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ROOFNIC.

Bar, Cake, Cocktails, London Bars

Oxford Street feels like home to me. I spend the majority of my life here thanks to work and I’m always ecstatic when cool new bars and restaurants open just a stones throw away from my office. Last night I was invited down to check out Oxford Streets newest rooftop bar and was pretty impressed with what they have on offer. Roofnic (roof/picnic if you didn’t get it) is situated above the Marriot hotel by Marble Arch tube station and can be found by entering the secret door between Evans and Crest. They’ve got AstroTurf, fresh growing herbs, giant chalk boards, magnetic letters, delightful bar men, comfy seating and great cocktails. What more could you want? Oh, and theres a tiny little black pug called Midge who wears a red bow who seems to hang out there quite a bit. DREAM. We munched on some of the gooiest brownies, chewiest cookies and delicious cherry bakewell tarts I’ve ever consumed and washed it all down with a selection of gin and vodka based cocktails. The beef quesadillas were a dream and the sweet potato salad with spinach and blueberries (weird but works) was highly enjoyable after gorging on all the cakes. I was gutted I didn’t get to try their Manwich (which looked and smelt amazing) and the quinoa salad was weirdly moist but all in all it was a great night. If you try one thing though it has to be the pudding pot – it’s like eating happiness with a spoon. Check it out next time it’s sunny and you need to escape the hell that can be Oxford Circus.

                                      

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FORGE.

Bar, Club, Dessert, London Bars

The City is a wonderful place to go for after work drinks, to scope out future banker boyfriends and apparently to have a sensational meal in a brilliant setting like Forge, Previously known as Abacus Bar, Forge is a bar, club and restaurant rolled into one and I can honestly say it does all three things VERY well! 


I was invited last night for dinner and couldn’t have been more impressed with the food. We went for the Duck Egg Mayonnaise and Pulled Pork starters, Special Salads, Horseradish Onion Bhaji to share and the Pineapple Crème Brulee for dessert. I was actually blown away with my Beetroot Gravlax Salad with Sweet Potato, Fennel & Orange. It was a strange combination but it worked so well that I haven’t stopped thinking about it and could well and truly vouch for it being one of the best salads i’ve ever had in a restaurant, EVER. It was particularly good with the (10/10) onion bhaji crumbled into it. The Pineapple Crème Brulee was also a winner and I’ll order it every time I go back in the future.

The menu is impressive, with everything from fillet steak and soft shell crab to Coca Cola glazed ribs on offer you’ll be spoilt for choice and I can assure you you’ll be impressed with the quality. The plates and serving boards make me giddy and the interior the whole venue is delightful. It’s everything you’d want for post work drinks, a weekend lunch spot, a romantic meal for two or a night out with your mates. I couldn’t recommend the place more highly and I cannot wait to go back again soon.  




  

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BIRTHDAY: CHOTTO MATTE.

Japanese, london, Nikkei, Peruvian, Soho

When eating out is your hobby and restaurants are the place you feel the most content, choosing a place to celebrate your birthday can only mean one thing. The very best.

I’ve been planning where to go with my mum to start my birthday celebrations for a while now and after about 3 months deciding and about 5 different options we finally settled on Chotto Matte.

Chotto Matte combines the best of Peruvian and Japanese food and brings you something wonderful called Nikkei Cuisine. Executive chef Jordan Sclare and head chef Mike Paul are the Nikkei Boys and I was very lucky to get a peek inside their kitchen as a special birthday treat. 

With my mother being the (wonderful) woman that she is, we managed to wangle an hour long guided tour round the kitchen and had our menu specially selected by Jordan himself. This was lucky because for the first time in my life I hadn’t pre selected what I wanted to eat purely because the menu is so baffling! After discovering everything there is to know about the Chotto Matte concept, meeting half the staff and getting to see where the magic happens we sat down to devour 8 dishes of pure perfection.

The first dish to arrive was the Casava and Sweet Potato chips with Guacamole and Yellow Tomato Salsa – I had been eyeing these up in the kitchen so was delighted when they ended up in front of me. I was even more delighted when they were in my mouth. They were a dream.

 After the chips we were presented with the Nekkei Sashimi. The Yuzu Truffle Soy is incredible and the fish is soft and tasty and fresh and just generally SO delicious it was a very good start to an even better meal.

 This was then swiftly followed by the Warm Beef Tataki – a tender, delicious, plate of pure heaven that I devoured pretty much immediately.

