English Wine Week at Ormer Mayfair

Last week, I had the pleasure of popping along to Ormer Mayfair, Shaun Rankin’s London outpost of the highly acclaimed, Michelin-starred Ormer in Jersey. I have heard several fantastic words and rave reviews about both restaurants and have long wanted to try it out for myself. When I was asked to accompany one of my colleagues to preview Ormer’s English Wine Week tasting menu with wine pairings, needless to say I was both thrilled and thankful for the lovely opportunity.

Shaun and Ormer Mayfair’s Head sommelier Andreas Rosendal have created a stunning five-course tasting menu bursting with fresh, seasonal dishes inspired by the Jersey shores paired with some of the best wines England has to offer.

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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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Life Lately | 27th April 2017

Hello blog world! Life lately has been moving pretty fast and I can’t believe that we’re already rolling in to May! The last life update I did was all about wedding planning and whilst that is still very much the case, I have been doing a few other exciting things I thought I’d share with you.

Wedding: Wedding planning is definitely in full swing – 3.5 months until the special day and I can’t wait. All of the invitations are sent and we’re on to picking out the food, cake, and decorations (the fun stuff!) I am going to do a full on post about our wedding invitations and save the dates after the wedding, but below is a little sneak peek of how they turned out 🙂

Dining Out: I have been out to eat at some amazing restaurants the last month, including Bōkan, the new sky-high restaurant, bar and terrace in Canary Wharf with stunning views across London, Chakra, an intimate Indian restaurant in Kensington with beautifully presented dishes and Vinoteca – my go to wine-bar/restaurant with various locations across London.

Dining In: I have been trying to cook a little bit more at home the last few weeks. I have been craving all the salmon lately and earlier this week I cooked a delicious soy-glazed salmon that is super easy to make. Recipe here!

Drinking: The Vallechiusa 2015 wine from Tuscany is the best wine I have had in a really long time. You can find it at Enoteca Pomaio, a fabulous Tuscan restaurant in the heart of Brick Lane. This wine is made on the owner’s vineyard back in Tuscany and you can only find it at this restaurant in London- well worth the trip to Brick Lane. You can take a few bottles home for £22 a pop. #Bargain

Exhibiting: Over Easter, Ciaran and I visited the Hockney exhibit at the Tate Britain and I thought it was brilliant. I love his vivid artwork and it was really interesting to see how his style evolved over the decades. If you haven’t seen it yet, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s on until the end of May and you can buy your tickets ahead of time here.

Wearing: I’ve got a thing for yellow this season and I am obsessed with this darling yellow top I bought from Zara a few weeks ago! It’s light weight, bright and the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe.

Watching: We have been binge watching a lot of different shows lately. There have been a few Bank Holidays Weekends and I can’t even tell you how awesome it’s been to lounge in my PJ’s, watch a few new shows and just chill out. We just finished The Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. I wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable show to watch by any means, but it was a really deep and emotional show that delves into a lot of important issues that I don’t think are talked about enough. I found it really gripping and highly recommend watching it. Some other light hearted shows we’ve been watching are The Mick, Empire, Master Chef Junior and Last Man on Earth all on Fox, Girl Boss on Netflix and Top Chef on Bravo (my personal favourite).

Listening: A lot of jazz and trying to decide on our wedding song. I have been listening to a lot of Spotify’s “First Dance” playlists that have a lot of classics that I love. One of my favourite playlists is below:

Loving: Last weekend, we attended our best friend’s wedding in Surrey and it was absolutely beautiful. It was such a special day and couldn’t have been more perfect for them. It was amazing to see two of our best friends get married and heartwarming to see how happy they both are. I loved celebrating with them both. Congratulations to Ollie and Gracie!

Expating: We are super busy getting ready to renew my Visa, which is a little bit stressful. It’s a lot of hard work getting all of the paperwork and documents together for it. It is crazy to think we were going through this process almost three years ago and we’re back at it again already. I am planning to do a post about the Visa Process after the wedding, as its quite complicated and a really process. If you’re going through the process now and have any questions at all – feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Another resource I have found extremely helpful is the Expatforum.com. We have had SO many questions answered on there  and it has been an invaluable resource for us.

Recommending: There are so many awesome events coming up in London, but one that I would recommend booking right now would be VINTwind’s “This is English” four-course wine-led dining experience in Stepney City Farm. English Wine Week is coming up at the end of May and it’s always hugely celebrated each year! English wine has come such a long way over the past ten years and there are some remarkable, award-winning, home-grown wines that should be celebrated!

You may remember when I went to Neil Deacon’s Champanois event with my sister at the beginning of March, which was fantastic. If you love great wine, lovely food and meeting new people – go ahead and book a seat to this special dinner. The food is inspired by the different wines served throughout the night when it’s normally the other way around.

On the evening, you will try four glasses of English wine, both still and sparkling alongside four expertly designed dishes and you’ll get to chat with Neil, as little or as much as you’d like about the wines. These events are perfect for wine lovers of any level and are really laid back. It’s the perfect, unpretentious intro to wine.  I met some really lovely people at the last event I went to and we had a blast. You can read more and pick up tickets to the next one here coming up on the 27th May. It’s the ideal way to celebrate English Wine Week!

Wishing you all a great rest of the week! x

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

Chakra, Kensington

For long time readers of this blog, you probably know by now that one of my favourite cuisines is Indian! There is no shortage of phenomenal Indian restaurants in London and today I am sharing with you Chakra in Kensington.

Inspired by ancient Vedic scriptures, the Chakras are energy points associated with a positive flow of energy throughout the body. The talented team of chefs at Chaka add another dimension by bringing a positive energy with food, balancing out traditional Indian flavours with contemporary flair and the gorgeous dishes speak for themselves – think bright, vibrant and bold. You’ll see!

