The Suns Out

I was pretty kicked with my latest buy and was dying to wear them out on a sunny day. Finally I got a chance and guess what, I found matching yellow flowers too.

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How cute are these espadrilles. Similar here

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Look we match! Yellow is my favourite colour for this season.

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Are you leaf-ing at me? What is she doing posing plucking leaves?!

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The sun was giving us a bit of a guest appearance and I clearly wanted to make the most of it.

My sweater is from Zara,  jeans from Hollister and bag from Gucci.

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Along the way we played a bit of transport hunting- I liked the pink bike, it kind of matched my sweater but I wasn’t convinced

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I don’t need to say it, but putting it out there- she stole my heart

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Shiny cars, sunny days and summer shoes definitely makes a girl happy

The Barbary

This weekend was all about new favourites.

The team behind Palomar has opened their second restaurant concept in Covent Garden at Neal’s Yard, one of my favourite little spots in the city. For those of you who have not been, its a perfect spot for a date night.

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I’ve had Barbary on my list for a while and finally A and I landed up there on a Saturday evening. Might not have been the best choice of day considering the fact that they don’t take reservations but the vibe, people and the lovely wine definitely transported us to the Barbary Coast.

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We finally got our two seats at a 24 seater kitchen table and I was possibly behaving like a little kid who had been left free to roam in a candy store all night. I literally wanted to try everything on the menu. But before that, I gave myself a bit of history lesson and quickly read up on the food culture and traditions of the Barbary coast which are made up of some beautiful ingredients and some great traditional cooking techniques. The spices, seeds and seasonal fruit and veg seem to define the menu which changes depending on the season of course.

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We got a couple of dips to begin with along with the Moroccan cigars. They were crispy golden spring rolls filled with a delicious sea food mince.

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The baba ghanoush was creamy and velvety with a perfect smoky aubergine flavour
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I lately have got a thing for pickled beetroot and this was even better as it came on a bed of whippy thick yogurt

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The msacabha chickpeas took me down memory lane as they reminded me of the white peas my granny would make when we visited her after school. This would be my staple Friday lunch. A tiny squeeze of lemon and they taste divine

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The fluffy cauliflower charred on the ends and served with this jeweled tomato and herb dressing is an absolute must

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The black salmon dukkah was possibly the best thing on the menu. I couldn’t get enough of it as my fork kept going back to the plate even when the fish was over. The glossy marinade with honey and all the crunchy seeds was something that I would love to recreate in my kitchen

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The salmon gets to feature twice!

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The chicken was juicy tender and A’s most loved dish of the night

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The monkfish skewers was the special for the evening. I love anything that’s cooked on a charcoal grill and this was no exception. The cooking technique seems to bring out the flavour of the meat for me. The skewers were garnished with this citrussy olive oil reduction which added a bit of zing to the fish

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Last but never the least the knafah was ordered to put the sweet tooth to rest. This dessert is as sweet as it can get. The crispy rice noodle cake dipped in honey with a sprinkle of pistachio and a touch of orange brought a swing to my spoon and a satisfied sparkle to my eye

This has got to be your next culinary destination. You can find them here  https://thebarbary.co.uk/

 

 

 

Guitar Straps and Military Shirts

It’s the 1st of May but still feels like winter! Last week the temperature dropped to a shivering 3 degrees with the occasional ray of sunshine which helped us survive the week.

To cheer myself up I added a dash of colour to the grey surroundings. Took my newest edition for a bit of a stroll and paired it up with my favourite and most comfortable military shirt.

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Don’t be fooled by the hanging overcoat it was actually very windy and cold.

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Doesn’t it give off a happy vibe. The rainbow colours on the strap make me as excited as when I spot a rainbow in the sky. One of my friends calls it the ‘happy bag’

The shoulder bag is the right size, it doesn’t allow me to stuff crap in but perfectly fits all the essentials. I am loving it.

You can also just buy the strap on its own to sprinkle some happiness onto your existing bags and the great news is that the strap on its own is very affordable.
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Obsessing over some others. I am eyeing the Dolce and Gabbana watermelon strap for this summer. The other two are from Fendi and Valentino

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Some more affordable options, the black one is on sale on nordstrom. The tan one is from Rebecca Minkoff and the other two are from accessorize.

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Soaking in some sunshine while it lasts

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Happened to stumble upon this cute little coffee shop during our stroll, its called the attendant. The coffee was fantastic and the smashed avocado on toast and fried egg was even better. I was really hungry and forgot to take pictures of the food but will pay them another visit very soon, there were too many things on the menu we wanted to try!

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Until next time.

Can you spot the pineapple?!

Barrafina

Seem to be getting the Monday blues and Tuesday grey’s at the same time.  Think I know what’s the instant cure. 

Headed to one of our favourite restaurants and its bloody damn good, that’s why we don’t mind the wait. It’s the best for a reason and I am sure you will agree after what you are going to see. Trust me if you haven’t already visited, you are definitely missing out. 

Barrafina on Drury Lane, that’s the one we go to, is a whole load of deliciousness on your plate. 

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 We started off with the specials for the night- miso grilled aubergine. For some reason most people I know (and probably those that I don’t either) aren’t big fans of the vegetable but this one was wiped clean in just under 2 minutes.

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Next up we got our prawns. I know its a sharing concept but with food this good no one was willing to share their piece.

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The courgette flower stuffed with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey is my favorite dish on the menu. Trust me order a couple as you wouldn’t want to share this one.

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The pork belly literally melts in your mouth. Its gooey yet crispy if you know what I mean.

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The harrisa chicken wings perfectly fit the definition of comfort food done well

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We forgot about the calamari but then reminded ourselves about the concept- food comes when its ready with finishing touches from the head chef standing right in front of you.

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The crab bun is another one that features on our order every time we visit. The squishy brioche bun and the beautiful crab will only leave you ordering another one.

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At this point we were soo full and soo aware that a massive leg of lamb was on its way. The chef was specially cooking the lamb for us as it wasn’t a part of the menu on the day. There was no way we could have refused. Of course we were not able to finish it and I think the chef saw the look on our faces. I wasn’t willing to leave a piece of meat this juicy & tender. Barrafina doesn’t do takeaways but a small exception was made for us this time around.

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As I always say, there is a separate compartment for dessert. We ordered the orange sorbet and the torrijas. Both exceptionally amazing. The orange sorbet is like having a calippo in an orange and the torrijas is cakey, carameley, nutty……mmmmmm

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Decided to take some pictures along the way.

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Too cool for school……maybe

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Posing failed. This is what happens when you eat and drink too much.

White on White

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Finally, I am back!

Been collecting a few posts recently but just didn’t get down to sharing them with you.

I am quite fascinated with co-ords and have bought a few lately. Thought I’ll share one of my favourites with you. I absolutely love this white on white combination as it works perfectly during the day and blends well into the night. However, I think I might wear this with a pair of trainers and a turtle neck sweater because London weather will not permit me to walk out like this anymore. Sadly, I’ll have to give my Rossis a miss. The silver gold version might not be available anymore, I bought mine from the Harrods summer sale but the ones below are uber sexy for the winter.

Trousers      Double Breasted Waist Coat     Shoes

For those of you who know me must be wondering where is the food. Yes, I didn’t come back home empty stomach. We did stuff ourselves up with some eggy cheesy brunch.

Thanks for stopping by! Food to follow.

Tree to Bar

As always the food seems to have taken over my last Caribbean adventure, however I haven’t forgotten to blog about our choc-tastic experience.

Our very own Hotel Chocolat gets all its indulgent, velvety stash from the Rabot Estate in St Lucia. This cacao plantation owned by Hotel chocolat is responsible for all of our guilty pleasures.

A and I decided to do something different this time around and not just lie on the beach and turn into brownies . The Tree to Bar tour set up by the Rabot Estate was a great experience and made the holiday even more special. If it wasn’t for A’s love for chocolates we wouldn’t have done this but i am glad he pushed for it.

