Review: A Place Called Common

Common 2Every few weeks I go out for a cheap dinner with friends for a little catch up. As unimaginative as this is, we normally just debate between curry-mile and Nandos, both excellent hangover cures, and both, might I add (although this may result in the confiscation of my foodie credentials), delicious! A couple of weeks ago though the others decided they were ready to spread their culinary wings so I suggested somewhere new we could try.

We decided to turn hipster for the evening and head to the northern quarter, to A Place Called Common. This bar come restaurant is neighbours with home sweet home which I previously reviewed on here. Common is like home sweet home’s elder, more sophisticated and rebellious sibling. Here American diner grub is not only done well it is done with style. The decor is trendy without being so Dr Martin wearing, roll-up smoking and craft beer drinking as to make you feel uncool and uncomfortable. (although they do have a great selection of slightly pricey craft beers).

Common 1The menu is the standard American fare that all aspiring-to-be-cool places serve up these days but with a few interesting additions. A couple of my mates went for classic dishes, both the chicken avocado and bacon sandwich and the maple bacon burger looked delicious. As did their chilli-con-carne ingeniously served in tortilla bowls, and, most importantly, accompanied by all the proper stuff. I had the pulled pork bun with kimchi slaw. It was great, the pulled pork was beautifully soft but with some crispy bits and the kimchi slaw was a perfect accompaniment. I thought they pulled off a clever and delicious version of an over-done, and often badly-done, dish.

Overall I would highly recommend this place. It does fit into the oh-so-trendy american diner category of bar, which is a completely saturated market, but, if you fancy a burger or even a craft beer, this is as good a place as any (and better than most!).

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Salmon Supper for Parents

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There has been an incident at my house. The equilibrium of our middle class lives has been shattered. My mum has sprained her ankle. It is the biggest news of the year. The ground troops have been called in for back up, i.e. me. My first good turn (a brownie guide must do three good turns everyday) as substitute woman of the house was to cook everyone dinner. Sound easy, not so. My dad had been instructed to buy Salmon, easy dinner she thought. My first thought was salmon tacos with guacamole, roasted peppers and rice. My dad doesn’t really like Mexican. So then maybe a nice warm salmon salad with grilled courgette. He doesn’t really like salad either. Basically give my dad an overcooked pork chop with overcooked veggies and boiled potatoes and ┬áhe will be happy, he’s old-fashioned that way. The recipe I came up with is traditional with a twist. It was completely made up but I think it works. It is not the cheapest dish in the world but for entertaining or pleasing fussy parents it is perfect.

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By far the easiest way to cook salmon, or any fish in fact, is in a tinfoil parcel, in the oven. You don’t get the crispy skin that frying would give but on the other hand the fish will not dry out, it stays lovely and flakey. If this recipe looks a little complex/ pricey for you you could equally make the risotto on it own but I would add a little grated parmesan and perhaps some int to give it more depth of flavour. You could also save money by using less salmon and at the last minute, just before adding the veggies, stirring it into the risotto. This is a bit less fancy but equally delicious!

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