Tonkotsu East | London

Here in Tonkotsu, they make their own noodles. There is a large machine in a room at the end of the restaurant with glass divider that is see through. If you come for early lunch, you will be able to see the noodles in the making where a man operates the machine and make sure the noodles come out the way they are suppose to be, silky smooth and bouncy.

Tonkotsu

Tonkotsu is a bowl of tasty noodles with very rich chicken and pork based broth which I find slightly salty, though my dining companion liked it very much. The egg is as usual, cooked to perfection.

The man operating the noodle machine

Tokyo Ramen with additional egg


The Tokyo Ramen was by far my favourite amongst the three noodles I have tried here at Tonkotsu East. It has soy sauce base broth, so it is lighter than its Tonkotsu counterpart that has richer and thicker broth. This time around, we ordered extra egg each for our noodles so no one's egg will be stolen mid way through our meal. Yes, the egg is that good. I suggest you do the same.

Chicken Karaage - Fried marinated chicken

Very crispy and tasty chicken karaage that I strongly recommend you try.

 Tsukumen - Noodles is served with a separate bowl of hot intense broth as a dipping sauce

Tsukumen seems to be popular amongst my Japanese friends. They always get excited when they saw tsukumen on the menu. Tsukemen is a bowl of cold noodles and its toppings served with a separate bowl of hot and intense broth. The broth has to be very hot and the cold noodles when dipped into the broth will warm up the noodles. I quite like it but was not my favourite. Maybe the broth was not hot enough so when I had the noodles, it was not warm enough for my liking. Taste-wise was nice. The Japanese friend I was with that evening marked it 70% so it is not a bad version.


What I thought was a cute toilet sign at Tonkotsu East. A pretty clear sign.


Here's a video on 'How to eat Ramen' from the movie Tampopo



Smile..

This is a place for comfort food.
My favourite was the light and tasty Tokyo Ramen and very crispy Chicken Karaage.
They also make their own noodles here.

Frown..

The broth for Tonkotsu was slightly over salty for my liking.

Will I return?

Yes, ramen is the perfect comfort food especially for when the temperature drops.

Tonkotsu East

Arch 334, 1A Duntson Street
E8 4EB London,UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7254 2478

Nearest station: Haggerston (overground)
   
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Chocolate Show 2014 | London

It is that time of the year again. It's Salon du Chocolat's second year in London which has now been renamed to Chocolate Show instead. Salon du Chocolat in Paris has always been massive and very successful. They will be celebrating the 20th anniversary this year so it will be even better this time around with over 500 participants from all over the world. 

As much as I would love to be in Paris, I have prioritised myself to attend one of my closest friend's wedding in Spain so I am sure I will be able to experience it through my fellow blogger friends when it is all over.

Instead of attending the Paris event, I have opted for the London Chocolate Show since we have been invited to attend the Gala on Thursday. The first thing I realised was the slight change in venue to a smaller space Olympia West instead of the main exhibition hall.

We managed to have a wonder around, have a few bites of chocolate and mingle before the Fashion Show began. We noticed some main chocolatier / brands not exhibiting. Saying that, the chocolates we tasted were still of quality.

Willy Wonka cast from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical opened the show

When the show started, we were braced with Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical opening the show. I thought that was great and a pleasant surprise. Next up was the dance performance by a group of dancers painted with chocolate images on their bare skin.

I could not keep my eyes off those chocolate painted six packs. Hah! 


Next up were the Fashion Show and a sneak peak. There were less than 10 chocolate dresses on the catwalk so I was slightly disappointed, to be honest. Lucky there were some chocolate dresses worth seeing. 

The dress in collaboration between Lindt chocolate and Paul Wayne Gregory. The dress is covered with sprayed on chocolate.

The dress covered in Chocolate squares, made by Anita Thakker of Fruitful Blooms


At the Chocolate Show, I personally enjoyed the Chocolate Theatre the most last year. And this year, there are a list of talented chocolatiers and chefs demonstrating which I think is worth watching. Do check the schedule so you don't miss the demonstrations you would like to attend. Make sure you get to the theatre slightly before the time it starts to find yourself a seat to enjoy it to the fullest. 

Not to miss are Francois Delaire of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Barry Johnson of Rococo, Hideko Kawa ex-head pastry chef of The Fat Duck, and many more of your choice.

Not forgetting, we spotted the talented contestants from Great British Bake Off!

And we went home with some of these dried cocoa beans


Chocolate Show London

Olympia West
Hammersmith Road Kensington
17th - 19th October 2014

  

Coffee Caramel Pork Belly


This dish has always been a success. It is so packed full of flavour, and is really easy to cook. You just have to be patient while it poaches in low heat for hours. Enjoy! 


Coffee Caramel Braised Pork Belly

adapted from Simply Delicious
serves 2-4

Poaching Liquid:


  • 500 g pork belly
  • 600 ml water
  • 1 cube chicken / vegetable bouillon
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 onions, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 inch ginger (bruised)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder

Method:


1. Wash the pork with vinegar and water before cooking. This will rid of the porky smell.
2. Bring the poaching liquid to boil. Reduce to medium heat and place pork into the liquid. Simmer gently and poach for about 2-3 hours until the pork is soft but does not fall apart.
3. Cut the pork belly into bite sized cubes.
4. It is best eaten with rice with accompanying vegetables.

