Cafe Sydney – Harbour Style Dining

 

 

After only being back in Australia for a few days, I knew my birthday was looming around the corner and I wanted to find somewhere extra special as a welcome back treat for myself. A few friends had suggested numerous places but the one that had stood out for me was in an extraordinary location, located in Custom House on the 5th floor and offering some of the best views a girl could possibly ask for!

Cafe Sydney, I’m advised, is famously known for its extensive wine list, outstanding menu and breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour bridge. I had asked a friend to join me for lunch as she has just moved from the UK also and I felt a fine dining, memorable experience was in need for the pair of us! It was scorching hot that day and although it would have been cooler inside with some nice air-conditioning, I was not passing up the chance to perch on the alfresco style balcony, looking out to some pretty iconic architecture and glistening water of the harbour. I quite liked the fact that paper fans were provided at the table, as a small momentum to take away with you, which is such a nice touch (and a brilliant idea in the heat).

Once we were seated, I ordered us a bottle of riesling called Stargazer from Tasmania, since I knew we were eating salads and fish today, I wanted something slightly lighter than the usual Sav blanc. After living in the UK for 7 years, all I’ve been drinking is either French, Austrian or German so I’m pretty excited to explore the many wine regions that Australia has to offer (and there are plenty!) 

To start I was pretty keen to order some oysters, as Australia is known for its amazingly fresh seafood and since it had been quite sometime since I had eaten shell fish after my little mishap in Europe, it just had to be done!! The Sydney rock & Pacific oysters are equally both on par as far as delishness is concerned and freshly shucked with a pinot grigio vinegar to drizzle over. YUMMO.

 

Carmen and I shared a couple of appetizers together since it was such a hot day, my appetite wasn’t up to its usual standard of wanting to gorge as much food as possible 😉

The peach and goats cheese salad was exquisite and so perfectly light for eating on a summers day (actually Autumn but you get what I mean here) 

I had the Salt cod croquette with zucchini flower, poached prawn and accompanied with a lemon parsley dressing which was absolutely divine and well presented! I had been craving stuffed zucchini flowers for so long as this is something you don’t see in many restaurants in the UK (if not at all) so as you can imagine, every bite was thoroughly savoured. 

We also ordered a side of spinach and goats cheese naan bread which seemed a little strange to me since we weren’t eating any indian cuisine and to be honest, I generally avoid it with being super oily BUT boy oh boy did this redeem itself. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted naan bread is good as that before so I guess i’ll take everything i’ve said back on this one occasion. 

And last but not least, as I ALWAYS state in my reviews – the best part of the meal – DESSERT!!

They had five options to choose from and obviously I had to go for the salted caramel, banana fritter, chocolate peanut tart and ice cream option (not a hard decision there). You’re probably thinking that is going to be ridiculously sweet but to be honest, it wasn’t a huge portion, just the right size without feeling like you’ve basically eaten a bowl of sugar (no thank you). 

IT WAS BELLISSIMO!

I’d have to say my favourite part of this dish, was the banana wrapped around in what seemed like a cinnamon donut – super lush on every level. 

Carmen had the coconut panna cotta, caramalised pineapple, coconut and passionfruit sorbet – a slightly healthier option to what I had chosen, however it still provided some highly rateable flavours. These days, I love anything with coconut in the ingredients, you just cant go wrong with it, especially in a dessert. 

So to summarise, I’m thrilled to have dined at this beautiful restaurant for my birthday. It literally made our day – an exceptional experience for the both of us, which was really appreciated from start to finish. The service was to a very high standard with friendly, polished and knowledgable waiters; the venue itself was sophisticated, very instagramable and a perfect spot for any special occasion – I highly recommend you check it out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 3 Brunch hangouts for Jan!

 

 

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for a good hearty Brunch and even more so at the moment with trying to fill in the gaps of healthy activities and things to do at the weekends. I am indeed a big lover of breakfast or morning feedings anyway, they have always been a favourite time of the day for me to eat and as they say, its the best way to kick start that metabolism each day! 

London is endless for choice; we are particular spoilt in that department with plenty of variety and of course bottomless options for those who enjoy the prosecco. I, on the other hand was not drinking however I managed to come across a few delightful places worth mentioning with or without being dry as an option.  

 

Malibu Kitchen – CITY

Located in the outstandingly beautiful Ned hotel near Bank station, this grand building houses a number of fine restaurants, bars & cafes, even a roof top pool over the summer. Some of it is members only but luckily enough Malibu kitchen is not one of those so its open to the public 7 days a week. Their Californian menu is hardly shabby and features a very healthy menu of superfood salads, fish, smoothies and even shots of sprilena! My choice for this brunch was the Açaí bowl with granola, berries, banana and bee pollen while my friend opted with the turmeric pancakes. So so good and absolutely no hidden nasties in this lot!

 

 

Darcie & May – PADDINGTON

This place is just the cutest!! If you’ve never been to Little Venice before, then this is an absolute necessity. Situated in the Paddington Basin and only a short walk from the station, is a long barge boat coated with plenty of art deco brightness and brining plenty of flare to the area. It is split into two parts, one being the bar and the other the restaurant. They serve delicious Australian food for brunch, lunch and dinner and there is also a ‘roof terrace’ which I am assuming will be used to the extreme through-out the summer months of 2018. 

I went for the Shakshuku – a classic egg dish with intense chilli tomato flavours, house made labne, avocado and turkish bread for dipping. To pair with it I had with the red zinger juice and thats about all I could fit in because it was ridiculously filling (what we like to hear!)

 

Timmy Green – VICTORIA

Also under the Daisy Green collection, TG is new to Victoria in the ever so modern Nova building (which I am absolutely loving for restaurant choices). It was noticeably busy being a Sunday but with such high ceilings, the space and volume of noise is not an issue and I was still able to have a conversation without shouting (not a fan!) 

My choice for this brunch was the broccoli and corn fritters with avocado, poached egg and chilli pesto. I did order some bacon but then realised that i’m not actually eating red meat at the moment and had to leave most of it on the side of the plate (oops!) This dish is super filling and satisfying and I highly doubt you will feel like anything afterwards. I managed to squeeze in a green detox juice which was equally sensational. 

 

 

A Copenhagen City Break

 

The Danish really know how to turn it on so I can totally see why it has been labelled as one of the happiest places on earth…because everyone is actually very friendly. A massive plus and huge attraction when visiting a new destination, in my opinion.

 
I had asked my good friend and avid traveller, Natalie to join me on this short Nordic adventure over the weekend.  The most unfortunate thing I’d have to say was not being able to spend the extra day or two in the capital as this city truly is one of a kind. In fact, it would be a big call to say it is my second favourite after Berlin, I was that impressed, I’d gladly go back in a heartbeat.
I decided to fly with British Airways and upgrade myself to Club Europe on the outbound flight. Its not something I would do often, especially when its such a short flight, but I do enjoy the chance to use the airport lounges, while having a bit of extra space (and enjoy the champagne). 

I’m a big fan of boutique hotels and I managed to stumble across one in the trendy Latin quarter called SP34 via Booking.com for quite a reasonable price. This included breakfast in the lush green-house looking restaurant called Väkst – but I will come back to this a little later on.

The hotel was approximately ten minutes walk from Norreport station which is the stop after central and very easy to get to when travelling from the airport. It only took me about 20 minutes and was greatly less cheaper than a taxi is in Copenhagen. So while we are on this topic, I will note that its not the cheapest of places in the world, so don’t be surprised by the prices of everything – they pay high taxes which is all relevant to wages and the cost of living. I get it. 

Nat had arrived a day before me so she was already pretty familiar with the neighbourhood. I met her for a beer then we quickly made our way to the hotel to dump my stuff off and go for a quick explore. As it was a Friday night, it was fairly rammed around the main streets. It was also in good proximity to the very famous Tivoli gardens, you know the fun park. I didn’t have time to check it out but I’ve heard its worth going if you do have some free time and a bit of a thrill seeker. I was pretty exhausted after travelling from work so we opted to go back to the hotel for a few glasses of red wine and a catch up session in the funky foyer area of the hotel. I was really loving the interior design – totally my kind of style!

The next morning, we arose fairly early to have breakfast and go about our day. I didn’t want to be sleeping in as there just wasn’t much time for that on this trip. The breakfast at Vaskt is quite a delightful experience. Most of it is very healthy and all organic. You can sit upstairs amongst all the hanging potted plants, while downstairs is the kitchen there are rows of food items such as fancy yoghurt, fruit, cheeses, veggie sticks, boiled eggs, hand made bread and pastries. There is even bottles of freshly made juices and smoothies and champagne if you are up for it. Of course, we couldn’t resist a cheeky one to get us going for the day! 

After breakfast we finished getting ready and off we trotted for some sight seeing. The one thing that drawed me into this city, is the variety of cafes, art galleries, bars and restaurants – it is endless. In my last post I spoke about my experience at the Studio restaurant which is just one of dozens of Michelin star restaurants they have on offer here. Rather than me repeating myself about this ultimate 9 course lunch, you have the option of reading more in depth by clicking here https://wp.me/p4vC9M-1gU 

We decided after properly gorging ourselves, that a stroll around Nyhavn was very much needed. Famous for its beautifully coloured buildings, sail boats and the ferry terminal, it is what I call the the most instragramable spot of Copenhagen. Of course after a few photos snaps, a beer a long the waterfront was necessary before making our way back to the hotel.

