Lunches in London usually fall into two distinct categories for me now that I'm no longer actually living in the city. Either I'm after somewhere for a long, leisurely meal with lots of good food, wine and cocktails with friends (see most recently my new favourite Sunday spot, John Doe in Westbourne Park) or somewhere with good, quick food that you can share over conversation with good soft drinks, that work for lunch meetings. The girls at Hope & Glory PR let me choose where we'd eat for our meeting the other week, and I think we ended up stumbling across a working lunch gem: KIN on Leather Lane in Clerkenwell.
KIN serves up Asian street food. They have a stall outside the restaurant mingling with all of the other delicious smells that waft up the lane and a counter where you can order to go. It is just nice that they also have a proper restaurant you can sit down in, too. The menu is also crafted nicely so you can either eat as street food, filling the table up with lots of little dishes to share, or that you can have a big noodle, rice or salad dish each for a proper working lunch, to eat in or to go.
While I do need to head back when I'm not working as they have a pretty fantastic looking cocktail menu (lychee mojitos, guava collins or mango and chilli margaritas, anyone?), we went for the two different Asian style iced teas they had on the menu. My Jasmine Iced Tea was super refreshing (if not a little bit sharp, but I usually like my jasmine tea barely brewed), and while I'm usually not a fan of milky things, Phoebe's Thai Iced Tea, a blend of black tea, spice and condensed milk was super addictive. If you're the sort of person who usually can handle a milkshake with a meal, this is the iced tea for you.
Hettie and I went for the Bun Bowls. Massive great bowls of cold rice noodles, topped off with lightly pickled cucumber and carrot, lot of fresh mint and coriander leaves, fresh chilli, peanuts and bun cha, glazed pork strips (you can get them with satay chicken instead), with a little bowl of dipping sauce to pour over as you go on the side. To be honest, I could not stop raving about this bowl for the rest of the afternoon. It was fresh, bright, filling, the sauce was super addictive, and I could have gone on eating it for ever.
Phoebe had the classic Pad Thai, made with chicken. I only stole a bite, but it was a good, solid, authentic Pad Thai, but super spicy, so watch out if you're not so good with things that have a lot of heat. I don't know what it is, but ever since I first had Pad Thai as street food on Brick Lane as a teenager, it has been something I've become no longer happy with at home versions of - but that does not mean I'm going to stop trying!
Finally, it is a serious error to go to any Asian restaurant that has gyoza dumplings on the menu without sampling a couple. So, nothing in my book will quite be up to the standard of my favourite pork gyoza at Tamago in Canterbury, these were gloriously sweet, crispy and full of flavour with a superb dipping sauce. The perfect little side if you're going for the larger dishes on the menu, but you don't want to miss out on the sharing front.
Speaking of serious errors, looking now on the menu online, I've realised that I simply have to go back, as we did not have time for dessert. As well as the Thai style banana fritters I usually love ordering at Thai Time in Sandwich, they also have my all time favourite ice cram flavour: matcha.
I don't think I know enough good Asian restaurants in London, so I'd love to get some more recommendations, considering it is one of my favourite types of food. In other news, stay tuned as on the restaurant front over the next few weeks I've hopefully got an Italian restaurant (and hopefully a sushi restaurant) in London for you all to take a look at, and French and Korean places in Los Angeles.