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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Where to Eat in London: 155 Bar and Kitchen

155 Bar and Kitchen155 Bar and Kitchen | European | Website
155 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, EC1 3AD

Weekend brunch is almost a ritual for the typical Londoner. Whether it’s with your significant other, your friend group, or even a quiet one by yourself, it’s the perfect way to spend a morning…or afternoon. I’ll admit, I’m a serial bruncher. I do it at least once a week, so you know I’m seriously knowledgable. I just love it.

Where to Eat in London: 155 Bar and Kitchen

I like brunch even more though when I can pair it with window shopping. That’s why 155 Bar and Kitchen was the perfect location for me. Attached to trendy lifestyle store Clerkenwell London, 155 Bar and Kitchen offers up European food from breakfast to dinner. The stylish interior blends perfectly with the vibe of the restaurant.  I’m such a sucker for a good looking restaurant.

Of course I was there to brunch, and what better way to do it than with  a bottle of prosecco? Ok so we didn’t just dine on bubbly. In fact we tried a couple of dishes and shared them:

  • 155 Waffles
    At 155 your Belgian (the best in my opinion) waffles come with a choice; bacon & scrambled egg, or berries and cream. Savoury and sweet is my jam, so I went for bacon and egg. The waffles here are homemade, and are the perfect mixture of crunchy outer, and soft inner. Whilst the bacon and egg help even out the sweetness of the waffle. It’s truly a match made in heaven.
  • Classic English Breakfast
    This has to be the prettiest English breakfast I’ve ever seen. And that’s definitely the weirdest sentence I’ve written for a while. There wasn’t too much food, nor was it greasy – two of the main sins of a full English. In summary, not only did it look good, but it tasted pretty damn good too.
  • The coffee
    As always, a brunch spot is nothing without good coffee. If you fancy a bit of caffeine alongside your prosecco – coz you should totally get prosecco too – then don’t fear, 155 does not disappoint on this either.

Final thoughts? 155 Bar and Kitchen is a ridiculously cool and sleek restaurant, perfect for any foodie. Because guess what? It’s all style, and a hell of a lot of substance. If you’re in Clerkenwell, this seriously needs to be on your list of go-to places. And if you don’t? Then get off your sofa and head there straight away!

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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Aoyama Flower Market Tea House | Tokyo Travel Diary

Aoyama Flower Market Tea HouseAoyama Flower Market Tea House | Cafe | Map
5-1-2 Minamiaoyama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Have you ever walked into a place and just been taken aback by its sheer beauty? That’s exactly what happened to me when I first walked into Aoyama Flower Market’s Omotesando branch, during my recent visit with Nicole. The flower shop is well known, with outlets across Japan. However this particular location is nestled in amongst the high-rises of Aoyama, and only a minute walk away from Omotesando tube station. Perfect for my inner mori gal.

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House: Concept

The concept behind Aoyama Flower Market’s tea house is quite simple; a greenhouse. Yes, it may sound boring, yet it’s anything but. Think blooming flowers, ivy crawling along the walls, and a botanical inspired menu. That’s exactly what you’ll find here. The idea of “living with flowers everyday” was on the mind of AFM’s interior design team when they opened this plant haven. And boy did they deliver!

The Menu…

The menu here is pretty simple in terms of ingredients. You’ll also find alternating seasonal specials, which are based on particular flowers or holidays. As you can imagine most dishes are vegetarian and vegan friendly, however there is the odd meat dish on the menu; for those who just can’t go without. You won’t find any coffee on the menu either, only tea. So how did I get on as a coffee-loving, meat-eater?

  • Sakura Plate – Special
    We visited during sakura season, so naturally the menu reflected this. Not surprisingly you can often find cherry blossom flavoured (slightly reminiscent of rose) products and dishes at this time of year. This dish in particular included sakura jelly, chiffon cake, sakura ice cream and cream with meringue “mushrooms”. I personally loved the taste; subtle and sweet, with a nice mix of textures. This dish was perfect for me!
  • Fresh Mint Soda 
    Gimme mint any day! Normally I drink a lot of mint tea, but I decided to cool down with something slightly more refreshing – and fizzy – this time. I was brought some optional syrup for my drink, which I didn’t add. However it’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth. I didn’t get a photo of my soda, but I did snap one of my friend’s mint tea, which was just as pretty!

Final thoughts?

This is a popular place, so be prepared to wait. As a Londoner I don’t mind doing this, in fact it’s second nature when it comes to finding a decent restaurant. To be fair we only waited around 20-30 minutes, but you may need to stand if the few waiting chairs in the cafe are taken.

If you fancy some time away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Aoyama Flower Market Tea House is an incredibly relaxing, comforting spot to visit. From browsing the store for plants and flowers, to enjoying some sweet treats in the restaurant, I really enjoyed the food and atmosphere here. I’d definitely recommend it, and it’s certainly somewhere I would go back to on my next visit to Japan.

Check out the rest of my Japan Travel Diaries (including Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo) here.

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House Aoyama Flower Market Tea House Aoyama Flower Market Tea House Aoyama Flower Market Tea House Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

Get Your London Freakshake On, At Soft Serve Society

london freakshakeSoft Serve Society* | Ice Cream, Tea & Freakshakes | Website
UNIT 35 BOXPARK, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6GY

Last year one unique, insane, ginormous, sweet sweet dish, broke the internet. The freakshake. Piled high with cake, cookies, chocolate and more. People were going crazy for this milkshake on steroids. However at the time, they weren’t available in the UK. Luckily for me, I live in London – undoubtedly the food capital of England. And of course it was only a matter of time before London picked up on the trend…and made it their own.

Get Your London Freakshake On

So where do you get your London freakshake on? At Soft Serve Society of course! The new eatery has opened in one of Shoreditch’s favourite retail destinations, Boxpark. Offering up soft serve ice cream, cotton candy cones, sundaes, freakshakes, tea and more. If that wasn’t all, there are nods to the owner’s favourites, such as matcha and chiffon cake (homemade by the way).

Luckily I was invited down to try some of their menu, with my friend Vanessa. As concise as the menu is, it’s still pretty tough to choose just one thing. So of course Vanessa and I went for a few. And shared, coz clearly we’re not animals. We chose:

  • Matcha Freakshake
    I was so eager to finally try a freakshake, so when I saw my favourite flavour on the menu, I knew I had to have it. You’d be surprised at just how devourable this really is. Most people would suggest eating it between 2, I say go all out and keep it for yourself. It’s that good! The chiffon cake is airy, and the pocky/cookie and cream are the perfect dipping companions. The milkshake itself carries the perfect hint of green tea; sweet and surprisingly light.
  • Matcha Madness | Soft Serve Sundae
    A must for any matcha/green tea fan, especially if you want something slightly more portable than the freakshake. The sweet azuki beans are the perfect compliment to the slightly bitter (but not too much) matcha. Whilst the mochi adds texture alongside the soft serve. Basically it’s got flavour, it’s got texture. It’s the perfect sundae.
  • Espresso Yourself | Soft Serve Sundae
    I loved the sprinkle of coffee on top of the sundae. It added a slight crunch, and a shot of flavour. Any coffee fan (aka me) will adore this sundae. Out of all of the sundaes we tried, this is the one I can see myself buying on a regular basis.
  • Where’s My Honey | Soft Serve Sundae
    This one is for the sweet toothed out there. The oats and waffle add some extra oomph, but personally I would prefer something with a slightly bitter or salty topping, as the honey and soft serve are pretty sweet. But I know not everyone is down for that. If you love sweet stuff, this is for you.

Overall I loved Soft Serve Society. The draw may be the freakshakes, or the cotton candy ice cream, but it’s a lot more than that. This is the perfect addition to any foodie’s Summer.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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Good and Proper Tea – The New Afternoon Tea in London

afternoon tea in londonGood and Proper Tea* | Brunch/Afternoon Tea in London – Cafe | Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane | Website

One of my favourite anecdotes from my time in Japan is the afternoon tea tale. Whenever I met someone for the first time (who had not been to the UK/had any British friends), they would without fail ask me “what time is afternoon tea?” This question came up again and again, and I quickly realised that people genuinely see afternoon tea as a part of everyday life in the UK. Unfortunately most of us Brits know this isn’t the case, but I do love to indulge a little every now and again.

