Tasty Display

I recently visited the National Portrait Gallery twice in 7 days - that's not too much is it? - to see two different exhibitions. The first was the Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed collection of the musicians and models who epitomised the emergence of pop culture from the 'Swinging London' scene to Beatles-mania through to the progression of psychedelia.

The second was to check out this year's Photographic Portrait Prize. On this visit however, I wasn't feeling too good and needed a little sit down and a refreshment (any excuse, right?). So, not wanting to venture outside and wander about in the cold, I headed to the Portrait Restaurant on the 3rd Floor.

There's a different menu depending on the time you arrive. It was about 4:15 which meant we got the 'Afternoon Tea' menu. Settling for a Latte, hot chocolate and a sultana and apple scone I was expecting an overpriced snack.

What I did get, however, was a velvety Latte with a kick to it and a warm scone which had the right amount of crumble to it - just enough to keep it together with the clotted cream and jam.

The view is also quite impressive, with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the near distance, especially as the sky darkened and the lights of London began to twinkle. (Which reminds me, Christmas is a mere 5 weeks away!)

The afternoon coffee and scone came to £10 including service charge*, which is pretty good value considering it's within one of the Capital's more expensive areas and run by head chef, Katarina Todosijevic, whose background is with the Conran Group (now known as D&D London). I must visit again for lunch because the Beatles to Bowie Set Menu looks very tempting!

* Service charge is 15% but if you're just popping up there for a tea or coffee, you shouldn't need to pay more than a tenner.


British Sausage Week

It was British Sausage Week this week. Here's a little bite (which actually turned out to be a rather large and very filling bite) a friend and I put together for lunch, off the cuff.

Just simply:
Sausages (oven cooked)

What a banger!

3 Hour Lasagne

There's no doubt about it, a lasagne is one of the most comforting dishes ever. Especially one that takes 3 hours to make. If you've got time to burn get involved in some of this...it's a guaranteed classic.


For the ragu
500g pork mince
500g beef mince
3/4 of 1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
4 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
500ml red wine
200ml beef stock
2 x stem of rosemary
3 ball of mozzarella, sliced
handful of grated Parmesan
4 strips of anchovies, sliced lengthways

For the Bechamel sauce
1 1/4 pints of milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 onion
2 x bay leaves
50g butter
50g plain flour

How to make:

Cook the onion, celery and carrot on a medium heat for 15 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic and rosemary and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the mince and cook until the juices from the meat have absorbed. Then add 400ml of the red wine and cook for 45 minutes.

Once the meat has absorbed the wine, add the tomatoes and beef stock and simmer for 2 hours adding the rest of the wine in stages. Season with salt and pepper.

15 minutes before the ragu is ready, heat the milk in a saucepan along with the 1/4 onion, nutmeg and bay leaves.

In a separate pan, melt the butter and mix together with the flour. Then add the milk in stages to the butter/flour mixture. Whisk thoroughly until all or most of the lumps have gone. If there are too many lumps after about 5 minutes, sieve the bechemal sauce into another pan.

In a glass or casserole dish, layer up the lasagne as follows: lasagne sheets, ragu, mozzarella, Bechamel sauce, lasagne sheets, ragu, anchovies, mozzarella, Bechamel sauce, lasagne sheets, Bechamel sauce to cover the top layer, then scatter the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Put in a preheated oven set to 180, gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.



Hummingbird Cupcakes

So I've finally attempted to make something from the Lantana cafe. I decided to go for the ever expanding popularity of the Hummingbird cupcakes. And here's how they turned out...

I had a slight tinker with the recipe as I was only able to make 12 rather than 24, but it worked out fine and the cupcakes were soft, golden and moist enough on the inside thanks to the banana and pineapple. The cream cheese topping could have been more stiff, which means I will of course have to make them again to get it right.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups demerera sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 bananas, diced
1/2 can of pineapple chunks, drained
25g pecan halves, chopped

How to make:

Preheat oven to 160. Line 12 muffin wells with paper cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
Stir in melted butter, eggs and vanilla until just combined. Gently fold in pineapple, banana and pecans.

