Vincent Restaurant, Hackney

When I think of all-day dining I think of somewhere like Vincent, a large welcoming dining room with plenty of light and lots of lovely plants. This new eatery comes from the Sebright Arms team (the beloved East-End pub) who hope to cater for everyone at Vincent with a tasty all-day menu for eat-in or take-away, coffee & pastries for weekday breakfasts, and brunch classics for lazy weekend meals.

Vincent

The light dining room is airy and spacious with a very high ceiling that houses pot plants on an unusual shelf. I can imagine it would provide the perfect work-space for local hipsters, or an ideal room for lunchtime work meetings and catch-ups. The concept is casual with a large menu board at the till from which you order.

Vincent

The main menu is split into various categories: the ‘Buns & Toasted’, ‘Bowls’ and ‘Sides’. Immediately the menu seemed more appropriate for daytime grazing rather than a slap-up dinner. Concerned about catering for all dietary requirements there are notes offering gluten-free and dairy-free options. Most dishes seem to have a focus on grains and vegetables and Vincent are careful to get all their meat and eggs from High welfare, free range and British farms.

From the menu I would recommend trying the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Bun which is indulgent and delicious paired in a soft bread bap with aioli, lettuce and sweet mango pickle. From the bowl selection the Crispy Duck was my favourite… an aromatic salad with smoked hoisin, edamame, peach, pomegranate, fresh herbs and citrus dressing. It was a pleasant balance of sweet and sour flavours and was a filling and comforting lunch.

Vincent

There were only two desserts on offer, so naturally we ordered one of each to try. The waffle, though paired with nice seasonal fruits and ice-cream, tasted shop-bought. The brownie arrived drenched in warm chocolate sauce and topped with vanilla ice-cream. It was decadent and delicious, but far too big for even the two of us to finish!

Vincent

If you are in the area, Vincent is a great option for fine coffee (and latte art) or a tasty pastry… but they need to firm up the food menu a bit to make it worth travelling for.

More information and book a table at Vincent here.

Le Mas Candille Hotel, Mougins

Every summer thousands of brits flock to the seaside resorts of the Cote D’Azur, but in my opinion the truly magical parts of Provence are the inland hills and forests where you can hear the crickets purr and the air has a woody honey-tinted fragrance.

Mougins is the perfect example of a quaint Provencal town, small and artistic with little to do but wander and admire. If this sounds like your ideal holiday spot then you would enjoy Le Mas Candille, a five star Relais & Chateaux hotel, restaurant and spa on the outskirts of Mougins. Utterly removed from the bustle of town yet just 20 minutes drive from Nice airport, it is blissfully isolated but thankfully convenient.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

The hotel blends traditional and modern architecture and the rooms follow suit dependant on the building they are found in. There are 46 bedrooms in total; authentic French-style rooms in the 18th century converted farmhouse Le Mas and more modern spacious rooms in La Bastide, the newer part of the hotel. In 2009 La Villa Candille opened offering six new contemporary suites, an even more luxurious and exclusive option.

We were very at home in our La Bastide bedroom which was decorated in muted shades of beige and blue. The decor, though slightly dated, felt smart but not fussy, with antique furniture adding character. The huge bed was very comfortable and the big bathroom was equipped with a bath, shower and marble sinks, with toiletries all by ESPA.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

When it comes to dining Le Mas Candille are the proud recipients of a Michelin star restaurant, where the chef produces beautiful plates of food, inspired by the flavours of the area. Highlights of our meal included rich and velvety Pressed foie gras with forest fruits and peanuts, and a summery Clafoutis dessert with pistachios and cherries. The meal was accompanied with a glass of refreshingly cold Provencal rose wine.

For something a little more informal, guests can also dine at La Pergola which offers a range of lovingly prepared Mediterranean dishes including fresh fish and light salads.

Le Mas Candille

We couldn’t resist ordering breakfast to the room, eager to eat whilst enjoying the panoramic view from our balcony. It was a feast of flavours and fresh produce. The sweetest orange juice and most vibrant fruit salad provided a healthy kick, whilst buttery croissants and eggs on toast were a bit more decadent. It was lovely to have a leisurely breakfast overlooking the hillside below.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

Many visit Le Mas Candille just to experience the heavenly spa. Complete with hydrotherapy pool, outdoor relaxation area and ESPA treatments, it really is the type of spa you could rest and recuperate in all day.

I felt very lucky to be sampling a 60 minute bespoke spa treatment, half facial, half back massage. My therapist carefully tended to the areas of my back and neck which had deep tension, and patiently massaged with nourishing ESPA oils to relieve the knots. On my face she used replenishing moisturisers and a herbal spritzer to balance my skin and add moisture to my pores. It was the most perfect hour to ensure I left Le Mas Candille feeling much more calm and relaxed than when I had arrived 24 hours before!

More information and book a stay at Le Mas Candille here.

Artist Residence Hotel, Penzance

After writing a whole book on Cornwall I find it amazing that there are still places for me to discover. The Artist Residence Hotel in Penzance is found on charming Chapel Street, nestled among independent shops and pubs. As part of the same group as the London and Brighton properties, I knew I was going to love the hotel even before I arrived.

Artist Residence Penzance

There are 22 rooms and a cottage, each decorated in an eclectic seaside style. We were in a comfy luxe double room on the first floor, which was cosy and stylish. The room, which has only recently been redesigned, featured a giant luxury King-size bed, retro Roberts radio, and a selection of Cornish minibar goodies. I felt completely at home here.

Artist Residence Penzance

Downstairs, The Cornish Barn feeds guests and visitors with hearty fare made from the best Cornish produce. We sampled a selection of dishes from the menu, and a few fruity cocktails from the bar. The eatery has a small smokehouse and is particularly proud of the smoked section of the menu. After trying the indulgent ribs I could see why, coated in a sweet and sticky sauce with a lovely smoky taste they were addictively tasty. We also loved the mushroom gnocchi and the macaroni cheese.

Artist Residence Penzance

Each room has a few features which makes it special. In our room we had a beautiful roll-top bath, standing majestically in the bedroom accompanied with a range of Bramley toiletries. There was a lovely ‘La Vita’ print hanging above it adding a touch of travel inspiration. Considering the size of the room it is amazing what Artist Residence have done with each bedroom, utilising the space to create inspirational and beautiful bedrooms that are a joy to spend time in.

Artist Residence Penzance

Before departing we had time for a quick breakfast at The Cornish Barn. An appetising spread of eggs, pancakes, granola, cereal and fruit was a delicious start to the day. We left the Artist Residence feeling well rested, well fed and ready for a day of exploring Cornwall.

More information and book a stay at Artist Residence Penzance here.

For inspiration about things to do in Cornwall, buy a copy of my Weekend Journals guidebook here.