The thing I really do love about travelling is not knowing what is around the next corner or getting lost without hitting panic mode – just casually mooching around discovering new sights and everything that comes with it. On our journey home we stumbled across what I would call a street party with live bands and even a saxophone player! We couldn’t stay long because we knew that wine o’clock was calling us at the hotel… yes they have free wine hour at SP34 from 5 – 6pm. It packs out very quickly as you can imagine, so we made the most of it by grabbing a couple of glasses of wine in the early evening. 

As I am always thinking about food, I was beginning to feel peckish again, so decided it would be a good idea to grab something to eat, freshen up and see if we were up for venturing out again. After all, it was a Saturday night. 

Cocks and Cows was a fun burger joint attached to the hotel and seemed a rather popular place to hang out on the weekend. Not to mention the extensive cocktail list they had and the most delicious, generous burgers I have probably eaten in a long time. I had the New Yorker which was full of juicy chunks of steak accompanied with twister fries, veggie sticks and chilli cheese balls. Not exactly that healthy but that wasnt really what I was aiming to be on this trip.. and anyway all that walking balances it out 🙂

As predicted later on, I went into a massive good coma so we thought it was a good time to call it a night, with cups of herbal tea in bed by 10pm. Rock n roll! 

The following day I woke up with a fuzzy head but I was so glad that I had made myself go to bed at a  decent hour because there is nothing worse when you’ve got loads planned and you’re tired and groggy. Its happened far too many times to even count and I think I’m finally starting to learn. (or is that grow up?!)

The plan was to hire cycles which we did through the hotel, that way we would be able to see more of the city in a short space of time and really, its just what you do here. Even if you aren’t the most confident on a bike, I can assure you that its pretty straight forward in Copenhagen. Bikes tend to rule the roost, a bit like Amsterdam and I really dig that. Not only is it good for your health, its better for the environment and it has financial benefits! 

We wanted to see the Little Mermaid that I was told, was rather on the small side so try not to be to disappointed when you see it. I think I was more fascinated by just how many people were crowding around taking photos of this iconic statue. It reminded me when I was in the Louvre Museum, checking out the Mona Lisa painting. Gosh, too much for my liking but anyway, but you have to laugh. 

Once we had ticked this off our list, it was over to the Palace for the second time in a row. Natalie is a Princess Mary fan and that has nothing to do with the fact that she is an Aussie 😉 The palace is a very open space to the public and consists of four grand-looking buildings facing each other. I was quite surprised by how accessible it was considering when you compare it to the likes of Buckingham Palace which is completely walled off, although there are plenty of security guards roaming around. 

We had a quick pit stop at the tipsy mermaid which was a boat-bar serving local craft beers & rather cute might I add. In the summer months I can only imagine how busy it would get with a prime spot on the water. Next it was over to the bohemian district or Christianshavn, which is well now for its hip cafe culture, arts, music and street food. We didn’t stop there for long as we only had the afternoon to check out the meat packing district in Vesterbro which I believe is the place where all the locals like to hang out in. When I visit a city, its important for me to explore a place like I’m a local and really embrace the cultural by going off the beaten track a little. We ate at Warpigs which serves traditional American BBQ dishes and many beers on tap to choose from. Weirdly enough, I opted for the veggie option but if I hadn’t of eaten a burger the night before I would have been totally down for some ribs. 

There was one particular bar I wanted to visit called Noho. Decked out with pink flurescent bright lights, quirky ornaments and oozing that chic industrial feel, it was love at first site followed by a glass of crisp white wine on the sofa while thinking, I could really do with staying just a few more days. **Sigh**

We ended our bicycle journey at a local trendy cafe called the Living Room. The two level space was decked out in mismated furniture including multiple sofas and supplied with most thirst quenching juices, smoothies and cocktails. The perfect location on a chilled Sunday afternoon reading a book or catching up with friends for a coffee. 

I was feeling emotions of sadness on my way in the taxi to the airport. I knew this city was unique but I had no idea just how special it really was. I cant even imagine how much it would come alive during the summer months and I’m so eager to get back over this way at some point again. Its such a wonderful part of the world and if you haven’t been before, I strongly suggest that this be on the top of your travel list of places to visit! 

The Studio – A Culinary Danish Affair

 

Copenhagen has placed itself on the map as being a leader when it comes to Michelin star restaurants, not only for the quality but also the quantity.  It is said that it is the city with the most awarded stars restaurants in the entire world, which is pretty unbelievable when you think about it. 

I had done my fair share of research before I arrived in the Danish capital but the choices seemed to be endless, making it a hard decision to pick one and then deciding whether I wanted to eat a truck load of courses during the day or just before calling it a night. Of course I had my eye on Noma – the 2 Michelin star eatery wowing the critics and once named the worlds best restaurant 3 years in a row, however that has now closed to my utter disappointment and re opened as a spin off called 108.

Finally I came across The Studio, which was situated one floor up on the waterfront with lovely views, in a Tiffany green multi-story complex, which also houses the Standard and was set up by Claus Meyer – who happens to be the co-founder of Noma.

The head chef at Studio is Torsten Vildgaard, who hastrained at a restaurant called Tinggarden north of Copenhagen, and then at restaurants Norrebro Bryghus and Extra. However his formative years were spent in a intense eight-year stint at Noma (there it is again!) where he worked as sous chef and head of research and development before he moved to Studio. In his new kitchen, he gained a Michelin star only four months after opening and believe me, after enjoying this high level culinary experience, I can really see why this was awarded.

 

So it was decided that lunch was the way to go. 9 courses, which does seem a lot, but these are tasting dishes which means they are very small mouthfuls of food but in some cases extremely rich on flavours. 

It is a smaller scale restaurant which sits 40 diners and the 9 course lunch menu is available on a Saturday for 1000 DKK (approximately £120.00) I didn’t fancy drinking too much as this tends to fill me up rather quickly, so just opted with a glass of white called Pouilly Fume. 

Jerusalem artichoke/ cep / pineapple weed

Sorrel / Fermented creme fraiche/ dried caviar

Churro / cheese / truffle

The staff were very tentative and welcoming, and each chef brings the dish to your table explaining the ingredients, which I thought was a winning touch.  The first couple of course are litereally a bite size each, followed by the most incredible tasting bread with salty butter, ‘the main courses’ and then the mind blowing desserts to finish with.  

Scallop ceviche / raw onions / elderflower 

Monkfish /celeriac / apple 

Lobster / passion fruit / chilli 

Duck / grapes / lavender

Apple / coriander / olive oli 

Almond / cep/ balsamic apple vinegar

Everything was timed at a steady pace and nothing was out of place – the execution was completely flawless and the food… well this was out of this world. Playful, unique, experimental and the presentation on point. So many bizarre pairings of ingredients but they worked deliciously well! 

A few more after meal treats

The restaurant itself is minimalistic and contemporary in style, designed by team duo Christina Meyer Bengtson and Ulrik Nordentoft. I really liked the layout, as sometimes you can feel so overwhelmed by over the top designs and trying to cram too much furniture in.

I also got a chance to meet with the chefs, who were all super lovely to chat with and genuinely interested to know what I thought about the food and my overall experience. Very important to ask these questions in my opinion! 

A big thumbs up to the Studio and chef Damian Quintana for making this such a memorable and special Nordic experience for us, I couldn’t recommended it enough – this is the place you want to be visiting when in Copenhagen! 😉

A Prosecco & Pizza fuelled brunch @ Bunga Bunga

Stop everything!!! 

Yes put that down, yes that TV remote, magazine, phone, cup of tea.. no wait not the hot cuppa you can kelp a hold of that one for now.

Right, now that I have (hopefully) your undivided attention, I can go onto begin about that crazy time I was at Bunga Bunga Covent Garden for their latest addition…..The Matinee Brunch.

Im sure by now you’ve heard me speak about Bunga and the brand, if you have bothered to read my other posts (only kidding!), I speak very highly of these venues across London and below are some of my reasons why.

 

  1.  Attention to detail – this is across the board with every venue
  2.  Fun atmosphere – next level
  3.  Service – the staff are always vibrant and and happy

This was my very first time visiting the Covent garden location and once again I was totally wowed by just how ridiculously cool it is. I bought my wonderful friend Yvonne to join in on the craziness as she was well up for the challenge (good girl!). When you first walk in, its actually part of Bunga Tini which happens to be another bar/restaurant on the top floor. Downstairs is where it all happens…

We were whisked away underground and greeted with loud noises of harmonious singing voices, a flamboyant stage, loads of people already seated (yes it was busy) and disco balls with flashing lights.

It had already began and I hadn’t even had a glass of bubbles yet!