Fill the muffin wells about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
Leave the muffins in the pan to cool for 5 minutes and then gently remove them from pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting:
50g unsalted butter, softened at room temp
100g cream cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar

With a wooden spoon (or electric mixer), beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and vanilla until light and creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar until well combined and paste onto the cupcakes. Finally, decorate with some pecan halves.

NB: you could use walnuts instead of pecans.


So, I turned 25 quite recently and had the abundant task of choosing somewhere to eat out with my family. Now there are a few things to consider when picking a restaurant to satisfy my lot:

1) Portions must be filling
2) Atmosphere needs to be lively (but not raucus, let's not be silly now)
3) Menu must be varied

While pondering this I remembered Inamo. You can safely tick off all three requirements, and then scrawl down a few extra. I visited this restaurant months ago and knew I had to go back, if only for the battleships. You heard me, battleships! I'll get onto that in a mo, but let me tell you that relying on a waiter to get your order right need not happen my friend. Nope, you can order your food and drinks all by yourself. Each table has a projector above it which projects the menu onto the white table, and you control it with a small mousepad. It's worth remembering to pace your orders so that you don't get served everything at once! [note: this works successfully unless you are my father who failed to listen to this advice resulting in him receiving three main dishes at the same time, includine this pork dish]

And it doesn't stop there. You can play around with the table by changing the image projected onto it; or how about booking a cab if you've had a few too many beverages, or plan out where to head next with the interactive map? But the best thing has to be the games, which takes us back to battleships. You can play against the person opposite you while you wait for your food, brilliant!

Usually the idea of gimmicks and entertainment at a restaurant puts me off as it means not enough attention is given to making sure the food is a decent standard. But I was really surprised to experience some of the best food I've eaten at a restaurant in a long time. No, really.

Between seven of us we had quite a variety off the Oriental fusion menu, and by no means did any of it disappoint. The prices might seem high, but the food matches those prices. We had the aromatic duck pancakes (which the waiters shred for you once they've served it), the Thai red curry, the baby crispy prawns - with an extremely light batter and the Berkshire pork neck. I shared the duck leg with pancakes with my sister, which was lovely and tender. I also had some grilled black faced lamb chops with moromi miso and kim chi which was cooked to perfection, mostly pink with a bit of bite around the edges.

The desert didn't disappoint either. The black sticky rice with fresh mango was gorgeous, but a good one to share as it's very sweet. I've had a similar dish in Bali which I loved even though I'm not a huge fan of rice pudding. The mini chocolate desserts were delicate and looked so cute.

And what meal isn't complete without coffee and tea afterwards? I went for the chamomile flower tea which came in a gorgeous pot and glass cup. 


Lamb, Walnut & Pomegranate Tagine

I cannot stress how delicious this is...but what trumps the taste is the fact it's so simple to make. I cooked this the other day and my flatmate demanded I should make it again soon (I'm scared of what will happen if I don't). *pretentious alert* If flavours were Hollywood actors, this meal is Ocean's Eleven, a mix of a-list and underrated combined to pull off the unexpected with such audacity you can't help but love it! I'll let you decide who should be the pomegranate...

Lamb - 750g shoulder joint (usually 1/2 shoulder)
2 tbsp plain flour - seasoned with salt and pepper
1 red onion - peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic - peeled and finely chopped
1/2 stick of cinnamon
75g walnuts - chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pomegranate - de-seeded
500ml pomegranate juice

How to make:

Dice the lamb and toss into the seasoned flour until all pieces are covered.

Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add half of the lamb pieces to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they've evenly browned. Remove from the pan and do the same with the remaining lamb pieces. Add the first batch of cubes back to the pan and turn the heat down.

Add the chopped red onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, walnuts and bay leaves to the pan and stir thoroughly with the lamb. Cook for up to 5 mins until the onion is translucent. Stir regularly to avoid anything sticking to the pan.

Add 250ml of the pomegranate juice into the pan and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Add more pomegranate juice in stages and a little water when it starts to get thicker.

When ready remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and sprinkle with some of the pomegranate seeds.

