Earlsfield

Roxie Steak Earlsfield

Roxie Steak has long been one of our favourite local restaurants for good quality, reasonably priced steak. They have branches in Putney, Fulham and Clapham Junction, but we’ve only been to the Earlsfield branch as it’s just down the road from us. We’ve been quite a few times in the past few years but not that recently. In fact, we’ve been more often to Borderlaise in Tooting Market in the last few months, so we thought it would be good to visit Roxie again as a bit of a change. We’ve had some really good meals here in the past. The steak is always good quality with a lovely flavour so we were looking forward to our meal which we had booked for 2 on a Saturday evening.

When we arrived the restaurant was only half full. Our booking was reasonably early though and we know from experience, they are usually very busy and often have to turn walk-ins away. The menu has evolved since they first opened and now includes not just steak but some low and slow BBQ as well. They’ve also expanded the cuts of steak on offer from fillet, rib-eye and sirloin to flat iron, rump and picanha.

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We decided to begin our meal with starters and selected a Thai beef salad, and the king prawns with chorizo. To accompany the meal we chose a glass of red wine and a gin and tonic.

The food didn’t take too long to arrive and I think it’s fair to say, that neither dish was quite what we were expecting. The Thai beef salad comprised slithers of steak on top of spinach leaves with tomato and cucumber slices. The dressing was soy and ginger and there was a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top. It tasted lovely but I think I had envisaged something a bit more, well, Thai in terms of vegetables.

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The prawns and chorizo came in a little pot with a rich creamy tomato based sauce. Accompanying it were slices of toasted ciabatta to help mop up the sauce. A decent amount of prawns and chorizo helped make a very tasty starter although perhaps there was a little too much sauce.

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For our main meals, we chose a 200g fillet (cooked medium) with sides of fine green beans and mushrooms…

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… and a flat iron (medium rare) with some double cooked chips to share.

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The steaks arrived on their slate plates in wooden trays and looked very appetising. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that the flat iron which should have been medium rare (centre in below pic) was over cooked, and the fillet which should have been medium was undercooked (on the right).

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A bit of a nuisance, but rather than have them taken back and then wait for replacement steaks and sides, we simply swapped them. Not ideal but not really too much of a problem. It was a bit of a shame and hasn’t happened to us before here. Aside from that, both steaks were very tasty and were thoroughly enjoyed. The sides were all great, with the mushrooms in-particular having a really nice flavour to them, and the chips were  great – crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. The bearnaise sauce was rich and creamy, perfect for pouring onto steak and dipping chips into.

Two courses were enough for us today so we skipped dessert, although we have enjoyed them here previously.

Service was friendly and polite, as we expected and had experienced in the past, and by the time we left, the restaurant was almost full.

If you are anywhere around Clapham Junction, Putney, Fulham or Earlsfield and are looking for a good steak for a good price, you will be sure to find one at Roxie. We always leave feeling full and having enjoyed what we have eaten, and today was no different. Of course, we’ll be back again!

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Bean & Hop – Refurbished

Bean and Hop has recently been taken over and undergone a refurbishment. We were looking forward to trying them out and taking a nose at the new interior, so we headed there for brunch on Saturday. Since it opened, Bean and Hop has been a busy and popular coffee and brunch spot for the people of Earlsfield. At weekends it can be difficult to get a table and the previous layout made it tricky to manoeuvre your way through. The new layout has created more space and decluttered the interior. There is now space for at least 10 more people inside and the place has a modern and clean feel to it. We easily found a table on Saturday morning.

We were pleased to see that the menu hadn’t really changed and still included a wide range of options.

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Bean and Hop has always served good coffee but as it was very warm we both decided to go for cold options: a cold brew tea and a cold brew coffee. For our food, we decided on a full brunch plate and a sweet potato, halloumi and aubergine stack.

Having placed our order we sat back to take in the surroundings and wait for everything to arrive. And we waited…and we waited some more. 25 minutes after placing our order our waitress walked by and realised we were still waiting, and went to chase up our drinks. We were really hungry by this point and our brunch was fast becoming more of a lunch.

The drinks did finally arrive about 5 minutes later, and the cold brew tea was nice and refreshing. Sadly, the cold brew coffee was a little disappointing; quite weak and a bitter after taste to it.

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Eventually, after another 10 minutes of waiting, we asked another waitress how much longer our food was going to be. We were told it was being prepared and would be 5 minutes. So, approximately 45 minutes after placing our order, we finally received our food.

I have to say, the sweet potato, halloumi and aubergine stack itself was pleasant but it was served with a whole bag of rocket which was just overkill. No human needs that amount of rocket.

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There was clearly an attempt at some fancy presentation with the brunch plate which was served with a smear of chilli ketchup and the food piled up on the other side of the plate. This was a little unnecessary and just meant everything had to be un-piled before it could be eaten. No complaints about the taste of it all though, especially the chilli ketchup which was really good with a bit of bacon and egg.

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After all that, we did leave feeling a bit miffed. The whole brunch had cost us £29 and hadn’t really felt like good value, and taken just about an hour. The service in Bean and Hop had always been a little slower than average before the refurb but they had 6 members of staff working on Saturday, many of whom had worked there previously, and it was a little chaotic. We weren’t the only ones complaining about the slowness of the food and drinks arriving. The staff didn’t seem to know which table was which and orders were taken to the wrong table on several occasions.

We really hope this was just teething trouble and that things improve as it would be a real shame to see such a popular place go downhill.

The Eclectic Collection v.2

We were back at The Eclectic Collection at the weekend, a week after our lovely brunch there. On the face of it, The Eclectic Collection appears to be another great independent coffee (and tea) shop, so when we found out they were offering a 5 course taster menu for an evening, it got our attention. The menu looked interesting, priced at £25 with the various courses sounding as if they were trying for a fine dining angle, so we thought we’d give it a try. We enjoyed our previous trips to Sylvan Oak which was in the single restaurant unit closer to Burntwood Lane, but unfortunately that closed down at the start of the year, and there aren’t many other options for a bit more refined cuisine in our immediate area.

We had booked a table for 7pm and when we arrived we were seated in the conservatory area. There were a few other tables already in use, and a number of empty ones that had reserved signs on, indicating about 10 reservations for this test taster event. Having looked at the menu when we booked, we knew there were going to be some unusual and creative flavour combinations in some of the dishes. There was also the option of a matching wine (£2.80 for a 50ml tasting glass) or cocktail (£7-£8) for each course.

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To get the evening started, we ordered a Pinkster Gin and Tonic and a tasting glass of the first wine, which was a Merlot from Chile, and eagerly awaited the arrival of our first course. We like gin, a lot, and the Pinkster Gin was served with a raspberry and a basil leaf. It was lovely, really smooth and refreshing. The wine was OK. Medium bodied, soft black berry fruits and easy drinking as you’d expect from a Merlot.

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When our first course of goats cheese truffles with roasted walnuts, pickled beetroot and red grapes arrived it looked great. Served in a small glass dish with a closh, it really made an impact.  One of us is not a fan of goat’s cheese and one of us loves it, however we both enjoyed the truffles. The cheese wasn’t overly chalky but soft and creamy, and the beetroot, roasted walnuts and grape went nicely with it. The wine taster, which was just about enough for the course, didn’t overpower any part of the dish and in fact went quite well with it.

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The second course was cured smoked salmon, floral guacamole, purple truffle potatoes, yuzu pearls and lemon micro herbs. Again, it looked great on the plate and the flavour combinations worked well. The salmon was cut into small pieces but perhaps the amount of herbs was slightly overpowering for it.  The guacamole was smooth and refreshing. There was a thin crispy pastry base on the bottom of the plate, which was unexpected and perhaps not really needed.  The wine to accompany this course was another from Chile, a Vine Trail Viognier. Intentional or not, it was cold but not fridge chilled, and that allowed its flavours to be a bit more pronounced.  It paired quite nicely with the food.

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Following this came something we’ve not really had a lot of before…pastrami. It came with a blueberry compote, crushed meringue and pomegranate ketchup.  Interesting. The pastrami was nice, and it went well with the blueberry and also the pomegranate, but we’re not sure that all 3 worked quite as harmoniously together though. The pomegranate was quite rich and the blueberry was sweet which clashed slightly. Still, an interesting idea.

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Course number 4 was wonton ravioli filled with mushroom and aged black garlic with a black truffle sauce.  When this arrived the distinctive earthy smell of the truffle smelt fantastic. This course was really good. The flavour combination was a bit more of a classic than some of the previous courses and we really enjoyed every mouthful. The sound of our cutlery scraping every last morsel out of the bowls was a testament to how much we’d enjoyed it. The only downside was that the parmesan crisp wasn’t as crisp as it could have been.

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All that was left was dessert and this arrived with some theatre, hidden underneath a metal closh. When this was lifted it revealed a good sized slice of dark chocolate and raspberry parfait with beetroot meringue and coconut tuile. This was delicious. The texture was smooth and creamy and the balance of chocolate and raspberry worked well.  I particularly enjoyed the coconut tuile and the beetroot meringue which both provided a bit of crunch.

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After all that, we were quite full. We’d had an early table and by the time we left it was considerably busier. This had a bit of an impact on the speed of service, something that I think they’ll realise with the timing required between each course along with serving drinks, but that should be easy to resolve. Of course, service itself was very friendly.

