Thursday, 28 March 2013

Borough Market

A Magical Market.

How on earth I have managed to avoid Borough Market for so long I have no idea. It may well be one of the best places in London. A grand claim I know, but one which I feel is completely justified. Get on down there and see for yourself if these pictures don't wet your appetite!

To get the most out of our little excursion, we decided to split everything we bought. There were two main advantages to this plan:

A) We would never have made it round the entire market if we had tried to eat an entire portion of each food. (Well, we would have had to roll each other from stall to stall; not the best method of transport I'm guessing)! 
B) Sharing is caring and you get to taste more for your money!

Off we go..

To begin with we sampled little pieces of delicious nutty French Comte cheese (who knew they'de have their very own website but here it is)! This did not satisfy any pangs of hunger (we didn't feel it was quite appropriate to wander round munching on an enormous wedge of cheese although if you were to do it anywhere, I guess here would be it)! Next, we stumbled upon a stand selling Mozzarella. Here was a no brainer, especially when it came served on top of a wafer cone with a teeny dollop of pesto!

Appetite worked up into a frenzy with all the smells and stalls surrounding us, like moths to a flame, our noses led us here.

While waiting in the queue for our next taste sensation, we were swathed in meaty steam. Granted, that sounds pretty nasty and a face full of smoke isn't everyone's cup of tea but we couldn't have been happier!

A burger lovers heaven, these were truly wonderful and oozing with onions and mature cheddar.

Since we picked a day boasting possibly the worst weather imaginable; freezing cold rainy snow (I think all English folk know what I mean here), I take my (very metaphorical) hat off to the one place that made me totally ignore the fact that I couldn't feel my toes! With this in mind, it was time to give our insides a hug with some deliciously warming, hot spiced cider.

Who could resist such a colourful and inviting stall of steaming goodness?

Two large smiles later we decided it was time for a little more exploring.

With cups in hand, we found this rather appropriate umbrella covered square.

And stopped to have a drink..

It was then decided that it was high time for pie time.

There may have been a chance that part of this decision stemmed from wanting my face warmed with pie steam.. I mean who doesn't love a good ol' gravy swimming steak and ale Pieminister Moo Pie?! 

After finishing it, we decided to ignore the protestations from our almost bursting stomachs and headed off in search of something sweet.

However, we got a little distracted when we realised that our fingers and toes had once again become somewhat non-existent and conveniently stumbled upon The Market Porter, fully equipped with log fire, mahogany paneling and crimson walls; everything you want from a pub. (I have serious issues with mediocre pubs and I'm almost certain that they shouldn't exist)!

With 20 warm fingers and 20 warm toes, we made our way back into the market. Brownies, hot crossed buns and a friendly grin from the man at the stall led us here. 

If veg is what you want then Ted seems to have it all covered!

And for those little health bunnies, this place does all the juice you can imagine!

Colourful bouquets drew us in here and we dithered around trying to decide how appropriate it was to buy flowers for each other. We decided that due to a severe lack of knights in shining armour, it was absolutely fine!

Borough Market goes to the top of my list for a perfect day out in London. Get ready for crowds and make sure you arrive with an empty stomach and then be prepared to ignore your following total lack of hunger! I think it's time to pencil my next trip into the trusty moleskine. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Kitchen & Pantry

Breakfast O'Clock.

Good morning or afternoon. This is where you need to be right now. The perfect cure after those 'eventful' nights where all you want when you awake is to be surrounded by every type of breakfast food imaginable. Welcome to Kitchen & Pantry in Notting Hill.

Upon entering, chalk boards and piles of delicious baked goods greet you with open arms. The hustle and bustle of shining, happy people will lift you right out of whatever mood you may have gone in with.

We decided to opt for some good old fashioned full English breakfasts and a piping hot lemon and sugar crepe accompanied by hot chocolates, coffees and a 'revitalising' or 'rejuvenating' (or some related uplifting named) bright orange juice (with added health factor).

The breakfasts arrived piled on long wooden boards and we immediately set to work. (Forks may have strayed onto surrounding plates..just too tasty to miss)! 

Cloud lifted, we transformed into the smiling, happy people who we saw upon entering and left, ready for the adventures of the day ahead. 

