Review: The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields

When I own a house, I shall display this in my kitchen.
When I own a house, I shall display this in my kitchen.

Some places have such a reputation that their names seem to drift in the wind, snatches of overheard conversations on the street. The Breakfast Club is one of those places.

I first encountered it when a man approached me in the street to ask its location. After that, I heard The Breakfast Club mentioned everywhere. I couldn’t escape it.

It grew in my mind until I could resist it no longer, and decided to seek it out. I love a good breakfast. Or brunch. Take your pick.

As it happens, if you want to head to The Breakfast Club, it’s advisable to get there before 10am. The queue can get pretty long. We arrived at just before 10am on a Sunday and we had a queue of 10 minutes, which is bearable, especially when checking out the esoteric décor.

Breakfast club
Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club has an American diner style aesthetic,  but don’t panic! English breakfasts are on the menu.

We were seated at a high table and our order was promptly taken. Our waitress was polite and efficient, but had to fight the urge to give me the veggie breakfast instead of my male co-diner, as often happens when dining out (for my post on food and sexism, click here).

Of course, I wasn’t eating any veggie stuff; I took the Full Monty English Breakfast (at £9.80 if my memory serves me well). This includes: bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, home-style fried potatoes, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato and toasted multigrain bloomer. However, I wimped out and got two bacon instead of black pudding.

The Full Monty English Breakfast
The Full Monty English Breakfast

I’m a self-confessed food snob, so I was pleasantly surprised by the meatiness and herbiness of the sausages. The eggs were cooked spot on – still runny when broken – and the bread was tasty and thankfully far-removed from white cardboard that seems to grace breakfast plates all too often. Special mention goes to the potatoes, which were simply fantastic – not dry, not mushy, not too salty. My only criticism would be the tomato. Who wants to eat a raw tomato with a cooked breakfast?! Tomatoes should be grilled until soft. Please, Mr. Breakfast Club, don’t do a hotel-effort; get the tomato right.

American veggie breakfast
American veggie breakfast

My partner-in-breakfasting ordered the American veggie, which includes pancakes. I believe he was very satisfied with the choice.

Hot chocolate - way too sweet!
Hot chocolate – way too sweet!

In-keeping with my search for the best hot chocolate in London, I ordered one here. It took me back to my childhood when any kind of sweet, chocolate powder with milk was great. Now, very sweet, mildly chocolatey milk is not so great.

The Breakfast Club – 4/5

Overall, I left very full and satisfied. The Breakfast Club is hip so it’s perhaps a little overpriced for what is is. But the quality is good, and for a buzzing atmosphere, it’s hard to beat.

Food 4/5
Service 4/5
Value 3/5
Ambiance 5/5

Find The Breakfast Club at Spitalfields (2-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS) or three other locations.

Review: Hawksmoor Air Street

Ribeye steak with salad, field mushrooms and triple-cooked chips
Ribeye steak with salad, field mushrooms and triple-cooked chips

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Hawksmoor brand, let me enlighten you.

Hawksmoor is famous for STEAK. This makes me very excited. Anyone who knows me well will understand that I will do (almost) anything for steak, good quality steak that is. In fact, my beef obsession began before I’d even made it out of my mother’s womb. She craved beef whilst pregnant, and I often tell her now, “If you hadn’t had given in, I wouldn’t have this addiction.”

Hawksmoor takes steak seriously, offering all kinds of cuts, from Chateaurbriand to T-Bone, from Bone-in-prime Rib to Porterhouse. Of course, places like this are going to cost money – serious money. Being a student, it’s places like this that I casually suggest to my parents.

In this case, my mother, sister and I were dining early before heading to the theatre. Which meant, happily for us, we got to take advantage of the Hawksmoor express menu: three courses for £25.

I can’t speak for the other branches, but Hawksmoor Air Street has an entrance like a hotel. A polished lobby with a desk. The receptionist – or is that front of house? – asked us for our reservation name. We hadn’t made one, and were left in a disconcerting silence. After a bit of prompting, the woman quickly told us it would be fine.

Which, at 5pm on Thursday, it was. In fact, it was practically deserted, emphasised all the more by the fact it is the LARGEST restaurant I have ever seen. I originally thought it had a mirrored end but I found myself just keeping walking and walking.

Inside Hawksmoor

Apparently, it can seat 250 covers.

