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.
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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!


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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! 


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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!



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Megabus launches new hop-on-hop-off tour buses in London


Back in my youth I chose to stay at home to attend university but that didn't stop me from taking advantage of friends who had moved away to study. I ventured to Leeds, Sheffield and Brighton over the years to drink WKD in grimy student clubs and I always took the Megabus. It was a lifesaver for a poor uni student who only worked in Next on the weekend. Even as I got older I was still a loyal user, choosing to visit Liverpool, Cardiff and Bristol on the bus. Once you're used to paying £2 return, you never really can justify the extortionate train prices. So when an email from Megabus dropped into my inbox to invite me to try out their new hop-on-hop-off bus trips in the capital. I'd never got round to taking an open-top tour of London despite living 30 minutes away and working in the city because they've always been so expensive and my dad has been a pretty good tour guide over the years. But Megabus have introduced sightseeing tours starting from a staggering £1 plus booking fee. Incredible right?!







You'll be taken on a two hour tour around London whilst taking in over 50 of the incredible sights. You can choose to get on at three different stops, including the London Eye, Tower Hill and Park Lane hotel. They run every hour so you won't ever have to wait too long to hop on a bus.

I was lucky to have an exclusive ride on the tour on the day we had the glorious heatwave in London. It couldn't have been a more perfect evening to be riding around in an open-top bus. As with all sightseeing buses, we had a running commentary throughout the journey of the different facts about the city. I always think I know everything there is about London but it seems I don't as there was quite a few tidbits that were brand new!

Thank you so much to Megabus for such a lovely evening and I'd definitely recommend it. The price just can't be beaten!

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Restaurant review: Tank and Paddle, Heddon Street, central London

A email popped into my inbox asking if I fancied trying out the new Tank and Paddle restaurant in Regent Street. Pizza and beer? How on earth could I say no? So I invited the BFF and we took ourselves off to London for an afternoon of stuffing ourselves silly and putting the world to rights.

There are now three different branches in London with a pretty simple concept. You're seated by a the wait staff and given a menu. Once you've chosen what you're going to eat, you hop along to the bar to order both your food and drinks. Then it's all brought to your table and you can tuck in like your life depends on it.





After deliberating for a while, we decided on a pizza each and a Mac and cheese to share. After all, you can't not order Mac and cheese when it's on the menu can you? If you don't then I'm not sure we can be friends... I'm a massive fan of spinach and chicken on a pizza so opted for The Chick-Flick. A delicious concoction of tender cajun spicy chicken, fresh Pappadew peppers, wilted spinach and soft red onions. Tank and Paddle certainly don't scrimp on the toppings. I loved the fact the tomato and melted cheese went pretty near to the edges and the base was crispy and super thin. No soggy pizzas on their watch! Jay had the Holy Smokes pizza. A BQQ base was topped with pulled chicken and smoked bacon. The ideal one for those who all about the meaty pizzas. To share we had The Smoky Mac and cheese with mini bacon strips hidden amongst the oozing cheese. The portions are huge so you could easily share a pizza - in hindsight we probably ordered a bit too much. But of course we ate every last scrap for the purpose of this review!

Tank and Paddle is a great place if you're on a strict time schedule in London and looking for reasonably priced grub. Food comes very quick yet cooked to a high standard and you can order in your own time at the bar. There's plenty of choice for both meat lovers and vegetarians with a good selection of beers to wash the pizza down. I know I'll definitely be back! Thanks so much for having us guys.



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Restaurant review: Tandoor Chop House, the Strand, central London


Tandoor Chop House has been on my to-try list since forever. I'm a massive fan of Dishoom and I had heard it was pretty similar. Offering more of a 'street food' Indian food option rather than the bog standard curries you get in a British curry house. I love those curries as much as the next person but I love the more authentic Indian dishes even more.




My birthday proved to be the perfect excuse to try it out and I booked it for lunch on my day off. Hannah and Sarah had been a few weeks before so I already had a good idea of what I was going to order. Tucked down by Trafalgar Square, the menu is meant for sharing so we order four dishes between us. Two mains, two sides and a naan bread.



First up was the House Tandoor Chicken. Devilishly tender, full of flavour and incredibly Moorish, this was my favourite dish. In fact, I can't stop thinking about how juicy the meat was and wishing I could recreate it at home. Now I wouldn't normally opt for a vegetarian main course but I'd heard great things about the whole tandoor roasted cauliflower. Perfectly charred around the edges, it has a drizzle of a coriander chutney, crunchy roasted chickpeas and pomegranate jewels to add a much welcomed sweetness to the dish. The gunpowder fries had a great kick to them and the black dahl was deliciously rich. Whilst the bone marrow naan was cooked well, I feel like it could have had a bit more flavour it it. But it was great dipped into the dahl.



It was well worth the wait to visit Tandoor Chop House. I'd go back in a heartbeat and I'm dying to try everything else on the menu. I just wish we took the plunge and ordered the lamb chops. Next time for sure!
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Restaurant review: Curious Yellow Kafe, Hoxton, east London


Last weekend I went into town to help celebrate Hannah's birthday early. It was no surprised that the self-confessed scandipile chose to go somewhere Scandi-themed for her birthday lunch so we ended up in Hoxton. You'll find the Curious Yellow Kafe in Hoxton, about a ten minute walk from Old Street Station. Offering a Swedish inspired menu, the little eatery has a great neighbourhood cafe feel. It was full of locals and has a lovely chilled vibe.





I went for the Swedish meatballs served on a bed of creamy mash and lashings of gravy. Topped with chives and dill, it was like a hug in a bowl and exactly what was needed for a slightly chilly autumn day. Our waitress noticed us handing out gifts and very kindly gave us two brownies on the house to help celebrate Hannah's birthday. If that isn't good customer service than I don't know what is! Michelle opted for a delicious looking brioche bun stuffed to the brim with halloumi, roasted peppers and smashed avocado. Served with sweet potato chips, I wish I'd ordered it too!

The Curious Yellow Kafe is a great little find and well worth a wander over if you find your self around Old Street. I'll definitely be back!



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