Friday, 17 April 2015

Pret A Diner at Hotel Café Royal

Pret A Diner
As a foodie I love dining experiences that push their culinary creativity and come up with wonderful food combinations. Ones that not only are a feast for the eyes, but are also an explosion for the taste buds too.


Café Royal is a luxurious hotel set in the heart of Regent Street in a beautifully restored grade one listed building (preserved for historic or architectural interest). The hotel has a rich past and if walls could talk they would share tails from politicians Winston Churchill, writers like Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolfe and rock stars like The Beatles, Madonna and David Bowie.

Look how beautiful the hotel is...
Cafe Royal Hotel
Cafe Royal Hotel
When I heard that 'Pret A Diner' was heading back to the UK and setting up centre stage at Hotel Café Royal for one month only (21st April - 23rd May), I had to go along and see what culinary masterpieces they would create.

'Pret A Diner' create dining experiences which combine Michelin starred food, wonderful cocktails, art and music, blended together with the addition of people make the perfect dining experience. 

All good parties start with some wonderful cocktails.
Cafe Royal
Andrew Turner has teamed up with two New York Based chefs Patti Jackson (the brains behind Michelin star restaurant, Delaware and Hudson in Brooklyn) and Ryan Tate executive chef of Blenheim
restaurant. 

Ryan is a favourite chef of mine as someone who uses seasonal produce to create straightforward modern American cuisine. He was crowned with a Michelin star within six months of opening Le Restaurant, which is now sadly closed.

The menu for the evening had been created for the chefs to take it in turn to share their masterpieces. The scene for dinner was the perfect bohemian setting. 
Cafe Royal Hotel
Once seated we were presented with some snacks to wet the appetite:
Pret A Diner
Pea and Sorrel by Ryan Tate, Cheese and Truffle by Andrew Turner, Baltimore Style Crab, and pickled Ramps. Dutchy Pretzels by Patti Jackson. 

Every course was matched with a paired wine by the club's bar manager Tiziano Tasso.

Vincent Careme, Vouvray Petillant, Ancestrale Loire Valley (France 2010) accompanied the snack board and for me was delicious and refreshing. 
Pret A Diner
Highlights had to be the fish cakes and Baltimore Style Crab.
Pret A Diner
Pret A Diner
We were off to a great start. Next up was Tuna Carpaccio, gentleman's relish.  
Pret A Diner
This dish was an absolute feast for the eyes and the taste buds. The lemon with the tuna was a perfect accompaniment.

For mains there was a choice of two dishes, duck with celery pecan gratin and rhubarb by Patti Jackson. This was my instant choice, you all know how much I love duck. 
Pret A Diner
This was a brave choice to cook, it is almost impossible in my view to do duck as a cover for so many guests being served at the same time and to keep it perfectly cooked. Whilst it was delicious it was a little over cooked for my tastes. 

Based on the wonderful tuna starter my guest opts for the Seabass, piquillo pepper, fennel and dill by Andrew Turner. 
Pret A Diner
Based on the speed that this was inhaled and the constant pleasing sounds being made I think that this won on the mains front. 

Dessert for me is always something that I look forward too and despite my fullness I was excited to see what creation Ryan Tate would come up with. 

Strawberries, Maple Vacherin and Buttermilk. 
Cafe Royal Hotel
The pictures cannot do this dessert justice, the meringue was perfectly cooked, filled with wonderful strawberries, sharp lemon and lemon sorbet on the outside. Heaven in a dessert. 

The dessert wine pairing was a perfect combination. Coteaux Du Layon, St Aubin, Domain De Forges Loire (France 2013). 
Pret A Diner
Coffee and Tea came with a number of back to school sweet treats from Andrew Blas. 
Cafe Royal Hotel
The bubble gum ball chocolates and cola jelly's were a favourite.  

We had a truly wonderful evening, 'Pret A Diner', certainly know how to throw a Bohemian culinary masterpiece and Café Royal Hotel was the perfect location. 

You have from 21st April to 23rd May (Tuesday - Saturday) to go along, I recommend booking your tickets quickly before they all sell out 0207 406 3371 or email thedominoeffect@clubcaferoyal.com. Dinner is £75 per person and £100 with matching wines. 

www.pretadiner.com
www.hotelcaferoyal.com

Thank you very much to Pret A Diner and Café Royal for a wonderful evening. Our meal was complimentary for the purposes of a review, but this is an honest and fair reflection of the wonderful meal we had. 


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Monday, 13 April 2015

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads
There is something quite magical and tranquil about not being attached to land, escaping the hustle and bustle of London life and setting sail on the open water.

Last week this was exactly what we did (well without the sail), we climbed aboard our Royale Light boat for the week and had nothing but nature and the tranquil waterways of the Norfolk Broads to look forward to.

