“Love is not enough; intelligence is not enough; powerful strength is not enough. You may put everything on one side of the scale, but if you are missing gratitude, you shall lose.”
– Yogi Bhajan
As you may have already heard, I have a newfound appreciation for romantic minibreaks with platonic lady loves.
It all started with last weekend’s unplanned excursion to Ox Pasture Hall in Scarborough. Though I had never visited Scarborough before the trip, the promise of a fun and food-filled adventure was enough to throw caution to the chilly winter wind.
I mean, one rarely goes to a popular beach destination in the height on Winter.
Thankfully, the weather had no effect on our trip. After winding through a number of tree-covered roads (Google maps: essential), we pulled into the hotel’s parking lot and set straight off for our room. Unlike the city hotels I tend to frequent, Ox Pasture had an insanely cosy feel; modern bathrooms paired with quirky clock fittings, wooden furniture en masse, and a lot of Northern charm.
After shaking off the road trip claustrophobia, we strolled through the expansive grounds and ended up nestling around the hotel lounge’s fireplace to refuel on afternoon tea. Now, I have had a countless number of afternoon teas in my day but – in its simplicity – this ranks right up there with the best of them. For only £15, we filled up on tea, bouncy & warm scones, classic crustless sandwiches (you can’t underestimate the power of a good cucumber and cream cheese slice), and ‘something for everyone’ sweet treats (the fudge and brownie were personal favourites).
Eager to experience a bit more than Scarborough’s (so far delightful) cuisine, we then jumped back in the Batmobile and took a five-minute drive to the coast. The next few hours comprised of winning diamonds and two pence coins in the beach’s esteemed arcades, watching an excited man perform karaoke to an audience of three, and getting rumbled by ghost stories as the sun set and everything took a turn for the eerie.
Before we could get ourselves into more of a tizzy (The Grand Hotel – pictured below – is the most haunted looking structure I have ever seen), it was time to head back to Ox Pasture and develop an appetite for our dinner reservation at the Courtyard Restaurant.
After a glass of Prosecco by the fireplace, natch.
We perused the menu (and a few of the hotel’s wedding albums) before grabbing our glasses and moving through to the main dining area.
The next few hours were a surprisingly quiet celebration of brilliant British food; though the restaurant had only one other reservation for the evening, dish after dish came out to impeccable standards. Alongside a trio of fresh bread slices, we enjoyed starting courses of chicken roulade (wrapped in parma ham with red onion marmalade) and a generously traditional prawn cocktail, served with brown bread and butter.
Both dishes were a perfect set-up to the main event – confit duck leg for me and Braised brisket of beef for the lady love. While I spliced forkfuls of duck between bites of braised red cabbage, fondant potato and glazed carrots, my dining companion enjoyed her gargantuan plate of melt-in-the-mouth beef with creamed mash potato and silver skin onions.
Both were absolutely perfect.
When the time came to trade willpower for dessert, I couldn’t quite muster the courage to order something sweet (afternoon tea recovery) so opted for the Yorkshire cheese board, simultaneously enjoying the visual food porn of Jen’s Chocolate Trio (hot chocolate fondant, white chocolate parfait, milk chocolate tart).
If you have no reason to take a minibreak in Scarborough, I recommend you go for the food alone.
Note: The only downfall to the trip was the hotel’s wifi, which was so dire I was alerted to over 70 emails when returning to normal mobile service. A dream for escapists, but no so great for entrepreneurs. Leave your laptop at home.
As far as London’s foodie staples go, Bone Daddies deserves more than a mention. Unfortunately, I have been visiting for over two years and have somehow forgotten to give it some well-deserved blog lovin’.
Time to get into the spotlight, baby ramen joint.
Bone Daddies is reliant for four things. Four things that can become pros or cons, depending on your attitude and planning:
1. The best ramen in town. Since Bone Daddies’ launch, the number of ramen restaurants in London have multiplied with bunnies. Bone Daddies still offer the tastiest versions around.
2. The worst queues in town. Perhaps second only to The Breakfast Club, the queues here have been thirty minutes long, even in freezing weather on a weekday evening. Plan for lunches at 11:30 and dinners around 5:00 for immediate entry.
3. The most intimate seating plan in town. The barstooled wooden tables keep the restaurant cozy, but would be a dire environment for anyone with social anxiety.
4. The most generous portion sizes in town. This is not a spot for the salad eaters of Soho. Bone Daddies’ unavoidably sloppy bowls of ramen will feed you for days.
Almost every time I’ve gone for a bite, I end up ordering the Tonkotsu Ramen. I am not normally a creature of habit, but this gargantuan bowl is filled with a flavourful 20-hour pork bone broth, chashu pork, clarence court egg, bamboo, spring onion, bean sprouts, and mouth-melting noodles.
Nothing gets better for me, but Bone Daddies cover all bases nonetheless.
For the ramen-hesitant Manfriend? The ‘T22‘, which features a chicken bone broth, soy ramen, chicken, and cock scratchings in addition to the veggie ramen staples. And for my new vegetarian friend? The Mushroom Ramen (mushrooms, tofu, garlic, thyme, egg, and a vegetarian mushroom broth) alongside a moreish plate of homemade pickles.
(They get bonus points for cocktails and sides, but I figure you’re probably here to weigh up the ramen wars…)
Though I have yet to secure my long-awaited ski dates, the so-called hauls that I have undergone leading up to said event have kept me slightly sane. Slightly. I still found an excuse to break in my ski style selections before hitting a single slope.
As soon as an inch of snow settled, I covered myself in Trespass and ran around for hours with Gatsby (The Pomeranian). With an endless number of pockets, toggles, cords, and general snow-smart additions, I am more excited than ever to get my ski boots on.
What I Wore:
White ‘Solitude’ ski pants from Trespass (they have detachable braces, a four-way stretch, and are genuinely perfection)
Black ‘Marlena’ ski jacket with faux fur hood from Trespass
Tom Ford sunglasses (similar here)
Hunter wellies (similar here)