Monday, 26 November 2012

Haute Dawgs

Sausages. Sausages. Sausages. My freezer is full of them post the Good Food Show. I cannot stand by and let a bargain pass me by, especially when then taste so darn good. Unsurprisingly I've been pretty much stuffing my face with the little blighters, they just taste sooo goood.

I took some dog porn photos to show you the (boring) new ritual I have gotten into if I find myself going home after work instead of out to play.

First up, these particular beauties are The Keeble's. I have two varieties, breakfast and pork & apple. The latter are far superior. This time I am working Breakfast. Initially? Not so hot...literally

After about 12 minutes frying away they are transformed into deliciousness. Pop in a part baked baguette, cooked for 10 minutes and et voila. Bubbledogs doesn't open on a Monday, so this to me is the next best thing.

Plenty of French's spicy and smooth mustard you're away. No muss, no fuss, no sharing.

PS: I was going to call this post Hawt Dawg, but thankfully I googled it just in time and the Urban Dictionary came up. Please note folks, do NOT try that at home...
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

South Place Hotel Bar and Grill

Looking for somewhere new to go in London can provide a challenge, especially somewhere that will take a booking for eight people at pretty short notice. luckily the twittersphere were on hand to help me out and my attention was drawn back to the South Place Hotel. I had originally heard about it through Hot-Dinners when it opened back in September.
Plated up and ready to go at South Place Hotel Bar and Grill
Housing two restaurants, the chilled out Grill on the ground floor and the fancier fish restaurant 7 floors up, I was sold on the bar and grill as soon as I spotted lobster mac and cheese on the menu. Thankfully they could squeeze us in.

We arrived early to have a drink in the bar. As far as hotel bars go it was pretty atmospheric. being so close to the city (just by Moorgate station) the crowd was as you'd expect, the chairs? Cow hide and lots of dark wood and leather. Very Mad Men.
South Place Hotel Bar
After enjoying a G&T in the bar with a very fancy straw it was in for dinner. We ordered red and white wine and got down to the ordering. Unfortunately everyone was having a steak - I didn't want to be jealous so suggested we ordered a mac and cheese on the size of the steaks...pretty sensible if you ask me. And turns out a very savvy move.
Bar and Grill Menu
First up however were the starters. Fish soup for me and the other exciting thing from the order, scallops. Which I was jealous of. it's the presentation you see, my soup was so ordinary looking. Thankfully it tasted great.

Starters out of the way we moved onto our steaks. One very strange thing - the knives were literally like butter knives. There was no way we could cut through a steak with it. we had to ask for proper steak knives, which i find a bit odd. How was the taste? Pretty darn good. Now perhaps it's because I've recently been to Hawksmoor and Disco Bistro but the steak didn't blow me away. It was a decent hunk o'filet but it didn't have the 'oh my god'liness' right through to the last bite. And was perhaps a bit overdone past it's medium rare peak.

How was the lobster mac and cheese I hear you cry? Pretty delicious. It was quite small and much runnier than your average mac and cheese but this is likely to do with the lobster bisque and Hollandaise sauce that is mixed in with the pasta and lobster. We were glad to have this on the side as the 'triple cooked chips' were nothing to write home about - they were pretty average and a bit disappointing.

Overall the night was fun. A good venue for groups and nicely laid out. Some of the smaller kinks need to be worked out (just call them fries...) but other than that, I'd be back. Especially in the summer for the 7th floor terrace.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 3/5
Drink: 3/5
Overall: 3/5
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Playing Pro: Getting to grips with the EOS 550D

Since getting my new camera a few weeks ago I've been playing as I go, not really messing with the settings and keeping things like focus on Manual. I'd also only been using the one lens (an EF 50mm f/1.8ll should that mean anything to you).

It was time to get the other lenses out of the box and learn how to actually use the thing. I roped in a 'professional' to help me out and started learning all about things such as ISO 's and F stop numbers.
Working some AV
Starting at home a dead plant was the subject. Yep we had lots to work with! It was actually pretty fun to start manually focusing, although I have the tendency to try and hold it with the wrong hand.

After getting to grips with the basics we headed to Broadway Market to fit in with the rest of the hipsters.

