SW11- Battersea – The Northcote Road Summer Fete

The Northcote Road Summer Fete is coming next week…

Northcote Road Summer Fete

The Northcote Road Summer Fete is coming to Battersea on Sunday 7th July, from 11am until 5pm. The whole road will be closed to traffic all day for the event – no parking and no buses! Imagine that, just pushchairs and people. I’m very excited about some of the main highlights of the event especially the ping pong tables which will be at various intervals along the road, plus there will be the Wimbledon Men’s Final on the big screen…C’mon Tim!

Oh hang on…

There’s going to be tons of visiting stall holders selling their wares including jewellery, handmade cards, photo frames, children’s clothing, cosmetics, snacks and much more.

What we’ve all been waiting to hear about is the delicious food and drink items which will be on offer. Word has it that there will be a traditional hog roast and barbecued food, Spanish tapas, an oyster an Champagne bar run by Fish Club, jugs of Pimms, real ale and gallons of wine. *Hic*!

There’s much more information at www.northcoterd.co.uk; on Facebook – www.facebook.com/NorthcoteRd and Twitter  – @Northcote_Rd. Ill be helping out at the event; so if you see someone maniacally running up and down the street with a lanyard and a hi-vis vest on, that’ll most likely be me.

See you there!


SW11 Battersea – Sambrook’s Brewery New Pale Ale

It is no secret that I like beer. Craft beer and real ale if we’re being specific (which reminds me – did you see my post on the Battersea Beer Festival?). So when I hear of a new pale ale being let loose into the world, my ears prick up. Actually, my ears start dancing -practically – when I hear that it’s a pale ale brewed in the Borough of Wandsworth!


So Sambrook’s (whom I have oft written about) are a Battersea-based brewery. Last month saw the launch of their new keg pale ale which was rolled out to nine different stockists (there could be more now, I’m not sure. Ask them on Twitter) in London. I know it sold out pretty darn quick at one pub in Shoreditch though. I tried the first batch of this pale ale at their Brewery Bash event back in September but since then, they’ve tweaked the recipe…the suspense is killing me.

And here it is!

Drum roll…

As you’ve probably noticed, craft keg beer (oh so popular at the moment), save for a few exceptions, has primarily been the contingent of the Americans and Europeans. But Sambrook’s have decided they’d like to try their hand at it making it, in addition to their usual cask ale. And hey – I’d like to lend a hand at trying it.

They’ve merged a traditional English cask recipe with a German lagering technique called krausening. It’s matured in a pressurised vessel for three weeks, meaning that it develops its own carbonation, yet  it retains all the flavour you expect of an English cask ale. The result is a light, fresh beer – with none of the floury / fruity aromas you get with some pale ales (not that I mind those).

Say what? They’ve only gone and opened a shop in the brewery too – you can buy a number of different beers and ales hand selected by none other than Duncan Sambrook. He’s got quite a good taste in beer, don’t you think? 😉

Sambrook’s Brewery Shop

SW11 Battersea – Sambrook’s Ale – Brewery Bash

I’m sure you’ve made the joke in your head already. A party? In a brewery? With beer? Well, yes, we all made that joke yesterday. Even the Welshman did – and he’s not known for being the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Beer barrels – disappointingly not made of wood

Although I can feel the wind turning September ever more wintery, yesterday was a cracker of a day – sunshine with the need for a scarf. My favourite kind of weather. Hay bales and the smell of Ginger Pig sausages on the barbecue greeted the real ale fans (some of whom I have encountered before) who came to celebrate Sambrook’s successes, and four-year birthday celebrations.

Sambrooks Brewery Bash

Hay bales and a hoedown!

The usual favourites were on tap; Wandle, Junction, and Powerhouse Porter. Tokens could also be exchanged for the new (ish) Lavender Hill pale ale which was overly drinkable, infused with honey and had notes of orange blossom. Pumphouse Pale Ale was also a winner in my book (glass).

If I wasn’t in drinking an industrial estate in south London, I would have thought I was getting merry at a hoedown in Somerset. A live band on the back of a lorry played jigged up versions of pop tunes that made you want to squeal – yee haaw!

Thought I’d share some of the snaps with you.

