London Daily Photo: Mentors Mingle and Share Ideas

LDP 2014.07.24 - Mentors Mingle and Share Ideas

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

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London Daily Photo: A Mentee Explains What She’s Gained from Having a Mentor

LDP 2014.07.23 - A Mentee Explains What She's Gained from Having a Mentor

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BOGOF Bubble Tea at Yao Yao Cha, Earlham Street WC2

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There’s a new bubble tea place in town: Yao Yao Cha. I paid a very refreshing visit to this vibrant little Seven Dials shop when it first opened and – in addition to slurping up a variety of yummy treats – managed to wrangle a generous buy-one-get-one-free offer especially for my readers to enjoy Yao Yao Cha’s delicious Taiwanese treats.

Yep! From now until the end of August, when you purchase any regular drink at Yao Yao Cha simply mention “tikichris” to get another one of equal or lesser value for FREE.

What a delicious way to beat the summer heat!

“Yao Yao Cha” is Chinese for “shake shake tea” and this latest bubble tea venue aims to do just that – shake up the London boba scene with a fusion of authentic Taiwanese drinks and methods, adapted for the London palate. For example, the Taiwnese owned Yao Yao Cha’s tapioca pearls are made deliberately smaller and less chewy, to better suit local tastes.

But it’s not just about the fusion bubble tea at Yao Yao Cha. The shop’s core menu consists of 24 drinks divided into four sections: frappés, Jasmine green teas, Matcha green teas and black teas. The two drinks I love most here are the especially moreish crème brûlée bubble tea and a super quenching cherry tomato frappe. And get this: Yao Yao Cha has just (as I’m typing this post up) introduced shave ice. Ooh I gotta get back there ASAP to give this a try! If any of y’all make it over before I do please let me know what you think of the shaved ice … and of course be sure to mention “tikichris” when you do!

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T&C

  • This 2for1/BOGOF offer is valid on regular drinks only from 23 July through to 31 August 2014;
  • All bubble teas come with tapioca as standard;
  • All frappés come with fruit pops/jelly as standard depending on flavour.

Yao Yao Cha is located at 24 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LN. Visit the shop online at yaoyaocha.com.


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Posted in Discounts and Special Offers, Food, Freebies, London, restaurants, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: A Mentor and Mentee Recap a Great Year

LDP 2014.07.22 - A Mentor and Mentee Share Recap a Great Year

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Sound Suggestions for Listening to Live Music in Louisiana (OneTravel)

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The state of Louisiana is home to a rich musical tradition. Blues, funk, jazz, zydeco, rock ‘n’ roll, country – it’s all-American music and every style has its roots in this corner of the world. Headed down to Dixie for a taste of live music but in a jam as to where you should go?

Here’s a quick list of great venues across the state to help you play it by ear like a pro.

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

Posted in Beer, Drink, Louisiana, music, OneTravel, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: Josephine Shares the Year’s Results

LDP 2014.07.21 - Josephine Shares this Year's Results

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get it Fast and Fresh at Vapiano Soho

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Not the first (and probably not the last) Vapiano outlet to open in London, but the new Wardour Street location of this global restaurant group with its fast casual take on serving freshly made Italian cuisine was worthy of a visit and my recommendation.

A recent weeknight dinner at the newly opened and vast two storey Vapiano Soho proved a pleasant pit stop during any otherwise busy week. I liked the concept at this place:

Pasta, pizza, antipasti and salads are ordered by customers directly from the Vapiano Chefs at individual stations within the restaurant and prepared to order in front of guests (a Vapiano chef can make two different pasta dishes simultaneously and in just three minutes). This gives guests the opportunity to order their dishes bespoke with extra garlic, chili, herbs etc. The dishes are ordered using a smart card system, which is tapped onto the till every time a guest orders. The herb gardens within the restaurant are also there for flavour, not just decoration and guests are encouraged to tear off a few basil leaves to add to their meal. 

Easy peasy and all that – with your meal made fast and fresh and right in front of you.

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And I liked the food too. I had a rather filling and tasty calzone (ham, spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, mixed herbs, onions, tomato sauce, mozzarella, £8.95). I found it and the other items I had to be reasonably priced (especially for Wardour Street). I appreciated the wine selection too. A bottle of Big Top Zinfandel went well with everything tomato-y.

I don’t think Vapiano’s menu will blow you away, but I reckon the vast majority of folks grabbing a bite here will be pleased and impressed with the offering, service and setting. I was. For the most part anyway. Considering all the focus on efficiency and self servicing, access to a simple jug of tap water during my meal would have been nice. That’s hardly a big issue though, and everything else about the experience was fine.

A smart spot to keep in mind for family dining, casual catch ups and solo outings – Vapiano Soho is located at 84 Wardour Street, W1F 0TQ with outlets at Great Portland Street and Southwark Street and more across Europe, the Middle East and the US. Go to uk.vapiano.com for details.


