Sunday, 20 April 2014

Breakfast at Dishoom, Shoreditch | Eating Out

If there's one thing I like the most about the weekends, it's easy Sunday mornings. No rushing about, catch-ups with family and friends, and hearty breakfasts. When it comes to the latter, I don't rate many restaurants, but Dishoom in Shoreditch is one of my top three spots. 

Dishoom has an incredible amount of character. As soon as you enter, you can't help but feel as though you've been transported to another world. A 1960s Bombay in London, to be precise: Kitsch decor, family portraits hanging on the walls, classic books and board games, vintage record players, and burning incense.

If there's space on your arrival, I'd recommend you to ask to be seated in the verandah. It's well heated in the autumn/ winter so don't worry about chattering teeth and chills. On our visit, we were fortunate enough to get first dibs on where to sit, and were completely spoilt for choice: sofas, large round table, armchairs. Very homely.
The prices there are very reasonable, without compromising the quality of the food, which is always a good thing. 

I always start my day off with a cup of tea, and thankfully, Dishoom does a pretty mean cup of chai. The spiced, milky tea is a must, and the chocolate chai is a great alternative for coco lovers. 
Chocolate chai
Espresso
The light  wholegrain oats porridge cooked with milk, bananas and dates - with blueberries on top - is probably the best I've tasted.
House porridge
The sausage and egg naan wraps are delicious, but, hands down, the bacon naan wrap, trumps all. The chilli, tomato jam and cream cheese fillings make for an unusually heavenly combination. If you only go to Dishoom for one thing, go for a naan wrap.
Bacon naan wrap
The 'Full Bombay': Bacon, akuri, cumberland sausage, fire toast, grilled tomatoes . Nothing more to say. 
Full Bombay
If you have a little room left in your tummy (and yes, I ate and finished everything pictured in this blog post), the fresh fruit and yoghurt tops off breakfast brilliantly: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mellon and real Kerala vanilla yoghurt goes down a treat!
Fresh fruit and yoghurt
The relaxing, calm vibes, coupled with the cheerful and polite nature of the staff there make the the customer experience very pleasant indeed. No wonder I find myself going back again and again.

Have you been to Dishoom before? What are some of your favourite breakfast spots. 

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique





Sunday, 6 April 2014

Duck & Waffle | Eating Out

If you haven't dined in a restaurant that boasts spectacular views of a city skyline, then add it to your bucket list. Duck & Waffle, situated on the 40th floor in Heron Tower (Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street), offers magnificent views of London, exquisite food and calm vibes.

As the glass lift whisks you up to the restaurant in less than six seconds, one can only admire the perspective (one of many) of London before you. I wanted to stay in there a little longer, but my grumbling stomach promptly reminded me that I came to get my grub on. 
The glossy mosaic floor tiles in the entrance, coupled with the yellow, wavy ceiling panel add a classic yet contemporary feel to the place. As you walk through the bar to get to the restaurant, you notice how the beautiful low-hanging chandeliers frame the skyline.  

The dominant colour scheme of yellow and brown mirror the restaurant's signature duck and waffle dish (which, by the way, is served all day!)
Duck & Waffle serves British and European-influenced cuisine, designed for sampling and sharing. Offering "playful takes on traditional cuisine", the food will surely not disappoint. I can certainly vouch for that.
House bread, hand-churned butter , Puglian olive oil
Freshly baked bread is always wonderful. Am I right, or am I right?
BBQ-spiced crispy pig ears
I was hesitant to try the pig ears in fear they would actually bring a whole pig's ear to the table (that would have freaked me out a little - does that sound silly?), but it looked quite appetising, and was rather moreish.

Left: Puglian olives | Right: Champagne Negroni
Definitely the best olives I've tasted. Being so used to popping them in my mouth using a cocktail stick, the large seeds made them interesting to eat, as I had to nibble the sides (almost like how you eat an apple). 

The Champagne Negroni was a charged mix of Bombay sapphire gin, Antica Formula, Aperol, strawberry and lemon balm. Mmmm.  
Vodka Martini
What can I say about the Vodka Martini? This stuff was strong but amaze!  
Devilled duck egg, Korean pig's head, sriracha
The duck egg and pig's head was probably my favourite dish in regards to flavours. It was a tangy, salty, hot mix but wonderful. Beautifully presented, too. I wiped the plate clean with the bread.
Roasted octopus, chorizo, potato, lemon, caper
Again, the combination worked so ridiculously well. Seafood lovers will adore this small plate. 
Whole baked seabass, salsify, Jerusalem artichoke & trompette ragout, smoked butter
The seabass was very fishy in smell and taste, which put me off initially, but the more I ate, the more my taste buds couldn't resist. I loved the combination of textures
Duck & Waffle: crispy leg confit, fried duck egg, mustard maple syrup
It would have been silly not to have the duck and waffle - had to be done, folks. On first thought, duck, waffle, and egg may seem like an unusual combination, but married together, it makes for an amazing party in your mouth. The savoury and sweet mix is wonderful. 
Tiramisu
To finish off the meal with added indulgence, I went for the tiramisu (almond and cocoa crunch).  Not much to report here, apart from 'wow'. 
Staff were polite, and attentive; and the service was quick and efficient. I can't fault it.
Oh, and I loved the wax stamp detail on the doggy bag!
Duck & Waffle is a perfect date restaurant (very romantic indeed) and although not an every day spot to eat, compared to other high rise restaurants, it's reasonably priced, and portions are great.

