Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Rocket, The City - Review

The girls and I went for a long Thursday lunch at Rocket - THE CITY last week. I love Rocket, the staff are always really friendly and the menu is great with large portions. In the summer they have a really pleasant waitress served outside area and in the winter a very cosy indoor bar and restaurant. The tables are well spaced out to create a really comfortable dining space.

The restaurant and the bar have different menus so make sure you know what you want to eat before you decide where to sit. I would also consider booking, it isn't completely necessary but is advisable if you do not want to miss out. On this occasion we chose to sit and eat in the bar as it's slightly more relaxed and by the big windows.

Two of the girls went for the chicken Milanese, which was a massive portion served on a bed of rocket and looked absolutely delicious. Despite the size the plates were cleared therefore proving how worthwhile it really was! I had a halloumi sandwich served in ciabatta with salad and mango, which was delicious. This came with Rocket fries that were thick chips but super crispy and coated with rosemary and salt so no ketchup required!

We also had a bottle of wine and two large glasses. The total bill including service was £28 per head, which I thought was great for how full we were and how much wine we had consumed. Rocket is a really pleasant experience and they are more than happy to adhere to your pace meaning you can fit in a speedy lunch during work or take a slightly longer more leisurely break.

In the evening the bar comes to life, especially in the summer when the outdoor area can be utilised. If you are in the city and fancy a lunch or a drink in the sunshine or in a cosy, warm bar then head to Rocket!


On Sunday a group of four of us decided to try Sunday Lunch at the Michelin starred restaurant Thackeray's. The restaurant is located in Tunbridge Wells and is a little hard to find so use the directions on the website. There is also no parking here, there are loads of side roads around with free weekend parking but be prepared to squeeze into a space and walk a little.

Thackeray's is located in a really cute looking cottage with a lovely entrance way. The restaurant is light and airy with large windows. The staff are all amazing and very helpful. They mixed up who was having which dish a few times but that is a really minor complaint. The Sunday Lunch menu is varied and reasonably priced at £29.95 per person for three courses. There is a tasting menu but it must be pre booked and is far more expensive.

The restaurant entrance

For starter we tried the cannelloni of Lobster with a Whiskey mousse and tomato jelly terrine, the ham hock and also a salmon dish with teriyaki quails eggs. Everything was delicious including the three different homemade breads that were offered (focaccia, butter milk and wholegrain). We were offered bread on several occasions so don't be afraid to have a little more. There was also a little amuse bouche, which was a crisp with different items on top all with a unique flavour.



Amuse Bouche
For the main course we experienced the beef sirloin and all the trimmings with a side of roast potatoes. This was by far the biggest dish so if you are super hungry maybe give this one a go! I ordered the chicken, which was super succulent and came with rolled up courgette and wild mushrooms. Finally the cod was also tried, which looked beautiful on the plate.

Roast Beef



For dessert the table went for the warm chocolate espuma, which was quite a large portion and is similar to a chocolate mousse. I went for the lemon drizzle cake with coconut ice cream that was divine and the final dessert we tried was a panna cotta. We were also presented with a treasure chest of petit fours that was a lovely touch.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Treasure Chest

Petit Fours

All of the food was delicious, everyone cleared their plates and there was nothing we didn't like. We were all pleasantly full from our three courses and not in the slightest bit over stuffed. I would thoroughly recommend Sunday lunch here as it's a great way to enjoy Michelin starred cuisine at a very reasonable price. There was a variety of wines from affordable through to very expensive both by the glass and the bottle. A few different beers were on offer as well. With service charge the bill was just under £90 per couple and this included two glasses of white wine, two glasses of beer, two coffees and a side of roast potatoes.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Cinnamon Club

My Saturday evening was spent at a private party at the Cinnamon Club a short taxi ride from Victoria station or a walk from Westminster. The Cinnamon Club have quite a few areas to choose from for a private event. We were in a space above the restaurant with a balcony overlooking the action. Be warned the only access is via stairs so you may need to consider this when booking.

The restaurant handled the group booking really well and even created name places for the guests. We were seated in the Gallery that seats 30 or has room for 50 standing. The main restaurant, however, was also very busy so I suggest booking in advance for Saturday nights to avoid disappointment.

We were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and cinnamon. I actually really loved this twist on a Bellini but it wasn't to everyone's taste. Red wine, white wine and a soft juice were also available. Once everybody had arrived we were seated according to the table plan and the banquet began.

