Food: Overindulgence @ Taste of London

Taste of London. A place where some of London’s best restaurant’s come together under one roof. Somewhere where I can try several of the places on my list in one go – a small plate at each, making a decisive about how quickly I need to tick them off properly. Basically Taste of London is my dream way to spend a few hours.

There was everything there. Every type of food you could imagine. Chinese dumplings which smelt INSANELY good. Classic French. Cheese. Indian. Thai. Everything. I quickly instructed W that we would share everything so we could try more things – a plan I’d highly recommend. I’m only gutted that we arrived already feeling pretty stuffed from a festive cookery class with AEG (more to come on that one!).

We started by trying to have a wander and gauge what was about. Spoiler: we failed miserably. Going onto the site afterwards to try and write this post I realised just how many places I wanted to go to. Bubbledogs and Kricket both got missed which I’m pretty damn gutted about!

First to be ticked off was Bao, which has been on my list to try for what feels like forever. The Fried Chicken Bao
(soy milk marinated chicken, Sichuan mayo, kimchi, coriander) was everything I hoped for. A little on the small side for £6 perhaps, but full of flavour. The chicken was both crunchy and moist, and the sauce spicy and sweet. The Bao bun was also delicious and it’s pushed the place further up my list.

We then wandered off to find the dish that, for me, turned out to be the dish of the night. Farang’s Roasted Peach Massaman Curry (seasoned with peanuts, sweet basil and wild ginger) was utterly amazing. Sweet, salty, spicy and perfectly balanced. How they managed to keep the fruit so perfectly cooked is beyond me. Damn good and something I’ve been craving all week.

We took a quick break from the savoury options and headed over to Action Against Hunger’s Doughnut stall. We split two options. The Peter Gordon (pear and ginger compote stuffed doughnut
crunchy maple cornflakes, basil icing) was absolutely delicious whilst the Dan Doherty (coffee, Amaretto and almond) was a tad too sweet for my taste. Both good though, and better than quite a few doughnuts I’ve tried recently!

It was then time to hit The Cheese Bar. We picked up their Four Cheese Truffled Macaroni Cheese and it was…okay. If I’m honest I was disappointed – it lacked a real cheesy depth of flavour, and I didn’t really taste a huge amount of truffle either. It wasn’t bad, and maybe I’d have enjoyed it more had I not been totally and utterly stuffed. Their grilled cheese looked pretty epic though! This is definitely a place I want to visit to see what they can do…

Our final dish was one which confused me. Moro serve North African and Spanish dishes and the flavours in our pick were certainly good. Grilled quail with beetroot borani and pistachio sauce balanced on a fine line of freshness and richness. It was herby and vibrant, so colourful, but utterly filling. Our real complaint was that it was impossible to eat with plastic cutlery on a paper plate.

And with that we left. Clutching our bellies, it was a long tube journey home!

Unfortunately Taste of London was limited to one weekend, and one weekend only, but the good news? They’ll be back! From the 13-17th of June they’ll be in Regents Park and I’ll definitely be there – and starting with an empty belly this time…

*I received two tickets and some meal vouchers as part of an AEG event, however was under no obligation to write this post – I loved the evening and wanted to share all the delicious food!

Have you ever been to Taste of London? What did you think?

Review: Handmade Burger Co, Leicester

I have a few major loves in my life. Family and friends, obviously. My dog. Burgers come very close behind.

I’ve talked about my love of burgers before, I’ve moaned about how difficult it is to find a good one. I’ve since made it my mission to try as many burgers as possible (hell, it’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to move to London later this month!), to try and find my ultimate burger.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 5_zps1hrdwp51.jpgIf I’m honest, my American Cheese from Handmade Burger Co came close. Their beef patty was definitely one of the best flavoured beef patties I’ve eaten. Properly meaty, a good beefy taste, an almost crunchy outer and soft inner – but it was served well-done, with no option for to-order cooking. A medium patty would have had this burger at near perfection for me.

