Reviewed: Newtons Restaurant and Bar, Clapham

Hi all. I hope the week has started well for you all. Today its time for another review, this time of a great restaurant I went to recently. Anyone familiar with the Clapham area, might have heard of Abbeville Road. Ive been down there a few times and every time vowed to try the range of enticing independent restaurants, but never got around to it until now. Me and boyfriend have developed a slightly above average love of sharing platters and deli boards recently – it all kicked off after a visit to a vineyard in Australia where we indulged in Sauvignon Blanc and hummus, bread, olives and deli meats, and it has kind of spiralled out of control since then! Anyway, this in mind, we stopped at a restaurant called Newtons, and spotted a charcuterie board on the menu. Gleefully, we mentally booked ourselves in for Friday night as the weather was set to be scorching (and scorching it was. 31 degrees to be precise!) and they had an adorable outside seating area, which looked perfect to watch the world go by and the sun set.

We made a reservation online, through their very smart looking website. I really appreciate a good website, particularly for independent restaurants. I often find that small business often scrimp on the website and don’t see it as hugely important if they’re not a huge chain following endless brand standards, but it really makes a difference. The way we live now involves seeing something that interests us, and instead of finding out more in person, what do we do? We google it. I saw Newtons and it looked great. Did I go inside and book a table? No, I googled it to see more. A bad website can put you off somewhere instantly. Anyway, the website was really cool. So that was an irrelevant rant really wasn’t it. Sorry.

Their booking system is hosted by Open Table, and by booking through them we got 20% off our food bill, which was great. What’s more, when we arrived, we were told it was happy hour and all cocktails were 2 for 1. Pretty good for a Friday afternoon. That was all the encouragement we needed to get straight onto the mojitos, and thus we did! The staff were really welcoming, and having requested a table outside, we were seated straight away. We informed our waitress that we would start with some starters and potentially have mains afterwards, as we weren’t sure how hungry we were, and she was fine with that. We started with the charcuterie board and the bruschetta, which were both really really good. The board had a great and plentiful selection of meats, pitted olives, salad and artisan breads (though the bread lover in me would have liked a tiny bit more bread to go with the quantity of meats). The bruschetta was amazing as well. Laden with buffalo mozzarella and balsamic glaze, it was warm and delicious. I could have eaten 20 of them! Having concluded we were both still hungry, but not hungry enough for a full main, we shared the supreme of chicken, which was stuffed with mozzarella and pesto, and served with potatoes. We also ordered some chunky chips on the side as they looked so good on the table next to us! It was really good food, reasonably priced, and a really good selection. I could easily go back there again and have something different every time. There is a lot of seafood that sounds delicious, but I’m allergic, although I expect it would be very popular among fish lovers. Check out their menus here.

All in all, it was a great visit, and I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion or just a weekend treat. Thank you, Newtons!

They do use Twitter, though they haven’t tweeted for a while, but you can follow them at @newtonsclapham, and catch them on Facebook here.

Here’s some pics I took of the visit and our food! Enjoy, and make sure you pay them a visit soon!

IMG_0457 IMG_0458 IMG_0460 IMG_0461 IMG_0462 IMG_0463 IMG_0464 IMG_0465

 

Chinese Dumplings Cook Off From One Side of the World to the Other

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely obsessed with oriental food. Moving from my small home town to the bright lights of London, one of the first things I learned was, there’s more to life than Wagamama. London is packed with loads of authentic chinese and japanese restaurants that are much better than main stream chains, and my go-to choice of entrees are ALWAYS dumplings. Or gyoza, for the intellectual linguists amongst us. When I was in Australia, the suburbs are actually packed with restaurants specialising in dumplings, so I was in food heaven! Only problem is, I’ve been harbouring a severe allergy to shellfish, which eliminates a high proportion of restaurants, as they don’t offer plain chicken, beef or pork on their own. After finally tracking down some plainer ones, my boyfriend and I vowed that we would learn to master them at home ourselves. We decided we would make them together over Skype, in the evening his time (which was sadly 10.30am for me, but by the time we had finished it was like an early lunch). They actually turned out really well, and they’re super easy to make, really cheap, and actually pretty healthy (about 30-40 calories per dumpling, depending on fillings). A great treat for a down day!

Anyway, I snapped some pics of our progress, and how they turned out! Thought I would share it with everyone! I based mine on an online recipe for help with the dough, but the filling and cooking was all our own!

1. Create the dough (yes, we made this from scratch!). Its simply plain flour and water. I used 140g of flour and 150ml of very very hot water. This dough makes enough for about 15 dumplings. Mix the two together in a bowl until it makes a ball of dough.

2. Kneed the dough for about 6-8 minutes until its smooth and stretchy.

IMG_7282

3. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave while you make your fillings. (I’m unsure exactly what this is for, but a few recipes I had looked at online told me to do it, so I did.)

4. Chop up chives, four spring onions, two chilli peppers, two cloves of garlic, and one chicken breast into the smallest pieces you can. If you have a food processor, mince it and mix it together. I pre-cooked my chicken, but the bf used his raw. Neither of us died so its up to you. I’m just a serious raw chicken germophobe, so I pre-cooked mine. Just remember to make sure its cooked through at the final stage, particularly if you’ve used raw chicken. You’ll need to cook them a little longer if you have.

5. With your mixed up filling, add a bit of soy sauce (as much as you feel you need to get the ingredients to stick together), and some chilli oil if you like it spicy.

IMG_7283

6. Take out your dough, and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape, about the circumference or your thumb and forefinger when you make a circle. Cut the sausage shape into equal pieces. Usually about 15.

7. Roll each one into a circle shape, put a bit of filling in the middle (only a little bit – you don’t want to over stuff them), and fold the dough over like a pasty. Dab water onto the edges to make them stick, and press together with your fingers to make the edges flat. It looks a bit like the back of a stegosaurus.

IMG_7284

IMG_7286

8. Once you’ve used all your dough and filling (the above proportions should make it just about exact), you can either fry or steam your dumplings. For frying, use a shallow pan, heat some oil until its hot, and place the dumpling in. Let it sizzle in the oil (use more chilli oil for more flavour if you like), and flip it onto both sides until they brown off. (Leave them for longer if you’re waiting for the chicken inside to cook). Also try and get the base side to flatten and let it stand up like that for a while too. For steaming, I tried various options as I didn’t have my steamer here with me, but the easiest and most effective method was just plop the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the dough becomes, somewhat, chewy. You’ll be able to tell by watching the colour and texture change. Remove with a draining spoon and serve!

9. For dipping sauce, use either soy sauce on its own, or add chilli oil or fresh chillies, and some chinese rice wine/vinegar. Serve as an entree, or on a bed of egg/chicken fried rice as a main course!

IMG_7287

Easy and SO delicious!

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Love always

Coco xx