Hmm, if only I'd got more Christmas money...
Hmm, if only I’d got more Christmas money…
Yes, I'll take the Chateau Pétrus 182, please.
Yes, I’ll take the Chateau Pétrus 1982, please.

We took our seats and began giggling at the wine prices.  A bottle for £6500, anyone? Who needs to drink stuff like that when just the prices can make us laugh?

Ordering was simple, given the limited choice on the express menu.

Potted beef and bacon, with caramelised onions and yorkshire puds :)
Potted beef and bacon, with caramelised onions and yorkshire puds 🙂

For starters, my sister and I ordered Potted Beef and Bacon with Yorkshire Puddings.

I guess the name should have told me that it came in a pot, but somehow my brain just didn’t make the connection and I was really surprised to find a glass pot on my plate! Inside was tender meat, not quite paté but softer than terrine. With caramelised onions and Yorkshire puds, it was a stunning combination and a lot of fun to eat. If I had to criticise it, I think the batter needed a tad more salt and I prefer Yorkshires to be slightly less crispy and little more doughy. Also, as you can see from the pic, it’s unreasonably large for a starter, so it’s not for those with small appetites!  (Of course, I managed just fine.)

Shrimps on toast
Shrimps on toast

My mother took the shrimps on toast, but these were disappointing. Actually, they tasted so fishy that we thought they might be slightly off and decided not to finish them. So disappointing in comparison to the potted beef and bacon.

Whilst waiting for the mains, the fire alarm went off. And, wow, did it go on and on and on and on and on. The restaurant started to smell and look a bit smoky. We saw people rushing about and fiddling with a box in the corner. Our very friendly waiter came and apologised and said that some cream had fallen onto the griddle in the kitchen and had caused a lot of smoke. Eventually, after over five minutes of wailing, they managed to shut the alarm up.

For mains, we all took 250g Ribeyes. Our waiter recommended that we should have the steaks cooked medium. We were surprised as we’re fans of medium-rare, but he assured us that cooking it slightly more would lead to a better release of flavour.

Ribeye steak with salad, field mushrooms and triple-cooked chips
Ribeye steak with salad, field mushrooms and triple-cooked chips

We should have gone with our instincts. The steaks were overcooked and slightly dry, with charred burnt bits on the outside. As we progressed through our steaks, adding plenty of horseradish sauce to moisten the mouthfuls, we found that some parts had survived: these were more succulent, tasty and highlighted that this was good quality beef. But overall, the chef just didn’t know how to pull it off, which is worrying given Hawksmoor is a famous steak restaurant! As my mother said, “If I were  paying full price for this, I would send it back.”

Delicious! And beautifully presented...
Delicious! And beautifully presented…

As for the sides, the salad was beautifully presented and had a light, slightly nutty and very fresh dressing. It was simple yet it was salad at its best.

The triple-cooked chips were over-salted but edible. A waiter dropped them en route to our table, so we got a half-portion and then received a full portion for free.

However, the field mushrooms were completely inedible. It was like they had been soaking in seawater for the past few centuries. I couldn’t eat more than one before my tongue curled up in protest and I gulped down some (fresh)water. We were offered a new side for free but we declined as we had more than enough food.

Peanut shortbread
Peanut shortbread


For dessert, we took the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel icecream. The shortbread was filled with chunks of peanuts and the centre had a hot, chocolate sauce which spilled out over the biscuit and provided a delightful contrast with the cold ice-cream. Eating this was an experience. Full marks for a creative, tantalising and exciting dessert.

As a result of the hiccups, Hawksmoor were very keen to please. Without us asking, they deducted my mother’s red wine at £11 per glass and only charged us for two two-course menus at £22 – that’s the equivalent of getting two free desserts. We weren’t expecting anything but we were appreciative of the gesture.

Chocolate salted caramels
Chocolate salted caramels

This is probably standard procedure, but we received three delicious dark chocolate salted caramels. Mmm.

The bill came to £95.06 for one glass of white wine, two soft drinks, one three-course set menu, two two-course set menus, a double espresso, and a 12.5% service charge.

Would we go back to Hawksmoor? Eyeing up some of the full-size steaks, I would have to say yes…but not to Air Street. I’ve had a sniff around on the Internet and it seems that Air Street doesn’t quite cut, but the other branches are highly recommended. Watch this space for an updated review. Anyone want to treat me? 😉

Hawksmoor Air Street – 3/5
5a Air Street, London, W1J 0AD

Food 2.5/5 – So hit-and-miss! The food that was fantastic was fantastic, but other items were inedible.
Value 3/5 – Express menu is reasonable, but beware the full-priced menu.
Service 4.5/5 – Very keen to please. They lose half a point because the lady at the front of house could do with a bit of customer service training.
Ambiance 3/5 – Not exactly bustling, but it did start to fill up. Relaxed and friendly.

