Brunch, Brush and Bubbles

Last Saturday I spent a wonderful day in London’s Notting Hill. The day started off with brunch at The Dayrooms Café. A tiny café, 5 minutes walk from Ladbroke Grove station, this little gem is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The menu is a mix of traditional brunch food, with a few alternative dishes thrown in there too. The service was excellent and the food was delicious, although if you go at peak times, I would imagine you will have to queue. We went slightly after midday, and managed to get a table immediately.

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From there, we walked 10 minutes to The Eagle pub, where the Brush and Bubbles afternoon was being held. Brush and Bubbles is a project for people of all creative abilities, to be able to create something wonderful (whilst sipping a glass of bubbly!) The founders love the idea of bringing people together and encouraging them to be creative.

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Their classes are not about being ‘good’ at painting, but more about people coming together to chat, paint, drink and enjoy. I went along with two of my girlfriends and we had such a fun afternoon! The class is super relaxing, and the artists are there to guide you, regardless of your ability. At the end of the class, you walk away with your own masterpiece, on canvas, that you can bring home!
The class is £35 to do and I would definitely recommend it to anyone living in London or paying it a visit anytime soon! You can buy tickets online on their website http://www.brushandbubbles.com/londontickets.

My August Restaurant Picks

I am always trying to explore new and exciting restaurants in London and the list seems to never end. Here are my favourite restaurants I have tried in the last month:

Hispania: Spanish Tapas

I absolutely adore tapas, and London is bursting with great Spanish tapas restaurants! I came across Hispania through an old work colleague of mine, who I was meeting for dinner one evening. Directly beside Exit 6 at Bank Station, the building alone is spectacular! With beautiful, high ceilings and fantastic service, Hispania ticks all the boxes before you have even tried the food! The menu is a mix of tapas and main dishes, ranging from traditional tapas, to tapas with a more exotic twist. The menu is fairly standard in terms of pricing – it isn’t cheap, but it isn’t extortionate either. It also takes bookings!

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Flour & Grape: Cheap and cheerful homemade, Italian pasta

Bermondsey Street strikes again! It seems, when it comes to food, that Bermondsey Street can do no wrong! Flour and Grape is located about an 8-10 minute walk from London Bridge station, and is every pasta lover’s heaven! All their pasta is made from scratch and has a range of dishes from prawn linguine, to tomato and aubergine rigatoni. The food is amazing value and they take reservations for lunch, but dinner is walk-in only.

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Cinnamon Bazaar: Twist on Indian Food

I actually came across Cinnamon Bazaar by chance, while in Covent Garden one evening and I will definitely be returning! An Indian based menu, the food was absolutely fantastic and ranged from both small to large dishes. The food is very reasonable and not too heavy, like traditional Indian food. I would definitely recommend getting a few of the small plates and trying different dishes from the menu!

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German Gymnasium:

I am not going to lie, when I heard I was going to a German restaurant recently I wasn’t entirely convinced, as I am not the biggest fan of German food. However, having been to this restaurant, my opinions have completely changed. A converted Gymnasium beside Kings Cross station, the building is simply stunning. The food is quite unusual but absolutely delicious! Prices are on the higher end of the scale, but if you are making an evening out of it, it is definitely worth it! You can enjoy this Mittel-European inspired menu for breakfast lunch or dinner, and late night glamour at the chic Meister Bar.

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London’s Prettiest Cafés

Let’s be honest, we are all suckers for a pretty, floral café, and London is just bursting with them! Here are my favourite, most Instagrammable spots in London…

 

FEYA CAFE

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PEGGY PORSCHEN

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DOMINIQUE ANSEL

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SAINT AYMES

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ELAN CAFÉ

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BISCUITEERS

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AUBAINE SELFRIDGES

 

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DALLOWAY TERRACE

 

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Villefranche

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I have had the pleasure of being invited to the beautiful French town of Villefranche for the past two years, by one of my oldest friends. About 10-15 minutes outside of Nice, this town allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of Nice whilst boasting the most incredible views of the French Riviera.

One of the most amazing things about the South of France is how easily accessible each of the towns are. From Villefranche you can get trains/buses to Monaco, Nice, Eze, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antilles and Italy.

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How to get there?

