Hodge Podge or what London cuisine is

I tried a new gem in the neighbourhood. A place called hodge lodge doesn’t quite invite a burst of inspiration, when hodge podge literally means a mix of everything. It must be very obvious to a British person, but if you are french it is not quite obvious. You would have asked me what London cuisine meant 13 years ago I probably would have answered: doesn’t exist…

… until last night. The restaurant menu is simple. (can’t point you to their website because their menu is not yet available there yet) There are a dozen of dishes and they are all available either as starters or as mains, which I think is a clever idea. Only one dessert at the bottom, yes disappointing to say the least because that one dessert already there was absolutely divine. No actually there were two desserts, but I never count ice cream as dessert because ice cream for me is not rocket science. Not enough effort is put into ice cream which is why I would never spend a fortune for it.

I ordered the lamb and parsnips which came with a potato puree and something that looked like a red sauce. I wish I could remember all the ingredients but I don’t. Here is what I remember: The potato puree wasn’t just a potato puree, it had black seeds inside and was a light greenish colour. It had a intricate delicate taste and definitely not as boring as a regular potato mash. The parsnips were cooked to perfection, crunchy and soaked in the lamb juice. The lamb was tender and melting in my mouth and seasoned just right, not too salty and not too overpowering and most importantly not dry! I feel like I need to add a little about the saltiness because I’ve been trying to reduce my intake of salt for the last few months. It means that I don’t really add any salt in my food at home. When I go out this becomes a problem because everything at restaurants get easily too salty for me. Twice I had to send back my food because it was just uneatable for me. I realise now how much salt I used to consume on a daily basis. So for me to be at the restaurant and not thinking that I’m eating a jug of salt was victory.

My partner had beef which was served with thinly sliced roasted potatoes crispy on the top, whole roasted onions served with an oyster and parsley mayo. The portions were generous just the way I like it. The tendency in London now is to serve people tiny portions for the same price in the hope that people will spend more. This usually doesn’t work because most people have their food budget in mind when they go out. So once they’ve spend that budget they will go home and eat more if they are still hungry. Let’s get back to my generous portions. The beef was tender, succulent and juicy and almost fruity. Would it have been cooked less it would have reached perfection for me, but the cooking style was perfect for my partner. At this stage I have two minus points. The first one is that the food was colder than expected. We were only about 8 in the restaurant with two chefs on duty this should’t have happened. The second minus point is that the waiter didn’t not ask how we would like the beef cooked which is a shame. Because if it was my dish it would have ordered it rare.

Now that the minuses are out of the way, I have to say that I had one of the best nights I’ve had for a while. The manager and waiter were welcoming and smiley. We had an impromptu sake tasting at the end of our meal and got to taste very expensive delicious Japanese wine. The staff there were very attentive, very good at remembering our names and super fun. It is definitely worth trying a place that has just opened because there are less people so the staff tend were more attentive, and you don’t have to wait an hour to get your food served on a Friday night. I’m sure the cold plates thing was just a one off thing and will improve in the future. I recommend Hodge Podge which is on Crouch Hill – get there while it’s still quiet and unknown!

PS: if you are wondering what the featured image is, it’s actually the only dessert on the menu: marathon profiteroles with a superb filling!

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