Review: Cocomaya – Bakery/Café/Chocolate shop!


I’m a highly social person, which doesn’t always go well with a Master’s degree, three sports, social media stuff and blogging. To add to my busy life, I decided to attend a chocolate meet-up  with randomers, and I am very glad I did. Not only did I eat great chocolate, but I also met some very nice people 🙂

Cocomaya (W2 2AF) is both a café and a bakery, but most importantly, it’s a chocolate shop!

Cocomaya Cocomaya


The interior is cosy and quaint, reminiscent of old-fashioned British tea-shops, with wooden floorboards and floral-patterned china. It strikes a welcoming balance between simplicity and cosiness.

Of course, it’s also littered with chocolatey offerings, some of which look too sparkly and too pretty to be eaten.

060 059 057 056 054 053 052Our order was to be a simple process: a cake or pastry from the bakery and a drink for £5.25.

Flourless chocolate cake - wonder what it was actually made of...
Flourless chocolate cake – wonder what it was actually made of…

I chose a flourless chocolate cake with a dense chocolate sauce. It was very chocolatey but it had a very faint, almost-metallic tang to it, which didn’t quite work for me. However, there were plenty of other tantalising options:

047 045 044 042 041 040Of course, there was no actual decision process for what drink we all wanted to order. There were hot chocolates all round.

Amazing hot chocolate!
Amazing hot chocolate!

Cocomaya’s hot chocolate was a powerful chocolate hit. Chocolatey, thick, but not too sweet. It didn’t coat the back of the throat but slipped down blissfully smoothly. It was just like pure, liquid chocolate, which is how the best hot chocolate should be. I have to have it again. I think it might be my favourite hot choc in London so far.

Don’t miss out on some extremely good chocolatey times. Head over to Cocomaya.

Cocomaya’s Hot Chocolate 5/5

12 Connaught St,
W2 2AF


Review: Paul – St Paul’s

I’ve had to withstand the temptation of walking by the Paul café/bakery by St Paul’s every day for 2 months or more. The window is always filled with the most delicious looking pastries and cakes, which draw my eyes hypnotically towards them. By the end of last term I caved in and went for breakfast with two friends.

Inside Paul

First of all, I forgot that, although it’s a chain, it’s a chain in London, so of course the prices are ridiculous. This isn’t terrible if the food is amazing.

But it wasn’t. To describe it, I’ll be brief and use the age-old adage, borrowed courtesy of Mr. Shakespeare – “all that glitters isn’t gold“.

Pain au Chocolat

It may look delicious but somehow they managed to ruin a pain au chocolat (£1.90). How do you ruin a pain au chocolat? I have no idea. The pastry just tasted…weird…in a bad way. I shared it with two friends who also wrinkled their noses.

Croque Monsieur

I also had a croque monsieur. It was tasty enough, but they definitely don’t use particularly high quality ham or even bread. I can’t remember how much I paid for this – but let’s just say it was stupid. According to their online menu, this treasure – AKA a “posh” ham-and-cheese toastie – now costs a bargain £6.50.

Now every time I walk past a Paul, I inwardly cry at all the amazing things that are just over-priced replicas of French pastries 😦 Anyone know a REAL French bakery in London that they could recommend?

Recipe: Pork & Sweet Potato Casserole w/ Tomato and Mozzarrella Appetiser Plate

Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole
Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole

I was throwing a dinner party for Cambridge chums (yah yah) and needed to make a bit more effort than usual. To be fair to myself, cooking is difficult when you only have two electric hobs. It limits your options. A student budget also limits your options. I knew my friends weren’t expecting a feast, but I couldn’t bear the embarrassment of being a food blogger who fails at cooking. The pressure was on; I had to impress.

Little did I know that  my evening was to be marked by my mother.

My mother – hero and villain.

She kindly suggested a recipe from that had gone down a treat at home. Pork and sweet potato casserole. It had the right amount of sweetness, and depth from smoked paprika, which was balanced with sour cream and wonderfully finished with parsley.

