Italian

italian-restaurants

Last week I was invited to take a look around the recently opened The Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge. I had popped in a few months ago when it was just a building site and I was very excited to return, to see the end result.

But before I take you on a tour with my photos, let me give you some interesting facts about the hotel. They’ll explain why I think this place is pretty special.

Each guest staying at this 36-room boutique hotel will have complimentary use of The Wellesley’s Rolls Royce for journeys within two miles of the area. Guests will also receive 24-hour butler service, Samsung tablets in their rooms and a Wellesley mobile phone to use whilst staying at the hotel.

When you walk into the building the first thing to hit you is the sumptuous art deco interior, of which I am a huge fan.

The Wellesley HotelTo your right you have The Crystal Bar, which houses an impressive array of cognac (some dating back to the 1770s), whiskies and champagne. The 1920s-inspired cocktails list is also very inviting.

The Wellesley HotelThe bar leads out onto an outdoor terrace with gorgeous leather seats. This isn’t a place you would want to leave in a hurry.

The Wellesley HotelAcross the corridor, in the hotel, is the Cigar Lounge and Terrace. And if you know any cigar fans, you might have to let them know that The Wellesley houses the largest bespoke hotel humidor in Europe and the biggest collection of cigars sold on a stick-by-stick basis in the world.

The Wellesley - Smoking Room

The Wellesley HotelI stepped into the humidor and whilst I don’t know too much about cigars, I do recognise an impressive collection when I see one.

The Wellesley HotelSome of the boxes which store the cigars were impressive in their own right and I could imagine a cigar aficionado having plenty of fun browsing this collection.

The Wellesley HotelAfter a look around, we stopped into the Oval Restaurant for lunch. With seating for 28 diners, I loved the intimacy of this venue as well the design.

The Wellesley HotelThe Italian menu inspired by seasonal ingredients was also a real delight to try.

For starters, I chose the roasted vegetable salad with goats cheese.

The Wellesley HotelFor main I had the pappardelle with wild boar.

The Wellesley HotelAnd for dessert, I had to try the apple tart with Armagnac ice cream.

The Wellesley HotelNeedless to say, attention to detail was integral to the presentation of these dishes. But the pleasures of lunch didn’t end there. The flavours and the quality of the fresh ingredients also elevated lunch to a more delectable level, which was topped off by these sweet offerings at the end.

The Wellesley HotelUnfortunately for me but fortunately for the hotel the bedrooms and suites were occupied, so I couldn’t take any photos this time round. But here is a photograph of one of the rooms, from my last visit – to give you some idea.

The Wellesley HotelAnd whilst I have no immediate reason to check into this hotel, I am intrigued by their jazz bar where Afternoon Tea is also served. The previous venue on this site was the legendary Pizza On The Park where some of the most revered jazz musicians have played. So it seems only fitting that The Wellesley Hotel would want to continue the musical legacy of this location by showcasing both established and up-and-coming acts in their Jazz Room. And that is exactly what they are doing. To find out more, have a look at The Wellesely’s website. This is truly a gorgeous hotel.

If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen that yesterday I was on my bike for most of the day. I was out and about at 8am, cycling to Richmond Park where I trained for my London to Brighton cycle ride which is taking place next week – and later in the afternoon, I cycled through Kensington Gardens, along Notting Hill and through Holland Park. I couldn’t get enough of my bike. The weather was just too gorgeous!

But this also meant that my body was craving carbs by early evening and I felt like having a large pizza, preferably al fresco because of the lovely evening. The first al fresco Italian that springs to mind is normally Made In Italy on the King’s Road. But there is another Made In Italy in Chelsea, located on Hollywood Road which has a back garden – and that’s where I headed to.

We sat outside where I ordered a glass of Prosecco and the bf ordered a beer.

As for the pizza, I ordered a Fra Rosario with mozzarella, tomato sauce, roasted potatoes (told you I needed carbs!), sausage, onion, capers and rosemary whilst the bf ordered a Porcini e Speck: ham and mushroom.

And we had it all! Though, I did give my crust away.

I love this corner of the world. In fact, Hollywood Road is easily one of my favourite streets in Chelsea where you also have The Hollywood Arms, Brinkley’s and now The Chelsea Day Spa!

Last week, I went along to the opening of Obikà – the new Mozzarella Bar and Restaurant which has opened in Chelsea.

When we arrived, the restaurant was already buzzing and we were greeted with a glass of lychee bellini, which we sipped at the bar.

It was great to take a moment to soak up the atmosphere and get my head around the concept of a mozzarella bar. What did it actually mean? Was there only mozzarella on the menu and did it mean you had to love cheese to come here?

In short, the answer is no. Of course being a mozzarella fan does help but as you’ll see from the tasting menu which we enjoyed, there were other delights to enjoy. (Warning: the list of dishes is quite long and yes, I tried every single one of them!)

The menu started off with a shot of chilled organic tomato soup, which was flavoursome and refreshing. At this stage, I have to point out that there is a no garlic or onions policy at Obikà. When asking why, I learned that the rich flavours from the ingredients meant that onions and garlic were not needed to enhance or mask any lack of taste.

The sea bass tartare and truffle arrived next.

And after, we enjoyed a platter of three types of mozzarella: classic, smoked and burrata mozzarella. On the plate, there was also a selection of meats, grilled artichokes and Sicilian caponata.

Pasta with courgette, mint, pecorrino and egg soon followed. And yes, I was still going!

And for our main, we were served grilled beef fillet steak ….

Along with pizza which was topped with grilled aubergines, courgette, smoked mozzarella and parsley.

And finally for dessert, we enjoyed a chocolate and almond cake with ricotta cream, honey, orange peel and pine nuts. Admittedly, I skipped the ricotta but the bf enjoyed it for both of us.

It’s amazing how much one can consume when the wine is flowing and each dish that arrives brings a tasty surprise!

I also enjoyed the stylish decor and had a sneak peek upstairs.

By the end of the evening, I not only loved the concept of a mozzarella bar but I was also really enjoying its reality. I can see myself sitting on one of the stools for a light bite or coming here for an evening of indulgence. But another reason why I love that Obikà has made Chelsea one of its global homes is because I am intolerant to dairy. And it seems that mozzarella is lactose free (the burrata mozzarella however contains cream). So what a win!

Thank you Obikà for a delicious evening. I’m looking forward to popping back in again!

Yes, I’ve finally visited Bunga Bunga and it was SO worth the wait!

The girly night started with cocktails and aperitivo:

For mains, most ordered pizza to accompany the Prosecco:

I ordered the chicken salad. It normally comes with avocado but because they’d run out, a couple of us chose mozarella as a replacement. The salad was surprisingly quite filling (I couldn’t finish my dish) and the mozarella was delish!

We then had more Prosecco:

Espresso Martinis. A couple of us swapped the vodka for the rum and I’m never going back! The rum gives the martini a smoother edge.

Tequila Shots:

And more cocktails:

The whole place was rocking and yes, we ended up on the stage. But not singing, dancing. For a fab night, Bunga Bunga is a definite recommend! I thought because it was south of the river, Bunga Bunga would be a trek to get to. It isn’t. It’s merely a walk across Battersea Bridge. How easy.

For more pics from the night, click here.

Bunga Bunga on Urbanspoon

So, my first night back in Chelsea after my sailing trip and I find myself in A&E at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. I don’t know how to write about this except to describe myself as a bonafide dufus for running straight into a low door frame. I ducked too soon and came up, slamming my head against the beam, with so much force I was feeling all kinds of strange things.

Anyways, I’m fine even though I was being constantly reminded that you can’t be too careful with a head injury.

So the point of this post? Well, anyone who has waited in A&E will know how it can take hours to be seen and you get hungry, right? All I can say is, thank goodness for Carluccio’s across the road. Whilst others were eating their Tesco sarnies or chocolate bars from the machine, I was enjoying my Cosce De Pollo Ripiene and San Pellegrino.

Of course, a martini delivery service would have also been most welcomed!

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