Where to Eat in London: Bourne and Hollingsworth

where-to-eat-in-london-bourne-and-hollinsgworth-1Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings | European | Clerkenwell | Website
– reservations are highly recommeded –

I don’t always base my brunch choices on the interior of a restaurant, but when I do, it’s Bourne and Hollingsworth. Joking aside, I will openly admit that I chose to visit Bourne and Hollingsworth for their interior design. A bright, spacious restaurant filled with greenery and marble…it’s a bloggers dream! However it would seem that bloggers are not their only fans, as their table booking system made evident. This is one London establishment where you won’t get a seat without a reservation. However a few weeks after I originally gave up trying to get a table, something amazing happened. The site refreshed itself, and there it was, a table for 2 at 11:45 on a Saturday. I grabbed it!

When we arrived the restaurant was busy, but chilled. This is the usual at B&H. We were shown to our table at the back of the building, exactly where I had hoped to sit – lucky me! I knew precisely what I wanted to order – the Drop Scones with Clotted Cream & Summer Berries. All thanks to Katy. Our dishes arrived pretty quickly and I immediately tucked in. The drop scones were devilishly light, and buttery rich. The clotted cream had actually been whipped, so again it was rich and creamy. It was beyond delicious, especially when paired with the raspberries. Unfortunately about 3/4 of the way through, I began to give up. The clotted cream was too rich, and it had all begun to taste like…yes you guessed it, butter. Something I personally love, but only in small doses. My suggestion to B&H? Ease up on the red currants and blueberries, add a few more raspberries. Oh and maybe hold back a little on the rich ingredients. A great dish like this shouldn’t be it’s own downfall.

I wouldn’t order the Drop Scones again, but I might be tempted to come back for dinner instead…if I could get a table. The reservation system here works so well that they don’t even need to take walk-ins. Of course this is a shame for those who stop by and fancy checking out the restaurant on a whim. However it does add a refreshing change to London’s usual “walk-in only” policy. Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings is a beautiful restaurant, with a classic, well-thought out menu. The interior matches the time and care that has gone in to the dishes, and I would highly recommend visiting. Just make sure you plan in advance!

If you liked this, why not check out the rest of my Where to Eat in London series.

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Square Meal

A London Life… at The Canary Wharf Sky Garden

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The Canary Wharf Sky Garden | Crossrail Place | Nearest Tube: Canary Wharf

Finding tranquility in London is a lot easier than some might think. Although I’m sure most of you would scoff at me if I said you could find it smack bang in the middle of Canary Wharf. An area known for it’s skyscrapers is the last place you’d expect to find a bounty of greenery. However a few weeks ago I made it my mission to find this hidden gem.

With V.A in tow, we battled the crowds of shoppers and made it out to the new Crossrail Place complex. It was eerily quiet outside amongst the skyscrapers, and I half thought we’d taken the wrong exit. However we soon realised we were in the right place, and so we crossed the bridge and rode the escalators to the heavens. Heavens is maybe a slight exaggeration here as the sky garden isn’t particularly high, although it does offer a lovely view over London. However what I enjoyed most was how serene the garden was. Everything has been carefully landscaped, and laid out alongside spacious paths. As we weaved in and out of the tropical plants, it was easy to forget that we were still in London.

Unfortunately the garden doesn’t go on forever, but there’s plenty to see (and Instagram). The variety of plants on display is amazing, and the contemporary architecture is astonishing – just look at that roof! I’m a big architecture/plant geek and I have to say, this is now one of my favourite spots in London. I could easily find myself relaxing here for the afternoon with a book, or sharing a coffee with some friends.

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Kopparberg Urban Forest Festival

kopparberg-urban-forest-festival-hackney-wick-braid-barKopparberg Urban Forest Festival*

I think it’s fair to say that Britain goes a little festival crazy during the Summer. But I’m not in to camping, so I was all set for another festival-less year. That was until I was invited to the Kopparberg Urban Forest Festival. So on the longest day of the year I headed to Hackney Wick to celebrate the Summer Solstice – Swedish style.

