Restaurant review: Firezza, Soho, central London

It seems like I've been eating a lot of pizza lately. Heaven eh? Last week I was invited along to the launch of a new pizza joint in Soho. Firezza decided to open their first sit-down restaurant and throw an insane pizza party to celebrate. Based in Dean Street, the location couldn't be more perfect - right in the heart of London.

They helped to wet our appetites with a selection of delicious bruschetta and endless glasses of prosecco. After we sampled everything on offer we took a seat and waited for the main event.

Served by the metre, the pizza is ideal for sharing. That's if you can bring yourself too - you might not want to after you have your first bite. Starting from £6, there are a variety of different topping on offer. My favourite featured generous lashings of creamy chunks of mozzarella, spicy pepperoni and torn flavoursome basil. Quite often the base can let a pizza down but the thin, chewy base blistered perfectly at the chunky crust. Make sure you try their signature potato and rosemary pizza too. It sounds strange but it works oh so well!

Filled with oozing cream, sprinkled with sweet icing sugar and dipped in chocolate chips, I fell in love with cannoli. It was my first time trying this Sicilian pastry but it won't be the last. They are unbelievably addictive and one of the must-try items on the menu.

Firezza has a lot of competition in London but it certainly lives up there with the best of the pizza joints on offer. It offers great value for money which is something often hard to find in the capital. It's a great place to get a group of friends together over the weekend for a catch up without breaking the bank. Enjoy the good food, craft beer and delicious desserts. Thanks so much for letting me come along - I'll certainly be back guys!


Exploring Europe: Mussenden Temple, Castlerock, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Another site on our Game of Thrones Northern Ireland wishlist back in January was Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple. The weather didn't play ball but it was a cracking visit nonetheless. Owned my National Trust, the vast 18th century estate was built around 1772 by the Earl Bishop Frederick Hervey. The stunning temple itself, perched on a cliff edge was actually a library. The whole site is open from dawn until dusk and is free to visit.

Now I bet you're wondering about the Game of Thrones reference? Well, the beach the temple overlooks is where Melisandra burned the old gods on Dragonstone.

But even if GoT isn't your jam, it's still worth popping it into your itinerary. We went on a gloomy weekday in the late afternoon -as you can tell from the photos above - and it was practically deserted. Just the three of us chattering, the sheep grazing and the wind howling. It was so tranquil and peaceful, just the ticket to soak up the beauty of the Emerald Isle. I'm in such a hurry to back across the sea and see more of the country I've fallen head over heels in love with....


Restaurant review: Franco Manca, Belsize Park, north London

Pizza is my favourite and Franco Manca is my favourite pizza joint in London. Nothing else comes close for me and I love the fact they now seem to be springing up all over the place. After the first branch opened in Brixton Market in 2008, the brand has gone from strength to strength. I introduced Gem to their delights of the pizza when she popped down to visit London for the day.

So what did I go for? Always the number 4. Salty home-cured Gloucester Old Spot Ham, creamy mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, soft wild mushrooms and juicy tomatoes on a chewy, sourdough base. Crisp on the outside yet soft in the middle, the base is the star attraction of the show. Especially when dipped in the gorgeous chilli oil on offer. Paired with their own brand cider, it was the ideal lunchtime treat.

Franco Manca is always so reasonably priced, always so delicious and the staff are always so attentive. For a cheap eat but without any compromising on taste, it always gets a gold star. Those who say London is an expensive place to eat clearly don't know where to look.


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