The easiest airport to get to Villefranche from is Nice airport. From there, you can get an Uber which takes about 20 minutes, and is about 22/23 euro in price. The cheaper option is to get the bus. During the day the 98 leaves directly from the airport and brings you straight into Nice. From Nice, you can get either the 100/81 bus to Villefranche.  The cost for the first bus is 6 euro and the second bus to Villefrance is only 1.50 euro. If you are flying into Nice later in the evening, there is a late night bus you can get straight from the airport (100,) however this service only runs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There is an information point at the airport should you have any further questions when you arrive.

 

Restaurants I would recommend:

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La Mère Germaine  (high end restaurant)

La Belle Etoile

La Grignotiere

Les Garçons

Cosmo

Bistrot du Creux

For ice cream: Soléa Gelateria Di Corsica

 

Day trips:

For coffee: There is a beautiful coastal walk to Beaulieu (French town next to Villefranche.) Le Gran Caffe is a great spot for a morning coffee, if you fancy spending the morning outside Villefranche.

Italy: Ospedaletti is easily accessible from Villefranche and has a beautiful, cycle track, converted from a railway line. To get there, take the train to Ventimiglia from Villefranche, followed by the Sanremo (Line 2) bus to Ospedaletti. The track is flat and very easy to cycle on. Afterwards, I would definitely recommend stopping off for pizza at Baixarico on the seafront.

France: A lot of other French towns across the South of France are easily accessible via train or bus from Villefranche, and are perfect for day trips. You can use trainline.eu for timetables and bookings.

 

NICE

With Nice being only 10-12 minutes away, we visited a few nice restaurants in both the new and old towns. The bestofniceblog.com is a definite go-to for restaurants and things to do, so definitely check that out for more information. The main shopping street is Jean Médecin and has a number of high street stores including Galleries Lafayette, Zara, Zara Home, H&M, Mango etc.

Restaurants I would recommend in Nice:

Le Neuf Cinquante (950) 

Badaboom

Jaks

Chez Palmyre (Traditional French food in Old Town)

Bistrot d’Antoine (Old Town)

Lac (gorgeous Chocolate shop)

For ice cream I would recommend Fenochio in the Old Town

Things to do in London

Often it can be hard to think of non-traditional/non-tourist activities to do in London, so I have complied a list of fun and different things to do in London, whilst also including some of the more traditional, tourist attractions.

 

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London Activities:
Day trip to Brighton (check out my blog post on this)
Day trip to Oxford (check out my blog post on this)
Luxury cinemas (Electric Cinema, Curzon at Mondrian Hotel, Everyman Belsize Park, Olympia Cinema Barnes)
Shopping (Oxford Street, Sloane Square/Kings Road, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf, Westfield)
Afternoon Tea (Check out my Ultimate Brunch List post for the list of afternoon tea spots)
Food markets (Check out my Ultimate Brunch List post for the list of markets)
Bottomless Brunch (Check out my Ultimate Brunch List post for the list of bottomless brunch places)

 

Tourist Activities:
 London Eye
 Tower of London
 Buckingham Palace
  Kensington Palace
 Hyde Park
  Big Ben
Covent Garden
The Shard
Camden Town
Westminster Abbey
  Hampton court

The Churchill War Rooms. They were used or recreated in the movie the Darkest Hour.

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Galleries and Museums
Saatchi Gallery
Imperial War Museum
Victoria and Albert museum

The British Museum

The Tate Modern

The Portrait Gallery

The Ultimate London Dinner List

For the past few weeks I have been trying to compile the Ultimate London Dinner List, with all the best restaurants (for dinner) across London. Each of these restaurants has been tried and tested, by either myself or friends, and includes everything from cheap and cheerful to Michelin star (marked with an *). Enjoy!

