“Be The Barista” with Selfridges London

Specialty coffee shops are taking over London and all over the world many cities are ridong the same wave. The UK media are catching up too, so what was a niche trend now is turning into a global phenomenon.

One thing is clear: being a coffee connoisseur is a trend, Britain is now a nation of coffee drinkers, customers are better educated about coffee and more people want to learn how to brew the perfect cup at home!

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

For years I have used the same supermarket coffee blend and a Bialetti stove pot. Nowadays I like to have multiple coffee choices: from freshly roasted specialty espresso blends to single origin coffees; from espressos to filters.

My husband is even more of a coffee geek than I am, so between the two of us we now have a range of brewing devices at home: a stove pot, an aeropress, the Hario v60 and a chemex (and the Hario Buono Drip Kettle).

The latest addition to our coffee makers’ collection is the ROK espresso maker.

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

The ROK is “a finely engineered gearing that lowers the piston to generate the pressure to extract the coffee oils to create the perfect espresso”. It’s a simple machine that works without electricity: just the power of your arms!

I received a ROK espresso maker from Selfridges London as part of their campaign Be The Barista and for the past week my husband has been experimenting with it. I just let him practice with the ROK, while I’m enjoy having my breakfast coffee served to me every morning! I hope this new routine lasts! ;)

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

 

“The Selfridges campaign celebrates the art of specialty coffee, and being able to create coffee shop quality at home. From artisanal coffee masterclasses and demonstrations of essential coffee-making equipment and accessories to amazing bean-to-cup coffee machines, discover a world dedicated to coffee.”

 

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

Making the perfect espresso with the ROK requires practice, so allow some time to master the machine. There are also many other variables to a good coffee: the quality of the beans, the freshness of the roast, the coffee grounds, the right water temperature and brewing time.

For the ROK machine you need coffee grounds suitable for espresso (not too coarse or the water will pass through too easily, not too fine or it will be very hard to push the arms down). I usually buy fresh roasted coffee online at Pact Coffee, a London-based roasters and monthly subscription service*.

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

Fill the ROK cylinder with hot water, lift the handles and then push them downwards in a firm, smooth motion. Hold them down until all the water has been extracted (this should take between 20 and 30 seconds). Your double espresso is ready!

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London

Making good coffee at home is a priority for us and the day cannot start without it!

Whether it’s an espresso or a milk-based coffee drink, we can use the ROK to make a good coffee. As I said, it requires a bit of practice and it’s not as straight-forward as using a stove pot, but I’m confident we will master it soon and learn how to create a good espresso crema!

"Be The Barista" with Selfridges London
As part of the Be The Barista campaign, Selfridges have partnered with Origin Coffee Roasters to hold weekly coffee masterclasses in their store, in the “Cookshop” area on the lower ground. You can buy tickets online or in store.

Disclaimer: I received from Selfridges a complimentary ROK machine. All opinions are my own.

*If you live in the UK and want to try Pact Coffee, you can buy your first bag for only £1 using the code GIULIA-3DB5SG. Full disclosure: I paid for the coffee and this is not a sponsored post for Pact, but if three friends use this discount code I will get a limited edition t-shirt. You can get it too, if you introduce three friends to Pact Coffee.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

A great way to spend a sunny day in London is dining alfresco in a nice restaurant followed by a stroll in a beautiful park. That's what I did a few weeks ago when I was invited to review The Guildford Arms in Greenwich, a handsome Georgian gastropub in Royal Greenwich, just a short walk from Greenwich DLR and ten minutes away from the park.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

There are two dining rooms at The Guildford Arms, but the main attraction during the summer is the recently refurbished garden which features a lawn (with an all weather awning), a brand new BBQ and a terraced area.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

It looks like a pub, but the Guildford Arms is a hybrid of gastro-lounging, fine dining and alfresco schmoozing. Stylishly stacked over three floors, it’s an inviting hangout with a beautiful sunken beer garden – probably the best we’ve come across in London.

Emerald Street

We had lunch on the terrace a few weekends ago, on a very hot day. We drunk Lemon & Lime Cordial and chilled white wine, and tasted a few dishes from the August menu by chef patron Guy Awford.

