Checkout (11th edition – July 2012)

St Martin’s Court Global Food Festival


St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden paid tribute to the cultural diversity of London this ‘summer’ with a free Global Food Festival last Saturday 14th July. It was a great chance for the six restaurants in and around St Martin’s Courtyard to showcase their goods. Featuring Thai street food from the Suda, Vada Pau and naughty Chai from our favourite Dishoom, Strawberries and cake from Bill’s, free ‘Lime Paloma’ El Jimador tequila cocktails from Cantina Laredo, wine tasting from newbie Dalla Terra and a fab hog roast from Jamie’s Italian. It was a really lovely event, and the first we’ve seen where the food is affordable and such great value that you could try it all. For example, Bill’s were offering a gigantic slice of Victoria Sponge for just £1, or a whole cake for £10. A Chicken Satay from Suda was £1, and £3 for a Massaman Curry. £7 would get you a Vada Pau (otherwise known as an Indian chip buttie) and Naughty Chai from Dishoom. Wine mini master classes at Dalla Terra included a tasting of three wines plus some fine Italian cheeses and cold meats, for £10 per person. Bill himself from Bill’s was there chatting to customers, and had bought a band along made up of customers from one of his stores. We had the kids in tow who were entertained with face painting, and cycling to blend a fruit smoothie. Let’s hope they do it again next year, we’ll be there with bells on.

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It’s not Victoria’s Sponge… It’s mine!

Chip Buttie, Dishoom style


Sweet summer strawbs

Sweet Eve is a new variety of British strawberry, packed with sweetness and flavour they are in season from June until October and are said to taste like strawberries used to taste, and they did, so sweet and juicy, the perfect strawberry, and now the sun is threatening to come out, it’s time to get your hands on some.
Available at Booths, Co-Op, M&S, Ocado, Tesco & Waitrose.

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Sweet Eve’s are made of these!


Supermarket-fresh pizza bases

Crosta & Mollica have launched a new range of ready to top Pizzas fresh from Campania, Italy near Amalfi. The last time I used a pizza base I was about 15 and it was one of those awful plain supermarket ones. These looked intriguing, and we’re fans of the brand anyway with their range of Italian breads, including Tarallini from our beloved Puglia. We found the bases a tad on the try side, the tomato sauce could do with a slither more but we’d much rather buy one of these than get a takeaway.

Available at Waitrose and Ocado £2.39 for one

Grab a pizza the action (groan)


Snuggle up with a Tunnock’s cushion

Love these! We’re massive Tunnock’s fans and these are just so cool, hand-made by Nikki McWilliams, a 26-year-old Designer/Maker from Scotland. One for the wish list.
The Caramel Wafer biscuit cushion is £42 and the Tunnock’s teacake £28. Pricey but worth it.

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A mallow soft cushion.

If only the caramel biscuits were this big!


Dine with a chef

Six of Britain’s most prominent chefs and food writers will be joining Rowley Leigh in his kitchen at Le Café Anglais for ‘Cooking with Rowley’ – a series of one-off, collaborative dinners. Taking part will be Tom Parker Bowles (food writer, broadcaster and columnist with the Mail on Sunday); James Ramsden (food writer and author), Florence Knight (head chef of Polpetto), Lucas Hollweg (food writer, author and columnist with Sunday Times Style), Rose Prince (food writer, author and columnist with the Daily Telegraph) and Gizzi Erskine (chef, broadcaster and author).

Tickets will be available from Le Café Anglais’ reservation line on 020 7221 1415 and cost £50 per person, including of dinner, wine and service.

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Florence Knight – in between Polpettos


Meat by post

A jiffy bag landed on our doormat yesterday and we had no idea what it was. We weren’t waiting for anything from Amazon, Zavvi or the other usual suspects, but then we remembered… We had been offered a sample selection from the award-winning Deli Farm Charcuterie, a Cornish based artisan food maker and suppliers of Salami, Coppa, Bresaola, Duck Prosciutto, Venison, Smoked Lamb and Pancetta… As soon as we opened the vacuum packed bag, the kitchen was filled with the wonderful (yet strong) smell of hams and air-dried meats. In fact the smell reminded us of those cute little deli shop you find on the continent, usually by following your nose!

