Sweet Catalan Bubbles

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Ladies and gentlemen, your wishes have been heard. There is a dessert restaurant in London, and by no other than pastry chef Albert Adria. Let me introduce you to Cakes & Bubbles.

WHY should you go? Because even if you are not a sweet tooth, you’ll have a great time. It’s not only about the food (which is obvs amazing) but rather the experience. Sit down and have some bubbles with your friends, while your waiter explains what you are about to indulge into. Needless to say that the chef Adria stamp is a big winner.

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WHAT will you get? If you like traditional pastries and sweets, this is not your place. Chef Adria loves to be innovative with its food, and you can see it in each one of his desserts. Our two favorites where the ‘Tickets’ cheesecake, flavored with hazelnut and a white-chocolate rind and the egg flan with dark caramel.

WHEN should you go? Really, anytime is good. This hot spot is looking rather pretty right now due to the Christmas lights, but I bet you it will be as amazing when the festive period is over.   

WHERE? Inside Hotel Café Royal in Piccadilly (70 Regent St, W1B 4DY), super central!

It's a Sweet Life

The craze of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, but I am still hungry for more. I must admit, I am more of a savory person than a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy the occasional donut from time to time. After all, I love to indulge into nice treats! Sweets are not going to be an exception. 

Whilst in the search for the best donut in town, we found some amazing gems for your do-nut care moment. Here our top favorites to date!

PICCADILLY & SHOREDITCH : Doughnut Time

Funky doughnuts have arrived to town! And these include hip names like ‘Caramacklemore’ and ‘Robertd’n’oreo’. These are probably the naughtiest doughnuts I’ve had in the city (and most expensive, sometimes close to a fiver) BUT also some of the yummiest and most filling! They also have vegan options available, which is always a plus.

VICTORIA, SOHO & SHOREDITCH: Crosstown

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They have a matcha doughnut. Shall I say more? Started as a little food stall and now is a massive franchise across several locations in town. Needless to say, these are worth every bite. My favorites (matcha aside) include creme brulee, banana chocolate, raspberry and chilli dougnuts! It will be tough for you to only choose one. Vegan options are also available :)

SHOREDITCH: Dum Dum Donutterie

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Remember the craze about cronut? Well, for the guys of Dum Dums, it still means business. The first artisan baked donut/ croissant donut brand, made only with natural ingredients and yet still so delish!

BERMONDSEY: St John Bakery

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Standalone bakery for the well-known restaurant under the same name, selling fresh bread and cakes every Saturday. And of course their infamous jam doughnut. Not to be missed if you are in the area! But make sure you get there early, as they will serve until stock sells out.


Have a sweet day, careless readers; stay tuned for more

TCB xx

Munchin' in Dalston

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Since the new year started, I've been trying to discover more my pretty neighborhood, Dalston. I have a feeling I am always on the go checking out other areas, missing how amazing Dalston is. And it is awesome!

It is becoming a Saturday ritual to start my weekend morning by shaking off any hangover/ week stress by hitting PopFit for a calorie burn-out. I can't believe it took this long to get a fab workout spot in London Fields! Of course that also means I'm allowed to indulge as much as I can afterwards. Every effort has its rewards, right? Which brings me to my discussion today: BRUNCH! 

There's plenty of choices where it comes to eating out in East London, but I've narrowed it down to three favorites, lately. What will you get? Great food choices, good prices and that little hipster touch that we all deny we like but secretly love. 

L' ATELIER

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I have to admit this little french-style spot is becoming my regular, and that is a big thing to say, given that I never repeat restaurants in London. But what can I say, if you do something good great, then the chances of me coming back are higher. 

WHAT WILL YOU GET: Brunch classics made with great fresh produce. A wide variety of croissants, toasties (our fave is the Jambon de Bayon and cheese toastie!) and plenty of avocado on toast and salads for those looking for a healthy choice. Coffee is on point and so are the fresh squeezed juices!
WHERE? 31 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BJ
WHEN? Eeeeeveryday from 8am til 6pm.