Kitchen & Pantry on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Asia de Cuba


Off to the theatre and like all sensible thespians, we knew it was essential that a pre-show meal was consumed to avoid the crinkling and munching of overpriced theatre snacks we never really need. Destination of choice; Asia de Cuba, a creative mix of tastes from Asian and Cuban cuisine inside the 'impossible-to-find-unless-you-know-where-you're-going' St Martin's Lane Hotel.

Look out for enormous windows and high revolving glass doors reminiscent of the Emerald City (couldn't help but reference my slip back to childhood at the cinema this week), don't look out for a sign because there isn't one and don't bother asking for directions since even the restaurants next door have no idea where this illusive eatery is. (It is a miracle we made it to our table on time)!

Walking through the entrance is like walking into an alternative universe with a huge candlelit chess set to your right ...

... golden tooth stools (I'm going to have to find me one of these guys)!

Before you enter the restaurant you will be greeted by these friendly faces ...

Once inside, you will be led to your table through a maze of columns decorated with photographs, stacked high with books and covered in plants. Lights are draped over the ceiling and cast a gorgeously warm and happy glow, setting the scene for a perfect evening.

On a little trip to the ladies, I went exploring and found this cute little addition to the book shelf. (A little note to all the ladies out there, I challenge you not to be confused .. you'll know why when you go)!

Arriving at our table we were presented with the pre-theatre sample menu and tried to concentrate on deciding what to eat instead of being distracted by our surroundings.

Our food was a wonderful fusion of Asian and Cuban cuisine. For the main course we had sticky chicken and coconut rice with a delicious avocado and fruit salsa and rocket covered beef with pesto dressing.

To top it all off, we went for the 'Cuban Opera;' a buttery, moussy chocolate and coffee slice of heaven. I am totally unable to resist coffee ice cream so there really was no competition although the rest of the desserts looked wonderful. 

On our way in, we passed these metal stands and admired their metal standiness. On our way out, we realised it was the bar and our admiration increased with 'ooo what a good idea!'

After a perfect meal, we headed over the road to the Noel Coward Theatre to see Peter and Alice. 

The story takes you into the lives of Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies; the models and inspiration for Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Seamlessly gliding through the fiction and reality of their lives and those of Lewis Carroll and JM Barrie, the actors represent an engaging and anguishing insight into a different side to these two literary classics. Five star performances from all. (Can you spot the link between the 3 names on the flyer)?

Sitting directly behind Jude Law who is more attractive in person (if that is even possible) was the icing on the cake!

Asia de Cuba on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Graphic Bar

Art Smart. 

To celebrate my lovely sister's birthday I booked us a table at Graphic; a great splash of creativity in Golden Square. (The table booking was a little unnecessary but I usually like to be on the safe side)! 

Graphic Bar has everything required to chill the mood for lunch and then pump up the vibe in the evenings. Artwork is displayed on the walls surrounding the tables and the bar has a seriously impressive gin collection!

Took me a little too long to figure out what this spelled .. 

Being a somewhat indecisive type at times, I loved the mix and match feel of the menu. The food is perfect for any appetite since small stomachs can order a mini burger and a salad while those with larger eyes can add chips, another burger or even a little soup cup to their board!

Keeping it light, we didn't go overboard with our food order. I chose the mini beef and cheese burger with salad and polenta chips while the birthday girl went for a lamb and tzatziki alternative and chilli butter sweetcorn (with emphasis on the chilli)!

Around us, people were having business meetings, lunch dates, reconnecting with friends and generally relaxing in the cool and fresh environment. Dare I say it, but I would have felt comfortable coming here alone and there are few places I am willing to say that about!

To drink, we went for a fruity berry collins (I decided alcohol in this instance was not conducive to a constructive afternoon of work) and a pineapple juice. Both refreshing and just right. Next time I will be ordering something which comes served in a paint pot because the menu was far too inviting and I'm a sucker for the novelty!

Thanks Graphic, we are two happy sisters!

P.S. Check out Are We On Time for a little bit of style, stunning photography and adventures of the birthday girl.

Graphic Bar on Urbanspoon