Theatre, BBQ and sport

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I must admit I feel slightly stressed that it’s already the middle of July. In less than two weeks I go home to Sweden for two weeks and I have quite a lot to do before then, but the main reason I’m stressed is that I don’t want this lovely summer to end! It’s been so lovely and I want it to continue forever.

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I’m really looking forward to my weeks in Sweden but London is lovely too at the moment. Last week was busy but fun and one of the highlight was definitely the RAF fly-over on Tuesday to mark their hundred year anniversary. Wow!

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In the evening I met up with the girls at Chick ‘n’ Sours for nachos (probably the best ever), fried chicken, cocktails and of course a proper catch-up. It was much needed and so lovely!

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On Thursday I was invited to Shakespeare’s The Tempest at an outdoor theatre in Covent Garden. Always nice with some culture!

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And before the theatre we had a quick meal at cosy Polpo nearby. Love those meatballs!

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Friday I had a (much needed) night in, with face masks, scented candles and a not great but fine rom-com.

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The weekend was all about sport, apart from the Saturday evening which was all about Tim (the birthday boy) and the barbecue him and Laura had arranged. We had Pimm’s and snacks in the garden, followed by a barbecue complete with burgers and two types of sausages and finished off with proper American s’mores. Yum! When it got dark we ventured inside for board games and champagne.

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Sunday started with a lie-in (yes!) followed by a whole afternoon in a lovely beer garden watching both the Wimbledon final and the World Cup final.

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It was nice and relaxing with a glass of rosé in hand. Afterwards we went for a little walk, then headed back for homemade club sandwiches and the last episode of Billions. Can’t wait for the next season to start!

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London: Champagne + Fromage, Covent Garden

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Having lived in London for 10 years now (eek!) I have accepted the fact that I will never ever feel up to date on restaurants regardless of how hard I try. There are simply too many restaurants opening and changing for me to keep up. Especially since I want to go back to my favourites from time to time too.

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So I love when my friends suggest a new place to try. I had completely missed the arrival of these cute French Champagne + Fromage spots all over town, but luckily my friend Mary-Lou had spotted one so that’s where we went one evening.

We arrived without a reservation (big mistake) but although the place was packed the staff eventually managed to find us a table. That’s great service!

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Other than that the concept is pretty clear; this is where you drink champagne (we tried a lovely Blancs de Blanc that was the wine of the month) and eat cheese. We had a cheese and charcuterie board with lots of bread which was lovely, but there are also some lovely cooked food on offer. The table next to us sampled about half the menu and it all looked amazing!

Champagne + Fromage, 22 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DD

 

London: fabulous Frenchie

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It was a rainy evening the other side of summer when I met up with my old friend Mattias for dinner. He wanted to go somewhere new and fun and  I’m so glad I managed to grab the last two seats at Frenchie in Covent Garden that evening, because we had such a wonderful meal.

To avoid food envy we decided to share the snacks and starters (it was encouraged by the staff), choose the same main course and then share the puddings as well. I highly recommend this strategy as it’s easier to focus on the food when you get to try everything. And trust me, you want to try everything at Frenchie.

First up was the delicious egg Mimosa. Don’t they look stunning?!

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Then we moved on to maple syrup and bacon scones which were a-ma-zing!

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Then the first proper starter; green asparagus with parmesan crème, smoked egg yolk and puffed barley. A modern take on the classic asparagus with hollandaise and it was just heavenly.

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We then had the most tender squid, served with petit poi, white asparagus and raspberries. A rather unusual combination but it worked; spring freshness on a plate.

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When it was time for the main course we were simply stunned; the hanger steak was truly amazing, full of flavour and cooked to perfection. The artichoke purée and goat’s curd further elevated this star of a dish. I really struggle to describe it but it was one of the best dishes I’d had in a long time.

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The puddings were just as nice; and this dark chocolate crème with crumble and bacon ice cream is a must-order dish. Divine!

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The Brillat Savarin cheesecake with raspberries, pistachio and elderflower was also delicious and provided a nice contrast to the dark chocolate.

