Caffeine and Kicks, at The London Coffee Festival

London Coffee FestivalLondon Coffee Festival 2017

Five. That’s the amount of coffees I can safely consume in the space of one day without wanting to die. Of course I don’t make a habit of this, but sometimes you gotta take one for the team. Such as when the London Coffee Festival rolls round. Every year I prepare myself for a day of caffeine, innovation, and…food? Yes, you heard me right, food. Because the London Coffee Festival has way more going on than just serving up a cup of joe.

London Coffee Festival 2017

Whether you’re into latte art, artisanal coffee, coffee-flavoured alcohol, whatever, LCF has it! Honestly I could just sit down with a bag of coffee beans and smell them all day. But I do like to dig a little deeper into the process every now and again. And that’s part of why I love wandering around LCF and discovering new products, techniques and brands. Including South Korean start-up Cafflano – who are producing the world’s first portable all-in-one pour over coffee maker.

But by far the most fun I had was with Union, and their Ultimate Flavour Challenge. We were given a tray of coffees, and asked to place them with the correct flavour pairings. Now I’m no expert on this, but we got 2/4 correct and I’d like to say that it would have been 100% if Ben hadn’t suggested we change two of the coffees at the last minute. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but maybe I have a future in coffee tasting?

Coffee & Food

Ok I couldn’t do a post without talking about the London Coffee Festival, and their dedication to pairing coffee and food. Two of the things I love most in life, together. This year LCF did not let me down, with the appearance of The Chef’s Table & Restaurant by Grind (the same people behind Shoreditch Grind etc), alongside the White Label Kitchen. And of course a delicious meal wouldn’t be without an equally scrumptious dessert. That’s where Hotel Chocolate and their School of Chocolate came in. Although I would like to also give a shout-out to the companies who were exhibiting but not hosting any events, because you are equally awesome. Especially the Danish Bakery – who you can currently find in Selfridges food hall.

The London Coffee Festival may be over for another year, but you can find year-round coffee love on my Instagram.

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Monocle Cafe – More Than An Instagram Trend?

 

Monocle | Cafe | Nearest Tube: Baker Street / Bond Street | Map

Most of us on Instagram have come across a photo of the Monocle cafe and it’s trendy storefront. And if you haven’t…do you even social media, bro? Seriously, this place is a hive of iPhone activity every time somebody walks by. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s been Instagrammed more times than it’s celebrity neighbour – The Chiltern Firehouse. Now that’s an achievement! And can you blame people when the facade is this lovely?

But wait a minute, isn’t this a cafe? People do actually eat here…right?

Monocle Cafe – More Than an Instagram Trend!

Contrary to popular belief, I have actually eaten at Monocle. I don’t just stop by to take a photo every few weeks. In fact I’ve eaten here several times, and I keep coming back for more. Much like it’s namesake publication, the cafe offers up a variety of eclectic and delectable treats. High quality, authentic Japanese and Scandinavian dishes dominate the menu, alongside cakes, pastries, and a really great drinks menu – (Allpress) coffee, wine, matcha, check!

The interior is ridiculously cool too, with Monocle branded goodies lining the shelves. You’ll always find the latest issue here, and you’re more than welcome to peruse it during your stay. Which is perfect, because you won’t feel pressured to rush here. Nor will you feel ‘out of place’ like some London establishments – cough, hipster cafe, cough – as the clientele varies greatly. The atmosphere is relaxing, and the staff incredibly accommodating. Can I talk it up any more? So go on, venture inside next time you’re nearby. After you’ve taken your Instagram photo, of course.

You can find the Monocle Cafe at 18 Chiltern Street.
Don’t forget to check out more of my Where to Eat in London series.

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monocle cafe

5 Must Visit Copenhagen Restaurants | Travel

Copenhagen Restaurants5 Must Visit Copenhagen Restaurants

Figuring out where to eat can be such a pain, whether it’s at home or abroad. I’m usually the one tasked with finding somewhere too. Thanks to my blog, my friends and family seem to think I’m the dictionary on everything food related. Enter me, having an anxiety attack because I feel like I have to come up with somewhere right there and then (read: in 60 seconds).

So when I go away on holiday, I always make sure I do my research. I don’t want to be the person that relies on friends, or desperately asks Twitter on the spot. Plus you never really know if someone has the same tastes as you, and you don’t want to end up wasting money. Bad, expensive food is the saddest kind of food. Therefore I took my time (and knowledge of the internet) when we headed to Denmark recently. I was gonna boss those Copenhagen restaurants!

5 Must Visit Copenhagen Restaurants

I wanted to do my bit, and add a little suttin’ suttin’ to the array of Copenhagen restaurants posts out there. Blogs were a big part of helping me find some gems whilst I was in Denmark, so I thought I’d return the favour. I’ve chosen a variety of restaurants, and tried to pick ones I haven’t seen on other blogs/sites – minus one (bonus points if you know which one).

  1. Fætter & Fætter
    • Yes, this is a toast bar. For Brits, that translates to toastie bar. So you can expect lots of cheesy, crunchy deliciousness from this beautifully decorated restaurant.
  2. DØP
    • The Danes love their hot dogs, and this is one of the best known places to get one. You’ll find the trucks scattered around Copenhagen (the site has a map). These are a must-have, and they’re so affordable you’ll definitely have an excuse to try them all.
  3. Tårnet
    • Conveniently located in The Christiansborg Tower, this restaurant is redefining Danish food. The decor is to die for, but don’t worry, the food doesn’t suffer. It is every bit as elegant and gorgeous as it’s surroundings.
  4. Mad & Kaffe
    • This one is for the Instagram lovers. Or just those that like their food with a touch of fun. After waiting in the queue (this place is super popular), you’ll be seated and given a piece of paper to fill out. You select your choice of dishes, then sit back and enjoy.
  5. Københavner-caféen
    • It may look a little dated, but this is the place if you want to try traditional Danish food. The pub-like surroundings make for a relaxed environment, and the food is incredibly flavoursome. Try the Flæskesteg (Denmark’s national dish) – pork, crackling, caramelised potatoes, gravy, cabbage, and pickled vegetables.

Bon Appétit! Or as they say in Denmark, ‘Velbekomme’!

Don’t forget to check out my other Copenhagen travel posts!

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Hand Cafe – East Village London’s Little Secret

hand cafeHand Cafe | East Village | Nearest Tube: Stratford | Map

It is my firm belief that everyone should have a local cafe. Cafes are the perfect place to lose yourself in your thoughts, contemplate life, or just enjoy a damn good coffee. When we moved to East Village in Stratford, the cafe offerings were pretty sparse. And by sparse I mean the closest (decent) cafe was in Homerton. That cafe was 46b Espresso Hut.

I’d been a few times when I was in the area, but it wasn’t close enough to become a ‘local’. So you can imagine my surprise when one of the units near our apartment put up a sign saying a new cafe was coming. But this wasn’t just any cafe. This was Hand cafe – 46b Espresso Hut’s younger sibling.

Hand Cafe – East Village London’s Little Secret

I really have nothing bad to say about Hand, so this post is going to be one of those genuine glowing reviews, that don’t come about too often. They’re dedicated to bringing good coffee and high quality food (using local ingredients) to the people of Stratford…and anyone who fancies paying a visit really.

From toasties to shakshuka, it’s anything but the usual foodie fare. The colourful yellow and purple dish below? That’s bacon, avocado and egg on sourdough. They’ve got the ‘traditional’ dishes down, but they’ve added their own special flare to them. My favourite is the Hand Granola; the fruits change based on what’s available and in season, and the added touch of bee pollen and mint adds a whole new dimension of texture and flavour to this breakfast staple. Trust me, you won’t bore of the food here.

