Middle Eastern Brunch at The Good Egg


The Good Egg
The Good Egg is a fantastic all-day restaurant serving up Middle-Eastern breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. There original outpost is in Stoke Newington and I am so happy that they have hatched a cracking new restaurant in Kingly Court. Their Soho location takes inspiration from the Jewish cafe culture of Montreal and Tel Aviv’s vibrant street food scene, and I for sure was not disappointed! I visited with my dear friend and fellow foodie Ayushi from the Foodie Diaries for brunch a few weeks ago and greatly enjoyed the dishes we tried.

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A Fun Weekend + A Visit to Farm Girl

This past weekend was great. It was pretty non-stop but I got to catch up with so many friends and it felt good to reconnect after not seeing some of them for so long! My weekends, admittedly, usually aren’t this eventful and I am oftentimes so tired by the time Saturday rolls around that I love nothing more than a relaxing day at home but this weekend was different and although I am pretty flat out writing this, I am so glad that I took advantage of my time off and spent time with friends.

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Waddle Over to Duck and Waffle Local

Duck and Waffle in the Heron Tower is a restaurant that is near and dear to my heart. Ciaran and I went on our first date to Duck and Waffle and go back annually for special occasions, you can read all about my 25th birthday celebration at D&W here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a sucker for a good view! Well, Dan Doherty and the D&W crew have come back down to earth and have opened Duck and Waffle Local, a fantastic offspring to my favourite 24-hour sky-high eatery.

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Rolls & Bowls Breakfast at Foley’s

Foley’s is a cute Middle Eastern restaurant in Fitzrovia that has just introduced an awesome breakfast into their lunch and dinner mix. They were hosting a 50% off food soft launch offer and the girls at work and I decided to give it a go one Friday morning before work. Truth be told, I am not a morning person but I have to say it was a lot easier to roll out of bed when I was looking so forward to a delicious breakfast!

The breakfast menu is pretty simple and features lovely Middle Eastern and Asian inspired dishes that are ideal to start your day off! ‘Rolls & Bowls’ is the theme of the breakfast menu at Foley’s and includes two main sections – Mitz’s Paratha Rolls (delicious) and an array of vibrant egg bowls for a protein boost. We kicked off our morning with a round of much needed coffees – almond milk lattes all around.

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Sky-High Dining at Bōkan

Canary Wharf is best known as the financial district of London, filled with some of the tallest buildings in the capital and major world headquarters like Barclays, Clifford Chance and Morgan Stanley. The area hasn’t been known in the past for its dining scene, but it is undergoing a bit of a renaissance that has started with Bōkan – London’s newest sky high restaurant, bar and rooftop terrace. Translated to “Beacon of Light,” Bōkan is the area’s answer to fantastic food, experimental drinks, and a stylish venue where you can eat, drink and dance the night away – all under one roof. It’s a destination venue that is well worth the travel.

Based on the 37th, 38th and 39th floors of the new generation Novotel, Bōkan, in my opinion, boasts the very best views of the city. The restaurant is on level 37, the cocktail bar on the 38th and the stunning rooftop terrace takes over the 39th floor. You can see every single iconic landmark – the Shard, the London Eye, Olympic Village, the O2, the list goes on and on. This destination venue is exceptional for so many reasons – ideal for special occasions – which is why I knew it was the perfect place to take my older sister when she was visiting London a few weeks ago.

My older sister is luckily able to visit me in London quite often and  it’s always a memorable occasion when she does. It makes me so happy to be able to see someone in my family more than once a year! Every time she travels to London, we have the best time – we eat at great restaurants, see a show in the West End and just enjoy each other’s company. As an expat, I really cherish these times I get to see my family and I always look so forward to having my sister in town every few months.

It was her last day in town and we decided to go fora a leisurely late lunch before she headed off to the airport. We jumped on the tube at Stockwell station- which is really just a hop, skip and a jump away. Travel time is about 20 minutes to Canary Wharf station and a quick 10 minute walk from there. As we arrived, we sky rocketed up into the express lift, ears popping and hearts jumping as we reached the 38th floor. The friendly hosted warmly greeted us and led us to our table right by the window. I have to note, there really isn’t a “best seat in the house,” as there is 360 degree panoramic views from anywhere you sit. Floor-to-glass ceiling cascades along the edges of the three-floor venue – providing nothing but stunning views.

Talented Head Chef, Aurélie Altemaire, is at the helm of the restaurant on the 37th floor. Originally from France, Aurélie enrolled at culinary school when she was just 15 years old and never looked back! She has a wealth of international experience and worked at Michelin-star restaurant, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon before coming on board at Bōkan. The menu is filled with modern European dishes with her own flair – think chicken stuffed with foie grass (which I had the pleasure of trying on a separate occasion and was divine), a beautifully presented roasted aubergine with courgettes and hummus and Rhug Estate Lamb cutlets to name a few.

No visit with my sister comes with a shortage of bubbles and we kicked off our lunch with a glass of Nye Timber English Sparkling Wine. A toast to friendship and family, we had a look over the impressive menu as I explained a bit more about the restaurant to my sister – who seemingly already loved the venue. We chit chatted away and ordered a few starters to nibble on before the main event. We also dove into this incredible freshly baked bread with salted butter that is quite simply addicting.

A delicate dish of Sea Bass Carpaccio, intricately drizzled with lime aioli and olive oil, sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper. This dish is light, but impressive, the ideal start to lunch.

A creamy, plump ball of Pugliese burrata sat upon a refreshing chilled red pepper coulis, topped with fresh basil and served with house-made focaccia on the side. What’s not to love about rich, creamy, and moreish burrata. The red pepper coulis elevates the cheese with a tangy flavour that closely resembles marinara sauce, but better – much better.

And for my sister – who eats a plethora of veggies daily – the Inka Roast Winter vegetable salad with endive and feta. It’s as if this dish was made for her – an elegantly presented plate of aubergine, sliced apple, lettuce, endive topped with fresh feta. A delicious and invigorating salad we all really enjoyed.

For mains, I absolutely LOVED the Soy-Glazed Scottish Salmon served with wasabi green bean salad and pepper sauce. This is a dish that I had the first time I went to Bōkan and I can’t speak highly enough about it – the salmon is tender, buttery and bursting with sweet soy flavours. A dish so good, I’ve tried to make it myself at home but haven’t quite mastered to make it taste as good yet.

Ciaran went for the Slow-Smoked Blythburgh Pork Belly topped with apple sauce and crushed potatoes. Smokey, tender and not overly sweet – he really enjoyed this dish would order it again if it’s on the menu when we go back!

My sister ordered the Oven-roasted aubergine, courgettes, hummus, padron peppers, tomato, coriander – a dish that she absolutely loved and devoured within minutes. A vibrant dish, she said it was one of her favourites of that weekend.

We ended our beautiful lunch on a sweet note and shared the chocolate/peanut butter soufflé. Gooey, sumptuous and sinfully decadent, this is my idea of dessert heaven. Served with a side of peanut butter ice cream – this was the best soufflé I’ve had.

As the sun began to set, we headed off so my sister could catch her flight but not before admiring the gorgeous sunset and all the buildings in London light up. A truly spectacular scene – I remember thinking how thankful I was in that moment and what a great weekend it had been. Our time at Bōkan was just the cherry on top.

If you love a view (what’s not to love), brilliant food and fantastic service – you should definitely put Bōkan on your bucket list. I know I’ll be hitting the terrace as soon as the weather heats up this summer! Stay tuned for a few more posts all about the 38th floor bar with some amazing cocktails and the 39th floor terrace…

Bōkan | 40 Marsh Wall | Canary Wharf | E14 9TP

Brunching at The Balcon

Brunching on the weekends is one of my favourite things to do and London is full of fabulous spots to catch up with friends over some bubbly. The Balcon at Sofitel London St. James is ideal for a lazy and luxurious bunch with twists on French classics.

The restaurant is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square. As you walk in to the gorgeous venue, you will be met with a stunning double spiral staircase with an elegant champagne bar below, ideal for a pre-brunch bellini or Bloody Mary, of which the Balcon has a fantastic selection of.

It’s not hard to fall in love with the decadent interior decor of The Balcon – rich golden tones with black and pale wood, striped piquet flooring, unique chandeliers that adorn the ceiling and beautiful bay windows that the sunlight to drips through, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. The Balcon also has its very own Bloody Mary bar, where you can choose your sauce along with your favourite vodka, pickles, lemons, bacon sticks – anything you fancy – perfect for recovering after a fun night out. 

