Cocktails

London-Cocktails

Last week I took a stroll through Chinatown as I headed towards Soho and to Yauatcha …

Chinatown

… The reason for my visit was to review Yauatcha’s special Chinese New Year menu that celebrates the brand new Year of the Monkey.

The monkey represents wisdom and is considered to be a flexible sign especially as it resembles humans the most. People born under the sign of the monkey are considered to be energetic by nature, charismatic, loyal and are seen to have leadership. So on this note, with a cheeky monkey year to look forward to, I was excited to try Yauatcha’s latest menu.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

I’ve always thought there was one floor to Yauatcha but this time we were seated downstairs, which I loved. There is a bar with an in-built aquarium down here and the stylish interior was complimented by the very relaxed atmosphere. There’s definitely something about the restaurants in the Hakkasan Group that makes them easy places to lose any sense of time as you indulge …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… and their menus are also a good reason to linger.

The meal started with foie gras and roast duck puffs …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… which I enjoyed as I sipped my Pink Kumquat cocktail with Monkey 47 sloe gin, Diplomatico Reserva rum, Domaine de Cantone ginger liqueur, cranberries and rice syrup. Gorgeous! Chinese New Year at Yautcha

The puffs were then followed by caviar taro dumplings and … Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… caviar siew long buns, which surprise you with a burst of soup when you bite into it.

ChinatownThe Yauatcha scallop yusheng with radish, Japanese seaweed, grapefruit, pomegranate, pumpkin and mushroom arrived at the table looking quite artistic …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… before it was expertly mixed up and served onto our plates.

Chinatown

My second cocktail was the Saffron Gin and Tonic, which …

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

… I enjoyed with the Hakka fortune pot, which comes with prawn, abalone, dried scallops, roast duck, seabass, lotus root, Chinese leaves and mushroom.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

To accompany this feast, we also had the dried oyster fried sticky rice with dried shrimp. I savoured every mouthful.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

Finally, the macarons arrived and admittedly I snapped these and ate them later. The gin and tonic macaron with Monkey 47 gin, grapefruit pâte de fruits and tonic buttercream was divine as were the juniper berry and camomile buttercream macarons. Light, full of flavour and the buttercream fillings take these macarons to another level.

Chinese New Year at Yautcha

Overall I had a fantastic time at Yauatcha. The service was great and the food and cocktails were wonderful as ever. If the Year of the Monkey is going to be anything like this menu then all I can say is, bring it on! 🙂

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DL

Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary for the purpose of the review and it doesn’t sway the fact that it was a gorgeous meal all-round.

Chelsea Girl

It’s the 1st of December and maybe you’re not expecting to read about how to make the perfect Aperol Spritz because you might associate this Italian aperitif to be more of a summer drink. But over the weekend with the blustery winds and rainy weather, the OH and I decided to start our evening with one of these.

The quest was to see if we could make one as good those I order from any bar or restaurant. An Aperol Spritz isn’t something the OH would normally order but when he tried it, he liked it enough to have another one or two.

In terms of making one, it’s a lot less fiddly than making a Pimm’s: there is less fruit to slice. But of course, there’s more to do than pour a glass of wine.

Still, it’s quite simple: 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, a splash of soda water and a slice of orange served with some ice.How to make the perfect Aperol Spritz

Thanks to Polpo Chelsea, I’ve also enjoyed an Aperol Spritze with olives instead of a slice of orange which I absolutely loved. Given that one of my favourite cocktails is a Dirty Martini, this satisfied my appetite for something savoury in a drink. But whether it’s with a slice of orange or some olives, I absolutely love starting the evening with an Aperol Spritz.

How to make the perfect Aperol Spritz

So as much as the temperature has dropped and the long evenings followed by dark mornings have begun, it was great to cosy up on the sofa and enjoy something that reminds of long warm summer days. I think the ice and orangey colour also helped. 😉

Chelsea Girl

Last week I paid a visit to One Aldwych, a five star luxury hotel located minutes away from Covent Garden …

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

The reason for my visit was to enjoy a dip in this very lovely pool with its underwater sounds and uber-relaxing visuals and …

… it was to try the 75-minute signature glow facial from OSKIA, which I absolutely loved for many reasons.

Firstly, the nutritional value of the OSKIA products really impressed me. Whilst I’m not a beauty expert I do know what my skin likes and the more natural the product, the happier my face is.

The basis for OSKIA’s skincare are natural ingredients with the healing value of sulphur being an influencing factor in the starting up of this brand. And when my skin was being cleansed, steamed, treated and massaged, the entire experience felt soothing and very relaxing – so much so I felt like a brand new person stepping out of the hotel.

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

Sometimes when you have a facial you feel the tingly sensation of the ingredients working on your skin. In the case of the OSKIA facial, you feel like your skin is being nourished and brought back to life. I actually mentioned during the facial that I felt my face was getting more nutrition than the rest of my body has been for a long while. It was 75-minutes of absolute bliss and not because it was me being horizontal for over an hour without my two-year old jumping on me.

After the facial, I stepped back into this gorgeous lift and headed upstairs to the bar. But of course. 😉

One Aldwych Bar

In fact, there were plenty of gorgeous details in this hotel and whilst I haven’t seen the bedrooms – I’m a sucker for beautiful flowers.

