The birthday celebrations continued over the weekend and on Sunday, I was taken to brunch by one of my best friends. Mexican food at Mestizo! We’d been saving trying this restaurant for an occasion and this was a good excuse to try their Sunday brunch buffet – only £20 per person! Booking in advance is advised.

Mestizo is located at a funny spot – very close to Euston station but very much feeling like a neighbourhood restaurant what with all the residential buildings around. Anyway, we arrived that Sunday to a very large spread of rather nice things to eat.

Taco Toppings Pork, Chicken and Empanadas

Tamales, Tortilla Chips, Salsas and Soups Salads and Enchiladas

Two gigantic containers of aguas frescas sat at one corner next to desserts and while we could go up to help ourselves, our waitress insisted on bringing over a jug of what we preferred most of the two – horchata (the other was tamarindo). I have a bad feeling I drank a lot of horchata, thus limiting my available eating space!

Horchata

I started with chips and salsa and a taco al pastor. Those homemade salsas were fresh and spicy and zingy and excellent on chips and tacos.

Chips and Salsas

I loved the sweetness from the pineapple with the grilled pork in my taco. Tacos, quesadillas and egg dishes are made by a man watching over a giant hot plate. Orders are placed with him (there’s a list of available fillings behind him) and he’ll call you over again when it’s ready to pick up. Then you go to town with the taco toppings (top left photo in the first batch of 4 in this post).

Taco Al Pastor

From the hot buffet, we tried a bit of everything. Here’s my plate with (roughly clockwise from 10 o’clock) a green chile chicken enchilada, a dried pork dish, stewed beef, chicken in a cream sauce, rice and beans, a tamal with beans, and an empanada with peppers and cheese. The stewed dishes were alright but I loved the simplicity of their beans and their enchilada was excellent. The tamal was delicious but oh so heavy.

A Bit of Everything

Two soups were available that day and both were new to us, thus both requiring sampling. Pozole was a very mild soup with giant corn kernels …

Pozole

… and menudo was tripe-based and the more tasty of the two. I like how soups can also be topped with various ingredients to one’s taste.

Menudo

There was another taco and a few more chips. And then another taco. I think my favourite things to eat there are their tacos.

We had to stop with the savouries to make room for desserts (our waiter insisted that we try them!). Homemade ice creams (that week they had rosemary and strawberry) were intensely creamy and full of flavour. Rosemary and Strawberry Ice Creams (Helados)

Their eggy flan casero was flavoured with orange and was delicious but by that point, we were truly struggling!

Flan Casero

It was a great brunch with a very good varied spread of typical and not so typical Mexican dishes and as it wasn’t too busy that day, they were fine with us lingering past the two hour limit (they have two seatings: one at 12:00 and the other at 14:00). It’s fun, it’s casual and is ideal for large groups. Thanks for the lovely brunch, Roxanne!

Mestizo
103 Hampstead Road
London NW1 3EL

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It must be pretty obvious now that the best stuff to eat in Leicester is South Asian food. There was a lot of immigration to the city in the last century and the majority of the immigrants were of South Asian origin and thus, there are now a lot of Asian restaurants from which to pick. Many of these are situated along Belgrave Road. My brother took us to one much further down Belgrave Road, where it changes to Melton Road. Here was a stand-alone building housing Feast India, a very popular buffet restaurant.

Feast India

I had no idea what to expect of Feast India but it wasn’t this! The place was big with lots of different counters (each given a cheesy name) and it was absolutely packed with diners made up of families and friends and work groups. Behind each of the counters was a man (or a small army of men) preparing fresh food. There was such variety but you still may not see what I got to try that night – my brother told me that a lot of the curries are under rotation.

Let’s have a look around at the food on offer! A tuk tuk greets you at the entrance. Apart from looking the part, it served double duty as a salad counter.

Tuk Tuk Salad Counter

In the middle was a big open kitchen with counters all around it – ‘Masala 360°‘, they called it. Here was a large selection of veggie and meat curries, freshly made flatbreads, rice and biryanis and fried starters. At one corner one could find all Indian-Chinese dishes – chicken and sweetcorn soup, chilli paneer, salt and pepper squid and more.

Masala 360

The Southern Indian foods and pizza stands are next to each other. The latter (‘Pizza Hatti‘) was offered slices of freshly made pizza with Indian toppings; while this was popular with children, I avoided it. I stuck to the ‘Balu’s Southern Bhavan‘ side of things with the dosa man making fresh dosas to order. From what I gathered, plain dosas, masala dosas and cheese dosas were definitely available. You could also order an uttapam or help yourself to idlis.