The restaurant itself is intimate, with a cute garden area in the front, perfect for whiling away summer evenings with a glass of wine and some delicious Indian snacks.

The menu is filled with traditional yet elevated dishes like Onion Bhajis, Tandoori Lamb Chops, Tiger Prawns, Chicken Koorma, you get the gist. Kick off with a selection of beautifully presented starters – they are smaller portions so be sure to pick out a few to share!

We went for the Salmon Tikka – cooked on the Salamander Grill and served with Wasabi Mayo, The Tikki Trio – A classic potato mint and green chili fritter, Sweet potato, parsley and red onion Fritter, Blue potato white onion, red chili and coriander fritter served with coriander and tamarind chutney and the Chicken Tikka Kebab – A Chakra classic – tender cubes of chicken are marinated with red deghi mirch, served with a coriander chutney.

Super impressed with our starters, we moved on to the mains.

Now, Ciaran normally goes for the spiciest dishes on the planet – Vindaloo, extra hot. My tastebuds can’t handle the spice and as we we were sharing, we went for the milder, safer option – the coconut prawn curry. With influences from Southern India, the King Prawns are pan cooked with coconut mustard seeds, curry leaves and a variety of spices. The dish was perfectly well seasoned and I loved the sweet coconut taste but the prawns were a little on the small side seeing as they were meant to be King prawns. Nonetheless, the dish was delicious.

The Chicken Korma – a long-time favourite of mine – was delicious, tender and perfectly sweet. A classic chicken korma with black and green grapes, roasted almonds and pomegranate tossed in a classic korma sauce. It hit the spot, no complaints!

We also shared a side of the Sweet Potato and Okra. Influenced by the Caribbean… cubes of sweet potato are tossed with okra, red onion and fresh coriander. This dish was superb – crunchy, buttery pieces of sweet potato and okra just melted in our mouths. Ciaran wants to make the dish at home. I just want to note though that the dish is listed in the Mains section, but it is definitely more of a side/sharing dish to accompany your meal.

We mopped up our curry with goats cheese naan bread – something I had never had before. I love goats cheese and I love naan and the combination of the two was sinfully good. They are really rich and I’d recommend getting a plain or garlic naan if you want something milder! I however, loved them and it was nice to try something a bit more unusual.

In the bid to be somewhat healthy (we just ate a curry, I don’t  know what we were thinking) we said our thank yous and strolled on home sans desserts.

I really liked Chakra – it is small and intimate, perfect for  date night and the service is lovely. The starters really wowed me both in presentation and in taste and I greatly enjoyed the mains as well. For a really enjoyable meal that you know is going to taste great, I recommend Chakra.

Chakra, 33C Holland St, Kensington, London W8 4LX, Book Now 

*I was invited in to review Chakra. All views and opinions are my own. 

Yellow Bell Sleeve Top

I hope everyone had a very hoppy Easter yesterday! I have never done a style post on here and I wouldn’t consider myself to be a fashionista in the least, but I wanted to share this beautiful yellow bell sleeve top from Zara that I bought the other day. I wore it for our little Easter outing yesterday and received a lot of really sweet compliments on it. Yellow is such a happy colour and when I saw this top in the shop, I knew I had to bring it home with me.

The top is a lovely canary yellow and it’s cotton so it’s super light weight. I also couldn’t resist the darling bell sleeves.  I paired it with a casual pair of white jeans, also from Zara, a pair of neutral sandals and my navy scallop Cambridge Satchel Co purse. You could easily dress it up though with a skirt, a pair of wedges and some drop earrings for more of an eventful look. For £30 you can’t beat it.

In other news, we kicked off Easter yesterday with a trip to the Tate Britain to see the Hockney exhibit, which is absolutely brilliant. If you haven’t been yet, I would highly recommend paying a visit before the exhibition is over at the end of May. I love Hockney’s vivid colours and it’s really interesting to see how his artwork has evolved from the 1950s to now. You can pick up your tickets in advance here.

Shop some of my other yellow favourites:

 

 

Where to Get the Most Scrumptious Easter Treats in London

There are plenty of places in London to indulge in decadent desserts, but one of my favourites for pastries and sweet treats is PAUL – the French artisan bakery and patisserie with locations across London and Birmingham, Oxford and Newbury. We’re heading to my future in-laws for Easter this weekend and I made a pit-stop at the Paul near Baker Street yesterday to pick up some darling desserts to bring with me this weekend. If you need to grab some last minute Easter indulgences – PAUL should be your go-to.

My best advice is to go for a box full of phenomenal Easter cakes. My personal favourite is the Mini Oeuf la Carotte – this beautiful  carrot cake is made using freshly grated carrots, soft cream cheese and vanilla syrup- topped with an iced carrot and a sprinkle of pecans for an added crunch. If you’re more of a chocoholic, go for the Oeuf Chocolate au Lait – rich milk chocolate with a vanilla frosting.

PAUL have also created these adorable hampers, filled with mini white and chocolate eggs and chocolate bunny lollipops.

For Easter Sunday, pick up a loaf of their special freshly baked Baguette Chocolat to enjoy with brunch – a chocolate baguette that tastes lovely with fresh fruit … or on its own! I LOVED this bread when I tried it yesterday – I picked up two loaves and both were gone in a day. Treat yourself (and your family) and buy a couple of these scrumptious delights for the weekend – you won’t regret it! If you are a true chocolate-fiend, PAUL are also selling their super thick, super rich, super indulgent Hot Cocoa … it is pretty spectacular. I highly recommend it.

Between delicious pastries, decadent sweets  and the most heavenly chocolate bread – PAUL is the ideal-go to for all your Easter needs this weekend!

Happy Easter, everyone! x