I live in an interesting area. East London is filled with gentrification but there is such a mix of cultures and walks of life.
Spar is a supermarket you imagine to be full or bargains and cheap things. Spar in Homerton is the opposite – it is a trendy East London paradise. It is filled with lots of treasures and has lots going on. It was described by a friend of mine as a bit like Whole Foods and I can see why.
The produce has mixtures of Spar products and other local businesses. You will find coffee, peanut butter and other things all made in East London! Eat 17, based in both Homerton and Walthamstow originally had a restaurant above their supermarkets. They created Bacon Jam and sell a few different types in store. It’s always pretty popular.
Fancy some coffee? You can grab some to go. Need a quick dinner? There is lots on offer. Spar Eat 17 have their own ready meals that are a little fancier. They also sell Cook which is the company that pre-makes meals and all you need to do is warm them up.
The butchers on the left hand side has a extensive range of meats to choose from. It might be a little more expensive than what you would get in a supermarket but the difference in quality is obvious. Chicken breasts can be shared for two people due to their size so they go further.
If you fancy a quick hot meal then you can order burgers at the til and eat them there. There is even the option of a rotisserie chicken to take home! Beer selection is a mixture from across the UK wth lots from London. You can even grab a beer to wash your burger down!
Think all of this was enough? Well Rebel Rebel florists greet you as soon as you walk in, making the whole place seem so vibrant! If you wander upstairs you will find the Castle Cinema, which has recently opened it’s doors after a crowd funded campign to re open the cinema as it was one a long time ago.
Jim’s Cafe on Chatsworth Road is always busy, whatever day of the week. I have been a few times and have had great experiences every single time.
The decor of the place is great. It has elements of a traditional greasy spoon. These features have been spruced up and given a modern edge. The front of the cafe is all wooden booths and diner tables. When you get to the back room it has exposed brick, chipped tiles and a feeling of being really open and bright, a little like being in a conservatory.
This time around, myself and a friend sat in the back room (a table away from Pixie Geldof, I don’t think I could have felt any more East London. We ordered latte’s and caught up.
Then it came to the main event. I have tried a few bits at Jim’s but what I ate was definitely my favourite. I had the scrambled egg with Gruyère and parmesan and mushrooms (which I had on the side)on sourdough toast. I had a side of sausage patty, which I couldn’t finish but it tasted AMAZING. The whole dish put a fancier spin on a traditional breakfast.
My friend had the sausage and tomato Benedict which was huge! We both didn’t quite finish our meals but both really enjoyed it. It is refreshing to see items on a brunch menu that are a little different to the norm. Despite the fact hat it was busy, we didn’t feel rushed so managed to catch up and not feel too guilty.
Jim’s is always the first place I recommend to people when they want brunch in East London. If you like little details, the pictures in the bathroom were from the original cafe itself!
If you follow bloggers on Instagram, you will have probably seen the perfectly iced biscuits form Biscuiteers sent as gifts or attached to press packs. I found them purely by accident online and have been a little obsessed ever since.
I ordered my dad a Batman themed box of iced biscuits for Father’s Day and booked an afternoon tea in the cafe as a joint Mothers Day and birthday present for my mum. We headed to the Portobello road to have a wander before getting to the cafe itself.
The whole place is bright and colourful with pom-poms attached everywhere as well as every kind of biscuit you could imagine. It had a really cosy feel to it as places to sit were on the side of the counter and outside. We sat down at our table with red and white crockery and were given a pot of English Breakfast tea.
We then had a cake stand put down on the table filled with treats. On the sandwich tier there was cucumber and cream cheese, cheese and chutney as well as smoked salmon. It then had the tier with salted caramel brownies, macaroons, white chocolate and passionfruit cakes, fruit tarts, Victoria sponges and iced biscuits. There was so much colour and flavour on the plate! We tucked in and the scones turned up!
