Tooting Market

Plot

The last time we visited Plot was about a week after they opened, almost a year ago. At the time, we could see that there was real potential but they were still ironing out a few teething problems. Every time we have been to Broadway Market in the evening, we have seen how busy Plot can get so it seemed the perfect time for a revisit.

We had seats at the counter which is helpfully equipped with hooks to hang your bag on. The menu offers 8 dishes plus 2 dessert options. We’ve walked past a few times recently and looked at the menu and it seems to change quite frequently.

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We chose a glass of wine each and placed our order for the food whilst munching on a slice of lovely bread with a cardamom butter. Last time we came we had some delicious marmite butter and this one was just as good. To eat, we chose the leek and cheese tart and the haggis scotch egg to get us going, followed by the Wiltshire ricotta gnudi, and the roast cod.

The first dish served was the leek and cheese tart and this was served with mustard leaves. The filling was soft, light and mousse-like, and the pastry was thin and nicely short. It was packed full of flavour.

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Next up was the haggis scotch egg (only half shown in the pic below). This was served cut in half making it easy to see the perfectly runny yolk and the haggis meat surrounding it. It smelt great so we had already tucked in before we remembered to take a picture! This was full of meaty flavour and was served with a  celeriac slaw which cut through the richness of the egg perfectly.

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When we ordered the Wiltshire ricotta gnudi, we weren’t really sure what to expect. Gnudi are gnocchi like dumplings made with semolina instead of potato. This was a bowl of pillowy, cheesy goodness. They were served topped with pesto which provided a good contrast to the other rich and creamy flavours in the dish. The only thing I’d say here was that the temperature of the dish was inconsistent. The outside of the dish was hot but in the middle it became lukewarm. This didn’t detract from the flavour of the dish but did make me wonder what temperature is was supposed to be.

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The last dish was the roast cod served with chick peas and chorizo. The piece of cod was thick and cooked perfectly, flaking apart into lovely chunks of meat. The only thing we weren’t sure about were the chickpeas as an accompaniment. Unless they’ve been whizzed up into hummus, they tend to taste a bit like cardboard. Even though these had been cooked in a sauce which I think was tomato and chorizo based, they still had that flavour which didn’t really compliment the lovely piece of cod.

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When we sat down we were both hungry but, by the end, we were too full for dessert. That didn’t stop us getting food envy as the chocolate ganache was being served to those sat near us. It looked incredible and we still had good memories of the dessert here last time, which had been fantastic.

Just like last time, the service was also very friendly and we weren’t waiting long between dishes. All in all, the food at Plot is really nice. It looks good, smells good and tastes good, so we’ll be back again.

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Unwined & Marlon’s Kitchen

The start of a new year means a new menu at Unwined in Tooting Market, with Marlon’s kitchen in residence and a ‘Bit on the Side’ wine theme to match.  Marlon’s kitchen serve a Colombian themed menu with some unusual and adventurous ingredients so we were really interested to try the dishes on offer.

It was chilly on Saturday night but many of the market stalls now have patio heaters to take off the chill, and there is also a supply of cosy fleece blankets to wrap yourselves up in. The combination of these things, and some delicious wine and food, made for a great start to 2018.

The menu includes 4 nibble options, 3 starters, 3 mains and a dessert or cheese board. Each part of the menu is matched with wine and, as usual at Unwined, these are unique and unusual in both their origin and flavour.

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We are recent converts to olives, so we decided to start with some Gordal olives, and also some Patacones (fried plantain slices) with Hogao and Suero. We had done a little research before arriving so had an idea of what the dishes were. Patacones are fried green slices, something neither of us had tried before. The Hogao is a creole sauce which varies from place to place, but is usually made with tomatoes, onions and garlic, and then a selection of seasonings to add more flavour. Suero is a fermented milk, not dissimilar to sour cream. The olives were plump and full of flavour, I would definitely look for these again. We were served 4 sweet and 4 salt patacones and they were simply delicious and incredibly moreish. They went really well with the hogao and suero, and we hoovered them up quickly.