To accompany the lamb tagine I made a puy lentil salad and used the remaining pomegranate seeds like so...

Cook the puy lentils for 20 mins in boiling water. Add more water if it starts to dry up.
For the dressing stir together 2 tbsp olive oil, juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1 tsp ground cumin, salt and pepper.
Once the lentils have cooked and cooled off slightly, mix them with some spinach, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds and the dressing.


Reliable Risotto

Almost everyone has their own 'old reliable' when it comes to risotto (and I'm about to boast mine). I don't think you can ever go wrong with an oozy prawn and mushroom risotto quite frankly. So here it is:

1 small onion - diced
knob of butter
3 or 4 handfuls of arborio rice
1 litre of chicken stock
g king prawns
a handful of frozen garden peas or soya beans
2 handfuls of oyster mushrooms
a glass of white wine
a handful of grated fresh Parmesan (save a little for sprinkling at the end)
fresh parsley - chopped

How to make:
Melt the butter on a low heat and add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. 
Add the rice and stir with the butter. 
Pour in enough stock to cover the rice and bring to the boil on a medium heat.
Simmer until the rice has soaked up the stock then add some of the white wine. Pour in some more stock, simmer until most of it has absorbed, and add the rest of the wine. 
After about 10 mins add the king prawns. 
Keep adding the stock in stages until the rice has swelled to a tender state. This should take roughly 20 mins, but taste the rice to check it's tender enough (and still has a slight bite to it). 
In the last 5 mins add the oyster mushrooms, peas/soya beans. Once they've almost cooked through fold in the fresh chopped parsley and grated Parmesan and cook for a couple of minutes.
Serve and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

 Et voila!!

Canteens get Class

I consider canteens quite the underdog of eateries. Commonly associated with schools and workplaces, they've also become accepted into the dining culture, mainly due to the infusion of Asian cuisine and now canteen restaurants like Wagamama, Cha Cha Moon and Busaba Eathai are popular and reliable choices.

I think this is down to three things:
1) prices don't make you limit your order
2) service is pretty swift
3) they have great atmosphere

Point 3 is one of the most important as it's what a canteen is all about. Lively, an eavesdropper's dream and full of satisfied faces. Though the great atmosphere probably has a lot to do with points 1 and 2. Which is where Canteen (a canteen called Canteen) differs. It's prices are high but reasonable for the organic local produce they cook with. It's much larger which means you're not squashed up with other diners - not so good for eavesdroppers; and service is at a regular pace. It's essentially a restaurant disguised as a canteen. So once you accept this it becomes an enjoyable meal.

The menu is mostly modern British food. I went for the lamb and mint pie, mash and cabbage with gravy at £10.50. Seems a bit steep, but tastes great and really fills a hole!

I'm not much of a fan of macaroni cheese, yet theirs was surprisingly light, and had just the right amount of crunch to the golden  brown top.


Verdict: too much class and pleasantries to be a true canteen, but very worth a visit if you appreciate free range and organic produce.


Coffee Cake

The other weekend I went in search for a satisfactory place to have a spot of brunch in Crouch End, a hub of quaint cafes and boutique shops, so you'd think I'd have no problem finding somewhere. But no, the one I selected was a bit of a disappointment. I won't dwell on it as I don't really want to waste space on this little blog with places I've not enjoyed, but serving bog-standard wholemeal sliced bread from the local supermarket with warm chargrilled veg, causing it to go soggy and limp? Doesn't cut it I'm afraid.

