Prohibition/ Live Jazz/ Flapper Dresses/ Men in Suspenders/ Quirky Cocktails – If any of these terms sound vaguely familiar or attractive to you then Night Jar is one bar in London you definitely should pay a visit. It is literally like time travel but without any science involved in it, the only thing you need to do is get yourself a tube to old street roundabout (if you don’t live near there). This place is so ‘cool’ that they don’t even have a sign outside, it literally is a small door in the middle of the hustle bustle of old street shops/ take away’s. You get there and knock on the door (like you were going to visit your friend’s flat) and then you are greeted by a gentleman/ woman (dressed like they belong to the 1920’s) escorting you to the basement.
Once you reach the basement you are taken to a different world all together – you find yourself in a dimly-lit, mysterious speak easy of the 1920s, complete with bartenders wearing suspenders and newsboy caps, curious glass bottles on the various bookshelves lining each wall, and a wooden stage on which a four-piece jazz band was playing their hearts out. Thank god I made an effort to put on a nice dress and some pearls otherwise I would have felt ridiculously under dressed (If you are ever in a mood to dress up, this is where you should go). I made up for my modernism later on by using my cocktail props as hair decoration (see photo above).
There was a live jazz band blasting music and they were mighty good – I took to the dance floor with my friends after I had a couple of those funky looking bad boys (cocktails). I was pining to show off my dancing skills, always wanted to dance to live jazz just like they do in the movies – think Great Gatsby. Coming to the cocktails – they were super fun, decorative (oyster shells, Japanese fans, tumblers, glass coated with cinnamon and chocolate, polo’s pretty much all sorts of weird things) and very very strong. See the photos. Oh you need to make sure you have a reservation – yes you need it! That’s how they rolled in the 1920’s!
Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup – This is a popular French saying which means: “Eat well, laugh often, love abundantly.” Who wouldn’t agree with this? This is why it’s said that when it comes to romance and food no one does it better than the French! I have always had a love affair with France – their cinema, art, culture, men and of-course Food… mhmnmmmm
French cuisine is popular for the rich tastes and subtle nuances with long and rich history. The best thing about French food is that it’s both healthy and refined – No wonder most of the Michelin star chefs are from France. French cuisine also has a very strong influence from Italian cuisine – oh and how I love both these cuisines. It has always been my dream to own a country house in South of France where I can grow loads of fresh herbs and learn baking. There you go – you can’t talk about France without being stupidly romantic – oh dear!
Bonjour French Food very kindly delivered a box of their gourmet food to my doorstep – awww. They sell French subscription boxes with different goodies every month which gets delivered to your door step. The boxes usually contains a variety of things including seasoning, chutney’s, chocolates and other French delicacies.
My box had –
Cassoulet – sausage and duck casserole
Paries – Nutty chocolates
Terrine De Thon – A fish paste with nuts
French Chutney made with sweet onions and anchovies
Here is my selfie with my Bonjour French Food Box – I was quite tired after a whole day so pardon me for not looking my best!
What I did with my box –
I decided to add the chilli flakes to the casserole while heating it up to add a little bit of a kick to it. I still have the chilli which I use often in my omelets and pasta dishes.
I decided to eat all the paries because they were ridiculously tasty!
I use the chutney with Chorizo and other pork dishes, it goes really well with Egg too.
I ate the tuna spread with toast – a tasty snack.
Check out their website for the next box and get yourself one if you want a taste of France in UK or wherever you are!
Pop up’s have become the new ‘MacBook’ in the world of foodies – It is cool to visit a Pop up instead of fine dining. I feel it’s a great thing because good food doesn’t always have to be Michelin star, I actually prefer a tasty meal than a beautiful looking meal and guess what going to a Pop saves you a ton of money too (Its cheap). The idea of Pop ups is definitely something I strongly support, I plan to start my own Street Food Pop Up sometime soon (watch out ;p) especially after visiting a few around London – Inspired and Motivated!
Yesterday I was invited by the lovely Miss Cakehead (Emma) to try out one of London’s most exciting food Pop Up – Death by Burrito at The Candlemaker. Death By Burrito are making waves with their contemporary Mexican street food – hotdogs, burgers, unique Sunday specials and, of course, burritos. They started off at the hipster capital of London (Shoreditch of course) and now moved to the posh end of South London – Battersea! Very Cool, I say!
