Category Archives: Restaurants

Wishbone

As a South West London newbie I’ve been very excited to explore all the restaurants that when I was a North Londoner just seemed much much too far away. Brixton village, and more specifically, Wishbone had been on my to do list for a long time. If you haven’t been to Brixton village– you must, it is awesome. It’s cute little arcade is a hotch-potch of old fashioned green grocers and fish mongers mixed with cool new street food style restaurants.

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Wishbone serves southern american style food, and the chicken is to die for. Admittedly, on paper the idea of spending a Saturday night in Brixton eating fried chicken sounds less than glamorous, but I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed by the tasty treats on offer.

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Start with one of their amazing sours, you pick the poison, egg or no egg and either straight up or on the rocks, and this bartender who I think looks a little like super mario will make it for you. We tried gin sours on the rocks and pisco sours straight up, both of which were delicious.

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Then the chicken… of which we ordered so so much. Embarrassingly between 3 people we almost ordered every item on the menu and the waiter commented that he might have to roll us out. But it was worth it- the food is seriously yummy.

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We tried a few different types of chicken- Thai style fried chicken with lime and basil, buffalo wings, which were by far my favourite, and came with a blue cheese sauce, and then traditional southern style fried chicken with barbecue sauce.

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We ordered quite a few sides to go with our chicken, this messy looking concoction below was a mix of cheese, jalapeños and hash browns I think. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what was in it- but it was delicious.

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And this… wow- macaroni cheese squares. So so yum. Mac and cheese- deep fried, not sure how they actually do it, but it just works.

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Oh and we had coleslaw. As you can see we did a good job demolishing everything put in front of us.

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And then washing it down with another sour.

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Go early if you don’t want to have to queue, as its a pretty popular place nowadays. I was sad I couldn’t stay longer on the night I went, just as we were leaving to head to the cinema the bar was getting really buzzy and fun. Wishbone is a great place for dinner with friends, but equally would be fun for a few drinks too. I’m planning my return asap.

Wishbone. 12 Market Row. Brixton Market. London. Sw9 9PR.

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Mussel Men

Last Saturday night I headed to deepest darkest Dalston with a group of friends to check out the Mussel Men pop up at Fabrica 584.

There seem to be a plethora of foodie pop ups around at the moment, and I’m making it one of my new year’s resolutions to try to visit all of them! But Mussel Men in particular sounded epic, and perfect for a wintery night in January to combat the post Christmas blues.

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So here’s the deal- you book in pairs (but we went as a group of 10 and that worked really well) and for £35 you get a kilo of mussels and frites to share, a bottle of prosecco and either oysters to start or a dessert. A pretty good deal for central London I would say.

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The food is all yummy and good quality- simple but well done. The dessert was delicious, but I ate it all before I could take any pics, which was awkward given I was meant to be sharing it…

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So, while the food was great, and worth visiting for that alone, one of the main attractions is definitely Captain Bob and his thumb warfare. Wannabe Mussel Men can challenge Bob to a thumb war, and if you beat him you get a free Mussel Men t-shirt! What’s not to love about that!?

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We quickly realised though, that Captain Bob is pretty fierce when it comes to thumb warfare- in fact I’m pretty sure he has never been beaten- ever.

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We even resorted to trying to arm wrestle him, and when that still didn’t work we decided to accept his kind offer of a free t-shirt if we ordered another bottle of Prosecco (no great burden there).

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After that we decided it would be much more fun to just challenge each other to thumb wars in the weird little thumb boxing rings that they had- at least one of us had a chance of winning!

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Check out the next Mussel Men pop up on this weekend- you can find the details and book through their website here.

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We’re all taking our training seriously for our next thumb war showdown with Captain Bob. In the meantime, definitely check it out! Enjoy x

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Upstairs at The Ten Bells

At first glance the Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields looks like a less than salubrious establishment. Definitely veering into OMP territory (that’s Old Man’s Pub to us young-uns), you would never guess that it has a fantastic restaurant in the upstairs dining room.

Upstairs at the Ten Bells originally started as a 3 month pop-up by a collective of chefs called the  Young Turks. I went there, way back when it was just a temporary venture and loved it. Unsurprisingly, as it was so popular, it’s now a permanent feature at the Ten Bells.

The dining room is super cosy and its the perfect place for a winter’s night catch up with friends after a long work week. The service is so friendly and you’re welcomed with a loaf of home made, still warm, bread.

They change the menu regularly and serve seasonal produce. Happily this meant the menu was completely different from the last time I went- apart from one dish which I was so glad to see they were still serving! I had this delicious buttermilk chicken with pine salt to start.

The girls starters were also apparently delicious, a chestnut and truffle soup and mussels.

And while we waited for our mains we admired the interesting nip-art that adorns the dining room.


For main I had Hake with brown shrimps which was so yummy!

We also sampled the roast partridge which looked really special

And one of the things I loved most was that even though one of my friends is vegetarian (and a proper veggie at that- no fish or anything!) there was still an appealing option on the menu for her. I definitely would have been happy to eat any of the veggie dishes, like this butternut squash with spatzle.

Last but not least, dessert- my favourite course. I find the desserts here to be really interesting and unconventional. I had this pear and thyme salad with honey ice cream and coffee crumbs. I love that they don’t just stick with the standard and often boring traditional desserts.

The other dessert we tried was apple and ale fritters with creme fraiche which was a little more conventional, but still really unusual and innovative I thought.

In my view, the food at the Ten Bells is just as good as what you would get in a top end central London restaurant and the price is very reasonable. We had 3 courses and wine for under £40 a head including service. Definitely give it a try next time you venture to East London, I can’t recommend it enough.

Upstairs at the Ten Bells. 84 Commercial St. E1 6LY. Enjoy x

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Dach & Sons

I’ve been very lazy recently and haven’t written any blog posts in a while. It all went downhill after we got back from our wonderful vacay in NYC (more about that soon). When we got back to London, the days were shorter and colder and work seemed to be getting longer and longer each day. But, I am decidedly back on the blogging wagon now and hopefully it will force me out of my winter hibernation mode.

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine from school moved to London, and the best bit about it is that she is living in North London too, a mere 15 minute bus ride away! So as I was riding the c11 to check out her new pad and it was taking me on a little jaunt around my local area, I was amazed by how many cool restaurants and local hangouts I never knew existed. This weekend I set out to recify this situation and planned an evening in Hampstead.

I love Hampstead, say what you want about it (yummy mummy land, ladies that lunch etc), but it’s such a lovely village with the heath right there, gorgeous shops (where I always seem to pick up a bargain!) and nice restaurants. We had wanted to check out Dach & Sons, an American style hot dog and slider joint, for a while.

Dach & Sons opened earlier this year and it serves American style food as well as a selection of beers and bourbons. It’s run by the same people who do Purl and the Whistling Shop, both of which I love, if you haven’t been- you must! The decor is a cool diner type vibe and the staff are super friendly and helpful.

We tried the signature hog-dog ‘the daschund’ which is a homemade frankfurter and the beef sliders, both of which were yummy!

I was feeling a little under the weather so I didn’t try any of the cocktails, but I saw some sublime looking mint julips being made. Unfortunately until I shift this yucky cold I’m sticking to soft drinks. But I was obsessed with their tall carafe style glasses- I really want them for my house!

The sides were pretty special as well, we had coleslaw which was delciously tangy and fries which were right on the money. They even have homemade ketchup!

The dessert menu is very enticing as well, with all the familiar favourites. We opted for the apple pie with homemade toffee icecream, both of which were scrupmtious

My only disappointment was that I didn’t get to check out their speakeasy style bar upstairs- as I didn’t even realise it was there until I looked at the website today!

Afterwards we went to watch a film at the Everyman cinema in Hampstead. As much as I love going to the Odeon and eating a bucket o’ popcorn, the Everyman is just a much more civilised way to go to the cinema. Comfy armchairs, table service and the option of wine is so much nicer. We saw Argo, which I would highly recommend, and not just because I love Ben Affleck.

Next time you’re looking for a new restaurant to try, do expand your mind to North London, there are so many gems. Dach & Sons and a film in Hampstead made for a very nice wintery date night. Enjoy x

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Bubbledogs

Champagne and hot dogs are easily two of my favourite things in this world. So when I heard some months ago about Bubbledogs I was more than a little excited.

Located on Charlotte St, Bubbledogs is a champagne bar which serves gourmet hot dogs. It’s the new venture from James Knappett, previously head chef at many a fabulous restaurant in London. We had eaten at Marcus Wareing when James was heading up the kitchen there, so knew that Bubbledogs would live up to the hype.

Firstly the bubbles. Bubbledogs serves ‘grower’ champagnes which is like a boutique hotel of the champagne world. They’re made by smaller independent producers rather than the big champagne houses. You can order the champagne by the glass or bottle and starting at £6 for a glass, it’s fairly reasonable.

And then the dogs. Ah the hotdogs… they were faboosh! We tried the BLT, where the normal T for tomato is replaced with a T for truffle mayo.

We also tried the New Yorker, which was a classic hot dog in my mind, topped with delicious onions. It was a little different to what I was expecting as the onions had a bit of spice to them, but I loved it. The great thing about the hot dogs is that you can choose either a beef, pork or veggie dog,which I think gives Bubbledogs an edge over other concept restaurants (like say Burger and Lobster) as it means my veggie friends can visit (yay!)

The side dishes were also to die for, particularly the tater-tots, I could eat them, with a good helping of ketchup, all day long.

Bubbledogs is the restaurant of the moment currently, so if you’re going to try it out, be prepared to queue. We went for an early lunch/brunch at around half 12 on a Saturday and managed to get a table straight away, but people were queuing already as we ate our meal. I do think it’s worth the wait though, it’s super cosy, the service is very friendly and the food is scrumptious!

When we were there the lovely Sandia was telling us that they have now started doing a kitchen table tasting menu experience, which sounds fantastic, I’ll definitely be back to try that soon.

Bubbledogs. 70 Charlotte St. London W1T 4QG. Enjoy x

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Brasserie Zedel

A few weeks ago on a dreary rainy Saturday afternoon the boy and I decided that we wanted to go out and try somewhere new for dinner. I was experiencing the tail-end of a flu that had gone on for longer that I would have liked and needed some hearty grub to make me feel better. French food was just the ticket and we had heard about Brasserie Zedel from a few friends so wanted to give it a test run.

Zedel is a big Parisian style brasserie right next to Piccadilly Circus. As well as the brasserie, the complex also has a bar, a cafe and a little cabaret/jazz venue. The whole thing is underground at it’s quite overwhelming in size, but this does have certain advantages, namely being able to rock up at 7pm on a Saturday night without a reservation.

I loved the decor of Brasserie Zedel, its quite grandiose and very very French. It reminded me a little bit of the Wolseley, but without the price tag. It’s a very big dining room but the partitions which make up the different sections stop it from feeling overwhelming.

The menu is your typical French brasserie faire, for starter I had a lardon and egg salad which was lovely and the boy had seafood food which was divine. Amazing prices are a running theme on this menu- but honestly I have to mention the soup in particular as it astounds me every time I remember- the soup was cheaper than a soup from Pret (that’s right, cheaper than Pret people!!)

The mains on offer are, again, quintessentially French. I had confit duck with a side of green beans which was everything you would hope it would be- so crispy on the outside and yummy and tender inside. The boy had Choucroute Alsacienne which basically was a platter of sausages, nice but not really my cup of tea.

And then the desserts, ooh la la the desserts… they come with a mini jug of DIY chocolate sauce- what’s not to love!?

The boy had an ice-cream sundae complete with wafer and chocolate cigarette. I had my favourite- Profiteroles which were really good. I don’t think they quite match the profiteroles at le relais de venise, but then those don’t come with a mini jug of chocolat chaud!

As you can see, I enjoyed every last mouthful.

All in all, I think Brasserie Zedel is quite a rarity. It’s not common in central London to find a restaurant where you can get a 3 course meal with wine for £30 a head. The food is good quality and beautifully cooked and the service is friendly. I will definitely be returning the next time I have a hankering for some French flavours. Enjoy x

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Nopi

A very impromptu mid week dinner with a friend last week gave me the chance to try Nopi, which I’ve been saying I want to try for, oh about the last 2 years (or ever since it opened anyway). Nopi is the Soho restaurant from the same chaps of Ottolenghi fame and the vibe is sort of casual trendy and you share lots of small plates many of which have middle eastern inspired flavours.

I quite like the sharing small plates thing at restaurants, mainly because I’m a bit indecisive and it means you get to try more dishes. I do think though that sharing small dishes works better when you go with girlfriends, as whenever I do this with my boyfriend I always get a bit stressed at just how many dishes he thinks it’s necessary to order!

We ordered 5 dishes between 2 of us which was more than enough and I think this starter of flat breads with a smoked aubergine dip was actually my favourite of all of them.

But these deep friend courgette flowers stuffed with herby ricotta were to die for….

I can’t really remember too much about this next one apart from that it was baby chicken, very tasty though!

This dish was absolutely gorgeous, burrata with flat peaches and coriander seeds.

The last dish we had was grilled prawns with a yummy cabbage and bacon accompaniment. The dish was wonderful, apart from the small fact that the prawns were a bit raw in the middle. We didn’t actually realise until we had eaten an entire  prawn each as it’s quite dark in the restaurant, and although I really dislike complaining in restaurants I thought I had better say something as being quite a hypochondriac all I could think was, what if I get food poisoning?!

The manager of Nopi couldn’t have been kinder in dealing with our concerns. He apologised straight away and reassured us that they use the freshest seafood so we wouldn’t get ill (and he was absolutely right, thank god!) and then offered to take the dish off the bill. He also then sent a complimentary dessert to our table, a wonderful mango and cardamom sorbet, which I really didn’t expect them to do on top of taking the dish off the bill.

Despite the issue with the dodgy prawn, I really enjoyed Nopi and would definitely recommend that you try it. The food is stunning and the dishes are really different to your typical Soho type eats. Although it’s not as cheap as other Soho options (we paid £26 each with no drinks and with the prawn dish taken off the bill) I do think the food is more refined, it’s slightly more upmarket than it’s neighbours, and you can book! Now that really is a novelty in Soho these days.  Enjoy x

Nopi- 21-22 Warwick Street. London W1B 5NE

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