Tag Archives: going out

Top 3 Things of the Week (August 26th – September 1st)

1 Sep

With my recent bout of ill health continuing for much of the week, I was unable to partake in as many events or food trips. Compiling a Top 5 was unrealistic but I’ve managed to up my game from last week – when I was so ill I could only list one measly item! It is with great pleasure that I write: behold this week’s Top 3 Things of the Week!

#1 Proud Cabaret in the City

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The 1920s themed Speakeasy proved to be one of the most entertaining nights in London! With waitresses clad in basques, exquisite martinis and an awesome burlesque murder-mystery, called The Silencing of Miss Scarlett it was a fun-filled night of glamour and naughtiness. Read my full review for The Upcoming here.

#2 Palmers Green Festival

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Held within the lush beauty of Broomfield Park in North London’s cultural and culinary capital, Palmers Green, this annual festival was the perfect Sunday escapade.

The community event was a celebration of all the borough has to offer, from food and entertainment to shopping and education.

It was difficult to resist the delicious international cuisine – delicacies hailed from a global trail spanning the Caribbean to Asia! Added to mouth-watering cakes from local tearooms such as Baskervilles, the sights and smells were beyond intoxicating.

Arts and craft stalls offered everything from ceramics to jewellery and, if not content to buy, both parents and kids were encouraged to try their hand at making their own from porcelain, under the instruction of Doodle Designs.

A children’s fun fair and separate activity and games stalls proved highly popular, while a local dance studio took eager volunteers through their paces, creating Palmers Green’s very own Strictly Come Dancing masterclass.

The park’s pavilion area, hosted by Tropical FM, was used to introduce a range of performances from local school children. Singing and dancing with equal passion and nerves, the kids excelled themselves. The entire afternoon was an endearing hybrid of The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent – amazing!

Festivals like this are what community is all about: congregating, celebrating and appreciating. Witnessing the multicultural residents of Palmers Green coming together to interweave their many cultures into a gigantic tapestry of fun and colour for all to enjoy was truly magical. Roll on next year so we can do it all again!

#3 McDonalds

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Left thirsty and famished after attending the launch party for new Soho restaurant and bar, Coal Vaults, there was little choice but to seek sustenance elsewhere.

Luckily, McDonalds on Oxford Street was still open for business. Never before has a “Mickey-Ds” hit the spot to this extent. Delicious, filling and a huge relief.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Coal Vaults in Soho

31 Aug

UPDATED 5TH SEPTEMBER, 2013: Following its publication, my review of Coal Vaults‘ launch party has been removed, so the link included within my original blog is now invalid.

I gave an honest account of the event and stand by every word submitted. It would have been unethical to lie about such a negative experience and to gloss it up for the sake of popularity. Professional integrity is paramount. I applaud The Upcoming for posting my review – albeit for a brief period – and hope it didn’t cause them any trouble.

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The promise of a new “hot spot” in London is always met with anticipation and excitement. Newcomer Coal Vaults opened its doors this week with a succession of PR-driven launch events to entice celebrities and reviewers.

With promises of seasonal British cuisine, delicious cocktails and a quirky industrial interior, The Upcoming kindly decided to send me along to pen a review. What followed was one the most depressing and deflating nights ever experienced in London. Read why here.

The London Restaurant Interiors Tour – Part 1

25 Aug

Imagine if an events company offered a tour of the most beautiful, interesting or quirky restaurant interiors in London. The possible locations would be endless and it’s difficult to select a Top 10. Thus, I’ve decided to blog countdowns throughout the year: an evolving and expanding list to which others are welcome to contribute.

Whether you prefer dining in themed eateries, quirky diners, intimate supperclubs or sat upon the swaying deck of a boat restaurant, there are enough gorgeous, innovative and opulent choices to ponder and assess.

To kick off the ‘tour’, I suggest we take a virtual walk around a tourist-friendly combination of familiar, central and interesting hot-spots before future lists expand to encompass some of the more brow-raising decors gracing the Capital.

#1 A pit stop to Momo in Regent Street’s Food Quarter is must for a brief sojourn from London life. With its copper tables, dark wooden panels, amazing arches, colourful upholstery and pretty tableware, the heart of Morocco comes to the heart of the English Capital.

Selected wares are available to purchase from the Mo Cafe, next to the main restaurant, but do not endeavour to haggle with the waiting staff; it may look and feel like a bonafide souk but it’s most certainly not. Attempting to negotiate a 2-for-1 deal, or suggesting they throw in a couple of fake Rolex-style watches for an extra quid upon receipt of your dining bill, will only result in confused looks from fellow diners and staff!

#2 One of the most ornately decorated cafés in London is the stunning cafeteria found in the V&A Museum. With exquisitely painted ceilings, globe lighting, stylish columns and attractive arches, it’s a beautiful spot to indulge in Afternoon Tea during a visit to the museum.

