Afternoon Tea at The Swan, Bankside

This past Saturday Fi and I were treated to afternoon tea at The Swan Pub on Bankside. This was a birthday present – a pretty awesome one if you ask me – from our Aunt and Uncle. The present also included a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. So we did our tour, wandered around the exhibition and then headed next door for a champagne afternoon tea treat. There’s something so perfectly British about Afternoon Tea isn’t there? Plus added champers? A totally winning combination in my opinion!
Afternoon Tea
So afternoon tea at The Swan looked a little something like this.
 
Champagne Afternoon tea and cakes
And included…
– Brioche finger rolls with four different fillings; cream cheese & cucumber, egg & cress, ham hock & mustard and smoked salmon.
– Scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream
– cakes, so many cakes; shortbread jammie dodgers, mini chocolate eclairs, coffee opera cake and lemon curd madelines.
I think you’ll agree that it’s a veritable feast for anyone’s taste buds.
Now here’s a pic of Fi enjoying herself!
Fi enjoying afternoon tea
There aren’t hundreds of types of tea to choose from, like at some other hotels, and you don’t get offered seconds (or thirds) of the food but there is plenty of food to go around. And it’s a decent option if you want to do Afternoon Tea without spending lots and lots of your hard-earned cash.
Finally I really must recommend that you do the tour of The Globe Theatre – it was so interesting, very informative and the building is spectacular. Did you know it’s there is no metal in the construction? It is held up by over 9,000 wooden pegs – how amazing is that?
– Lau xx

 

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Review – The Riverfront

Last week Fi and I joined the parental units for an evening of theatre at the National. We are all a bit obsessed with the National Theatre, due, in equal parts, to the stunning river location and the ever changing selection of superb and entertaining plays. I highly recommend seeing a play there if you can. Anyway before we headed into the Olivier Theatre to watch A Small Family Business we headed for food. Obviously. I mean it’s what we do!

We decided to meet (and eat) at a new favourite of ours, The Riverfront. The Riverfront is part of the BFI and is situated right under Waterloo Bridge, which also happens to be next to The National Theatre – handy that! The building has glass walls so you can spend hours just watching the world pass by, and there are deckchairs outside if that’s what you fancy. It was raining (of course) so we headed inside and got situated with ginger beer and Victorian lemonade – we are British after all! 

Now to the food. Well we decided to share a tomato bruschetta and a baked provolone cheese with honey. Both of which we’ve had before and loved. The tomato brushetta is made form heritage tomatoes, so you get the lovely orange and yellow tomatoes involved too. Nom nom. Add the provolone cheese is seriously to die for with the most amazing crusty, chewy rind on it. For mains I can definitely recommend the pulled pork and bacon burger. It comes in a delicious brioche bun with a mini bucket of chips on the side. The rest of the party sampled the beef burger and the fish and chips. From previous visits we can also suggest sampling the Caesar salad and the sausage and mash. Basically this place is all about good British food, done very very well.

Another quirky thing to mention is that as this restaurant is situated in the BFI you get announcements to let you know when films are about to start – such a clever and fun idea.

Lau xx

Franco Manca

By now I’m sure everyone knows that I love pizza – and if you don’t then where have you been? I swear I must have some italian blood in me from somewhere. Pizza is all kinds of awesome. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this, I can’t be can I? I mean there’s something so right about the perfectly soft yet crispy dough smothered in tomato sauce, sprinkled in cheese and piled with toppings, don’t you think?

So yes, I love pizza, which is why it surprised me when I discovered a pizza place nearby that I haven’t been to. I know it totally shocked me too. But it’s true. I was in Balham with Fi to meet a friend for lunch and said friend suggested we go to Franco Manca for pizza. When someone tells you it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had? Well obviously you jump at the chance to eat there. So it turns out that this friend of mine, she knows good pizza. Yippee for me as it was so so good.

The menu at Franco Manca is very small with six pizzas and two salads, plus daily specials. But you can customise your pizzas with extra toppings as you wish. I like this though as it meant I didn’t have too much to choose from, too much choice is always an issue for me. I ended up going for number 6, the tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-cured) and mozzarella. My two lunch companions chose number 4, a ham and  mushroom pizza. The service was super fast and our pizzas arriving within 10 minutes. Now I know pizza cooks quickly but this seemed amazing to me, especially as I was sitting next to the kitchen so I literally watched them make and then bake my pizza. So the pizzas arrived and they were so so good. Like mouth watering and delicious and so moorish. I didn’t want to stop eating! Plus they look pretty scrummy too.

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So if you are ever in London and happen to see any of these places then go in and start eating straight away.

Now if you after reading this you really want pizza, take a look at this homemade pizza post.

Lau xxx

Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen

Let’s jump back to the beginning of January when I wrote the below review of my brunch with my family at Tom’s Kitchen, over on This Rambling Corner. I thought that seeing as this here blogalog is all about food and eating I should probably share it on here too. So here we go. Enjoy!

