Grand Slam Afternoon Tea

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It is Wimbledon fever in London and consequently I have been enjoying a range of tennis themed events and pop-ups across London. One of my favourite seasonal celebrations was at the Saatchi Gallery Mess café where they are serving up an ace afternoon tea! The Grand Slam Afternoon Tea is fresh and summery with hints to the tennis tournament.

Though I have often visited The Saatchi Gallery for exciting art projects I have never had the pleasure of enjoying this restaurant before. Civilised and sophisticated I felt like it was a real occasion walking inside. The interiors are beautiful, with exposed brickwork and lovely arches, and in one corner a neon cockerel adds a touch of contemporary style. The large windows allow plenty of light inside, though there is also the option to enjoy your meal or afternoon tea on the terrace.

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Two dainty slate cake stands were swiftly delivered to our table. The array of cakes, scones and sandwiches represent the best of British summertime. I was grateful to see the modest selection – I find it quite overwhelming when a whole cake shop arrives at the table! To start, a trio of savoury sandwiches (prawn marie rose, ham & mustard and smoked salmon) and a homemade scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream. All very fresh, tasty and neatly presented. On the next level there was a tennis ball macaroon, a white chocolate and pistachio Battenberg sponge inspired by a court, Pimm’s fruit jelly and a strawberry & cream choux pastry. I loved the macaroon which had the perfect chewiness inside and a lovely crispness on the edge. The jelly was refreshing and the fluffy choux éclair added a touch of luxury. Each item was thoughtfully created to celebrate a feature from Wimbledon.

To accompany the food the waitress bought us a pot of warm Hendricks tea, a concoction of tea, wild berry, orange and gin. It was an intriguing brew, flavoured with fruit and with a spicy kick from the gin. I was pleased to find it not too sweet, instead the citrus taste balanced nicely with the sugary cakes.

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If you can’t get a seat on centre court, enjoy a stroll round the Saatchi Gallery before indulging at the Gallery Mess with their tennis tea for two.

Available until 6th July, more information and book here.

Rabbit, Chelsea

I love The Shed in Notting Hill and have a major addiction to their homemade salted caramel Viennetta. So I was elated to hear they had opened a second restaurant, similar in style, on the King’s Road. Rabbit was full to the brim when I went along on Monday evening to meet a friend. The cosy venue has a rustic farmhouse feel to it with shabby chic tables and chairs.

The crowd here is inevitably ‘very Chelsea’, so much so that I think I even spotted a Made in Chelsea cast member as I was leaving. The tight fit tables mean the restaurant is raucous and alive with the sound of friends catching up on the latest gossip. We were quieter on our table, dissecting the delicious plates of food, and debating at length over which desserts to choose.

The idea of a successful family business gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and the Gladwin brothers have got it right on every level. Between the three of them they have extensive experience in the hospitality industry, farming and cooking. And to top that, their mum makes wine on their family vineyard. Much like The Shed, Rabbit champions the British tapas trend. Offering all day dining, cooking up the finest foraged and farmed ingredients, and arranging the food artfully on the plate.

When it comes to the main affair, the staff recommend two or three plates per person. Whatever you do, order the Chorizo, labneh, crisp bread and kale, we scraped up every mouthful of the salty, yoghurty, crunchy delight. The oily residue is so delicious you’ll need some Rabbit wild yeast bread (with shallot butter) to mop up the remnants. Sussex Rabbit Tagliatelli is a comforting plate of lovingly made pasta coated in a rich, almost stew-like lovage pesto with bone marrow and chanterelles. For a lighter option try Grilled leek with cobnuts, honey, dandelion, wood sorrel and yoghurt – a sophisticated dish of buttery leeks scattered with alarmingly black crumbs.

The same Viennetta makes an appearance at Rabbit though still magnificent I found it a little too sweet… I wonder if I am growing up? Chocolate bourbon biscuit with cep and white chocolate is interesting too, and if you have never tried cocoa and mushroom together, I’d recommend giving it a go.

Although the environment doesn’t feel quite as jolly and organic as at The Shed, there’s no doubt that the cooking is of the same calibre. I hope the Sloanie locals will appreciate the thoughtful and innovative food on offer rather than just using Rabbit as a drinking den.

More information and book here:

Hari’s Hair and Nails, King’s Road


Hari’s is my dream salon… a kooky King’s Road venue to get both your hair and nails spruced up. It is a beauty hot spot, frequented by famous faces and always busy and buzzing.

With over 35 years experience as one of London’s most famous hair and beauty retreats, Hari’s philosophy is to nurture and develop its own talent with a team of innovative stylists, many of whom have been with the company for over 15 years. They please both men and women with their exemplary colour and cutting, and fabulous Sophy Robson nail art services.

On a rainy Friday afternoon the salon was chaotic, full of pretty girls needing a make-over before the weekend. Luckily the 19 bus stop is just a few steps away so I jumped in before being soaked to the skin, ready to let the Hari’s crew beautify me. I initially noticed the quirky interior, every mirror station is differently designed and the detailing gives the salon real personality. The colour and pattern explosion reminded me of the 90’s – a kind of Girl Power haven.

Sophy Robson is something of a phenomenon, and her permanent nail station at Hari’s is a real asset to the salon. Designing and painting the nails of celebrities worldwide, including on site at the London Olympics, Robson has brought nail ornamentation to the forefront of fashion. Neringa is Sophy’s top nail girl and I was lucky enough to have my fingernails in her capable hands. Deciding on an assortment of 10 different Sophy signature styles she got to work immediately, a speedy expert. Tut-tutting at my bitten nails, she gave me a quick manicure before coating the nails in clear base coat. The ten designs (mini hearts, camouflage, flowers, polka dots, candy stripes, houndstooth, clouds, ice-cream, dalmatian and Giles eyes) each involve different coloured varnishes and complicated patterns. The techniques are tricky but Neringa completed each nail efficiently and swiftly painting the intricate designs immaculately.

After sitting downstairs for nearly 90 minutes of nail art, I was escorted upstairs for my hair cut and blow dry. I was lucky enough to be with Andy, one of the most experienced stylists at Hari’s. Known for his versatile and sharp skills he greets every customer with a warm smile and a sweet manner. He trimmed my hair before giving me a volumising blow dry. Using Kerastase products and his hands to scrunch my hair, he managed to bring out amazing natural waves. Teaching me as he worked, he convinced me I could do the same at home.
Hood up and coat on, I was ready to face the rainstorm outside, my nails and hair perfectly prepped and preened ready for the weekend. I can’t imagine a more fun and fabulous place to hang out on a Friday afternoon… Hari’s is a hairdressing heaven and a nails sanctuary for London’s most stylish girls and boys.

Details: Hari’s Hairdressers King’s Road 233 Kings Road, London, SW3 5EJ 020 7349 8722

Hari’s Hairdressers Brompton Road 305 Brompton Road, London, SW3 2DY 020 7581 5211

More information here.