Category Archives: London

Brunch at Hally’s Parsons Green

Going out for brunch is probably one of my favourite past-times in the weekend, so I love finding out about new good places to visit. One of these new places I recently was told about is Hally’s Parsons Green. Hally’s opened in June 2013 on New Kings Road and says it’s a “A Californian-inspired hangout– all about innovative, fresh food, expertly-made coffee & a relaxed vibe.” So this long weekend I braved it through the rain and wind on my bike (and got soaked in the process) to meet some friends for brunch at Hally’s. I was told it was “epic” so as you can imagine I had high expectations.

Turns out a lot of people seem to think it is epic because there was a bit of a wait to get a table when we got there, but we were able to shelter from the rain inside and the staff was friendly in looking after us to get us a table as soon as possible. I love the casual, white and beach house style design of the café and don’t even get me started on those pastel paint-dipped vintage style chairs.

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Hally’s Parsons Green is open Monday to Sunday 8am to 6pm and during the week they serve breakfast daily from 8am and lunch from 12 to 4pm. However of course I was there for the main event that is their weekend brunch. Their (8am-4pm) brunch menu changes weekly is full of great dishes like; healthy granola, eggs benedict, american pancakes, smoked salmon with cream cheese and of course a full breakfast. We got coffee, fresh mint tea and fresh juices while we caught up and made our mind up on what to eat.

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In the end we all had the same food craving. Can you guess? Yep…. it was the avocado on sourdough with chilli, lemon and rocket that we all wanted. However we were hungry girls so we added some sides!

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….just to prove there was a-whole-lot of avocado underneath that rocket salad!

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Mine was with the poached eggs and chorizo. Amelia had the same but with bacon instead of chorizo and Krystle got her eggs scrambled and also with chorizo! The rocket salad on top of the avocado was really refreshing and we were all amazed by how orange the egg yolks were - think that means they are very organic/free range eggs which is nice!  We probably didn’t need all those extra sided but oh boy was it tasty :)

We had a fabulous time at Hally’s and think I will definitely be back to try some of the other dishes on the menu! Have you been to this little brunch/lunch gem in Parsons Green yet? Check it out – it’s epic ;)

Hally’s
60 New Kings Road
Parsons Green
London, SW6 4LS
www.hallysparsonsgreen.com

  
Leave a comment | Posted in Brunch, Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Dom Pérignon Rosé Creative Combustion at Magazine Restaurant

Back in March Dom Pérignon invited nine of the world’s most innovative chefs to a three-day ‘Creative Combustion’ workshop in Paris that saw each creative talent inspire the other to create their own Creative Combustion Rosé Paradox Menu around the latest Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003.

One of those chef’s was Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange from London, who is head chef at The Magazine. The Magazine is a stunning restaurant in Hyde Park based in the Serpentine Gallery that has been on my list to visit for a while. The setting is bright and modern and the menu is fusion food with heavy Japanese influences.  Following the Dom Pérignon  Paradox experience, Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange created his own Rosé Paradox Menu, which will be introduced at his restaurant, The Magazine for the month of September. Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lang says about his creation: “A fun, explosive menu inspired and  created by combining global flavours.” The other night I was invited to try this beautiful new menu accompanied of course by plenty of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003. Here are some photos of the night!

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Before sitting down at our table we all admired the restaurant while enjoying a glass of Dom Pérignon and some delicious canapés; an aubergine beef tartare spoon and a crab donut style bun. The aubergine beef tartare was so good, I may have had a few of those spoons.

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Once seated at our table, the head chef Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange (and creator of the menu) welcomed us and spoke about his inspiration for all the dishes. First up was an Amuse Bouche which was a little pastry style cone filled with something tasty. Terrible I know but I can’t actually remember what it was. Next up was a plate of Sashimi Hamachi Ceviche Style with Scallop Crisp and Mango.

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How beautiful does this plate look? It was almost too pretty to touch. This was maybe one of my favourite dishes of the night, I love ceviche and sashimi and this fresh combination with the mango was delicious and it literally melted in your mouth.

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Then it was sushi time. I love sushi so this selection to share was right up my street. The selection was: Big Volcano Roll // Spicy Tuna and Crispy Ginger // Smoked Trout and Shiso Roll // Surf’n Turf Roll // Salmon Nigiri and Saikyo Miso. All equally as delicious!

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The main dish of the Creative Combustion menu is Pigeon with Brioche and Mushroom Essence. This dish is from Nenad the 2 star chef from Switzerland who also took part in the workshop. Pigeon is not something I eat every day of the week so it’s really nice to have something different when you’re out. If you haven’t had pigeon before, you should definitely try it next time you spot it on a menu. It has quite a rich, gamey flavour to it – a bit like dark chicken or duck. Hard to describe really, but just try it and let me know what you think! This dish was definitely delicious and a favourite for many of the guests that evening.

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For dessert it was back to sharing. Now I very much like my desserts so my sharing partner that night probably wasn’t lucky to have me on his side ;) The three desserts as part of the menu (from top to bottom in photos) are: Fromage Blanc with Pomello and Almond // Poached Apricot, yeasted Miso crème and vanilla // Beetroot, yoghurt and blackberry.

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I am normally more a chocolate dessert kind of girl but have to say these desserts were deliciously refreshing.  My favourite was the poached apricot with the citrusy fromage blanc a close second! Together we certainly emptied those 3 bowls pretty quickly.

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We all had an amazing night – great food, incredible champagne and a gorgeous setting. What more can you want? The menu is perfectly crafted to be enjoyed with the dark jewel that is the Dom Pérignon Rosé as “Dom Pérignon Rose 2003 adds freshness and vibrancy to the protein-rich textures and accompanies the discovery of each flavour.”

The Paradox Dom Pérignon Rosé Creative Combustion Menu will be served at The Magazine exclusively throughout September. Price per person is £250, including a glass of Dom Pérignon Rose Vintage 2003 to accompany each course. So if you are looking for something really special in September this would make a pretty amazing option!

Pre-booking through Magazine Restaurant only on:
Tel: 020 7298 7552
www.serpentinegalleries.org/restaurant

  
Leave a comment | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Jose Tapas Bar – Bermondsey Street

Located on the trendy Bermondsey Street is José Pizarro’s Spanish Bar, Jose. This place had been on my list for a long time and now that my office moved to the London Bridge area it made it the perfect sense to go and check it out one night after work for drinks and dinner. Jose Tapas Bar is a genuine, slightly rustic Spanish bar serving up a range of traditional tapas dishes and daily menu specials.

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Jose doesn’t take reservations because the bar is quite small and it does get very busy. However the staff are super friendly and efficient at getting you in as soon as they can. Just be aware that this doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get a seat because most of the customers are standing up, putting their plates and drinks on strategically placed barrels. We arrived on a Thursday night around 6.30pm and waited for about 20 min before we got a spot in the bar. While we waited at the entrance way though we consumed some Prosecco to kick off the night.

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Now onto the food. We got a little over-excited about all the delicious food so ordered quite a bit! The dishes at Jose are traditional Spanish tapas (meaning no major modern twists) but they are all of exceptional quality.

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Manzanilla olives £3 // Salted Marcona almonds £3 // Jamón Ibérico 100% Corn Fed £12. The Ibérico ham and other meats at Jose are all from Maldonado, one of Spain’s most esteemed artisan producers. I think this was one of the best ham I’ve ever had in London (or maybe even Spain for that matter..)

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Croquetas £6, which were perfectly crisp-outside and creamy-within // Deep flavoured Tortilla £4 // Charred salty Padrón peppers  £5  // and Patatas Bravas with a creamy aoili and a spicy tomato sauce £4.

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 Chorizo cooked in wine £6 – I looooove chorizo! // The Pork Cheeks in a red wine and tomato sauce £9 – this pork was melt in your mouth incredible. One of my favourite dishes of the night!

Now after all that food we weren’t really planning on having dessert but we’d been standing near the kitchen and been having a great chat with the lovely wait staff, so they surprised us with two desserts on the house. Now how could we say no to that!

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The desserts that night were Rice Pudding and Turrón Mouse (£4.50 each). Turrón is a Spanish nougat made with almonds, honey, sugar and egg white, traditionally served at Christmas. The Turrón mouse was so smooth, nutty and rich so even though we were incredibly full from dinner, we pretty much licked that little glass clean!

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I would seriously recommend a visit to Jose Tapas Bar in Bermondsey to everyone. Amazingly good food and the service was fantastic in this small, cosy and buzzing bar! I tweeted this photo of me with the staff during dinner  and when we were paying the bill Mr José Pizarro himself came out to say hello and to ask us if we’d had a good evening. I couldn’t believe it! What a night :) I will definitely be back and also can’t wait to try his full sized restaurant (also in Bermondsey) called Pizarro.

Jose Tapas Bar, Bermondsey
104 Bermondsey Street
SE1 3UB, London
Twitter @Jose_Bermondsey
www.josetapasbar.com

  
2 Comments | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurant Review

Brunch at Chiltern Firehouse

Knowing I am a bit of a brunch-addict, two of my good mates were so very kind to treat me to an (early) birthday breakfast two weeks ago. They asked, where would you like to go and it wasn’t hard for me to decide on Chiltern Firehouse! I however assumed it would be impossible for him to get a booking there (seeing it’s the place in London at the moment and always packed with celebs) but hooray he managed to score us a booking. I need to find out his tricks actually because this could come in handy in the future ;)

So two weeks ago on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning we met up for some drinks at his place in Marylebone first to start the day off by toasting to my 30th birthday (a week early but who am I to complain) with a glass of Champagne! Two glasses of Moet by 10am is rather punchy but it did make for a brilliant start to the day.

When we got to Chiltern Firehouse we had the option of sitting inside the restaurant or outside on the terrace. Because it was so warm and summery we decided on the terrace and kicked off with, umm, more champagne. Slightly diluted this time in the form of Bellini’s which went down a treat.

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For the food I was actually quite suprised abou the menu. Friends of mine had raved about the brunch at Chiltern Firehouse but for an 11am booking on a Saturday I found the menu a lot more lunchy-than-brunchy. When I think brunch I think mainly yummy egg dishes, something healthy and delicious items like pancakes or french toast, with a few lunch dishes thrown in for good measure.

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I wonder if the Sunday Brunch menu is different or if we just had a different menu because we were seated in the courtyard. Anyway the menu still looked delicious but we all wanted craved something eggy and because none of us liked hollandaise sauce (call us weird) it ruled out the staple Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine.

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We got the spiced crab omelette with turmeric, potatoes and chervil and two of the smoked salmon on a herbed potato cake, topped with a poached egg. The waiter added the chips  on the house. Why? No idea but we weren’t complaining hehe. Some close up food porn shots of brunch yumminess.

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It all tasted delicious, very fresh and light. After brunch we decided maybe we had skipped a good starter so for dessert we decided on a savoury starter and of course some cake – after all we were celebrating my birthday. Any excuse right?

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Crab stuffed donuts with coral dusting. Lovely little bites of sweet and savoury!

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And the chocolate tart with toasted hazelnut ice cream (dissapeared in seconds). Overall I loved the food and the service at Chiltern Firehouse. I can’t wait to come back for dinner one night or to try their actual breakfast menu.

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After all the yummy food and drinks we all left full and happy for a day to enjoy the London sunshine. Thanks boys for a fab start to my 30th birthday week! Have you been to Chiltern Firehouse yet?

Chiltern Firehouse
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone
W1U 7PA, London
www.chilternfirehouse.com
Call 020 7073 7676
or email reservations@chilternfirehouse.com for a reservation…..Good luck!!

  
Leave a comment | Posted in Brunch, Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden

I’m a big fan of japanese food and especially sushi and yakitori. So when I found out about Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden, I knew that this restaurant would be right up my street. Sticks N Sushi originates from Denmark where it was founded 18 years ago by  two brothers, Jens and Kim Rahbek, and Thor Anderson. Taking inspiration from their half-Japanese and half-Danish background, they decided to fuse the two cuisines together. What they serve? Pretty much what it says on the box – Sticks (yakitori) and Sushi. The concept has been a roaring success because today there are ten Sticks’n’Sushi restaurants in Copenhagen and two in London, Covent Garden and Wimbledon.

I’d been meaning to visit Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden ever since it opened late last year but just never got round to it. But late is better then never, so finally a few weeks ago I met a friend for a catch up dinner at Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden.

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The design and feel of the place is very trendy, classy and fun – I love the exposed brick and it oozes Nordic cool. Their menu offers lots of delicious cocktails if you’re up for a fun night out. Me and my friend however were having a bit more of a low key evening, so we decided on a refreshing green tea after a long day in the office. You can also never go wrong with edamame beans (very generous serving) covered in a spicy miso dip) to nibble on while you work out the menu.

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The menu at Sticks N Sushi is enormous. They have set menu / plates or the a la carte option so you can select whatever you fancy. The menu has photos of all the dishes, which is helpful so you know what you are ordering – but also slightly tempting because it all looks so good, making it very tricky to decide. We decided to go A La Carte and picked a selection of sticks to share and some rolls.

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Gyu Filet – beef with herbed butter // Goats cheese with dried ham // Chicken and leeks in teriyaki // Miso marinated black cod // Salmon wrapped in pancetta with herbed butter // Scallop wrapped in pancetta with herbed butter. It’s hard to say which one I loved the most because I loved them all but true stand outs for me were the scallops, cod and goats cheese.

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Rolls wise we got Soft-shell crab in rice paper (YUM!) and a Rainbow roll (8 pieces) which contained Surimi, snow peas, salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, mayo, tobiko and avocado. I know this all might not look like a look of food but it was actually very filling!

We decided to pass on dessert (we were being so good!) but their four taster dessert which includes a chocolate fondant with caramel and hazelnut brittle sounded so decilious that I might have to go back to Sticks N Sushi soon to try it!

I really enjoyed Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden. The food was very good, the vibe fun and the service relaxed and friendly. They market Sticks N Sushi as ‘a sushi restaurants – even for those who don’t like fish’ and I think that’s very true - I just love the mix of sushi and skewers, it means there’s something on the menu for everyone. I think Sticks N Sushi would be make a great date restaurant and the perfect place to kick-start a fun night out with the girls. I for sure will be back and recommend you add it to your list of restaurants to visit.

Sticks N Sushi in Covent Garden
11 Henrietta Street
London WC2E 8PY
www.sticksnsushi.com

  
3 Comments | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants