience in London was at a restaurant called Cinnamon. This was located on Brick Lane, which was a neighborhood lined with Curry Houses. Like New York's East Village Little India neighborhood, each restaurant had someone outside trying to get you to dine at their establishment. A restaurant called Cinnamon won my business for the evening. The meal started with papadum and sauces being brought to the table. Pretty standard as far as these go in Indian restaurants. What I wasn't expecting was the upcharge for this on the bill when it was automatically brought to the table.
I ordered the Butter Chicken as my main course. There's no competition for this one. This was the worst butter chicken I've ever had. There was no detectable flavor besides butter and the sauce kind of separated resulting in a pool of melted butter over everything else. I've had butter chicken plenty of times before and have always liked it, but unfortunately I didn't finish most of this particular dish.
If I find myself back at Brick Lane again in the future, I don't think I'll be visiting Cinnamon...

Marlborough Head:

In order to cross Yorkshire pudding off the list of British foods to try, I had to figure out where to get it because I wasn't finding it on menus. Turns out Yorkshire pudding is a side item served with Sunday Roasts in pubs. When Sunday came along, I took myself to a pub called the Marlborough Head.
The Sunday Roast came with sliced lamb, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, peas and carrots, and the Yorkshire pudding. The lamb was nice and tender, drenched in gravy with an accompanying mint sauce. The rest of the sides were pretty standard and tasted as they should. The Yorkshire pudding ended up being pretty much equivalent to what I know as a popover. I like popovers, so I enjoyed the Yorkshire pudding and I was able to cross it off my list.

Kebab & Burgers:

My experience with a doner kebab was from a booth called Kebab & Burgers in the Camden Lock Market. This was another very cool market that I found accidentally. There was all sorts of booths selling foods and products located under railroad bridges and in old horse stables surrounding a lock in the nearby Regent's Canal. 
The doner kabob was basically a gyro. Lamb cooked on a rotating spit was wrapped in a flatbread with lettuce, pickled vegetables, and sauces. Very tasty...
I actually had doner kebabs a couple more times while in London, but somehow lack pictures of them. Even the ones from very middle eastern neighborhoods were similar to this, with the main difference between them being the breads. The other two had everything stuffed inside a pita instead of wrapped in a flatbread.

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