The menu changes monthly and features modern British food, only using the freshest seasonal ingredients.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

We shared a salad to start: Broad Bean, White Asparagus & Fresh Peas with Garlic & Caper Crumbs and Buttermilk dressing. It looked like a light, summer edition of a Ceasar Salad and it wonderfully combined different flavours. I love salads and this is definitely one to recreate at home.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

Onto the mains: I didn't feel like eating meat or heavy dishes, as it was such a hot day, so I chose the Grilled Mediterranean Vegetarian En-croute with Buffalo Mozzarella, Rocket Salad & Pesto.

It was fantastic! The flaky buttery pastry was warm (not hot) enough to melt in your mouth without melting the mozzarella. The grilled vegetables were seasoned simply with olive oil and salt. I loved the Mediterranean flavours of this dish, it was exactly what I want to eat on a summer day!

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

My husband ordered the Pan-fried Loch Duart Salmon, Sautéed New Potato & Salsify, Spinach, Samphire & Tomato Butter. Completely different type of dish from mine, but equally satisfying and beautifully presented.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

Not content, we moved on to desserts: a Lemon Posset with Fresh Blackberries & Cardamon Shortbread for him and Pavlova with Strawberries & Whipping Cream.

The lemon mousse was our favourite of the two, light and refreshing. The pavlova had a crisp meringue shell and soft centre, but it was too sweet for our taste.

I finished my meal with an Espresso Macchiato.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

After lunch at The Guildford Arms I suggested to my husband to go for a stroll in London's oldest Royal Park, Greenwich Park, since we are so rarely in this part of the city. I had only been in this park once, running through it at the 18th kilometer of my first half marathon, so excuse me for not remembering much of it except a blinding leg pain!

A visit was definitely overdue, especially because Greenwich Park is beautiful! There are a few roads going through it and yet there are plenty of leafy and quiet parts of the park where you can relax and have a picnic. The main attractions are obviously the Royal Observatory and the terrace with outstanding views over the city.

The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich
The Guildford Arms in Greenwich

We laid on the grass and rested in the shade of a tree for an hour before heading back home. I am so grateful to have been invited to try The Guildford Arms, because not only we had a lovely lunch but we also discovered a bit of Greenwich.

If you are not familiar with this part of London, like me, then why not plan a day out in Greenwich now since the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the garden at The Guildford Arms? I would recommend it!

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

On one of the hottest day of summer last year, my husband and I rode on our motorbike to Sandbanks in Dorset for a day at the beach. The night before I had googled "best beaches in UK" and the name had come up at the top of the search, so I was intrigued.

Sandbanks is a small peninsula on the south English coast: on the east side there's the beautiful sandy beach while the west side faces the Poole Harbour (one of the largest natural harbours in Europe). From the tip of the peninsula you have views of the harbour and Brownsea island (a National Trust protected island famous for its wildlife), which you can reach with the local ferry boat.

Sandbanks is the fourth most expensive place to live in the world, so the land is mainly occupied by stunning luxury homes worth millions of pounds.

When we arrived at the beach the next day I couldn't believe it: hot weather, sandy beach, clear blue water…it was beautiful! I loved it so much I suggested we should make it a summer tradition to drive down to Sandbanks every year…

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

Then this year I was approached by FBJ Hotel Group and invited to visit Harbour Heights – a boutique four-star hotel in Sandbanks – to review their restaurant and rooms, an invitation that as you can imagine I was very happy to accept.

The hotel is blessed by a great location overlooking the Sandbanks Peninsula, the Poole harbour and Brownsea Island, so it's the best place to stay if you visit this part of the country. If you are just visiting for the day, you can still enjoy the outstanding views from the terrace of the Harbar Bistro, the award-winning restaurant of Harbour Heights which serves seasonal produce, locally sourced and freshly produced.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

We booked the hotel for the first August weekend, when summer wasn't yet a long distant memory (it's now practically autumn over here!)

We left London on Saturday morning and arrived at Harbour Heights just before lunch time, in time to drop our bags at the hotel and walk to the beach for a few hours of sun-tanning. In the afternoon the wind picked up, so we headed back to the hotel to check in into our room.

Harbour Heights is a relatively small hotel with only 38 rooms, which gives the place an intimately and cozy feeling. The check-in and out process was swift and quick and the service from the concierge was great throughout our stay.

Our large en-suite room had a comfortable king size bed and floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the wonderful views. The room also featured a flat screen TV, Internet access, a working desk area, a lovely Spa bath (which we immediately tested!), two bathroom sinks (one for him, one for her…I wish I had these in my home!) and air conditioning.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

There was a plate of fresh fruit in the room, which was a lovely welcome present for a warm summer day. In my opinion the room would improve massively with a few little touches, like having coffee/tea or mini-bar in the room, as well as bathrobe / slippers and beauty products in the bathroom. At the end of the day, these are the nice perks of staying in a nice hotel and something you would probably expect from a four-star establishment.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

Our double bedroom was on the first floor and had a balcony facing the harbour! What a beautiful view to wake up to in the morning, I absolutely loved it!

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

All guests at Harbour Heights Hotel also have complimentary use of the Haven Spa at the Haven Hotel, which is part of the FJB group and is located on the Sandbanks peninsula (about 5 minutes' drive from Harbour Heights). So before dinner I spent a few hours in their gym, pool and steam room (while Sandy waited for me on the terrace), before going back to our hotel for dinner.

We dressed up for an aperitif on the terrace and the weather was warm enough to wear a summer dress and sandals. We watched the sun go down over the sea and it was just perfect! The glass of Chinkapin Brut Rose (2010) from English Oak Vineyard in Dorset was the perfect drink for the occasion.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

For dinner we moved inside the Harbar Bistro, which was awarded 2 rosettes by the AA Restaurant Guide, and we spent the next few hours eating fantastic dishes and drinking a bit too much Sauvignon Blanc from Yealands Estate in Malrborough, New Zealand.

I'm just joking…there can never be too much Sauvignon Blanc! ;)

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

And how amazing is it to eat a great meal, drink a few glasses of a lovely wine and then having to just climb a few stairs to your big comfortable and incredibly quiet room?!
Living in London you come to appreciate things like hearing the sea waves in the distance instead of the trucks driving past your bedroom window…but I'm digressing, so let's go back to the review of our meal.

We started with a Truffle Goat's Cheese Mousse with Pea Puree, Pickled Girolles, Herb Salad and Grilled Tiger Prawns with Thai Salad. Both were really nice, the mousse was delicate white the prawns had a slight spicy kick.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

As a main course I ordered the Confit Arctic Char, sourced from a local Dorset supplier, and served with Crab & Dill Chickpea Cake, Fennel Puree, Charred Courgette and Fish Cappuccino. The char is a great fish which shares the characteristic richness of salmon, though it has white flesh, and it paired well with the chickpea cake. I don't love fennel and I generally dislike foam, but I have to admit the whole dish worked very well.

My husband had the Poussin with Thyme Polenta, Sweetcorn Puree, Sweetcorn & Girolles Salad and Chicken Jus which was a colourful and flavoursome dish. I don't like polenta, but my husband thought this dish was great.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

Dessert was an amazing Chocolate and Hazelnut Terrine with Mixed Berries. My husband and I voted it our favourite dessert of 2014 (so far)! ;)

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

What a dinner! We were pleasantly full and tipsy afterwards, which is always a nice way to end a Saturday night.

The next morning we woke up to the sound of the…rain! Yes, it was the weekend that tropical Storm Bertha battered Britain, so we had to change our plans of hitting the beach again and instead drove back to London after a lazy lie in bed. The bed was so big it was hard to get off it, you know… ;)

Breakfast was a tiny bit disappointing (I always have high expectations about hotel breakfast buffets), so we skipped the buffet and ordered from the menu: Eggs Royale for my husband and a Full English Breakfast for me. They were good, but after the amazing dinner we had the night before I was expecting something more over the top for breakfast, so I think there is room for improvement there.

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

Luckily the worst of the storm hit Dorset on Saturday night, so by the time we finished breakfast the sun was making an appearance again! We left the hotel and drove by the sea and on Evening Hill to take a few photos of the harbour, before waving goodbye to beautiful Dorset. Until next summer…

Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel
Weekend in Sandbanks at Harbour Heights Hotel

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Harbour Heights Hotel and Harbar Bistro. All opinions are my own.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I blogged about Breddos Tacos last year (see post here), during their residency at Slider Bar in Soho. A few months ago they moved east and found a new home at Trip Space in Haggerston, where they serve their Mexican / American inspired dishes for dinner and brunch from Wednesdays to Sundays.

The brunch menu is a new addition to their offer and it features dishes like classic American pancakes, Huevos Rancheros and fried chicken. I think it sounds amazing and I'm really keen in trying it soon. Have a look at the photos on What Katie Does and I bet you will want to try it too!

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I was invited in May to try Breddos Tacos for dinner and I've delayed blogging about my experience for so long because I was hoping to go back for the brunch and combine all my photos in one post. Unfortunately with all the travelling and the fact that Haggerston is an hour away from my home, I haven't had a chance to go back yet.

