I started this blog for purely personal reasons and because I had an idea for a story based in Chelsea. I decided to follow that classic piece of advice, ‘write what you know’ and let it lead me into the blogosphere. What I hadn’t expected when I started clicking on ‘publish’ was that I would meet so many fantastic people on my journey and make some dear friends too.

One of them is Catherine from Lux Life blog. Catherine was one of the very first bloggers who I met when I started King’s Road Rocks. It was in the days before Little Man so there were plenty of bar reviews and bumping into each other in basement nightclubs. And over the years as the London food and drinks scene evolved, one thing stayed the same: Catherine’s love for Australia where she spent some time growing up. So it was of very little surprise to hear Catherine announce she was moving to Perth this year.

To raise a glass to Catherine’s exciting new chapter, Angie, Emma and I met with the lady herself at Coya. It was my first time at this Peruvian restaurant in Mayfair and I absolutely loved it. The food was great – Emma’s cherry dessert was the highlight as well as the plum sake – the atmosphere was lively and it was a great place to see Catherine off – on a high note. And from Catherine’s Instagram, you can see she’s having the time of her life!

Here are a few snapshots from the evening …
Coya, London

Coya, London

Coya, London

Coya, London

Coya, London

Coya, London

Coya, London

… I’d definitely recommend giving Coya a try.

Coya, 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW.

A few weeks ago I experienced a very special meal at Kazan. It was more than just about the wonderful Turkish food and the place I’ve been going to for years since it opened. This was an evening where some of my past and present met.

It all happened out of chance – as Emma describes, “It began with a simple Tweet.” Emma was looking for a Turkish restaurant to visit; I mentioned a place that one of my best friends owns with his brother; I knew Angie was a fan too; and we invited Aftab to join us.

We met mid-week and it was pretty clear we all had a lot going on. But I guess that’s the great thing about hanging out with friends you adore. You can start the night feeling quite tired but by the end of dinner you feel refreshed and inspired. That’s pretty much how this evening went.
Kazan, Wilton Road

Our meal started with a glass of Prosecco …

Kazan, Wilton Road

… and mixed platters of mezze that gave us a broad taste of what Kazan has to offer. From baba ganoush to tabbouleh, falafel and prawns plus much much more.Kazan, Wilton Road

After what already felt like a feast I ordered my favourite marinated prawns and monk fish kebabs, which were served with bulgar and salad.

Kazan, Wilton Road

Of course, sitting next to Emma I always get food envy. Emma ordered the Hunkar Begendi – gently stewed spiced lamb, presented on a bed of garlic mash potato, which I am definitely going to try next time.

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And looking around at what Angie ordered – The Sultan’s Chicken Shish – …

Kazan, Wilton Road

… and at what Aftab had ordered – Adana Kofte – fiery red chillies blended with minced lamb char grilled and served with salad and chunky fries (or rice) – I realised that there will always be something here that I will want to try.

Kazan, Wilton Road

And as if we hadn’t indulged enough, I couldn’t help ordering the Turkish Syllabub for dessert. Raspberries soaked in a cherry brandy and served with Cointreau and orange blossom syllabub; topped with pistachio shavings, this pudding epitomised my idea of Ottoman indulgence.

Kazan, Wilton Road

Perhaps it was a little too much to order but it was really worth trying – and I really enjoyed it.

The beauty of Kazan is in the fine details of this place. Whether it’s in the design of the restaurant or the gorgeous Turkish delights that ended the evening, what I love about Kazan is that it’s a great place to hang out and the food always delivers.

Kazan, Wilton Road

Thank you Billy for such a great evening! x

Kazan Restaurant, 93-94 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DW.

When I think about Harrods and food, the Food Hall on the ground floor and The Georgian on the fourth floor are what spring to mind initially. But there is more to the Harrods dining experience if you look closer.

On the fifth floor there is Chai Wu, a restaurant that has been inspired by the five elements in Chinese philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal and water, which I was invited to review.Chai Wu, Harrods

Lunch started with a glass of Champagne and was followed soon after by …

Chai Wu at Harrods

… Wagyu puffs amuse-bouche, which set the note for a promising meal ahead. It went without saying that the third puff would have to be shared.

Chai Wu at Harrods

Everything we tried from the sashimi platter …

Chai Wu at Harrods

… to the sushi was enjoyed thoroughly.

Chai Wu at Harrods

But it was the Chilean sea bass with champagne and honey that piqued my tastebuds the most. The delicate flavours that came with my favourite fish was an absolute pleasure.

Chai Wu at Harrods

And of course with the right glass of wine, I had ended up wishing that this was dinner rather than lunch so I could sit back and not have to think about going anywhere so soon.

Chai Wu at Harrods

The OH ordered the Beijing duck which served two courses. The first involved fresh pancakes with cucumber, spring onions & hoi sin sauce and mantou buns with pickled radish, cucumber & plum sauce. The mantou buns were the perfect way to enjoy the Beijing duck. I’m not sure I could go back to pancakes after this experience.

The rest of the duck went into the second course which was a choice between minced duck with lettuce wrap or duck fried rice. The OH chose the latter for his second duck course, which he took away with him after being left so satisfied by his first course.

Chai Wu at Harrods

Finally, we were treated to a selection of chocolate and green tea desserts. I don’t know how I managed to tear myself away from here to carry on with my day but I finally did. And not before a farewell to the kind and friendly staff who made us feel very welcome.

Chai Wu at Harrods

If you’re looking to escape the crowds in Harrods, Chai Wu feels like a sanctuary. It’s definitely somewhere you can escape to while enjoying the great pan-Asian flavours from the menu.

Chai Wu, Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL.

A short while ago I revisited The Bloomsbury, a hotel which I used to consider to be one of the greatest hidden gems in the heart of London. The reason for my return was to visit The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’ve always been a huge fan of this bar where I have tried some of the best cocktails in London.

Thing is, this place isn’t much of a secret now especially after its revamp – and I for one am very pleased.

We started the evening  inside, perched on stools, where we tried cocktails such as: The Roger Fry; Vanessa Bell; Duncan Grant; Desmond McCarthy; Lytton Strachey; and of course Virginia Woolf. As the various concoctions flowed, so did the stories. And each drink was as distinctive as the next. Conversations with the mixologists are definitely something I’d recommend here. You’ll be enraptured by what you hear.

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury HotelThe Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

After, we moved outside onto the terrace where the fairy lights sparkled and it felt like we were ensconced in our own private cocktail world. Here we heard more stories that inspired the other cocktails we tried: The Clive Bell; E.M Forster; John Maynard Keynes; Leonard Woolf, and still we were all enthralled while our tastebuds enjoyed a literary adventure of a lifetime.

Here is the full menu to give you the fuller flavours of The Bloomsbury Club Bar’s fantastic range of cocktails.

mixing

The Bloomsbury Club, Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel

The whole experience was wonderful as I would have expected. And all I can say is if you are in the West End looking for a bar that serves great cocktails and has a special atmosphere then I have no hesitation in recommending The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I’m just so pleased their secret is finally out and I’m so sure the Bloomsbury set would have had a most fabulous time here.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN.

Last night I watched Justin Krook’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. I happened upon it by accident as is the beauty of Netflix.

On the heels of The Get Down which I binged watched over the weekend from Friday, I was looking for something with either music or a love story at the heart of it. I wasn’t fussed what it was going to be. I just wanted something in the background as I made notes on the novel I’m writing. So when this documentary on the superstar DJ and music producer Steve Aoki started, I really didn’t know what I was in for.

You see, I’m stuck in a time warp. My book is inspired by the ’90s club scene and if there was anything I was getting excited about it was Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down: New York in the 70s and the history of hip hop with the legendary Grandmaster Flash thrown in? Yes, please!

But LA in the early 2000s, that wasn’t my scene so when watching I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead it was great to discover the world that Steve Aoki was responsible for through his label’s club nights: Dim Mak Tuesdays and Banana Split. And with the likes of Pete Tong, Diplo and will.i.am adorning Aoki with their respect, it’s difficult not to admire Aoki’s work ethic that makes you wonder if he is going to burn out anytime soon. It’s been 10 years and he still hasn’t.

Krook’s documentary doesn’t just follow Aoki around the world to parties in awe-inspiring places. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead also tells the story of Aoki’s background that was heavily influenced by his absent father, Rocky Aoki – the founder of the worldwide restaurant chain Benihana which can also be found on the King’s Road.

Whilst the documentary flagged up that I still haven’t visited Benihana, it also showed a man driven to prove his worth to his father. Rocky Aoki was a larger than life character; he was an adrenaline junkie and it’s not difficult to see that his son has a similar way of living.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is a good documentary to watch if you love music; you don’t have to particularly like Aoki’s music but you can’t ignore his influence on the club scene over the years. It’s also a great watch because it shows us what you can achieve if you’re hungry enough to make your dream come true.

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