Broadway Market

Hinta – Japanese tapas

Hinata is housed in a small unit next to Plot in Broadway Market. It is newly opened and serves Japanese style food.  The menu is succinct and in the evenings they describe their menu as ‘tapas’.  The unit is decorated in a modern way with 4 stools along the counter and a table in the main walkway of the market. Stylish copper lights hang over the counter and everything is clean and tidy. The kitchen area of the unit is neat although it doesn’t look quite finished.

We sat at the bar on the stools and in order to get into the ‘tapas’ spirit decided to order 1 of each of the 6 available dishes.

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As Hinata is BYO we ordered our food and then quickly popped round to Craft beer to get some drink. The food started arriving quickly. Edamame are a favourite of ours and those came first, followed by a bowl of potato salad. Potato salad may not sound like a Japanese dish, but it is yōshoku cuisine, which I think I’m correct in saying is western food done in a Japanese style. Crushed chunks of potato, with carrot and cucumber in a light mayonnaise, it was nice. Both of these were a good start. 

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The gyozas arrived next and were really nice. Soft shells with a tasty pork filling and served with a soy dip. Something like some slices of spring onion would have livened up the plate a little, but they were good. I’ll be honest and say that I prefer these soft grilled gyoza to the fried ones at Hi-Ki, although I wouldn’t turn either down.

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We haven’t had chicken Karaage before and this is best described as Japanese fried chicken. It was very tasty and the batter was crisp and well cooked, although a bit more of the dip would have been good.

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Finally the salmon and prawn tempura were served. The salmon was well cooked and served with a soy dressing and sesame seeds. It was served on its own but it really needed something to go with it; some rice on the side would have been perfect.

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The tempura prawns were good, the batter was light and crispy and it came with a soy dip with plenty of fresh ginger to warm it up. 

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At the end of the meal they asked me if we had enjoyed the food, having just opened, and they wanted honest feedback. I told them that we had enjoyed the food but the salmon needed an accompaniment, and she did admit that they’d run out of rice.

The food was well cooked and it was tasty, which you would expect when the menu is limited and focused in this way. For all of the dishes on the menu, it cost us £30, and it’s cash only so make sure you’ve been to the cash machine and somewhere for drinks beforehand. It’s not bad value for money but with the choice of 3 Japanese style kitchens in close proximity in Tooting, they need that addition of rice or perhaps another accompaniment dish on the menu that would give customers a bit more choice.

Hi-Ki Robata Grill & Sushi Bar

We were sushi virgins until we paid a visit to Hi-Ki Robata Grill and Sushi Bar. They opened a month ago in the up and coming and eclectic  Broadway Market, and what originally drew us there today was the thought of gyoza, which we like… a lot. They have a corner unit near the entrance to the market, next to Craft and opposite Hill Station. The grill is open and they have seating at the bar along both edges of the unit, and they also have 4  tables inside in a more traditional restaurant setting. We sat at the bar which allowed us to see our food being prepared.

The service was very friendly and after explaining we had never had sushi before, they explained all of the different options and recommended a Hi-Ki Set Platter to start us off. This was priced at £12.50 and included 6 pieces of sashimi, 1 uramaki and 4 nigiri.  We also ordered a portion of chicken gyoza, some pork gyoza and some prawn and chive dim sum. These were priced really cheaply with a portion of 4 gyoza costing only £2.50! The dim sum were £3.60. Drink wise we went for a bottle of Asahi Beer and a bottle of Sake. There were bottles of fruit infused water on the counter which were frequently topped up.

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The food didn’t take long to arrive and was presented in a very appealing way. Both types of gyoza were delicious. They were deep fried which gave them a crispy outer shell and the fillings were tender and flavoursome. We had been given some sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce to dip our food in and the sweet chilli went really well with the gyoza. The dim sum were like little soft pillows of tasty goodness.

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Once the sushi platter arrived we tucked right in. Having never braved sushi before we quickly realised that we have been missing out. The platter had 4 pieces of nigiri: one salmon, one sea bass, one prawn and one tuna. Nigiri is basically a slice of the raw fish on top of a portion of rice. It was lovely, especially with the soy sauce. Urumaki is what I think of when I think of sushi. It is basically a roll with rice on the outside, seaweed, and then fish and in this case avocado, all rolled up and  cut into mouthsize pieces. Again, these were lovely. The flavours worked really well and the distinctive flavour of the seaweed came through each mouthful. The slices of sashimi were also lovely.

Having finished off that lovely lot, and in the spirit of writing a full review, we decided to try something from the grill and chose the honey-glazed pork. We were happy to wait but they gave us a portion of edamame beans to tide us over while it was being cooked. We love edamame beans so these were a welcome offering.

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The pork smelt delicious as it was being cooked and tasted as good as it smelt once it was served.  It was sticky and sweet, and full of flavour with that lovely juicy meat and fat you get with good pork belly. It came with a portion of perfectly cooked rice as as simple accompaniment.

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Feeling satisfied we paid the bill and walked away discussing why we had never tried sushi before and thinking about who we could take to Hi-Ki next time we go. We are sushi novices but are sure that even if you are a sushi fan, you will enjoy what Hi-ki have on offer.

@HiKiTooting

 

 

Borderlaise

Through the wonder that is Twitter, we heard about the Tuesday night offer at Bordelaise, of 2-4-1 Flat Iron steaks. Now, we love a bargain and we also love steak so this was a deal that was too good to pass up.

Bordelaise is in Broadway Market, tucked away near the back, and the style of their unit means it is more of a self-contained restaurant than the ones in Tooting Market. They  have 14/ 15 tables, some of which are situated outside and the décor could be described as French. It is attractive and cosy without being over fussy. When we arrived at 7.30pm, the tables we ¾ full and the atmosphere was laid back and welcoming.  We sat at a table near the door and prepared for our meal.

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We were reasonably hungry so, after ordering a glass of wine each, we also chose some Elephant Bakehouse sourdough bread and Lescure salted butter. This was served on a board and was a healthy portion of 5 slices.

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The steaks on the 2-4-1 offer were flat iron steaks and are priced at £12 each (so only £6 each this evening!). The restaurant also offers rib-eye steaks at a price of £19, but being 2-4-1 night, flat iron it was. Having both chosen the flat iron, we also opted for some truffled mac and cheese, beef dripping French fries, creamed spinach and some caramelised madeira shallots (the sides were for us to share, not each!).

We’ve had several flat iron steaks before at the eponymous restaurant in central London. Originally known as Butler’s steak in the UK, it is a cut of meat that is becoming more and more popular at restaurants simply because it’s a cheaper cut but very tender and with great meaty flavour, more so than a number of more expensive steak cuts. It’s taken from the top shoulder of the animal, and when cooked well (best served medium rare), it tastes fantastic. Bordelaise serve theirs with a choice of either béarnaise or bordelaise sauces and we both opted for the béarnaise. When the meal arrived, each slice was delicious. The steaks were tender and flavoursome, the béarnaise rich and creamy, and all of the sides complimented the steak.

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The truffled mac and cheese is lovely. The truffle gives it an earthy tone which adds another dimension to a favourite of mine.

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The fries were well cooked and crispy as you’d expect and the spinach was lovely too, but my favourite thing were the Madeira shallots. Those I have been thinking about all day. They are caramelised and make the perfect accompaniment to any steak. Absolutely gorgeous.

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Our only slight criticism was that our plates weren’t warm so the food got cool quite quickly. But, everything tasted so good, so this was just a minor thought really.

Our bill came to less than £40, which for steaks that tasted that good and all of those sides, plus a glass of wine each, we felt was a real bargain.  It definitely justified us going out on a school night.  One thing to note is that the restaurant is cash only.

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Bargain steak Tuesday!

Hill Station – Broadway Market

Climbing Everest has always been on my bucket list. It’s one of those things that I know is never going to happen but the idea of it appeals and, having conquered the London Marathon last year, climbing the mountain somehow seems like natural progression. Well, that was until we watched the film Everest and I realised that not only were there days of trekking uphill just to get to base-camp, but there would also be some precarious ladders used to cross over dangerous ravines. That was enough to put me off so we had to settle for paying a visit to Hill Station Tooting as a compromise. We use the word compromise loosely here because, not only is Tooting nowhere near any mountains or the Himalayas, getting there simply required us to  hop on to the 270 bus. The only treacherous thing about our journey was crossing Tooting High Street to get to Broadway Market.

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Hill Station is a small, but perfectly formed, bar near the entrance to Broadway Market. It is opposite Craft Beer which was busy on the night we visited thanks to a meet the brewer event. Hill Station has space for about 8 inside, maybe 12 at a push and this is one of the things that makes it so good. To start with, it isn’t an open sided unit as a number of places in the markets are, so with the door shut, it was lovely and warm inside whilst it was almost freezing outside. You could almost forget you were in a market in the middle of Tooting. Inside, the walls are wooden planks and the ceiling is corrugated sheets, giving it very much a mountain shack feel although having never been on a mountain, I’m only assuming so. The bar itself is styled like the front of an old mountain bus, and there is mountaineering equipment hanging from the walls and ceiling. The seats are adorned with comfy, mirror tiled cushions and the tables are small trays, attached to scaffold pipes which extend from the seating. A very clever use of space. The air had a pleasant scent of joss sticks, which all adds to the atmosphere.