I simply adore this place and can’t wait to go back. Frenchie has everything I want when I go out for a meal; food that’s utterly delicious and chef-y enough that I can’t replicate it at home, as well as a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. Top marks!

Frenchie Covent Garden, 16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH

Private dinner at The 10 Cases in Covent Garden

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The month of March was all about this lady (the one in the tiara), and after a lovely spa day we had the dinner for her hen do at The 10 Cases in Covent Garden. We had a room in the basement all to ourselves, where we could play silly games, unwrap lots of underwear and listen to our own music.

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The menu was cleverly displayed on three blackboards on the wall so it was just for us to choose what we wanted to eat on the day.

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My choice of starter was the scallop with coral croquette and samphire, very nice!

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For my main course I had the lemon sole with mushroom fregola (pearl pasta) and it was lovely too! For pudding I had the classic creme brulée, but we must have been playing a game at that time as I forgot to take a photo of it.

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We also had some wonderful wines as this is a wine bar first and restaurant second.

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This was just the sort of place we were after for Laura’s hen and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as the bride and I did. Afterwards we headed to Marylebone for cocktails to toast the bride to be.

The 10 Cases, 16 Endell St, London WC2H 9BD

Dinner at The Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden

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I have previously written about the brunch I had at The Ivy Market Grill, one of the sister restaurants to the famous The Ivy, and now it’s time for a dinner review.

I came here one evening after work with my friends Jess and Laura. We were all starving (!) and went straight for the nibbles; the still warm sourdough and the zucchini frites (above) that came with a nice dip.

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For my main course I had the sirloin steak, which was perfectly cooked and really nice, with crispy fries and a well-flavoured bearnaise sauce.

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Both Jess and Laura had the more tropically flavoured tuna with mango salsa and fennel and really enjoyed it.

The brasserie menu here is nice and has a few vegetarian and lighter options which is nice to see, and although the main focus is on the grill section, the other dishes still appeal.

But as a whole, this is not a restaurant that excited me. The menu, and the dark wood interior, feels very safe and almost boring. But I still like it,  mainly because it feels quite relaxed for this type of restaurant, and because you know what you’re going to get. I will definitely come here again. Maybe not for dinner but for a pre-dinner drink, lunch or for brunch when I have friends visiting.

 

The Ivy Market Grill, 1 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PS

Onthebab, Covent Garden

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My friend Gaby introduced me to Onthebab one evening when we wanted to catch over a cheap and cheerful meal one evening. I’ve been there once more since, for lunch, and more or less ordered the same food as I really enjoyed what I had the first time.

Onthebab is not a fancy place, but it’s great if you want a quick bite. The prices are friendly too, which helps. The food is of Korean street food type and they’ve made it very accessible here (gyozas, bibimbab, filled buns) and really nice.

I had the gyozas (chicken and prawn respectively) which were really nice (much nicer than say Wagamama’s and other chains), and the buns with spicy pork which were delicious too. They were also very helpful, serving mine without cabbage, and the table’s are stocked with several dipping sauces, including gochujang.

Onthebab, 36 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BD

Lunch at Mishkin’s, Covent Garden

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One of my trusted London restaurants is Opera Tavern on Catherine Street. I’ve been there lots of times and every time I have thought to myself that I need to visit the place next door soon, because it just looks so nice.

Soon seems to be a relative term for me; it took me a few years to actually go but a while back I finally went to Mishkin’s! I had lunch here with my friend Marie-Louise who also works in the area and it was just as nice as I had hoped it would be (company included).

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Although part of the Italian restaurant empire Polpo, this is a kind of Jewish deli (at least that’s what it says on their website), so expect things like Reuben sandwiches and salt beef. The whole menu looked great but most irresistible was the mac ‘n cheese with salt beef and mustard, so we ordered one small each and some other nibbles to share. The mac ‘n cheese was really nice with a cheesy layer on top and soft macaroni underneath.

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The sliders with lamb, white bean hummus and feta were also great, and perfect in size.

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We also shared the cod cheek popcorn which were nice, although a little bland without the tartar sauce.

Now that I’ve finally been here, I will definitely take turns between Mishkin’s and Opera Tavern. Might see you around!

Mishkin’s, 25 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JS