B2B – Budapest/Balaton Part 1


I am a massive fan of Budapest, having travelled there once before, I have a very soft spot for the city known for its hot baths, ruin bars, culinary scene and of course its fascinating history.



Little did I know, that about 130 kilometres away was a picture perfect Lake centred in the middle of Hungary called Balaton, in which I’m advised, has been a popular destination for holiday makers over Europe to frequent this hot spot during the summer months.

It is also host to a music festival every July that runs for 5 days called Balaton Sound which I will be talking a lot of on the second part of this post. On top of this, Budapest also have a festival of their own which is held on 108 hectare island in the middle of the river called Sziget. This runs for slightly longer and is one of the biggest festivals in Europe so if you’re looking to go overseas, this would be my top preference. 

With all these facts in mind, it seemed crazy to pass on such an amazing location and at such a reasonable price. You see the decision was between that and Glasto and after weighing up the options, all arrows were pointing to a European festival excursion. A holiday and a festival in one is definitely the way forward and who can trust the English weather anyway. 


I decided to go all out and book myself in business class (Club Europe class) on a BA flight and because I was doing this journey alone, I thought, why the hell not. The BA lounge at Heathrow was stock standard. It didn’t wow me but it was equipped with all the essentials. Examples would be the house wines, beer and spirits, newspapers to magazines and light food to keep your appetite at bay.

On the plane, it was a totally different story. Most people will say it is a waste of time travelling business class on a short haul flight but on this occasion I would strongly oppose plus its always nice to go all out, especially if you are going to do it as a solo ranger. 



I had a very welcoming air hostess who bought me a few too many bottles of French champagne (yes this is another reason to upgrade) and her exceptional service really shone through. I can always tell when people are being genuine and truly love what they do – its just so obvious in my opinion. The food was also an improvement and so much of it this time around. I had a selection of fish with vegetables, cheese and chutneys, dessert with crackers and a fresh selection of bread rolls. Had to say, I was not expecting to be fed so much and with the extra champagne to take away in my bag, I was one happy little customer!!




Once I had arrived in Budapest, it was baking hot so the quickest option to get across town was to catch an Uber over to my Airbnb apartment which was located right in the heart of the city. I had friends (who had already arrived) eagerly waiting for me so we could all go and hit a few of the famous ruin bars that this city is widely known for.


One of my favourites is Szimpla Kert which is head to toe in vintage decor, has its own garden, market and live music. Inside it was completely rammed and although there was no music being pumped, the atmosphere certainly made up for it.

As did the wacky decor. 




The following day it did take a little while to spring out of bed but who needs to get up early when you’re on holiday. Not this one! Since I had already been to Budapest before, I was pretty relaxed on the sightseeing part and really only interested in finding places to eat and cocktails to drink (only being upfront here!). Besides, we were in a prime spot within walking distance to a gazillion and one places so the choice was absolutely endless!





There was one bar in particular that I had been recommended to visit which was called the 360 bar and boy these views well and truly lived up to the name. Although I was trying not to melt from the heat, it didn’t stop me from sitting directly in the sun and then opting for some shelter a little later on in the day.

My friends Jon and Charlotte also joined me for what seemed like a well deserved relaxing afternoon, basking in the sunshine while sipping on wine and fruity cocktails. The ultimate spot that provides views for days and a place you must go if you love to be snap happy. 






That evening I wanted to roam around the cobbled streets and find a low key restaurant serving Hungarian wine and some tasty traditional schnitzel. The Red bistro had just that including welcome shots and some interesting murals on view! I was super keen to check out at least one more ruin bar before calling it a night and after wandering around we stumbled across a place called Kuplung which was a former repair shop – completely random I know, but the popularity of these bars is astounding. You are doing well to get a seat or even a table for that matter….and what I absolutely dig about this place as you can be walking for hours around these historical little streets and you wont even feel like you are lost in the slightest! 

Jolly good. 




Early Wednesday morning, we decided to mission it across to one of the most delightful breakfast spots in Budapest called Villa Bagatelle. They have a bakery which is located on the ground floor and you have the option of eating in the lush garden or the restaurant which they have upstairs. A bit of an obscure location however a tremendous way to kick off a very invigorating day, travelling over to the Lake and experiencing a 5 day European festival. Oh yes oh yes.


Although this time around it was a brief ‘in and out’ trip ‘, my love for Budapest never changes. A city that is straight forward, unique and so cosmopolitan – it always keeps me coming back for more! 

View 94 – Riverside.

As Putney is an area I like to call ‘my side of town’ it seemed most appropriate to say yes to a review of View 94 and their brand spanking new autumn menu…. located on a very tranquil spot of the jetty, at Wandsworth riverside Quarter pier.



