dinner time stories london

While I am undoubtedly tech obsessed, the receipt of press release with the words “multisensorial projector-based dinner show” at the top made my combatively anti-millennial instincts flinch to throw my laptop at the wall.

Since when did good food need anything more than a fork? Since when did it need projectors?!

I masochistically read on.

Le Petit Chef was the latest dining concept from the well-received innovators of Dinner Time Story.

This time led by a diminutive 3D animated chef who likes to spend his evenings travelling across tablecloths.

Nonetheless, their London outpost was going to be held in the roof of Shoreditch’s TT Liquor and was safe in the knowledge I could spend an evening drinking some of my favourite whiskeys if all else failed.

I’m also far too curious to ignore anything that would charge £95 for a ‘concept’.

At the start of the dinner, guests were seated around communal tables with a blank storybook in front of them. For the two hours after that, you are thrust into a culinary and augmented reality exploration. While still seated.

And I have to hand it to Dinner Time Story, they took me there. To the Silk Road, Middle East, Western France, sea, and sky. While producing six small homage-yielding courses and cocktail pairings at each stop.

With soundtracks and scents to elevate each imagined destination, that damned “multisensorial projector-based dinner show” really got to me. It heightened what was arguably a mediocre menu to an evening well-worth it’s price tag.

It was whimsical, charming, and full of potential. I simply hope the food (besides the deliciously cumin-heavy tagine croquette) catches up.

(Dinner Time Story is currently running in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Berlin and Belgium, and expansion plans for China and Scandinavia are already underway. Keep an eye out for their next pop-up.)

dinner time stories london
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I’m a proper adult. 🎉

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Nights out in London don’t get much more memorable than tormenting strangers in an adult ball pit with your loved ones.

Better yet, tormenting them a ball pit bar.

In that and many other senses, Ballie Ballerson is the best answer to nostalgic deviance Shoreditch has to offer.

The bar and their world-famous balls draws a crowd of fun-loving millennials happy to spend their hard-earned cash pretending to be children. And that, my friends, creates one electric atmosphere.

To maximise your time at Ballie, I would advise booking your time slot in the ball pit an hour or so after you arrive. There are plenty of cocktails to try, songs to shake it to, and new friends to make in the interim.

The pit itself was deep enough to swallow all three members of my girl gang at different points of the night. You don’t want to miss out on recovery quests with a buzz, I promise you.

(It was also large enough that a man in a plastic crown was able to crowd-surf into the pit. Before he stuffed a few balls down the back of my bodysuit.. .no, there was literally no better way to phrase that sentence.)

Between trips to the pit, we took advantage of Rascals – Ballie’s adjoining restaurant andthe world’s first waterproof dining room – to fuelled for further frolicks.

Though I have yet to figure out why a restaurant would require precautions for aquatic exploits, Rascals’ food and cocktails surprised me. It came across as the sort of thing Kylie Jenner would serve at a dinner party.

On a Rob Kardashian price tag.

The value of the tapas-style dishes was incredible. £6 Cheeseburger spring rolls (a revelation), £6 burrata with basil pesto & a parmesan crumb, £8 truffled mushroom risotto with parmesan foam…every dish was infallible and perfectly complimented by a small menu of innovative cocktails.

Cactus Margarita £10 Reposado Tequila, Mezcal, Cactus, Lime, Buzz Button Tincture, Szechuan Salt /
Yuzu Pretty £10 White Brandy, White Rum, Yuzu, Matcha, Lime, Whites /

My favourite was Tonka The Plonka (Solera Bourbon, fig, tonka bean, and black walnut) but the Yuzu Pretty (white brandy, white rum, yuzu, matcha, lime, and egg whites) and Cactus Margarita (Reposado Tequila, mezcal, cactus, Lime, buzz button tincture, and szechuan salt) were close seconds.

We spent the rest of the night dancing around Rascals like it was the school disco of collective dreams long after our time in the pit was up.

We had a literal f***ing ball.

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food blogger
The unlikely string linking a decade of dinner parties? The hysterically diverse threads I’ve worn to each of them.

