Craving Coffee, Tottenham

The cranes are rising and times in Tottenham are changing. Wander south from Tottenham Hale station and you might stumble upon Craving Coffee. A laid back, chic cafe located on an industrial estate (bringing a Hackney-esk vibe to the area). It’s a minimalist space with whitewashed walls and low-slung lighting.

craving-coffee

By day they serve artisanal brunch and in the darker hours, they host foodie pop-ups. Nicknamed ‘Tottenham Social’, where street food traders take over their kitchen on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday evenings. The emphasis here is on local produce, their coffee is from local roasters Climpsons & Sons, and beers from local brewer Beavertown.

craving coffee 4

A couple of weeks back my sister and I ventured to Craving Coffee one Friday night, when Japenese street-food vendors, Pochi, had taken over their kitchen for the weekend.

They specialise in bento-style dishes, all of which are served on a bed of rice, with a side of carrots, beans and pickles. We ordered the Sake Soboro, salmon cooked with mirin and soy sauce, and the Nasu Soboro, fried aubergine marinated in soy and vinegar. I am trying to get back on my meat intake (although failing miserably) so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I preferred to aubergine dish to the salmon – it was beautifully tender and silky, and the pickles really cut through the sweetness from the soy.

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You can usually catch Pochi at Kerb or Brockley Market, and if I find myself in either of these places. I’ll definitely order the Nasu Soboro again.

The best way to keep track of what street food pop-ups are on at Craving Coffee is to follow them on Twitter, @CravingCoffeeUK.

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Craving Coffee, Gaunson House, Markfield Rd, London N15 4QQ

 

 

Shoryu | Buns and Ramen

Situated in a quiet street in Soho, near Chinatown, lies Shoryu Ramen – now one of six London locations. A chain of Japenese restaurants who aim to bring the more hearty tonkotsu to London. The menu here is inspired by the cuisines in the south of Japan, and mainly focused around Hakata tonkotsu ramen – a thick, rich, white pork soup served with thin ramen noodles.

I’d heard a lot of great thing about Shoryu before Serena and I went, and their set menu definitely persuaded me to book here instead of other ramen joints in the West-End (two couses and a cocktail for £22).

To start, the buns. A chicken karaage for me, and a Halloumi and shimeji mushroom for Serena. The ratio of filling to pillowy goodness was spot on, and when fried chicken is never not delicious!?

shoryu ramen

Just as we finished devouring our buns, steaming bowls of noodles arrived in front of us. We both opted for their famous tonkotsu, which is a 12-hour pork broth, topped with char siu barbecue pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurago mushrooms, spring onions, seasame seeds, ginger and nori seaweed. Neither of us had any problems inhaling it… the broth was rich and creamy, the noodles al dente, and the pork tender and juicy.

shoryu ramen 2

Two buns, two bowls of ramen, and two hour laters we rolled out of Shoryu feeling extremely full but very satisfied. It’s comfort food at it’s best, more please.

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Shoryu Ramen, 3 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7HA

 

Bottomless Dinners in London

Bottomless brunches are ten a penny in London now and the problem with free flowing prosecco before lunchtime means the day is rendered a bit of a write-off.

But recently I keep hearing about bottomless dinners popping up all over town and even though places that offer these deals can hard be to find, I’ve rounded by London’s best deals if ou fancy putting a few away at proper meal times…

M Restaurants

M has two branches – one near Bank and the other in Victoria. Last week a group of work colleagues and I headed to their Bank restaurant to celebrate my friend’s 25th Birthday. It was a mixture of romantic dates and crowds of business suits, all happily tucking into meaty dishes.

They offer a four-course dinner and 90 minutes of free-flowing prosecco for £35, which you can book onto here.