It was hard to pick out a favourite, the Coppa ham had that melt in the mouth quality while the Devil’s Poker had a fiery flavour and dense texture. One variety worth a special mention is the Black Olive Salami, we’d not seen this before and it was delicious, the slightly bitter olives offset by the spices in the meat.
Their mission is to be as fresh, local and natural as they can using traditional curing methods without using any artificial colouring or flavourings. Deli Farm Charcuterie‘s customers include many of the top restaurants in the UK, as well as delicatessens, & farm shops throughout the country.

For more details on their full product range and prices go to

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French? Italian? Spanish? Nah, Cornish!


Eat burgers and do your bit for charity

Great news to London’s burger lovers, the wonderful MEATLiquor will now be open every Sunday. And even better, a story which will warm your hearts, on their first Sunday 22nd July Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins are baring their soft side and will donate all takings that day to charity. Kid’s Company is a London charity founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996 with the aim of providing practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. 97% of children and young people who come to Kids Company self refer and therefore there is no local authority funding for them. In fact in the last 16 years Kids Company has had no money from local authorities for our social care and mental health work with vulnerable children, so they are entirely reliant on charitable donations and the good will of the public. Do something good this Sunday. Go buy a burger.

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Buy a burger for charity…


Burger & Lobster come to Dean Street

While we’re on the subject of burgers, we should point out that Burger & Lobster, the hugely popular restaurant in Mayfair with queues round the block, has a new restaurant on Dean Street. They have taken over the Bistro du Vin restaurants, we reviewed the Soho branch that B&L have taken over a while back. We mentioned it our piece that it just didn’t cut it for the area, still sad that they have gone though, it’s never nice to hear of a restaurant closing. We haven’t been to either Burger & Lobster yet, it’s on the ever-growing list of places to visit. Oh, and they take reservations at the new place…

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Fab illustration by Alexandr Grigorev


Supperclub super heroes

From August to October 2012, these culinary crusaders are working with international aid agency Action Against Hunger to help fight the injustice of child hunger around the world, conjuring up the most magical menus and using their own recipes to bring delicious food to paying diners – with all profits going towards this worthy cause.

For those that fancy a bit of Cantonese cooking look no further than Cherry Smart AKA Fed by Tangwho will be dishing up stir-fried clams with garlic, spicy skate wing with Sichuan pepper, triple-cooked mui-choi pork belly and stir-fried king prawns and Chinese chives on 25th August. Dessert and traditional Chinese tea are also included, all for just a minimum donation of £30 and you can bring your own booze. Book here.

For a taste of Italy, Roberto & Fabio AKAThe Backdoor Kitchen will take diners on a gastronomic tour around Italy on Sunday 16th September. Taking their inspiration from authentic Roman, Calabrian and Sicilian cuisine, serving up classic dishes ranging from chargrilled polenta with in San Daniele ham wrapped prawns to baby squid stuffed with mushroom and smoked salmon, Cacciatora style chicken. There is also a not-to-be-missed secret dessert. Book here

On Saturday 27th October, Sumayya Jamil AKA Pukka Pakiwill be teaming up with Sheba AKA Absolute Indian for a feast from the Indian sub-continent, traditional dishes are given her own unique twist. Highlights include a mix of dishes ranging from aubergine and pomegranate pakora fritters to Sindhi-style grilled lamp chops with rose petal garam masala as well Mughal-style almond cream and ‘kola’ ‘Shahi Tukra’ bread pudding topped with pistachios, saffron and silver leaf. Book here

An added bonus, guests who attend at least three Supperheroes events during the campaign will be entered into a draw to win fabulous prizes, including a hamper of unearthed goodies; a three hour Asian cookery masterclass for two at School of Wok in Covent Garden and a ‘Sausage-Wrangling’ course for two at The Butchery in London Bridge.

The events are organised in association with Edible Experiences


Look out for our August edition of Checkout

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