In the space of five minutes around 10 people stopped by to take photos on our recent visit to Shozo Coffee Store. It’s true, the cafe itself is incredibly Instagram-worthy, but the aesthetic doesn’t feel out of place in the neighbourhood (Cafe Kitsune is just down the road). In short, this coffee shop feels genuine. Which makes it a real shame that only 2 out of the 10 people who took photos actually stopped to grab a coffee/food. Because in a time where cafes are designed ‘for the gram’, Shozo is a breath of fresh air.
Shozo Coffee Store
Located in the stylish neighbourhood of Aoyama, Shozo Coffee Store is just off the main road – yet it feels worlds away from the trendy cafes and fashion houses of Omotesando. The rustic, natural look of the cafe has a uniquely Japanese style inside and out. Oddly it’s a style I’ve not found to be popular in Europe.
Shozo’s ‘branding’ isn’t restricted to the outside though. Step inside and you’ll find an array of baked goods (they’re known for their scones), branded items, and of course high quality coffee. All compacted around two very small seating areas (there’s more outside), albeit it rather stylishly. We tried the cinnamon buns and coffee and bought some coffee jam to take home). The pastries were delicious and the coffee went down a treat, the two together making the perfect combo. With the light filtering through the linen curtains, and the friendly staff smiling and chatting away alongside some gentle background music, we felt a moment of serenity in the midst of busy Tokyo.
If you fancy finding out more, check out Shozo Coffee Store’s Instagram to see their food offerings, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Tokyo coffee scene.
See more: Tokyo Coffee Guide
I cook a lot of Japanese food at home, and I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. So when a new Japanese restaurant opens up in London, it takes a lot to get me out of the house and believe in the hype. Well hello Inko Nito, a Japanese fusion robatayaki (fireside cooking) restaurant based in the heart of Soho. I was recently invited to their press event, and after reading the contemporary menu I was intrigued. In fact I was more than intrigued. I was drawn in by the promise of flavour explosions – and an umeshu negroni – all in a minimalist scandi setting. Basically, my dream kinda restaurant – I was there with bells on!
What did we eat?
- Edamame, soy, mirin, ginger, sea salt
- Avocado, quinoa, edamame, green bean, apple wasabi dressing
- Romaine lettuce, spicy cashew nut miso
- The cali; Portland crab, avocado, wasabi tobiko, yuzu mayo
- The veggie; avocado, yuzu, garlic, crispy rice
- The chirashi; salmon, yellowtail, wasabi shiso
- Panko fried chicken, chili garlic yogurt
- Fried shrimp, spicy Korean miso, sesame seeds, lime
- Tofu kara-age, miso mayo, nori
- Chicken wings, ume-boshi, green chili, mint, sansho
- Bone marrow, smoked soy, garlic toast, shallot
- Prime beef short rib, peanut chilli oil, spring onions
- Grilled prawn toast, sesame, wasabi mayo, katsuobushi
- Cobia collar, brown butter ponzu, lemon
- Cauliflower, garlic soy aioli, parmesan panko
- Tenderstem broccolini, onion wafu
- Baked potato, yuzu kosho sour cream, spring onions
- THE SWEETEST THING
- Charred coconut soft serve, soy, pocky, Japanese granola
Final thoughts on Inko Nito London
I wish I could go into detail on how much I enjoyed the individual dishes we ate, but no one has time to read a blog post that long. Instead I’ve highlighted my personal favourites (above) and will give you a short summary.
Alongside the spacious interior at Inko Nito, you’ll find a pretty vast menu, but don’t let that deter you. Honestly it’s the kind of restaurant where you’ll enjoy any dish that you order. A lot of well known Japanese flavours are featured on the menu, as is to be expected. However you’ll also find a whole bunch of innovative and moreish fusion delights to please your palate. Would I go back? Definitely! Price-wise it costs around £30pp, which isn’t too bad for a decent meal in London. In fact since I was invited to the press launch I’ve already been back with friends, and paid with my own money. If that doesn’t say how much I enjoyed eating at Inko Nito London, I don’t know what will.
Check out more: Where to Eat in London
It can be pretty tough visiting a new city or country. You’re not sure where to eat, what to see, or even where to stay. Well I’m here to change all of that with my handy guides! They’re full of tips, tricks, and the best places to go. So stop worrying about how you’re going to make the most of your time in a new place; here are my recommendations for spending 24 hours in Brighton!
24 Hours in Brighton
- Stay at: Ibis Brighton
- Located a few doors down from the station, this Ibis features artwork by local artists, and stunning views of the town. They also offer breakfast and a 24 hour drinks and food menu, which you can take up to your room. Tip: book a room and ask for a sea view.