It was a winner. My cooking skills didn’t desert me, and a delicious dish was born. My guests proclaimed it the best dish they’d eaten all week. I was so proud.

We had good conversation and wine. We were tucking into our plates with gusto when my phone dinged. A text message.

I’d like to pretend that I’m incredibly popular, but the fact is that I don’t get texts all that often. I believe in functional texting; I only use my phone in order to organise something.

The text was from my sister and read something like:

“Mum says you should look at my Facebook now xx”

Now, Mum knew I was having a dinner party. What could be so interesting or so important? I went on Facebook to see this:

Specimen: one labradoodle in a nappy
Specimen: one labradoodle in a nappy

That’s our dog Tiptoe, who, in my absence from home, had reached adolescence. She was in season. AND SHE WAS WEARING A NAPPY.

My guests looked quizzically at me.

“Um, well, that’s my dog having a period. Let’s go back to dinner, shall we?”

Like I said. My mother – hero and villain.

Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe from

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 1/4 hours

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g Diced Pork Leg
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
150 ml dry white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
170 ml pot Soured Cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large casserole and fry the pork until brown.
  2. Add the onion and fry for 2 mins, then add the garlic, and fry both until softened.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, cumin, paprika, oregano and seasoning.  Stir for 1-2 mins.
  4. Pour in the wine then add the tomatoes to the pan with 100 ml cold water.
  5. Bring to the boil and then cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 1/4 hours until the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the soured cream and scatter with the chopped parsley.
  7. Serve with steamed rice and a large green salad or steamed cabbage (personally, I found sweetheart cabbage went well).
Tomato and Mozzarella Appetiser Plate
Tomato and Mozzarella Appetiser Plate

Tomato and Mozzarella Appetiser Plate

Recipe adapted from

Prep time: 10 mins

Serves 4

3 large tomatoes, sliced
2 balls of mozzarella, sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Arrange tomatoes on the plate.
  2. Arrange the mozzarella on top.
  3. Mix herbs and oil together.
  4. Dress the plate and serve!

E Pellicci Review / A damn good breakfast!

English Breakfast

The Place: E Pellicci
The Food: British 

I was researching good places to eat breakfast/brunch in East London and I happened upon E Pellicci in Bethnal Green. Now, it might sound counter-intuitive to go to an Italian café serving up English breakfasts but I’ve previously had very good experiences (anyone who’s had Clowns’ bacon and egg toasties in Cambridge will know what I’m talking about).

E Pellicci happens to be only a mile’s walk from my flat and, as if to guide me there, I passed Bacon Street on my way.

We must be on the right track!
We must be on the right track!

E Pellicci was heaving on a Saturday morning, but we were greeted incredibly warming and immediately seated. There’s not a whole lot of choice, and you have to be prepared to share a table and squeeze. Somehow though, this just added to the charm. Brunch is a particularly social meal after all 🙂

E Pellicci
Inside E Pellicci

I didn’t hesitate about my order; I went straight for the full English Breakfast (£5.50). The great thing about E Pellicci is that you can swap and add as many things as you like. So I swapped the tomatoes for some beans, and added an extra egg for £0.80. And look what I got myself:

Full English: sausage, 2 bacon, 2 eggs, beans, mushrooms and fried bread. (10p included for scale)
Full English: sausage, 2 bacon, 2 eggs, beans, mushrooms and fried bread. (10p included for scale)

I actually don’t advise adding anything extra to this because it is HUMONGOUS  As for the quality of the food, it’s good for the price. The bacon was nice and thick; the eggs were  still runny when opened; the sausage was not the best quality, but it wasn’t the worst either; the mushrooms were cooked perfectly and were very tasty; the fried bread was not too crispy;  and the beans – well, they were just beans.

I refused to let myself be defeated by this monster of a breakfast.


I also got a good, strong cappuccino (£1.60) with a pleasing amount of chocolate powder on top.


If you’re not a breakfast fan, E Pellicci offer plenty of other café-style, English grub such as steak and kidney pudding with mash and veg. My friend took a small minestrone soup and bruschetta, which, in-keeping with my breakfast, is designed with the aim to feed the five thousand. Don’t expect gourmet stuff, but be prepared for hearty food that will fill you up.

Small minestrone soup

E Pellicci 4/5  – Do not miss out on a tasty, amazing value brunch. 

332 Bethnal Green Road
E2 0AG

The Pig, Brockenhurst – Review

Photo from
Photo from

The Place: The Pig, Brockenhurst
The Food: British, sustainable, eco-friendly 

The Pig is famous. Reviews crop up in national newspapers and 2012 saw it crowned as Sustainable Restaurant of the Year at the National Restaurant Awards. It adheres to a 25-mile menu – everything on the menu is sourced from within 25 miles, much of the vegetable produce is grown in its own garden, and all its eggs come from its own birds. Combine this top-quality, sustainable food with a location in the middle of the New Forest, and ensure you have a beautiful manor-style house with hotel rooms, and you have a recipe for success. The Pig is seriously popular.  However, I personally think that part of the attraction is in the name. It’s short, catchy, and inextricably linked to food – even if you don’t eat pigs, you can always eat like a pig.

Inside The Pig

My father and I are dining in honour of his 58th birthday and we’re looking forward to stuffing ourselves to fit in with the sign. We settle down into an airy dining room, dimly lit and with plants climbing the walls and pillars.  The place is packed, but there’s no rushing  about and the acoustics are good: no conversations intrude, and our conversation feels private.

We are seated at a table by a friendly lady (“How are you today?”) and left for a very short while to peruse the menu. A waiter pops up. He’s also very friendly. “How are you?” he asks. We politely reply. He asks us whether we want to order some wine. Dad wants a beer first. But the waiter struggles to remember the beers on offer and his accent unfortunately turns the beer list into gobbledygook. Dad ends up selecting one at random – “The second one you said.” He ends up with Piddle.

Dad enjoying a Piddle
Dad enjoying a Piddle

Another waiter comes along. Again we go through “how are you?” and “would you like some wine?” At this point, we’re getting a little fed up. Service should be polite and warm, but should not involve robots. However, this approach to service wouldn’t have been so terrible, except for the fact that we were served by no less than 6 waiters throughout the course of the meal. It was a bit of headache and annoyingly, we often had quite a wait before anyone spotted and attended to us. Furthermore, when wine is priced at £12 a glass or more, the repetitive questions about it seem less than innocent. To top this off, in a bizarre incident, one waitress took my dirtied knife off my starter plate and put it back on the table instead of replacing it. That’s not service, and it’s also a little bit gross.

Smoked salmon
Smoked salmon

However, this is The Pig, and we were determined to enjoy our meal. We ordered three starters between us. Dad tucked into some Smoked Salmon with Watercress and Cider Dressing (£8) that was absolutely phenomenal.

Home-made Pork and Onion Pie
Home-made Pork and Onion Pie

I attacked the  Home-Made Pork and Onion Pie (£7)  – “attacked” because it was incredibly hard to cut. Fortunately, it wasn’t hard to chew and it really took me back to my childhood of when I’d eat an occasional pork pie from a deli – although The Pig’s was definitely superior and nicely complimented by mustard and a pickled duck egg.

Baby Squid and Chorizo...
Baby Squid and Chorizo…

We shared the Fried Baby Squid and Bartlett’s Hampshire Chorizo (£7.50). The flavours went well together, but the chorizo was a tad too mild for my taste, and the tartare sauce a tad too creamy.

Roast Rump of Lamb
Roast Rump of Lamb

For mains, we took Roast Rump of Holcombe Water Farm Lamb (£18), which came with pearl barley and rosemary jus. The lamb was tender, tasty, and pleasingly pink. The pearl barley added an earthy flavour dimension, which complimented the lamb very well.

Bath Chap
Bath Chap
Bath Chap
Bath Chap

On the advice of a friendly waitress (I believe genuinely friendly in this case!), I ordered Roasted Bath Chap (£15.50). This is pig cheek served on the bone, and so if you order this, do expect a third of a pig’s skull to end up in front of you. Actually, it almost didn’t end up in front of me, because a waiter assumed that a lady would not be eating a pig’s head with teeth (he inspired my piece on food and sexism).

The waitress had described the meat that surrounds the pig cheek as very fatty but very delicious, like belly pork. However, I wasn’t prepared for just how fatty it would be. Pig head meat makes belly pork look lean. After two mouthfuls I was struggling as the richness of the fat weighed heavy in my stomach. I located and extracted the pork cheek. It was very tasty. But it was very small. Credit should be given where it’s due – the crackling was cooked to crispy perfection. My satisfaction was reduced by the accompanying squash, which was bitter and unseasoned, and completely inedible.

