Cabana Brixton

Last weekend I pretended it was still summer, and headed down to Cabana Brixton with one of my favourite people.

Cabana BrixtonCabana BrixtonCabana BrixtonCabana specialises in Brasilian barbecue during the day, and becomes a lively caipirinha bar at night. Great food and delicious cocktails? I was all over it.

Cabana BrixtonCabana BrixtonCabana BrixtonCabana BrixtonOne of the things I loved most about Cabana was the attention to detail – everything was vibrant, colourful, and fun.

We started off with a couple of cocktails, my favourite being Carlos the Godfather – a mix of gin, elderflower, lemon and lime. It went surprisingly well with our starter, the guaca-molho (guacamole, served with corn tortilla chips) and crispy squid.

Cabana Brixton - Crispy SquidCabana Brixton - Crispy SquidAlthough the guacamole wasn’t as chunky as I like it, it was clearly made fresh, and was really delicious. The squid crispy and light, and I loved the malagueta mayo dipping sauce, too.

Cabana Brixton - Crispy SquidCabana Brixton - Crispy SquidCabana Brixton - GuacamoleCabana Brixton - GuacamoleOne of the things I really liked about Cabana was the commitment to local and Brasilian causes. A lot of the eclectic decor was upcycled and sourced locally from a Brixton charity, the Remakery. The denim seats was also upcycled, sourced by Recicla – a Brasilian charity based in the Rio favelas. The proceeds also help build and run local schools there.

For my main course I went for the Feijoada, which was something I hadn’t tried before. The Feijoada was their version of the Brasilian national dish, a slowcooked mixture of beef, pork, and beans, served with rice. It was served with some interesting sauces and toppings, too – some that were basically crisps.

Cabana Brixton - FeijoadaCabana Brixton - FeijoadaCabana Brixton - FeijoadaMy lovely lunch date went for the chicken malagueta skewers, which were perhaps the more exciting choice – sizzling hot skewers served directly onto your plate are always going to be a little more dazzling than a hot pan of beans!

Cabana Brixton - Spice Malagueta Chicken SkewerCabana Brixton - Spicy Malagueta Chicken with Sweet Potato FriesCabana Brixton - Spicy Malagueta Chicken with Sweet Potato FriesEverything was really tasty, and flavourful, although I do regret not going for the hot version of the Feijoada, as I absolutely love spicy food!

The staff were absolutely lovely, especially as we ended up in there for ages – we ate pretty slowly, and I tend to drink cocktails at a snail’s pace, but I didn’t feel rushed or hurried along during my time there, which was really nice.

Although we were pretty stuffed at this point, I couldn’t resist trying their frozen yoghurt! Unfortunately their peanut butter one, which I was hoping to try wasn’t working, but I had their caramel one topped with desiccated coconut and caramel sauce, which was delicious.

Cabana Brixton - Caramel Frozen Yogurt with Coconut and Caramel SauceCabana Brixton - CoffeeMy friend went for the peanut butter and oreo sundae, which was pretty epic, although absolutely massive – she didn’t quite manage to finish it all after that meat!

Cabana Brixton - Peanut Butter and Oreos SundaeI really enjoyed my time at Cabana Brixton – if you’re in the mood for delicious cocktails and great food in a chilled out atmosphere!

Have you tried any great Brasilian food in London lately? What are some of your favourite places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on  TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

I was invited to Cabana Brixton for a fair and honest review – as always, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog about it!

Cabana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Body Kitchen Supper Club with Tabl

A couple of weeks ago the lovely folks over at Tabl invited me along to the Body Kitchen Supper Club.

If you still haven’t been to a supper club, you need to get yourself down to one, fast. I’ve found they are more often better value, and on the whole a much more enjoyable dining experience than the norm. It’s been a great way to meet some really interesting people, and I’ve had a blast so far!

Body Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comWhile I wouldn’t recommend going to one on a first date, I think it’s actually quite a lovely idea if you haven’t met anyone special yet. Quite a few people go solo, and the Tabl have some really interesting Valentine’s Day events on over the next week!