More than just coffee…

I visit at least once a week, and often see the same faces (as well as new ones). Eva and Dom spend a lot of time getting to know everyone, and always greet you with a smile. And it’s not forced. These are genuine people doing something they love, and sharing it with those around them. Their hard work and determination has really helped cement Hand as – in my opinion – the best cafe in East Village. Hand cafe is a gem amongst a growing community. I think I’d even go as far to say it’s the heart.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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Is Dominique Ansel London Worth The Hype?

dominique ansel londonDominique Ansel London | Bakery & Cafe | Nearest Tube: Victoria | Map

I headed over to Dominique Ansel London this weekend, much like the rest of London. Well, at least that’s how it felt when we saw the queue and the distinct lack of table space. Still, we waited it out, like the good little foodies that we are. But was it worth it?

Dominique Ansel London: Is It Worth The Hype?

  • Perfect Little Egg Sandwich – £5
    Looking more like a Filet O’ Fish when it arrived, I was skeptical. However this light sandwich was actually pretty delicious (no shade FOF). The flavours pack quite a punch, and are kinda quizzical at the best of times. But I liked it. I think…
  • Croque Monsieur – £10.50
    £10.50 (not incl VAT)! For a croque monsieur! I’m sorry but this is ridiculous, especially when you find out that it tastes no different to those you’ve had at half the price. Coming from a French chef/brand, this is a big let down.
  • Liquid Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Cake – £5.90
    Not only is it beautifully presented, but it’s heaven for a peanut butter lover. The base fell a little flat (soft and wet), but I half wonder if it’s because we didn’t eat it until the evening. That said, I’d expect a freshly made £6 cake to last a couple of hours.
  • Lime Me Up Tart – £6.20
    This was recommended to us, and I can see why. The sharp flavours contrast perfectly against the myriad of textures. This is a fun one. You need to pour the mixture of sea salt, juniper and brown sugar into the groove and squeeze fresh lime over to make an instant caramel. Silly, unique, genius.

Final thoughts? 

The store is beautiful, the staff knowledgeable, and the menu enticing. However I can’t say I was majorly won over by Dominique Ansel London. I still really enjoy his fun and contemporary outlook on the art of patisserie. And it’s safe to say that you’ll definitely find something different on your visit. Your pockets will be a lot lighter mind you. The prices on the menu don’t include VAT! So if you want to sit in – if you can find a seat – it’s gonna cost you a bit more.

The whole thing just feels a bit anti-climactic. You could blame the cronut (which still sell out quickly here). Dominique’s sudden catapult to fame has left everyone wanting more, more more. And unfortunately I don’t think he can catch up. Still, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and try again. Maybe.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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Atelier September: The Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?

copenhagen brunchThe Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?
Atelier September Cafe & Interiors Store | Website | Map

One of the first things I do when I spend a long weekend in a new city is find out where I can get brunch. As a fan of Scandinavian food, this task was made even more exciting when I travelled to Copenhagen last week. After consulting several books (500 Hidden Secrets of Copenhagen), my Cereal Guide and a few blogs, I had a decent list at hand. At the top of this list was a creative space with a difference – Atelier September.

Atelier September: The Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?

Atelier September is perfectly located a short walk from Copenhagen’s city centre, and just down the road from the popular area of Nyhavn. The cafe boasts bright, clean, spacious interiors at the front of the store, whilst hidden inside the back is a small interiors store/creative space – for all your Danish homeware needs.

The cafe opens at 9am on a Saturday, and since I’m an earlier riser when I’m travelling, I headed over for opening time. I always think the popularity of a place can be seen through the dedication of it’s customers. We arrived around 9:05am and there were only two tables left at this point.  Luckily we grabbed a window seat, so we could people watch…and you know, perfect lighting for blog photos.

