dirty tommis at dirty bones
From the very day my male best friend and I met, we bonded over an appreciation of ‘dirty’ food. In fact, for a woman who sings the praises of kale and spirulina to anyone who will listen, I have a penchant for massive dirty feasts whenever we catch up.

The second I found out about Dirty Tommi’s, he was guaranteed an invite.

Dirty Tommi’s, you see, is a limited time Sunday pop-up collaboration between Tommi’s Burger Joint and Dirty Bones. Being held at the latter, the pop-up combines some of Ross Clarke (Dirty Bones) and Siggi Gunnlaugsson’s (Tommi’s) most celebrated dishes alongside some special creations.

The evening went a little something like this:
– Oozing over my dining partner’s Dirty Bounty hard shake (Bacardi gold rum, Wood’s overproof rum, coconut cream, chocolate ice cream, milk, chocolate sauce) while sipping a rather dangerous cocktail of my own.
– Glazing my face in the homemade barbecue sauce of the sticky pork ribs and trading one for a lemon, chilli and spring onion-covered chicken wing.
– Diving headfirst into the incredible creation that is the Tommi’s Burger Dog; Tommi’s burger served doggy style with confit onion, Dirty Bones short rib, crispy shallots, dirty cheese sauce, and dill pickles
– Wishing I had the appetite to go for my companion’s Dirty Mac Burger; Tommi’s beef patty, Dirty Bones steak glaze, and charred lettuce, all topped with Dirty Bones mac and cheese
– Managing to get halfway through an order of Sloppi Dirty Fries before realising there would be no way I’d have room for the milk and cookies I had targeted on my earlier menu perusal…
-…but knowing that triple cooked fries covered in Tommi’s sloppi joe mince, Kimchi sauce, spring onions, and gravy (optional) was so worth it.

Dirty Tommi’s is open – for now – every Sunday (that’s tomorrow!) for lunch between 12-4pm and for dinner between 6pm-11pm. I urge you to go so I can keep Burger Dogs in my mealtime inventory.

dirty tommis at dirty bones
dirty tommis at dirty bones
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hotel cafe royal afternoon tea 3
I have frequented Hotel Cafe Royal a number of times over the past two years and each visit – inclusive of afternoon teas, dinners, champagne and caviar excursions, et all – has been a pleasure.

Nothing, however, prepared me for this afternoon tea. Swapping the Ten Room for the gold-dipped Oscar Wilde Bar, Chef Andrew Turner’s newly-launched London High Society afternoon tea menu ticked every opulent box you could imagine.

I would endeavour to put the Oscar Wilde into words, but you simply have to experience it for yourself. ‘Royal’ is an understatement.

Settled in among a hidden congregation of fellow afternoon gluttons, The Manfriend and I cheersed our glasses of Veuve Clicquot and perused the tea menu before the amuse bouche was served. The ‘Low Sidecar Muffin’ was a fluffy and savoury delight accented by truffled cream cheese and a miniature pipette of jus.

Shortly thereafter, my pot of Queensbury (a refreshing, herbal infusion of lemongrass, fennel seed
and liquorice root) arrived alongside three tiers of savouries. For each person, there was a wild boar, crackling, pickled apple and mustard bun, a goat’s cheese puff with wine jelly, a Mary Rose prawn cocktail canape, a London Cure smoked salmon and quail’s egg pastry, and an artfully presented “Cucumber and cream cheese” sandwich…

…all preceeding a palate cleanser of chocolate marshmallows and a shot of fruit tea, of course.

Pausing to take a mid-tea teabreak (oh yes, there’s more) while the pianist tinkled the ivories to a few familiar melodies, we finished our pots and welcomed the sweets and scones with open plates.

Though neither of us has a particular sweet tooth, we are veritable SconeHeads so chatted, jammed, and clotted-creamed our way through the small basket of fresh scones between bites of the other fruit-filled treats.

High points: Absinthe green fairy macarons, edible flower pots, and individual tubes of lemon curd.