Body Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comBody Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comI was really intrigued by the Body Kitchen, who claim to specialise in ‘gourmet healthy food’ – meaning no gluten, no additives, and made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Still feeling slightly guilty from my rather indulgent new year, and attempting to maintain a healthier lifestyle in 2016, this sounded right up my street.

Body Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comThe supper club was based in West London, and if you can’t make it down to one, you can also order in from Deliveroo, too – and seemed extremely popular by the number of couriers who wandered past throughout the meal!

The meal started off with a warming butternut squash soup, served with toasted seeds and vegetarian parmesan. It was really delicious, although paled in comparison to the main, which was a real showstopper.

I opted for the blade of highland beef, which had been slowcooked, and was served in rich braising juice with caramelised onions. It was so tender, and barely required cutting or chewing at all – it was so soft. The sides were also really tasty – my favourite was the tenderstem broccoli, served with garlic and toasted almonds, but the sweet potato masala, citrus quinoa and mixed greens with lentils were equally epic. The beef portion was very generous – far too big for me to finish, and I really didn’t want to waste any!

Body Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comBody Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comIf you are a frequent reader, you’ll probably know that I’m not the biggest fan of desserts, but the Body Kitchen’s gluten-free chocolate cake with creme fraiche was something else. It was so rich, and absolutely gorgeous.

Body Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comBody Kitchen Supper Club, Tabl.comI really loved my supper club experience, and would wholeheartedly recommend a meal with the Body Kitchen for delicious and indulgent food without any of the regret. I also enjoyed meeting some lovely new people, so much so that I’m actually going to be starting a supper club myself! I’ll be sharing more information over the coming months, so stay tuned!

Have you ever been to a supper club? What kind of food would you like to try? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

I was invited to the Body Kitchen Supper Club by Tabl for a fair and honest review – if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t recommend it!

 

#TravelexTourist: Sketch Afternoon Tea & Icebar, London

I had been back in London for about a week, and I had the post-holiday blues bad – particularly as I’d managed to get a month off over Christmas and New Year to travel around Cambodia and Japan. So when the Travelex team got in touch to see if I wanted to play tourist in London, I was over the moon – particularly as they’d given me some dosh to spend, too.

#TravelexTouristThis was no ordinary dosh – I got my US dollars loaded onto my fancy new Travelex cash passport – a multi-currency, pre-paid Mastercard that I could top up online, and use like a regular bank card. The best part about it is that I can order different currencies on it, so when I go back to Japan, or on a European adventure, I only have to take one card with me (and not have to worry about mine getting lost or stolen!)

Liberty, #TravelexTourist#TravelexTourist#TravelexTouristSo, Cash Passport in hand, we decided to start the day off doing the most touristy thing we could think of to do in London – afternoon tea.

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristI’ve been desperate to go to Sketch for ages. Not only do they apparently do one of the best gluten-free afternoon teas in London, it’s also the gallery of David Shrigley – one of my favourite artists.

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristI wouldn’t be surprised if this is the most instagrammed room in London – it was absolutely beautiful.

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristThere was so much attention to detail – everything from the menus, to the crockery – even the uniforms for the waitstaff (which I would wear in a heartbeat).

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristAs for cost, it’s a little on the steep side, but for the location, and the wow factor of the venue alone – combined with the sheer amount of food, I do believe it’s worth it. Not something I’d do every day, but definitely worth popping in for a special occasion.

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristYou get a lot of food – unlimited refills of tea, sandwiches, cakes and scones, the latter being the best part of the gluten free menu.

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristSketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristEven the bathrooms were outstanding (to the point where I was slightly concerned that they were toilets at all, instead of part of the artwork).

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristWe didn’t manage to finish our tea completely, but the lovely waitstaff packed the last of our cakes for us, which we got to enjoy later that weekend. I was given a pin with my Cash Passport card, and it worked seamlessly (which is always slightly nerve-wracking with a new card!)

Sketch Afternoon Tea, London, #TravelexTouristWe were so stuffed by the end of it that we were tempted to go home and have a nap. Somehow we managed to roll ourselves out of there and made our way to Covent Garden for a little window shopping, and enjoy some of the uncharacteristically good January weather.

