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  • hilly 5:32 pm on February 22, 2013
    Tags: , restaurants   

    Special offer at the Jasmine Restaurant 

    Detail of the Kapalishvara Temple, Chennai

    Detail of the Kapalishvara Temple, Chennai

    Avzol from the Jasmine Restaurant on Shooters Hill e-mailed about my search for the perfect naan, and with a special offer for e-shootershill readers. He wrote:

    Special offer for all at E-Shooters Hill  and also for your readers and subscribers. 20% Off* on all collections and deliveries at The Jasmine Restaurant until 19/03/2013.

    *when paid in cash 10% otherwise, offer excludes king prawn dishes, chef’s specials and drinks.

    Avzol thought that the secret of a perfect naan was in the preparation and freshness of the dough; they make their dough just before the restaurant opens and keep it chilled,  but they only make enough dough balls to last the evening, so it’s fresh every day. In his wide and long experience of tasting naan, he has “never found any naan tastier than those made by street vendors across India and Bangladesh, I suspect their over use of ghees make it that much more tastier”. So the more fat, the more flavour but the less healthy! At the Jasmine they aim to provide healthier food by using fresher ingredients and less salt, oils and ghee.

    Seems like a good excuse to go for a curry.

    The Jasmine Restaurant

    The Jasmine Restaurant

     
  • hilly 9:53 pm on January 16, 2013
    Tags: , , restaurants,   

    French Evening at City View 

    Shooters Hill Campus

    Shooters Hill Campus

    City View Restaurant at Shooters Hill Post 16 Campus are holding a fund raising event on the evening of 7th February  to help pay for a  trip to Paris in April for their level 2 & 3 students. Most of the food will be donated by their suppliers, 3663, and other suppliers have either donated a raffle prize or given a discount. The Paris trip will also be funded by diners’ tips over the last year.

    While in Paris the students will be having a go at croissant and baguette making, as well as seeing the sights of the city.

    The evening costs £30, and starts with a tasting of some of the college’s French wines, with the opportunity to buy some to drink with your meal. The menu has a very French theme:

    Wine tasting Reception
    ***
    Escargots a l’ail
    Snails in Garlic Butter
    Or
    Cuisses de Grenouilles Provençale
    Frogs Legs Provençale

    Second Course

    Quenelles de Brochet avec Bisque Sc
    Quenelles of Pike with Bisque Sauce

    Main course

    Coq au vin

    Plateau de Fromage
    Selection French Cheeses

    Dessert

    Tarte aux Citron
    Lemon Tart

    Chocolat Tarte
    Chocolate Tart

    Pot au Chocolat avec Madeleines
    Chocolate pot with Madeleines
    ***
    Café & Petit Fours

    Tables can can be booked through the City View web pages or by phone on 020 8319 9790. If the food is anything like my recent visit to City View then it will be an excellent evening, though best approached with an empty tummy.

     
  • hilly 5:48 pm on November 25, 2012
    Tags: , , restaurants,   

    City View Restaurant 

    City View Restaurant at lunch time

    City View Restaurant at lunch time

    It’s not often that a meal out ends with the chefs coming out of the kitchen to hear what you thought of their cooking  and to share the tricks of their trade, but that’s what happened at the end of my Fine Dining evening at the City View Restaurant. In fact everyone in the crowded restaurant gave the young chefs a round of applause in appreciation of their cooking skills.

    Before I visited City View I didn’t know what a Lemon Liaison was, now I know how to prepare one.

    The chefs at the restaurant at the Shooters Hill Campus on Red Lion Lane are students studying for NVQs in catering and hospitality. At the Thursday Fine Dining Evening they all wear the red caps showing they are advanced, level 3 catering students – the level 2s wear black caps and level 1s white caps.  As well as preparing and cooking food for City View, students take on the role of greeters and waiters at the restaurant and prepare food for the campus canteens which cater for up to 250 students a day. Last year 100% of the students passed their NVQs;  work destinations for alumni include the Ivy, the Tate Modern restaurant and the Tudor Barn.

    Earlier this year students had the opportunity to work with Michelin-starred chefs Richard Corrigan and Ron Blaauw on the catering for Sail Royal Greenwich Olympic tall ships cruises on the Thames. The London Calling  web site explained their task:

    Michelin-starred chefs Richard Corrigan and Ron Blaauw (from Holland) have combined their skills to create recipes and menus designed specifically for the Sail Greenwich Ltd Olympic cruises. Under Corrigan’s and Blaauw’s guidance and supervision, three choices of menus (Walking Dinner, Gourmet Buffet or Buffet – each with a lunch and dinner variant) are produced by catering and hospitality students at Shooters Hill Post 16 Campus college. These students are already famous for their successful City View Restaurant, and the food served on Thalassa promises to be equally appetizing.

    There are some great pictures of Richard Corrigan and Ron Blaauw with Shooters Hill students on the Uretopia Flickr site.

    The menu for the evening looked interesting; it included several dishes I hadn’t tried before:

    Tomato & Basil Soup

    Garnished with Chicken Quenelles and Lemon Liaison

    SECOND COURSE

    Smoked Salmon and Prawn Parcels

    Lime and Dill Mayonnaise

    MAIN COURSES

    Pan Fried Calves Liver with Crispy Pancetta with Lime Butter and Raspberry Vinegar

    Served with Boursin, Sage & Potato Beignets

    Grilled Parrot Fish with Ginger Garlic Dill & Turmeric Marinade

    Served Creamed Potatoes

    Cassette of Baby Vegetables

    & Wild Mushroom “Choron”

    Followed by

    A Choice of Dessert, Fresh Fruit Salad or Cheese from the Sweet Trolley

    Coffee

    The food was really very good; my only criticism was that the portions were too generous, and I had no room to try any of the amazing looking confections on the well-stocked dessert trolley. Our menu started with Tomato & Basil Soup garnished with Chicken Quenelles and Lemon Liaison which was delicious. The quenelle was surprisingly light, with a definite lemony nip to the chicken filling. A  bottle of Australian Chardonnay, costing a fraction of the price charged by most restaurants, matched it well. The Smoked Salmon and Prawn Parcel had a generous portion of creamy prawns with a tang of lime, wrapped in smoked salmon.
    Smoked Salmon and Prawn Parcels with Lime and Dill Mayonnaise at City View Restaurant

    Smoked Salmon and Prawn Parcels with Lime and Dill Mayonnaise at City View Restaurant

    Then the delicately flavoured fish,  perfectly cooked, on a mound of smoothly creamed potato, with a creamy dill, prawn and caper sauce. And was it my imagination or had the sauce been shaped into a picture of a blue whale? When the post-prandial cup of decaffeinated coffee was accompanied  by a dish of chocolate-swirled cinder toffee I was starting to feel like my “waffer thin mint” moment was approaching.
    Grilled Parrot Fish with Ginger Garlic Dill & Turmeric Marinade served with Creamed Potatoes

    Grilled Parrot Fish with Ginger Garlic Dill & Turmeric Marinade served with Creamed Potatoes

    The Fine Dining Evening costs £20 per person excluding drinks, which  just about covers the cost of the ingredients. The restaurant is decorated with photographs and art work produced by students and has great views over the city.  There’s been some changes since City View was last mentioned on e-shootershill: they now accept payment by card and cheque and they have relocated the smoking area. There are plenty of car-parking places in the evening, though we enjoyed the walk  down the hill.

    City View also opens at lunch time from Tuesday to Friday. A full four course menu is available, but it is possible to choose which courses you have – for example just the soup course. When I visited at lunch time the main course was a generously portioned slow cooked braised lamb shanks served with buttered mash and greens, but I stuck to a starter of polenta crusted salmon goujons with spiced tomato and red pepper relish, which was delicious and enough for lunch.

    Both lunch and the Fine Dining Evening can be booked through the City View web pages or by phone on 020 8319 9790. The web site has been redesigned recently and now includes a City View blog page for diners’ comments. If you want to really spoil yourself the college also have very reasonably priced, well equipped  hair and beauty salons.

    City View Restaurant is well worth a visit, and you never know you may have a meal prepared by a future celebrity chef.

    Shooters Hill Campus

    Shooters Hill Campus

    City View Restaurant in the evening

    City View Restaurant in the evening

     
  • hilly 10:34 pm on April 17, 2012
    Tags: , restaurants   

    In Search of the Perfect Naan 

    Flower seller in the market in Bangalore

    Flower seller in the market in Bangalore

    My ideal for the perfect naan is one that I tasted on a business trip to Bangalore a few years ago, at the then Taj Residency hotel. The subtleties of air-fare pricing meant that it was cheaper for me to stay for an extra couple of days and come home on Sunday, even allowing for the cost of the – for India – extremely expensive business hotel. So I had a Saturday buzzing round the sites of Bangalore on a tuk-tuk – including the famous Nandi temple, Botanical Gardens and a crowded market. Exhausted at the end of the day, and faced with a 4 am alarm call the next day, I collapsed in the hotel buffet and feasted on hot, cooked-to-order naans and a selection of curries. Their naan, in my memory, had the right balance between lightness and doughiness, absorbency and firmness: a perfect vehicle for a spicy curry.

