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Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts

One Day in Paris: Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Baked chorizo and eggs

Gosh, we're lucky here in the UK. The fact that a casual day trip over to France is a) feasible and b) affordable, is a luxury that I certainly don't take advantage of enough. With Eurostar pinging you straight from St Pancras into the centre of Paris, you can get your culture on easy-peasy AND stuff your face with deliciousness at the same time. I walk everywhere in Paris, so I need the fuel; here's where I'd happily eat three meals a day, every day:

Five Places That Prove Hobart, Tasmania is a Food Lover's Paradise

Lamb sausage roll and pumpkin salad

I'd heard on the grapevine before arriving in Tasmania that Hobart is a bit of a unknown foodie gem, but nothing could have prepared me for the unbelievable food I had for almost every meal during my visit. I indulged in brunch, lunch, dinners and desserts that have seared themselves into my memory as some of my favourite meals ever, and if there's one thing that would make me travel back to Tasmania - it's the food. A full post on the incredible Salamanca Market is to come, but for now, here's the other places my stomach fell in love with:

Three Awesome and Affordable Places to Eat in Hong Kong

Chilli scrambled eggs, bacon and rocket

Hong Kong has strong elements of London's vibe, with food trends and brunch culture being alive and well. Each time I've been to Hong Kong I've been overwhelmed by where to eat, because generally, you can't really go wrong. However, you can end up overspending. It's not the cheapest place to visit, but it is exciting.

A Beautiful Japanese Lunch at Tsuru, Shanghai

Yorokobi Kaiseki lunch set

The fact that I've never been a huge fan of Japanese food, especially sushi, goes down as well with people as when I tell them I don't like avocado or lemon drizzle cake. I get looks of 'who even are you?' when I turn it away. However (and here's a pretentious warning alert), some foods taste better the closer you are to their origin.

A Lebanese Lunch at Plenty, London

salad bar cafe plenty london review

It is extremely rare that I will ever take a full lunch break at work. Generally I'll take 15 minutes to go and find/heat up some food, take it back to my desk and keep on typing away; it's ridiculous, really. But isn't it so nice to actually go somewhere, sit down and relax without checking emails for a full hour? I took advantage of a Wednesday lunch break to try out Plenty on Berners Street, in wonderful Fitzrovia.

Pancake Day at My Old Dutch

pancakes my old dutch london

My hunt for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday went as follows:
  • Next level disappointment when my work canteen weren't serving them at lunchtime
  • Walking past two places in Soho that were selling them but I was already on my way to somewhere else
  • Realising that the event I was at definitely weren't going to surprise us with pancakes
  • Looking up places to eat near where I was out with the girls and seeing that most of them were at least a 20 minute walk away (and I'm lazy)
  • Hearing that the queue outside My Old Dutch was "a mile long"

Lunch at Bundobust, Leeds

best uk food blogger

Thank goodness for Twitter. When I took a recent work trip to Leeds, I asked local blogger Rihanna for recommendations on where to eat. A couple of others waded in and everyone seemed to rate Bundobust, a little Indian street kitchen a stone's throw from the main train station. As I was with a vegetarian colleague, and Bundobust is completely meat-free, we headed down pre-meeting for a spot of lunch.

Morty & Bob's Grilled Cheese Pop-Up

morty bobs grilled cheese neon sign

When an email pops into your inbox on a miserable mid-week afternoon inviting you to a grilled cheese tasting, it's hard not to jump up from desk and do a little happy dance. If you're a regular visitor to these pages, you'll be pretty aware that I am a cheese fiend - whether it's in a fondue or next to a big glass of red wine in Paris, cheese is the answer.

Lunch at Soupe du Jour, City of London

soupe du jour sign

When I was invited along to taste the wares of Soupe du Jour, I was intrigued but not necessarily excited. I mean, soup is soup, right? To me it just brings connotations of grabbing a quick lunch from Sainsbury's when it's reaching the end of the month, or slurping on something bland when I'm sick - it is very rarely something I deem worthy of sharing with the masses. It is an impressive feat then, that after I left Soupe du Jour I was not only stuffed, but was still surprised that it had tasted so good!