Rewinding back about 8 months ago, one chilly Sunday morning, I was strolling past and spotted what I thought was a new restaurant and remember peeping into the windows for a nosey and thinking, this place actually looks pretty alright, I must make a point of keeping a look out for when it is all finalised – I’m oh so keen to check it out.

So there you go – it finally happened. 



The restaurant is divided into two different areas. Firstly you will step inside the lounge bar with ceiling glass doors, exposing plenty of natural sun light. The large bi-folding doors are opened during the summer months, with the option of having heaters on and blankets supplied during the more chillier times if you dare to dine outdoors.  The bar itself serves a whole range of wines, cocktails and beers and while I sipped away on my lime caprioska cocktail, I got a really good sense of the place and an overall relaxed vibe to it. 

………..Which of course is just what you want after a hard day of work! 


After all the peeps had arrived, we were ushered up the spiraling staircase, to the top level where we were greeted by polished timber floors, a sprawling open plan floor and wrap around windows displaying panoramic views of the Thames and adjacent leafy Hurlingham Park.

The space had a lovely fresh feeling to it – just like being near the seaside! 



The menu for the evening was a choice of three delightful courses from the a la carte menu and I will quickly mention that there is also a tasting course option if you;re feeling extra hungry.  Antonio Sanzone, who is the award winning mastermind behind all the dishes incorporates his Italian roots and I’m told that every dish has a story behind it. If I could describe the menu, it would be a mixed fusion of modern European cuisines. 

Right, tets tuck in!

So firstly the red and white wines were poured around the table and what I must add here is that almost all of the wines on the premises were entirely organic, biodynamic and hand-selected by the lovely Maitre D’ Cristiano Morini. Well done on that front. 


An apéritif of Antoni’s take on ‘fish & chips’ was served up first and accompanied with a very flavoured mushy pea and mint foam on a crystal blue coloured plate which seemed rather fitting with the theme. And basically what I was eating was a batter of chips covered in scrumptious batter (yes looks can be very deceiving) which was down the hatch in a matter of seconds. Goodo.



My dish of choice and no surprises here at all – the beef tartare with cured egg yolk and centred in a delicate Reggiano crown, was slightly different to the traditional tartare but I am always always up for trying experimental dishes. Life would be ridiculously boring if you didn’t! 



For the main, it was all eyes on the lobster moka risotto with spring onion puree and finished off with a drizzling of shellfish cappuccino in a cute miniature coffee cup blender. Now me being extremely caffeine sensitive and all, I did have a mild moment of panic but I was rest assured that it was more the flavours described than the actual strength of it. Again another avant-garde dish, which I loved because I could really see how much effort and passion had been used to create something that was really significant to the chef. 



Finishing off with the desserts, I decided to go for something I wouldn’t otherwise choose and that was the mince pie with pear with cinnamon sorbet and a unique Jamaican rum scent. Sounds rather festive doesn’t it and might I add, completely lush and very presentation plus! 

Not only was this dish a stand out for me, the plate it was displayed on was actually quite amazing and the Jamaican scent was rather extraordinary and nothing quite like I had seen before. It was in an actual perfume bottle and with a few quick sprays, the cameras were clicking as we were all pretty impressed with the creativity behind this one. 



All I can say is that I’m definitely lucky enough to have experienced a tip top evening such as this, filled with fresh, original dishes, gorgeous first class surroundings and lastly, some terrific company.  

Anyway the photo evidence is clear, so you be the judge. 🙂


Riverside Quarter Pier, Prospect Quay, 94 Point Pleasant, London SW18 1PP

Bookings: 020 8425 9870


Brunching at Bronte – new kid on the block!


Bronte, located on the Strand, is a hop, skip and a jump from the very famous landmark known as Trafalgar Square and right in the heart and soul of the city. Only recently opened, its pacific style menu and beautiful interior decor by British designer, Tom Dixon, quickly drew my attention and I was most thrilled about having the chance to review their eye catching brunch menu. 



I invited my friend Emma along, who is a fellow foodie, born and bread Australian and knows a good thing when she’s seen one (hence why I asked her to join me). And without sounding too obvious here, this was reviewed on a Saturday since brunch is purely designed for the weekends.. but hey its good to point these things out in the beginning.  




When I first arrived to the restaurant, my first impression went a bit like “wow wee, this is very upscale” followed by a lot of gazing… lets just say it was most pleasing to the eye.

The interior was 100 % me all over. With pretty pale pinks, deep forest green leather booths, custom made chairs of tweed and valiant lighting, it almost was a little on the retro side and channelling the 1970’s look if you like. 



On top of this, it’s a very sizeable venue ,that seats up to 250 people. This includes the outdoor covered in patio, the front chic cocktail bar and the downstairs which is where we were seated. (and also has another long bar). There is even room upstairs which can be hired out for private events. 




Now on to the best part – the menu! I was ready to eat a horse at this point so being able to squeeze a couple of dishes in was looking pretty realistic. 

One thing to notice about this menu is that there are a fair few items that have a lot of healthy elements to them. For example, I order the chia and quinoa porridge – big fan of both of these ingredients and with the berry compote on top, followed by a dash of almond milk, it was so much better than I had imagined. I dont mind porridge but it can be very dull and stodgy, unless of course you get creative with it. I’d have to say that this was a cracker. I loved every mouth full and it was extremely filling plus very healthy on the hips. (I probably didn’t need that second dish)



They also have a very fine looking smoothie and juice menu and since I was being a good little girl, I was keen to try something non-alcoholic, with nutritional benefits, so the Kiki Ping was chosen (love the name). 



Accompanied with that, was the banana French toast. THIS. WAS. MIND BLOWING. Have you ever had thick slices of banana loaf, topped with sugar cured bacon, ginger jam, rhubarb and greek yoghurt?! I didn’t think so 🙂 I actually cant even describe just how scrumptious this really was. In fact my pictures don’t do it any justice. We are definitely talking top 10 here. 

Emma went for a slightly different taste on the palate –  savoury and perhaps more traditional for a brunch. 



Opting for the smashed avocado, creamy poached eggs with wilted baby spinach, heritage tommies on crusty sourdough; she told me that everything on the plate was perfectly cooked and would be an extremely likeable dish for most. 



I was fairly intrigued with the truffled wild mushroom which was dressed in white miso and and plated with some more sourdough bread. Definitely moorish in my opinion, but you cant really go wrong when it comes to truffles. The strong intense flavours are just so enticing, its a bit like my love for chilli. I just don’t know how I could cook without it! Or is that life without it…



Feeling ridiculously full to the brim, the only thing I could possibly fit in was a flat white coffee, while sitting back and realising just how pleasant that experience really was. 




Now before I go, you’re probably thinking that this place sounds mega pricey but you would actually be very wrong. The prices are seriously so reasonable and equally justifiable to the quality of every dish. Head Chef Andrew Lassetter has done an outstanding job creating a wholesome yet creative menu and for that, I would willingly come back here and eat again. 


Bronte – gladly serving you for Brunch, Lunch, Dinner & Cocktails




The Grand Building
1–3 Strand

London, WC2N 5EJ

020 7930 8855

A rather ravishing rosé evening @ Franco’s


Well, you couldn’t have picked a more sweltering evening to do some wine tasting even if you tried! Especially when it involves a glass or five of rosé – the perfect summer go to drink!

How nicely timed 🙂


The event was held in the lower downstairs mirror room at Franco’s, which is a high end Italian restaurant located in Jermyn Street and only a few streets shy of the Ritz and the flashing lights of Piccadilly Circus. I am yet to try out their menu, which I hear is superb but until then, let us start off with the lovely pink liquid. 




Greeted with the usual bubbles and a smiling face from the Golden Network lady herself, Victoria Salem, the room quickly filled with up to 50 professionals and after a welcome introduction from the manager, it was onto the most important bit of the night – wine sipping of course! 



The room was dotted with crystal clean white clothed tables and large ice buckets filled with bottles of over 15 different wines. We were also given a booklet for a bit of light reading and me trying to take it oh so seriously, whipped out the pen and began to make my way around the beautiful swirls of pink that had taken over the room. 



Now, when it comes to wine, I prefer it fruity with a touch of sweetness. Ive never been into the dry or oaky-ness of a chardonnay, perhaps thats the kiwi in me but I’ve always favoured a Sav Blanc to anything else.

This applies to rosé wine.

The growing popularity of the wine has really shown over the past few years and I only really became a massive fan after discovering and trying a number of Croatian wines back in 2013. Now its safe to say – I’m hooked! 





Im not sure what it is about rosé wine, but it just pairs so divinely with fresh bowl of seafood or even a pasta and a chicken dish. Its very easy on the palate which in some instances can be a little dangerous, but so fitting over the summer months – I just cant get enough of it. 


So because of my particular tastes, I only got around to trying about 6 wines before deciding what was my favourite of the night. Surprisingly this was the 2015 Rosa di Rosa from Piedmont, Italy. Absolutely perfect on the palate and so much so, I just had to ask for a second glass. 

Others that were a standout for me were – 

Rosato, Castello di Ana from Tuscany, Italy  

Rosado Finca Nueva from Rioja, Spain

I decided to get out of my comfort zone for about 5 minutes and attempt the Rose kenton from Devon and since it was a local wine, I thought I had the obligation to do so.  Unfortunately my opinion should not be taken into account as I just cant seem to enjoy a dry wine. But I tried and that’s what counts. 






Another huge thanks to the Golden Network for giving me the opportunity to come along to a very special event and one that I was looking forward to for months! Also the awesome staff at Franco’s – super friendly and on the ball. 



Bunga Bunga Birthday bash & club launch!

Bunga Bunga = crazy, wacky, obscene, loud, intense, bonkers… SO MUCH FUN!

There isn’t a place quite like it. Well, in London we all know there are a number of quirky spots hidden around town but when it comes to the Inception groups venues, plenty of thought and imagine HAS been spared.

Bunga Bunga was launched in 2011 by dynamic duo Duncan Stirling and Charlie Gilkes. Deriving its name from Italy’s most titillating joke, this tongue-in-cheek bar and pizzeria serves authentic cocktails and cuisine in a vibrant space dedicated to Italy’s finest icons.


Circle 5 years later and taking over the two top floors of the venue, you now have Club Bunga.  Inspired by the glamour of old school Italy it features the statue of David drinking vessels, large Roman statues, inscribed wall murals and decked out in the iconic bright stripes in true Italian style.




On Thursday 8th September, I was I was invited to come along to the club launch and birthday extravaganza and boy oh boy I did not walk away disappointed! 




I invited my boyfriend and my friend, Charlotte, knowing fully well that they would be up for lets say, a night not for the faint hearted 🙂 As we entered, we were greeted with two types of cocktails – From Italy with love and Martini Sbagliato plus of course, loads of flowing prosecco. Placed around the floors were buckets of Peroni, a prosciutto carving station (which BTW was incredible!) and the biggest block of parmesan cheese cut into little pieces and covered in mini Italian flags. Lovely.




The place was absolutely rammed, my guess it was mostly locals from Chelsea and Battersea, and the usual press followed by a handful of celebrities. Which by the way have frequented this place on a number of occasions, including fellow Gold Coaster and beauty Margot Robbie and Prince party Harry.



Bunga’s signature canapés were served downstairs throughout the evening and included the traditional bruschetta, mini pizzas and these delicious fried cheese filled balls which I had to gently remove myself away from (post holiday diet not going so well).



Upstairs, we were intrigued to check out the L’Osservatorio (thats a conservatory if you’re English) which had the Peroni cocktail making masterclass going on being by Bunga’s leading bar tenders. Of course, we wanted in and managed to squeeze in the last spot of the evening. I always enjoy a cocktail class and if there is something I have learned, it is to always listen and follow the instructions put in front of you…well you would think that this would be easy enough to follow for most but there is always one in the group that likes to break the rules (Nick Coles) 🙂



After a fairly useless attempt at making two cocktails, we stumbled across a a very old school photo booth hidden to the right of the top of the stairs and adjacent to the club, which was heaving with party goers. I wasn’t too keen to try my luck and push my way in, so we decided to head back downstairs to the prosecco bar to order another round of drinks and watch a singing nun strip down to something rather erotic (I told you this place wasn’t for the faint hearted). 





We ordered one of my favourite poisons – the pornstar martini and finally found a place to perch while appreciating the light entertainment and crazy vibe surrounding us…..

And if that wasn’t enough for us, we decided to explore the restaurant downstairs again and the first thing I notice is a flamboyant drag queen singing karaoke on stage, followed by dozens of sparklers carried by the waitstaff, a huge birthday cake and wave of confetti which covered the flare tenders dancing on the bar in their blue and white stripped attire. 






Madness I tell you!! 

Anyway for those who are up for a damn good night out or even if you love your brunches or foot long pizzas (worth mentioning as they are exceptional), then this vibrant Italian pizzeria has your name written all over it. 


37 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3BA

Tel: 020 7095 0360

Club Bunga

Summer-time Supper club @ Fabulous698B

It’s Supper time…..!

I don’t know about you, but the idea of being invited into someones home to dine with complete strangers does sounds a little on the extravagant side of things…

Well yes and no. You see, this craze is hardly old news, in fact, supper clubs have been happening since I first arrived in London many years ago and the opportunity of experiencing it first hand at a brunch club which was organised through a friend in Dalston about 4 years ago, was actually far better than I had anticipated.

When the lovely people at Tabl asked me to review a recommendation of theirs called the Fabulous698B, it was a big fat yes all the way from me.


Maja Pauling & Guillaume Jounoe are the creative masterminds behind this adorable supper club and with a vision to eventually turn it into a full time restaurant, I don’t think they are far off reaching this goal. 



The location of the ‘Summer time’ taster course was located in the heart of the city, in a funky little pop up restaurant called the Patio. Funnily enough it happened to be smack bang in the middle of a bowling green and being a saturday evening in Bank meant it was typically quiet (apart from a few getting boozy and deciding to roll around on it) . I really do appreciate randomness. 




Maja was very welcoming and once everyone had taken their seats, she guided us through the menu for the evening and I was very eager to see what was in store for us. I bought my boyfriend along with me but the beauty about these types of meet ups is that you do have the option of coming on your own – its very social and normally everyone speaks about food, which we all know is the best topic of conversation!


The table was decked out in gorgeous blooms which boded well with the summer theme of the evening. We were also greeted with a PIMMS cocktail, before being served the amuse bouche – beautifully presented duck and smoked salmon.



Starting from the top and working our way down the lush-worthy menu, up first was the Watermelon seeds, fresh cheese and basil. The plate was laid with some of the most delicate ingredients including mini watermelons that tasted like cucumbers. It was almost like being back at the Fat Duck again and being so confused about how things tasted but looked actually looked the complete opposite of what we were eating…. It really is the peculiar feeling. 



Next up was the line caught cod, peas, bean and lemon. I actually removed myself from the table to observe the plate preparation and to see just how much work goes into preparing so many dishes in the one go. Its rather fascinating as well as being exhausting to watch.

I think I will stick to reviewing thanks 🙂  




The dish itself was an array of beautiful shades of green and reminding me off a leafy garden in the countryside. The fish, was cooked to perfection and very light on the stomach which is what we prefer to enjoy over the summer months! 


The third dish was slightly heavier (but I promise was as equally delicious) and consisted of Spring lamb, ratatouille, delectable juicy tomatoes and with a sprinkling of baby mint leaf. Honestly, whatever they put in that sauce was next level. Please don’t ever amend, adjust, nothing!!  Absolute perfection paired with the lamb 🙂


And last but not least (and the most exciting part of every dinner) the more than 

Cherry bakewell tart!


For me it was more like a theatrical performance! After sitting around and letting the food go down, the suspense was driving me crazy but then, all of a sudden the music came on and out came the trolley of goodies. I knew at that point, we were in for a real treat!





The table was covered head to toe with whipped cream, an assortment of berries, burnt caramel, peaches, almond sponge cake, chocolate mousse, teacups filled with PIMMS, dazzling sparklers and the rest that I can barely remember due to being so wrapped up in the moment!

It was all rather dramatic and overwhelming… but in a good way of course.



So there you go. Another awesome supper club to tick off the list (and a fabulous one at that!) To put into a few simple words, I would say its very stupendous, honest fun, with quality elements and so much individuality. I really could go on for days here otherwise!

ALSO, its BYO with no corkage fee – now you can’t argue with that. 

For more info and upcoming events you can check out their Facebook page – 

*** www.facebook.com/fabulous698b/ *** 

Smashing work guys! 

Macellaio RC – bringing the finest of steaks to SW7

When I was asked if I wanted to review this quality Italian steakhouse and butchery on Old Brompton Road, it was hard to hold me back from typing the reply so speedily with a big fat YES PLEASE.

Although I hardly find myself eating a lot of red meat these days, I am still a little fussy when it comes to certain cuts and I will always appreciate a mean looking steak when I see one.


Macelliao – located in swanky South Kensington and only an arms length from the station is absolute must to visit if you adore your steak…..

For me, the first sign of a decent steak restaurant is when they bring you that raw, almost intimidating piece of clean-cut steak on a wooden meat board. Some may find this on the gross side but I believe its just as important to check out what you’re eating before its served, almost being courteous if you get what I mean here. 



And not to make it too obvious that its a butchery, but when you walk in through the door, there are a noticeable amount of large bits of meat just casually hanging in the window side by side… oh and a hot red leather couch. Which of course you will need to sit and pose for at least one pic at some point of the evening….


It’s not very often, you walk into a restaurant and see silver spoons being used as coat hooks, meat cleavers on the restroom doors and newspapers as menus! Did I tell you how much I dig this place? Almost as much as watching the waitstaff come over to your table and digging a rather large steak knife into it.

Standard procedure I’m told. 



And what about the wine? Well that’s just as precise as the meat and so you can imagine, a very extensive list to choose from. Luckily we had knowledgeable waiters who can pick for you, and that for me means I can sit back and enjoy the starters without getting in a pickle over which glass I would like to sample first. 

It really is a hard life. 


So starting with a couple of dishes that were highly recommended to us were (in order by preference)


Steak tartare. Who honestly hasn’t given this one ago? If you haven’t, I cant possibly tell you what you are missing out on and this my friends was totally unmissable. Made with good old capers, onions, tabasco, pepper, brandy, mustard and gherkins etc etc BANG ON BABY! 


The Fegato – in other words, Fassona liver with butter, sage, roasted onion puree was blissfully tender, juicy and paired well with the crusty pieces of bread. 


The lamb roast was the last of the starter items and this was stuff with sweet peppers, in a pool of bagna cauda foam. I wasn’t as fussed on this dish but never the less it was still nice to try it. 


Going back to the wines, I had a lighter and slightly fruitier red by Elena Walch – Kalterersee. In all fairness it was matched well with the flavours of the food. 


Next came out the monstrous serving of Fiorentina del Macellaio. This is the T-bone steak I was speaking about earlier, which is aged around 25 days, cooked with rock salt and served on the bone. Nothing flashy to look at but I tell you, it was an absolute ripper! We had asked for it to be cooked medium to raw which is preferable for the right amount of tenderness and gorgeous flavours.

Adding to this we had a bowl of mixed salad and broccoli steams with fresh chilli. 



The wine that was drunken on this glorious course was called Donnas – Vallee d’aoste 2013. This was definitely a more full bodied wine and again, between the two was a very harmonious relationship. 🙂 



Onto dessert and don’t you just love it when they order for you and don’t tell you until just before they arrive to your table?! I mean, whose to know better then the people that work there? Some may think this is a little too much but for me I think its genius and it shows how much the staff know about their products. Plus it makes it so much more interesting. Don’t you think?


Firstly we had the Bianco al basilico, croccante al caramello. The best way to describe this would be the shape of a panacotta but far better in taste, very milky and soft with a crisp burnt caramel around the outside. What makes it just that little bit unusual, is the basil on top. Sounds odd but I’m not even kidding, this actually worked in terms of the combination of flavours. 


And last but not least the Latte dolce fritto. Its almost like eating a donut with a thick creamy based centre….and to top it all off there was even a few of them filled with warm, rich chocolate nutella. I think I could have put away a good handful of those bad boys. Easily.

One word -Bellissima! 


The evening was finished off with a comforting pot of fresh mint tea, while trying to work out how much meat I had just eaten in one sitting. Hey, it has to be done! 





Macellaio is an absolute delight. A special place, with a buzzing vibe, ballsy, straight up service with some of the best red meat I have had the pleasure of tasting. A big thanks to the team and Roberto for making my night an unforgettable one and of course, my foodie partner in crime, Brucine from Citylicious. 

Address:   84 Old Brompton Rd, London SW7 3LQ

The Admirable Algarve


Portugal has always been one of those places I often thought about, and even spoke about; but never actually got around to visiting…..

Until now!


I was really indecisive about where to go and what appealed to me the most and after a few weeks of driving myself around the bend, it was decided, that Lagos in the Algarve was a winner. This is a particular interesting location because a lot of people still aren’t that familiar with it, where in fact its known as a top holiday destination to visit throughout the European summer months.

As we had booked the trip at the start of May, this is generally classed as being in the off peak season which means ridiculously cheap prices from the accommodation, right down to the food and wine.

Speaking of accommodation, I am one for really shopping around online, while trying to veer away from the standard hotel stay. I much prefer to use Airbnb for the true cultural experience or booking.com which always has never let me down with some pretty amazing deals. 



We ended up booking Villas D. Dinis who happen to own a number of luxurious villas dotted around Lagos and including an offsite property which had that ‘exclusive’ feel about it. Our villa was about 2 mins drive from the main office and also where they had breakfast set up each morning. It sounds like an unusual set up, but I quite liked the idea of being away from the other guests and being able to enjoy the quieter surroundings.

By the way, the breakfast I have to say, was completely amazing. I don’t think I’ve seen a selection like it before and even included bubbles for a cheeky bucks fizz. This girl was in heaven every morning 🙂


The property, consisted of three levels, with modern features and an outdoor pool that was unfortunately a little too cold to dive into, however I loved how private it was with high fences and gated with a security coded pad. (also plenty of space for car parking)


To get to Lagos, you need to fly into Faro international airport and it will take you about an hour by car or one hour and thirty minutes by train. Also be aware that the A22 highway is a toll road but this is far quicker if you are in a hurry and seeing as though we had got a later flight in, I preferred this option.  

If you do happen to have some extra time on on your hands, then the N25 would be a more pleasant option as it is far more scenic. 


The weather for the time of year was still a little unstable. A lot of thunderstorms which followed by some heavy downpours but generally during the day, the sun shone and with temps around the 22 degree mark which was acceptable when you are trekking around those steep hills! 




So Lagos is very hilly. With miles of cliffs and plenty of golden pristine beaches to swim at and because we were in such a great location, we had the option of walking to each (and there were dozens!) My favourite would have to be Praia do Camilo for some captivating views. There were 200 steps down to the water, so decided to take a rain check, while taking a few snaps and admiring the aqua blue water. I also loved Praia Dona Ana, which is one of the most popular swimming spots in Lagos and a little easier to get to 🙂 



The other thing I really loved about Lagos, was the unusual architecture of the old town. The first time we decided to drive through it and oh my gawd, the streets were insanely narrow as well as being mega steep and fully cobbled, you almost feel like you were going to drive through someones house and end up in their living room. 



It was also unusually quiet and this was noticeable after going back in later on to have some dinner.  Im guessing that the streets normally don’t come alive until at least after midday.

Speaking of dinner and food, there are plenty of hidden gems around the city and we had the chance of experiencing a few standout restaurants whilst we were there. 




This included Restaurante Dos Artistas which is not quite Michelin star, but really should be. Set in a beautiful colonial styled dining room, it screams fine dining with its impeccable service, quality dishes and beautiful wines.  I also had the chance to try a 10 year aged Port, aka a Portuguese fortified wine. Its a very strong and typically sweet taste and very similar to that of a dessert wine which is not something I would desire to have on any occasion, but when in Portugal, one must at least give it a try! 




Another memorable restaurant in the Old Town was called Dom Vinho which we stumbled across, while casually strolling around one evening. The waiter we had was fantastic and if I could remember his name, I would happily give him a shout out right now! Every dish he recommended on the menu was perfect including the Murganheira champagne (from Portugal of course) which made the night just that little more special. Even better, was the fact that a jazz band had started to play across the street so we had live entertainment as an added bonus. 


If you are looking for something a little healthy, I can suggest a great juice bar called Bora Cafe. Very hard to get a table but well worth the wait. 



As far as exploring the Algrave is concerned, we did manage to find a couple of secluded spots to stop off at and admire the incredible views of the coastline. Pria Do Beliche which is about 30 mins from central lagos, is great for surfing (as Nick discovered after walking down a million steps) and is also on the way to Sagres, a small town on the South west tip of the Algarve. I didn’t find there was a lot to do here, and I guess with it being the time of year, only very few businesses were actually open. We did manage to stop off for a bite to eat but it was more for just a look around while breathing in a good dose of lovely sea air. 






On the other side of Lagos, there is another larger sized town called Portimao which takes about 40 minutes by car and has slightly more to do so you’d probably need most of the day if you plan to walk around it and perhaps have a bite to eat. Funnily enough, we ended up coming back here twice. The first time, we took a walk around, then ended up across the other side at a seaside village called Ferragudo, before heading straight towards a hidden beach bar called Kalu, which was tucked inside the rock face and surrounded by aloe vera plants! We decided it was essential to grab a burger and a glass of rose to rehydrate and my word those burgers were insanely big and totally scrumptious. I was pretty stoked to have come across such a cool spot, so much so that I was almost tempted to laze about there all day…. 





So I mentioned earlier that we ended up visiting the area twice and this time we had been recommended to try out an even better beach bar called NoSolo Agua Beach Club. Situated right on the port, and equipped with spectacular ocean views, blazing sunshine and unbelievable good seafood, you couldn’t have asked for much more – This place was massive and fully decked out. It almost reminded me of Nikki Beach with its similar decor, daybeds and lagoon style pool. It was just a real shame that we had saved this to the very last minute and before we had to head back to the airport, otherwise I couldn’t have seen myself moving from my chair for the rest of the day.. or week in fact! 




This definitely has to be one of the most chilled, low key holidays I have had in a very long time and I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially if you love your beaches, hot weather and fresh seafood.


I really fell in love with the Algarve’s natural beauty and as a whole, felt a good vibe about the place.

Obrigada Portugal!!

Burgers that make you Shake Rattle & Roll

Okay, so you wouldn’t exactly strike me as being a burger obsessed kind of girl and you’re right, it is not something I eat on a daily basis. As you know, I love all types of food, from every different nation and I’ve learnt to appreciate the outstanding and eliminate the absolute rubbish.

Im a girl who knows what I want.


In saying that, I do know a good burger when I see one 🙂

We all know when it comes to the meaty patty and bun that its not all about how high they are stacked. It all comes down to taste and that unique, memorable flavour. In the past few years ive seen how competitive its gotten, the burger craze they call it, and I guess you’d be crazy not to get involved, as there is plenty of creative, munch worthy burgers on offering around the capital and across the globe.


When I was asked to come and review the ‘Cheddarstack’ burger from the popular American restaurant chain, I had to jump on board and find out just why, everyone was raving so highly about it.



The Shake Shack currently have 3 locations operating in London. The longest standing in Covent Garden, which guaranteed, always has a massive queue around the corner (always a good sign!). On this occasion I visited the New Oxford Street venue and I believe this is one of their latest. Its surprisingly bigger than what I had imagined, with wooden text-tiled walls and stone pillars, it also displays the distinctive green burger logo, large menu board and open kitchen for the public to view.

Ordering is easy peasy, you wait in line, order to your preferences, then you’re given a buzzer type remote that will let off some vibrations as and when your food is ready. As well as the burger, we were given the crinkly fries (Nick had his with a heavy drizzling of melting cheese) and a drink of choice. I was recommended the peach lemonade which is definitely what I would call a ‘Steph’ kind of drink. 


The ‘Cheddarstack’ burger is filled with 100% all-natural Aberdeen Angus beef topped with double British free range Wiltshire cured smoked bacon and Shack cheddar cheese sauce. It was also featured at the Taste of London festival and I can see will be a hit for all those meat eating lovers out there.

