eneko london
As Bloody Mary-worthy mornings come, it is a task to power through one feeling anything more than…awake. Let alone glamorous.

Thank Strand Gods for Eneko.

One Aldwych’s subterranean dining quarters not only swallows you into a luxurious underbelly but offers the best Bloody Mary – a “Golden” version that swaps the basic ingredients for spiced vodka, golden tomato juice & celery foam – in London.

That and a brunch to write home about.

Settling into one of their open-air booths, my dining companion instinctively raised her phone to share the room’s lush aesthetic with Instagram.

You can only imagine the digital exploitation of the food itself. Acclaimed chef Eneko Atxa (whose three-Michelin Azurmendi restaurant is #16 in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants) pulls off brunch like very few can; Traditional Talo (with heritage tomatoes & fresh herbs), duck breast (with green Gernika peppers & super-thin fries), Txuleta (prime rib with a spring onion salad), et al.

From start to Cava-clinking (brunch includes a complimentary glass of Mas Macia Cava brut per person) finish, the Basque benefaction tickled every tastebud tenable.

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eneko london
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dorsett london travel blogger
There is little I love more than a staycation and – as a woman who takes very little time for herself – I have felt more than a little overdue one from the second the clock struck 2017.

When an event celebrating International Women’s Day presented an opportunity to stay in a Grade II listed building I have walked past for over ten years, I knew I had to spend a night in its modern interior transformation – Dorsett Shepherds Bush.

(Trigger warning: a super chic hotel lies within.)

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aster brunch london
As you may remember from staycations past, Victoria is one of my favourite (and most convenient) places to “holiday” As a foodie, a saunter in SW1 provides much more than theatres and access to what feels like every train and bus in London.

It is a mecca for culinary exploration and, currently, home to the best brunch in London: Saturday’s bottomless brunch at Aster.

I have had my fair share of bottomless brunches in my day (some more recent than others) and Aster’s version takes the Almond, Runeberg, blood orange, and lemon meringue cake.

From 12-4pm, the brand new glass-walled restaurant/cafe/deli/bar invites guests to luxuriate over two (£21) or three (£26) perfectly crafted courses, listen to live music, and drain them of bottomless bubbles (£15 extra).

And that we did.

Over three hours, Kate Threlfall and her string quartet crooned sweet, jazzy nothings to us while we indulged in “Eggs Victoria” (lobster, seeded rye & truffle hollandaise), a flat iron steak (with café de paris butter & remoulade, wild reindeer sausages (with caramelised onions & lingonberries), a chocolate tart, and the aforementioned almond cake.

For a newborn (the restaurant opened January 2017), Aster’s brunch implies a very successful future.

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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tank and paddle london
There is something bittersweet about promoting restaurants I love. Especially when they’re hidden gems. But Tank & Paddle is a little too brilliant to keep secret.

It lives up to (and yet somehow defies) every expectation of a “pizza and beer” place. Though it is situated in the centre of The City, it is virtually impossible to “stumble upon” (below ground in Minster Court) and is significantly more affordable than its surrounding banker-seducing restaurant alternatives.

Yet the food is just as good.

With an absence of the postcode’s notorious white tablecloths and sommeliers, you get bar service (perfect for large groups), cosy corners, killer cocktails, and outright feasts at the cost of a dessert somewhere else.

After a round of Porn Star Martinis (my #sorrynotsorry pizza companion of choice), my dinner date and I split a Billy Goat’s Stuffed pizza (Rosary Goat’s Cheese, spinach & red onion chutney), pepperoni & chilli filled mac and cheese (a gooey-as-they-come delight called “The Hot One”), a gargantuan Greek salad, and savoury dough sticks with Garlic & Herb Butter and Chilli Butter (they also do a Nutella-filled option for dessert – your skinny jeans are forewarned).

It was a banquet that took us all the way through our Martinis, a bottle of bubbles, and more than a handful of dance breaks.

For its location, food, drinks (everyone around me was cooing over their beers), pricing, vibes, and deals (ie “Any regular pizza for £5 on Mondays”!), Tank & Paddle might just be the City’s greatest hideout.

tank and paddle london
tank and paddle london
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last minute valentines gifts
On this happiest of days – Galentine’s Day – I thought I’d give a little bit of love to those among us who have either forgotten or struggled with tomorrow’s annual heart-filled gift-giving.

Valentine’s Day isn’t particularly “my thing”, but I do love the idea of celebrating love of all kinds so thought I’d round up a few last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that slay.

For your bae of any kind…tickets to Dirty Great Love Story
This Edinburgh Fringe First award-winning show is an alcohol-laden masterpiece exploring modern dating through two relatably hopeless romantics. Is not so much ‘romantic comedy’ as it is ‘romantic catastrophe’; bringing poetic light (and constant lolz) to inescapable familiarities of timing, tousles, and terrible choices.

I enjoyed every cringe-worthy moment (thanks to delicious performances from Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine) and could not imagine there being a type of human who wouldn’t feel the same.

For the blossoming romance…EatFirst
The award-winning online restaurant EatFirst has developed an incredible Italian tasting menu together with top antipodean chef, Benn Hodges, inspired by sultry summers on the Amalfi coast and the island of love, Capri.

The menu (which prepares everything and simply needs to be heated when ready to share) includes:

– Buffalo Burrata antipasti (with heirloom tomatoes, black olives, creamy buffalo burrata, micro Italian basil and rocket dressed with extra virgin olive oil infused with vanilla, lemon zest, and basil), grilled rosemary & sea salt focaccia

– Duck Ragu Pappardelle Primi Paitta (Devonshire ducks marinated in red wine, carrot, celery, bay leaves & garlic, then scented with juniper berries and star anise. All is braised overnight with virgin Sicilian green olives and eventually served with handmade pappardelle pastafinished with parmesan, parsley and green olives)

– Squash Salad (Butternut squash marinated in thyme & garlic – seared and roasted – with endives and tomato jam)

– Flat Iron Steak Secondi Paitta (Aged flat iron steak marinated in pepper & ginger, chargrilled, and served pink with fresh baby spinach, sesame salad and a mix of pickled vegetables)

– Flourless Chocolate Cake Dolci (70% dark chocolate cake served paired with a light vanilla custard)

Wine pairings are available (Chateaux Fayau Bordeaux & Chablis Domain du Colombier), and all. Talk about easy, refined intimacy!

For someone super special…a vacation
Be it a weekend away, a staycation, or a stay at an RCI timeshare, I have always believed the best presents are experiential or travel related. Thankfully, Airbnb can hit pretty much any wanderlusting nail on the head and allow you to find comfort in your very own romantic home from home(if you haven’t used it, you can also get £30 in travel credit by following this special link!).

Think about somewhere your partner has expressed interest in and give them the surprise of their life!

For yourself…Calmia yoga roller
If we’re forced to celebrate love we might as well celebrate loving ourselves, right? While this gift would actually work for anyone (especially someone who’s partner isn’t often at home or has recently decided to part ways), you’ve got to get one for yourself. By simply shifting your body around the roller, you can de-stress your mind & body, reduce soreness, aid muscle recovery, and even prevent injury (tense muscles are injury trigger points!). It can provide the cheapest and longest massage of your life, tailored to perfection. What could be better than that?!