The restaurant itself is huge, and located around the corner from Highcross it needs to be. It has been rammed full on each of our visits, though the service has always been quick and, if not friendly, very efficient. Modern, clean, it’s perfect for a quick pit-stop when shopping. We ordered a lot, making the most of my student discount before (sob) it ended. Luckily W’s will start again relatively soon, and once I begin studying professionally I’ll be back in possession of an NUS. But for now? I’m missing it. On our table we had four very different burgers, and three very different portions of fries.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 6_zpsowjnnzsk.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 3_zpst6h14wwg.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 2_zpsgxyhxbxr.jpgMy American Cheese burger was slathered in plenty of cheese, topped with a couple of gloriously crispy onion rings. With the burger being well-done it was a little dry, though nothing that wasn’t solved by a quick drizzle of mustard. I’d recommend adding bacon to this, and certainly will be doing next time. The Peppered Beef (Onion rings, flat mushroom, caramelised red onion relish, peppercorn sauce, mayo, rocket & red onion) was loved by my cheese-hating mum, the first time she’s had plenty of choice from a burger menu. My sister’s chicken burger (I forget whether it was Peri Peri or Cajun) look delicious and certainly disappeared quickly. Dad made short work of his Mexican (Handmade Mexican salsa, hand crushed avocado, fresh tortilla chips, jalapenos, chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato & red onion) and I have to say, it gave me huge food envy. Damn allergy.

 photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 4_zpsxb3ebxnb.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 1_zpssvmuwpek.jpg photo Handmade Burger Co Leicester 7_zpsxkggapdd.jpgThe fries were also good. Their standard fries come with a moreish and rather addictive rosemary salt. The sweet potato fries, once seasoned to taste, were crispy without being burnt. And the best? The Hipster Chips (handmade chips topped with jalapeño slaw, finished with Sriracha mayo & fresh spring onions). A great combo of spicy, crunchy, salty. Just yum. And so, yep, I highly recommend the Handmade Burger Co. Let’s just hope they offer medium-cooked burgers soon!

Burger time!

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

UPDATE: We visited a few weekends ago, after penning this post. We found the service to be terribly slow, with a milkshake arriving after the burgers. All five burgers were overcooked and dry, though not inedibly so, but it was definitely a bit more disappointing! Having said that, apparently the Peanut Butter burger was pretty yummy, and I loved the Rosemary Salted Fries…

I do, however, highly recommend the Oreo milkshake. Just don’t order if you have to have a quick meal. Or tell my wedding-dress-maker…

What’s the best burger you’ve ever eaten? What are you favourite burger toppings?


Review: Brunch @ Goodliffes, Loughborough

I love me a good brunch, but it’s very rare I have the opportunity to go. Typically, during this summer (the last time I will have nothing to do for weeks at a time!), the place where I’m living has pretty much zilch brunch options. Certainly no-where offering the oh-so-instagrammable dishes I love so much…

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 6_zpsdhnf09ag.jpgWay back at the end of May, just after exams finished, I joined W and his friends for a post-university celebration. We made a strange sight, students wandering around the town pre-9am, but it was definitely worth it! Goodliffe’s in Loughborough is somewhere we’d previously only visited for dinner (their Fish Finger Sandwich is insane), but had heard great things about their brunch menu. We weren’t disappointed.

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 1_zpstdnaskrr.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 3_zpsuog71klc.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 2_zpsc4rd3xgw.jpgI couldn’t resist ordered my absolute favourite, Eggs Benedict. This is my idea of perfection, salty meat, freshly toasted carbs, sharp but creamy hollandaise and gorgeous runny egg yolk. However, it’s so easily done wrong. Too much vinegar in the sauce, overdone eggs (I once sent a dish back to the kitchens for this crime), burnt muffins. This was a good example of the dish, though not perfect. Whilst I appreciated the idea of bacon replacing the ham, in practice it didn’t work. The bacon needed to either be back bacon (trimmed of most of the fat), or streaky bacon grilled until crispy. Unfortunately what I was served was a bit flabby and fatty – but still delicious having trimmed it. An Eggs Royale next to me was declared to be spot on.

 photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 4_zpsbrmvp9oc.jpg photo Brunch at Goodliffes Loughborough 5_zpsl1eprfmq.jpgOther than a Vegetarian Breakfast (halloumi, pesto and eggs sound like a dream combo to me!), the rest of the table went for a full English. Despite one plate arriving with a lack of bacon, the consensus was this was a good breakfast. It certainly looked it, though again I personally think the bacon could and should be crispier. Highlights were the black pudding, local sausage and hash-brown (I ordered one on the side of my eggs – my waistline may have objected, but it was damn good!).

And the best thing? They do brunch cocktails! Mango Fizz sounds like a winner…

Are you a brunch fan? What’s your go-to dish?

Lifestyle: High Tea @ Tiny Tim’s Tearoom, Canterbury

A bit of a Canterbury institution, I can’t believe it took me four years to get to Tiny Tim’s. So many people have recommended it to me, via word of mouth, here on the blog, at university. It’s almost embarrassing that next month I graduate, and very nearly did so without visiting this charming little tearoom.

 photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 1_zpsuuc4oqlh.jpgLuckily, myself and housemates decided to celebrate end-of-exams with a girly few hours of gossip, tea and sugar. Arriving seemingly before the rush (as soon we were seated, an out-of-door queue for tables formed), we oggled the massive slabs of cake on display, slightly over-awed at the scones the size of our faces. The good one of us ordered soup and a single slice of cake. The other two had already decided on the High Tea. No prizes for guessing that I wasn’t that sensible person…

 photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 2_zpsrndszfqk.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 10_zpsz9gyr44u.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 11_zpstvnfixwn.jpgI’m not too sure whether this is an example of a traditional High Tea (or even if such a thing exists!) but a Tiny Tim’s High Tea is simply an afternoon tea, with the finger sandwiches and savouries being replaced by two buttered crumpets topped with a poached egg.

My experience of afternoon tea has always found the savoury element a bit disappointing, so this option sounds perfect – and indeed I found it far more enjoyable. The crumpets (though I doubted they were homemade) tasted fresh, were grilled to a slight crisp, soaked in butter and topped with a perfectly poached egg. I thought a heavily buttered crumpet couldn’t be topped – runny yolk filling the holes somehow manages to make it even better. A combination I’ve dreamed of ever since.

 photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 4_zpsibshy0vt.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 13_zps0ev7a4ik.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 12_zpsl39mzpjy.jpgAdvised to eat from the bottom up, the next ‘course’ was the scones. I’ll put this out there now, I’m not a huge fan of scones. I find them too often dry, heavy and just a bit boring. Other than my mum’s, I’ve never fully enjoyed a scone – but these were good ones. Still warm from the oven, so much so that the clotted cream (I’m a cream before jam kinda gal!) melted into them. The jam wasn’t too sweet, and actually tasted of strawberry, and the whole thing was light with a crunchy exterior. So good, but saving room for the final tier, I only ate half…

And it was well worth saving the room for – without a doubt my favourite part of an afternoon tea is the pastries. Here we had a cream-filled shortbread (buttery and crisp), a tart seemingly filled with apricot jam topped with a meringue (sticky, fruity, with a perfectly dry meringue), and a brownie (gooey, rich, one of the best examples of a brownies I’ve eaten outside of my own kitchen).

 photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 7_zpsk8xfeonp.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 5_zpsk9y8qhrx.jpg photo Tiny Tims Tearoom Canterbury 6_zpsv9k8zpb4.jpgService was friendly and quick, although I would have liked a refill of the teapot – we only managed to squeeze two cups each out, which I thought was a little mean. The atmosphere was wonderful, with enough background noise to chat whilst still feeling relaxed, and an old chap playing the piano to add to the experience. I’ll definitely be heading back before graduation to sample their epic looking coffee cake – I only wish I’d visited sooner!

Are you a fan of Afternoon Tea? I’d love some London-based recommendations to add to my list!

Review: Burger Brothers, Deal

Burgers are one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. I don’t eat them often, but when I do I want juicy, well-seasoned meaty meat, a soft tasty bun, gooey melted cheese, and good quality ‘extra’ toppings. I don’t want a dry, overcooked patty, I don’t want verging-on-stale bread, I don’t want limp lettuce leaves and fridge-cold cheese.

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 4_zpspieutvz8.jpgWith my ‘burger pickiness’ it makes trying out a new place rather difficult. I’ve gone off Bryon after finding my last few burgers completely overwhelming (and an issue where they simply removed a slice of tomato rather than cooking me a fresh burger put me off completely!). I find GBK can give me a little bit of a ‘delicate’ stomach, though it’s currently my favourite, and the ailment may be entirely down to the amount I eat…

A fair few weeks back on our visit to Deal, me and W earmarked Burger Brothers as our lunch venue of choice. It had a lot to live up to, with some fabulous reviews, and although I agree the service was questionable, the burgers were pretty damn good…

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 7_zps4qnpausn.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 6_zpshgyzlalq.jpgW ordered the Cheese’n’Jam (Beef patty, choice of Kentish Blue, Swiss, Cheddar or Jack with a dollop of bacon jam), and I have to admit it looked amazing. Plenty of cheese, a good salty-sweetness from the bacon jam, this disappeared rather quickly! We were a little disappointed with the Mac’n’Cheese though – a little dry and lacking in flavour, though improved considerably with a good dosing of black pepper (I also dipped mine in mustard).

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 8_zps6vvoio6p.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 5_zpsytegfkjo.jpgI was crafty with my order, and went for something W wouldn’t touch – no sharing for me! The Mushroom Swiss (Beef patty, sautéd Shitake, Chestnut & Oyster mushrooms, mushroom salt, mushroom ketchup and melted Swiss cheese) was filled to the brim with mushroom-y goodness, and as such repelled a usually greedy fiancé. I did notice a lack of ketchup on my burger (possibly due to it containing tomatoes?!) however I didn’t really miss it. The beef patty was well seasoned, the mushrooms tender but still with a bit of bite, the cheese glorious. An unusual combination, perhaps, but one that really worked. I’m of the thinking that it could have been improved with bacon, but then what can’t?! My bun was a little burnt, and this seemed to be a common problem on the day – seeing as the smoke alarms went off twice during our visit.

Again, my side was a little disappointing; although crisp the sweet potato fries were horrifically underseasoned and served a little on the cool side.

The biggest disappointment though? Neither of our burgers, nor any we saw coming out to other tables, were cooked the advertised medium. Now, I don’t mind a ‘well-done’ burger as long as it remains juicy (and my pinafore bore evidence to the fact that these were definitely juicy). But I do mind not getting a medium burger when the menu prides itself on serving them. I reckon just a little less firmness in my patty (and a non-burnt bun) would have made mine perfect!

 photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 1_zpsdhgodzke.jpg photo Burger Brothers Kent Review 2_zpswfxmfiqf.jpgWe didn’t stay for desert, though the ice-cream sundaes were certainly tempting…and I’m pretty sure I will be back. The French Dip burger (Beef patty, sliced rib of beef, American cheese and horseradish cream served with a side pot of beef dipping jus) has my name on it! And how could you resist eating what was a pretty good burger with a view like this?! Beats substandard fish’n’chips any day!

Are you a burger fan? Where do you recommend this burger fanatic to try next?!

Lifestyle: Overload at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Canterbury

You know me, I love a good burger! My ultimate burger definitely includes cheese, quite possibly bacon, and I can’t resist some soft, beautifully caramelized onions either. Just the thought is making my mouth water to be honest!

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 8_zpsx5hxvgf9.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 2_zps7qg4ynqn.jpgBurgers are a pretty simple thing, but they’re rarely done right. I’ve loved offerings at Byron before, and I love Five Guys for the ‘so bad but so good’ junk food fix. Unfortunately though I’d had some really terrible burgers. Patties so overcooked they’e bypassed pink, sped past just-about-appetizing and firmly entered grey’n’tough territory. Stale bread rolls so dry they actually crunched (and nope, they weren’t toasted). Bacon that was barely fried, let alone crisp. Fridge-cold onion (raw onion is fine, cold fried onions is a no-go). Some might call me fussy, but all I want is a well-cooked burger, preferably medium but I don’t care as long as it is juicy, some gooey cheese, a fresh bun, a bit of crispy bacon, basically a bit of love going into my meal.

With my burger-love it was with some trepidation that I accepted a invitation to review the relatively-newly opened Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Canterbury. A fellow burger-love, Libby joined me (she was extremely gutted the Satay Chicken wasn’t available the day we visited, though it gives us an excuse to go back!).

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 5_zpslabnnqep.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 6_zpsrgb2marh.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 4_zpsryegwdjg.jpgWe both opted for a side of Sweet Potato Fries with Baconnaise. These fries are some of the better ones available (Ed’s are so far the best I’ve tried, but these are infinitely better than Bill’s!) – and the baconnaise is addictive! Salty, intensely savoury, with a mild but pungent garlic flavour. So good. 

Onto the burgers, and Libby went for a Taxidriver. Beef patty, American cheese, house onion ring, Cajun relish, smoked chilli mayo, dill pickle, salad, brioche bun. It looks amazing and she seemed to enjoy it – and I certainly wish GBK offered brioche buns on more of their burgers.

 photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 9_zpseb1vc9yr.jpg photo Gourmet Burger Kitchen Review 7_zpslnoxjgot.jpgI opted to ‘Build my Own’ using a starting point of a 6oz Patty with Smoked Applewood, and adding bacon and onion rings. Unfortunately there was a slight mix-up with my order, and despite them noting my allergy and removing the tomato it came coated in a tomato-relish – oops! They were lovely about it and quickly made me up a fresh one, though I was quite concerned to be told that it was lacking salad as that comes pre-prepared with tomatoes (I’ve always had salad in my burgers there before, so if this is the case I’ve been lucky not to have a reaction!). My burger was huge, perfectly cooked, full of melty cheese and plenty of mayonnaise (that wasn’t fridge cold either!). The bacon could have been crisper, but the extremely crunchy onion rings more than made up for it – a delicious lunch that I struggled to finish!

*Disclaimer: I was invited to review GBK and received a voucher as part-payment. The restaurant did not know I was there to review (though they may have wondered about the camera!) and all opinions are my own. I genuinely really, really, *really* love burgers…

Are you a burger fan? Where’s the best burger you’ve ever tried? What are your ultimate toppings?


Lifestyle: A Chocolate Overdose at Cocoa Amore, Leicester

I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet things, much preferring a bit of cheese or a packet of crisps to a handful of biscuits. I do, however, have a weakness for proper, good, decent quality chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bar of Dairy Milk as much as the next girl, I’d struggle to say no to a Snickers. But if you really want to get me going, proper chocolate is the only way.

 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 3_zps3ekrdxmq.jpgWhen W first moved to Loughborough for university we quickly found Chocolate Alchemy. It’s still there and still does the job for a quick fix, but the love put into the chocolate seems to have died slightly. It’s been two years now, but we’ve finally paid original owner Pete a visit in Leicester.

Let’s just say, it won’t be another two years before we visit again!

 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 2_zpsyvlbbm54.jpg photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 8_zps9bksx1km.jpgCocoa Amore is everything we missed about the original ‘Lufbra Chocolate Shop.’ The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and chilled, the whole place smells of chocolate. We were hoping to try some more of the savoury options that we’d heard about, but seemingly none were available on the Saturday we visited – so chocolate for lunch it was!

