Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Brazilian Wine and Food with Cabana



*Warning* - This post contains a lot of pictures of delicious food. Only proceed if you think you can handle it.

Cabana have been oh so very kind to us recently. In Islington, they treated us to a wine tasting and in Brixton  they had us all stuff our faces on the new menu. I was so full when I got home at the end of both events, I barely had to the energy to just put on my onesie and get into bed. SO FULL... and a tad merry.

After each event there were some key takeaways:

1. HOW DID I NOT KNOW BRAZILIAN WINE WAS A THING?
2. These cheesy dough ball things are a revelation
3. NUTELLA DOUGHNUT BALLS? WHAT NOW?
4. #Balls 

To be honest. They were two evenings of revelation.

As much as I like to pretend, I know sweet bugger all about wine, except that I don't like chardonnay and red is clearly the best. I didn't know Brazilian was really a thing (New World, yo) but apparently, it's pretty damn good. We had the opportunity to taste red, white and sparkling (ooh, fancy and delicious) as well as guided through what you would expect from a wine tasting. Except for the spitting in a bucket part you see on the TV... such a waste of wine.

Cabana Islington

We also discovered that cheese with honey is possibly one of the best combinations known to man. I thought so anyway.


My favourite wine (although I think I can safely say 'OUR favourite') was the Miolo Family Pinot Noir. I'm a red wine girl anyway but the fact that a red wine Being Erica likes exists is clearly a VERY impressive feat.


At Cabana Brixton, we were greeted with smiles Caipirinhas (normally £6.95 each) and chips and dip. Seriously, give me booze as soon as I arrive and you have a very happy blogger. As we were sipping away, we had the privilege to meet the owner. As we nattered away about our experience in the Islington branch, he had a bottle of the Miolo brought to our table. Such a nice chap!

Cabana Brixton review

As our starters arrived, Katy and I were too busy taking outfit photos and left the poor girls waiting. Knowing blogger pain, they didn't touch a thing and waited for us to come back and take all the pictures before they had a bite. Such good girls!

To start, we had a combination of their street menu dishes; Halloumi with Guava dip (£5.45), Crispy Lula Squid (£5.95) and some cheesy baked dough balls (£3.45). We also had chicken dough balls too hence the #Balls thing...

I swear I could eat those cheesy dough balls until I explode.

Cabana Brixton review

Our mains on both evenings were pretty much plates of meat. Cabana serve Meat Skewers or your choice, it means the meat is cooked so well it just falls apart in all its barbecue goodness. We had a selection of their skewers but you can choose what you want. I can say with authority here that they will all be delicious.


The desserts. THE DESSERTS. Most importantly, Nutella doughnut ball things of heaven. I don't think I really need to explain much more other than desserts = divine.

I can't really write any more about Cabana, it's so far away from lunchtime and it's making me hungry.

Dinner at Dirty Bones Soho

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THIS IS A VERY LATE POST! I have been a little bit crap recently.

To bid Charlie farewell before her travels, the Bangarang girls used this opportunity to get as many of us in one room as possible. Turns out it's pretty difficult.

Everyone was raving about Dirty Bones (I think Emma had been for brunch there recently...) but me being the rubbish Londoner I am hadn't heard of it. But I trust the Bangarang girls and their thoughts on food so knew that it would be good.

Dirty Bones is just of Carnaby Street in Kingly Court, Carnaby Street happens to be one of my favourite places in London so I'm always happy to be there as a standard.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated, albeit a bit dark, and seemed to be constantly busy, obviously a popular spot.

Dirty Bones Happy Hour Cocktails

In typical Bangarang style, the first thing we did was take a look at the booze menu. Turns out it was happy hour so I obviously went for the Top Dog cocktail. It's a vodka, strawberry delight with chambord and Prosecco. Pretty much all the good things. The happy hour isn't exclusive to cocktails though and the wonderful Emma went for the Queen of the Night pale ale. You can't really say no to it when you take one look at the bottle.

Queen of the Night Pale Ale

There was a common theme when it came to the food though... Apparently fried chicken with waffles is a thing. Apparently it's really good.


It does look pretty good. 

But...

I went for the Yankee Dog and am adamant I made the best choice. It was absolutely delicious and I was upset when I genuinely couldn't finish it. 

JUST LOOK AT IT! (Note, restaurant with poor lighting = bloggers actual worst nightmare)


The sausage is so big, it is merely perched on the bun. As you do.

The food at Dirty Bones is wonderful. It's not the most expensive place in the world, my Yankee Dog only cost £7 and I was beyond full so if you're looking for somewhere cheap to go and still leave feeling like you're going to burst, go here.

I am an honest blogger though and I do have one niggle. They were clearly understaffed that night and I was forgotten about after we had to wait 20 minutes to even order more drinks. Everyone but me got theirs (although they did have to wait around 20 minutes after ordering them). I was very upset but as I have worked in restaurants before, I decided not to kick up a fuss. It did save me £5 though!


Have you ever been to Dirty Bones?


Strada Panton Street

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Being a blogger is pretty damn amazing sometimes. I'm not going to lie. Being a part of Bangarang is even better. When we were invited to go to Strada on Panton Street (courtesy of Erica) for their re-opening/we've decorated-ness, I obviously had to say yes... Italian is pretty much one of my favourite types of food and I don't think I had ever been to Strada before... Why the hell not?

When we got there, we expected a tasting menu, like so many other events we have been to before, but oh my... were we wrong...

We had the chance to order anything we wanted off the menu and the waiting staff treated us like absolute Queens. We are Queens, but still.

From the second I arrived to join Little Miss Katy and Erica, I was immediately offered a glass of prosecco and got the ball rolling with our pre-starters of garlic bread and tomato and pesto bread.


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When it came to the wine side of things, not only did we not realise we could have wine, but we also had no idea what to order. Our hostess (Sophie, she was an absolute legend) for the evening clearly knew the menu inside out which was amazing as it meant we definitely had something we would enjoy for once. I have been burnt too many times when ordering wine in a restaurant...

Erica and Claire went for white while Katy and I tackled the red. Not going to lie, I scoffed internally when we were given the usual spiel of how you can 'definitely taste chocolate' knowing that you don't put chocolate into wine. HOWEVER. The lady knew her shit. You could actually taste chocolate. I ended up ordering an extra glass that was the size of my face for when the bottle was gone... #Standard

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Aware I have already used this picture... but whatever
Being thee greedy buggers we are, and not really understanding the concept of 'eyes bigger than your belly', we were undecided even on starters so it felt like we ordered pretty much everything. Exaggeration but it was six starters is definitely more than enough for four people. We had two portions of Caprece (avocado, mozzarella and tomato salad), mushroom and truffle bruschetta, two portions of crispy squid and two portions of arancini - these are little fried rice balls and I'm pretty sure they are heaven in ball shape.

I can be quite funny when it comes to food. I have an irrational fear of seafood which I'm slowly getting over (I can't have prawns anywhere near me) but was a big brave girl and tried the squid. I was surprised that I actually liked it, it wasn't chewy and had a lovely flavour. I couldn't exactly eat a whole one to myself but well done to Strada for actually making me like it, even if it was just a little bit.

Another glass of wine down and it was on to the mains

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SUCH FOOD!

While we were all taking these pictures, the waiter (while opening another bottle of wine) joked that our food would taste much nicer while it was still hot... #LOL

I am a nightmare in restaurants because I never know what I want and tend to just see what I say when my order is taken and deal with it. It's not very often when I regret my choice but that definitely happened at Strada. Our hostess recommended the pumpkin ravioli, two of my favourite things. When I went on holiday to Italy as a teenager, I LIVED off ravioli and gelato... HOWEVER, I also really wanted the chicken and mushrooms... and Claire was undecided too so we ended up ordering a different meal each so we can taste a bit of everything. I avoided Erica's seafood linguine, because sea food, but trusted her judgement on how amazing it was.

My chicken and mushrooms was delicious, I can't really describe how lovely the sauce was but I kept dipping things in it because it was so good. THAT PUMPKIN RAVIOLI THOUGH. It was topped with amaretti biscuits in a sage butter sauce. It was divine and I really wish I had it. At some point it became a little too rich for Katy because butter, but the rest of us were there to help. Like the good humans we are.

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Another glass of wine later...

DESSERTS. Despite the fact I had to undo the button of my jeans (classy chick), everyone knows that your dessert belly is separate from your normal belly... FACT

Wanting something a little refreshing after all the richness and the fact I still had wine, I went for a mixture of lemon and mango sorbet. Simple pleasures but always wonderful. Erica had the tiramisu, there was cheesecake involved too. A lot of desserts. Obviously we couldn't eat it all but we did try and I had to proceed to undo the zip on my jeans too. Thank god for long t-shirts.



It's easy to go into a chain restaurant and just expect standard food and standard service, that didn't happen at Strada. As people who go to restaurants often to review, we're used to a certain level of service but Strada went above and beyond, giving us the V.VI.P treatment. BUT, looking around the restaurant during our visit, it wasn't just us. Every table was being treated wonderfully and receiving brilliant service and all the food came out of the kitchen looking beautiful, not just ours. A couple of times I did think that we were just being treated so well because we were there to review but it was clear that the staff at Strada really do look after each and every customer to a high standard so I told the cynic in me to shut the hell up. I will DEFINITELY be going back to Strada.

TL;DR Strada is awesome, the staff are awesome, the food is awesome and you should never underestimate how much Bangarang can eat and drink!

