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Category Archives: Food
I do like a restaurant with a view, and when you live in a beautiful city such as London, you can only imagine what kind of view that would be at 40 floors high! Duck and Waffle is that special place, located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower (near Liverpool street) actually makes it the highest restaurant in the UK.
This (much talked about) restaurant had been on my list ever since it opened last year and I finally went to Duck & Waffle for the first time in October, when I took my friend there to celebrate her 30th birthday and I enjoyed it so much that I went back there again a few weeks later when my parents were in town to visit me.
To find the restaurant on Bishops Gate, just look for the massive neon Sushi Samba sign because they share the same private entrance. After confirming your booking name at the ground floor entrance (it almost feels a bit like entering a night club) you step into one of the glass express lifts that zooooooom you to the top of the building in just 24 seconds. The speedy lift ride made my ears pop and kind of terrified my friend (who turns out to be a bit afraid of heights) but I found watching London’s city lights shrink underneath my feet pretty exhilarating!
To get to the restaurant you have to walk through the glamorous bar area, which is a rather tempting place for a pre-dinner cocktail. The restaurant dining room has a stylish and modern design, with an open kitchen and it features wrap around floor-to-ceiling windows so you can get a 360 degree view over the City and try to spot many of London’s famous landmarks.
The menu at Duck and Waffle offers a playful touch to traditional European and British inspired dishes which are all intended for sampling and sharing!
To start there are a variety of warm freshly baked breads, crispy pig ears or olives and then the menu continues with a selection of raw dishes, small plates and main dishes for the table to share.
I recommend getting the olives (they are ginormous) and some freshly bakes bread. So far I have tried their house bread with butter & puglian olive oil rosemary and their rosemary and garlic bread, and they are equally as delicious.
From the raw selection I loved the yellowfin tuna (with watermelon, balsamic and basil) and the scottish scallop (with apple, black truffle and lime) – each £9. I found the combination of these contrasting flavours is very refreshing. Duck and Waffle serve the sashimi on top of a large block of pink Himalayan salt, which you gently rub over the salt block for some extra seasoning before letting it melt away in your mouth.
From the small plates selection we shared the following dishes; Roasted octopus with chorizo, potato, lemon and capers (£13), Bacon wrapped dates with linguiça sausage and dandelion salad (£9) and Roasted beetroot with goat’s curd, honeycomb and watercress (£9).
I love this beetroot salad! The combination of the goat’s cheese with the sweet and crunchy honeycomb which slightly melts (and sticks to your teeth haha) when mixed into the dish is super tasty.
When it comes to ordering your main dishes to share, it’s a pretty straight forward decision to go for their signature dish; the Duck & Waffle (£17)!
The Duck & Waffle is a crispy duck leg, placed onto a sweet waffle with a fried duck egg on top served with a little jug of mustard maple syrup. Now this combination might sound a little odd but trust me it just works! The flavours compliment each other perfectly and the mustard maple syrup is so delicious that I couldn’t stop pouring it and almost wanted to lick my plate clean afterwards ;)
When I was there with my parents and a friend we also ordered the whole roasted shropshire chicken with potatoes, wild mushrooms and truffle (£35). We were quite shocked to realise how massive this dish was but somehow we still managed to work our way through it. The chicken was moist on the inside and crispy on the outside and the mushrooms were a nice accompliment.
After all that food we were pretty full but I always find it so hard to say ‘no’ when they ask ‘would you like to have a look at our dessert menu’?
Ahh because see how on earth can I then say no to a peanut butter and jelly macaroon! Luckily my dad also loves a good dessert so we got the PBJ macaroon and vanilla baked alaska to share! And boy were we glad we did….
I really like atmosphere and the food at Duck and Waffle and I think the menu is fairly priced because the dishes are well portioned but I do find the drinks is where it gets pricey; as cocktails are around £14 a pop and a bottle of wine starts around £30. The view is definitely worth it though so I think Duck & Waffle is one of those must visit places in London! Luckily they take reservations but you will need to book well in advance to get a table at this popular restaurant.
One thing I want to do next is visit Duck & Waffle in the early hours of the morning because it actually welcomes guests 24/7, offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night menus! Just imagine having a very early breakfast whilst seeing the sun come up over the London skyline…
Have you been to Duck & Waffle in London yet?
