Tag Archives: london restaurants

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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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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Burger and Lobster

I’m definitely a latecomer to the Burger and Lobster craze. It all just seemed like too much effort after hearing stories from friends about how eating there required either queuing for hours or having your dinner at 6pm. Although I am a fan of Lobsters (and indeed burgers, but lets be honest this place is definitely not about the burgers) I  just couldn’t bring myself to queue for 3 hours to get one.

But, with the Olympics having the opposite of the expected impact on London’s restaurants we took the opportunity to try out Burger and Lobster this past weekend hoping that it would be quiet and we wouldn’t have to queue. We went to the newer branch on Dean St in Soho and rocked up at 7pm on Saturday night and were able to get a table straight away, which was brill.

Burger and Lobster basically does what it says on the tin- there are only two choices of what you can eat- burger or lobster. It’s £20 and for that you can get either a burger, a whole lobster or a lobster sandwich. I’m not even going to waste words on why I wouldn’t recommend you order a burger, it’s obvious- £20 for a burger is ridiculous no matter how good it is, but £20 for a whole lobster is awesome! So order the Lobster. If you want to eat a monster lobster there is also the choice to do that if you pay a little extra. For me the normal one was more than big enough.

I have to say I think (if this is even possible) I enjoyed the lemon butter sauce more than the lobster itself- definitely order it. The lobster (and burger) also come with fries and a salad, which was too packed with parmesan cheese for my liking, but I was too full to eat it anyway.

They have a couple of puddings too which are worth trying if you have room. We tried the chocolate mousse with salt caramel at the bottom which was really good.

Oh and did I mention that they also provide a plastic bib to assist in the lobster fest (as modelled below)… x

Burger and Lobster– 36 Dean St. Soho.

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