Barcelona: amazing dinner at Bodega 1900

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This trip was my second time in Barcelona. The first time I visited with my dear friend Carina we had dinner at Bodega 1900 one night, and I liked it so much I booked it again for this trip.

The restaurant is owned by Albert and Ferran Adria, the brothers behind legendary and now closed El Bulli restaurant. Now they have a whole empire of restaurants in Barcelona and Bodega 1900 is one of the least fancy ones.

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The decor is rather austere and the lighting a bit dull, but don’t let that fool you; the food is seriously good and the waiters really friendly and very professional.

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The house cava is amazing – so I highly recommend you start with that. And these “olives”. They look like olives and taste like olives but it is in fact a little wiggly balls of olive juice. Divine!

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Next we had these juicy and sweet red prawns that were almost buttery, that we dipped in sea salt. A-ma-zing! I could have had several more portions of these. Yum!

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Instead of the regular jamon our charming waiter recommended the more flavoursome Iberico loin. Really good!

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We also had the pan con tomate which was very good!

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We also had these squid hotdog which was just as lovely as I remembered it from my last visit!

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This time they also had a mini pork burger on the menu; filled with thin slices of cooked pork full of umami. It just melted in the mouth. Incredible!

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The quail with potatoes and a very fluffy mustard sauce was perfection! And it was nice with a more substantial dish towards the end of our meal.

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But we weren’t quite full yet so we ordered the peas and mushrooms in this very rich broth and some extra bread. Full of flavour and very comforting. A beautiful if yet very simple dish.

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With twenty minutes to spare before the next sitting we shared the perfect wobbly crema de catalana (mum, you would have loved this one!) and had some coffee.

It was a lovely meal and great evening! I love this place and urge you to book a table well in advance of your Barcelona trip. You can thank me later (maybe with a bottle of that cava?!).

Bodega 1900,  Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

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Skanör: lunch at Stationen

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Most restaurants I visit back home are in Malmö, the biggest city in the area I’m from, but in the summer there are lots of smaller places scattered by the coast and in the countryside. In winter, not so much, but there are a few exceptions, like relatively new Stationen in Skanör. I had lunch with my friend Cecilia and Fredrik here one day at the beginning of the year and it was nice to see the restaurant was full, even in January.

All three of us ordered their classic burger with slaw and fries which was really nice and the portion was very generous too. On top of that coffee or tea and cookies were included in the lunch option. This is fairly common in Sweden and I think it’s really nice as you can sit for longer.

Bäckatorget 10, 239 33 Skanör

Chicken burger

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Whenever I have the choice of a regular beef burger or a chicken burger I always, always choose the beef version. Because most chicken burgers are either something covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried or a whole (often dry) grilled chicken breast. No thanks.

But this homemade chicken burger, made of minced chicken thighs is a real treat. It has a similar texture to a regular beef burger, but feels so much lighter. I melted cheddar on top, served it with lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, nice buns (I used Heston for Waitrose burger brioche buns and they were very good!), and a good helping of my favourite burger sauce; the fake shack sauce ,and it was pure happiness. Will definitely make this again!

Chicken burgers, makes 2

3-4 chicken thigh fillets

1/2 egg

50-100 ml breadcrumbs

1 tsp onion powder 

salt, white pepper

Mince the chicken thigh fillets in a food processor. Mix egg, spices and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and leave to swell for a few minutes. Add the chicken mince. If the mixture is too loose, add more bread crumbs until you can shape the mixture into two big burgers. Fry in butter until cooked through and serve. 

Meat feast at Chop Shop

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It was thanks to Taste of London that I heard of Chop Shop in the first place. At the festival in June Caroline and I tried two dishes from Chop Shop and they were both really nice, so when a colleague suggested a meaty lunch (his favourite) it was the first place I suggested.

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I eat plenty of vegetarian meals when I cook for myself, so when I choose meat I want to make sure it’s of good quality. And it certainly was here at Chop Shop. Don’t let the type of food served here fool you; it’s all properly done from scratch.

To start our meal we had two starters to share, both typical fast food dishes but done very well. The sausage roll, with nothing in common with the ones sold in Greggs, was utterly delicious. The meat inside was very nicely seasoned and nice and soft, and the pastry was lovely too.

The chicken wings were some of the best I’ve had. The waitress told us the chilli sauce was very hot, so on her suggestion we had the barbecue sauce on them instead. Although delicious, I missed the heat that I associate with buffalo chicken wings. I guess I just have to come back and have the chilli sauce next time.

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For his main course Max had the burger (which I can’t wait to try next time), and he made purring sounds all the way through it, it was that good. Just look at it, it’s burger perfection.

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I had the hanger steak (so tender!), with rosemary fries and the most wonderful bearnaise sauce. Probably the best one I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

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I was so full after my steak I could barely muster the slow walk back to the office but Max still had room for pudding, and decided on this beast or a butterscotch pudding. It was also really nice, so top marks all round.

Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RF

Tom’s Kitchen, Chelsea – revisited

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Tom’s Kitchen is one of those homely restaurants, almost with a pub feel, serving nice food you can count on. It’s basically where I want to go when I don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. And it was exactly where my parents and I wanted to go on their last evening in town in September, when we after a long day of exploring London just wanted to sit down to a really nice meal but without the fuss.

It was fairly quiet at the restaurant that Sunday evening, but the staff was getting ready to pack the restaurant in boxes for refurbishment.

We started with a lovely dressed crab and toasted bread to start. We all love seafood and one each. Such a treat!

Mum and I continued the seafood theme and had fried lemon sole with seaweed butter, with potato mash and spinach on the side. I forgot to take a picture, but the fish was truly lovely. I was just a bit annoyed as we had to wait about 10 minutes for the sides, and had to remind the staff. But once it had all arrived on the table we had a lovely meal.

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Dad had the burger, which is really really nice, and enjoyed it immensely! The service could have been a bit more focused this evening, but the food was great!

Tom’s Kitchen, 27 Cale St, London SW3 3QP

Fake Shack sauce

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I cooked (and ate!) a lot of nice food when I was back home in Sweden in August. But my family and I have a tendency to get a bit overboard sometimes. So one day we decided to not make an elaborate three course meal. Instead we had these yummy homemade burgers with a homemade version of the Shake Shack sauce. So good!

I first saw the Fake Shack sauce recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s wonderful blog and knew I just had to make it. And it hit the spot just as I thought it would. My parents liked it too and from now on this is definitely my go-to burger sauce.

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Fake Shack sauce, serves 4

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

60 ml mayonnaise (homemade or Hellman’s)

1 1/2 tsp juice from a pickle jar

1 1/2 tsp ketchup

1 tsp yellow mustard 

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Mix the ingredients, taste and adjust the flavour until you’re happy with the balance. Serve with burgers. 

Dinner at Honest Burger, Camden

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After a night in a Camden pub celebrating my friend Amy’s birthday the birthday girl craved a good burger and a few of us were quick to join her at Honest Burger. In my quest to find London’s best burger I’ve heard great things about Honest Burger and was very excited to try it!

The Camden branch was almost empty when we got there, as it was late and they were about to close, but we were greeted and served immediately. I chose the cheeseburger with cheddar which – like all their burgers – came with delicious rosemary salted fries. The burger was really nice with a great relish, wonderful brioche bun and a really good patty! It gets a high score but in my very subjective competition, Soho Diner is still number one.

Honest Burger, Unit 34a, Camden Lock Place London NW1 8AF