Tag Archives: London

Hakkasan – Hanaway Place! Dim Sum in style!

Hakkasan – Hanaway Place!

When you move to London you always hear about the top restaurants and the best places to eat and Hakkasan is one of THE most talked about restaurants in central London.

Hakkasan is famed for it’s amazing Dim Sum but also for being one of the best places to eat, meaning it attracts many a famous face!

We booked our trip to Hakkasan through Book A Table who were offering us 3 courses for £35 per person. As we have always wanted to visit we decided to bite the bullet and take a trip. The offer was only at Hanaway Place and not the celeb filed Mayfair restaurant, but we didn’t care as it’s about the food at the end of the day!

On arrival we were greeted by a lovely lady who showed us to our seat. We were given the standard menu and it turned out the 3 courses for £35 is in their regular menu and is their Dim Sum sharing platter.

We weren’t disappointed however, simply intrigued that it was made out to be a special deal when really it wasn’t. It is clever advertising though as we would never have gone simply assuming prices would be well out of budget – so it actually was a good thing!

The menu is available online under the ‘Taste of Hakkasan’ section of their website, so you know what to expect before you arrive.

Our starter was a dim sum platter which was very heavily made of seafood – we had scallops and caviar amongst other dim sum items. They were little bites of heaven!

Hakkasan starter
Dim sum starter! Yum!

We ordered some cocktails whilst we waited for the main menu – and believe me they are worth the £10-£15 price tag – made beautifully with a creative flair to give you that excitement worth the money!

The main course was a sharing platter consisting of Black pepper rib eye beef with merlot, Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond, Grilled Chilean sea bass with honey, Pipa duck, Cloud ear vegetables and Steamed jasmine rice. Served in small bowls on a sharing hot plate – the dim sum style continued and it was really fun trying all of the food and learning to use chopsticks!

Hakksan Main
Hakkasan Sharing Platter

I really recommend the Pipa Duck and my partner recommends the Black Pepper Beef with merlot!

The food really is amazing and well worth the £35 per head price tag especially when it came to dessert – we got to chose any dessert from their menu (prices starting from about £10) at no extra cost! I chose a caramelised apple tartan and my partner tried the lemon panacotta – both were gorgeous but the tartan was the overall favourite with my partner stealing some from me!

Hakkasan Dessert
Panacotta!
Hakkasan Dessert 2
The winning dessert!

If you are on a budget like us the ‘Taste of Hakkasan’ menu was brilliant! We spent about £60 a head including the food, cocktails, sparking water, nibbles (we ordered some prawn crackers etc) and service charge.

Overall I would 100% recommend visiting Hakkasan due to the top quality of the food but the decor and ambiance make it a winner too!

Roux at the Landau, Oxford Circus, London

Roux at the Landau, Oxford Circus

Recently my family came to visit me in London and I wanted to take them somewhere special to eat. We love Masterchef as a family and really like Michel Roux, so I was thrilled when I found an offer for ‘Roux at the Landau’ offering a three course meal with champagne for only £30 per person. (Price may have increased since however!)

Location

Roux at the Landau is the michelin star chef Michel Roux’s restaurant situated in the Landau Hotel, Portland Place, directly behind London’s Oxford Circus.

Roux Located just behind Oxford Circus
Located just behind Oxford Circus

Toptable Deal

Toptable were offering three courses plus champagne, coffee and petits fours for only £30 per person as part of their pre theatre offer. This worked out great for us as I booked tickets to Phantom of the Opera in the West End situated a 10 minute walk from the Landau.

Arrival

On arrival we were offered a drink at the bar and our coats were taken from us. We were then seated when our table was ready.

The actual restaurant is quite small, but very beautiful and there is plenty of space between tables making the atmosphere very romantic and personal. The decor is modern with a traditional twist, giving the place an exceptionally elegant feel.

The head waiter brought us the set Top Table menu and our champagne, bread for the table and water.

Champers at Roux!
Champers!!

Dinner

The menu, also a special set one, offers a good choice of starters, mains and desserts for even the fussiest eater. We all tried different things so we could sample all the options! I ordered the soup for starter and duck for mains, both were exquisite!

After dessert we were brought coffee and petit fours which were delicious, however time was running late considering we were heading to the theatre. The waiters brought everything quickly however and clearly were happy to accommodate people leaving for the theatre (especially as it was a pre theatre seating), we were just too busy chatting and enjoying the food and lost track of time!

  
Roux Dinner! Yum!
Dinner! Yum!

Fantastic night

All in all the evening was a great success, value for money was tremendous, location and atmosphere perfect and the food was heavenly!

We would 100% recommend Roux at the Landau as the perfect place for a special occasion, date or event! And if you get a Top Table offer, even better!

The Parlour Bar, Canary Wharf, London

The Parlour Bar, Canary Wharf, London

So last Friday night we visited The Parlour Bar located in bustling Canary Wharf, London. Friday night is the most popular night in Canary Wharf, as all the resident workers leave work for the weekend and visit the bars and restaurants that help Canary Wharf thrive.

The Parlour Bar is part of the Drake and Morgan franchise, and offers all day eating and drinking in a unique and stylish environment channeling a secret garden theme.

Location

Visiting on a Friday night is an experience, you get the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf so you do have to queue for the bar or a table. Parlour Bar is located just a few minutes from Canary Wharf station, located on the Jubilee Line or the DLR.

The Parlour Bar, near Canary Wharf
The Parlour Bar, near Canary Wharf

Drinks

The drinks menu is extensive and offers a great mix of drinks ranging from wines, beers, cocktails and bubbly!

The cocktail menu excels itself, ranging from single classic drinks, to sharing cocktails, all the way to a cocktail served in a makeshift goldfish bowl! (Yes this is the one named goldfish in a bag!)

We sampled the sharing cocktail served in the bath tub ‘rub a dub shrub’ which tasted great and the serving was a great novelty finish, plus price wise split between four of us was really good value!

Parlour Bar Bath Tub Drinks!

Eating

Parlour also offers meals – breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner to be precise. We would highly recommend booking a table in advance as it does get pretty busy! The food itself is really good and we can’t fault the service at all. The dinner menu has plenty of choice and the atmosphere is great if you are looking for a lively night out!

The Parlour Bar, Canary Wharf is a great choice for a busy and lively night out and for after work drinks. The atmosphere is electric and the drinks are unique and quirky.

London Fashion Week – places to visit!

London Fashion Weeks hot spots!

With London Fashion Week 2014 almost upon us, we have picked out our top 4 places to visit near Somerset House  during London’s most fashionable week!

Radio Rooftop Bar- ME Hotel London

Situated opposite Somerset House, Radio Rooftop Bar is the perfect location for those London Fashion Week after show drinks. Elegant and sophisticated, with a stunning backdrop this really is the number one place to visit during London Fashion Week.

Radio Rooftop Bar offers stunning views across London, a great Tapas menu plus an extensive cocktail list.

Fashion Week ME Hotel
View from RRB

Entry to the bar is on a walk in basis, depending on how busy the bar is at the time. The dress code is formal – which shouldn’t be a problem during Fashion Week!

Prices reflect the usual London drinks cost – cocktails are around £12 however the service given is of the highest standard.

The décor is ultra modern and if you brave the outside Rooftop Bar there are comfy sofas and patio heaters to keep you warm!

If you don’t fancy Radio Rooftop then ME Hotel also has the Marconi Lounge which is situated in the hotel lobby for a more casual visit.

We 100% recommend Radio Rooftop Bar for a fashion filled, glamorous after show drink or two!

One Aldwych

One Aldwych is situated in Covent Garden, just a two minute walk from Somerset House. It is yet another hotel which we recommend visiting during London Fashion Week. The ambience here is relaxing but glamorous. The staff are simply amazing too (see my review here).

We visited Indigo for brunch and can whole heartedly recommend this for a sophisticated event before or after the Fashion Week shows. The unlimited prosecco offer is the ultimate enjoyment!

View of the Lobby Bar Fashion Week
View of the Lobby Bar

One Aldwych also have an amazing lobby bar too, with a double height ceiling and gorgeous sculptures for a more relaxed event or just for cocktails!

 

“This is probably the most beautiful hotel lobby bar in London.”
London Evening Standard

Pricing again matches the London standard but the ambience, service and quality is well worth the London weighting.

Corinthia Hotel – London

Corinthia Hotel is situated just a mere 10 minute walk from Somerset House and offers plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy during London Fashion Week.

Corinthia Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in London and the bars certainly reflect that.

The three bars include ‘Bassoon’, ‘The Northall Bar’ and ‘Massimo Oyster Bar’. We have visited ‘The Northhall Bar’ and enjoyed some lovely cocktails here so can recommend this as a great place to visit.

IMG_3106
Champers at the Corinthia Hotel

The ambience is relaxed but elegant – dress code is casual / formal being a hotel lobby. Prices again reflect London cocktail prices but the quality is worth it. The Corinthia Hotel oozes luxury and high class, making it the perfect place to visit during London Fashion Week.

