Monday, 29 September 2014

London night out

Since finishing uni, all I have felt like doing on a Friday night is curling up in bed with the boyfriend with lots of snacks, and getting a looong nights sleep. Until it hit me that I have become officially old, and I am wasting away the best nights of my life making memories that I won't remember (where I can still go out clubbing all night for free and only be mildly hungover the next day). 

So last Friday, we rectified the situation. 

Starting off at regular haunt Mahiki, we tiki-ed down and sipped from pineapples & coconuts, dancing to cheesy music.


Then off to the Box, which is my favourite club in London. Wonderfully wacky, you can literally see ANYTHING at this place, from tap dancing monkeys to people being lifted up by their hair... to slightly more 'interesting' shows involving a hell-lotta nudity and overall extreme weirdness. The only word to adequately describe it is surreal

It's stricly no photographs, but we sneaked a few... 

Without wanting to give too much away, this night we saw a ping pong show (not the sort involving a table) and a utterly bizarre dance off between a 7 foot transvestite and a topless male wearing 9 inch high heeled boots. They both could dance a million times better than I can ever hope to, how depressing </3

It's a beautiful club set in an old theatre, with elegant, classy people dancing crazily like nobody's watching. Definitely worth a check out if you are in London - totally mad! 

Then, true to party-all-night mode, we went to new club After Past Midnight, which unsurprisingly opens after midnight (2am) and is located in Paramount, overlooking all of London.

The views are beautiful, and as it is open all night you can watch the sun rise! (except we gave up, and went home in search of mcdonalds like the classy people we are before the sunrise). 

A completely mad night, to make up for the past three months of hardly any alcohol or partying! 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Chelsea Saturdays

One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is hang out in Chelsea. As well as my best friend Lisa living there, it is less busy than the rest of London during the weekend, with a distinct lack of tourists among the well dressed Chelsea-ites.

The Saatchi Gallery is particularly good - with often changing exhibitions, free entry and none of the usual queues buzzing around museums, this is a local gem.

They have a pretty surreal giant ant exhibition on at the moment..

And an amazing Media exhibition, by The Times - I couldn't believe that the below two are photographs taken by Times photographers in Libya/Afghanistan, the colours are breathtaking.

As well as other random arty bits..
Puts my doodling to shame!

A room filled with oil. Has been residing in the basement for a looong time now, but still serene and beautiful, worthy of a visit every time.

Being cultural is hungry work. Helpfully, just outside in Duke of York Square was the weekly Farmers Market. I LOVE this market - it's unique, not overly-busy or expensive, and all of the food is brilliant.

[Get the duck sandwich - you won't be disappointed]

We had a healthy-yet-delicious falafel wrap, and some amazing hand rolls from the sushi stall. (vaguely healthy, to make up for the ridiculously good, greasy Ranoush kebab that we had at 3am)

but all of the food is SO tempting - let the onslaught of food porn pictures begin!

^ This stall, Galeta has the BEST dessertss. Definitely try and grab a giant, £2 brownie before they are all gone.

For a relatively small market, the massive range of food on offer is very impressive. Everything from fresh root cane sugar juice, to the famous duck sandwiches, to oysters/lobster, to foreign fruit imported from Thailand (above), to the vast array of desserts (crepes, cakes, mini cakes, brownies, stuffed pancakes to name but a few).

(A truffle stall - major weakness!)

Some are true farmers (as above) who having home grown their produce, come to sell it to the stylish masses, some are families who can just cook really well.

A great place to go on the weekend to get away from the hustle and bustle of central London, with all the perks of great food and none of the cons!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Afternoon Tea at Cafe Royal

'I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.' - Oscar Wilde

I think that Oscar Wilde would have been satisfied with Hotel Cafe Royal's homage to him - the Oscar Wilde bar is by the far the most beautiful place I have ever had the pleasure to eat in.

The gold plated walls bounce off each other's reflections in the mirrors, and the pianist is exceptional. It really is a lovely environment to walk into, led by the lovely staff to our table.

Stopped off to say hi to quite a few beautiful models in there already enjoying some champagne...

 I found my table with Daren & Laura we got started on the incredible menu.

We sat down with our champagne & selected our tea - there was a massive range, from their own special brews to coconut tea. Being a chocaholic, I went for the chocolate tea, which was one of the best teas I've ever had.

Then the food came out in a beautifully ordered manner. First up the Low Sidecar Muffins - basil & truffle cream on a freshly baked mini muffin. As a truffle fanatic, this was the perfect start to what was a brilliant afternoon tea.

Next step was the huge array of a 'selection of tea sandwiches'. I say sandwiches, but really what came out was everything from mini salami-burgers, to mini savoury scones topped with gold leaf, to a crab roll, to the well loved cucumber/salmon sandwiches (with caviar and quails egg, naturally).

Every single thing was mouth-wateringly good.  My favourite was the 'wellington', which I actually think is just a really excellent sasuage roll. By the end of this course we were beginning to get very full, so out popped a palette cleanser to give us a moments rest from all this eating.

Looks like a shot, tastes like a delicious raspberry flavoured juice. Just when you think it's slowing down, out comes all of the cake (which is the most important part of any afternoon tea).

A very inventive twist on the traditional twee pastries, Cafe Royal has come up with an array of imaginative desserts which are not only very instagram-worthy, but also all taste incredible. I had to check them all, for research purposes. I believe that (according to my champagne-addled memory), above we have the mini flower pots of meringue, 'grass' and rhubarb compote, orange & chocolate tarts, a berry tangtastic little pastry, a CHOCOLATE GANACHE (very excited about that), cheesecake and a couple of absinthe macaroons.

The latter macaroons are really different than anything I've had previously, and are probably to pay homage to the hotel's Green Bar, which is a room completely dedicated to absinthe complete with an absinthe fountain. As all good hotels should have.

(Do you see that little smiley face in the meringue? That is what I looked like whilst munching away on this, it is one of the most imaginative desserts I have seen)

My chocolatey favourite... the ganache was incredible. 

Having tirelessly fought our way through those desserts, we got started on the other most important part of a truly British afternoon tea. The scones.

A basket of freshly baked, warm scones were brought out with accompanying home-made jam and cream. And naturally, a little golden tube of lemon-y icing. These went down very well at the table, and were definitely some of the best I have tried.

A lovely afternoon whittled away listening to beautiful live piano playing, eating and drinking our way through an utterly amazing afternoon tea and chatting away in the lavish surroundings. Everything was perfect, a traditional British afternoon tea with some very imaginatively delicious twists, 100% recommended.

'Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more' - Oscar Wilde