Our lovely server showed us to our table and poured us two glasses of champagne to kick off our Saturday brunch. We had a look over the brunch menu, which is split into sections of Mains, Grill, Fruits, Seeds, Eggs & Co, and sides. The cuisine is primarily French with a British twist that is both contemporary and indulgent.

My friend and I started off with the Lobster Benedict, recommended to us by our server. This dish did not disappoint – huge pieces of succulent poached lobster, dripping in rich hollandaise sauce on a fluffy English muffin was divine. I went for the Soft Shell Crab, celeriac remoulade on a fried egg roll, which was also a lovely dish that hit the spot. The soft shell crab was lightly fried and the celeriac remoulade added a hint of tang to the crunchy sandwich. 

As it was our #cheatday, we ordered a few sides to share between us including the irresistible grilled halloumi and rosemary fries. Both of which were excellent – salty, moreish and addicting – they were the perfect accompaniments to our decadent brunch.

We were just on the verge of skipping out on dessert, but given that the sweet options on the menu all sound glorious, we couldn’t say no. We shared the Pistachio waffle with strawberries, cream and mint. A dish we both agreed we wouldn’t have ordered unless it was recommended to us and so pleased that we did because it was lush.  The pistachio waffle on its own was fantastic, and even better with the strawberries and cream. There was a hint of mint that cut the sweetness ever so slightly, making it a really refreshing way to end our lovely brunch.

The weekend brunch at The Balcon is a fabulous option, whether you are catching up with a friend or getting together with a group of your best girlfriends. The service is impeccable and the food is wonderful. They offer a bottomless brunch option as well, with free flowing champagne, a Bloody Mary, viennoiseries, a savoury dish and a pastries for £49.

The Balcon, 8 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5NG, Book Now! 

Bottomless Brunch at Villandry St. James’s

Birthdays call for brunches of the bottomless variety and for my best friend’s special day we decided to try the lovely Villandry St. James’s. the-villandry-3Ciaran and I have been long-time fans of the Great Portland Street location and every time I walk past the St. James’s location, I can’t get over how stunning it looks. Plus, they have a fabulous bottomless champagne brunch every Saturday and Sunday for a steal at £40 per person.

the-villandry-2Villandry St. Jame’s is really just the perfect location as well – super close to both Piccadilly and Charing Cross – its the ideal meeting spot. Plus, Central London during the festive season is just dreamy. Villandry was decked out with beautiful Christmas wreaths and trees decorated with baubles and lights galore.

the-villandry-6As I mentioned previously, the bottomless brunch for two hours of endless champs is quite the deal. You also get your choice of pastries and an array of brunch and lunch options – Eggs Benedict, the classic Avocado Toast, Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich and the signature Villandry burger, to name a few. There’s something that will take everyone’s fancy. the-villandry-4The service was impeccable and our lovely server saw to it that we stayed topped up at all times. I don’t think my glass ever dipped below the halfway mark at any point, which is exactly what you want to happen during a bottomless brunch.

the-villandry-5“Pan au chocolat, sweet almond croissants or flaky, buttery rolls?” Our server politely asked. “We’ll take one of each!” We all said and with that our server brought us out a sumptuous array of warm pastries right out of the oven. We toasted to Lizz’s birthday and promptly tucked in. the-villandry-7We chit chatted all about Lizz’s upcoming trip back home to Australia and Amy’s plans for Christmas as the bubbles quickly made their way to our heads and we needed a bit more sustenance. We all agreed it was time to eat a little something more and our server was right by our side taking our orders. (He really was phenomenal).

the-villandry-9Poached Eggs, Avocado and Spinach on top of sourdough toast for Lizz and I, which truth be told was quite basic, but hit the spot. the-villandry-8And scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and avocado for Amy. We aren’t the most original of brunchers, but in my opinion, when you go to a bottomless brunch, the champagne or prosecco usually ends up taking centre stage. This is a great option to celebrate a birthday with girlfriends – there was actually three other groups of gals in there celebrating their friends’ birthdays too! the-villandry-1A special surprise made its way over to my dear friend Lizz as the servers, Amy and I all sang Happy Birthday in unison and smiled and cheered. I still find it very special when the servers bring out a little treat and sing for birthdays and I don’t think that will ever change no matter how old I get. I find it really thoughtful and kind when a restaurant arranges a special surprise.

the-villandry-10We all got little treats too – raspberry macarons, shortbread with raspberry, meringue and a delicious salted caramel brownie, delicately placed on the plates.

