Pod – Protein Box

Like about 98% of the population, my New Years resolution was to get fit. Going to the gym seems to be the easy bit at the moment – eating the right food before and after seems to be a minefield when you’re at work and at the mercy of takeaway lunches or dodgy canteens. I am a greedy b*****d too which doesn’t help.

Luckily, every lunch-peddler in the city seems to be pushing some kind of health food range at the moment, so I thought I’d put Pod’s to the test.

Upon opening the ‘Protein Box’, the strong smell of fish and dill smacks you across the face, the kind you only smell from slightly-past-its-best fish. Chopped raw salmon (offcuts?) is mixed with way too much dill, and just tastes a bit… Dodgy. 3 boiled egg halves (what happened to the 4th?) are just eggs, pretty hard to screw up. Next to them are about 10 watery little prawns, a bit like the crayfish u get in those industrial sized Costco tubs. And last but not least, weird wet chicken that looked like canned salmon.

In conclusion, barely a mouthful was eaten before I gagged and binned it. £5.50.


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Dumplings Legend

After meeting up with friends in Soho, it promptly began to chuck it down. We got to Chinatown at precisely the wrong time, queues for dim sum snaking out of entrances and around the shop fronts.

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I used to work in a pretty culinary-forsaken corner of London called Holloway. Apart from the few excellent – and cheap – Turkish restaurants and bakeries, it was a sea of scary looking greasy spoon caffs. Because of this (and the generally grotty feeling after eating kebabs and greasy gozleme every day) I often found myself trekking down to Upper Street in Angel for something different.

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Pitt Cue Co.

Just 15 years ago, I would have declared Brits the kings of queuing. I remember waiting for a bus to school in the morning, and a good 50 strong single file of commuters quietly snaking down the road. Nowadays, it’s more like a rugby scrum trying to board, God have mercy on people trying to disembark. In the past few years, queuing has gone through a renaissance, thanks to trendy no reservations restaurants luring hipsters in like 2-4-1 skinny jeans.

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Viet Grill

What a miserable day it is. It was raining when I went to bed, raining when I woke up and was still raining when it got to lunch time. Normally in these circumstances, it would mean a trip up to the staff canteen for a bland sandwich / miniscule “subsidised” [insert protein] and [insert carb] dish. The breakfasts they serve are great, but the lunches are so depressing.

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St John Bread & Wine

As is almost universal for everyone in London as we enter December, 95% of my calendar inevitably gives way to a slew of Christmas lunches with various teams and clients. It is for this very reason that I have been a bit quiet on the review front for the past week – it’s hard to rate restaurants when everything is pre-ordered and pre-paid for, no idea what we’ve ordered or what has been paid.

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City Càphê

Rave reviews for City Càphê populate pretty much every restaurant listings website there is. Not so many years ago, to get a steaming bowl of pho you had to go to Kingsland Road – home of London’s most famous collection of Vietnamese restaurants. It seems now though, that the rest of the city is starting to realise how brilliant a cuisine it is, with restaurants popping up all over the place. If you have never tried Vietnamese food, think Chinese food but with less oil, stacks of herbs, and a French influence.

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Scarlet Dot

Only time for a quick lunch today, so somewhere nearby was required. The trend with most of the restaurants in Spitalfields Market is during weekday lunchtimes, a market-style stall is set up just ouside serving takeaway lunches around the £5-£7 range, usually peddling a couple of compacted versions of dishes served in the restaurant. Today, Scarlet Dot – I had no idea the ‘Dot’ was noteworthy until seeing it on Urbanspoon – caught my attention.

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I got to try YumBun last year at The Long Table in Dalston, and have craved them ever since. They have had regular spots at Kings Cross Eat St and Broadway Market for over a year I think – impossible for me to sneak into a lunch hour due to the distance, or too inconvenient to reach on a weekend. Enter Kerb – a new offshoot of Eat St, a weekly market in the Shadow of the Gherkin. Taking centre stage this week? Yep, you guessed it, YumBun. Result.

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