Tag Archives: restaurant

Moving to Instagram

28 Feb

I’ve jumped on the Instagram bandwagon (better late than never) and will be posting my steps from there – 22 to go!

Follow me on ainhoab89.


I’ve done the first one already – here’s a little preview:


STEP 30: dinner at The Dairy in Clapham. To finish off… Biscuits, salted caramel and malted barley ice cream; baked pear, clotted cream and cinnamon shavings and complimentary sugar coated wafers and mini doughnuts. Best things come free. #thedairy#instablog #instacollage #dessert #foodgasm#chocolate #art #blog #saltedcaramel #igers


Side step: jam-jar cocktails at Alice House, West Hampstead

17 Sep


When I grow up, I’m going to live in Hampstead. That’s one of my many ambitions, and while I can dream and hope that one day, some day, I’ll own a house in this endearing pocket of London, for now I’ll just have to be content with visiting.

I usually go up to Hampstead Village – for coffee on a cold day, for banana and nutella crepes at La CrĂŞperie, for the lively, outdoor beer gardens on those unusual balmy summer evenings (no longer), and on my latest visit, to explore Hampstead Heath and get a breath of fresh air.

West Hampstead, however, I’d never been to. Until last week to visit a friend who had just moved to the area.


We went for drinks, and while there were quite a few options just walking from the tube, The Alice House was recommended and the outdoor decking area drew us in. It wasn’t a particularly warm evening, but the heaters did the trick and I’d recommend going before winter really draws on.

We ordered jam-jar cocktails which had spoonfuls of jam in and were very sweet, but that perfectly suited my tastebuds. I had the gin cocktail with Victoria plum jam and a splash of lemonade, followed by the tequila concoction with blackcurrant jam topped with ginger beer. They were very, very good and very easy to drink.


The place itself is a restaurant-cum-bar, and a mix of modern and tradition. The interior has cool exposed brickwork and little light bulbs hanging from the ceiling that reminded me of fireflies, but also old wooden flooring and comfy leather chairs. The clientele was slightly older and quite sophisticated, in keeping with the area, but it still felt pretty relaxed and just what we wanted for a quiet night.

The details:

Location: 283 West End Lane, West Hampstead tube.

Opening times: Mon-Thurs, 9am-11:30pm. Fri-Sat, 9:30am-1pm. Sun, 9:30am-11pm.

Prices: cocktails from ÂŁ6.75.

For the drinks menu, click here.



Step Fifteen: King’s Road’s best-kept foodie secret

18 May


I know this is very uncharacteristic of my blog, and goes against the whole purpose, but for this step I’m going to be utterly selfish and not disclose the name of this restaurant because it really is worth hunting down for yourself, and you’ll appreciate it even more when you find it. That is, if you can handle ra-ra-ra land.

I will however give you several clues, so it shouldn’t be that hard to locate.

Restaurant X is a deli, cafĂ© and restaurant on King’s Road that changes its menu depending on seasonal ingredients. The food is simple, home-cooked and as we went for dinner, chargrilled. It’s all down to the fresh ingredients that make the meal so flavoursome – no fuss, just cooked on the grill and served with sauces.

We ordered the antipasti platter (£7.50 per person), which Restaurant X is quite famous for (pictured below). It came with thinly-cut salami, jamón, chorizo; big, fleshy olives; rocket and baby leaf covered in parmesan shavings; grilled vegetables and chunks of bread dolloped with pâté.


For the main course, it was all about the chargrill. We shared the seafood board pictured above (£36.95 for two) which included tiger prawns, octopus and meaty chunks of swordfish, all served with generous portions of skinny fries and your choice of sauce. We went for the gorgeous garlic and parsley butter, the bearnaise and the salsa verde.

My sister had the bavette steak (£13.95) and my dad shared the côte de boeuf (£39.95 for two), equally heavenly and served with the same sides.


The food is good value for money considering the gargantuan platter sizes, but the other big selling point is the setting. If you manage to bag a table in the outdoor, covered garden, you can enjoy the romantic ambiance of the restaurant with its charming fairy lights, French wooden décor, ivy trellises and white, garden furniture.

Restaurant X is also famous for its brunch menu, served until 3pm on weekends, and light lunch dishes.


The details:

Location: somewhere on the King’s Road

Opening times:

Mon-Fri – 8am to 5:30pm then 7pm till late

Sat – 9am to 5:30pm then 7pm till late

Sun – 10am to 5:30pm

Definitely book in advance, and request a garden table.

Happy hunting!



Side step: good old Patty and Bun burgers

9 Feb


Burger bars have taken over London, from street food stalls to cool pop-ups to established favourites. I’ve always been a Byron girl, and have made it my mission to visit every branch and collect their playing cards. So far I’m on 8…out of 27. It’s a slow process, and has been made even slower by the many other burger distractions in the city.

Cue, Patty and Bun restaurant.

This small, friendly joint just opened a few months ago but has already accumulated a flock of followers. Being the typical chilled-out burger bar, Patty and Bun just wants to serve you ultimate comfort food by waiters who act like they’ve known you forever.

They don’t do reservations, so we strategically planned to go after the lunch rush. No such luck. There always is, and always will be, a queue. We waited a freezing 45 minutes to get in and when we did, ended up sharing the table with another party. It’s that kind of place, where everyone’s your friend and they’re just there for one thing: to eat a damn-good, tasty burger. No fuss, no frills, to the extent that they don’t serve on plates.

The menu’s what you’d expect – you can get a classic cheeseburger, chili chorizo relish burger, chicken burger, lamb burger and Portobello mushroom one. They come neatly wrapped in paper and the rosemary-salted chips come in polystyrene cups.


The Ari-Gold cheeseburger was worth it. Nice and juicy, it was stacked pretty high with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and home-made smokey mayo. And just the right amount of grease. The brioche bun was also fresh and airy.

Overall it was a little messy to eat – not good date food – but no one cares about appearances here. It’s all about the buzzy atmosphere and the great tunes. And of course, the tasty, home-made patties.


Burgers on average cost around ÂŁ8 and sides at ÂŁ3.

If you don’t fancy the wait in the cold, you can get take-away too.

The details:

Location: 54 James Street, Bond Street tube.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday, noon-10/11pm. Closed Mondays.

Step Nine: cook your own steak on a hot volcanic rock

9 Feb

Usually I try to avoid going out in Leicester Square, but Salvador and Amanda’s restaurant is an old favourite that I’ve been meaning to blog about. To enter you snake down the stairs which open up to a red-themed restaurant with low cande light, wooden huts and quirky décor you’d imagine in Salvador Dali’s house.

As a Spanish restaurant, most people go for the tapas and there’s a lot to choose from. You want to pick two or three dishes per person and share between you. I’d definitely recommend the grilled tomato bread drizzled with olive oil, green peppers with sea salt, red tuna carpaccio, king prawns in garlic, mini pan-fried chorizo from Leon and…well, the list goes on. You can’t really order wrong.

This time round though, we scrapped the idea of sharing and looked further down the menu to the Chuletón de Ternera a la Piedra. “Sizzling seared rib-eye steak on the bone, served on a hot volcanic rock” was the description. Did we want juicy, tender, meaty chunks of steak to cook on a sizzling hot-stone slab, on this cold winter’s day? Yes. We were instantly sold. And as you can see from the photo, Salvador’s didn’t disappoint.


It’s a restaurant that’s pretty flexible depending on your needs. Apart from dining for tapas and the sizzling steak, another selling point is their Happy Hour till 8pm, where house wine is £10 a bottle. On Tuesdays they have “Flamenco night” where you can watch flamenco dancers and guitar players. And on weekends you can bop round the back to cheesy and mainstream music on their small but inviting dance floor.

I’d recommend booking a table beforehand as it gets busy quickly, and if you’ve got a Tastecard they do 50% off food on weekdays.

To check out their menu, click here. And to visit their new branch that’s just opened in Bloomsbury, click here.

The details:

Location: 8 Great Newport Street, tube Leicester Square.

Opening times: Monday-Saturday, 5pm-2/3am

Price: tapas from around ÂŁ5-10, steak for ÂŁ13.50