DIRTY BONES.

A few weeks ago my manager won the Instagram competition at Dirty Bones and chose me as the lucky person to join her for a free meal. I’m never one to turn down free food so I went along for a post fashion week celebratory dinner at High Street Kensington’s newest hot dog joint.

Louise had been banging on about the place after she visited, on my recommendation at the end of January so I was really excited by the time I actually got to go. Dirty Bones by day is just your average hot dog stand, serving up just the one dog in the middle of High Street Kensington; but once the clock strikes 6 it turns into so much more. Go through the secret door and down the ‘red light district’ esque stairs and you will find yourself at the hostess’ pinball machine. The hostess herself was a dream, all big hair and sultry voice as she directs you over to the bar for appropriately named cocktails whilst you wait. We weren’t waiting for anything because our table was ready but we enjoyed our cocktails on the comfy low sofas in the dimly lit bar area anyway.

After we took our seats and ordered more cocktails it really didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted. We went for two dogs; the Asian and the Mexican. Sounds like a dodgy porno I know but was actually a great combination. To accompany our dogs we went for fried chicken, garlic buns and the glazed and charred sweetcorn. The dogs were a lot harder than expected, I’m used to biting through a soft hot dog bun to find an equally soft sausage inside it (forgive me again for making this sound incredible filthy) but Dirty Bones hot dogs have a much firmer texture than any sausage I’ve ever tasted before. (Again, filth but there’s not really any way around it when describing sausages). The chicken was dreamy, apparently they cook it in boiling water before they deep fry it to ensure it’s soft and juicy texture. The garlic buns were essentially just posh garlic bread which was great with the sweetcorn smothered on top.

The meal was delicious and I was very impressed but it wasn’t until the dessert came out that I was really blown away. Your options are simply Milk & Cookies or Coffee & Donuts; Warm chewy cookie dough cookies with milk flavoured ice cream or warm sugared donuts with coffee flavoured ice cream. The Coffee & Doughnut was the winner for me and I’d go back for that alone.

It was far classier than I expected it to be with a name like Dirty Bones and I blame the location. There’s nothing dirty about it and in my eyes that’s a good thing. Well worth the trip out of the Central/east London area and definitely worth the money. Big up yourself Dirty Bones.

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THE FABLE.

Once upon a time in a far away land… (I’d like to write this entire post fairytale style but I’ll refrain)

I don’t usually go for drinks in the city but after attending the launch of The Fable in St Paul’s I may make it a thing. It’s taken me a while to post this because I’ve been busy but last week I attended the opening of Drake and Morgan’s latest fairytale themed venture. We were greeted with glasses of prosecco and fed an array of intricate little canapés throughout the evening. They’d put so much thought into every little detail and although I wouldn’t necessarily say they were the best canapés I’ve ever tasted they were definitely the prettiest. They had cocktail bars dotted around the ground floor as you came in where we were served drinks out of a metal teapot with dry ice, carrot and cucumber cocktails that tasted like a crack addicts version of a juice fast and glasses of prosecco with floating flowers. All very beautiful and imaginative and like something out of a fairytale.

I’d like to have got some better pictures of the food and I would really have liked to try it all but thanks to the kind of good looking, northern and if not a little arrogant kitchen manager directing all the waitresses away from the people hovering around the kitchen (standard) I didn’t really get the chance.

There were cheese and wine tastings, story tellers, a free bar and the music was good. It was an interesting crowd, not all city wankers, a few bloggers and just generally a load of people making the most of the free bar.

Those of you that read my post about The Anthologist a couple of weeks ago will probably recognise that that was also a Drake and Morgan bar. I gather they’re all fairly similar, not your average city bar, something a bit more special. The food served in the restaurant looked really good and I plan on going back to sample it properly some time soon. I’ve already started recommending The Fable to people for after work drinks and I’d definitely go back with friends. It seems like Drake & Morgan are a really great chain of bars and I look forward to sampling them all.

The end.