This is called Orbing apparently 

This is my zoomiest lent (technical term) I was standing quite far away

Nothing technically good about this shot, I just love a dog coat

Fudge; Nom

Trying to capture some steam

Can you spot the Fox / Dog
It was then on to the pub to celebrate my awesomeness.
Loving the tankard / jar
Working some AV again
Action shot
So what do you think? Favourite picture?
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Restaurant Review: Pierre Victoire Soho

My first day Christmas shopping. By Christmas shopping I mean popping into two shops, mainly buying things for myself and then going for some lunch to celebrate the achievement. As I was in the Oxford Street area I had every intention to going to Bubbledogs. Then as I was striding up Tottenham Court Road, bags in hand I remembered they aren't open on Sundays.

Plan B: Head into Soho, along Dean/Wardour Street it isn't long until you find some place that lures you in. Turns out I didn't even get that far. En route to Soho I walked by Pierre Victoire, a small French Bistro that was nice and busy and offering two courses for £9.90. A quick look at the menu I was in. Slotting into a table for one, dropping my bags and perusing the massive choice.

Pierre Victoire Set Menu
 The bad thing about taking nice photos? The time it takes you to order versus eating all of the complimentary bread. I limited myself to two pieces and aimed to capture the ambiance with the lens I was learning to use the day prior. Limiting myself to two pieces of bread and unlimited photos until I got one I was happy with! Side bar, I am intending on writing a post on the equipment I'm working with.

For starter it was the mushroom, bacon and cauliflower gratin that caught my attention. Yum. There is seriously loads of choice though and I could have went for 2 or three of the starters. When it arrived it was a great size, the rocket and tomato salad was well dressed and the gratin was bubbly, cheesy and nice and hot. Delicious.

For mains I was tempted by the salmon on a bed of butternut squash risotto and the burger. I went for the burger. When it arrived I was a bit sorry that I did. It didn't look all that appealing and I wasn't expecting carrots in it! There was about half a dozen chips and a small pot of ketchup (gag). The knife was stuck in the top so hard it was firmly wedged into the board. I had to go all kinds of King Arthur / Sword in the stone to get the thing out. Wasn't the most becoming of sites to see me prising this steak knife from the burger! When I managed to chop it open it looked more appealing.The burger was well cooked and there was some evidence of mustard mayo (as well as the carrots...)
The Sword in the Stone Burger

On biting it was a nice flavour, the burger was quite small and the toppings fell out a bit (crisp lettuce heart has no place in this burger, there's just no chance it will stay together. The patty was also quite small so I was left with a lot of bun sans meat.
Overall, I should have gone for the salmon. This is a French restaurant specialising in certain things, burgers aren't one of those things. I would highly recommend the place though It had a lovely ambiance and atmosphere.

Atmosphere: 4/5
Food: 3/5
Drink: 3/5
Overall: 3/5
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Monday, 19 November 2012

Live at Kensington Roof Gardens

Kensington Roof Gardens is a fun place. A little oasis of heaven 6 floors above the streets of London, tucked away near Kensington High Street. On this occasion we were heading here for some live music. For a few months every Friday they are hosting live sessions with new and some more established bands. Arriving at 7.30 we grabbed a couple of bottles of wine, stage side seats and settled in to be entertained.

First up was Mila Falls, a young poppy act that reminded us of a bit of Cher Lloyd / Robyn hybrid. It was purrrrdy cheesy, so obviously I loved it. My favourite tune was Radio, managed to find a pretty decent sounding recording.

The act after Mila I can't actually remember, so they can't have been great. It was Gary Phelan we were here to see...and here is the man himself
Ok better picture, less artsy!

Gary specialises in rock/pop/indie and belted out some awesome ballads and anthemic stadium type tunes. His last indie fused with hip hop went down pretty amazingly and was awesome. This is my favourite Phelan tune

The last act up were a foursome called J.U.K.E of Jukeboxx (the website states both) they started off well in my book since they opened with an A Capella version of Stooshe's black heart. They did play some original stuff but the crowd went slightly crazy when Blackstreet No Diggity came on. You can download a free mix tape including this track on here

After we headed to the club and some more wine and celebrations of Gary's awesome set. All in a night's work!

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