I sometimes wonder, if O and I didn’t have near identical tastes in food, would we still be together? Much of our time seems to revolve around where the next meal is coming from. Dim Sum is an absolute food stable for us – buy it frozen from the Chinese Supermarket, and you’r 15 minutes and some soy sauce away from simple, satisfying comfort food.
A New Year is relentless accompanied by swathes of commentary on work-life balance, ‘burn-out’ and the seek for ever lasting joy and happiness. And there’s so much goodness behind the sentiment.
But, in my experience, those ‘new year’ mantras cause more harm than good when they’re exhaustingly projected on to somebody else.
For O’s birthday this year (which was *ahem* over a month ago…), we went for a full day of site seeing, quality time spending, trying not to argue, day out. It started with his small extra presents (a book, and every type of percy pig ever made) and then we skipped down to The Tower of London. (I picked up our tickets from Attraction Tix, which seems to be the cheapest place around).
Last week I headed down to Evoluzione at Hotel Xenia with the Zomato crew, for a tasting menu prepared by Michelin Star awarded Italian chef Andrea Angeletti and his team. I’ve been using the Zomato app for some time, and uploading reviews as I go on my merry way through every burger in town. I find it really useful – particularly if I’m in a new part of town and looking for somewhere more exciting than Starbucks. (Otherwise known as the ‘free power and wifi cafe’).
The setting was really beautiful – definitely a great venue for a date or a quiet family get together. It’s not remotely stuffy, and all of the staff were brilliant – quiet a task when you’re entire restaurant has been filled with wanna-be food critics! The vanity tables were set up to give us all a chance to watch how the food was prepared – I’ve never done any ‘chef’s table’ kind of affairs, but it was a really lovely experience. Definitely the kind of thing worth doing with someone who’s got a real passion and understanding of cuisine.
On Saturday, O and I trotted up to Alexandra Palace for an evening of fireworks. Aside from being late, and filled with ‘islington mummies’ (the incredibly entitled and annoying kind with children named Florence and Roland), they were really lovely. Although I can’t really bring myself to believe that it’s actually November. Not to sound like my mother, but where has the year gone?!
I won’t tell you again quite how important tea is. But it’s transformative powers to take one from Miranda Priestly wannabe to supportive colleague in three simple cups (at least three. Yesterday I had six. Before 10am) is magical. Now we often have office wide debates on builders-versus-Yorkshire tea (Yorkshire. Always.) and on where to get the best peppermint to see you through that carb induced lull that follows a chicken katsu lunch day.
Over the August Bank Holiday, O and I headed down to Hampton Court Palace for a date-day. (We don’t do “date nights” that often, as I’m a granny and like to be home by 9). We actually decided to go this particular weekend because the BBC Good Food Show was on. Having now been to two of these, I think they’re grossly over priced and incredibly under-whelming. Go to Borough Market for free, any day.
One rainy Sunday (I forget which one – there has been so many of late), O and I ventured down to Richmond Park in search of an adventure. Adventure, of course, being common parlance for “if we don’t get out of the house in the next hour, boredom is sure to erupt into a blazing row”.
In my idiocy, I decided to leave my big girl camera at home and just ‘enjoy the moment’. Which, of course meant that we were bound to stumble across a heard of incredibly peaceful red deer, and I had to use my crummy iPhone zoom to try and capture the simple magnificence of the stags. Ideal.
For mama’s birthday she came down to London for a weekend of adventuring. We started the day we a coffee and a good old fashioned grump about mama’s noisy hotel. We then jumped on a tube and a bus and made our way to Hampstead Heath and the beauty that is Kenwood House. Managed by English Heritage the house and grounds are free to explore – with a host of summer activities for little ones, garden strolls for active ones, a stunning library for cultured ones and a great cafe for everyone (By the way, let’s check my friend’s reviews on folding picnic table bench for outdoor party).
I’ve been to Honky Tonk (the Clapham branch) a couple of times now, so I figured I should probably share my thoughts with you, little lamb. Now I’ve only been for brunch, and we all know my thoughts about venturing out into the drunken Friday night hoards (= don’t).
So, I think I’m fairly confident to say it’s convenient, the decor is nice, the brunch is nice and it’s a good spot if you’re heading north for weekend adventures and need some serious sustenance to fuel yourself.
I happen to work in a very nice office, with very nice people, and exceptionally terrible music. That exceptionally terrible music often has me seeking solace in one of the local cafes. A short stroll up Holloway Road leads me to EZ & Moss. Filled with incredible smells, the freshest of fresh orange juice and enough peppermint tea to soothe the most troubled of souls. Didn’t take long for it to be a firm fixture in my working routine.
Flesh and Buns is having something of a moment. A hybrid of sushi and dim-sum, this Soho basement sets itself up as the perfect place to share and gossip with friends. Lets just say it: this place thinks its better than it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good. But it sure isn’t great. And, as I see more and more people raving about the offering, I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder why. The staff are friendly, the food is pleasant, but the prices are outrageous.