A man proffering sausages

Legal tender at the brewery

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SW11 Battersea – Adulis – Eritrean dining & restaurant review

I rarely eat Chinese food. Do you know why? Because I have never eaten any Chinese food which has knocked the socks off me. Sure, I should probably go to China and experience it first hand, but do you have £614 (that’s the first value that came up on an unnamed flight price comparison website, which might be spelled Kayak backwards…er). Admittedly I could go to Soho, but I wouldn’t know the first place to start in among the hanging Peking duck and sex stores (they really should have hygiene laws for that sort of thing). Why then, is ‘a Chinese’ the nation’s favourite dish? This I will not comprehend, just as I will not comprehend those who think Staffordshire bull terriers are cute. ‘An Indian’ however, I can understand.

North African food is something I have experienced, and I will admit, was not something that I’d write home about – apart from perhaps their moreish breakfast pancakes – which themselves are not that dissimilar from an Indian paratha. And, despite living in Nigeria for a small percentage of my youth, west African cuisine has also passed me by. I want to say I’ve tried Ethiopian cooking, and I have, but only in Brick Lane and it was very very salty. Enter Adulis, an Eritrean on St John’s Hill, Battersea. The gateway to my African palate.

St John’s Hill is a street fast becoming something of a hub for those looking for casual, great food done well. Only last week did the Fabulous Feast take place and no doubt you’ll all have heard of Ben’s Canteen’s whose social media following accurately reflects the tastiness of their offerings.

Unfamiliarity means sometimes we neglect to see great things which lie right under our noses. But not me! No! I am not a sheep (a tendency which might not ultimately win me any Darwin awards). That aside, Eritrean food was on my radar.

Appearance wise, Adulis is a really, really nice restaurant. And I can’t say fairer than that. Extremely tastefully decorated – there are no gimics – it is spilt over two levels and last Wednesday night the place had a buzz which sounded like it could have been a Friday.

I enjoyed the £15 two-course meal which was put on as a result of the Fabulous Feast festival. With it came honey wine…given the choice between your average blanc de blanc I would always go for something drier, but on this occasion the sweeter version of the Miès was far more palatable (the Welshman and I were given both samples to choose from). Not sure if it is really my thing, but blimey, that stuff could get you seriously pissed. I was assured that being organic, a hangover could be swiftily avoided. Where was this valuable information when I was drinking neon bottled drinks in the student union circa 2005?

Eritrean food is eaten with the hands, which the Welshman’s relished; his Neanderthal eating habits are only marginally more refined than a dog. But rolling up the injera and grabbing morsels of the tasting dishes was almost like biting into temporary samosas. Injera is a traditional bread which is flat, made with yeast and has a vinegary-sour taste – it soaks up all the juices. Think of a sour crumpet with a similar texture to boot, and you’re not far off. Eaten plain, they’re not all that, but the acidity is neutralised and compliments the robust, mealy flavours and textures of the accompanying pulse dishes. These pulse dishes (the vegetarian beb’ainetu) included spiced lentils which were plainer (less spicy) than the more familiar dahl; cooked spinach was quite garlicky and had a sweeter than expected taste. There was a much spicier dish which stood out, but for the life of me I can’t remember its name (or indeed how one  might pronounce it). It was fiery and delicious.

The meat beb’ainetu

The Welshman had the meat version of the platter, and in general the dishes looked and were flavoured in a similar manner to that of the vegetarian – save for the addition of either lamb or chicken. He mentioned that the chicken in one of the dishes was a little dry for his liking, but then you’ll have to take his word for that. The dishes which were presented to us were all a type of ‘stew’ and I would have liked to have seen a little more variety in the textures. I think choosing one’s own dish off the menu would probably give a more representative impression of what Eritrean food can offer in terms of texture. So I guess that means I will have to return to Adulis at some point. Life could be a lot worse!

Service was awesome. I refuse to believe you can get service like that in London. Apparently you can. At Adulis. Plus you can also be part of a coffee ceremony which was similar to what I’ve experienced on Brixton Station Road.

Eritrean coffee ceremony

Should I sum up what I’ve written in some corny, cliché-ridden paragraph? Probably. I’ve done it before.  However, just try Adulis. But if you do – make sure you’re hungry. You’ll know what I mean after a couple of pieces of injera!

I was a guest at Adulis restaurant as part of St John’s Hill’s Fabulous Feast.

