Updated: May 19, 2020
Nasi Goreng - Ekachai
If you haven't yet been to Bali, I suggest that you go ASAP. It is a magical place where adventure meets peace and you can scrap your usual fast-paced lifestyle for a while. I met some great people in Bali, and I also got to eat some incredible food. One of the stand out dishes for me, was 'Nasi Goreng', also known as Indonesian fried rice.
Ekachai is my one of my favourite restaurants for South East Asian food. You can find a small branch of it in the depths of London's Flat Iron Square.
My Nasi Goreng came in a cute, branded brown box. Let's start with what I didn't like. Everything was put into that box. Granted, I was aware that my dish would come with prawn crackers, but I was a bit shocked to find the damp crackers in the corner when I opened the box up at work. Surprisingly, they did not crumble and were tasty! They really should have been put in some sort of bag, though. The salad should have come in a tub. A healthy dollop of sambal, Indonesia's signature spicy sauce (look at the sibilance, though), lay atop the rice. Whenever I was served sambal in Bali, it was always on the side. So, that is how I would have preferred it to come. On the side.
Moving onto the positives...the rice itself was delicious and had a slightly chewy quality to it. Sadly, I could not identify all of the spices used to give the dish its signature taste. I wish I could because it would be a lot more helpful than saying to you that it was "delicious", but we are where we are.
All I can say is, if you are a fan of rice dishes, this is worth a try. The portion size is also far from laughable.
The 'Hard Bowl' - Cook Daily
Years ago, in a land far away...in Croydon. (Haha, I joke; Croydon is misunderstood - very much a middle child) there was a BoxPark eatery named 'Cook Daily'. One day, I visited this branch with my stamped up loyalty card, ready to received, only to find that it had disappeared. Tears almost fell down my face but then I remembered I was in the land of abundance and got something else.
I travelled all the way up to Hackney for Cook Daily. It was worth it!
Fantastic portions and vibrant flavours.
It was a bit of a hassle finding enough seats for my party and I once we arrived (no reservations), but once we had established our spaces, everything was smooth from there.
I ordered the 'Hard Bowl'. The Hard Bowl is full of stew containing ackee, spelt dumplings, plantain, vegetables smothered over a bed of brown rice. For those who need evidence of where the slight kick comes from, there was also a bright red scotch bonnet pepper on top. I also had the deliciously fresh vegetable spring rolls.
Oh. The flavours.
The creaminess of the ackee, the generous helping of plantain, the chewy dumplings...I felt so warm inside eating this dish! Brown rice is the base of most of Cook Daily's dishes, and I feel that that is the right choice. Brown rice has less give and more bite. It doesn't get as soggy as white rice and takes more work to break down in the mouth. I like the complexity of it.
Do I recommend Cook Daily? Yes. I have been a lover of this brand's food since I found out about its conception and I will probably always be a fan.
Interested? You should be. Look! https://www.cookdaily.co.uk