Updated: May 19
Good day to all of you!
I guess we have to address the elephant in the room. My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected in any way by COVID-19. I will also keep in my thoughts, the many small food business owners that have had to make such drastic and life-changing decisions within a matter of days. Regrettably, I won't be able to eat out and support in the typical ways I am used to doing. However, I will do what is in my power to do to support. Same goes for all of the wonderful people who are helping make everything easier for their communities - the healthcare workers, the shop employees...all of you. I encourage you all to do what you can too.
I know this is a heavy time for us all, but hopefully this post will help redirect your focus for a while, even if just for a couple of minutes.
On one cold evening in January, I stood outside a poplar roti spot in Euston. Aghast. The queue just kept going and going. I took a sneaky and purposely blurry (face protection) photo from a distance and sent to my friend. We soon decided that we were too good to queue. After about fifteen minutes of going through Google results, we decided to visit a Sri Lankan restaurant in Victoria. So we took the tube to Victoria. We left the station. The cold air pinched our faces as we walked. We turned to the right. Wait! What is that? It was a place we had seen whilst searching on Google for a worth-the-money eatery. It was called Market Hall Victoria. Plans averted, we bounced towards the building, showed our IDs and entered.
What a world.
So we ended up getting roti! We really wanted it, and actually, there weren't that many places surrounding where we were initially that had this as a menu item.
I had the Roti Canai with the Dhall. Two pieces of buttery, silky, flaky flat bread with a well seasoned, soupy dhall...I was actually in love. It was a simple dish and stood strong without needing any extras.
Roti canai is a type of flatbread that originated in India and is typically eaten in certain Asian countries, like Malaysia for example. It can be eaten as part of a savoury dish or as a sweet dish. I would love to try it sweet! I feel it would taste just like a crepe.
I think the dhall was very tasty, albeit a tiny bit watery. I know that the way dhall is cooked varies from region to region. I like a more chunky dhall because I enjoy the texture. Plus, it is easy to pick up with bread / roti. So as you've probably guessed, the main reason for why I mentioned the wateriness of the dhall was because I'm greedy and wanted to to be able sop up every ounce of the orange deliciousness. Sadly, I can't describe the flavours down to the spices, so you'll have to just trust my judgement here.
The Casarecce with Fresh Tomato Sauce. Hm. Could it be because the dish was cheese-less that I felt underwhelmed?
Pasta shape is very, very important. Do you think fusilli belongs in 'Mac' and cheese? Yes? Time for you to leave.
I came to the conclusion after trying this dish that Casarecce is not a pasta that I really enjoy. I normally really enjoy al dente pasta (for me, it is the only way) but something about this pasta left me feeling cold. The tomato sauce was not very flavoursome, and because the pasta was so dense, I found myself focusing more on the texture than the taste, which for me was lacking.
This is a simple dish. And I am aware that cheese may have brought out a dimension of the dish that I would have appreciated. However, it shouldn't take something negotiable to make a dish complete and ready to be served. I needed more flavour and for the pasta to be softer. I will say that all of this is down to my preferences. Some people like harder pasta and for the taste of the accompanying tomato sauce to be more delicate. So you may enjoy this dish.
Prior to stuffing my face with pasta, I indulged in Cook Daily's Vegan ‘Chickn’ Bites in Teriyaki Glaze. They really resembled chicken even when bitten into. They were slightly more airy than your typical poultry bites but the juices that oozed out of them, whether or not this was a result of the glaze, made it that much more pleasantly deceitful.
The glaze was sweet and syrupy, with the savoury elements cutting that slightly and giving the bites a titchy bit of sourness.
The presentation was lovely; a generous garnishing of spring onions and a monochrome arrangement of sesame seeds. I think the spring onions also balanced out the flavours, though I couldn't finish all of them - they were strong, but that is how onions are.
We arrived to Market Halls on a Friday evening, so naturally, we were not expecting to be dining with only three other people occupying the space. It was very busy, but we managed to clock and secure a space for two within about three minutes. The venue is choc-a-bloc with vendor huts offering foods from apple crumble to dim sum. It is a stone's throw away from Victoria Station and definitely worth visiting.
Stay safe, everyone and please remember to keep your vibrations high. Eat more nutritious food. Keep moving your body and exercising your mind. Listen more.
Here is the website for Market Halls: https://www.markethalls.co.uk/market/victoria