Kopparberg Experimental Dining, Hoxton Grill

Strawberry compote

Photo: Prad Patel

English weather. A national stereotype. A common trope. Unpredictable, changeable – always make-conversation-able.

It’s not been doing too badly of late, but our summer temperatures are never worth shouting about. Let’s be honest – they’re really not much different from Scadinavian summers.

So when there’s such a thing as amazing Swedish cider, why not pretend we’re in Sweden? Yes, that’s a jolly good idea.

In fact… *drum roll*… Kopparberg have got us covered! They are running a pop-up Urban Forest at the Bootstrap Company’s space in Ashwin Street, Dalston. This is East London and so, of course, this event is too cool for school, with live music and street art, as well as food from Fika, the Swedish restaurant on Brick Lane (who, incidentally, do the best semlor in London). It’s open until August 3rd so hurry to check it out!

However, earlier this month, I was hanging out in a different neck of the East London woods. Continue reading

Summer cocktails and canapés at Hixter (recipes included!)

Ballantine’s Cobbler (Photo: Victoria Ferran)

Summer is a wonderfully fleeting thing in the UK. So if you haven’t already adopted carpe diem as your life motto, you probably should – at least for this season.

Now is the one and only time it’s a good idea to throw an outdoor party in the UK (anyone had frostbite on Guy Fawkes Night?). And there are a couple of things that summer parties need – aside from pretty dresses and some kind of floral decoration. These essentials are obviously cocktails and canapés. Continue reading

Review: Leong’s Legend, Chinatown

Lanterns pretty

I am in love with Taipei. It’s one of those places where as soon as you step onto the street, the energy hits you. I swear it vibrates with life. If you want to know what to see and do, you should read my travel feature on it for Kansai Scene.

Delicious chicken with coriander

Delicious chicken with coriander

As for eating out, it paid off to know where you were going. A Taiwanese friend of mine and her sister took me to what they termed a traditional Taiwanese restaurant – it was nothing fancy, and seemed more like a cafeteria in appearance, but the dishes were great (stinky tofu and bitter melon aside). Taiwanese food, although similar to Chinese in many ways, incorporates garlic and coriander, which add extra variety and depth, and please me no end. Continue reading

Byron’s World Cup Burger – The Ronaldo

Hey there, sexy ;)

Hey there, sexy ;)

*EDIT: It’s been kindly pointed out to me that this burger is about the Brazilian Ronaldo, not the Portuguese one (which frankly makes a lot more sense) but…. being the football expert that I am *cough*, when I Googled ‘Ronaldo’ only the Portuguese one emerged. Sorry folks! It’s still a great burger so you should EAT IT BEFORE THE WORLD CUP ENDS!!*

So I might be a little slow in posting this because apparently England are pretty much out of the World Cup and that has probably dampened football fervour. Or maybe not, judging by the cheering at a screen I passed by this evening.  Continue reading

Emporio Eivissa – Brugal Rum Rooftop Pop-up

I am the Brugal Rum Angel

I am the Brugal Rum Angel

Ladies and gentlemen, listen up! There is something new in town and it’s coming your way on June 6th.

Last month, I was lucky enough to win tickets, cocktails and food at Emporio Eivissa, an Ibiza-themed pop-up bar on the rooftop of East London’s Rockwell House, sponsored rather incongruously by Brugal rum from the Dominican Republic (thanks to London on the Inside – love their website). I guess a Spanish-speaking party island needs some Dominican rum, and who am I to question something awesome like that? Continue reading

Review: Sakura Festival at Saka no Hana

Cherry blossom around Hikone castle

Cherry blossom around Hikone castle

Sakura season – otherwise known as cherry blossom season – spreads like a fever for a couple of weeks in April. For those who haven’t been to Japan during this period, you will be unprepared for the sheer decadence of the scenery and the sheer reverence with which it’s treated. You should probably see my blog post here.

In honour of this time of year, upmarket and rather swanky restaurant Sake no Hana held their own sakura festival with their very own sakura menu. The interior was decorated with some rather realistic and beautifully lit cherry blossom trees, and with delicate sakura painted along the counter at the bar.

Photo: Betty Chen

Isn’t this gorgeous? (Photo: Betty Chen)

Continue reading

Recipe: Butternut Squash & Feta Tagliatelle

Butternut squash and feta tagliatelle served with steamed spinach

Butternut squash and feta tagliatelle served with steamed spinach

I don’t often blog recipes because I rarely take the time to cook something spectacular, and when I do, I’m rarely satisfied with the outcome. I never live up to my own incredibly high standards but I’m working on it. Slowly.

This, however, is an exception: this dish is really quite special and friends have been begging me to blog the recipe for ages. It’s an adaptation of a dish that my mother cooked a few years back, but no-one in the family was an enamoured with it as me.

You see, whilst I wasn’t a fussy eater as a child, I had one big dislike. Potatoes. Ugh, how I hated potatoes. And before you think “Ah, but come on, all kids love crisps. All kids love chips.” You are wrong. I HATED chips. Continue reading