Adventure Bar              

My final recommendation is a little bit different to the above. If you wish to let your hair down we really recommend visiting ‘Adventure Bar’ Covent Garden.

Adventure Bar is a fun and lively place where the drinks are themed and sometimes very surprising. The atmosphere is exciting and lively with a retro feel.

The music has mix of classic and modern tracks to keep you entertained, and a cocktail list (handed to you in a retro DVD case!) which will have you fighting over what to chose!

Adventure Bar cocktails fashion week
Adventure Bar cocktails

Adventure bar offers an alternative evening to the other places recommended and well worth a visit after the shows, being just ten minutes from Somerset House. Prices are cheaper than expected which is a great bonus too.

 

Where ever you decide to visit during London Fashion Week 2014 just remember to do it in style!

Valentines Day in London Town!

Celebrate Valentines Day in style!

Whether you are single and ready to mingle or happily settled in a relationship, February 14th always brings around certain challenges no matter what your ‘relationship status’ is.

The first challenge I believe is ‘How to celebrate Valentines Day’. Do you go out, stay in, party, drink, dine, dance? Whatever you decide London really does have the answer!

If you wish to celebrate Valentines Day then London really is the city to do it in. I’ve picked out my top places, (that aren’t already sold out!) that couples might like to visit the celebrate.

  • The Queens House in Greenwich has a special ‘Love in the Archives‘ event especially for Valentines Day. ‘Love in the Archives’ is a special event where letters written by Georgian Navy men to their wives and mistresses, are exhibited. There will also be accompanying music and prosecco on arrival.
  • If a restaurant is more your thing we can personally recommend ‘Roux at the Landau‘. Situated behind Oxford Circus tube station this restaurant oozes class and is intimate and romantic. The food is simply amazing and the ambience is perfect for a Valentines night dinner.
Valentines Day at Roux
                     Roux at The Landau
  • The Lookout in Hyde Park is hosting a film night by the travelling cinema club. If curling up under the stars with your loved one is your ideal night then this could be the one for you. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast and pack plenty of layers! Note: The 14th has sold out but you can still get tickets for the 15thhttp://www.whereisthenomad.com/buy-tickets-now/

If you are single in the city then celebrating Valentines Day might seem like an oxymoron to you, but London does offer up some great alternatives to the couples events.

  •  My number one event this Valentines Day for all the single ladies is London Fashion Week! If (like me boo!) you aren’t lucky enough to get tickets don’t panic you can take a look at the schedule, grab your best friends, don your highest fashion clothes, shoes or bag and visit Radio Rooftop Bar opposite Somerset House to scope out the visitors going in and out!
  • Bounce in Holborn is hosting an ‘Anti Valentines Day Party‘ with live entertainment, games and tournaments just some of the events taking place to get you in the party sprint. They even offer UV ping pong included in the £5 ticket cost.
  • The Shard is hosting a dating party through ‘Doing Something‘ on the 12th and event goers will even get to witness a new Guinness World Record as it becomes the ‘Worlds Highest Urban Ice Bar‘ that very night. To top of the fun waiters will be dressed as penguins for the night!
Visit Altitude like Spencer!
                 Visit Altitude like Spencer!
  • If you are an animal lover and charity is more your thing then the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home are holding a special valentines event with bubbly on arrival. A £2 entry donation is recommended! Who knows you could walk away with your perrfect Valentine!

The next challenge if you are in a couple is ‘What to get them as a present?‘.

The perfect Valentines gift doesn’t have to be large, flashy and expensive. It can however be something thoughtful and sweet.

  • A personalised card goes a long way. With sites such as Moonpig easily available with plenty of options you can create your perfect photo card within minutes! A personalised card means a lot more than a generic one as it means you have put time and thought in to it. If you prefer to hand make the card then get down to a local craft shop, grab some ribbon, card and pens and get creating!
  • Make a mixed CD. CDs might not be as popular as they used to be – but they can be handy on road trips etc. Create a CD with all your favourite songs to sing along to together so when the time comes when a CD is actually useful you can pop it in and remember all of your good times together!
  • Buy them something they can wear, this could range from hoodies or hats to jewellery or underwear depending on what your partner likes. Just remember to find out their size first to save disappointment!
A special Valentines Day present!
             Buy them something to wear!
  • Fragrance is a popular choice on Valentines. Always pick something you know they like to make sure you get it right! Pay attention to what is already on their dresser to ensure you make the right choice. Or you could get creative and create something personal for them, creating a bespoke frangrance. We recommend Floris on Jermny Street, St. James.
  • Flowers can be a great choice whilst keeping it simple. The traditional red rose is of course the number one choice on Valentines Day but you also opt for other flowers depending on your girls style. Don’t be afraid to break with tradition is that’s what your girl would really like.
Valentines Day roses!
                           Flowers say it all!
  • If all the above isn’t quite right for whatever reason then the best option for a great Valentines Day present is to organise a date! You can keep it simple – cook dinner, candles, music, wine etc or you can opt for a day or evening out – remember it’s the thought that counts! Take a look through some of our previous reviews for ideas on where to go to celebrate!

