The Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

london supper clubThe Fabulous Adventures of 698b | London Supper Club

A London Supper Club…

You may remember me listing The Fabulous Adventures of 698b as my top London supper club to attend  in 2016. And that was only based on their canapés! Of course I had to remedy this, and luckily for me I was invited only a few days after meeting the lovely people behind the supper club. It’s fair to say that I was ridiculously excited. You all know how much I love food, and this was one food event I could not wait to attend.

The Food

The food. Oh the food. Where do I begin? How about the fabulous amuse bouche? As delicious as they are beautiful, these paired perfectly with the seasonal prosecco bellini. The starter of Asparagus with quail eggs and yoghurt was light and fresh; the caramelised yogurt was the star here. The fish course: Steamed Halibut with barley samphire and sea purslane, was again light, and carried subtle flavours throughout the dish. My favourite course of the night was the Rib of Beef with wild garlic; tender high quality beef was accompanied by wonderfully fresh seasonal produce.

The dessert. I don’t want to say much, as this is something you really need to experience yourself. I will say though that it involves an awesome soundtrack, a variety of delicious desserts, and a completely immersive experience. It’s not to be missed!

The People

We were sat next to two couples, both go whom were absolutely lovely. We laughed and joked, and exchanged stories. Some people might say we were lucky, but I believe that the kind of people who attend supper clubs tend to be more outgoing and social. So you’re basically guaranteed a night of good food and socialising. There was a general atmosphere of good cheer all around. Four of us attended, but it’s fair to say we left with more friends that evening.

Final thoughts on The Fabulous Adventures of 698b

From the warm welcome, to the plating in front of the guests, and the adventurous dessert, The Fabulous Adventures of 698b is one of London’s best supper clubs right now. The accomplished Guillame and Maja – what a power couple – are using high quality ingredients, seasonal produce and innovative ideas. I genuinely felt like I was dining with close friends. Close friends who are extremely talented in the kitchen. At £44 per person, this is one treat I would gladly partake in again. This isn’t just good food. This is The Fabulous Adventures of 698b.

You can book tickets to The Fabulous Adventures of 698b at Grub Club and Tabl.

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24 Hours in Tokyo | Japan Travel Diary

24 hours in tokyo24 Hours in Tokyo | Japan Travel Diary

Yes, the frequently asked question “What do I do with 24 hours in Tokyo?”. Ok let’s be realistic, unless you’re on a stopover, you’re unlikely to only have one day in this exciting city. However, it can be difficult to decide where to visit, what to eat etc. So when faced with the task I like to think of all the places I would visit if I only had a short period of time in a city.

24 Hours in Tokyo: Harajuku

As cliche as it is, it wouldn’t be worth stopping by Harajuku without a walk down Takeshita Dori (take the metro exit of the same name). Grab some cute stationary from Daiso, pick up some vintage designer goods in the back streets, try one of the famous crepes for breakfast, and just generally basque in the atmosphere. It’s fun and it’s fast.

For those who prefer something more chilled, Meiji Jingu is just behind the Omotesando Exit of Harajuku station. It’s one of the most famous shrines in Japan, and is well worth a visit. Located in a small woodland, it’s hard to tell whether you’re still in bustling Tokyo or not. If you hang around for a while, you may even see a traditional Japanese wedding taking place.

From Harajuku you can walk/hop on a train to…

24 Hours in Tokyo: Shibuya

Famous for it’s giant crossing, you really should try and get to high ground just to witness it. Even if that means stopping by Starbucks for one of their limited edition Japanese drinks. Afterwards, head to 109 for some retail therapy before checking out “Basketball St” and one of the various arcades. You must do purikura (Japanese photo booth)!

Stop by Nabe-zo for lunch, and all-you-can-eat Shabu Shabu (hotpot with thinly sliced meat). I’d suggest the sukiyaki and collagen soups. The staff here are helpful, and the meat is in abundance, so don’t be shy about asking for more. They’ll even replace your soups…if you can manage to finish them that is.

24 Hours in Tokyo: Asakusa

Asakusa is a haven for traditional Japan. Head through the large red gates of Senso-ji, and walk amongst the market stalls. Buy some Amazake (a sweet alcoholic drink made from rice), a side of Senbei (traditional rice crackers), and maybe a mask of your favourite childhood character. The souvenirs here are great for taking home to family. The shrine itself is beautiful, and the grounds ditto. Take your time here and find your inner Buddhist.