Many, many thanks to Sophie and the rest of her team at Strada. You treated us so well and gave us one hell of a night.




*Disclaimer: We were invited to dine at Strada but if I didn't like the scenario, I wouldn't write about it. All ramblings are my own.


Pancake Day at My Old Dutch

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OK, so after being a tad sad that I would have to wait until Ash Wednesday before I got to have any pancakes (I couldn't quite bring myself to make a whole stack just for me), at 10pm on Pancake Day we caved after many a cocktail and went straight to My Old Dutch in Holborn.

I LOVE me a pancake yet had never been to My Old Dutch before so couldn't really gauge how much food we would get. After much deliberation we went for four different varieties... and my god were they absolutely huge...

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Clockwise from left to right, we had cheese and mushroom, bacon and apple syrup, apple and cinnamon with ice cream and Nutella and banana. Turns out you have choices of whether you want a flat or stack of pancakes... I didn't even know there was a difference, I just wanted all the food!

Considering it was Pancake Day, we only had to wait for 10 minutes before we were seated and had our food within 20 minutes, this always feels like longer when you're hungry but pretty damn good when you consider it's a national day where a pancake induced coma is a requirement.

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Personally I thought everything was amazing but some of the girls said one of the pancakes was burnt, something I actually don't mind because I can't make pancakes WITHOUT burning them (because I'm crap) so I honestly didn't notice. My favourite was the cheese and mushroom but felt a lot of love for the apple and cinnamon despite me hating cinnamon. Looks like you've converted me, My Old Dutch.

The best part? All of this only cost us £9 each! I had eaten so much that at one point I felt like I was going to cry because I was so full. This feeling stopped rather quickly when Charlie, Distracted hit me in the face with a pancake... (see Little Miss Katy's YouTube channel for a clip of this very soon) at that point all I could do was cackle and struggle to breathe.

If you're after all the pancakes, sweet or savoury, and want to leave feeling so full you're going to burst without your wallet screaming at you for abusing it so much, go to My Old Dutch. Just be prepared to queue because there's clearly a reason why. And it's worth it.

What pancakes did you stuff your face with on Pancake Day?



Bottomless Bellinis and Birthday Fun

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Bottomless brunch flat-lay courtesy of Charley.

So my best friend is now 27. I know she's not really all that bothered about it but she's 27 before me so I can smile a little on the inside. I don't have long to go now and soon I will be joining her *sigh*.

To celebrate the birthday of one of the best people in the whole world, Charlie, Distracted booked us all a table at Bourne and Hollingsworth for their alcohol filled bottomless brunch WEEKS IN ADVANCE. Such a good idea. It's a known fact to me now that any day/evening/ night out with Charlie, Distracted is going to be brilliant., she always seems to know about some of the best places to go whether it's just for a quick pint or a full blown meal. She is essentially my go-to person for food in London. Like an encyclopedia for beer and cake.

She has spoken to me about bottomless brunches before and we have both been wanting to go to one together for a while, what better opportunity than her birthday? A time for the girls (and Ben) to all get together and celebrate everything Charlie. While drunk. Quite drunk.

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Thanks again Charley
With the bottomless brunch at Bourne and Hollingsworth, you are essentially given all the scrambled eggs with your choice of toppings, I went with bacon, mushrooms and salmon, plus your choice of either bottomless Bellinis or Bloody Marys. Personally, I think bBoody Marys taste like cold alcoholic soup and I'm not alone so we went for Bellinis. Hence the title.

Bottomless brunch with Bellinis cost £16 with the additional price of your food. Considering the standard price of a cocktail in London can be around £9, I'm pretty OK with this. Although it may seem expensive when you put the two together, I feel you get your money's worth. There was so much food I couldn't eat it all (see picture above) and I most definitely drank more than £16 worth of booze. #Standard.

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All the booze meant Charley ended up taking a picture of me in the sink/bath. Thank God you can't see my pants

What I was most impressed about was how the service was good but also how they went above and beyond for a member of our party who didn't drink alcohol. They didn't want her to miss out so made some virgin cocktails for her that were still bottomless when usually any other drink wouldn't be. Good staff. Impressed.

We left a very merry, full bunch of people and the usual amount of ridiculously happy pictures were taken as well as all of us doing the Riff Off from Pitch Perfect on the way to the pub... as you do. We're cool, I swear!

Just to give you an insight of just how good our day was here's my new favourite picture ever that I have ruthlessly stolen from Little Miss Katy and have even made it my profile picture on Facebook. That's serious friendship right there. I love these girls so much and we just look too damn happy it's unreal.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday Charlie and I hope we weren't too embarrassing...









