Yen Burger – a new kind of burger in Borough

I love a burger, possibly a bit more than the next person, and so when I receive an email telling me that a new burger restaurant is opening in Borough, I tend to get rather excited!

Located a short distance from London’s famous foodie-favourite Borough Market, Yen Burger, a Japanese-inspired restaurant, opened its doors in November and it wasn’t long afterwards that lovely Livvie and I headed there to find out exactly how good the burgers were.

 We sat by the bar, which is beautifully decorated with pretty cherry blossom overhead and has a refreshingly unpredictable range of cocktails. We started with a cocktail each; I chose Wild Flowers (hibiki, blackberry, lime, and cranberry) and Livvie chose a Fuzzy Guava (vodka, prosecco, peach schnapps, orange, and lemon). Having also tried the Long Night (gin, whisky, rum, Cointreau, vodka, and ginger ale) – which tastes just like childhood sweets refreshers – I feel confident in saying that whichever cocktail you choose you won’t be disappointed. While they’re standard London prices it did feel like we were getting a bit more alcohol per cocktail than some places offer too, so we were happy.

 Onto the food; our friendly waitress didn’t show any judgement when we ordered two burgers and FOUR sides – the sides were all just too tempting! Livvie chose the Finest Chick (coconut panko chicken breast, slaw, shiso, tomato, red onion, and mango sauce) and I decided to go for the Yen Burger (100% wagyu beef batty, lettuce, shiso, pickles, red onion, smoked turkey bacon, yen sauce, and cheese), named after the food entrepreneur behind the restaurant. At £10 and £12 respectively the burgers weren’t cheap, but for that part of London it’s not unexpected to pay that much for a burger, and the burgers themselves didn’t disappoint. The flavours of the Finest Chick were delightfully put together and just melted in your mouth. The Yen Burger was huge but I didn’t waste a bite, it was that delicious! The beef was also melt-in-your-mouth delicious and, although slightly over-cooked for my personal taste (I’d have a burger super-rare if I could!) other than the colour it didn’t appear over cooked. So maybe I could be converted to the church of the well-done burger if the beef is good enough…

 There’s an interesting range of sides – a cross between a Japanese noodle house and a burger bar, which while ordinarily would be an unusual combination it’s what you’d expect at Yen Burger. We chose the Gyoza – which were light and crisp and the best gyoza I’ve had in a long time! – and Halloumi and Mango along with more standard burger fare of Dashi Chips and Sweet Potato Chips. While I’m a big fan of anything sweet potato, I think when I go back, I’d stick to the gyoza or maybe try the Pomegranate Salad for something lighter. It wasn’t easy, but we did manage to finish it all! Ordinarily I’d say you really don’t need four sides between two of you (we wanted to try a range though, for the benefit of our readers!) but if you are hungry the sides don’t break the bank ranging from £3 to £4.90.

 I would recommend Yen Burger, although I do think it leans more towards the burger than Japanese cuisine, so as long as you know this in advance you shouldn’t be disappointed!

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South in south west; a taste of The South in Fulham

For a south-west London girl who loves country music and food (in no particular order), I was really excited to hear of a new southern American restaurant, Stagolee’s Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint, opening up in Fulham. While I’ve made the journey across the pond a few times I’ve never been to The South so this cuisine was virgin territory for me, and my taste buds were beyond excited. No pressure then Stagolee’s… 

The South is famed for its hospitality and Stagolee’s didn’t let us down. We were greeted by friendly (but not too intrusive) staff and enjoyed a chat with the Nashville-native owner, Jordan, who talked us through the menu, whisky, moonshine and what makes southern cuisine so special.

We started off sharing the hot spinach dip, a cheesy spinach and artichoke dip served with tortillas. I could have eaten this and nothing else all evening and left a happy woman. Spinach, artichoke and cheese are three of my favourite foods, so put them all together and I was in food heaven for a while. But it was my duty to eat a main course too…

We opted for the chicken platters; excellent value for money at under £10 each. Beware those of you who aren’t keen on heat, you might be best off choosing the skillet fried chicken. We went for the hot chicken which I loved – but I was pleased to have sides to balance out the heat. Olivia found the hot chicken a bit too hot, and she’s fairly hard-core, so tread carefully, but if you think you’re tough enough I personally recommend the hot chicken.

The deliciously refreshing carrot salad

When I say excellent value for money I really mean it. We each got two pieces of delicious chicken, two yummy sides and cornbread. And speaking of cornbread, where has it been all my life? I wasn’t expecting to enjoy what seemed like cake with a main course quite as much as I did. I really must have a go at making some myself! Sides include the classic mac and cheese, sweet potato, southern-style greens (served with ham hock – again, mouth-wateringly scrumptious), and carrot salad (which reminded me of coronation chicken without the chicken. Or the mayonnaise). The carrot salad was refreshing and full of flavour – definitely my favourite. Crinkle cut chips are also available but it seems a shame to me to not enjoy the other side dishes. Let’s face it, you can get chips almost anywhere.

I’m afraid pudding beat us – there was simply no room left. However, it would have been almost criminal to leave without enjoying a whisky. Having started the evening with a delicious gin cocktail and then enjoyed a bottle of red with the main meal I wasn’t really in the best place to judge how good a whisky it was, so I’ll just have to trust the barman on this one. Needless to say, I enjoyed it!

 So the big question is, would I go back to Stagolee’s? Absolutely, although really do feel the need to visit Nashville even more than ever now to check out the food, if nothing else!

Burns Night delight!

It’s Burns Night tonight so I wanted to share a new Scottish-themed recipe with you. I love Burns Night because I absolutely love haggis! Even though we’re not a Scottish family my Mum always serves up haggis each year with a side of neeps and tatties. As much as I love my mother’s Burns Night meal this year I fancied doing something slightly different and have taken my favourite Scottish ingredients – haggis, black pudding and whisky – and created this scrummy gnocchi dish. A perfect plate of comfort, I served it with green beans. It was so tasty, it had me and Lovely Livvie, a fellow food fan, going back for seconds!

Haggis, black pudding and whisky cream gnocchi

Ingredients

300ml double cream

A generous tea spoon of Dijon mustard

A generous glug of whisky

A packet of fresh gnocchi (or homemade gnocchi)

Haggis (available from any good butcher)

Black pudding

 

Method

First to cook the haggis; remove the outer plastic and place into a casserole dish, cover and bake in the oven as per the instructions on the packet. Fluff out the haggis half way through baking.

Unwrap the black pudding and slice. Grill both sides of the black pudding slices for two minutes and set aside.

Heat the cream on a low heat and add the mustard and whisky. I love the flavour of whisky so I tend to add a good glug but if you’re after just a hint of whisky add a couple of tablespoons. Don’t worry, the alcohol will burn out through cooking it. Turn the heat up and simmer the sauce for a few minutes.

Stir in pieces of the cooked haggis.

Cook the gnocchi as per the instructions on the packet (if you’re feeling more adventurous you can make your own gnocchi!). Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and garnish with a couple of slices of black pudding. This is a rich dish so I suggest you enjoy with green beans, curly kale or something equally as fresh and green!