Everything was delicious without being overly sweet. There was so much food, I left a fair amount which was put into two “doggy bags” for us to take home. The Victoria sponge and the salted caramel brownie were absolutely incredible (SO good).
Once we finished tea, we went to look at the biscuits so we could take some home. I picked a selection so I got a gingerbread, chocolate and vanilla. I spent ages trying to find the perfect ones. I am definitely going to get gifts for different occasions! It’s nice to see so much effort and time to be put into something – especially when it is going to taste great!
Monty’s Deli has been talked about for years when it was at it’s original spot near Maltby Street Market. I never had a chance to try it so we decided to try out their brand new home on Hoxton Street.
First things first, the decor is AMAZING. I love retro furniture and Monty’s did not disappoint. There was dar wooden chairs, tables and a big old fashioned bar in the middle. The whole place had a feel of what a jewish deli in the 60’s might have been like.
The lunch menu was simple, there were a few brunch items but I went for the main event – the sandwich. I had the Mensch with salt beef on rye bread and my boyfriend Andrew had the Reuben Special with salt beef, pastrami with cheese and sauerkraut. We shared a portion of fries too. The salt beef was so tender and melted in my mouth! The fries were cut thin with some skin still left on which made them crisp and tasty.
There was a takeaway section on the side of the restaurant which meant you could get a sandwich or bagel filled with delicious beef or salmon to take away. They also had plain bagels to buy in the bakery along with other things. One of my favourite sweet treats is Babka, the twisted dough with cinnammon or chocolate. The Good Egg in Stoke Newington does a really good babka, as does Bernstein’s on Chatsworth Road. However, Monty’s Deli does the best babka I have tried in London. If that isn’t reason to go alone, I don’t know what is!
One of my favourite pit stops in Edinburgh was Mary’s Milk Bar. After looking it up online, I was excited to try some ice cream.
The exterior looked quaint with it’s stone brick work and its pastel retro sign. Once inside, it was a dream! Just like a parlour in the 1950s, there was lots of little quirks. The lights were ice cream cones, the colours were all pastel and ice cream colours. The furniture was kitsch and kooky.
The flavours were a little different to the usual that you would expect. I went for rose and dark chocolate. The taste was intense and delicious. I loved the feel and the atmosphere of the place. You also had a pretty special view of Edinburgh Castle.
There were bits to buy too. We picked up a carefully packaged bar of caramel chocolate. You could also get tote bags, jars of salted caramel and bags of chocolate shards.
Whatever the weather, if you are in Edinburgh you should definitely make a trip to Mary’s Milk Bar. I will definitely be back again!
The Easter weekend is always a good one. Who doesn’t love a 4 day weekend? I made that a 6 day weekend and flew up to Edinburgh for two days before going to Newcastle to see some family and friends.
I had never been to Edinburgh before so I was excited to explore. We stayed in Tune Hotel at Haymarket. Although basic, it was everything we needed for two days and didn’t break the bank.
The castle was beautiful as the sun set on our first day. It wasn’t until the following day we went to look at it properly.
On Thursday night we headed to Malones, the pop up Irish bar that opened for the 6 Nations. It is still open and you can se why. Beer, a great outdoor setting but the highlight was the food. Pizza Geeks was serving up wood fired pizzas. There was even one with haggis on!
We also headed to some really interesting bars. Hoot The Redeemer was a small cavern of a bar full of arcade games and bright lights. There was even a vending machine for alcoholic ice creams! The best part of Hoot The Redeemer was the door, which was a Fortune Telling Game from a funfair. Just like Big!
Another bar we loved was Panda and Sons. You walked through what looked like a Barber shop window to get in, went down the stairs and opened a door that was disguised as a bookshelf. Inside was a basement bar full of tables and references to hairdressing and barbers everywhere.
Overall, I loved Edinburgh. I definitely want to go back and explore. We walked past lots of good looking places for food and beers. Every building looks unasuming but they are incredible when you get inside. Nomad coffee shop had a beautiful interior as well as a few others scattered in-between.
Warsaw was a great trip for food and drink. We headed to a few bars that were full of vodka. We then headed over to Butchery & Wine which was near our hotel.
When looking at steak restaurants in London, the price tag is pretty hefty. After a trip to MASH a few years ago, I found it was overpriced and unseasoned. It put me off a little.
Butchery & Wine was not like that at all. The setting felt a little fancy yet reserved. The dim lighting and cut back decor made it romantic and perfect for a date night.
I started with short rib croquettes with a harissa sauce. Andrew had the steak tartare. Both great pieces of meat and tasted delicious.
As Warsaw was so cheap, it meant we tried what we might not have one in London. A chateaubriand was really good value and I was so glad we had it. Pink in the middle, crisp on the outside.
The great thing about going out in a couple means sharing food is a lot more acceptable. A chocolate fondant between the pair of us meant we had a bitterly sweet dessert without being taken over by the rich flavour.
Poland is perfect for when you want to go somewhere and not spend too much. With wine, two starters, a chateaubriand, sides, sauces, a shared dessert and service, you would expect it to be quite expensive. Not this time around! All of that at Butchery & Wine was about £90! I would definitely recommend but see if you can book beforehand, just incase.
I love a city break. It usually means I can throw a couple of holidays into the year. I had been to Krakow when I was younger but we were excited to go and explore Warsaw. After looking up places to eat and drink we came across MOD. It was a doughnut shop by day and a ramen place by night – what could be better?
Fusion food might seem a little over the top but some go so well with Asian foods and flavours. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the flavours that came out.
I started with beef bourginion dumplings. It was full of flavour and had cheese sprinkled all over them. The taste was really good but part of you got confused thinking it was going to be full of soy and saltiness.
My boyfriend Andrew loves ramen. I reckon he would have it every day if he was allowed. Mod had high standards to reach and they did not disappoint! My ramen dish was duck. It was rich and full of flavour. Andrew had a lot more spice with his minced chicken.
To finish it all of we shared a chocolate tart with miso cream. Again, rich, lots of depth with flavours mixed together.
The decor was pink, marble, dark wood and potted plants everywhere so it felt very East London. It felt warm, welcoming and we left feeling full and happy. It was amazing value for money too. As a lot of Warsaw was so cheap; for starters, mains, a shared dessert, wine and service, we spent around £20 a head!
If you are in Warsaw then you should definitely head to MOD. We didn’t get a chance to go in the day time for doughnuts but they look a little like Crosstown Doughnuts.
Borough Market is an institution. The famous food market is always busy and has a great selection of food, drink and produce.
We ventured over on a busy Saturday to window shop and take in all of the sights and the smells.
There is so much to see it can be a little overwhelming.The hot food stalls are all on one side and it means that it can be reaaaaaaaallly busy. We tried some scotch eggs from Scotch Tails but didn’t have space to take a picture!
If you haven’t been before I would recommend trying a few bits! Bread Ahead have a stall further into the market. You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of their INSANELY good doughnuts.
If you are a fan of spicy then Pimento Hill does some delicious Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam. You will get some testers to try before you buy too! Spice Mountain has all of the spices, salts and peppers you will ever need!
We headed to Neal’s Yard to try some cheese. After going to Clove Club in Shoreditch and trying the tasting menu, they had some incredible goats cheese from Neals Yard. We tried some in store and it was so good. We took some home with us. The huge blocks of cheese don’t even look real and the whole room is full of all of the cheese you can imagine.
3bis Gelato is right next door to Neals Yard. As it was getting a little warmer as we are falling into spring, we decided to share a tub. Chocolate sauce is drizzled underneath and topped with the ice cream of your choice. There are a small selection of flavours to choose from but they all look so tasty.
Buying lots from Borough Market can get expensive Take a friend to share bigger dishes and wander round getting all the tasters you can stomach!