 However you spend your Valentines Day just remember that you are lucky enough to do so in such a diverse and beautiful city!

Taylor Swift- Red Tour London

Taylor Swift rocks the O2!

So last night we went to watch Taylor Swift and her Red Tour perform live at London’s O2 arena.

The place was sold out and the atmosphere was amazing.

Firstly I have to give credit to The O2 for being very proactive in terms of the London tube strike – they emailed us to let us know alternative routes etc. and they displayed details in the actual arena via their advertising banners. Hats off to them!

Taylor Swift Red Tour
Red Tour poster

The warm up act was The Vamps who went down very well – especially with the younger female crowd. They were a great starting act and got the crowd dancing and ready for the main act to arrive.

Taylor came on promptly around 8pm and from then on we were entertained to the maximum with her amazing voice, incredible lyrics, great costumes, stage theatrics, videos and set.

The Red Tour was extremely well thought out with a little bit of something for everyone. Taylor sang some older famous songs such as ‘Love Story‘ and ‘Sparks Fly‘ and she also say songs off the aforementioned album including ‘Red‘ and ‘We are never getting back together.’

Taylor Swift Red Tour
Taylor Swift Red Tour

The staging was amazing with new backdrops for most songs including a carousal, wedding chapel, circus and much more.

Her backing dancers were energetic and interesting to watch but Taylor stole the show with her passion and enthusiasm plus she worked the crowd exceptionally well – flying across and over people at certain points and always including the people lucky enough to be standing right by the stage.

The surprise of the night was Taylor introducing Danny O’Donoghue from The Script on to stage where they gave a great duet of ‘Breakeven‘ to the most insane crowd yet! (Taylors words!)

The show ended with a massive standing ovation after Taylor sang her very famous recent hit ‘We are never getting back together‘ sporting an amazing red glittery jacket with red confetti falling from the rafters.

Taylor Swift Red Tour tickets
Red Tour tickets

News reports today mention that the previous nights show ended with someone coming on to the stage to hand Taylor a note (read more here) however nothing disrupted last nights show.

The Red Tour was quite simply amazing – passionate, emotive, lively, entertaining and it really gave Taylor Swift the opportunity to show people her personality and (if this is possible) cemented her even more in to the hearts of the people who had been there to see her!

Brooklyn Bowl arrives in London!

Brooklyn Bowl opens in London!

So the latest hotspot everyone is excited about in London is the arrival of ‘Brooklyn Bowl‘, located in the famous O2 Arena on the Greenwich Peninsula.

London O2

Brooklyn Bowl is a famous bowling alley, restaurant and music venue and as the name suggests started in Brooklyn, New York. The idea as far as we could work out is that famous people perform/ bowl there and they are trying to bring that to London with the place being attached to the O2 Arena!

So we actually booked a table at the restaurant as we couldn’t reserve a bowling lane online but on arrival the waitress told us we could eat whilst bowling so we decided to take that option instead.

Bowling was £18 per 30 minutes (peak time!) so it can work out pricey if there isn’t many of you bowling but I think they allow around 8 people per lane so for larger groups it’s a bit of a bargain really!

Brooklyn Bowl scoreboard

We ordered loads of food including BBQ Pork Sliders, Cheesy fries and the biggest chicken wings we have ever seen. We had a friend from LA with us and even he was bowled over by the food! (Excuse the pun!)

The bowling itself is standard – bumpers / no bumpers – we chose none! But the atmosphere is great – fantastic music and nice decor creating a modern and edgy vibe. There are big TV screens playing music events which is awesome and I heard that some events from the O2 will be screened there too!

Halfway through bowling the lights dimmed and the pins and lane became illuminated which was a fun bonus!

Brooklyn Bowl bowling!

I totally recommend London Brooklyn Bowl as a fun and relaxed night out for larger groups of people 🙂

They also hold events there and tomorrow they are holding a Super Bowl party – you can get tickets through their site for this.

For details on London Brooklyn Bowl you can visit their site here – you can also reserve tables and get tickets to events here too 🙂

Portobello Road – Notting Hill

‘You’ll find what you want in the Portobello Road!’