 

French:

The Orrery (Modern take on traditional French dishes) Marylebone
Margaux (French) Kensington
Leroy (French Small plates) Shoreditch
Nac (French Bistro) Mayfair
Le Boudin Blanc (Rustic Gallic Food, French cuisine) Mayfair

Italian:

Sorella (Italian) Clapham
Bernardi’s (Italian) Marylebone
Flour & Grape (Italian/Pasta) London Bridge
Padella (Pasta) London Bridge
Bocco di Lupo (Italian) Soho
Popolo (Italian) Shoreditch
Da Corradi (Italian) Mayfair

Tapas:

Jose (Tapas) London Bridge
Pizarro (Tapas) London Bridge
Cambio de Tercio (Tapas) Earls Court
Capote y Toros (Tapas) Earls Court
Hispania (Spanish Tapas) Bank
Barrafina (Spanish Tapas) Soho, Covent Garden, Drury Lane *

Mediterranean:

Peyote (Mediterranean) Mayfair
Brawn (Mediterranean small plates) Shoreditch
Liman (Mediterranean) Angel

Indian:

Benares (Michelin Star Indian restaurant) Mayfair*
Bombay Bustle (Indian) Mayfair
Bombay Brasserie (Indian) Kensington
Kricket (blend British ingredients & Mumbai-inspired flavours.) Soho
Dishoom (Indian) Shoreditch, Kensington, Carnaby, Covent Garden, Kings Cross

British:

Tanner & Co (Old English food with a modern edge) London Bridge
Lamberts (modern British) Balham
Magpie (Modern British) Mayfair
The Ivy (Modern British Food) Multiple Locations
Drayton Arms (British gastropub) Earls Court
Bumpkin (British) South Kensington
Kitty Fishers (Modern British with Spanish twist) Mayfair
Plot (Modern British small plates)Tooting Market
The Dairy (Small-plate dining from seasonal Modern English/European menu amid vintage chic of bar/bistro.) Clapham Common
Randall & Aubin (Seafood, Oysters, Modern British) Soho
Frog by Adam Handling (continues Adam’s signature British style and combines technical savvy with the freshest, highest quality seasonal produce) Covent Garden

Steak:

Gauchos (Steak) Multiple Locations
Hawksmoor (Steak) Covent Garden
Foxlow (Steak) Balham
Hixter (Chicken/Steak) Bankside
Arlo’s (Steak) Balham

North Africa:

Barbury (North African) Neals Yard Covent Garden
Morito (Spanish/North African Tapas) Clerkenwell

 

Asia:

Bull in a China Shop (Asian infused eatery) Shoreditch
Sushi Samba (Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian sushi) Moorgate
Go (Vietnamese) South Kensington
Pidgin (Asian Inspired 4 course menu) Hackney*

 

Moroccan:

Tagine (BYOB Moroccan) Balham
Momo (Couscous, tagines and lamb dishes in colourful setting filled with furnishings from a Moroccan souk.) Mayfair

 

Peru:

Chicama (Peruvian, does not serve meat) Kings Road, Chelsea
Pachamama (sister restaurant of Chicama, serves meat, also Peruvian)

 

Turkish:

Oklava (Turkish sharing plates) Shoreditch
Ruya (Turkish) Mayfair

 

Other:

Caravan (A bit of everything) Kings Cross, Exmouth Market, Bankside, Fitzrovia
Palomar (Modern fare from Jerusalem meets a variety of international influences) Soho
The Manor, Clapham
La Bodega Negra (Mexican food) Soho
The Ned, City of London
The Hospital Club (Private Members Club)
Black Roe (Hawaiian-inspired raw fish &seafood dished, plus grilled meats) May
Asia de Cuba (Asian influence on Cuban cuisine) Covent Garden

Casual and Chilled:

Radio Alice (Pizza) Clapham Common
Pho (Vietnamese) Multiple Locations
Franco Manca (Sourdough Pizza) Multiple Locations
Eco (Pizza) Clapham Common
The Pepper Tree (Thai food) Clapham Common
Kaosarn (Asian BYOB) Brixton

Markets:

POP in Brixton
Dinerama in Shoreditch
Mercato in Elephant and Castle
FlatIron Square
Boxpark Shoreditch

Coppa Club

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Delicious food, stunning views and Paradise Pods, Coppa Club at Tower Bridge is the perfect spot for any occassion! Whether it be breakfast/brunch, drinks or dinner, this venue caters to all events. With its famous Paradise Pods (igloos), the Tower Bridge branch overlooks the river Thames and is the perfect outdoor eating spot for those sunny, summer days!

You can pre-book tables/Paradise Pods on their website, but the latter do fill up quite quickly, so try to book as far in advance as you can! The restaurant also has three other locations in St. Paul’sSonning-on-Thames and Henley-on-Thames. I had lunch at the Tower Bridge location and the food was delicious and not overpriced.

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