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Gift for Friend? What does the US have that you don't?

You will want to check NZ quarantine regulations specifically, and it will also depend on the attitude of the particular customs offices you get - best to declare everything and not to invest too much in anything you're uncertain about.

Short version: you' can't bring in any fresh food of any kind, and for dried foods it's much better if they look commercially packaged and sealed. No fresh fruit or vegetables, no dairy, no meat.

Gift for Friend? What does the US have that you don't?

Rye whiskey and bourbon are both much better in the states , and can be brought in ok.

For a lot of foodstuffs you'll struggle with quarantine restrictions, but US candy - reeces pieces, cinnamon candy etc, should be fine and are hard to get.

The range of hot sauces and liquid smokes is much better in the states, and dried mexican chiles are much more available at much better prices. Customs was fine with my bringing in unopened labelled packets of gaujillos, etc.

Sorghum syrup is, to my knowledge ,completely unavailable in Aus, and might have made it to Michigan via the Ky connection.

Foodie tour of Scottish west coast

Amm Birlin on Mull is perfectly good, but not great. Cafe fish is only open in season, so I've not been, but the reviews are very positive.

In general, favour dishes which are driven by produce, particularly seafood, rather than technique and you'll eat very well.

Apr 25, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Hedone April 2014

My wife and I had the tasting menu about a month ago, and were really very impressed.

If you can stretch to either the tasting menu or the carte blanche, obviously those are a very good way to experience everything the restaurant has to offer. We didn't feel like there was a single dud course in the carte blanche.

The liquid parmesan raviolo is deservedly recognised as one of their best dishes, so I would try to have that.

Apr 14, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Saturday breakfast at Borough or Maltby

In my view Maltby is quite a lot more pleasant. You'll be able to stroll around and compare, rather than joining long lines.

The smoked salmon is really very good, as are the various cheese stores. I usually get my baked goods from St John, but I've not sampled the others in much detail.

The green grocer is excellent for slightly exotic produce if you are planning on doing any cooking or taking ingredients home.

The wine bar - #40 Maltby - does excellent lunch food, but doesn't serve until around 12:30, so probably not ideal for you.

Mar 10, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Caravan King's Cross versus Grain Store, which less noisy?

I think Grain store has noticeably better food, though both are good.

I've been to grain store relatively recently for a dinner with friends and didn't have any problem conversing.

Feb 24, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Odds and Ends, London

I had a five guys dog in New York a couple of years ago, and was pretty impressed. I wonder if they've made the transition to their uk places,,,

Jan 02, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Non-Native Foods Unique to London and the U.K.

Having been to San Francisco from London last year I did a bit of research on their relative strengths.

London has very good afro Caribbean food, which I gather SF lacks. I quite like the Mango Room, near Camden, for an upscale but still reasonably priced take on the cuisine, buy you could try a more home-style version in Brixton, or at a number of places in East London.

I would also try to eat North/Eastern european food - which I think England is better at replicating than SF and which has been modified slightly to fit local tastes. Baltic near waterloo for a relatively high-end take, or Textures for mod-scandinavian, or Mamuska at Elephant and Castle for a much cheaper ethnic cafeteria version of polish food.

Jan 02, 2014
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Chinese pork "kebab"/肉夹馍 stall, Chinatown, London

I've certainly seen one of the stalls other than the steamed bun one on a weekday evening. The steamed bun one is definitely open weeknights and the buns are pretty decent, IMO.

Nov 11, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Buying Uni (Sea Urchin) and Ikura (Salmon Roe Eggs) in UK?

I think there have been some deletions from this thread, but for future reference I bought 3 small Scottish uni for just over £6 from the fishmonger who is at Wilton Road markets near Victoria on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The flavour was good, but the quantity pretty minimal. Would work as an addition to a special occasion dish, I guess.

Oct 29, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Vegetarian Indian - High end and low end [London]

Also slightly off topic, but London has a couple of nice Georgian places that serve vegetarians quite well. Either Little Georgia or Tbilisi, both near Angel, are worth a look and also serve meat-eaters just fine...

Quilon is pretty great, though I haven't sampled Indian in london all that widely.

Sep 13, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

casual foodie visits london

Lots of good stuff in clerkenwell/farringdon near Barbican. You're striking distance from St John, which is maybe a bit overpriced but justifiably iconic.

Vinoteca in farringdon would be a good place to get a light dinner and a glass of wine.

Kateh offers nice persian food a short walk from Paddington.

I doubt you'll feel out of place at any of those options.

Sep 13, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Afternoon Tea [London]

If money isn't much of an object I'd choose the Langham, which is pretty spectacular.

You get a range of sandwiches (salmon, egg, crab, ham IIRC) and extra helpings of your preferred ones.

Sep 13, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Upscale creative London - advice needed

Viajante has the most creative food I've had in England - I slightly preferred it to L'Enclume, but I suspect I'm in the minority there, and it's perhaps a bit more hit and miss in the quality of individual courses.

Clove club is quite clever, but it probably won't blow you away.

Sep 06, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Accidental eats at the Zetter Townhouse - Clerkenwell [London]

Yeah, Modern Pantry is pretty good in my view. More Asian influenced than most of the other places in that area, quite modern Australian, I guess, if that description means anything to you.

