Tag Archives: food blog

All-Day London Brunch

It’s a well known fact that January is a month for New Year’s resolutions, detoxing, hitting the gym, and swearing off booze and other forms of excess.

At least for some people it is!

For me, it’s about “how am I going to get through the bore and chill of another wintery month in this great city when most of my friends are off on a wagon ride somewhere?”

So my enabler and I hit the town on Saturday chasing the perfect all-day brunch.

Pearl Bracelet

Rocking my new arm candy, an oversized pearl cuff, and bundled up in layers, I set my sights north to Marylebone. Our destination was a London brunch institution, The Providores.

Leather Leggings Marylebone

Providores Downstairs

We bypassed the communal tables of the popular ground floor Tapas Room, and headed upstairs to the bright dining room. I need lots of elbow room when I have a breakfast this good!

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

I’m not normally a fan of sweet and savoury combinations, but this French toast had me changing my tune on that rule, especially as the syrup was so light and not too cloying.

Although the food is wonderful, The Providores is not the type of place you can settle back and linger over a long chat and bottomless cups of coffee. It’s very busy at the weekends, and once our plates were cleared, the wait staff’s expectant eyes were upon us. We didn’t feel rushed; but there was an inherent understanding. We get the picture; so it was “check please” and we were back on the streets.

Titiana's Garden Marylebone

Church on Wyndham Place

Ginger Pig

Smily Face

Cool Guy Cool Shwood Sunglasses

Walking to Chiltern

Now what to do? We strolled for a bit, then headed for a comfy place to chill with a decent wine list, Chiltern Firehouse.

Chiltern Firehouse bar

Chiltern Firehouse Wine Drinking

Crab donuts

Crab donuts

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Chiltern Lounging Text Messaging

We spent the afternoon lazily chatting, nibbling (and even distractedly checking BBC football scores on our mobiles) – all perfectly justified ways to waste a January Saturday.

Sometimes you just have to shrug off the virtue of moderation, and enjoy a day of self-appointed gratuity! It sure helped this lychee martini go down rather well.

Chiltern Firehouse Lychee Martini

With the day well and truly spent, we retreated from our cozy den of inequity and out into the twinkling lights of Marylebone – after the perfect all-day London brunch.

Chiltern Firehouse Outdoor Front Garden Patio Pots

 

 

Foreign Engagement

My first day of being engaged, I rediscovered my joie de vivre. Everything suddenly seemed incredibly novel. In that first hazy stage of wakefulness, which any other day I’d simply snooze through, I insisted we scramble up to the roof with our duvet and pillows to watch the sunrise.

Waiting for sunrise is agonizing; it always seems to be on the very verge of happening but keeps holding out. I whiled away the countdown snuggled up in blankets staring at the new sparkle on my ring finger.

Finally, the sun came up. We basked in it for all of ten minutes before ordering up room service. No better way to start our first day as a betrothed couple than champagne breakfast overlooking the Aegean!

Engagement Day 1sunrise

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breakfast2 RING

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After our breakfast of creamy strained yogurt, grilled vegetable omelettes and the most sinfully delicious gooey Greek doughnuts, we were ready to head to the beach for our morning swim. I donned my new macramé suit, swiped a couple of towels, and trotted down the sandy trail to Agios Stefanos.

outfit

swimback beach

After we were all cool and salty from our dip, we lunched on a festive Greek feast.

Traditionally inspired freshly fragrant selection of Greek dips with pita bread

Traditionally inspired freshly fragrant selection of Greek dips with pita bread

Airy fish roe puree, squashed eggplant salad, tzatziki, and velvety fava

Airy fish roe puree, squashed eggplant salad, tzatziki, and velvety fava

Greek salad with tomato, cucumber, sweet green peppers, red onion, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, caper berries and barley bread

Greek salad with tomato, cucumber, sweet green peppers, red onion, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, caper berries and barley bread

Green salad with octopus carpaccio, capers, marinated artichoke hearts,  and red wine lemon thyme vinaigrette

Green salad with octopus carpaccio, capers, marinated artichoke hearts, and red wine lemon thyme vinaigrette

Grilled calamari served with freshly diced tomato, capers, and basil salad

Grilled calamari served with freshly diced tomato, capers, and basil salad

We passed the afternoon hours playing Bananagrams and sipping Bloody Marys.

bloodys roofAnd we relished our last Mykonos sunset, before heading off for dinner. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but an unforgettable adventure – one we will recall often over years to come.

us yellow

yellowsun

Roka Charlotte Street

Now that I’m back in the beautiful United Kingdom after weeks of French food, I am once again free to indulge my unflappable hankering for Japanese! So it’s little wonder I ended up at Tottenham Court Road station ambling toward Charlotte Street and my favorite robata grill, Roka.

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Roka

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My undying love for this place can only be illustrated by some quick snaps of the menu highlights… Starting with sour pickles and firey kimchi.

selection of Japanese pickles

selection of Japanese pickles

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Holy moly – this kimchi! It’s a taste worth acquiring.

baechu kim chi | napa cabbage in galic and hot chili

baechu kim chi | napa cabbage in garlic and hot chili

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seaweed and grilled bamboo shoot salad

seaweed and grilled bamboo shoot salad

yellowfin tuna tartar, apple mustard dressing | 3 sashimi selection

yellowfin tuna tartar, apple mustard dressing | 3 sashimi selection

beef, ginger and sesame gyoza

beef, ginger and sesame gyoza

yasai no moriawase | assorted vegetable tempura

yasai no moriawase | assorted vegetable tempura

asparagus with sweet soy and sesame

asparagus with sweet soy and sesame

spiced chicken wings with sea salt and lime

spiced chicken wings with sea salt and lime

salmon fillet teriyaki with sancho salt and pickled red onion

salmon fillet teriyaki with sancho salt and pickled red onion

ROKA mini dessert platter

ROKA mini dessert platter

coconut ice cream

coconut ice cream

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Creamy coconut ice cream with a liquid mango center is pretty much my idea of heaven.

This place is so tough to top – easily one of my favorite restaurants in all of London.

It’s good to be back.

Cotswolds Comforts

Spring has been categorically lousy this year, but with high hopes for summer just a few days away it was time for a visit to my favorite Cotswolds nursery to stock up on flora and fauna to beautify my terrace.

wyatts2

But first thing’s first – a piping hot cup of java from my dear Jaffé & Neale bookshop and cafe in Chipping Norton (or Chippy, as us locals call it). I could browse the shelves in here endlessly! There is always a recommended title or two that beg to be added to my reading list – and I make a point to follow their monthly bookclub picks.

coffee

Stopped to pick up some breakfast supplies at Hampers Food & Wine Co in Woodstock. The deli is to die for. If you ever fancy a picnic in Oxfordshire, they make gourmet hampers for collection. Just order online and pick up when you hit town!

Woodstock

Woodstock

Cool vintage Morris Minor - love the wicker hamper on the back!

Cool vintage Morris Minor – love the wicker hamper on the back!

hampers

My country breakfast staples

My country breakfast staples

Fresh bread from Wyatt's farm shop

Fresh bread from Wyatt’s farm shop

Wyatt’s Plant Centre & Farm Shop in Chippy is your one-stop shop for all your gardening needs – and you can tick a few things off your grocery list while you’re at it. Every time I go here, I’m like a kid in a farm shop – I had to grab a doughy ball of this freshly baked bread to whisk back to London with me.

And now for flower hour!

And now for flower hour!

Discerning eye for inspiration

Discerning eye for inspiration

Honing my hanging basket arrangement skills

Miss Greenthumb (I hope!)

After carefully honing my hanging basket arrangement skills, I’m well on my way toward domestic goddess status! Just need to remember to water them occasionally, right?

Sketch Lecture Room & Library

I was supposed to be babysitting for friends last night while they tried the Tasting Menu at Sketch Lecture Room and Library. Fortunately for me, one of their guests cancelled unexpectedly so they brought me along!

Sketch’s resident concierge David was the first to greet us at reception, in all his exuberant Irish flair and knowledge about the building. Formerly Christian Dior’s London flagship store, 9 Conduit Street now houses a smorgesboard of Sketch ventures: a Lewis Carollesque tearoom-cum-bar in the front parlour, a swamp-themed lace and laser cocktail bar eerily evocative of a nightclub in the Everglades, and a huge white cube dining hall with mismatched design furniture and video art projected onto the ceiling.

Upstairs, we were seated in a vivid Missoni-on-acid sitting room where a waiter rolled in the champagne cart, glasses tinkling. The interior is dizzingly ostentatious – cream tufted leather walls, distressed coloured mirrors, Moroccan lantern chandeliers – but in an obvious way, as if to deflect any elucidation.

The tasting menu was seven courses, the first four of which were seafood. Red meat was surprisingly absent from the menu, but not at all missed!

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Feuilletés:  goat cheese topped with beet root crumb, asparagus financiers, sea bass sashimi wrapped in banana leaf

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Parmesan croutons, vegetable spread, cumin crackers

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Poached Skate with chilled mushroom jelly

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Warm oyster with beetroot mustard jus, Ibérico and Beaufort

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Dover sole and lemon caviar

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Roast scallop over mango and pear with sweet onion syrup

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Asparagus and rocket coulis with burrata ice cream

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Roast chicken breast over vegetable curry with chicken leg confit on the side

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Passionfruit cheesecake, liquorice granata

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Petit fours

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The seriously professional service in a playfully indulgent atmosphere only propped up the already amazing food.

After dinner, pop into the East Bar for cocktails. It’s like being in a white plastic flying saucer with a recessed bar in the middle!

Book online here.