CABANA BRASIL’S #BasicBrunch

Bottomless Brunch, Brazilian, Brunch

Most bottomless brunches in London come with commitment. Commitment to a 3 course meal, commitment to one type of drink, commitment that I just don’t have time for. I like freedom. Freedom to eat, drink and do whatever I like (within reason). Cabana’s #BasicBrunch is about the freedom and they don’t tie you down to anything other than a two hour limit and a little note to keep it friendly, of course. Go crazy on pineapple, mango or passion fruit Bellini’s, soften the blow of your hangover with their signature Bloody Maria’s and flit between the two if that’s what floats your boat.

You have to finish one drink before ordering the next one, so unlike some brunches you will have to encounter an empty glass, but the staff are attentive and for £14.95 a head (probably the cheapest bottomless deal yet) you really can’t complain. Plus, you don’t technically even have to order food to make use of the bottomless deal, although I’d recommend you do.

We ordered a few dishes and shared, as #BasicBitches that brunch usually do. The menu is short but sweet and gives your hungover fuzzy indecisive brain a break. 

What would a #BasicBrunch be without Avocado Toast? Like all the greatest, Cabana serve their avo on toasted sourdough and it’s topped with fresh chilli, lime and a perfectly runny poached egg. Winning. 

Our favourite dish of the meal was the Sweet Potato Hash with a Poached Egg, Crumbled Feta and Chopped Parsley, something I’m definitely going to try and recreate at home and would order again and again if I had the chance. The gooey, oozy yolk, mixed with the salty feta and the sweetness from the sweet potato hash was just basic perfection. 

Cabana’s Spicy Malagueta Chicken Wings are their specialty, I’ve had my fair share of them in the past but couldn’t resist ordering a portion at brunch because frankly it’s never too early for chicken wings. They went down a treat, my only complaint was that there weren’t enough – five split between three meant that someone drew the short straw and that someone ended up being me. I did however get to devour three quarters of the Picanha Burger which kind of made up for it. The burger itself isn’t particularly juicy, fat didn’t drip down my chin like I’ve become accustomed to but the Malagueta Mayo Chimichurri and Rio Beans more than make up for this in terms of moisture. The beef patty, mayo and beans are sandwiched between a Brioche Bun (totes basic), topped with tomato and matchsticks (not quite sure what these are) and served with Fries and a fruity Slaw. What better way to soak up all the alcohol?

We ended the meal with a Pastel De Nata; a baked custard tart for those of you that aren’t familiar – not something I’d usually order but delightful nonetheless. The Peanut Butter and Oreo Sundae made with frozen yoghurt was more my kind of thing and I demolished the lot.

Cabana’s #BasicBrunch runs every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm at Islington or Brixton. I recommend Brixton, then you can take a little trip to Brixton Beach Boulevard after to make the most of your Bellini buzz!

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THE ARTISAN BISTRO

Lobster, London, London Restaurants, Mediterranean, Seafood

I rarely venture out to West London but when I do I enjoy a taste of the high life. I enjoy roaming around the streets pretending the prettiest houses are mine and I imagine what life would be like living in complete and utter luxury. It’s enjoyable but heart-breaking so I don’t do it too often. Last night was an exception, The Artisan Bistro on Hollywood Road showcases an innovative take on Mediterranean cuisine, serving small plates, traditional favourites and one of the best seafood dishes I’ve ever tasted.

We started the meal how every good meal starts. Warm bread with balsamic and olive oil and a cocktail. The cocktail was Amaretto based and sour and went down a treat. The bread did a wonderful job at satisfying the hunger until our starters arrived.

Starters came in the form of Sautéed Padron Peppers with Orange & Sherry Drizzle and Crispy Aubergine with Soy Caramel, both items I find hard to resist on any menu. Having tried enough aubergine dishes in my life time to rival a hard-core vegetarian I can be trusted when I say this was one of the good ones. Crispy, hot breadcrumbs encompass even hotter, soft, juicy aubergine flesh and the whole thing is drizzled in a sticky, caramely, salty soy dressing. Padron Peppers are always something of a risk but I’m lucky to only have every had one bad experience with a hot one. These came with no nasty surprises, were cooked to perfection and the orange and sherry drizzle gave them a nice citrusy kick!

To keep us going until our mains arrived we were served Truffle Fries with Parmesan and a Kale Salad with Parmesan and Pomegranate – chips and kale couldn’t be more of a contradiction but that’s how I live my life and I don’t care. The kale makes up for the chips anyway right? It’s a superfood! Anything covered in truffle oil and parmesan goes down as a winner in my book and the kale salad didn’t disappoint.

For my main course I went for the Lobster Linguine. Of course, when in Rome. Scottish Lobster, Black Linguine, Mussels, Prosecco and Truffle Butter come together to from one of the most divine seafood dishes I’ve ever come across and I could not praise it any higher.  

My date had the Spinach Risotto with Green Peas and Grana Padano, which she enjoyed thoroughly. Maybe taking a seafood fearing friend to a restaurant that’s menu is 90% seafood wasn’t the greatest idea but she was extremely satisfied with her meal and had no complaints to make.

Surprisingly, after all this food we still had space for dessert. It’s a different hole right? We went for the Chocolate Tart with Bailey’s Cream and Rhubarb Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm is all I have to say.


The interior features modern art from local artists, the wine selection is from small artisanal and iconic producers and the (beautiful) outside space is DOG FRIENDLY. I know right. We spent the meal surrounded by three of the cutest dogs I’ve ever met. Rory Tucker, Pogo Stick & Freddie – two Pomeranians and a Maltese, I was in my element.

The Artisan is everything you expect of a restaurant in Chelsea; classy, gourmet and incredible for people watching. Such a hidden gem and well worth the trip.

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B.Y.O.C. Ft James Cochran

Bar, Cocktails

B.Y.O.C. is a fantastic concept. Bring Your Own Cocktail for those of you who can’t work it out on your own – essentially you just show up, hand over a bottle of your chosen spirit and spend the evening sipping cocktails made specially for you by the in-house mixologists, all for just £25 per person. Brighton, Covent Garden, Camden and now Soho, this is a night out not to be forgotten (unless you go a little too hard on the liquor). As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the Soho branch has gone one step further and thrown in a sensational ground floor restaurant to enhance the experience beyond your wildest dreams. James Cochran (AKA God as we were calling him last night) has devised a menu so perfect, that you’d be wise to visit just for the food, even if cocktails don’t float your boat. That being said, cocktails don’t hugely float by boat either, but at the launch event last night I was well and truly turned and can assure you I’ll be back with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in tow to experience the whole thing again, and again (and maybe again).

We started upstairs, sampling oysters and sipping champagne – as you do. It’s dark, its romantic and its cosy. It’s exactly the sort of place you’d take a date if you were out to impress and get intimate over cocktails. The venue has the whole prohibition / speakeasy vibe going on and is one of those places that makes you appreciate London in all its glory.  

After a couple of drinks we headed down to the restaurant for dinner, the part of the evening I was most looking forward to – obviously. The restaurant itself totally contrasts the upstairs bar. it’s light and airy and quite laid back, I suppose you could say it lets the food do the talking. And boy does the food talk. We got to choose three small plates from the savoury list and one dessert each. Every single dish sounded beyond incredible but I managed to narrow it down to what I believe were the top three.

 

Crispy Cauliflower, Ras El Haneout, Onion Raita, Mint & Shallots – this dish was heavenly. I’m a cauliflower fanatic and I’ll always order it when it’s on the menu but this was beyond anything I’ve ever had before and most certainly not just for the vegetarians amongst us.

  

Braised Short Rib Of Ruby beef, Jerusalem Artichokes, Girolle Marmalade & Smoked Lardo – there are no words. Soft, melt in your mouth, meat that falls apart as you cut it. The flavours in this dish were so enjoyable I actually wanted to cry when it was over.


Crisp Pork Belly, Yoghurt, Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Pine Nuts – I never order pork belly because the fatty bit always grosses me out but something came over me and I couldn’t resist. I also kind of enjoyed the soft fatty bit below the oh so crispy layer of goodness. Weird. The broccoli was tremendous, as was everything else on the plate and although it was my third (not least) favourite, it was still an exquisite dish.