So pleasant is this venue, you may find yourself turning into one of their exhibits. I never want to leave whenever I’m there and half expect the cleaner to give me a quick dusting at the end of the evening and hang a sign around my neck stating: Double-Chinned Tea Lover, 2013. A Greek artefact often seen in areas serving cake.

#3 Of course, we can’t mention the ornate without a nod to Gilgamesh in Camden Stables Market. Featuring more wooden carvings than an Indonesian street market, the panels tell the story of the Sumerian King and demi-God after which the venue is named.

Immortalised in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest stories ever written, the King goes through a series of adventures that require bravery, courage and wisdom. Entering this venue will require the same three skills; the excellent Pan-Asian food and gorgeous cocktails aren’t cheap so don’t go if you can’t face a hefty bill without wanting to chuck yourself onto one of Gilgamesh’s spears!

#4 Competing in the over-the-top carvings stakes is neighbour Shaka Zulu, also located in Camden Stables Market. Try to resist the temptation of turning up in fancy dress; no matter how much a loin cloth may complement the venue’s tribal interior and the scantily-clad fire eaters it houses, I assure you that entry will be denied and your bits will feel quite a chill as you stand in your cloth trying to negotiate with the bouncers at the door.

#5 Flamboyant doesn’t even begin to describe the decor of Turkish-Mediterranean eaterie Sarastro on Drury Lane. Modelled on the Victorian curiosity shops of yesteryear, expect to find more than your mind can dream within the confines of this unusual restaurant!

Fellow food blogger Mint And Rosemary visited the eatery last week and was welcomed by a large figure pointing a giant erection towards her. This was not the manager or a registered sex offender running amok: it was a statue forming part of the decor. Fertility God? Possibly. It might be worth considering a Depo-Vera shot or a vasectomy before you visit, lest you tempt fate.

★Part 2 of my Top 10 will follow soon but please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments box★

THEATRE REVIEW: ‘A Victorian Eye’ at Jermyn Street Theatre

3 Aug

Rory Fellowes, brother of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, launched his first play in London this week. A celebration of marginalised 19th century artist Sir William Blake Richmond, The Upcoming magazine decided to send me along to review the production. Read my verdict here.

Top Things of The Week (July 22nd – 28th)

28 Jul

#1 London Anniversary Games

Getting to see Usain Bolt run 100m, after missing out on the Olympic final, was nothing short of exhilarating! I loved his victory lap afterwards; he threw his shoes into the cheering crowd and sent his fans into a frenzy, which I managed to catch on video.

I’ve been supporting Athletics since childhood and was a fan of Mr. Bolt long before he became a household name so this was a great night that I’ll always remember.

#2 Myddleton House Gardens in Enfield, North London

I cannot believe I was born and bred in North London yet never knew of this amazing oasis hidden in the borough of Enfield, created by owner E.A. Bowles, a self-taught botanist and philanthropist who lived in the house during the late 1800s until his death in the 1950s.

The gardens span eight acres and are breathtakingly beautiful. Walking through its different areas was genuinely awe-inspiring: the range of plants, vegetables and mix of sculpted and wild areas are a marvel.

There’s also a carp lake and the stables have been converted into a lovely cafe where you can enjoy, among other things, locally-sourced ice-cream and Afternoon Tea. What’s more, a visit to the gardens is FREE, as is on site parking.

A must-visit experience!

#3 Baked Alaska at Plum + Spilt Milk
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Baked Alaska is one of my favourite desserts of all time – so much so, I used to think that if I ever found love and got married, this would be the dessert on my big day.

Well, I haven’t found love and probably never will, but at least I know where to go to enjoy a perfect Baked Alaska in London: Plum + Spilt Milk in the Great Northern Hotel in the heart of King’s Cross.

#4 Fried Courgette at Tinello

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Chef Federico Sali provided an Italian feast at his restaurant Tinello. All the food was delicious, particularly a rich Chicken Liver Parfait on Toast but his simple dish of julienned courgette, deep fried in a light, perfectly seasoned, gloriously crispy batter was so moreish, I was in danger of becoming addicted.

I started eating them non-stop like popcorn and just couldn’t stop! In the end, I had to ask for the bowl to be removed from my line of sight lest I fill up too much before a main course!

#5 A Halloumi Brand Sharing My Name
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It’s not often I get to see my surname written anywhere beyond my own personal identification documents or mail, so discovering I share my name with a Cypriot Halloumi brand was such a pleasant surprise – and the cheese tastes great! 🙂

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Five Guys in Covent Garden

14 Jul

This week, I’ve been admiring the buns of the new Americans in town… I’m talking about hamburger buns following the arrival of US chains Five Guys and Shake Shack in the UK.

The Upcoming magazine sent me to check out diner Five Guys in London’s Covent Garden and I managed a sneaky trip to Shake Shack on the same day. Read the full review here.

THEATRE REVIEW: We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

7 Jul

A stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s bestselling picture book We’re Going On A Bear Hunt has arrived at the Lyric Theatre in London, but what will kids make of their favourite story as a live dramatization? The Upcoming magazine sent me on an expedition to find out and you can follow my trail here.