Next time, I'll be sure to make a night time reservation, because I can only image how even more beautiful the view will be when London is lit up. 

Loved how I got a tweet and Instagram like from both the Executive Chef, Daniel Doherty, and Head Chef, Tom Cenci. Chin chin!

Have you been to Duck & Waffle before, or eaten at a high rise restaurant? Please share your experiences, and recommendations. 

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mango Room | Eating Out

Conveniently located a stone's throw away from Camden underground station, Mango Room is definitely where it's at if you're looking to indulge in some top quality West Indian cuisine. 
On our arrival, the waiter informed me they were fully booked, but with a little gentle persuasion (in my politest manner, of course), he managed to find us a table. It was a close friend's birthday meal (and I was starving!), so I wasn't going to take 'no' for answer. However, it's worth noting that you should book a table beforehand in order to avoid disappointment.

The food was divine. With a menu as adventurous and creative as theirs, it's actually quite difficult to make up your mind when ordering. And, of course, side dishes are a no-brainer . Traditional favourites like plantains, fried sweet potatoes, rice and peas are obligatory additions. Obligatory! 
Mango Room Seafood Casserole with Char-grilled Roti Bread
"Camden's Famous" Curry Goat
Creole Snapper Fillet with Mango & Green Peppercorn Sauce
Cocktails there are smashing. I had the Jamaican Breeze: ginger-infused Appleton special, crushed ginger, cranberry, lime & pineapple juice. 'Nuff said.
Top left: plantains, rice and peas // Top right: sweet potatoes
Bottom left: char-grilled roti bread // Bottom right: Jamaican Breeze
The atmosphere was relaxed, yet buzzing, and the sultry sounds of West Indian music playing in the background, was quite a nice touch.

The dim lighting created quite a romantic ambiance, making Mango Room a great place to go on a date.

 The service on my visit was friendly and attentive. One thing I noted was the presence of the owner: it's always great to see him (who so happens to be the brother of a former colleague of mine) mingling with diners; I personally think it adds great value to the customer experience. 

What can I say about the decor? Tim Davis' vibrant paintings inject style and colour into the spaces. Absolutely gorgeous. I found myself admiring the art throughout the night - they're a fantastic topic for discussion.

Dining at Mango Room is a little pricey, so I'd definitely categorise it as an 'occasion' restaurant, but worth the money. 

My first trip to Mango Room wouldn't have been complete without actually eating a whole mango.
Have you been to Mango Room? Do you have a favourite West Indian restaurant? Let me know. 

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Top Three Perfumes | Beauty

What do Stella, alien and poison have in common? Nope, they're not elements of an engrossing sci-fi thriller. They're all names of my current top three fragrances.  

 Have you noticed that when you get accustomed to the same scent, you stop appreciating it? That's why I like to alternate between perfumes daily, and lately, I've found myself reaching for these three:
LEFT - RIGHT: Poison by Christian Dior | Alien by Thierry Mugler | Stella by Stella McCartney 
I was originally a fan of Tender Poison but, when it was discontinued, Poison instantly took its place - it's as a subtler version. I own all of the Les Poisons collection, but in my opinion, this is by far the best. Described as "a rich blend of spicy, fruity and amber notes warmed by honey and musk", it's regal and a very mature scent. Even a day after wearing this, I can still smell remnants of it, and unlike some perfumes, it doesn't settle into fibres and give off an offensive musk. 

There's something about this fragrance that seems to catch the instant attention of the opposite sex. I tend to find that men (rather than women) comment and complement whenever I have this on. It's a very distinct yet unusual scent; fresh with woody and gentle floral notes. The colour of the bottle is completely in line with the mysterious allure of the fragrance, and the gold details and structure connote majesty and splendour.  

This perfume sends me to Nostalgia Lane; spritzing it on takes me back to my early twenties. A perfumer would describe it as having top notes of mandarin, peony, and rose essence; heart note of rose; and an amber base note. I'm generally not that keen on rose scents, but this is divine and very feminine. It lasts for ages, and even though a tad strong when initially sprayed, once settled, it's very appealing indeed. This limited edition Print Collection bottle, inspired by the Falabella bag from Stella McCartney's SS13 collection, is available in nude, blue and yellow. I snatched up the very eye-catching blue one - it adds a bit of vibrant colour to my otherwise quite dull dresser.
(View the full Stella range here)  

What are your current favourite perfumes?

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique