Saturday, 27 August 2016

All Things Baked - Product Review

 All Things Baked is a new baking kit delivery service along the lines of Hello Fresh and Gousto, offering recipes and ingredients to help you develop your baking skills.
If you are inspired by GBBO, and would like to start baking at home, then this could be your first lesson.
They kindly sent me The Cake Box, their best seller, to try out. It contained a simple cupcake recipe, some vanilla pods, food colouring, Dr Oetker wafer daisies and some dried cranberries for decoration. Each month, if you subscribe, you will receive a baking tool and in my kit I got a lovely wooden spatula. To make the recipe you need to purchase your own basic ingredients - the eggs, butter, flour and sugar, icing sugar and cupcakes cases to bake them in.
My little girl had a friend round for a sleepover so by way of entertainment it seemed a good idea to try out the Cake Box with two 10 year old girls. Messy! But they were, with a little help, able to follow the recipe, and get those fairy cakes baked.
The fun part of course is always the decoration. The simplest icing is icing sugar with a few teaspoons of water and a dash of red food colouring, a good squirt of the gel giving a deep pink colour most pleasing to two young girls. Spread on easily with the wooden spatula, and then a variety of 'designs' using the wafer daisies and pretty cranberries. Your own creativity is required here and no techniques are described, so you will need to wing it, developing your own skills month by month.
Overall very simple to use and easy to follow. You can tell the creators absolutely love baking and want to share their knowledge. If you know very little about baking it's a great kit to start out with on your path to the GBBO!
Other kits available include the Bread Box, the Patisserie Box and even a Gluten-free Box. Price ranges from £5.99/month.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Gilgamesh, Camden - Review

I'd been looking forward to this one for six months. It was a birthday gift from two fabulous friends who seem to be under the impression I like food! Well... The voucher promised two Champagne cocktails and three courses in a unique Eastern atmosphere with the chance of spotting celebrity clientele (does an ex-tennis-player turned morning-television-presenter count?).

The setting immediately transfers us East. Gliding up the escalator to behold giant wooden sculptures and carved reliefs with bamboo plants dominating the dark wood interior and the newly refurbished retractable roof promising alfresco dining on warmer Camden days. We were warmly welcomed and walked by the bustling sushi station to our table. On venturing to the dark copper-clad bathrooms, you can sneak a peek at a whole range of private rooms, a nightclub and a lounge bar (Ginger Martini, anyone?). Comfy leather-clad booths dominate the window area with views over the Stables Market, while us voucher-bearing clients get to sit centre stage on dark oak tables with a slightly suspicious motif (if you squint sideways and cover certain parts...).

Gilgamesh's menu is quite extensive, offering dim sum, sushi, wok dishes and curries, and its pan-Asian theme is carefully selected for the set menu, a version of which we were offered. We started with cocktails which were fruity and icy, though on checking the drinks menu there were many classics and much champagne as well as an extensive wine list. Which of course we delved into soon after. To start I ordered the crispy chicken wings with a kimchi glaze and crispy garlic, served with a  thick sweet chilli sauce. This was delicious. I couldn't resist using my fingers and gnawing on the bones (luckily they had anticipated this and there was a finger bowl at the ready). Himself ordered crispy baby squid with a teensy amount of sweet soy sauce. Again, delicious, the tempura batter was crispy and the squid, which was served in its entirety (therefore not for the squeamish), was tender and tasty.

Cocktails; chicken wings; baby squid
a tentacle of baby squid; seafood jungle curry; spatchcock chicken in miso sauce.

 We were less blown away by the main course. A choice of four - seafood jungle curry and baby spatchcock chicken with miso dressing won out. I was tempted by the beef bulgogi - spicy boneless ribs - something I've never tried, but wanted to gauge the place on how good their curry is. And the jungle curry was like a thick Thai green curry. Plenty of seafood, calamari, prawns, and even a scallop, as well as some random lychees to sweeten it up. The chicken with miso tasted a little bland and unexciting, and even the extra noodles we ordered couldn't liven it up.

Dessert was beautiful. In appearance only. They were beautifully presented but tasted gloopy and lacked any flavour. Another table had a chocolate brownie - always a good choice - but our cheesecake with lime sorbet and yuzu tarts were, well, disappointing to say the least. 

Gilgamesh has a reputation to uphold. And I'm sure it does in many senses, but if you go for the food, prepare to be a little underwhelmed. The decor and location (and potential celeb clientele) is the real draw, I believe. You could, in theory, have a similar dish from one of Camden's market stalls of a percentage of the cost you pay here. But it's worth a visit just to see what all the fuss is about. So go along and dine in a Babylon-esqe palace with whatever vouchers you can find, but I wouldn't wish to pay full price for the food. Choose carefully.

The Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road

Meal for two (with voucher) and drinks ~£100

Gilgamesh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal