Passed this place at least a couple of hundred times and said to myself “I should go there. That looks worth investigating.” And never did.
Until I did.
Hence me writing this.
On the most bustling bit of Seven Sisters road, surrounded by imitation pound shops, dutty fried chicken and phone accessory kiosks, Ocean Wave has sat for years innocuously doing its thing. There’s a Morrisons around the corner and a Waitrose a little bit further on down towards Holloway, but the little open-fronted fishmonger was doing brisk business when I finally got my act together to check it out.
I came away with two gimungous coley steaks for five quid and some insider information on the best halal butcher on the strip.
I’ll be going back.
Ocean Wave fisheries ltd, 60 Seven Sisters Road, N7 6AA.
The grazing has been good this week.
It all started at 9am on Wednesday morning when, as per usual, I was semi-conscious at my weekly office meeting. All those involved understand that it’s a lot less painful when it comes with breakfast. Our venue this time around was Demsal on Holloway road who have actually just come under new management and aren’t called Demsal anymore. I don’t actually know what they are called as they were painting the front, but it’s right here. Everything seems to be exactly the same, which is to say good.
In my morning stupor, I didn’t notice any change at all (I always get the same thing so I didn’t clock the new menu) until I ordered a turkish breakfast from who I assumed was the new girl and she had to check whether they did them. They still do and I’m glad because I’m a creature of habit easily distressed by change and this is the highlight of my working week.
Thursday was a great day. It was the fifth birthday of the Red Lion and Sun, which is my favourite pub. One of the reasons it’s so close to my heart (apart from the extensive whiskey collection and the lack of ambient bastards) is because their annual celebrations always involve roasting a whole something. Usually it’s pig, but this being the big V not only was there a 70k hog, there was an added 22k lamb bonus. Despite being a loyal customer for a number of years I was repeatedly stopped from eating this plate of crackling. They probably saved my life but I still resent them.
As a result of being lazy and surrounded by good places to eat, on Friday I got take-away from Dotori, my local Korean and Japanese restaurant. Which I also love. I probably would have eaten in but if you don’t book in advance — and I hadn’t — it’s unlikely you’ll get a seat, so reciting the menu from memory I called them up and collected bowl of jap chae (beef and veg glass noodles that @Chloe_lecool schooled me on) and a big styrofoam box of delicious teriyaki eel. I’m starting a campaign to make all eels teriyaki. I like jelly as much as the next man, probably more, but it just doesn’t compare. I mean, c’mon.
On Saturday I bitched and moaned about how unfeasibly hard it is to get decent pancakes (American, not crêpes – crêpes aren’t pancakes, they’re crepes) in London until Mrs Foo D said she would make me some on the condition that I shut up and go find bacon and sausages. I did shut up. I also went to Tony’s Butchers and got some superior pork products that were then grilled and coated in maple syrup. If you don’t know, don’t judge until you’ve tried. When you’ve tried, you’re welcome.
Sunday was spent at my parents’ house eating sushi from Fuji Foods on inappropriate crockery. Since moving from north London I haven’t been back as I’ve learned from bitter experience, sushi doesn’t travel well over extended period via public transport. I had to try though, right? Mr Fuji and his pocket-sized Japanese food market-stroke-delicatessen set the benchmark for what I want from raw fish and rice.
To most of us, a sandwich and a salad may not sound like the most inspired of lunches, but that’s only because you’re not thinking in terms of bánh mì.
The meat-, or fish-filled Vietnamese baguette has definitely raised London’s sandwich game. Tuna sweetcorn cannot stand against the might of the marinated mackerel and even the aging bap-champ Mr BLT feels embarrassingly inadequate compared to the meatopia of Sliced pork belly, ham terrine and liver pâté. That’s right, the revolution will come with coriander, daikon and Kewpie mayo.
Generally bánh mì also gives you decent value for your hard-earned lunch money. In Kêu on Old street, the Lemongrass-infused mackerel bad-boy in the picture cost me £4.50 and is ‘nicely proportioned’ (nudge, wink – raises suggestive eyebrow). Not that it stopped me eying up somebody else’s shrimp salad and deciding I want one of those as well. I couldn’t help it, it was too pretty.
The only problem with all this new-fangled sandwichery is that nearly everybody knows about it already, so odds are, if your ethnic provider of filled bread joy is really serving up the good stuff, you’ll probably have to wait in line for it.
I thought I was the only person in London to still have never had a Franco Manca Pizza, but talking to the rest of the faces around the table at the chain’s Brixton outpost, it turns out I’m not alone. It also becomes apparent fairly quickly that we’ve all been missing out.
Franco Manca has been making London’s less dedicated pervayors of pizza look terrible on all fronts. These are artisan pizzas. The mushrooms are wild, the meats are special breeds and until you’ve actually bitten into the sourdough crust, your achievement badge in oven-baked, tomato and cheese embellished street food will remain innaccessable.
As if that wasn’t enough, it is cheap as ****. The expletive is justified: the most expensive dish on the menu is a fiver and some shrapnel, which should fit happily in to most peoples’ increasingly stretched dining budgets.
Now you’re all caught up – here’s the new bit. As of pretty much right now, Franco Manca is offering your everyday Londoner classes on how to make easily the best pizza you’ll ever have a hand in. I did it at last month’s trial run and I am still glowing with oven-baked pride, because mine was magnificent. Or at least that’s what Giuseppe Mascoli said and Giuseppe should know because it’s his place. Well, his and partner Bridget (bread czar) Hugo, who was also on hand to guide me in the fine art of in-oven pizza manipulation when my creation needed a quarter rotation half-way through.
Between the two of them they have adapted the sacred sourdough they use for their customers’ pizza (which has to meditate for at least 20 hours and is only in the heat for 50 seconds) so that it can work in something slightly more conventional than a hand-built multi-ton oven. It was using this dough and their spare oven that us students were able to put together our delicious class projects.
If you’re interested and you should be, each session takes place on the first Thursday of the month at one of the three Franco Mancae venues. This month it’s in Brixton, but the one after is in Chiswick. It costs £20 and that includes all the materials and yes, obviously, you get to eat it afterwards, which apart from knowing you will be judged by the makers of some of London’s best pizzas, is a great reason not to mess it up.
Franco Manca Ltd, 4 Market Row, SW9 8LD; tel: 020 7738 3021
Calentado literally means heated, but in Colombia and Holloway Road it means breakfast. It also means that I’m an idiot for working around the corner from El Rincon Quiteno when I could have been eating this for years instead of just finding out this week.
As breakfasts go, it’s beyond hefty. Rice and beans, a corn fritter, plantain, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and spring onion served on the side of either thin steaks or a hunk of deep fried pork. All for six pounds, which includes the hot drink of your choice and an unbelievably sleepy afternoon.
I’ve written about El Rincon regarding their empanadas and how you should eat all of them, but I noticed on my way out that they also have tamales for the eating, which are another South American (usually meat) snack of note. I thought I’d leave them for another time though, as the Calentado was making it kind of hard to breathe.
See’s Candy is the best chocolate in North America and I will happily fight anyone who says different.
This haul is intended for my parents, or more accurately, my mum. Who, upon receiving it, will hide it and refuse to share until I threaten her with not having any grandkids.
“Do you want extra bacon with that?”
This is the magic question to which the answer is always YES. Always.
I’m sorry there aren’t any more pictures of the wings I got from here, but when they arrived they were covered in tiny shards of crispy bacon, so even if I tried they would have only been a delicious chickeny blur.
I got a half litre of coleslaw too and about half way through I realised that although very good, it was also missing the divine touch of crunchy pork. So I went back and upgraded from merely very good to fan-fucking-tastic.I’m sure you would have done the same.