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Between 6-7pm they host happy hour, and we were very happy to use this as an opportunity to try out a several of their cocktails. We got seats inside the bar where it was cosy and warm, and were 2 of 6 people in there. The menu consists of individual Himalayan themed cocktails served as either individual glasses or in  flasks to share. Other beverages like beer and wine, and a simple food offering were also available. The cocktails are normally £8 each which is an expected price, but during happy hour they are a bargain at 2-4-1, so it felt rude not to try as many as we could.

We started off with a Blunt Khukuri and a Gurkha’s Ruin, both gin based cocktails.

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The Gurkha’s ruin was more subtle and fruity with hibiscus, lime and cranberry, but the Gin was still distinguishable. The Blunt Khukuri was served in a coupe glass. It was a strong drink, with the gin being the central flavour. The bitters, vermouth and triple sec mixed really well. This was quite different to the usual fruity cocktails I normally go for.

We then moved onto a Tibetan-Tai and a Darjeeling Iced tea.

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The Tibetan Tai, served in an enamel mug, was spiced rum based, and with a healthy dash of pineapple juice and orange juice, it was just too easy to drink. The Darjeeling Iced Tea was a cocktail with a chilli twist. It was a revelation. Served in a tall glass and vodka based, the chilli gave the prefect amount of heat, warming the palette in a surprising but pleasant way.

Finally we finished with a Hilary’s Hibiscus and a Yeti Sweat.

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The Hilary’s Hibiscus was a gin and Prosecco combo and came served in a Champagne tulip glass. With a splash of hibiscus and lemon juice, it was a good way to end our visit. Don’t let the name put you off the Yeti Sweat, it was lovely. Again served in a coupe glass, it was light and refreshing, being spiced rum with some citrusy velvet falernum and fresh lime juice; a Caribbean twist to the Himalayan cocktail theme.

 

The cocktails were all we made to perfection, and provided the perfect blend of flavours whilst being unique from anything we have tasted before. This is another great addition to Tooting, giving us even more choice for an evening out, and we hope others will be able to visit and enjoy it as we did.

@hillstationtoot

Plot

It was a very cold evening when we ventured down to Broadway Market to try out the newly opened eatery, Plot. We haven’t really spent a lot of time in Broadway Market as it hasn’t quite got the same array of places to eat and drink as Tooting Market…yet. This is changing, and Plot plan to be a part of that change. Having seen some pictures and menus on Twitter we were looking forward to trying out their food for ourselves.

The set-up is classy. There is a long marble worktop with high stools for seating and some much needed patio heaters spaced in between. Behind the counter there is an open kitchen and the bar.  We had seats near the food prep area and it was nice to be able to see the dishes being prepared. On arrival we noted that the menu was succinct. There were 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 sides and 2 desserts. We decided to opt for one of everything and chose a glass of the Xenna Chenin Blanc (South Africa) and the Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir (California) to accompany our food.

Firstly, we were treated to some bread and yummy Marmite butter. We have had this before at another restaurant and being a Marmite fan, this went down very well.  Our smoked haddock croquettes were served next, and they were served with buttered leeks and tasted amazing. The croquettes were light and crispy with just the right amount of fish. The leeks complimented them perfectly. For me, these were one of the stand-out dishes of the evening.

We had ordered the charred cauliflower cheese, but unfortunately this never arrived. We mentioned this towards the end and they were very apologetic. Of course we could have mentioned this earlier, but the dishes weren’t all served at the same time, so we didn’t know whether it would be served later or not. However, the portions of it that we could see leaving the kitchen did look good. One of our side dishes arrived then, the saffron pommes anna. They were very nice but we had expected them to be served as an accompaniment to the main dishes. On their own, they were a bit odd.

The main dishes were roast cod, served with curried tartare sauce and samphire, and Confit pork belly, serve with shallot puree and pickled mushroom.   We also had some roast hispi cabbage on the side. It was a good sized piece of Cod, and the accompanying subtly curried tartare sauce went well with it, along with the samphire which added a good salty crunch to the dish. The confit pork was great, served in a number of small pieces it was tender and very tasty. The shallot puree was fantastic as were the pickled mushrooms. Both dishes were beautifully presented but perhaps the cod was slightly undercooked for us (remember that we’re no experts but the middle of it wasn’t white and flaky, but still slightly translucent). This was a shame but certainly didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the rest of the dish.

Desserts were also fantastic. I had the blood orange marmalade Bakewell and I didn’t want it to end. The orange was sweet and slightly tart and the texture worked really well.  The creamy and smooth burnt cream with poached rhubarb was also delicious, bringing an end to a lovely course of dishes.

All in all, we enjoyed our meal and will definitely go back. When we went, they had only been open for a week so perhaps the service wasn’t quite as slick as it could have been. Having said that, once they have been up and running for a bit longer, I doubt this will be a problem.

For us, Plot is a great addition to the Tooting food scene, so get down there and try it!