49 Columbia Rd City of London E2 7RG - (0207) 729 5692
Main Dishes start from £8.00 and up to £15.00

First warm balmy day of the year and the French windows are ajar in the backroom of Brawn. Serious cutlery, clean medley of wooden chairs and complimentary sparkling water make it feel familiar and the best side of continental. The menu is French influenced, Fergus Henderson friendly and changes daily.

Being a girls dinner there was very hot gossip distractions, however it only took a glance at the menu to hook us into food mode. With wise recommendations from our waitress we went for...

Half Pint of prawns and a glass of white to start - classic
Carpaccio of Salt Cod with grapefruit and black olives - refreshing combo, probably my fave of the night
Geisers (Gizzards) with french beans and chilli and parsley
Ox Tongue with Green Lentils and Green Sauce - and may I say don't knock it till you try it.
I am a mega tongue fan (no laughing please), its dense but light and packed with flavour

Crepes with Salt Butter Caramel, again so simple but total taste sensation. We only had a Chocolate Mousse,
which I usually avoid due to bland airniess, however Brawns ruled!
Just to give you a taster of other delights from the kitchen and diaily rotated menu, here is what my dear friend and fellow blogger Rani chowed down on last time...
Field Mushrooms with gremolata and bone marrow, cured meats and sourdough

Dover Sole with Mussel and Shrimp "Sauce" and LOTS of butter.

Spatchcock Quail with Pomegrante and Pistachios

Treacle Treat Tart - nice thin buttery pastry with gooey sweet centre

With such fashionable surroundings and popular location you could mistake brawn for good looking airhead type of restaurant. However the food is intelligent and resourceful. And the variety of audience they lure in is a testament to the quality of product (service and food,) fine for solo book reading dining or a family affair. Can't fault it other than can there be one in my area code and be my local?

Brawn on Urbanspoon


Destination Dixon

A while back when it was still nippy I cycled down to Portobello Dock for a nosy and some sort of tea time treat. There had been much hype about Tom Dixons new venture,  an opportunity to showcase his own products and his recommended picks with Stevie Parle heading the kitchen. The marriage of top class product design and well meaning food was always going to be a solid effort from Dixon.

Textiles and other bits available for buying and on left the punched metal lights made on the premises.

The products on offer were select but ample, in range and price points. Choice Phaidon books (I spent a while with the El Bulli secrets,) jewellery of Nordic descent and larger scale bespoke arm chairs, all of which watch over the placcid waters of the canal - picturesque indeed.

Chairs, Karl Lagerfeld helmet, books and monochrome tiles

Post roaming called for a coffee break. I weaved through packed tables of design enthusiasts and archetypal west London locals with their colourful plates, to my table adjacent to the open plan kitchen. I had once read that open kitchens are proud ones with nothing to hide, with that in mind I can see why Parle hasn't shied away. Although I only sampled a perfectly fine slice of melt-in-the-middle chocolate tart and a brew the wafting smells did make me wish I was hungrier and hadn't filled up on my Mexican eggs beforehand. I will have to come back and taste the seasonal fare.

My Mexican Eggs: Left over chilli, roast toms, soft boiled egg on muffins with dribblings of hot sauce
and homemade plum ketchup.
Chocolate slice with creme fraiche.


Sunday Jewels

Nestled in amongst the pastel coloured houses and curious tourists lies a shop window difficult for magpies to miss. Dotted around various antique artefacts, YSL-esque turquoise and gold rings vie for attention from their bejewelled coral earring neighbours.

I happily lost quite a few hours of my life in Hirst's treasure trove a few Sundays back. As my friend Rebecca expertly guided me through the cabinets of glistening goodies with tea and homemade peanut biscuits in tow. I fell a vintage Les Bernard necklace and earring twinset tucked in below 90s Moschino and Chanel wares...

Further details on their website Hirst Antiques


Kumquat or Free Range Egg Yolk

Whatever shade, I am all over orange and have been trying with all my might to get some of our range booked in this colour. However, to no avail. Not to worry here is some orange loving! Alber loved it in every shade, COS is loving the tangerine kind with an entire rail of it, boys love it and Ms. Stam relaxes in a soft apricot glow.