High society may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Cafe Royal’s edible version is instinctively praise-worthy.

hotel cafe royal afternoon tea 1
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pizza union london
Unlike most carb-eating humans, I am not a pizza person. The Manfriend, however? The Pizza Person. Since we started dating, my pizza intake (or pizza topping intake, rather) has increased by over 1000%.

All is fair in love and war, right?

Last week, to feed his pizza penchant and my own obsession with trialling new restaurants, we made a stop at Pizza Union in Spitalfields.

The draw was simple: instead of monstrous, doughy, greasy circles, Pizza Union do superfast twelve-inch artisan pizzas. All of which are priced at only £3.95-£6.50 (with a gluten-free pizza base costing only £1 more).

After perusing the menu and delighting in their implementation of the American pager system (I belong to the school of thought which believes waiters only belong in fine dining establishments), we settled in with some nibbles and waiting a few short minutes to be invited – via vibration – to collect our orders at the counter.

For myself? The Stagioni (tomato sauce, mozzarella, cotto ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, artichoke, black olives). And for The Pizza Person? Calabria (tomato sauce, mozzarella, mascarpone, n’duja sausage, rocket).

It took one bite of a swapped slice to get major food envy. While the Stagioni featured some lovely ingredients, it took no time for me to write mental love poems to the Calabria. The sweetness of the mascarpone against the fire of n’duja was beyond perfect; a pizza hater’s pizza, if there ever was one.

To wrap things up, we shared ‘dessert’ in the form of a warm dough ring filled with Nutella and mascarpone. The ‘Dolce’, though simple in concept, was metaphorical crack for mascarpone addicts and a gloriously sweet treat to share.

A pizza joint I’d visit alone? It must be good.

pizza union london
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london fashionable areas
I am a renter. A renter to my very core. I’m not sure if it comes down to the slightly nomadic tendencies of my early twenties or the fact that I didn’t grow up in a ‘permanent’ home, but the idea of being attached to a single residence for more than a year lacks any appeal.

The majority of my quasi-domestic adult life has been spent renting in London, which could be considered an art form in itself. For anyone who hasn’t grown up in the city (I’m over here counting my cultured blessings!), the unstable knack for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ areas and the prices that both ends of the spectrum call for could make your head spin.*

When MyRooms offered me a discount code (for £100 off your first month’s rent!) to share with my readers, I could hardly say no. (it’s LELO01 and is valid until September 30th, 2015 – enjoy!).

In fact, I want to help you renting fashionistas out as much as I can. After twenty-four years of borough hopping from North to South, West to East (…even zone 5), I am now schooled in the art of a good postcode.

Therefore…

London’s 5 Most Fashionable Areas to Live

(Use the postcode map – above – to get as close to them as you can!)

Postcode: W1
W1 puts the life into London. Not only is it the shopping capital (hello, Regent Street and Oxford Street) but it also boasts some of the most chic restaurants around. Good ol’ West One has stood the test of time.

Postcode: E1
Over the past five years, E1 has taken the cool kid cake of London. The ultimate balance of high and low, street style and couture, all with students alongside professionals. Special shoutout to the best vintage markets in London.

Postcode: SW3
The home of the Chelsea set. Be you Made in Chelsea or not, anyone can appreciate the beauty and style of the Fulham Road and its surroundings. Sophistication, grandeur, and a hell of a lot of yummy mummys abound.

Postcode: N1
Though the postcode reaches as far as Dalston, I find N1’s proximity to King’s Cross the biggest coup. Easy access to champagne bars and spontaneous travel (St Pancras = weekends in Paris, natch) is hard to beat. Don’t miss: the indie fashion houses of Upper Street.

Postcode: WC2E
I know this one is rather specific, but I have something of an infatuation with this area. Covent Garden/Leicester Square has always felt like the centre of the universe to me, and if you manage to find a room to rent in this postcode; you are golden. The access you have to all of the postcodes above? Unparalleled. The area itself? A snapshot of all that makes London magical (along with some of the best boutiques around).

* Even though it is 14% cheaper to rent than buy in the city.