Restaurant Ask, Helsinki

It is all about organic food, organic wine and organic living at Ask. This intimate little restaurant was my first experience of Michelin star dining in Helsinki and it was both surprising and sensational.

The restaurant, tucked away on a quiet street in the Kronohagen/Kruununhaka area, is inconspicuous and unassuming. We were among the first to be seated for the lunch sitting so had time to admire our surroundings and relish the tranquility. It soon became apparent that not many more diners were expected for the lunch sitting – I couldn’t understand why.

Food trends in Finland are changing, the locals are favouring informal eateries and street food. Destination dining seems to be suffering, especially at lunchtime. In London the Michelin restaurants excel at the lunch service as the more affordable menus are hugely popular with thrifty foodies and perfectly suit speedy business meetings. Finns are satisfied with a simple meal at noon, saving their substantial meal for the end of the day. The advantage? We had chef Filip’s undivided attention as he brought out delicate plates of flavoursome goodness.

Filip Langhoff is a young and determined chef who is helping to put Nordic food on the map. He was previously a chef at much loved two-star eatery Chez Dominique and also worked at famed restaurant Spisestedet Feinschmecker in Oslo. Filip and his wife Linda Stenman-Langhoff, a talented sommelier, opened Ask (which translates to ash tree) a few years ago, and it quickly gained a following.

Ask offers a daily menu dependant on the produce that small farmers and suppliers have available. There is no unnecessary fuss here and conventional fine dining (Filip winced when I used this phrase) is a distant memory. The focus is entirely on the ingredients and their heritage. Filip finds inspiration in nature and in the relationship between the environment and the people and translates this into immaculate plates of food.

Our menu was printed humbly on a slip of recycled organic brown paper:

Lunch @ Ask

Celeriac & Yoghurt

Egg & Brioche

Pike Perch & Leek

Malt & Spruce

49 euros

Every dish came in a different, completely unique container or vessel, a beautifully crafted pot or plate, that made the food look even more dramatic. Celeriac with yoghurt was a wild yet delicate dish, a pile of unruly stems sitting in a pool of thin sauce with a dollop of fresh creamy yoghurt adding an extra dimension. The egg and brioche was served warm and was a comforting treat, I just wanted more. The crunchy sweet brioche began to soak up the fragrant mushroom consommé while pretty fresh mushrooms add another texture and taste. A small poached egg added a richness to the recipe.

Instead of Pike Perch I was kindly given a meat substitute: a luxurious slice of beef topped with herbs and accompanied by charred leeks. The pike perch looked exquisite too, served with a creamy sauce and a striking coal dressing. Everything was cooked to perfection, emphasising the important heritage of the ingredients. For dessert we had our first taste of malt, a yeasty substance that reminded me of breakfast cereal. The malt was in the form of a doughnut sitting amongst a gritty biscuit crumb with soft ice-cream and woodland spruce particles. The meal was light and balanced offering a vibrant, innovative taste of Finland.

There are charming stories and memories behind all of Filip’s cooking, and I feel Ask restaurant only touches the surface of what this great chef is capable.

More information and book a table here.

Things to do in Helsinki

Helsinki was the last Scandinavian capital city to tick off on my ‘to visit’ list. Since visiting Stockholm a few years ago I have regularly travelled around the Nordic regions, returning for the fresh clean lifestyle, the beautiful scenery and innovative cuisine. The welcome I have received from the locals in each country has always been overwhelmingly friendly and kind. The natives are proud and inspired by their surroundings, and want to show it off. Finland has many similarities with its neighbouring countries but also very much has its own identity. Before visiting I imagined I would encounter Marimekko, Moomins and lots of saunas in Helsinki, but what I discovered was far more exciting than just design prints and cartoon characters!

To Stay

Hotel Indigo – This super new boutique design hotel proved itself to be the perfect blogger’s base in Helsinki. Conveniently located, chic in design and efficient in service, we couldn’t fault it.

To Eat

Chef & Sommelier - The ‘new Nordic’ food movement is progressing at vast speed and Helsinki is home to a few leading chefs who are paving the way. The most magical meal I experienced was at Chef & Sommelier where chef Sasu Laukkonen uses humble ingredients to create imaginative dishes.

Ask – A little Michelin star restaurant serving meticulous and magnificent food. The lunch menu is light and lovely using all organic ingredients that are locally sourced, even the wine here is organic.

Nokka – This is one of the more traditional restaurants in Helsinki serving local flavours and authentic dishes. The eatery is currently teaming up with FinnAir to provide meals to their business class services out of Finland. We tasted a set menu of delicious treats including beetroot soup and immaculately cooked duck breast.

Sandro – Sandro is a unique food concept in Helsinki and has garnered a reputation as one of the hippest and tastiest places to eat in town. After a round of sweet fruity cocktails, we were presented with the ‘Marrakech Madness’ feast. This exotic menu includes goat cheese and date pastilla, kofta salad with halloumi and lamb tajine… it was fragrant, comforting and delicious food.

The Cock - This trendy hang-out is the latest venture from the people behind Sandro. The eatery has a chic design and is consequently filled with young trendsetters. We indulged in a feast of varied dishes, including oysters, salads, pastas and a bowl of very memorable sticky chicken wings.

Streat Helsinki – After the success of its premier year Streat Helsinki recently returned for its 2nd year. Street food is an ever growing trend in the city and this was apparent at this popular festival. Thousands of locals and tourists gathered to try the eclectic mix of cuisines available from the 66 food trucks. We loved the burgers from Naughty Brgr created by the winner of Top Chef!

Vanha Kauppahalli - The Old Market Hall in Helsinki has served its customers since 1889. The merchants sell everything from cheese, fish, shellfish, vegetable, fruit and cakes to spices, coffee and tea. Whether you are hungry or not it is worth visiting to look around the beautiful hall and carefully arranged stalls.

To Drink

Good Life Coffee – this much loved coffee shop is in the cool and quirky Kallio district. The café is run by Lauri Pipinen, the Finnish Barista Champion 2011 and their motto “avoid bad life” is very apparent. I tried a smooth and rich flat white from Good Life Coffee though they are best known for their filter coffee.

Trillby & Chadwick – this secret detective-themed cocktail bar is from the creative bartending agency, Son of a Punch, who also run popular bars Liberty or Death and 100 dogs in Helsinki. In true prohibition style there is no sign and no markings outside, just blacked-out windows. Once through the front door, you find yourself in a tiny four-walled room with just a telephone and guests leave via the back exit to avoid being seen. The cocktails are innovative and tasty, we tried the exotic ‘Market Street’ and ‘Hand & Flower’ drinks.

Kaffa Roastery – It is said that as a nation Finland are one of the biggest coffee consuming countries. This characterful café was one of the first independent coffee shops on the scene in Helsinki. They have their own roastery ensuring every cup is of top quality and taste. I tried a creamy cappuccino while I chatted to the friendly staff about their favourite places to go in the city.

To Do

Heather’s Helsinki – Heather is an Australian who has lived in Helsinki for 12 years. She runs the “Fork in Hand” food tour which runs daily on request. You will learn about food, food culture and design as you walk around the centre of Helsinki. Heather gave a group of us a comprehensive and inspiring foodie tour of the city highlighting the delicacies and specialities as well as showing us one of the most atmospheric food markets.

Kulttuurisauna – The sauna culture is impossible to ignore in Finland and most people have a private sauna in their house or apartment block. This trendy and stylish sauna is on the water’s edge so guests can take a dip in the harbour after a steamy sauna session.

Kampii Chapel of Silence – This unique building stands out, an otherworldly smooth wooden building designed by KS2 architects. It has won numerous architecture awards and is the perfect place for a moment of reflection. This minimalist chapel opened in 2012 and is open everyday with free entry for all.

Helsinki Day Spa - Helsinki Day Spa was founded in 2005 and was Finland’s first urban spa located in the centre of the city. The spa is housed in the historic Rake building and is carefully designed to calm guests as soon as they walk through the door. The treatments are effective with a medical focus, the trained therapists will target problems ensuring guests leave feeling healthier and happier. We experienced the Quick Fix and Go facial, which takes just 30 minutes but gives your skin a zingy boost.

Suomenlinna – this incredible UNESCO world heritage site makes the perfect excursion. The little island is an inhabited former sea fortress and is beautiful, especially in summer. The blue walking route runs from the north to the south, about 1.5km, and takes in all the main sites including the Dry Dock, King’s Gate and a number of museums. It is the most sought-after place to live in Helsinki, with only 900 inhabitants at one time. The island is easily reachable by a 15 minute ferry which runs regularly from the main harbour.

