I’m one of those tourists who love to go free & easy and almost never took up any sort of tour packages. Guided tours = wake up way too early in the morning, going to too many places, spending too much time in buses, and ended up buying things in overpriced places that give kick backs to the tour guide, or so I thought.
Then there’s short guided tours, which I was more open to but never really took the initiative to partake in one, until we were signed up for the East London Food Tour by the good people who organized our London trip. It proved to be one of the most enjoyable part of the trip.
Harry, our tour guide for the East London Food Tour
We met up at Old Spitalfields Market, just a short walk from Bill’s at Clink Street, the place where we had breakfast (which was a mistake, note to self – don’t have breakfast, or anything, before a food tour.)
Our guide was a young half-hipster/artist gentlemen by the name of Harry, who was very entertaining and carries a wealth of knowledge about the local food & art scene in which he was very eager to share. Over the course of 3.5 hours, we walked around East London sampling some of the best foods and learned about local history.
Our group had American, Swiss, Malaysian, Norwegian, and even Londoners, and since it was only about a dozen of us, we manage to carry a good flow, which was great.
Here are the 8 places we went, and while you can try them individually if you happen to be at East London, I do recommend joining the food tour to sample them all at once, plus, it’s always nice to not have to be in queue.
bacon sandwich at St John Bread & Wine
Our first stop, bacon sandwich at St. John Bread & Wine. The back bacon was juicy and we really enjoyed the special apple infused home made ketchup that they have. Quarter sandwich for everyone to get us started, and while I usually prefer streaky bacon, this back bacon was juicy and together with the home made ketchup and fresh bread, made for a pretty good opening act.
St. John Bread & Wine
94-96 Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ
GPS: 51.519758, -0.074289
Tel: +44 20 7251 0848
bread and butter pudding at the English Restaurant
Our next stop was the restaurant that has the least interesting name in the whole of England – the English Restaurant. In this 17th century building we sampled one of the original “poor people”s food – the bread and butter pudding. Truth be told, this was the best bread and butter pudding I’ve ever had, it was rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious. I guess having them made in small batches makes a huge difference to the standard hotel buffet fair.
50/52 Brushfied St, Spitalfields, London E1 6AG
GPS: 51.519731, -0.074310
Tel: +44 20 7251 0848
we tasted a cheddar and blue cheese at Androuet
At Androuet, we had a short briefing about the few types of cheese made locally, and got to sample their cheddar and blue cheese on location. A glass of wine would certainly made this stop even better. Androuet carries a variety of European and English cheese.
Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial St, London E1 6BG
GPS: 51.519663, -0.075484
Tel: +44 020 7375 3168
fish and chips at Poppies, listed as Time Out’s top 100 foods in London
Next stop was the inevitable fish & chips, and we had this at Poppies, rated one of the best fish & chip outlets in all of London. The fish used was cod (a luxury in Malaysia), with a light and crispy batter while keeping the fish moist & just-cooked, it was actually rather good. The chips did not illicit any additional revelation, it was okay.
Interestingly, the fish & chip is now served in a food safe paper with newspaper print instead of actual newspaper.
Poppies Fish & Chips
6-8 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
GPS: 51.520236, -0.073956
Tel: +44 20 7247 0892
Pride Of Spitalfields – a local pub for some beer
Pride of Spitalfields was next on the agenda, we got a taste of the life at local pub for a bit, sampling a couple ales and even got to pet Lenny, the pub cat, who was fat, lazy, and seemed rather used to being around strangers.
Pride of Spitafields
3 Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ
GPS: 51.518942, -0.071205
Tel: +44 20 7247 8933
Aladin at Brick Lane for UK’s national dish – curry!
After a short stay at the pub, we moved to the national dish of England – curry!
With the heavy influence of South Asian in the region, East London, and especially Brick Lane, has a whole slew of curry houses, with each of them having an intimidating looking Indian guy trying to convince you to get into their restaurants that are often decorated not entirely unlike a strip club.
That being said, the dishes we had at Aladin was excellent, I remember the chicken tikka masala to stand out and went really well with garlic naan. It wasn’t very different from the North Indian cuisine we got back home, but this was certainly among the better versions.
132 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU
GPS: 51.520504, -0.071795
Tel: +44 20 7247 8210
Beigal Bake, Jewish bakery with the best bagel with salt beef
Our penultimate stop was my favorite – bagel with salt beef at the Jewish bakery, Beigal Bake. The 24-hour bakery had quite a long line extended to the sidewalk when we were there, and it was easy to see why, while the bagel was fresh and had a balanced taste, the salt beef was super succulent, juicy, and just perfect. The combination was irresistible.
If there’s a must-have in this list of 8, it is this.
159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB
GPS: 51.524496, -0.071743
Tel: +44 20 7729 0616
salted caramel tart with some English tea at Pizza East to conclude the tour
Finally, after some 3.5 hours, we concluded the tour at Pizza East sampling their famous salted caramel tart, and of course, a glass of English tea to go with. The tart was rich and those salted caramel really brought out the flavour of the chocolate. Tea was, well, tea.
56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
GPS: 51.523665, -0.076442
Tel: +44 20 7729 1888
I want to thank Harry for the excellent tour and Micaela & gang for organizing it. It was an excellent few hours and certainly very entertaining and provided much food for thoughts and for my stomach. Still wished we didn’t have breakfast prior to this though.
Note: This UK – Malaysia Influencer Exchange programme was organised by Malaysia Airlines.
However, opinions are of my own. Malaysia Airlines flies between London and Kuala Lumpur
twice a day on the A380. There are 8 seats in the First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420
in Economy. Make your flight reservations today on www.malaysiaairlines.com.
Before heading to this somewhat ridiculously named restaurant for my last review on Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion, I was a little apprehensive and thus I did a bit of research online. The reviews are certainly positive for The Magnificent Fish and Chips, so I brought Cindy of MDG fame (I know, overused line) along with me on this particular mission.
Magnificent Fish & Chips bar, with menu on the wall
The restaurant is situated at Changkat Bukit Bintang, just directly opposite Gypsy Wine & Bar, and a stone’s throw away from Bermuda & Onion, the other two places I have visited along the stretch of shops that is frequented by more expats than locals.
The owner Paul James is from England and a season ticket holder of Hull City Football Club, a friendly figure who made a quick escape when I tried to take a picture of him, possibly being not comfortable with his almost tragic hairstyle. He explained that all the fish served is from fresh stock except for the Atlantic cod (frozen), and that the name of the restaurant was invented after a particularly heavy drinking night.
the little cup Cindy holds is a Guinness miniature glass premium, comes in 4 different designs
The very helpful waiter, Zam, came to our assistance as we sat down, and politely explained that there is no “small” menu available. Everything they serve is written on giant blackboards hung on the walls inside the restaurant, which is not exactly very convenient if you happen to sit alfresco, or upstairs.
I ordered the Guinness steak pie from their Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion, which carries the following deal you might have read from my previous posts:
- order a Guinness-infused Christmas main course
- fill up a voucher with your details
- tear it in half and give the side with your details to the restaurant to redeem a small pint of Guinness Draught
- keep the other half of the voucher to get RM12 off 3 pint of Guinness Draught on next visit
Cindy got the grilled butter fish, we also asked for gaujons as appetizer, with the Guinness ice cream and sticky date pudding as desserts.
Guinness steak pie, a Guinness-infused dish
The Guinness steak pie comes with a choice of mash potato, chips, salad, or these mini potatos soaked in buttery sauce. The pie itself was steamy hot and cooked with beef of very tender cuts. The taste of Guinness used to make the sauce and beef adds character to it and provide a very appetizing aroma, coupled with the crunchy skin of the pie, it was very delicious. I liked it a lot.
grilled butter fish and goujons
Cindy’s chose to have salad with her grilled butter fish. Both the salad and grilled fish is draped with balsamic vinegar, the fish with some black pepper on top too. A healthier choice I suppose, but certainly not lacking in the taste department either. Personally I love balsamic vinegar with salad and never understand the whole fascination on Thousand Island dressing (which is basically mayonnaise and ketchup.)
Goujons is basically a fancy name in French for fish fingers. We had some ten strips of deep fried fish served with tartar sauce and a slice of lemon. They were as tasty as they are hearty and went well with my Guinness Draught.
sticky date pudding, Cindy, and Guinness ice cream
For dessert, the Guinness ice cream is a must order item. Just slightly different from the sorbet made by Chef in Black during the event I attended but certainly offering the same character and unique taste of that thin bitterness and caramelized sweetness. Do try it.
The sticky date pudding though, was a bit of a disappointment with too much custard. I wish that it comes with more fruits and ice cream that is a lot more sour too. The message has been conveyed to Paul James and he said they will be working on improving it.
Magnificent Fish & Chips Bar is located along the stretch of restaurants/pubs at Changkat Bukit Bintang
The final bill came to RM 138+ with the steak pie at RM32, butter fish RM28, goujons RM20, a couple drinks, and two desserts. I would say that the price is pretty reasonable considering the fresh ingredients, nice ambiance, and very good service we enjoyed. I have a feeling I am going there again to try out some of their other stuff.
28, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147749, 101.707209
Tel: 03-2142 7021
Other restaurants running the Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion reviewed in this blog:
The first time (and incidentally, the last time) I went to Jack’s Place was sometimes in 2005. The reason it took me so long for this second visit was not the lack of quality in their food during the first visit, but rather my general absence from the malls in weekends since working at KLCC. Why head to the mall during weekends when I am walking in one every on single working day? Anyway… I shall not digress
update: this place has closed down and is now Chicago Rib’s
as I ponder what to order..
The ambiance at this little restaurant is actually very nice. Not very brightly lit, but gives one a sense of relaxation, I prefer it to the rowdiness of Fridays or Chili’s. Since it was an afternoon, we took advantage to order from the very reasonably priced set lunch menu. I got a NZ Rib eye, medium rare, and the hot chick ordered a Dory fish set with the option for lobster soup instead of the standard mushroom cream.
I also asked for my steak to be served on a normal plate with the sauce separated instead of the sizzling plate. This is to prevent the meat from getting cooked all the time while I’m trying to have my lunch. I also believe that good steak should not be tainted by some “brown sauce”.
this medium rare was a little too rare, but juicy nonetheless
Our two main dish didn’t take long to arrive, but the server actually forgot to serve the soups until I reminded him. We ended up only getting the soup more than half way into the meal. I guess the service standard in Malaysia still has a long way to go.
While pretty juicy and actually rather tasty, the medium rare here emphasized the word rare way too much. You can probably see it in the picture above on how pink the meat was. The Dory fish (and chips) was a pretty good dish too, but the serving size was a bit overwhelming.
While the mushroom soup was pretty average, the lobster bisque was actually very nice. There were chunks of lobster meat to chew on while you savor the rich creamy taste of the soup. Pretty good for only an additional RM 4 upgrade from the standard set lunch.
the hot chick wasn’t complaining
Including a 10% service charge and the standard 5% government tax, the bill came to around RM 55. Pretty reasonable for a satisfying lunch. Jack’s Place does offer a pretty extensive menu that can be found here. The lobster and crab stuffed mushroom appetizer is not to be missed if you are prepared to shell out some RM 18 for it.
F346, First Floor Rainforest
1 Utama Shopping Centre (New Wing)
No.1 , Lebuh Bandar Utama Damansara
47800 Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939
Tel: 03-7725 1433