To accompany our meal we ordered a side of Thyme Roasted Rainbow Carrots (£3.50). Do not make the mistake of assuming rainbow carrots will be colourful version of normal carrots. They look like very ugly parsnips, and they don’t taste like carrots. In fact, they don’t taste like very much at all. Avoid.

White and Dark Chocolate Terrine
White and Dark Chocolate Terrine

For dessert, I took White and Dark Chocolate Terrine (£7) which didn’t taste of chocolate and was overpowered by the layers of marzipan. (I might cheekily question where the cocoa beans were sourced from, but as I love chocolate I’m going to skip over this point!)

Dad ordered Stuffed and Baked Apple (£7) which was really delicious and I’ve been craving cinnamon ice-cream ever since.

Baked Apple with Cinnamon Ice-Cream
Baked Apple with Cinnamon Ice-Cream

Overall 2.5/5

The food at The Pig was quite enjoyable, but for the prices, I would have expected exceptional dishes, and more sophisticated – or just plain logical – service. Whilst I truly admire the sustainability ethos, changing the menu every day must surely reduce its quality – how can the chef learn to cook each dish to perfection under those circumstances?

The acid test is – would we go back? The answer is sadly no. My dad was a disappointed boy on his birthday, and £127 poorer – he paid for us both, as only dads do.

Food 2.5/5
Value 2/5

Atmosphere 3/5
Service 2.5/5

Eating Granny Snot

Phlegmnomenally good!
Phlegmnomenally good!

On my quest for cinnamon buns in Sweden, I came across a lot of wienerbröd (literally “Viennese bread” or otherwise known as a plain old Danish pastry). The popular variety in Sweden have a custard-like filling, with icing on top.

I was about to tuck into one of these, when I was informed of the name of the custard-like filling.

“We call it momors hosta – “Granny’s cough”.”

Not easily put off, I tucked in. I felt cold, wet, phlegmatic custard slide down my throat. “Granny’s cough” – what an appropriate name. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat any more.

However, this experience got me thinking – what other words or descriptions are there in Swedish that we simply don’t have in English? I don’t speak Swedish but through spending some time in Sweden, I’ve made a short list:

  1. Knullruffs – After-Sex Hair 

    Well, the Swedes do have a bit of a reputation for whiling away the long, dark winter hours between the sheets (don’t blame me – I’m just reporting the stereotype!).  They even have their own special strain of chlamydia.  Knullruffs is undoubtedly a very useful word.

  2. Kåseri – Storytelling 

    This refers to a practice of telling stories on a topic, often anecdotal, often entertaining, but with a serious undertone. This is common on the radio and it sounds like a lot of fun. I want to institutionalise this in the UK!

  3. Langett städa – Cleaning round the edges 

    My absolute favourite phrase. You know when you have guests coming over but you’re in a hurry? You might look at the state of your house with a sense of despair, then grab the hoover and vacuum only the visible dirt. This is langett städa – only cleaning the surface and visible stuff. It definitely does not involve cleaning under the rug 🙂

Eating Out in Stockholm

Not-Swedish-Meatballs: Chinese-style pork and mushroom meatballs
Not-Swedish-Meatballs: Chinese-style pork and mushroom meatballs at restaurant, China!

How To Eat Cheaply + Recommendations 

On New Year’s Day, I experienced a happy wake-up at 7.30am to get on a bus from Dalarna to Stockholm…to arrive to a dead city. “There’ll be plenty of places open”, my boyfriend said confidently. “The restaurants will definitely be open.”

“Are you sure?” I said doubtfully.

“Yes, us Swedes are not like you Brits.”

I rolled my eyes , got off the bus and found myself in a dead city. A few coffee chains were open and the usual fast food suspects. Nothing serving a hearty lunch could be found.

The trouble with Stockholm is that, even when the restaurants are open, the prices are going to damage your wallet almost beyond repair. The cheapest main courses start from around £15, and that will be for a pasta or risotto. You want meat, my friend? Well, be prepared to pay £25 upwards for a main.

You can try and see the positive side of eating out in Stockholm by visiting Norway, a land where no-one can afford take-out food (4 small portions of fish and chips at a street café = roughly £72).

Sweden isn’t nearly so bad, but for students and travellers on a budget, eating out in Stockholm is a challenge.

So how can you eat cheaply in Stockholm?

The short answer is: you can’t. Not really. You aren’t going to find much Swedish food at a reasonable price, and you are not going to find the same value that you can find in the UK. But here are some tips for those that find themselves in Stockholm without access to a kitchen.

  1. Eat your main meal at lunch
    We all make mistakes...
    We all make mistakes…

    Many restaurants and cafés offer a “dagens” or daily lunch, which is a deal that ranges from 75 – 15kr  (roughly £7.50 to £15). This is the best way to get a good meal at a reasonable price.

    Food quality can be hit and miss. Take for example the above picture of a “Mango chicken balti” at an Indian restaurant (Indisk Mukat Restaurang) that my boyfriend insisted was “all right for lunch”. No. No, it wasn’t. The chicken was the awful processed stuff that is like eating a very soft sponge, the sauce was so sweet that I felt sick pretty quickly, and that thin, orangey sliver is really all the mango I got. All for a reasonable 10,5kr (£10.50!). ARGH.

  2. Get fast food or take-out


    As a self-confessed food snob, this really goes against all my principles. But needs must. And weirdly, Swedish fast food isn’t quite as dire as some of the stuff served up in Britain. Pizzerias are commonplace, and are almost cosy. Take Pizza Hörnet by George, for example. The inside was clean, and the service friendly and efficient. As for the pizza, it was unfortunately the most salty thing I had ever eaten which, after one slice, left my mouth burning like I’d been ingesting seawater. I complained to my boyfriend and he shrugged. “Swedes like their salt. This pizza is normal.”

    Pizza Hörnet by George
    Pizza Hörnet by George
    Saltiest pizza in the world
    Saltiest pizza in the world

    Also common are kebab houses. If you don’t trust the meat, go for the apparently ubiquitous falafel.

    My boyfriend reports that this is the best place for falafel in Stockholm
    Falafel King!

    When all else fails, get a take-out and find somewhere to sit where you won’t freeze. I was lucky enough to get introduced to a Szechuan dish, “twice cooked pork“. The pork is first boiled with ginger and salt, and then fried with vegetables. Whilst the execution of this was fairly poor, I bet the authentic dish is fantastic, and it’s now on my “to-eat” list.

    Classic Szechuan dish: Twice-Cooked Pork
    Classic Szechuan dish: Twice-Cooked Pork
  3. Just eat cinnamon buns, pastries and/or sandwiches
    Salami and brie sandwich: dry and unmemorable
    Salami and brie sandwich: dry and unmemorable

    Stockholm is packed with cafés, bakeries (bakerei) and cake shops (konditori) serving sandwiches, which always seem to include a salami and brie combo. Be warned – these sandwiches will set you back £7 – £8, and they’re often dry.

    If you have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of cakes to try. Popular are Sarah Bernhardt biscuits / chocolate biskvi, which consist of an almond biscuit base, a chocolate cream middle, topped with chocolate. All in all, it’s a little too sweet for me. However, these are valued national biscuits as I saw them on the Swedish equivalent of the Great British Bake Off, Hela Sverige Bakar (“All of Sweden is baking!”)

    Chocolate biskvi / Sarah Bernhardt biscuits
    Chocolate biskvi / Sarah Bernhardt biscuits
    Inside the biskvi...
    Inside the biskvi…

    There are also plenty of chocolate balls. These used to be called  negerboll (“negro balls”).  I say no more.

  4. Avoid Gamla Stan
    Stortorget Square
    Stortorget Square

    Gamla Stan – or Old Town – is the centre of tourism in Stockholm. Don’t even think about eating there, not even in a café. It’s very pretty and there are LOTS of things to check out, including Kungliga Slottet (the Royal Palace) and Storkyrkan (church), which has a spectacular interior with a very impressive statue of George slaying the dragon. So by all means visit Gamla Stan – just make sure you’ve eaten well in advance.

    We were desperate for refreshment and visited Chokladkoppen, which is a take-away and sit-down café. I can’t remember how much it stole from my wallet – although it is definitely not the worst offender price-wise – but I had a miserably milky hot chocolate and the cinnamon bun was underwhelming too, even if it was HUGE.

    Giant cinnamon bun

  5. Starve, and go back to your respective country

It’s a great excuse to lose some weight, right?!


Well, you’ve probably guessed by now that, for obvious reasons, I haven’t eaten out extensively in Stockholm! But there are a few places that I would recommend.

