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
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.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
Last year I wrote an article discussing the art of slow living and whether it was possible to do whilst living in a busy city such as London. I talked about the difficulties involved, but also the importance of wellbeing. I simultaneously ran a poll on my Instagram, asking my followers whether they thought it was possible. Most people believed it wasn’t, and as optimistic as I am, I can understand why. So I decided to update my slow living series, and bring you all some tips for slow living in London, because I do honestly believe there is the possibility for us all to bring a little bit of calm and wellbeing to our everyday lives.
5 Tips for Slow Living in London
- Make time for your mental wellbeing
- Living in London, a city full of opportunities, it can be easy to just say yes to everything. And before you know it your calendar is heaving with social activities. But it’s important to realise when you can, and should, say no.
- Turn your phone off/say goodbye to social
- Social media and messaging apps can cause a lot of stress, whether it’s intentional or not. Try putting aside a few hours everyday, where you switch your phone off, and put your laptop down.
- Less is more
- Visiting new restaurant openings, or buying the latest on-trend items can be tempting in a city like London. But it’s not always rewarding. Try doing/buying less, and focusing more on the quality of the experience or item. It will help you appreciate it more, and it will save you some money along the way too.
- Make more of your evenings
- Working 9-5 can be draining, and a lot of people cherish their free time in the evening, so why not make more of it? Light some candles, put your favourite music on, have a bath, make a meal from scratch. All little things that when put together can be incredibly satisfying and relaxing.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- One big underlying problem in most people’s lives is the fear of missing out, or the idea that someone else has a better life than you do. It’s important not to compare yourself to others. After all, the grass isn’t always greener, and the world isn’t going to end if you don’t attend a social event.
If you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.
If you enjoyed my tips for slow living in London, check out more of my wellbeing articles here.
Why independent shopping?
Independent shopping has become a hot topic, and with chains littering the high street it’s easy to see why. I for one am tired of poor quality mass produced items. And as more independent stores open across the country, it would seem that a lot of other people are too. My own hometown, Norwich, has seen a rise in independent stores and cafes, and they are thriving. But why? Well there are a lot of great reasons why you should be independent shopping:
- Quality products
- Unique gifts with a story
- Support your local shops
- Help someone do something they love
Where should I shop?
Well that’s entirely up to you. You may have some great local businesses and stores nearby. But if you don’t, or you just fancy checking out somewhere new, I have a few recommendations for you:
- This is the place for independent shopping. With boutiques across the UK you can shop from the comfort of your own home – or office desk etc – to find the perfect item for you and your loved ones. My current favourite is: Blabar
- Stranger London
- This one is for those who want a little bit of magic into their life, and homes. Run by my friend Yasumi, she focuses on unique pieces that scream adventure & personal wellbeing. The store boasts handmade pieces with nods to Japan, UK and Scandinavia. I’m a personal fan of her thread sketches.
- Weathered Penny
- If you’re into jewellery, this is the store for you. Their pieces come in a variety of contemporary styles, and they won’t break the bank. I love the hand earrings.
- Their choice of products is well thought out; they’re simple, functional and let’s be honest, aesthetically pleasing.
- This is one of my favourite local stores for fashion, and not only because they have their own cafe on the shop floor. They carry a range of quality brands such as Rains, Veja, and Mads Nørgaard.
- For the plant lovers and homeware addicts out there. I often stop by Botany’s store to browse their selection of plants. And I love that they offer workshops for those who really want to get hands-on.
Keep an eye out for my Christmas gift guides, coming soon!
Images are courtesy of Trouva, however all views, suggestions and words are my own.
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.
Parla Pop-up | Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate | Map
I get a little bit giddy anytime a favourite brand of mine expands. Especially when that brand is an independent one, with a strong emphasis on talented females. Enter Pärla, an East London store based in Boxpark Shoreditch, whom you may remember from some of my previous posts. I’ve been chatting about the brand online – and off – for a while now, which makes their new pop-up even sweeter for me.
Being the fangirl that I am, I decided to go check out the Parla pop-up as soon as it opened. And I don’t think I’m going to be the only one falling in love with it.
The Summer Parla Pop-Up
Pärla may have started with an East London store, but some of you will be glad to hear that they’re now expanding West. Yep, their special Summer pop-up is based in none other than the famous Portobello Road, Notting Hill. The new pop-up is airy, bright, and filled with contemporary jewellery and gorgeous lifestyle items (including lingerie and candles). The usual jewellery design players are all there: V Jewellery, Jessie Harris, Clarice Price Thomas, Smith/Grey, and more. And this time they’ve been joined by a few fashion designers too, such as Danielle Foster, Jody Shafton and others.
I personally can’t stop by Pärla without adding a hundred things to my wish-list, and buying several of the ones already on it. This time I added a piece of V Jewellery to my collection; a little bling to perk up the numerous ear piercings I’m stacking up. And naturally I added everything from Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris’s new collections to my wish-list. It’s safe to say that the new Parla Pop-up is everything I had hoped for, and I can honestly say it’s a minimalists lifestyle dream.
You can visit the Parla Pop-up yourself at 201 Portobello Road, until Sept 3rd.