To Shop

Marimekko - When I think of fashion in Helsinki it is the Marimekko ‘Unikko’ flower print that comes to mind. This Finnish design company has been renowned for its original prints and colours since 1951, and when I visited the flagship shop I noticed tourists buying in bulk. The company designs and manufactures apparel, bags, clothes and textiles, all with the striking classic patterns. We headed to the outlet store on the outskirts of town to pick up some floral blue fabric to make curtains for our new living room.

Karl Fazer – Karl Fazer chocolate was launched as a milk chocolate bar in 1922, and has grown in popularity ever since. We were lucky enough to enjoy coffee and cake for breakfast at the main Karl Fazer store in Helsinki one morning of our trip. This institution stocks the very best chocolate in town and is available in flavours to suit everyone. Today, every second chocolate bar consumed in Finland is Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate. My favourite was the recently-released Salted Popcorn bar.

Iittala – this glassworks was founded in 1881, a Finnish design brand specialising in design objects, tableware and cookware. The brand is renowned in Helsinki and the beautifully simplistic objects are very versatile being used for a range of uses. I spotted the classic clear objects in many of the restaurants and bars I visited.

Paper shop - It is no secret that I am a stationery addict, and this shop satisfied all my paper cravings. Papershop is stocked full of artistic handmade cards, exciting craft equipment and inventive paper products. I spent a while wandering around admiring all the pretty things.

Salakauppa - Salakauppa translates to ‘secret shop’ and housed in a bizarre glass cube, it is certainly not your average souvenir store. All of the products in this tiny shop are designed by Aamu Song & Johan Olin of Company and are the result of excursions to very exciting, yet old fashioned, factories around Finland and neighbouring countries. Company’s design is purely based on each factory’s story and function. The items are unique and utterly lovely – I fell in love with the connecting father and son leather satchels.

Many thanks to the Helsinki Tourist Board for all their help on this trip.

Forza Win Spring Chickens, Peckham

It’s fun discovering great things on your doorstep and in Peckham it happens most weekends. A few weeks ago, with a group of friends, I found a foodie event unlike any other…

Forza Win aims to create “awesome Italian cuisine using seasonal British ingredients”. The company has been around for a few years, touring London using disused but atmospheric spaces and serving up flavoursome seasonal food. The pop-ups have a celebratory vibe, with long communal tables and everyone together in one sitting. The banquets are accompanied by organic wines, flavoursome cocktails and a soundtrack of lively music. The mood is convivial as fellow diners fight over the sharing plates and bond over a love of good grub!

Last month the team came back to their Peckham with a new concept: Spring Chickens. For £35 a head you will get a five course feast, featuring the ‘100 day chicken’.

All produce is sourced from the UK and is cooked over wood, to accentuate the flavour. I was impressed with the venue, which has been transformed into a stylish ‘industrial’ dining room. We huddled on the benches, sipping our blood orange Bellinis and anticipating the meal ahead.

The dishes were rustic and simple with bold flavours made from the finest ingredients. Sizzling chickens were delivered systematically round the room, tender with a crispy skin and served with soft roast new potatoes. Silence fell over our group as we gorged on the feast.

Forza Win is a Peckham pop-up not to miss, the best of British, cooked to perfection and served up with a smile. And now every Wednesday they are offering a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine for £10. You don’t need a ticket, just turn up and eat.

Continues until Saturday 23 May. More information and book tickets here.

Bar Termini, Soho

Coffee and cocktails are my two vices. When I travel a decent cup of caffeine in the morning keeps me happy till nightfall when I like nothing better than a strong, perfectly mixed, old-fashioned cocktail. London has plenty of exemplary establishments to taste the best of both bean and spirits. The new Bar Termini in Soho combines coffee and cocktails in a Italian inspired hazy little café, that evokes memories of summers past.

The bar is named after Rome’s main station in homage to the Italian capital. Its purpose is to provide locals and thirsty visitors with a place to pop in and grab a refreshing or revitalising drink. On weekdays they have particularly long and accommodating hours, opening the doors at 7.30 am and closing up shop at 11.30 pm.

Inside the joint there is a laid-back vintage vibe with an alluring bar with leather stools and circular wooden tables for perching at whilst sipping your drink. Set up by cocktail connoisseur Tony Conigliaro and coffee expert Marco Arrigo, the bar was bound to be a success! We enjoyed a couple of Negronis from the menu, the Rosato (rose-petal infused) was my favourite… the floral flavour softening the harsh bitterness of the spirit. For a more spicy drink, try the Superiore Negroni (pink-peppercorn infused). Alongside our drinks we nibbled on the £1 mini ham and cheese paninis.