When I heard of The Candlemaker, the first thing I thought was where does the name come from and then Freddie, the manager who also resides just above the pub explained that it is inspired from the candle factory which operated for over a hundred years in nearby York Road. The bar has colourful pop-art and psychedelic imagery which gives it a very retro feel – Not your regular English Pub!
I had a great evening with a bunch of London Food and Drink Enthusiasts, there were not many of us but then Emma said she believed in quality over quantity (I love that I am considered as quality – woohoo). We were greeted with a refreshing lemon Margarita – an alcoholic slush with tequila, lemon juice and mints. I definitely needed it after a long day at work (yes, I have a full time job besides blogging) and you can see how much I enjoyed it from the photograph below.
While we sipped on our cocktails and Modello (which was the choice of beer offered, I switched to it after my first cocktail) we were served nachos with guacamole. I loved the fact that the chef had added pomegranate to the avocado – very hipster! The pork belly and kimchi tacos followed soon after, which was quite a hit with the photographers specially because they looked absolutely stunning! When you are out for a meal with food bloggers, the unsaid rule is – you don’t pounce on the food before everyone has got that perfect photograph (for instagram and twitter ofcourse). The Baja Fish tacos followed soon after (my favourite of the lot) and this is something I have never had before – battered fish with tacos! You should definitely try it at home next time because its ridiculously simple to make but very contemporary at the same time (I definitely will try it at home soon). The (not so hot) chicken wings were also a big hit amongst everyone only till the REAL hot wings came – boy they were hot! Well I didn’t bother trying them after looking at the man who did manage to eat all 8 (which was the challenge) – he looked like he just got dumped, never seen a face as red as that. Finally we were served the mini burgers (which is the most popular thing in their menu) and people did get down and dirty so much so that we all started discussing the famous sexy (read provocative) burger commercials. My favourite one definitely is the Western Bacon Burger commercial with super model Padma Laxmi (It is one of the most viewed ad on youtube).
After feasting and drinking for a good 2.5 hours I was a happy girl with a full tummy. I would definitely recommend people to try out this awesome Mexican Pop up, but if you are not a fan of Mexican food then you should definitely visit The Candlemaker its an awesome pub with really friendly people!
Verdict : Great food , lovely ambience and amazing people!
Strawberry Bellini’s, Champagne, Bread board, Cheese board, Cocktail Making, Fish Burgers and a group of 10 Foodies from London – This has to be a delicious combination and so it was. Andaz Liverpool Street and Zomato organised this exclusive evening for London foodies (Food Bloggers, Chefs, Writers) and I was one of the lucky 10 to be invited – woohoo!
Hyatt’s Andaz is a magnificent 5 star boutique hotel located in the heart of Liverpool Street – it still has the old word charm unlike its neighbour the stunning modern glass landmark, yes you guessed that right, I am talking about The Shard. This 1884 building has a restaurant Miyako, Catch champagne bar and lounge, Eastway restaurant and George pub besides catering the tourists with some swanky rooms.
We got a tour of the restaurants, starting with Catch where we were greeted by Andaz and Zomato with a glass of strawberry Bellini or Champagne (whatever floats your boat) along with nibbles (bread board, olives, cured ham). Then we headed to Eastway for a cocktail class – we all went down and lemony shaking cocktails with the friendly bartender while gorging on the assorted mini burgers, Chicken chermoula and Lebanese Mezze. I made a mixed berry cocktail with fresh berries, lime, brown sugar, Vodka and berry liquor – it was definitely delicious, made me think of an alternative career option!
Finally we ended up at 1901 Restaurant and Wine Bar for cheese board and desserts – by this point everyone had a few to drink so people finally drifted away from food conversation to films, supper clubs and travelling (perfect topic before the Easter break). The Cheeseboard had Innes Log besides Cheddar and blue cheese but my favourite was Innes (Staffordshire Goat Cheese) a Creamy, lactic, tangy, nutty cheese which was my favourite and that is a massive surprise because I personally always thought that I hated goats cheese – so if you are a goat cheese hater then you know what to try. Finally we were served the most awaited section of any menu, yes you guessed that right – stressed spelled the other way round DESSERTS. It was literally a feast because we had everything from Lemon and Blueberry Tarts to chocolates to Strawberry and cream parfait – wowza!
