Last week Fi and I joined the parental units for an evening of theatre at the National. We are all a bit obsessed with the National Theatre, due, in equal parts, to the stunning river location and the ever changing selection of superb and entertaining plays. I highly recommend seeing a play there if you can. Anyway before we headed into the Olivier Theatre to watch A Small Family Business we headed for food. Obviously. I mean it’s what we do!
We decided to meet (and eat) at a new favourite of ours, The Riverfront. The Riverfront is part of the BFI and is situated right under Waterloo Bridge, which also happens to be next to The National Theatre – handy that! The building has glass walls so you can spend hours just watching the world pass by, and there are deckchairs outside if that’s what you fancy. It was raining (of course) so we headed inside and got situated with ginger beer and Victorian lemonade – we are British after all!
Now to the food. Well we decided to share a tomato bruschetta and a baked provolone cheese with honey. Both of which we’ve had before and loved. The tomato brushetta is made form heritage tomatoes, so you get the lovely orange and yellow tomatoes involved too. Nom nom. Add the provolone cheese is seriously to die for with the most amazing crusty, chewy rind on it. For mains I can definitely recommend the pulled pork and bacon burger. It comes in a delicious brioche bun with a mini bucket of chips on the side. The rest of the party sampled the beef burger and the fish and chips. From previous visits we can also suggest sampling the Caesar salad and the sausage and mash. Basically this place is all about good British food, done very very well.
Another quirky thing to mention is that as this restaurant is situated in the BFI you get announcements to let you know when films are about to start – such a clever and fun idea.
By now I’m sure everyone knows that I love pizza – and if you don’t then where have you been? I swear I must have some italian blood in me from somewhere. Pizza is all kinds of awesome. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this, I can’t be can I? I mean there’s something so right about the perfectly soft yet crispy dough smothered in tomato sauce, sprinkled in cheese and piled with toppings, don’t you think?
So yes, I love pizza, which is why it surprised me when I discovered a pizza place nearby that I haven’t been to. I know it totally shocked me too. But it’s true. I was in Balham with Fi to meet a friend for lunch and said friend suggested we go to Franco Manca for pizza. When someone tells you it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had? Well obviously you jump at the chance to eat there. So it turns out that this friend of mine, she knows good pizza. Yippee for me as it was so so good.
The menu at Franco Manca is very small with six pizzas and two salads, plus daily specials. But you can customise your pizzas with extra toppings as you wish. I like this though as it meant I didn’t have too much to choose from, too much choice is always an issue for me. I ended up going for number 6, the tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-cured) and mozzarella. My two lunch companions chose number 4, a ham and mushroom pizza. The service was super fast and our pizzas arriving within 10 minutes. Now I know pizza cooks quickly but this seemed amazing to me, especially as I was sitting next to the kitchen so I literally watched them make and then bake my pizza. So the pizzas arrived and they were so so good. Like mouth watering and delicious and so moorish. I didn’t want to stop eating! Plus they look pretty scrummy too.
So if you are ever in London and happen to see any of these places then go in and start eating straight away.
Now if you after reading this you really want pizza, take a look at this homemade pizza post.
A few weeks ago I headed with a couple of work buddies to Five Guys in Covent Garden for some post drinking grub. Yes, chatter about Five Guys opening in London is all over the Interweb, normally with comparison talk about the Shake Shack – FYI, I’ve been there too – it’s good! So anyway I thought I’d discuss it on here to let you all know what I thought. You know me; I absolutely love food and I also love talking about food!
First things first, this is located very close to where I work – dangerous times ahead! We arrived at about 8pm on a Thursday night and joined the back of the line outside the shop – basically there’s a polite English queue to get into the shop – I guess it’s so it doesn’t get too crowded and manic in there. I’m hoping that post Summer Hols this disappears both the queue outside and the crowd of people. There are lovely queue minder people who come along to chat to you about the menu, how it works and of course tell you how long the queue is. For us it was a lovely lady (didn’t get a name, sorry) who explained that it would probably be about a 15 minute wait – that’s fine we said as we weren’t in a hurry. We actually struck up quite a good conversation with the queue lady and thank god we did as she gave us invaluable information, that I’m going to share with you now…portion sizes. Yes portion sizes. So apparently the normal burger, cheese burger or bacon cheeseburger has two patties in it. Yes two patties, thank god we found this out. After hearing this we decided to go for the ‘little’ portion of burgers and fries. I had originally thought that these were the kids meals – but apparently not.
Anyway after hearing that little nugget of information we soon found ourselves at the front of the queue and headed into the restaurant. While you’re queuing at the counter you are standing next to a huge box of monkey nuts which are there for you to help yourself to. I know it’s only a small gesture but it really makes a difference. I stepped up to the counter and ordered my food, then headed to the pick up counter where you can watch your food being cooked.
For £12 I got:
a little bacon cheeseburger – even though it was a small burger it was still plenty big enough. The cool think about Five Guys is you can top your burger with as many toppings as you want, from mushrooms to salad, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Even though we had this option I stuck to just a simple bacon cheeseburger as it’s such a classic and is just my favourite burger combo.
little fries – these were skin on fries and were completely delicious. My only negative comment (if you could call it that) is that the portion was still absolutely huge. When I go back I think i’ll share this size with someone.
a refillable soft drink – the drinks machine is another quirky thing about this burger place. Basically there’s two machines for drinks that give over 200 different flavours. No lie, you pick your main drink, Coke, Fanta still, lemonade etc and then you get all the other options. For example after picking Diet Coke I could have gone for the vanilla, cherry or lime (among other flavours that I can’t remember now). The cups are refillable so you can go up and try again and again. I was boring and went for a Diet Coke – creature of habit, sorry!
There are booths and tables in the restaurant and there’s a downstairs section or you can takeaway. There was some great music playing quite loudly which really helped set the tone to the place and we had no issue getting a table which always helps. Overall it was the perfect place to go after a few drinks, it was quick, tasty and a bit fun too. I’d definitely suggest it if you’re nearby sometime. You can check out the website and full menu right here and plan your trip!
Happy burger eating!
This post was first posted on Lau’s Rambling Corner.