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London Daily Photo: Building Meaningful Relationships Through Mentoring

LDP 2014.07.20 - Building Meaningful Relationships Through Mentoring

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recipe: Spaghetti Puttanesca

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An opportunity to sample a selection of especially delicious olives led to an opportunity to cook one of my favourite dishes: spaghetti puttanesca. As the name suggests, this dish is quick, easy and cheap … and oh so satisfying.

SPAGHETTI PUTTANESCA Yum

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin is probably best but not necessary for this recipe);
  • ½ of a peeled white onion;
  • 1 crushed garlic clove;
  • 2 anchovy fillets (preferably ones tinned in olive oil);
  • 690g passata;
  • 200g pitted black olives;
  • Capers to taste (or not – it’s your call);
  • Pinch of rock salt;
  • 500g of spaghetti;
  • Black pepper to taste;
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste.

Method

  • Pour a glug of olive oil into a large pot set to medium heat;
  • Place the onion (broad side down), garlic, and anchovies in the pot;
  • Pour in the passata;
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and let simmer on low heat;
  • Add the olives and capers and put the lid on the pot, occasionally stirring the ingredients;
  • In another large pot, add enough water for cooking 500g of pasta, throw in a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil;
  • Add your pasta along with a tablespoon or so of the sauce;
  • Cook the pasta until ready (I prefer mine to be slightly al dente);
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain it;
  • Add freshly mixed black pepper to your sauce and give it a good stir;
  • Discard the onion before serving.

Serving

Serve either with the pasta and sauce mixed together or separate. I’m not too bothered either way about this, but some folks can be especially fussy as to how the dish should be served. Might be best to ask your dining companions before deciding. I definitely recommend added ample amounts of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of your plated puttanesca. Maybe add a fresh basil leaf atop the mound as well. The dish goes down well with a glass of red wine too. Keep in mind there’s no rule that says this sauce can only be eaten with spaghetti, but I reckon it is the best and most pleasing pasta for it.

Read more tikichris recipes.

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London Daily Photo: Mentor and Mentee Embrace

LDP 2014.07.19 - Mentor and Mentee Embrace

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Stuff

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Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

The Hawkhurst Vault

Have you been to The Hawkhurst Vault yet? If you’re a tea aficionado or partial to supporting indie East End businesses, then you definitely should! This months old tearoom offers “17 beautiful varieties of tea and the highest quality coffee, all sourced from local suppliers, with a range of locally crafted pastries and cakes to compliment them.” The spacious, two story shop is situated on the more relaxed (and relaxing) side of Brick Lane just north of Bethnal Green road and is a lovely place for a cup of tea (more than decent coffee too) … and a smart spot to keep in mind for your morning beverage needs and for catching up with folks in a comfy setting.

Cocoa Runners

A new monthly subscription delivery scheme called Cocoa Runners aims to “run around the world discovering” fine chocolate and then send you the best of what they found. The Cocoa Runners monthly boxes are designed to be “letterbox friendly” and to fit through nearly all UK letterboxes, and you don’t need to be in to sign for deliveries. I got a taste of one of the Runners’ boxes a month or so back. I liked (!!!), particularly an included bar of Pacari 70%. The packaging was attractive and with the chocolates and thorough info about them well presented. I reckon this service would be good to keep in mind as a gift for any chocolate lover or person-who-has-everything you might know. Give it a try at £16.65 for a one off or £14.95 per month for a three months (as long as the introductory offer is still on).

The Collective’s Limited Edition Crème Brûlée Yoghurt + New Yoghurt Drinks

Gourmet dairy brand, The Collective, has brought to market a limited edition Crème Brûlée Yoghurt created by two-time Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas. I got a taste of some recently. It’s delicious. Be on the look out for it while it lasts.

The Collective also has launched a range of four yoghurt drinks produced with British milk, and containing no refined sugars, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I got a taste of the new drinks and was glad to have done so. I especially liked the Coconut, Vanilla & Honey drink, a “moreish, indulgent and perfectly balanced blend” of live yoghurt, Madagascan vanilla, coconut cream, coconut milk and honey; and the Bloody Mango, a mix of live yoghurt, crushed Alphonso mangoes and blood oranges. Deeeelish. There’ll be more to share about these treat to come! So stay tuned.

Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally

Isabel Legeron, France’s only female Master of Wine and the one and only mastermind behind the fantastic RAW artisan wine fairs has published a book, Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally. I gave it a flip at the recent London launch (held at super yummy Borough Market restaurant, Elliot’s) and reckon it’s well worth any wine lovers or would-be connoisseurs doing so as well.

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Posted in Books, Chocolate, coffee, Drink, Food, London, restaurants, Shopping, Travel, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: A Mentee Welcomes Guests to an End of the Year Celebration

LDP 2014.07.18 - A Mentee Welcomes Guests to an End of the Year Celebration

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

dCS: Me, Bob Dylan, and the £67,000 Sound

dCS Vivaldi System - DSC05306

Question: what would Bob Dylan’s classic Like a Rolling Stone sound like played at you from a £67,000 piece of luxury audio kit from dCS? Answer: fucking awesome.

