Dinner with D&T: The Parlour, Canary Wharf

Last weekend, M's brother, D and his wife, T came to visit our new flat & stay for the weekend. When we asked D&T what they'd like to do, their only request was to see where we live and wander around the area, with that in mind I found & booked The Parlour in Canary Wharf for dinner on Saturday night.

The Parlour is in Canada Square, with a view of the famous Number 1 building, it has a large inside space with folding back doors to the outdoor seating. We were booked in for 7.30pm and found there to be plenty of space for us to sit either indoors or outdoors, we opted for the latter.

Inside, the kitchen is open, which M & I love, it's great to see the chefs, somehow, you have more trust in what they're doing when you can see them!

The decor of the restaurant.

The decor of the restaurant.

The Parlour has a number of sister restaurants across London including The Folly, The Fable and The Happenstance, that I've been to before.

T's smoked salmon starter

T's smoked salmon starter

There's a large menu to choose from and, for any food allergy suffers like me, they have a comprehensive allergy book to double check from too. 

D's satay chicken starter

D's satay chicken starter

For starters we opted for, smoked salmon (£6.95), satay chicken (£6.50), poached egg and asparagus (£6.75) and scotch egg with piccalilli (£5.00). 

M's poached egg & asparagus starter

M's poached egg & asparagus starter

We thoroughly enjoyed all of these, leaving empty plates all round, except for T, the sourdough with the salmon defeated her.

My scotch egg starter

My scotch egg starter

For mains we opted for 3 x club sandwiches (£8.95) and the steak, I can't actually remember which D ordered but they range between (£15.95 & £24.95).

My 'skinny' club sandwich (without the bread)

My 'skinny' club sandwich (without the bread)

T's proper club sandwich

T's proper club sandwich

D's steak with peppercorn sauce

D's steak with peppercorn sauce

M's proper club sandwich with sweet potato fries

M's proper club sandwich with sweet potato fries

It was incredibly good value for money with huge portions for each course. We would all recommend it, and would certainly go back. It was so easy to get to, just a short walk from where M & I live, and it's 2 minutes from Canary Wharf tube & DLR stations. Thanks again to The Parlour for such great service and brilliant food.

Snapshots - Mayfair to Greenwich

It's been a busy week this week, but a very exciting one. M & I finally got to see the inside of our new home, we'll be moving at the end of the month, so not long now! My Mama came to visit on Saturday and we had a lovely girls day wandering through central London, stopping for lunch at Fortnum & Mason's and popping to a matinee. Finally, on Sunday, M got up early to travel abroad for work so I took myself on an adventure from Greenwich to Mayfair, starting by picking up some dairy free treats in Greenwich Market, heading up stream on the Clipper to central London and meeting Robina for dim sum lunch. 

I hope you had a wonderful week too!

The view from our new home :D

The view from our new home :D

Beautiful sunset in Plaistow

Beautiful sunset in Plaistow

My new favourite summer treat -  Mint Choc Chip Cooler from Costa (with soya milk and no cream = dairy free!)

My new favourite summer treat -  Mint Choc Chip Cooler from Costa (with soya milk and no cream = dairy free!)

Gorgeous balconies in Soho

Gorgeous balconies in Soho

Looking up on Conduit Street

Looking up on Conduit Street

Leafy Berkeley Square

Leafy Berkeley Square

Fortnums Lunch with my Mama

Fortnums Lunch with my Mama

Canary Wharf Tube Station

Canary Wharf Tube Station

Ruby's of London Vegan cakes in Greenwich Market - Dairy Free!

Ruby's of London Vegan cakes in Greenwich Market - Dairy Free!

The Greenwich Naval College

The Greenwich Naval College

Vegan Marbled Doughnut (tasted incredible! Demolished on the banks of the Thames)

Vegan Marbled Doughnut (tasted incredible! Demolished on the banks of the Thames)

Canary Wharf from the Thames

Canary Wharf from the Thames

The City from the Thames

The City from the Thames

London Bridge from the river

London Bridge from the river

The Shard from the river

The Shard from the river

Vintage cars in Trafalgar Square

Vintage cars in Trafalgar Square

More Vintage Cars in Trafalgar Square

More Vintage Cars in Trafalgar Square

Leafy Hanover Square

Leafy Hanover Square

Inspirational coffee shop

Inspirational coffee shop

Snapshots: Derby - London Edition

A lot has happened over the last few weeks. There's been a few lovely catch ups and D&T's beautiful wedding. Here are a few snapshots from what I've been up to.  

Sunset over Kensington Palace

Sunset over Kensington Palace

Turning the lights on, South Molton Lane

Turning the lights on, South Molton Lane

Sesame Prawn Toast @ Duck & Rice

Sesame Prawn Toast @ Duck & Rice

Liberty looking gorgeous as always.  

Liberty looking gorgeous as always.  

Drinks with a view, catching up with Rebecca

Drinks with a view, catching up with Rebecca

Vivienne Westwood celebrating Alice in Wonderland outside their Conduit Street store  

Vivienne Westwood celebrating Alice in Wonderland outside their Conduit Street store  

Beautiful wild flowers in the Olympic Park

Beautiful wild flowers in the Olympic Park

The Olympic football stadium  

The Olympic football stadium  

Drinks with a view, catching up with Helen in Greenwich

Drinks with a view, catching up with Helen in Greenwich

Beautiful sunset in Greenwich, overlooking Canary Wharf

Beautiful sunset in Greenwich, overlooking Canary Wharf

A rose from D&T's wedding

A rose from D&T's wedding

The beautiful Bride getting ready on her big day

The beautiful Bride getting ready on her big day

Date Night: Duck & Rice with M

Last Saturday night M & I had tickets to see The Audience (review coming soon) at the Apollo Theatre and decided to make a night of it by heading into central a little earlier to treat ourselves to dinner. The theatre is just off Piccadilly so we headed into Soho where I knew the perfect place to go. I'd previously been to the launch party at Duck and Rice with work - the canapés that we were served were so good that I knew we had to come back and try their full menu.

We arrived at 5.55pm and although the restaurant doesn't technically open until 6pm they seated us straight away on a lovely table for two with an option to either sit beside each other or opposite. M was clearly feeling a little romantic so chose to sit beside me - in hindsight it did make sharing food so much easier so perhaps that was his motive!

We were offered drinks very quickly, M opting for a pint of the tank Pilsner, whilst I went for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a jug of tap water.

M's pint of Pilsner (from the tank)  (£5.30) and the prawn crackers (£2.00)

M's pint of Pilsner (from the tank)  (£5.30) and the prawn crackers (£2.00)

Duck and Rice is a chinese take on a gastro pub by Alan Yau - one of the founders of Hakkasan, and it's a brilliant concept. Instead of pork stratchings as bar food you get delicious prawn crackers and spring rolls, whilst still having a wide range of beers and wines. 

Duck and Rice also stands out through its collaboration with Pilsner, having tanks of the beer on site, making it some of the freshest beer you'll get to taste as it's usually less than four days old by the time it reaches your glass. (M can attest to it tasting really nice).

Sesame Prawn Toast (£6.50)

Sesame Prawn Toast (£6.50)

Following the waiter's advice (although deviating slightly - the menu is split into three sections; the left hand column is the 'starters'  which he recommended we got three of; the middle section is the lighter option which he recommended two of; and the right hand column is a slightly heavier option which he advised we got at least one of). 

We opted for a starter each M went for Sesame Prawn Toast and I picked pork Char Sui buns. Both of these were incredible, the prawn toast had huge prawns on top of the bread under the sesame toppings. The Char Sui were rich and tasty - M discovered his new found liking for them too - especially when off my chop sticks! 

Char Sui buns (£4.50)

Char Sui buns (£4.50)

Char Sui Bun

Char Sui Bun

We each picked a dish from the middle section, which again we shared - it was far too good not to. If you go with friends, and one is like Joey you may need to warn them that sharing will be going on.

M went for sweet and sour pork and I picked shredded pork with crispy noodles. The sweet and sour was brilliant, much much less sickly than your regular Saturday night take away. The peppers and pineapples served with it were cooked perfectly - slightly al dente for the peppers so they crunched just a touch whilst the pineapple was beautifully caramelised.

Sweet and Sour Pork (£9.00)

Sweet and Sour Pork (£9.00)

The shredded pork was also delicious, the meat melted in the mouth whilst the noodles ranged from super crispy around the edge to more like chow mein in the middle - two dishes in one, excellent! The sauce was really tasty too - much nicer than the gravy normally served in these dishes.

Shredded Pork with Crispy Noodles (£10.50)

Shredded Pork with Crispy Noodles (£10.50)

From the final column we ordered chicken chop suey which worked really well as an accompaniment to the other two dishes. The chicken was succulent with a crispy outside and the vegetables were seasoned well. A little of the chop suey with sauce from either of the other dishes was heavenly. 

