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I realized on my second visit to Foley’s last week, I’d been to Foley’s before but I hadn’t BEEN to Foley’s before, do you know what I mean?
If you haven’t been to Foley’s 1. shame on you hun and 2. no, you won’t get what I mean. one of the joys about Foley’s aside from the food is the fact that there are so many little gems on the menu, two visits aren’t even enough to try all of the good cuisines. First things first: Foley’s is welcoming. It’s actually welcoming in a way I think newer restaurants in the city have totally forgotten. In fact, one of the reasons I like dining in Essex over the city is because in Essex we have remembered it’s all about how you FEEL when you visit a restaurant. Walking into Foley’s feels like being embraced by an old friend. Familiar. Relaxed. No needlessly expensive paintings or “trinkets” collected by the waitress on her travels through South America (seriously, FYI ALL London restaurant, the trinkets have to go, PLEASE).
Now that my palette is refined enough for the spectacular, one of the things that makes a restaurant stand out for me is how much the staff know about the food. All too many times I’ve been trapped in a restaurant, already ordered a starter and a drink, only to have the waiter look at me as if to say “I wouldn’t eat that shit” when I ask him how he feels about the ribeye. Not only has Foley’s got one of the best-looking staff teams in the UK (honestly, it’s a joke how attractive they are), but all of the staff REALLY know the food. In fact, you could probably throw out the most RANDOM request to the wait staff and have it accommodated. Something like “oh hello, I’d like to eat something that reminds me of being a factory owner in the industrial revolution”, and trust me, you’d get a good recommendation.
I love that the menu is “Asian-inspired” which basically means yes it is Asian but if they want to do something a little bit out there they will, and they will get away with it. This review will be an absolute travesty is I do not start with the Wagyu Gyoza. Gyoza are not a usual choice for me. I have a hard time trusting things when I cannot see what is inside them. The truffle paste sold it for me. I had truffle oil when I went to Le Versace in Thailand and fell in love. Not fabulously easy to fit into everyday cooking though. Cheese, tomato and truffle oil toastie anyone?
The part that absolutely made it for me was the Ponzu Pearls. I’m still not 100% sure what they are but I liked them. The Gyoza at Foley’s were possibly the nicest ones I’ve ever had. They absolutely melted in your mouth. You know how satisfying it is watching those videos where people cut through sand? Well, that is how satisfying eating a Foley’s Gyoza is. As well as our main meals, we also gave the Sigeumchi Salad a try, which is basically a very fancy spinach salad. This dish is actually a bit DIY, and luckily enough my dining partner allowed me to be the person who did the mashing of the salad into the wonderfully roasted sesame dressing (you can see this on my upcoming vlog ‘Things I Put In My Mouth“).
Around the time we were still grasping the concept of the spinach salad, our mains came. The first time I went to Foley’s, I tried a little bit of everything. This time, I tried a bit of everything else. I am a fan of ordering lots of dishes to all share, which is lovely, but some days, only a main dish to yourself will cut it. I wasn’t leaving anything to chance here. I was ordering a full dish and one I knew I’d love. The Chicken Sate at Foley’s is a spectacular choice. Forget the satay that you get from the local Chinese because Foley’s Chicken Sate absolutely bursts with flavour. When you eat Foley’s Chicken Sate you will wonder how you ever deemed any other satay acceptable. You probably won’t be able to ever eat satay from anywhere else again. The sauce seems to permeate the chicken in such a way I can never achieve when I marinade my birds in Nando’s peri peri.
Now I know what you are thinking: “This is an Asian inspired restaurant, and you love rice, get on to the rice”. Well, the rice certainly didn’t disappoint. As the proud owner of a rice cooker, I can assure you I have had many, many different variations of rice. The most sophisticated my childish little brain can discover Foley’s rice is that it is “fluffy fluffy”. But do you know what, it is! Very fluffy fluffy and a little bit coconutty but not so coconutty it takes over the other flavours you are eating. The perfect level of coconuttyness indeed.
I’ve been to Foley’s now twice for lunch, and a meal for two at lunch time will set you back around £60 if you want to try all the things. This meal was not paid for by Foley’s or anyone affiliated with them in return for a review.