Afterwards however, what really rubbed it in was when I wondered past another cafe called Coffee Cake, full of promise and delightful treats from both the savoury and sweet camps. This meant only one thing, returning to Crouch End to pay this place a visit in order to make up for the lacklustre effort I'd just experienced. So this Saturday I trundled my way back to the village within London and made a b-line down Broadway Parade for Coffee Cake. Upon entering, I couldn't help but feel a little like a kid in a sweet shop, and would've quite happily run up to the counter and scoffed my face with the dangerous looking deserts, had my sensible side not kicked in and made me head for a table in a reserved manner - damn you sensible side

The menu is listed on the several blackboards on the brick walls though it's more enjoyable if you go and investigate what's on display to choose what you want. I opted for the crayfish and spinach tart with black-eye-pea, farro, spinach and garden pea salad, which came to around £6.50. Not a winner on the budget front, but so very worth it. My friend had some of the baked salmon with chili and a choice of three salads: I think sweet potato, a Bhutanese red rice one and mozzarella, spinach and fig salad. There were about ten different tarts and quiches, eight different salads, sour dough breads and pastries and that doesn't even touch upon the breakfast menu. (I spied the people next to us having generous portions of eggs Benedict). 

Pretty much everything you see on display is available for take-away, which is an added bonus as it meant I could take home a gorgeous looking sweet thing that was probably terribly bad for me. I didn't do things by halves either when ordering some of the apple and rhubarb crumble. How was I to know I'd be given a portion of epic proportions?! I'd like to think I couldn't possibly have eaten the whole thing myself had I not offered some of it...but deep down I know I would've polished the lot.

I'd recommend heading here either for brunch or a large late lunch. The staff are very welcoming, it's quite family friendly as well as an ideal place to catch up with a friend, and surprisingly it doesn't get too busy even for a Saturday. My only qualm would be that the coffee is more bland than blend, and wasn't hot enough when we received it - I probably should've gone for one of the freshly made juices or smoothies. Ah well, next time me thinks.


Beast of Burger

Having an urge for a burger usually hits me in quite an impromptu way, with a slight jab to the stomach and resulting in an uppercut to the head - which usually means I must eat a burger. Soon. This urge came across me this afternoon, which meant I had the time to go and buy ingredients for said burger rather than taking a trip to somewhere like Camden to score at Hache (which I must blog about soon)
So if you're anything like me and need a quick failsafe reliable recipe for a hearty burger to use you as a punching bag, then try this one for size...

Makes 4 beastly sized burgers

250g of beef mince
1/2 a red onion (or 1 small one) - finely diced
1 large clove of garlic - crushed
2 spring onions - chopped
A few sprigs of fresh parsley - chopped
1 large egg - beaten
Salt and pepper for seasoning
A few pinches of dried chili
Splash of red wine

How to make:
Heat a knob of butter in a pan and cook the red onion, garlic and chili until soft. Add to a bowl and mix together with the mince. 
Mix in the beaten egg a little at a time.
Add the spring onions and parsley.
Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of red wine to the mixture.
Split into 4 patties. 
Preheat the grill to 180 and cook the burgers for about 25 minutes - turning every 10 minutes or so.
Use a knife to cut into the middle to check if they're cooked. If the juices run clear and no blood escapes you're ready to serve.

(Before a good grilling)

If you so wish, serve with a bun, tomato and salad in the classic fashion. Though I just had it sans bun with salad and some flakes of melted mature cheddar.


Tea Total

As a big fan of tea, it's often hard to find a good place to visit for a pot of brew to help wind down, and I'm too often bitterly disappointed with the bog standard English Breakfast tea in most cafés. Help is at hand though if you favour loose tea leaves with a taste that packs a punch, in the form of a little tea shop called Yumchaa - yum cha simply meaning 'drink tea' in Cantonese. There's a branch in Camden, however there's another quaint dwelling on the corner of Berwick Street/Noel Street, where I happened to pass and promptly enter!

On first entering the shop I was taken by the displays of hearty cakes and muffins, until I gave a sharp double take when I caught a glimpse of the rows of teas on offer inside tiny-tiny milk jugs. But what's more is you can sample the tea options before you decide on what to drink, with nowt but your nose. At £2 a pot it's more than good value, with various infusions of black, green and fruit teas. I've enjoyed both the Regent's Park fruit tea and the Earl Grey Blue Star, but whichever takes your fancy you're equipped with a one cup teapot (though it generously gives 2), strainer and mini milk jug if you require it.

The decor is homely and calm but at the same time quite vintage with white-washed cabinets and heavy wooden tables, plus they always seem to be playing great music to fit the tone - Al Green and Otis Redding on my last visit. The staff are friendly and helpful if you're struggling with which tea to try, the Regent's Park tea was a recommendation of which was spot on. I'm yet to have tea with someone else at Yumchaa, but so far have enjoyed the experience of going on my own that I might find it a little less special to share. That may be selfish, but it's hard to find a great place to unwind with a book or paper.

Oh yes, those cakes I was on about....


Sushi Centre

That subheading probably comes across like I'm referring to a large place where much activity occurs involving a mass of Sushi with (pro)portions to settle a hundred growling bellies, but as much as I'd like such a place to exist, I'm going to lead you down a path to a humbler restaurant at Centre Point.

Yes, odd as it may sound, the Centre Point Sushi Cafe is a must for anyone who loves Sushi. I'm not talking about pre-packaged or conveyor belt basics here, I'm on about the expertly rolled, cut, cooked and presented Sushi in an authentic league of it's own. I've visited this restaurant quite a few times after first being taken on a recommendation - that person deserves a whopping kiss on the head for suggesting this little gem - and on each occasion it's consisently impressed. It's another place tucked away, (you may find this a running theme with my posts as I find that generally, well, the best ones are), tucked away within Centre Point, on St Giles Street, above a Korean grocery store. The unlikely location is probably the reason for the minimal amount of customers, but this needn't bother you, you've got a vast menu to consider.

Prices are good value for the quality of food served, the only problem you might have is curbing your orders, the Sushi here is far too moreish for its own good! However, if you are sensible and only want to select a few dishes may I recommend the salmon Teriyaki, chicken katsu and Tamago Nigirizushi (omlette topped). 

But if you really want to treat yourself, they do plates of 6 piece Makizushi rolls with various fish options including an impressive softshell crab - just be cunning about the way you eat these little displays of art.


Rocky Road - Cranberry & Macadamia

Treat alert! 

I've been dying to make some rocky road for days now, and seeing as I had a spare half hour, and a lot of dark chocolate winking at me, there was no excuse. When it comes to biscuit based chocolate treats I tend to want a bit more colour and subtle flavour as the bitter dark chocolate can hog the limelight somewhat. I've tried it with dried cranberries and macadamia nuts and it really balances out and adds that extra hint of flavour to compliment the chocolate.

Preparation time: 15-20 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

125g soft unsalted butter
300g dark chocolate (Green & Blacks is great)
200g light digestives
100g marshmallows (cut into quarters or use mini marshmallows)
40g macadamia nuts
40g dried cranberries

Place the digestives in a plastic sandwich bag/cling film, tie the end and bash it with a rolling pin to get various sized chunks - largest needs to be roughly 2cm.
Chop your macadamia nuts in half/quarters - leave a couple for later! 
Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a pan over a low heat.
If you need to cut up your marshmallows do it now, and into quarters.
Pour 3/4 of the melted butter and chocolate into a mixing bowl, and add your crushed digestives, nuts, marshmallows and cranberries (leave a few cranberries for later) and fold altogether.
Line a 24cm/9in square tray (or any shallow tray you may have) with greaseproof paper.
Place the mixture into the tray and pat down so it's packed in tightly.
With the remaining 1/4 of chocolate in the pan, lightly reheat it so it's back to a melted state, then pour over the top of the mixture in the tray.
With the leftover macadamia nuts, place them into a sandwich bag/cling film, tie up and bash with a rolling pin until they're ground to tiny pieces. Sprinkle over the top of the mixture in the tray.
Pop a couple of cranberries over the top for some colour too.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
When ready cut into fingers.

You should have about 20-24 pieces.

If you have an alergy to nuts the recipe will obviously still taste lovely without them (the biscuit gives all the crunch factor you need).


Where in the World...

After a long shopping trip on Saturday to that new beast of a complex in Shepherd's Bush, I felt a good feed was warranted, and luckily there were many a place to eat. It is mostly your chains like Yo! Sushi, Wagamama, Nandos etc, and while I am a big, well alright huge, fan of quick-bite-on-a-budget meals, I wanted more. So I went for pizza at the plaza. But this is not just any pizza, oh no, and it all depends on where in the World you choose to go.

Fire & Stone have devised a fantastic approach to toppings by categorizing them into continents and countries, which means if you fancy Thai green curry chicken, Bavarian roast pork or even Peking duck, you certainly can and it comes disguised as a pizza. I was feeling quite adventurous and ordered the Bombay - Tandori chicken with mint and cucumber yogurt, broccilli and mango chutney, I kid you not. I must admit the broccilli stumped me and didn't quite work with the other toppings, and on the whole it tasted how I imagined it would - like a curry on top of slightly odd Naan. 

But it does work and is a fun place to go in a group so you can try out the various places you were anxious to order yourself! If you'd like to play safe though, I'd recommend the Melbourne - roasted butternut squash, brie and toasted pumpkin seeds, melt-in-the-mouth lovely. If there's one quam I have with Fire & Stone, it's that their knives aren't sharp enough to cut into the base and the edges of the pizza base get quite hard as it cools. So it's probably best to eat around the edge before delving into real deal.

It appears as though there's only two branches in London, Westfield and Covent Garden (and yes I've been to that one too). Both have disabled access, wonderful decor and incredible wood-fire ovens within a gigantic copper funnel which is proudly centred for everyone to see. 


Return To Cookie Mountain

After recently watching 'Stranger Than Ficiton', I got a sudden urge to bake thanks to Maggie Gyllenhaal's character Ana Pascal. So I scanned the web, shunned a few suggesting ready made American cookie dough and came across David Lebowitz's recipe for a classically scrummy cookie, but amended a little as to suit me.
Either take a look at his, or follow the recipe below:

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) firmly packed demurer sugar
8 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1cm cubes
1 large egg (whisked)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda/powder
1 large cup (175 grams) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 big bar (200 grams) chocolate (normal - not cooking chocolate)
1/2 cup(100 grams) walnuts or pecans, crumbled

Adjust the oven rack to the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line three baking sheets with grease-proof paper.
Chop up the chocolate into 1/2cm chunks.

Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the whisked egg, vanilla essence, and baking soda/powder. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chunks and nuts.
Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (10cm) balls and place them, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets (they spread).
Bake for 20 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Swap the trays over half way through. When done remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

(Little did he know it makes about 15-20 cookies).


After scouting out a span of standard coffee houses in central London, I stumbled across a little beauty.
Lantana, tucked away between the more well known heavyweight foodies of Fitzrovia (Salt Yard, Fino's), modestly welcomes you to enjoy some of their honest coffee. Now when I say honest, I mean coffee that's not tainted by Starbuck-esque syrups and enough frothy cream which would go to better use in a mock-up custard pie attack on Bush. I ordered a flat white which came with a subtle leaf signature atop a comforting cuppa - though I did flirt with the idea of a long black! 

The decor of the the cafe is clean, comfortable and intimate; perfect for taking a date, meeting a friend or trundling along to with your laptop to escape the office. The staff have a wonderfully relaxed antipodean attitude (it's an Australian cafe) which makes a refeshing change from the franchise androids. Their menu is another bonus if you're feeling hungry - I would normally say 'peckish' but the portions you get here aren't for the peckish, which is brilliant! The first time I visited Lantana I went for the Moroccan lamb skewers with flatbread and mint yogurt served with a choice of two salads; as you can see it's rather impressive, and delicious.

After such a good experience, I thought it might be too good to be true, so I took my flatmate along for lunch to see if I'd enjoy it as much second time round. Last time I had already eyed up the various cakes on show, tantilizing me to come back for them. So I did. And went for the Hummingbird cupcake which was a scrummy combination of banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnut and pinapple with citrus cream cheese frosting and some sexy coconut flakes to finish it off. Divine. 

I'm following the owner, Shelagh Ryan's blog scramblingeggs where she logs her endeavor to bring Londoners the best coffee experience, and lends some of the recipes from their menu. I'm sure I'll have a crack at some of them soon, so I'll let you know how I get on. And in the meantime, go and pay Lantana a visit, it won't disappoint.