Grain Store, King’s Cross

The dream would be to have my own restaurant. Let me be more specific and relevant to the blog post title The dream would be to have my own restaurant exactly like Grain Store. Why? Well let me tell you…
  1. The food is a dream come true – I could have had anything and everything! There’s one thing that makes good food taste even better – knowing you are eating seasonal produce with sustainability at it’s very core. Plus you’ll see a good number of small suppliers on their website.
  2. The drinks are exciting and delicious – you’ll be sure to try something new whether it’s a juice, smoothie or cocktail. And importantly, you know you can trust these lot to throw together a corker, even if you haven’t heard of half of the ingredients.
  3. It’s just a cool kinda place to be – mix matched water jugs, your bill in wooden pear. It’s a pretty big restaurant and it seemed busy yet spacious. Plus you can book – call me Grandma but gotta love a good old fashioned booking at a popular place like Grain Store!
  4. The open kitchen. I found myself watching the chefs as they served up dish after dish – creepy? Sorry about that but can’t promise I won’t do it again on my next visit.
Time to look at pictures! I opted for kimchi & mince pork Chinese pancake, peanut sauce, coriander & spring onion… Yes please and thank you very much, I will have that again.
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Dessert – a rare occurrence for me but the light and fresh options offered up meant I couldn’t resist… Another beautiful dish which made the fruit the star of the show. Fresh strawberries, goats’ milk pannacotta with fennel pollen. Fennel pollen? Yeah, I’m not sure either but I can tell you it tastes good.
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Grain Store is a place where you can expect style and substance. Where you know you can place your trust in the genius creatives behind the menu when they offer up things like kaffir lime green tapioca with sweet potato for dessert. I would go back again and again – I won’t be having the same thing twice but only because, like a true trooper, I must try everything on the menu.

 

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Queenswood, Battersea

Queenswood – a cosey restaurant set in Battersea Square with a small but strong brunch menu. Our visit started with a frosty welcome and service was a little slow with things like tap water and sauces failing to arrive. But overall the staff were friendly and welcoming. I spent a good ten minutes trying to decide between the Mexican Egg and the Smoked Haddock Kedgeree… I went for the Mexican Egg but wished I had gone for the latter after it arrived. The egg was over baked and looked like it had been left under a heat lamp for a few minutes too long. The smoky pepper sauce lacked the smokiness I was hoping for… tasty but rather mediocre. The bread also had the same appearance as the egg – something a bit softer would have been nice for mopping up the sauce.

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Sarah went for the avocado on toast with a side of bacon. I had food envy and food envy does not suit me. I don’t deal well with it. She gave it a solid 10/10. It had a healthy helping of avocado and an egg cooked to perfection. Do I sound bitter?

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We had one gluten free diner who went for the QW English – unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of gluten free alternatives for the sausages and bread so these were removed. I thought it was a little off that they still charged the same price for the dish and didn’t offer to replace for extra bacon or beans.
I will definitely be heading back here to sample the dinner menu which looks right up my street.

Home Sweet Home, Manchester

Can we just take a minute to think about breakfast and brunch and lunch and cake and dinner and coffee… Good. If you’d like to think of all these things whilst being in arms reach of them all, Home Sweet Home is your place. Alright, may be not all at once and you might have to pitch a tent in the place but I SAY WHY NOT?! It’s definitely on my bucket list. On a quick trip to Manchester last weekend my friends said “is there anything you want to do whilst you’re here”. Approximately 0.25 seconds later “HOME SWEET HOME” violently erupted from my mouth and trust me, you don’t mess with a case of food based torrets. It’s not clever and it’s certainly not safe. So my friends happily obliged – who wouldn’t? It’s not exactly a chore.
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Serving up all meals of the day including an incredible selection of extravagant cakes, the tex mex twist spoke to me and my greedy greedy soul. We shimmied on down for brunch… I HAD – Sun Devil Scrambler (house hash, taco sauce, chorizo, scrambled egg and chipotle sour cream). Could I think of a better brunch? No I could not. It was everything I ever dreamed of. And if that wasn’t enough, get a load of these CUTE mugs.

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Amsterdam – food finds

I spent last weekend in Amsterdam. It rained and it rained and then rained a little bit more. Trekking from one food spot to the next was a damp experience, but worth it on every count. Here is a chronological account of the noteworthy things I ate in Amsterdam…
The Ice Bakery by Nutella

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image 6If you like Nutella paired with more sweet, sugary goodness then the Ice Bakery is a must. I had the ‘Nutellone’ which was like a doughnut, crammed full of the chocolatey goodness. I also had a Nutella hot chocolate which was so good and something I will try to replicate ASAP. My friends had waffles topped with whipped cream/bananas/Nutella (of course). This is certainly a must for an afternoon snack, they even have Nutella macaroons!

 

 

Frites
image 7We got our humungous pile of chips from Chipsy King; there are three dotted around Amsterdam. There are plenty of places to find these delicious chips, just looks for ‘frites’ or ‘patats’. I got mine slathered in Dutch mayo which is pretty much mayo but has more of a sour cream taste. If you love your sauce then you’ll get your fair share with a portion of these…

 

 

The Pancake Bakery
image 11 image 2image 10       The Pancake Bakery was one of my favourite places that we visited. We had to queue for a little while but it was worth the wait. The cosy interior is full to the brim with tables. Each table has a selection of syrups to accompany your choice of pancake. We started with the poffertjes which are like mini, thick pancakes. We ordered them with butter and icing sugar. They were hot and sweet and tasted amazing. A perfect sweet starter. Next I had a banana and bacon pancake which I topped with syrup. It was cold and wet outside but after this meal we left feeling cosy and warm.
Brasserie Harkema
image 8We stumbled across this place whilst exploring. The menu was more fine dining than any of the other places we ate. My friends had burgers which were nice but a little odd as they had meatball-style tomato sauce in them. I went for the cod which came with fresh gnocchi, tomatoes, spinach and courgette. It was a light lunch which was packed with flavour. Until this point, and afterwards we ate a lot of sweet, heavy dishes so this was a welcome change.

 

 

Van Stapele Koekmakerij

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Make sure you locate this amazing place. A bakery that only sells one type of biscuit – a chocolate cookie which a gooey, white chocolate centre. We queued for a little while to put in our order. We then had to wait for the fresh batch to cool down before they were dished out. If you want a large amount it is worth calling ahead as they will put some aside. They are around €2 each.
 The Lobby
image 13A place great for brunch, it was a lovely vibe. It feels like you’re sat in someones cosey, but decadent sitting room. Make sure you book ahead, especially on the weekends as they get very busy. I had the Flammkuchen which is a special pizza with a super thin base and covered with an even thinner layer of creme fraiche. On top was goats cheese, honey, thyme and pecans. It was light and flavoursome, a truly unique pizza.
Amsterdam is full of tasty treats. For my next trip I would like to go The Butcher and Burgerlijk. I would also like to try to stroopwaffles which are sold on the street. Overall, if you’re after a food filled few days then Amsterdam is the perfect destination. Be prepared to queue for places where you can’t book but try to book ahead if possible.

The Breakfast Club, Clapham Junction

I’m a big fan of breakfast when it’s done wholeheartedly with no corners cut. The Breakfast Club certainly see to that and provide a huge selection of mouth-watering breakfast and brunch dishes. It was a tricky decision deciding what to have but I pulled through and decided to have the slow roasted pork with BBQ seasoned cannellini and butter bean mix with a fried egg and eggy bread.

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My oh my. Never have I had a brunch so full of flavour. Not only do they serve up a fab selection of food (both indulgent and healthier) but they have a great range of drinks and so I decided to balance out my naughty food choice with a smoothie.

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A yummy Mango Go which consisted of Mango, Strawberry and Orange – wonderfully fresh and zingy. So when you’re thinking of all the places you could go for brunch – here’s the answer, The Breakfast Club. Eat up!