 The Seabass Ceviche was sublime and had me practically scraping every last drop off the (ever so pretty) bowl.

 The Gambas Salvajes AKA prawn tempura was without a doubt the best I’ve ever tried. I’m not exactly sure what else was going on on that plate but it involved something called Butter Ponzu and it all worked really, really well.

 After the prawns we had the Pollo Den Miso; BBQ miso chicken with carrot, daikon and a yellow chilli salsa that practically exploded in my mouth (in a good way). I never really order chicken in a restaurant (unless it’s deep fried and slathered in buffalo sauce) but this has reinstalled my faith in the stuff and I highly recommend this dish to anyone who gets the chance to try it. It was up there with my favourites.

 For our last savoury dish we were delighted to receive the Tuna & Salmon Tiradito. Eating raw fish may not be for everyone but I’m pretty certain that any sushi hating morons would enjoy this with their eyes closed and minds open. It was divine.

 Dessert came in two parts (as it always should); Salted Caramel Pudding and Passion Fruit Brûlée with Guava Sorbet. Both were banging.

 I was gutted I didn’t get to try any sushi – that’s my only regret. I had my eye on the hand rolls but by the time I realised I was far too full to start ordering anymore. I guess that will have to be saved for the next trip. There will definitely be a next trip.

Thank you Mummy and thank you Chotto Matte (especially Jordan & Mike) for the birthday cocktails and desserts. It’s much appreciated and I’ll be seeing you again soon. Very soon.

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DF MEXICO. 

East London, Mexican

DF Mexico had been at the top of my to do list for an extremely long time before tonight. I was saving it for a special occasion and tonights pre birthday celebrations meant the time had come to experience London’s most hyped Mexican diner. Every single thing about the place – especially the food – was a sensation. The decor, atmosphere and details were so satisfying it made me happy from the moment I walked through the doors and the food was just beyond words. I’m pretty confident that my photographs speak all the words that need to be said so I won’t bang on about it for too much longer but make sure you order a selection so you can try a few things because everything was divine. Especially the corn. Oh my god the corn.

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FOUNDATION.

Bar, Burgers, Chicken, Club, Cocktails, London Bars, Pizza

When you get an invitation that mentions cow print sofas, #Selfie cocktails & Happy Meals it’s pretty much a given you’re going to have fun. Tonight I got to sample Foundation bars new menu and experienced some of the quirkiest cocktails I’ve ever come across.

I’ve been to Foundation a couple of times before, a long time ago on drunk nights out in central London. I’ve never really thought of it as somewhere to go for dinner but after this evenings absolute feast I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of fun, yummy food and hilarious cocktails.

We went for the Dirty Burger served in a Happy Meal box (which was surprisingly good and I’d definitely recommend) and the Foundation Platter which consisted of Voodoo Wings (amazing, sticky, sweet), Pepperoni & Chilli Pizza (cheesy, crispy, moorish), Chorizo Sausage Roll (flaky, tasty, better than Greggs), chilli popcorn (average but serves its purpose) and Chips & Dips. The food was good and we demolished pretty much all of it. Considering the place is mostly a bar/nightclub, the food excelled expectations and I’d be over the moon if I was served it on a drunken night out.

Highlights of the evening were the Downton Abbey cocktail served with a Babybel and crackers along with the personalised plastic cup with my name on it. Obviously the Polaroid selfie won me over, clipped to my creamy cocktail like all my dreams had come at once.

The atmosphere is buzzing and the decor is extremely enjoyable. They played some really good, clubby music (which at times made me want to put down my drink and get up to dance) and for around 7pm on a sunny Thursday evening, this dark, underground venue was packed. Overall I was very impressed and look forward to stumbling in there drunk when I’m out with my friends to order Happy Meals and #Selfie cocktails all round.

I think it would be a really fun alternative place for a date too, so if you can put up with the loud music and annoying drunk people then give it a go when you’re next trying to impress someone without being too fancy.

I’d like to have taken some better photographs but the light was somewhat reminiscent of an Amsterdam back alley so I apologise for the harsh flash and dodgy photography.

                

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STREET FEAST. 

Burgers, Cake, Dessert, Festival, Food Festival, Indian, Italian, Pop Up, Street Food

For some strange reason, I’d never been to Street Feast before today. I’ve made plans to go in the past but just never got round to going. Now I’ve been I’m kicking myself in the teeth for missing out on it so many times before.

Granted Lewisham is an absolute mission away but it did only take about 40 minutes to get there and it was well worth it once we’d trekked half way round the town centre and made it to Model Market. I was half expecting/hoping for a market full of sexy models but much to my dismay I was greeted by your average run of the mill middle class Londoners. That being said the music, vibe and venue itself is amazing. It’s gritty, rural and extremely Instagram worthy. Every surface, wall and seating area is a photo opportunity and it felt good to be surround by like minded food fanatics taking photographs of their dinner. The whole thing is a delight for your senses and it’s the most perfect place to spend the early evening, sipping cocktails and munching burgers in the sunshine.

        Obviously the main reason for my visit was to experience Rola Wala for the first time so that seemed like a good place to start. We sampled the trio of mini naan Rola sliders and they did not disappoint. Goan Pork Roast, Kashmiri Chicken and Keralan Dal are the toppings all served on a crispy (but soft), deliciously moorish mini naan. We washed it all down with a Mango, Turmeric & Lime Soda, made in house to accompany the food perfectly. Which it definitely did. The guys serving up the food are delightful and I recommend that anyone visiting Street Feast makes sure they do not give this place a miss. It’s a fresh, innovative and exciting street food concept and I’ve never tried anything like it before. There’s only so many burgers one person can eat in a life time so if you fancy a change and you love Indian food then this is one for you.

          

Talking of burgers, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try Mother Flipper as it’s another one that’s been on my list for fucking ages. The menu is exciting, I really wanted ‘The Dirty Barbie’ (purely because of the name) but couldn’t quite justify a double patty no matter how good it looked! I went for ‘The Double Candy Bacon Flipper’ that consists of bacon fried in maple syrup and American cheese. It was fucking amazing. I’m gonna say it’s up there with the best but you’re probably bored of me saying that by now. It was really fucking good though.

    

To break up the savoury food we had a dessert interval to cleanse the palette. Thanks to the South East Cakery Brownie Bar we got to stuff our gobs with an array of gooey brownie treats. Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Mojito & Honeycomb flavour to be precise. They were beyond delicious. Beyond

To end of feast we got the naughtiest thing we could find and devoured a portion of ‘Beef Poutine with Italian Fries’ from Cheeky Italian. This was as good as it looked and absolutely sent me over the edge. The meat is tender and soft and so unbelievably tasty whilst the chips are herby and delicious. The whole thing is topped with cheesy, creamy white sauce and there is just nothing quite like it in the world. Far too naughty to ever eat again but extremely good nonetheless.

      

The Meringue Girls also had a gorgeous little pop up that I couldn’t resist taking photos of. The menu is insane but I just couldn’t fit it in. Next time I’ll defineltley be having the ‘Rainbows, Unicorns & Fairy Floss’ and potentially the ‘Chock Banana & PB Heaven’ if they can do it without the banana.

    

All in all the experience was great. Let’s hope it was worth it because I have a wedding tomorrow and I’m probably not going to fit in my dress. Make sure you get yourselves down there and if you only try one thing then make it the Rola Wala sliders. Of everything I ate today, they made me the happiest.

There’s still time to enter my competition to win free food & drinks vouchers for you and a friend. Just tweet me a picture of your food (any food, any meal, from anywhere) @lucydelane and I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday 20th April.
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PIZZA PILGRIMS.

Italian, Pizza, Street Food

So I finally got myself down to Pizza Pilgrims after managing to resist it for a very long time. I’ve kind of been meaning to go ever since it opened whilst also trying to avoid it at the same time. I always feel guilty after pizza because it never lives up to my expectations (Voodoo Rays & Pizza Union excluded) and just tend to enjoy a burger so much more. That being said, there’s so much hype around this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed restaurant that it was inevitable I was eventually going to end up there. 

Like in most places I couldn’t decide what to order so decided to go half an half. Our pizzas were inspired by 2 of my favourite Italian dishes; Aubergine Parmigana and Carbonara. I personally don’t think either lived up to their name sake but in terms of pizza they were pretty good. The carbonara pizza is a special but I think it’s a regular because of its popularity. Anything topped with a runny egg is going to do it for me and the white cheese base was a nice change. The dough is delicious but a little softer than I prefer. In my eyes a pizza base should be extremely crispy but that’s just not what Pizza Pilgrims are about. That being said the restaurant is always heaving and the people dining around me all seemed to be REALLY enjoying themselves so it’s definitely a huge success.

It’s good value for money and there’s a great selection of pizzas on the menu so if you’ve not tried it yet then put it on your list (after Voodoo Rays & Pizza Union) and get down there. 

