Friday Night Dinner: East Street by Tampopo – Derick Rethans

Friday Night Dinner: East Street by Tampopo

The idea behind going for a different restaurant every Friday is to try out a wide variety of places, but also of cuisines. We are lucky that in London, we have access to pretty much any sort of dishes we fancy.

Sometimes, you can even find a wide variety of different culture’s food in one place, and East Street is such an establishment. It is situated just North of Oxford Street, close to Tottenham Court Road station. It specialised in what can only be described as pan-Asian.

Their menu is extensive, from Szechuan dishes via Japan and Korea to Indonesian and Malay. We started with two of their small plates, the Malaysian Satay Chicken and Korean Popcorn Chicken. They were both delicious, very flavourful and moorish. Good Satay Chicken I remember from my parent’s Indonesian friends, and this was just like it. With our starters, we enjoyed a lovely Hokkaido Negroni as we didn’t think a bottle of wine would fit with this menu.

Choosing the small plates was hard, as there are so many nice sounding ones. Instead of ordering them all, we also picked a large plate each. I ordered a Rendang Beef Curry, again, with memories of the Indonesian Restaurants you find in the Netherlands. It was accompanied by rice, peanuts, boiled eggs, and some pickled cucumber. My companion ordered a Tamarind Chicken, slices of well cooked moist chicken in a delicious sticky tamarind sauce. It came served with rice, broccoli and crispy onions, this was one of the non-spicy options on the menu, but despite the lack of chillies still had a bit of a kick. Again, not wanting wine, we picked a bog-standard Tiger beer to wash all the delicious flavours down, which paired pretty well.

Although we were pretty full, we could not quite resist the churros, and shared three with a tasty caramel sauce. I don’t quite understand how they fit in an Asian kitchen, but they were delightful regardless.

If we were to return, which seems likely, we would probably have a meal made up of more of the smaller dishes (all of which sounded delicious) instead of going for the traditional starter plus main course approach.

The place was pretty full, and when we left I remarked that we were probably amongst the oldest of the clientele, but we didn’t feel out of place. Which I think is a good sign.

1 / 5

Chicken Satay
2 / 5

Popcorn Chicken
3 / 5

Tamarind Chicken
4 / 5

5 / 5

Friday Night Dinner: Empire Empire – Derick Rethans

Friday Night Dinner: Empire Empire

We visited Empire Empire on a chilly January evening. The restaurant was fairly quiet but even at 18.30 there were some tables seated and enjoying their food.

The restaurant features an old fashioned jukebox type vinyl record player close to the entrance and has a photobooth for some fun snaps should you be so inclined.

We had a beer each from 40ft Brewery in Hackney, which was lovely. It’s great to see an Indian restaurant branching out from the usual cobra and kingfisher options. We started with poppadoms and dips, and then I had a well spiced biryani with incredibly tender lamb falling off the shank and a pastry lid. My companion really enjoyed her Empire Butter Chicken and a naan bread. This was not as rich as some butter chicken curries, but was incredibly flavourful with a nice level of spicing and kick. Unfortunately we were both too full to move onto try what sounded like tasty desserts from the menu.

Service at Empire Empire was very welcoming and attentive (and quick, but not rushed) we were out and heading home on the bus about an hour after sitting down.

Friday Night Dinner: Lokkanta – Derick Rethans

Friday Night Dinner: Lokkanta

As first restaurant of the year, we wanted something low-key. Not far from Paddington station, on Westbourne Grove, there is a whole row of such places. We settled on Lokkanta, a place that specialises in Turkish food.

We started off with Turkish sausage slices with halloumi, while we were waiting for our main course. At the same time, we started enjoying our delicious red wine from Turkey.

The front section of the restaurant features a well ventilated charcoal grill upon which most of the meats were roasted. In my case, a well cooked and flavoured lamb shish. My partner picked a Yogurtly Adana, minced grilled lamb with bread and basted in a tomato sauce and yoghurt.

The service was speedy, and we did not have to wait long. Perhaps that was mostly because when we arrived at 18:30, there was only other table enjoying dinner, so we were almost the only customers. When we left, there were a few more people enjoying their dinner. However, with the restaurant being quite empty, it perhaps lacked a bit of ambience and the tiled interior made it feel a little clinical, I think it would be quite different if it was busy with plenty of hustle and bustle.

In short, the food and wine was good, but the atmosphere was unfortunately missing.