In Review: Ladies Lunch at Chai Wu, London

chai wu london
Though Harrods is one of my most-loved pit stops for all things luxury, my Harrods food explorations have been limited to decadent brunches in Laduree (also known as shopping fuel) and the food hall itself.

This was true, at least, until the department store’s celebrated contemporary Chinese restaurant – Chai Wu – launched an eight-course tasting menu designed to be the “ultimate, extravagant experience for health conscious customers”.

The Ladies Lunch menu, as it’s monikered, is undeniably extravagant.

What started as a glass of champagne alongside delicately steamed XO sauce soy beans quickly segued into lobster & sea bass crystal dumplings which, frankly, I could have devoured an ovrtflowing bamboo steamer of.

Chased with wheatgrass and avocado shooters (fellow green juice addicts will adore this creamy treat), we then moved on to a few increasingly substantial courses. First, a ‘Beauty Bucket‘/slate of teapotted poached Shanghainese chicken in a clear soup with the option of salty collagen jelly followed by crispy, charcoaled salmon marinated in Manuka honey, Shaoxing wine and mandarin. The latter being the irrefutable Chinese quintessence of food porn.

Though pudding came in threes, the earthy green tea fondant took the pun-less cake. Served with milk and collagen ice cream (natch), the incredibly light fondant practically bled antioxidants.

The other ‘puds’ – fruity edible lipsticks and a little candied strawberries & cream delight swimming in champagne – were rather special, themselves. This is a tasting menu not to be missed.

(The menu costs £70 per person and is served from Sunday to Friday, 12pm until 5pm.)

chai wu london
chai wu london
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In Review: The Remedy, London

the remedy london
It is a rare occurrence to find a Lela in a wine bar.

It’s not that I dislike wine but that I am an incredible lightweight. The idea of drinking without food makes me nauseous (let alone actually doing so). Of course, when you start to hear a wine bar’s food is as good as its tipples, the tables turn.

This is why I ended up at The Remedy: tales of a £1 oyster happy hour and a month-long celebration of Riesling.

The restaurant is small but open, even boasting a little terrace for Cleveland Street people-watching. After my date and I put a proverbial bookmark on two glasses of the aforementioned German wine (selection left up to our lovely waitress), we ordered up a tapas-style feast while continually looking back at the drink menu for an all-too-familiar bottle versus glass debate.

Deciding we would prefer to trial a few glasses, we stuck to our alco-guns and dove into a platter of Dungarvan No. 3 oysters (from the Duchy of Cornwall Oyster Farm), a ridiculously tender carne salata (with lemon zest & celery), spanish Chorizo (with gem salad), and light sea trout goujons (with grape seed mustard mayo).

As far as I’m concerned, Riesling and oysters are soulmates.

When it came time to order dessert, we realised our padron peppers had yet to arrived so opted for the cheese board (a slightly odd but incredible combination) and our first-ever glasses of orange wine. This particular wine – an orange moscato from the De Martino winery – didn’t win me over but I was happy to have explored my limitations. As the orange wine process keeps the grape skins fermenting (therefore their colour pigment, phenols and tannins – as in red wine), I think I’m too much of a purist to handle such shenanigans.

Nonetheless, The Remedy was an evening well spent and somewhere I’d recommend to foodies and appreciative winos alike.

the remedy london
the remedy london
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Street Food Afternoon Tea at The Arch, London

street food afternoon tea
Where does one take a long-lost lady friend from Indiana when she arrives in London for the first time? To afternoon tea, of course.

Not your typical scones ‘n’ Earl Grey afternoon tea, either. Last week I introduced the aforementioned lady love to both afternoon tea and London street food by taking her to The Arch for their new Street Food Afternoon Tea.

Instead of tiered plates of polite nibbles, The Arch serves up a slew of multicultural slabs. The savouries include mini cheeseburgers with onion marmalade in brioche, mini scotch eggs with piccalilli, chicken satay, mini fish & chips, and little smoked chicken, chilli, avocado and mango tortillas.

Paired with tea-infused cocktails, they went down a storm.

The second slab – the sweet treats – included warm cinnamon & sugar doughnuts filled with apple jam, homemade macarons, mini coffee eclairs, strawberry & pistachio tarts, a mini raspberry victoria sponge cake, and a lemon & mango rice pudding with toasted coconut.

Tucked inside one of the curtained booths of The Arch’s Salon de Champagne lounge, I felt this afternoon tea experience really stood out in a sea of sub-par and overpriced sandwiches.

street food afternoon tea
street food afternoon tea
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The New Fiat 500

fiat 500
Welcome to Chapter 837 of ‘How is this my life?’. Today, I am going to bring you along on my recent adventure to Turin to test drive the brand new Fiat 500.

After hopping a private Fiat-branded flight to Northern Italy (natch), we leapt into a whirlwind 24 hours of cars, cuisine and countryside capers.

Once we were introduced to the new 500s, fellow journo types and I emerged from HQ into a small sea of them (you will have seen this hysteria on my Snapchat story – lelalondob) and sped up the spiral roadway to have dinner on the iconic Italian Job test track.

Naturally, dinner turned into a very long night of shenanigans around Piazza Vittoria. After fueling up on espresso, we faked bright eyes and bushy tails and climbed into a gorgeous new peppermint 500c to explore the city for a few hours.

Since the 500’s revival in 2007 I have considered myself a modern fangirl but the new models blew me away. They have had a few nips and tucks (LED running lights, tilted lights, a new front grille) while keeping hold of all the technical pros that members of the so-called 500 Club have grown to love (for me, the low emissions and supercharged but superlight 900cc engine).

We wound around the city and countryside with the very necessary aid of the new five-inch display/TomTom sat nav. We learned not only that the rumours about Italian drivers are true but that being in a slick retro vehicle with the top down and a polite invisible woman guiding your way makes the aforementioned less of an issue.

For once, it’s okay to judge the book by it’s cover. In fact, Fiat are releasing a ton of ‘Second Skins’/wraps, thirteen body colours, eight alloy rims, and ten different interior configurations with the new 500, to boot.

Needless to say, I think I’ve found my soulmate.

fiat 500 12
fiat 500
fiat 500
fiat 500 11
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Tales of Flower Arranging (Zomato x Villandry)

villandry zomato
Zomato is my OCD dream. I use it at least once a week to scope out restaurant menus, so when the team invited me to Villandry to attend a flower arranging masterclass and afternoon tea, I couldn’t refuse.

For an afternoon, a few blogger friends and I were schooled by the ladies of Moyses Stevenes in the fine art before settling in to multiple tiers of sandwiches, scones, and sweets. It is, of course, my duty to pass on the lessons learned:

Flower Arranging for Beginners

– Use a selection of flowers and foliage to act as ‘fillers’. Foliage with strong stems will help support the stems of more delicate flowers.
– Start from the middle and work your way out.
– As you add each new flower, cross the stem over your previous flower’s stem and twist gently. Follow this direction until you get to the very end (you can see an example of this below).
– Keep a strong grip of your stems as they build up and twist it in the direction of the flowers you are placing if the bouquet begins to loosen.
– After tying your finished bouquet (double tie it tightly to ensure the arranging won’t move around), cut the stems on an angle to ensure they can drink from the vase you choose to place them in. Flat cut stems will sit at the bottom and find it hard to drink water.

Of course, if it all seems a bit too tough you can just go have afternoon tea and order some from the experts.

I won’t tell.

peonies, stocks and thistles with nigella, alchemilla, dill, astilbe and mint flower fillers and foliages. – See more at: http://www.moysesflowers.co.uk/strawberry-sundae-peonies-bouquet/#sthash.SMRvqTQh.dpuf

villandry zomato
villandry zomato
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