#TravelexTouristPiccadilly Circus, London, #TravelexTouristCovent Garden, London, #TravelexTouristWe slowly walked off our food babies and made our way to Heddon Street for an appointment at the Icebar.

Ice Bar Cocktails, London, #TravelexTouristUnlike Sketch, Icebar is pretty much what it says on the tin – a bar made of ice. Cold, -5°C Swedish ice, to be precise.

Ice Bar Cocktails, London, #TravelexTouristIce Bar, London, #TravelexTouristWe got kitted out in thermal capes and gloves, and were served cocktails served in glasses made entirely of ice – it was awesome.

Ice Bar, London, #TravelexTouristIce Bar Cocktails, London, #TravelexTouristIce Bar Cocktails, London, #TravelexTouristThe walls, the chairs, the bar – everything was ice, and had been carved beautifully. My favourite part was the skull, which had a brain carved into it and everything!

Ice Bar Cocktails, London, #TravelexTouristnFor the price of a ticket, you get given a cocktail and can stay in the room for 45 minutes before you have to leave. Is it gimmicky? Yes, absolutely – but it is really fun, and you do feel surprisingly toasty in your thermal cape.

The entire day made me appreciate the fun and interesting things to do that London has to offer, and definitely helped to keep the January Blues at bay! I can’t thank Travelex enough for the opportunity to play tourist for the day – I had a brillliant time.

Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea? Have you been  to the Icebar before? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

I was given a preloaded Travelex Cash Passport for the purposes of review – all opinions are my own, and I wouldn’t blog about it if I didn’t love the service!

sketch Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pasta Remoli, Finsbury Park

My biggest weakness is probably fresh pasta.

Gluten Free Chickpea Flour Pasta with Pancetta and Creamy Mushrooms, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkGluten Free Chickpea Flour Pasta with Pancetta and Creamy Mushrooms, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkReally delicious fresh pasta has been somewhat out of my reach since I started on a gluten free diet two years ago – I always reckoned I’d have to get myself to Italy to come close.

Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkPasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkPasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkLuckily, I didn’t have to travel quite that far – I didn’t even have to leave north London. I was super excited to see they had a fresh gluten free pasta on the menu, made from chickpea flour, at Pasta Remoli in Finsbury Park.

Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkPasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkFresh Pasta, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkIt’s very conveniently located, right next to the station, so you can’t miss it. It has an incredibly relaxed atmosphere, in a very contemporary setting, which is lovely – and exactly what you want when you are about to gorge yourself on a massive bowl of pasta. Perfect comfort food setting, particularly if you are tucked away at the back!

We made ourselves comfortable, and I ordered the gluten free pasta with a creamy mushroom and pancetta sauce.

Gluten Free Chickpea Flour Pasta with Pancetta and Creamy Mushrooms, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkGluten Free Chickpea Flour Pasta with Pancetta and Creamy Mushrooms, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkI opted for a glass of prosecco, and a tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad on the side – they were incredibly generous with their helping of mozzarella, which I thoroughly appreciated (let’s be honest – it’s always the best part of a Caprese salad).

Pasta and Salad Combo, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkTomato, Buffalo Mozzrella and Rocket Salad, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkTomato, Buffalo Mozzrella and Rocket Salad, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkThe pasta was lovely – an unusual, but enjoyable texture, and the mushroom and pancetta sauce was so delicious.

My sister went for the fresh fusilli with cheese sauce, a simple choice, as she is an incredibly fussy and picky eater.

Fresh Fusilli Pasta with Cheese Sauce, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkFusilli with Cheese Sauce, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkFresh Fusilli Pasta with Cheese Sauce, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkUnlike her older sister, she really isn’t that bothered about food, and has a tiny appetite, and I couldn’t believe it when she was contemplating a second bowl after polishing off her first. High praise indeed!

Americano Coffee with Basil and Wild Berry Pannacotta, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkAmericano Coffee with Basil and Wild Berry Pannacotta, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkWe decided to split the wild berry and basil pannacotta for dessert, even though we were totally stuffed at this point. It was topped with a thin layer of chocolate, and a fruit compote in the bottom of the mug – this was also delicious – creamy and sweet, while the basil gave it a more sophisticated flavour.