    Before then I had always preferred chapatis, probably based on my introduction to Indian food at the Chakwal restaurant in Leeds, where a bowl of curry and three chapatis cost less than a pound, with a second bowl half price if you still had room –   perfect for a hungry student.

    Star of Spice window

    Star of Spice window

    The local, Shooters Hill,  curry restaurants frequently come close to my ideal naan, but never quite meet it. The Star of Spice in Herbert Road is our usual destination, and I always enjoy their curries: not over-cooked or over-spiced, but with distinguishable spicy flavours and al-dente vegetables. And of course a cold beer or two, usually Kingfisher in memory of holidays in the Indian sub-continent where the bottles informed us that it was “Most Thrilling Chilled”.

    The Jasmine Restaurant

    The Jasmine Restaurant

    For the sake of fairness, and variety,  it was necessary to visit the Ruchita on Shooters Hill as well, and that was equally enjoyable. It has recently changed hands, and name: it is now called the Jasmine. The new chef seems to be as good as the previous one, based on our first visit. Their Cauliflower Bhaji was just about perfect and their Chilli Masala Chicken made my lips go numb, in a nice way. The naan was good as well, but still not meeting the perfection of the platonic ideal naan.

    The other Ruchita, the take-away on Herbert Road, is handicapped in the naan stakes by the foil bags that keep the bread warm during delivery: however quickly you open the bag it seems impossible to avoid that little bit of condensation that prevents the naan achieving perfection. Their portions however are very generous, and there’s always some left over for the freezer.

    My favourite Indian restaurant isn’t in Shooters Hill, unfortunately. It’s a South Indian vegetarian restaurant over in Stoke Newington called the Rasa. The starter selection, of different and unexpected types of poppadom and vibrantly flavoured pickles, alone is enough to justify the journey through the Blackwall Tunnel from time to time. However, since I find their Dosas irresistible – especially the Chilli Onion Rava Dosa – they are exempted from the search for the perfect naan.

    So the quest continues. If nothing else it’s a good excuse to eat more curries.

    Nandi Idol at the Bull Temple in Bangalore

    Nandi Idol at the Bull Temple in Bangalore

     
    • Rachel 12:48 pm on April 21, 2012

      Always nice to have more excuses to eat curries… not that I need it

  • hilly 11:41 pm on September 6, 2011
    Tags: , restaurants, ,   

    Palm Beach Nkwobi Spot 

    Woolwich is getting “Back to Business” after the riots, and in response to calls to support local enterprise, it occurred that one way to do so might be to make a beeline for the Nigerian businesses that have, in some ways, helped to keep local commerce alive in the years between the exodus of the Woolwich Building Society, Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society et al, and the arrival of new investment from the council, Berkeley Homes and Tesco.

    For several years now there’s been more and more Nigerian shops in the SE18 area, and having followed the food related ponderings of local musicians Afrikan Boy and Tinie Tempah, the time seemed right to try out some West African cooking.

    I went to Palm Beach, which is opposite the swimming pool. The reception there was possibly the most good-natured I’ve ever had at a restaurant in this country, and the family that run the place provided a fun and detailed explanation of Nigerian eating and drinking. Broadly speaking there seems to be no wheat or potatoes, and key ingredients include eba (cassava), yam, egusi (melon seeds), beef (nkwobi is hoof stew), tropical fish, and enough scotch bonnet pepper to give you a long and pleasant afterglow. For drinks I tried Palm Wine and Nigerian Guinness, which is much stronger than the Irish type. Overall, I found the intensity of this style of cooking very enjoyable, and am looking forward to trying some more West African fare in the near future, probably at one of the other Woolwich restaurants. At Palm Beach, the cost of mains and drinks was £10-15 per person.

     
    • Plummy Mummy 7:57 pm on September 11, 2011

      Well done you for trying the local restaurants – I must admit I was never brave enough and it sounds as if I missed out.
      If you are up to travelling a bit further afield, I heartily recommend Adulis which is a great Eritraen restaurant in Oval

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