Friday, June 26, 2015

The Advisory, 25th May

I like to get to know the places in my neighbourhood so you may have noticed my blog has quite an East London focus. When a new burger place opened in London Fields a few years ago, I immediately wanted to check it out just cos it was local. At one point renowned for causing ire - people thought they'd chucked out the previous residents - a charity giving advice (hence the name) to Asian Women but in fact this was far from true, it's now a not-exactly-must-visit place for burgers. But I wanted to give it a go for completeness.

I had a chicken burger which came with avocado and we also had some mac and cauliflower cheese to share. The mac and cheese was too creamy and liquidy for my taste – I like mine with a bit more stodge but I ended up too full from my chicken burger to want to eat much of it anyway.

My burger was fine. It was certainly big. It was even maybe better than fine. But not great. It did not reach the giddy heights of Spit and Roast or supersede Rita's version. Also, one thing annoyed me - instead of slicing the avocado, they put great big chunks of it on the top making it really hard to eat! Just - why? 

Stephen had the bacon burger with onions which was ridiculously stacked and all the onions were really bitty and kept falling out. But he was fairly satisfied with it. And he really liked the caulimac and cheese so I guess that's subjective.

I'd eat here again, but, unlike this time, wouldn't make a special effort to do so.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

To the Laser Cave, 16th May

To the Laser Cave was literarally full of shiny, happy people. Because To the Laser Cave is a rave with one key difference. Everything is about lasers (obvs), glitter, glowing and shininess. And almost everyone fully embraces this. It made such a difference from your common or garden East London rave.

Firstly, the venue was a lot smaller than I had expected, fostering a more intimate vibe in the first place. It was held at Bloc in Hackney Wick which I had thought would be a huge warehouse but it had just the one moderate room, with a second room holding the bar and a few largeish areas for seating.

But it also attracts a certain person - a certain mindset that thinks, yeah I like clubbing, but I know I'll like it even more if I stick a bunch of tin foil on my person and innumerable glow sticks. And they're right - it heightens the night, gives everyone something to talk about with everyone else.

The music was almost incidental but as far as I remember it was also pretty good. I danced. A lot. Fat Boy Slim's Weapon of Choice dropping was a memorable moment.

At around 5 am I was beginning to flag but my friend persuaded me to hold on for another hour and see it through. And I'm so glad I did. Just as the last song was played somehow, suddenly, the daylight flooded the room and everyone cheered. It was quite a euphoric moment and nothing like any ending to a clubnight I've ever been at.

I cannot wait to go back. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Alternative Nightlife June-July 2015

I keep saying I’ll start doing more posts which give a heads up on upcoming events and then I get so behind on my actual blog posts I don’t! But here’s another stab at it.

Basically, here’s a bit of a rundown of what’s coming up on my Meetup over the next month, so if you fancy coming along, do feel free!

First up this weekend we’re heading to Paperworks which has been the year-long pop-up outside space brought to you by Corsica Studios. They have DJs and food and it’s sounded fun so we’re going on its final weekend!

Next weekend is a big one – it’s Antichrist’s 11th birthday July 3rd so we’re going along to that. This is only my third Antichrist, and, even though it wasn’t hugely busy last time, I had a really good night and I expect it to be even better on its birthday. My first visit coincided with such an occasion and I loved it.

Then, the next night (the 4th), a complete change of pace. Bourne and Hollingsworth, the supremos in themed party nights (Blitz, Prohibition) have a new one! This time we’re only going back as far as the 90s, with Playback. This feels a little too recent in my mind to make a theme around it but if anyone can do it, B & H can! They’re promising the finest music of the era, some live acts, d├ęcor harking back to the 90s and drinks inspired by the colour/tackiness of the time as well (frozen daquiris and wibbles anyone?)! Dress up in your finest denim and fringerie and come along!

In fact, the Meetup are back in Bourne & Hollingsworth’s presence the weekend after that as well, when we attend the Chap Olympiad. Nothing but the silliest/most refined sports to be enjoyed from this event – things like moustache wrestling or, of course umbrella jousting. Spiffing!

And then I’m rounding off the month with another dip into the kinky side of life – my first Camden Crunch. As I haven’t been before I don’t know what exactly to expect – it’s a more laid back, casual event than other fetish nights as it’s not a proper clubnight, more of a get together party. But I’m sure it will be full of the lovely folk I’ve come to expect from these sorts of things.

In between all these weekend shenanigans, we’ve got some immersive theatre to get to at The Jetty again. We really enjoyed The Boy who Climbed out of his Face from Shunt there last year and hope that Zebedee Productions can put the shipping containers to equally good use with Heartbreak Hotel. And there’s some silly fun to be had as Last Man Standing Quiz is back on the 1st of July! All the fun of a pub quiz without the pressure to actually know anything!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Old Dutch, 15th May

I have had My Old Dutch on my list for yonks. It's probably not the sort of place I'd normally seek out but I do love pancakes. Finally I got around to going for dinner before heading out for the evening. I was kind of in the middle of a health kick so I ordered more modestly than I might otherwise have.

