The past week was full-on busy but in a good way! I made sure to celebrate pancake day in both a British and Swedish manner.
There were savoury pancakes (with cheddar, pancetta, chives and avocado for example) and sweet ones (with nutella, whipped cream and raspberries) and of course a Swedish cream bun (fastlagsbulle) from Swedish bakery Bageriet.
On Thursday my dear friends Maria and Daniel and their two children arrived in London so I met up with them in the evening for a quick burger at Fire Station and a catch up.
On Friday after work we met up again for a longer dinner at Tredwells, which was as child friendly as I had hoped. In fact all places we ate at were very child friendly.
On Saturday Maria and I left Daniel to look after the kids while we went to the V&A and the fabulous Balenciaga exhibition. I’ve wanted to see it since it came on ages ago, and am so happy I managed to see it just before it ended.
Afterwards we treated ourselves to some cupcakes at Hummingbird bakery, a little tradition of ours.
In the evening it got cold (compared to 10C and sunshine during the day) so it was perfect with dinner in the cosiest of pubs, complete with dogs (and dog treats), a fire place and comfort food.
Yesterday we had a nice relaxed lunch at Whyte & Brown in Kingly Court before we hit the shops on Regent Street and Carnaby Street and even ventured into Hamleys (phew).
It was so lovely to spend so much time with my lovely friends! It’s far more relaxed when my friends come here than when I go home and try to make time for everyone. Such a treat!
Lots of restaurants in Barcelona are closed for Sunday dinner, so we hadn’t made any proper plans. Instead we decided to go for a walk, from our hotel in Barri Gotic to the Born district not far away, that went from scruffy to trendy quite recently.
Now it was filled with restaurant (some closed for the evening, some fully booked) and hipster bars and we really liked the vibe here. I really enjoy walking around different neighbourhoods in a city and get to know the city that way. It paints a picture of what it’s like to live there and that beats queuing for tourist attractions in my book.
After walking around Born for a while we turned on to the main street by the seafront and saw a packed burger place. Yes, we could eat a nice burger and take a break from tapas. And it was completely rammed with people, young and old, which we took as a good sign.
The burger chain (they have a few restaurants in Barcelona and one in Madrid) isn’t your typical fast food joint. You order by the counter but get to choose what type of bread you want and any toppings you like to really make the burger your own.
I chose the best quality beef burger, a brioche bun, cheddar and their recommended trimmings and truffle mayo on the side and it was seriously good. The beef was really tender and full of flavour. The garnish nice and fresh and the bun lovely.
Emma had the chicken burger that had been marinated and was really tender as well, with brioche bun and the recommended toppings. We also shared a side of patatas pravas that were really nice!
Oh, and another good thing. Once you’ve ordered you get an order number, sit down at the wooden tables and then they bring you the food when it’s ready. Much more civilised than McDonald’s. And obviously nicer!
Bacoa, Av. del Marquès de l’Argentera 1, 08003 Barcelona
When I was at home in Sweden for Christmas, everybody was talking about the new Saluhall (food market) that opened in Malmö in November. There used to be a food market in the centre of town when I was younger but it was redeveloped around 10 years ago. I really liked the old one, although it was more like a food court than a food market, but this new one is a good mix of both. It may lack Borough Market’s charm and diversity but I’m still really impressed by it. The space is used really well and although there aren’t that many vendors everything is there; produce, flowers and nice food. And everything is of the best quality.
My friends Malin and Emma and I came here for lunch but next time I really want to buy groceries as well.
The three of us had completely different lunches but ate together at a shared table upstairs. Most food stalls have seating but you can sit anywhere you find an empty table.
I was absolutely starving (verging on hangry) and decided on a burger from Falafel & Burgers as I’d heard they were very good. And it was. it was rather greasy, but in a good way. Will definitely go back.
Emma had a salad from her new favourite place Holy Greens. They have some really interesting flavour combinations, like this one with melon and mint.
Malin was also starving and decided on a pizza.
Hedvigsdal only have two pizzas on there menu (cheeky!) but apparently they’re so good one doesn’t need a bigger menu. Can’t wait to try one when I next visit. And love the fact that the pizza comes in a basket!
The food market is really nice and although not bang in the middle of town it’s a short walk away from the Central Station. It’s really buzzing here at meal times so I would suggest coming early or late to avoid queues.
Malmö Saluhall, Gibraltargatan 6, 211 18 Malmö, Sweden
When a famous New York restaurant opens its London restaurant a mere stone’s throw from the office you certainly want to check it out. In fact, I think everybody at the office have been there at least once.
Smith & Wollensky is a very good steak restaurant, which of course the prices reflect (in fact, I would be scared if the meat here was cheap!). But the lunch menu offers a few smaller steaks, as well as burgers, pork chops and plenty of other nice things, so it’s a good idea to go here for lunch.
I was here with my colleague Max, who likes meat, so we tend to go to steak restaurants of nice burger places for lunch. Max actually chose the burger here too, a huge one ground in house, with cheddar and bacon. Delicious!
I chose the steak on the lunch menu, fillet of beef, cooked to perfection, served with bearnaise sauce (very good), nice crispy fries and creamed spinach, that was also very good.
I really like this place, and I recommend going either for lunch or for a real splurge. And if you have room for pudding, the chocolate cake is pure perfection.
Smith & Wollensky, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam St, London WC2N 6HT
One night after work I met up with my friend Gaby in Soho. We were both in the mood for comfort food and Gaby suggested Dirty Bones, which I hadn’t heard of before. Situated on the top floor in Kingly Court it was really popular, but we got there just in time to get one of the last tables. And the happy hour was still on – amazing!
We started with a cocktail each, called Top Dog, made with vodka, lemon, chambord and prosecco. It was really nice an fresh – not too sweet- and we both really enjoyed it.
Having sorted the drinks out we decided on food; buffalo chicken wings to start and then a burger each. The chicken wings were very good and seriously spicy. I missed the classic blue cheese dip that is usually served alongside the wings, as it would have been nice with a cooling element.
With mouths slightly on fire we moved on to the burgers. Gaby ordered the most insane burger ever created, The Mac Daddy with tender beef short rib and mac ‘n cheese. I tried both toppings and they were delicious, but I’m a bit conservative when it comes to burgers so not sure that one’s for me.
Instead I had the safe option, a burger called The burger. It was what you expect a burger to be, and it was very nicely done! Only strange thing was the piped cheese, but it tasted great!
It’s an understatement to say we were full after those burgers but we still decided to share a pudding. I mean who can resist cookies and cream; milk ice cream in the glass and a lovely chocolate cookie on the side. Nicely done and very yummy!
Dirty Bones, Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London W1B 5PW
There are plenty of burger places (joints sounds so American!) in London, it seems we just can’t get enough of it. And although I have a few favourites I never want to miss out on a good burger.
My friend Ro took me to Patty & Bun by Liverpool Street station one Sunday and although this place is a chain (albeit a small one), the burgers are really good.
The few times I’ve eaten here I’ve always had the same burger, Ari Gold, served with cheese and an amazing chilli mayo. The burgers are seriously messy to eat but very good. The bun is a brioche-style bun, that I prefer, and the fries are skin-on, also a plus in my book!
Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7PD
Almost every time I go to Kopapa I have one of their burgers. Either the regular beef one or the soft shell crab version. They’re both great so choosing between the two is hard enough, so I barely check the rest of the menu as that makes the decision process even more difficult.
But there is a first time for everything so when I had dinner here a few weeks ago I dared to go out of my menu comfort zone.
While my friend had the scallops with homemade sweet chilli sauce and creme fraiche (delicious!) I had the cream of Jerusalem artichoke and potato soup with wild garlic and truffle oil. It was nice but not sadly not amazing.
But luckily the main course made up for that. The Wagyu rump beef with smoked mash, mushrooms, jus and beetroot relish was so so SO yummy!
It did pay off to try more on their menu but I won’t be surprised if it will take me a while to be done with the beef – I definitely want to eat that again. And again.
Kopapa Café and Restaurant, 32-34 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9HA