Coffee fans can choose to stop by for an authentically Italian espresso at the bar, or can sit with a more leisurely long milky drink.

There’s no shortage of cafes and cocktail bars in Soho, but a place that does both so successfully is a winner in my eyes.

More information here:

Hot on the Highstreet Week 254

Harriet Hastings co-founded Biscuiteers with her husband, Stevie Congdon. They are also co-directors of leading London catering company Lettice and parents to four young Biscuiteers.

“We came up with the idea for Biscuiteers on a weekend in New York. We were sure that there were lots of people who are as passionate about biscuits as we are and that there was a real opportunity to set up a biscuits gift business online that was completely different from anything else in the market – biscuits that would look as beautiful as they tasted. In fact, biscuits that people would want to talk about.

We started planning Biscuiteers properly in the spring of 2007, testing our biscuit recipes in Stevie’s catering kitchens. From the start we were committed to using the very best natural ingredients to get the flavour we wanted. We then started planning our launch collections, working on our designs and deciding on the big occasions. We wanted the biscuits to be beautiful and witty. We called them ‘collections’ because we knew we wanted to launch them seasonally like fashion collections and to keep refreshing and developing the range.  It was important that we found our own style- distinctive designs that would make our biscuits instantly recognisable.”

Biscuiteers launched online in September 2007 with the mission statement ‘why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead?’ The business has grown enormously but the biscuits and still made and iced in exactly the same way. They are all handmade using old fashioned non-industrialised techniques. Many of the icers are artists and enjoy creating new designs and perfecting existing ones regularly. Every single biscuit is lovingly made from the start to finish and each one is therefore totally individual.

One of the real joys of iced biscuits is their incredible flexibility. The experienced icers at Biscuiteers do some wonderful work copying logos, fashion designs and all sorts of products. They often work on exciting commissions, including a collaboration with Anya Hindmarch to create a tin of her handbags and a circus tin exclusively for the Conran Shop. They  have created bespoke designs for outstanding brands such as Mulberry, Boden, Swatch, and Burberry among many others. The imaginative biscuits are also used for press launches, as iced place names and biscuit card invitations or party bags.

In 2010 they published their first book ‘The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits‘ to much acclaim. It has since been translated into a number of languages and introduced the brand to a worldwide audience.

You will also find Biscuiteers in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, The Conran Shop, as well as Colette and le Grand Epicerie in Paris.

In October 2012 the doors opened to the very first Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe in Notting Hill.  Showcasing the much-loved Biscuiteers biscuit, chocolate and cake collections, the Boutique also has a drop-in icing cafe where they host themed icing lessons, children’s icing parties and is the home of the Biscuiteers School of Icing where you can be taught by expert icers to ice like a Biscuiteer.

More information and order a box of beautiful biscuits here:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISSY: Sushi masterclass at UNI Restaurant, Belgravia

‘Fusion’ has long been a bit of a buzzword in the food world. Things like ‘tex-mex’ and ‘cronuts’ (look them up) have been conjured from this world of hybrid cuisine. Whether these are successful or not I will let you decide. One fusion that I must encourage the reader to try is ‘Nikkei’ – the increasingly popular marriage of Peruvian and Japanese food. At first this combination sounds unlikely, however, as you start to compare cuisines, similarities start to show; both involve a lot of seafood. Raw seafood. Japan has its sashimi, Peru has its ceviche.

People are more and more bent on ‘experiences’ rather than ‘just’ good food and UNI delivers both with great aplomb. Not only does UNI have a winning cuisine combination, an enviable Belgravia address and friendly, attentive staff, it also offers one of those sought after ‘experiences’ with sushi making classes led by their talented, witty sushi chef, Christian. Arriving at the restaurant, a stone’s throw from Victoria station, I was greeted by one of the charming restaurant staff who was invariably cheerful and helpful as she led me down to the ‘classroom’. The layout of the restaurant works perfectly to allow for the multiple facets of the eatery- you enter at a street level bar/restaurant; one floor lower is the intimate yet elegant ‘classroom’ with tables skirting the sides of the room and a central teacher’s table; a flight of stairs lower still and you reach the restaurant’s most enchanting area. Is it going too far to say it was an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of culinary delights? Yes? Well, it was: atmospheric vaulted booths lined with a metallic wash and one square glass table in the middle – perfect for the sharing style of UNI’s menu. The menu? It’s wonderful. Of the many dishes we had including delicate seared salmon tacos and succulent ceviche I could not fault one.

