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    Monday, 31 October 2016

    TOOTOOMOO, ISLINGTON

    Sometimes, when I find a type of food I like, I just eat and eat and eat it and that's kind of what I'm doing at the moment with Pan Asian.

    I hope you guys aren't bored of it yet because I've got another great recommendation for you, with the best name ever: TooTooMoo.

    TooTooMoo have a cluster of restaurants in North London which specialise in Pan Asian - a fusion of oriental cooking styles from Thai and Chinese to Vietnamese.

    All the dishes are served 'tapas' style, so perfect for sharing and use healthy, high quality ingredients. Tom and I headed there for a mid-week dinner last week and just LOVED it.

    There's a killer cocktail menu with incredible mint mojitos and Cosmopolitans to start your meal, or you can pick from the extensive selection of wine, beer and soft drinks. 
    The menu is split up into four main sections: small plates, tempura, sushi and salads and it's advised that you order about 3 dishes each to share. 

    We started off with the fried chicken gyoza (£4) which came with a delicious black rice vinaigrette and is a definite must order. Each parcel is perfectly cooked with a lovely crisp outside and stuffed to the brim with the meaty filling.We also loved the salmon sashimi (£5.50). Thick, meaty slices of salmon which were incredibly fresh and so delicious when dunked into the soy sauce and wasabi.
    These sticky BBQ pork ribs (£5.50) were our absolute fav dish though. Smothered in a tangy char shiu sauce and sprinkled with sesame for that extra crunch.  Make sure you order two lots as you won't want to share these!
    We also loved the Soft shell crab tempura (£6.50) which came with a lightly-spiced jalapeƱo mayo. 

    This is one of the dishes I always order when on the menu and it definitely didn't disappoint. The batter was light, crisp and without that greasy feeling you sometimes get - TooTooMoo pride themselves on being a healthier restaurant which you can certainly taste within the cooking. 
    You can't really go for a Thai without ordering a curry can you?

    This Thai green curry (£6) was good - not the most amazing one I've ever had (I'm looking at you Chi Kitchen) - but it still had that gorgeous fragrant flavour and was way better than the one from my local!

    The portion is a little on the small side so if you're sharing, like we were, make sure you order two otherwise you'll be fighting over the last bits of chicken!

    I don't really like rice (I know weird right?) so we also ordered a portion of Singapore noodles (£8.50) to share which were delicious.

    Thin, crunchy noodles which had been stir-fried with squid, shrimp, egg and chilli in a tasty savoury spicy sauce.
    Overall we both really enjoyed our evening at TootooMoo so I would definitely recommend it! The food is really fresh and you get really great quality at affordable prices. 

    They recommend you share 6 dishes between you (which we did) but I'd say maybe go for 7-8 as we left feeling like we could have eaten more. It's worth remembering Tom and I are a little greedy though...!

    TooTooMoo
    287 St Paul's Road, Islington

    * We were guest of TooTooMoo
    Our food was complimentary but opinions are my own
    Tootoomoo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Friday, 28 October 2016

    OAT CAFE - THE UK'S FIRST INSTAGRAM DRIVEN CAFE

    Big news guys.

    You know how much I love breakfast....and you know how much I LOVE Instagram?

    Well those clever people at Quaker Oats have combined my two favourite things and launched the UK's first Instagram driven cafe!
    Yep - a whole cafe dedicated to porridge where the menu changes every 30 depending on which dish has the most likes on Instagram!
    They've teamed up with ex-GBBO winner Edd Kimber (AKA the The Boy Who Bakes) and We are Food founder Anna Jones to create the dishes which will be battling it out each day.

    You can expect to see everything from chocolate and blackberry through to chilli and black sesame seed...and even bacon!
    All the porridge and coffee is free but there's also a charity box so you can make a contribution towards chosen charity, the Magic Breakfast.

    The cafe is open from 9am-12pm all this weekend so make sure you head to Instagram to vote for your favourite..then get down there so you can eat it!


    Truman Brewery
    91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch

    * I was invited for a sneaky-peek of the Oat Cafe before it opened

    Wednesday, 26 October 2016

    THE 5 PLACES YOU NEED TO GO FOR BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH

    Did someone say Brunch?

    I love brunch. It's my new favourite thing. Brunch has become a bit of 'birthday tradition' amongst my friends. Instead of going for nights out or out for dinner, we like to pretend we're ladies of leisure and go for brunch on a Saturday afternoon.

