With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having (overnight thunderstorms aside), I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite al fresco places to eat.

Manicomio, not to be mistaken by Manicomio Poco which I also love, on Duke of York Square is a great spot for lunchtime in the sunshine.

Manicomio RestaurantI had lunch there recently, which I started with an obligatory glass of Prosecco.

Manicomio RestaurantWhilst the OH enjoyed his beer, he also delighted in his octopus starter.

Manicomio RestaurantAnd I ordered the yellow fin tuna crudo, which was a real treat.

Manicomio RestaurantFor our mains, the OH had Grilled Brixham monkfish ossobucco which he relished and which I had a little taste of and thought was a particularly good choice!

Manicomio RestaurantSaying that, I really didn’t have any food envy because my lobster tubetti with tomato, basil, chilli and garlic was also on another level. Just gorgeous!

Manicomio RestaurantBut our lunch wasn’t just about the food, the wine was superb. I’ve always had quite a nonchalant interest in rosé wine, great for summer but I’d never discovered any with much substance. Until now, that is. The Sancerre rosé which I tried at Manicomio had depth and flavour, it’s made me fall in love with rosés for the first time.

Manicomio RestaurantSo overall we had yet another successful lunch at Manicomio and I’m looking forward to going back!

Manicomio Chelsea, 85 Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY

“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”

– Gregory David Roberts

Barbarella’s relaunch party was such a blast that I was keen to return, to try the restaurant as soon as I could. So I headed back down there a few days later.

I had all sorts of imaginings on how the night would play out. With tables and banquets around the dance floor, Carlito’s Way did cross my mind. But a gangster’s den, Barbarella certainly is not.

Sitting at our table, there were a couple of large birthday parties as well as smaller tables of more intimate groups around us. One set seemed to have turned up for just the food whilst everyone else was there for the whole night.

When you arrive at the start of the evening, the tables are laid out and presented very tastefully: the glamorous dining experience is underpinned by an understated chicness.

Official Press Photo

And when you first look at the food menu, it is so easy to wonder about the quality of the dishes. After all, first and foremost, Barbarella’s first impression is clearly a nightclub. And from experience, late-night dining isn’t always the best – with a few rare gems scattered around London

But as soon as I tasted my first bite of the starter, any such musings had quickly dissipated. The prawn and lobster cocktail was too good to allow any further doubt to seep in. The wonderful 70s-esque presentation aside (and you know how I love most things served in a martini glass) – the ingredients were fresh and tasty. The prawn and lobster were juicy and the sauce was spot on.

For my main, I had the seared tuna loin with caramelised onions. Admittedly, I had relished most of it by the time I remembered to take a photo. So unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of another well-presented dish. As for the tuna, it was cooked exactly how I like it. It’s so easy to overcook tuna. That’s why I hardly choose it when eating out. But in this circumstance, my request was translated eloquently onto my plate and my tuna was perfectly pink – and not a dull grey – in the middle.

For my dessert, I ordered the tiramisu which was heavenly! You know when you’re in a public place and the last thing you try to do is scrape every last bit of your pudding, off your plate? Well, that.

There was a custardy topping that increased its moreish appeal. I know, I know, tiramisu doesn’t have custard. But trust me when I say, this really works!

After dessert, the bf and I didn’t want to leave. The place was getting busier as more people were turning up for the club. So we decided to order another bottle of wine and stay longer. And after some time later and another empty bottle, it was time to stretch our legs and head to the bar.

Official Press Photo

As we paid the food bill and stood up, we headed around the corner to find that the bar was already quite packed out. Leaving the restaurant vibe and stepping into a bar, without having to leave the building was pretty awesome – especially as you felt like you’d walked into somewhere new.

In the meantime, the table cloths and cutlery were being taken away as diners finished their meals. And as we continued our circular tour of the venue, past the booths and onto the dance floor, it was time to burn off the yummy pudding until the early hours of the morning.

Am so going back! x

Barbarella’s website.

Lobsters seem to be quite fashionable at the moment and there are plenty of good set menu deals around, with accompanying sides of fries and salad on offer or fries and a cocktail as another bargain option.

Last night I visited 86 bar and restaurant to try their Lobster Tuesday and whilst this relatively new night may seem like it’s jumping in on the trend, what I had discovered was a focus on good solid ingredients. No rush customers in and out but more let’s sit back and really enjoy this.

Lobster Tuesday’s menu consists of three options: £20 for Lobster & Chips; £20 for Steak & Chips; or £30 for Surf ‘N’ Turf. There is also a reasonably priced starter on the menu as well as a couple of dessert choices.

So the bf and I started off with the charcuterie board whilst we sipped our cocktails.

On Lobster Tuesday, there is also a two for one cocktail menu which means the night can continue flowing after the meal has finished.

I had the Grey Goose Le Fizz.

Whilst the bf had the rum based Dark and Stormy.

For mains, I picked the Lobster dish: a whole lobster and with two wonderfully meaty claws!

And the bf went for the Surf ‘N’ Turf which was quite impressive, especially given the quality of the steak.

The Scotch Sirloin was cooked exactly how the bf had wanted it. I had a taste and it was deliciously succulent.

The chips were also a pleasant surprise because of their seasoning. It was possible to savour each one rather than chow down.

We enjoyed a bottle of Pinot Grigio with our meal and for dessert, we both went for the Espresso Brûlée with an amaretto biscotti.

It had been quite a while since we ate upstairs at 86 and the layout has changed somewhat. There weren’t the tables around the railings like last time so there’s a less cluttered feel, which suits the dining experience very well. And given that I have always loved 86’s Georgian building, I completely welcome Lobster Tuesday into the Chelsea fold.

Like I said, it’s really just a case of sit back and enjoy. x

For more information.

So last night I popped into Burger and Lobster. Well, it’s been officially open for less than a week and I practically rushed down there as soon as I could, in anticipation of next month’s detox (something I’ve never done in my life before).

I’d seen pics from the launch and there has been a bit of a buzz about this place because of its concept. Its simple menu comprises of three choices: lobster, burger or lobster in a bun – all accompanied with fries and a small salad. And the hook? Each meal costs £20.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, after all the location is Mayfair. But at the back of my mind I guess I had the idea that at the start of the evening I was going to be stepping into a canteen styled establishment. But when I actually walked in, all presumptions flew out of the window. This place was smart.

I loved the look of the bar and the leather upholstered high chairs as well as the buzzy yet relaxed atmosphere. From the offset, the staff were very friendly and the service was very impressive. I overheard one guy at the next table remark to his girlfriend on how the service was great: clearly everyone was taking notes.

As for the food? An absolute winner!

I ordered the lobster and asked for it to be grilled:

Before arriving onto the table, the lobsters live in a tank below the restaurant. They’re not farmed. They’re fresh out of the sea as they make their way to Mayfair. As a result, the lobster meat was absolutely heavenly. You don’t have to root around in the claws, pulling out threads of meat at a time. Instead, the entire claw empties out as one fresh piece of meat, so easily that you know there’s no going back after this experience. The lemon and butter sauce was a great accompaniment as well as the fries and salad. (Currently, I’m on a food combining diet which I chose to dismiss last night. There was no way I wasn’t going to try the fries and I’m very glad I did).

The bf had the burger and it was so fabulous to see the smile on his face. He loved it. I tried a bit and the meat was so succulent.

For drinks, I had a glass of Prosecco at the bar followed by a Gin Fizz and the bf ordered a Meantime beer, followed by a Clarges Buck. On the drinks menu there are cocktails designed to accompany either the burger or lobster platter.

So my conclusion? I love this place! I love it for its simplicity; the quality of the food; and the whole dining experience. I heard from a reliable source that the guys from Goodman are behind this new venture and to be honest, I’m not surprised. They’ve knocked it out of the park, yet again!

Burger & Lobster on Urbanspoon

The Big Easy is going to be partying like it’s 1991 when it celebrates its 20th anniversary on 8th November!

In the twenty years since it opened, Big Easy has welcomed Cameron Diaz, Hugh Grant, Katherine Jenkins and Liam Gallagher amongst its 3 million other guests.

And on 8th November, you can dine on a full rack of hand-trimmed, hickory slow-smoked ribs marinated in their world-famous BBQ sauce, for the original opening price of £5.95! (normally £14.90) and sip classic frozen margaritasa for 95p, when you order any main meal. To top it off, every 20th customer through the door will get a 50% discount on a meal for two when they return after the 8th! I’m confident that any veritable Chelsea Girl would have already celebrated something at this Chelsea establishment, so here’s another excuse for a party! 
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