I decided I wanted to try their savoury and their sweet offerings so to start I ordered the tricolore - mixed cheese, freshly chopped tomato, basil, feta and spring onion. Should have been a pretty delicious combination and it did all taste very fresh. But it wasn't very warm at all which made eating it hard going. It all needed to be melted more and then it would have been less stodgy and more pleasant.

My boyfriend decided to go full on and order a normal-sized pancake which was bloody huge. We couldn't get over the feeling we were eating a kind of discount version of a pizza, although he did say it tasted decent. He also said it should have been warmer.

Again, for dessert I tried to pick something a little smaller - the poffertjes. Literally small pancakes. I just got the traditional ones - dusted with sugar, and served with butter and maple syrup. Again, where was the heat?! They weren't even hot enough for the butter sitting on top of them to melt! But despite that. they were pretty tasty. Tasty enough for me to come out with a smile and tasty enough that I would go back again. But I would just stick to the sweet ones. 

After this I went to Knightmare Live at Udderbelly which was a tongue-in-cheek live action version of the famous 90s TV show. If you were a fan of it at the time, seek it out.

Square Meal

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Corner Room, 9th May

The food at the Corner Room was just lovely! And yet, when Stephen asked me if I would go back I said probably not. Why is that? Well, because we go to restaurants for more than simply eating. We go for an experience we can't get at home and something about this experience lacked, though it is hard to say exactly why.

Something about the ambience was just a little off. This was meant to be Nuno Mendes's informal neighbourhood restaurant (though he's no longer there) but, while the prices are pretty good, it doesn't feel as laid back as it should. Or, it feels too laid back but in a non-comfortable way. A bit like a posh country house's dining room. A home but not your home.  I don't know. Stephen felt the same.

Anyway, as I say the food was much more than perfectly pleasant to eat. 

I started with the quail, asparagus and roasted garlic. What a fantastic garlic hit, and I loved the way the asparagus was shaved so thinly. The quail was well cooked and seasoned. A great start.
Stephen had the mackerel, which is a fish I don't like so I didn't try it. It looked very beautiful and Stephen had nothing but nice things to say about it.
On to the mains. For me, unusually, pork. The tenderest of loin, cooked pink and imbued with smoke from the smoky apple accompaniment. A lovely blend of sweetness and meat and I made sure to swipe up as much of the residue as possible  with the broccoli (though not the florets - hate those!)

Stephen had confit lamb belly (already sounds amazing doesn't it?) which came with chorizo (even better) spring beans and baby gem. I wouldn't say I had food envy, but I kinda had food envy. That lamb - a decent size with a great, crispy top.

We had both, for the first time, participated in a 5K run that afternoon so of course we had to treat ourselves with dessert (and cocktails!).

I think the dessert was my least favourite part though, I had a malted slice with pear which had a dry texture I didn't appreciate. I wanted more gooeyness. Stephen fared better with his dessert - a raspberry tart, that he said was very nice but I don't like raspberries so I just had to take his word for it. 

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Square Meal

Friday, June 12, 2015

Reggaeoke, 13th May

Reggaeoke has already established itself quite well in Brixton, having been going for about a year down there. I went along to its Eastside launch at the Queen of Hoxton. 

Reggaeoke is exactly what you might think it is - karaoke but all the songs are reggae! There was a decent turnout - the night is clearly popular enough down South to warrant some of the regulars making an appearance in Hipsterhood. And I can see why. The whole night had a bit of a party vibe, with the crowd being encouraged to sing along and support the performers on stage. For me (and I daresay quite a few others) just listening to the songs was enough as it was like revisiting my childhood with all the songs my dad would play at home.

The roster of songs you can perform is just great but I have to warn you if you're thinking about giving it a go - reggae is HARD! I was thinking about performing but I was too chicken. Every time I thought about doing a particular song I realised I didn't really know that many words. Then someone else would do the song and I would thank God I didn't bother trying it as the lyrics were much more difficult to 'sing' than I expected. 

Also - unlike with regular karaoke, all you get is the screen with the songs - no bouncy ball to help you along. 

Something like Night Nurse was quite straightforward but even Uptown Top Ranking and Murder She Wrote are trickier than you'd think! Not to mention Gimme the Light!

Some of the people were just awesome and knew the songs back to front. Others, errrr... less so. But it was all a lot of fun and if reggae is your bag then this is a great way to enjoy that music.

There are prizes for the best performance (ie not necessarily the best singer) but I didn't end up staying long enough to see who won though there were definitely a few contenders. Janine, the founder also makes an excellent host, being supportive to the performers and encouraging the audience to get involved. She's running a really fun night.