WIld Berry and Basil Pannacotta, Pasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkPasta Remoli, Finsbury ParkWe both thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Pasta Remoli, and it is very reasonable for the quality and the amount of food you get! The best part is, you can buy some of the pasta and the sauces separately to take away, meaning that you could always recreate the dish yourself at home!

Many thanks to the team at Pasta Remoli for the awesome service – I’ll definitely be back!

Pasta Remoli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Do you love fresh pasta? Where is your favourite place to go in London? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

I was invited to Pasta Remoli for complimentary meal for a fair and honest review – all opinions my own.

A Weekend in Kamakura

After three glorious weeks in the Cambodian sun, I had to pack up my suitcase and prepare for a completely different climate all together.

Kamakura Hachimangu ShrineI wasn’t really that prepared, to be honest. After a few weeks of the heat I’d completely forgotten that, you know, I’d probably need my coat, prompting a mad dash back to Phnom Penh half a day earlier than I was supposed to from Kep. Oops.

I also would not recommend flying with Vietnam Airlines – almost every single flight I took with them was delayed (by five hours), and the service was not great. I did get a few rather hilarious stories out of the experience, though, so if you’re at all interested I’ll add that to the end of the post!*.

I finally arrived in Haneda Airport in just about one piece about 30 hours after I had left Phnom Penh. My family in Tokyo live in Shinagawa, which is really convenient to get to from Haneda – only half an hour away by train. The first thing I’d do before coming to Japan is getting the JR Pass – it’s a little pricey, but such good value, and you will save so much money once you are there by getting one. You can only get one outside of Japan, so it’s worth doing before you go. A 7-day pass set me back £154, and it was well worth every penny – I got mine here.

I arrived on the 31st of December, and spent about half an hour in Tokyo picking up my boyfriend (who had landed that morning) before I was on another train – this time, to Kamakura.

Kamakura is one of my favourite places in the entire world. It was the de-facto capital of Japan, years and years ago, and is absolutely beautiful. My grandparents would spend their weeks in Tokyo, where my grandfather would work, and almost every weekend they’d come back to Kamakura, which is around an hour away from Tokyo by train.

As far as cities go, it’s a pretty small one, but is full of some of the most amazing architecture in Japan, in my opinion, as well as being surrounded by natural beauty. It’s close to the sea, but there are several forests – and I can even get a great view of Mt. Fuji from my grandparent’s house in the Highlands.

Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, JapanNew Year’s is a massive deal in Japan – it’s kind of like how Christmas is in the UK – very family-orientated, and everything is shut. I was only in Kamakura for three days this trip, unfortunately, and spent it less on getting out there to look for things to blog, but more on spending time with family (sorry). I do think it’s a stunning place to visit, though, and I know it really well, so I just thought I would share some of my favourite places to go, see, and eat!

What to Do

Kamakura is filled with stunning temples – the biggest and most famous being Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, which is a five minute walk from Kamakura Station. I’m slightly biased towards this temple,  as this is the one I always go to to get my blessings (and my grandfather was a temple elder there when he was alive). Built in 1063, it is absolutely breathtaking. At New Year, around 30,000 people will gather to pay their respects, and it was absolutely rammed when I went. Being Japan, of course, it was the most civilised crowd ever, but if you are claustrophobic I strongly suggest not going there on January 1st!

New Year's Day, Kamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanNew Year Plaques, Kamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanKamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanHachimangu is filled with interesting street food vendors, too – so it’s worth checking them out if you’re a fan of street food – Japanese street food is awesome.

Kamakura, Hachimangu ShrineChoco Bananas, Kamakura, JapanChoco Bananas, Kamakura, JapanAnother place I’d strongly recommend is Hokokuji, a beautiful old temple surrounded by a bamboo forest. It was unfortunately closed at new year, so I didn’t make it this time round, but it is one of the most serene places I’ve ever been.

