Bonnie gull seafood shack exmouth market
Our mains are John Dory and wagyu, respectively. The fish pictured above, out of focus in excitement is exquisite alongside an almost Portuguese-style sauce, the samphire and pumpkin seeds genius texture additions.
It was a smart dish and a lovely dish. The wagyu comes donning a mustard seed relish, and melts just by looking at it. A palate cleanser, served over the bar by one of the chefs, of pink-lady apple sorbet.
I cannot reliably report on the date and IPA cake as I did not get a look in. I can however report that the cheese was fantastic. Black bomber is a little cheesy punch in the tastebuds. It came crumbled onto fresh and also crumbly cracker breads and generous pickle. Every morsel was appreciated and licked up. Not willing to let go of our experience just yet, we ordered cocktails to prolong the joy.
As we sipped and stared out into the restaurant, Jonathan decided that we would come back. Which, forgive me Giles Coren, is probably the best compliment you can give a restaurant. Once upon a time, Borough Market was unknown. Unless you were looking for food wholesale, there were much cooler places to be. Admittedly a romanticised version of events, this image of a community of once under-appreciated food lovers turned much-hyped tourist attraction, makes for one of my favourite places in London.
The spirit of Borough Market- sharing successes over good wine and food- feeds my love of two restaurants there in particular- Arabica Bar and Kitchen and Boro Bistro.
Arabica Bar and Kitchen. Pour out a good Turkish red, choose from a list of mezze divided by cooking method Clay Oven, Josper Grill, so on. Snack on ras el hanout popcorn while you wait. Chatter with friends as you dip, scoop, nibble and tear your way through a mix of authentic, carefully spiced mezze.
Bit, beefy onions surrounded in tarator basically cream cheesedeep fried. So bad, but so, SO unbelievably excellent. Let the hours slip by as you pass around plates, clink glasses and revel in the convivial spirit and happy din of this small restaurant with a lot of soul under the railway arches.
Ever French, the menu is divided into lovers. Meat lovers, Veg lovers, Seafood lovers, Charcuterie lovers. I am all of those lovers, so I order everything. Smearing terrine and potted meat onto toast and a little over my face, an inevitabilityslicing beef onglet to share, picking out red wine with the joyful waiters. Each mouthful a delight, each plate carefully distributed between everyone for a fair share.
Order more wine, endeavour to reach the dishes placed at the other end of the table, and catch up on holiday plans, work dramas and existential questions between bites. No, we are not Pizza Hut, and no, we are certainly not queuing for Angus Steakhouse. My favourite place in TheatreLand to eat is definitely Shackfuyu.
Order at least three things per person and pig out on their incredible Japanese inspired dishes. Though named for a classic shellfish-laden pasta, the starter was noodle-free.
Instead, the perfectly cooked squid and octopus pieces were mixed in with grilled baby gem and pickled raspberries, drizzled with fennel oil and served over a splash of midnight black squid ink. The earthiness of the fennel and the sweetness of the berries were an exceptional complement to the seaside taste from the mollusks. I went quite traditional for my main course, choosing my favourite seaside dish. It is worth noting that the mains are very large portions, and my fish and chips were no exception.
It was described as beer-battered North Sea haddock, with chunky beef dripping chips and mushy peas. The mushy peas were lovely and the homemade ketchup was sweet and moreish, a rare admission from someone who usually avoids the condiment.
Sandy opted for the Dorset Cock crab, which arrived at the table whole, alongside a range of tools designed to smash it open. It is hungry work, but so satisfying once the shell is peeled back and the untampered meat is scooped out. The dish also comes with sourdough toast and dressed brown meat, so the crab can be enjoyed two ways. After all that food, we were winding down, thinking about a stroll along the seafront with the sand between our toes.
We really wanted to take dessert with us, but were too full to even take a look at the menu. Then two Whippy cones appeared at our table, the perfect seaside treat of soft-serve ice cream, sprinkled with popping candy, dried raspberries and crowned with a chocolate stick.