Adulis on Urbanspoon

SW11 Battersea – The Fabulous Feast

Naughty, naughty blogger! No blogposts for ages. But before I chastise myself for a paragraph and you move elsewhere, I have the excellent excuse that I was away on holiday. In Morocco, in case you were wondering. A blogpost on my culinary travels is imminent.

Meanwhile, I’ve landed in back in south west London with a thud (that’s a metaphor, not a literal representation of my tagine-related bodyweight) and I’ve completely settled back into my old routines and kitchen habits.

It’s also nice to be greeted with a number of events on the culinary calender south of the river. First up this week, is The Fabulous Feast up on St John’s Hill in Battersea. I thought I’d jump in and tell you all about it now (before the self-indulgence of my holiday) because it starts today. Fortunately, it continues for the whole of this week.

And a fabulous feast The Fabulous Feast is! For those who aren’t personally acquainted with the lovely St John’s Hill in Battersea (the hill on the right as you turn out of the odious Clapham Junction station) it’s a road (wonders will never cease) with a huge array of restaurants and drinkeries. This week participating venues will be offering special £15 menus, showcasing the best of their culinary flair. I’m heading to Adulis to sample some Eritrean specialities. I will of course let you know how it goes.

And on Saturday 19th, you can be a fly on the wall (albeit much more hygienically), seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant – including watching demonstrations and understanding cooking processes, meeting suppliers and load more. The ‘open kitchen’ events will be organised and run by host venues. A list of confirmed events are listed on the St John’s Hill website. If you don’t fancy trying your hand at filleting fish at Fish Club (my top pick), then you can always just head to the street between 11am and 5pm, where the road will be lined with stalls full of ready-made goodies to tuck in to.

Sounds like that’s the weekend pretty much sorted then – and it is only Monday!

SW11 – Battersea – Sambrook’s – Challenge the brewer!

Armed with a bottle of red wine and a box of chocolates, I intrepidly set out last week to a good friend of mine’s birthday. But don’t worry – I arrived – and have since come home (doesn’t always happen).

What I am trying to convey to you is that I was armed with wine! Yes – that’s right – not my usual aperitif of choice which would normally be a six-pack of deliciously chilled Red Stripe. Knowing full well that this was to be a sophisticated birthday party (the kind with Kettle Chips), chardonnay (no, OK my friend definitely has better taste than that) and respectable chatter, I think I was appropriately bottled up. I don’t think my six pack would have gone down too well (my other one might have).

NB. The kind of parties I normally go to, usually involve me imposing martial law on the music system at the end of the night (as the Scouser and others will testify), and playing something that I’ve been listening to on loop that week.

But hey! Slow down. Enough. Where was I? Beer. Yes, I like beer. But recently, and thanks to my inaugural attendance at the Battersea Beer Festival, I have become a fan of ale (there may be hope for my burgeoning sophistication yet). I blogged about my experience on the Lavender Hill community site too. What has peaked my interest, and ultimately this post, is that Sambrook’s – makers of one of my favourite ales, Wandle, and coincidently Battersea’s very own brewery – have started brewing a new spring ale to add to their collection.

A proper pale ale, needs a proper name, and, at this moment in time it doesn’t have one! If you have ever fancied challenging a brewer to a drinking competition then I think you’re absolutely mental, but if you want to Challenge the Brewer to rename this latest addition to the Sambrook’s family, then I urge you to get involved. You can submit your entry in one of four ways:

Email: paleale@sambrooksbrewery.co.uk
Text message: Start a text with Ale then a space, then your name for the ale to 07786 205 227
Tweet them: @sambrookale
Facebook: Sambrook’s Brewery

You’ve got until midnight on April 6th. The astute ones among you will realise that is tomorrow night. So, get your thinking caps on. Get those juices flowing with something to assist the creative process and don’t forget to send in your entries. Duncan Sambrook himself and his wonderful minions will be judging entries. For more information see their blog.

So it is Thursday night, I have limited work to do tomorrow. Who would like to join me and ease into the bank holiday weekend with one of these?

Sambrook's Ale

My Food Week in pictures – A farewell lunch, Brixton style

When you’ve been friends with someone for so long, regardless of how diligent you both are at keeping in contact, you’re always going to feel a little tug on those strings which are, apparently, attached to a frosty cardiac muscle in the centre of your thoracic cavity (my scenario anyway).