CAFE MIAMI

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Feeling that cold chill? Yes, me too. That is why TCB loves visiting Cafe Miami! A warm cafe with plenty of color (mainly pastel) and that american diner vibe that every non-american loves. Food choices here are a bit more naughty than at L'atelier, but you are in for a treat, regardless.

Please note that the kitchen is open-space; so those who hate taking home a smelly-souvenir with them should avoid this spot.

WHAT YOU'LL GET: Tooones of toasties. You can even build your own! Anything with their Fancy bacon is a treat to your belly. We personally loved the waffle burger with chorizo and avocado, but their american pancakes with bacon, maple syrup and blueberries is also a delight for those with a sweet tooth. 
WHERE? 24 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0PD
WHEN? Tuesday-Sunday from 9-5pm

WELL STREET CAFE

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I must admit I haven't been to this cutsie little spot yet, but I am doing so as you may be reading this! I've got tones of recommendations from friends about it, and if my entourage loves it, I know I will too. 

WHAT YOU'LL GET HERE: a variety of breakfast baps served with tomato relish & rocket (yum!) along with the brunch classics and other more adventurous dishes such as smoked beef brisket w/ poached eggs or BBQ pork on corn tortillas with sriracha scrambled eggs (MY ADDICTION!)
WHERE? 203 Well St, E9 6QU
WHEN? Eveeerday Hoorraaay! From 8-4pm

ARE YOU GUYS HUNGRY YET? CAUSE I CERTAINLY AM. 

TCB xx

Visit Bahrain while in London

If there is a restaurant that has surprised me over the last few months, it has to be Villa Mamas

Villa Mama's is a restaurant in a residential street in the heart of Chelsea, delivering what's possible the best (if not only) Bahraini cuisine in town. 

WHY SHOULD YOU GO? 

To be honest, you know I like trying new restaurants all the time, specially if they have a Middle Eastern touch, so this place would be no exception. What was an exception was how amazing the venue, the customer service and its food was. Villa Mama's has created a space for those who like attention to detail. An outdoor terrace for those more adventurous and a cozy dining area indoors. They also sell their own ingredients, which I find remarkable. 

WHAT SHOULD YOU GET?

Well, that's a tricky one! The whole menu cries: TRY ME, TRY ME! And no dish failed to disappoint when we were there. Of course we follow our gut (and the waiter recommendations) and we had Khubus with Za'tar followed by Kaskhe bademjoon -a so called aubergine explosion- and kofta for starters. 

As this was our first time, we went for the most national dishes as main, which included an aromatic chicken pilaf called Machbous Deyay and their own take on Mac & Cheese called Macaronat Eid Milad, which was made of traditional Bahraini macaroni & spicy minced lamb. Needless to say, everything was delish. 

As two young ladies (including myself) waited for their meal, we also indulge on the cocktail section. We really couldn't leave without trying their infamous #millenialpink cocktail, fuelled with Crystal Head vodka, Tequila Rosé, rose, pomegranate and lemon. I mean, how could you resist such thing?

WHEN SHOULD YOU GO?  Great news! Everyday from 8 til midnight! Isn't this awesome?

WHERE? 25 Elystan St, Chelsea, London SW3 3NT

 

 

Foodie Monsters LA Edition

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One cannot think well,

love well,

sleep well,

if one has not dined well

So here's our favourite Foodie Monster spots at the City of Angels

Melrose

 

  • Carrera Cafe for printed cups of coffee, including the infamous LA PLAM TREES, but also Kim Kardashian’s crying face and Ryan Gosling’s sexy look.
  • Urth Caffe is probably one of the busiest places around the area; as he name say they are very ‘earth’, healthy and organic food at its best.
  • For dessert lovers like moi, you’ve got one of the best ice-creams around: Salt & Straw and Carmela; the latter does a lavender and honey cup that is surprisingly amazing.
  • Of course, let’s not forgot Alfred Tea Room. I mean, you could not miss this spot even if you wanted! Probably the most instagrammed café of LA, this trendy spot is perfect for pink lovers and matcha addicts.

Silver Lake & Surroundings

  • Italian? Sure. Cosa Buona for authentic pizzas and Alimento for an italian menu with a twist
  • Night+Market Song is probably THE best thai in town, serving street-food style dishes from the mainland
  • Of course if there’s an Israeli place, I’ll go there; Mh Zh and Kismet are top choices, if you ask me
  • A bit out of the way you’ll also find Salazar, serving mexican tacos to hungry customers

West Hollywood

  • If you want to upscale your dining options, then you should totally pay a visit to Chateaux Marmont. Ecclectic and baroque, this place is like no other. Chilled at their indoor bar, listen to the pianist at their lounge or have a romantic meal in their garden. Such a gem! Make sure you book.
  • The Beverly Hills Hotel is definitely very LA. The place to ve for certain clientele, in here you’ll find 4 restaurants with different styles. In a sunny day, I love having brunch at their Cabana Café, dipping in to their pool, which by the way, has music underwater.
  • Another Night + Market restaurant here, a bit less crazy busy and with more seating area.
  • Guisados is perfect for a hungover fix, all their tacos are soooo good. I never know where to choose from.

Downtown LA

Downtown LA is all about rooftop bars. The Standard, Ace Hotel, Freemans...you know, he classics.

Now if we are talking food, there’s two places, at least, you shouldn’t miss.

  • Bottega Louie for that french-chic vibe. Macarons at the entrance and delicious food (incl. fire-wood pizza!) at their restaurant
  • Eggslut for a perfect american-style brunch
  • Otium for fine-dining/ contemporary american. Does Chef Timothy Hollingsworth ring a bell to you? There you go then.
  • If you still have room for dessert, hit Astrodonuts & fried chicken. Food coma.

Several Locations: In-n-Out

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A trip to LA wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t stop by at In-n-Out. I know, it's junk food! You must be thinking. But damn, these burgers are good. And there's a reason why everybody loves them.

Roll your sleeves guys, you are gonna need the energy.

TCB xx

 

Know Your Dumplings

I'm a sucker for dumplings, what can I say. If there was something I could indulge into every day (aside from bread, fries and ice-cream) that would be dumplings. It is funny because apparently

SOHO

Conveniently located off Carnaby St, Ugly Dumpling (1 Newburgh St) is the new kid on the block. It provides all your street food essentials with a twist, including pork belly, aromatic duck, satay chicken and prawn & chive but aaalso what they call “new favorites” which basically is a feast of flavors in a 5-piece dumpling platter. Lamb, harissa & yogurt, cauliflower & potato and halloume & courgette were surprisingly some of my favorites.

Not only they had a great selection on offer but also dessert dumplings! Matcha-filled dumplings bonanza or blueberry jam fried dumplings with clotted cream. I mean, shall I say more?  

CHINATOWN

Dumplings Legend (15-16 Gerrard St) is probably my old time favorite. Whenever I fancy a quick fix or just wanna hang out for a while in the area, this is always a good choice. Despite having tons of people working there sometimes service lacks attention, however quality-price is unbeatable. Also, they are open for business till 2AM pretty much every day. That’s an absolute winner in my dictionary.

Beijing Dumpling (23 Lisle St) is probably the best in Chinatown when it comes to dumplings. Also, who does not love seeing how these are made in front of you?

MARYLEBONE

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Royal China (40-42 Baker St) is perfect for Sunday Brunch (that is, Dim Sum), which not only offers dumplings but a wide range of great chinese/ hong-kong cuisine. Unfortunately, they do not take reservations and this place is quite renown by locals (and not so locals), therefore you may need to cue for a bit. The menu selection is vast, so vast you don’t know where to start, but pretty much all dishes are a winner.

HACKNEY

My Neighbours The Dumplings in Homerton (165 Lower Clapton Rd) is definitely one of my recent locals. It holds a sake bar in their basement and the food was simply exceptional. Again, a bit of an Asian mix here, which included gyozas and dumplings and even dumplings with a European twist. Their menu also includes dessert dumplings, which is becoming on of my new favorite things. Argh, so much for that ‘no-sugar’ diet…

Dumpling Shack is a MUST on Saturdays at Broadway Market. Indeed expect queuing, but this little spot hasn’t got its reputation for nothing. The wait will be worthwhile.

Urban Farm Girl

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Farm Girl

The new place to be seen in West London

Farm girl, baby. Farm girl.

A curated space in the heart of Portobello road; Farm girl is making its way to become THE brunch spot in West London. 

WHERE IS IT? 59A Portobello Rd, London W11 3DB

WHY SHOULD I GO? Well, that's easy. 

First of all, its location. Hidden in a little alley off Portobello Rd, Farm Girl reminded me of being home by the beach, with its cute outdoor area and indoor color hues. Everything at this place is down to detail, and, of course, instagram-worthy. 

Second of all, THE FOOD. I mean, DELICIOUS. Probably the best brunch I've tried in London for a while. I traveled all the way from East to eat here! That's gotta mean something. They have shakshuka on the menu (which to me, is already a winner), plus many other brunch goodies such as avocado on toast and the likes. 

Their drinks menu is vast, with colorful options such as turmeric gold latte, matcha latte or rose petal latte. Very hipster, I know. But how cool, too! 

If you still have room for dessert, their cakes and pastries menu is mouthwatering. We scored some colored croissants while we were there and they were #freakalicious. 

Finally, customer service was great. I mean, what else could we ask for? Plugs. They also have plugs at every table to charge your iphone, ipad, macbook or anything else that is also not apple. Get yourself there, already!

WHEN? It is open everyday from 8,30 to 4,30pm and til 6pm over the weekends. As I mentioned, this place is becoming highly popular and takes no reserveations (ooooof course...) so expect a bit of a waiting line (~40min) before you get seated. It is damn worth it though!

TCB xx

YANKEES, a Foodie Monster in NYC

People sometimes tell me I am mistaken, but I really need to check my facts here cause I definitely feel NYC is small when compared to London. We have about the same amount of people leaving in both cities (8.7M in Greater London vs 8.5M in NYC) but when it comes to distances London feels definitely larger.

Distances and travelling time are reduced in NYC, which is kinda nice from a Londoner's point of view. I wonder though, if I would then ran out of places to try out? Then again, this is NYC. A new restaurant pops up every week, if not more often. 

This time around my troupe and I mainly stayed around Soho, Chinatown and LES (with some BK adventures, obvs), so all my suggestions will be mainly centered there!

Enjoy it careless readers, 

TCB xx

I'm on a BARGE

I'm on a barge?! Well, not really. But the Barge House certainly makes up for not being on a boat by providing the best brunch in East London, with a great view to the canal, too. 

WHY SHOULD YOU GO THERE:

Morning time, your hangover is kicking in and your belly demanding lots of food supplies to recover. GREAT! I've got you covered, my friend.

Bacon? Check. Fried Egg? Check. Bread Loaf? Check. Now think of English Breakfast and put all of that goodness on a crispy bread loaf and you've come up with the Barge House's unique selling point. There's also a veggie options for those who for some inexplicable reason would not want so pork goodies in their plate. Oh! They also serve their very own Bloody Mary, to help you go through your pain smoothly.

I can't think of anything better than this food-coma combo, really. An instagram-worthy brunch that it's also delicious. I am a regular, and so will you. 

WHERE IS IT? 46a De Beauvoir Cres, London N1 5RY

WHEN IS IT OPEN? Everyday (except Mondays) until 11pm! Time to get your fix anytime, really...

TCB xX

Italians Do It Better

WHAT? Yes, you've heard it right. Italians do it better. Or rather british, really? Because Luca, it's a mixture of both. British produce and italian menu, BRITALIAN.

WHERE? Farringdon/ Clerkenwell area, more specifically: 88 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4EH

WHEN? Anytime (except Sundays) between noon and 10,30pm. 

WHY? If you like home made italian classics with a british touch, this is certainly your place. The venue is the second restaurant of founders of The Clove's Club, kind of an institution in the foodie London scene. 

Many had high expectations, but to be honest, I was just happy to try a new restaurant, specially cause one of my friends was at the kitchen!

The venue itself is very cutting-edge, a modern restaurant with a vintage touch. Apparently, they are also setting up a courtyard for the summer, which I am really excited about. 

As for the food: certainly mouth-watering. We kick-started with some bubbles while waiting for our starters, which included the infamous parmesan fries, scallops with smashed wasabi peas and octopus. YUM!? We also shared our mains as we were to excited to try as many dishes as possible. Fresh pasta is always a winner and therefore my favourite main was probably the vegetarian lasagna, along with the steak tartare. Dessert followed with a delicious tiramisu paired with an amaretto on the rocks.

All in all a 'must try' if you are around the area, certainly.

TACO TACO TACO

It feels like London has finally taken Mexican on board. I mean, REALLY GOOD MEXICAN. Specially when it comes to tacos and quesadillas. Time Out has even made a Top 5 list of 2017, which I think it is pretty accurate to my taste. 

For today, I want to tell you about one of those places: Breddos Tacos.

Where is it? Clerkenwell area, in between Barbican and Old St. More specifically, on 82 Goswell Rd, London EC1V 7DB. Perfect for a quick date before the theatre or if you are heading out East. 

What will I get? Picturesque mexican tapas in the shape of tacos. They come in small, but they are rich in flavour. Of course we asked the peeps at the restaurant what to try, as sometimes the less obvious is the most delicious dish. And it was, because the Ox tongue taco (on their daily menu when we were there) was definitely our favourite and no way Jose would I have picked that on my own. As for the mains, Pollo Asado is a must and if you are have sweet tooth you'll love Leche Asada for desert. Good thing is, the menu keeps changing, which for me keeps a restaurant fresh and wanting me to go back, which is quite rare I must say!

Can I go anytime? Not really, but it is open Monday to Saturday from lunch until 10,30p.m. I would have loved it if they closed a bit later, but then again the area where it is located probably does not help to do so. 

Regardless, Breddo's is a pleasure for your palate, and a must in your London Foodie List. 

Don't miss out, and enjoy your meal. 

TCB xx

Soho Food Lovers

Hello Foodie Monsters, How You've Been? 2017 has started strong and I've been to few places you definitely need to know. But all in good time. So far, my favourite discovery this year has to be 10 Greek St.

Why? Because it combines all the things I like: great customer service, a counter bar (where you can chat with the chef & cooks), and generous-size dishes. All delicious, needless to say.

Where is it? It’s on 10 Greek St, as the name says. Ha!

What do you get there? Well, that’s up to you. It is all Mediterranean food with a British touch, I would say. Good thing is, they have a daily menu and its all seasonal, which makes all dishes very fresh and ridiculously yum. 

Teaser - Our Menu for 2 people:
For starters we had padron peppers, fried squid and burrata. 
Mains included sea bream, runner beans, peperonata & brown shrimp and a pasta dish with the freshest asparagus, egg and parmesan (SERIOUSLY DELISH)
And of course, TCB wouldn’t leave without at least trying one of their deserts. This time we tried their chocolate cake with salted caramel icecream. I am not a big fan of chocolate puddings but this one was to die for.

The bill turned up to be veery decent, around £30-£40 with a couple of wine glasses - More than reasonable for everything that we got, if you ask me.

All in all, a 10/10 restaurant in the heart of Soho. Don’t miss out!

Happy Meal Babies, 

TCB xx

Petiscos Para Todos

Chef Nuno's own place Taberna do Mercado is definitely a MUST in any Londoner's foodie list. You can easily book a spot, it is easily accessible (in the heart of Shoreditch, Commercial Road) and the food could not be more yummy. I usually don't repeat restaurants (there's far too many in London to stick to one and one only) but I would happily come back here again.

Why? For starters, the service was so nice! Most of them were Portuguese and a bit too relaxed to my #LondonLife pace (I am always in a hurry) but it is always good to be reminded that you need the time to sit back, relax, chat to your friends and enjoy a great meal. 

Most importantly, the food is TO DIE FOR. Every single petisco (Portugal's take on tapas) was so unique and so flavorsome, I couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

What to have? Obviously anything with COD, it is a Portuguese specialty! And Pasteis do Belem for dessert (the Portuguese egg tart is definitely my fave dessert, right after Ottolenghi's Passion Fruit Meringue Tart). I am not gonna give you more specifics on what to have, as this is meant to be a meal for sharing  and we actually had more of the daily specials than anything else. The fresher the better, right? God, my mouth is watering thinking about it. 

Where is it again? It's on one of the sides of Old Spitalfields Market, in 107B Commercial St, London E1 6BG

Let's Be Barbarians

Let's Be Barbarians. If that's what it takes to indulge into these treats, you can count me IN.

I can honestly say that this is THE best restaurant I've been since I moved to London two years ago. Discovered by luck while passing Neals Yard Place with a dearest friend, we first saw The Barbary due to its loud music pimping us in.

The set up of this place is fantastic: a cozy little restaurant with only 24 seats for the lucky guests who will make it that day for either lunch or dinner.

There are no proper tables but a dining area set deli-style (eating by the counter), which I particularly love. The idea here is to share, and to share everything, even who you sit with! Some may not like the idea but I think that interacting with the amazing cooking team while they prepare your Middle-Eastern (with Mediterranean and/or North African twist) delicacies is great.

Every little dish we tried was an explosion of flavors, but if I had to choose my dream meal here, I'd say the following:  Arayes, a pita bread sandwich with minced lamb and lots of spices, and the Jerusalem bagel with some dips as a starter. If you are a veggie lover, then definitely try the aubergine and the cauliflower Jaffa as some of your mains; and if you are a meat lover, you REALLY need to try Pata Negra. You'll die of pleasure. 

 

As usual, we were last finishing our meal, but thanks to that we got to talk to the friendly peeps working there, even Chef Navob, owner this terrific place, was there for the first opening weeks. He totally got us into trying desert even though we were quite full, but man oh man was he right to force us...

The hash cake is meant to be the star of the menu but I particularly liked the Knafeh better, a cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. NOM.

In any case, I think I made myself pretty clear here, but if you haven't got why you should try this place out yet, I'll summarize it for you: BEST Food (though minimal selection of drinks, for those who need them), BEST ambiance, BEST music, and of course, BEST service!

My motto is to never repeat restaurants, and I've been here twice in the last month.

What is it this place called again? The Barbary, Palomar's little sister.

Where is it? 16 Neal's Yard Place, WC2H 9DP

When should you go? Tuesday to Sundays from 12,30 to 3,30pm and from 5 til 10pm. You may be put off by the long cue, and even more so since you can't have a drink until you are by the bar counter. But, my friend, don't despair! If you hate q's just try to make it for lunch or have an early dinner or rather quite a late one.

YES, YES, YES. I am hooked to this place, but so will you once you try it.

TCB x

P.S.: As I was very into my food, I kinda forgot to take many pictures (oops!). The gallery you see here today is a mixture of my own pics and some taken from my google research. Thank you to those who remember to take such fantastic shots!

Barrio Sesame

Sorry folks, I’ve been informed Sesame is now closed trying to find a better and more suited location for their middle eastern goodness.

In the meantime…why not trying out Honey & Co.?

PHOTOGRAPHY BY  ADAM LUSZNIAK

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM LUSZNIAK

It’s Friday and I am feeling pekish. You?

I am one of those people that when it comes to Friday anything goes. It’s the weekend, I am allowed to be naughty, right? London could not be better for it.

I was meant to tell you about this place aaaages ago…so sorry! I actually tried it out over summer and has been the perfect pit stop for a naughty yet healthy meal while in Covent Garden.

What am I talking about? Sesame, of course.

Where? 23 Garrick St, WC2E 9BN.

Why? First of all, cause why the hell not? Haha!

Jokes aside, this is a great place if your thing is Middle Eastern Food. It is a family run business by chefs who used to work with Ottolenghi. So if you are a fan of his cuisine, you’ll love this place. Not to mention a meal is much cheaper here! We had BBQ sweet potato with tahini which was an excellent started and then had beef kofta on a kebab. YUM! We also shared some hummus (a MUST) and oh I am so glad we did. You can taste so much! The flavors in all of our dishes were beyond expected.

Also, not that it is thaaaat important when it comes to food but Sesame is a very instragrammable place. Fashionistas and IG foodies will love this place. Every single corner is worth a picture! The loos are cool (is that weird to say?), the tiled and coloured floors are definitely one of those pictures that would appear on #ihaveathingwithfloors and obvs the mixture of colors on your meal is also worth one snapchat and one instagram aerial food porn picture. Get your hands on it!

When? Anytime of the week. Just pop in and start enjoying the goodness. 

Happy weekend fellas,

TCB xx

Craving for Pizza

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

What? Pizza Pilgrims. Where? All the action happens between Soho and Carnaby. I personally prefer the restaurant in Dean St in Soho, as it was their first opening. However, you can also dine in Kingly St in Carnaby.

Why? First of all, who doesn't like italian? And more over, who doesn't like pizza?

Having said that, I think finding a good pizza is key, and sometimes tough. I am quite happy by having Domino's from time to time (don't you?) but that is not what a proper italian pizza tastes like. And the guys from Pizza Pilgrims now it.

The story behind Pizza Pilgrims starts with two brothers who went on a pilgrimage around Italy to improve their cooking skills. After their visit to Italy, they came back to London and decided to start their own business...with a van! The couple started the pop up restaurant on Facebook telling Londoners where they would be for the day. They would park their van and start cooking and serving their delicacies! BRILLIANT.

I never managed to see the van myself, but the it is still going on tour from time to time. Currently, you can find it parked at Swingers in Shoreditch.

But let's cut to the chase. Once more, the menu is not vast, which for some would mean disappointment but to me means excellence. You don't need to have a massive menu to run a great restaurant. If anything, less is more. Their pizzas are done from scratch, which means you are in for a treat. And the options are pretty damn good. The crust is perfect and all the food in the pizza is simply delicious.  They've also got some starters while you wait for your pizza (I suggest you try the artichokes with ham!) and if by the end of it you are still not full, they've got an amazing range of desserts.

I didn't manage to get any desserts (sadly, I was too full). And they've got a Nutella & Ricotta pizza ring that it is to die for. The guys at the table seating next to us had it and I was so jealous. But oh well, it just means I will have to go back.

When? They are open Monday to Sunday, although opening times vary depending on the restaurant. The kitchen closes at 10,30pm in Soho, which to me is quite soon (spaniards start having dinner at that time!) and the restaurant in Carnaby closes by 11pm.

But in any case, if you fancy a good pizza, and you are out and about in town, this is your place.

TCB x

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Contemporary Cuisine - Ottolenghi

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What?Ottolenghi.

Where? It depends. If you don't mind splashing the cash, I'd say go to his high-end restaurant Nopi, near Picadilly Circus.  If you are a bit tight with your budget but still would like to try something new, then you've got 3 more options to choose: Islington, Notting Hill and Belgravia. They first one is a restaurant and the other two are a deli, which is an excellent option for lunch time.

Why? Oh  dear, where to begin. For those who are not living in the London Bubble, you need to know that Ottolenghi is God over here. A renowned israeli chef that has brought to England a contemporary way of cooking. His style, known by mixing Middle Eastern cuisine (including Sirian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian, Israeli and Armenian) with Western style food, is great. A perfect combo, as I say.

As a newbie in the City, I went to Ottolenghi few months ago, completely unaware of the relevance of my dinner. But the minute you get into one of his restaurants, you clearly see you are going to have more than just a meal. It's a whole new experience. The restaurant in Islington (which is the one I went to) has a deli counter at the front, welcoming you to see what you can indulge for supper.

The menu is not vast but is more than enough. I like things kept simple. I suggest you to go with few friends so that you can to try as many dishes as you can. Since the portions aren't super big, I think sharing plates is the way forward. Although it took us a bit too much to be served, the wait was SO worth it.

My top 3 from the kitchen where the braised octopus with kalamata olive puree, mustard seeds, harissa and cavolo nero; (ii) the seared fillet of english beef with sweet coriander-mustard saucethe and (iii) the Seard duck breas with red cabbage puree, pickeled celeriac, date & walnuts. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

As for my veggie favs I'd definitely go for the roasted aubergine with walnut yoghurt, herbs and spicy walnuts (see picture below) and the couliflower, onion, turmeric parsley and coriander fritters with chilli jam yoghurt.

Don't forget to have some bread with your meal (there's an excellent range) and eventhough you might be full by dessert time, you HAVE TO have dessert.

O.M.G. Desserts. I keep dreaming of them. But if you have to go for one, please try the passion fruit meringue tartlets. I wish I could have one of those everyday for the rest of my life. SO GOOD.

When? They are open Monday to Sunday, although opening times vary depending on the restaurant. Both Nopi and Ottolenghi Islington close their kitchens by 10,30-11pm (Mon-Sat), while the delis in Notting Hill and Belgravia usually close by 8pm.

So regardless of the timing, don't forget: BOLD.BIG.DELICACIES. A complete cultural explosion in the kitchen that is not to be missed.

TCB x

P.S: the pictures have been edited by me but have been collected from Ottolenghi's site and other sources, as I was unable to take pictures when I went there!

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RAmen!

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What?Shoryu, it's called Shoryu.

Where? Luckily, you've got three opportunities to try this restaurant, as it has three branches: Soho, Regent St, and Carnaby. Perfect locations if you get hungry while crazy shopping!

Why? If you are a Ramen lover, you'll get hooked to this place. I haven't tried many other restaurants that serve this japanese dish but one thing got me attracted. It's full of locals dining there, and that is always a good sign.

With it's perfect location, this japanese-style restaurant serves one of the best Tonkotsu Ramen I've tried for a while. Eventhough some of the other dishes, specially the starters/sides, are a bit of a fusion between continental and asian food (e.g.: Hirata Buns with fried Halloumi) the Ramen does not deceive. That rich, fat broth, filled with nitamago egg, lots of pork, and lots of veg! Mmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

When? That would be my only drawback. The kitchen closes at 10,30pm! Coming from Spain, that is something very difficult to understand for me.

However, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to try it. Because once you go, it is certain you'll come back.

TCB x

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Hirata Buns. I saw them at the table next to us and couldn't resist ordering them. They buns are very peculiar, with a sweet taste. If you get one, make sure you don't take the halloumi one.

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I played safe and tried the their signature ramen: Shoryu Gonzu Ramen, which comes with tonkotsu pork broth, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, nori & mayu (caramelised black garlic oil) and fried shalots. But next time I'll be more adventurous and probably try something more spicy!