20 August 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Livelifelovecake


A little sugar makes life that much sweeter

  1. Published : Monday, 18th August 2014

    Laughing Gravy | The Laughing Gravy, Southwark, London

    My husband Geoff and I were looking for somewhere near to our hotel in Southwark, London to eat at on a Friday evening, the day before our wedding anniversary. What I should have done was looked at Helen’s blog post of where to eat in London. How stupid of me, it had places for brunch too which I could have done with for the following day. However, we were lucky to find The Laughing Gravy on TripAdvisor and as it was just around the corner from our hotel, it was ideal. Geoff and I were in London for the weekend as I was taking part in the Prudential Ride London – Surrey 100 cycle ride. We both did this event last year in excellent weather. This year was totally different, the rain was biblical! But, I enjoyed it immensely, even though I had two punctures along the way. Back to the review – oops. Well, firstly I’d like to apologise for the photos in the post. I didn’t take my camera to London so had to rely on the iPad, which doesn’t seem to take good photos in dim lighting. So, with excuses out of the way I shall get on with this review...

  2. Published : Monday, 7th July 2014

    Restaurant 69 | Restaurant 69, Southsea

    My husband Geoff and I passed Restaurant 69 in Southsea back in May on a wonderfully hot sunny Sunday and heard music coming from the front of the restaurant. The music’s not normally our kind of thing, sort of 20′s ragtime/jazz perhaps, I’ve no idea what it’s called for sure but it sounded pretty good. The trio are called the FB Pocket Orchestra all playing banjo’s/trumpety kind of things, even a washboard. We had just eaten in Capers at the other end of the precinct and were heading towards the seafront to walk it off. We decided that if the orchestra was still there on our return then we would pop in for a drink. They were, so we did. It was a great atmosphere, people were walking past, stopping to look and listen with some even dancing. I looked online to see where they would be so we could visit them again. It turned out that they would be there the following month near to Geoff’s birthday...

  3. The Noah’s Ark Inn is situated on the edge of Lurgashall’s village/cricket green which has lovely cottages surrounding it. The Church of St. Lawrence is very close to the pub and is small with old and dark yew trees in the churchyard. It’s worth a look and to walk through the churchyard, carry on through to the road, turn right past a very nice cottage and you end up back at the village green. The Noah’s Ark Inn has two outside seating areas with picnic tables, one at the front and one in the walled garden to keep the children from escaping. Inside is delightful with parquet flooring...

  4. Published : Monday, 10th March 2014

    Las Iguanas - Gunwharf Quays | Las Iguanas

    I love Las Iguanas. It’s a favourite with our family and we’ve been going for several years, the first being the branch at Royal Festival Hall in London, not long after they’d just opened up I imagine. We were really impressed with the whole experience, the food and the Latin-American music in the background which gives it a great atmosphere. The staff are all very friendly too and if ever you have a problem they are very good at customer service, that’s with all their restaurants, not just this particular London one...

  5. Published : Monday, 13th January 2014

    Amelie and Friends | Amelie & Friends

    I’ve been to Amelie & Friends in North Street, Chichester several times over the last couple of years or more since they’ve opened. Sometimes just for a cake and a coffee, sometimes lunch and more recently for an evening meal with my sister in November. In fact, we enjoyed it so much we returned in late December along with our husbands. I loved what I’d had the previous month and as I’m a creature of comfort I ordered the same apart from the dessert. As a pre-starter we all shared the bread basket filled with a couple of different kinds of fresh bread/rolls and also the pork scratching – very naughty but very nice. The scratchings were excellent. Crispy and lots of them...

  6. Published : Wednesday, 8th January 2014

    Polpo | Chats and Nibbles at Polpo, Soho

    When my friend KK needed someone to speak to and no one else was available, I offered my ear even though I wasn’t feeling at all well suffering from a mild chest infection. A quick dinner wouldn’t hurt I thought and may even leave me feeling slightly better. In appreciation, KK agreed to go to tapas-style Italian, Polpo, even though she hates sharing. There are a few Polpo restaurants in London with this one being in Soho. We arrived early as you cannot book and the place is hugely popular, luckily we were shown to a table straight away. The room was dimly lit and packed full of couples and groups of friends, I really liked the vibe but it was impossible to take quality photos due to the low light so a pain for bloggers like me (I hope the new camera I got for Christmas means I will no longer have this problem!)...