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The wine we had chosen was a white called ‘Pas D’histories’ which was a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier from Languedoc. It was a lovely blend of tropical flavours which was so good, I ended up having 2 glasses (no dry January here). We also had a glass of Soli Pinot Noir from Edoardo Miroglio, Bulgaria. A light and bright red-fruity pinot which is such good value for money.

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From the starters we chose the Arepa de Huervo, which was a cross between a pastry and a bread, served with a soft egg with small cubes of beetroot and carrot. It was deliciously light and fresh and went really well with the Pas D’histories wine.

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We also took the plunge and went for the pigs tongue, something we’ve not eaten before and were a little nervous about. Cooked with a selection of herbs and then finely cubed, it was served with a tamerillo chutney, and some air bread, which are like crispy hollow bread sticks. I will describe the pigs tongue as being similar to a coarse pate with a nice meaty flavour, and the tamerillo chutney had a fruity sweetness to it. I’d happily eat this again. The glass of  Bullet Dodger from the Delinquente Wine Co in Australia went very nicely with this. Made from Montepuliciano grapes that you’d normally associate with Italy, it had lovely flavours of bramble fruit, cherry and figs.

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For our main dishes we chose octopus which was served with cauliflower, potatoes and garlic mousseline, and the zebu hump with cassava galette. This was a tender cut of beef with a rich and flavoursome sauce, served alongside a potato dauphinoise. The flavours here were lovely. My only thought would be that there wasn’t quite enough sauce so the potatoes were a little dry.

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The octopus was cooked perfectly, soft and tender. It was a great combination with the potatoes and cauliflower, and the garlic sauce.

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The wines we chose here were a chardonnay by Patrick Sulivan called Samurai and Tinta Tinto syrah from Chile. I usually avoid chardonnay as I don’t really enjoy the sometimes overly oakyness that they can have, but this one was unoaked and was lovely. It had real depth of flavour and you could really taste the unobstructed fruit flavours of the chardonnay grape. The Tinta Tinto was packed with lovely rich dark fruit especially blackcurrant, and a hint of spice at the end. Really nice.

Usually we opt for a shared cheese board but the dessert promised a range of refreshing and yummy flavours which were just too tempting  to turn down. It was a guava mousse, coconut sponge, passion fruit gel with a coffee jelly. It was so good. The flavours worked brilliantly together and it was a the perfect ending to the meal as it was light, tropical and refreshing.

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To end the evening we decided to have one more glass of wine. A dessert wine called La Beryl Blanc from South Africa. I do like sweet wine but this one was really good. It was rich and sweet without being too cloying. It would have gone perfectly with the dessert.

 

Marlon’s Kitchen are going to be at Unwined for the next 6 weeks or so, and we’d certainly recommend you give it a try.

Boom Bap Burger

Our usual burger spot in Tooting is Honest Burgers on the high street, but there is another decent burger joint hidden away inside Tooting Market. Boom Bap Burger is at the back of the market area, around the corner from UnWined and Graveney Gin. We’ve sampled their burgers before at a Tooting Market Summer Supper and we enjoyed it then, so when we were looking for something quick and tasty to eat on Saturday, that’s where we headed.

Being in the market, it has an open front so you still get to enjoy/be part of the hustle and bustle of the market shoppers. There are plenty of tables, with the kitchen sectioned off at one end, and some great tracks playing over the speakers.

The menu offers 7 different burgers (one Veggie), and a good selection of side orders and extras for the burgers. There is just about something to suit everyone. On the night we went, there was also a special lamb burger. The only thing missing was a chicken option. There were 4 of us and we opted for a bacon cheeseburger, 2 veggie burgers and a blue cheese burger. We also all ordered fries and 1 portion of onion rings.  To wash it down we chose the Chapel Down Cider, a beer and water.

It didn’t take long and the burgers looked awesome. The blue cheese burger had a really good combination of flavours and textures. The burger was succulent without being too juicy (something I appreciated). The blue cheese, which can sometimes either get lost or be too overpowering, was just right, giving a really nice salty flavour, and it went well with the boom bap sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion. The brioche bun was also nice.