- Go loco for ‘Cafe Coho’
- Big, healthy and tasty – that’s Cafe Coho‘s offerings in a nutshell. My recommendation: the berry pancakes, and a healthy juice shot.
- Take a walk down the lanes
- Picnic on the beach!
- Grab something tasty from one of the various cafes in The Lanes and take it to the beach. Weather permitting, of course.
- Walk down Brighton Pier
- You can hardly visit Brighton without a trip to the pier. Filled with amusement arcades, seafood, doughnuts and rollercoasters, it’s a must when visiting the British seaside.
- Pre-dinner cocktails…
- At Twisted Lemon. This tiny quirky cocktail bar has a wide variety of cocktails and is located not far from the seafront.
- A little slice of Italy in Brighton
- Fatto A Mano offers up a menu inspired by Naples, and is the perfect place to share a pizza – or two – with friends and family.
Hints and Tips for 24 Hours in Brighton:
- Where should I go shopping?
- I’ll be publishing a standalone guide on where to shop in Brighton soon, so keep an eye out.
- Rent a bike, or simply walk
- Brighton has a great bike rental system (BTN Bikeshare) in place, which starts at only 3p a minute! If you don’t fancy cycling, the town is also small enough to walk around.
Well there you have it, my travel guide to 24 Hours in Brighton!
Feel free to check out the my other 24 Hours In… guides.
My stay at Ibis Brighton was complimentary, however all images, words and opinions are my own.
On possibly one of the hottest days of the year, I decided to brave the tube. Why? Because at the other end of the line, Galvin at The Athenaeum was calling. Based in the Mayfair hotel, the restaurant comes from Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. Known for their French-inspired menus, the brothers have stepped away from their trademark for the first time. All in favour of championing Britain’s delicious homegrown produce, and supporting independent farmers across the UK.
We arrived feeling slightly overheated, so of course a drink was in order. We headed straight to the beautifully designed THE BAR at The Athenaeum. Plush interiors cooled us down, whilst the small nooks invited us to take a private seat. Our choice of drink, gin & tonic; from their substantial collection of premium gins. As we sipped away, and nibbled on bar snacks, we chatted about what we would order on the menu.
So what did we eat?
- Terrine of ham, chicken and foie gras with red onion marmalade
- Chunky meat and subtle flavours complimented well by a sweet marmalade.
- Smoked duck, plum, poached egg & hollandaise
- A step-up from your usual ‘benedict’ – I definitely had food envy after stealing a bite of the smoked duck.
- Fish pie (daily special)
- Fish pie is one of my go-to comfort foods, so I can be critical. That said, I was let pretty satisfied after trying this one. It was packed full of cod, prawns and salmon, with a thin layer of mashed potato. My only con was that it didn’t use eggs, and I would have liked to have seen some smoked fish in the mix.
- Sunday Roast
- The roast here comes with the option of chicken, pork or sirloin beef. Ben went for sirloin, which was cooked pink and seasoned well. It was superbly tender and melted in my mouth – I couldn’t resist trying some.
- Dessert/Cheese buffet (unlimited)
- A novel idea, the dessert buffet was full of well-known favourites and a few surprises. I was personally delighted to see ‘Apple, pear & almond tart’, which I piled onto my plate alongside sugary meringues and freshly whipped cream.
The Weekend Lunch Menu comes with unlimited bubbly.
Final thoughts on Galvin at The Athenaeum
Our visit to Galvin at The Athenaeum was the perfect way to spend a Summer afternoon. We were completely won over by the bar, and as you can tell from above we fully enjoyed our meal too. My only regret is that I filled up on my starters and mains, and I would have loved to sample more of the desserts and cheeses (I was too full to try any) on offer.
Would I go back? Oh yes! After experiencing the weekend lunch menu I’d love to see what else Galvin at The Athenaeum has to offer. Perhaps afternoon tea, or dinner? Almost definitely drinks and bar snacks!
Check out more: Where to Eat in London
This post is in collaboration with Galvin at The Athenaeum, however all images, words and opinions are my own.
I’ve always loved Lebanese food, so when I heard a new restaurant was popping up I just had to try it. The latest addition to Belgravia is Abd el Wahab, situated on Pont Street – the first branch to open outside of the Middle East. The elegant interiors of the restaurant compliment the neighbourhood well. Pplenty of thought has gone into the decor, and it’s contribution to the dining experience as a whole. With a ‘living wall’ of plants, tons of natural light, and comfy chairs, I was suitably impressed. Now all they had to do was win me over with their food…
Our menu for the evening
- Fattouch Salad
- Mixed Pickles
- Moutabbal (smoked aubergine dip)
- Stuffed Vine Leafs
- Sojok (sliced spicy sausages)
- Pan Fried Eggs with Kawarma Meat
- Cheese Rolls
- Kebbeh (deep fried ball stuffed with minced meat)
- Maamoul Flake
- Lebanese baklawa
Final thoughts on Abd el Wahab London
The hot & cold starters are not to miss at Abd el Wahab, and I would recommend eating them with plenty of friends and family. Why? Because it means you get to order and share even more! Luckily for us we were able to try all of the dishes. My personal favourites were the ‘Pan Fried Eggs with Kawarma Meat’ (we all agreed it would make a great brunch food), the ‘Sojok’ (ever so slightly spicy), and the ‘Hummus’ (because, hummus).
However, the stars of the show are admittedly the desserts. The ‘Maamoul Flake’ was a masterpiece, which was quickly devoured…once the appropriate amount of photos had been taken, obviously. And the ‘Baklawa’ did not disappoint my cravings for the honey soaked pastry. In fact I enjoyed it so much I may have just stolen some from the table next door.
My personal opinion is that some cuisines are so good you don’t need to go to an upscale restaurant to enjoy the best of them. Lebanese is one of these cuisines. That said, if you live in West London or you feel like something slightly more fancy, then Abd el Wahab is the place for you.
Would I go back? If I was in the area, I’d love to stop by for coffee and baklawa. Or perhaps some prosecco, if appropriate (when isn’t it?).
Check out more: Where to Eat
This post is in collaboration with Abd el Wahab, however all words and opinions are my own.
I’m all about that hygge lifestyle. Whereas the trend may have died down in the UK, I’ve continued to adopt the concept. I believe in the art of slow living, and I’m always trying to bring a little bit of it into my home and life. I also know that a lot of my readers have a similar outlook. So for my second instalment in my Christmas gift guide series I decided to go with something a little different. Here is ‘The Hygge Gift Guide’, and it’s jam packed full of awesome products to bring some warmth, cosiness and comfort into your Christmas.
The Hygge Gift Guide
- Food & Drink:
It wasn’t easy breaking such an intricate concept into three categories, but I don’t think I did too bad a job, right? A cosy home is the perfect place to start, shortly followed by plenty of comforting food & drink. And last but certainly not least, some lifestyle items to keep you going in and outside of the house. As always, I have placed an emphasis on quality items from a selection of independent stores and makers, as well as some well-known brand names. With this gift guide, you’re bound to impress any hygge fan.
If you enjoyed The Hygge Gift Guide, check out the rest of my Christmas Gift Guide series.
The Sipping Room | Drake & Morgan | European | Map
I have something to admit. I love West India Quay. I love being by the water, and staring up at the gigantic buildings that feel as though they’re hugging me (it reminds me a lot of Tokyo). And I love the hidden little gems dotted around, some of which you might not associate with the area. But I realise that not everyone feels the same way as me, so I always jump at the chance to bring someone along on my visits. And such an opportunity occurred last weekend, when VA and I decided to go for some Winter eats at The Sipping Room.
As Autumn ends, and Winter starts to draw in, I begin looking for a different kind of restaurant. I start looking for somewhere that serves comforting food, with a cosy & warm atmosphere. The Sipping Room seemed like the perfect place for this, with their warm lighting, enticing menu, and friendly staff. Some might say it’s hygge-worthy. And you can see why, with the Scandinavian stylings and the family-friendly atmosphere.
Cozy Winter Eats
With VA as my foodie sidekick, we perused the menu with ease, and chose the most delectable sounding dishes (favourites are bolded):
- London Spritz (Tanquery gin, cucumber, elderflower, apple, mint & soda)
- Vignard (Botanist gin, dark grape juice, lime, sugar syrup, egg white & lemon thyme)
- Scotch egg (chorizo & smoked paprika mayonnaise)
- Salt szechuan pepper squid (lemon mayonnaise)
- Free-range half chicken Sunday roast (Yorkshire pudding & pigs in blankets)
- Rib of beef Sunday roast (Yorkshire pudding & horseradish sauce)
- All served with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli & gravy
- Creme Brûlée (biscotti)
- Chocolate brownie (vanilla ice cream)
Our 3-course meal for two people came to a total of £74.70 (£37.35pp) with two cocktails. Not bad for a treat, however it is on the pricier side if you just fancy a casual Sunday meal. That said, we were pretty indulgent during our visit. I would definitely return for their cocktails, and that Scotch egg! Is that possible? Well if it is, I’d love to go back and check out their new outdoor igloos, where you can wrap up in a cosy sheep skin. The perfect Winter warmer!
Check out more: Where to Eat
This post is in collaboration with Drake & Morgan, however all views, photos and words are my own.