I didn’t order this but I did get to try a forkful of the Cornish Wray Wing, Jersey Royals, Hazelnut, Cured Pork Collar & Samphire – which was of course sublime.


Chocolate Malt Parfait, Honeycomb & Peanuts – just the little bit of sweet we needed after our feast. Divine, chocolatey, crunchy, cold and creamy.

Paxton and Whitfield Cheese – because how else are you supposed to end an evening of fine dining? Absolutely sensational selection of cheeses with crumbly crackers and a fiery chilli chutney. The blue cheese was sickeningly good.

After dinner we headed back upstairs for an evening of cocktails, made bespoke for us by our own personal bartenders, Marvin and Lloyd. They couldn’t have been more attentive, charming or dapper and made the entire experience for us. The creamy peanut butter gin based concoction made by Marvin was without a doubt the best cocktail that’s ever graced my lips. There were espresso martinis, champagne based elderflower delights and god knows what else flying about and it was all amazing. Such a fun evening, so many delicious things and just and overall amazing experience. Highly, highly recommended for after work drinks, birthday nights out, hen do’s, leaving drinks, dates and basically whatever gives you the excuse to get your ass down there for some alcohol fuelled fun.

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MOLÉ TACO BAR. 

Mexican, tacos

So apparently 2016 is the year of the taco. They’re everywhere. And they’re bloody good.
Mole Taco Bar serve up some of London’s best tacos and this week I finally got to stuff myself silly on them. I’ve sampled Mole’s dishes at Taste Of London for the last two years running and after eating lunch in the restaurant this week I can safely say they’re doing it oh so very well. The menu is simple; Small plates, ceviche, Peruvian skewers, tacos, mains, sides and dessert. We went in.

We started with tortilla chips, as everyone should do when dining Mexicana. Avocado, Lime, Sea Salt and Pomegranate are mixed together to make the perfect guacamole and I slathered it on pretty much everything that we were served.


After the tortilla chips we enjoyed the Cheese Empanada served with Ahogada sauce as a little pre taco starter. We probably didn’t need it because of the taco onslaught we were about to experience but it was good.


The tacos come in twos (a bit like the animals on their way to the arc) which is great if you’re sharing. One of each is more than enough and I recommend trying as many as possible because they are simply DIVINE. We tried four, and I’d struggle to put them in order of amazingness because they were all so bloody amazing. We started with Chipotle beef shortrib with sweet potato hay, radish and jalapeno. Sweet potato hay needs to be more of a thing, it is amazing. The meat was juicy to the point that it was dripping off my hand onto my lap – which is always a good sign. 

Then we feasted on Cochinita Pibil – pulled pork, micro corriander, pickled onion and avocado. Such a classic taco combo and one that works every single time. This was a particularly yummy version though and the pork was better than most. 


After sampling Tacombi’s fish taco in New York and loving it, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Mole’s a go. The Baja fish taco – pollock fillet tempura, chipotle mayo and jalapeno slaw was visually sensational, crispy, fresh and delicious. 


The winner though, was without a doubt the Hoisin duck taco with black habanero and spring onion. It’s confusing as hell because if you close your eyes you’d feel like you were in a (really, really good) Chinese restaurant but it has a Mexican twist. It was next level.


Nothing compared to dessert though. The Dulce De Leche Creme Crûlée blew me away. I wanted to lick the dish clean – there just aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to describe how insane this dessert was. You absolutely must try it yourself…

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TASTE OF LONDON 16.

Festival, Food Festival, London, Pop Up

It’s that time of year again, last week Taste of London popped up in Regents Park and London’s foodie scene flocked to enjoy some of the cities best dishes. I was of course there with bells on (twice) and have nothing but praise for the event that kills it every single time. Please remember that the following food was consumed over two sittings and was shared. I’m not that much of a pig I promise. 

Let’s start by discussing Heddon Street Kitchen’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Braised Beef Cheeks, Pickled Onion & Croutons. It was heavenly, crispy, cheesy, beefy goodness. It killed it. Obviously. I mean look at it…

The Tamarind Spiced Chicken Wings with Onion & Coriander were sticky and crispy and juicy and delicious. HSK also had an ice cream bar with pic ‘n’ mix toppings which looked extremely enjoyable. Well done Mr Ramsay. 

This was quite possibly the winning dish. Smoked 48 Hour Cooked USDA Prime Short Rib with Buttermilk Purée & Textures of Onion. It was visually spectacular, melted in your mouth and tasted sensational. M Restaurants you really know what you’re doing. 

Sartoria smashed it with their Fettuccine with Grana Padano, broad beans, peas and black truffle. I mean honestly look at those truffle shavings, are they joking?!

One of my favourite experiences was at Chai Wu. They fed us very well and 2/3 were in my top 5 dishes of the week. Big up the Popcorn shrimp with spicy wasabi mayo and the Wagyu puff – both SUBLIME. The Roast duck mantou bun with garlic truffle oil was also rather dreamy. Watered down with an ice cold cup of Twisted Halo’s boozy sparkling coconut water. 

Duck & Waffle‘s stand was heaving the entire time and you couldn’t get your hands on their dishes without getting in line. I obviously got in line, Dan Doherty is a genius and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve visited the restaurant, they always do something fun at Taste. I was extremely impressed with the Sloppy Joe; a Beef ragout with smoked chilli in a brioche bun, spring onion, roasted peanuts, crispy shallots & pickles. I mean you can’t go wrong with a sloppy Joe but this was next level delicious.

I wasn’t  hugely sold on were the Crispy Polenta & Parmesan Croquettes with black truffle, they were a little stodgy for my liking and didn’t compare to the other dishes. 

Adding my own toppings to the Golden grahams soft serve was a definite highlight. I went in on the Salted caramel sauce, roasted hazelnuts, crunchy marshmallows and flakes. I was over the moon to be trusted with my own toppings and I definitely made the most of being able to do so.

I was glad to see the traditional Duck & Waffle finally on the menu, as it seemed to be missing in previous years, I just didn’t want to waste valuable stomach space for something I’d already tried. it’s a winner though.

Theo Randall is one of my celeb chef crushes and the fact that he spends every year at Taste feeding the crowds with chunks of parmesan just makes the crush grow stronger. His food is pretty spectacular too. Pasta gaols in the form of his Cappelletti di vitello – Handmade pasta stuffed with slow cooked veal and pancetta with porcini mushroom and dessert goals with the Sorbetto alla pesca – Fresh Sicilian peach sorbet with baked white peaches, vanilla and Moscato. A must have every year. (Ignore previous comment about not having the same thing twice)

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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction may be a mouthful but the Trufón AKA The Big Truffle is well worth it. Idiot over here was too excited to get a before shot and can’t get the video into the blog post but TRUST me this was goooooood.

Tastings are a BIG thing at Taste (duh) and we were lucky enough to experience a Grana Padano and Prosecco pairing with Masterchef finalist Danilo Cortellini. Hosted by Grana Padano in association with Prosecco D.O.C. this was 20 minutes of pure Italian foodie bliss and highly recommended to anyone with a taste for the finer things in life. Danilo whipped us all up a portion of rainbow tortellini (eat your heart out rainbow bagels) filled with a creamy mix of Grana Padano and Béchamel sauce, floating in a tomato based broth with fresh prawns. It was DIVINE. 

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Sea Containers had a winner with their Crab toast, citrus aioli, avocado & pickled jalapeños – all the freshest, yummiest things slathered on a crispy carb, you just cannot go wrong. 

I must give a special shout out and say a huge thank you to the guys at Hippeas for inviting us down as their guests last week. For those of you that don’t know, Hippeas are changing the snack game (one chickpea at a time apparently) and if you’ve not tried them then you’re majorly missing out. Organic chickpea puffs may not sound that sexy but trust me these are a game changer and the guys running the show know how to throw a party. All the middle class white girls rejoice – they’re gluten free, vegan and contain less than 100 calories per bag. I’m a Hippea and you should be too. 

