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!
Last week after a pretty insane feast at Sake No Hana, in St James (full post to come later on over the weekend) wearing a uniform of sorts… except for the skirt which was a brave decision on my part. The knowledge of a cab ride and sitting in a warm cosy Mayfair restaurant made me throw caution to the wind on that one. So excited for summer to come already, it’s been snowing in London this week and I can’t leave the house without a thousand layers on. This is me dreaming of what I’ll be wearing in two months time, shall we say?
Photos by India
Tomorrow I’ll be doing a yard sale with fellow bloggers Shini of Park & Cube, Alice of Alice Point, Hedvig of Northern Light, Peony Lim and Carrie of WishWishWish. I’ll be having a massive wardrobe clear out with designer and high street pieces all from £1. (Getting to the stage where I just need the space, so the more taken off my hands the better!) See you there!
That summer itch when all you want to do is have a holiday but in actual fact you’re knee deep in work and have nothing planned. The balloon sleeves on this dress quite make me look like I’m about to take off anyhow. Living in all black Y-3 and gleaming white Adidas for the last few weeks, until the heat wave struck and now I don’t quite know what to wear. I think my girl India is rubbing off on me a bit! I was always sporty spice in my school friends group anyway.
Photos by India
Another favourite outfit from what seems to be my new favourite store. I don’t know why Marni has never been so on my radar before but this current collection is ticking all the right boxes; micro silk pleats with raw hem, wrap around belt tie that just goes on and on. Perfect for this heatwave.
Photos by India
When you find yourself wondering around London’s Chelsea, it’s impossible not to stop in at Shop at Bluebird. Lunch on the terrace, a custom facial at their in house spa, a little
lightheavy shopping, and before you know if the afternoon has flown by and it’s time to hitch the bus home.. (a journey that takes 90 minutes but is scenic and beautiful none the less). I completely fell in love with their selection – mainly some beautiful silk Marni pieces, this Helmut kimono wrap jacket that needs to be mine immediately; as well as some chunky Marant leather . It’s my birthday next week if anyone needs a hint!
Shop at Bluebird are having a 20% off bank holiday weekend sale so if you find yourself gravitating towards London’s chelsea, you know where to go.
Photos by India
Admittedly not the most minimal of settings, but when it comes to spring time and London is filled with cherry blossoms, the more the merrier! Especially when it comes to the interiors of Michelin starred sushi restaurants; the incredible interior at Sake No Hana has welcomed the arrival of Spring by taking over and entwining the bar with Japanese cherry blossoms. The upstairs restaurant was particularly beautiful; we sat at the sushi bar watching the incredible precision of the sushi chefs making our bento boxes. Obviously THE most delicious I’ve ever eaten, especially with the accompaniment of the limited edition Sakuratini cocktail on the side.
Photos by Michael
When I came across the new LN-CC SS14 web campaign, shot in a marble quarry in Carrara, Tuscany; it’s needless to say, my mind was blown. Possibly the most incredible backdrop of all time (and a little jealous it never crossed my mind first tbh)! I need to book the next flight out, that’s for sure..
I remembered these photos I shot of the London store at the end of last year, when AW was still on the shelves. The insanely beautiful London store space acts as an ever changing platform of creative ideas – you can see this perfectly through their Vimeo film; as you can see there’s even a club inside the space that resides on East London’s Shacklewell Lane, which is actually how I came to see the space for the first time. I’m proud to say that such an awesome boutique resides in my neighbourhood, and if you’re visiting London I’m telling you to make an appointment :) They’re closed at the moment until September but no worries if you’re not London bound or living as they’re online too.
Wearing full Charlie May, and feeling pretty happy about it. The pieces are across three seasons, calf collar bomber jacket for next season (so excited!), deep v silk tee currently in store and the white wool skirt currently in the sale :)
Making a point of wearing me every day since multiple embarrassing situations of people asking if my something-or-other was Charlie May. No longer! Being a designer I totally get that people expect you to be head to toe in you/ be your own walking billboard, and now here we are. – Just don’t ask me about my bag or shoes, ok?
Photos by India