If you’re a stationary fan, make time to visit Kakimori for handmade, Japanese stationary. Afterwards, take a walk down Kappabashi-dori, a street famous for kitchenware and plastic food models. Pick up a bacon bookmark, or a pancake keychain etc.

Finally, go for dinner at Sometaro. This Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurant has been around since the 1930s, and it hasn’t changed much since. The friendly staff speak English, and can offer an English menu also. They’ll even show you how to prepare this must-try dish yourself. Truth be told all of the fillings here are delicious, but pork and seafood are great go-tos.

Of course there’s plenty more to do in Tokyo! Keep an eye out for more Japan Travel Diaries soon.
I’d also suggest checking out Alice’s Tokyo Travel Guides and Park and Cube’s 3 Days in Tokyo.

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Coffee Valley | Tokyo Travel Diary

Coffee ValleyCoffee Valley | 2-26-3 Minami-Ikebukuro, Tokyo, 03-6907-1173 | Website | Nearest Station: Ikebukuro

This is a bittersweet post to write, as I sit here sipping coffee in my London apartment. Only a couple of weeks ago I was walking around the backstreets of sunny Ikebukuro, searching for this elusive spot. I actually discovered Coffee Valley whilst reading an old issue of Vikka magazine. The feature was pretty tiny, but the emphasis on good coffee and natural food caught my eye. It may sound silly but this little cafe was on my list of must-visit spots whilst we were in Tokyo.

How is the coffee and food?

We arrived late afternoon to find a queue of around 10 people. As a Londoner, this is nothing for me. People seemed curious about us. Maybe because this well-loved spot isn’t exactly on the tourist map. I don’t know. Either way we happily waited with everyone; which consisted of mainly dates and friends. After around 15 minutes we were directed into the cafe. We were spoken to in fluid Japanese, and told to find a table (spread out over 2 floors) before ordering at the counter on the ground floor. The menu here is small, just a coffee list and the daily sandwich, French toast and cake. Don’t worry though if you don’t speak Japanese. It’s all pretty straight forward, the food is displayed on the counter – so you can easily point – and the staff are very friendly.

We ordered two of “today’s sandwich” whilst I had a flat white, and Ben a drip coffee.  Our egg sandwiches were seasoned well with pepper and small bits of vegetables, which created a nice blend of textures. The sandwiches also came with a side of various pickled vegetables to continue the theme – my favourite! The bread was fresh and soft, and the filling was very tasty. I really appreciated the use of natural, wholesome ingredients. The best way to describe the food here is: simple flavours, done well.

As for the coffee, well it was great! Just as good as my favourites in London. They used freshly roasted beans, with a couple of options of origin. I tried some of Ben’s drip coffee, which was smooth and full-flavoured. If I hadn’t been after a slightly milkier alternative, I would have easily chosen the drip.

Final thoughts on Coffee Valley…

For me, Japanese cafes are in a league of their own. Coffee Valley is no different here. Not only is their branding on-point, but their ideology is too. For me food and coffee should be simple at heart, and transparent. By that I mean the use of fresh ingredients which you can trace back to their source. Again, this is something independent cafes in Japan do well. I hope I’m not coming across as pretentious, but at the end of the day Coffee Valley offers up great food, and even better coffee. So if you find yourself in Tokyo, looking for a chilled cafe, make sure you pop by.

You can find out more about Coffee Valley here (non-Japanese speakers can this Google translate version).

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Sakura at Sake no Hana | Lifestyle

sake no hanaSake no Hana | Japanese | Mayfair | Website | Nearest Tube: Green Park
– reservations available –

Last year I posted about fulfilling one of my foodie dreams – to visit Sake no Hana during cherry blossom season. The annual event of Sakura at Sake no Hana is one of beauty and simplistic indulgence. The restaurant is transformed into a sea of sakura, with blossoms adorning walls, ceilings, tables… The dishes reflect the decor, with hints of sakura and cherry making their way onto the set menu. Myself and VA (chopstick panorama) were invited to return again this year, and of course we couldn’t say no to this glorious event.

To Start…

We began with a cocktail so innovative, I doubt it could ever been outdone. The Kaori Arpége mixes gin, yuzu sake, cherry liquor, peach bitters, grapefruit juice and agave. It sounds wonderful, no? As delicious as it was, the presentation and use of edible perfume made the drink. Our perfumes consisted of 3 flavours: refreshing elderflower, spicy cinnamon and floral violet. My favourite was the unique use of violet, which smelt as wonderful as it tasted.

Mains…

After a light miso soup, we were served our boxes. These consisted of a Sushi & Sashimi Box and Salmon Miso Yaki. I can’t eat raw fish, so the chef kindly seared mine for me. Each mouthful was fresh and flavoursome. I could have easily eaten two boxes. However I’m glad I didn’t as the Salmon Miso Yaki with egg mustard sauce is not to be missed. We both noted that the portions of chunky salmon were of considerable size, and the mustard sauce was smooth and tangy, but not spicy.

And Dessert…

To end our meal I chose the Cherry Chocolate Sake Mousse with a side of Sakura Sencha (a special blend of cherry blossom tea). As always, Sake no Hana produced a beautifully light dessert. With subtle hints of cherry and chocolate, this is a dessert that almost anyone could enjoy. I was pleased to find that the blend of tea was the same as last year; sweet, bold and the perfect accompaniment to their Cherry Blossom Macarons.

Sake no Hana final thoughts:

VA and I spent the good part of 2 hours in the restaurant. When the food is this exceptional, and the decor this magnificent, time flies by. Even if you can’t make it for the Sakura Menu (£34pp for cocktail, soup, sushi and salmon boxes), I would suggest stopping by for the Sakura Sencha (£4.50) and Macarons (£1.80 each/5 for £8). As always I throughly enjoyed my experience of Sakura at Sake no Hana, and that’s exactly what this is, an experience. Relax and enjoy your time at Sake no Hana, because this is as much a feast for the eyes, as it is for the stomach.

Check out last year’s Sakura at Sake no Hana post here.

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Where to Eat in London: Nosteagia

nosteagiaNosteagia | Bubble Waffles & Bubble Tea | Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street

Every now and again I will complain about the lack of Taiwanese food in London. For some reason it’s a real rarity. So when I do find it, I hold onto it. Previously I’d found the delicious lunchbox offerings of Bian Dang, but a part of me was craving for something sweeter. Luckily, I happened upon Nosteagia whilst browsing Instagram one day. I noticed that they were located close to my office, at Pump on Shoreditch High Street, so I rushed down for one of their bubble waffles. Yes you heard me correctly, Taiwanese bubble waffles!

The Sweet…

On my first visit to Nosteagia I tried the King Chocolate Bubble Waffle; a mixture of M&Ms, Nutella, chocolate sauce and cream. It was delicious, and gave me a much needed sugar boost after a long morning. Since then I have tried waffles overflowing with coco pops, ones with matcha ice cream, peanut butter…even one with half a Snickers bar sticking out of it! These sweet treats are as delectable as they are Instagramable.

And The Savoury…

Believe it or not, Nosteagia offer savoury dishes as well. In fact when I popped by on my first visit I brought a friend, who ordered the Gyudon (Japanese dish of rice and seasoned beef). It was so authentic and delicious, that he comes back with me every time, and he always orders the Gyudon. In fact quite a few of my work buddies sing the praises of Nosteagia’s savoury dishes.

Final thoughts on : Nosteagia

Nosteagia may be offering up Instagram worthy foodporn for the people of East London, but there’s more to this street food vendor than meets the eye. It is run by two of the loveliest people I’ve met in the London street food scene – two students who wanted to bring Taiwanese Bubble Tea to London. The ingredients used are fresh, and the food is made on the spot. The introduction of a weekly special has also been a real treat. I always look forward to seeing what they will come up with next. In my opinion, the savoury dishes are just as worthy of your lunch money as the waffles. However if I had to give one tip, it would be to come here for a savoury lunch…and stop by later for dessert!

Read more in my Where to Eat in London series.

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Where to Eat in London: Wa Cafe

wa cafeWa Cafe | Japanese Patisserie | Nearest Tube: Ealing Broadway

Some may say that France has the best patisseries in the world, however I would have to disagree. Japan has learnt from it’s European counterparts and created something altogether unique – fusing traditional ingredients with modern techniques. I’m sure you won’t find it odd when I say I miss Japanese food. However you may be surprised that a lover of savoury items such as myself, misses Japanese pastries. I can’t begin to explain how delicious and light they are. It’s something sweet and savoury fans alike should experience at least once in their life. So when I heard that Wa Cafe (an authentic Japanese patisserie) had opened in Ealing Broadway, I knew I had to try it. Skip ahead almost a year, and I was back again for my birthday weekend.

