Restaurant review: Gunpowder, Tower Bridge, London


I am so out of the loop with restaurants in London at the moment. I seem to have really cut down on going into town at the weekends to try out all the new places. But I'm keen to rectify this and start eating out a bit more! A good few weeks ago I finally did try someone new with Hannah and Sarah before we saw the incredible Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bridge Theatre.




Labelling themselves as a home-style Indian kitchen, the branch overlooking Tower Bridge is Gunpowder's second location after Spitalfields in east London. We decided to opt for the weekend brunch menu and what a great shout on our part. Brunch is my favourite meals and Indian food is my favourite cuisine so I had high hopes for it. Those high hopes were thankfully met. I'm a sucker for any type of baked eggs dish so went for the South Indian style eggs served with sourdough toast and salli. They were delightedly spicy, enough to put hairs on your chest and give you a runny nose! The portion was a great size and went down a treat.  We also opted for a portion of okra fries which were extremely addictive and bhuna aubergine and roast cheese salad which was the star of the show. So much more delicious that I ever expected. The aubergine was A*. I stole a couple of slices of Hannah's chutney cheese sandwich which was so nostalgic, updated with a spicy kick. Made with what tasted like Hovis' basic white bread from my childhood years and endless cheese oozing out, it was amazing and I could have eaten another portion immediately after.




I'm looking forward to going back and trying the evening menu. It isn't a cheap place to eat and prices will add up if you start getting eyes bigger than you belly with the ordering of small plates. But the food was delicious that I have a feeling it will be 100% worth it. Set out over two floors with some swoon-worthy interiors, it's a great option if you find yourself in the area.

0 Comments

Why you should put London's West End on your trip itinerary


When you're planning a trip to a capital city like London it can be hard to choose what to put in your itinerary. It's such a sprawling place, full of great little neighbourhoods. I've been coming into London for 26 years and I still haven't even scratched the surface! But one thing you should most definitely put in your itinerary is a trip to see a play or a musical at the West End. I may be biased here but the London theatre scene is one of the best in the world. I've been lucky enough to see a musical on Broadway and it was fantastic. But it didn't quite have the magic of the capital's West end.

Where to get tickets
Whether you're after seeing a musical for fun escapism or a hard-hitting play to make you think, it's difficult to know where to start to choose the right show for you. Head to Official London Theatre* to find endless tickets available for the West End. You'll also find news about the upcoming shows due to begin their run so you can pop it in your diary. There's also some great deals where kids eat for free to help keep the cost of the day out down. Going to the theatre can soon add up! They very kindly offered me two tickets to catch SWEAT before it is due to finish it's run next week. The politically-charged play is set in Pennsylvania amidst simmering racial tensions. It felt unbelievably current, exploring the anger and resentment currently directly towards immigrants and people of colour today. It really left a lasting impression after it ended.


My favourite theatres
My favourite theatres to see a play at the National Theatre on the Southbank and Barbican theatre. The Barbican is quite small so it feels so intimate when you see a play. You really get caught up the action! I was really lucky to get tickets to see Cillian Murphy in Grief Is The Thing With Feathers earlier this year (twice!) in front row seats. It was probably one of my favourite theatre experiences.

For musicals I love catching them at Apollo Victoria and the London Palladium. I have fond memories of the Palladium as it's where my nan took me to see my first musical at the age of 7. It was Oliver and I remember being mesmerised. It's been the home of the annual pantomime the last few years. My mum and I went last and it was incredible. Absolutely hilarious.

Musicals to look out for
One of my favourite musicals in recent years is The Lion King. The costumes are out of this world. You immediately forget you're watching humans dressed up, it feels like you're watching real animals gliding across the stage. I'd also recommend Wicked - which I'm actually seeing for the third time next week - and 9-5, the Dolly Parton musical.

0 Comments

Restaurant review: Market Hall, Victoria, central London


Over the last couple of years since we moved out from our home with parents we've really tried to curb the amount of times we eat out in London. Choosing instead to spend our disposable income on travel rather than food. But I have really missed it! My list of places to try in London is getting longer by the minute and I'm a little bit out of the loop. But last weekend we found ourselves in London for a wine and cheese tasting session - thanks Steph! - and decided to swing by Victoria on the way home for some dinner.

Located next door to Victoria Rail Station, Market Hall is exactly what the area needed. I've been to Victoria more times than I can count to get the bus to somewhere in the U.K but it's always felt a bit dead. It's not a place where you would ever go unless you worked there or you had a bus/train to catch. It was full of generic chain restaurants and lacklustre pubs.

Spread over three floors, with a roof terrace launching in spring this year, Market Hall boasts 11 food traders, a bar and a coffee shop. From tacos to fish and chips there's something for everyone. It's also open for breakfast.



I'd been wanting to try Monty's Deli for a while so this was the first place I made a beeline for. My boyfriend and I shared the salt beef Reuben sandwich. In between two slices of toasted rye bread was salt beef, tangy sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and Russian dressing all piled high. A dill pickle one the side finished it off. It was delicious and well worth the wait. Although I did wish we had opted for the bagel.



Next up was Super Tacos, launched by the same guys behind Breddo's Tacos.  A duo who happen to do my favourite tacos in London. For £11 you can choose three tacos with black beans, rice and salsa. Although looking back at the photos I realised we wasn't actually given the salsa! First up was Adobaba. A concoction of spit roasted marinated pork, bacon, white onion, avocado salda verde and chile  de arbol. This was my favourite one - I could have eaten a truck load! We then opted for Pollo Asado Al Carbon. Charcoal grilled marinated chicken, black beans, salsa Mexicana and Avocado salsa verde all pilled high on a taco. This one had a great kick to it. Finally, the last one was Carne Asada. Charcoal grilled marinated skirt steak, roasted jalapeño, white onion and salsa habanera. Perfection!



Lastly we decided to try out Bun Shop, one which was unfamiliar to us both. Bun Shop specialises steamed savoury buns. They do a great deal for £10 which consists of two buns of your choice with spicy deviled fried potatoes. The portion isn't very big but its delicious. I decided to pump for the curried lamb bun and my boyfriend had the Welsh rarebit bun. They were a bit dry but nothing the sauces couldn't sort out.

Market Hall was a great experience. I'm not sure I'd venture there especially but it is well worth a trip if you find yourself passing through like we did. It has a great atmosphere and is a fab place to hang out with a big group of friends. It's about time Victoria had somewhere decent!

1 Comments

Restaurant review: Wing Stop, West End, central London





























Give me a bucket of chicken wings and I'm happy as Larry. For something so simple its surprisingly easy to do them very wrong. Connor and I are obsessed with Wing Shack which you should definitely try if you're ever in Essex. A few weeks back the day see The Cursed Child had finally rolled around and we needed somewhere quick to stuff our faces before around the theatre. After a quick browse on Google maps I came across Wing Stop.






Wing Stop is an American fast food chain which started in Texas. They've just opened their first U.K branch in London on Shaftesbury Avenue. If you didn't already guess, the chain specialises in chicken wings and offers a variety of sides. We came hungry after having a small lunch at work so we could sample as much as we could handle!

We opted to try the spicy Korean Q along with the original in the chicken wings. So we could try a few other sauces, we shared some chicken tenders with blue cheese and honey-mustard dips. All finished off with the loaded fries smothered in buffalo and blue cheese sauce. The meat was tender and the fries were addictive. Whilst they wasn't the best chicken wings I've ever had, they hit the spot. They were never going to sensational as this is a fast food restaurant. But Wing stop is a great option if you're in a rush and need a quick bite to eat in the area.
0 Comments

Restaurant review: Blanchette, Soho, central London


Blanchette is a French bistro offering small, tapas-style dining in the heart of Soho, tucked behind the manic Oxford Street. I'd heard of it before but it wasn't really on my radar so when one of my friends suggested it for a Sunday night dinner I was game.

The waitress explained that we should order 2-3 dishes each which I feel is standard for many small plates restaurants. There were three of us so we opted for a few snacks along side a couple of meat dishes and sides. So what did we order? To start we had a bowl of olives and a brown bag of crusty bread with salted butter,  quickly followed by crispy Longhorn beef with a creamy parsnip puree and a favourite truffle honey drizzle. That dish was probably my favourite of the bunch. The other meat dish was a tender braised lamb shoulder with anchovy, rosemary and a soubise sauce - a buttery onion sauce. For the sides we had delicious spiced Moroccan spiced peppers on top of a grilled chewy flatbread with a perfectly poached egg. Next up was a green bean salad with aged comté cheese and a walnut and shallot dressing. This was incredibly moreish. Of course no French meal is complete with cheese to finish. I opted for a generous plate of aged comté again as I couldn't get enough. It came with plenty of crisp breads and a mound of chutney. Just what was needed to finish off the meal!





We had a two hour slot but they very kindly allowed us to stay for 2.5 hours which was so lovely. Quite often in London they can be very strict, sometimes rushing you along with still 20 minutes to go, so it was a nice touch that they were pretty laid back. The waitress was very attentive and knowledgeable which always makes a dining experience so much better. Blanchette isn't cheap and it can work out very expensive if you are quite greedy - as I always am. But the quality of the food is very high and the presentation looks great, so I do really think it is worth it. I don't very often opt for French cuisine when I eat out so it made a really lovely change.
2 Comments

Restaurant review: Silk Road, Camberwell, south London


We all went out last weekend to help celebrate Hannah's birthday. The lucky girl is now in Norway - what a hard life! She suggested Silk Road which is a restaurant in south London specialising in north-western Chinese food from the province of Xinjiang. I've always said I'm not a fan of Chinese food but I think that's because I always associate it with takeaway and I've never had 'proper' Chinese. Boy have I been missing out! Silk Road was absolutely delicious. It is unlike any other Chinese food I have eaten and I can't wait to seek out more dishes.





It'd be very easy to just walk past Silk Road without giving it a second glance. It's nothing special from the outside and even once you get inside, the decor really doesn't blow you away. But as with SO many places in London, the quality of the food completely outstrips the interior. So what were our favourites? The addictive lamb shish are an absolute bargain at just £1 each, the home style aubergines tasted delicious with the plain noodles, the sublime pork belly had a gorgeous sweet and sour heat and the simple beef and onion dumplings were incredibly tasty. 

We certainly didn't hold back from trying lots of dishes and the above, alongside a can of fizzy pop, came to just £12 excluding tip. All in all it cost us £15 which is an absolute bargain for such fine quality food. Camberwell is a mission from my house but I'm willing to trek here once again. If only for that pork belly!


0 Comments

Restaurant review: Roti King, Euston, north London


As I've mentioned before, next year is going to be a pretty intense travel year and I need to start making sacrifices to make it happen. One of these sacrifices is cutting down on the amount of time I eat out. Something I've been missing terribly. So I've been keen to find the cheap eats in London and I've stumbled across a gem.

Earlier on in the week, I met up with Hannah and Michelle for an evening of gossiping and Malaysian food. I'm actually off to Malaysia next year and really wanted to try some of the local cuisine before I jetted off. When Michelle mentioned her dad, who is actually Malaysian, declared Roti King as the best Malay food in London I knew I was in for a treat. You're unable to book for Roti King and most likely will encounter a queue. But stay put as it moves very quickly. Also be sure not to judge it from the outside because it honestly doesn't look like much. But you're here for the food, not the decor. 




After waiting for 40 minutes we were finally shown to a table and the fun began. As Michelle is a veggie we opted for a few vegetarian dishes. So what did we order? We tucked into roti Canai which is a bowl of dal, not as lentil-heavy as an Indian Dal, alongside two flaky roti. The gooey cheese roti was absolute heaven and we actually ordered another one once we scoffed the first one. In fact, I think I'd just order six plates of these next time I visit. Cooked in shrimp paste, Kangkung Belacan or Morning Glory is a endless pile of stirfry water spinach. It was the perfect accompaniment to the other dishes. Hannah and I shared a beef and spring onion dish on Michelle's recommendation which was very moreish and we all snuck a bite of Michelle's sea spiced aubergine. Delicious! 

Roti King is not somewhere where you sit and linger, you eat your grub and you leave. But service is done with a smile and the food is very quick to come out. We ate six dishes with a soft drink each and  it cost £14 per person including a tip. Almost unheard of in London! The food was so tasty and it's definitely somewhere where I can see myself visiting time and time again. In fact, I'm trying to arrange a date with my boyfriend so he too can try it before we jet off. I'm now so excited to eat all the food in Malaysia! 


2 Comments

Restaurant review: The Good Egg, Stoke Newington, London


The Good Egg is a restaurant that's been on my list to visit for a good few years. The Jewish eatery, basing its menu on Tel Aviv street food, has won lots of praise for its brunch menu. But the original one is based in Stoke Newington, an area of north London not known for its transport links so I've never made it down to the area. But this year I'm keen to explore parts of London I've not been to before so we arranged a day out with Hannah and her boyfriend Steve to hunt for records in charity shops, go on a mini bar crawl and stuff our faces.





Located in Church Street, a road in Stokey that's known for delicious places to eat, The Good Egg is famous for having large queues but luckily we only had a ten minute wait when we arrived. Settling down we scoured the menu and decided on a few dishes to share. I opted for the the vegetarian option   of the Jerusalem Breakfast with crispy halloumi. A feast consisting of little versions of the breakfast plates on the menu. I adored the delicious dips of whipped green feta, house Labneh and beats and dills. They were so addictive. I just wish there was more of the pita bread to dip. We shared a spicy halloumi Shakshuka which was a little too tight on the cheese for my liking, but still pretty tasty, and fluffy cornbread paired with a herby spread.

Service was brilliant, prices were very reasonable and the food was amazing. If you're looking for something a little different from the bog-standard brunch places then The Good Egg is your guy. You can't book at the Stokey branch but they have another one more central in Kingly Court where you can. I'm desperate to go back and sample the dinner menu. The short-rib shawarma is calling my name!



2 Comments

Search This Blog

About me

About me
A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

Get in touch at
sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

As from July 2015, all PR samples will be marked with a *.
Follow

Blog Archive

Design by elevatormusik. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright

All content copyright to The Story of a Girl Who Lives Above Her Means unless stated otherwise.