We started with Tandoori wild Spencer Gulf king prawns with pickling spices or for the vegetarians there was Railway style vegetable cake with beetroot and raisin. The second course was a Tandoori cod with green spice crust and cauliflower bhujia, which definitely had a little kick to it and for the vegetarian option there was a cheat of crisp spinach, potato skins and dried beetroot, which looked very colourful on the plate.

For main course we were treated to Tandoori free range chicken breast, mint chilli korma and pilau rice with a rather large plate of green chilli's to spice up the dish. The vegetarian option was fried banana chilli, yoghurt sauce and green pea pilau. Two different types of naan bread were served as well as dhal and a vegetable side.

The dessert was a spiced red pumpkin corn cake with clove ice cream and green cardamom brulee. To be honest the cake didn't really have a flavour and the clove ice cream was very strong so this probably was not my favourite course.

The restaurant did a great job of looking after our group and all of the food was delicious. I would say it could have been slightly hotter temperature wise but that is a minor gripe of the evening. I would love to go back one day soon and try the a la carte options as I can imagine they are all delicious. Equally I would recommend the event spaces and menus if you wanted to host an intimate dinner party without the washing up!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Forge & Co

I spent Saturday lunchtime having brunch at Forge & Co. The restaurant is a short walk from Shoreditch High Street station and also Old Street tube. The space is light and airy with pretty well spaced out tables. You will have to book at the weekends as it was full, mainly of girls, I don't know if we missed something but there was definitely a lack of men!

There are normal tables but also sofa's surrounding coffee tables, which isn't ideal for eating so maybe try and specify what you want during the booking. Part of the Saturday brunch is unlimited Prosecco whilst you are eating if you buy one original glass for £10. They were pretty good at topping up most of the time but the food came out quickly so you really needed to also order dessert to make the most of the alcohol.

The menu was quite large but quite egg based. The variety was limited. The scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and sourdough toast was nice but nothing special. The poached eggs with avocado were incredibly stingy on the avocado. You got probably a quarter or less of one.

For dessert we had a Baileys cheesecake, which was lovely but no one was sure how they felt about the accompanying coffee ice cream. The sticky toffee pudding had a twang that was far from ideal and being served with lemon ice cream didn't help the appeal. Finally the profiteroles were pretty good.

All in all Forge & Co is a great place to meet friends on a Saturday and drink Prosecco. It's super busy and has a fun atmosphere. However, the food is really quite average so thank goodness it is cheapish for Shoreditch. Go for the company and the alcohol and accept the food is edible and will soak up the bubbles. Don't go for a long, leisurely and luxuriously delicious brunch.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

London Date Night

Last night the hubby and I took a little time for ourselves and enjoyed each others company! First stop was a quick dinner at Dirty Burger in Shoreditch. The burger shack is a stones throw from Shoreditch High Street station and seats about 14 diners. They also offer take away and accept both cards and cash.

We were a little stretched for time so our photos are limited but at 6pm on a Wednesday evening there was a short queue and two little stools available for us to perch on. We ordered a milkshake each (chocolate and vanilla) and two cheeseburgers, one for me without mayo at a total cost of £21. As often with concept restaurants the menu is short but what they do serve is done well.

The burgers were perfect, all made to a medium specification with cheese, soft bun and some salad. The juices dripped down your fingers, which is just how a burger should behave! The milkshakes were thick and creamy and the chocolate one even included some chips. They were the perfect sweet treat size without leaving you seriously overfull and sick!

After gorging down burgers at lightening speed we headed round the corner to Electric Cinema. The cinema can be found in the basement of Barber & Parlour. This café is an ideal place for pre cinema or during cinema eats. Wine, beer, prosecco and cocktails can be purchased and taken in for consumption during the movie. They have a variety of sweet and savoury items that can be purchased to eat in the café or taken into the cinema. They will also deliver food during the movie.