Lanvin Parade AW11 / Petersham Tulips / courtesy of Wayne Tippet pic
Chanel / COS / Roksanda Illincic / Fashion156
Oyster mag / courtesy of Wayne Tippet / Pantone of choice / deeelinghtful blog


Dun dun dunnnnnnn... Number 9 is...

See you soon dear Paris!!! I will be dusting off my Wallpaper guide once more and expect to have dozens more clean plates than usual Le Chateaubriand ... we are coming!

The Hitlist: Number 10

In seven hours and 3 minutes (precisely!) Pelligrino announcess this years top 50. Or as Andrew has dubbed it, "the hitlist." Last year we conjured up a plan to make this list our holiday wheel of fortune. Working our way through the voted top ten restaurants numerically starting with 10 and consequently venturing to which ever country it is in. So each year we edge closer to the top spot, with massive detriment to our pockets and massive gains to our waistbands! First stop was number 10, New York’s Per Se.

A floor to ceiling view of the NYC skyline as this made up for Per Se's bizarre location, on the upper floor of an upmarket shopping mall. Perched luxuriously above the Columbus Circle and the lower half of central park makes for an apt urban contrast to Thomas Kellers sibling restaurant on the Californian coast. As with the French Laundry Keller resonates his French cooking fundamentals at Per Se.

Andrew and I settled ourselves with a G&T and my bag nestled nicely on its very on "purse pouf," an unnecessary but amusing addition pointed out by our polite host. Having avoided lunch we were ready and raring for the ten tiered culinary assault course. With the menu presented to us and reading like culinary poetry I could not contain my excitement, my eyes darted from neighbouring table to table catching glimpses of plates dotted with caviar beads and flourishes of micro herbs. The nights activity of overindulgence looked promising.

The Salmon Cornets were a playful start then the signature dish of Oysters and Pearls tantalised our mouths on both textural and taste levels. Flavours of the sea were harmoniously singing together in my mouth with popping bursts of punchy fish provided the staccato highlights - definite stand out dish. With a rip roaring start, as with all tasting menus the ability and skill come from keeping up this tempo, the following courses were only semi glorious. Foie gras terrine was overpowering especially with super sweet accompaniments and the "cheese" course tasted like foamed Philedelphia with a curious non descript green oil. These dishes I would have preferred to be minimalised and swapped with upping the portion on dishes like the striped sea bass which regained the melody of the meal adding freshness and displayed flair.

On to the sweets, which I personally was looking forward to, PB & J has been a favourite of mine in ANY guise since I was knee high. This being a retrospective review, the details are slightly blurry but I can recall that I was underwhelmed finding the flavours did not stand out on their own or worked particularly well when together. There was a definite lack of joyous nuttiness and molten fruity sweetness that its humble sandwich cousin does have. One last course, that arrived in an art deco silver box which folded out three ways to reveal pastel coloured macaroons, salt water taffee and chocolate nuggets, provided, thankfully, a good note to finish on. I couldn't quite finished these but, ahem, made sure there was room in my purse for a sneaky takeaway!

Savoury Cones
Smoked salmon and chive pate in a brioche sweet cone

"Oysters and Pearls"
Sabayon of pearl tapioca  with oysters and white sturgeon caviar

Terrine of Duck Foie Gras served with huckleberries, beets, whipped acacia honey and brioche toast
"Toma Piemontese Fonduta" with date coulis and shaved young fennel

Crispy Skin of Striped Bass with clams, tomatoes, parsley shoots and nicoise olive oil

Buttered poached Nova Scotia Lobster Mitts
and red pepper tortellini, compressed cucumber and pickled garlic

Bacon wrapped rib eye of Veal with mushrooms, watercress leaves and sour cherry "pudding"

PB & J
Peanut parfait, crystallized lemon verbena, toasted peanuts and grape sherbet

Strawberry Sorbet, with strawberry lace and cinnamon soda layer and candyfloss squiggle. 

Huckleberry and Buttermilk Sherbet
Oat crumble, huckleberry "demi-sec" and buttermilk chantilly
All in all it was a rollercoaster ride of a meal hinting at and proving to be full of Americansims resulting in both delight and slightly sullen faces. Memorable, yes. Top ten, at times and yes more times than not but something was still niggling at me. Perhaps it was the hotel restaurant-esque vibe, formal and flawlessly polite but not sincere or the odd touches (purse pouf and free cashmere shawl for cold shoulders) that although thoughtful doesn't amount to the sky high price tag. But thats just me, the hoards of professional gourmands seem to have nothing but praises.