I love Mexican food. Like, really love Mexican food and Molé Taco Bar do it really well. The Guacamole Tostada is a combination of all my favourite things; Avocados with pickled pomegranate seeds, burnt corn, radish & quest fresco and the Cochinita Pibil is the perfect taco – Pulled pork, avocado, pickled onion and orange habanero. Salivating… 

Japanese Barbecue kings Roka gave me the meat sweats with their slow cooked pork belly and lamb cutlets with korean spices. I’m not the worlds biggest barbecued meat fan but both of these dishes were well and truly devoured by my cousin/Taste buddy Lisa and she was in her element the entire time.

Taste is also about the pale, pale Rosé and the best sweet treats. Chocolate covered Oreos by La Di Da Sweet Treats to be precise.

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I do highly rate Bubbledogs but their Horny Devils just didn’t do it for me. In theory Sweetcorn fritters with jalapeños and cheddar cheese should be my ideal dish but they were stodgy (stodgier than the Duck & Waffle croquettes) and seriously lacking a dip. Soz.

We finished off our Friday night with Jose Pizarro‘s 100% acorn fed Jamón Ibérico, the Prawn fritters with saffron aioli and a Chocolate pot with salt, olive oil and Gin Mare biscuit. By this point I could barely consume another morsel and although none of the dishes were my choices they were all pretty good.

 




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STRAWBERRIES & CREEM.

Festival

Festivals are fun. Festivals in Cambridge are very fun. Strawberries & Creem is a festival in Cambridge and it’s super fun. I’d never been to Cambridge before the weekend and I’d never heard of Strawberries & Creem before I got my invite but now I’m sure now I’ll go back every year. There was bog roll in the portaloo’s all day, shitloads of beautiful students and a Deliveroo banquet fit for kings. For a civilised crowd they went in on the skanking and Big Narstie absolutely fuckin smashed it. So much so that he got half the crowd on stage and gave me so many lolz that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. With Kano, Nelly, D Double E, Rodigan, Snakehips and Channel One Soundsystem on the lineup you need to get to know about Strawberries & Creem…


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CopaCABANA Beach. 

BBQ, Brazilian, Cocktails, London, Pop Up, Street Food

London in the sunshine is one of those rare treats we don’t get to enjoy too often. With the weather being as schizophrenic as it has been lately I was apprehensive about an invitation to CopaCABANA beach on the Southbank yesterday and with the afternoon downpour I was pretty sure the whole thing would be cancelled. Alas, the weather cleared up, the sun came out and we headed to the river for an evening of Caipirinha cocktails and Brazilian Barbeque street food. 

Nibbles came in the form of Spicy Chicken and Pulled Pork Croquettes, Cassava Fries, the ultimate Sweet Potato Fries with your choice of Barbeque or Spicy Malagueta Chicken, Salt Cod Fritters and Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts with Nutella. I was in my element.

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The sun well and truly had its hat on and I had one of those rare moments where I really appreciate London. I’ve lived here all my life and sometimes it feels like the novelty has worn off. The Southbank is one of those places that restores my faith in this beautiful city and reminds me why I’ll never leave. 

The beach boasts it’s very own bespoke Brasilian ‘bonde’ food tram serving up Cabana’s favourite dishes, 85 tonnes of sand and what they call Posto bar #13, Cabana’s recreation of the lifeguard posts along the beach in Rio converted into their very own Caipirinha Bar. They don’t just serve up Caipirinha’s though, you can have Mojitos, Brasillian Pimms, fresh coconuts (with or without Cachaça), beer, Guarana, sparkling Miolo rosè (THE ONE), passion fruit smoothies and good old Coca Cola. 

 

Address: Cabana’s CopaCabana Beach, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Don’t miss out this summer. 

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THE HEINEKEN BOX.

Beer, Euros, Football, London Bars

THE HEINEKEN BOX. This one’s for the lads, or for the small minority of girls who like/pretend to like football. As I’m sure most of you are aware, the Euros are looming. To be fair I wasn’t even totally sure what the Euros were up until quite recently so forgive me for doing a write up on something I’m not totally into. The thing is, Heinekens one of my favourite beers and I’m not one to turn down an invitation to a party with free booze – especially if the party is likely to be full of boys. So when I was asked to attend the launch event for The Heineken Box at Amber Bar I wasn’t going to be a massive girl and decline was I? 

