weirdwalthamstow

Etles restaurant review

In food, Uncategorized on June 3, 2018 at 5:08 pm

After a nice afternoon watching ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ at the Empire my partner and I fancied getting some dinner. Feeling a bit experimental we took to Hoe street just past Central  to go to Etles.

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Etles serves Uyghur cuisine. They are an ethnic group that live across central Asia. Looking at the menu in the window I was much excited by talk for tripe and lambs hoof dishes. However my partner suggested a chicken dish, Dapenji, for two which sounded nice.

Inside there is a selection of ethnic art adorning the walls, including a number of nazar, that staple of Turkish culture. There only seemed to be one lady waiting tables, of which there were only a few, and she seated us straight away. We ordered our dish and some tea to go with it. We were distinctly asked whether we wanted the dish hot; we played safe and asked for mild.

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Not a music shop on Charing Cross Road

 

There were a mix of patrons in the restaurant. While there is no alcohol on the menu some seemed to have BYOB’d.

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A rich tapestry

There was an appetiser, whether it came with our dish or to all customers I don’t know. There was hummus with a couple of olives and flat bread, and some pickles. A nice start.

They were busy but the we didn’t have long to wait for our dish to arrive.

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This dish for “2 to 3” is about half a metre across!

Well, if you want Instagrammable food this is the place for you!

So this dish had lovely thick noodles which are clearly handmade in their slight inconsistency. Moist, tender chicken, potato and bell peppers seasoned with garlic, star anise, pepper corns, ginger, and ALL THE CHILLIS.

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Those burgundy tubes are literally a plate full of chillis after we’d finished

I suspect they used milder chillis to make the dish but it was still pretty hot and we were pretty sweaty! But the food was lovely and the sauce had a deep and rich flavour. And it was very filling for two.

The food came to £25 with £3 for a pot of tea for two (plus tip, obvs). We’re already talking of trying again and I have my eye on the tripe or lambs hoof courses. It’s one of the most alternative options for eating in the stow and I recommend it if you’re in a brave, experimental mood!

EDIT: Forgot an important point, they didn’t take card payments at the time so were cash only.

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Brioche Burger

In food, Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm

After seeing the delightful ‘Love, Simon’ at the Empire last Saturday my partner and I decided to double up our spending in the local evening economy and give Brioche Burger on Hoe Street a try. We both love a good burger and had been meaning to go since it opened.

Nice logo. Says what needs to be said.

We got there at a good time (about 6:30) as it soon started to fill up. I didn’t know they were Halal until we sat; I’d usually avoid places that are due to animal treatment concerns, but I’m told that is less of a problem nowadays. It also explained the lack of booze on the menu. Sadly their milk shake machine was broken but we tried  a couple of mocktails alongside the beef burger for me and the lamb burger for my partner. I did ask for ‘rare’ but like most burger joints post-CJD scare they went for ‘medium’. They also do Wagyu beef burgers for twice as much – sorry, but a £15 burger needs the option of enjoying that quality of beef bleeding.

While we waited we admired the decor, a mix of American diner wannabe and original fittings.

Original tiles left on one wall.

I spent the short time waiting unsuccessfully trying to connect to the wifi. No matter, the food arrived promptly.

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I think this burger was called ‘Hand of The King’

The burgers were very good. Also the sweet potato chips I ordered and my partner’s rustic chips were nice.

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Don’t get me started on drinks served in mock jars.

My mango and mint Mocktail was really lovely. While I’d still like to try their milkshakes I’d very happily put away one of these again.

It’s clear they cater to the local Muslim community who made up the majority of the clientele. It’s nice to see a restaurant for what is probably an underserved section of the community and with Grillstock folding other burger loving consumers will go their way. I rather like Brioche Burger and think I will be back after another cinema trip in the near future.

Forest Bar + Kitchen

In food, Uncategorized on March 11, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Having been a long time fan of Forest Wines I was really excited that they were opening a bar on my commute. Ali and Jana had created a great off licence that supports local producers, has a curated stock and takes part in local events.

Forest Bar + Kitchen had a soft take off and currently (March 2018) are open just Friday and Saturday 6PM to 11PM. Since I only have a couple of nights a week to myself and neither are Friday or Saturday I’d had to make do with dropping in on a Friday just to offer a quick congratulations. But this week my partner, who isn’t much of a bar person, was curious enough for us to make a pre-dinner short walk to give them a try.

Knowing they opened at 6 we arrived at ten past, knowing how packed I’d seen it on Friday. And even then there were half a dozen customers already in!

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Obviously they have a wide selection of wines. (Apologies for only taking one photo all evening. A bit remiss of me.)

We settled in at bar stools in the window leaving the mahoosive steel frame, thick wooded top table in the centre to those eating. The food menu is of the short-but-interesting variety where I could not tell you what most of the dishes actually were, my french being non-existant (“Non!”). There is a long wine list and a short beer list, mirroring Forest Wine’s selection of a wine merchant with some beer. Off the beer list my partner went for a Wu Gang Chops the Tree from Tottenham’s Pressure Drop brewery. I started with a Table Beer IPA from South London’s Kernal Brewery followed by a Gamma Ray from local super star brewery Beavertown. Breaking up the list of London beers was Schihallion from Scots producer Harvistoun. There will be spirits in the future but they are rotating their inventories at the moment to see what the customer base prefers. It has a very ‘Lean Startup’ feel to their agile adaptability.

The bar is nicely fitted out. the window shelves and main table were sourced from an upcycling team called City Wood. Apparently Jana hand finished them all. The smooth tops and rough hewn edges are very tactile. All seating is bar stools which makes best  use of the limited floorspace (I’d say capacity is about 25) but to be borne in mind if visiting with people who have mobility issues requiring regular chairs.

My partner enjoyed sitting, chatting and playing with our phones. We usually like a window seat but Forest Road hardly offers the human zoo found in the West End. I particularly like the soundtrack, a lot of synth music sounding rather Radio 6. Apparently all chosen by the chef! Well, if they have to listen to it for 5 hours I guess you should let the staff choose it.

As the evening went on it rapidly filled with Ali and his team trying to engineer space for everyone. I’m really glad that 3 weeks in it is proving popular. They will add Thursday evenings soon which will suit me better for a drink on the way home from work. With the lack of evening venues in the area, especially high quality ones, I think Ali and Jana have yet again sniped a gap in the market and done a great job in making it theirs.