The New Afternoon Tea in London

For me, brunch is the new afternoon tea, in London anyway. I love to spend a weekend morning – or a weekday if I’m feeling particularly luxurious – just relaxing with a cup of coffee, and a decent selection of hot food and pastries. In fact I enjoy it so much, I’m constantly searching for new brunch places. Luckily for me, I was invited along to the launch of Good and Proper Tea‘s new Leather Lane store.

Crumpets and Tea!

Ok let’s get to the food! VA and I shared a selection of G&P’s famous handmade crumpets and cakes:

  • Egg, Mustard, Ham and Cheese Crumpet – Subtle flavours on top of a pillowy crumpet. A unique take on the Croque Madame!
  • Marmite & Cheese Crumpet – Melted cheese oozes over a soft crumpet, whilst everyone’s favourite yes-no condiment adds a tangy edge.
  • Blood Orange & Poppy Seed Cake (vegan friendly) – Sweet and a little tart. Stodgy, but in a good way. I could eat this everyday.
  • Honey and Orange Madelines – These were so delectable and flavoursome. They are definitely my favourite sweet treat at G&P.

Alongside our food I tried the Dragonwell Tea and a Chai Latte, both are personal favourites of mine. Dragonwell tea (aka Longjing) is a roasted green tea. It went extremely well with my breakfast, as it isn’t too bitter or strong a flavour. My Chai Latte was made using milk, however dairy-free versions are available, which I do appreciate. It was a little spicy, and very creamy. Just the way I like it.

Let’s round it up

First things first, I’m the realest… Wait no, that’s not right. The decor! The decor is insanely gorgeous – there are some definite #interiorgoals going on here. Luckily Good and Proper Tea are as much about substance as they are style; as is reflected in their food and tea offerings. We may have gone for brunch, but you could easily while away an afternoon here chatting with friends, “working”, or of course, for afternoon tea.

You can visit Good and Proper Tea in Clerkenwell, Old Street and Brockley Market (find them here).
Read more: Where to Eat in London | A London Life

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Where to Eat in London: Hurwundeki

hurwundekiHurwundeki Cafe | Bethnal Green | Nearest tube: Bethnal Green/Cambridge Heath | Website

Where to Eat in London: Hurwundeki

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to stop by Hurwundeki’s cafe, to try out their new brunch menu (Tues-Sat until 3:30pm). For those that don’t recognise the name, this Korean cafe-come-salon-come-restaurant is almost a Bethnal Green institution. Believe it or not, as big of a fan of Korean food as I am, I’ve never been to Hurwundeki. As a resident of East London I have no excuse. Luckily for me I chose the perfect sunny weekend to head over with Ffi, to finally see what they had to offer.

How is the food and coffee?

We ordered two dishes to share: the Avocado & Bacon with chilli, and the Homemade Falafel with beetroot and sesame, both of which came on toast. The former was slightly spicy, and used good quality (crisped) bacon; a well loved favourite that has been executed well. The latter falafel dish was my favourite though. The unique flavours (for a typical brunch) really made this dish stand out. Both came in light, smallish portions, which were the perfect serving sizes for us. That said, they may be a little small for some people. On the bright side, this does leave room for cake – so no need to worry! We tried the Gluten Free & Vegan Peanut Brownie, and the Almond and Chocolate Bread Pudding. Neither were overly sweet or heavy, which I loved. I also appreciated the options for coeliacs and vegans – nice one Hurwundeki!

I grabbed a coffee (easy to do when I have Drip App), which uses Workshop Coffee’s Cult of Done espresso. I loved how smooth and flavoursome (sweet notes of cocoa and maple syrup) this Brazilian coffee was.

Final Thoughts

My only complaint is that Hurwundeki doesn’t carry over the Korean food into their cafe. I would have loved to have seen some Korean-inspired dishes or ingredients pop up on the brunch menu. I imagine this is because a lot of people expect certain foods at brunch in London, which is a shame really. That said, the food here is presented well, and tastes delicious. With dishes starting at around £4.50, this is more than affordable. I’ll definitely be stopping by for brunch again.

 

You can visit Hurwundeki at 296–299 Railway Arches, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9HA or online here.
Make sure to check out Drip App for some of London’s best independent coffee shops!

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