We finished our desserts, topped off our champagne and headed to the bar after our two hours was up and carried on before heading to Somerset House for ice skating (lucky for us it was sold out, because by the time we got there we were just a tinyyyyy bit too tipsy to safely do any type of skating!)

Villandry St. James’s is a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic bottomless champagne brunch on the weekends. It is the perfect spot for a leisurely outing with girlfriends and the service was impeccable.

Villandry St. James’s | 12 Waterloo Pl | St. James’s | London | SW1Y 4AU

Brunch at Theo’s Simple Italian, Hotel Indigo

Theo Randall is one of the most well-respected chefs in Italian cuisine and has truly made his mark on the London food scene. In 2006, he opened Theo Randall in the Intercontinental Park Lane and most recently, opened Theo’s Simple Italian in the lovely Hotel Indigo in Earl’s Court. I have always heard fabulous things about Chef Randall’s food and was delighted when I was invited to check out the newly launched brunch at Theo’s Simple Italian.

Theo's Simple Italian

Theo's Simple Italian

brunch

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_r016875Theo’s Simple Italian is a two minute walk around the corner from Earl’s Court station. As we walked into the restaurant, I instantly fell in love with the bright and airy decor. Sunshine pours through large windows throughout the restaurant, quirky picture frames adorn chevron-panelled walls, beautiful chandeliers hang above marble-topped tables and plush leather seating in autumnal colours create a cosy atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a leisurely outing with friends and family.

theo's simple ItalianWe were warmly greeted by the talented Theo himself, who is one of the kindest and friendliest chefs I’ve met in London. He treated us all to a pasta making session, where he shared his personal recipe and tips for creating the perfect pasta dough. He told us that Imperia is his favourite at-home pasta maker, for any of you that are interested. Also, his recipe for the perfect pasta is as follows:

  • 300g type 00 flour (special type of Italian flour)
  • 100g fine semolina, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor until they form a yellow ball of dough

theo's simple ItalianChef made the whole pasta-making process look simple and is evidently passionate when it comes to making pasta that tastes as good at home as it does in his restaurants. He showed us how to get the pasta super thin, by rolling it out first and running it through the pasta machine until the dough has a silky, play-doughy like texture. The machine then has different types of cutters depending on what type of pasta you want to make! It was great to hear his tips and advice for how to make delicious pasta at home and so lovely to meet him and chat for a bit. He’s super down to earth and was incredibly welcoming to all of us with any questions we had throughout the brunch.

Theo's Simple ItalianThe four-course brunch menu has a real focus on Italian-style sharing, perfect for those of us who like to celebrate the weekend with fantastic food in a relaxed setting. The brunch menu is £35 per person and includes a glass of champagne on arrival – which is a pretty outstanding deal as far as London standards go!

theo's simple italianWe kicked off our brunch with delicious right-out-of-the-even focaccia bread alongside antipasti with the creamiest burrata. We all agreed that we would come back for the antipasti starter alone. We had nearly forgotten that more food was on the way and continued to indulge in what tasted like the burrata of dreams. Simple and so good.

theo's simple italianWe moved on to the Primi and were presented with a lovely Ravioli di Ricotta e Erbette – ravioli with ricotta – again, another simple dish that just hit the spot. Sometimes simple food is the best food. The pasta was perfectly al dente, with a buttery creaminess and the right amount of ricotta filling. I know the premise of the brunch is all about sharing, but this was a dish that I didn’t want to share – let’s be honest, I didn’t want to share any of them.

theo's simple italianWe also sampled the Pappardelle Pasta with Beef Ragout.  one of my favourites of the brunch. Fresh pappardelle topped with tender beef ragout  that was slow cooked for six hours. This dish is the ultimate comfort food – ideal for those cold winter days when you’re craving a heavier dish to warm your bones.

