18 September 2015

The Magic Roundabout, No Dougal just Disco, Old Street, London

Firstly does anyone else remember the TV show The Magic Roundabout? I used to love it, looking back the whole production looks like it was produced by someone on a psychadelic trip but hey ho. Growing up in the Falklands we only used to get one tv channel (mind blowing), and the programs I watched were all reruns from the 60s to the 80s, we're talking Roobarb and Custard, Banana man and Stingray. Also the Moomins, Clangers and Rainbow, I could go on. Hey I'm a 90's babe but as a child my tv taste was much older than my years.

Anyway when I found out that The Magic Roundabout, an outdoor permanent pop up offering cocktails, burgers and excellent seafood, was opening on top of Old Street station my immediate thoughts were is it going to be psychodelic inspired and will Dougal be there? Answer: there was no flower eating dog (aka Dougal to those kids born outside of the 80s who didn't live close to the South Pole). However, there was lots of disco music, trippy graffiti and cool yuppies a plenty, so I think we can say yes it's inspired.

I'm a self declared street food lover. Be it a farmers market, pop up or random street stall adventure, I like to hunt all the food available down. If we're going away on holiday it's the first thing I look for before we go (coincidentally does anyone know if there's a market in Reykjavík that's open all year round?).

When I heard about The Magic Roundabout and saw the massive whole BBQ'd crabs at Prawnography I knew I had to round up the troops for our latest food attack. And who better to take to a pop up (is it a pop up if there's no end date?) serving all things under the sea than my two skittish seafood haters Sophie and Frankie, and my partner in crab desiccation Gianni. It's not entirely fair or true to say Sophie and Frankie hate fish but let's call it poetic or blogger licence.
At first unsure that this pop up was for them, I swung my second plan of attack at Sophie and Frankie 'there'll be burgers, cocktails and a free reign on gossiping'. Sold, we set a date and headed on down to stuff ourselves silly.
Finding the entrance to The Magic Roundabout is easy if you know where to go (name that movie quote). We stumbled around for a good while searching outside of Old Street station until Sophie turned up and showed us the light. FYI come out of the ticket barriers and turn left then it's on the left hand side surrounded by bouncers. Humiliation at failing to spot the mass of bouncers at the stairs up on to Old Street roundabout led to me drowning my sorrows in cocktails while catching up with the ladies that pop-unch...just go with it.
My cocktail was nice and refreshing, nothing to write home or in this blog about but there it is. London cocktail prices are generally expensive, a lot of the time it's worth it but for this I just thought it was a bit basic for essentially £10 (give or take a few quid). They've done a good job at circling off the area to avoid most of the road noise, which also means you lose the panoramic 360 view of the road outside the pop up. Aside from the view up being surrounded by skyscrapers you wouldn't know you were on a roundabout it's more like a hipster beer garden with no inside (aka don't go on a rainy day).


Embarrassment over, cocktail down, sites captured, we split up to search for food. At the moment there's only two foodie outlets but don't let that put you off. I'm a solid believer of in quality over quantity and both of these pop ups are excellent. Like top 10 street food stalls ever excellent.
Gianni and I clubbed together to split the cost (£ was a large crab) of a whole Spider Crab and chips from Prawnography. After being told it'd be 20 minutes and arriving 40 minutes later (we were apologised to several times in that period). It arrived looking magnificent, king of the crustaceans, complete with two apology BBQ'd bacon wrapped scallops. You know an apology is sincere when it comes with food.
The bacon wrapped scallop was delicious, seriously good. One of the things I can't wait for when we get a house with a garden is to be able to bbq everything and anything I want daily, and scallops are right up there on my bbq wish list. Some people take their gardens for granted, not me though I'll be out there bbq'ing a turkey for Christmas (#bigplans).
After some bashing, thrashing and some very scared looks from Frankie, the crab was broken into and the meat enjoyed. I love crab, coming from a seaside town we used to eat a lot of fresh fish and crab claws used to be my favourite meal. With their long spindly legs spider crabs are a bit harder to break into than I imagined. The brown crab meat had melted away and became a good salty sauce for the chips, which was super rich.
It's definitely worth a go, although next time I'll be sampling the bbq'd king prawns or one of their fish of the day dishes. If you hit up the crab, bare in mind this dish is not for the lazy lay abouts. This is a working woman's dish so be prepared to put your back into it!

Crab tackled, I'm ashamed (not really) to say I then went on to eat a Grizzly Bear Burger from Burger Bear. I mean how could I resist when Sophie and Frankie ate theirs, the Grizzly Bear Burger was awesome, we're talking American Cheese, Bacon Jam, Bacon on top of a Beef Patty and a touch of salad. It was dreamy, the buns as well, although not as good as Bill and Beaks at Kerb (see here) were a pretty close second.

Sophie, Lauren and I recently went to Mr Hyde's National Burger Day celebrations at Street Feast and the queue for the Grizzly Bear Burger was at least 30 minutes long. It was ridiculous. It's a great burger but cut the queue and head to The Magic Roundabout if you see the stand out and about. I wanted to try the Angry Bear Burger, but after seeing Frankie cry tears into her brioche bun I thought I'd give it a miss.

Another cocktail later, the disco started heating up as the DJ cranked up the volume. I'll be honest, for me this is super off putting as you can't speak to each other and ruins the dining experience, but hey I'm a nightclub hater for exactly the same reason and I'm sure there's someone, somewhere who is loving it. It's probably the DJ. Based on this we cut the night short, but let's be honest I couldn't have eaten another crab so it's a probably a good thing. If like me you prefer music to stay in the background while you eat, hit up The Magic Roundabout in the day for fabulous, mouth watering, Michelin star quality seafood and burgers for those extra hungry readers.

Look at that beaut above, I'm so spoilt by burgers in London. This is definitely one of the best I've had but I'm always up for the next burger challenge. Tell me your ultimate favourite burger in a comment below and I'll make sure I take it on and devour it. I'm super excited to head to Iceland, it's only a couple of weeks away (EEK!) and it'll be the first time I've been away and know absolutely none of the language (need to correct that pronto, preferably before we go away!!!) so I'm really nervous. If anyone has any tips for things to do or eat (mostly eat) in Reykjavik, please let me know. We're going to be staying in a self catered apartment so any tips on where to shop for food is also much appreciated! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend, I'm excited to spend mine with my friend Kimi who's coming over from Hamburg for the weekend. I'm thinking lots of food, wine and chick flicks are needed (aka Pitch Perfect). Anyway peace out pitches (you can be a man pitch if you're that way inclined).

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