Chicken chop suey - £12.50

Chicken chop suey - £12.50

We left shortly after 7pm but then we needed to to make it to the theatre on time, you could definitely have a leisurely meal here, we didn't feel rushed at all.

M & I ordered:

1 x prawn crackers, 1 x Char Sui buns, 1 x sesame prawn toast, 1 x shredded pork crispy noodles, 1 x sweet and sour pork, 1 x chicken shop suey, 1 x pint of Pilsner Urquell tank, 2 x Sauvignon Blanc. Plus 12.5% service charge - £74.14

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Thank you to Duck & Rice for a lovely evening and such attentive staff. We'll definitely be heading back soon! 

Yogarise - Roof East, Stratford

On Friday night, I was lucky enough to get a space for the Yogarise Roof East free opening session which was an hour of dynamic vinyasa flow yoga with Hannah, our instructor.

Roof East - it was a pretty chilly May 1st!

Roof East - it was a pretty chilly May 1st!

It was pretty cold on the roof top, in fact it's fairly safe to say it was freezing, but 5 minutes into the session I had no idea of the temperature. It was a thorough workout (I ached for a few days after!) and one which left my somewhat noisy brain silenced and my body relaxed and stretched.

A few of the mats set out - it got much busier despite the temperature!

A few of the mats set out - it got much busier despite the temperature!

It's definitely something I'll be doing again - the classes in Stratford (which is the easiest location for me - their other studio is in Peckham), run Monday and Friday evenings at £12 a session it's incredibly reasonable, and come the warmer weather may see me there twice a week.

Don't be fooled into thinking that yoga is easy - it's not. But, and thats a big one, you feel like you've had a real workout, used parts of you that have been long forgotten and your body will thank you for it! 

I felt so much better after going, more flexible and relaxed and could easily see myself toning up if I stick to it. Plus I'm much better at organised exercise than being left to my own devices, Hannah was a great teacher, correcting stances, providing words of encouragement and allowing deviations for those who were either novices or experts. Those, like me, who had dabbled before could easily understand the instructions (if not always follow them - the wind certainly didn't help my already lacking balance!). 

There are a whole host of classes at Yogarise Peckham and I look forward to seeing the team again at Stratford soon.

The awesome view from Roof East.

The awesome view from Roof East.

Snapshots: This Week

We had amazing weather in London this week which lead to some pretty awesome ice cream during a lunch time stroll and lots of other sunny spring time things. 

Incredible scaffolding in Soho

Incredible scaffolding in Soho

Ice cream cones in Scoop, Soho

Ice cream cones in Scoop, Soho

My incredible strawberry sorbet and dark chocolate ice cream. Which is amazingly dairy free! 

My incredible strawberry sorbet and dark chocolate ice cream. Which is amazingly dairy free! 

Regent Street in the sun.  

Regent Street in the sun.  

The sunshine making the traffic not seem so bad on Regent Street  

The sunshine making the traffic not seem so bad on Regent Street  

Regent Street again looking glorious.  

Regent Street again looking glorious.  

Incredible meatball wrap from Ciao Italian Kitchen

Incredible meatball wrap from Ciao Italian Kitchen

Karl Lagerfeld's window displays on Regent Street.  

Karl Lagerfeld's window displays on Regent Street.  

A rainbow of Tod's in Fenwick of Bond Street

A rainbow of Tod's in Fenwick of Bond Street

The new Rouge Coco Chanel lipsticks

The new Rouge Coco Chanel lipsticks

My little box arrives! 

My little box arrives! 

Loving the colours on offer in Inglot, Westfield Stratford.  

Loving the colours on offer in Inglot, Westfield Stratford.  

Starbucks Soya Caramel Frappucino 

Starbucks Soya Caramel Frappucino 

Sunday morning mani...

Sunday morning mani...

...and the ingredients that went into it... 

...and the ingredients that went into it... 

Chilling with The Good Wife on Netflix

Chilling with The Good Wife on Netflix

Date Night: Pure Taste

For our seven year anniversary M took me out for dinner to Pure Taste in Westbourne Grove. I'd previously found this restaurant and got very excited as I could eat virtually everything on the menu. This never ever happens, being allergic to so much, it was a real breath of fresh air to be able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted and have desert too!

Pure Taste markets itself as a paleo restaurant, meaning they avoid using dairy and carbs etc in their food.

Sourdough with avocado butter and oil with balsamic

Sourdough with avocado butter and oil with balsamic

M's pomegranate juice (it was very pink!)

M's pomegranate juice (it was very pink!)

Amuse Bouche with compliments from the chef (something beefy which M said was delicious)

Amuse Bouche with compliments from the chef (something beefy which M said was delicious)

Asian Pork Salad

Asian Pork Salad

This was really good, although it could have done with being slightly warmer, we both ordered this and enjoyed it, and yes that is little bits of broken up crackling sprinkled on top. Heaven!

Palette cleansers of frozen nectarines - they were SO cold!

Palette cleansers of frozen nectarines - they were SO cold!

Mine

Mine

His

His

I had the mushroom cobbler, which was well and truly the best thing I ate all night. It was delicious, I would definitely order it again. Unusually, M also ordered a vegetarian main (there were meat options too), he went for a sweet potato laksa. It was lovely (he let me try some), but incredibly spicy, so be warned, it's not for the spice fearers. 

If only this had tasted as good as it looked...

If only this had tasted as good as it looked...

Fresh mint ice cream, a lesson in not reading the menu properly.

Fresh mint ice cream, a lesson in not reading the menu properly.

Desert was utterly beautiful (in looks), the cake was nice but incredibly heavy, it was a chocolate orange ganache, and boy was it a good job that M didn't order a desert too. This was initially meant to be mine, but I'm so grateful that he helped, I would never have got through it alone, and as it was the two of us didn't manage to finish it.

The ice cream was unusual, I hadn't read that it was fresh mint ice cream, stupidly assuming it would taste like mint choc chip (without the chips), it didn't. Fresh mint ice cream is nice, but definitely an acquired taste, and was a bit of a shock as it wasn't what I was expecting.

We had a lovely evening at Pure Taste, and for a Wednesday night it was very busy. The tables were quite close together though, I heard in great detail the wedding plans of the lady at the next table. 

Pure Taste was a great experience, and we are both glad that we tried it, plus it was a complete revelation and utterly different dining experience for me to be able to order virtually anything I wanted from the menu. It wasn't cheap though, so it's unlikely we'll be going back in the near future - we are hunkering down on a tighter budget as the house move looms.

Mama's Visit: Snapshots

Last week my mama headed down to visit for the night, we had some adventures planned, including Red Magazine's Digital Masterclass, Cocktails and Club Sandwiches at the Ritz and the Guy Bourdin exhibition at Somerset House.

Here are a few snapshots from her visit.

Our room in the Thistle Royal Trafalgar

Our room in the Thistle Royal Trafalgar

Red's Digital Masterclass at the British Library's Conference Centre.

Red's Digital Masterclass at the British Library's Conference Centre.

Cocktails at the Ritz's Rivoli Bar

Cocktails at the Ritz's Rivoli Bar

Delicious Jalisco Smash Cocktail

Delicious Jalisco Smash Cocktail

Piccadilly Arcade

Piccadilly Arcade

Gloomy morning at Trafalgar Square

Gloomy morning at Trafalgar Square

Guy Bourdin Image Maker Exhibition at Somerset House

Guy Bourdin Image Maker Exhibition at Somerset House

One of my favourite shots from the exhibition

One of my favourite shots from the exhibition

The exhibition

The exhibition

Somerset House

Somerset House

Tea & Macarons at Laduree

Tea & Macarons at Laduree

Fantastic clutch bag at Kate Spade that just made my wishlist. I know M would approve of this one!

Fantastic clutch bag at Kate Spade that just made my wishlist. I know M would approve of this one!

Our Whole Foods haul on our train to Derby, I was working up there for a few days so headed back together.

Our Whole Foods haul on our train to Derby, I was working up there for a few days so headed back together.

All 📷 taken on my iPhone 6.

Pastel Houses and Bed Shopping

M and I are moving house at some point in Spring, we haven't been given a date yet and regularly go on little visits to our new apartment to see it's progress. The building is looking pretty finished now, and on our last visit we were just missing our balcony. Hopefully the interior fittings are going well too and we'll meet our new home at the beginning of Spring not the end!

It is due to this move that we have been furniture shopping. When we moved to London almost 2 and a half years ago we found a lovely, furnished flat that's been our home ever since. It was absolutely perfect at the time, and still is, the only downside is that we own zero furniture so we've been hitting the sales!