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KUA-AINA

I’ve walked past Kua-aina a bazillion times on my way to MAC and I’ve always wondered what it’s like. It looks rather endearing from the outside and considering you don’t often see Hawaiian restaurants I had always wondered what it’s all about. I recently heard it was pretty nice and when I was given the task of picking a reasonably priced restaurant with vegetarian options close to work it was the first thing that came to mind. For those of you that keep saying I need to clearly point out the location of each restaurant, this is just off Carnaby Street on a tiny little passageway called Fouberts Place. It’s like stepping into Hawaii (not that I’ve ever been to Hawaii but I’ve got a pretty great imagination so it’s fine) it’s all beach hut-esque and quaint. The menu is pretty simple; burgers, sandwiches, salads or pancakes with the addition of halloumi/pineapple/avocado/pickles etc if you want it. Which I did. Halloumi and pineapple that is, to my teriyaki chicken salad with sweet potato fries. There seems to be a real theme to what I’ve been eating lately doesn’t there? I’m not even remotely sick of any of it yet and my meal at Kua-aina only made me love it even more. The sweet potato fries were an absolute winner and everything I tastes (off everyone else’s places) was yummy. The place is fun, we got a cute little booth downstairs at the back and it was nice and cosy. My friends ordered a mixture of burgers and sandwiches and were all very impressed. It’s important to me that when I pick a restaurant that my guests are happy and that they certainly were. The staff were friendly and I felt like if the tube strikes weren’t about to mess up all of our journeys home we would have all stayed there snuggled up in our little inglenook (word of the day) eating coconut ice cream all evening long. I’m glad I finally got to check the place out and at about £10-£15 a head it’s a really nice after work dinner option with friends.

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MY WEEK IN FOOD.

So I’ve decided to add a new feature to this blog. Rather than just restaurant reviews I want to bore you all with My Week In Food. A fascinating insight into all the delicious things that grace my lips on a weekly basis. Please do tell me if you don’t give a shit but I feel like the odd recipe here and there never hurt anyone and who doesn’t want to see how many Creme Eggs I can consume in 48 hours?!

So I’ll start with Saturday’s romantic meal for two that I cooked for my favourite Scottish Ginger Jew Samantha. Those of you that follow me on Instagram (@lucydelane for those of you that don’t) will know about my obsession with Rosie Londoners Guilt Free Egg Fried Rice. Rosie is my favourite blogger, not only is she insanely beautiful and has the body of a goddess but she eats better than I do and she’s better in the kitchen than I ever could dream of being. Check out the recipe and try it yourself if you want to cut out carbs but stuff your face with the most delicious fake rice you’ve ever tasted. I served it with teriyaki marinated pan fried salmon fillets, long stem broccoli, edamame beans, baby corn, asparagus and baby courgettes. I also served my own personal favourite ‘fake crispy seaweed’ which is just curly kale oven roasted with salt, a little bit of sesame oil and soy until it resembles something oriental and delicious. Try it, trust me.

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Over the entire weekend I consumed FIVE Creme Eggs. That’s over 900 calories worth of goody yumminess and I’m not even sorry.

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When I wake up on a Sunday and I’m immensely hungover the first thing that usually crosses my mind is what I’m going to eat. The second thing that crosses my mind is how possible is it for me to drag myself out of bed and make the 10 minute journey to Chuck burger bar in Hatch End. Luckily this Sunday I made it. Popeye’s artichoke dip, Firebomb chilli, Buffalo chicken wings and sweet potato fries. Every time. Oh and the Sober Sunday mocktail that somehow makes everything better.

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Sunday nights post Chuck dinner actually happened to be pretty healthy. I baked a portobello mushroom with olive oil, rock salt, crème fresh and grated courgette. This goes into the oven for about 15 minutes and is served on a bed of rocket with some balsamic drizzle. A dollop of cheese on top would go a treat but with the amount of chocolate I consumed over the weekend it wasn’t entirely necessary.

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I find it totally impossible to enter Marks & Spencer’s without buying into some kind of new line or product. This time was no different. The pitta chips from Costco are the dreamiest thing ever and now M&S have basically cloned then and made my life complete. Dipped into my favourite beetroot and mint dip there isn’t really a more enjoyable snack to nibble on. I had it for a pre breakfast treat – as you do, but I highly recommend it with a glass of wine after a long day at work. Boom.

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The lovely people at Cuckoo did a nice big drop off of Bircher muesli pots so we have been feasting on these for breakfast this week. They’re available to buy at Selfridges and are WELL NICE!

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Mondays nights dinner was another sticky teriyaki salmon fillet with bean sprouts and samphire. I use the Wagamama teriyaki sauce and it’s a dream. Highly recommended for the lazy types like me.

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Tuesday nights meal gets it’s own separate blog post so hold tight, it’s coming…

BIBIGO.

Bibigo is a cute little healthy Korean restaurant in soho. I had the pleasure of dining there for a lunch meeting last week. I’d heard great things about it from the person we were meeting with and rightly so because it was brilliant. They have a £9 lunch menu that would satisfy any hungry persons needs and the options were delicious. We basically got it all and shared – my all time favourite thing to do as I’m sure you’ve all realised. You start with the Bibigo salad which is crunchy, sweet and peanuty – all the things I look for in a salad. Then we shared the red chicken, calamari and courgette pancake. The red chicken had the consistency of crispy chilli beef but was far better than anything I’ve ever had in a Chinese takeaway. The calamari was amazing, considering I don’t like squid I was very impressed with how not chewy it was and how moorish it seems to be. The courgette pancake was beyond delicious and I’d order all three again in a heartbeat. For mains we shared the Flat Bulgogi which is chargrilled marinated beef with rocket and mushroom salad, the Grilled Baby Chicken and the Bibimbap which is rice topped with vegetables and beef. It was all sensational. I highly recommend ordering it all and sharing because it’s all worth tasting. For £9 each it is an absolute bargain and i seriously cannot fault the place. They even gave us a pack of seaweed thins each to takeaway as it was Chinese New Year so I left a very happy bunny, as you can imagine.

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FOAM CLAW DONT CARE.

Bobs & co have just opened their pop up in The Rising Sun pub at St Paul’s. With a tag line of ‘the van is coming’ and free foam claws for anyone confident enough to grab them this place is a winner if you’re looking for the best lobster rolls in London. I’d heard about Bob from a number of trusted sources and I’d been itching to get over to the city as soon as I realised I could have my own foam claw photo shoot in a dimly lit room full of strangers. It wasn’t actually full of strangers though because we got there at 6pm. It was relatively easy to find with the help of google maps and my wonderful friend hannah and we didn’t have to queue which was a plus. The decor is so endearing, we were sucked in by the red check table cloth, garage like features and friendly staff. It really added to our experience that ‘Bob’ was sat at the bar with his back to us and that our waitress had the enthusiasm of a bunny on crack. In a good way. She was keen like I would be if I worked in a restaurant and I loved it. We ordered Shrimp & Gritz and Lobster Bisque to share and a Lobster Roll each. It was all fucking sensational. The fries and homemade mayo were divine and every single bite was delicious. I didn’t even complain when the wine came in a regular glass and not a wine glass and for me that’s a big deal. It was £30 a head with one drink which I guess for lobster is pretty reasonable. I was kind of expecting to be eating street food in a van on the side of the road and it wasn’t like that at all so I was very impressed. Get your asses down there soon because it’s only a pop up and it’s good, and you get foam claws so you’d be dumb to miss out!

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After Bobs we headed down to The Anthologist for some of the most delicious cocktails I’ve ever tasted.

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I ordered a goldfish bag cocktail and got a sandwich bag full of alcohol and a fish shaped piece of grapefruit skin. It was strange but delicious and I was very impressed. I’m also slightly tipsy whilst writing this. Good times.

MONKEY NUTS.

Some of you may remember my first ever blog post where I went on and on about Chooks in Muswell Hill. That place is still up there on my list of favourites and without a doubt the best buttermilk fried chicken I’ve ever had. The people who own Chooks also have a place called Monkey Nuts in Crouch End and even though it had been on my list for ages (I’d been lots as a child but not since I knew anything about food) I just so happened to stumble across it one day when looking for something to eat in a pre January bid to eat everything in sight before my diet starts. Yeah, I know, I’ve not been that good this January but you’ve got to give me some credit, I tried.

Monkey Nuts it’s basically the place you take your entire family if you have children and you probably complain about service and leave hating it but I think going in twos, ordering carefully and not having high expectations is the way to go about it. It doesn’t even compare to Chooks but I really enjoyed my meal and it did exactly what I wanted to on that random afternoon binge. Not a monkey nut in sight though… Slightly disappointing.