Yesterday, world leading luxury audio technology company, dCS, took over the Billiard Room at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to showcase its flagship system, the Vivaldi. And yep, lucky duck me received an invite to pop round and check it out. Like most folks reading this, I’d never heard of dCS before, but man oh man it was fantastic finding out about its revved gear and getting to listen to a few tunes played through it.

This year, the Cambridge based company marks its 25th anniversary. With roots in R&D of advanced radar systems for defense aerospace applications, today dCS’s focus is on creating domestic sound systems that “deliver the best sounding music reproduction that money can buy.” Built on technology originally designed by dCS for use in military defense systems, the small team of audiophiles behind dCS have endeavored to reinvent music playback, making on-demand systems which carry a correspondingly high price tag with a new Vivaldi system retailing at £67,000 (about $115,000) … sigh.

From what I could tell, they very much seem to have succeeded. I loved sitting there enjoying one of the richest music experiences of my life … if only for about 15 minutes or so.

dCS Vivaldi System - DSC05307

I gotta tell ya though, with the invitation to bring my “favourite piece of music so we can treat you to a listening experience which will blow you away” the pressure was on! The track I chose to go with was Like a Rolling Stone – a song I have never tired of listening to and that I’ve heard via all sort of crappy and snappy playbacks and even performed live by Dylan himself. I was not disappointed and my session with the Vivaldi certainly proved to be the best that song had ever sounded to my ears.

Just in case, though, I brought some back up. In addition to the thrill of the luxury high tech experience, I got of kick out of wracking my brain thinking about which songs I’d love to hear played back in such ideal conditions … and came up with the following playlist. In the end, I only got to hear one other preferred song: Harborcoat by REM which sounded so crisp and clean and ‘right there’ – like the first time I heard the song when I was kid (I still couldn’t make out more than a word or two of Michael Stipe’s lyrics though). Beyond the 12 tracks in my list, if I’d had the chance I probably would have relished a chance to just sit there all day letting Slayer rock my face off for a few hours.

You can find out more about dCS at dcsltd.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: QPCS Steel Drum Band Member

LDP 2014.07.17 - QPCS Steel Drum Band Member

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win a G&T Experience for Two at The Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel

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A month or so ago I had the pleasure of sampling the new gin and tonic menu at The Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel. Created by Tanqueray mixologist Tim Homewood and Polo Bar manager Elias Yiallouris, the new G&Ts are part of a “Botanical Brew Experience” collaboration between Tangueray No. TEN gin and Fever-Tree tonic water. All feature the quadruple distilled gin and the premium tonic along with an intriguing array of fresh ingredients. And – just in time for the height of summer – here’s a chance for one lucky reader and a guest to do what I got to do and sample a couple of these fantastic drinks for free.

Here’s a look at that refreshing G&T menu:

·         Blue Lady Tea and Grapefruit Peel served with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic – the exotic floral and citrus notes of Blue Lady Tea are lifted with zesty Grapefruit Peel, a refreshing thirst-quencher;

·         Fennel and star anise seed served with Fever-Tree Classic – native to China, the liquorice aromas of Star Anise combine with the sweet, warm flavours of Fennel Seed for an oriental twist;

·         Blackberry and hibiscus tea and lemon peel served with Fever-Tree Lemon Tonic – Cleopatra’s drink of choice, ruby red Hibiscus tea is paired with fruity blackberries for a divine blend of sweet and sour;

·         Cinnamon, clove and vanilla served with Fever-Tree Classic – warming and uplifting, the soft, creamy flavours of vanilla are spiced up with aromatic cloves and cinnamon;

·         Rosebuds served with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic – reminiscent of an English garden on a summer’s day, the delicate notes of rose are given a rich, dry edge with the addition of elderflower essence;

·         Pink pepper and orange peel served with Fever-Tree Classic – the kick of spiced pink pepper is sweetened with a citrus orange peel, and garnished with an orange twist.

Thirsty? Yeah me too! And I reckon you’d be hard pressed to find a more comfortable and place in Central London to enjoy such a fine cocktails.

To be in with a chance win a G&T Experience at The Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel simply tweet the following:

RT to win a Polo Bar G&T Experience: http://bit.ly/1mjF1Qi compliments of @tikichris and @WestburyMayfair #GandT #PoloBar #Mayfair

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday 24 July 2014 at 16.30 BST. The prize will be two drinks each from The Polo Bar’s G&T menu for the winner and a guest. Obviously you need to be of legal drinking age to drink this alcoholic beverages and must be able to show ID that proves your age.

For the facts about alcohol visit Drinkaware.co.uk.

About The Polo Bar

Upscale and low key, The Polo Bar at The Westbury Hotel is conveniently centred between Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus stations yet removed just enough from the fray to allow for decompression. With Art Deco inspired designer interiors with Swarovski and Fendi details, it’s a swish spot to keep in mind whether you’re mingling to impress or simply hoping to unwind in high style.