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It was fascinating to learn about a hundred different types of cacao and how they start to creep up from the tree trunk. The pods not only come in this beautiful deep red but also in an orange, yellow, green and burnt red- a good method of recognizing the type of cacao pod.

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Don’t quote me, but i think this was No. 95. This pod isn’t ready just yet to harvest as the indentation hasn’t turned slightly yellow.

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If I am wrong this man will definitely kill me. Mr Cuthbert was the man responsible for imparting all the knowledge about the plantation and the pods, and boy did he take his job  seriously. He was so passionate about his job that it reinstated my belief in the idea of no matter where you are in the world but if you enjoy what you do it just makes the journey a little more worthwhile. I was compelled to pay attention to each word he was saying.

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The fun bit had only just started, these two men showed us how to graft our own cacao plant and once the plant was ready to face the real world and become a tree we would get a call from the Rabot Estate asking us if we would like to visit again and do the needful. I am soo ready to go back to St Lucia!

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Tadaaaaa……… Choc-xited much!

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The beautiful beans that are left out to dry. The farmers are meant to be extremely efficient as St Lucia is a rain forest and its very rare that a day goes by without a couple of passing showers. We witnessed one just while we were there and in no time all the beans disappeared.

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This is one of my favourite pictures. Hands of a hard working man with his livelihood.

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The second part of the tour involved us making our own chocolate bar with cacao nibs, cacao butter and sugar.

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Me at work. This better be one hell of a bar.

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I was tempted to lick the whole pot

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I think the gentleman read my mind and got me a spoon

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Those white things that you see are cacao beans and all the amazing chocolate martinis that we slurped on were made using cacao in its raw form

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Having a bit of a Murad Osman moment with the gigantic pitons. Someone’s trying to be original, maybe not!

I did say a little farewell to St Lucia at this moment but that definitely didn’t mean that I wasn’t coming back.

Until next time! Sparkle on!

 

 

Gunpowder

While carrying out my usual night time routine, of which Instagram is an important part I came across this small venture near spitalfields market. Gunpowder is the brain child of a young husband and wife team who understand the eating out audience of London. The food is delicious and represents the India and the young Indians of today. The flavours are a melting pot of all the different states of the country and sum up the food journey in just about 12-15 dishes. This one had no curries and no rotis only tapas style sharing plates.

I was most thrilled with the drinks menu as every cocktail sounded divine, mango and chilli bellini and pani puri margarita with crushed puris on the rim. It just doesn’t get better.

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When it comes to drinks A and I have very different choices. He went for the gimlet with honey and lemon and I went for the mango chili Bellini.

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Honestly, the gimlet only sounded half as nice as it tasted and drink-envy led to me having one all to myself.

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We knew we had over ordered as always but who cares when you get a fresh hot crispy aloo tikki topped with yogurt, tamarind chutney and chickpeas. It was lovely however I wouldn’t have minded a tiny bit of spicy green chutney to finish it off.

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Hold on, this one will definitely interrupt the conversation. The okra fries are the best I’ve ever had. The batter was extremely light and perfectly spiced.

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The doughnut filled with spicy venison does catch everyone’s attention. The bhujia as we call it back home did add an interesting texture to the bite.

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The tandoori chicken with a dollop of butter chicken gravy was the showstopper and my favourite

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Actually I couldn’t decide between Ma’s Kashmiri lamb chops and the chicken. The lamb was tender and melted in our mouth.

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Sipping on our cocktails or if I may say chugging away on our drinks and talking about the coffee festival we visited earlier we didn’t realise we were at our last dish of the evening. Aunty sulu’s wild rabbit puloa was scrummy but spicy. Why thank you Aunty Sulu!

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We did need more yogurt than that as the portions were pretty generous.

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See if something else catches your fancy. They do change the menu a bit every 45 days. I missed out on the duck and the Nagaland ribs. Saving something for next time.

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It is a small space so to avoid disappointment plan an early dinner. They do text you when your table is ready but it could take over an hour. Luckily we got there in time and were seated within 20 minutes.

As I said earlier the streets of London never fail to surprise and there was definitely a sparkle about this gunpowder.