Theo's simple italianAnd finally, a colourful plate of Spaghetti Pescatore with mussels, clams, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and tomato sauce on a bed of thin, fresh pasta. I love mussels and love spaghetti, so the two went well hand-in-hand for me. You can truly taste the difference between fresh and dried pasta you buy at the grocery store and Chef Randall has since convinced me that Ciaran and I need to buy a pasta maker and create our own. Fresh pasta is so much more flavourful and satisfying than dry pasta, it’s worth the added effort! _r016834-2We were on to the Secondi and dove fork first into this glorious Bavette, cooked medium rare, on a bed of beans, rocket and tomato. The beef was full of flavour and cooked to perfection and the rocket made the dish a bit lighter. I’m personally not a huge beans fan, but everybody else seemed to really enjoy it with the beans!

theo's simple ItalianThe Pork T-Bone with Portobello Mushrooms and Swiss Chard was tender and juicy, just how a Pork T-Bone should taste.

theo's simple italianRoasted Sea Bream with colourful fresh tomatoes and veggies made it’s way on to the table as well. Again, another flavourful and stunning dish. The Bavette won for the best Secondi dish for me but overall, I thought the variety was great. There is truly a dish for everyone’s tastes, which makes it one of the top brunch spots in my books.

_r016867-2Bring on the Dulci – gorgeous Tiramisu, decadent chocolate cake, and sultana slices with fresh pear on top. We all grabbed our cameras to get all of our snaps in as quick as we could so we could dig in. I was really happy that I didn’t indulge too much in the Primi and Secondi courses, so I could enjoy this lovely trio of sweets. I loved the Tiramisu and what’s not to love about chocolate cake? The perfect end to our outstanding brunch.

Brunch at Theo’s Simple Italian ticks pretty much all the boxes – the restaurant itself it beautiful, the menu is outstanding and Chef Randall himself is such a charismatic and enthusiastic person – it’s difficult to find any faults at all. For a fantastic Italian-style brunch with an impressive and varied menu, make Theo’s Simple Italian your next go-to spot.

Theo’s Simple Italian | 34-44 Barkston Gardens | London | SW5 0EW | Book Now 

I was a guest at Theo’s Simple Italian, but all views and opinions are always my own. 

Caravan, Exmouth Market

There’s something about heading to a cosy cafe for brunch with friends when that crisp snap of air hits and the leaves start to fall. Such was the case this past Sunday when I met my best friend Lizz a catch up. It was a pretty chilly day with periods of rain showers mixed with sunshine and we wanted to go somewhere with a warm, relaxed vibe and comforting food – which called for Caravan in Exmouth Market.

caravan-exmouth-marketLizz and I have tried on numerous occasions to get a table at Caravan in King’s Cross, but never managed to get one as it’s always packed, so we tried our luck at the Exmouth Market location and luckily for us, snapped a table up right by the bar. In fact, I liked the atmosphere so much more at the Exmouth Market location as it’s smaller and cosier than its counterpart in King’s Cross. Exmouth Market is also a really charming area, filled with antique markets, quirky cafes and some awesome restaurants.

Caravan, to me, is one of those super cool and trendy restaurants, ideal for long, lazy brunches with friends, date night, or even just to sip coffee, read the paper and enjoy a morning of relaxation.

caravan-bar The interior of the Exmouth Market location is more on the industrial rustic side, with wooden tables, comfy chairs and sofas with soft pillows, white washed walls with unique maps and artwork that dress up the dining room, and a lovely bar with a fantastic cocktail and wine list.

caravan-dining-room-1

malbecWe kicked off our leisurely brunch with two glasses of Malbec and had a look over the menu. On Saturdays and Sundays, Caravan has an all-day brunch menu, filled with the likes of Grilled Ham & Bubble & Squeak, Coconut Bread, Organic Salmon & Toast and Pickled Mackerel and Potato. If you’re into simpler fair, they do serve the classic avocado on toast with poached eggs.

_r016526 Followed by Corn Bread French Toast topped with corn, feta, avocado and chorizo for me.

avocado-toast-with-mushroomsAnd avocado toast with mushrooms for Lizz. I loved the Corn Bread French Toast, an innovative twist on my favourite brunch dish. The feta added a tangy flavour and the chorizo added a savoury element to an overall sweet dish. The Avocado Toast was a little sad looking on it’s own but made a lot heartier paired with mushrooms.

caravan-dining-room-2We finished up ur brunch and stayed for a while. At Caravan in Exmouth Market, it doesn’t feel rushed – there’s no two hour slots and you’re out. You can stay and really enjoy yourself with friends. It’s a great and affordable brunch spot in a really charming area. I highly recommend it for next weekend’s outing – you won’t regret it.

Caravan | 11-13 Exmouth Market | London | EC1R 4QD | Reservations