Sunday, 23 January 2011

[Restaurant - Deli] B&K - No Burgers, Certainly a King; B&K Salt Beef Bar of Hatch End

Location - Hatch End, Harrow [UK]

How do I leave an impartial impression of this place. Hmm. I would think, that if people could actually be perverse enough to have a food fetish, then, call me a Salt Beef Sandwich Adulterer. Too much? You've obviously not eaten one. It is. Epic. On, all scales. If you think otherwise, you're wrong, blatently.

I think that works well!

B&K however, was not the first example of this simple sandwich that I had tasted though, rather, the zenith. I had my first salt beef sandwich a couple of years ago at the Rail Bar at Selfridges on Oxford Street, and much to my delight, it was wubs. I was quite suitably drawn to the simplicity of the sandwich, which needs absolutely nothing more than a pickle and mustard. Huzaifah was a long time fan, though he throws in an extra measure of bovine French-kissing with some tongue. No thanks. Anyway, he was quick to exclaim of the existence of a "Jewish" - they know their meats, no racial prejudice here. Back covered. - sandwich bar near his house, in the borough of Proxima Centauri that served the Sandwiches for which no explanation was worthy. He basically stood there drooling in front of me. Ok, he didn't, but it amply demonstrates the state I'm left in when I think back to...

*Wipe up*

The sandwiches. I've driven to his galaxy a couple of times just for the sandwiches. So, unbiased breakdown:

~ Starter ~
- Krablake Soup? Krablach? KRBAJCLLALCH? I think that's how its spelt

Quite a plain soup, but it is hardly the main draw - I love dumplings, and this one is quite nice. I cannot quite recall any notes on the flavour, other than a large grained texture which means absolutely nothing. I doubt "Large grained texture" means anything in terms of flavour. Gravel is large grained? Anyway, it is a simple dumpling, not overly spiced, not overly complicated in flavour, but certainly homely.

~ Main Course ~
- "THE" Epic Sandwiches of Destiny

"THE" being Salt Beef sandwiches on Rye Bread. I cannot throw drool at the screen and hope it explains the event of eating them - and no, I am not overcompensating for a sandwich - so, here goes. They. Make me giggle, like a little girl. I literally, stare at it before eating, then slowly commence. If I'm sounding like a dirty old pervert, I'm feeling like one typing this. It is just a two slices of rye-bread, a metric tonne of perfect Salt Beef, and a good dollop of French Mustard, along with a couple of pickle slices. Somehow however, it is just so much more.

The aniseed quality of the bread, the sweetness of the pickle, and the, well, abundance of earthy beef, just meld into a delicious mush. ARGH. It is epic. There is just the right amount of fat in the meat as well to give that special taste, yet allow you to lie in blissful denial that you're eating healthier. Nothing this good is healthy. Not concerned. In the slightest. It is really my favourite sandwich ever. EVRAR. And ever more. And I do not think I have exaggerated in my explanation. For cereal.

Addendum [07/02/2011] - Had another. Boringly Epic as always. Almost ate the plate. That is all.
Addendum [11/08/2011] - As above.

~ Dessert ~
- Some Spaghetti Thing with Raisins and a funny name

Meh, was not a fan of this - I was hoping, wheat based sweet dessert pudding, full of wins! Except, I hate raisins, and as I rediscovered, I hate pineapple juice. These were in abundance supply in this dessert. And it was not that sweet. Hmph.

- Home-made Apple Strudel [07/02/2011]

What is the deal with these guys? Really cannot stand their fitting form in creating absolutely more-ish/crack-influenced food . It's making me fat :(. Good thing they are about 60mi away then or I'd be heading towards a whole load of John Candy-ish cliche's.

On this visit, I forfeited the Soup whose name contains no vowels, in order to fully enjoy a dessert, and as the home-made options are limited to two, and I was not a fan of the previous, natural selection fell to the aforementioned. My stomach whimpered when I saw the brick of pastry being served out for me and Huzaifah, after having just consumed a herd's worth of Salt Beef. Oh well, it's a hard life. And on first bite, I was alerted. Confused. Bewildered. Despondent. Elated. Scared. Random adjectives that have no relation to anything etc ^_^

But seriously, I was slightly caught off guard as the strudel was not as sweet as I had envisioned it to be, and it was also loaded with raisins. Hmph. However, that crystal clear defining moment came with the pairing of the vanilla ice-cream scoop with the strudel. There has actually never been a better pairing in this universe, not with Adam and Eve, Hippies and Hemp, nor Idiot Scientologists and their Suitable Leader. At once the perfect sweetness was achieved, with a satisfying creaminess from the ice-cream that was punched through by the Cinnamon in the strudel. Of particular mention is just how well the sweetness matched, for it was not sickly sweet, but it was plenty creamy - they obviously selected their ice-cream well. So well, that I similarly struggled to not add some ceramics in my diet that evening. It was a struggle to allow time to breathe when consuming this as well.

The apples were a bit hard, but that essentially means nothing to me, and at least allowed some respite from the gorging. A lovely, well balanced dessert. I know, I complimented a dessert, so unlike me right? Yeah, stfu.

I spent the next 15 minutes just, in a pleasure-lull, wondering whether to have another, then picturing myself with John Candy's face..

- Lokshen Pudding with Vanilla Ice-Cream, i.e. "Some Spaghetti Thing with Raisins and a funny name" [11/08/2011]

Impatient for my usual company for B&K, I went alone recently to cap off a disgustingly indulgent day [one of my recently], and to cap it off, after the ubiquitous Salt Beef Sandwich of destiny, it was time for dessert. My latest choice was the strudel as seen above, and before that the Pasta Pie. There was also vanilla cheesecake. And I was quite torn - admittedly I was not quite swayed by the Lokshen the last time round, but that was predominately for the fact that it was drowned in pineapple juice, the Strudel was had but 6 months ago, and I still have the cheesecake I made at home. So it was decided I should have the Lokshen, with some vanilla ice-cream this time.

It was fortunate I only ate half of the sandwich - the size of the standard scoop size of ice-cream should create some scale, they certainly are generous at B&K, though, having driven 50mi to get there, it's all appreciated. And, an almost complete change of face. Without the overpowering aroma of Del Monte suffused/infused/poisoned into the Lokshen, the delicate sweetness, supplemented by the just right temperature was very comforting. The rich, but not overtly sweet vanilla ice-cream just added to it, helping to break up the brick of pasta. It was dense, but not incredibly so, and not rich to the point of paying for itself after having consumed it. Quite lovely, and despite essentially eclipsing me in size, I proved valiant in its defeat. Nom. 


Overall, well, what else needs to be said? Combined with the quasi-illegal sandwich, very friendly staff, very decent pricing, that sandwich...*drool*

Impartial? As they say in Rome, "Tie'!", replete with unsubtle gesticulation. Kkthx.

B&K Salt Beef Bar on Urbanspoon
[I've gone all Mainstream now and feel dirty. I need a sandwich for consolation]

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