Once seated we were greeted with a very smiley waiter who worked his way through the menu and explaining how it all works. It simple for me – food and just pass that prosecco please 🙂 So as it is a bottomless brunch, you can imagine that the bubbles were flowing at an extreme rate. I must of seen at least 40 bottles pass my head at some point – no not for me! But you get the jist of just how generous they are throughout the 2-2.5 hour sitting. 

After listening to some awesome sounds, it was then over the to the band on the stage, where the curtain was drawn and the karaoke screens were fully displayed. I then realised that it was us that had to be involved.. err not quite merry enough for all this just yet… but luckily a few other punters were straight up there hogging the microphone and belting out the classics we all love.

In the midst of all of this, the brunch items were being bought to our table. Starting off with a number of small plates of warm brioche bread, the creamiest of burrata surrounded with lush home made tomato jam, antipasto of meats and salamis, added with some vegetarian quiche which I’m sure wasn’t meant for us but the extra touch was gladly welcomed!

After all this it was then onto the massive metre pizza which consisted of three tasty types like creamy spinach, mozzerella cheese, tuscan sausage etc etc on top of an very nice miniature roman pole stand and wooden flat-board. I love how it was presented so beautifully but it was slightly on the difficult side to see Yvonne over the top of it hehe

When I’m out to a restaurant, I always like to find out what the bathrooms are like – I know, very strange but this can make or break you know! The women’s of course was separate from the mens although to wash your hands was in this rather amazing fountain, which I thought was far too fancy for the toilet – any hoo!

Not to mention that they have some very unique rooms for hire if it takes your fancy for a large soiree in mind. A choice between the lavish Emperors Box, The tipsy Disarano boat or the swanky Martini Lounge.

So whether you are up for an Italian feast, next level over the top entertainment or a mountain full of endless bubbles, this might be something to add to your list of ‘Brunches to do’. 

PS – dessert consumption was missed due to us eating through everything at a snail pace (and maybe consuming a little too much prosecco) hard to believe but there is a lot of food – trust me!!! (go large)

 

The Martinee brunch welcomes you every Saturday afternoon @ £44.00 per head

 

Waxy Lemon’s Rolling stock BBQ

Sunday afternoon, East London, Sunshine, BBQ’s – Need I say more?

After finally getting around to posting this, I couldn’t help but feel emotional that the UK summer is now coming to a close… but hey, its been a pretty jam packed one with lots of glorious holidays abroad and plenty of memorable events, so one mustn’t complain too much. 

…….So back to that one fine bank holiday weekend afternoon where BBQ’s were in and the grey skies were never to be seen (well for most of it anyway)

I want to firstly say a big thank you to Devante and his astute team for putting on the goods and also inviting me along – I’m talking delicious burgers, cool beverages and well, tequila?!

Lets not get into that part just yet shall we 🙂

I had invited a couple of friends to join me, which was rather lovely that all of them could make the effort and come down as the money raised from the event was going towards a good cause (always what I love to hear) and even though the sun only had a glimpses of rays, the drinks were flowing nicely and the smell of hearty bbq food was lingering in the air.

The venue itself is rather cool if I might add. For those who are familiar with the area, you may have heard of it.. so does Rolling stock bar ring any bells? The venue offers alfresco and indoor space, there is also a kitchen, DJ booth and some very creative artwork on display. It gave off a real lively vibe without seeming too hipster nor trashy. 

As part of the deal we were offered a bottle of vino on arrival – white or red or you could opt to have the bucket of beers and of course, one big juicy burger with all the trimmings.

On the menu, was a few options of mega good looking burgers. I decided to go for the jerk after inhaling all of the spices before eagerly awaiting its arrival to the table. It also included a generous side of chips, beautiful corn on the cob and crunchy slaw. My friends had a mixture of the Waxy lemons burger which was beef with red onion marmalade and the veggie, vegan option which meant the menu was very accommodating to everyones needs! 

After feeling so full up we were offered a round of tequila shots, which honestly sounded like a good idea at the time….(come on, we’ve all been there), however this may have created a little bit of a party atmosphere which was then quickly scuttled inside and just in time for the DJ to break out into some house tunes. (including the obligatory dance moves)

I don’t think i’ll need to carry on from here as we all know how the story goes or ends 😉 lets just say that plenty of fun was had, lots of yummy food indulged and a few too many raspberries were sipped, but this is life and as they say, it is here to be lived.

If your interested in getting in touch with Devante Malone please contact him at the below website, he is the founder of Waxy Lemons, a culinary pop up brand serving innovative and delectable dishes made with everyone’s taste in mind. 

www.waxylemons.co.uk

Phone: +44 7960 821 822 
Email: info@waxylemons.co.uk

 

Mr Fogg’s Tavern – A Very British Brunch.