When I’m fortunate enough to be invited to a friend’s, I go all out; sparkles, heels, and a bottle to match.

When I throw my own, I tend to go all…well…in; a onesie, an empty bottle, and the closest thing to a smile I can muster after having compulsive meltdown in the kitchen.

I am the keenest of home chefs. And I love hosting. But the combination can be a nightmare for a perfectionist.

Discovering La Belle Assiette was a game-changer.

The service offers Londoners a choice of affordable private chefs for any and all culinary needs; dinner parties, romantic surprises, birthdays, et al.

It sounded like the ideal exploit for catching up with friends after the holidays.

After long days at work, five of my most discerning foodie amigos arrived to an out-and-out feast without so much as a consideration to what they might want to eat that night.

Chef Ali, who arrived two hours prior to prepare his menu, curated a four-course banquet of dining room dreams; a herbed chicken amuse bouche (with shaved parmesan, sherry vinegar anchovies, parmesan croutons & a caesar dressing), wild tuna Salade niçoise (with soft-boiled eggs, served with English new season potatoes, green beans, heritage tomatoes, red onions & wild rocket), chicken stuffed with smoked tomatoes & goat’s cheese (with beetroot puree, smoked garlic, crispy mint fondant potatoes, roasted baby onions, carrots, Himalayan salt, &jus), and a white & dark chocolate tart with peppermint cream & fresh berry confit.

It was a roaring success.

With nothing to deliberate beyond which wine we wanted with each course, La Belle Assiette truly put the party in dinner party. Right the way through to the discovery of a spotless kitchen (with zero washing-up!) after the world’s most mutinous game of Monopoly.

The entertainment, of course, is rather deliciously left up to you and the merriment of your tribe.

I would live the entire evening again in a heartbeat. For the opportunity to crack out every thread of sparkle in my wardrobe, alone.

food blogger
food blogger
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winter coat
This pink-hooded parka of snowtime ideals has caused quite an unexpected stir.

Though the thought rarely crosses my mind, I thought it might be a bit…well…extra. But snow needs must.

When I opened my windows to an unlikely flurry of southern snow, it was – quite frankly – the best sartorial decision I could make. And the numerous Instagram requests to buy the coat off me have only affirmed the decision.

‘Tis the season to be extra, after all.

What I Wore:
That parka from Miss Pap
A fluffy pink skirt (vintage – similar here)
Black scoop neck top
Studded ankle boots (similar here)

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

winter coat
winter coat

beer afternoon tea
As far as London’s prosecco postcodes are concerned, Hyde Park is at the top of chain. It would have been the last place I expected to find a beer afternoon tea.

Truth be told, the idea filled me with dread. Afternoon tea has always held a place in my heart as an opportunity to sip bubbles and feast on crustless finger sandwiches. An afternoon on beer, on the other hand, has always become a meal in itself. The combination hardly seemed a peanut butter and jelly kind of match

Nonetheless, I put faith in the inclinations of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park and headed for some weekend indulgence in their Rosebery Lounge. Can an afternoon tea ever be had?

No. Not really. But it can be unexpectedly wonderful. As it was here.

The hotel restau’s new offering pairs unique beers from the UK, US and Belgium with their prestigious afternoon tea treats.

We’re talking sushi-style sandwiches (slow-roasted turkey with cranberries & sage butter, Cotswold egg & black truffle, confit tuna with sweet piquillo peppers, black olives & oregano, et al) with Thornbridge Chiron (a spicy and balanced Pale Ale with a deliciously juicy malt). We’re talking hand-made maple snow balls and Mandarin mont blancs with Kriek Boon (a Lambic almond-tinged beer fermented with 400g of whole cherries per litre of beer). We’re talking infallible freshly-baked scones (plain & cranberry with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam and rose petal jam) with Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar (a moreish Brown Ale made with Rogue Farms hazelnuts).

Struggling to find a last-minute Christmas gift for a beer enthusiast? It doesn’t get much better.

beer afternoon tea

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