Here is our accommodation for the week:
Norfolk Broads
Being in charge of a 44ft boat is really quite daunting but I shouldn't have been worried the boat was surprisingly easy to skipper, with side thrusters to help moor.

The Norfolk Broads has some wonderful ruins, windmills, wildlife and quaint towns to visit. 

Below is Benet's Abbey housed by the river Bure the site is a memorial to the monastery that used to dominate the area.  
Norfolk Broads
Travelling along the banks of the Norfolk Broads you can view numerous beautiful windmills set against the wonderful countryside. 
Norfolk Broads
The wildlife on the Broads is amazing. We spent many an hour watching the many birds, swans, goats and ponies meandering.   
Norfolk Broads
We even saw this little chap hidden on the banks when navigating Breydon water. 
Norfolk Broads
Some visitors came calling most days and were not shy at all. 
Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads
We travelled from the quaint little town of Potter Heigham to Norwich. 
Norfolk Broads
Trying to navigate past rowers and sail boats at times became a challenge especially when they were out in force. 
Norfolk Broads
We stopped for the day in Norwich for a lovely lunch and to visit the Cathedral. 

Standing for over 900 years Norwich cathedral takes centre stage in the heart of Norfolk.
Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral
It is quite an amazing building with beautiful architecture and adorned with stained glass windows. 
Norwich Cathedral
The top of the Cathedral is currently housing a soon to be family of Peregrine Falcons. You can find a live feed of the birds here

We had an amazing visit and I can't recommend enough the Norfolk Broads as a holiday perfect for nature lovers, those who seek adventure and families. 

Every evening we settled down for the sunset and I will definitely miss these the most now that I am back on dry land. What vistas. 
Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads


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Friday, 10 April 2015

Best Breakfast hotspots central London

Breakfast
As a foodie I love breakfast, especially when I can take my time and truly enjoy it. The weekend lends itself perfectly and I enjoy finding and trying out new places to eat. 

Recently I have been testing out Old Street, Shoreditch and Hoxton to see what they have to offer. Surprisingly it has a good variety of breakfast offerings.

1. Dishoom (Shoreditch), a light, airy Indian restaurant, which is like stepping into a restaurant in Bombay. Breakfast is served from 9am - 12pm at weekends.  
            Dishoom
It might sound strange to consider having Indian cuisine for breakfast but when mixed with British staples like bacon and sausage the outcome is a winning combination. Fresh from the tandoor oven, naan bread, a little cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs (£5.20). 
Dishoom
Who knew that bacon and naan bread could be such a winning combination they work perfectly and taste delicious. 

Add a spicy Chai Latte (£2.50) to the mix this is a breakfast that I won't be forgetting any time soon.
                    
Dishoom:
7 Boundary Street 
London
EC 7JE

2. Next up is Albion a cafe hidden down a small alley in Shoreditch, conveniently located behind Dishoom restaurant. The cafe also houses a shop that sells fresh in house baked bread, croissants, cakes, fresh juice, tea, coffee and chocolate.
Albion
Albion
Albion
                     Albion
The restaurant serves breakfast on a weekend from 8am- 12.30pm.
                        Albion
They don't take pre bookings for tables and get very busy at weekends so arrive early or expect to have to wait for a table. 
Albion
A bacon and sausage roll (£8.50).
Albion
Albion
Albion:
2-4 Boundary Street,
Shoreditch,
London,
E2 7DD

3.Ozone Cafe is situated near Old Street station and at weekends serves an all day brunch. 
Ozone
They make freshly roasted coffee onsite and for any coffee lovers amongst us it is strong and is wonderfully flavoursome. 
Ozone
                     Ozone
Eggs any style on ciabatta (£5).
Ozone
Ozone
Omelette with cheddar, caramelised onion & chives (£8.50). Addition of bacon (£3.50).
Ozone
Ozone
Ozone:
11 Leonard Street, 
London
EC2A 4AQ

4.We already know that I love The Breakfast Club, but my favourite has to be the one in Hoxton, mainly because it is larger and you get lots more space to eat. 
The Breakfast club
The Breakfast Club
Brunch is served from when they open till 5pm, so for those that like our beds at the weekend this is the perfect choice for you. 

Ham so eggsited, pancakes with ham, egg, cheddar and maple syrup (£8.50).  
The Breakfast Club
Eggs Florentine, spinach on toasted English muffin with hollandaise (£8.40).      
The Breakfast Club
Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup (£8.50).
The Breakfast Club
Eggs on toast, scrambled on toasted multigrain bloomer with 3 tomato chutney (£6.20).
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club,
2-4 Rufus Street,
N1 6PE

Do you have any breakfast spots to share? If you could have any breakfast what would it be?


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