The food

For breakfast, you’ll find eggs, rye bread, cheese, granola and fruit on the menu here. It’s simple, but perfect for starting your day on the right note. Lunch time sees a selection of cheeses, hams and breads. Not too different from breakfast, but a great selection none the less.
I went for rye bread and egg. The rye bread was fresh, and the best I’ve had to date. I really loved that the boiled egg was still runny inside, and it complimented the rye bread well. It might sound and look like a simple breakfast, but it was delicious. The perfect start to my Copenhagen travels.

The coffee

As for beverages, Atelier September really excels at bringing variety to the table. Options include fresh pressed juices, matcha, soda, green tea and coffee. I like to start my day with the hard stuff, so I went for a cappuccino (no flat whites here!). I have no complaints.

Does Atelier September offer up the perfect Copenhagen brunch?

Definitely, especially if you’re like me and you don’t always want to over-indulge. If you do, that’s fine too, I’d just suggest you order a couple of dishes. As for value for money, we paid around 140 Krone (£16) for two coffees, and two egg & rye bread breakfasts. That’s not bad when you break it down, and when you consider that you’re brunching in Copenhagen (it’s not a cheap city). The staff here are helpful, and offered us an English menu when I asked about an item on the menu (my Danish is limited to DuoLingo). Afterwards I chatted to the manager about how she wanted to visit London, and how she fell in love with Copenhagen and moved there. If a cafe has good staff, it will go far. And it’s definitely part of the success behind Atelier September. If you want a real Danish experience, head here. It’s a serious contender for the best Copenhagen brunch.

You can find Atelier September at Gothersgade 30 1123 Copenhagen
Check out more: Where to Eat

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24 Hours in Paris | A Paris Travel Guide

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It’s been a while since I last mentioned anything Parisian on the blog. After living there for 4 months I think I needed a bit of a break. Well it’s been several years since my last visit, but last week I found myself in Paris again. The problem? I only had 24 hours! You know me, whenever I visit somewhere I like to do as much as possible. That’s a given. I also like to share my adventures with everyone on my blog…

So here’s my Paris travel guide to help you through your 24 hours in the City of Love!

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24 Hours in Paris: A Paris Travel Guide

  1. Stay at: The Pullman Hotel, Eiffel Tower
    • Not only is the location amazing – it’s right next door to the Eiffel Tower! I dare you to find a better view from a hotel window.
  2. Have breakfast at: Cafe Kitsune, Palais Royale
    • If you’re anything like me, then you need a coffee to get you going in the morning. What better way to do this then in the gorgeous surroundings of Palais Royale. You’ll find Cafe Kitsune hidden in the 17th century arcade, with seating in the gardens.
  3. Take a photo at Les Deux Plateaux (Colonnes de Buren)
    • This controversial art piece is only a minute walk from Cafe Kitsune – I do like to make it easy for you, don’t I. Whether you’re a fan or not, this candy cane-esque installation leaves an impression. It’s pretty popular with locals and tourists alike, thanks to being so damn Instagrammable.
  4. Have lunch at: Aki Boulanger, Rue Saint Anne
    • This Japanese-French bakery-cum-cafe boasts some delicious treats, and is only a 10 minute walk from Opera metro station. You’ll find plenty of savoury and sweet food, all with nods towards the French location, and Japanese heritage. Think matcha mille-feuilles.
  5. Walk around Avenue de l’Opéra
    • It’s a beautiful part of Paris, which features some amazing architecture, and plenty of cafes and stores. Galeries Lafayette and Sephora are also nearby, and are a must-visit for any beauty or fashion fans.
  6. Have dinner at the local brasserie
    • You don’t get much more French than a brasserie, and luckily they’re an affordable way to try some decent, traditional French food. You’ll find them dotted around most streets. Chose the one with the bevy of Parisians sat outside, take a seat, and people watch.
  7. Stay up and watch the light show
    • After dark, the Eiffel Tower lights up every hour, on the hour. It’s a spectacular sight, and well worth waiting up for.

Feel free to leave your own Paris recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts.
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