Once upon a time I went for a casual lunch at Chi Kitchen and had my Pan-Asian loving socks knocked off. For an unassuming corner inside Debenhams’ Oxford Street flagship, Chi Kitchen really exceeds expectations.
Rather than ‘Chi’ monikering Chinese, the Kitchen’s verbal antecedent represents Asia’s philosophical energy; the feel of their restaurant is as intentional as the menu. And it really shows. Chi boasts endless light, smiles, and a perfect assortment of well-presented Asian dishes curated by their Executive Chef, MasterChef 2014 winner Ping Coombes.
They’ve even got a champagne bar.
Forgoing midday bubbles for a sit-still culinary tour, we made our way through roasted Wagyu beef puffs (honey-glazed with sesame seeds), kimchi, unbelievably seasoned Sambal chilli prawns, tender Szechuan Sirloin beef, and two bowls of Laksa (essentially Peranakan ramen). The Tom Yum version of which – available with either chicken or prawns – was delicious but completely beasted by the Malaysian; Laksa’s traditional spicy broth with tofu, prawn, fish balls, boiled eggs and vermicelli noodles.
Each aspect of the meal was so impressive I refused to leave without trying dessert. Respectively, the chocolate sphere impressed everyone – even those on tables around us – as a decadent show of melting chocolate while the baked green tea alaska stole my heart. As flavourful, light desserts go, Ping’s creation is as good as it gets.
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After coming out on International Women’s Day, I was more than ready to don some occasion-supporting red and celebrate all things superwomen with my favourite OG Mumboss in the universe.
As Vicki was co-hosting her annual Passion into Pounds event (which, backed by The British Library, inspires women’s entrepreneurial potential) with the equally go-getting Jessica Huie MBE, I decided to go all out in a full-length red wrap dress complimented by a blow-dry from our mutually-loved hairdressing team of dreams; Jason Collier‘s at The Rosewood.
Vicki has not only been a sister and friend to me since we met but an absolute rock to everyone around her – a rare combination of intelligence, beauty, love, determination, and kindness.
As days off go, it will be a challenge to beat the all-encompassing happiness of International Women’s Day.
What I Wore:
Joanna Hope Necklace Dress (sans necklace) from JD Williams
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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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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To celebrate the launch of Nespresso’s new Creatista machine, the good-as-it-gets coffee brand invited fans old and new to the Creatista Studio – a pop-up café that expertly combined Instagramable interiors with unparalleled caffeine hits – and I was one of a lucky few to visit during its two week run in London and Leeds.
With latte artists and pro baristas on hand to answer my every question regarding the machine and general coffee-making, I genuinely left the Studio feeling closer to my barista dreams than ever before.
Truthfully, the Creatista is so savvy and intuitive that is essentially acts as an in-home barista.
I know this because I have since been spending most of my spare time loving on one of my very own.
With a few button clicks, the machine’s prodigious digital display turns Nespresso pod into café-style coffee – fully automatic steam wand and all. The customisable settings even offer you the choice to blend textured milk into Pinterest-worthy latte art (Not that that happens overnight; Nespresso didn’t perfect coffee in a day and my personally perfect milk pour is following very slow suit.)
Nonetheless, I get to spend every day with a glossy machine that heats up in 10 seconds and makes better flat whites than any of the overpriced cafes around me. It can’t be beat.
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