Monday, 28 February 2011
Skewers in Chinatown and frozen yoghurt in Snog
I was wandering around Chinatown one lunchtime and noticed a few new shops around the place. Shops in Chinatown open and close like elevator doors almost every other day, and they all look suspiciously alike (something about cost cutting and using the same decor, maybe …) so it’s sometimes not the most obvious when a new shop has replaced the previous one.
When I walked by this one (which I shall call the Skewer Shop because I don’t know what it’s called and it has no sign outside the shop), I had to stop for a moment and look inside because before this, it was a shop selling really pretty crepes. Now, by the window, were lots and lots of skewers with meat, fishballs, squid, vegetables and that all waiting to be cooked.A huge, bubbling pot of the hottest chilli oil soup thing you'll ever taste.
I saw someone being served, and the skewers were cooked in a big, boiling pot full of a fiery-looking red soup base. Quite a good idea, I thought, kinda like a mobile hot pot, Szechuan style.
This we had to try, so on Saturday, we went with empty tummies, and selected a few skewers – lamb, beef, squid, and fishball. After the skewers were cooked in the soup, some cumin salt and coriander were sprinkled on top of the skewers before we quickly went to find a place in which to eat the stuff (not much space for eating in the shop).
While it is a new concept in Chinatown (nothing like this around), and while I do like the concept of cooking skewers of little nibbles in a pot of soup (lok-lok, Malaysian style), I found the taste quite difficult to like. I’m not too keen on things which are too spicy, and when I say that, I usually mean the numbing spiciness found in Szechuan food.
The soup was also perhaps a little too salty, because after I’d eaten the squid (which tends to absorb more soup), my tongue felt really weird. Kinda like tingly because of the spice, and also almost like it wanted to be hydrated again, mainly due to the salt which just wouldn’t go away.
I’m sure lots of people will absolutely adore this place, especially if they’re fans of the spicy hotpot, but this wasn’t for me.
We then went to the Stanley Donwood art exhibition at The Outsiders in Soho, and while I didn’t think it’d take too long to get round, I didn’t reckon it’d take all of 2 minutes only either. We went into the shop which looked like one of those half-renovated shops, there were a few painting inside, and downstairs, a few more paintings and a little hole-in-the-wall with a movie showing on loop.
Snog, 9 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0RG
Then, to fill the half hour we had between the art exhibition and our dinner at Asakusa (more on this later!), we decided to get some frozen yoghurt from Snog in Soho.
I really like this place – colourful lights, a great place to watch people go by in Soho, and plenty of lovely, non-fat yoghurt. What’s not to like? Oh, yes, the price. It’s a little pricey, about £4.95 for the ‘Classic’ (ie medium-sized) with 3 toppings.
Look at these lights.
Because there was a deal on the ‘Classic’, and because I always go for the deal (though only after careful calculation), we went for the spiced apple yoghurt base, with 3 toppings.
For the toppings, we had blueberries …
Chocolate brownie …
... and lovely, chewy, mochi.
Fun afternoon in town, with the excitement of Asakusa to come in the next post!