Thursday, 20 February 2014

Borough Market

I spent last weekend at what has to be my new favourite place in London for lazy Saturdays. My mother is a cookery teacher and has been begging for me to take her to Borough Market for a while now, however for some reason or another we have never got round to it (it is the other side of the river *shudder*). Finally, we made it there and I must say, it is amazing. I was expecting a tourist-y place not dissimilar to Camden Market, but oh no siree Borough is like an amalgamation of the quaint markets of France and Spain, coupled with the coolest pop-up restaurant and a well-stocked deli.

The extensive beer stalls made for a very happy boyfriend, who bought one of pretty much everything.

Whilst I made friends with this little guy! The fresh fish selection was amazing; I was particularly taken with the humongous oysters, an absolute favourite of mine.

We plumped for the juiciest salt-beef sandwiches smothered in mustard and pickles. The queue for them was reassuringly long and boy, they were good! Steaming hot and packed full of the pinkest beef. 

My mother takes burger-eating very seriously!

And after a busy morning all we wanted was a nice cup of tea. The afternoon tea at the National Gallery was unfortunately not quite of the same standard of Borough Market's cakes and sandwiches; really quite expensive and, although the scones were a delight, the other sweet treats were unremarkable and the sandwiches even worse. The service was also dire; despite an almost empty restaurant, we were seated on a long canteen style table with another party almost in the dark, well away from the windows, the waitress took forever and forgot various other parts of our order. A shame, because the galleries are so beautiful and Trafalgar Square is always full of interesting street performers and the perfect photo opportunity. If you were thinking of heading for afternoon tea at the National Dining Rooms, I'd take heed and consider checking out somewhere else. It was rather a shame to end such a lovely day with something so disappointing.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fro-yo in Soho

`This weekend I had a good friend come to stay and whenever we're in London together, we HAVE to Snog. Before you go thinking I'm oversharing, Snog is a chain of fro-yo shops in London that have the coolest interiors, the most attractive staff and the tastiest flavours. Even better, the shops are open until midnight! We love it so much that we went twice in less than 24 hours. Commitment to the Snog.

 But before pudding we went to The Breakfast Club, again another London based chain specialising in all things breakfast-y - alas they only serve their breakfast menu until 4pm so we both had burgers and chips (such classy gals). Usually, there is a queue but as it's a breakfast place it was the only restaurant in the area without one so we were able to walk straight in.

I went for the cheeseburger with blue cheese - a girl can never have too much cheese on her burger, and, for a restaurant that doesn't focus on the non-breakfast foodstuff, it was very VERY good. I loved the pickles underneath the patty and the brioche bun was a delight. The chips were like fish and chip shop chips and the coleslaw wasn't too creamy or sloppy. I would have liked the patty slightly pinker or even if they'd asked how I wanted it cooked, but other than that it was pretty much perfect!

Even more perfect was pudding....
Just look at that.
I had raspberry frozen yogurt with mini marshmallows and caramel sauce. Cath had chocolate yogurt with strawberries. The Soho branch is the perfect place to people-watch. Soho on a Friday night is an interesting place, to say the least!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


And next in our calendars is the most divisive holiday of them all. Valentines Day. Commercial nightmare or the perfect day to show your hunnybunny how much you just wurve them. I fall somewhere in the middle. Any excuse to eat some good food, drink something sparkly and meet with those you love is fine by me. I have been very single for quite a while before I met my boyfriend so I know how just darn boring it is to have love rammed down your throat for the weeks that lead up to valentines. But if you can't beat them, join them I say. Last single valentines me and a massive group of friends went for all-you-can-eat sushi, drank too much wine  and gave each other silly cupcakes and tokens of our love.

 It was so much better than sitting at home getting increasingly more annoyed at all the roses and teddy bears filling our instagram and facebook feeds.

This year, if you're single in London, eschew all the overpriced restaurants filled with candles and couples and steer clear of too much chocolate and self-pity, I've got a few much better ideas for how to spend your night:
Lots of club nights are doing special one-off valentines nights, my two recommendations would be
1. Itchy Feet, Shoreditch
2. Soul Train, Peckham

Both are fun, cheap and the best place for a proper groove in London.
If you're lucky enough to be loved up then my advice would be to do something silly and fun. My friend is going to a comedy night with his significant other, I went bowling last year with my boy as that is something we do together and this year we are putting on our PJs, ordering in fried chicken and drinking too much beer.

Gift-wise, something small and thoughtful is best. Tickets to something or a small token of your love. Steer clear of teddies or roses - overpriced and show a lack of creativity. But really there is no right answer, no one else knows your relationship. Valentines day IS so commercial but a day promoting love can't be bad in my opinion.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

BBQ Brunch.

Giving myself the aim of exploring new pockets of London, I planned on spending Saturday in undiscovered territories. The reality was, starving hungry and very impatient, my boyfriend and I ended up in Soho, just about the most familiar part of London to me. However, we did go somewhere new to us - Bodeans. I shall admit that I am indeed very late to the game here, they've been open for almost 12 years and have branches in Tower Hill, Fulham etc. Having worked in a memphis BBQ restaurant in Camden for a year and being an avid carnivore, my knowledge of smoked meat is quite extensive and I must say, Bodeans does a very good job.

The screens showing the football certainly made this little one very happy. We were seated straight away, which I wasn't expecting, given the time of day and the restaurants reputation as serving some of the best BBQ in London. It seems small but there is a downstairs too so capacity is decent. We started with coffee (a must for brunch!), then had pulled pork, 1/4 chicken and ribs with sweet potato fries and a side of the diablo chicken wings, slightly less brunch-y.

The pulled pork, ribs and chicken were all excellently cooked, super smokey and not at all fatty. the sweet potato fries were also really fresh and managed to be both crispy on the outside and fluffy in the centre. But all of these were outshadowed by the A-MAZING chicken wings. And this is from a girl who doesn't even like meat on the bone. The sauce (which we were twice warned was incredibly spicy) had the most delicious lime undertones and, yes it was spicy, but was not overpowered by heat. In fact, it wasn't as spicy as we were expecting and the heat definitely hits you after. The ranch dressing it came with was good, but these babies were just perfect as they were. Portion sizes are fantastic and we both rolled out onto the streets, to murmer about the chicken wings for the whole afternoon.