Christmas Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St. James Hotel

by Chelsea Girl on October 18, 2014

How many days until Christmas? Someone is counting somewhere. I’ve seen evidence on Twitter. It’s exciting and it’ll be amazing how, before we know it, we’ll be running around on Christmas Eve buying last-minute presents.

Surely that’s not just me? I’m quite the last minute shopper and when it comes down to Christmas and except for perhaps a holiday, anything to organise I tend to go with the flow. But the other week, I went along to a *drumroll* Christmas afternoon tea with a few bloggers. I say a few but there were quite a lot of us. So much so, I didn’t get to say hi to everyone. Both Selena from Oh, the places we will go! (I have to ask Selena next time I see her if her blog is reference to Dr. Seuss’s awe-inspiring read.) and Melanie from Sunny in London, did such a great job organising a fantastic afternoon tea that has raised the bar for me.

The location was Conrad London St. James, which you might have known as the formerly named Intercontinental London Westminster.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The setting was Christmas afternoon tea with bubbles.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

Our price included a glass but a few of us couldn’t resist a couple more. It was very easy to get in the mood, especially given our airy and light surroundings as a harpist entertained us. (We had a room all to ourselves, it was really quite fantastic.)

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The pastries and sandwiches all had a festive twist. And whilst I was particularly impressed with the venison bite in puff pastry, the brussel sprout palate cleanser truly surprised me because it was very pleasant and easy to enjoy.

Along with the sandwiches, which included smoked salmon & lemon crème fraîche, cured gammon & mustard as well as beetroot & spinach, I also really enjoyed the scones which arrived with clotted cream, home-made strawberry jam and blackberry curd.

And as we ate, drank and talked away, I thought the afternoon’s delights were what I saw before me. What I didn’t know – or any of us knew – was that the Christmas Snow Scene afternoon tea also included more treats. Many more treats.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

These …

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

A closer look below. Don’t they look scrumptious? They included, a winter berry Christmas tree, a chocolate orange Battenberg present, a snowflake macaroon, a white forest yule log, Christmas postcard marshmallows, mini meringue snowmen and edible snow. Amazing.

My favourite was definitely the winter berry Christmas tree which turned out to be a mousse when you cut into it. So light and tasty, I’d left the tree until the end and ended up wishing that I had started with it.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James HotelAs far as afternoon teas go, this one exercised both imagination and great craft. And when it comes to Christmas treats, I think this would be difficult to beat. An all-round wonderful experience with great company. Win, win.

Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway, London,SW1H 0BH. 

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Supper at Casa Brindisa

by Chelsea Girl on September 27, 2014

I popped into Casa Brindisa in South Kensington recently. It had taken me so long to try this place out because in terms of local tapas, I don’t think you can get much better than the trio of Cambio de Tercio restaurants on Old Brompton Road.

But given Casa Brindisa’s close proximity to where we were when we decided to find somewhere to eat – pronto, we decided to give it a go … and we weren’t disappointed. 
Casa Brindisa

For drinks, I stuck to the Valenciso Reserva 2007 Rioja – just a responsible couple of glasses on a Sunday evening.
Casa Brindisa

And for our tapas dishes, we ordered the patatas bravas … Casa Brindisa

Garlic prawns with chilli … (It’s worth holding onto the dish when the prawns are finished to dip your bread into.)
Casa Brindisa

Octopus leg on garlic mash which was SO good. The freshness of the octopus and the flavours of this meaty dish made me very pleased we had decided to try this place.

Casa Brindisa

We also shared the chorizo on toast … Casa Brindisa

And finally, a chicken dish which was a lightly zesty alternative to the other dishes which had deeper flavours.

Casa BrindisaThe restaurant was packed and buzzy and no wonder why. The food is dependable and the wine recommendation hit the spot.

There are a few of these restaurants in London: Soho, Shoreditch and London Bridge, along with the South Kensington one. And if I fancied tapas again and was anywhere near the other locations, I would consider popping in.

Casa Brindisa, 7-9 Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2HE.

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Piri-Piri Chicken and Cocktails at Fire & Feathers

by Chelsea Girl on September 27, 2014

For as long as I can remember there was a Mexican restaurant on Chelsea Beach called Equisto and for some reason I had never stepped inside it. I did have every intention to try out what seemed like a local institution but then one day it had closed. Gone forever.

Then Fire and Feathers opened in its place and again, I continued to walk past it each day promising myself to check it out. This would have continued if it weren’t for one afternoon when I was walking past with my OH and together we looked at the menu. I saw his eyes light up at the sight of piri-piri chicken. So we stepped inside as soon as it reopened for dinner. 5pm … Or should we call it linner?

Fire & Feathers

Once inside, the place opens itself up. There’s plenty of light and I love this rustic style.Fire & Feathers

Fire & Feathers

As for the menu, seeing the Castelo Margarita at the top of the cocktail page I knew what I was having straight away.
Casa Brindisi

For starter, we ordered the Calamari … Fire & Feathers

And Garlic Prawns … Fire & Feathers

And for main I had a mild piri-piri chicken, which was succulent. It also tasted fresh and was very tasty. Casa Brindisi

I also had mint peas and … Casa Brindisi

… the African Rice. OH ordered chips. Casa Brindisi

The elephant in the room is Fire & Feathers’ comparison to Nando’s. True, both serve piri-piri chicken but in terms of quality I don’t think you can compare. It would be like comparing Mc D’s to a Five Guys burger. One is fast food and the other is just a bit better. Fire & Feathers don’t have piri-piri salt for their chips but then again, Nando’s don’t have Fire and Feathers’ amazing cocktails.

I’m a sucker for good cocktails and this lychee martini was divine.

Casa Brindisi*We grabbed a couple of Portuguese custard tarts to take-away.

Fire and Feathers, 343 Fulham Road, SW10 9TW. Would you like to look at their menu?

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My Birthday Lunch at Zuma

by Chelsea Girl on September 27, 2014

Last week I had a table at Dinner booked for my birthday lunch. I knew I was late to the party but at least I was going to make it there finally, right? Unfortunately, when we arrived at Mandarin Oriental the hotel had had a power cut and in the dimness of the main entrance we were told that we would have to reschedule. Alas.

So, where to go? When in Knightsbridge? What did I feel like having? Zuma then popped into my head. After all, sushi and cocktails are two of my favourite things and as we walked over, I felt somewhat relieved that I wouldn’t have to consider frog’s legs porridge or calf tail for my birthday starter.

Luckily we arrived at Zuma in the nick of time – just as last orders for lunch were being taken. So as soon as we sat down, we ordered everything quickly.

Zuma

The dishes included an array of sashimi which were wonderfully fresh, meaty and tasty. Sublime. 
Zuma

Yellow fin tuna …

Zuma

These gorgeous scallops …Zuma

Tempura …

Zuma

California maki …Zuma

And these amazing ribs …

Zuma

For drinks, I had a glass of Champagne and this gorgeous plum sake cocktail. Zuma

I hadn’t ordered dessert because I was already feeling very satisfied but the lovely staff at Zuma surprised me with this refreshing treat as they sang Happy Birthday to me. So lovely. And the sorbet was SO delicious.

ZumaBefore I round off my post, I have to apologise for the sparse description of the dishes. I can’t remember exactly what was in each dish and looking at the menu on the website, they might have changed it in the last week? I’m not entirely sure.

But I do know that I had a wonderfully delicious lunch; my tastebuds very much enjoyed their treat. The staff were also very lovely as they added warmth and humour to the restaurant’s beautifully stylish interior.

Zuma

All in all, a perfect birthday lunch.

Zuma, 5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DL.

 

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Brunch at Dean Street Townhouse

by Chelsea Girl on September 6, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with a couple of fabulous bloggers: Sunny in London and Silverspoon London for brunch at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho. It was a long overdue catch-up and as before, the afternoon flew by.

Dean Street TownhouseIt was my first time here and as soon as I walked in, I liked it straight away. The relaxed atmosphere, the Georgian-styled dining area and their classic bar that oozed another time and place made feel very much at (my imaginary) home.

Dean Street Townhouse

In such lovely surroundings and having learned that Champagne was served in coupe glasses, I ordered a French 75: Bombay Sapphire, lemon, sugar and of course Champagne. And for starter, I had the duck with girolles on toast. Yum.

Dean Street Townhouse

Melanie from Sunny in London had the twice-baked smoked haddock soufflé, which I had a taste of and without reservation (and if you like fish of course), I would say order this dish. Sublime. I had food envy throughout the first course.

Dean Street Townhouse

Angie from Silverspoon London had the home-cured salmon and pickled cucumber, which also looked good.

Dean Street Townhouse

For my main, I had one of the best salads I’ve had in a long time which included Dorset crab, prawns and fennel. It was both hearty and tasty; very satisfying.

Dean Street Townhouse

Melanie had the chicken, bacon and avocado which looked equally as scrumptious and filling …

Dean Street Townhouse

… whilst Angie had the sea bass with clams and fennel, which sounded very good and left me intrigued.

Dean Street Townhouse

We skipped dessert but I did order some cheeky and delicious chocolate truffles with my coffee.

Dean Street TownhouseThe whole afternoon ticked all the right boxes: great company, good food and comfortable surroundings. So the next time you’re planning on heading to Soho and are looking for somewhere busy yet chilled that serves good food and drinks, you may want to check out Dean Street Townhouse. I feel quite late to the party with this one but I’m so glad I’ve finally discovered it.

Thanks for booking us in Angie!

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