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Pescatori

Modern flair truly meets traditional Italian cooking at Pescatori, and fish and seafood play large roles at this eatery. Located in Clerkenwell they serve a bottomless dinner of three courses with unlimited prosecco. Even though the menu is a predominately fishy affair, there is something for everyone.

pestatori

Pizza Buzz

If you asked me to name my ideal dinner, 99% of the time pizza would come out on top. Pizza Buzz is a self-service style pizza bar in East London. It’s little like Subway (for something relatable to liken it to) as your pizza follows you along the counter, allowing you to build your perfect dinner.

At Pizza Buzz, their bottomless dinner comes to £29.95 and you aren’t just limited to fizz – you can pick from beer, red wine, white wine, and of course, bubbles, to have bottomless with your meal.

pizza buzz

One Canada Square

In the heart of Canary Wharf, you’ll find One Canada Square. It’s first and foremost a skyscraper, and the restaurant (which boasts the same name) is just as imposing, with its impossibly high ceilings and marble for days.

The deal here is that you can get two or three courses and two hours of unlimited wine, prosecco or beer for £45 or £50 respectively. The menu is predominantly European, with some flavours and influences from the USA and Asia.

one canada square

Grand Union

Grab yourself a juicy burger and unlimited glasses of prosecco at the Grand Union for £25 for an hour and a half. They have bars located in Brixton, Farringdon, Camden, Chancery Lane, Paddington and Kennington. Although the offer is available at different times are different locations – so I’d always call befoe going to double check.

grand union

 

 

Broadgate Circle

“Broadgate Circle, where’s that?” my dad asked before I ventured out for brunch last Sunday. It’s nestled just a stone’s throw away from Liverpool Street Station. I always find the City of London to be a strange place on the weekend, it’s eerily quiet – but now I’ve figured out where everyone is flocking to – Broadgate Circle. It’s a relatively recent development, but it’s fast become a foodie hub and it brings together a varied collection of restaurants, cafes, bars and street food to the City.

I’d like to stress that Broadgate Circle is such a good place to catch-up with people, because of it’s closeness to Liverpool Street Station — the epicenter of all transport connections.

So, what’s on offer?

Beany Green

It’s a funky spot that brightens up the concrete jungle that is Broadgate Circle, and it’s here where I went for brunch last weekend. There are not many seats (and the majority of them are outside) as it’s the type of place that is geared up for a workers lunch. Their counter is full of vibrant salads, protein balls, and muffins to take away.  But we were here for brunch – my advice is to go hungry as you can as they offer a two-course bottomless brunch with free-flowing cocktails.

Their avocado toast is one of the best I’ve ever made. It’s served on organic charcoal sourdough, topped with avocado and then sprinkled with lime and lemon dukkah. Served with a dollop of labneh and homemade chili pesto.

beany green avocado

The Crab Tavern

I originally came here with a couple of friends and I’ve been dying to go back since. It’s such a warm and inviting eatery with leather booths and high tables – although I’d probably swerve it on a Thursday as it’s full of city slickers get pissed.

Now, you will have to shell out a fair bit to eat here, and naturally, crab does feature heavily on the menu. And I’m not kidding: hot, cold, served tartar or deep fried, on bread, in a coquette, or stacked into towers. If you can do it to a crab, they do it here.

crab tavern

Yauatcha City

Brought to you by the genius behind the Hakkasan Group and Yauatcha City offers high-quality Dim Sum. The restaurant is huge (and albeit a slightly odd shape as it essentially occupies an entire semi-circle of Broadgate Circle).

All of the delights of authentic Cantonese dim sum are on offer here and they have installed open kitchens, so you’re able to watch the skills chefs prepare a huge range of steamed, baked, grilled and fried dim sum. Just promise me if you venture here that you’ll try the Venison Puffs.