Tacos, Burritos and Bloggers



This was one of those experiences that I flat out couldn't say 'no' to. A bunch of my favourite bloggers and I were invited to do our bit for not only the environment but also for Tortilla, who brough the beach to London for one night only. We were tasked with simply drinking as many coronas as we could to help them make more of their chandeleirs for new branch opening across the UK. Obviously this wasn't an endorsement to binge drink but hey, we were doing out bit for the planet. RECYCLE PEOPLE.



I have never been one to turn down mexican food since Charlie, Distracted first introduced me to it via her Wahaca cookbook and burritos are my favourite lunchtime thang... when I feel like all the carbs. As a reward for us helping them drink all the beer, Tortilla made sure we were well fed throughout the evening. Some might say 'eating is cheating' but when mexican food is so readily available, those people need to reasses their priorities. While stuffing our faces we were constantly entertained by Bloody Hell Brennan insisting on eating the spicest stuff (much to the amusement of one of the waiters) and were surpised with Margaritas.


All in all, Tortilla put on an amazing evening of food, booze and frivolity that could have only been made better by some of my favourite people in the world.

From left to right:
Erica, Charley, Vikki. Katie, Charlie and the other Katie in the middle


We all went home with very full bellies and smiles plastered to our faces. Thank you Tortilla for giving us a much needed amazing evening. We love you.



Vegetarian BBQ with Quorn and the London BBQ School


London BBQ School

I was a vegetarian for years until I finally caved. During my time as a veggie, I pretty much lived off Quorn. Not just because it made my mum feel better about me losing protein but also because it tastes amazing. This hasn't really changed as when Charlie, Distracted and I lived together, we used to cook with it regularly. Quorn in a chili? AMAZING!

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a barbecue at the London BBQ School hosted by Quorn to show off the versatility of their products, more than just burgers dontcha know! It turns out there are a lot more products than I knew about as the brand has grown so much since I started eating it.



Cooking is one of my favourite things but when we have barbecues, my boyfriend generally does the cooking because he man and man cook meat over fire. This time it was my turn and I got to play with one of the biggest barbecues I have ever seen. Other than just cooking on them we were also taught the fundamentals barbecues and how to do them properly rather than just starting a fire with a piece of paper over some coals with a firelighter...

JUST LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS BEAST! It was more complicated than your standard grill from Argos.

Red BBQ

vegetarian bbq

Splitting into teams we had a couple of recipes to choose from and we all got to have a go at each one to make sure there was enough food to go around. We mostly stuck to the Quorn chicken wraps and I could have happily ate my weight in them. There were also burgers and skewers that I'm sure even the most carnivorous person wouldn't be able to resist. The were just too good.


Quorn Skewers

I can't believe how much I ate and I was so surprised to see how much you can really do with what some may consider a 'dull' product. It's really not and it's beyond delicious. I think I might need to introduce Gary to some of these!

If you're also a Quorn lover and want to try these out for yourself (even if you've never had Quorn!) you can find a bunch of wonderful recipes here. It turns out that a very small percentage of their consumers are actually vegetarian so I'm pretty sure you'll be surprised by the sheer deliciousness of it all.

Have you ever tried Quorn?


*I was invited to attend this event for free but if I didn't have fun/enjoy it/love and eat ALL THE FOOD, I wouldn't be telling you about it.

Dates with Charlie - The Cake and Bake Show

BIRD CAKES!

As an avid baker and the resident birthday cake maker at any job I have had, I've wanted to go to the Cake and Bake Show for years but have never seemed to get around to it. However, there was nothing to stop me and Charlie from getting our Mary Berry on and losing our shit.

I have been to Earl's Court for gigs but never for an exhibition so it felt strange to me being full of stands of food but it was very exciting when we saw the best thing ever greeting us. A cake of Mary Berry riding a unicorn. Oh yes. Best thing I have ever seen.



Some of the cakes we saw were absolutely incredible and really put my baking skills to shame and I always thought I was quite good. Apparently this was made by a 10 year old...



Full table for the 'junior' section of the bake-off
That is a cake

In between all the delicious samples of food and very exciting bake ware, we even bumped in to a couple of familiar faces and our lives were complete.

YEAH! BAKE OFF! Where's the pencil?
After we had got over our bake off excitement, we went for a proper wander around the stalls, tried all the icing and samples we could, bought Gin and Tonic flavoured meringue (not as nice as it sounds...) admired yet more cakes and even spent  money on a Magic Knife. Dude, it's magic.

This made the whole place smell of vanilla

You could make your own cake stand out of whatever plates you wanted!

THESE PLATES!


These meringues put mine to shame!


Weighed down by purchases, freebies and very full bellies, it was time to go home, but not before we got the inevitable photos with a sign. 


Jaffa Cake icing sugar and enough vanilla essence to last me about a year. MAGIC KNIFE!

This post is very delayed but did you get to go to the Cake and Bake show?