A Weekend in Brussels

For the August bank holiday weekend I hopped on the Eurostar to visit one of my best friends in Brussels.

Cafe du Sablon, BrusselsCafe du Sablon, BrusselsCafe du Sablon, Brussels

I hadn’t been back since I was a kid, and I’d also never been on the Eurostar before, but we nabbed such an excellent deal with Eurostar Snap that we just had to make the most of it.

Cafe du Sablon, Brussels

I love visiting friends in different cities. While we ended up doing the usual touristy stuff (checking out Manneken Pis, going to the European Parliament) we mostly ended up relaxing, and eating at the most amazing places.

The coffee was also excellent, and we had a great night out at Madame Moustache. Some of my highlights included:

La Clan Belges, Brussels

Carbonnade at Les Clan de Belges – a meaty and comforting Belgian stew, served with fries.

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A cappuccino at Cafe du Sablon.

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Window shopping on Rue Haute and the Marolles.

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We spent most of our time there walking around, and seeing a lot of the town – we frequented several chocolateries, and picked up some speculoos as souvenirs from Maison Dandoy.

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It wouldn’t have been a proper trip without sampling a lot of beer – and our favourite place was Delirium Cafe, although it is incredibly touristy.

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The waffles were best off of the street, in a van, and the best mussels we had were at Le Pre Sale.

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It was the most beautiful weekend, and I can’t wait to go back again soon!

Have you been to Brussels? Did you go to any of these places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Namaaste Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago I popped along to Namaaste Kitchen in Camden Town.

Namaaste KitchenNamaaste Kitchen

Camden is somewhere I frequented a lot more when I was younger, and it’s changed quite a bit – it’s pretty touristy. There are still pockets away from the market that still feel a bit more authentic, and Namaaste Kitchen is one of them.

One of my favourite things to do at a restaurant is ask the waiter what they recommend. You can tell a lot about a place that way, and the enthusiasm and excitement that our waiter had over the dishes was infectious – almost everything we ordered was his recommendation.

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The mango and pomegranate salad was so tasty – garlicky, and not overwhelmingly sweet. We opted for a chatpati tokri chaat for our starter – a deliciously crispy potato basket filled with chickpeas, lentils, cucumber, pomegranate and yoghurt, served with green chutney.

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For our mains we ordered a kebab platter (I was in the mood for some lamb chops), but based on the recommendations we received we also went for the Mangalorean Chicken Korri Gassi – chicken curry with notes of tamarind and coconut, heightened by the addition of mustard seeds. It was creamy, rich, flavourful – everything you want in a curry, without being overwhelmingly hot or spicy.

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I don’t usually go for desserts, but I couldn’t resist the pistachio kulfi – and I’m glad I did.

Namaaste KitchenNamaaste Kitchen

I had a great experience at the Namaaste Kitchen, and would definitely recommend it (and the Mangalorean Korri Gassi) if you’re ever in the neighbourhood!

Have you been to Namaaste Kitchen? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall

I was tempted not to write this one up, as the occasion was a family wedding (and what better way to celebrate) but the food was just so good I couldn’t help myself.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall is in beautiful Derbyshire, a part of the country I hadn’t really been to before. Our meal there was the cherry on top for the most beautiful weekend – the rest of the time we spent exploring, and doing a bit of wild swimming (just outside Chatsworth House, I highly recommend it).

Anywhere that Jay Rayner describes as “being buried inside Laura Ashley’s coffin“, while also getting his seal of approval is definitely worth a visit. We celebrated the nuptials of some of my favourite people with a seven course tasting menu in a grade 2 listed manor house in the peak district.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Our first course was a melon gazpacho with lime leaf and lemongrass – topped with the most beautiful and delicate egg-white foam.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The combination of flavours and textures in the next dish really reminded me of my childhood in Japan, mostly with the salty flavours and the crunch of seaweed and tempura batter. The Norfolk quail was complemented with a mirin jelly and toasted seeds, and the buttery flesh worked incredibly well inside its light and crispy shell.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

While perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of all the dishes, the next course was probably the weakest in my opinion. The Cornish crab and tomato were incredible, but the Stanage cheese ice cream was a bit bland – the cold temperature made the rest of the dish seem tepid.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The next course was exquisite – the pan-fried cod with a lentil and herb puree, served with an onion bhaji was probably one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. The cod was fresh and firm, and the puree combined with the crisp and light bhaji was unreal.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The final savoury course was a classic, and done to perfection. The shorthorn beef with onion puree was everything you’d ever want in a good beef dish – and also looked almost too good to eat.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

I’m always a terrible judge of desserts, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the peach melba tasted just like summer.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The thing I love about weddings is that generations just come together. By the time I reached my dessert course (we did a lot of swapping around, so everyone would get the chance to chat) I was sat next to someone who was able to tell me the origin of the peach melba. It’s actually invented in 1892, and named after a soprano – and has now given me a new life goal to attain to. Getting a dessert named after me, and not singing, as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to come to karaoke with me can tell you.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The second and final dessert was a pistachio cake, which was served with a strawberry tea and a toasted marshmallow. Despite being a big fan of the Great British Bake Off, I’m not actually that into cake, but I really enjoyed the marshmallow. I will be holding all other marshmallows to this unattainable standard moving forwards.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall was perhaps the most beautiful meal I’ve had this year, for more reasons than one – but the food was undeniably spectacular. They also apparently have beautiful rooms, too, so if you’re lucky enough to nab one you can live the dream and just roll upstairs afterwards.

 

Have you been to Fischer’s at Baslow Hall? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Wilderness

Earlier this month I went to Wilderness Festival – my first proper English festival (camping and all).

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It was definitely one of the highlights of the summer. Whether it’s the incredible food, the amazing atmosphere and activities (Ottolenghi’s talk, the cricket and the hilarious barn-dancing were particular highlights), every detail was meticulously done and I loved every minute of it.

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Like with any UK festival you have to resign yourself to getting a little wet – and there is so much on offer that you’ll most definitely go over your budget, but you’ll meet some incredible people and have an absolute blast.

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Some of my favourite food stands were festival favourites Anna Mae’s and Stakehaus – I went to those in particular multiple times over the course of the festival.

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I also really liked that they sent through a list of each night’s costume themes in advance – seeing the amount of effort people went into was absolutely glorious.

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Until next year, Wilderness!

Have you ever been to Wilderness Festival? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

Barbecoa, St. Paul’s

I like to think I’m a pretty organised person. If I was really on it, though, I would’ve combined a visit to the Cathedral Lates with a meal at Barbecoa by St. Paul’s.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

Barbecoa is another feather in Jamie Oliver’s cap – a steakhouse, focusing on slowcooked and dry aged meat. The kitchen at the St. Paul’s Barbecoa has a Robata grill and a Texas pit smoker, too.

It’s worth going for the view alone – I had no idea you could get such an incredible view of St. Paul’s Cathedral while tucking into a delicious steak.

Barbecoa, St. Pauls

Barbecoa was full of surprises – like the fact that they have the largest collection of whiskeys in London, tucked away in a little room.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

We started off with the duck croquettes, which were so good it was the first thing my friend texted me about the following morning. Perfectly crisp on the outside, they practically melted in your mouth – and the plum ketchup was tart without being bitter. Absolute perfection.

Barbecoa, St. Pauls

Given that we were both planning to tuck into some steaks and sides we split a starter, and went for the sticky creole ribs.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

Unless they’re from the Rusty Keyhole in Kampot, I’m not the biggest fan of ribs, but I did enjoy these – the apple and kohlrabi slaw in particular.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

My dinner date opted for the sirloin with wood-grilled tomatoes, marjoram and capezzana. I went for the fillet, served with bone marrow, smoked bearnaise and a herb salad.

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I much preferred my accompaniments, but I wish I had substituted the fillet for the sirloin. The bone marrow was deliciously buttery, and I also asked for a wild mushroom gravy to go with the dish, too.

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Having said that, I really enjoyed my dish – the steak was cooked beautifully, the fries were crispy and the wine (a 2015 Crystallum Pinot Noir) was delicious. We popped in on a Wednesday, where we managed to get 30% off of the wine, so it’s worth looking into if you do decide to go.

Barbecoa, St. Pauls

By the time we managed to battle our way through the steaks we were far too stuffed for dessert, so made the most of the view before having another little explore of the venue. The staff were really helpful, friendly and knowledgeable about all of the whiskeys, and they had some that were a hundred years old!

Barbecoa, St. Pauls

All in all I was pleasantly surprised and had a wonderful time at Barbecoa, and would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area – be sure to pop in to the cathedral first!

Have you been to Barbecoa? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram