It’s not usual I dine out on my own. It’s been done but not frequently. But the other week when I visited Harrods to review Mango Tree, I had lunch alone and it felt like a real treat.

Of course, the glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé helped a lot and so did the people-watching which I find Knightsbridge so interesting for. Mango Tree, Harrods

But as much as I was enjoying a moment of time out, I realised not long after sitting down that it’s really difficult to keep me quiet. While I waited for my dim sum starter to arrive I found myself talking to the lady on my left. She was a jewellery buyer and as our conversation meandered I realised this was one of the reasons I used to love travelling abroad on my own: you always get to meet interesting people along the way because there are more opportunities to speak to them.

Eventually the dim sum arrived and I suddenly quietened down as I enjoyed tasters from the main menu which included Wagyu beef, prawn with white truffle oil as well as prawn and chives.

Mango Tree, Harrods London

I also had a taste of the fried starters and loved every single one. They included lobster popcorn with spicy mayo (delicious!), duck, sesame prawn spring rolls and mixed mushrooms & vegetable spring rolls. I couldn’t finish everything on the plate especially with the anticipation of my main course so admittedly I took the rest away with me and enjoyed the rest later.

Mango Tree Harrods

By the time my main arrived – a taster of the spicy chicken and …

Mango Tree, Harrods London

… and the succulent and tasty beef massaman, the jewellery buyer to my left was ready to leave. And as we bid each other a good afternoon, I tucked into smaller portions of dishes that were recommended to me on Twitter. I’d been to Mango Tree in Belgravia before and whilst I thought the meal was fine, I preferred this lunch by far. I guess in some cases it’s about knowing what to order and at Mango Tree, these two dishes are winners.

Mango Tree, Harrods London

To top off the good food and great setting, the staff were really helpful and kind. Of course I was there to review and they were looking after me but I also did quite a bit of eavesdropping and noticed how courteous they were to the other customers which made me feel very comfortable being there.

This is definitely a place I’d recommend if you’re looking for a special treat.

Mango Tree, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

I love seeing messages from Emma come up on my phone. They always seem to arrive at the perfect moment and they always make me smile. One of the last messages I’d received was an invitation to Emma and Angie‘s joint birthday lunch at the Michelin-starred Marcus restaurant at The Berkeley. What a great way for two fabulous foodies to celebrate their special days, I couldn’t wait to be there.

Lunch started with an amuse-bouche: foie gras that melted in the mouth. And we all decided to go with the lunch menu with the sommelier’s selection.
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine David Levin, Loire Valley, France 2012 was paired with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the poached sea trout with trottolino pepper and buttermilk.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The next glass that was poured was the Ribeiro Godello, ‘Cepas Velhas’, Godeval, Galicia, Spain 2015, which went very nicely with …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… the salt baked celeriac with hazlenut and truffle, which I absolutely loved.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Next was the cod with sweetcorn and clam …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… followed by the fallow venison with heritage carrot and glazed fig.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Every single dish and wine pairing was spot on. And needless to say so was the company which also included Aftab and Lauren.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Before we moved on to dessert, we swiftly devoured the cheese platters which gave us a taste of everything we could want.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

And eventually we reached the chocolate with clementine and rosemary …

chocolate

… followed by a final taster.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

The dining room was busy when we first arrived and by the time we had finished we were the last table left. Still it felt too soon to head home so instead, we popped into The Berkeley’s Blue Bar for one more drink. I had a glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé while I also had my eye on …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… Emma’s toffee martini …

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

… and reminisced at the sight Aftab’s Porn Star Martini which used to be my cocktail of choice at one point.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

I absolutely love those lunches that can go on for hours and into the evening. Something that’s so easy to do when you’re with these guys. One of my favourite moments during our meal was one of our many toasts – when we raised our glasses to ‘blogging friends’ and then unanimously decided to toast ‘to friends’. Such a special afternoon.

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley

Marcus, The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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