I'd probably pick Bruno Loubet instead, but that's my preference for French over pan-Asianish, both are good examples of their breed.

Aug 28, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Columbia Flower Market (London) Best Eats

Too late I suppose, but let me second the recommendation for Brawn. I prefer it to its big brother, terroirs.

Aug 27, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury or Hedone???? [London]

I think it's probably a must-try if you're there and not completely averse to pate. It's very good, but also sort of iconic.


Aug 20, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Ledbury or Hedone???? [London]

Yeah, that's pretty much my take. If you order well (my wife had the meat fruit) it can be borderline great, but it didn't manage spectacular, for me, and it charged as if it did.

I would put it on a long list of recommendations if friends were visiting London and wanted something with a hint of celebrity about it, and money was almost no object, but I wouldn't go back.

Aug 20, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Salsify - and where to find it

I mostly just roast it, occasionally I'll boil it first - I've never got my hands on enough of it to justify messing around with it, but I assume you could do anything you would do with a parsnip, which makes me wonder about grating for rosti, mashing and puréeing with cream for a savory ice cream.

The canned stuff I tossed in a salad with frisee and anchovies. As I say, nothing special.

Aug 20, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Salsify - and where to find it

Can I ask where that is? I really like fresh salsify, and basically only ever see it at the greengrocer at Maltby Street. I would expect our giant local Morrisons, which stocks a good range of exotic veg (krachai! Mizuna) but I've never seen it there.

I tried the tinned stuff for the first time in France a month ago. It wasn't great, but perhaps better than nothing. Better than canned asparagus, I thought.

Don't be fooled by black radish, which can look superficially similar.

Aug 20, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Another "Please review itinerary..." Post

Yes, ideally try the game - I'm not sure what will be in season, but the game birds with game chips are the real specialty of the house, IMO.

Aug 13, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Another "Please review itinerary..." Post

Like others I think you can do better than Fish!, which doesn't really earn its exclamation mark.

There'a Wright Brothers oyster bar just near there IIRC, or Brindisa Tapas, or Magdalen a little way down Tooley Street, and I'd be tempted to try one of those instead.

Otherwise looks pretty good.

Aug 09, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

B.O.B's Lobster, Borough Market, London

Not sure how much time you've spent in Australia, but it's worth trying to hunt down balmain and morton bay bugs, and ideally western australian marron as well. Much cheaper than lobster, and pretty good IMO. You can buy them ready to eat from the sydney fish markets.

Aug 05, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Smoked Salmon in London

I would look in London's Jewish areas, so Belsize Park, Golders Green and Temple Fortune. There is a Bagel shop, Roni's, I think!belsiz..., that sells a nice smoked salmon. There's also a Jewish deli on Golders Green high street which stocks a variety of kosher fish products. I've not tried their salmon.

Aug 02, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Golders Green

We tried once at one of the Jewish places and were extremely unimpressed. There's a Japanese place, just across the road from the bus interchange (which would be convenient I suppose) about which I think I've heard good things. There's a significant Japanese community in the area, so that would be my pick.

Jul 25, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Antepliler tomorrow - is it worth going to Green Lanes when I'm near the Upper St one?

I've been to both and don't think the Upper Street branch really compares, overall. I'd make the trek...

Apr 08, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

African "theme" restaurant, London?

Shaka Zulu in Camden might work, provided you're not paying full price. It is, if anything, more "African" themed than it is restaurant, and it's not great, from a food point of view, but nor is it terrible, and they have various discount deals through websites etc pretty regularly, or you might be able to negotiate something directly with the restaurant given the size of your party.

It depends a lot on your food/atmosphere tradeoff, but it's pretty clearly aimed at events of this nature.

Apr 02, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland


I think you'd get something very similar with turkish youghurt - Gazi brand with 10% fat is pretty good. It's definitely got the set consistency you're looking for, though it may not be quite as sour.

Any turkish/middle eastern supermarket will sell it to you - are you anywhere near St James Rd and Grange Rd, south of bermondsey tube?

Mar 21, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

London Bistro/Nose to tail/ brasserie/pubs/tapas

I would second (third?) the Hereford Road recommendation. I think it's as good as any of the competing nose-to-tail places, but significantly cheaper. We chose it for a guest's birthday and were really impressed.

I'd aim for Brawn over Terroirs, but it will probably depend where you are. you do combine Brawn with a Sunday morning visit to the colombia road flower markets.

40 Maltby Street is the wine bar/bistro at the Maltby Street markets, but now opens Wednesday night. It's one of my favourite places for simple, produce driven anglo french cooking. It's not all that offal-focussed, but otherwise quite similar to what you'd find on gastopub menus and very keenly priced, and some unusual wines by the glass.

Mar 12, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland

Brixton-so much food ,so little time..

I'm not sure about your reference to "okonomiyaki" in this context, but there is, in fact, a pretty nice okonomiyaki place, and also a very good japanese karee, and kao sarn, the Thai place is also recommended.

The Colombian butcher in the village markets is also great, as are the various fish shops. Probably the best produce shopping in London IMO.

Mar 08, 2013
lacemaker in U.K./Ireland