This time last week I was well on my way to a perfect Sunday. I had met up with my sister and Dad and we were running around London (FYI I love this city). Our route went a little like this; along the Southbank, across the Millenium Bridge, around St Paul’s, through the city to Farringdon tube (it’s the oldest in London you know), down to Aldwych, into Covent Garden, across Trafalgar Square, into St James’ Park and through Parliament Square before crossing the Thames at Westminster and running past the London Eye back to the Royal Festival Hall. Wow I’ve exhausted myself just typing that! Anyway back to the point of this post… So after we ran our 5 miles we had a quick wash up and change into ‘normal’ clothes before we met up with the Mumbles and youngest sister, who had been reading and revising in the RFH while we were running. The five of us headed for brunch at Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House (see there’s the point of the post!) for a final brunch before returning to work, university and general life things. It was so much fun. And that’s what I wanted to discuss today; the wonderfulness that is brunch at Tom’s Kitchen.

This was my second trip to Tom’s Kitchen and it was just as good as the first. We were sat at a lovely round wooden table with booth type seating and even though it was 11am the restaurant really wasn’t that busy so we were served really quickly. Which was perfect as I was starving! Tom’s Kitchen only serves brunch on a Sunday but the brunch menu is extensive. Obviously you get the usual brunch menu options; eggs, french toast and bagels but they also serve salads, steaks, crab cakes and risotto too. Like I said so much choice! I opted for the Eggs Benedict as it’s my favourite breakfast food ever and this time it didn’t disappoint. I mean is there seriously anything better than a doughy english muffin, runny orange poached eggs smothered in hollandaise sauce and salty crispy bacon? Nope I don’t think so. Add in some freshly squeezed orange juice and this is definitely the best way to refuel after a Sunday run.

The rest of my family went for Eggs Royale, Toasted Bagel with Smoked Salmon (x2) and Scrambled Eggs on Toast, based on the speed at which we all finished our food I think it’s safe to say that all the dishes were delicious. Next time I go I think I’ll try the bagel as it looked so good and the salad that came with it had the most delicious dressing (I stole my sister’s as she doesn’t do salad). Although saying that I did see another tables order of Belgian waffles and they also looked good. Hmm decisions, decisions, I think it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with the food choices here and that I should go there more often!

Below are a few pics of some of the food, I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of everything consumed as some people just ate too fast!

eggs benedict

toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon & berry smoothie

I think we can all agree that Sunday’s don’t get better than delicious brunches and energetic runs – at least in my humble opinion. But what do you think? Any lovely London brunch places that I must try? Or has anyone else ever been to Tom’s Kitchen and can recommend any of the other dishes there?

Laura xx

Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen was originally posted on This Rambling Corner on Sunday 12th January 2014

January 2014 Eats

Hello lovely people and welcome to our little update on what foody delights have been occurring with us this month. Wow January has been a long month, but as you can see we’ve mainly managed to survive it by eating lots of yummy things! Yay to us right.

January Eats

Cooked
Kedegree
RSC#5 – Cod with bacon and a tomato sauce
Butternut squash pasta
Butternut squash risotto
Steak and potato wedges – the stuff of dreams!

Baked
Apple and Blackberry Crumble
Bourbon Biscuit brownies (as see on this rambling corner)
Avocado brownies
Bread & Rolls
Granola (coming soon I promise!)

Eaten
Dinner at Five Guys
Pizza and quiz fun at the Elephant on the Hill
Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen. Look out for a post about this soon.
Drinks at the Tinder Yard
Dinner at The Seahorse Pub (One of our favourite places ever – their sticky toffee pudding is to die for)
Lunch at Denbies Vineyard

What about you lovely people? What have been your food highlights this month?

Lau xxx

One simply amazing afternoon tea

Hooray it’s Friday, well done to us all for making it to the last day of the working week. What a RESULT and a massive pat on the back to us all. I can honestly say this week has dragged, it’s felt like ten weeks in one, what is with that?! Hopefully you’ve all had much easier weeks than me – tell me all about them we’d love to hear more!

20131025-112924.jpg20131025-112938.jpgAnyway enough Friday celebrating from me, let’s get down to the point of this here post; today we’re all about the cake and tea as we’re recapping on a (not so) recent afternoon tea of loveliness. It’s been two months since we both experienced our first proper afternoon tea, so please do forgive my tardiness. I’m not sure what got into me, perhaps all the cake I consumed made me forget about the adventure, whatever the reason I profusely apologise and let me now fill your mind with the wonders of sugar heaven!

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So our very first proper afternoon tea took place on a gloriously sunny summer’s day in London town at the beautiful Palm Court at the Langham Hotel. This is one of those places that is most definitely known for its afternoon teas (no less than three people recommended it!) and now I can see why – it was scrumptious, sensational, opulent and such a treat. Perfect for our celebration of a friends engagement and trip over from the UK. I will definitely be recommending it a lot in the future!

wpid-20130905_131516.jpg wpid-20130905_134036.jpg wpid-IMG_20130906_175239.jpgDown to the nitty-gritty of things though, what did we actually nibble on and guzzle down? Well we started with the obligatory glass of champagne (let’s be honest it had to be done!) and then we scoured the list of 40+ different teas before making interesting choices. Then we had our ‘starter’ of blackberry jelly in sophisticated shot glasses before tucking in to a delicious array of sandwiches. There was literally a mountain of five different fillings (all on different breads) and we were then offered extras from a silver platter no less than three times. I must have had about five of the egg ones as they were absolutely mouth-wateringly good.

wpid-20130905_133057.jpg 20131025-113042.jpg 20131025-113101.jpgNext up on the food front were the homemade scones with clotted cream and jam. What was great (for those who are picky eaters anyway) is that the scones were a mix of plain and fruit ones. Plus the scones were warm AND once again we were offered extras – amazing! After scones there was the mini cake selection, which was displayed so beautifully as you can tell from the pictures. The cake selection consisted of strawberry meringue lollipops, mini Victoria sponge cakes, dark chocolate mousse/shortbread concoctions and my absolute favourite, the miniature banana cakes.

wpid-20130905_140404.jpg wpid-20130905_140649.jpg 20131025-113220.jpg 20131025-113149.jpg wpid-20130905_133053.jpg wpid-20130905_143440.jpgOnce we’d munched on all of these we were absolutely stuffed to the brim and feeling very lucky. It really was a wonderful treat and I am now constantly trying to come up with reasons for booking it again, I’m currently struggling as I’m not sure that it being a Saturday counts sadly! Have you ever been somewhere so wonderful for an afternoon tea, which were your favourite bites and where would you recommend we visit in the future? We’d absolutely love suggestions! Fi xx

A Trip to Five Guys

A few weeks ago I headed with a couple of work buddies to Five Guys in Covent Garden for some post drinking grub. Yes, chatter about Five Guys opening in London is all over the Interweb, normally with comparison talk about the Shake Shack – FYI, I’ve been there too – it’s good! So anyway I thought I’d discuss it on here to let you all know what I thought. You know me; I absolutely love food and I also love talking about food!

First things first, this is located very close to where I work – dangerous times ahead! We arrived at about 8pm on a Thursday night and joined the back of the line outside the shop – basically there’s a polite English queue to get into the shop – I guess it’s so it doesn’t get too crowded and manic in there. I’m hoping that post Summer Hols this disappears both the queue outside and the crowd of people. There are lovely queue minder people who come along to chat to you about the menu, how it works and of course tell you how long the queue is. For us it was a lovely lady (didn’t get a name, sorry) who explained that it would probably be about a 15 minute wait – that’s fine we said as we weren’t in a hurry. We actually struck up quite a good conversation with the queue lady and thank god we did as she gave us invaluable information, that I’m going to share with you now…portion sizes. Yes portion sizes. So apparently the normal burger, cheese burger or bacon cheeseburger has two patties in it. Yes two patties, thank god we found this out. After hearing this we decided to go for the ‘little’ portion of burgers and fries. I had originally thought that these were the kids meals – but apparently not.

Anyway after hearing that little nugget of information we soon found ourselves at the front of the queue and headed into the restaurant. While you’re queuing at the counter you are standing next to a huge box of monkey nuts which are there for you to help yourself to. I know it’s only a small gesture but it really makes a difference. I stepped up to the counter and ordered my food, then headed to the pick up counter where you can watch your food being cooked.

For £12 I got:

a little bacon cheeseburger – even though it was a small burger it was still plenty big enough. The cool think about Five Guys is you can top your burger with as many toppings as you want, from mushrooms to salad, ketchup and barbecue sauce. Even though we had this option I stuck to just a simple bacon cheeseburger as it’s such a classic and is just my favourite burger combo.

little fries – these were skin on fries and were completely delicious. My only negative comment (if you could call it that) is that the portion was still absolutely huge. When I go back I think i’ll share this size with someone.

a refillable soft drink – the drinks machine is another quirky thing about this burger place. Basically there’s two machines for drinks that give over 200 different flavours. No lie, you pick your main drink, Coke, Fanta still, lemonade etc and then you get all the other options. For example after picking Diet Coke I could have gone for the vanilla, cherry or lime (among other flavours that I can’t remember now). The cups are refillable so you can go up and try again and again. I was boring and went for a Diet Coke – creature of habit, sorry!

There are booths and tables in the restaurant and there’s a downstairs section or you can takeaway. There was some great music playing quite loudly which really helped set the tone to the place and we had no issue getting a table which always helps. Overall it was the perfect place to go after a few drinks, it was quick, tasty and a bit fun too. I’d definitely suggest it if you’re nearby sometime. You can check out the website and full menu right here and plan your trip!

Happy burger eating!

Lau xxx

This post was first posted on Lau’s Rambling Corner.