Not breakfast, not lunch…..

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Mr Fogg’s Mayfair location, an of course there are there other charismatic venues, such as Bart’s, Maggie’s, Bunga Bunga and Cahoots. Surprisingly enough I have never stepped foot into the ever so quaint British pub – Mr Fogg’s Tavern. You know you’ve arrived when you are greeted by a beautiful array of bright blooms (including my fav – sunflowers) and once that door is ajar its fair to say that there is no lack of creativity what so ever going on inside! 

I absolutely adored the traditional Union Jack flag bunting covered on the top of the high ceilings…and that wasn’t the only thing hanging down, it was literally covered in all sorts of fascinating bits and bobs – mostly antiques. Its really hard to stop yourself from glancing up every five minutes. Seriously so much going on. 

Now time to focus on the all important feast of a brunch….

(Bear in mind that this menu is still fairly new and did launch a month or so ago, its just taken me a forever in a day to get my A into G and actually write this review – sincere apologies on that front) 

We were greeted with small starter plates (or boards) to share around the table with my new blogger pals and I must say I was a little taken back by the look of the frogs legs. Maybe its just the thought of it which makes me feel unsettled but have no fair, this is actually really chicken and tastes pretty damn good. I would say a little sparing on the meat side of things but as a starter all can be forgiven. Accompanied with chunky roasted sweet potatoes (you just cant go wrong with this one) and banana sauce – I say what?! As I was super curious, I gave it a few dips and I was very impressed with the combo of flavours going on.  A definite one to try. 

Next was the honey roasted beetroot and goats cheese croquettes. The name itself is basically a done deal. Anything with beetroot and goats cheese together is not even a question – give it to me, all of it!!!! Also indulged from the table and not to be missed from the equation, was the crispy herb tempera prawns with spicy dip. As Roald Dhal would say, Scrumdiddlyumptious! 

For the main course, I was really craving something rather light and as I was going off to a festival not long after. The lobster and avocado salad with zesty dressing caught my eye while a giant (or what seems) plate of succulent, glistening, golden Han hock sitting nicely on a bed of creamy mash whipped past the table. It’s honey and ginger smells flowing around the room. Of course me being me, I just had to try a teeny tiny mouthful. 

Sadly, I had to exit before the desserts were bought out – shock horror I know. But to make up for missing out, I got to taste a few punchier than punchy refreshments. All gin based which I love, extra fruity and very much hit the spot!

Speaking of gin, if you don’t mind the tipple, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Up the stairs is a thing they call the parlour, filled with a botanical lab that smells incredible and is decked out in the cutest furnishings you’ve ever laid your eyes on. I’m hoping next time around I might get lucky enough to be invited along on to the gin safari that I’ve heard so much about! 😉

 

Address58 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4EA

Phone020 7581 3992

 

Brunching over East @ Dirty Bones

 

Im always so delighted to be invited to a restaurant or bar that is situated in Shoreditch because if I’m honest I’m always far too busy or a little lethargic to venture over that side of town, so when something like this pops up its the perfect excuse to visit an area that I’m particular pretty fond of. 

Most people refer to the East as hipster and full of youngsters, which it is, however some of the coolest establishments are located just north of Liverpool Street and there is something for everyone ranging from food markets, eccentric bars, stylish coffee shops, pop ups, clubs & live music venues.

In saying this, I wanted to finally let you know about a brunch I was asked to review in the heart of it all, which would be the all American restaurant and cocktail bar called Dirty Bones. (wicked name)

To start of the brunch soiree, I ordered the Dirty Mary drink and if you can take one guess as to that what that might be referring to, then yes you would be right to say its a take of the Bloody Mary. An essential morning item with no explanation required. 

The menu has quite a fascinating selection which is what I enjoy about coming to places such as these because they aren’t your stock standard range of food courses and you know how I am when it comes to food and originality – cant get enough of it. 

To order, I had the chicken waffles which probably most of you know by now is a rather ravishing fried egg, golden waffles with a shot of maple and two decent sized legs of fried chicken. I understand this is not healthy by my standards however this is becoming quite the brunch dish of choice lately and to be honest, sometimes we just have to not be so hard on ourselves and appreciate a naughty treat once in a while. Also with this dish I will point out that the chicken is slightly pink inside, so please don’t be alarmed by that or let it put you off the dish completely as its totally fine!!! 

Nick and I shared some melted cheesy fries which were without the truffle, although I would have preferred this but I have to keep the boy happy. He had the steak and eggs which is quite a hearty dish for brunch but I suppose if its the middle of the day then its acceptable on this occasion. The steak itself was juicy and tender and the eggs I believe were cooked ever so nicely.

 

After a noble amount of food I was still feeling on the thirsty side so opted for a post brunch soother called the Lexy. This is a vodka based cocktail with prosecco, lemon and strawberry puree.

 

But this wasn’t all folks..!

 

After the waiter swayed us to try the caramelised banana waffles, we both looked at each other and thought why not, if we share it wont be as bad and hopefully without having to undo the top button of the jeans!! C’mon we’ve all been there. 🙂

Its set in quite an old building with classic architecture but I just couldn’t work out if it used to be an old pub until I did some digging and found out that its a Grade II listed heritage building. Fancy Fancy.  They also have decks set up which are used on the weekends for late night drinking and I hear some table dancing goes on after the supper has ended – oh I say! Its a bit of a climb to reach the loos so don’t leave until the very last minute, but all in all its a generally cool place to come and eat, whether it be morning, midday or evening. The staff are undoubtably welcoming and seem to be having a great time which is just as important that they are having as much fun as the customers are! 

 

Address: 1 Club Row, Shoreditch, London E1 6JX

 

Italian Dessert decadence in South Kensington

It’s about time that London finally had some dessert bars popping up around the place (something I believe the city lacks so much there of) so when I was asked to come along and try out the cutest little establishment to hit South Kensington, it was very much in my best interest (and for my readers of course) to find out just what is on offer at Trevi Italian Tiramisu.

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I was greeted by the very welcoming shop manager, Fiammetta who was busy displaying all the beautifully decorated Tiramisu desserts in the window front. We took a seat while I admired some of the creative photography decked from wall to wall which I was told symbolises some historic places and events that happened many moons ago in Italy.

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The outside of this quaint cafe features some petite vintage tables and chairs covered by bright blue leopard cushions and an off white shading canopy to keep you covered in case you fancy a treat rain, hail or shine. 

Just for a little bit of history behind it all…the shop owner, interestingly enough is a movie director, actor, producer and screen writer born in Rome and has partnered up with the great master pastry chef Gaetano Giordano who brings his original recipes of Tiramisu from generation to generation and also belongs to a successful family of pastry chefs from Rome.

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Fiammetta being the managing supervisor, has an astounding knowledge of all items on the menu including the ingredients which she tells me are all from Italy giving it that unique authentic touch. While speaking to her she expressed just how important it is to keep the authenticity when it comes to quality and where the ingredients originate from. I have to say that I agree with her when it comes to all cuisine types right across the board! 

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We were given a number of delicious Tiramisu desserts to try and each indulged are in alphabetical order. I adored the way they were presented in clear miniature square shaped cups (and just the right size trust me!)

**They also spice up the dessert selection according to chef creativity, seasonal products and festivities**

Classic – if you’re a big fan, then I’m guessing this one is a no brainer 🙂 swirling with traditional flavours, this variety will never let you down. 

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Amaretto – Im not a huge lover of this distinctive flavours so hard to give my honest opinion however it is the only Tiramisu on the menu that has alcohol if that takes your fancy.

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Strawberry – always love a bit of fresh fruit and colour to a dessert, this one is mixed with mascarpone and cream and is rather easy on the palate.

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Pear, Ricotta & chocolate – this had to be my favourite of the lot. topped with sprinkles of chocolate (dark) and beautifully cooked pear, the main ingredient is the ricotta which makes it a lot less sweeter and in my opinion, means more to put on my spoon! (and the belly)

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Mixed Berries – This one had a lovely fluffy custard taste which I fancied terribly and of course the berry texture and favours were a nice touch.

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Profiteroles – probably the most decadent of the bunch, is possibly also the richest in flavours so would recommend sharing! Absolutely divine!

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Trevi also offers a number of other sensational delights including the traditional Naples dessert, Baba au rhum. Appearing more to the likes of a sponge cake, is made with rum, saturated in syrup and filled with cream. Surprisingly its not overpowering in liquor taste so don’t be frightened to give it a whirl!

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After all of this I must be honest and say that I have never been the biggest Tiramisu fan however after letting my guard down and trying these desserts I must say I am highly impressed with just how good these really do taste and as some would say, now converted. 🙂 Of course all desserts can be accompanied with a freshly grinded cup of coffee or rich Italian-style hot chocolate, or even purchased to make one’s dinner even more lush! Not only that, they are open every day to welcome you with a smiling face and open arms. I guess that’s just an Italian thing 😉 

www.trevitiramisu.co.uk

Evans & Peel – reporting back, over & out!

 

When I was asked to review a ‘hidden’ bar, I really had to think about how I was going to approach this one…

Of course, I want to tell the world about just how awesome this place is without trying to give too much away, as after all it is an underground speakeasy nightspot and its all a bit hush hush. 😉

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ANYWAY all of this aside, I guess I should crack on and tell you about ‘my’ experience at this mysterious Earls Court location.

One of the biggest drawcard here for me, is that it is very rare to find such a unique place over this side of town. Im talking about the West in particular. Shoreditch seems to have taken most of the quirky ones and I should mention that Barts are pretty exceptional over in Sloane Avenue but thats about as good as it gets over this side of town.

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The name for a start is brilliant. They call it Evans & Peel Detective Agency.

No I’m not kidding but its not what you think..

OR IS IT. 

I can tell you that there is a ‘detective’ theme around this so be prepared once you’ve rung that little door bell and told to come down those low lit stairs. When I mean prepared, I’m meaning that its all about having an open mind. Remember this does have an immersive side to it but DONT be caught off guard because its all just a bit of fun and having a laugh at the end of the day 🙂

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Inside, my first impressions were how much bigger it was as to what I had actually imagined in my head.  Its pretty deceiving from the outside which is probably why its called a speakeasy in the first place but when you are underground, you cant help but feel like everything is so much smaller and cosier. That intimate kind of feeling which I will mention now before I forget – its a great place to take someone on a date. Its fairly dark inside, with mood lit candles, wooden mismatched furniture and a long bar to perch on in case your intrigued by how they make their ‘potions’.

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We were lucky enough to be nestled into a snug little area – like a cubby hole…. but not really. I invited my friend Emma along who doesn’t mind a cocktail or 5 and the good thing about bringing a friend is that its likely they are going to have different tastes to you. In Emma’s case she loves whiskey – me not so much. I prefer vodka or gin based cocktails, nothing overly sweet and please no Cosmos or Pornstar martinis on the menu. It’s been done to death 🙂

We decided to get some snacks in as there is nothing worse than drinking on an empty stomach (lets be responsible adults for once!)

I started off with the usual suspects which contains egg white – I’m a big fan of it. I know it sounds a little weird but it really does make the cocktail that much fluffier in texture and I loved the combined raspberry fruity flavours with that went with it. 

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Surprisingly the bar nibbles were absolute class. Definitely not so great for the waste line but lets be real, I’m not about to sweat it out in a spin class. (mental note to go to the gym at some point).

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We grabbed the shotgun strippers which consisted of moorish crumbed chicken bites and came with shots of hot sauce. Always a favourite while on the turps. (thats slang for drinking)

The Nacho average which I can assure you was not average, one little bit. In fact it came out in a very large vintage cooking tray and was loaded with all the goodies – topped with pulled chilli pork, sour cream, jalapeno’s and plenty of spunky salsa.  

And lastly which I almost regretted ordering was the M&C on steroids. Yes, you read this right. Basically a mountain of sublime creamy macaroni cheese, bacon bits and truffle oil. Now you cant argue this one. Its heaven in a bowl. 

 

Now back to reporting of the nights sipping’s (there are a few) 

Simple Sanguine – a lot of citrus and very sharp, mixed with blood orange, elderflower, mezcal I found this quite intense and one of the drinks that gets better the more you drink it.

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Michael Corleone says hello – I quite liked this one. An Italian biscuit infused bourbon – a serious take on the old fashioned and the fact that you get a yummy biccie to go with it, is a double win! 

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Time coord negroni – decorated with a piece or orange peel hanging on the glass with a peg. Quite the touch and Emma tells me its pretty good.  Vermouth, Campari, bitters – you know the score. Not my thing but we all have preferences!

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Balsamic fix – bacon beef salt and celery bacon? Sounds weird I know but I did quite like the flavours going on here especially when your mouth hits the salty bit on the rim of the glass. 

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G Minus 6 – Gin, lemon, pisco and soda but without the tonic! Another easy one on the palate – a good one to end the night. 

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Clover breakfast club – a beautiful fruity concoction of english breakfast tea infused, gin, raspberry jam, lime and topped with some type of dried petals. A very pretty drink. 

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Scandinavian leather – came in a huge glass, filled with passionfruit, vodka, lemon, Swedish liquor and topped with an open passionfruit. A very easy tipple to drink!

 

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Well now that I’ve given away a little too much, it really goes without saying, this place is wicked and a must to check out. A cool set up, pleasantly welcoming, with staff who are super friendly and take their cocktail making deadly seriously.

www.evansandpeel.com

 

 

“I offer you this challenge here and now to accept this undercover case and report back with all the findings”. 

Yours truly,

Detective Steph 

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