Lockdown 3 – Deliveries for a Special Night In

The end is in sight, but with a few months of lockdown dining still on the cards, here are a few of my recent favourites to ensure you bring the best restaurant experiences to your home.

Occasions by Hakkasan

Occasions by Hakkasan – Chinese food is one of the cuisines I have missed the most during lockdown, as it is not easy to recreate at home without specialist ingredients and extensive knowledge. So I was delighted to try the Occasions by Hakkasan box… the box contains everything you need to recreate Hakkasan’s iconic dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen, including a dim sum steamer and incense to recreate the fragrance of Hakkasan at home. (£175 for two)

Starchefs

StarChefs – As the name suggests this company brings the best, Michelin-starred chefs to your door. Recent boxes have featured menus by Robin Gill and Tom Aikens, who created four course feasts to finish in your kitchen, with minimum effort but maximum enjoyment. (around £165 for two)

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze a la Maison – Hélène Darroze’s restaurant at The Connaught has recently been awarded the highest accolade of three Michelin stars, so never has there been a better time to try her sublime culinary creations. This changing seasonal menu for home delivery features some of her signature dishes, all packaged in concertina boxes which ensure the plating at home is just as pretty as it would be at the restaurant itself. (£195 for two, with some optional supplements).

Antona at Home

Antona at Home – Bringing the distinguished food of Andreas Antona to your home, the recipes feature the best seasonal ingredients, high welfare meat and sustainable seafood, and draw on his experiences from Michelin kitchens – Simpsons in Edgbaston and The Cross at Kenilworth. You can also order exclusive wines to pair with your meal. (£90-110 for two people)

Mr Wilde

Mr Wilde – Perhaps the most stylish box of food to arrive at my door, Mr. Wilde provide you with everything you need for a super fun and tasty night in, from playlist ideas to game suggestions, even a couple of chocolates to end your meal. Choose from a range of irresistible boxes including Indian Banquet, Roast Chicken, Tokyo Nights, or opt for the Steak Night, which I can’t recommend highly enough. (approx £47 for two).

Tramshed

Tramshed Project – The Tramshed Project Feasts are nourishing and delicious in equal measure. A generous box of appetising dishes to finish quickly at home. I absolutely loved the lamb box I tried, complete with salted caramel tart for dessert. (from £65 for two)

Dinner Ladies

Dinner Ladies – Dinner Ladies is a dynamic London-based food and events company dedicated to providing seasonal, sustainable food packed with unforgettable flavour. Their food is fresh, interesting and globally inspired, so I was delighted to hear they had started offering home deliveries. The Middle Eastern feast box has an array of flavoursome and colourful dishes to excite your tastebuds and test your cheffing skills, and is brilliant value for money. (£49 for two)

Simon Rogan at Home

Simon Rogan at Home – The Simon Rogan at Home boxes are a rare opportunity to try some of this chef’s inspired flavours from the comfort of your own home. With nationwide delivery, it’s easy to see why these beautiful boxes of food sell out so fast. The three course menu changes weekly, recently featuring Rogan classics like the caramelised apple dessert. You can also order from Simon Rogan’s Aulis delivery service.(from £90 for two)

Jamavar

Jamavar – Mayfair’s finest Indian food to be enjoyed at home… authentic, full of flavour and spice! Choose from one of the restaurant’s celebration menus to try a delicious selection of their favourite dishes. (from £50 for two)

Norma at Home

Norma at Home – Ben Tish’s Sicilian restaurant Norma offers gourmet comfort food at its very best. The feasting boxes feature plenty to feed two very generously, from fresh foccacia bread to homemade pastas, wholesome meat dishes and sweet Italian treats (like cannoli) for pudding. (£140 for two)

A Weekend in Herefordshire

Travel right now is not easy, I am craving it desperately, but for the foreseeable future will be concentrating on exploring the best of Britain. Herefordshire is a county that I knew very little about, sandwiched between Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, and Wales to the west. So when I was invited to explore its burgeoning independent food and drink scene I was intrigued and excited.