The Polo Bar is located at The Westbury Hotel at the entrance at 37 Conduit Street, W1S 2YF. Find out more at westburymayfair.com/restaurant_5-en.html.


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Posted in Competition, Drink, Freebies, Hotels, London, Luxury, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Daily Photo: Here Comes the Band

LDP 2014.07.16 - Here Comes the Band

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Sensational Blogs about Los Angeles (OneTravel)

Los Angeles at night

Photo/Ask Bjørn Hansen

Los Angeles is a fantastic city but unless you know it well can prove a heck of a tough one to explore. Why just stick to the beach and major attractions when there’s so much more to see and do? Here are five blogs about LA and by Angelinos to help you make the most of your visit to La La Land! For this list I tried to look past the many big media blogs and all the gossipy celebrity obsessed sites and really try to focus on blogs that offer the best insider perspective for folks visiting from out of town.

I hope you find these blogs to be fun and useful …

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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New Restaurant Review: INK, Bethnal Green

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Definitely one of the most inventive and satisfying meals of the year, my dinner at newly opened INK was a sheer delight.

Set beside the Regent’s Canal with plenty of outdoor seating, INK is as ideal a place as any in East London for grabbing a bite – and a helluva lot more pleasant than most. Before tucking in to my review of the food though, I’d just like to say that I was simply glad to be at INK sitting on its deck having a glass of wine, enjoying Kemey’s good company and watching the East End world roll by.

And even if the setting had sucked, I’d have loved the experience for the wonderful dishes served. Just about everything presented from young Lithuanian chef Martyn Meid’s kitchen was exquisitely presented and utterly delicious. Even the bread brought out before we’d ordered and served with home made butter as well as rendered pork fat with fresh herbs and leek ash was something of a thrill for the taste buds. My starter course of “Gravlax” with lightly pickled carrots, cucumbers, dill, rye and squid ink (£7.50) did the trick too as did Kemey’s subtly flavoured starter of pea (served as a panna cotta – wow!), mint and crab (£9.50).

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On to the mains, braised beef with garden peas, broad beans, pine nuts and stringed potato (£15.50) wowed my palate like few dishes have this year. Across the table, Kemey was equalling nomming it up with her choice of sea bream with ginger and passion fruit sauce, smoked cucumber, pearl barley, shrimp and langoustine foam (£17).

INK’s short wine list proved big enough. I very much liked my sips of Picpoul de Pinet, Villemarin (£6 for a glass, £22 for a bottle) and Fernlands Sauvignon Blanc (£7 for a glass, £28 for a bottle). A glass of Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel (£6 for a glass, £16 for a bottle). Aside from the glass of sticky, dessert failed to please or even measure up to the sumptuous savouries which preceded it. Service was warm and intuitiv.

INK may see a bit tricky to get to, but it really isn’t. Just head to the end of Palmers Road and look for the restaurant situated over the water at the base of the apartment complex. Besides, the fantastic food and canal side seating make it well worth the minimal effort. Given the quality of the food, I reckon the prices were rather generous and that to find this sort of cuisine elsewhere in London, you’d probably need to head to considerably more upscale parts of town (essentially Mayfair) where you’d certainly pay loads more.

INK is located at 44 Palmers Road, Suttons Wharf South, E2 0TA. Find out more at facebook.com/inkrestaurant.


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Region of Valencia: We are Holidays

With more than 450k of coastline featuring 38 marinas, 20 golf courses, and seven coastal parks, the Region of Valencia offers an amazing range of possibilities for your next holiday. From wild nature to world famous resorts, centuries old attractions and modern theme parks – there’s something for all tastes … as long as you love the beach!

A new We Are Holidays campaign aims to share the incredible beauty of Valencia and this Spanish region’s diversity of Mediterranean holiday options.

Here folks can enjoy historic and quaint inland towns and villages; discover charming coves and broad beaches of the Costa Blanca; party down in Benidorm; experience the rich cultural heritage of the city of Valencia; or dive into the best kept secrets of Castellón. Or maybe come up with you own special mix of it all? Flights from London airports to Alicante or Valencia are just over a couple of hours and once you’re off the plane and through customs you’re just minutes from cliffs, lagoons, nightlife, swimming pools … whatever’s your pleasure. And however you spend your time and whenever you decide to go there’s always the promise of the crystal clear Med and the area’s mild climate.

Me? I love Spain. I’ve never been to Valencia though. I’d be keen to check it out just for the cuisine (paella!) but certainly wouldn’t mind some sand (as long as it’s not in my food) and sea as well. The practically guaranteed sunshine would be a winner too.

The Region of Valencia’s video says, “We are Holidays”. I’d love to put that to them. Wouldn’t you?

Sponsored post

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London Daily Photo: What a Difference a Year Makes

LDP 2014.07.15 - What a Difference a Year Makes

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dorothea Tanning: Web of Dreams, Alison Jacques Gallery

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American artist Dorothea Tanning, who died in 2012 at the age of 101, was a prodigious master of figurative art. Web of Dreams on show at Alison Jacques Gallery on Berners Street in Fitzrovia shares her raw talent and often playful approach in a delightful exhibition presented in close collaboration with The Dorothea Tanning Foundation.

I don’t see why one shouldn’t be absolutely fascinated with the human form, there are so many reasons to be. Besides, we are living in human bodies, we go through life in this world envelope. Why not acknowledge that and try to say something about it? So what I try to say about it is transformation.
- Dorothea Tanning

Web of Dreams is Alison Jacques Gallery’s second solo exhibition of works by Dorothea Tanning and brings together a selection of paintings and works on paper. The pieces on view span fifty years – from Tanning’s 1939 work on paper Tango to a work with the same title made in 1989 – with many having never been exhibited before and all demonstrating the artist’s lifelong study of the passionate interplay of figures.

The show is well worth stopping by the gallery to see.

Dorothea Tanning: Web of Dreams runs until 9 August at Alison Jacques Gallery, 16-18 Berners Street, W1T 3LN. Find out more at alisonjacquesgallery.com.


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London Daily Photo: Facing the Future

LDP 2014.07.14 - Facing the Future

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kopparberg Urban Forest by @cathiasays

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Stepping up for me yet again while I’m off doing something else, the intrepid Cathia Randrianarivo kindly filled in to cover the Kopparberg Urban Forest pop-up festival in Dalston. Cheers Cathia for the ace account of the event and for all the fun photos you took. It looks like you had a blast … once you actually found the right queue to be in ;-P

A few weeks ago, I found myself trekking across London to explore a pop-up festival in East London. Yep, I just wrote that sentence and it still sounds a bit unreal. Behind Dalston Junction station there is a break in the concrete and brick, where a three pronged tent has been set up surrounded by greenery and beautiful woodwork. Not what you’d expected in the middle of a busy city really but that’s the beauty of London town.

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Welcome to the Urban Forest. A month long, free (yes, FREE) festival sponsored by the good people of Kopparberg. First off, don’t do what Ashleigh and I did and queue for the Dalston Roof Gardens; it’s definitely not there. Go around the building and you will notice the familiar festival warning signs: big groups of people in comfy colourful clothes, porter loos and the yellow vests managing the entrance. In a big city, festivals are usually held in big parks or just outside of London or not in London at all, so this is a little different.

treetops || the VIP mezzanine

On arrival, we got our wristbands and were pointed in the direction of the VIP bar [so fancy]. We were a bit late, the VIP bar was at capacity and it was a one-in-one-out policy. Ashleigh and I decided to wait patiently [helped by the fresh Elderflower & Lime cocktails we had just been handed] until it was our turn. Now, I am quite an impatient person – I can’t help it, I’m fidgety – particularly when it comes to queuing. Luckily, as the Urban Forest is quite an intimate festival everyone is nearby so people watching and style spotting became a fun game. Then suddenly, Ashleigh spotted Sophie Ellis Bextor and hubby coming down from the VIP area. Wait a minute, am I the one-in for SEB the one-out? Get out of here! Celebrity goggles off, we calmed down and headed up into the treehouse mezzanine.

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The VIP area itself was packed, and quite warm – we were hanging in the top of a tent after all [school doesn't lie kids, heat definitely rises]. It was a relaxed sitting area with good views of the stage if you were able to get a good spot. I really like the general forest wood feel with the added touch of quirky lighting [one of which was a line of Kopparberg used bottles turned into a string of lights]. SEB managed to get a good place when she came back up, we didn’t though so I decided to take some super subtle pictures of Ashleigh and her cocktail [enjoy]. Whilst trying to get snaps, we were offered a traditional Swedish nibble from Fika: elk meatballs. Neither of us were a big fan but it’s always good to try something new!

berries || the food

I suddenly got the hunger and was lured out of our tent mezzanine by the smell of jerk chicken. Although I knew what I wanted, we decided to browse the food stalls to give them all a fair chance at winning our attention: there were more Swedish elk balls, chicken wings, pulled pork gaps, [didn't notice veggie options] and then we were back at the jerk sausage and chicken at Mama’s Jerk Station. Done. Although the Urban Forest does have a Scandinavian edge with the deliberate food and artist choices [understandable with Kopparberg being Swedish born and bred], the Jamaican jerk chicken stall was very popular! I ended up going for a delicious box of jerk chicken, salad and plantain. NOM.

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Ashleigh and I felt more comfortable in the public main area of the Urban Forest, I enjoyed eating my food in amongst everyone, chatting, and the atmosphere was buzzy. I kept noticing everyone’s style and felt a little out of my depth. We also later found that the vibe inside the tent was very different to outside. Inside, it was was more chilled with everyone having a little dance and drink. Outside, it was the buzz of friends chatting away, eating and drinking. Some of the ladies were dressed on point so I had to take some snaps.

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birdsong || the music

Ashleigh jumps up again: It’s Kelis! I don’t know how she does it but I am clearly oblivious and rubbish at spotting celebs. The buzz suddenly got more excitable. Kelis was here! Now – to put this into context, I think Kelis is the bees-knees. When I first discovered her in my teens, from the video of Caught Out There on MTV Base [yep, that was my go-to channel], I knew I would follow her music for a long time. Sure enough, however many years later, I still think Kelis makes and has made some of my favourites. The lyrics, the beats, the stage presence – she is great to watch and listen to. So much so, I interrupted her after the show while she was eating her jerk chicken [I apologised before anything else] to tell her and became one of those crazy fan girls. [Thank you Kelis for letting me interrupt you while you were eating your chicken.]

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Kelis was the surprise headliner for the first day of Urban Forest. Though her set was short [about 30 minutes], she was worth it. She covered all of the classics as well as some of her new releases: Caught Out There, Trick Me, Milkshake, 4th July & Jerk Ribs. My favourite being the Madonna Holiday and Kelis Milkshake mash up – so fun. Now she’s even bigger on her cooking, with her own food truck in the US and naming her newest album FOOD makes me feel like I’m not going to stop admiring her anytime soon. What a way to say “I’m just going to do what I love”.

Aside from Kelis, I think the Urban Forest line up gives you the opportunity to hear a variety of upcoming artists. I hadn’t heard of a lot of the bands but supporting Kelis we caught the end of Danish singer-songwriter Nabiha who fitted right into the festival’s chilled atmosphere. Check her music out here.

thanks

As a concept, the Urban Forest is a fun one. I didn’t really have any expectations of what it would be like beforehand but can now say it is definitely worth a drop in. Particularly if you live in and around Dalston [no excuses really]. For such a small space in London, it offers a good variety of food, Kopparberg-styled cocktails and music, and best of all completely for free. Ashleigh and I ended up dancing away to the resident DJ for the rest of our evening and thought it was a good evening out.

Massive thanks to the Kopparberg team for showing us what a Scandinavian-London good time can look like. For more photos and info, visit kopparbergurbanforest.com.

Cathia Randrianarivo is a London based marketer-by-day and blogger-by-night, always on the lookout for the next adventure. Check out her own blog at jingle-jungle.blogspot.co.uk.

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Good Stuff and a New Place to Puff

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Good Stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Sautter Cigar

After more than 50 years of trading from one location, Mayfair cigar shop Sautter of Mount Street has opened a second shop. The new outlet is at 8 Raphael Street in Knightsbridge, a very convenient stroll from the Tube, the Bulgari, and a couple of department stores you might have heard of. Despite the newness the Knightsbridge outlet, there’s much the same charm as at the original Sautter. I thoroughly enjoyed a recent visit to the weeks old shop. I’m happy to confirm the humidor has an excellent range of cigars and that the front room is a relaxing and comfortable spot for “sampling” a fine stogie.

Kiosk King’s Cross St Pancras

I had to take an early train up to Cambridge earlier this week and was pleased with the grab-and-go brekkie I got at Kiosk. Built into the ground floor of the Great Northern Hotel at the Western Concourse at King’s Cross Station and just a hop across the street from St Pancras, the concession serves “hugely generous hot roast meat sandwiches” along with Monmouth Coffee. I loved my black pudding sandwich (around £3.50) and cup o’ joe. I reckon the other morning items and other non-breakfast sarnies are just as tasty. I’ll certainly keep ‘em in mind next time I’m catching a train.

The Decadent Decaf Coffee Company

With a background in coffee sourcing, importing and roasting through sister company Sea Island Coffee (Europe’s “leading purveyor of rare and exotic coffees”), the folks behind Decadent Decaf offer a range of “gourmet” single origin coffees that have been “ gently decaffeinated using the premium Swiss Water Process (leaving the coffee flavours in the bean before being slowly flame roasted in small batches).” I tried a sample of their Indonesia Sumatra Mandheling. Full of cocoa-y flavour with strong aroma, it’s a good one for when you want that coffee fix but can’t do the caffeine.

Ghost Bus Tours

I took a Friday night ride through town with Ghost Bus Tours and had a pretty good time. I learned a bit of macabre history about London, laughed a lot and even experienced a few poignant moments. Not sure it’s something to recommend to long time Londoners already hip to the more gruesome aspects of this city’s often wicked story. However, if you’re visiting from out of town, it’s a fun way to get an overview of the city. All the other riders during my tour seemed to be having the times of their lives – especially the kids.

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Posted in coffee, Drink, Food, Good Stuff, London, Luxury, restaurants, Shopping, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Daily Photo: Big Smiles

LDP 2014.07.13 - Big Smiles

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flat Sharing Tips + a £100 Discount from Myrooms

Young friends eating pizza at home

The average price of private rental in London is more than double what you’d pay anywhere else in the UK. London house prices are more than 60% higher than the national average and twice the average price compared to houses in the North East. According to Myrooms – one of the fastest growing accommodation providers in London with properties in Zones 1 and 2 – if you want to live in London and enjoy all it has to offer, flat sharing is one of your best options when it comes to achieving your dreams.

Some 670,000 households in London live in the private rented sector, a higher proportion than the national average of 14.2% (source). So as someone seeking shared residence in the capital, you’re hardly alone! Still finding the perfect flat share situation for you can seem a daunting task. Here are some tips from Myrooms to get you moving in the right direction along with a voucher code worth £100 off your first month’s rent.

Work Hard/Play Hard

When looking for your ideal room share in London, there are two main factors that every young professional will want to take into consideration; the journey to work and the local entertainment scene.  Good transport links are essential to ensure your career runs smoothly and access to a vibrant mix of local nightspots, restaurants and shops will help you make the most of your leisure time.  Commuting around London is not going to be cheap and often paying a higher rent to live in Zones 1 and 2 can work out more cost-effective than living in Zones 5 and 6. Plus, you will never be more than 5 minutes away from a tube so the whole of London’s nightlife, sights and attractions will be on your doorstep. And, because you’ll spend less time commuting you’ll conserve more of those precious hours, to maximise your London experience.

Finding Flatmates You Can Really Click With

It’s worth giving this one some thought, because life is not just about bricks and mortar and the perfect postcode.  So what’s important to you in a flatmate?  If you’ve shared before you might have an inkling, but if not make yourself a wish list. Do they smoke, what’s their attitude to the cleaning roster, do they know the price of a loaf of bread; what time do they get up and go to bed; what are their hobbies, loves, hates and viewing habits; what music do they like, full-blast or nice and quiet?  You get the picture.

Living with a stranger, can be a really exciting and beneficial bonanza, it can help you …

·        Broaden your horizons;
·        Learn new interests;
·        Network;
·        Expand your musical repertoire;
·        Experience different cultures; and
·        Learn to negotiate, compromise, persuade and influence.

Show Me The Way …

Moving to a new location can be both exciting and daunting in equal measure; that’s where Myrooms comes in.  It’s the fastest growing room-sharing service in London – for corporate and private individuals, young professionals and students. Myrooms consultants are highly trained and knowledgeable on all aspects of living in London. Driven by passion and enthusiasm, their mission is to find the right room for you and your lifestyle.  If you need a helping hand to negotiate these uncharted waters, Myrooms hands-on service will help with practical matters and provide you with objective advice.

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge Myrooms is offering £100 off your first month’s rent!  Just quote (TIKICH01) when you contact Myrooms.

Discount code must be redeemed by 31 July 2015.

Sponsored post

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London Daily Photo: Building Lasting Relationships

LDP 2014.07.12 - Building Lasting Relationships

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Win Dinner for Two and an Overnight Stay at The Tommyfield London Pub

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COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Located just five minutes from London’s Waterloo and owned by Renaissance Pubs, The Tommyfield now fully embraces its coaching inn roots by becoming a luxurious city crash pad as well as a cracking London local. Tempted? Keep reading to find out how to win a free night’s stay plus dinner for two at this ace Kennington pub!

In addition to its handsome pub and private party room, The Tommyfield has just introduced six beautiful bedrooms. Each with their own unique character and charm, the rooms feature either a super king or king-size bed, Egyptian cotton linen, an HD Freeview television, free wireless internet, Nespresso machine, blackout curtains or blinds, mini-fridge and safe as standard. All rooms cost £119 per night which includes breakfast.

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To celebrate the launch of the rooms, Renaissance Pubs has teamed up with me to offer one reader a chance to win a free stay at The Tommyfield along with a proper gastropub dinner for two.

To be in with a chance win dinner for two and night’s stay at The Tommyfield simply tweet the following:

RT to win dinner for 2 + an overnight stay at The Tommyfield, compliments of @RenaissancePubs & @tikchris http://bit.ly/1lZOZGD #stayatours

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday 17 July 2014 at 17.30 BST. The winner will receive dinner for two and one night accommodation at The Tommyfield pub, subject to availability.

The Tommyfield is located at 185 Kennington Lane, SE11 4EZ. Find out more at thetommyfield.com/hotelrooms.


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COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME! 

Check out more tikichris competitions.

 

Posted in Competition, Drink, Food, Freebies, Hotels, London, pubs, restaurants, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Daily Photo: A Mentee Listens

LDP 2014.07.11 - A Mentee Listens

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Exceptional Museums in Basel (OneTravel)

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For a city of only about 200,000 people, Basel boasts more museums than cities with more than ten times its population. From the Anatomical Museum of the University of Basel (which was founded by Professor Carl Jung – yes, the Carl Jung) to the Vitra Design Museum (which is actually just outside the city and across the border in Weil am Rhein, Germany), there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re keen to wow the little ones (or reconnect with your own inner child) at the charming Spielzeug Welten toy museum; be amused by the quirky collection of silly things at the Hoosesaggmuseum (Basel’s smallest and perhaps strangest museum); or be inspired by works by artists such as Picasso and Monet – this welcoming Swiss city’s cultural offerings aren’t merely a matter of quantity. Among Basel’s many museums, galleries and other cultural hotspots are some of the world’s most prized collections of art and some of the most compelling and celebrated exhibitions.

