There’s nothing like sitting down to a delicious meal you didn’t have to cook yourself after working all day (or a perfect cup of tea after an long afternoon shopping, for that matter!). Note: I wasn’t completely lazy this week. I cooked a beef stew on Sunday afternoon and even baked some chocolate chip banana bread that someone (with plenty of help from me of course), devoured pretty quickly.
But I also made it to:
Carolina’s birthday called for a girl’s night at tapas and cocktail bar Pinchito in Shoreditch where our charming Spanish waiter brought us a few rounds of free shots to top off our tasty Hemingway daiquiris or, in Leslie’s case, her usual double shots of straight tequila that she sips from a glass.
I was a bit too distracted with giggling and talk of travel adventures to take any food pictures but it was tapas galore, from fried chunks of salty brie to roasted duck with berry sauce to croquetas de cocido madrileño and other Spanish delights. Here’s a round of shots instead:
After all those tapas, the six of us managed to plough through a red velvet cake from Hummingbird Bakery. We spared a slice for the man with the free shots and left behind a trail of chocolate crumbs. Here’s the birthday girl:
It was a tiny little place with dim lights and random photos of colourful Barcelona images and other things Spanish on the walls. Drinks were good. Food was good. Staff were friendly and let us stick around for about four hours. If it wasn’t in the far away land that is East London, I’d go back more often!
CAFE NERO, GLOUCESTER ROAD
Who knows why, but the next morning I woke up earlier than usual, so I decided to take my book and have a relaxing tea on one of the comfy seats at Cafe Nero (which is a chain and everywhere you look) on Gloucester Road since it’s on my walk to work. I like the atmosphere in the morning, even though the tea isn’t great. In fact, the whole experience isn’t really even worth mentioning apart from the fact that I wanted to share this little instagram photo:
ADDIE’S THAI, EARL’S COURT
When I lived in Earl’s Court, I discovered this little gem on Earl’s Court Road. It’s easy to pass by and now that I work just around the corner, we get take away for lunch occasionally. Dimple and I went there for dinner the day I was at Cafe Nero. I am obsessed with the pad see ew and we usually split veggie spring rolls.
Again, I didn’t take food pictures (I know, I know… I’ll do it properly next time!) Addie’s is a great little place. They serve Bankok-style “street food” which is delicious and super cheap with pretty big portions as well.
Reserve a table or get there early. We got there the minute they opened at 6pm so it was still relatively empty. By the time we left, it was jam packed with people waiting for tables.
THAI TASTE, CROMWELL ROAD
It was a week for Thai food, I guess, which is always a good week. Thai Taste is on Cromwell Road, worth a wander in if you’re in the area. They’re a bit slow with the service, but the food is good. A bit more expensive and a bit smaller portions than Addie’s though. Came here for lunch with some colleagues and no pictures but thought I’d mention it anyway! I’m always open ears to Thai food recommendations in London so leave them in the comments if you have any.
JOE AND THE JUICE, KING’S ROAD
Another chain, which I don’t usually write about as you know, but it’s a place I often find myself after an afternoon of shopping because it’s convenient, the sandwiches are good and the juice is even better. It was freezing on Saturday afternoon so I nipped in here to write a few snail mail letters and enjoy a freshly squeezed apple, ginger and strawberry juice. Plus, it has comfy seats and they let you hang out as long as you like, which are always a plus.
BLUEBIRD CAFE, KING’S ROAD
The Bluebird, built in an old car garage on King’s Road, has a great reputation in Chelsea and I’d been there before and enjoyed it. So, I was surprised that this was the disappointment of the week. Jorge and I popped in for an afternoon tea. The staff were awkward and distracted and there was a crazy kid running everywhere whose parents were pretty useless at keeping him under control. The atmosphere was all a bit chaotic. So much for a relaxing tea…
202, WESTBOURNE GROVE
We spent Saturday afternoon in Notting Hill, stopping at the fabulous Brit-country-chic Stumper & Fielding shop before wandering around Westbourne Grove. The plan was lunch at Granger & Co, but the inevitable queue was too daunting, so we settled on 202 where there was still a queue, but at least it was inside and snaked through shelves of coffee table Taschen books full of fashion, interior design and architecture to keep us entertained. It was well worth the wait. We had eggs benedict with parma ham, roasted potato fries and some of the best garlic spinach I’ve ever eaten. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The fruit crumble with ice cream on top looked delicious but we behaved and stayed away. Definitely a place I’d go back to, and great for people watching as it fills up with Notting Hill’s well-heeled crowd. (Again, no pictures. Didn’t plan on writing about any of these-sorry!)
CAFFE FRATELLI, SLOANE SQUARE
Yup, I know, another chain. And again, nothing to write home about. This one is simply convenient and it’s great for days when it is warm outside because it sits at the corner of Duke of York Square. Good for a quick lunch stop or a lazy afternoon tea and magazine.
EL GAUCHO, SYDNEY STREET
This tiny little place is tucked away in the Chelsea Farmer’s Market on Sydney Street.
Thumbs down to the tv playing football, but the gaucho decor is fun. We had, of course, big juicy steaks that were delicious, some fries that were not so delicious and some spinach that was definitely tasty (though not as amazingly memorable at the spinach at 202)!
The freshly squeezed orange juice was pretty memorable though and we had a nice night out. I actually have food pictures this time. iPhone food pictures, but at least they are pictures, right?
The dessert was tasty too – particularly the dulce de leche bit which reminded me of Colombia.
Where’s the best steak you’ve ever eaten in London? I think mine, that I can remember so far, was possibly the Electric Cinema restaurant on Portobello Road or maybe Maggie Jones on Kensington Church Street…Like the Thai recommendations, I’m always open to good steak!
And what have I learned from all of this? Probably that this week I should cook more… Maybe it’s time for another Hello Fresh order?