Herefordshire

Despite the relentless rain we trundled down the motorway, just 4 hours even in rush hour Friday traffic. Visit Herefordshire arranged a great itinerary for me, ticking off key restaurants, pubs and artisan makers across the county.

Herefordshire

First stop was Hereford, a cathedral town in the heart of the region. We were staying at the Green Dragon Hotel, charming accommodation that was a quiet and comfortable place to spend the night. Breakfast next morning was served downstairs in the light and airy dining room, a range of fresh seasonal dishes, including delicious mushrooms on toast, and granola with homemade berry compote.

Herefordshire

There are quite a few eateries in Hereford worth trying, The Bookshop was one which everyone raved about, thanks to their great steaks and lively atmosphere. We had a great dinner here, the service was super friendly and the meat was noticeably of a high quality (you must try Hereford beef while visiting Herefordshire). We stopped by The Bookshop the next morning too for a coffee (they use the superior beans from local roastery, Method) and the brunch looked very tempting too.

Herefordshire

After a brief walk around town, seeing the iconic cathedral and stopping by a couple of foodie shops (I recommend Fodder for bread & pastries, Mousetrap for local cheeses, and Sensory & Rye for coffee or brunch), we were on our way to our next destination…

Pensons is the only restaurant in Herefordshire to hold a Michelin star, which it was proudly awarded last year, less than a year after opening. Head chef Chris Simpson previously worked for Nathan Outlaw, and brings skill and a lightness of touch to the dishes at Pensons. The restaurant benefits from being located on the Netherwood Estate, which is surrounded by green pastures. There is also a bountiful kitchen garden which grows many of the vegetables and fruit you’ll find on your plate at Pensons! We devoured the three course lunch menu, memorable dishes included perfectly cooked Plaice with cauliflower, watercress and crab sauce, and Duck with beetroot and blackcurrant.

Herefordshire

At Pensons we tried a delicious apple mocktail, and learnt a little about the incredible apples of the area. So it seemed fitting to visit Little Pomona next, craft cider makers who are producing some wonderfully refined drinks with the famous Herefordshire apples. Autumn is apple picking season and to celebrate Visit Herefordshire have created two great cider trails (The Cider Circuits) as part of their #madforapples initiative. The self-guided routes, both around 50 miles long, can be followed by bike or car and are named after two of the county’s apple varieties: The Newton Wonder heads north from Hereford, while The Redstreak heads south. Glorious Little Pomona features on the southern route.

Herefordshire

Herefordshire is known for its striking black and white architecture which we were lucky to spy in many of the towns we drove through… Bromyard was a great place to admire the monochrome houses, and whilst in the area Bringsty Vintage shop is worth a visit for retro homeware and trinkets.

Herefordshire

As the rain worsened we headed to Crumplebury, a lovely luxurious event space, with restaurant and rooms, surrounded by woodland, fields and animals.

Crumplebury has just reopened for the season and we were delighted to be one of the first to be back at this idyllic place. At the heart of the property is Green Cow Kitchens, the on site fine dining restaurant. We enjoyed a lavish dinner here before a very restful night’s sleep in The Oakley Suite, the most spacious and decadent suite Crumplebury offer. The room was decorated to a very high specification with modern amenities, a giant bed and a copper bathtub to ensure the most relaxing of stays.

Herefordshire

We also had a chance to see some of the beautiful event spaces and wholesome wildlife, which is used seasonally in the restaurant. Crumplebury is a brilliant option for weddings and work functions, an isolated countryside escape with a five star feel.

Herefordshire

Next morning we woke refreshed and revitalised, and after a quick but very tasty Crumplebury breakfast we headed off for a final morning of exploring.

We drove South towards Ross on Wye, for a hearty Sunday lunch at The Greenman, the celebrated pub in Fownhope. A generous roast awaited, with all the trimmings, the perfect sustenance before a local walk and the drive back home to London.

Herefordshire is the ideal weekend escape from London… an array of foodie spots are dotted amongst the verdant and gloriously green countryside, so you can both eat handsomely and get a breath of fresh air before returning to busy city life.

In collaboration with Visit Herefordshire.

Best Al Fresco Dining for Summer 2020

Despite the recent reopening of restaurants all over the city, I have noticed a lingering feeling of worry from friends and foodies about venturing out to eat. I have been eating in restaurants inside and out, but can’t deny that the al fresco options feel safer. While the weather is still warm it seems the only sensible solution is outdoor dining, so I have collated a list of some of my favourite options for you to enjoy this unique summer season.

Joy at Portobello

Joy at Portobello

Joy at Portobello is a new pop-up that occupies the space that was once home to Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen. This popular chef (behind hits such as Craft, Palatino and Pastaio) has returned to his original Portobello Dock site to bring us a joyful venue of food, flowers and fabulous produce (to buy from Canterbury’s Good Shed). The al fresco terrace overlooks the canal and diners sit amongst colourful wild dahlias, that were intended for this year’s cancelled Hampton Court Flower Show. We feasted on fresh and simple seasonal delights, favourites included grilled lobster with nduja, watermelon and feta salad, and a floral eton mess for dessert.

Flor

ASAP pizza at Flor

This Borough Market favourite has pivoted from a cosy dinner venue to an outdoor pizza and soft serve success. Borough Market has taken on a new persona; without the constant crowds, keen foodies gather at the sheltered outdoor tables (ideal even in the rain) and scoff the ASAP sourdough pizza. Choose from perfectly executed small plates (I loved the extra rich burrata, datterini & panzanella) and then opt for a red or white (based) pizza from the list. Our favourite was the ‘Getting Friggi With It’ – tomato sauce, mangalitsa sausage, friggitelli peppers, onion, but I also recommend the flavoursome ‘Thanks Shallot’ featuring grilled spring onions, mozzarella, ricotta, green garlic, wild marjoram. The soft serve is unmissable… flavours change weekly, we were lucky to catch the utterly delicious Fig Leaf with coconut. ASAP Pizza is also available to order on Deliveroo.

Elliott’s 

Another Borough Market institution, Elliott’s is a much loved restaurant, bar and natural wine shop. They have transformed their dining room and now occupy a large covered space in the market area. The summer menu utilises great seasonal produce from the market with appetising small plates, creative pizzas and grilled meat options. Pair your meal with a summery aperol spritz or glass of natural wine.

Brat at Climpsons Arch

Brat at Climpsons Arch

Tomos Parry won every accolade when he opened his Basque-influenced restaurant Brat a few years ago in Shoreditch. So it’s hardly surprising to see his pop-up version of the eatery at Climpsons Arch also booked up to the brim every night. This sociable space lends itself perfectly to this style of cooking and the fragrant smells of grilled fish fill the air as you sit down in the outdoor dining area. You’ll find all the Brat favourites here, from anchovy toast to whole grilled turbot, smoked butter potatoes to burnt Basque cheesecake. If you can nab a table I highly recommend visiting before the summer is out.

Llewelyns

Llewelyn’s

My South London favourite, Llewelyn’s, is another brilliant option for al fresco dining this summer. Their terrace has been extended in the Herne Hill square so there are now plenty of tables for hungry diners. This eatery feels particularly lovely at lunchtime when the buzzy atmosphere of the neighbourhood adds ambience and charm to the Llewelyn’s experience. The menu of smart comfort food changes regularly, so there is always something to satisfy everyone.

The Garden at The Berkeley

If you find yourself needing a venue in central London for celebrating a special occasion I implore you to book the Berkeley. A magical terrace at one of London’s most prestigious hotels, this sparkly pop-up restaurant is wowing guests with their immaculate service and comforting dishes. Refreshing cocktails and vibrant dishes will transport you to a Mediterranean island, so even if you can’t fly away on holiday you’ll feel a million miles from home in their lantern-lit garden.