Sunday, 23 March 2014

A little closer to home, going vegan at Camden Market: Arepa & co

I am a firm believer in challenging oneself regularly, preferrably something involving moving countries, but as I am anchored to London (more specifically my desk) for a little while, I decided lent would be the perfect opportunity to delve into veganism. An avid carnivore, it's been less challenging than I thought. The one thing I am struggling with, is eating out - my most favourite lesiuretime pursuit. A bit of googling told me Camden Market was the place to go, thankfully merely a pebblethrow from where I live. Last weekend, we took full advantage of the sun and bought vegan yumminess before wandering along Regents Canal all the way to Paddington Basin.

Cornbread is my favourite type of bread; ever since I read To Kill A Mockingbird all I wanted was to be Scout Finch and cornbread just reminds me of that book and how wonderful it is. Despite being so tempted by the topping of guacamole and pulled chicken (mixed together!) I picked plantain, roasted veg and black beans. It was so good and for £5, such good value. The other options for toppings also looked amazing, as did the corn pancakes! 

The queue for the stall was full of South Americans chatting in Spanish with the staff and, in the streaming sunlight, it was almost like being in a South American market. That is why I love London! Camden Market on the weekends, the part of the market where Honest Burger and Chin Chin Laboratories is, is food heaven! There is a vegan bakery in there too that I am dying to try. Giving up all naughty things is a struggle, thank goodness oreos are vegan.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm now signed up to Bloglovin'!
Hopefully it will make it easier to find more of you similar-minded people to follow and to share some foodie/Londony tips with!

Dim T[errible]

Sorry its been so long since the last post, but I really haven't done anything very bloggable recently. Lots of visit to the library and rain-dodging on the sofa.

Last weekend my boyfriend mentioned how much he was craving Dim Sum. He spent a while in Asia and LOVES Asian food. More of a Europhile, it isn't a cuisine I tend to get craving for...(bratwurst und bretzlen tend to be my cravings of choice) But I'd happened to walk passed a pretty looking restaurant earlier in the week fittingly named Dim T so I thought it would be a fun Sunday Brunch for us.

It started off strong. The decor was clean and modern, it was light and airy and there were plenty of free tables and it was quiet - all good brunching qualities. On the tables were little teapots of soy sauce and little white pots of chilli, along with napkins and chopsticks. I started with a cocktail and Rob had a pot of tea (clearly forgetting the most important rule that the only drinks allow at brunch are alcoholic ones). I had the raspberry and ginger cocktail and it was so delicious. It tasted like melted ice lolly but in the best way possible. I thoroughly recommend it. They bought glasses of tap water to the table too, unasked for, which was nice.

I left the ordering to Rob as I am a Dim Sum novice - placing my food order in someone elses hand is NOT something that comes easy to me. I knows what I likes and I do not like to be food-envious. For a restaurant perputing to specialise in Dim Sum the menu was EXTREMELY limited. Maybe about 10 options? Then a whole other two sides of non-Dim Sum dishes. This did not please me. There was no great explanation of what each dish was, so it was an exercise in blind faith. The restaurant was slowly filling up and we were getting slightly anxious about time (we had a date with beer and Man City at 2) but felt sure that, as Dim Sum is known to be such a speedy meal, we would make it in time for kick off.

The dishes are served by waiting staff who steam the dishes in the restaurant. And when they eventually came they were SUCH a disappointment.

The top picture is of the spinach dish. I am a huge spinach fan, in all its forms, but this was disgusting. The outer casing was thick and slimey and the inside was bland and sloppy. None of these are things you want food to be. They looked like slugs and they did not taste any better than they looked. We had to spit it out. All of the dishes, with the exception of the pork buns, were cased in thick, slimey goo and were really not nice to eat. We were both expecting a variety of types of Dim Sum, but we were wrong. The pork buns were good - the cloud buns were soft and fluffy and the pork was tender and well flavoured. If there had been more like this, it would have been an enjoyable meal. Alas it was not the case and I left feeling ill. It was the worst meal I've had in a long time.

The redeeming features were the decor and the cocktails. Maybe if we'd ordered from the mains section then we would have had a different experience, but if a restaurant calls itself Dim T, then you expect their Dim Sum selection to be their USP, not their other dishes. This has really put me off Dim Sum AND letting other people order for me.