Food and the city..the hags are here to eat and then tell you about it!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CAFE EAST - Re-Opened!!!

100 Redriff Rd
Surrey Quays
SE16 7LH
Telephone: 0208 691 7777

Opening times:
Mon - Fri:
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Sat - Sun:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Shop front

Fantastic news for everyone who thought Cafe East had died a quick death and forgot to send everyone an invite. We for one, were fully prepared to go into Pho whithdrawal and were managing the symptoms with diluted Kingsland Rd substitutes. On 11 April 2009 Chris re-opened in the above place and now has a Facebook loyalty page. Good onya Chris! We fully support you and believe this one will be even more of a success than the original. Hopefully via this blog the word of Cafe East's resurrection will spread furiously to all those in mourning. We will visit and update our opinions for the finest establishment for Pho in London soon. (BTW Westfield's Pho sucks big time...don't waste your time lining up for that rubbish.)
P.S. Chris - it sure would be nice to get recognition for the Facebook photos...they look very familiar...

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Saturday, August 04, 2007


2a Exhibition Rd. South Kensington. SW7 2HF

Phone: 020 7581 8831

Nearest Tube: South Kensington

Shop front

Location Location Location. Man this tiny corner restaurant has it good. Walking distance from South Kensington tube and a net catcher for any Imperial College student. Wish I had this kind of place as a university student. Wished I owned a place like this.

I can’t emphasise enough how tiny this place is. You can probably fit less than 20 patrons upstairs and just a few more downstairs. Etiquette is pretty much you share your table if needed and you order fast, eat fast and then get the hell outta there. Not a joint to languish and linger in. Nor is it a place where you can stroll up in a wheelchair or a pram. It's just too tiny.

High tables

They serve a mix of Cantonese and Malaysian food. I wouldn’t say that their roasted duck rice or crispy salted pork are the crème de la crème of what London has to offer. But it’s good value (around a fiver) and good portions.

Char Kway Teow is pretty authentic (still like the Selfridges one better). The curry laksa is alright only. Not rich enough for my liking. (Don't you hate it when sometimes you can actually taste curry powder in the soup?) But a worthy contender I guess if you have a bit of a crave. Char sui (roasted pork) is good – but how can you go wrong?
Char Kway TeowCurry Laksa

They have heaps of other dishes of course. Most of them are of them are stir-fried noodles or rice with your choice of meat. But if it’s ala carte you’re after, then you can order individual dishes with rice on the side. By the way, the vegetables are hideously expensive…£7 for a small dish of gai lan (Chinese greens).

So if you’re after a cheap eat, in a hurry and not too bothered about getting your vege intake for the day…and you’re in the area…Oriental Canteen is your best bet.


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Sunday, July 29, 2007


Unit 205, 1st Floor
Southside Shopping Centre
Wandsworth. SW18 4TE

Ph: 0208 8871 3888

Opening Hours: Sun to Thurs 11am – 10:30pm
Fri and Sat 11am – 11pm

Parking: To get free parking, spend over £10 at Waitrose or see a movie after 7pm.

Website: Ekachai

There’s another branch at Ekachai City
9-10 Arcade
Liverpool street
London EC2M 7PN
Mon-Fri 11-10pm
sat-sun closed

I simply can’t believe where we’re finding good Malaysian/Chinese food nowadays. First it was in Selfridges, and now before we were going to see the movie Transformers in the Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth. A fluke really. We had the choice between McDonalds, Nandos, Pizza Hut or this place called Ekachai. We thought what the hell, we’ll give Ekachai a whirl. We wanted something quick, filling and hopefully edible. Ekachai more than delivered.

As soon as you enter you get the Wagamama vibe. Wide tables with benches for seats and an open-plan kitchen. “Oh crap,” I thought “Another try-hard quasi-euroasian chain”. Between us we ordered the char kway teow, Singapore noodles, beef hor-fun Cantonese style and penang laksa.

Our lychee drinks arrived promptly and practically less than 10 minutes after ordering our food arrived simultaneously. Huge portions. Good.

Hard to make us Culinary Hags impressed these days. But impressed we were and chuffed at finding a Malaysian/Chinese joint within driving distance without having to trek all the way to London centre.

