Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Casa Negra

Casa Cool.

Some little pieces of news: 
a) The Little Brown Book has made it to Facebook. Huzzah! Click this link and like the page for extra little brown updates.
b) Follow me on Twitter for other daily musings here.
c) The Little Brown Book finally made it to Shoreditch! 

So, off we went Eastwards on a little exploration and boy did we stumble upon a good'un. Casa Negra is overflowing with the spirit of mexico and as soon as we walked through the door we were already smiling.



Just take a look at what we saw ahead of us! Apart from the fine looking men, the colourful lights and the glittering chandellier, the bar was rocking the casual beach look and the bar tenders made sure we were well looked after.


We have monsieur photogenic on our right who was all smiles and tequila. Then there was a slightly surprised specimen to our left although this was quickly rectified when he realised a picture was being taken.



He made me laugh so the camera wouldn't stay still to catch the true beauty!



After some intense scanning of Santos and being distracted by the above, we made our choices.
  

Our smiling cocktail chief created a rum concoction and a slightly tequila-y espresso martini which I would definitely recommend.



Somehow, two more appeared which I say is a testament to the greatness of said concoction.

To the left of the bar peeks the restaurant with delicious smells wafting around. It looks like we will just have to return to taste the tacos!

The lovely P stands in front of distinctly romantic sepias wearing a fantastic flower headpiece (similar here).



My little outfit: Top (similar here), Shorts

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Ottolenghi

Super Salads.

Few can avoid the 'what would you eat if you could only have one type of food for the rest of your life' question. I answer this differently every time I am asked. Until now. Dare I say it but I would choose anything from Ottolenghi's over a lifetime supply of crispy duck pancakes, chicken katsu curry and even (deep breath) coffee ice cream. For me, that is a gigantic claim!

I challenge you to reach the end of this post without wanting to race on down to Waitrose, Sainsburys or a handy vegetable market and grab all the greens in sight! Alternatively, you could just come to Ottolenghi's. They also do takeaway which now I know, is not something I'm going to forget in a hurry (or ever).




What first strikes you is the shining white interior which offsets the colours of the dishes perfectly and provides a relaxing and uncomplicated atmosphere that allows you to enjoy the delicious food and chat to whoever may appear in the seat next door .. making friends is great!



Glance over to the counter and this is what you will be greeted with. I honestly don't know how anybody could refuse!





























I had to get just a bit more up close and personal for that extra oomph! 

We arrived for a late lunch/ tea/ dinner/ whatever you call eating at 5oclock and tucked in to this mouth watering plate of healthy wonder.



To ensure that the romance was kept alive between my mother and me, this helpful addition was provided.

The simple beauty of the candle casting its shadow on the wall behind it was really rather captivating .. 



Although there is ALWAYS room for dessert, I had a dilemma. How exactly was I meant to choose between all this? (And that's only half of what was on offer)!

After much umming and ahhing, pointing and re-pointing, I went for the chocolate cake filled with Bailey's cream. I did not regret this choice one tiny bit and nor did the other fork either! 

To accompany our indulgence, tea was ordered and it came in this lovely little black tea pot which I had to get in action.

Glancing around, jars of spices and flavours were piled high and while I'm still not entirely sure what half of them are, there is no doubt that my cupboard will have one of each before long!

We were unable to resist leaving without some treats for friends and no doubt will probably return for more.

As soon as I arrived back home, this happened..




and this..



..and then this..

Watch this space .. although not entirely sure what for yet!

Ottolenghi on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Mem & Laz

Tapas Time.

The sun's shining and it's too hot for anything heavy. Mem & Laz has everything covered. On the sunny outdoor promenade, England feels far away and you may as well have just been whisked off to the continent in your lunch break!



The menu caters for every taste and is bursting with mediterranean flavours. The huge choice means the time spent to make your decision may be a little longer but at £7.95 for two lunchtime courses, you'll probably be back!






























I went for the grilled sardines to start - mouthwatering, flavoursome and to my delight and huge appreciation, with pre-removed heads .. I just can't deal with the eyes!





























P went for a little goats cheese number which was equally delicious and covered in perfectly crispy crumbs.

For the main, we both went hook line and sinker for the Parmigiano with aubergine, mozzarella and parmesean cooked in a basil and tomato sauce. It makes my mouth water just looking at it now!



Give Mem & Laz a taste when you're in the mood for a quick lunch basking in the sun and pretending you're in the med.

Mem & Laz on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Mr Foggs

Home Away From Home.


First thing's first, I am now writing for The Holborn, a blog and quarterly magazine which hopes to bring you the best of what both London and further afield can offer. Take my advice, grab a gin & tonic and discover the craftsmen, bartenders, tailors, food-stall holders, entrepreneurs and eccentrics who go the extra mile for their art. 

What better way to kick off my stint than with an interview with the mastermind behind my favourite new bar; Mr Fogg's. Follow this link for a fascinating insight into the creation of this wonderful little drawing room celebrating Phileas J Fogg's adventures around the world in 80 days and read on for a bit of extra temptation!


Welcome to the world of Jules Verne. Dress up a little (no trainers please) and be invited through the little door by this smartly clad fellow into the drawing room and bar of your truly British dreams.

Take a peak into the leathery brilliance of Phileas's journal (/menu) and you won't be disappointed by anything you choose. While you should expect to pay Mayfairish prices, the experience is definitely worth missing out on one of tomorrow's coffees .. (I find that I can justify most things like this - I drink far too much coffee)!


Just take a look at the array of options. Some of these bottles date back as far as 1904.

We went for something fruity and the good old trusty g&t .. next time I'll venture a little further afield!

While I, like every other girl out there would generally claim to be a fantastic multi-tasker, maintaining a conversation with so many crazy artefacts to distract me was a struggle. Tip numero uno, don't go with anybody who would be offended when they realise you are lost in a world of stuffed crocodiles, penny farthings, giant bird cages and haven't listened to a word they've said! Get a load of this lot:

#1 - Note the howling wolf.

#2 - Penny farthings plus bull.

#3 - A less blurry bull and a more scary angle. 

#4 - Billy the croc.



#5 - Beautifully arranged bird cages and pictures of the folk.


#6 - The very balloon that travelled all the way around the world.





























I was lucky enough to be treated to the return of the man himself who marched in, cane in hand and back from his adventures. Overflowing with gusto, he climbed up onto a table and proceeded to recount his perilous tales to the wide eyed guests. 

We had a little tête-à-tête about the essentials in life such as maintaining a trusty man servant, the necessity of purchasing one's suits on Saville Row and looking out for the Native American's who were apparently very much 'after him' .. I must say, this dapper chap had me quite enthralled!




























My wonderful friend on the other hand was deep in conversation with his man servant to whom she was attempting to explain that an Iphone was not called a youphone and it was purchased from phones4u and not from phones for me. Somewhere along the line, defeat was accepted with the nineteenth century characters struggling somewhat at the concept of such a device!

Don't forget to take a trip to the facilities, they really are quite delightful!

All in all, for a bit of theatrical fun and frivolity, Mr Fogg's should head to the top of your list. Inventive cocktails, complimentary bar snacks and a nice spot of eye candy = smiles all round.