Going to Kotoku-in to see the Daibutsu (giant Buddha) is definitely one to tick off of your bucket list – there are regular buses going straight there from Kamakura station, and is really worth seeing. It’s hard to believe that the buddha was built in 1252 (and you can go inside it, too).

Daibutsu, Kamakura, JapanGiant Buddha, Daibutsu, Kamakura, JapanKamakuraA few honorable mentions, that I didn’t have time for this trip: The beach (in the summer months, of course); Zenarai Benzaiten shrine, where you go to wash your money so you can get rich; taking the Enoden electric railway along the coast for a great view of the sea; the Shakado pass; and the yagura tombs.

Where to Eat

I didn’t go to too many restaurants this time, as I was busy getting osechi ryori (traditional Japanese new year fare) at home. A lot of places were also closed around New Year, so we had to make do with stockpiling amazing fatty tuna sashimi, and doing a lot of cooking for ourselves, too!

Osechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, JapanOsechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, Japan4Osechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, JapanSashimi, Kamakura, JapanKamakura does have some amazing places – and things – to eat. I highly recommend the shops and little izakayas (Japanese pubs) down Komachi-dori, which is just off of your left as you leave Kamakura Station.

They are all pretty great, but that’s where I got this donburi bowl of maguro tuna, natto (fermented soybeans) and raw egg. The way eggs and chickens are reared in Japan is of such a high standard that you can safely eat eggs and chickens raw, unlike the UK. Raw eggs in particular are a big part of Japanese cuisine, and something I miss the most when I’m back in the UK. Natto is an acquired taste. I absolutely love the stuff, and have loads in my freezer, but I’ve yet to meet a non-Japanese person who likes it. If you do, let me know!

Natto, Maguro and Raw Egg Topped Rice, Kamakura, JapanThe absolute best omelette rice IN THE ENTIRE WORLD can be found at Cafe Vivement Dimanche – it’s a must.

If you’re walking along Komachi-dori, it is absolutely imperative that you get ice cream, because I’m under the impression that you can’t get better ice cream anywhere else. Sweet potato ice cream might sound totally crazy, but it is my absolute favourite, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else. You can’t miss it – it’s purple, like sweet potatoes are in Japan – and has the most beautiful, subtle flavour.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanIf the thought of it freaks you out too much, you can always get matcha ice cream from the same place, or go a few doors down and try a black sesame one, too. It’s pretty great.

Black Sesame Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanWhere to Shop

Basically, Komachi-dori is where it’s at in terms of shopping – the Ghibli store is a must (one of the first on your right), and the whole street is full of places selling traditional souvenirs. If you’re looking to take back confectionery, the Hatosabure Kamakura Dove Cookies are really iconic, and worth taking back.

It was so wonderful to go for a visit, and I’d totally recommend Kamakura as a place to check out when you’re in Japan. It’s authentic, without being spoiled by tourism – a stunning place that everyone should go to at least once!

Have you ever been to Japan? What were some of your favourite places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

*The first story was the rather hilarious, but perhaps only to me. On our first 5 hour delayed flight, I asked the much older gentleman who was also delayed coming in to Phnom Penh whether he wanted to email his son, who was meant to be picking him up from the airport. He didn’t have an email address, so I offered to send his son an email from my own address. I had to take a picture of the old man and attach it to the email, to prove I wasn’t an extremely unimaginative prankster, and I felt like someone that has kidnapped someone for ransom. This same old man, by the way, managed to sneak a ONE LITER BOTTLE of shower gel – not only through HEATHROW SECURITY, but also through Hanoi airport, too. It was only when we were going through security in Ho Chi Minh that anyone called him out on the “no liquids over 100mls” thing. Doesn’t fill me with confidence, really.

The second story was just so bizarre I felt as though I was hallucinating throughout. I was upgraded to premium economy on my flight from Hanoi to Tokyo, and was sat next to an old Vietnamese man. I had been reading a book on my iPad, watching movies with my Bose headphones, and using my own neck pillow. Every time I would get up to use the loo (it was a long flight, so this happened quite a few times) the old man would have taken one of the three from my seat, and would be using it. I guess he thought they came with the plane and I was just hogging it all, but it was so funny and really awkward having to get all my belongings back from him every time!