Tag Archives: Marylebone

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

 

 

Down to the Market

If I didn’t live in London, I wouldn’t need a farmer’s market. I would be in the country where I could see the stars at night. I’d have a pair of Legbar hens to lay their Tiffany-blue eggs under my porch, and a little garden full of plump tomatoes, tender heads of endive, and bushy basil plants. I’d stretch out on the lawn under the shade of my avocado tree and scoop the creamy flesh right from the skin.

But alas, I do live in London, where my grocery list wouldn’t be the same without my weekly visit to the neighborhood market. Local farmers and fishmongers faithfully rebuild their tented stalls each Sunday to set the schoolyard abuzz with community trade – coins clinking into tupperware tubs, wooden crates full of bundled asparagus, stalks of rhubarb, little white paper bags packed with new potatoes, and the smoky sweetness of barbeque pork sizzling on a spit. There is no better way to stock up on seasonal products and produce.

To check out vendors and locate your nearest London market, visit this site.

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What is it about cooking a healthy weekend breakfast using fresh ingredients, relaxing all afternoon sipping tea while skimming “The Sunday Times” that makes you yearn for a cool cocktail by early evening? I was bubbling with energy and hopped over to Marylebone to quench my Sunday thirst.

If my rickety British history serves me correctly, the UK never had a Prohibition era where alcohol was illegal. Take away an Englishman’s right to drink? – ha, the whole island would mutiny! Also, the Brits would never hide their drinking – it’s legal to stand out on the street with your pint, normal to drink on the job. Just pass any pub at lunchtime: bankers, civil servants, even construction workers enjoying a brew.  So I was rather surprised to find a speakeasy style cocktail club in the heart of London.

Purl is a jazzy, underground joint serving classic Prohibition era cocktails and some of their own signature options. I like my drinks with a bit of a bite, so I went for a sloe gin classic. What a wonderful place to sneak away for a clandestine night-cap!

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PurlPhone

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Top of the Pop-ups

In this here-today-gone-tomorrow world, pop-up restaurants have never been more relevant. The supper club scene has been emerging in American cities for a while now, but pop-ups are an original British invention. Those clever Brits…

In London, pop-ups can be achingly cool, spontaneous spots that have that irresistible allure of their limited availability. Simon Rogan’s Roganic closes this June after a two year residency on Blandford Street in Marylebone.

roganfront

The design is sparse and the space is compact. There is no à la carte. Dinner is a set 10 courses – or vegetarian, if so inclined. The wine list – mostly sourced from Roberson’s – was so suburb I can’t not mention it.

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Langoustine on crispy rye with langoustine ash | Smoked quail croquants on a bed of singed hay

RoganBread

Creamed butter served on a stone | Selection of bread rolls

RoganPeas

Garden peas, shaved beef tongue, mint and sugar snaps

roganBroc

Purple-sprouting broccoli, buttermilk, toasted barley and fennel crest

RoganSals

Salsify, fermented apple foam and sunflower seeds

RoganMack

Raw mackerel in coal-infused oil, rye crisps, yogurt, radish and ox-eye daisy

RoganPotat

Sharpes express potatoes, onion ash and lovage

RoganScall

Scallop with its coral, carrot chips, carrot puree and sea campion

RoganMonk

Bacon and bread crusted monkfish tail, mussels and broad beans

RoganPear

Sweet cheese, packed pear, pine and malt

RoganCarrot

Carrot cake with carrot sauce and honey jelly

RoganWine

Seriously in love with this Oregon pinot!

The service was that particular type of perfection that balances total knowledge with an informal approach. Like you’re not going to be intimidated by a seasoned wine expert who is wearing coral-coloured trousers with no belt – but the guy knew his stuff! You could ask anything about the ingredients or the preparation, and you received an answer delivered with complete confidence – never once did a server leave me waiting “one moment, while I check with the kitchen.”

For a pop-up, most impressed.