This was certainly one of those days where I felt very looked after indeed, I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year but living in multi cultural London there’s always something new and exciting to experience. Both Yauatcha and Hakkasan are London’s Chinese gems, both serving very different kinds of atmosphere and grub. Yauatcha is widely known for it’s Patisserie section, shining out from the windows into Soho, it lures people in for tea and sweet treats in the day; then very delicious cocktails in the evening. Hakkasan, in London’s Mayfair, is more concealed, tucked away like a secret for only those in the know. Downstairs in the darkness you are surrounded by various screens and latticed shutters, making each table secluded and private.
So here I take you through a day-to-night guide to Chinese New Year in London, starting with Yauatcha. As it’s the year of the sheep and a whole host of macaroons, petite gateaux’s and desserts have been added to the menu incorporating sheep’s milk. But first, my favourite dish was the inspired little goldfish dumplings. All of Yuatcha’s cuisine is insanely photogenic; prepare to have your phone at the ready at all times! We decided a few things off the menu were too good not to order on top of the Chinese New Year menu, so we added traditional pork belly and scallops with lotus root, a very light and fragrant dish compared to the rich pork belly. The Yáng Walker cocktail is a must try, though beware if you have an empty stomach, it’s very strong! Yauatcha for me is the perfect getaway from busy central London, hide away with friends and just indulge yourself. The atmosphere is young and fresh; families, friends and even acquaintences dining together in one big friendly room. You can really go to town on the desserts. I suggest the more friends you take the better, for this reason ;)
Hakkasan for me is more of a romantic setting, take your partner into the dark, sultry surroundings and experience the heady rich menu. We stuck to the Chinese New Year menu this time; it’s quite full on so in typical Chinese cuisine fashion, you had better make sure you’re ravenous on sitting down! The absolute star of the show for me was the Grilled Chilean Sea Bass in honey; so delicious that I hadn’t the time to even take a photograph. DEVOURED. This is serious comfort food and the rib-eye beef accompanied by the Lilly bulb and almond prawns were both rich and satisfying. The dessert come out with its own wishing tree. When you arrive at the table you are encouraged to make a wish and hang it on the latticed shutters surrounding you using the red wishing card at the table. A tradition in China, around New Year is that villagers would visit the sacred banyan trees miles away and hang their wishes upon their branches. The higher the branch the wish was put upon the more likely it was to come true.
The New Years feast is on at either Hakkasan or Yuatcha until the 1st March.
The weekend is often the best time to catch up with friends, after a busy week who better to unwind with that your inner circle? I find the best catch ups are spent trying a new brunch spot, and pushing your food comfort zones. London is constantly cropping up with new restaurants and new menus; so discovering Umai Saturdays at Sake No Hana, one crisp, bright, sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend was a treat indeed.
It’s traditional in Japan to enjoy many dishes throughout one meal. This five course treat was started with the most delicious little bowl of sesame spinach (the only ‘salad’ I ever want to eat again!) and sparkling sake, which was a revelation to me. It’s light and sweet and almost the opposite of it’s counterpart. A delicate ‘Suzuko Usuzukuri’ sea bass sashimi followed, then the large plate of insanely delicious little sushis came out, accompanied with traditional still Sake. I had to be careful to not stock up too much as I knew what was to come!
The star of the show was the Umai (translation: Delicious) Sukiyaki with candy floss. Yup. Rib-eye beef with tofu, mushrooms and vegetables came to be cooked at the table in a cast iron pot. Whilst a delicate cloud of candy floss was carried over and placed on top or the sizzling beef. A hot sauce was poured over the top of the floss to turn the spun sugar into a sticky sauce to accompany our main. MIND BLOWN AT THIS POINT. It was a little sobering to see how much sugar went into this dish, but Hey! I said this was a treat, after all…
Then, as if not satisfied enough, out came dessert. What felt like a more classic Japanese dessert was the Sesame creme with Yuzu sorbet and blackberry meringue, accompanied by what clearly every brit wants to see for a dessert a Miso apple Tarte Tatin, so many gooey light pastry layers it was serious heaven. The light in this room is seriously too good, we could have easily sat people watching all afternoon. And we pretty much did. There’s no need to rush off, this Japanese five course sensation is to reflect their love of long, delicious meals.
Thanks Sake No Hana for having us!
Some comings and goings in my life lately. Sometime I feel like my instagram is way better than my blog, or at least shows different aspects of what I love to do in real-time, like traveling and eating, mostly.
This week I’ve been meeting with Danielle Foster to see the finished bags from our collab (they’re so awesome!); securing the show venue, which is going to be bigger and better than last season; visiting the bloggers suite at the St Martins Lane hotel over London Collections Mens for cocktails and relaxation time, and of course, general studio working of toiling and making the AW13 collection! I had to share a picture of the current AnOther magazine – my very talented seamstress Maria, made all the giant plastic domes that are in this editorial. So insanely amazing!
I thought I’d share some new beauty treatments, as my skin really suffers in the winter with the harsh cold and dry-out central heating, so to combat it I got some Embryolisse lait-creme concentre for day and Jurlique night moisturiser for night. My skin feels amazing, so both genuinly recommended! As for new eats, this week I tried out Patty & Bun, new London burger joint everyone’s raving about, and you will too; also Dishoom, that I’ve already been to a couple of times as it’s just so good! Favourite buy of the week is the Noemi Klein spine ring in gold, pictured top, which hasn’t left my ring since I got it. I hope you all got to enjoy the snow over the weekend, if you had some!
Shooting like a rocket up Heron Tower’s glass elevator early on a Sunday afternoon was quite the surprising experience; doing 0-40 floors in 3 seconds, I’m surprised I even managed lunch after the vertigo! The lift kicked us out a couple of floors down, which gave us the chance to to take in the views and stop off for a quick outfit shot, before being told off by the security guards (apparently the tower is still somewhat being built and the glass hadn’t been secured – erm ok!). The food at D&W was so good though, I’m still dreaming about those ox cheek donuts and of course, their signature dish – the duck and waffle! I’m looking forward to going back at nighttime to see London lit up, and jealous of anyone who managed to go on Monday for fireworks on bonfire night!
Photos by Lexxi
Sitting here editing these photos has made me so hungry! Last week Lexxi introduced me to Ukai Sushi; just down the road from her work, she goes regularly for a bite and was the perfect partner to order all the best dishes on the menu.
It all looked so good and we sat there hungrily eyeing up everyone else’s dishes, until we decided to go for a mix of sushi and hot plates, washed down with some miso soup and a bottle of their sweet homemade Sake! The sushi was out of this world and I’m pretty sure I’m hooked, next time I’m in central I’ll be heading back here to catch Lex on one of her impromptu lunches!
There’s no doubt that East London’s Columbia Road flower market is the place to be on a Sunday, just a short walk away from Brick Lane’s PUMA YARD, it hosts live music, a farmers market, coffee pit stops, cafe’s and of course, the flower stalls overspilling with freshly cut or grown greenery. The sound of merchants trying to out shout each other is deafening as you walk down Columbia Road (GET YOUR ROSES £5 A BUNCH!), and always brings a smile to my face.
For lunch I stopped by Printers and Stationers, an old printing workshop converted into an eatery just off the square where you can watch the buskers play, it’s the perfect chill out spot for a beer a beer and pulled pork sandwich, as well as being just around the corner from the fresh Oyster bar. The flower market is open from 8am to 4pm on Sundays only.
Helpful tip: turn up around 4pm, closing time, for bunches of flowers for £2 or £3!
Some pictures rounding up my birthday last Wednesday; breakfast at the Breakfast Club with family and friends (I’ve just discovered their bacon and banana french toast – totally addicted!), followed by drinks in the sunshine overlooking London, some pampering in the afternoon before, dinner with some of my closest friends Alexxsia, Michael, Kit, Jackie, Alistair and Jade. Lexxi surprised me with my favourite cake in the whole world; a red velvet from the Hummingbird bakery! Happiness is that cake, followed closely by being sung happy birthday to on the piano at the end of the night! It was the best day ever and I have all my friends to thank for that.
Excited to be going back to Devon tomorrow for the week, hope you are all enjoying your bank holiday weekend!
I am just bombarding you guys with food posts as of late. As soon as it gets cold I just want to stuff my face and hibernate! Anyway, this is about reclaiming my weekend; usually on a Sunday I’m stuck at work dying of boredom, so it was a real treat to have lunch with two of my besties, Alexxsia and Andrew (TFD). We were still on a high from shooting the film on Saturday and we walked around Shoreditch enjoying the snow. A few friends had been raving about The Book Club on Leonard St and it didn’t disappoint; any establishment that offers free DIY bloody mary’s is alright in my book. After we polished off some heavy tradish english grub we headed over to pudding favourite, the Albion where we all shared a sticky toffee, rhubarb crumble and rice pudding. Having a little bit of everything is definitely the way to go.
Last Thursday Alexxsia, Michael and I were invited to try out Trullo; a restaurant in Islington with quite a reputation for tasty eats. The decor downstairs was quite rustic, with exposed light and ventilations fixtures, as well as little cubby holes in the walls for tables and chairs; hooks hung inconspicuously from the walls for the guests to hang their coats, whilst the kitchen was fairly open and you could watch your food being prepared.
Trullo is known for their great cocktails so for starters we tried out a few, favourites being the Lions Tale and the Expresso Martini. For a bite we all tried the Arancini with saffron and bone marrow, which was in short deep fried risotto. I’d been excited to try bone marrow, but to be honest I couldn’t really tell it was there, it was a delicious morsel to start with though and I would definitely order it again. For more of a main, my favourite was the Braised cuttlefish with bay and red onion – their top dish without a doubt; I would also recomend trying the Mozzerella di bufala with Swiss chard and Amalfi lemon- the lemon brings out a completely new dimension to the dish, as well as the beef and polenta dish, which was tasty. It’s worth saying that their menu changes on a daily basis, so I can’t guarantee these exact dishes will be available, but I think the dishes always remain similar.
For dessert Michael, Alexxsia and I shared 4 puddings (which was pretty funny considering we were the only fashion bloggers there, and the rest of the table ordered 3 plates between 5 people..) Who said fashion week is on the way? The coffee creme pannacotta was pretty awesome for a bitter and sweet combination but the favourite among us all was the cheese plate to end all cheese plates, with matching wines. UH-MAY-ZING.
So pizza dough doesn’t really rise, but you can thank my boyfriend for that title. Last Thursday evening I returned to Assaggetti, but this time I was on the other side of the wall – in the kitchen! Michael, Alexxsia and I were the only fashion bloggers there for the prosecco tasting and pizza making event. We stood out like sore thumbs in our Wang and Acne, quoting this more and more as the night progressed. It was pretty exciting getting our hands dirty in the kitchen, we were taught everything from how the dough is made to appropriate oven temperatures (400 degrees!), we even had our own chef outfits. One key fact that stayed with me, is that you know the dough is right when it feels like a 20 year olds breasts.. you can’t make this stuff up. Cue blank expressions from the gays in the room. My favourite pizza was Lexxi’s sizzling chorizo and chilli, so good! I think smaller pizzas may be the best way to go, we got to try out so many different flavour combinations. Thank you so much Assaggetti and Alix, from MeMo Interactive, for the invitation! – Also to Michael for letting me steal a couple of pics.