Yauatcha City

Franco Manca

I’ve mentioned Franco Manca on my blog before (and much has been said about it). I adore their slow-rising sourdough pizza bases and the fact that the ingredients are either organic Italian or locally sourced, definitely appeals to me. It’s also incredibly affordable, you can easily bag you’re a pizza for £6 – and even though it’s cheap, they don’t comprise on taste.

franco-manca

Shoryu Ramen

This joint is from the folk behind the Japan Centre, and the clue is in the name in terms of what they offer here – Ramen. But more specifically, Tonkotsu Ramen. It’s a thick, rich, 12-hour pork broth ramen served with char siu, pork belly, nitamago egg, mushrooms, spring onions, sesame, and seaweed.

But if ramen isn’t your thing, don’t fret. There are plenty of other options, like their steamed buns and gyozas.

shoryu ramen

 

 

 

Green room cafe | Is it worth the wait?

There’s a cute little cafe in Stoke Newington which is merged with a flower shop, known as the Green room Cafe. It’s nestled on Church Street, and if you walk through the florists and head to the back, you’ll find the cafe. It’s got a beautiful outside space where you can bask in the sun and nibble on their cakes in amidst of the plants and flowers.

We were seated promptly (however that was the only thing that was done swiftly), as it takes ages for the staff here to bring you anything. There were only two people covering the entire restaurant which has about 30 tables – a recipe for a disaster.

green room cafe 4

We should have picked up on the vibes of the other diners when we arrived – there was definitely an air of annoyance coming from most people and the majority of tables had stacks of dirty dishes piling up on the side.

The main waiter was rushing around telling everyone he would be over in 5 minutes, while seemingly doing nothing other than get himself into a flap. Whilst the other clutched the menu in between his claws and paced up and down the cafe, ‘Hello, can we please have one of those menus in your hands?” – nope, nothing.  And so we were left waiting for almost half an hour until we were finally brought some menus and a jug of tap water.

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Once we finally got our hands on the menu, I decided on a veggie breakfast of halloumi, kale squeak, homemade beans, tomato, mushroom, eggs and toast. My mum opted for the chorizo  shakshuka, which comes with two poached eggs in a tomato sauce and a side of sourdough.

It was then another mission to try and get them to take our order. The only real reason we stuck around was the beautiful setting – it’s kind of hard to stay angry when you’re surrounded by succulents and daffodils.

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Homemade baked beans are rare and these were good. But that’s about where it ends because I served just half of a mushroom. Just half. In what world is serving half a mushroom acceptable? The kale squeak was unseasoned and as there was no salt and pepper on the tables (shock), I couldn’t rectify it to suit my taste buds.

My mum’s shakshuka was good but the eggs were definitely overcooked. a big no no for me. Plus a parsley garnish would have made this dish a real treat and would have helped to amplified the flavour.

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Our brunch was turbulent, we were happy to leave and get out of their hair. I was glad that we had to pay at the till and we were served by the barista. The only process which wasn’t long winded is the one where they take your money. For two coffees, an orange juice and two meals came to £20 – not bad but it would have been nice to get some sort of compensation for the disaster of a breakfast we had just had.

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Green Room Cafe, 113 Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0UD

green room cafe

 

 

A healthy foodie subscription box | Lifebox

There’s been very few subscription boxes which actually appeal to me. The ones I’ve seen tend to be based on makeup and skincare, and whilst I love my Urban Decay eye-shadow pallets, I’m the kind of girls who’s bedtime routine consists of a face wipe.

However… last month I discovered LifeBox. A subsumption box service for healthy foodies and I couldn’t resist trying it out. Each month you get sent a box full of supplements, bars, drinks, superfoods, powders, and more. Each box can be tailed to your needs: everyday wellness (GF&V), women’s health, men’s health, junior, mini and even the occasional holiday box .

It’s the perfect way to try out new foods and discover new brands without having to buy full-sized, multi-packs of something you may not even like. It arrives in the post in a white box with the LifeBox logo printed on top and the products are wrapped in paper which is tied up in a cute ribbon. Receiving your box is truly a special occasion and I loved the feeling of receiving a box of food (who wouldn’t?!)