The Electric Cinema itself is a real treat. There are fifty roomy armchairs with cashmere blankets and soft pillows to lean back on and enjoy the film. There is a little table and lamp between chairs so this isn't the ideal place for a snuggle but it is the ideal place to watch a film and share a bottle of wine in comfort. Tickets are priced at £18 per person, which is only slightly more than other London cinema chains. They show a variety of main stream and independent films with usually two screenings per evening. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Due to a lack of lighting and not wanting to disturb the other guests I only took one photo without flash but you get the gist! Choose the middle seats a couple of rows back as these have the best view!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Club Gascon

The hubby and I had a wonderful Monday evening being treated to dinner at Club Gascon. We had a 7:45pm reservation and the restaurant had a perfect ambiance. Around two thirds of the thirty seat restaurant was occupied; mainly by couples. The lights were dimmed, the music was calming and guests chatted quietly creating an ideal romantic and serene atmosphere. On arrival our coats and bags were whisked away leaving our floor space clear. There was no need for luggage tags as the restaurant is small and intimate so much easier to keep an eye on customers needs and in this case possessions.

There were several staff looking after the clientele all of whom were incredibly polite, friendly and very helpful. The waiters cannot do enough to assist you, including explaining every dish and wine accompaniment in exceptional detail and allowing you to ask further questions if needed. They also talked a little about the chef and how he enjoys interspersing British and French influences into his cooking, which was great to be given some background knowledge.

After being seated we started with Parmesan straws that were incredibly strong, just the way Parmesan should be served. This was married with a welcome glass of champagne cocktail (Lallier, white Lillet and a dash of Angostura bitters). Also note in the background the beautiful and impressive flower arrangement, which kept my eyes pleasantly entertained throughout the meal.

Slowly sipping the champagne cocktail gave us a chance to browse the five course tasting menu Le Marche and provide any food allergies to the staff as well as marvel at the intricate crockery.

After giving the go ahead to begin we were gifted with a beautifully presented Amuse Bouche. The wonderful concoction consisted of Piperade, roasted padron pepper, saffron crisp and black garlic aioli. The dish was incredible, all of the ingredients merged exceptionally well and provided a great insight into the meal to come.

At this point and throughout the first three courses we were offered a variety of breads; a white French baguette, sourdough, a delicious salted brioche roll and a poppy seed option. The breads were served with two different and equally tantalizing butters.

The first course was seared abalone (chopped into thin slithers) with a chive & seaweed emulsion and summer griolles. These were presented in two separate shells. They tasted delicious together and apart and again the presentation was phenomenal. The dish was accompanied by a white wine (Corbieres, Domaine de Montfin, Le Blanc - vintage 2014) which consisted of two grapes. Roussanne for white fruit flavors and Grenache blanc, which was buttery and floral.

The seafood dish was closely followed by something quite unique and impressive. This course was a perfect marriage between French and British ingredients as explained earlier. We had duck Foie Gras, cucumber pearls, lemonade and mint jelly. This was served with a very strong but exceptionally delicious cocktail. Orange and lemon peel marinated in Pimms, white Lillet infused with cucumber, strawberry liquor and ginger ale. It was a sensational cocktail and enabled you to see the contrast of Pimms v Foie Gras and white Lillet i.e. France v Britain.

Next up were the main courses. This concoction was probably my favorite of the evening. We had barbecued hake, maize, truffle & bacon sauce. The truffle was strong, just how I like it but I appreciate not everyone is such a big fan. The dish was served with another white wine (St. Chinian, Chateau de Coujan, Bois Joli - vintage 2013) and included three grapes to create a fruity and tropical flavor with a hint of spice. The spice definitely came out in the wine and complemented the hake perfectly.

The fish was followed by another beautifully presented and mouth watering plate. We had French rabbit ballotine, smoky aubergine, bagna cauda and basil oil. This time the food was paired with a red wine (Gaillac, Domaine Peyres Roses, Impeccable - vintage 2014) that consisted of four grapes. Merlot,  Braucol, Duras and Syrah for incredibly spicy flavors. You could really taste the black pepper and smokey flavor, which was pleasantly surprising on the palate.

After the meal we were given a palette cleanser of passion fruit and mint sorbet with cucumber gel inside a cone coated with pistachio crumble. The cleanser was sharp and did the job perfectly.

For dessert we were served glazed black fig, which was sweet and succulent, frosted geranium, crumble and pickled gooseberries. Again, everything worked incredibly well together and looked stunning on the plate. The dessert came with a sweet wine (Monbazillac, Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure, Jour de Fruit - 2012) that consisted of two grapes - Semillon and Muscadelle for freshness and sweetness.

After a fantastic meal it was time to relax and enjoy a little post dinner sweet treat before home time. We were presented with a beautiful plate containing Armagnac truffles, raisins soaked in Sauternes & coated in choco, Rhubarb & praline and spicy almonds & choco tuile. 