Though the food was undeniably brilliant, it was the sushi masterclass that really made my experience at UNI. As sushi has exploded across the capital with Wasabis and Itsus opening on every corner, our masterclass taught us the delicacy and skill it takes to make every single one of those thousands of maki rolls in those hundreds of sushi restaurants. Christian taught us with ease and paid attention to each of us to help us perfect our technique (in saying that, I confess my technique is far from perfect). From the beginning we were told about how to make the famously sticky sushi rice before getting stuck in (quite literally) to making our first nigiri. The hour and a half goes by in the blink of an eye or a click of a chopstick and by the end of your lesson you will have an array of homemade sushi made with your own two hands. I could not recommend this experience enough – masterclasses at UNI are £35 each and with that you get to make three different types of sushi, drink plenty of Japanese tea plus a personal sushi rolling mat to take home with you. The next Saturday Sushi Masterclasses are on the 18th April, 16th May, 20th June, 18th July and 15th August. A perfect gift for a friend or, if you’re feeling particularly ‘shellfish’, a great treat for yourself.

More information and book a sushi class at UNI here.

Written by Thoroughly Modern Missy, Angelica Bomford.

Selma CitySpa, Stockholm

At the top of the towering Clarion Sign Hotel in Stockholm is a rooftop spa that will transport you away from the stress of the city to a world of relaxation. The skies were getting heavier outside as we walked into the smart design hotel. We popped straight into the lift and zoomed up to the top floor where a couple of smiling therapists were waiting for us.

Selma CitySpa, as it is known, has thought of everything the modern girl about town desires: a stylish spa with a healthy sushi bar, and treatments which pamper and sooth. The muted purple and beige interior immediately offers a tranquil environment for guests. After changing into the huge towelling robes we were taken through for our treatments.

The staff here were genuinely friendly, my mum was still chatting to her therapist long after her facial had finished! I enjoyed an expert Swedish massage which ironed out some serious knots in my shoulders and lower back. Lying on the comforting heated bed I could have easily have drifted off. My mum, who admitted it was only her second facial ever, absolutely loved the opportunity to sit back and let a professional examine and assess her skin. They layered different lotions and potions on to leave her skin looking bright and beautiful.

As I wandered round the spa I noticed an Olympic champion swimmer walking outside to the open air rooftop area. I followed her and the film crew to discover an azure blue pool, heated to 35 degrees, so guests can enjoy it all year round. It is the only one of its kind in Stockholm and it certainly gives the spa the wow factor.

The spa offers a lovely light room for manicures and pedicures and a Bliss counter for speedy refreshing treatments.

Up in the clouds, Selma CitySpa is Stockholm’s most heavenly spa. A secret for those in the know, and a real treat for us in between sightseeing stints in Stockholm.

More information and book a spa treatment here.

Many thanks to Visit Stockholm for their help with this trip.

Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki

The ‘new Nordic’ food movement is progressing at speed, and Helsinki is home to some of the chefs leading the way. Every meal I ate in Helsinki was special, the country’s food is honest and memorable, using humble local ingredients in every instance to create food that is inspiring and delicious. The most magical meal I experienced was at Chef & Sommelier.

Sasu Laukkonen is the genius chef at the helm of tiny but revolutionary restaurant, Chef & Sommelier. In a minute kitchen they produce mesmerising food for a group of lucky guests in the homely dining room. Here convention is thrown out the window, there are no white tablecloths on the tables, no bowties and shiny shoes, it a relaxed and happy place. The service is still immaculate, but personal on every level. Sasu came to hang out at our table regularly, to talk through the dish, explaining the complex cuisine and his innovative ideas.

Diners can choose to have a four, five or nine course meal, or a surprise seven course menu decided by the chef. We tasted almost all of the nine recipes on offer, clever creations based around ingredients available to Sasu’s team that day. First, a little taste to prepare our palates for the delights to come… a seaweed cracker with apricot, mustard garlic leaf and nettle. It was a delicate mouthful, individually the elements sound strange, but together it was a balanced and tasty concoction. Mustard garlic leaf is a particularly wonderful flavour, and I’d love to find it in the UK to use in my kitchen.

The majority of the courses were vegetarian, illustrating Sasu’s talent for reinventing and elevating simple ingredients to something intricate and exciting recipe. Cabbage and egg was wonderfully light, arranged in a pretty pile. Beetroot and kyytto looked earthy and beautiful, a range of textures and tastes. I found the parsnip and malt combination alarming, with an unusually striking appearance, and a yeasty sweet flavour that reminded me of a breakfast dish. Squash and barley was blissfully simple and comforting, chunks of sweet squash with a milky sauce.