       

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TEL AVIV.

Healthy, Holiday, Israeli, Seafood

I’ve been back a while now and it’s taken me a fair bit of time to get round to doing this post but the memory of my holiday is still very fresh in my mind. I was lucky enough to visit Tel Aviv (for the first time since I was 16) last month for a family friend’s wedding and turned the trip into a culinary tour of the city. I won’t go into too much detail because the pictures speak for themselves but if you do ever find yourself in that part of the world then I definitely have a few recommendations:

1. Herbert Samuel – doesn’t look like much from the outside but the food is unbelievable and people queue all evening to get a table in this sensational restaurant


2. Old Jaffa – my favourite place we visited, it’s so cute and there are so many things to look at. I also wanted to buy everything I saw in every shop/market we went in to


3. Dr Shakshuka – in the heart of Old Jaffa, well worth a visit for the Israeli delicacy


4. Carmel Market – the most Instagrammable market I’ve ever seen, so many pretty colours!


5. The Social Club – great food, great atmosphere and right round the corner from Max Brenner


6. Max Brenner – don’t bother eating in but for warm melted white chocolate in a syringe you can’t not give it a visit


7. Neve Tzedek – the posher part of town and the area that I discovered Lotus Biscuit and Oreo frozen yoghurt (La Mamma Del Gelato Anita)


8. Mantaray – the best seafood, view of the beach and sweets (raid the bowl at reception) in the city and the place I broke all the Jew rules by eating bacon and shrimp in one dish!

 

There were loads of places we didn’t get to try out that people had recommended so I’d love to go back and sample everything else Tel Aviv has to offer but in the meantime, enjoy the photos….

                                                                                                                                                   

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ROLA WALA @ STREET FEAST: COMPETITION 

Festival, Food Festival, Street Food

This weekend see’s the opening of Street Feast at Lewisham’s Model Market and its set to be an absolute banger. I’m really excited about it because I get to eat, drink and be merry but most of all because I’m going to get to sample Rola Wala for the very first time. 

Rola Wala, Hindi for ‘man that rolls’, is the wonderfully perfect combination of a Western Street Food concept and Eastern flavour and is launching at Street Feast this weekend. Essentially grab-and-go Naan rolls with a selection of vibrant and exotic fillings, Rola Wala is taking the world by storm. Salivating? Yes, me too. 


If you want to join me whilst I stuff my face with these Indian delights then make sure you get yourself down to Streat Feast on Saturday. If you’d rather not witness that horrible sight but you still want to get your hands on some delicious Indian treats then just make sure you visit some time this summer!  

For a chance to win some Street Feast food and drinks vouchers for you and a friend all you’ve got to do is tweet me @lucydelane with a picture of your breakfast, lunch or dinner. The one that makes me the most ravenous wins. Simple! 


Good luck.


P.S. Follow Rola Wala on Instagram and Twitter @RolaWala  

                   

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BOUNCE BALLS.

Healthy, Home Cooking, Recipe, Recipes

If you’re fond of a Bounce Ball then you’ll appreciate this cheap and easy way to create your own. If you don’t know what a Bounce Ball is then this probably isn’t for you. Unless you’re one of those people who hashtags #protein in your Instagram pictures. If you do that then you’ll love these. I’m really not one for following recipes so please excuse my haphazard measurements but I created this concoction after reading a few variations online and I’m really rather impressed.

Ingredients
100g cashew nuts
100g / a handful of dried pitted dates
100g desiccated coconut
1 scoop chocolate whey protein (I only used about 15g but more would be acceptable)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 heaped tablespoons / 200g of low fat peanut butter (I recommend Sainsbury’s – you can use almond butter or something similar)
1 tablespoon honey / agave nectar

Method
Whizz the cashew nuts up in a blender until you have a fine powder, add 3/4 of the desiccated coconut and all the whey protein. Mix it all together and put to one side. Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil in a bowl above a pan of boiling water. Stir together until smooth and runny. Whizz the dates until it forms a smooth paste – this could take a while, I added a splash of water to help it along. Mix the liquid buttery concoction with the date paste and add the honey. Stir in the powdered nuts & protein until combined. Roll into little balls – it should make about 14. Roll the balls in the remaining coconut and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes until firm.

They can be kept in the fridge or freezer depending on when you want to eat them. They’re about 150 calories per ball and they’re fucking delicious. I’m going to experiment with different flavour combinations over the next few weeks so let me know if you have any tips, tricks or feedback for my next batch.

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