So without further ado, here are the photos of my dinner at Breddos Tacos @ Trip Space!

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

The dinner menu is divided into 'shack favourites' from Breddos' street food days, such as tostadas and tacos; ‘the plancha’ which features new dishes like glazed chicken wings, grilled mackerel and roasted pork belly; the 'sides' (pickled chillies, charcuterie, fried chicken and chips); vegetables and desserts.

We ordered a few tacos and tostadas with some vegetable sides, but we didn't get try any of the 'plancha' dishes in this occasion (we arrived there at 21:30 and only decided to order more food after 22:00, but by then the kitchen was closed). Another reason to go back soon!

We tried the 10hr slow roast chipotle beef short rib tacos; the Conchinita pork pibil tostadas; and the pickled beetroot, carrot, queso fresco and pine nuts tostadas.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I have eaten Breddos' tacos many times at Street Feast and they are definitely among the best you can find in London. I think that with the Trip Space residency they have upped their game, now serving "refined" tacos that look beautiful and taste as delicious as their street dishes.

We ate the tacos and tostadas with different vegetable on the side: street salad with jalapeno & lime dressing (not pictured below); charred spring onions with sour cream and queso fresco and triple cooked chipotle patatas bravas.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

Obviously I had space in my tummy for dessert, so we shared a slice of Mississipi Mud Pie: the tart base was not as crunchy as I would have liked, but overall the cake was quite good.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

You can find Breddos Tacos @ Trip Space, Arch 339-40, Acton Mews, E8 4EA.

Also don't miss their street food stall at Street Feast in Dalston Yard and at Model Market in Lewisham.

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary dinner at the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

Trip Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

On a warm evening last June I got to dress up for a special night out with my husband; the plan was a four-course dinner with matching wines at The Brasserie restaurant of the Guoman Tower Hotel.

I was invited by the restaurant to review their new tasting menu, so we just sat down and let the lovely waiters and chef think of everything else, while we focused on the stunning view in front of us!

The Brasserie overlooks the Tower Bridge, with the Shard peeking behind it, so our dinner came with a free show of the sun setting over the river Thames!

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

The Brasserie's menu features seasonal British dishes with an equal balance of classics (beef carpaccio, pan fried sea bass, risotto, steak…) and some more inventive proposals (goat cheese doughnuts, duck two ways, pan seared calves liver).

I tried the tasting menu which comprised of four courses: the Game, the Ocean, the Farm and the Treat. They featured highlights from the A La Carte menu, so it was a good way for me to sample what the Brasserie can do best.

Chef Tejas Ranadive came around to our table to introduce each course, which was great to understand the complexity of each dish and how the various ingredients complemented each other.

I started my meal with The Game: Venison mousse, glazed smoked duck breast, wild board prosciutto, Cumberland sauce, brioche, cracked black pepper ice cream.

The duck breast was my favourite and I was surprised by how well the pepper ice cream worked with the venison mousse.

The dish was paired with Cotes du Rhone Les Abelles red wine.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

My husband could not eat the first two meat courses, so instead he was served vegetarian dishes from the A La Carte menu, starting with The Goanut, the most popular dish at the Guoman restaurant.

It's a warm doughnut stuffed with goat’s cheese and served with caramel mousse, beetroot compote, caramelised pecan nuts and cress lettuce. It was launched last summer on the wave of the cronut craze and it's remained as one of the highlights of the menu.

Needless to say, we loved it and alone it's a good reason to visit the Brasserie.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

The second course was the Ocean: lobster ravioli, seared scallops, grilled seabass, Beluga lentils, black truffle honey, celeriac puree. It was paired with a glass of Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc which was also my favourite wine of the night.

I always joke about how scallops are ubiquitous on British menus, but when cooked right they are one of my favourite seafood and that was the case with the seared scallop at the Brasserie. The highlight though was the lobster ravioli, I would have happily eaten a whole plate of them!

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

The main meat course was again a meat-based one (the Farm) with grilled beef steak, confit duck pasta, pulled lamb shoulder, pancetta, pumpkin puree, sautéed spinach and three grain risotto.

The beef steak was tasty, but too rear for my taste. I loved the pulled lamb shoulder and three grain risotto.

The matching wine was a Don Jaobo Rioja Crianza Tinto, a well structured wine that paired well with the meat.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

Finally the last course was a dessert spread with Hazelnut parfait, fig crème brûlée, marzipan chocolate brownie, berry compote, white chocolate custard and vanilla ice cream.

If I had to pick my highlight it would be the crème brûlée, which was fantastic. The chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream didn't impressive and could have been left out of the spread. The hazelnut parfait on the other hand was delicious.

The desserts were paired with a glass of Zinck Portrait Riesling, a white wine with citrus fruit aromas.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel
The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

At the end of the night we were both very satisfied with the food and attentive service from the Brasserie waiting staff and chef, but unfortunately on the whole the restaurant lacks in atmosphere. The interiors would benefit from a re-style with a fresher, more appealing look.

Obviously being located inside a hotel means the restaurant needs to be in line with the style of the Guoman chain, but equally the corporate look might keep real Londoners away. My impression was that the majority of the diners were hotel guests and professionals who work nearby. I would recommend eating here for the location as the view was obviously a big part of the experience.

Walking back to London Bridge after dinner was magic and for a night we enjoyed being tourists in London!

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

Disclaimer: I dined at The Brasserie as a guest of the restaurant. All views are my own.

The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel on Urbanspoon

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

Back in April I blogged about After Hours pop-up event at Ozone Coffee Roasters with chef Adam Degg. A few weeks ago I was asked to take photos at another one of these events and I loved the desserts so much that I have to share the photos with you!

This time the star of the kitchen was pastry chef Penny Jirayuwatana and with the help of two other chefs she prepared four incredible desserts for us. Penny's experience includes time at Tru in Chicago, with Jean Georges Vongerichten in New York and at the Mandarin Oriental and Brown's Hotel in London. She currently cooks for contract caterer BaxterStorey.

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

The four-course dessert menu featured:

- Strawberry & Thai basil

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

- Poached apricot, jasmine, ginger & pistachio

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

- Banana, smoked caramel, pineapple & coconut sorbet

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

- Guanaja 70% croquant, black sesame, red cherries

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

And to end the dessert degustation we were served coffee or tea and petit four.

After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana
After Hours with Penny Jirayuwatana

I love After Hours and I think it's a fantastic event, which showcases the highest quality of food ingredients and preparation and a top notch service. I also love that you can sit by the bar and watch the chefs doing their artistic work as well as interact with them.

I highly recommend attending one the After Hours pop-up. If you love dessert, this is the perfect event for you! Keep an eye on the After Hours website to be updated on future events.

Disclaimer: I worked as a photographer for this event. All opinions are my own.

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

It's finally Friday again, so it's time to talk about weekend plans and brunch! What have you got planned? If you are in London, nothing beats having brunch in the sky at Duck & Waffle.

Last month I took my parents there for Sunday brunch, as it's my new mission in life to make sure everyone I know tries Duck & Waffle at least once! :) I've never met anyone who doesn't love it and most people tend to go back regularly.

What's not to love about delicious and original dishes, brilliant service with a staff that makes you feel like a special guest, and stunning views?

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle could get away with just the location and still be fully booked, but the truth is they are very serious about food, with a menu that is updated regularly to keep it seasonal and attractive for returning customers.

I have eaten at D&W for breakfast a few times and for dinner once; every time I've had a great experience. The restaurant is elegant, but not formal and there isn't a dress code. I tend to dress up whenever I eat there just because it's the kind of place you go to for a special occasion and dressing up for it is part of the fun.

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

My parents opted for a traditional English breakfast with pork & herb sausage, two organic eggs, organic Duroc bacon, grilled tomato, field mushroom, hash browns, Scottish black pudding and sourdough toast.

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

I love Duck & Waffles' Ox Cheek Doughnuts (from the All Day menu) so this time I tried the Ox Cheek Benedict breakfast dish: braised ox cheek, 63 degree organic hens eggs, hollandaise sauce and sriracha.

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

The star of the day was the Full Elvis Belgian Waffle that my husband ordered: peanut butter & jelly, bananas brûlée, Chantilly cream, fresh berries and chocolate chips.

Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle
Sunday Brunch at Duck & Waffle

Waffles are obviously the signature dish of the restaurant, so make sure you try them (from the all day menu, the Duck & Waffle dish is a must).

If you have never been to Duck & Waffle, then book a table now! I like to go there for breakfast during the week, when the restaurant is not full and you can usually get the best tables.

I hope you will go and help me fulfill my new life mission! :)