So last weekend we ventured to North London to visit Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill – the place most people associate with the 1999 romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill’ film starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.

Portobello Road is located in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and is situated just a few minutes walk Ladbroke Grove station or Nottinghill Gate.

A place also famous for it’s Carnival – http://www.thenottinghillcarnival.com/.

We visited the lovely market stalls along the Portobello Road – stopping to look at things such as cashmere scarves , antique paraphernalia, old worn books with so much history to them, an unique hand crafted jewellery.

Portobello Road sign

There really is something for everyone on Portobello Road!

We stopped off for a quick drink in the ‘Duke of Wellington’ which had a lovely lively atmosphere, probably due to it being extremely busy because of the rain that had descended upon the market goers of Portobello Road!

Once the rain had cleared we made our way outside and further down Portobello Road until we came to Pizza East.

This is now one of my favourite places to eat in London – the decor is lovely and earthy with a large open pizza oven making the room lovely and warm and the atmosphere is relaxing and friendly. Our waiter (an Aussie gentleman) was amazingly helpful, friendly and a real credit to this place!

The food is also amazing – we ordered a pizza topped with Roast Pork and crackling and what more can I say! Delicious!

I recommend this place for a great night either chilling with friends or on a date as the ambience is great and food and staff also top notch.

You can book a table online and view the menu here.

Indigo – One Aldwych

Birthday Brunch at Indigo!

For my birthday brunch myself and some friends decided to visit Indigo in the lovely Indigo restaurant of the One Aldwych hotel.

I found the website online after searching for ‘best brunch Covent Garden’. Although just a little bit away from Covent Garden and closer to Temple this was a great find!

The Indigo brunch menu looked great – two courses for £25, three courses for £30 and you can add unlimited prosecco for an extra £14. All details can be found here.

I booked two tables for our group as the online booking wouldn’t let me book one for 10 people.

A few days later when walking past Indigo, we decided to pop in and check the place out – they were so friendly and helpful once inside and even though the place was closed for service they allowed us upstairs to check out the restaurant. They let us pick where we wanted to sit and organised my bookings in to one so it was easier to manage.

Little did I know that my other half also organised some lovely surprises with them too – he found them really easy to deal with also.

On arrival on my birthday one of the first surprises was revealed! They had printed us special keep sake menus with my name and birthday inside – such a lovely touch for our brunch.

My personalise Indigo birthday menu!
My personalised birthday menu!

We then all decided to have two courses – a starter and a main – the food was lovely – and also opted for the unlimited prosecco option! Needless to say when they said unlimited they meant it! Great value for money! Our glasses weren’t ever empty before they were topping us back up!

Everyone commented about how great the place was and some friends even then booked for their birthdays!

View from our table Indigo
View from our table

After our mains we had a little time before they brought out the most beautiful pink cake with my name on! I felt like a princess and that I was being totally spoilt rotten! They even wrapped up what wasn’t eaten for us to take home.

My beautiful cake!
My beautiful cake!

Indigo and One Aldwych (and of course my other half who arranged this!) really made my birthday a truly special day and they now have a special place in my heart – it really was an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime!

Enjoying cake and prosecco at Indigo!
Enjoying cake and prosecco!

 

The OXO Tower – London!

OXO Tower – Dream come true!

So my dream of visiting the OXO Tower finally came true after my beloved other half surprised me on my birthday!

I have to say it was all I had dreamt of and more!

Situated on the eighth floor of Harvey Nichols, South Bank, the OXO Tower has a truly stunning view across the Thames.

On arrival we accepted a seat at the bar where we had pre dinner drinks whilst we took in the amazing views across the City. We went in the evening when it was a little dark outside but we could still make out most of the famous landmarks!

Relaxing with pre drinks at OXO Tower!
Relaxing with pre drinks!

Once seated we had time to explore the menu – which included seasonal ingredients in most dishes – which was a lovely idea.

For mains I chose the Lamb noisette with crown prince pumpkin, trompettes and pearl onions with a mint butter sauce. It was divine to say the least!

The meal was beautifully presented and although it looked slightly small on arrival, the rich food and gorgeous textures filled me up plenty!

We decided to split a dessert after the lovely mains and chose the sorbet selection. The flavours were incredible and I would recommend these as a light way to finish off your meal.

The ambience of the restaurant was great, we felt relaxed whilst dining and we didn’t feel over dressed in our Sunday best – always a bonus!

Overall I would 100% recommend the OXO Tower for a lovely dinner for a special occasion.

To check out the menu or to book at table you can find the details here.