A few weekends ago when I had plans to catch up with one of my girlfriends, who lives near Belsize Park, I sneakily used this an an opportunity to try out a new cafe in that area for brunch that I’d heard a lot about. Ginger and White say “We love coffee and we adore food” which are also two common loves of mine so I was looking forward to check out this little cafe that is known for its sensational coffee, exceptional cakes and delicious weekend brunch.
It’s not a secret that most of my favourite brunch places in London are Antipodean owner or operated so it was nice to find out that Ginger & White is all about Britain. For their coffees they use Square Mile Coffee (who hand-roast their beans in East London), the food is all focus around British flavours and even in the decorations you can spot the british pride with the Union Jack displayed on walls and cushions.
We arrived for brunch at Ginger and White on a Saturday morning and after about a 10 minute wait we were able to score a little table outside. It was still nice autumn weather a few weeks back so outside was fine, plus we had blankets and a gas heater to keep us warm! Brunch at Ginger and White is served all day and the breakfast menu is simple but there’s bound to be something for everyone to love on there.
On the menu there are options like; soft boiled eggs with buttered soldiers, homemade nutty granola with greek yoghurt and earl grey poached pears, poached or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, sweetcorn fritters and smokey baked beans with chorizo, parsley and feta. However we both actually decided to a little off menu because we craved the smashed avocado & rocket on toasted sourdough with a side of bath pig chorizo but also wanted to add a poached egg into the mix. Luckily they were happy to accommodate our slight off menu adaptation :)
The eggs were perfectly poached (there’s almost nothing worse than an over-poached egg in my opinion) and the chorizo was grilled and super tasty!
Once brunch was gobbled down over a lovely long catch up chat we couldn’t help but be tempted by the mouth-watering cakes on display inside the cafe so we decided to share a breakfast ‘dessert’ in the form of an old favourite; Banana Bread!
As you can see the slice we got was MASSIVE! She said it was the last bit of that loaf so they just gave us the whole thing; hehe lucky us :) They served the toasted spiced Banana Bread with sweetened vanilla cream and a mixed berry compote. Even though the slice was huge, we managed to clean the plate in matter of minutes and washed it down with some fresh mint tea to finish of our perfect brunch date at Ginger and White!
Ginger & White have a cafe in Belsize Park but also in Hampstead so if you are ever around those areas and fancy a delicious brunch in a relaxed cafe I’d say give them a visit! Even if you just pop in for a coffee and some cake, it’s worth it!
Ginger & White
Belsize Park: 2 Englands Lane, London NW3 4TG
Hampstead: 4a-5a Perrin’s Ct, London, NW3 1QS
As you know I am a true believer in the 80/20 diet, which is all about the right balance between eating healthy (80%) and treating yourself (20%). As part of this ‘diet’ I usually try to eat very healthy during the week and for the last few months I have started to cut out carbs on my healthy dinner time meals. Via Pinterest and other blogs I actually realised that there are lots of delicious low-carb alternatives out there; like my beloved zucchini noodles! But now onto another low-carb goodie; have you ever heard of cauliflower rice?
Well, as an example this Broccoli Beef dinner is one of my healthy dinner go-to recipes and even though this looks like normal rice, I can tell you there isn’t a grain to be found in that photo!
Cauliflower rice is pretty much ‘rice’ made from, you guessed it, cauliflower! When grated it has couscous-like texture and is perfect with chicken, steak or anything you would normally serve with rice. Plus it’s great with things like curries and stir-fry’s because it absorbs the flavours of the sauces you serve it with.
Does it taste like cauliflower? Well yes, but I think it has a very mild taste, so even if cauliflower doesn’t usually rock your boat, I’d say give it a go! And if you add some garlic, herbs or spices during the cooking process it will really change the flavour. Plus did I mention that 100g of cauliflower rice is only 24 calories, compared to 100g of rice at 355 calories!
So how do I make cauliflower rice? It’s SUPER simple and this is all you need to know!
- 1/2 head of cauliflower (serves 2, or keep 1 portion covered in fridge for lunch the next day)
- Food processor or if (like me) you don’t have one, a cheese grater will do just fine!
- Microwave or frying pan/wok depending on preferred cooking method for your dinner.
- Rinse cauliflower under cool water and pat dry.
- Using a cheese grater, grate the cauliflower to a coarse texture (approximately the size of rice grains). Or use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower to desired texture.
- When it comes to cooking the ‘rice’ you can either steam it or sauté/fry it depending on your preference or the type of dish you will be serving it with.
- When steaming it I usually just place the grated cauliflower rice in a microwave safe bowl and cook it on full power in the microwave for 2 minutes (reduce to 1 min seconds if using one portion’s worth). Oh and there’s no need to add water: there’s already enough liquid in the cauliflower to stop it from drying out. Keep an eye on your rice while it’s cooking, you don’t want to overheat it so it remains a little crunchy!
- Stir fry/Sauté; heat a tiny bit of oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add in the cauliflower rice and fry/saute for 2-3 minutes. You can also add garlic or spices and herbs to give it extra flavour!
- Then when cooked, serve immediately with your meal and enjoy this guilt free little side-dish!
Some more suggestions for enjoying Cauliflower Rice;
- Herbed rice; add 1/4 cup of fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, green onion, and/or other herbs of your choice.
- Curried Cauliflower Rice; add 1 tablespoon turmeric or curry powder.
- Chinese Fried Rice; after frying the cauliflower rice, push the cauliflower to one side of the pan. Pour in one (1) beaten egg into the empty part of the pan and lightly scramble the egg. Then mix the scrambled egg and cauliflower “rice” together. If desired, add a little soy sauce to the mixture.
- Rice Salad; after frying and cooling, mix in some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. Season lightly with some oil and vinegar.
- Spanish Rice; after cooking the cauliflower, add an 8-ounce can of chopped tomatoes and a little hot sauce (to taste). Can also add some sautéed diced green pepper and garlic.
- Vegetable Rice; add your favorite diced vegetable and sauté with onions.
- Lemon Rice; add some lemon zest and lemon juice
One of my favourite meals I have with cauliflower rice is this Broccoli Beef recipe – it’s SO tasty and pretty easy to make and trust me you won’t miss the normal rice one bit.
BROCCOLI BEEF (with cauliflower rice)
Serves 4 – Original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats
3/4 pound flank steak, sliced very thin and against the grain
4 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil like vegetable or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
cooked cauliflower rice
For the beef marinade:
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
For the sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
- Place the sliced beef in a large ziplock bag. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Smoosh to coat the beef in the mixture, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. Do not overcook as the broccoli will cook a bit more later in the recipe.
- Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat an electric wok, or very large skillet, to high heat. Add the oil then gently place the beef in the wok and spread into a single layer. Let the beef cook for 1 minute without touching it.
- Add the garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute, then add in the sauce and broccoli. Bring the sauce to a boil, then add in the cornstarch dissolved in water. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve over cauliflower rice and enjoy! :)
Have you heard of or tried cauliflower rice before, and if not are you now inspired to give it a go? I’d love to know what you think, and what your favourite way is to enjoy it!
One of my favourite brunch spots in London has always been Caravan in Farringdon/Clerkenwell. Kiwi owned and in London since 2010, Caravan on Exmouth is both a brilliant cafe and restaurant; they have their own coffee roastery and a menu focussed on fusion cooking or what they call ‘well travelled food’. I love this place so much, both for dinner and brunch, which makes it quite bizarre that I have never actually blogged about it before.
About a year ago they opened their second London venue located in the Grade II-listed Granary Building in Kings Cross. I recently took my parents to Caravan King’s Cross for brunch (after a long but beautiful walk from Notting Hill along Regents Canal) so thought it was about time I featured this great London brunch spot on here!
Whereas the original Caravan is a small space, with a cosy neighbourhood vibe, Caravan King’s Cross has a bigger, more modern look and feel about it. The large, industrial-looking room can seat up to 80 people (and a further 40 more on the outside terrace in summer). Unfortunately, like most places in London, they don’t take bookings for weekend brunch so expect to have to wait at least 30 minutes to be seated. Luckily they take your number and will text you when your table is ready, so grab one of their takeaway coffees and trust me, the food is worth the wait.
The breakfast and brunch menu at Caravan in King’s Cross is very similar to the original cafe and includes favourites such as grilled Coconut Bread, strawberries and Lemon Curd cream cheese, the Baked Eggs in tomato and pepper ragout, Greek Yoghurt and Chorizo, the Caravan Fry Up and the Toasted Sourdough with Avocado, Olive oil and Chilli flakes. But the menu at Caravan King’s Cross also has some new dishes such as Parmesan Grits, mushroom and Wild Boar Sausage, the Raclette and spinach French toast, with bacon and watercress and the Crab and Spring Onion Omelette with wasabi limi mayo. Basically, as you can see everything on the menu looks mouth-watering delicious!
We decided on the Baked eggs, tomato pepper ragout, Greek yoghurt and toast with chorizo sausage (£9.50) – my personal favourite! I just had to introduce my dad to this simple but very tasty dish and he loved it.
My mum went for the sweet option with the Balsamic Berry Waffles with Mascarpone and Vanilla Syrup. It was very good but think following our big walk there, she was still a little hungry so decided to fill that gap with one of their muffins afterwards!
Just like their Farringdon cafe, Caravan King’s Cross also has their own coffee roasters as part of the restaurant. They roast all of our coffee onsite daily using 100% Arabica beans that have been ethically sourced from around the world. You can even buy yourself a bag of their single origin coffees and espresso beans.
After we finished our brunch meals we ordered some teas and coffees and couldn’t help sharing a dessert! Ever since I lived in New Zealand, my parents have been big fans of drinking ‘Flat Whites’ so they were excited to see they could have this kind of coffee at Caravan!
And how pretty does it look right? So pretty that you almost don’t want to drink it…OK you do and it’s goooooood. Dessert was a rich chocolate cheesecake with salted almonds and almond ice cream. It went down a treat and after this we were well and truly full and happy.
The service at Caravan is always friendly and efficient plus even though it is always busy and jammed packed with people, it’s not too noisy and you never get that feeling they are trying to rush you out the door for the next people.
If you’ve never been to Caravan (either Farringdon or King’s Cross) I definitely recommend checking it out. Because every time I go it proves itself to me again and again and therefore it remains very much on top of my Best Brunch list!
Caravan Kings Cross
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square (off goods way)
London N1C 4AA
Phone: 020 7101 7661
It’s not really a secret that I am bananas about Banana Bread! My friends know that when we are out for brunch and I spot it on the menu, I will be the first one to suggest that we share a slice after our brunch for ‘dessert’.
Banana Bread is pretty much a religion in Australia and New Zealand, where I lived for almost 8 years. A lot of people think that Banana Bread is like a cake, but it’s actually not supposed to be too rich and sugary, making it a delicious healthier option for breakfast! It’s been a breakfast staple in cafes in Australia and New Zealand for years and now it seems Banana Bread is finally taking the rest over the world.
One of my friends in London, fellow banana bread addict and Aussie baker Sharon Luff is the mastermind behind the company The Big Banana Bread Co, which she started from her kitchen in Notting Hill. When Sharon move to the UK, she searched high and low for her daily bread, and when she couldn’t find it, she made it herself. She saw an opportunity to change the way Brits eat breakfast by creating her own ‘Aussie-style’ banana bread, something she believed would be the ‘next big thing’ in the U.K.
The Big Banana Bread Co. is all about Real Bananas & No Nonsense! Each slice is made with 40% real bananas. Did you know that this superfruit is loaded with potassium, which can lower your blood pressure, and is one of the best sources of resistant starch, a healthy carb that fills you up and helps to boost your metabolism?
A slice contains 343kcal, which is about the same calories as a bowl of muesli with milk, but is made with only Real Bananas, free range eggs, cold-pressed rapeseed oil (low in saturated fats, rich in Vitamin E) and No Nonsense meaning free of preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners. This makes it a very tasty wake-up breakfast alternative, tea- time snack or perfect healthy energy boosting pre-gym workout!
I am a huge fan of the Big Banana Bread Co. so I have stocked up and I keep a collection of it in my freezer. So when the craving for a slice hits me, there’s no need for me to try and find some in a local cafe but I can just enjoy it in the comfort of my own home in a matter of minutes. I think the best way to enjoy Banana Bread is freshly toasted with a bit of butter or I sincerely recommend spreading your toasted slice with a generous dollop of ricotta, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
You’re going to love it, trust me!
‘Banana Bread is a new kind of breakfast, bouncy just like bread; you can toast it or eat as is. All real bananas and no nonsense. Let the revolution begin…’ Sharon Luff, Chief Banana/Founder
This slice went down a treat last week, enjoyed in bed on a rainy London Sunday morning! Bet I have you dreaming about Banana Bread too now…
Sharon’s vision is to make banana bread accessible to the masses by supplying to supermarkets, convenience stores, gyms, trains, corporate offices and high street chains. Which means you can get your own slice of, heaven, uhhh I meant Big Banana Bread Co in London now from your local Crussh Juice Bar, Fortnum & Mason, Portobello Orange Coffee, Toucan Fruit, Wholefoods & Chop’d.