Besides eating and drinking, I also met some fabulous bloggers, journalists and chefs. I had a brief chat with the chef from Catch who happens to be from Pondicherry in India (woohoo – go Indians). That man, has some serious talent in making breads – definitely one of the finest breads I have tasted and the rest of the gang couldn’t help but agree with me. The staff at Andaz were not just extremely hospitable but had great banter and chat too – which is always a great way to relax guests specially in such an intimidating venue.
I got some insider scoop and found out that they are starting – Weekend Brunch Clubs! Keep an eye on their website for more details, I am a huge fan of Brunch clubs and can’t wait to try it out!
Andaz Liverpool Street
Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you decide to try out Andaz!
You tweet a photograph and win a 3 course meal from Zomato – Yes Please! As a food blogger I do get invited to loads of places but having a sharp tongue I can’t always say that all of those experiences have been good because lets face it sometimes the food can be pretty bad – trust me even free food can taste bad! But the good news is Notting Hill Kitchen was definitely NOT amongst one of those – this Spanish -Portuguese restaurant definitely has made its way to my favourite places to eat in London.
Tucked away in the posh neighbourhood of Notting Hill it gives you a very exclusive-romantic feel specially with the candles and lamps which you can see from a distance while walking there. It is definitely a great place for a date – not the first date, because its too expensive for that (That is what my date told me ;p) but if you want to really impress someone then you know where to go – wink. I really want to meet the person who selects the music there because they clearly know what they are doing – making you feel relaxed, comfortable and takes you to a very Spanish beach restaurant mood. It is instrumental with a bit of a beachy vibe, loud enough to appreciate it but soft enough to not overpower your conversation.
The service is great too, most of the waiters are Spanish so they definitely add to the charm – imagine a Frenchman or someone with a posh English accent in a Spanish/Portuguese restaurant it wouldn’t create the same magic, would it? They were very well trained and definitely welcoming – the manager was very warm and kept coming back to ask if the food was good and our lovely waiter was very sweet to create some banter with us even though he was quite busy. The bar tender (who btw is very sexy, long locks and the whole Johnny Depp look about him) made an effort to greet us and also say bye to us even though we didn’t order any drinks at the bar.
Finally coming to the food – my most favourite bit! Drool, Slurp, Nom nom nom…… Yes these are all the adjectives I am going to use as I am lost for words – okay I know its Cheesy (even though we didn’t have any cheese). The manager told us that the chef of this place has one Michelin Star – Now you know what kind of food to expect right?
We ordered the scallops and sea bass for starters and both of them were absolute delights, the scallops well cooked and the sauce with it was divine (I was really upset, as I finished it in less than 2 minutes). I went for the slow cooked lamb shoulder with herbs for my main course – the lamb was soft, tender, beautifully falling off the skin ’nuff said! And finally the desserts – ohh boy they were such a treat – it didn’t just look like a million pounds but tasted like a billion! I went for this cocolately treat which was made with white, milk and dark chocolate mousse – I think I am going to dream about it for the next few weeks! Finally we were served a red dessert wine – which was just like the cherry on the cake to end a purrrrfeecttt meal!
Verdict : Doesn’t matter what kind of food you like – You NEED to visit this place when in London!
The queen of Spinningfields, Australasia Manchester, has now extended its offering with the opening of Grand Pacific; a contemporary, colonial style bar in the heart of Manchester financial capital.
It can be accessed via a secluded staircase inside Austalasia, this unique cocktail bar evokes the atmosphere of a luxury Pacific beach hideaway with smart colonial style decor in cream and white, a long bar, and a secret tropical garden. With exquisite cocktails as its main focus. The menu is the same as Australasia so you can expect some mouth watering sushi and desserts here. The whole place screams class and panache from every corner. This bar is definitely very unique and reminds me a lot of classy cocktail bars in London or New York. The pricing definitely is very high end as you would imagine and you need to put on some swanky clothes to feel not so out of place here. I can vouch that the food is delicious and so are the cocktails, but that you can find in a lot of other places too so this one you need to visit purely for the ambiance and the whole experience.
Verdict : Great place to visit when you want to feel special!
They say good things happen to you when you least expect it – that is exactly what happened when I randomly got invited for a meal to Dorchester by Zomato one fine wednesday afternoon for a meal in the evening. It is really exciting for a foodie to get invited to one of the fanciest restaurants in London but then you also gotta think about what you gotta wear when you are going for a meal to a swanky hub like this. But well, I was working so had no choice but to land up in my work attire (snore bore) and to be fair I was a little worried that I might get some strange looks off people carrying LV bags and wearing Prada dresses, but guess what? I didn’t. The good thing about classy places is that you don’t need to make that much of a superficial effort as long as you are well behaved (which I think I am… ok most of the times).
The Grill – Dorchester
Now let’s get to the most exciting bit – The FOOD (Yay). It was definitely one of the BEST meals I have had and when I say that I mean some serious business. The bread served at the table was beautiful, fresh and so tasty and I could binge on them all day. I absolutely fell in love with the lobster burger starter, they were the perfect size which goes inside your mouth in one go and was succulent soft and totally melts in your mouth (nom nom). We were served three different kind of wine with each course (yeah yeah I know its a given but hey still worth mentioning right?) and let me tell you m’dear that was definitely some high quality wine specially the dessert wine (usually not the biggest fan of this, but ohh boy this one blew my mind). I asked the waiter not to serve me dessert wine because of my obvious dislike towards it and then he took that as a challenge to serve me a different kind of dessert wine, which he promised I would love – he couldn’t have been more right. The wine was a smokey chocolately cinnamony wine – ’nuff said! My starter was a duck pate (they had some complicated name for it which I can’t recall now) followed by the perfectly cooked haddock and a beautiful sauce – definitely impressive to say the least. But the one dish that had me at hello was the gooey, creamy chocolate and marzipan dessert (must try).
The ambience was obviously very classy and royal – come on we are talking about The Dorchester here! But what I really appreciated was the customer service and the absolute politeness of the staff (a lot of times places like these have a different kind of snobbery about them which is rather off putting). The minute I entered one of the guys took my coat and then he again came and gave it back to me while I was leaving (without me even having to ask).
Verdict : Next time you gotta big celebration coming up or you need to impress someone you know where to go!
What would be your last supper? This is a question I never thought about till I attended The Last Secret Supper Club thanks to Lauren for inviting me.
Eating out has always been an important part of people’s life but in the last few years it has suddenly gone top of the charts even before gigs and rock concerts. There are foodies everywhere and instagram is filled with food photographs of people posting photographs of food they eat. Back in the days eating out meant going to restaurants – order your favorite thing from the menu, women gossiped about men and men talked about sports and the hot victoria’s secret model and then you went home. But now there are different kinds of eating out and the most interesting and popular of the lot are – Supper Clubs. Supper Clubs are not like eating out at any restaurant but its a mixture of both restaurant and a dinner party. You pay a fixed price in advance for your meal and a great time in advance, it has become the most popular thing to do in London and New York these days. Supper Clubs actually started in the early 1990’s in New York where it was a thing that the High Society people did and now it has made a grand come back – still quite elitist though.
I spend an evening with The Last Secret supper club, which is organized by Food Photographer Lauren and her business partner along with Top Chef Jesse Dunford Wood at Parlour in Kensal. Lauren was kind enough to allow me to bring a plus one with me, so I turned up with my friend Patrick at the venue 30 minutes late – we confused Regents Street in Kensal with ‘The Regents Street’. We were greeted by the lovely hosts and they immediately showed us the way to the bar where we were served Mandarin Infused Gin and Tonic in plastic bags which also contained a plastic fish inside it – quite an innovate way to serve cocktails I must say!
There was a mixed bunch of people – Food reviewers, The hot New York media PR woman, Editors of Magazines, The Finance guy who works for a Hedge Fund and has no clue about supper clubs(he was my plus one) and a lot of American Expats (Supper Club’s are a big thing in The States). We were all seated like we were at a posh dinner party and then food was served finally – people ate, joked, talked about work (the introductions), then slowly once the wine and cocktail started kicking in, it went in all different directions including politics, sex and london stereotypes.
I thoroughly enjoyed my starter, Buffalo Wings in Blue Cheese Sauce – never tried buffalo wings before but every one in the table agreed that it was delicious and very well presented. The fish pie followed after that, I have to be honest I would never order a fish pie (I am a hard core meat lover when it comes to pies) but it was definitely tasty. And finally the dessert was served – Banoffie pie! You can’t really go wrong with this classic because its almost everyone’s favorite and the chef definitely nailed it, I loved the way she presented it too.