We like this place. As mentioned in our review of their brunch, the décor really helps to create a sense of occasion and everyone is friendly and welcoming. It had a different atmosphere in the evening and the cocktail menu looks really good, so it would be somewhere to go and enjoy a drink or two. We also really admire the fact they’ve created something a bit unique to the area, and are offering something unexpected for, what is normally, a coffee and tea shop. We’re looking forward to seeing the next taster menu they offer.

We had a really nice evening and are really interested to see how The Eclectic Collection evolves over the coming months, and recommend that if you’re in Earlsfield you pop in and give it a try.

 

 

The Eclectic Collection

The Eclectic Collection opened a couple of weeks ago along Garret Lane towards Earlsfield Station. The transformation of this rather run down book shop to a stylish and very classy looking café/restaurant is startling. The décor is eclectic (indeed) and beautifully put together with a range of seating and tables in 4 different areas, each with a slightly different feel. We liked it as soon as we walked in but were keen to find out whether this would be a case of style over substance and whether the food and drink on offer could live up to the surroundings.

We’ve already had a quick visit for coffee during their soft launch, and it was good coffee, but we decided to try out their brunch to give us an opportunity to sample some food as well as some of their extensive tea menu. The brunch menu is different. Dishes on offer included a heritage beetroot salad, midnight porridge and raw cauliflower salad: not necessarily your usual breakfast fare.

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We ordered a heritage beetroot salad, and poached eggs on sourdough with mushrooms and truffle. From the tea menu, we ordered a Brockley breakfast tea and a Mojito Mint tea.  We were given a carafe of water for the table but didn’t have to wait long for the tea to be delivered.

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Firstly, like everything here, it looked great. Each tea was served on a small wooden tray in a glass tea pot. It was accompanied by a tea cup, a stainless steel pot of hot water, and a tea strainer. The Mojito Mint tea was lovely, refreshing and funnily enough, minty but not in an overpowering ‘I’m drinking mouthwash’ kind of way. The serving provided me with 3 cups of tea.

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The Brockley breakfast tea was great. It was quite light and refreshing for a breakfast tea and although the menu suggested otherwise, I didn’t need to add any milk.

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A short while later the food arrived. It looked, and smelt incredible. Served in interesting crockery, it really did look like some of the dishes we have been served in fine dining restaurants. The heritage beetroot salad was served with goats cheese mousse and a delicious coffee and balsamic glaze. There were a range of different beetroots chopped into discs, chunks or wedges and topped with some salad leaves.  It was so good I wanted to lick my plate at the end. The flavour combination worked well together and that glaze was incredible.

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The sourdough, poached eggs, mushroom and truffle smelt amazing.  Lightly toasted sourdough, eggs with perfectly runny yolks, mushrooms and bold earthy truffle, served with generous sprigs of dill and flat leaf parsley. It was fantastic.

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This is an exciting new addition to Earlsfield, which perhaps has been flagging and struggling with its identity recently. Bean & Hop has recently been sold and is currently undergoing a refurb, so I can’t see why The Eclectic Collection won’t pick up a good number of those customers. It might be hard work for Bean & Hop, or whatever it may change its name to, to get those customers back.

Next weekend at The Eclectic Collection, they are doing a 5 course tasting menu on Friday and Saturday evening and the menu looks really interesting.

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We’ve booked a table and are really looking forward to visiting again to see if the evening offer matches what’s on offer for brunch. I’m sure we won’t be disappointed but we’ll let you know.

Bean & Hop – Earlsfield

I had only intended to treat myself to one of their lovely take-away coffees when I popped into Bean and Hop but as it was quiet and I hadn’t had breakfast, I found myself tempted by the breakfast special: mushrooms on toast.

Bean and Hop is a small but very popular café along Garratt Lane, about 60 seconds from Earlsfield station. Not only do they serve jolly good coffee, they also offer brunch, lunch and pizza at the weekends in the evening. There is also a large selection of craft beers to chose from if that takes your fancy. Usually it can get a bit crowded during school holidays, and it is pretty cosy, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it so quiet in there today. I ordered a cappuccino and the mushrooms on toast. The coffee, as always, was lovely (beans from Nude Espresso) and served in a good weighty china cup.

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About 7 minutes later the mushrooms arrived. They comprised of a nice thick slice of toasted sourdough bread, a pile of grilled mushroom slithers and 2 perfectly poached eggs which some parmesan shavings over the top.

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As the picture shows, the eggs were perfectly poached and the yolks were rich and creamy, and the generous portion of mushrooms sitting on top of the toast were full of flavour. This was an unexpected treat and, for me, a tasty start to the half term week.

http://www.beanandhop.co.uk

@beanandhop