Smart Buns review

In food on November 6, 2022 at 6:55 pm

So while recovering from a bout of Covid I needed some comfort food. Which made a great excuse to try Smart Buns at the junction of Higham Hill and Forest roads.

Well if you’re not in the mood for dumb, scruffy buns…

I did note the lack of a council hygiene rating sticker on the way in. But as someone who ate from enough pub car park burger vans in my youth it’s a bit late to be picky when rolling the food dice! But the inside looked clean and bright and that’s after it has been open at least 6 months. They have a line of TV screens showing the menu which don’t change so don’t really need to be TV screens. The options all riff on typical burger chain menus. I spent 30 seconds wondering what “Voppers” were before realising they were copyright dodging Whoppers.

Clean, bright, no personality.

There seemed to only be one staff member in on a Sunday night but I didn’t have to wait long for him to appear. I went for a half-pounder with a side of onion rings. While he cooked my food I could see into the kitchen and it looked clean and modern. There are seats in but I brought my food home. I did notice no other customers came in during the 10 minutes I was there.

Burger, onion rings, spicy mayo dip.

The food was okay. Hipster burgers have spoiled me a bit but this was reminiscent of many kebab shop or cheap pub burgers. The onion rings were okay, if a couple were a bit deformed.

Overall it was… okay. For about £8 I thought it was so-so; it could have won me over on price. If I’m walking past I’d eat from there again but if I’m starting out from home I’ll walk that smidgin further to go to Food Express up the hill.

Barney’s Pie and Mash

In food on June 29, 2022 at 8:19 pm

So while I’ve worked from home for a couple of years now I’ve been eating more locally. After meaning to for ages today I finally made it up the hill to Barney’s Pie and Mash shop just off Billet Road.

A welcoming shopfront. Notice the full 5 point council hygiene score.

I got a friendly welcome from the proprietor when I came in. The menu is simple with different size pie and mash combinations. I went for two pies, one mash and I thought it was the perfect size for lunch.

An East London classic

The food was very nice. For me the pastry makes a pie and these score well in that regard. The mash was smooth and not sloppy. And the liquor was very tasty. I got a spoon to make sure I got it all.

A few people were in while I was there. Also many delivery riders; I suspect they do a lot of business that way.

I had a nice seat by the window watching life go by. I wish I’d gone sooner and will go more from now on. It’s not expensive; if I remember correctly my lunch with a drink came to £7.50 which is totally reasonable for a hot lunch eaten in. It’s going to be my little treat. And I think I’ll try the jellied eel soon.

Beerblefish taproom, Uplands business park

In Drink on August 22, 2021 at 8:35 pm

Beer and Science Fiction are two of my favourite things.

As a long time member of the Douglas Adams fanclub, ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, I’m pretty sure I’d heard of Beerblefish‘s Hitchhikers’s Guide themed beers before. But I didn’t know they were in nearby Edmonton until I heard they’d opened a taproom on the Blackhorse Beer Mile. So on Saturday with a bit of time to kill between lunch and dinner I went for a couple of pints.

It’s a sign!

I knew it was on the Uplands park near Exale‘s taproom. Fortunately there was a couple of sign’s starting at the junction after the one for Exale. In fact I think it is the other side of the same building as Exale. Which is convenient.

I don’t know what the redaction bars in the logo are about. And I’m miffed it’s not unit 42.

The venue is just like every other industrial estete taproom you ever went into. Tables and chairs, a bar, music, the feeling you’re drinking in an industrial unit. There’s a lot of tools and equipment in a corner so I suspect they have a lot of work still to do. But the massive starfield at one end of the room is a great centerpiece.

I thought the vikings were in Dirk Gently?

Oddly there are no taps on or behind the bar. When I ordered the barman went into a room behind the bar visible through a window to pull my pint from the barrel. Maybe the bar furniture is something still to be plumbed in?

The brewery has two groups of drinks:

A modern style selection with the craft ale fun names.
The Heritage range made to 19th centuary recipes.

I went for the 1892 IPA, which was in what I think of as the British style being a coppery colour and less hoppy. It was nice but after I went for something lighter and chose their lager (I forget the name, it’s not on their site) which was refreshing. They had Infinite Improbability on tap but I don’t get on with Saisons. I did get three bottles of take out for next weekend. There are also snacks and soft drinks.

As I had a nice read of my videogame magazine I relaxed to the reggae mix album they had on. A couple with two young children flicked through the kids books avaiable. A few blokes sat in one corner and other people drifted in and out for a drink.

There is a large selection of boardgames (the list is on the website) and they even have a free pool table. No wifi. the toilets are new and smart; I suspect they reflect the standard the taproom will be building to over time like Exale did.

It’s a fish shaped like a pint glass.

Last year ZZ9 was planning a fourth Slouch to Walthamstow. A Slouch is a get together of members to wander and explore an area. These usually end in a pub with real ale. While the pandemic delayed it when it finally happens we’ll have a great destination to end the day in. And as it’s open on Thursday evenings (like Exale) I have a new venue for a weeknight post-work pint too!