My friend leaves Wednesday, having been so close to me in south London, for the Wild West – Portland, Oregon. Having a terrible geographical knowledge of US States (c’mon, they’d never be able to point out where Brixton is on a map) I couldn’t tell you if it is actually the Wild West – you know – with cowboys and all. They still have them, right?

The second farewell I bid this week was another westward escape. This time to Wales; land of bara brith, laverbread, and Welsh cakes (posted a sneaky link to Debs’ site. Hers are, quite frankly, the dog’s proverbials).

Because I need great content for my blog, and, because I love my friend (notice the ordering of that sentence) I invited some of my closest mates for lunch (dinner – nudge to the northerners). All I need is a film crew and I’m basically your next Naked Chef (I throw roughly chopped food into the pan from great heights too y’know).


A farewell dinner which would not be forgotten had to include some of Brixton’s finest produce. Seemed only fair since I had directed the party all the way up Brixton Hill. My cooking of late is naturally following the nature of the weather; increasingly inspired by spring. Elderflower and apple spritzers started us off, with some of my favourite olives on the side – nocerella. If you’ve never had them before and are a fan of olives in all forms, please try them. Bright green (like giant peas) and unusually round (like giant peas), they are a lot less salty than your average green olive, have a fleshy texture and nutty flavour.

I served up two whole sea bass between five of us, stuffing it with mint, basil, parsley, and lemon slices. I really don’t understand people who don’t like to see the animal they’re about to eat whole. I demand to know what I’m eating, which is why I always ask my fishmonger to just clean and gut the fish. Plus, the bones and head keep all the divine juices inside, retaining the fish’s moisture. Dust the skin with a reasonable layer of sea salt and I can promise that you will be fighting for leftover pieces of skin from the plates of the fusspots.

Sea bass from Brixton Village

Offering the carbohydrates for the meal was a large portion of kisir (I may have made too much) – a Middle Eastern dish made principally with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomato paste. I used a recipe I spotted about three years ago in the Guardian by one of my favourite columnists and chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. I needed to add more chilli from the original recipe, and I preferred my bulgar wheat a little softer, so I added more water. It’s a beautiful traffic light platter when all is done and dusted, but I can tell you finding pomegranate molasses when your bastion of hope (Brixton Wholefoods) have run out of stock, can be a little unnerving an hour before your guests arrive. Luckily A&C Co Delicatessen saved my bacon, and my kisir, incidentally.

Ottolenghi's Kisir

Ottolenghi's Kisir

And the rest of the week…well just a quick one about a fabulous and entertaining cheese and wine evening at Entrée restaurant, on Battersea Rise. The event was hosted by their new restaurant manager, Chloe Gounder-Forbes. She’s a bit of a cheesy star having been on the judging panel of the British Cheese Awards – she knows her stuff.

Cheese Board at Entree

SW11 Battersea – Entrée Restaurant – Cheese & Wine Evening

Is is me or is it an excellent afternoon? It might be to do with the fact that it has been glorious for the past week. But then, come to think about it, I have been working so I haven’t been outside. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that I’ve been listening to Bruce Springsteen’s discography since I woke up this morning and that I am going to see him play in Hyde Park this summer. Listening to him in the coming months is merely an amuse bouche to the main course. *Boast, and a la carte puns over*.

There is one other thing which is making me smile today (I promised the boasting was over, but if I am honest it has only just begun) and that is cheese.

Cheese is one type of food I don’t buy often. Save for the occasional dried piece of cheddar which has ambled its way to the back of the refrigerator, you’ll not find any in my kitchen. I love it, and not buying it is a damage limitation exercise to prevent the bulge. Despite this, I love strong flavours and am not one to shy away from a stilton, St Agur, or any curded goody which is marbled blue.

I’m reluctant to tell you about Entrée restaurant. Nestled in on Battersea Rise, it’s a bit of a local secret. But if you promise not to tell, I’ll give you a few more details. Last night was their inaugural cheese and wine evening hosted by their new restaurant manager, Chloe Gounder-Forbes.

Cheese Board at Entree

A knife tinkling on a crystal glass signalled that the night was to begin. Sitting side by side in the Bentley Bar, each of us were brought five cheeses on a board with delicately sliced French bread. Chloe, who has been a judge at the British Cheese Awards, entertained us with a description of the first cheese – Sante Maure – a medium goat’s cheese which had been matured for a minimum of 10 days to give it the thin blue circumferential rind. The complimenting wine, Les Acrobats, opened up the creamy, firm yet well-roundedness with a pineapple kick.

We were given a chance to sample the cheese on its own, with the wine, then discuss our findings and thoughts. The evening was really relaxed and Chloe couldn’t have been more helpful – even to a complete Luddite like me (I love and know a little about cheese, but I’ve had little experience of pairing good cheese and wine together).

Chloe ran through each cheese and wine pairing one by one. The lingering mushroom hints of the English (Hampshire) Turnworth Soft, not dissimilar to a Camembert, were a favourite of mine. But the combination of Bleu d’Auvergne and The Opportunist – a 2010 Australian Shiraz – finished the evening off strongly. Late night snogs were definitely off the menu.

The intimate Bentley Bar

I believe Entrée will host more events like this in the future, but in the meantime they are open Monday to Sunday for dining, and or, just drinks. The speak-easy atmosphere and the Bring Your Own on a Monday night in the restaurant (£5 corkage) is going to see my return quicker than you can say fromage.

Entrée Restaurant
2 Battersea Rise
SW11 1ED

My food week in pictures – Seafood and eat it, but watch for the whelks

My weekly post ‘my food week in pictures’ comes to you not on a Sunday night, as I normally would have planned, but on a Tuesday. Sundays are the best  time to cook up a decent carby dinner, and before you start to get that digestive-dozy feeling, I find that the 45 minutes after you’ve eaten is an excellent time to bosh out a blogpost. Unfortunately I decided to drown my sorrows after England’s defeat to Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday night, and as a result, Sunday was a write-off. I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t eat. Frankly, I couldn’t even talk.

As a result, my photographic record of food and culinary adventures is pretty sparse – but the ones I do have, are as colourful as you could wish for, and more ecologically diverse than your average rock pool. Take a look:

Plateau Impérial at Le Bouchon Battersea

Plateau Impérial at Le Bouchon Battersea

Plateau Impérial at Le Bouchon Battersea

The Welshman and I seized a deal on the Telegraph Selected website for the Plateau Impérial at Le Bouchon on Battersea Rise. Full price, it is not something I would shell out (ho ho ho) for, but considering we paid a smidge under £20 a head, it definitely wasn’t bad value.

Included on our industrial platter were cockles, prawns, oysters, mussels, whole Devon crab and half a native lobster. They were served with either lemon, homemade aioli, or a red wine vinaigrette. All was fresh which made for a brilliantly messy lunch (I had bits of mollusc everywhere).  However, there was one item on the plate which I can barely bring myself to write…


There, said it.

Can anyone explain to me why in the devil someone would want to eat that? I am not a fussy eater. I am willing to try anything once, and generally, I’m offended by not a lot. The whe…gastropod which cannot be named is disgusting. Even having them on my plate made me feel like I was a guest on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

Just, no.

Fingers crossed I will be as right as rain tomorrow, continuing to gorge into all the foodie delights south west London brings us, save for the whelks.

My food week in pictures – Real ale, Eggs Royale, and a sandwich

It’s been a funny old week: it’s not often you spend your Thursday drinking pints of Hip Hop Green Bullet at a real ale festival, nor do I want my Fridays to be quite so bleary-eyed! But yes, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that the Battersea Beer Festival was on this week. I wrote a guest post for www.lavenderhill.co.uk about the event which you can see here. It was a great opportunity to meet some local producers (I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Duncan Sambrook – yes –  founder of Wandsworth’s Sambrook’s Brewery), and some drunken German chap from Munich who kept telling me that is 9% abv German beer was “lekker”. I took his word for it. Here are a selection of photos of the main event which I think you’ll enjoy. There’s also a few more on my Facebook page.

Less about liquid now and more about solid food. After a brief stroll around Brockwell Park on Sunday I popped into the nearby Lido Cafe for a spot of brunch. They were closing early so I was lucky to get my hands on their Eggs Royale. Perfectly runny yolk oozed itself over the beautifully tender salmon, which comes from the Severn estuary, and is traditionally smoked by the Severn and Wye Smokery. The Lido Cafe would be a venue I’d love to review, but unfortunately it’s just the wrong side of the SW postcode. Rules is rules!

And finally, before I sign off, you should check out this week’s review of Rosie’s Deli Cafe – and here’s what I ate:

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