 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 4_zpsitjrcpqz.jpg photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 5_zpscc43yuzj.jpgWe had a quick fight over who would get the ‘egg and soldiers’ but W won that one – he was served toasted brioche soldiers, and a white chocolate egg filled with passionfruit curd. This is the perfect combination of rich chocolate and sharp fruit – it’s one of Pete’s signature dishes and I’m so glad it’s still on the menu.

 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 1_zps7muuomk1.jpgI went for a warm chocolate brownie, remembering how good the ones used to be at Chocolate Alchemy. It did’t disappoint – this is my perfect brownie. Slightly crunchy on the edges, gooey in the middle, and immensely chewy – and ridiculously chocolatey and rich. It was served with the some divine pistachio ice-cream and honeycomb pieces. I pretty much scoffed the lot.

 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 6_zps1qxxsfhf.jpgIf that wasn’t enough chocolate, we each ordered a chocolate drink. Their house hot chocolates are made with your choice of milk, white or dark chocolate, slowly melted into milk. I went for a milk chocolate version, with W going dark – both were delicious, thick and creamy. Oh, and each drink allowed the choice of a truffle too. I went for a praline (if in doubt, get me praline truffles – I LOVE them!), W went for a homemade peanut butter cup. We may have bought a selection of truffles home too…

Cocoa Amore really does offered some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. With our total bill coming to £16 (including a take-home bag) it’s a total bargain too. Well worth the trip into Leicester, we won’t be leaving it so long before our next visit!

Are you a chocolate lover? What’s always your first pick out of a box of chocolates?

Lifestyle: A Quick Lunch @ Little Joe’s Deli, Canterbury

The guys behind Pork & Co have done it again, and thought up a lovely little spot just around the corner. Despite the menu seeming like a confused jumble of dishes, the slightly confusing set-up and the giant pinball machine taking up half of one of the eating areas, it works. An extremely well-priced and casual place for a quite bite to eat, I can’t wait to get back and try out more!

 photo 2015-11-07 15.21.59_zps01vluscq.jpg photo 2015-11-07 15.07.42_zps93xkjb9h.jpgHaving already bought a pie for dinner I was a little gutted I couldn’t try out their Ham & Pea offering (next time!), so I went with a toastie. As they do seem to make up their toasties in advance they did me a special no-tomato one, but it wasn’t a problem at all – I hate being ‘picky’ in places! I ended up with a Chorizo & Cheese one, with the chorizo being some of the best I’ve ever had. The cheese was stringy and crispy around the edges, with no hint of sogginess at all. I pretty much inhaled the massive portion…

 photo 2015-11-07 15.01.39_zpsvvtbuaxr.jpg photo 2015-11-07 15.01.21_zpsp738kw8g.jpgW went for a Chilli Dog – and I was lucky to get these blurry photos before it disappeared! No complaints from him, and it certainly looked amazing!

I also had some fresh pear juice from the dispenser. Sweet, refreshing and utterly delicious, I wish more places offered it.

 photo 2015-11-07 15.09.41_zps4tq7azxx.jpgFor two supposedly “light” meals and drinks it came to just under £10 for the two of us (I was only charged for half a toastie, as that was what I ordered, but cos they had to make it allergen-free they gave me the whole lot). A complete bargain, and an ideal place to hide from the rain. If you can resist when you walk past Pork & Co of course!

Have you ever been to Canterbury? Where would you recommend visiting?

Lifestyle: Dinner At Bill’s, Soho

For some reason it took me until this September to visit Bill’s – despite reallyyy wanting to go for ages. In the end we squeezed in a visit after trying and failing to get food anywhere on a Friday night in Soho.

