Friday, 5 February 2010
Hare & Tortoise, 11-13 The Brunswick, Brunswick Square, London, WC1 1AF
When a friend told me about Hare & Tortoise being a good place for Chinese-ish food, I thought she was taking me to a pub. Come on, how many Chinese restaurants do you know that have the words ‘hare’ and ‘tortoise’ in it? Not on the menu, I mean.
The restaurant is located in Brunswick Centre, which seems to be a residential development (all the flats layered above the shops), with a good selection of shops on the ground floor. Lots of clothing shops, a few good chain restaurants (Yo Sushi, Giraffe, Carluccio’s) and a Waitrose. It also has an independent cinema (Renoir) which is a good place to go when your local cinema doesn’t have a particular non-mainstream film.
Most importantly, it has Hare & Tortoise.
You know it’s good when you have to queue up for it.
Or very cheap. This place is both. Some people say that it’s not great for having a wide selection of dishes, and I totally agree with it. Thing is, why have a wide selection when you can do a few dishes really well?
Picture taken through the glass partition where the hungry await. Looking forlornly at the eating masses.
The new menu! How exciting. The last time we were here, probably more than half a year ago, there was no new menu. Now there is. The first dish on the new menu is the Char Kuey Tiau, which is a Malaysian fried flat rice noodle. We HAD to have it, so with a big beam of hunger, we made our order.
Open kitchen concept, only a good thing when your kitchen is very clean and the staff aren’t rude. When we left, we saw the staff literally scrubbing the metal racks near the ceiling, like REALLY scrubbing. If they do this every day, this must be the cleanest kitchen restaurant around.
The menu. Quite a small menu, with lots of pictures. We like food pictures, we do.
While waiting for our food, and to take my mind of the hunger, I started snapping some pictures of things around me. The two ladies sitting next to us didn’t even bother to lower their volume as they started a running commentary of what I was doing. Almost as though they were commenting on a game of football.
‘Is she taking pictures of the food?’
‘Oh, she’s taking pictures of that as well.’
‘Oh, what’re they having? Is that curry? Oh we should have ordered that.’
After a while, I kinda just gave in and joined in on their conversation.
‘Yes, it’s curry and it’s really good. It’s called Curry Laksa and it’s on the menu. I like taking pictures of food.’
Somehow, after I joined in on the conversation, the commentary seemed to stop.
Char Kuay Teow £5.25
Come on, how could you even imagine this to be anything but NICE. Flat rice noodles (hor fun, or kuay teow) stir-fried with chives, beansprouts, Chinese sausage, egg and nice sauce (nice because I didn’t want to describe what was in it). Oh alright, some soy sauce, oyster sauce, prawn stock, things like that.
Tastes of lovely eggy-ness, and you’ll want more. This was really tasty, if not slightly sweet. Just that little slightly sweeter than what it should have been.
Tori gyoza £2.80
These days I can’t seem to order a main meal without having something as a side dish. I’m not entirely sure why that is, probably greed to be honest, but it’s one of those things where I feel like I won’t be full if I only have the main meal.
Not true though as I’m usually full even halfway through the meal, but hey, I’m only ordering so I can take more pictures for this blog.
Curry laksa £6.25
Rice vermicelli (meehoon) in a curry soup, with tofu, chicken, prawns, and beansprouts. There are many versions of this, but in London, this has to be the best version. Granted, I’ve not been to every restaurant (though one day I will have achieved this), but you know it’s good when it’s good.
The soup is really meaty tasting, and it’s hard to get the right taste because most of these soups end up tasting like curry powder. This one tastes like it has been boiled for hours.
If you like curry, and noodles, and just eating in general, you should try this.
This looks nice, and it was very nice too. The ladies at the table next to us said so too.
Would I recommend this place? Recommend this place, definitely.
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