One Aldwych Bar

In the bar …

One Aldwych Bar

… where I took time out to check my phone as I waited to meet up with blogger pal Mayfair Office Girl, somewhere else in Covent Garden …

One Aldwych Bar

… I thoroughly enjoyed the vodka-based cocktail called Rose de Mei, which was inspired by the OSKIA facial I’d just had. Throughout the facial the aroma of rose lingered, which I loved. So to savour one of my favourite scents in a cocktail glass moments later was heavenly. A couple of the other ingredients included Coco Kanu coconut rum and lemon. With layers of different flavours, this was a great cocktail.
One Aldwych Bar

One Aldwych’s Sip & Spa ticks all the boxes for me. It was a wonderfully indulgent time out and I left the hotel feeling a million dollars. My skin was very very happy too.

Disclaimer: My experience at One Aldwych was complimentary for the purpose of the review. But if you know my blog, you’ll also know that I like to think I know what a good cocktail is. As for the facial, my face was truly glowing and that is why I recommend it. 

Chelsea Girl

One of my favourite rituals with Little Man is to go out for a bite to eat. We usually go à deux and usually to Sophie’s Steakhouse because this is the only place where he doesn’t have a problem with the children’s menu. So we’re here almost on a weekly basis.
Sophie's Steakhouse

Last week however, we made a couple of visits. The second was on Sunday so we could enjoy a family roast. My self-interest was to also try the prime rib which I’ve heard so much about. Except that whilst it all started off as usual, quite normal, and very pleasant … our linner took a surprising turn.

Sophie's Steakhouse

Little Man’s roast chicken arrived ok with roast potatoes and vegetables, which all looked good to me.
Sophie's Steakhouse

Problem is, when he saw the prime rib, he wanted what mummy was having. He usually does. But normally he’s fine with me having steak frites whilst he has haddock and mash. The prime rib however was something he hadn’t seen before. It was in a different league and there was no way he was going to be stuck with the chicken when the grown ups were having this gorgeous piece of meat and Yorkshire pudding.

This was food envy on another level. And thanks to OH working with me to create distractions so I could eat my roast, I discovered something very impressive. The thick juicy meat was very tender. It was so easy to eat and it now makes sense why Sophie’s is so popular for roasts too. The Yorkshire pudding was crisp and golden …
Sophie's Steakhouse

… whilst the roast potatoes were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Just how I like it. Sophie's Steakhouse

And of course, the added bonus of having a roast at Sophie’s is their margaritas. Sophie's Steakhouse

Eventually Little Man simmered down and by the time his ice cream arrived, I had successfully finished my prime rib without him batting an eyelid. Next time though, I think I’ll skip the chicken and go for his usual which never fails. I’m definitely returning for most roast linners at Sophie’s.Sophie's Steakhouse

Sophies Steak House, 311-313 Fulham Rd, London SW10 9QHChelsea Girl

 

A girl can treat her guy and I personally love spoiling mine. On this occasion I decided to take the OH to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for his birthday lunch where … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… before we were seated, we enjoyed aperitifs at the Mandarin Bar. The OH ordered a Gibson Martini in honour of World Martini Day and I had a glass of Moët et Chandon Rosé. Sitting in the salubrious environs of this low-lit bar, we weren’t prepared for … 

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

… Dinner’s dining room. Our seats by the window extended our culinary experience into Hyde Park where we could admire the lush scenery. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Already impressed, we were then blown away by the personal service from the maître d’ who treated us to a glass of Champagne after graciously apologising for the power cut which scuppered our last visit. In fact throughout our entire lunch, we felt very much at ease with the staff at Dinner. We laughed as the OH tried and tested a couple of wines and the conversation flowed with the rest of Dinner’s team. Two Michelin stars aside, this is easily one of the most down to earth restaurants I’ve ever been to. It was an absolute delight from beginning to end.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As for the food … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH had the Frumenty (c.1730) dish, which included a grilled octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage.Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

And I had to have the Meaty Fruit (c.1500), mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread, which I absolutely loved.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For my main, I then had the chicken cooked with lettuces (c.1670), which included grilled onion emulsion, spiced celeriac sauce & oyster leaves. I tend not to order chicken when I eat out. For some reason, I don’t feel like it’s an exciting dish to order because I like to go off piste if I can and also because a lot of the time chicken tends to be overcooked. But we were at one of the Worlds Best 50 restaurants and I knew I couldn’t go wrong here. The chicken was deliciously tender and I savoured every bite of it.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

For main, the OH ordered the roast Iberico pork chop (c.1820), which also included smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mead, Robert sauce. And he loved it!

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

My choice of dessert was the Sambocade (c.1390). I’ve always been curious to try a cheese cake that wasn’t made from cow’s milk so I was excited to order this dish which involved a goats milk cheese cake, elderflower & apple, roast figs & smoked candied walnuts. This is definitely one for goats cheese fans, which I am most certainly one. And I particularly enjoyed the roast figs that accompanied this dessert.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The OH chose the classic pudding at Dinner, the Tipsy Cake (c.1810) which also included a slice of spit roast pineapple. YUMMY! Food envy finally caught up with me here. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

As much as we savoured each dish, we also relished in the notion that there was a story behind each of them. The numerical accompaniments to the name of each dish are years. This satisfied the culinary geek in the OH and this piqued my storytelling interest. But the fact of the matter is that you do end up leaving Dinner feeling that you’ve only scratched the surface of what is wonderful about this place.

Yes, the service is fantastic …
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

…. and everything you try tastes great … Dinner by Heston Blumenthal… but if you can catch a glimpse of the kitchen, which is open for passersby by to look into, or if you can take your time to research the origins of each dish, you may start to grasp the real essence of Dinner where history and modern technology meet in the middle for a culinary adventure.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

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