We cannot thank Club Gascon enough for the incredible food and the sensational hospitality. We left feeling full from the cuisine and merry from the exceptional wines. The five course tasting menu paired with wine is priced at £100 per head. For a romantic treat with a loved one, this is well worth the cost. You will leave having had an amazing gastronomical experience, you will have challenged your taste buds with a variety of flavors and combinations and you will feel relaxed from the ambiance. I would recommend splashing out on the wine pairings as they really complement the meal. Make sure you book ahead and trust me Club Gascon has well and truly earned it's Michelin Star so go and treat that special someone, I promise you will not regret it.

Please note Club Gascon also offer an A La Carte menu that is detailed on their website.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Anchor, Riverside

On Saturday night I headed out in a group of three couples to a lovely Essex based restaurant called The Anchor, Riverside. A friend who lives here had made the reservation and it seemed like a necessity as the place was buzzing.

After a quick drink in the bar we were seated for our meal at a lovely table with a window looking over the river. The food here is really interesting and very different. It is all presented in quite a fancy way and portions are not huge but after three courses everyone was satisfyingly full.

I opted for a crab cocktail, which had a crab toastie with ginger mayo and then a shot glass filled generously with white crab meat, avocado, tomato and mayo. I had to remove the extra mayo, which fortunately hadn't been mixed in as I am not a big fan but overall the starter was delicious. Three others went for the crispy crab claws, which were six in a portion, again, quite generous and the claws were very meaty. The duck Scotch egg looked delicious and the recipient was not disappointed. Finally the Indian spiced scallops were ordered and whilst tasty the portion was tiny.

For the main event I opted for something quite unusual. I had the tempura monkfish, which came in an almost black batter so I am not sure what it had been spiced with but the fish was flaked and moist and the batter was hot and crisp; it was a perfect combination. The fish came with a sweet potato and curried cauliflower puree, which was a delicious accompaniment. The hubby and one other chose the lamb shank with masala sauce and bombay potatoes, which they rated highly and was a generous portion. The final dish we got to sample was the roast suckling pig with BBQ carrots, which was also demolished quickly! We also ordered two sides of duck fat chips.

For dessert one went for a double Amaretto and one a seriously good looking and tasty Espresso Martini. A chocolate and peanut butter slice was ordered, which was generous on the peanut butter! Two portions of the rice pudding with baked plum were served and these tasted lovely. Although the rice pudding came in a ball that looked a little like Arancini!!!! I chose the carrot cake, which was deconstructed so there was a small amount of cream cheese frosting, separated from a very thin layer of sponge and a ginger beer sorbet. It looked good on the plate and was a very different way of serving the cake but I think maybe they tried to be a little too fancy!

We also had a bottle of Prosecco and three beers to start with as well as four bottles of a scrummy Malbec (£24.50 per bottle). I think a Limoncello was also added at the end of the meal. The total bill including service came to £115 per couple. So this was pricey but bearing in mind the volume of alcohol ordered I don't think it was too bad.

All in all this was a lovely evening with good food and great company. I am not often in the area but hopefully one day I can return and try some other things on the delicious looking menu.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Twenty Questions

My blog is now officially six months old, which is very exciting for me! I never quite imagined this little project during down time would turn into a blog documenting my life with 130 posts! To celebrate I thought I would give my readers a chance to ask me twenty questions:

1. How old are you?

I am 27 years old! It's pretty scary being considered as late twenties, it makes me feel as though I should have everything together but I don't, I am still learning and that is exciting.

2. Where do you live?

I was born in South East London and aside from a three year stint in Leeds for University I have not left!

3. How long have you been with your husband?

We were childhood sweethearts and have actually been together since meeting at school aged 15.

4. What is your favorite country?

My favorite overall country of all time is New Zealand, I was lucky enough to back pack for a month around the country back in my early twenties and had the time of my life.

5. Where is your favorite city?

Aside from London, which I believe is the greatest city on earth my favorite city is San Francisco, I spent four days there a few years ago and have been desperate to go back ever since.

6. Do you have any pets?

Unfortunately not but one day soon I will be purchasing a miniature Dachshund to fulfill a childhood dream but right now I cannot leave a puppy at home all day alone so I will have to wait until my circumstances change.