The Singapore noodles (£5.50) and char kway teow (£5.50) were pretty close to the real mc coy. Both with generous servings of fresh prawns. My beef hor-fun (£5.50) was always very close to what you can get at say Four Seasons in Bayswater. The beef certainly wasn’t the tenderest I’ve eaten, but I thoroughly enjoyed it just the same.
The penang laksa (£5.90) is more curry-coconut based, not thick, but light and quite flavoursome. In the laksa are fishcakes, prawns, squid, crabsticks and a boiled egg.

You can see the rest of the menu from their website. A hodge-podge of food mainly Malaysian, Cantonese (including some dim sum dishes like siu mai, har kau, glutinous rice in lotus leaf), Thai (Thai beef salad, Tom Yum prawn noodles).
The cooks and staff all seem to be Chinese possibly from Malaysia. We Hags will definitely check out the rest of the menu to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.



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Monday, July 23, 2007


192-194 Tooting High Street
SW17 0SF

Telephone: 0208 6724250 or 0208 6726903

Nearest Tube: Tooting Broadway or Colliers Wood

Website: Sree Krishna

Sree Krishna claims to be the oldest South Indian restaurant in South Indian (1973). Sick of Tandoori and other northern Indian specialities we headed there for a breath of fresh curry.

Never…I repeat never...venture to Sri Krishna if you’re starving to the point of murder or in a huge rush to catch the latest Bollywood extravaganza. You will wait…not because it’s busy…I’m not even sure of the reason. The extraordinary wait tends to occur between the starters and main course.

For starters I like the Masala Dosai (rice and lentil flour pancake filled with potato masala)…light and delicate served with a delicious light curry side. ₤3.50

I have a feeling they specialize mainly in vegetarian food although they do serve a wide range of meat and seafood curries. Their vegetarian curries were fresh, with a bite and best of all, not languishing in oil. One of the few Indian restaurant I can get my intake of essential “5 a day”without worrying about limp, over-nuked veges.

The Lamb biriyani ₤5.50 is a must. Not a huge fan before, now I see the light and am converted. So rich and flavoursome, clearly made with care and attention…generous in tender pieces of lamb. A meal in itself and a dish worth fighting over for.

It was reassuring to see that our experience was endorsed by a number of large Indian families enjoying themselves as well. Even better that nearly all the dishes are alarmingly good value. For four of us with lassi, we clocked up just over ₤12 per person and were thoroughly stuffed, sleepy and satisfied.


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4th Floor Selfridges
400 Oxford St

Opening times:

Monday 09.30 - 21.00
Tuesday 09.30 - 21.00
Wednesday 09.30 - 21.00
Thursday 09.30 - 21.00
Friday 09.30 - 21.00
Saturday 09.30 - 21.00
Sunday 11.30 - 18.15

Closest Tube: Bond Steet or Marble Arch

If I told you that one of the best Char Kway Teow’s I’ve had in London was in Selfridge’s – well, you would probably throw me in the darkest dungeon and throw away the key. I swear it’s true and this is coming from a sceptic…even from the moment I stepped towards the Oriental counter and arched one doubting eyebrow at the menu.

The way it works with the stir fry noodles and indeed with the soup dishes is that you choose the type of noodle you desire (egg noodles, white rice noodles, vermicelli) and the type of meat (chicken, seafood, red meat) and then dictate the style of dish (char kway teow, thai style…sorry I really can’t remember the rest).

A Chinese chef casually joked away in Mandarin with his colleague whilst they both cooked our dishes from scratch before our eyes with nonchalant speed. Huge woks on flaming gas burners…essential for a great char kway teow. Huge fresh prawns were used and generously given.

I could have been starving but the result was gorgeous. I’ve eaten char kway teow in Penang at a famous hawker stall and this comes quite close. Although those who like it with clams will be slightly miffed. Not cheap at around 7.50 but well worth it if you happen to be there anyway.

My hubby had the seafood curry laksa, again cooked from scratch using a paste. I wouldn’t rate it highly, as I do like my curry laksa to be quite rich and artery clogging – but not bad.

The other counters looked good – Western, Indian etc. The Indian counter offered a vegetarian and non-vegetarian thali (selection of 5 dishes served with rice, daal and naan served on a metallic platter). Looked great and we saw heaps of Asian people tucking into these. Must try it next time.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Very sad news indeed...but everyone needs a break.

Cafe East will be closed from the 31st July 2007 for 5 weeks whilst they recharge their batteries.

Don't worry they will be back and business as normal.

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