THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Dominique Ansel Bakery comes to London

Slowly rotating 135m above the River Thames, trapped in a small capsule with only a select number of food influencers and a gluttonous number of pastries, may seem like an unusual place for breakfast. This extraordinary setting, however, was perfectly suited to celebrate the launch of Dominique Ansel Bakery London, the first European venue opened by the chef responsible for the Cronut craze, numerous other foodie inventions, and the most popular bakery in New York.

Whilst Dominique Ansel is particularly famous for creating the Cronut, the delicious croissant-donut hybrid that has caused his New York venue to have hour long queues every morning, it is but one of a host of creative sweets being served in his bakeries. A particular favourite of the chef’s (and mine) is the DKA, or ‘Dominique’s Kouign Amann’, which is a sort of caramelized croissant, with a flaky interior surrounding by a crunchy shell. He is not resting on his laurels either, constantly innovating, changing the menu, and updating the flavours (the Cronut changes every month and has individual flavours for each city location). It is because of this that visits to one of Dominique’s bakeries are so unique and worth the morning commute.

I thoroughly recommend heading down to Elizabeth Street in Belgravia as soon as you can to see what Dominique has in store for you, just be prepared to wait in line!

More information about the new Dominique Ansel Bakery in London here.

Photographed and written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

A New York Itinerary

My itinerary for this year’s trip to New York was packed as tightly as my suitcase. With the winter season underway I set out to check out the top new places to go in this marvellous metropolis.

Sleep

The Nolitan – for downtown hipster accommodation, this hotel ticks every box. With cool design and detailing, I fell in love with everything about this place.

60 Thompson – classically understated, this luxury-driven lifestyle hotel in SoHo offers stylish rooms, the exclusive A60 rooftop bar and an elegantly exotic Thai restaurant, Kittichai.

Eat

Il Buco – A charming Italian restaurant where locals eat in the NoHo area. The homemade pasta is simple but irresistible.

Momofuku Noodle Bar – David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants are a revelation. The must-try Noodle Bar is Chang’s first venture, where the famous pork buns were once created. It is walk-in only, but the food is worth queuing for.

Minetta Tavern – Opened in Greenwich Village in 1937, this long established eatery serves up the most prestigious Black Label burger. The pampered patty is perfected and placed in a bespoke bun with caramelised onions, it is like no other, served with the finest homemade skinny fries.

Dominique Ansel –  Imitation cronuts are appearing in bakeries all over the world… and we have pastry chef Dominique Ansel to thank for this genius donut and croissant hybrid. On my first morning in NYC I awoke at 5.30 am to queue for the unique trademarked treat, I can understand why Ansel has been named “the Willy Wonka of NYC”!

Drink

Apotheke – Inspired by the history of apothecaries in Europe and influenced by Paris’ Absinthe dens, Apotheke is really special. Hidden down a damp and dingy street in Chinatown, this magical cocktail bar serves up creative concoctions in this eclectic emporium.

Bowery Coffee – This café is the epitome of the cool coffee culture in New York. Strong and creamy espresso is pulled from a Marzocco Strada and served to your specification. A must for caffeine lovers.

Shop

Madewell – An all American shop for casual comfortable clothes. It started out as a jean company in 1937 and has now expanded, offering anything and everything a NYC girl could need from boots to bags, accessories, dresses and cashmere jumpers, of which I was particularly fond.

Kiosk – A frenzy of fabulous objects carefully selected for their aesthetically pleasing designs from all over the globe. Enter through a graffiti-ridden doorway and make your way up the stairs to discover the world of Kiosk.

Creatures of Comfort – Showcasing a collection of cutting-edge, innovative, independent designer clothing from around the World. I spotted quite a few of my favourite brands including Acne, Repetto and Isabel Marant.

See

Kinky Boots – The hottest ticket in NYC, this flamboyant show will brighten up your day with its upbeat songs and unexpected storyline. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, it is based on the 2005 film itself inspired by a true story. Glitz, glamour and gorgeous shoes!

The Met Opera – This grand theatre produces magnificent productions of promising new work as well as the operatic classics. Tosca was beautifully interpreted and presented, a spectacular rendition of this popular Puccini tragedy.

Glasslands – See a band at this hip Brooklyn venue. We witnessed the quirky and shambolic Beets who produce a passionate, dramatic sound.

Basketball – Invest in a foam finger and head to the Barclays Center to support the local team, Brooklyn Nets. Be prepared to clap, shout and stamp your feet as the giant athletes roam the court.

Do

Whitney Museum – This museum has a focus on 20th and 21st century American art. The contemporary and trendy building is currently home to the bold and patriotic artist, Robert Indiana. His dazzling pop art pictures address those fundamental issues: love, death, sin and forgiveness.

Empire State Building – Climb this edifice to see the best views of the city. Terrifyingly high and amazingly exhilarating,  I recommend visiting at sunset as the queues decrease.

Jin Soon Nails – Renowned as one of NYC’s best nail salons, Jin Soon now resides at three different locations. I visited the West Village spa and was impressed with the selection of colours on offer, the efficient and kind service and the speedy and thorough mani-pedi I received. Slump in a sofa chair and sip your fruit tea while your hands and feet are simultaneously pampered, total bliss.

Brooklyn Flea Market – Found at two venues each weekend, in Williamsburg and at Fort Greene, this popular market satisfies the keen vintage scroungers of New York. Pick up some retro clothes, a one-off trinket or just wander and observe the intriguing collections. Foodies will delight in the scrumptious offerings like coconut chunky bonbons and Porchetta chicory salad with garlic dressing.

On Location Tours – Those interested in seeing New York’s most familiar film and TV locations will love the On Location bus tours. Join the bus for a three hour trip round the city with a fun informative guide and feel like your favourite screen star for a day.

Many thanks to NYC GO for their help with this trip and organising the CityPass (a necessity for any NYC tourist), and Virgin Atlantic for flight assistance.