The ‘Heineken Box’ launches this Friday and is a fully immersive entertainment experience that welcomes people that want to enjoy the Euros in a slightly more interesting venue than the local pub. The Heineken VIP Zone is equipped with everything you boys need for a good night; fridges full of bottled beer, self-serving draught taps, foosball, table tennis and large screens to watch the games on. 

The Heineken Box is also available at Tiger Tiger London and packages start from £25 per person. Plus they have bespoke rooms available to hire for events, perfect for your after work shenanigans. So what if I spent the entire evening drinking vodka tonics and didn’t glance at a screen once or play one round of table tennis? I can still appreciate that this is going to get a few people rather excited. Nothing winds me up more than a room full of boys that don’t pay attention to me (which is exactly what happens when the footballs on) so you may not see me there but it’s highly recommended that you try it out, if it’s your thing.

 Right, enough about beer and boys and balls, I’ll get back to drooling over food now… 

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HOTBOX BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH. 

Bottomless Brunch, Brunch, London, London Restaurants, Mac N Cheese

Right so, bottomless brunching in London. This is something of a hot topic these days and I’m always asked which ones are the best. I’ve been working my way through them (not as quickly as I’d have liked) and I’ve been planning on a mega blog post outlining the best and the worst in London right now. What I didn’t expect was to find a winner just four brunches in. You may be thinking, how do I know it’s the best if I’ve only ever tried four? Don’t worry about that, I know that without a doubt, absolutely no questions asked, Hotbox is the winner.

I’ve known that Hotbox’s brunch was pretty special ever since Rosie Londoner raved about it last year. The thing is though, at £25 per head for the bottomless part alone, Hotbox seemed like one of the more expensive options and I’d heard you can’t book and you’ll be in a queue for hours – not ideal. I was so, so wrong. Firstly, £25 is an absolute steal for the five different types of Bloody Mary, Mimosas and Prosseco and yes you can flit between the three. There’s no commitment at Hotbox, you can drink what you like and they’re extremely generous with the refills. So generous that we were still getting top ups 45 minutes after our allotted two hour time slot and my glass was pretty much NEVER empty; the sign of the perfect bottomless brunch if you ask me. And you can book, so queuing isn’t even an issue. 

I could sit and talk to you about the service all day, it was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in a restaurant (that has no idea I’m going to be writing about it) and beyond anything I’d ever expect from a bottomless brunch – previous brunch experiences have resulted in moody waiting staff tutting at the request of a top up (not cool Bad Egg – and yes your eggs are bad, they’re not runny. Fail). Our server Adam excelled himself, he moved us from the bar stools to a table without me having to ask (major points) and he managed to be super attentive despite the fact that the restaurant was rammed. I’ve also got to give a shout out to Reewa for putting up with two very drunk annoying girls whilst Adam was on his break and not for getting annoyed at my repetitive screeching of ‘Re ee WA – when the crowd say Bo, SELECTA’. 

The fact that I haven’t even mentioned the food yet is absolutely no reflection on the food whatsoever. The meal was actually by far the most spectacular part of our visit. It was so good that we actually nearly cried when we tasted the Mac ‘n’ Cheese – no exaggeration at all. I’m going to spend a little bit of time talking about (and reminiscing over) the cheesy, creamy, gooey, carby side dish of dreams. Please note, this is just a side dish. Hotbox doesnt boast to have the best Mac ‘n’ Cheese in London and they don’t fuss about with things like jalapeños or lobster to make it fancy. They just serve it in a skillet and charge £6 for what is probably the best Mac ‘n’ Cheese side I’ve ever tasted. It’s good for its simplicity and flavour and not for trying to be something it’s not. It’s a must have, trust me on this. 

As well as the Mac we ordered the Huevos Rancheros, as I always do when it’s on the menu. Now I’ve had my fair share of Mexican egg dishes and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can safely say this is 100% the best. It’s also vegetarian which is totally shocking because its rich and decadent and so satisfying you’d never miss the meat. It’s served with some sort of bready goodness to dunk in it and boy did I dunk. 

On Rosie Londoner’s recommendation we ordered the Beef Rib Tacos and I totally know what she’s banging on about. They’re beyond sensational and cannot be missed. Apparently 2016 is the year of the taco and if that’s the case then this is Hotbox’s time to shine. 

 

Some mistakes are beautiful. We ordered a side of Elote (Mexican Corn) and ended up with Roast Corn & Crushed Avocado on Sourdough Toast with Feta and a Poached Egg. This was the best mistake ever made and it was even on the house because of the misunderstanding. Life doesn’t get better right? Avo toast is a winner on its own but with the addition of those three ingredients it went from middle class white girl to Emily Ratajowski in under ten seconds. I’ll be recreating it (and in no way living up to it) at home this weekend and cannot wait.  

Food and service aside, the atmosphere was banging. The music and decor were on point and it was obvious everyone in their was having just as much fun as I was. Not a single complaint to be made and I’ll never see the point in brunching anywhere else. You outdid yourself Hotbox, now let’s hope dinner is just as pleasing… 

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LEMAN STREET TAVERN.

British, Gastropub, Healthy, London, London Pub, London Restaurants, Pub

As far as I’m aware, not much goes down in Aldgate East. It’s not somewhere I’ve been to many times or a place that you think of for a night out but it’s just a 15 minute walk from Liverpool Street station and this evening I discovered one of its gems. The Leman Street Tavern‘s menu of traditional English seasonal grub has won me over and I’m putting dates in my diary to go back for their Sunday Roast as we speak.

It’s got outdoor seating for those optimistic British summertime afternoons, a private dining room for special occasions, a huge bar area and heaps of comfy indoor seating. The decor is homely, there’s loads to look at and even on a Monday evening at 6pm the atmosphere was really enjoyable.

For a Monday pick me up we ordered cocktails and as usual I went for a Bloody Mary. It’s basically soup right? As a fussy customer when it comes to Bloody Mary’s I was very impressed with how perfect it was. They’d got it SO right.  Hannah’s Sloe Gin Sour was also very well received – she’s also hugely fussy when it comes to drinks but it was clear by the look on her face as she drank it that she was satisfied.

It’s health kick time (kind of) so we both ordered the Asparagus, beetroot, spinach and pomegranate salad. Although I’d probably have ordered that regardless of my diet, all four ingredients are weirdly irresistible to me and I was super impressed with how fresh and tasty the dish was. The perfect light starter and something I’ll definitely be recreating at home.

For mains we couldn’t decide between the Spring vegetable and avocado tartare with raspberry vinaigrette or the Roast aubergine, charred red peppers, goats curd and pine nuts with herb oil and apple balsamic. It didn’t matter though because after we’d spent ages deciding and settled on the aubergine, the manager brought us over an amuse-bouche of the tartare and we were able to enjoy both. Words can’t describe how delicate and delicious the tartare tasted and we were overjoyed we got to experience it. I know overjoyed seems like an exaggeration but we genuinely couldn’t have been happier when they arrived in front of us. We were dangerously close to licking the raspberry vingarette clean off our plates but managed to contain ourselves and maintain some decorum.

Our real main was equally incredible. I’m a sucker for anything involving an aubergine (no aubergine emoji inuendo intended) and as roasted aubergines go this was was up there with the best. So many mmmmmm noises were made whilst we devoured the dish and although I was drooling every time the waiter passed with portions of Beer battered cod and triple cooked chips or the Slow roasted shoulder of lamb, I still didn’t feel like I was missing out.

If I’d had my way I’d have ordered the Pineapple upside down cake with coconut sorbet and rum syrup for dessert but Hannah is phobic of most of those ingredients and there was no chance day three of the health kick was ending in me finishing the whole thing. We went for the  Triple chocolate and iced berry bomb (for the obligatory bomb video) and the Eton mess with champagne jelly. I’d never usually order Eton Mess but I did have a taste (more than a taste) and it was hard to deny how good it was. The chocolate bomb was rich as hell but amazing.

Super duper dinner, lovely service and a hidden gem of a venue. Highly recommended for food but I imagine it’s the perfect after work drinks or cosy date venue. If Aldgate East is your hangout (or even if it’s not) then put this on your list.