Lunchtime in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Visiting any city is always better when you know a local. I wouldn't have tried fermented snake whisky without the guidance of a native Beijinger, or had ridiculously good Thai food in Sydney if it wasn't for the help of a local Bondi friend. And it's not just abroad that I look for recommendations; wherever I go I like to know where residents prefer to eat and drink. 

One of my best friends lives in Manchester, and my boyfriend grew up just outside the city, so I'm pretty familiar with it. I can find my way reasonably easily and I have roamed the shops of the Northern Quarter many time. I bought my favourite weekend bag from a vintage store there and the record stores can absorb me for hours at a time, but my most recent visit was a fleeting one so my friend led me to a place for lunch on Edge Street.

Home Sweet Home looks like a mix between an American diner and your nan's house. Next to the burgers and shakes sit the huge slabs of cake, all being watched over by the cat prints and art deco lampshades. The menu is summed up as 'comfort food', but we're not talking about shepherd's pie or sausage and mash. It's more deep fried stuff, eggs of all sorts and big ol' breakfasts. I went for the Waffle Fried Chicken which really is as obscene as it sounds: two homemade waffles, fried chicken, crispy bacon and maple syrup. Whoever doubts that maple syrup doesn't work on savoury food is WRONG. The waffles are pretty thin, so it's not as overwhelming as you originally might think, but I still couldn't finish it all. Although that might have been because of the Nutella Toasted Marshmallow milkshake I had to go with it...I don't regret a thing.

Falling deep into a food coma, we made the very sensible and distinctly British decision to find somewhere to have a cup of tea. We tried Teacup (the tea shop owned by Mr Scruff), but the queue was out of the door so we kept wandering and ended up in Oklahoma. Predominantly a shop, Oklahoma also has a tiny tea space at the back where you can start planning everything you want in the shop, mainly the AMAZING version of  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland I spotted with gold leaf pages and neon pink cover. Places always seem to be on a mission to find a new way of serving tea, and I love how they did it here. The enamel cup and pot for one was cute, but it was inspired to provide a timer so I knew when my leaves were properly brewed.

I must make time to properly visit Manchester soon. If you know somewhere I should head for lunch next time I'm up north, please do share!

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Galleries, Bubbletea and The Breakfast Club

I'm wearing:
T-shirt - & Other Stories
Shorts: Kinki Gerlinki (Melbourne)
Plimsolls: Office

As much as I love being in the countryside or by the sea when the sun is out, there's something really special about London in Summer. It's like being on a city break; wandering around the landmarks, eating and drinking outdoors, lounging in the parks. Yes, it's hectic and busy and full of tourists who have no idea where they're going, but it's the time I feel most at home in London.

Two weekends ago I had one of these picture perfect days with one of my best friends. We had one intention for the day: go and get bubbletea, but aside from that, we completely played it by ear. We met in Covent Garden and decided to grab lunch on-the-go, and swung past the Jamaican Patty Company tucked down New Row. Being half Jamaican myself, I was pretty keen to give these a go and weigh them up against my mum's homemade ones! The shop is set out just like a Cornish Pasty shop you'd find in a train station and didn't really give off the friendly Caribbean vibe, but as we weren't staying in it was all about the food anyway. I had a curried goat patty and Claire went for jerk chicken, and they were pretty good, and perfect for eating whilst perched on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church overlooking Trafalgar Square.

On a total whim (like most of the day!), we headed into the David Bailey 'Stardust' exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which was on its last day of being open. I am always fascinated by portrait photography, regardless of whether it's a celebrity or not. Every person looks so honest and real, there's nothing to hide behind, it's just a snapshot of the here-and-now. Bailey has shot some of the most famous people in the world and there were photos there that I didn't even realise were his, including some iconic ones of The Beatles. There was also a whole room dedicated to the photos of his wife, who has been his most inspirational muse. The photos were intimate and so full of love and included the birth of their children - a side to his photography that is definitely less well known.

