Travels through South East Asia have produced some of The Dumbwaiter's culinary highlights - pho from the side streets of Hanoi, hidden ramen bars in Tokyo. But too often the search for these flavours and experiences back home ends in disappointment. At Mookrata (currently popping up above Shuang Shuang) The Dumbwaiter was transported back to the banks of the Mekong in sleepy Laos. Black Bird broth enriched with the juices of freshly barbequed meat is as good as he can remember.
After an impressive meal at Aside recently, The Dumbwaiter has been eager to try another of the restaurants from the Peckham-based Spike + Earl/Old Spike team. Coal Rooms didn’t disappoint and The Dumbwaiter enjoyed a tangy, coal roasted cauliflower with miso bagna cauda and furikake before crispy soft shell crab in a brown crab curry with puffed rice. Professor Green also counts himself among the patrons of Coal Rooms, declaring his roast last Sunday to be “Fuckin’ blindin’”.
After a night solving puzzles for his drinks at The Bletchley, The Dumbwaiter popped over to one of the King's Roads newer additions, Ritorno. The Dumbwaiter enjoyed celeriac flan with artichoke and black truffle alongside succulent lamb chops, but the highlight was grilled octopus atop a Sicilian ratatouille. Regretfully, having greedily filled up on bread, there was no room for something sweet.
In an attempt to escape the January cold, The Dumbwaiter hopped on a plane to sunny Sri Lanka. Having worked up an appetite exploring Galle Fort, he stumbled across a little gem called Lucky Fort, hidden down a side road and run by a local family. Highlights were the devilled chicken, the daal and the okra – a superb snapshot of what Sri Lankan cuisine has to offer, in an authentic setting.