British afternoon tea with a Spanish twist at the COMO Halkin Hotel

Unless I feel in the mood for what one might imagine as a truly traditional British afternoon tea, I tend to seek out revamped, witty versions which adhere to the traditional concept, but play around with presentation and/or the food served. The Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych comes to mind as a whimsical experience (read more about it here), while the Basque-inspired afternoon tea at the Halkin bar and lounge can be seen as a bit of a cultural trip, in fact showcasing more complexity in texture and flavour than many a ‘conventional’ British afternoon tea offered at other hotels in London. (more…)

Dry Pot and Chilli Chicken at Wei Zi Prawn Hot Pot

Wei Zi Prawn Hot Pot (no website yet, but you can get an idea of their menu at Just Eat) between Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush opened only three months ago. Though as their name reveals they are equipped with tables with in-built stoves for shared hot pots, you might want to make the trip to South West London for their dry pots – and their la zi ji. Not that I can comment on their hotpots, since I haven’t tried them yet. But I definitely know that those two dishes are worth coming for. (more…)

Eccentric retro afternoon tea at Hillman’s Tearoom

afternoon-tea-set-at-hillmans-tearoomHaving a relaxed afternoon of tea at Hillman’s Tearoom in Walthamstow is a delight. Regulars flock to this charming little shop from all over London, me soon to be one of them. It is a bit of a walk from the end station of the Victoria line and the stroll through the residential neighbourhood really does make you wonder if you are on your way to afternoon tea at a dear friend’s home. Owner Jason certainly makes you feel like it is (while still respecting your private conversation) and I can assure you that the long journey is definitely worthwhile. (more…)

Monty Bojangles truffles straight from heaven (also likely to be found in a nearby supermarket)

truffles-iiOn a dark, chilly night not so long ago, I found myself standing in our little local Tesco Express, scanning the sweets aisle for something indulgent and exciting. I wanted something new, something scrumptious, something decadent. The usual sweets with their focus on sugar just couldn’t satisfy me anymore. Surely I must have missed something, surely there must be something that looked horrendous but would taste wonderful? And yet what were the odds of that happening? Disheartened and ready to give up, I turned a corner and found what should have been staring me in the face when I entered the store: a towering pile of purple-ish boxes full of Choccy Scoffy Monty Bojangles. (more…)

Hidden tearoom in the heart of London: Tea and Tattle

tea-pot-and-cupEntering Tea and Tattle on Great Russell Street you may wonder if you’ve come to the right place. There will be tote bags hanging on the walls with London designs, mugs standing on tables with London skylines and other memorabilia that you’re unlikely to find on Amazon. Then, a room lined with books. (more…)

A dazzling view with that added extra of afternoon tea – the Shard

table-by-the-windowWhen I visited Shangri-La’s Ting at the Shard recently with my beau and my parents who had come to visit, my dad made a comment which stuck in my mind. Despite ‘only’ being on the 35th floor of this over-300m-tall and with that tallest building within the EU (the viewing platforms are located at floors 68, 69 and 72), as we got off from the elevator and entered the reception hall, the London view was breathtaking. We hardly had to wait at all until we were called forward and took our place at our window table (on a side note, they cannot guarantee window seats, but do make the request and they will try to accommodate it). It is then that my dad remarked how the London view from this height could almost be compared to a multitude of Lego blocks, which he could pick up and place at the edge of the river Thames, giving them a slight nudge so that with a soft splash they would drift away and into the distance. (more…)

Beef and Ox Tripe in Chilli Sauce at Chilli Cool

beef-and-ox-tripe-in-chilli-sauce

Beef and Ox Tripe in Chilli Sauce is the dish that I simply had to choose as my first post on Sichuan food, since it has become one of my more recent obsessions. As with làzǐjī and mapo tofu, my beau and I are quick to judge a Sichuan restaurant based on the quality of such dishes (which really just means that we’ll return if it’s good, because we’ll want to have those specific-our-all-time-favourite Sichuan dishes all over again). (more…)

Themed Harrods afternoon teas

harrodsThe nice thing about Harrods afternoon tea at The Georgian Restaurant is that if you time it right you can have a different afternoon tea experience with every visit and yet still enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service that gives consistency to a Harrods outing. My parents occasionally send over some emails with food-related information, and since my mum and I have made it our endeavor to have a girls’ night out for afternoon tea at least once whenever she visits (sadly so far no more than once a year), this limited-time only floral afternoon tea did not escape her. She wasn’t able to make it this time, but I took my friends and we too had a blast. (more…)

Japchae at Hamgipak

japchae-at-hamgipak

If you rarely (or never) venture to Fulham, you should make this your go-to destination only for the japchae (vegetables stir-fried with translucent noodles) at Hamgipak, which owner and chef Soon Joo Bok has lovingly prepared since the start of this millennium, previously in her former location in New Malden. Her philosophy is healthy food, with as little salt or sugar as possible, which comes to the fore in dishes such as galbitang (beef short rib soup) or maeuntang (spicy fish soup). She nails it with the japchae sauce, which is light yet intense in flavours and gets you addicted right away. At least that is what happened to me one dreary winter’s night – and now just thinking about it makes me drool and want to scratch my dinner plans. Maybe today is meant to be japchae day… (more…)