Duck and Waffle

Special occasions call for a very special breakfast.

Now this special occasion could be a birthday treat or a toast to exemplary news, but for us it was a Saturday, we were in London and we were very hungry.

And if that doesn’t deserve a very special breakfast, I just don’t know what does.

Duck and Waffle had been on my radar for far too long, but was always just out of reach. Notoriously popular and so almost impossible to book; I was thrilled to have made a reservation for the only available space at 9:30am on the weekend of our getaway.

We rose early from our space-like pod (the new premier inn hubs, seriously – you have to try). And set off on the uncharacteristically quiet streets of London; giddy with sleep deprivation and  hunger. We arrived at Heron Tower and took the elevator, watching as London slowly woke up around us as we flew forty stories high.

After timidly walking through the restrooms of the restaurant, we were quite uncertain as to whether we had come to the right place – until the tell-tale smells of sizzling sausages and toasted slices of thick farmhouse bread assured us we were on the right track. Finding the maitre d’ stand, we were taken to our table and left to pick our jaws off the floor.

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The view, was quite frankly spectacular.

Drinking in our surroundings, we admired that vast impressiveness of London Town, which almost glittered in the early morning sunshine.

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Ordering up a Flat White and a hand-pressed OJ (sadly I think the only hand-pressing this orange juice saw was to get the lid off the bottle…) We drank them slowly as we mused over the menu and it’s decadent offerings.

After much deliberation, J plumped for the Ox Cheek Benedict.

A generous stack of slow cooked ox cheek, topped with two perfectly poppable eggs, and piled onto a toasted waffle, finished with lashings of hollandaise and siriacha.

Filthy rich and full of flavour down to the very last bite.

I opted for the restaurant’s namesake.

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A plate of simplicity…but a sensation of flavours when devoured.

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The duck impeccably tender and gloriously juicy under it’s coat of crispy skin, fried egg softly salted and pleasingly yellow, the waffle light and chewy – combined together and drizzled liberally with mustard maple syrup, it was truly magnificent and certainly worth naming your 40-story-high eatery after.

After eating our weight in golden platefuls, we continued to ponder the view as we psyched up to return to earth for another day of adventuring.

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If you’re looking to add a bit of magic to your visit to London, or are looking for a break from reality as a local, Duck and Waffle is open 24 hours a day, serving delights for whenever you’re looking to enjoy some escapism (it’s also a terrific for a spot of people watching).

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Bookings can be made 3 months in advance so I urge that you do so; walk-ins are welcomed if you fancy your chances, you just might have a little wait on your hands.

Anyway, enough waffling on from me! Happy Eating.

Dirty Bones

Just a quickie today.

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Not that kind of quickie you naughty thing.

Although I must admit it is similarly filthy.

Last weekend, two of my favourite girlfriends and I boarded the train for a day in the big smoke; it had been far too long since all three of us had been together and so, in the name of good times, laughter and quite naturally, food, a day in London was arranged.

Perhaps I’ll indulge you in the anecdotes of our fleeting visit some other time; but for now, I’ll share with you a totally bodacious bar-come-eatery where you can kick back and refuel, should you ever find yourself in need of a cocktail and a good feed whilst swanning around London.

After many an hour spent shopping the streets of Camden, Knightsbridge and everywhere in between, eventually we were inevitably drawn to the vibrant bustle of Carnaby Street.


Following our noses, we unsurprisingly found ourselves in Kingly Court; a paradise of sorts for a trio of foodies such as ourselves.

We tinkered up the stairwell and feasted our eyes upon menus of the many restaurants which grace the court. We “Umm-ed” and “ahh-ed” over each potential suitor until last but not least, we were enticed by the sweet low and slow smells which poured from the open windows of Dirty Bones.

The decor assured us we were in the right place.

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Taking a seat, we ordered up exactly that; cocktails aplenty, and happiness in the form of comforting American fare.

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The Burger times 3.

Brisket and dry aged steak patty, black treacle bacon, gorgonzola sauce, baby spinach and chipotle aioli.

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It didn’t completely rock my world; the burger could have been slightly juicier and the bacon slightly sweeter by comparison, but it held its form and was full of satisfactory savoury flavour.

The sides however, were real show-stealers.

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Cheesy truffle fries; the chips piping-hot, fluffy yet crunchy and featuring the creamiest of cheese sauces with melted cheddar, aged parmesan and white truffle oil.

Order more to share or see yourselves fork duelling over the scraps as we did.

The mac and cheese is somewhat life-changing.

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Softened macaroni slathered in a cheese sauce made from taleggio and smoked cheddar and topped with crunchy parmesan breadcrumbs.

The lack of mozzarella messiness is more than made up for by the velvet-soft, oozy texture; devilishly luxurious and beautifully creamy.

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Order by the trough-full.