I opted for the women’s health box which in addition to be packed full of products, comes recipe suggestions and workouts. It was exciting to see products from both established brands and ones I’ve never heard of before. A firm favourite from last month’s box was the granola from Husk and Honey. Their spiced mulberry flavour is perfect sprinkled over greek yoghurt.

husk and honey

Whilst their boxes range for £15-£23, they are worth forking out for as in my February box I received…

  • A packet of hemp seeds by Linwoods
  • A granola bar from Kind
  • Four packets of tea from T Plus
  • A pot of pistachio nut butter by Nutural World
  • A sashay of birthday bake almond butter by Buff Bake
  • Cabbage chips by The Beginnings
  • A packet of superblends by Be.
  • A bag of salted caramel pecks by Inspiralled
  • Cocoa nib chocolate from IQ Chocolate
  • A rude healh almond drink
  • A packet of Chia seeds by Lifebox
  • Protein bites by Saf raw
  • A packet of chai turmeric blend by Wunder Workshop
  • A protein bar from The Primal Pantry
  • And of course, a packet of granola by Husk and Honey

I now consider myself a subscription box covert and I’m so glad I came across LifeBox, in my opinion there’s nothing else of the market quite like it!

lifebox

 

Gousto | Recipe subscription box review

As much as I love cooking, I hate coming up with a meal plan for the week. I’m a creature of habit and every week I’ll eat risotto, a quinoa salad with salmon, and a pad thai. So last week I decided to trial Gousto.

Imagine having someone else sort out your weekly shop and deliver it right to your door, and all you have to do is cook it! There’s tonnes of recipe box subscription services out there – and that’s hardly surprising as they’re such a great concept because they’re perfect for busy people who still want to eat well. AND they’ll get you out of your cooking rut in no time.  So what makes Gousto different?

  • You can choose up to four unique recipes
  • There’s a new menu every week (and there’s tonnes of recipes online)
  • The menu is spilt into: quick & easy, discover, veggie, low calorie and family friendly
  • You can pick the delivery date and how frequently you’d like it
  • The vegetables are organic and seasonal, and the meat and fish are responsibly sourced

gousto

My Gousto box arrived last Monday morning with plenty of ice packs to keep the food chilled along with a list of the ingredients and three meal cards. The meals are all written up on colourful recipe cards with a photographs to help guide you.

I shared the meals with my mum and we opted for all Asian inspired dishes…

Chicken katsu curry

Indonesian veggie nasi goreng

Thai crab rice

gousto katsu curry 2

So, all the meals I choose all included rice and only the katsu curry came with wholegrain rice. Personally I would love it if you could pick your ‘carb’ type as I would have opted for wholegrain for all my meals. The same goes with their pasta dishes, as in the past I’ve had their spicy haddock linguine and if I could have picked wholegrain pasta, I would have. My only other small niggle with Gousto is that the timings can be off as it does not take 8 minutes to pan fry a plump chicken breast.

All my meals came with plenty of veggies and I also loved that on the recipe cards they had the calorie breakdowns. Which is so handy for me as I could  easily add them to My Fitness Pal.

gousto crab rice 2

All the recipes I tested were delicious and packed full of flavour (they don’t skimp on herbs, spices and other seasonings) – and not to mention that they were dead easy to make. All your past recipes can be found on the MyGousto section on their website. Even if you don’t want to sign up to Gousto, you can get a handful of their recipes online.

I won’t lie, it’s expensive, but you’re paying for the convenience and to many people, myself included, value that a lot. Gousto may not be the best option for veggies as you pay the same as meat eaters. My vegetarian meal  however went so much further than the ones with meat or fish, the portion was huge in comparison, so it may not be quite such bad value as it sounds.

gousto nasi goreng

If you want to order a box from Gousto click here, where you’ll get a £25 off your first order if you use my code ANNA221576. If you opt for the 3 meal box it will only cost £9.99! Mad value for money.