We got the starter platter to share which was booooom. The wings were slightly dry but moorish, the halloumi skewers were delicious and the onion rings where on point. They were just like the onions rings at Chooks which are my second favourite onion rings ever (first place goes to The Delisserie). We shared the veggie quesadilla and the chicken salad for our mains, both in some kind of lunch time deal that made our meal ridiculously cheap and worthwhile. Service was ok, not amazing but not terrible and the food was good for what it was. I’ll take my children there when I have them, unless of course they turn into miniature food snobs and request the finer things in life, in which case I’m fucked.

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MILK BOTTLES, STEAK & BLUE CHEESE DIP.

Just before Christmas I spent a week pretty much eating out every night. Somehow, in the middle of all the shopping, getting drunk and being hungover I got so carried with it all that I never actually managed to write up the reviews. Obviously now it’s been a good month since the food entered my system so I can’t promise a completely detailed description of each meal but I can briefly touch on what was good and what was bad and anything I miss out will be made up for in pictures. Because obviously I did not forget about taking those.

Firstly, as a birthday celebration for one of my favourite people I went for dinner at The Riding House Cafe. I’d been before for drinks but had never eaten a meal there so I was excited. I’ve been meaning to go for Sunday Brunch because I’ve heard nothing but good things about their milkshakes served in milk bottles and their (pretty much) all day breakfast. It just never spend Sundays in Central London so it hasn’t happened yet. We were seated in the main restaurant, which in comparison to the bar area was pretty lifeless and disappointing. It kind of felt unnecessarily posh and pretentious which doesn’t really bode well in my books. The food was good. Not exactly mind blowing but tasty and we all really enjoyed our mains. We ordered the Chorizo Hash Brown which is actually in Time Out magazine’s ‘Posh Nosh for Less Dosh’ article this week. At £11 it’s a steal and a great option if you’re worried about about money. In hindsight I kind of wish I’d gone for the beef Wellington or lobster lasagne and skipped the starters because I wasn’t overly impressed with our sweet potato fritters or slow roasted pork belly. The dessert (actually not pictured) and the Frangellico Toblerone milkshake was divine though and ended the meal on a high. I’ll be going back to sample brunch some time soon so I’ll keep you posted but it’s not currently that high up on my list if recommendations. The list is pretty long though so what do you expect?

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Secondly, due to winning a work incentive where my manager and I Received some Selfridges vouchers for having the best decorated desks in the office (I turned my computer screen into a Christmas Pudding!) we were able to go to Hix for a celebratory dinner one evening. I’d been to the Soho restaurant before and was more than happy to go back to feast on steak and chips. The meal was divine. We were seated directly above Balenciaga so I got to sit and stare at all the beautiful bags which really aided my meal. Everything we ate was delicious. For starters we had Caribbean crisps with guacamole and little smoked salmon and chive tarts, both yummy and served beautifully. For main we obviously went for the sirloin steak with bernaise sauce, chips and a side of broccoli. It was absolutely banging and I’m salivating thinking about it now. Dessert was also a dream, honeycomb ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and a portion of truffles. Simple but very effective and ever so delicious.

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The third and final place I ate at on my pre Christmas restaurant binge was VQ Bloomsbury, a 24 hour restaurant with a bar license that means you can drink in there (as long as you’re eating too) till the early hours of the morning and then technically all through the day too. The menu is sensational. There is so much choice and so many amazing options you’ll be in there a while just deciding what to have. There’s a real variety and ‘something for everyone’ including 24 hour breakfast, chilli con carne, spaghetti & meatballs and fish ‘n’ chips. I was there on more of a drinking session than eating so I don’t think I experienced it to it’s full potential. We ordered a selection of snacky things for the table and all picked. The truffle potato crips with blue cheese dip and the sweet potato fries were the winners for me. Absolutely spot on drinking snacks and I recommend them both to help the wine go down. Near enough everything was delicious, the atmosphere was buzzing the staff were exceptional but the only thing I have a bad word to say about was the bang bang chicken salad. It’s not often I come across something I really don’t like but there was one ingredient in this dish that seriously upset me and I actually couldn’t eat it. Other than that everything was great and I cannot wait to get down there at 6am for Eggs Benedict and a cocktail!

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