The final flourish of our well-received carbicide was the fun-time frolics we had with the staff.

Hayley and Katrina, in particular, were every bit as show-stopping as the food; making time to chat, recommending their favourite tipples and just being genuinely good-time gals.

Service so genuine, we saw it necessary to really cement the friendship.

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If you fancy yourself a similarly fabulous experience with the good folk at DB, book here.

Word on the street is that weekend showcases a killer bottomless brunch.

Dirty Bones, you’ll be seeing us again.

Eating my way around London part 2 – South East Markets

There’s not much else on this earth that gets me quite as excited as a food market (and we really don’t know each other well enough for me to divulge THAT information).

But whether you’re after a bite, a booze or just want to stock up on some of the freshest local produce around – the food markets in and around London are where you need to be.

The South East area of London is home to two of my most favourite (and arguably most popular) food markets in town. Borough Market, London’s oldest and dearest food trading venue, serving up delicious grub and take-home tasties to the people of Southwark for the past 1,000 years; and Maltby Street Market, the ultimate delicious destination for hungry weekenders.

Only a hop, skip and a jump apart from eachother, you could quite easily tackle these London-must-do-markets in one day – so long as you have the right appetite and a stomach built like a tank; the more faint-hearted foodies however may have to spread out these occasions over a day or two.

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Borough Market is an overflowing cornucopia of culinary cuisine, offering a global feast of foods, from italian-pressed sandwiches to wheels of Sussex cheeses, Caribbean soul food and packed out pies – it’s one of the very few places that you really can have your Lincolnshire Sausage and eat your Razor Clams too.

Whilst I love Borough Market, it’s often difficult to spend time there which isn’t of a hustled and bustled nature; but so long as you’re strategic and know exactly what your belly is hankering for – you can squeeze yourself into one of the snaking queues, grab your grub and pop a squat on the adjacent side street to really enjoy your feast in (semi) peace.

The Mothership  from Pieminister is a total must if you’re looking to warm your cockles after a heavy morning of London sight-seeing. Choose your pastry (you really can’t go wrong here, but I highly recommend the Deerstalker or the Moo), and pimp your pie with mash, mushy peas and enough gravy to sink a ship.

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(Photos taken pre-gravy for aesthetic reasons).

Or if you’re looking for the second best Salt Beef biegal in town (spoiler alert – the best one can be found on Brick Lane), order yourself the Flaming Salt Beef at Nana Fanny’s.

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Opt for the rye bread, (you really can’t beat the beigal bake beigal), and the talented folk behind Nana Fanny’s will stack it with salt beef on top of tangy slaw, juicy pickles and razor-sharp mustard, melted together with help from a slice of swiss and a blow torch.

Take your pick of dessert from yards of fudge, honey cashew nuts…


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…or just an obscenely large cookie (the white chocolate ones are the bomb).

Should you find yourself quite ridiculously full, as I often do – take a long stroll down the embankment which you’ll find just a 5 minute walk away. If you aren’t desperate to see the Houses of Parliment, take a sharp right across to St Paul’s before you hit the tourist trap of the London Eye, you really don’t want to be accidentally elbowed in the stomach when you’re internally carrying 2 rye sandwiches and a whole loada fudge.

Now, I never play favourites with my food, but sometimes you simply can’t help but really adore a place just a teensy bit more.

Maltby Street Market is truly a magical place, more intimate than Borough Market but also less hectic and truly deserving of your full attention and appetite.


Entering from the Ropewalk entrance, eager eaters are met by a riot of colour, excitment and sweet sweet smells of outrageously wonderful offerings, dished up by friendly and passionate traders.

One of the first stalls you come to will be Finest Faye, where you simply must pick up a scotch egg to warm your stomach up…

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We shared the Breakfast Egg; crispy, meaty with a deliciously chunky, orange yolk. A definite crowd pleaser, but I have a feeling their Black Pudding one is the real show-stealer.

If it’s gooey satisfaction you’re after, you better pull up a pew over at The Cheese Truck.

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An army of cheese sammich combinations, you can go rogue with goats cheese, honey and walnuts or keep it classic…

Bacon and grilled cheese?

 

YES PLEASE.

Choose your selection, watch them turn a seemingly ordinary sarnie into crunchy, mouthwatering, melted perfection.

Grab a napkin (you’ll need it), and you’re good to goo.

Around this time you might want to take a breather; remember this is a marathon and not a sprint, so go grab yourself a seat at Little Bird Gin and order your fave tipple from the menu.

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The Perfect G&T is really quite glorious and and is best enjoyed by the gallon (just don’t expect to feel your legs after two); the Maltby Mary packs a sexy little attitude and will for sure give you a Sunday to remember (or not as the case may be…)

Once successfully hydrated, let’s head to the last savoury stop of the day.

African Volcano.

Ordering two Dirty Streakers for two dirty streakers, we had the pleasure of chatting to chef Grant Hawthorne whilst we waited, the main man behind the famous, 15-years-in-the-making Mozambique-style creations.

When your order is called, grab yourself a table in the back, a knife and fork and please roll up your sleeves.

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This fella takes no prisoners, and is nothing short of a flavour train, extra heavy on drippy, meaty, unadulterated filth.

It’s everything you ever wanted and more.

Before you head out, be sure to grab yourself some dessert.

The custard sourdough doughnuts from St John Restaurant are wonderfully scrumptious.


Order as many as your little arms can carry, and enjoy the never-ending traces of sugar you’ll never completely remove from your lips.

The beauty of these markets, is that you need to visit them countless amounts of time before you can positively exhaust everything they have to offer.

I’ve already made my plan for which stalls I’ll be making a beeline for next.

So, same time next week?

The Barge House

Something rather wonderful has happened.

I think I may have found one of the most gluttonous brunch spots in London.

Quite the revelation I know, but with good reason I promise you.

Let me take you to a place that’ll fulfill your wildest brunch fantasies, an inviting eatery that will satisfy your craving for a Bloody Mary…and will make a seriously great post for your ‘gram.

The place, is The Barge House.

If you find yourself in London, you can find The Barge House overlooking the canal in Haggerston, just a brisk walk away from Shoreditch High Street. We visited on a particuarly chilly morning where the ice had scarcely cracked on the water front. We bustled along, squeezing past the morning joggers, itching to get our hands on something that had made the painful detatchment of leaving Sunday dozing worthwhile.

And boy did we find it…

The Barge House specialises in two things on a Sunday; Bloody Mary’s and the reason for the queue out the door; the Breakfast in Bread.

I can’t even tell you how much joy it brings me to find a place that promises a good feed alongside excellently structured puns.

Bloody Mary’s were the first order of the day.

Mixed with house-infused vodka, it’s wickedly spicy and offered in 3 variations; chilli, cucumber and rosemary.

Order your first round…

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Along with a Hot Chocolate, to warm your hands up.

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Creamy, softly sweet and just a hint of bitter bite from the dark cocoa shavings decorating its top.

A perfect winter warmer.

Now…let’s get into the good stuff.

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Opting for The Original and Hot Stuff, our breakfasts arrived in total decadant glory, positively fit to burst.

We eagerly got to work.

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There are four choices of Breakfast in Bread, each one as smashingly appealing as the last.

But these two were pretty darn special.

Just look at that chucky egg…

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A hollow bread bowl simply bursting with all things Sunday brunches are made of.

Oh and cheese.

Lots and lots of cheese…

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Can’t get enough?

Okay you naughty thing, just one more…

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The runny-egg-oozy-cheese-cheeky-sausage-baconey-goodness concoction is every bit as good as it looks, packed with flavour and comfort.

The lovely loaf which holds it so wonderfully is locally sourced from the Better Health Bakery; an artisan bakery which provides placements for people recovering from mental ill health.

Deliciously doughy, fluffy with a golden crisp crust. Quite possibly one of the best sourdoughs I’ve tasted (and I’ve tasted a lot…)

It’s a clever niche to serve up a brunch in a bowl you can’t help but eat completely.

Those cheeky washing up dodgers.

Don’t be shy to rip the last hunks with your hands, and don’t even think about leaving any scraps, you’ll only regret it when you can  fully button up your jeans again.

With a belly full of brekkie, we shuffled back into our coats and set off into the cold in a bid to walk off our morning feast.

If you’re thinking of visiting The Barge House (and why on earth wouldn’t you after that egg-shot?!) It’s definitely worth booking ahead of time. Many a brunch-hunter were turned away or left waiting, tummies-rumbling as plankfuls of these babies glided past right under their noses, leaving nothing but tantalising smells in their wake.

So secure your table, wear your comfiest pants and get ready to experience the glory.

It’s more than worth getting out of bread for.

Eating my way around London – part 1 West End

I’m having a love affair with London…did you hear? If you follow my instagram you’ll see my feed littered with delights I’ve sampled on my visits down south and you know what? It’s pretty darn marvellous.

As I find myself consuming more and more of the delectable offerings our proud capital has to offer, attempting to squeeze them into one humble post seems to be even more of a struggle than reattempting to pull on my pixie pants after an indulgent weekend….

This is why I’ll be writing this post as part of a series, broken up to share the variety of my feast and help you find exactly what you want to eat whether you’re a local or simply there for a delicious visit.

So, enough waffling (side note, stay tuned in this series and you’ll find out about this GREAT waffle place I discovered…) Let’s dive into the good stuff.

  1. Homeslice, 13 Neal’sYard

If you’re into your pizza (and what sane person isn’t?!) Homeslice has to be at the top of your list.

Notouriously busy, but for good reason; these guys sure know how to slice, so if you’re lucky enough to bag a spot to sit a while, make sure you take full advantage.

You can buy by the slice, but for £20 you can go the whole hog, which I highly recommend you do.

We went 50/50 on our toppings, opting for half a salami, rocket and Parmesan pie and half mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli.

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The size is impressive (bigger than your average car tyre), but the flavours are really something else. The dough is soft, rustic and can barely support its toppers – exactly how a pizza slice should be – simply fold it and eat it naples style. It will inevitably get all over your hands/sleeves/face, but you’ll be in too much ecstasy to care.

The sauce, cheese and toppings provide the rich and satisfying flavours you’ve been dreaming of, treating you to authentic tastes of Italy with every bite. The mushroom half was a particular favourite of mine – order it and thank me later.

If it’s too busy to grab a table and you aren’t prepared to wait, grab a slice to go and devour it under the bridge just outside.

2. Ben’s Cookies,Covent Garden

I don’t know who Ben is, but the guy sure knew how to made a cookie.

Made with chunks not chips, these cookies are nothing if not pure indulgence and if you pass one of the many shops or pop-up window stores throughout London, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BUY SEVERAL IMMEDIATELY.

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I say several because I am living proof that you simply cannot just have one (I once ate 5 just strolling around the Natural History Museum #noshame).

A soft hunk of doughy, almost cake-y delight, you can get your cookies in a multitude of flavours. I highly recommend triple chocolate, praline and milk chocolate – but to be honest, there’s no way you can go wrong here, so fill your boots – oh and if you buy 3, you get a 4th free – you’re welcome.

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3. Muriel’s Kitchen, Soho

Quirky, kitsch and no portion control when it comes to halloumi.

Need I say more?

Muriel’s offers the perfect hideout with the comfiest ambiance should you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of London streets.

Plump cushions, fairy lights and more hanging greenery than your average botanical garden, I highly recommend you pop in for a lazy brunch and order…well anything!

The menu boasts an array of beautiful breakfast eats to kick-start your morning including Muriel’s Popeye (I can’t quite explain its glorious-ness, but I insist you give it a try). Filled Croissants and a bodacious selection of fresh smoothies.

I opted for the Grilled Halloumi, Roasted Tommies, Poached Eggs on Farmhouse Toast with a side order of Avo. Everything is cut with the same handsome wedge precision and frankly, I wouldn’t want to start my day any other way.

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Be sure to give it a go if you’re in the area.

4. Sketch, Mayfair

If you’re looking for that extra bit of luxury (and I know you are), be sure to head to Sketch , just off Regent Street.

A bonafide ‘grammers paradise, this 18th Century Townhouse is home to one of the most fabulous afternoon tea’s in town. The Gallery is the hardest room to get into – but totally worth it. Pretty, pink chairs, marble chevron flooring and copper EVERYTHING create a decadent setting, complete with witty artwork and tasty tidbits to see you through your afternoon.


The Parlour boasts the perfect balance between boudoir-esque decor and eccentric comfort. This combined with the lavish plates of rich and lip-licking flavours served by the pvc-pinny’s which circle the salon, make for a particuarly indulgent afternoon and one I highly recommend you try – and make sure you order the crab brioche.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s a little on the spendy side, but if you’re in the mood for a treat or are looking to celebrate in style – it’s well worth the additional loan you’ll need if you decide to have more than 2 cocktails.


Oh and before you leave – you HAVE to check out the restrooms, it’s like a Ridley Scott dreamworld in there.


5. Lola’s Cupcakes, Selfridges

The perfect pit-stop should you find your sugar levels running low whilst walking the length of shoppers central, pop into Selfridges and make a beeline for their food hall to recuperate any energy lost.

Lola’s is just one of a handful of cute cupcake concessions, primped with rows upon rows of cupcakes, standing to attention and keen to please you.


Never one to resist a Red Velvet, I munched my way through the thick, deep flavour of the sponge and marvelled at the silky smooth, “mmmm”-inducing dollop of whipped cream cheese frosting which crowned the top.

A crowd-pleaser for sure, order with their Hot Chocolate with cream and mallows to really treat yourself.

So that’s your first taster of my London Eating Adventure – check back soon for the next portion, and please leave any foodie recommendations below – there’s so many places to discover in London  and I simply must eat at them all.

 

 

 

Choccywoccydoodah

Chocolate. It’s just the bestest, isn’t it?

So good it just makes you want to invent words to describe how it makes you feel.

Those smooth bars of velvet dreams; thick, liquid drinks and sweet blocks of chunky delight – there’s just so many ways to enjoy the humble cocoa bean and I’m so grateful to it for that.

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