Posts Tagged With: Liverpool Street

Cool cats in the City: Café Kaati

Copyright of Café Kaati. Sourced from Café Kaati website

Cuisine: Indian

Address: 123 Houndsditch, EC3A 7BU

Area: Aldgate

Nearest Station: Aldgate/Liverpool Street

Tel.: 020 7283 0444

Website: http://www.cafekaati.com/

Pricing: Cheap-Medium

Good For: Lunchtime fix, Filling meal, Takeaway, Spice

I was actually on the way back from having bought food when I spotted Café Kaati by complete chance – a not uncommon experience, as when beset by hunger and anticipation my greedy stomach causes my food radar to go into overdrive. Is it any surprise that I have a weakness for impulse-buying snacks?

Anyway… I was on my way back from buying the first of many lomitos from Moo Grill and decided to walk a slightly different route back than the one I had taken to get there. This is one of the things I like about working in the City, the fact that it is seemingly built for the curious stroller – there are so many things to discover. So, having had my curiosity piqued by Café Kaati, I was determined to make it the destination of my next lunchtime meal.

Although there is some seating and some tables, this is not a sit-down restaurant. The low couches and just-as-low tables which dominate the centre of the room look like they’d be good for lounging and munching, but in my opinion they seem to be designed just uncomfortable enough to dispel any delusions of sit-down grandeur. No, this place is set up for the quick lunchtime/takeaway fix. Although it is heavy with the City crowd at lunch, service is quick enough to ensure a relatively short wait and high turnover; the guys here know what they’re doing, and I think they even started to recognise me and predict my regular. A nice touch, eh?

As suggested by the name, the kaati roll is their speciality, though they do have other main dishes like thalis. I’d read online that the Chicken 65 is their best option and boy, it is good. Tasty chunks of chicken with a chilli hit, all coated in flour, deep-fried and served with standard toppings of lettuce, carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers. How can that not sound good? Well, when you wrap it a fried, doughy and chewy paratha that is coated on the inside with egg and cheese, THAT’S how you make it sound better.

Chickn 65 kaati roll aka impending food coma at work

One note though – I would recommend the egg and cheese additions only for those with extreme hunger; that afternoon I was afflicted by a food coma, and I learnt my lesson to avoid them if I wanted to be capable of work afterwards. As for their other kaati roll options… I was less than impressed with the Tandoori Chicken, which seemed to be less flavourful when compared to the Chicken 65. But that matters little when it is the Chicken 65 that you keep on craving.

And for lunch, that’s all you need really. That fateful first day I did try their gulab jamun, and I think that it contributed significantly to that afternoon’s food coma. I love this dessert: heavy deep-fried doughy pieces that are saturated in rosewater syrup. It is sinful, it is rich, it is luxurious – and Café Kaati’s example is, in my opinion, a decent one. But I must labour the point – only have some with your kaati roll if you are hungry and capable. Or maybe have the afternoon off.

VERDICT – Highly recommended. If you are in the City and after something different from the usual sandwich, wrap and salad chains for lunch, Café Kaati should be high up on your hit-list. It is distinct, it is tasty, it is filling and best of all it is of a comparable price to some of these chains. Don’t settle for the usual – head over to Café Kaati now.

Currently listening to: AFI – Paper Airplanes (makeshift wings)

Categories: Indian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lunch for the big boys: the mighty Moo Grill lomito

Copyright of Moo Grill. Sourced from Moo Grill website

Cuisine: Argentinean

Address: 4 Cobb Street, E1 7LB

Area: Spitalfields

Nearest Station: Aldgate/Liverpool Street

Tel.: 020 7377 9276

Website: http://www.moogrill.co.uk/

Pricing: Medium

Good For: Casual dining, Friendly conversation, Filling meal, Lunchtime fix, Carnivorous eating

Having been pointed in the way of youngandfoodish.com’s Top Ten Burger List (a recommended pathway to glorious unhealthiness… yes yes), I soon discovered that they also had a Top Ten Sandwich List. Whilst I could snobbishly say that I’d already heard of four of the top ten, I must confess that the description of the lomito at Moo Grill as “the kind of steak sandwich that obsessions are made of” made me rather excited. And since it was within walking distance of work, I guess that it had to be done.

Well, earlier this year work was… very quiet, to put it mildly. I had the time and luxury to roam widely and freely during my lengthy lunch hours, and so it was not long between hearing of Moo Grill and my actually going there.

Cobb Street, one of the small lanes between Bishopsgate and Commercial Street, is probably the last place you’d expect to find an Argentinean steak restaurant. The front gives nothing away, but as soon as you enter you know you’ve hit somewhere special. Whilst the brickwork and wood exude a bit of a rustic feel, any visual effect is topped by the bellows of “Amigo!” that reverberate around the small and narrow establishment. As I ordered takeaway from the counter at the back of the restaurant, I was told with much pride that they had WiFi that I could use while I waited. I could sense that this was the start of a great new relationship.

I’ve since been there several times now for takeaway (and one sit down) and have had three different lomitos, their signature ‘gourmet’ sandwiches – Potro, Pollo Loco and Milanga. If I were pressed to choose, I would go for the Potro, as it comes with tasty ham and  egg – just more protein, really. But then again, the crispy, breaded deep-fried steak in the Milanga lathered with American mustard is also a sure-fire winner. Ah, the tyranny of choice…

What my mighty Potro lomito would have looked like, if I had photographed it.
Copyright of Moo Grill. Sourced from Moo Grill website

But why choose, huh? All of them are packed in the sort of warm, crusty ciabatta that you would write home about if you found it in a tiny no-name bakery in an Italian village no one has heard of, and when I say packed I mean PACKED. These sandwiches are hustling and bustling with ingredients and full of flavour. Each bite brings something new to the table in terms of texture and flavour. The steak (and in the case of Pollo Loco, the chicken) is beautifully tender, perfect for a sandwich. If I had one criticism of the lomito concept, I would say that perhaps it had too many ingredients… but that’s like a ‘weakness’ you would offer up in a job interview i.e. not particularly a weakness at all.

I wish I had taken photos to commemorate my experiences, but colleagues do tend to look oddly (and judgingly) at you when you photograph food at your desk…

That first visit of mine, the man-with-the-plan behind the counter cheerily informed me that he was peddling alfajorcitos for dessert, home-made to an old family recipe. Whether that’s his spiel or not, these small alfajores live up to expectations. The shortbread is the right amount of crumbly, and offsets the sweetness of the dulce de leche nicely. If the lomitos were not so big, I’d have these for dessert every time. And then I’d be fat.

VERDICT – Highly recommended. Their lomitos will clobber you for six. Their smiles and cries of “Amigo” will heal your lomito-inflicted wounds, and encourage you to go back. Moo Grill puts the best of the nearby sandwich chains to almighty shame. There is no excuse not to at least try them once. Seriously, they have things sorted – a unique offering for the area, a quality product, and a sincere warmth and friendliness. If only I worked a bit closer now…

Categories: Argentinian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments