“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Unlike most carb-eating humans, I am not a pizza person. The Manfriend, however? The Pizza Person. Since we started dating, my pizza intake (or pizza topping intake, rather) has increased by over 1000%.
All is fair in love and war, right?
Last week, to feed his pizza penchant and my own obsession with trialling new restaurants, we made a stop at Pizza Union in Spitalfields.
The draw was simple: instead of monstrous, doughy, greasy circles, Pizza Union do superfast twelve-inch artisan pizzas. All of which are priced at only £3.95-£6.50 (with a gluten-free pizza base costing only £1 more).
After perusing the menu and delighting in their implementation of the American pager system (I belong to the school of thought which believes waiters only belong in fine dining establishments), we settled in with some nibbles and waiting a few short minutes to be invited – via vibration – to collect our orders at the counter.
For myself? The Stagioni (tomato sauce, mozzarella, cotto ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, artichoke, black olives). And for The Pizza Person? Calabria (tomato sauce, mozzarella, mascarpone, n’duja sausage, rocket).
It took one bite of a swapped slice to get major food envy. While the Stagioni featured some lovely ingredients, it took no time for me to write mental love poems to the Calabria. The sweetness of the mascarpone against the fire of n’duja was beyond perfect; a pizza hater’s pizza, if there ever was one.
To wrap things up, we shared ‘dessert’ in the form of a warm dough ring filled with Nutella and mascarpone. The ‘Dolce’, though simple in concept, was metaphorical crack for mascarpone addicts and a gloriously sweet treat to share.
A pizza joint I’d visit alone? It must be good.
I am a renter. A renter to my very core. I’m not sure if it comes down to the slightly nomadic tendencies of my early twenties or the fact that I didn’t grow up in a ‘permanent’ home, but the idea of being attached to a single residence for more than a year lacks any appeal.
The majority of my quasi-domestic adult life has been spent renting in London, which could be considered an art form in itself. For anyone who hasn’t grown up in the city (I’m over here counting my cultured blessings!), the unstable knack for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ areas and the prices that both ends of the spectrum call for could make your head spin.*
When MyRooms offered me a discount code (for £100 off your first month’s rent!) to share with my readers, I could hardly say no. (it’s LELO01 and is valid until September 30th, 2015 – enjoy!).
In fact, I want to help you renting fashionistas out as much as I can. After twenty-four years of borough hopping from North to South, West to East (…even zone 5), I am now schooled in the art of a good postcode.
London’s 5 Most Fashionable Areas to Live
(Use the postcode map – above – to get as close to them as you can!)
Postcode: W1 –
W1 puts the life into London. Not only is it the shopping capital (hello, Regent Street and Oxford Street) but it also boasts some of the most chic restaurants around. Good ol’ West One has stood the test of time.
Postcode: E1 –
Over the past five years, E1 has taken the cool kid cake of London. The ultimate balance of high and low, street style and couture, all with students alongside professionals. Special shoutout to the best vintage markets in London.
Postcode: SW3 –
The home of the Chelsea set. Be you Made in Chelsea or not, anyone can appreciate the beauty and style of the Fulham Road and its surroundings. Sophistication, grandeur, and a hell of a lot of yummy mummys abound.
Postcode: N1 –
Though the postcode reaches as far as Dalston, I find N1’s proximity to King’s Cross the biggest coup. Easy access to champagne bars and spontaneous travel (St Pancras = weekends in Paris, natch) is hard to beat. Don’t miss: the indie fashion houses of Upper Street.
Postcode: WC2E –
I know this one is rather specific, but I have something of an infatuation with this area. Covent Garden/Leicester Square has always felt like the centre of the universe to me, and if you manage to find a room to rent in this postcode; you are golden. The access you have to all of the postcodes above? Unparalleled. The area itself? A snapshot of all that makes London magical (along with some of the best boutiques around).
* Even though it is 14% cheaper to rent than buy in the city.
(Smoothies, too. I swear.)
Thankfully, The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych was ready and waiting when I decided to take an altogether naughtier refuel break.
In celebration of New York, London, Paris, and Milan’s Fashion Weeks, the beloved hotel teamed up with Tanqueray Gin to create four bespoke (and fashion-designer-inspired) cocktails.
For New York? Think Calvin Klein. Served in a chilled coupette glass, a bitter blend of Tanqueray No. 10, rhubarb liqueur, Martini Bianco, fresh pomegranate seeds and lemon bitters make up the ‘New York, New York‘.
For London? Think Alice Temperley. A mix of Tanqueray London Dry, rose liqueur, homemade jasmine syrup and lemon juice, topped with bergamot foam. The ‘English Rose‘is floral, delicate, and served in a chilled Martini glass.
For Milan? Think Moschino. For the cat glass alone, it became an instant favourite. ‘La Dolce Vita‘ featured Tanqueray London Dry, Martini Rosato, homemade wild berry syrup, cranberry juice, Sauvignon Blanc and mango mousse, topped with Champagne. As glamorous as cocktails get.
For Paris? Think Karl Lagerfeld. The ‘Blanc et Noir‘ swims in a Chanel-esque black glass; the contents a lemongrass foam-topped blend of Tanqueray London Dry, lemon juice, Chartreuse, elderflower cordial and citrus bitters.
You have until October 2nd and until your £13s run out.
Only this time, my fashion celebrations coincided with Yauatcha’s 10th birthday celebration.
Throughout September, the Michelin-starred dim sum teahouse have been releasing weekly off-menu celebrations centered around the restaurant’s four points of excellence; the Chinese kitchen, teahouse, patisserie, and cocktails. They began with Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee’s secret Dim Sum Platter, moved onto Senior Bar Manager Eder Neto’s Eight Butterflies green tea (which – while combining cranberry, rose petal and chrysanthemum – quickly became my dream tea), then featured Executive Pastry Chef Graham Hornigold’s secret Pumpkin Caramel (soy caramel puffed rice with roasted pumpkin choux bun filled with pumpkin, vanilla cream and pumpkin compote, with a spiced crunch topping).
Sneaky peak? Starting tomorrow, the final week will introduce an off-menu glass of Bollinger Rosé Champagne served with two miniature jugs of mixers and a micro-cocktail class by the waiter (you can thank Head Wine Buyer Christine Parkinson for this brainwave).
Secrets aside…the meal itself far surpassed my prior experience. Stellar as it was.
For this visit, The Manfriend and I chose to chow at the mercy of our waiter. With a simple request to trial the plates so sublime they could convert a vegetarian, we were presented with a bounty of diverse dim sum delights.
A cacophonous delivery of Chinese delicacy and innovation; lobster dumplings with tobiko caviar, buttery venison puffs, prawn and beancurd Cheung Fun (a drool-inducing revelation), and more. Followed by a hand-carved quarter of Crispy Aromatic Duck with all traditional trimmings, the selection made up a spectacular feast for two.
By this time, we were splitting at the spine, thus decided to accompany our off-menu tea with four handpicked (and rather exemplary) macarons.
If I ever regain my appetite, I shall plan to do it all again.