London

I love London. I sign things London. London is the key to my heart – it deserves some writing.

home house afternoon tea london
The never-ending stream of ‘National’ days and weeks that PRs seem to throw around the Twittersphere has me wildly disconnected. A little petulant, truth be told. I refuse to eat burgers on National Burger Day. I refuse to relax on National Relaxation Day. I may even go as far as supergluing my mouth shut on National Smile Day.

The exception was always going to be National Afternoon Tea Week. The one I’m currently clotted cream-ing our way through. I take afternoon tea unnecessarily seriously.

With a friend was in town and on the hunt for her first taste of British teatime, I had to go heritage. Home House‘s English Country Garden Afternoon Tea heritage.

The jaw-droppingly beautiful member’s club and hotel shook their afternoon tea menu up to incorporate country garden themes right on time. We booked in, skipped up Robert Adam’s opulent staircase, and settled in to their neo-classical Drawing Room with a glass of Moët & Chandon for the quintessential afternoon tea.

Simply heightening the traditional, we started with a sandwich selection of roast beef & horseradish on onion bread, smoked salmon & cream cheese on granary, cucumber & cream cheese on white, and cressed-up wholegrain egg mayo on white.

The fresh scones – with plenty of clotted cream and jam – were next, riding on a Darjeeling sea that led to spectacular dessert plates. While I rarely take more than a bite of teatime’s sweet treats, the mini Pimms trifle, Eton Mess meringue sphere, cherry & chocolate dacquoise, honey & thyme mousse sable, violet & blackberry open macaron, and raspberry & rose tartlet vanished within minutes.

If you’re looking for a traditional tea that won’t disappoint, I couldn’t think of a better spot to settle in for the afternoon.


home house afternoon tea london
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It sounds like the start of a terrible pun; two chefs walk into a shipping container and – spoiler alert – walk out with the best small plates I’ve had all year.

Alas, it’s the non-pun Smoke & Salt have made a reality. The micro-sized shipping container restaurant is the culinary chief of its POP Brixton neighbours, serving seasonal British small plates with an emphasis on smoking, curing and preserving.

From the arrival of their Old Post Office Bakery sourdough and smoky whipped butter I knew I wanted to try more than their absurdly affordable seven-course tasting menu (most gluttonous sentence ever?), so opted for a few suggestions from the owners and settled in for a treat.

Negroni Blanco in hand, I set into the roe deer tartare (with smoked gooseberries, rapeseed, and sorrels) to start, followed by a plate of tomatoes, smoked ricotta, whey, and toasted buckwheat.

Both dishes were undeniable unusual, yet phenomenally balanced. And the perfect amount for two people to share.

We moved on to new potatoes with beef heart (heightened with chimichurri and gorgonzola),
chalkstream trout (dressed with the most intensely delicious raspberry/chipotle concoction), chicken schnitzel (underwhelming compared to the other dishes, yet better than others I’ve had and a last-minute substitute for their typical veal schnitzel), and thick grilled chorizo (paired with aubergine and an exquisite burnt lemon mostada).

As the sun set, I watched an eager queue build up for late dinner reservations and smiled to myself. It has been quite some time since I’ve felt this excited to see what a new kid on the block does next.

Smoke & Salt is what London’s foodie underbelly is all about.

smoke and salt london pop brixton
smoke and salt london pop brixton
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spitalfields market london
Old Spitalfields Market really finds itself up against it. On one hand, you have neighbouring destinations of dreams for tourists and locals (Shoreditch, Boxpark, Old Street, et al). On the other hand, you have neighbouring destinations of dreams that mean you’re bypassed altogether.

What do you do to draw them in?

You get all the best hipster-loved culinary joints in London under one roof at The Kitchens – the market’s dynamic and developing street food hall curated by Nuno Mendes.

It’s a crowd-captivating concept in and of itself. One only heightened by the arrival of Summer’s seasonal wave of new traders.

The historic Victorian market now plays host to a phenomenal range of traders including High Mood Food – a health food concept with a unique focus on fermentation. Co-founder and chef Joey O’Hare makes the most insane, flavour-packed salads (and living dressings) which all prioritise gut health.

I genuinely had such a mind-blowing working lunch with them recently that I went back to pick something up for a dinner date. At the same time, I got so distracted by the signature shengjianbao (aka soup dumplings) from Dumpling Shack that I was temporarily diverted.

I mean, the Shack’s creators have spent three years perfecting their Shanghai-inspired dumpling recipes with regular immersive travel. It couldn’t be avoided.

My future trips (and yours!) will surely include Mazi Mas’ persian menu, Good Mood Matcha’s iced watermelon take on the frothy drink, Pleasant Lady Trading’s succulent Jian Bings, and the Insta-worthy Taiwanese treats from Wheelcake Island (for pancakes filled with everything from adzuki bean to Oreos).

spitalfields market london
spitalfields market london
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evening of meat london
It’s not often I find myself with a half naked woman feeding me pancetta, bent on all fours atop a dining table, but it does happen. Most recently at the literal feast of femininity known as An Evening of Meat.

The Evening, equal parts immersive theatre and supper club, first tickled my tastebuds with promising international reviews of a provocative feminist narrative. A narrative which tackled the concept of “being treated like a piece of meat” with no more than music and dance.

With an indulgent six-course menu, to boot.

As the tabletop dancers struggle to take up space, guests are brought Michelin-quality beef carpaccio, braised mutton, pig cheek, and more.

The choreography was powerful, the food was incredible, and the experience was definitively unique. Leaving a lot up to personal interpretation, the experience handled the complications, vulnerability, instability, power, and sexuality of female existence beautifully.

An Evening of Meat can be seen at The Vaults until June 2nd (Tuesday – Saturday).

evening of meat london
evening of meat london
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margarita rumble
I’m about to reveal the best margarita in London, y’all. Strap in.

This is a story about a woman (hey, there) who did all the ground work so your liver doesn’t have to.

Well, myself, Margarita Rumble, and Jose Cuervo.

The Rumble, now in its second year, is a day-long competition where expert mixologists from each respective city cocktail their way to claim prestige as creator’s of the Best Margarita. And the world’s number one tequila announced they would be sponsoring London’s grand ole fiesta. I could hardly miss out.

In three sessions, margarita lovers enjoyed two hours of bottomless 100% agave Jose Cuervo Tradicional-filled margaritas from the likes of Trapeze, Barrio Bars, Cabana Brixton, Whistling Shop, Benitos Hat, Little Bat, Eaton Square Bar, Zebrano, Simmons, The BootLegger, and title-defending Café Pacifico.

The space turned into a magical melee of margs. One with roasted pineapple and jalapeno puree, vanilla, and garnishes of pineapple crisps & candied jalapenos. One with rhubarb. One with Aperol foam. One flower-accented tipple spritzed with Laphroaig to finish.

Yet, after all votes were cast, Café Pacifico deservedly took the crown for the second year with a fruit-packed margarita; sweet and spicy rim, pipette-injected tequila watermelon, fragrant finishing spray, and all.

Realistically, when would Cuervo two-ways not get the gold?

‘Til next year!

cute mistake

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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