Yelly Eats

Craving Korean comfort food

Alan will be making feijoada tonight so that is an absolute treat and completely comforting.  But I find that because of the weather I am craving a lot of Asian food at the moment.  I am particularly wishing we lived in London so that I can order Korean food from Deliveroo!

I would love, at the moment, to be able to indulge in a large half soy half spicy platter of On The Bab’s yang yeum Korean fried chicken.

yang yeum fried chickenPairing that with their spicy pork buns

OTB Spicy pork buns…and just to be completely stuffed, I’d like to finish it with a warm and comforting bowl of bibimbap!

OTB Bibimbap

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Yelly Eats

The friendliest fish and chippy on the Soho block!

We’d walked past Poppie’s in Soho several times during our recent trips to London.  The Soho branch is on Old Compton Street and Poppie’s in Soho has taken over what used to be Bobby Chin’s House of Ho.  Whilst the signage is mostly black and white, the bunting strung across the signage makes it very cheerful, and, dare I say it, very British!

My friend Ally was visiting from Singapore and this was the only opportunity we had to meet with her.  I’d asked previously if she’d already had a fish and chippy meal since she arrived in London, fish and chips being quintessentially British, to me anyway.  She said no so I thought it would be good to have fish and chips because it would be a substantial enough meal if we were hungry but light enough because, well, it was fish. While I am partial to the fish and chip shop where I live, there was no way I was going to haul my friend up to Harwich to have just a fish and chip meal and push her back onto the train back to London Town.  It was our first trip to Poppie’s but we’d heard a lot of good things about it online.  It was convenient because it was close to where we wanted to go to in London.

When you turn into Old Compton Street , Poppie’s will be easy to find because it will be hard to miss the bright red Mini parked in front emblazoned with Poppie’s logo.  We popped our head in the door and asked for a table for 3 and we were greeted pleasantly and promptly showed to a booth.  The dining area was bigger than I thought.  Since the shop had a food prep and cooking area and a take away counter separate from the main space, I didn’t expect the space to be comfortable.  I thought that they would’ve tried to stuff as many tables as was possible.  But I was very wrong.  We had enough space to wriggle around very comfortably.  There was a certain charm to the diner/shabby chic decor of the space.

The staff is friendly and cheerful.  My friend thought we were regulars because of how the serving staff interacted with us.  I daresay you won’t find a friendlier group of people in the food service industry!  They were really nice and happy.  Some people might think they might be overly familiar, but it was nice to have friendly service that felt really genuine and welcoming.  The Poppettes, as the servers are known, know their food as well and can answer your questions about food really well.

Our food came out fairly quickly and piping hot.  You knew that the fish was fried to order.  The portion of chips was a great ratio to the regular portion of fish.  The fish was fresh, sweet and cooked to perfection.  The service was great and they looked after us without us feeling like they were forever hovering.  When we finished, they cleared our plates away efficiently but we didn’t feel like they were hurrying us up to free up the table.  We were allowed to sit and chat and finish our drinks.  The bill was also a surprise because it was very reasonable for what we ordered.  Great value for money as well!

I chose to order the cod because cod is always a safe option when eating at an unfamiliar chippy.  But I am definitely going back and ordering rock for my next fish and chip meal at Poppie’s.  It is definitely worth it!  When you’re in Soho, pop into Poppie’s for the best fish and chip meal!  You won’t be disappointed!

Poppie's Soho

Yelly Eats

A gem off the beaten path: Coleman Coffee Roasters

Coleman Coffee Roasters frontWe came across this lovely café quite by accident.  We were exploring Lower Marsh and the rain started to come down quite heavily.  We were also looking for a place to have breakfast because our usual cheap eat favourite Marie’s on the same street was closed.

