Here are my gluten-free restaurant reviews – mostly in London, but anywhere that I find absolutely delicious. Any meals that have been comp’ed have been specified – and I always give my honest opinion – there’s nothing worse than a shoddy meal!

A Day in Hanoi

Happy new year! 2017 was so incredible, and I can’t wait for what 2018 brings.

One of the things I’ve realised is that I really enjoy exploring places on my own, something I didn’t realise until I went on my trip to Mexico City last February. Being able to set your own pace is really nice, and I find you end up getting to know a place in a different way when you go alone. So when I was given the option to spend a day in Hanoi before meeting up with everyone else in Hoi An, I jumped at the opportunity.

24 Hours in Hanoi

I booked my flight through Vietnam Airlines, arriving at 7.00 am or so on a Friday. My flight to Da Nang was scheduled for 11 am the following day, giving me around 24 hours in total to explore. While I wanted to make the most of my layover in Hanoi, I didn’t want to add too much pressure, and I had such a great day.

I ended up booking a cheap room near Hoam Kiem, the Old Quarter near the lake. I’m glad I did, as there was so much to see and do – and after checking in and having a shower, I started off my day walking round the lake after picking up an egg coffee.

24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi

The combination that makes up egg coffee was unlike anything I’ve tried before. It’s basically like someone dumped an egg custard (egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, cocoa powder) in a coffee, drank it anyway, and started a trend. While it was far too sweet for my taste, I’m really glad I tried it, and definitely see the appeal – it’s incredibly rich, sweet and creamy. If you’re into eggnog lattes, I’d definitely give it a go!

I was in too much of a jetlagged stupor to remember where exactly I picked up my Hanoi egg coffee fix, but I’ve heard great things about Cafe Pho Co.

24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi

While I was aimlessly wandering around I came across a shop that had the most beautiful ceramics – I found it incredibly hard to leave (I ended up buying several pieces). I came away with several beautiful pieces, and all so reasonably priced (around £3-£7 mark for most items I bought). The Authentic Battrang Ceramic Shop (62 Hang Hom) is definitely worth a look if you’re in the area – just make sure you clear out enough space in your bag.

24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi

At this point I’d killed a few hours just aimlessly wandering and exploring, and so I made my way to make it in time for my only appointment for the day – a cooking class at Madam Yen’s.

It was just around the corner from my hotel, and when popped in to see if I could book onto their 2pm class a couple of hours before. I’m so glad I did! I love exploring markets in other countries, but am always so curious about ingredients, so being able to get the answers to my questions was something I really appreciated.

After the market tour, the other students and I headed back to the restaurant for our class – it was a small one, just the three of us, but a lovely way to pass a few hours.

24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi24 Hours in Hanoi

At the end of it, I came out with a delicious meal – spring rolls, banana blossom salad, and pork bun cha. According to the chef, they are also able to cater for vegetarians, too! The experience set me back $45, which I thought was great value given the quality of the lesson (we were given recipes to take away), and the length of the food tour.

24 Hours in Hanoi

After my delicious meal I ended up heading back to my hotel to get a proper nights sleep. If I had longer in Hanoi, I would have also checked out the Green Tangerine (which came highly recommended by several people with excellent taste), Sentosa, and a Taste of Hanoi food tour.

Have you ever been to Hanoi? What did you get up to? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Galvin La Chapelle

I really love street food, and casual dining at lunchtime – it’s where I feel most at home.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

But, just occasionally, it’s nice to go somewhere a bit special for lunch. So when the lovely Kirsty invited me to go for lunch at Galvin La Chapelle, I was really excited. First of all, it’s in a beautiful building, and has some great credentials, having won ‘Best French Restaurant’ at the Bookatable awards this year.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

Spitalfields is a funny area for lunch – you either have to go pretty casual (street food) or go for a chain, so I was really excited to check La Chapelle out.

What really stood out for me was the attention to detail when it came to service. Kirsty had rung ahead, and said we only had an hour for lunch – something they brought up as soon as we sat down. It was such a small thing, but really made an impact, especially as we were on a tight schedule with client meetings shortly after.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

I opted for the heritage tomato salad for a starter, which came with a slice of prosciutto, while Kirsty went for the rabbit terrine.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

(As an aside, I absolutely love going to restaurants with other food bloggers, who never mind you taking photos of their meal!)

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

For my main course, I went for the trout with gnocchi, which was cooked perfectly. Crispy and salty skin, while the flesh was still juicy in the most beautiful sauce.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

They’re really into their gnocchi at La Chapelle, as Kirsty opted for the chicken, which was also served with gnocchi.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

The whole experience was just seamless – everything was timed so well, and we were able to enjoy our meal comfortably, without feeling rushed.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

I really enjoyed my lunch at La Chapelle, and would definitely recommend it as a great place to take clients – especially ones you want to impress.

Have you been to La Chapelle? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

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.

Mannekinpis, BrusselsBrusselsBrusselsElisabeth, Brussels

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.

DSC09785DSC09792Delirium Bar, BrusselsDelirium Bar, BrusselsDelirium Bar, BrusselsDelirium Bar, Brussels

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

Waffles, BrusselsBrusselsBrusselsPre Sale, BrusselsPre Sale, Brussels

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

 

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

 

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.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

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.

Barbecoa, St. PaulsBarbecoa, St. Pauls

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