7. How many jobs have you had?

Well, I did nineteen months in my first post University role and then have just completed four years and four months in my current job, at the end of this month I am starting at a totally new company!

8. What is your guilty pleasure?

Definitely Cadbury chocolate!

9. What is next on your bucket list?

For me, I think it will be saving for a blow out trip to the Maldives, for the hubby I think he wants to head to Canada for a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.

10. What is your favorite food?

It has to be Italian, I am part Italian so I guess it's in the genes!

11. When you were five what did you want to be?

A professional gymnast for sure! So, quite different to the London Hedge Fund world.

12. What is your favorite film?

I am Sam, if you haven't watched it, download it NOW!

13. What is the bravest thing you have ever done?

Taking on and conquering the Nevis bungy in New Zealand at 134m

14. What view have you seen that amazed you?

Probably the most impressive I have seen was the Grand Canyon from a helicopter but seeing Abel Tasman National Park from a parachute after skydiving and looking out over the Serengeti at sunset were both equally mesmerizing.

15. What possession means the most to you?

My passport without a doubt, I couldn't experience the world without it.

16. What is your biggest fear?

Spiders, I can't even cope with the little ones.

17. What was your favorite subject at school?

Geography, uncanny now seeing as I have grown up and love to travel.

18. Do you vote?

Yes, of course, I personally believe everyone should but who I vote for is a secret.

19. Do you prefer the winter or the summer?

Probably the winter, you cannot beat a cozy night in front of the fire with a Christmas movie, a mug of steaming hot Milo and being snuggled under a blanket with a loved one.

20. Do you like to plan things in detail or be spontaneous?

I am definitely a planner, however, I am very aware of this and am trying to be a little more spontaneous; give me time!

I hope this gives you a little more insight into me! Join me again in six months time for another round and please submit any questions you may have for me to answer then!

One Day Stopover, Tokyo

If you only have a one day stop over in Tokyo and cannot manage to stretch to a longer itinerary such as: Four Days and Four Nights then I can really recommend the day trip we took with

We were collected promptly at our hotel at 8:10am and driven the short distance to the bus station where we swapped our confirmations for a ticket and were placed onto the coach, which had pre assigned seat numbers. I would usually be against coach tours but this was well organised and with so little time to see everything it meant we could encompass a lot of the city quickly.

The first stop was to Tokyo Tower. You are only taken to the first level viewing platform so unfortunately the view wasn't as high as from our hotel window. However, the tower was still impressive and worth a visit. You can stand on the glass platform if you are brave enough and look down!

From the tower we drove to a lovely Japanese garden where we looked at the incredibly old Bonsai trees as well as took part in a traditional tea ceremony. We were given two different types of sweets to line our stomach before drinking a cup full of powdered green tea. It was an interesting experience and great to take part in something so traditional whilst in Japan.

We then headed to lunch, which was definitely a highlight of the day. We were split into tables of six and seated around a lava stone. The chefs tied paper aprons around us and gave out hot towels to clean our hands. Water and Japanese tea were complementary but you could order wine, beer and soft drinks for a charge. We started with a salad followed by grilled vegetables and an array of pork and beef all dipped in teriyaki sauce and served with rice. The food was plentiful and very tasty.

After lunch we were driven to the Imperial Palace for a brief photo opportunity outside the gates and some history. Then we headed to the dock and took a forty minute boat ride down the Sumida river, which was great to see Tokyo from the water and therefore a different perspective. Here we got a glimpse of the Asahi headquarters (a building shaped like a pint of beer) and also the Tokyo Sky Tree, another high viewing platform in the city.

Our final stop of the day was the Asakusa Kannon Temple where we strolled down the shopping streets followed by viewing the temple and learning about some of the history associated with it. We were also shown how to tell your fortune. You donate a little fee and then shake a box of chopsticks, when one falls out you match the number to a drawer. In the drawer will be a piece of paper that says your fortune, if it is good take it with you, if it is bad then you must tie it to the rack at the temple to change your luck.

All in all this was a great little trip, we met some interesting people and our guide was amazing with incredible English. We learnt a lot about Tokyo and also saw a large chunk of the top tourist sites. We weren't blown away with anything we saw and coach trips are not really our style, however, with limited time I am really glad we took this tour as it was an easy and convenient way of seeing everything. Definitely consider something similar if you only have a short time in Tokyo as you will feel like you have encompassed a lot and being in a coach definitely helped the tired feet!