The Dosa Man

A variety of street snacks could be found at the ‘Bombay Chaat Waat‘. People were crowding around the man who prepared the pani puri, dipping stuffed puri bites in spiced water before depositing them onto your plate; they were all popping them right there and then.

Bombay Chaat Waat

At the ‘Great Kebab Factory‘, fresh kebabs and chicken and paneer tikkas were being grilled right under our noses.

The Great Kebab Factory

There was quite a selection of desserts too. These little cups caught my eye, all filled with jellies and yogurts and kheers. In addition, there was a selection of eggless cakes, some traditional Indian sweets and a whole ice cream display freezer full of kulfis and sorbets.

Desserts

I attempted to sample as much as possible that night. To see what everything on my plates was, please do click through on the photos to see where I’ve labelled everything on Flickr.

First, A Masala Dosa

My First Plate

My Second Plate

My Third Plate

My Dessert Plate

My Last Plate

I didn’t manage to try everything but I was utterly stuffed! The masala dosa was excellent, all thin and crispy, as were the sambhar and chutneys. The pani puri were also very good and I joined the group around the chaat man to munch on freshly prepared ones; leave them too long and they’ll be soggy. Biryanis and freshly made naans were fantastic. The vegetables and vegetable curries were all excellent and so too were most of the meat ones (the lamb curries could have been cooked to further tenderness though). The fish dishes, in particular, were brilliant – there was an excellent southern Indian fish curry and brilliant lime fish pakoras.

Skip the aloo tikki, which was hard to the point of inedible; I also found the kebabs a bit dry but perhaps I chose pieces that were too small as they were all going fast.

Desserts were fine though from my sampling of ice cream, go with the kulfi rather than the sorbet. The Indian sweets were all lovely – gulab jamun and a thick yogurt dessert were excellent.

The cost for dinner is currently £14.95 per person (£11.50 for Sunday lunch and less also for children). I’m definitely a fan! With the variety and quality on offer, it’s closer to the high-end buffets you find in Asia rather than here in the UK and gosh darn it, it’s fun. It’s a great place for large groups too but do book in advance.

Feast India
411 Melton Road
Leicester LE4 7PA

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It wasn’t the smartest decision I’d made in a long while. In a show of great ambition two weekends ago, I figured I was going to have a South Indian breakfast along Ealing Road, an area I’d been meaning to explore more, prior to meeting a number of food bloggers and tweeters at Pacific Plaza for lunch. Location wasn’t a problem as Ealing Road was just a 15 minute walk away from Wembley; what was a problem was my lack of discipline in the face of lots of Indian food.

Sakonis

It was Sakonis that I decided on, partially on a recommendation and partially on their breakfast buffet, perfect for a lone diner like me. It costs £4.50 and is only offered on weekends and bank holidays between 9 and 11am.

And what was on offer? Masala dosas, puris, upma, potato curry, idlis, sambar, yogurt, gathia, a spiced cabbage dish, coconut chutney, jalebis, chai. It’s vegetarian, if you hadn’t figured that out already. (Click through the photos for notes on what each item is.)

My First Plate

While everything was spiced, nothing was very hot in terms of chili heat; everyone can partake in this Indian buffet. The dosas were still crisp but the potato filling inside was just ok – make up for this with the delicious potato curry. The sambar is lovely with it too as well as the puris and idlis (oh, by the way, an idli soaked in sambar is a wonderful thing). The cabbage dish on offer reminded me of a stir-fried Indian cabbage dish I cook at home with lots of mustard seeds. And I’m already thinking of my next visit when I’ll top a bowlful of potato curry with cold, fresh yogurt and lots of the crunchy gathia! It’s a great introduction to South Indian breakfasts.

The popular dishes were refilled quite quickly, every 10 minutes in the case of the masala dosas. One man put away at least 5 of them!

My Second Plate

Two platefuls. Honest, that’s all I had. (Ok, ok, and a jalebi.)

Jalebi

Then why did my stomach refuse to take in any more food two hours later? (It’s most likely to do with the fact that I hardly ever eat breakfast most days.) We ordered a ridiculous spread at the Pacific Plaza food court and I didn’t really do it justice. I did better (read: consumed more food) towards the end of lunch though!

Sakonis
127-129 Ealing Road
Wembley
London  HA0 4BP

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