We took shelter and the smell of coffee  wafting from the beautifully gleaming vintage espresso machine was amazing!  We were greeted with a really welcome “Hello guys!” so we went further in and looked at the menu.  We were intending to be polite and just have coffee and possibly cake.  But they served Staffordshire oatcakes or “oaties” and there was quite a choice from sweet to savoury fillings for the oat pancakes.  We’d never had oaties before so our curiousity was piqued!  We chose to have bacon and stewed tomatoes.  The aroma of cooking bacon was amazing, and boy were the oaties oh-so-fabulously good!  It rated an “oh-my-God-this-is-amazing!” with my mouth full of oatie-bacon-tomato goodness!  The oaties were light but surprisingly filling.  I expected to feel full and bloated after, but I didn’t.  It was heaven on a plate.

oaties!Now. let’s get to the lovely brew!  I opted for drip coffee because it’s what I do when trying out a new coffee place (my better-safe-than-sorry coffee measure).  I was offered a choice between the Guatemalan and another blend (I think it was Costa Rican blend) and I chose the Guatemalan.  It was very nostalgic for me because it was served on a Duralex looking cup, which reminded me so much of the French coffee cups that my father favoured.  At first I was worried because the drip coffee looked light and watery.  But oh no, was I VERY wrong!  The coffee was rich, comforting and oh-so-flavourful.

Mmmm coffee!The staff are lovely, very friendly, so very helpful and they know their products.  They’re happy to explain what they sell, what you’re options are and they give you lovely recommendations.  They also love what they’re selling.  That’s key!

This isn’t quite on the main road from Waterloo Station, but this is definitely worth a visit.  The space is small and there are only a few seats, but that’s part of the charm.  If you have the opportunity to wander around Lower Marsh, pay the lovely folks at Coleman Coffee Roasters a visit.  It is DEFINITELY worth it!

Coffee and oaties!

Yelly Writes

Of passports and celebrity sightings

I am now officially eligible to apply for British citizenship…but I am a proud carrier of a Philippine passport.  I am planning on applying for UK citizenship though, if only for the ease that it presents when I do intend to travel to parts unknown because apparently you get visa-free access to 173 countries with a UK passport!  Not that I’m a traveler but it would be good to take be able to take advantage of travel deals, to have the convenience of going on a mini-break to almost anywhere, if and when I can.

But until then, I shall have to renew my Philippine passport every 5 years.

I went to London today to renew my Philippine passport because my passport expires in June this year.  I came armed with my tablet so that I could read my ebooks or work on work emails while I waited.  Because there would be a wait.  One thing that hasn’t changed much is the waiting in line in Philippine government institutions.  The Philippine embassy in London isn’t any different.  But as soon as I stepped through the double doors of the Philippine embassy in London on Suffolk Street it felt like being back home.  You could hear conversations in Filipino and for some reason there was an aroma of steamed rice wafting all over the embassy!

I like to come prepared and I like to make sure that I prepare for every possibility (or at least, I like to think so!).  Before I left for the embassy, I made sure I read and reread the instructions for passport renewal.  Also, if you are applying to renew your passport, if you can, I suggest you print a copy of the application forms because, whilst there are forms that you can fill out at the embassy, it makes things move along quicker if you have all your forms filled out, your money ready, and your passport and other supporting documents available and in order according to the numbering on the forms.

You get to the embassy and take a name from the number thingmebob and wait for your number to be called.  It was a bit of a wait because not everyone came with the right documents, or they didn’t have photos or they didn’t fill out the forms right, or they didn’t have the right forms.  I guess, after filling out forms for my UK residency (there were pages and pages) I learned to prepare and pay attention to detail.  Am not trying to say anything bad about my countrymen at all.  I’m sure anyone who worked in an environment where I worked would make sure all the boxes that needed ticking would be ticked and all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.

It took all of 5 minutes to submit my documents, get them inspected and me to make the payment.  Then I was sent upstairs to wait to get my photo taken.  They call you when your passport is ready for pick up so I had the rest of the day to spend in London.

I was horribly hungry so I went to my new favourite place to eat:  Tokyo Diner in Chinatown.  It’s a brilliant little space on the corner of Newport Street.  The food is tasty and authentic and you get a small serving of Japanese rice crackers and bottomless genmaicha (brown rice tea) on the house.  They don’t accept tips, by the way and prefer that you pay in cash.  (They also give you extra rice if you ask for it…as much rice as you can manage!).

Tokyo DinerI ordered a tamago don from the lunch specials menu and waited for my food to arrive.  And when it did, it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Tamago DonI did my usual people watching and noticed this beautiful and familiar blonde sitting in the corner of the restaurant.  I thought she looked like Myanna Buring from Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  At one point, she moved to the table next to me.  I noticed her looking at my food and when she ordered, she placed an order for the tamago don lunch special as well!  I was certain she was Edna Braithwaite from Downton Abbey.  I even did the creepy thing of taking a sneaky snapshot!

Myanna BuringI sent her a message on Twitter to ask.  And she confirmed that she was indeed Myanna Buring and that I should’ve said hi.  Ah well!  I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be me-time.  One never knows whether you can interrupt celebrities these days.

TweetMyannaBuringAnd the celebrity sightings didn’t stop there.  After having my late lunch, I headed back to Liverpool Street.  I was early but all I had to do was hang around Liverpool Street Station for the direct to Harwich Town train that left 16:44.

London Liverpool StreetI went to WH Smith to get myself a free drink (thank you O2 Priority!) and as I was walking back to the main central area of the station I heard a girl giggle heartily and the sound made me smile so I turned to look at where the sound was coming from.  It was from a very pretty Filipina-looking girl in a black turtle neck paired with black palazzo trousers and chatting to someone animatedly on her phone.  My jaw dropped.  Two celebrity sightings in one day?  I had to say hello to a fellow Filipino and one of the prettiest faces in country.  So I turned on my heel and went to say hello to Dominique Cojuangco (Gretchen Barretto’s only child).  Then I started to doubt myself.  I may have just imagined that the girl was who she was.  Also, I didn’t really want to act all stalkerish.  Everyone deserves their alone time and I thought most celebrities enjoy time where they can be themselves and have time to their thoughts.

I did the usual and sent her a tweet and she did say that it her and I should’ve said hi.

TweetDBCojuangcoAh well!  Next time, maybe?

 

Yelly Eats

An Ode to Gallus

I love chicken.  If you ask me what I miss most from the Philippines, it will probably be Chickenjoy from Jollibee (a fastfood restaurant in the Philippines) and fried chicken from Max’s (am not quite sure this is a fastfood restaurant but it is Filipino and I grew up going to Max’s!).  So it follows that when I moved to the UK, I would look for a chicken place to go to.  And I thought I’d found a great chicken place.

We discovered Gallus, Empire of Chicken on Timeout.  They were offering a £10 voucher for a £25 food spend.  Alan said that as it was £10 for £25 of food, you couldn’t really complain.  So we looked on the website and thought, what the hey, it’s something new.  So on our next trip to London, off we went to Gallus!  And let me tell you, £25 bought you a lot of food!

Gallus offered a lot of chicken choices – you had chicken skewers, chicken burgers, salad with chicken, sides (there were chips, side salads, coleslaw…and a lot more that I can’t remember!), desserts and a good selection of drinks!

Gallus Mexican chicken salad

We went back several times because the chicken was genuinely good.  Because the chicken was marinated in several ways, you never really got bored of the chicken choices.  You could go Mediterranean, Oriental, South Asian or Latin American.  You could go mild, spicy, or umami.  The servings were generous and it was excellent value for money.  The staff were polite but very attentive and they knew their product – we never felt there was a question too silly about the food they served!

But if you notice that I keep talking in the past tense, it is, sadly, because Gallus has closed.  We walked past the Charing Cross Road restaurant to find that all the windows were papered and the sign has been removed.  I know that they didn’t really have a lot of footfall whenever we went (I think we managed about 4 trips – it was conveniently close to the theatres so it was brilliant for pre- and post-theatre meals) but I had hoped they were more popular and that people would cotton on to the fact that they were good.

Gallus chicken burger

It is sad that in the wonderful melting pot of wonderful places to eat that is London, Gallus was eaten up, swallowed and spitted out like, dare I say it, chicken bones.  If you didn’t get to eat at Gallus, you missed a great chicken place that served succulent chicken pieces that offered a better option than KFC for almost the same price.

