London: Burgers at the Theatre

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Before I met my boyfriend I didn’t go to the theatre a lot. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought it a bit weird to go by myself and none of my friends seemed that keen to go. I had no problem going to the cinema alone, dining solo, or even travelling and I went to lots of exhibitions on my own. But the theatre, for some reason it was harder to face this alone.

So I’m so grateful I now have somebody to go with. Someone who likes the theatre even more than I do myself. But because we go quite often, it’s become less of an event and often we meet up straight from work without much time to eat before the play starts. So quite often we tend to skip the pre-theatre set meal (because we simply cannot fit it in; dining at 5pm for a play that starts at 7pm) in favour of some good old fashioned fast food.

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And that’s why we were so happy to discover that they now have a burger restaurant actually IN the National Theatre. Amazing!

We had our first burgers there with a mere 20 minutes to spare before the play was about to start but it was no problem getting served and eat in that time; they were so speedy! But of course it would have been lovely with a bit more time to spare next time.

The pop-up burger restaurant is called Burgerworks and can be found on the ground floor in the café area (walk through the main entrance, head straight in and then left). It’s set up like most burger places: you order by the till and wait for your food until it’s ready.

They have a variety of burgers (beef, chicken, vegan…) to choose from but also salads and a halloumi sandwich,  but we settled on a classic beef burger. A the beef one for him and a little beef one for me. And of course fries and cokes too. The holy trinity.

The burgers were really nice, and felt more pub-y or restaurant-y than fast food chain-y, which was nice. The patty was juicy, the bun nice and chewy (in a good way) and the fries nice and crispy!

I really hope this pop-up becomes a permanent fixture so that we can now grab a burger and a play all in the same place!

Burgerworks at National Theatre, Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PX

London: wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern!

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When my friend Therése came to visit in April we had a really lovely weekend with shopping, dinner in and amazing sushi out. And the last day we went all out with a trip to the V&A and the dreamy Dior exhibition followed by a wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern, that I will tell you all about now, and some beauty shopping in Liberty’s. Such a perfect girlie day!

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As we walked into Berners Tavern we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the dining room with its pretty chandeliers and amazing ceilings and picture covered walls, which felt both grand and relaxed at the same time.

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We sat down at our table and immediately admired the china (you may know I have a thing for blue and white china!) and were greeted by our lovely waiter explaining the menu in details with us.

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What I really like about an afternoon tea, is of course all the goodies, but also the ceremony around it; the nice china, the silverware, the pouring of the tea and just letting everything take its time.

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With the napkin in my lap I once again admired the china pattern when our kind waiter told me it was especially made for the restaurant, and the pattern is made up of the chandeliers in the ceiling that are originals from when the building was first built. Isn’t that amazing?! I love the attention to detail.

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Just as much attention to detail had been put into the sandwiches, scones and sweet treats for the afternoon tea. Such a stunning spread!

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The savoury spread from left to right; chicken and mushroom mini baguette; smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill sandwich and savoury scone with mild goat’s cheese and herbs. All delicious!!

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The scones were also perfect and came with and without raisins and we got individual silver pots of clotted cream and jam!

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The sweets were gorgeous too! From left to right; strawberry macaron with creamy ginger filling (my favourite!); chocolate and yuzu tart and a creamy raspberry and meringue cake.

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Just look how beautiful the sandwiches are close up! Love that the chefs take such care in the presentation.

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The same goes for the sweets; they were like little works of art! Our whole afternoon here was puree perfection from the service to the tea refills to the food and ambiance. Berners Tavern definitely have that little extra that makes it feel like a special place without being stuffy at all. We could just relax and chat away – which we do so well!

Berners Tavern, 10 Berners St, London W1T 3NP

London: meat and bone marrow at Pitt Cue

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London restaurants. There are seriously too many to visit, unless you’re a food critic, which sadly I’m not.

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I have so many restaurants on my list to try and it pains me when they close before I got to them. This happened with the very talked about Pitt Cue Co who brought BBQ to Soho back in the day.

But luckily they didn’t close for good, they opened a restaurant further east instead. One where you can book a table – which made it so much easier to go!

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The Soho restaurant was tiny and always had a long queue, which was the main reason I never went. I tried so many times but the waiting time was always around 2 hrs and that’s just too long when you’re hungry.

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The menu here looked great so it was rather tricky to decide on what to order, but I think we did a good job of it! Laura had the grilled aubergine with wild rice and almonds.

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And as you can see, she was very happy with it! Lovely dish!

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For me, the words ‘bone marrow’ jumped out at me and I just had to order the grilled sourdough and bone marrow.

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Look at that beauty! It was just gorgeous; pillowy, salty and full of flavour. Yum!