Buying a bed was quite high up on our to-do list, as we can't move in without one, well we could but we weren't too keen on spending a few nights on a yoga mat surrounded by boxes...

Who knew there were so many things to think about when bed shopping?!? I certainly had no idea before we started quite how many variables there are...

For example - 

Do you want a storage bed? Do you want Ottoman style or Drawers? Do you want the divan and the mattress? What colour/fabric/style? King size or double? How firm a mattress would you like? 

Thankfully after a couple of visits and a lot of browsing online we had answers for most of these, and on New Years Day found a gorgeous bed for our spare bedroom.

I wanted to think a little longer about the bed for our room, and on a trip to the Made.com show room in Notting Hill we found the perfect bed stead (we've yet to buy our mattress).

The Made.com showroom is in what looks to be an office block which had us mightily confused.

The Made.com showroom is in what looks to be an office block which had us mightily confused.

The view of West London from the Made.com showroom.

The view of West London from the Made.com showroom.

From the other side of the showroom.

From the other side of the showroom.

Whilst getting lost trying to find the showroom we stumbled across this beautiful street with picture perfect pastel houses all dolled up for the festive season. The pretty paint brightened up a gloomy London afternoon.

If only I could paint a 9th floor apartment in a glorious shade of pastels...

If only I could paint a 9th floor apartment in a glorious shade of pastels...

Life ambitions right here: a window box and beautiful Christmas wreath.

Life ambitions right here: a window box and beautiful Christmas wreath.

East London Walks

M & I did a New Year's Day take two and went for a walk around East London on the 2nd, which began at the Three Mills in Bow and was meant to be a 4 1/2 mile loop back. Around Mile End we took a slight detour and headed towards Limehouse and down to see our new flat which is a near Canary Wharf to see it's progress. It's coming along nicely and hopefully we'll be in before too long!

I stopped taking photos as the sun went down but here are a few, I'd definitely recommend the walk, you can find the full route here.

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Happy (Belated!) New Year!

Happy New Year! M & I celebrated the New Year in London for the first time ever. We've only ever seen the fireworks on tv before, normally staying with our parents joining either Ms in their beautiful village or mine at home or a family friends' house.

Through my job, we were able to secure tickets to ring in the New Year on the Parliamentary Terrace, and what a view we got! It was absolutely freezing and we are both full of this flu-y virus but it was so worth it! 

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and that 2015 is the best one yet. Let's be amazing!

Cocktails at The Savoy

As a belated birthday treat, Alex and I decided after our meal to head over to The Savoy for cocktails. There are two bars in The Savoy, The American Bar and The Beaufort Bar, booking is only available in The Beaufort, so not sure on timings, we picked The American Bar.

The American Bar

The cocktail menu is vast, and, had we not bumped into old school friends (what a small world!), we would have perused for much longer. As it was I went for the fail safe cosmopolitan which was delicious, and served by the loveliest waiters in 1920s white blazers.

This is the stunning orchid in the foyer, M's mum loves orchids so I take photos whenever I see one!

We will definitely be going back for another celebration and an excellent girly night out that's a little special and we'd certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a piece of hollywood glamour in London.

Polpo with Rosalind

One of the many things that Rosalind and I have in common is our love of food. We both had an event to go to but needed sustenance first that tasted good, wasn't hugely expensive and we could get into without booking. Admittedly we did turn up at 6.30pm but we walked into Polpo, (the Maiden Lane branch) and were shown straight to a table.

I love the atmosphere in Polpo, it's quirky and full of life with amazing food. Having allergies can make life difficult but the lovely staff in Polpo gave me a laminated version of the menu with all the major ingredients listed below so I could order at my leisure and be able to choose what I wanted to eat. Believe it or not having a real choice is a relative rarity, I would definitely recommend this style of menus and serving to all restaurants!

Polpo is a tapas restaurant so you can easily order a little of everything or in our case, a pick of three each. Rosalind went for the Cicheti Plate, Spinach and Parmasan with soft eggs Pizzette and the Classic Beef & Pork Meatballs. I went for the Pigs Head Crostini, Duck Ragu and the Pork and Fennel Meatballs.

Meatballs

Meatballs

Duck Ragu with Gnocchi

Duck Ragu with Gnocchi

Pizzette

Pizzette

We both loved the food and will certainly be going back, but we would advise booking, as we left around 7.30pm and people were almost queuing out of the door. So if you, like us, aren't a huge fan of waiting an hour plus for your food, book ahead!