Lamb with mushrooms was a more substantial course, a hearty hunk of lean meat with a richly flavoured fungi sauce, and topped with thin slices of raw mushroom. We were treated to a little cheese course before the sweet courses, this was the perfect opportunity to sample some tasty Finnish cheeses, accompanied with fruity linden berry chutney.

I was pleased to receive some chocolate for dessert paired with plum and damson. It was more bitter than I expected, but nonetheless delicious. My favourite pudding was named ‘The Forest’, it was exceptionally imaginative. Frosty in appearance and taste, I felt like I was inhaling a cold breath of air as I tried the first spoonful. A cyclinder of pine flavoured semi-freddo topped with particles from the forest in a pool of green sauce and lightly dusted with grated white chocolate. The components were so carefully arranged, it was almost too beautiful to eat.

Whilst inside the little Chef & Sommelier eatery, I felt completely engrossed in the concept and cuisine. Walking back to the hotel in the crisp night air I felt inspired by the meal and Sasu’s energy for creating the sublime from the simple ingredients that surround him. If you find yourself in Helsinki I highly recommend visiting Sasu and his team at Chef & Sommelier, for a meal that will wow all your senses.

More information and book a table here.

Many thanks to the Helsinki Tourist Board for their help with this trip.

Bone Daddies Shackfuyu, Soho

Bone Daddies made a relatively quiet entrance onto the Soho restaurant scene a few years ago. Since opening the ramen bar has gradually grown in popularity, serving up steaming bowls of goodness and satisfying sticky meaty treats. I found the food very salty, but cannot fault the concept.

It seems the trend for this oriental cuisine continues to soar… Shackfuyu is the recent pop-up from the Bone Daddies team, and London’s top foodies are falling over each other to taste the Japanese fusion food.

The space is big and allows for a dinky bar downstairs where hungry guests wait patiently for a free table. While we were down there, we took the opportunity to trial a few of the pre-bottled cocktails. This pre-mixed method usually perturbs me, but the concoctions at Shackfuyu are good enough to withstand a bit of fridge time, and are served in stylish little glass milk bottles. I loved the ‘Orenji What?!’ a whisky based drink with triple sec and orange misu, a slightly sweeter version of an Old Fashioned. We also tried the zestier ‘Ringo Starr’ a mix of gin, sake and apple juice.

Eventually we were seated upstairs, at this point we were ready to devour the entire menu. There is a tempting selection of small snacky plates so you can order a selection, share your way slowly through the feast. Aubergine with miso and babu arare is a sticky sweet delight and Prawn toast a delicate treat. The highlight for us was the Korean fried wings, coated in layers of treacle textured sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds – they are a messy dish, but once you’ve delved in you’ll barely want to come up for air. I enjoyed the theatre of the hot stone rice with goma tare, chilli and beef, delivered to the table with a raw egg on top, it is stirred rapidly and sizzles with excitement. The rice tends to stick to the side of the dish but this makes the dish crunchy and even yummier.

Sadly we didn’t have space for the solo dessert on the menu (kinaki French toast) but I will definitely be returning to try it soon. I’ve heard it is not to be missed.

Shackfuyu sounds rather rude when you say it aloud but with food this tasty, who cares? Settle down in one of the comfortable booths, order generously and enjoy.

More information and see the menu of Shackfuyu here:

Hot on the Highstreet Week 253

I always want to send flowers without the hassle of worrying if the recipient is at home to receive them. So I instantly loved the concept of Bloom and Wild, which cleverly packages up flowers so they can fit safely through the letterbox.

This young company have made the order process very easy, it takes a few minutes to order online. There is always the choice of three bouquets which cost between £20-24, including delivery.

I was the happy receiver of a bunch of Rosalind roses, and have also sent a bunch of roses to family and have found the service is efficient and reliable. Each bud was individually wrapped to ensure freshness and condition, and the bouquet lasted well over two weeks, brightening up my bedroom.

The website will allow you to either send a one-off bouquet or choose a monthly gift subscription, when a different seasonal bunch will be sent each month.

Make sure you order your bouquets two days in advance to ensure the bunch of bright buds arrive in time. The nicest surprise you could ever wish to receive through the letterbox…

Order a bunch of Bloom and Wild here: