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Friday 3 April 2015

Ceviche Old Street - Mr.Fogg's Tipsy Tea - Street Food at Voltaire

- A Peruvian Pisco Disco at the new Ceviche
- Tipsy Tea at Mr.Fogg's Mayfair residence
- Street food and live jazz at Voltaire

Thursday 26th March - I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the launch party of Martin Morales' second Ceviche restaurant, which has just opened in Old Street on the historic former site of the Alexandra Trust Dining Rooms.  

They've paid homage to the old layout with similar signage and bustling open kitchens, but Martin Morales' love of art and music is also evident with the space doubling as a contemporary Peruvian art gallery (see some works here).  Space was made for DJ sets from Mr.Scruff and Natty Bo, a sign of Pisco Discos to come featuring music from Tiger's Milk Records, Martin Morales' Peruvian record label which you may have come across in Andina's Music Room on Shoreditch High Street.

The Music Room at Andina - showcase for Martin Morales' Tiger Milk Records

A return trip for a thorough test of the menu is in order, but after eating a tonne of tasters and sampling more than one drink from the dedicated Pisco bar, I've got enough to work with for now. The chefs weren't hiding, sweating away in front of our eyes with smiles on their faces, mixing up fresh ceviche, grilling chickens, and setting fire to various edible treats.

We grabbed at Torreja de Sesos (Lamb’s brain fritters, tomato and rocoto chilli jam), Tequeños de Ají de Gallina (Wonton fritters filled with traditional chicken recipe, onion, parmesan, single cream, amarillo chilli dip), Don Ceviche Seabass (amarillo chilli tigers milk, sweet potato, red onions, limo chilli), Corazón de la Tía (Panca marinated beef heart skewers, rocoto chilli sauce) and boxes of rotisserie chicken.  All delicious.

Pastel del Choclo (Corn and feta cheese savoury cake, Huancaina sauce, avocado, salsa criolla) were a revelation. I ate at least 15 of them...

To finish, we stuffed ourselves with sticky Picarones Old St (Pumpkin doughnuts with chancaca honey). Odd but moreish.

But it's not all about the food.  There's a serious cocktail bar here too with Peruvian Pisco naturally at the centre of it all.  In a nice twist on the classics, they have infused Pisco with various botanicals to create "Impostors" masquerading as whisky, gin, rum and tequila in Old Fashioneds, Negronis, Mai Tais and Sunrises.  

You may find it hard to look past their classic Pisco Sours, which they batch make to meet demand, but Duncan's Pisco Punch is worth a go, made with Pisco Italia, Pineapple Syrup, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters, and you can take home a pre-bottled version if you so wish.

There's plenty to enjoy on the bottled beer menu too including the Somos Libres Pale Ale brewed exclusively for Ceviche by Hammerton Brewery, plus beers from Wild Beer Co. and Siren.  It is a shame though that there's no sign of Peruvian craft beers. Perhaps they will turn up in the future.

Shot of Duncan's Pisco Punch taken from Ceviche's Instagram account

There's plenty to enjoy at Ceviche Old Street, there's space for everyone, and it won't break the bank. It's a welcome addition to the area, and I look forward to returning for a full meal soon.

Square Meal

Friday 27th March - "There ain't no party like my nana's tea party" - Flight of the Conchords.

Whether you agree with this or not, you might like to venture over to Mr.Fogg's residence for his boozy twist on Afternoon Tea.

Alongside the usual spread of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petit-fours, Phileas Fogg, Esq. also offers a selection of alcoholic teapots:

1840 - Earl Great infused Tanqueray No,TEN, Cointreau, Creme de Peche and Orange Marmalade

Woburn Abbey - English Breakfast infused Tanqueray No.TEN, Creme de Bergamot, Lemon Juice, Bee Pollen Sugar, and Milk on the side

Catherine of Braganza - Green Tea infused Tanqueray No.TEN, Cointreau, Creme de Apricot and Orange Marmalade

Anna Maria Russell - Tatratea Liqueur, Sloe Gin, Lemon Bitters, Ruinart Champagne

Belvoir Castle - Jasmine Tea infused Tanqueray No,TEN, Rose Liqueur, Pomegranatae Juice, Cherry Purée, Ruinart Champagne, Harry Brompton's London Iced Tea

Isabella Mary Beeton - Rooibos Tea infused Tanqueray No.TEN, Muddled Ginger, Ruinart Champagne

5th Duke of Rutland - Tatratea Liqueur, Cognac, Angostura Bitters, Absinthe, Ruinart Champagne

The Champagne Teas are smartly served with the Ruinart Champagne on the side for you to add, whilst the Gin Teas are ready to go. They wouldn't be my first tipple of choice, but they suit the occasion well.  Each teapot has its own little garnish to set them apart, but we lost track pretty early on.  Perhaps some delightful labels wouldn't go amiss? 

Elsewhere, the attention to detail at Mr.Fogg's is overwhelming - the magnificent décor; the immaculately dressed staff; the classical soundtrack; "The Illustrated London News" with upcoming events. This is clearly the Mayfair branch of the Inception Group (Bunga Bunga, Maggie's, Barts).  

Check out their new 1940s Underground Station themed bar - Cahoots

If you don't fancy stopping in for tea, the bar is just as delightful on a regular evening, or you could turn up for their Monday night talks - David Harper from BBC antiques shows is up next on 27th April. 

Mr.Fogg's Tipsy Tea is currently running every Friday at 3.01pm til 6.01pm and every Saturday at 2.01pm-4.01pm and 4.16pm-6.16pm. Mr.Fogg's is also gearing up for summer - a Hendricks Botanical Garden is currently being constructed outside.

Tipsy Tea Prices: £38/person for Tipsy Tea with Single Teapot // £58/person for Tipsy Tea with Bottomless Gin Teapot // £68/person for Tipsy Tea with Bottomless Champagne Teapot

Tuesday 24th March - Haven't you always wanted to eat street food in a private vault whilst listening to some jazz from Mitch Winehouse and his band? Well NOW YOU CAN! 

Voltaire in Blackfriars has invited three of London's best street food traders to take over their kitchens until late May, as they also launch as a music venue in partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation.  Here are your food options:

1. The Cheese Truck - 25th March-10th April - Wednesday-Friday evenings, 5.30pm-10pm

Grilled cheese sandwiches. Simple. Gooey. Delicious. What the #foodporn hashtag was created for.

Cheese toasties are a big deal. Along with The Cheese Truck, we've got Grill My Cheese and Morty & Bob's slinging sandwiches on the streets, and The Melt Room setting up shop soon in Soho.  Get down to Voltaire to feast on this:

- Classic Keen's Cheddar, Ogleshield and Mixed Onion (£6.50)
- Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Sweet Cure Bacon and Pear Chutney (£7)
- Rosary Goat's Cheese, Honey and Walnuts with Rosemary Butter (£7)
- Queso Chihuahua Cheese, Chorizo and Rocket (£7.50)

Plus fondue fries, triple cheese croquettes with chilli and chorizo jam, and sweet stilton, dark chocolate and walnut brownies. Yes please. Read more about The Cheese Truck here.

2. Bill or Beak - 15th April-22nd May - Wednesday-Friday evenings, 5.30pm-10pm

Mega burgers built around duck (bill) and chicken (beak) - good luck with the first bite.

Some of the friendliest traders on the circuit, Bill or Beak made waves at Wapping Market in 2014, and ended the year in style running their own Turntables popup in Hackney Wick (along with The Cheese Truck and a few others).  Here's what you're having:

- Bill - shredded duck and pork, spring onions, coriander, mint, and a Vietnamese dressing with tempura shallots (£5)

- Beak - grilled, corn-fed chicken, Caesar anchovy dressing, tempura capers, rosemary croutons, and fresh parmesan (£5 - or both for £9)

Plus fries topped with house hoisin, pickled cucumber mayo, topped with chicken scratchings (£4.50)

Award-winning shot of the Beak burger by @annixontong

Bill AND Beak - captured by the mighty Gaztronome

The Bill or Beak brunch special - occasionally spotted at Wapping Market

3. Randy's Wing Bar - 6th-22nd May - Wednesday-Friday evenings, 5.30pm-10pm

No, not Randy Swing Bar. Careful on Google now... and don't ask which one of them is Randy.

Richard and Andy (get it now?) burst on to the street food scene with their signature Buffalo Wings after an extensive wing tasting pilgrimage to USA (it's a tough life), and are now working towards a permanent location.  If you don't catch them at Voltaire, try and get tickets for London Wing Fest before they're all gone.  Here's what to expect:

- Randy's Buffalo Wings with blue cheese and celery (£4.50 for 4)
- Randy's Asian Wings sprinkled with crushed fried peanuts and toasted sesame seeds (£4.50 for 4)
- Randy's Buffalo Shrimp with Lemon & Dill Dip (£5)

Plus Chicken Scratchings with Rosemary Salt or Asian 7 Spice (£3.50)

If you miss out at Voltaire, there will always be another chance to catch these fine foodies at work elsewhere.  Both The Cheese Truck and Bill or Beak are popping up at The Job Centre's Kitchen Hijack in Deptford throughout April for example.  

For more street food fun, keep tabs on the likes of Southbank Centre Food Market, Kerb and Street Feast.  The latter is gearing up to relaunch the brilliant Model Market in Lewisham on 17/18 April, with Dalston Yard and a brand new Shoreditch Yard site following soon after. It's going to be a great Summer!

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