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For the main course Laura had the Aylesbury duck breast (cooked to perfection) with pickled endive and jus.

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I had the onglet with marinated tomato and it was just perfect! Love this cut of meat! It has so much flavour but is really tender at the same time.

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We also had some sweet potato to share, but half way through my steak I so regretted not ordering the bone marrow mash. (Mainly because I had already had the sourdough with bone marrow, but honestly that’s a silly reason when the food is this good. As somebody once said; you only regret the food you didn’t eat. So true!) So I gave in and ordered it and it was probably my best decision, like, ever. This mash (actually it’s more like a silky cloud of potato purée) is just heaven. The bone marrow on top is to-die-for delicious and I would have been so happy with just this for dinner (although the rest was delicious too!).

Moral of the story; do not not order a dish because you’re trying to be good or think there is such a thing as too much bone marrow. Order, eat and enjoy it and have salad the next day to balance it out.

Oh, and GO to Pitt Cue and eat all the deliciousness without queueing for a table!

Pitt Cue, The Avenue, 1 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YP

 

London: The perfect neighbourhood restaurant; Home SW15

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I find myself in Putney more and more lately, and Home SW15 has after only a few visits become a firm favourite of mine in that area.

We had brunch here one Sunday morning and although I was beyond hangry when I arrived I immediately like the space. It’s airy, nicely decorated and felt very welcoming. I also really liked the brunch menu.

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I was tempted by every single item but considering my hangry status I went for something I know I always like; Eggs Benedict. Here there was a slight twist with ham hock instead of ham, which I liked as it made the dish more substantial and it really worked well with the hollandaise and poached eggs. My brunch companion had the blueberry pancake with Greek yoghurt and honey and it was really lovely as well!

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Another time we came for dinner and I had the most delicious shrimp burger (giving Bill Granger a run for his money) with a spicy mayo while my dinner companion had a really delicious pie.

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We’ve been here a few more times and I really like this place. So much so that I wish it was near my flat and not my second London home. But maybe they could open another branch?!

Home SW15, 146 Upper Richmond Rd, London SW15 2SW

London: burgers at The Fire Station, Waterloo

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I admit, I am sometimes a food snob. Not all the time, but when I go out to a restaurant, cheap or not, I want nice food.

So I am really against bad tourist trap style restaurants which London is littered with in the central areas. To be honest I thought that The Fire Station, a popular watering hole near Waterloo, was a bit like that. A central spot near one of the busiest stations in the country will be busy so long as the drinks are fine, so why would they bother about the food?!

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But, I may have to eat my hat, as I recently visited this restaurant and bar and found their burgers really good. I mean REALLY good.

The patty was nice and juicy, the bun soft but sturdy, the sauce nice and the fries too. Plus they have a great menu for children (even a three course meal including dough balls, a small burger and ice cream – I’d happily order that for myself!) and decent service even though they were rammed with customers. Thanks for proving me wrong! And thanks to my colleague for convincing me to go there with my friends.

The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8SB

 

London: dinner at my new favourite pub!

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I’ve already told you about the lovely Sand’s End pub that I lived near for several years. They have a sister pub (and restaurant) in Chelsea, and as I suspected it to be just as good, I took my friends Maria and Daniel and their children there for dinner when they were visiting.

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And I couldn’t have found a better day to show off this cosy gem of a pub! It was absolutely freezing this Saturday and as we walked into the warmth of the pub and the saw the roaring fire and the water bowls for the dogs we felt right at home.
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All of us (apart from maybe the toddler) were cold and hungry so we quickly ordered drinks and some deliciously lemony hummus and toasted foccacia.

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Then we had a hard time choosing from the menu, and in the end decided on the burger for all of us – to avoid food envy! But the rest of the menu looked great too.

It came with lovely triple-cooked chips and had a celeriac remoulade in the burger, which was lovely, but I would have liked a little bit more sauce. Otherwise it was great; nice patty and a good brioche bun.

The Cross Keys, 1 Lawrence Street, Chelsea, London SW3 5NB

Gotland: Sylvis döttrar café on Fårö

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A real ‘must’ when visiting Fårö, the little island just north of Gotland, is a fika (coffee and cake) at Sylvis döttrar, a bakery and café on the island. My friends mentioned it like an institution; it must have been around for years, so we made sure to visit in the afternoon.

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The place was very popular with a long queue of tourists waiting to buy their baked goods, but we were not all that impressed.

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Both mother and I are keen bakers and we all found the cakes a little basic. And some slightly dry. I got a sense that the café was past its prime, living on its reputation from years ago.

A real shame, when so many people come here for fika all summer long.

Sylvis döttrar, Fårö Bukleks 1526, 624 67 Fårö, Sweden