Fear X Loathing: A burger redemption

I am not one for food trends. Definitely not. Silly phrases and normally poorly thought through concepts. Chia seeds, bad. Ice cream stuffed macaroons, bad. Glooping Sriracha on anything that stays still long enough, bad, bad, bad.

With this disdain of having to be ‘on trend’ in mind I must admit I went into Fear X Loathing on West Street with a hint of trepidation. Fear X Loathing specialises in burgers and huge stacked burgers at that. They all rather oddly have the name Juicy in the title and I have to admit I’m not a massive burger fan. It also has the slight added disadvantage of being away from the Division Street Massive and their independent counterparts.

However. I can accept when I am wrong and this is one of those occasions, I have been wrong about burgers. The incredibly friendly staff were quick to recommend me a burger that whilst sounded like my worst mutant trendy nightmare was actually completely delicious.
They also persuaded me into halloumi bites and as I am a complete cheese fiend (as if fearxloathing4anyone didn’t know that yet) I snaffled them before you could say “what does cheese say to itself when it looks in the mirror”. Deep fried halloumi is always, always going to be a huge success in my book and this was particularly good. They have a range of in house made sauces that come in varying degrees of blow your brains out spicy. The chilli mayo one is so good that I could have licked the pot that they gave me. Crispy, slightly spicy, the halloumi was a win.

Moving on, the main event was…..are you ready for this…….a bacon frazzle burger. Yes. Yes, you read that right dear reader. A chicken patty topped with spinach and sun dried tomato and garlic sauce and yes most importantly bacon frazzles. As in the 90’s retro crisps that taste sod all to do with bacon and a lot to do with E numbers. Who cares though because they taste freaking amazing on a burger. The herb Crème fraîche was gorgeously creamy and it came with sweet potato fries. Fit. They were crispy, crunchy and yet creamy on the inside. The whole thing was absolutely massive so definitely worth the £12.50 price tag. Stop tutting it’s not that much.fearxloathing3

Even better Fear X Loathing do some cracking cocktails. On a high after my frazzletastic lunch I promised I’d be back that evening with Lovely Boy in tow and drink my own weight in cocktails.

Now. Reader. Forgive me. I can’t exactly remember what these cocktails were called due to the number consumed, however, I know I had a zingy lovely gin number which definitely fearxloathing1added to my one glass of wine glow. Lovely Boy had a chilli cocktail (pictured) which was perfectly balanced and had just the right kick you were looking for to keep you awake for a long Friday night.

We both really enjoyed it and it’s always great to have a bartender who knows what he’s talking about. Plus I had the always added advantage of making Lovely Boy jealous due to my frazzlmazing burger.

Must think of some frazzle puns……..

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Fear X Loathing
101 West St, Sheffield S1 4EQ

The Wick at Both Ends

So it’s like midnight. I’ve had far too many cocktails to be writing anything except a note to my sober self about how much water I should drink to stave off the mild headache I’m probably going to have tomorrow morning.

However, I don’t feel like I can wait, it was too good, I have to talk about the ridiculously amazing meal I just had at The Wick at Both Ends. Yes, you read that right The Wick at Both Ends. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a fan of the Wick, except for their truly terrible Lemon Drizzles that have lead to some of my more spectacular accidents in Sheffield. I’ve crawled in on Sunday afternoons with impressive hangovers and demanded one of their roasts, however, whilst always lovely, was never something to write home about.

This, this, however is something to not only write home about but send a blooming postcard to everyone I know about.

The concept has been completely flipped on it’s head. Gone are the mildly overpriced main dishes with no real theme. In it’s place is a short and stunning menu of small plates, bar bites and a couple of desserts. Plus there was a cheese board. You all know how I feel about cheese.

Housemates arrived and we proceeded to rather ruefully order one of pretty much everything. Pretty sure we ate more than anyone else there. Which equated to:

Snacks:

  • Green olives with dried chilli – Olives. Yum.
  • Pickled Jalapenos, smoked cheese – Now, I’m a fan of spice. This was too much and they were probably the biggest let down. Cheese. Yum though.
  • Honey mustard popcorn – Genuinely forgot this existed by the end of the meal was too excited eating everything else ever

Bar bites:

  • Cured meat board with quince jelly – Cue housemate choking at a mildly spicy piece of ham

Small plates:

  • Torched Mackerel, Burnt Apple, Dill, Watercress – Just torched enough so the skin was crispy, not burnt, perfect combo
  • Blade of Beef, Enoki Mushroom, Onion, Dashi  – Fancy jug of sauce to cook to mushrooms which caused us much delight, the beef fell to pieces as all good beef should wick 3
  • Pork Collar, Almond, Anchovy, Sage, New Potatoes – Might have actually been my highlight, and I don’t normally eat pork but the combo of salty tasty pork with fishy anchovy was beyond incredible (the cocktails are adding to my descriptive powers I see)
  • Cod, Chicken Skin, Cauliflower, Hazelnut – No, NO I was wrong. I take it back THIS was my favourite. I could have eaten twelve of them, chicken skin that made that satisfying crack with soft, perfectly cooked flaky cod. Cue drool all over my keyboard
  • Sea Trout, Camomile Butter, Sorrel, Leeks – Soft sea trout, maybe a slightly small portion but definitely perfectly formed
  • Chicken, Grilled Corn, Fava Beans, Roast Onion Sauce – The only let down of the small plates. Chicken was dry and uninspiring but to be fair if I’d eaten this without any of the other amazing dishes I probably wouldn’t have complained
  • Hake, Chorizo, Black Olive, Jersey Royals, Olive Oil – Refreshingly Mediterranean, perfect amount of tasty olive oil to make you feel like an indulgence, hake perfectly cooked. Tiny pieces of fish, not easy to cook well
  • Lamb Belly, Cucumber, Yoghurt, Harissa, Black Pepper – Don’t even like lamb. Didn’t even care. Supremely tasty lamb.

 

Sweets:

  • Chocolate Mousse, Meringue, Honeycomb – I hate sweet things so I didn’t bother with this but the home made honeycomb was super tasty. What crunchies everywhere dream of tasting like when they grow up
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  • Buttermilk Panna Cota, Cardamom, Strawberries – Again not a sweet person
    but the panna cotta had the perfect sexy wobble everyone bangs on about, housemates hooverd it up. Blink and you missed itwick1

Other:

  • Cheeseboard – We had two. That’s all that needs to be said about that

Sometimes I do wonder if I eat too much food. Anyway I’m slipping further and further into a food coma. I would highly recommend checking out both the new food and amazing new cocktail menu

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Don’t you remember?

What makes you remember a meal?

I’ve eaten many hundreds and thousands of meals in my life, some unforgettable, some diabolical, some lost in the void of time and some wasted due to stupid things like hangovers. However, there are certain meals that stick out in my memory.

These aren’t ones that were served in dog bowls, or other novelty kinds of plates, they didn’t have foams and no-one served them to me on a silver platter. These were meals that meant something.

Every time I’m sad, I rush back to the safety of Lincolnshire and my mother will without fail make me lasagne. It’s something I now cook when I’ve had a bad day as it makes me think of home and ‘Miss Dior’ perfume. Housemate  defaults to her Nan’s amazing veg crumble, other housemate shares stunning veggie recipes from her childhood and brother brings home memorable dishes from his travels. However, all of these examples are food cooked at home.

This leads to the question: ‘What makes me remember a meal from a restaurant?’ Is it overly fussy food in a white linen clad room where the “stars” matter more than the food? Is it a place that I can crawl into when I’m tired and in need of a glass of pinot or is it the place that I had my first date with that special someone? Either at home or out on the town I think good food is defiantly the clarity of flavours and the atmosphere that you’re in. I thought I’d share a few of my top food memories:

  • My mothers lasagne: I know I’ve already mentioned it but seriously. Crunchy, crispy, meaty, cheesy, to me: the epitome of comfort in a dish. This lasagne saw me through screwing up my A-levels to my first real broken heart (I was 16, obviously, and he was totally….totally the love of my life). Meat, pasta, béchamel, repeat, top with mozzarella and cheddar. Bam
  • Tapas @ Cerventes in Malaga: I love tapas darling. Not only was this the best tapas I’ve ever had but it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in general. Buttery leeks, perfectly cooked cod and a stew that made me eat lamb for the first time in about five years, this restaurant is the reason that my poor housemates are going to have to try hundreds of variations of cauliflower puree until i get it just right
  • BBQ on the beach: The long days of summer were getting shorter, the idea of autumn was in the air and it was a gorgeous night on a Welsh beach. We’d gone on an adventure and watched the sun go down. If I close my eyes I can still taste the blue cheesy mushrooms. Didn’t even have plates. Didn’t even care
  • Housemates Mac and Cheese: I’m incredibly blessed to have two amazing housemates, we talk till late into the night and do all the things good girl friends do together. The first time I was really poorly in the house, housemate sprang into action and cooked me the best Mac and Cheese of my life. Crunchy and cheesy what a winner
  • Seafood Biryani @ The Thali Cafe: I love this little hug of a café. Tucked away behind a brightly covered front it’s a mish mash of lovely staff, quirky décor and incredible food. It also does BYOB, a favourite of mine. The best meal I’ve had there so far is still the first time I went and discovered this place, not normally a Biryani fan this had the most fresh gorgeously spiced sea food ever. I still wake up thinking about it , it does what all good meals do. Brings back memories of a wonderful time in my life

#trendy

Five things I am immediately over, in fact I was over them five minutes ago:

  • Coconut Oil: If one more person tells me I should totally be roasting my potatoes, kale, carrots, hair etc etc in coconut oil I will probably lose it at them. I want to make one thing clear. I HATE COCONUT. I hate it. I think it’s awful and yet every healthy recipe going has coconut oil in. What happened people?! I know it’s low in whatever but people in the med pretty much BATHE in olive oil and they’re fine!  It’s not like I’m cooking everything in lard
  • Doughnuts: Not sure if it’s just me because I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, but does anyone really know the difference between a bro,cro,fro – nut and, more importantly, does anyone care!? I don’t want an ‘ice-cream-stuffed-brioche-style-baked-at-midnight-under-a-blue-moon-doughnut’ towering precariously on top of my milkshake thank you
  • ‘Clean eating’: I’m not being funny but would someone, anyone, like to actually define clean eating for me? I thought this was just a myth made up on instagram to make me feel like a whale for posting photos of my lasagne. No. No apparently it’s a real thing!? From what I can gather it means eating fruit and veg and cutting down on processed crap. Revolutionary. Right?
  • Deconstructed: I like my food constructed. The end
  • Chia Seeds: So these little things are cropping up in hipster venues everywhere. They are appearing mainly in porridge form. I use the term porridge very, very loosely. What it actually constitutes is something akin to what I imagine the texture of frogspawn to be. Horrendous. Plus they cost a bomb