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Category Archives: London
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
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
Last Saturday I was up bright and early to join a group of my girlfriends for our first official West London Running club session! We decided a few weeks back to get a group of girls together to meet up regularly on Saturday mornings (when you can and are not too hungover from the Friday night..) for a local run in the park or along the canal, followed by a lot of chatting and catching up over a delicious breakfast. A pretty great way to start the weekend I think :)
However I have to say that this Saturday when at 8.30am my alarm clock was yelling at me to wake up and get my ass out of bed, I wasn’t as keen on the idea anymore haha. But but once I was up and into my running gear I was looking forward to fresh air, exercise, catching up with my friends and of course the food! So on our way to Hyde Park we went. How amazing does it look with all the autumn colours?
We all run at different speeds (and most of us with music) so as much as it’s a ‘running club’ when it comes to the running part we do just tend to stick to our own levels, distances and we might even run different routes. We just all have the same finish/meet up time and destination (the breakfast venue) planned and that works perfectly. Plus it means that say one week you are not able to do the run (aka too lazy to get up early) you can still join the running club after their workout for breakfast!
After a short workout session (30min) through Hyde Park we all made our way to the breakfast venue which this weekend was The Great British Restaurant in Mayfair. My friend actually found this place on TimeOut under best cheap breakfasts in London. Think after summer splurging we are all counting are pennies a bit more so a yummy breakfast for a small price sounded perfect to us.
The restaurant has recently been taken over by new owners and I love the retro cafe look of the place. The service was super friendly and they didn’t mind a group of sweaty girls taking over their restaurant for the morning (we did check this when we made the booking, just to be safe haha).
Their weekend brunch menu is served from 9am until 3pm on Saturday & Sunday. If you are hungry then definitely go for the Full English at only £9.95, or there are slightly healthier options like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or porridge.
The Full Breakfast comes with free range eggs of your choice (fried, poached or scrambled) with Old Spot smoked dry cured back bacon, breakfast sausage, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, and house black pudding. I love it how they serve the baked beans in a little separate jar – this way avoiding soggy toast! Clever & cute! :)
Some of us went all out with the Full English, others chose the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and me and some others decided to get the porridge option. It’s weird because even though I pretty much eat porridge every morning already, I still get the craving in the weekends for it too sometimes. The porridge was lovely, warm, filling and just what I need that morning. Oh and very healthy too aside from the fact that I pretty much drowned it with honey (it’s dangerous when they give you a jar on the side…)
We had a lovely time catching up over breakfast, followed by a couple of coffees and then when our bill came they even brought out little paper bags filled with retro lollies for the whole table! What a fun treat and super yummy. Perfect sugar fix to give us energy to browse the shops after breakfast before heading back home (because did I mention this place is just off Oxford Street and within walking distance of Zara, River Island & Primark) Oh oh……
The Great British Restaurant
North Audley St, London W1K 6WE
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7741 2233
New and different foodie type restaurants open up in London all the time, but when I started hearing the buzz about a new place weirdly called ‘Flesh and Buns’ I was very intrigued.
Flesh & Buns is the second London restaurant by Australian super chef Ross Shonhan, who after working at Zuma and Nobu earlier this year decided to open up his own funky, and now very popular, ramen noodle bar ‘Bone Daddies’ in Soho. I have actually still not made it to eat at Bone Daddies but the concept of Flesh & Buns sounded pretty fun and delicious so when I had a night out planned with friends a while back I felt Flesh and Buns could be just the place for some great food and fun times. I mean who doesn’t like making their own little fluffy ‘sandwiches’ right?
Flesh & Buns is located in buzzing Covent Garden on Earlham Street. The restaurant is actually in the basement so just look out for the big circle sign outside the entrance and make your way down to a dimly lit large dining room where rock music is blasting from the speakers and people are drinking sake and stuffing their faces with Flesh & Buns!
While we waited for our table to be ready (yes they take bookings!) we headed to the bar and got ourselves some of their home infused Sake to toast to a fun night out. If you want to have a quiet (or romantic) dinner then I warn you, this is probably not the place. The vibe is energetic and was inspired by a laid-back attitude towards Japanese cuisine. Ross Shonhan said about Flesh & Buns “I want to inject a bit of fun and humour into London’s Japanese restaurants and I love seeing people kick back, relax and enjoy some great food and drink that’s not too serious.”
After a long day at the office, our tummies were rumbling so we started off with some small plates. The menu offers traditional Japanese small dishes like sushi rolls, sashimi and tempura. We shared some fried squid, sushi maki rolls and softshell crab.
The perfectly cooked crunchy soft shell crab with Jalapeno mayo was to-die-for-delicious. I could have easily ordered another round of the soft shell crab but I needed to save room for the main event; DIY dining with “Flesh” & “Buns”!
Steamed hirata buns, originally from Taiwan but beloved by the Japanese, are the star dish and the idea is you decide the “Flesh” you want so you can stuff your perfectly soft buns with the tasty meat fillings! Buns are served in a bamboo steamer with some salad, pickles and sauce on the side. For the flesh part of the meal you have plenty of options like sticky pork belly, lamb chops, sirloin steak, baby chicken or crispy fried sole.
We went for the crispy duck leg with sour plum soy, the juicy pork belly and the salmon teriyaki. Once you have your meat it’s just a case of shredding up your flesh and start getting messy by stuffing your buns!
It’s such a fun way to eat and we quickly got through our first round of buns. You only get two buns each per serving and they aren’t massive but luckily for hungry eaters (like us) they have extra buns available on demand. And after our second round of buns we were all well and truly satisfied!
Next up was dessert. To be honest I don’t know how we actually had room for this after all the buns we’d eaten but when you see everyone having fun toasting marshmallows over giant clay grilling pots on their tables, that’s not something you are going to pass on! The dessert I am talking about is the S’more.
The Flesh & Buns East meets West version of this traditional North American camping treat means you get a fluffy big marshmallow on a skewer to toast on a tabletop flame before sandwiching the gooey sugary goodness between two biscuits with a slice of green tea white chocolate. And yes it is as fun, messy and delicious as that sounds!
I really enjoyed the food at Flesh and Buns and the music, atmosphere and DIY dining experience ensures you are set for a fun night out. We ended the night with some more cocktails at the Experimental Cocktail Club in Chinatown before heading to bed full and happy (and wishing it was the weekend instead of a school night haha). Had you heard of Flesh & Buns before and are you keen to give this new London restaurant a visit?
Flesh & Buns
41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX
Phone: 020 7632 9500