Cafés

Cafés-Chelsea-London

There’s just over a week to go until Christmas and I can’t pretend to have finished my shopping for presents, must less started it. But I have been getting into the mood of festive feasting and I did attempt the annual trip to Winter Wonderland, which seems to be getting bigger every year. It was nuts.

Christmas in London

Snapshots from my week include: ‘I can never tire of the Natural History Museum in winter’; choosing cakes at Le Pain Quotidien – today’s was a slice of baked apple tart; one of my fave hot chocolates from Paul; lunch at Patty & Bun; Sunday Roast at Gordon Ramsay’s Foxtrot Oscar; the Alan Turing exhibition at the Science Museum; wandering through Winter Wonderland followed by a walk through Hyde Park; a classic car on the King’s Road; and the cheeky snowman from Ted Baker’s window display!

This time next week I’ll be in the Philippines for Christmas and New Year so I will be resuming my snapshots posts in January. Can you believe we’re almost in 2013? I’m so excited for next year! x

So far this week I’ve indulged in a take away pizza, pralines and cream ice cream and even syrup pudding – the last two together! Admittedly I’ve also been to the gym three times already this week but that’s not my point. The fact is, as the temperature continues to drop, it is so easy to reach for stodgy carbs for a bit of comfort eating.

But I can’t let that ‘winter coat’ thinking carry on because I’m going to be spending Christmas and New Year in a bikini. I can’t wait!

Needless to say, I was over the moon to be invited to La Brasserie to try their detox breakfast this morning – probably my healthiest breakfast meeting yet.

And with my green tea …

I had grapefruit …

And the mixed berries compote with greek yoghurt, which was soooo good and tasty!

And my very lovely company had the fruit salad.

La Brasserie is a great place to hang out at any point of the day or night. It’s a local’s haven and it has a french sophistication that makes you feel you could be in Paris. Definitely a great way to start the day!

As I write this post, it is approaching 7.30pm and looking out of the window it is already pitch black. How the summer (or what summer we had) – has disappeared so quickly! Doesn’t it feel like the season of hot chocolate is firmly upon us?

Earlier this evening, I popped into The Botanist to try out their Hotel Chocolat ‘Choctails’ for Chocolate Week, which is happening from 8th October until 14th October 2012. If you’re a hot chocolate fiend or if you enjoy the boozey yet comforting delights of an Irish Coffee, then you might be interested in what this offering has in store for you.

The first ‘choctail’ I tried was the non-alcoholic Ultimate Hotel Chocolat, which is made from strong fresh mint tea, hazelnut syrup and caramel liquid chocolate.

If you love mint or even better mint and chocolate together, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. I also loved the attention to detail: love hearts!

The next choctail I tried was the Nutty Divine, which is made of classic dark chocolate, hazlenut syrup, crème de cacao and a healthy measure of Jamaican rum – topped with cream and almond flakes.

The Naughty But Spice involved a blending of Aztec Chilli Chocolate with Chairman Spiced Reserve, topped with fresh rosemary.

The Chocolate Orange Melt included dark liquid chocolate with Cointreau liqueur and white crème de cacao, …

… which is garnished with a cream float and orange zest sprinkles.

If I had to choose my favourite out of these four, I think I would struggle because each choctail suits a particular mood: the minty hot chocolate would be perfect for a time-out daytime indulgence – or even a breakfast treat before work.

I would order the Chocolate Orange Melt instead of dessert, because most times I prefer a cocktail instead of pudding. As for the Naughty But Spice and the Nutty Divine, they would be an ideal excuse to escape from the cold. Imagine being in the mood for an amaretto, rum on the rocks or an Irish Coffee. Well, consider these drinks as other options.

I have to admit, autumn is probably my favourite season. I love it when the day is crisp and the sky is blue. I love cosying up on the sofa with a glass of red wine and I love drinking hot chocolate. So needless to say, this evening has very much started to make me think of what else there is to come: Halloween and Guy Fawkes night. But first, let’s not forget about Chocolate Week. Win!

*UPDATE: If you are Dairy Intolerant, you can ask for soya milk to be used in your hot chocolate.*

Some of my best nights have ended at VQ because there’s nothing better than piling into a black cab from Soho and heading back to Chelsea with friends, deciding to stop off at VQ for one last drink to err, try and sober up at four in the morning.

Previously called Vingt-Quatre and now abbreviated to simply VQ, this 24-hour establishment has had a bit of a revamp and I really like it.

Popping in the other day for lunch reminded that I used to always come here for brunch for hungover Sundays. And looking around, I could see that there were a few people who were also popping in for casual meetings or alone with their laptops. I had almost forgotten that VQ literally meant 24 hours and not just after hours, which is why it’s so legendary.

For lunch, my friend and I tried the kedgeree, the bubble & squeak as well as the sweet potato fries.

The amount of times I’ve stumbled in and ordered a burger or something appropriate to soak up the night’s cocktails. But in the cold light of day, my friend and I decided to go for something lighter.

Still, we didn’t shy away from trying VQ’s brownie.

On the side, we sipped freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.

I love that VQ’s had a new lease of life because it’s reminded me of what’s on my doorstep. Admittedly, I hadn’t been in a while before the facelift but I’m definitely planning to head back soon again. Look out for my tweets! 😉

 

Earlier this afternoon, after a late lunch at Mori, I popped into Peter Jones for dessert and some air-con. I headed upstairs and grabbed a table by the window for the real reason I decided to go to the 6th floor, the view.

In the middle of the midweek afternoon, the place had quite a few locals and shoppers grabbing afternoon tea: a simple slice of cake and a cuppa. Though of course, I opted for the low-calorie option: jelly and sparkling water. It was too hot to contemplate anything else.

And for my favourite part …

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