There are few things that can kick that Monday feeling, but a good curry is definitely one of them. If you're tired of that dastardly queue at Dishoom and desperate for that curry fix then look no further and treat yourself to Darbaar. Tucked in the heart of the City's skyscrapers and on the fringes of Shoreditch Darbaar, by head chef Abdul Yaseen, offers more than just curry. It serves regal fare worthy of a decadent Indian feast... And feast we certainly did!
The Edinburgh Fringe is a frantic blur of hard-hitting drama, raucous comedy and eclectic musical numbers. But after digesting all of that culture there is always, always room for some refreshments. Here's my sunrise to sundown guide on where and what to eat inside and outside the festival fever in Edinburgh.
The only way to mark the end of my four month internship in Champagne, and the very end of my year abroad was with a special meal. But where? With the sizzling burst of weather scorching the past few days there's been only one place you should've be seen dining - outside. Anywhere outside! Give me some sunshine, a generous helping of blue skies, a side order of warm evening breeze, and all with a glass of something cold and alcoholic and you really can't go wrong. One of my best experiences of al fresco dining recently was at Le Jardin, the brasserie of Domaine Les Crayeres in Reims.
Le Jardin seems very aptly named, not merely for being located right in the heart of the expansive garden grounds of Les Crayeres luxury hotel and park, but with every dish epitomising the word garden. Whether it's the burst of fresh garden herbs, the perfectly plotted scattering of petals or the earthy rich sauces.
On your year abroad it is imperative that you immerse yourself fully in the language, history and culture and, of course, say yes to everything. What better way to live the true Madrid life than surf from market to market, experiencing the classic Spanish customs of tapas and copas. Más Sangria? Si Señor!
My favourite venue on the Madrid market scene is the vibrant and relatively new Mercado San Ildefonso, tucked away on the corner of Calle Fuencarral in the heart of edgy Malasaña.
I must admit I've been off the radar for quite a while now. But, I have my reasons...
So on September 1st I boarded my flight to Peru where I would spend the next four months teaching, traveling and tasting South America. I had the privilege of spending two of those few months in Arequipa, also known as the White City. Here I list just a few of the many things I am beginning to miss as I type this from my desk on a drizzly, dark winter's afternoon.
Without a doubt the best meal I had in South America was dinner at Bocanariz, in the cultural Lastarria barrio of Santiago. Bocanariz offers a list of exclusively Chilean wines and very special food, with the menu cleverly categorised by flavour. And it has a funny name - mouth nose.
WARNING do not read on if you are hungry
Ambling round the White City's historic 'sillar' centre, brow furrowed, tummy grumbling and eyes glued to my trusty lonely planet bible I of course flick first to the eating pages and there at the head of the page (labelled 'top choice') Zingaro Peruvian parradilla, beckons me. I'm a sucker for recommendations. We sit outside in the tranquil and secluded court yard, under a canopy of white umbrellas as hints of the city's incessantly blue sky peep through.
Stroll through the City on any given weekday lunch and you will be spoilt for choice. The area is now saturated with quirky market stalls, food vans, cafe chains and luxurious restaurants for that all-important midday refuel. Be it for business or pleasure Yauatcha City, set in the heart of Broadgate Circle, is a must for any discerning city diner.
Serving all day dim sum, decadent cocktails, wok dishes, intricate pastries and fragrant teas Yauatcha City is the latest in a series of restaurants originally stemming from Alan Yau. The family of restaurants includes City's Michelin starred older sister - Yauatcha Soho, the internationally acclaimed Hakkasan and Yau's answer to Wagamama - Busaba Ethai.
The popularity of Peruvian food in London has climbed hugely in recent years with hotspots Ceviche, Coya, Andina and Lima to name a few. With my three month move to Peru nearly in sight I finally had an excuse to dine at one of the best, the Michelin starred Lima in London. I mean it would be silly not to educate myself in the intricacies of Peru's unique cuisine before I arrived wouldn't it?
Before my dinner at Lima I was shamefully clueless about all things Peruvian. I hoped to be taken on a tour of Peru's best flavours. And so off I went on a big food adventure not quite to the real Lima city yet, but to Lima Fitzrovia on Rathbone Place. So I closed my eyes and ordered a pisco sours...
From one converted chapel to another... This week a celebration was in order. And so, in need of a special venue with equally special food to match, we reserved a table for four at the critically acclaimed Galvin La Chapelle at 35 Spital Square. La Chapelle is the third in a series of restaurants by the Galvin brothers, which innovates and celebrates modern French cuisine.
La Chapelle's architecture, just like its menu, perfectly balances the old and the new. The building is exquisite and vast with triple ceiling height, exposed brickwork and a glass balcony suspended in the air. The food is equally grand. The traditional and attentive service leads with confidence and warmth.
Buried in the Somerset countryside in the little town of Bruton sits the Grade II listed chapel now known as At The Chapel. The former church has been respectfully resurrected. Its breathtaking renovation praises the original features - high ceilings, towering windows, flickering candles and communal seating on some of the larger tables. In 2008 it was baptised as a restaurant and bakery, and five years later expanded to run eight guest rooms.
The restaurant, At The Chapel, is a marriage of local and European, championing local West country produce, but with a Mediterranean twist of elegance and effortless flair. In place of the altar rests the bar, whilst at the entrance of the chapel stands the wood-burning oven producing far more than communion bread.
Sunday was a lovely hot summer's day, so there was only one place to go... the beach! Well, Frome-On-Sea, not a seaside town, but the theme for this month's Frome Independent market, celebrating some of the best local talent. The highstreet, riverside and skies were scattered with bunting, sand, donkey rides, live music, quirky pop up vintage boutiques, antiques and buzzing foodstalls.
Almost one month till I set off for my year abroad and its first stop - Peru. To get myself in the Spanish speaking mood I was off for a week-long stay in Cadaqués, channeling my inner mountain goat and clambering up the corkscrewed, steep cobbled streets of the charming white stoned coastal village and eating my way through plate after plate of local tapas and seafood.
Cadaqués, set on the Costa Brava of Spain is home to eclectic beach bars and tapas spots and most importantly Compartir, a restaurant founded in the spring of 2012 by Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch - a trio of former chefs from the world renowned El Bulli. The restaurant brings each table together as you gather in awe at stunning plates of food, with one common theme - compartir (to share).
This recipe is one of my favourites and inspired by Leon's Breakfast Power Smoothie. It's ridiculously simple, healthy and quite frankly delicious. Simply blitz the ingredients, gulp and go! It really is your entire breakfast in a glass.
Set in the designer district of Clerkenwell, just a stone's throw from Exmouth Market, The Modern Pantry is a powerhouse of flavour fusions and style. Their ethos is simple - "to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients". The Modern Pantry's creator, Anna Hansen, originally from New Zealand has created an eclectic, but clean and fresh fusion with influences from neighbouring Asia, but also hints of the Middle East and Europe. She has produced a global taste.
So on a fine summer's day it was finally time to treat myself to lunch at The Modern Pantry.
My year at Durham was neatly bookended by short stays at the Lord Crewe Arms Hotel. Our first stay arriving on a chilly September afternoon was marked by a warming log fire, roasted game and snuggly blankets nestled by the hearth, and my return trip was welcomed by the scent and sound of sizzling log fires outside, and the gentle summer sunset of one of the longest days of the year.
Kenny Atkinson's House of Tides in the heart of Newcastle's Quayside has only been open since February 2014, but it has rapidly, and rightly so, earned its fair share of critical acclaim.
This was one of the best meals I have had in a very long time, undoubtedly. Stepping into the depths of the 16th century Grade I listed facade the flagstone floors, oak beams, and soft candle lighting lull you into the laid-back, but simultaneously decadent experience.
Last week my friend Anna and I embarked on a 5 day challenge to eat and drink spending only £1 a day to raise funds and awareness for The Hunger Project and the wider issue of global hunger.
It was several weeks ago now, but as I sit at my dull desk in the depths of another downpour of sleet and showers in Durham I wish I was back at this classic Mayfair spot - The Wolseley, sipping away at my pot of afternoon house blend with copious amounts of delicate and dainty finger sandwiches, scones and petit pastries all beautifully layered on their iconic silver tea stand.
What could be better than a cocktail... or two overlooking the London skyline?
Gazing out onto the iconic London skyline is Tate Modern's 6th floor restaurant. Offering seasonal dishes and spectacular wines the restaurant's masterpiece is not just the stunning panoramic view, as I found out last week.
Those three special words every girl desires to hear on a Sunday evening?
"Fancy a Chinese?"
It was a chilly, autumnal weekend and time to fly back south for a very fleeting visit. When it comes to a big family celebration the food is key, and this weekend was no exception. So, it was off to The Pig, near Bath for a birthday special - Sunday lunch.
It was time to head back North for another year of university but, before surrendering myself to basic student life I was treated to a weekend in Northumbria and a stay at the newly renovated Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland. The hotel and pub are nestled in the heart of the quaint and peaceful twelfth century village with rooms sprawled across the various historical buildings. We were instantly welcomed by the warm crackle of the huge open fire and charming staff.
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.