  7. Published : Sunday, 17th November 2013

    Bistro Union | Brunch at Bistro Union

    Bistro Union is a small bistro serving classic British food from morning to evening where the bar comes to life with local residents. Situated in Abbeville Road, a nice area, the bistro screams ‘yummy mummy’ and is the type of place I can see myself having coffee every morning, catching up with other ladies of leisure (I wish!). On this occassion the place was full of families and groups of friends of the slightly older generation...

  8. Published : Wednesday, 13th November 2013

    The Dairy | The Dairy, Clapham

    On a Friday afternoon I headed to London to visit Helen and we were meeting at The Dairy, Clapham for 6.30pm. I found my way fairly easily, on time and also found somewhere to park for free – result. The Dairy is situated in Clapham Old Town and whether it used to be a dairy many, many years ago I have no idea as I can’t find anything online about it’s history. No matter, but if there is history on a place I think it’s nice to know. The restaurant was quite dimly lit – so I’m afraid the quality of our photos are not great – and had a nice cosy feeling. We were warmly welcomed by a friendly waiter and shown to our table. He took time to explain to us that people usually order 3 – 4 dishes each and share. I normally hate to share my food whereas Helen loves to try other people’s dishes and then usually ends up wanting theirs as it’s better than what she ordered. I had to be brave and embrace the situation. The menu was split up into different parts with ‘sky’ obviously being bird/poultry, ‘garden’ being vegetables and ‘land’ and ‘sea’ – I won’t bother explaining those. We did find it hard to make a decision as most of it sounded great...

  9. Published : Monday, 11th November 2013

    Flesh and Buns | Dining with a difference at Flesh & Buns

    After enjoying a simply delicious crispy pollock-filled hirata bun from YumBun last week, it’s safe to say I’ve been lured into the one of the biggest food trends to have appeared in London this year. Steam hirata buns continue to boom and are increasingly making an appearance on menus at restaurants such as Flesh & Buns. I’d heard lots about Flesh & Buns as a trendy, fun place to dine with equally as enjoyable food, so I booked us girls in for dinner one weekday evening. After a slight misunderstanding with our booking (the waitress had no knowledge of squaremeal.co.uk which we used to book) we were found a table and ordered some small but tasty cocktails. I also ordered chips n’ dips while I was waiting for the others to arrive. I loved the poppadom-like style of the chips and the avocado dip was pretty tasty too...

  10. Published : Monday, 28th October 2013

    Lima | Lima, London

    In my eyes, food should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, in adequate amounts and enough to leave you feeling satisfied yet not overly full. It must look good and taste good with style and substance playing equal roles. I was instantly drawn to Peruvian restaurant Lima when it opened its doors in June last year, after seeing beautifully looking photos circulating online. The reviews that followed were just as stunning as the photographs and when they were awarded with their very first Michelin star I knew I just had to visit. There was just one issue, finding someone like me who prefers the small pretty portions offered by Lima over a massive burger and chips. This certainly isn’t Sam, but I felt a need to open his eyes to the world of fine dining, so I offered to foot the bill in return for his company...

  11. Published : Monday, 7th October 2013

    Coal Vaults | Coal Vaults

    I shall warn you now that the restaurant review you’re about to read contains nothing sweet! Yes, that’s right; I left a restaurant without ordering dessert. Technically speaking I did have a cheese board which could be considered a dessert but certainly not in my eyes. I thought I’d write about my trip to Coal Vaults as it’s recently opened and you may like to see what all the fuss is about. The menu consists of small-medium sized plates designed for sharing, which has become something of a trend amongst many restaurants in London such as Grain Store which I had the pleasure of visiting last week. I think it’s a fantastic idea especially for indecisive foodies like me who would order the whole menu if one’s wallet would allow. Coal Vaults is a trendy new bar-come-restaurant hidden away in a basement in the heart of Soho. The interior is incredibly trendy (check out the pennies in the loos!) and is matched by clientele (we were sat next to actor Nicholas Hoult)...

  12. Published : Monday, 30th September 2013

    Grain Store | Grain Store King’s Cross

    Ever since its opening last summer I’ve been itching to visit Grain Store. With a focus on fruit and veg, the menu is right up my street and the pretty photos shared by bloggers across social media has only heightened my appetite. Grain Store is located in the up-and-coming Granary Square a short walk from King’s Cross Station. In recent months the square has become a central hub for events such as the Ice Cream Festival and trendy eateries including Caravan and Shrimpys. When I arrived there appeared to be an unusual new art project which involved clothing garments hanging in trees by the colourful fountains – odd! I turned up a little late due to a hold-up on the rush hour tube but thankfully our table had been saved...

  13. Well, Daylesford Organic Farm is one of those places where you just say ‘wow’! It truly is amazing. My husband Geoff and I were having a mini break in the Cotswolds and before we left Geoff had looked up a few places online for us to visit for lunch and evening meals but didn’t see this place for some unknown reason. A very kind lady we met at Meg Rivers – see our review – told us that if we liked Meg Rivers, which we did, then we should take a look at Daylesford Organic Farm. Well many thanks to that lady if she is reading this...

  14. Published : Wednesday, 18th September 2013

    Lapstone | Meg Rivers Cafe, Cotswolds.

    My husband Geoff and I went away for a few days to the Cotswolds and he found a place online which he thought I may like. And he was right! Meg Rivers is a family-run artisan bakery and is situated in a converted barn on top of Westington Hill on the outskirts of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire surrounded by beautiful countryside and chocolate-box cottages. Meg Rivers café opened in 2010 and forms part of the Lapstone complex, selling upmarket furniture, ladies & menswear, homeware and gifts. There’s a hairdresser and beauty salon on site too. The café menu offers rolls, soups, salads, quiche, Croque-monsieur etc., lots of different teas including one which was Earl Grey with blue cornflower petals – sounds interesting. The tables and chairs and the interior decor had a bright modern look, the colours and cushions used very ‘O..h’.

  15. Published : Wednesday, 4th September 2013

    Gelupo | Gelupo to end our Pizza Pilgrimage

    We made our way to Gelupo, a small gelati parlour hidden down one of Soho’s many back-streets. Upon reflection we could have just stayed at Pizza Pilgrims as they serve Gelupo ice cream as part of their dessert menu but it was nice to walk off all that dough and purchasing a scoop to take away meant we saved a few pennies towards our upcoming trip to Rio. This was my second visit to Gelupo which is possibly the most popular gelati parlour among London foodies, especially those I follow on Twitter...

  16. Published : Wednesday, 26th June 2013

    Bill's Restaurant Chichester | Bill’s, Chichester

    Bill’s is situated in the historic Butter Market, which was designed by John Nash and opened in 1808 as a food and produce market. The restaurant is upstairs and is a sort of ‘horseshoe shape’, bright and fresh looking with dried peppers and other assorted dried items strung around with soft music playing in the background. We were seated by a part of the wall where you could look down at the entrance to the Butter Market with a glass wall and square iron grids with little chandeliers. This sounds odd but it looked fine, it just made it difficult to see who was seated across the other side of the restaurant, namely my friend Linda! We were both seated in different parts of the restaurant both waiting for each other until a kindly waiter put two and two together...

  17. Published : Monday, 24th June 2013

    The Lawn Bakery | The Lawn Bakery, Wimbledon

    Feeling fresh and a little giddy after our breakfast champagne, we headed to Wimbledon Village to The Lawn Bakery where we met fellow blogger Amy. Sam and I had previously visited the busy bakery but were unable to get a seat so we purchased two enormous custard doughnuts to take away. This time, we were lucky enough to get a table after a short wait and sat down for cake and coffee. I ordered another doughnut, this time jam, as I have a tendency to be drawn to the biggest cake on the menu...

  18. Published : Wednesday, 15th May 2013

    No.11 Pimlico Road | No.11 Pimlico Road

    After attending the official launch party on the 18th of March, I was kindly invited back to the latest Pimlico hangout, No.11 Pimlico Road to get a taste of what their menu has to offer. Occupying the former home of the Edbury, No.11 Pimlico Road is an all day bar and restaurant serving a variety of dishes from breakfast to late night nibbles...

  19. Published : Monday, 13th May 2013

    Lamberts | Lambert’s Restaurant

    A couple of Sunday’s ago my husband Geoff and I popped up to London to visit Helen and Sam and enjoy a meal and a catch-up. Helen had named a few places for us to eat at and after looking at them all – they were either too expensive/not open on a Sunday/wouldn’t suit my husband’s tastes/not even in London! – I decided on Lambert’s on Balham High Road. Traditional Sunday roast would be served and you can’t really go wrong with that, something we all enjoy...

  20. Published : Wednesday, 10th April 2013

    Cake Boy | Eric Lanlard Cake Boy

    Situated just back from the river front and underneath Battersea’s trendy new apartments, Cake Boy doesn’t appear to be boutique café showcasing some of London’s most exquisite patisserie, but once inside I was pleasantly surprised by the stylish and warm interior. A long marble counter displaying a vast selection of sweet and savoury pastries ran the length of the café with space either side for seating. At one end of the café is a handful of sofas and chairs whilst the other end plays home to a working kitchen used to host cookery classes and events...

  21. We were invited to the Cumberland Hotel on Hyde Park to a ‘Blogger Outreach Event’ earlier this month for a four-course meal. The meal was to be served in their Brasserie restaurant – one of seven restaurants/bars that the Cumberland Hotel has to offer – which “serves a menu of European classics with a distinctly British twist”. The doorman greeted us and we stepped into a very large spacious and light reception area/lobby which is most impressive containing original modern art. We were to congregate at the restaurant’s bar where we were given champagne and canapés. The canapés were quite large and we wondered if we would have enough room to eat our meal. We had a hot fish soup canapé in a little miniature mug, another was a slice of sausage on a piece of toast topped with chutney and another was a warm beetroot risotto served on a large spoon. There were also some rather delicious nuts on the table which we couldn’t help nibbling...

  22. Published : Friday, 2nd November 2012

    Clos Maggiore | Romance at Clos Maggiore

    A year ago my boyfriend Sam won me over with a box of my favourite Charbonnel et Walker truffles and to celebrate, he took me out for the evening. The venue of our dinner was a surprise and nothing was given away which could lead me to right or wrongly guess. I told my mum how I hoped I would be taken to Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden which has been named the most romantic restaurant in the UK. Mum told me not to be disappointed if we went elsewhere, I mean how often does a man actually listen to you and your rants about that dress in the window or that fancy restaurant? It turns out mine does! That evening Sam took me to the most romantic restaurant in the UK AND he didn’t even book the cheaper set menu – I could have screamed with excitement!...

  23. Published : Monday, 8th October 2012

    Karpo | Breakfast at Karpo

    One Saturday morning I was stopped in my tracks by the cakes in Karpo’s window. I walked back to admire the menu and immediately texted Sam to let him know we were going there for breakfast the following day. We arrived early Sunday morning and sat down underneath the impressive skylight at the back of the restaurant. Surrounding us were impressive walls covered with real luscious plants which are watered through the in-house water system hidden within the complex. Karpo is adjoined to the Megaro Hotel on Euston Road, which looks more like an upmarket hostel from the outside with its quirky multi-coloured exterior. It reminds me of Circus, an amazing hostel I stayed in when in Berlin...

  24. Published : Sunday, 19th August 2012

    Amelie and Friends | Amelie and Friends

    Last Sunday I returned to Amelie and Friends with my parents, after kindly being invited back after a not-so-tasty experience with their coffee. It appears that the supplier of coffee was not the only change they had made. There was no longer a large selection of cakes at the front of the shop and these were now to be ordered direct from the menu...

  25. Published : Sunday, 12th August 2012

    Oddono's | Oddono’s Gelati

    With the likes of Ben’s Cookies, Paul, Gail’s Bakery and Hummingbird Bakery situated nearby, South Kensington is one of my favourite places to go in search of food. Tucked away down a side street, you would never have known Oddono’s existed. The parlour looks nothing special from the outside and I decided I was too full for gelato. Then I spotted the queue, always a good sign, and then the spatulas. When traveling around Italy last year, I learned is that if gelato is served using a scoop as opposed to a spatula, then it’s not real gelato. Everyone knows how I can never say no to good gelato so I quickly joined the queue and made one of the hardest decisions of my life. I decided on Chocolate Hazelnut and Nutella Pandoro...