We had a good laugh, some good food and a very fine evening!
I had a chat with the ‘Brains’ of this wonderful concept Lauren and Lottie, this is what they had to say :
The initial concept of Last suppers, came from a series of different ways of thinking around people’s favourite foods. This led to a slightly darker side, what would you choose if you only had one meal left? Would it be food from your childhood, or would you pick something you’ve eaten in a restaurant or abroad?
This was the beginning of our brand. We started by asking friends and family about their last suppers and were amazed by the variety of menu choices. We began shooting their favourite dishes and soon found a style to the food and photography that worked well. The more people, we asked, the more we began to want to expand the idea into supper clubs. It definitely had a new twist compared with other London based supper clubs.
We started off by running them from home and at a rented location, but soon realised how much work was involved and that it wasn’t going to work financially this way. Lottie is a full time recipe developer and food stylist at Seven Publishing, and I am a freelance food photographer, so it was very difficult to fit into our already busy schedules. This is when we decided to collaborate with a chef.
I met chef Jesse Dunford Wood about 5 years ago whilst photographing restaurant reviews for a magazine. We remained good friends, making our decision simple when choosing a chef to involve in the brand. Jesse is very innovative, his culinary creativity still manages to suprise me. We have been running our supper clubs for 6 months now, 3 months of this in collaboration with Jesse. They have been a great success and I hope they continue to be!
The exciting part about the Last Secret Supper Club, is that you won’t know what you will be eating until you arrive. It’s like a game of meal roulette! The menu is very varied, but we always cook an alternative for people just incase. We also ask all our guests to submit their meal and any dietary requirements before they attend. This way there is a chance of one of their courses being selected and winning £10 off their ticket price. This is also their moment to state if there is anything they specifically dislike! We will adjust their meal accordingly.
Our supper clubs are hosted every last Wednesday of the month. The next one is the 30th of April.
We are continuing to write our cookery book alongside, we’re in the process of putting together a shooting schedule, and we hope the book will be released in April 2015.
You can also find out more about the brains behind ‘Last’ via our websites-
Like all food lovers do, I ate my way through Spain. I believe, food is how you see a country best, understand the people and their culture. My love affair with Spain is borrowed. It is my husband who is the Spain-o-phile. He speaks, eats and loves Spain. However, on my few visits to Spain, I fell in love with the food, the warmth, the sunshine and the people.
So, when Shrimoyee asked me to write a post for her blog all I could think about it was the amazing mediterranean food that I have had. Such variety and vibrancy attracted my expat Indian soul. Tapas in England just isn’t enough.
This incredible journey started in Malaga, costa del sol (coast of the sun) and as the name suggests, it was a sunny 15 degrees in December. The wonderful grilled fish on a beachside barbecue, as we enjoyed the view, was one of the highlights of the day. The simplicity of the recipe is what stunned me. No barbecue sauces or salad dressing for the salad was required and the fish and the vegetables on the side were dressed in salt and pepper seasoning with wedges of lemon.
The second delicacy was the ox-tail. Although I ordered rather bravely, I had no idea what would appear on my plate. What if it flicked its tail at me? But what did come to the table was melt-in-the-mouth, succulent and did not taste like a tail (preconceived notions of what a tail might taste like)! You can see the Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette) on the side. I’ve ordered the same menu here in London but, sitting under the sunny skies with an oxtail and San Miguel keeping you company is an unmatchable experience. Ohh! and the man on the street corner was singing ‘chiquitita dime por que’ and strumming the guitar.
My next visit to Spain was to Alicante in Costa Blanca (White coast). Alicante is a joy to the budget traveller. You can stay (in a good hotel), eat and loll around the beach for 250 GBP for two people for two days! The people are friendly, although they speak minimal to no English at all, unlike Malaga. My favourite food memory of Alicante was the paella. We were at a tiny Spanish cafe/restaurant, where they had a separate menu for different kinds of paella. Our’s was the Alicante paella
My next visit to Spain will be in summer 2014 and this one will be a much longer holiday spent in Southern Spain.
Spanish restaurants that I would recommend in London :