  1. The Muffin Bakery
    Drottninggatan 73 or Linnégatan 42

    The King of Muffins: Chocolate Brownie and Cheesecake
    The King of Muffins: Chocolate Brownie and Cheesecake

    The coffee might not be up to much, but it’s all about the Chocolate Brownie and Cheesecake muffins. I cannot visit Stockholm without devouring one of these. It’s cheesy but chocolatey and gooey in the middle. It’s 34kr but one can easily be shared between two. There are other varieties of muffins and they also do decent sandwiches at prices that are reasonable for Stockholm. There are two cafés – I go to the Drottninggatan one as it’s really central. Their website (Swedish only) can be found here.

    Goats cheese toasted sandwich
    Goats cheese toasted sandwich
  2. Nagano
    Rådmansgatan 58, 11359 StockholmNaganoFriendly lunch place that serves up tasty and reasonably-priced Japanese set lunches. I had a surprisingly good chicken katsu (breaded cutlet) lunch here and my boyfriend appreciated the veggie gyoza (dumplings). The portions are decent too.

  3. Café 60
    Café 60
    Café 60

    Really trendy, slightly kitsch café that is eternally busy. I’ve only eaten here once where I had a cake that was almost as good as Nando’s choc-a-lot cake, but not quite. There are plenty more scrummy looking cakes, and sandwiches and salad. It has free WiFi so it’s often packed with laptops/iPads and coffee cups.  Their website is here.

  4. China!
    Ringvägen 110 – 116 61 Stockholm

    Hoi sin pork with steamed buns and spring onions
    Hoi sin pork with steamed buns and spring onions

    It’s always a good sign when a Chinese restaurant is packed with Chinese people! I only had two dishes here – some meatballs (pictured far top) and some amazing hoisin pork with dumplings and spring onions – but I was impressed with the quality, flavours and presentation. The food is flavoursome but light and I didn’t end up feeling sick, which often happens to me after a Chinese. China! is not cheap, but it’s not outrageous – sharing two dishes might set you back £30, but you’ll leave satisfied.

I’m by no means an expert on Stockholm, so if anyone has any recommendations, please get in touch 🙂

Update: One recommendation I’ve received is to target Stockholm University’s restaurants and cafés. Apparently, the restaurant next to Södra Huset in Stockholm University serves dagens for 60-80kr. You can choose one main (fish, meat, vegetarian), and enjoy an all- you-can-eat salad, pasta, and bread bar, and an all-you-can-drink drink bar. Thanks to Toru Anraku for the suggestion.

Swedish Food 2: Stew, Pancakes…and Prawn Cheese?

Behold the cinnamon-y goodness!
Behold the cinnamon-y goodness!

Move over, cinnamon buns. I was never that into you anyway. It’s all about these amazing cinnamon lattices, which are gooey and oh-so-good.

This cinnamon lattice had the privilege of being my fika snack of choice. Fika is a Swedish word for “coffee break” or “tea time” and it’s a great excuse to tuck into pastries and cakes. I’m hoping to feature some chocolate cream macaroons and semla, but I’m only in Stockholm for one day and there’s only so many sweet things that I can eat!


At this time of year, Sweden is freezing and so hearty stews are naturally on the menu. I got to eat kalops, which is a simple but delicious beef stew, flavoured with bay leaves and allspice. Apologies for the appalling picture, but I greedily wolfed my plate down before I photographed it so I had to make do with the pot!

Saffron pancake with dewberry jam and whipped cream
Saffron pancake with dewberry jam and whipped cream

The Swedes have expensive taste: they love saffron. A really interesting dessert is a saffron pancake, made with flour, rice porridge and almonds, and served with dewberry jam and whipped cream. It’s filling without being too heavy, and the jam is a wonderful accompaniment and not too sweet.

And now to another Swedish curiosity….What are these rows and rows of mysterious tubes?


The Swedes love caviar, which they put into tubes and squeeze on bread and eat with boiled eggs. But these tubes are not fish eggs. No. These are all kinds of flavoured cream cheese. I’m automatically suspicious of any cheese product that doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated. Yet these become even more alarming when you look closely at some of the flavours. Prawn cream cheese paste, anyone?

Prawn cream cheese paste

Coming soon on the blog:

Restaurants and cafés in Stockholm
Swedish fast food
A special post on language (tenuously linked to food of course!)
And even more Swedish sweet and yummy things.

In the mean time, check out fellow blogger Heather’s recipe for Swedish buns, which she made for St Lucia’s Day (a BIG thing in Sweden). These are often made with saffron, but she uses cardamom, which sounds really interesting!