We eventually made to our original destination of Bubbleology on Rupert Street to try their bubbletea. The traditional Taiwanese drink is essentially iced tea (either juice or milk based) with small balls of tapioca in the bottom that shoot up through your straw and allow you to eat your drink. It's a pretty bizarre concept, even more so when you add 'boba', small balls of juice that explode in your mouth! I went for cocoa tea with strawberry boba; a pretty safe bet as I figured it would just taste like chocolate milk and I wouldn't risk not liking it! It was delicious and surprisingly filling, I couldn't actually finish my whole drink. I also tasted Claire's which was lychee and strawberry and it really was just like an iced tea, very refreshing for the hot day. 

Our day took us wandering deeper into Soho and we emerged by Beyond Retro for some vintage perusing and onwards to Carnaby Street where I introduced Claire to the joys of Monki. Needless to say she's a definite fan and picked up a good few items to take with her when she moves to Abu Dhabi (we don't mention this though as I'm not happy about her going!). It's then that we realised it was 5pm and that all the food shops would be closed by the time we got home, practically FORCING us to have dinner out and about. We grabbed a table at The Breakfast Club and settled down with proper mugs of tea and massive stacks of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon and a big side helping of gossip and catching up. 

I love those unplanned days; the ones where you discover new things and let the day take you on a different curse to the one you'd planned. It's only really possible when the sun is out though, but it really makes London seems shiny and new again, and reminds me why I love living here.

Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium

It was while I was sat in a beautiful Bondi Beach apartment in Sydney that I started to dread coming back to London, even with three weeks to go until my return. I started searching for things to do when I got back to dull the blow of coming back to reality, and in my quest I booked a table for me and the housemate at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, London's first cat cafe. I was one of many who donated to their original Kickstarter project, and to a digital fan fare, they finally opened earlier this year on Bethnal Green Road. I've been following them on social media for my daily cute overdose, but there isn't enough squealing for when you actually get in there.

You're invited in to a small room before entering the actual cafe so you can wash your hands, be reminded not to feed the kitties (they're lactose intolerant so a saucer of milk is a no-go!) and to let sleeping cats lie (that's the phrase, right?). Once you're in, you can sit at any of tables or sofas and you're encouraged to move around to see as many of the cats as possible. You get allocated a two hour slot which is perfect, especially considering that when we first arrived most of the cats were fast asleep and showed no signs of wanting to play.

Be under no illusions, the cats have full reign here. They can sit where they please, they'll sniff whatever looks interesting, and if you have a plastic bag they are likely to think it's the best thing since cat Christmas. There are boxes of toys, huge structures to climb on, hammocks suspended over staircases and cat beds in the windows luring in the tourists of east London. All tables are supplied with hand sanitiser so you can drop the less important task of eating for essential cat stroking if they happen to take an interest in you at any point.

The food is a secondary thought when you book a table, but as it turns out, it's pretty good. We had a ploughman's with a me-sized portion of cheese (any less is a tragic waste of dairy) and a massive slice of banoffee pie to share, before going back to embracing our inner crazy cat ladies. 

Living in London is great, but not having the space for a pet is sometimes really frustrating. But having the opportunity to go and pander over some moggies and eat cake at the same time is a sure-fire winning concept for those of us in need of some animal therapy. 

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Food: Scandinavian Kitchen

A day's shopping on Oxford Street is an experience many of us have had over the years, but where it reigns supreme in high street fashion names, it severely lacks in decent places to eat. Tourists are left to put up with McDonalds and Starbucks, completely unaware that hidden behind Oxford St is a maze of streets and roads that hold some amazing places to eat.

There are two places on Great Titchfield Street that I've discovered recently, and the first is Scandinavian Kitchen (I'll write about the other one soon). This cafe gets ridiculously busy at lunchtime, both for eat-in and takeaway orders, but also to find some new culinary delights at the Kitchen's own shop.

I tucked into a plate of meatballs with 3 different side salads: potato, mixed bean and 'pizza' (comprised mainly of cabbage).

We also couldn't resist sharing a slice of homemade apple cake which was beautiful!

Wandering around the shop, the packaging was all so eye-catching and colourful, I was tempted to buy a load of items despite not always knowing what things were!

Please somebody tell me what this is!!
I'm sure the staff get fed up of people taking pictures of the food with rude English meanings, but I couldn't help chuckling at these sweet treats:

So next time you're on Oxford St, veer north and try somewhere local, unique and yummy.

All photos property of Shopped and Dropped, do not re-use without permission.
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review