No sour taste in my mouth though, six hours and fifty nine minutes left!

Per Se on Urbanspoon



Another day another scallop vest - Topshop
Wide Leg Trousers - Flea market Philippines
Double wrap skinny belt - Mums
Leopard Print Slipperettes - Topshop
Jewellery: Metal Basket Necklace / Mutli Charm Shoe Horse Necklace / Glass "D" -
birthday present / Giles & Brother and collected charms / Anthropologie

Friday Filler
Yes! End of the week and I went out last night so to the freezer I go...
Earlier in Make Quiche I froze the leftovers to re use. I have tucked into my stores a couple of times before. This time for lunch I have just had a couple of slices with some rocket and sliced pepper and baby toms with homemade vinegrette.



Mega Oversized Dress - H&M
Khaki zip ankle boots - Kurt Geiger
Jewellery: Bronze Chain / Turq loop and wood necklace : Topshop / H&M
Butternut Squash Green Curry with Rice and Pak Choi
Again bad iphone pic...
This too was made in a massive batch and frozen but fresh boiled veg and a sprinkle of
toasted cashew nuts add newness. Try mixing up eating a batch of frozen curry with brown rice one day and egg noodles or make more watered down and have as a soup!



Winter's Back :(
Oatmeal Aran Jumper - Vintage shop in Berlin
Denim Ski Pants rolled up - Vintage from NYC
Patent Men Shoes - Russel & Bromley
Red Oversiz Check Scarf - Flea Market Berlin
Camel Wool Coat - Zara

Pimped Up Miso Soup
This makes out 65% of my lunch repetoire, so simple just get chopping and add boiled water to a couple of things and assemble at work or wherever is near a kettle...
Organic Miso Soup packet (just add boiled water!) with some left over dim sum (or add any leftover meat or prawns,) soak glass noodles in boiling water for 5 mins, take a potato pealer to a carrot and add spinach. Basically add whatever you have, improvise!



Still sunny, perfect cycling weather but perhaps not the most practical trousers!
Long Sleeve Skinny Rib Crop - Topshop
Mesh Body - American Apparel
Wide Leg Trousers - Topshop
Converse Lo Tops
Sunglasses - Dries Van Noten
Jewellery : Bronze chain and ball / Birds Skull on Leather String / Gold Ring
- Souvenir from Singapore / New York Boutique buy / Mums

Mansaf from Moro Cookbook
Please excuse the poor picture from my iphone. But please believe me that this is so delicious and hearty.
Saffron infused yoghurt base soup with chickpeas, onions, almonds and meatballs. Little Princi multiseed baton and too much salted butter - energy food for cycling!
(Made sometime when I had time and defrostd when neccessary.)


The Lunchbox & the Wardrobe - MONDAY

Everyday after my morning coffee, I countdown to lunchtime. Here's a peak into my lunch box and what I'm wearing at the mo. Nothing is better than the switch of a winter to a summer wardrobe.

Scallop Vest from Topshop - I have these in pretty much every colour. So versatile
Crushed Silk Printed Joggers - the BEST present ever from Hong Kong, the print and colours are insane!
Converse High Tops - Classic with a little neon sock twist
Jewellery: Long Bronze Chain / Silver Chain / Crystal Necklace - Topshop / Vintage / Souvenir from Brazil

Smoked Pepper Mackerel Nicoise Salad Of Sorts
Smoked mackerel flaked through mixed salad leaves, peas, red pepper slices, baby potatoes,
soft boiled egg and oven dried tomatoes with homemade vinegrette.
This was super filling, super healthy and so easy. All it is is a case of assembling and doing simple cooking like boiling components and leaving some toms to slow cook in the oven for a couple of hours. Do the prep the day before and then stick it all in your lunchbox!


Going, going.... almost gone!

This time next week will be the final day in which to get the full Meateasy experience, from then on you will have to catch the wagon somewhere in the Peckham vicinity.

Last Saturdays indulging is still making me smile, because that is the essence of the Meat estabilshment. Its fun, and there is a sort of meat appreciation community feel about the place. I particularly like the tally of the converted vegetarians on the side on the chalk board menu wall. Everytime I have visited this place and chased the beefy scents of the wagon I always want to stay and grab another bite or another tailormade cocktail, but I also feel I should give my space up for another eager eater. Or more likely I just leave as I have over consumed, again, and spent all my pennies!

I have raved about this place for months to everyone that would listen. This is the last time I will sing any praises, because if these photos don't sway you you don't deserve the best burger in London!

YES mac n chees, YES chicken burger, YES chilli cheese fries and YES the almighty chilli burger!
One pic that didn't come out so well and we were so nearly going to dismiss it but don't be fooled. The chocolate brownie sundae is modest in size but brimming with chocolatey-malty-goodness. Order two!

The Meateasy doesn't need yet another glowing review to pack its tables, but you need the Meateasy in your life!


Every Quarter Counts

In what situation would you find illustrator Joanna Moore , creator of the St John emblem, all round good food expert Matthew Fort and Sam Bompass, from the experimentalist duo Bompass and Parr, altogether? Most likely on the pages of food quarterly Fire & Knives.

Nearing a year and a half year of pooling opinions and stories from a well selected range of food writers and general food enthusiasts, each installment is always entertaining and engaging. The contents showcase an intelligent and varied knowledge on the subject of food and related topics in a welcomingly fresh way. Whilst vintage poster imagery and illustrations by the likes of Moore provide a perfect filling inbetween the sandwiching paragraphs. My most favoured articles is the dazzling account of Joe "the bartender" Gilmore from the Savoy and his experiences of serving prolific celebs such as Sinatra to Capote. To the everyday turned humourous, such as the piece by James Ramsden of the Secret Larder Supper Club and his pyschoanalysis of various food shopping lists.

A few weeks ago the magazine leaped off it's pages, quite literally, and into a hall in Holborn for a tasty afternoon of Fire and Knives treats. Fort enthralled an audience with a literary walk through detective fiction with food conatations. Future foodologist Morgaine Gaye looked into her food crystal ball and predicted Peruvian food to be the new sushi and that personalised sandwich making vending machines would banish our daily trips to Pret. Before midday Sam bompass' giant vessel of communal fruit salad cocktail, made with a champagne base, fleur de violet and gin was making the rounds whilst he educated us in ether and its cocktail history originating from the1890's!

With tastebuds primed with a morning of talks and sampling, reigning supper club queen Ms Marmitelover served up a feast of...

Scallops seared on salt plates and seasoned with vanilla salt, with cream and chive broth.
On the salt theme, a platter of flavoured salts were passed round from rose to egg flavoured!

Smartest dressed whole salmon I have ever seen! Served with pea shoots and blood orange salad and buttery new potatoes and truffle salt.

A Grand Sweet and Cheesy Finale: Swan meringues with rose water, almonds and blackberries
and chesse platter from The Deli Station  
Satisfied and raring for part deux a little light entertainment ensued from pancake flipping drag queen from The Pale Door, a magic performing dragon usually found at cabaret joints like Circus and a passionate talk about artisan hands triumphing over robotic made bread  from Bristolian baker Sam Leach.

The day was fully representative of the written version, food related, diverse and appealing from all angles. Subscribe or miss out. Simple.


Can't Get Enough Cuffs

To put it mildly, I have fallen in love with neck cuffs. Last season we saw them appear at Celine, this season Gareth Pugh went all out with a neck full of gold. 

A neck cuff-lace frames a high neck vest perfectly transforming plain to effortless minimalism. From the simple gold fold cuff-lace from Jaeger to the ornate rope like cuff from Alexis Battir. I would like them all. Not only to sit on my neck but (if I had more hair) to tie up my ponytail as in Dries or mutliple ones on my fingers a la Margiela.

Brazen metal slices in all guises please.

Jaeger , featured in Afterdrk
Alexis Battir setting off Calvin Klein suit, Gareth Pugh AW11
featured in vanillascented
Alexis Battir,  featured in vanillascented
Dries AW11, Alexis Battir
Margiela AW11