    I'd like to say it's a civilised affair but when you give bottomless Prosecco to 12 girls, things tend to get a little out of hand.

    With each of our birthdays spread out across almost every month of the year - we've made our way around A LOT of London brunches so I thought I'd round up some of my favourites:
    THE BIG EASY, CANARY WHARF
    We actually went to The Big Easy just last Saturday and LOVED it!

    They're famous for two things at The Big Easy: lobster and BBQ and that's exactly what you get on the brunch.

    You can choose either a whole lobster, lobster roll or unlimited BBQ - plus two hours of limitless Prosecco, wine or the house beer for just £29.50 - bargain.

    Oh but just make sure you don't book any later than 3pm - they only serve alcohol untill 5pm, meaning if you come at 4.30pm, you'll only get 30 minutes worth of drink. And no one wants that.
    ROKA - CANARY WHARF
    This is my all-time favourite brunch in London...at my all time favourite restaurant.

    It's a little pricier - we usually go for the £55 option which gives you all-you-can-eat access to the sushi and starter counter plus a main course (hello Black cod) and all-you-can-drink red or white wine.

    The quality of the food and the whole experience is totally worth paying the extra dollars for.
    ELECTRIC BRUNCH AT GAUCHO
    Ever since I went to Rome in April, Aperol Spritz have become my absolute favourite drink which is why the Gaucho brunch is an instant fav.

    They also serve Bloody Mary and Prosecco alongside a fab menu of traditional brunch style dishes with an Argentinian flair (think eggs Benedict, fried provaleta cheese and their famous steak and eggs)

    There's a DJ and for £45 you can order as many dishes as you can physically fit into your two hour sitting.
    BAD EGG
    You can't really have a brunch round-up without eggs can you?

    Bad Egg is Neil Rankin's East London restaurant which serves filthy egg dishes with a fusion of Korean and British influence (the Kimchi baked beans are AMAZING).

    For £32.50pp, you can choose three dishes from the menu and have your glass continuously topped up by the trendy and attentive waiters (hello v.drunk Saturday afternoons) 

    You can read my full review here

    THE CRAB TAVERN, BISHOPSGATE
    If you're a fan of fish - you're on to a winner with the Crab Tavern brunch (clue is in the name!)

    Just look at the INSANE starter platter - literally piled with prawns, calamari, whitebait and lobster rolls.

    You get all that, plus a main course and a sharing dessert along with an hour and a half of Prosecco for £45. Don't let the name put you off though - there's plenty there of meat eaters (hello hanger steak) and the whole atmosphere is laid back..and a lot of fun!
    BUNGA BUNGA
    Brunch at Bunga Bunga isn't as much a meal as it is an experience.

    They call it the party brunch which isn't short of what you get. Prosecco, pizza, karaoke and after 2 hours of the free-flowing stuff, a lot of dancing on tables.

    It's super lively so not the place to head if you're nursing a hangover, but certainly the place you'll be likely to pick one up...
    Know of any great brunches? Let me know your favourites in the comments below!

    The Big Easy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    THE NEW WAGYU BEEF BURGER AT SOHO JOE

    I've said it before but if I ever get reincarnated, I want to come back as a Wagyu Cow

    They live the dream: they drink beer, they get massaged...they even get to listen to classical music - and aside from the whole being slaughtered for their meat part.. they have a pretty cushy life.

    It's this pampered life which gives wagyu beef it's distinctive flavour - and it's hefty price tag...but I've found the perfect place if you're after something a little more purse friendly: Soho Joe
    The team at Soho Joe are known for their delicious stone-baked pizzas - which you can pick up for £5 before 5pm on Mondays and Tuesdays - and their grilled burgers. 

    They're based right on Dean Street and keep great value at the heart of their business, which is exactly what they've done whilst welcoming Wagyu to their menu. 

    They use the same supplier as Heston so the quality is top notch and while the meat has the most incredible flavour, the prices are very much affordable. 
    The beef comes from cattle bred in the hills of Wales, where they get plenty of space to roam and they're kept topped up with a daily glug of Monty' beer (#LIFEGOALS) to help give it that distinctive taste. 

    You can pick up the burger itself for a tenner or make it a double patty for £15. You do have to pay extra for sides (£3 for fries) but you can't really complain about a burger and chips of this quality for just £13!

    The team also plan to offer a 'guest steak' from time-to-time so you'll be able to get your hands on some of the incredible waygu steak too and you can also order the very same beer the cows drink!
    The Wagyu Burger launched earlier this week so you can head there now to get your hands on one - but hurry, something tells me this one's going to sell-out quickly!

    Soho Joe
    22-25 Dean St, London W1D 3RY


    * We were invited to the launch
    All food/drink was complimentary but opinions are honest!
    Soho Joe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Sunday, 16 October 2016

    WHY YOU NEED TO BOOK A TRIP TO ROME ASAP

    I literally have SO much respect for travel bloggers. I love reading travel posts and I love featuring them on my blog - but bloody hell, they take a long time. 

    It's taken me six months to get round to writing up our Rome trip. Six months - and we only went for 4 days. 

    In my defence, I did do a '10 things I learnt in Rome' post when I got back but it just seemed like the biggest waste of these lovely photos if I didn't share them.
    Rome is my favourite place I've ever visited. Hands down. It's got great culture, architecture, food, people and antiquity.

    You just feel like you've stepped straight into a history book.
    The whole place is built on ruins but it's all SO well preserved. 

    You can literally be walking along and stumble across a huge piece of marble just chilling on the floor - completely untouched. 

    You don't get that level of preservation in London. I'm serious, we would have put a luxury housing development in the Colosseum by now...
    We were only there for 4 days but we managed to cram SO much in. I don't think you need any longer to do all the tourist sights but there is still plenty of Rome that I'd love to go back and explore.
    There's loads to see in Rome and you'll do plenty of walking (which you'll need to burn off all the food you'll be eating).

    You've got all your 'must-see' attractions like the Spanish Steps...
    The Ancient Colosseum...
    the iconic Trevi Fountain (make sure you go really early in the morning to avoid the swarms of tourists)...
    and The Pantheon - a great place to grab lunch in the square and people watch.  

    There's also a little gelatoria called Ciuccula tucked up one of the side roads where you have to head for ice cream!
    We stayed in the Jewish quarter of the city which was right by two of my favourite places: Piazza Navona and Campo De Fiori. They're both packed with restaurants and bars and just the perfect place to spend an evening. 

    Our apartment was modern and a decent size for being right in the city -  PLUS they delivered pastries to us every morning for breakfast #winning. I like staying in hotels but sometimes it's nice to just have your own little base to stay in so you can come and go as you please. 

    Accommodation can be expensive in Rome so make sure you scour online for the best deals and remember you'll need to pay the Rome City Tax on top of your room rate which can be anything from 3-7 euros per night. 
    Can we just talk about the food for a sec? I'm a little surprised it's featured so late on in the post really because - oh my god - the food in Rome is incredible. 

    You can't eat bad food in Rome. You just can't - because the people of Rome don't know how to make bad food. You can walk into almost any restaurant (and there's loads) and the plate of pasta will be better than any you've had over here. Plus the house wine is incredible & cheap too. 
    If you're planning to visit The Vatican, you really need to set aside a whole day.

    You also really need to book ahead - you can just turn up and buy tickets but you'll have to queue which just eats into your exploring time and I get really grotty when I'm standing around too long so just do yourself a favour and book!
    Oh and make sure you dress sensibly. The Vatican is a Holy place so no shorts, no exposed shoulders and nothing revealing. I only had the very tops of my arms uncovered and I got asked to cover them!
    While you're at the Vatican City, you can visit St. Peter's Basillica and the Sistine Chapel. 

    You can spend hours walking through all the rooms admiring the painting and art-work all over the walls and ceiling. I promise you, it'll take nearly a full day to take it all in. 

    Weather wise, we were there in late April so we had plenty of sun. It wasn't too hot for walking around and exploring and had a nice breeze to keep you cool. 

    For us, that was the perfect time of year to go - I don't like spending summer in cites when you'll need to walk loads & queue - plus the summer months mean everything is crazy busy! I'd definitely recommend April to anyone thinking about going...
    There really aren't many  many I've been to that I'm desperate to go back to but hand on heart Rome is one of them. I hope I might have convinced you to get booking - I know I've just convinced myself to book another trip!

    If you've been to Rome before, I'd love to know where you stayed and your must-visit places!