The veggie burgers, which consisted of Portobello mushroom, sun dried tomato, halloumi, lettuce, gherkin and boom bap sauce, went down well too. The balance of flavours worked really well and they were really filling.

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The bacon cheeseburger was great. Perfectly cooked patty underneath a couple of juicy pieces of bacon and cheese, with crisp fresh salad, and then sandwiched between a nicely toasted brioche bun. Lovely hot crunchy fries on the side, and they weren’t greasy which is always a bonus.

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The onion rings weren’t the best we’ve had but they were OK, and it was a generous portion. There was a good selection of sauces on the tables to dip everything into.

This was a quick meal and we were all really happy with what we ordered. The burgers were really tasty and not too messy, as they can sometimes be in other places. We will definitely be back and I also think we’ll consider Boom Bap if we use Deliveroo for burgers too.  Next time you fancy a burger, you would do well to pop into Boom Bap and give them a try.

Koi Ramen Bar (Tooting)

 

We love Gyoza after discovering them at Tootopia last December and sampling the little pillows of heaven cooked up by the Gyoza Guys. These tasty morsels are reason in themselves to visit the Koi Ramen Bar in Tooting Market, although the rest of the food on the menu is also pretty tasty.

Koi Ramen bar has been open for a while now, and it’s proving to be a popular food stop in the market, and it’s easy to see the reasons for this; the food is very tasty, reasonably priced and super quick. The menu is simple. They offer 4 types of ramen: Toukostu, miso tofu, miso pork and shoyu. Alongside this are the aforementioned gyoza and ice-cream for dessert. What could be simpler?

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Having sunk a few glasses of wine earlier in the evening we were looking for something to soak up the alcohol and quiet our grumbling tummies, and were lucky enough to find seats at the counter allowing us to watch our food being prepared.

Rather than ramen, we ended up choosing the summer special of abura soba (a combination of noodles, shredded pork/tofu, crispy fried shallot, bean sprouts and spring onion)  along with a mixed portion of chicken and pork gyoza (vegetable option also available).

The gyoza arrived first and were perfect; soft delicate dumplings topped with soy sauce and spring onions. Yum!

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Our main dishes arrived pretty quickly after that. One of us had chosen the pork and the other the tofu option. Both smelt amazing and, after following the instructions to mix everything together, we tucked in. It was the perfect meal to soak up some of the alcohol, and it certainly filled us up.

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The dishes tasted as good as they looked and smelt. A perfect combination of soft meat/ tofu and noodles with crunchy veg and seasoning.

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As we said earlier, it’s a quick and tasty meal and really worth a visit. The service was really friendly and it’s also available through Deliveroo if you don’t fancy a trip to Tooting.

@koiramenbar

Sunday Suppers @ Tooting Market

Sundays can often be dreary evenings spent feeling blue about work the following morning, and channel hopping through the mediocre television on offer. So, when we heard about the Sunday Supper collaborations happening in Tooting Market it seemed like just the thing to beat the Sunday blues.

Over the summer months, a range of businesses based in Tooting Market are offering a 3 course meal with drinks. The first event took place on the last Sunday of  June and the final one will be in August. July’s theme was Street food and saw Unwined, Graveney Gin, The Joint, Boom Bap Burger and Nuvolo bakery collaborating.

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Seating is at the communal tables in the middle of the market which creates a sociable and laid-back atmosphere. Having said that, we were sharing a table with another couple and had plenty of space without feeling like we were encroaching on each other’s conversations.

On arrival we were treated to a Cocktail from Graveney Gin. If you’ve read our previous reviews you will know that we love Graveney Gin and it was lovely to see Victoria, who always serves her gin with passion. The cocktail was called a Graveney Street and was a blend of gin, fresh grapefruit, sugar syrup and soda, served in a tall glass. It was lovely and refreshing and the perfect way to start the evening.

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Next up came the chicken wings from The Joint. These were described as spicy and they certainly ticked that box. They were delicious with a lovely heat and flavour and the meat was tender and just fell off the bone. There were 3 each, and I couldn’t resist eating one before taking the pic below.

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This was matched with a Holzer ‘Wagram’ Rose: Zweigelt 2016 from Austria. As always from Unwined, we were given the background to the wine which is always interesting. I’ve had several lovely red Zweigelt wines but this was a rose, and it was a really good refreshing match for the chicken wings, not easy given the flavours.

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We haven’t tried Boom Bap Burger before so were looking forward to what came next which was a Ricky Martin Burger, described as a 28 day aged beef patty, brindisa chorizo, manchego cheese and smokey mayo in a potato brioche. When it arrived it looked great and was accompanied by a portion of fries. The burger was great; well cooked with a tasty, toasted bun and the combination of the patty, the chorizo, the cheese and the mayo was enjoyable. The fries were also really good, they were perfectly seasoned.

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To wash the burger down we were treated to a Patrick Sullivan ‘Samurai’ shiraz from Australia. It was a good match, with berry fruitiness complimenting the flavours in the burger well.

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Finally, dessert came from the Nuvola Little bakery and was a limoncello tiramisu. This was very clever and came served in a plastic glass with a shot of limoncello in a straw. Sometimes lemon desserts can be either too tart or too sweet but this was perfectly lemony and creamy.  Licking out the glass wasn’t really an option but if we could have, we would have.

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This was served with a favourite tipple of ours, the Suck it and See frizzante by The Rude Mechanicals. A perfect wine to accompany the limocello as it didn’t battle with the flavours and instead was just delicious, refreshing and incredibly drinkable.

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The relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and great food and wine combination made this a great way to spend our Sunday evening. There is only one more left in the series, so if you fancy an evening of good food and wine in a relaxing environment, hurry and book your tickets!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sunday-suppers-tooting-market-sundaysuppers-tickets-35698554337?aff=erelexpmlt

UnWined – A new pop-up

With the arrival of a new pop up kitchen, we decided to spend our Saturday evening at Unwined in Tooting Market. For the next few weeks Rustica Kitchen are in residence serving up Sicillian dishes which have been paired with wines that have a rock star theme.

It was a warm evening and the market, as always, had a buzzing atmosphere. We were seated at a table for 2 and quickly started salivating over the menu.

We decided on some mozzarella arancini balls to start. These were served with a tomato and pesto sauce. Served piping hot, they had a soft, gooey filling and a crispy outer shell. The sauce and pesto also added a nice depth of flavour.

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The wine to accompany them was an unusual sparkling red wine from the Loire region of France. Made from gamay grapes, it was light and full of red berry fruitiness.

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The starters on offer were 3 different types of bruschetta, something we are both big fans of. We opted for the nduja and mascarpone bruschetta and a portion of the Parma ham and fig bruschetta. These were served on boards and were delicious.  The Parma ham and fig was drizzled with sweet honey which bought out the flavours of the other ingredients.

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The nduja provided a lovely bit of heat, with the creamy mascarpone helping to take the edge off it.

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The wines to accompany these were a Patrick Sullivan wine called ‘Bonkers’ from Australia and a BK Wines ‘Ovum’, a pinot gris, also from Australia.  The Ovum was full of pear and honey, and well balanced. The Bonkers, made with a blend of red and white wine grapes from 3 vintages, was quite unusual. Light and fresh like you’d expect from a white wine, with citrus fruit to start but then red fruits taking over. Strange, but quite drinkable.

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For our main dishes we chose the pesto risotto stuffed peppers and the crispy pork belly strips. The stuffed peppers were delicious. The risotto was perfectly cooked and had a nice depth of flavour.

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The crispy pork belly strips were also a hit. The pork was perfectly cooked, with lovely soft meat and juicy fat. The lentils had an earthy touch to the dish.

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The accompanying wines were both reds. For the stuffed peppers, we had a glass of Papegaai cinsault from the fantastic Adi Badenhorst of South Africa. Lovely cherry and red fruit, smooth and a nice finish. To go with the pork, we had a Bodegas Arraez Mala Vida from Spain. A blend primarily of tempranillo and shiraz, it had bramble fruits with a hint of oak and vanilla from the 8 months aged in French and American oak barrels, and a subtle touch of spice to the finish. Lovely.

Finally, to finish things off, we shared a 3 cheese, cheese board. The cheese here is always good and tonight was no exception. A nice hard cheese, a perfectly salty blue and a soft. These were washed down with a glass of Suck It and See frizzante from The Rude Mechanicals, Australia. This is such an easy drinking wine; light and fruity with a great hint of elderberry, it’s a perfect summer drink. We have had it here before and when we saw it on the menu, just had to have a glass before going home. Others on tables around us appeared to agree, with some buying a bottle to take with them.

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Again, we had a really lovely time here. The food was great and served piping hot. The wines were unique and surprising, in a good way.

Rustica Kitchen are at Unwined for the next 4 weeks so if you are looking for somewhere to eat over the next month or to enjoy a glass or two of interesting wines, we recommend you give it a try.

The Tapas Room

We were very excited when we heard that The Tapas Room was opening in Broadway Market, Tooting. We love tapas and wine so this promised to be a winning combination for us. The Tapas Room is located just along from Craft Tooting and opposite Hi-Ki. The unit has been nicely decorated and a classy and cosy atmosphere has been created. Seating is available at 2 long wooden bars on both sides. Wooden crates are used as shelves and the food is prepared in the open kitchen in the corner.

We settled in at one of the tables and perused the menu. The food menu included nibbles, cheese, meat and plates. We opted for some padron peppers, a cheese and meat plate, some chicken liver parfait and some morcilla with quails eggs.

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The wine menu contains all Spanish wines and they are available by the glass or bottle. We selected a glass of the Finca Manzanos Rioja Blanco and the Montevannos Roble from the Ribera del Duero region. The wine was served quickly and in really nice, long stemmed glasses (I’m a sucker for nice glassware).

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The Rioja was lovely. Perfectly chilled and with a nice smooth flavour. It was incredibly drinkable but I was on a one glass limit. The Montevannos Roble was nice, with good dark fruit and subtle oakiness to it. It had a dry finish with slight chewy tannins, but it went quite nicely with the food. A glass of the Familia Pacheco Roble was also enjoyed later in the meal, slightly lighter than the Montevannos although not a light red wine, it had more red fruit characteristics with a hint of spice.

Pretty quickly the food started arriving. The chicken parfait was served on a board with slices of toasted crostini and a fig. It was lovely and smooth with a good depth of flavour. The fig cut nicely through the richness of the parfait and complimented it really well.

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The padron peppers were next and we are big fans of these. We have had them plain as well as in batter, and these came plain sprinkled with rock salt. They were yummy and cooked perfectly so that the flesh of the pepper came easily away from the stalk.

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Next came a very impressive cheese and meat board. This was fantastic. There were 5 different cheeses, all of which were explained to us, as was the plentiful slices of Spanish chaucuterie (I believe this included some Catalonian fuet, an Iberico salsichon and Basque chorizo). The board came with slices of baguette, some quince paste and some fig and almond wedge. Not only did this look incredible, it tasted fantastic too.

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The cheeses were lovely and came from their daily selection. There were 2 goat cheeses, one soft and gooey which tasted like a really good camembert and one harder which wasn’t overly chalky, as some goat cheeses can be. There was a lovely blue cheese which strangely, was quite meaty in texture and flavour. All in all, this was accompanied by many appreciate noises from us.

Finally, the morcilla and quails eggs was fantastic. Lovely quails eggs sitting on top of Spanish black pudding, resting on soft sweet peppers, finally on top of lightly toasted baguette. It was great!

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Now, because we were going to be writing a review we gave into the temptation of the dessert on the menu which was a chocolate brownie (not made in-house) with strawberries. This was decidedly wicked. It was quite dense in texture but rich and very chocolatey. The strawberries were sweet and cut through this perfectly.

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As we said, we love tapas and everything we tried at the Tapas Room was delicious. We now have two great Tapas places in Tooting we will not hesitate to visit, but they are both quite different. The Tapas Room, being in a marketplace, has a more relaxed social atmosphere and the more focused menu means it is the perfect place for nibbles or a light dinner. It would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon, grazing on the tapas and working your way through the wine menu.

@thetapasroom