I would normally stick to a boring hamburger with a bit of lettuce and gherkin but this I didn’t mind at all. It actually does have some decent flavours going on, and of course that sweet fluffy tasting bun which in my opinion, can make or break a burger.

True story.


We were also lucky enough to be given a very self indulgent dessert, which I was eyeing off before I had even seen anything else on the menu. But cut me some slack here because anyone in their right mind would be stupid if they didn’t fall for the words – chocolate custard, St John Bakery, hazelnut brownie with peanut butter sauce and banana! (quite a mouthful!)




A big thumbs up to the Shake Shack for making me feel welcomed into your restaurant. Quality food, thats no fuss, affordable and definitely as good as everyone claims it to be – that I can vouch for now! 



Can’t get enough of the Taste of London

Well, we all know how much I went on and on about last years successful event. A combination of mega amazing food, open air park surroundings, blissful music and enough cocktails to keep you content for a lifetime……



Firstly, just to get this one small moan out of the way – I would like to say how un-impressed I was by the gloomy, rainy weather. It would have been a nice touch having some rays of sunshine peering through those clouds but no, that would have been far too much to ask wouldn’t it. 🙂


Anyway, since thats off my chest, we should move on to the more important stuff, like champagne and salted caramel Oreo cakes and…



(Munching our way around)

For those who haven’t experienced the Taste of London, then there’s clearly something not right with you.


But really, after the many years it already has under its belt, it really has become one of the most popular food festivals in the UK and lets hope its still going strong in the many more years to come.



Its always an overwhelming feeling when you walk into a festival with so much going on. I never know which way to turn or where to start. It can almost be a little tortuous if you get what I mean here?

I decided to bring my boyfriend along, who isn’t quite as mad about food as I am, or more to the point doesn’t understand why I worship it so much, but heres the thing, food isn’t just about eating it. No no; it actually is a very social part of life. It brings people together and makes us feel good inside.

AMEN to that.



It was great to see a lot of vendors that had returned from the year before, in particular my friends at La di da sweet treats (after spending so much time trying to locate them!) and to try out all their new delicious treats on offer. I cant say I was left disappointed with the explosion of sweetness or variety. It was a difficult decision to choose a favourite!



Another one I couldn’t take my eyes off of while walking past was Chase distillery. They happened to be serving up some pretty hypnotic gin based cocktails so one just had to try their rhubard number.

Absolutely smashing darlings!




After almost forgetting about eating (hello what are we here for!), we immediately made a dash out of patch of rain and onto a couple of the restaurant tents that were on my list to try.

Although it would have been great to have a bash at everything, its just not possible with all the liquid consumption on top of it. Sigh. 


Champor, champor – my choice was the soft shell crab taco with chilli. I am a big fan of the soft shell crab at the moment. So much so that i’ve found myself ordering from dozens of restaurants on a number of occasions.  I liked the fact that this dish was slightly different with the taco combo, it was definitely a dish worth having a taste. And of course, packed with loads of chilli flavour.

Thats what im talking about!




Bubbledogs – Ahh I just adore this restaurant. If you haven’t been, please do. Its basically champagne and hotdogs and theres always a line up to get in there, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. (you’ve been warned)

I decided to have the Horny devils which were sweetcorn fritter balls filled with jalepenos and cheddar cheese. I think I may have scoffed these in about 1 minute. That good.

Nick had the mini hotdog which would have been my second choice, seeing that hotdogs are their speciality 🙂



Heddon Street Kitchen – absolutely loved the ice cream bar idea they had displayed with delightful looking sweets. And even though it was a simple ice cream kind of dessert, it was great to be in control by sprinkling your own toppings, while going a little overboard, just like you did when you were a kid. 



Typing room – Still a firm favourite of mine, hands down. I was very enthusiastic to see what they had cooking and being on the Thursday it was the only day they were showcasing throughout the festival, so I counted myself pretty lucky in that regard.

As it was nearing to the end of the day, I was starting to struggle, but typically with my eyes being bigger than my belly, I was set on the BBQ lamb rump with tomato and green olive, which was definitely not a let down. The tomatoes were just gorgeous and the meat, juicy and tender.  




After a few hours of being greedy guttsers, it was time for a rest, while indulging in a refreshing London Dry gin & tonic to finish off the evening. Truth by told, its actually quite exhausting eating and drinking for hours on end and especially after being on your feet for most of the day……. BUT, you know I wouldn’t have it any other way! 


Thanks to the Taste of London for letting me cover the event this year. For those who missed out on this one, I would highly recommend the Festive Edition being held at Tobacco Dock in November. Im already looking forward to this (without getting too ahead of myself here – lets get summer over with first!). 

Pls note – dishes range from £3-10 each and you can pay by contact-less card or cash. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...