Archive | August, 2013

Step Twenty-Two: fun dining at Flesh & Buns

27 Aug

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Flesh & Buns. I wasn’t too keen on the name when I first heard it. It honestly made me think of Hannibal or some kind of Chinese dumpling filled with questionable meat.

But going with the flow, the name and the rave reviews intrigued me.

The signature dish is the Hirata bun, originally from Taiwan and literally translating as “tiger eating pork”. The concept is simple, it’s basically like a Western sandwich. You get a folded steamed white bun, soft as clouds, and fill it with whatever “flesh” you want.

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We had the crispy duck leg, served with sour plum soy sauce, and the flat iron steak, served with BBQ sauce. Both fillings were gorgeous – the duck slid off the bone, while the steak came in tender strips cooked nice and pink in the middle.

But it was hard to choose. We could have gone for the braised pork belly dolloped with mustard miso, or the grilled sea bass slathered with coriander miso, or the salmon teriyaki with lemon and sea salt. Any of the mains really. Mmmmmmm.

Each “flesh” dish is served with two steamed buns, lettuce, cucumber and pickle, and is designed for sharing. You can order extra buns on the side, which you may want to do if there are more than two of you.

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It’s such a simple concept and hails from Taiwanese street food that it’ll probably be making its mark on the London street food scene in no time.

The hirata bun has already made its grand entrance in New York, and from the way the restaurant’s designed with its industrial chic interior, you can tell the owner’s been influenced by the Big Apple.

Our dessert was oh so American too. As a S’mores virgin, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t even like marshmallows but I’m getting cravings for their s’mores as I write.

Sticking with the DIY-dining theme, part of the fun is roasting the marshmallows yourself and sliding them in between the biscuits and matcha green tea chocolate. I repeat, mmmmmm.

This new Japanese-style restaurant definitely lived up to its cracking reputation and if you’re over the burger bandwagon in Soho, give Flesh & Buns a try.

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The details:

Location: 41 Earlham Street, Covent Garden tube.

Opening times: Mon-Tues, noon-3pm, 5pm-10:30pm. Wed-Fri, noon-3pm, 5pm-11:30pm. Sat, noon-11:30pm. Sun, noon-9:30pm.

Price: flesh & bun mains to share from £13-24.

To see menus, click here.

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Step Twenty-One: outdoor swimming at Brockwell Lido

23 Aug

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After seeing the hot dogs or legs parody on Tumblr, I have to admit I’m guilty of taking a fair few of these shots myself. But I never thought I’d get the chance to play the game in not-so-sunny London…until I went down to the Brockwell Lido.

The outdoor swimming pool has been nicknamed “Brixton’s Beach” and on a hot day, locals are sure to flock to it. The pool is a whopping 50 metres long and let’s just say the measly number of lengths I managed didn’t reach double figures.

There are lanes for serious swimmers and a more casual area that young kids and teenagers were diving into. The vibe is very chilled out and anything goes – I spotted a few bras instead of bikini tops on display and people jumping in in t-shirts.

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One of the main reasons I was drawn to discover the lido was the TANNAGE opportunity.

There’s ample space around the pool to plonk yourself down and sunbathe (bring your own towel), and a special decking area if you arrive early enough to bag a space. Some lockers are provided but most people just leave their stuff on the side.

As it was summer, the pool wasn’t heated so was a bit of a shock at first, but I quickly warmed up and had a very refreshing, albeit brief, paddle.

It may not be as idyllic as lying on a white-sand beach, or as relaxing as a deserted island, given all the children running around, but it has a lively and friendly vibe. And if like me, you aren’t keen on sunbathing in a bikini in a park, and need a little dip now and then, the lido is the next best thing.

The poolside cafe stays open after the pool shuts and although I didn’t have anything, it apparently serves good food. I’ll definitely be going back for dinner when the surroundings are lit up and look beaut, according to Google pics, or on Tuesdays when the cafe does “Prosecco Tuesdays” (a glass for £3).

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The details:

Location: inside Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road. Hearne Hill train station or a short bus ride away from Brixton tube.

Opening times: Mon-Fri, 6:30am-8pm, Sat-Sun, 8am-6pm. Bank holidays – 8am-6pm.

Price: £5.75 for adults to swim; £3.05 for entry before 10am on a weekday.

For cafe menus click here. (People do bring food in but I’m not sure if this is allowed).

For main website and to check out their gym and spa facilities, click here.

If you just want a laugh, click here.

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Side step: visit the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition

5 Aug

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Summer’s here, school’s out and day-dreaming about travelling has started. But for those of us who aren’t jetting off to exotic lands, the annual Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition is the next best thing to a long-haul trip.

It’s never as satisfying being an armchair traveller, but the hypnotic photographs on display  at this outdoor exhibition have the power to temporarily transport you out of London.

Amateur and professional photographers have journeyed around the world to capture that perfect shot, and the winning images are now on display for the public to be inspired and enlightened by.

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The categories photographers could enter ranged from wildlife and the natural world, to vanishing and emerging cultures, to the wider-known rituals and celebrations.

Some personal favourites that caught my eye were the images of Masai boys climbing to the top of a boulder, fishermen “stilt fishing” in Sri Lanka, which causes the death of some of these men, and the more light-hearted shots of the Burning Man festivities.

Head down to the newly-opened exhibition and see for yourself the awe-striking talent of these photographers.

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The details:

Location: 1 Kensington Gore, Royal Geographical Society, South Kensington tube.

Opening times: Mon-Thurs, 10am-5pm,  Fri-Sat, 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5-pm.

Special evening views on 13th-15th August.

Closed bank holidays.

Free admission.

Here until 18th August.

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