Mooli's, Soho

Wednesday, 20 January 2010 | |

This won't be a particularly long post. I like Mooli's. I like their food, I like the people who work there, I like their Tweets, I like their blog, I like that they sometimes give away free moolis to people who are wearing a baseball cap. Anyway, look at the pictures.

Goat Mooli - Special of the month. A little bit pricier at £5, compared to the usual £3.50-£4, but understandable as the guys at Mooli's have to buy it retail.

Roasted poppadoms and spicy tomato-based dip. Really nice. Could eat four bags of these.

The aforementioned goat mooli. A wrapped wonder. Tender braised goat (for four hours), with spicy and smoky flavours, balanced with an acidic crunch from the chopped red onions, fresh tasting slices of tomato and wonderfully soft potatoes. I bloody love potatoes in sandwiches.

The chicken mooli. Juicy chicken (leg/thigh rather than breast), lettuce, slices of apple (it works - adds a crunch and a refreshing apple taste) and raita. A great mooli if you have a low tolerance for spice.

Mango lassi (left) and an Indian lemonade (lemon, mint, Indian rock salt). The former is a great example of a lassi, made with yoghurt. Perfect accompaniment for the spicier moolis. The latter is, according to Matthew at Mooli's, quite a 'Marmite-y' number; you either love it or hate it. I love it. So refreshing and interesting.

Masala chai tea. Wonderfully sweet and delightfully milky, with notes of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Generously provided free by Mooli's.

If you've not been yet, I urge you to visit. A great option at lunchtime - the lunch deal is one of the best bargains in town. A mooli of your choice, a bag of poppadoms and a drink for £5. Great bread made fresh with tasty ingredients and wonderful staff, all in a good location. As I said, I like Mooli's.

50 Frith St, London

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The New Premium Burger at Byron, Soho

Thursday, 14 January 2010 | |

First things first: 1) Sorry for the terrible quality of the photographs. You have my girlfriend to blame for that one, as she forgot her incredible camera (I know, the cheek) and we had to do with my rubbish camera in Byron's strange, yellow lighting. 2) Sorry there's no "autopsy" shot of the burger, I was too busy eating it and when I realised I hadn't taken a cross-section picture it was all gone.

Anyway, I went to Byron in Soho today due to a tip-off that they would be launching a new burger in their restaurants starting the 14th (today, at time of writing). Incredibly hungry after a lecture, I quickly made my way to Soho and somehow walked straight past the place. Eventually finding it and settling down into our seats, the waitress told us about their newly released burger: an 8oz patty of 100% chuck supplied by O'Shea's, based in Knightsbridge, with nothing added but some salt and pepper. We decided to each try the new burger, which came in place of the usual Byron beef in one of their 'classic' burgers. The order was completed by some skin on fries to share, a root beer for me and an elderflower pressé (*shrugs*) for her. As we completed our order the waitress informed us it would take 18 minutes to cook the burger to medium, so about 15 minutes or so for our medium-rare.

After a few minutes (probably 15, funnily enough) our burgers came out along with the fries and they certainly looked the part. Stumpier than the usual flatter patty that Byron uses, you can immediately see it has developed a caramelised crust beneath the lettuce, onion and tomato. The first bite is a winner, with a rich, beefy taste that isn't uncommon with the great beef from O'Shea's. Combined with the previously mentioned vegetables and the decent Byron bun (I prefer potato rolls then brioche for burgers, in that order), there's a great harmony and the flavours work together, as with the best burgers. It's cooked perfectly medium rare and every bite is a joy. I considered ordering two, but I knew I wouldn't be able to take it. The skin on chips are wonderful, though some are underdone (in the sense that they're not crispy enough for my liking), yet the flavours are still good, with nuttiness provided by the skins.

In terms of where this burger places in the London ranking, well, it's up there with the best at Hawksmoor. At £9.95 (without cheese) it is significantly cheaper, and in my opinion perhaps equally as good. I've still not decided. I do know that it is probably the best widely available burger in London now, and up there with the best I've tried in New York. Try it if you can, it's a winner.

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