Tip:


  • The leftover actually tastes better the next day.
  • If you have leftovers (which is unlikely), you can refrigerate it for the next day and stir fry with noodles and vegetables for a quick and different meal all together. Recipe will be posted next week.

    

Water Terrace Cafe & Ai Wei Wei Exhibition at Blenheim Palace | Woodstock

The last of this year's warm sunny Sunday was spent at the beautiful Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. It was Winston Churchill's birthplace, now the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was awarded in 1987.

Blue glazed porcelain Bubbles by Ai Weiwei

We were also lucky that Ai Weiwei's largest UK art exhibition just launched at the Blenheim Palace. It will be running until 14th December 2014. This exhibition sees over 50 of the artist's artwork dotted around the palace rooms and garden space. He had Coca-Cola logo printed on a Han Dynasty vase, photos taken of him hung sideways giving the finger towards stately homes and buildings around the world, a wooden handcuff on Winston Churchill's birth bed, and many more that gets you thinking about the contrast and irony of his art with its surroundings. A thought provoking art exhibition.



2,300 porcelain replicas of freshwater crabs represented the number of guests Ai Weiwei invited to a party before the government destroyed his studio in Shanghai.


Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold






Chicken and leek pie with mash

Sausage and mash

The sausage and mash, and chicken pie was very well cooked and had very good ingredients. What could be better than to have a proper British meal in the sun, with such an amazing view of the garden and beautiful fountain.

Blenheim Palace’s own pure mineral water, sourced and bottled on the Blenheim estate, & scones.

The Blenheim Palace Natural Mineral Water had a story attached to it where Henry II built a pleasure pool for his mistress, Rosamond Clifford in the 12th Century. And according to legend, the ancient spring that used to feed the pool has never dried up. It is now named the Rosamund’s Well with which the water remains highly valued for its pure and delicious taste. 

The Water Terrace Cafe

A romantic seating area in a romantic setting



The Indian Room which we were lucky enough to take a peek. Such a beauty.


If you are visiting soon, remember to convert your day pass to an annual pass at no extra cost, so you can come back any time throughout the year.


For those of you who are interested in knowing more about Ai Weiwei, there are two documentaries you have to check out; Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case




Smile..

Beautiful palace and gardens. Enjoyed the exhibition.

Frown..

It is a little track from London but hey, a train and cab ride takes you here pretty comfortably.

Will I return?

Yes. I have converted my day pass to an annual one so I have all year to be back on this beautiful ground.


Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace
OX20 1PP Woodstock,UK
Tel: +44 (0)1993 810530

L'Anima Cafe | London

Norfolk pork belly, sanguinaccio

Having always wanted to dine at the L’Anima restaurant but never made it, I was well excited when my friend told me of this newly opened L’Anima CafĂ© next to it. Well,  now we can afford this meal and go anytime we like rather than for a special occasion. Only a few months old, it has set to impress.

Very fresh seasonal vegetables decoration at the entrance

The entrance was decorated with seasonal colourful seasonal vegetables and a scooter. On the left was the bar and woodfired oven then straight ahead was the spacious dining space.

That's the open area where you can see your pizza baked in the stone woodfired oven

A very spacious cafe with lots of light



Raw fillet of tuna with celery and amalfi lemon dressing was very refreshing.

Sea salt-crusted baked bream was so well cooked, sweet and moist. Initiallu, I thought the disc below was some sort of special crispy bread but it was not. It was the salt baked crust that is NOT edible. Yes, the glutton me took a bite and it was salty as hell! At least that was a clear confirmation. 

The Norfolk pork belly with sanguinaccio pictured above (first picture) was so delicious. The skin was perfectly crisp, the pork itself was tender and moist, plated with so many other different textures and surprising flavours, every bite oozes a very special and unique taste. It was truely fabulous. It was a dish so good, I will return just for this. If you were wondering what sanguinaccio is, according to my research, it has to be the very interestingly flavoured dark coloured puree on the plate. The ingredients include chocolate, pine nuts, cinnamon and the all important blood sausage. 

** Here is a very well explained blog post about sanguinaccio


Pannacotta with blueberries and grappa was soft and wobbly, perfectly set the way it should be. There were proper enough amount of grappa for a proper hit.

Mascarpone cheesecake and berries was as good as it looks

Right at the end of the cafe is where the deli is. See all the hanging meat, you can have some of those or sit down to have some coffee. It has a very friendly and relax atmosphere. 

My dear friend who was going back to Japan for good picked this place for her last lunch in London. Having stuffed her face with all the good food in London before leaving, I thought she made a very good choice. We were well happy and left with a round belly and big fat smile all the way home.

Smile..

Excellent rustic southern Italian food with bold flavours. Service was prompt and friendly, ambience was calm on a late weekday afternoon after the peak hours.

Frown..

What is there to frown about when it was all so good?..

Will I return?

Yes of course. Pork belly again and something else. Maybe tiramisu for dessert next time so I can do my tiramisu rating.


L'Anima Cafe

10 Appold Street
EC2A 2AP London,UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7422 7080

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