I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect from Kopparberg, as I’d missed last year’s offering. The venue might have been slightly smaller than Glastonbury, but it had all the essentials. There were street food trucks, a photo booth, a couple of bars, hair braiding and even a DJ booth. I headed straight to the bar for a frozen Kopparberg. It sounds a little odd, but it’s perfectly refreshing on a hot Summer’s day. Next we went for food…we have our priorities straight. I chose Le Bun, a French twist on the typical American Burger. I went for Le Duck Frites; a duck confit burger with straw fries and champagne slaw. Ben went for a more Scandinavian affair with The Hackney Pearl’s Swedish Meatball Sandwich. We shared our dishes, and truth be told, we couldn’t decide whose was better. Both were delicious, and perfect alongside our ciders. After our mini feast, I decided to join the queue for the braid bar. The Braid Bar is pretty well known among beauty enthusiasts, and celebrities alike. With my short, thin hair, I wasn’t sure if they would be able to do anything. Luckily they cater for all hair types, as I saw whilst watching others have their hair braided. I went for the Eva – two small side braids. It didn’t take too long and I was pretty happy with the result (although I wouldn’t pay £10 for it in-store).

In true Scandinavian style there were plenty of fresh flowers. But instead of crowns, these flowers were being weaved into our braids, and the mens beards. As my braids were so petite and tight, I went for a more delicate look. I really loved how it complimented the style of the braids. Ben had actually had his hair and beard cut that morning, so I was a bit sad that we couldn’t adorn his hair too. We still had plenty of time left though, so we headed to the photobooth and snapped some memories. After a couple more Kopparbergs, the heavens began to open, so we scarpered. It’s fair to say that this is one festival I can definitely see myself going back to.

The Kopparberg Urban Forest is on until July 12th – entry is free.

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A London Life… in Stoke Newington

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Stoke Newington | East London | Nearest Tube: Dalston Kingsland Overground

As I prepare to say goodbye to the part of London that I’ve spent the 3 years in, I decided to take one last long photo walk around Dalston and Stoke Newington. I will still be living in East London, but I’m moving on to greener pastures (or something like that). I’ll miss this part of London, but I’m excited to start a new adventure and see even more of this amazing city.
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A London Life… in Dalston

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L’atelier Dalston | East London | Nearest Tube: Dalston Kingsland/Dalston Junction

As I prepare to say goodbye to the part of London that I’ve spent the last 3 years in, I decided to take one last long photo walk around Dalston and Stoke Newington (the Stoke Newington post will be up later this week). I will still be living in East London, but I’m moving on to greener pastures (or something like that). I’ll miss this part of London, but I’m excited to start a new adventure and see even more of this amazing city.

View more of the  ‘A London Life…’ series

A London Life… in Tokyo?

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Eat Tokyo, Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London

One of the best things about London is being able to find authentic food from pretty much any country or region. That isn’t to say though that there aren’t imitations. Unfortunately for every Asakusa, there are ten Wagamamas. Still, part of the fun of discovering new places to eat is in whether or not they will be true to form. One place I had heard about through the grapevine was Eat Tokyo. I’d heard several people say “this is the real deal” or “it’s the best Japanese food in London”. However I’m pretty critical of cuisines I know well, and I’d also heard some not-so-great reviews, so I decided to take these opinions with a pinch of salt. In fact I’d resigned myself to never visiting the restaurant “chain” (they currently have 6 locations in London). Yet last week V.A and I found ourselves unsure of where to go for dinner after our SHOW DRY salon visit. Low and behold, there was Eat Tokyo on our Zomato app with a 4.6 rating. So we decided to give it a go.

First off, let me say, the Notting Hill location is small. VERY small. In fact we were lucky enough to get the last table, right next to the front door. The layout of the kitchen and seats – this location features seats where you can watch the sushi chefs at work – reminded me very much of a typical izakaya. Even though the restaurant was full, the staff were efficient. We were given the ginormous menu (really guys, it’s too much) and took our time looking through it. I took charge and ordered a whole selection of my favourite dishes for the both of us, as V.A wanted to try something new. This included: Natto (fermented soy bean – Japan’s marmite), Unagi Don (grilled eel on rice), Wakame-su (pickled cucumber and seaweed), Agedashi Tofu (fried tofu in a tentsuyu broth), Salmon Sushi Rolls and Karaage (fried chicken). The chef also accidentally made us some natto sushi, which we were given for free.

As for the food, was it authentic? Everything apart from the wakame-su (it should have been sunomono) tasted exactly as I remembered it from Japan. The flavours and textures were all there, but something was lacking. Unfortunately whereas Eat Tokyo excels in bringing authentic Japanese dishes to London, it did not excel at bringing good quality ingredients and well cooked food to our table. The karaage wasn’t bad and neither was the age-dofu. However the unagi was overcooked and chewy, the sushi was cold, the natto didn’t come with a side of tare or mustard, and the wakame-su wasn’t pickled, and had ginger on top?! Overall not a great experience, but not one that I regret. I won’t be heading back anytime soon, but if I had nowhere to go I’d probably give them another chance.

You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.