The Savoury…

 The first time I visited Wa Cafe they had run out of sandwiches, so I knew I had to grab one this visit. Two soft, chunky slices of bread encompass the Chicken Katsu Sandwich. Inside, the breaded chicken is accompanied by lettuce and a delicious salad dressing. This is one gigantic sandwich; perfect for sharing. However a dish this delicious may leave you wanting a whole one for yourself.

And The Sweet…

The savoury dishes here may be wonderful, but I know you’re all wondering how the cakes are! This visit I had the Strawberry Shortcake, and I was not disappointed. Japan’s Strawberry Shortcake is very different to the UK kind. A light sponge is layered with cream and strawberries. It’s very popular as a birthday cake in Japan, so it seemed fitting for this particular visit. Wa Cafe’s is just as light and airy as those I ate in Japan. The cream is sweet, but not sickeningly so. And even as someone who dislikes strawberries (yes, I’m weird), I enjoyed this cake immensely.

Final thoughts on : Wa Cafe

Wa Cafe is well worth the journey (around an hour from my East London dwellings), and well worth the wait. The cakes are as delectable as they are aesthetically pleasing. I spent around £17 on this particular visit, and I don’t regret spending a penny of it. Previously I tried the Matcha Swiss Roll, Curry Pan and the Melon Pan – all of which I would have again…once I’ve worked my way through the rest of the dishes. Of course. I could easily have breakfast, lunch and dinner here. In fact I’m not even upset that visiting means becoming more acquainted with my gym membership.

Read more in my Where to Eat in London series.

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Celebrating Chinese New Year at Yauatcha

yauatchaYauatcha City | Dim Sum | Broadgate Circle | Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

Last week Yauatcha invited myself and VA (chopstickpanorama) to come along to their City location, to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. I don’t usually celebrate new year, whether it’s British, Chinese etc etc…you get my point. However when Yauatcha told me that this particular celebration would involve copious amounts of food – and gin – I found myself unable to say no.

Dim Sum

We ordered all of the dim sum dishes from the CNY menu, which includes: Caviar siew long bun (full of soupy deliciousness), Foie gras roast duck puff (beautifully presented rich parcels of goodness), Caviar taro dumpling (a dumpling by any other name…) and Black truffle edamame sesame ball (oddly sweet). The Caviar siew long bun was the best dish by far for me that evening. However the Foie gras roast duck puff came in at a close second. Controversy aside, this is a delicately rich and buttery dish, and I love the heart shaped pastry. I could easily have ordered both of these numerous times, and gorged on them for the rest of the night.

Main

For our “main” we ordered the Yauatcha scallop pushing (a light, refreshing salad), Hakka fortune pot (a variety of meats & seafood) and Dried oyster fried sticky rice (to accompany). The Yauatcha scallop pushing was a mixture of textures and zesty flavours. Our server also explained that this traditional dish comes with an added bonus; by mixing it as high as possible you can make one wish for the new year. Let’s see if VA’s comes true (she did all the mixing)! I was excited for the Hakka fortune pot as it included abalone (a new taste for me), however I felt slightly let down by the dish. Alongside the Dried oyster fried sticky rice, it all just seemed like a classy version of a Chinese takeaway…which to be fair, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not for me.

Gin Cocktail Flight & Macarons

The cocktail flight was a lovely accompaniment to our meal. Each of the 3 cocktails was served at separate times throughout the evening; to compliment the food we were served. Of course the Saffron gin and tonic was my favourite. Ever so sweet, and a pleasing colour  – kudos to Monkey 47 for this dry & complex gin.

The macarons (Gin and tonic, Juniper berry, Bitter orange almond, Elderflower ginger, Rose rosehip and Camomile) were a delight, as they always are at Yauatcha. Their innovative use of ingredients never fails to produce a unique flavour and texture. My favourites of the evening were the Rose (tastes just like Turkish delight), and the Camomile (the buttercream is almost custardy in texture).

My thoughts…

Our meal came to just over £157 (£79 each), including the cocktail flight. Taking this into consideration I can’t say I would go back and spend that much. However I would happily go back for the select few dishes that helped make my evening so delicious (see bolded items).

Head to Yauatcha to view their Chinese New Year menu.

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