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 6_zpsymqxevqy.jpgThe problem with wanting to visit somewhere for ages is the constant studying of the menu. And the 1001 things you end up wanting to eat. Being the cheapskates we are, we only went for mains and a shared pudding – but it was more than enough. Even if I was slightly jealous of the ‘meat platter’ at a neighboring table…

The restaurant was busy, even at 8:30pm we had a thirty minute wait for a table – I’ll blame the opening night of RWC2015 for that one! We were eventually seated, had a very friendly waitress and got looking at the menu!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 7_zpsbrduttkc.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 8_zpss7kcbn5l.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 5_zpszyqrxtka.jpg photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 4_zpsinrw93kf.jpgI went for the special at the time – a battered chicken burger, with spicy mayo (swapped out for aoili due to the presence of sneaky tomato powder!), and sweet potato fries. I devoured it pretty quickly, so it must have been good! I felt the coating on the chicken could have been crisper, but it was definitely yummy. I wasn’t so impressed with the sweet ‘tato fries – a little overdone and cold for my liking unfortunately…

W went for the lamb koftas, and I have to admit to a little bit of food envy. Beautifully presented, well flavoured, just the right amount of spices – he really enjoyed it. It’s definitely an option I would consider next time I visit Bills!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 9_zps0ffqkjku.jpgSuitably stuffed, we shared a pudding. I couldn’t resist the doughnuts and dipping sauce – and it was SUCH a good choice. Warm fluffy doughnuts drenched in cinnamon sugar, a dark chocolate sauce, and plenty of strawberries on the side too. The portion size wasn’t skimpy either; I was glad we were sharing!

 photo Bills Restaurant Soho Review 1_zpsbs1kb9n9.jpgI enjoyed my visit to Bills, I found the staff immensely helpful with allergy information, the food generally yummy, and it was well-priced with a good atmosphere – a pretty good place!

Have you ever been to Bills? What did you think?

Lifestyle: A Monday Brunch at The Breakfast Club

One of my goals whilst living in London was to go out for brunch, and on our last morning we managed it. We packed the car up, locked up the flat and headed over towards Clapham Common and The Breakfast Club.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 9_zpsoztln2fh.jpgThe Breakfast Club has been on my list to try for years, but the queues put me off. I may really want to try a place, but having to queue for breakfast just isn’t my scene. I can’t imagine W would be too impressed if I made him queue either! Visiting on a Monday was perfect as we walked straight to a table. It turned out to be the perfect way of finishing up our summer in London. Chatting about our best bits, what annoys us most about each other, it was a relaxing few hours before our drive up North.

Years of wanting to visit had resulted in copious studying of the menu and as a result I wanted allllll the things. In the end I went adventurous and tried something new – a risk which paid off as I now have a new love for Eggs Benedict.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 7_zpskzr4tl6o.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 8_zpsfv3vlqv4.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 5_zpsp2lzxfbv.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 6_zpsia8tdfis.jpgI ordered my traditional Benny with a side of the homemade potatoes, and I have to say it was all delicious. The eggs were poached to pretty much perfection (some might say they were slightly under, however I quite like a bit of runny white…), the hollandaise creamy and a little sharp. The ham was good quality and perfectly salted, and the muffins fresh. I loved the garish of Lamb’s Lettuce too which really enhanced the dish. The potatoes were PERFECT for mopping up extra yolk and sauce, though I was left feeling pretty stuffed after demolishing it all!

W went for the All American Pancakes. Fluffy pancakes served with sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and potatoes, then drizzled with maple syrup. He thoroughly enjoyed it, though wasn’t impressed with non-crispy streaky bacon!

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 3_zps0qmei9so.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 2_zpsmrridtfh.jpgWe felt drinks were a little overpriced, though my English Breakfast was a huge mug and a good quality tea. I’d wanted a green juice, but I’m afraid at that price it was a no-go! As for the rest of the restaurant, the decor was quirky and bright, the seats comfortable and the staff super friendly and allergy-aware. The table next to me ordered the Chorizo Hash and despite having devoured my meal I still had food envy – maybe something to try next time! And there will be a next time…

Are you a fan of brunch? Where’s the best place you’ve tried?