I have high hopes that Gallus will rise from the ashes like another fowl of myth.  And maybe this time, their marketing will be much better and people will flock to the empire of chicken!

Gallus chicken skewers

Yelly Eats

The flat white from Flat White

There are a lot of reasons why I’d love to live in London.  There’s something about the frenetic activity of a world-class city that makes one feel alive.  For one, the shops don’t close at 5 or 6PM.  There’s always something to do and there’s always something to happen.  What I love about my London trips is that you literally walk in history.  Each corner and cobblestone may have had a place in history!

And the food!  London is such a cultural melting pot that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where and what to eat.  You have a choice of going to a restaurant chain or going to an independent one-of-a-kind shop.

I love my coffee strong (some might say strong enough to stand one’s spoon in!) and while I will always somehow feel a certain loyalty to Starbucks (sometimes Starbucks coffee can leave me wanting more), London offers a wide variety of choice when it comes to places where one can get a brilliant cuppa.

One of my favourite street food purveyors of great coffee is Bean About Town.  Their coffee is strong and robust and you get the perfect caffeine hit.  I’ve been known to head to South Bank when a headache rears its ugly head just to stop a migraine from coming (obviously only when I’m actually IN London)!  I remember once my migraine really was starting and we were in South Bank  I was very disappointed that they’d run out of beans and I couldn’t get my caffeine fix.

One of my favourite coffee places of all time though is Flat White.  It’s this little coffee shop nestled in between vegetable stalls and fabric shops on Berwick Street in Soho.  It serves, well, flat whites (of course!), cappuccino, lattes, and a selection of other coffee based drinks.  They also offer a great selection of teas.  If you’re feeling peckish and need a little something to have with your cuppa, they’ve got a selection of bread-based eats and baked goodies as well.

I love Flat White.  Mostly because they make a good flat white – strong and not at all too watery or milky.  For those who haven’t had a flat white, a flat white is a coffee drink developed in Australia in the 1970s and further developed in New Zealand in the 80s.  It’s prepared by preparing steamed milk with small, fine bubbles into a shot or a double shot of espresso.  Flat White a smallish narrow restaurant that has a long L-shaped banquette.  But what I appreciate most about this little gem of a coffee shop is that even though seating is limited, the atmosphere is very laid back and no one rushes you to gulp down your drink, inhale your food and free up seating space.  You’re allowed to chill out and linger over your coffee.  The staff are wonderfully friendly (no question too silly!) and you are served with an amazing efficiency (the music is not too loud and brilliant to listen to!)!

Table Flat White

If you’re ever in Soho, and you’re dying for a cup of coffee, mosey on along to Flat White.  It will definitely be worth it!

Flat White's flat white

 

Yelly Eats

The (Chicken) Bucket List

I have always, always loved chicken: fried, stewed, roasted, poached, steamed, sautéed, you name a cooking process, I’ll probably say go and do it and I’ll eat the chicken.  I’d even go as far as saying that I prefer chicken to any other meat.

My all-time favourite chicken dish, however, is Southern fried chicken.  I loved it so much that everytime I hear of a chicken place that claims to serve “proper” Southern fried chicken, I ask Alan if we can go and try it out.  Thankfully, Alan is almost always too happy to indulge this particular obsession.

So after a lot of thinking, Alan and I have come up with THE list.  It’s a list of chicken places that we have tried and places that we want to try, mostly because they serve chicken.

Presenting our chicken bucket list!

  1. Roost
  2. Spit and Roast
  3. Mother Clucker
  4. Bird
  5. Clock Jack
  6. Wishbone
  7. Red Dog
  8. Jubo
  9. On The Bab
  10. Stax
  11. Ruby Jean’s Diner
  12. Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
  13. Chooks
  14. Meat Liquor
  15. Rita’s Bar and Dining
  16. Eat 17
  17. Jackson and Rye
  18. Clutch

So watch this space as I write through the (chicken) bucket list!