Here’s a quick look at six museums I came upon – and loved – during my recent visit. I’d love to go back for a visit to each of these again – and to see how many more of Basel’s 40 museums I could check out …

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

Posted in Art, Design, Museums, OneTravel, Switzerland, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Daily Photo: A Mentor Recounts Her Experiences

LDP 2014.07.10 - A Mentor Recounts Her Experiences

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Stan Smith. Still Looking Good!

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White on white with a touch of navy – I’m almost afraid to wear my new Adidas Originals Stan Smith trainers out on the streets as they look so nice and clean right out of the box. But that fear will subside soon, and I’m sure I’ll make good use of this new pair of trainers.

Endorsed by Stan Smith, the 1972 winner of Wimbledon, this Adidas classic has been an icon since it was first released decades ago and today is considered more for the street than the court. I actually owned a pair of Stan Smiths when I was a teenager. I still remember how comfy they were and how long they lasted. I can’t really say that about most of the trainers I’ve worn since! Comfy with good arch support, built to last with a design that never seems to go out of style, plus they get a nod of approval from my girlfriend?. I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long to return to such an awesome shoe!

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Cheers to JD Sports for passing such fantastic footwear my way!

Posted in Design, Fashion, Shopping, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Granger & Co Clerkenwell

Granger&Co Clerkenwell at night landscape interior© Mikkel Vang

I had a lot of fun during my recent visit to Granger & Co Clerkenwell. Aussie restauranteur Bill Granger’s latest restaurant in a selective global portfolio – which includes a well established eatery in Notting Hill along with outlets in Sydney, Tokyo, and Hawaii – features a playfully palate pleasing menu served in a comfortable and lavishly spacious dining room. Here are a few highlights from my dinner.

Granger & Co is an ideal venue for special occasions that you still want to retain something of a casual air. The space itself impressed me upon my entrance and throughout my meal with its clean line deisign, shear size and zero clutter. Service was efficient and helpful without being too cordial. And the menu was an absolute winner.

Self taught cook Granger’s kitchen yields decidedly comfort food fare skewed toward the Asian side of the Pacific and could possibly come across as overly contrived and a little wacky … until you actually take a bite of what’s offered. A perfect example is the rather-odd-sounding-but-believe-me-it’s-actually-delicious bonito, tofu, potato and parmesan pizza (£12), which I found was an excellent choice for sharing. The multi-napkin-necessary “small plate” of Korean fried chicken with iceberg lettuce, spring onion and chilli sesame (£8.50) was a good one for passing round the table as well.

A little less easy to share but nonetheless a tasty tuck was the shrimp burger with jalapeño mayo, shaved radish salad, and sesame gochujang (£15). A relatively more run-of-the-mill dish of sticky chilli belly pork with spring onion salad (£17.20) was an exceptionally pleasurable mound of deliciousness as well.

I wouldn’t say an accompanying bottle of Momo 2012 Marlborough Pinot Noir wowed, but it certainly more than satisfied and held steady without faltering across a range of menu items.

Prices were pretty expensive but quality was high and the concept was big on fun without being crass or cheesy.

Just round the corner from Clerkenwell Green in a spot that’s a pleasure to settle into as a diner but might prove difficult to draw in enough customers to keep up a sustainable trade, Granger & Co is located at 50 Sekforde Street, EC1R 0HA.

Find out more at grangerandco.com.

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App Helped ‘Make My Switzerland’ Time Super Fun (OneTravel)

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As mentioned [on the OneTravel blog] about a month ago, in anticipation of an upcoming visit to Basel I downloaded for free the Make My Switzerland app. Having never been to Switzerland before, I was keen to access the local advice that the app promised. I was also curious to see how it compared with other resources that I might normally turn to when trying to find out about a destination, such as guidebooks, blogs, tips from friends, etc

Now back home from a truly great weekend in Basel, I can say having Make My Switzerland just a tap away on my phone was an asset to the visit. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it replaced any of the other ways of making the most of a visit somewhere, but I am pleased to report that the app proved to be an excellent source of inspiration.

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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London Daily Photo: A Mentor and Mentee Share a Laugh

LDP 2014.07.09 - A Mentor and Mentee Share a Laugh

The Promise Foundation is inspired by Promise Campbell, who at the age of twelve benefited greatly through a relationship with a mentor leading her to achieve things far beyond her own expectations.

The foundation is based at Queens Park Community School in North London where Promise attended school when she was a student.Much of the initial funding to start the foundation was sourced via Yimby, an online crowdfunding tool for social good.

If you have a project you’d like to start which may require some funds to make it happen, Yimby could be the perfect option. So what will you change?

Posted in Good Cause, London, London Daily Photo, Photography, Yimby | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment