Friday, 21 November 2014

Rabbit Restaurant, Chelsea

A new it restaurant called Rabbit has recently hopped onto the Kings Road in Chelsea and already has a line of fans out of the restaurant's stable door entrance. Rabbit is the latest creation from brothers Richard, Gregory and Oliver Gladwin, who source wines and produce for their various London restaurants from their family-farm and vineyard, Nutbourne, in West Sussex. If you like the Gladwin brothers' hit restaurant The Shed in Notting Hill, then Rabbit's complex 'wild British food' nose-to-tail menu should be next on your foodie hit list. 
I take my hat off to Rabbit for going the extra mile to create a cosy Sussex in Chelsea vibe. The rustic wooden décor with colourful art, iron tractor seats and taxidermy fox tails really transports you away from the big smoke into the rural countryside. Leave your sky high stiletto heels and leather trousers at home - you will look the part in a winter Barbour, an oversized sweater and country wellies here!

Rabbit's menu keeps you on your toes by changing on a daily basis, as does the restaurant's signature tipple, the Rabbit Daily Loosener (£9), which is created with seasonal changing ingredients. The menu is divided into 'mouthfuls', 'slow cooking' and 'fast cooking', and encourages tables to share; 2 to 3 dishes per person is recommended. 
We raised our glasses with a sophisticated Nutbourne Sussex Reserve (£6.50 per glass) and mulled over what to try from the menu. The fresh out of the oven warmed bread-rolls with dried shallot infused butter were welcomed. Don't fret if you're a vegetarian, as there are a large number of non-meaty dishes to choose from.
After making big decisions with the menu, we bypassed the 'mouthfuls' portion of the menu and selected two starters. First up was the labneh with chorizo, crisp bread and kale (£7.5); it was so delicious I easily could have eaten a large bowl as a main dish. The chorizo base is perfectly complimented with the crispy kale. Highly recommended! 
We also sampled the hearty red grouse with wood sorrel, rosehip and heather blossom (£6), which was thoughtfully prepared and had great flavour. 
The real game changer dish on the menu for me was the lamb chips with lemon, parlsey and harrisa (£8), from the slow cooking portion of the menu. The warm seasoned lamb paired with a crunchy exterior and tangy dipping sauce is true genius. This dish is not to be missed! 
It seemed only right to order rabbit here, and there were so many variations of rabbit to choose from including: rabbit ravioli, rabbit stone bake, rabbit ragu and Spatchcock rabbit. Apparently rabbit is considered to be one of the most sustainable meats, as it can be consumed in its entirety - you learn something every day right? Remembering my pet bunny Buster from my teenage years, I let the boys dig in to the rabbit ravioli with bone marrow, pasta al dente, pesto sauce and hedgehog mushrooms (£9.5), which is apparently a show-stopper. 
Last but not least, we feasted on the wild mushroom ragu with black summer truffle, celeriac and sage oil (£11.50), which was another creation that was so good it was tough to share. This is the perfect comforting treat to warm you up on a chilly winter day. 
I'm rather ashamed to admit that we were too full to try any puddings or cheese - further reason to come back for more feasting on this foraged farm food. I visited Rabbit during lunchtime and the restaurant was packed, so it will interesting to see how different the atmosphere is in the evening.
Overall, I found Rabbit's concept refreshingly creative and fun. Chelsea's new country bumpkin eatery has a delicious menu to choose from with prices that aren't too 'hare raising' (pun intended). I've been rabbiting on about this place to all my friends and will definitely be back for more!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Look Fit, Get Fit: The Hottest New Workout Wear

As a self-confessed workout addict, I find it that much easier to get out of bed for a morning workout if I'm going to be wearing clothes that are not only functional, but also ooze a little stylish flair. Athletic clothing is more fashionable than ever before, so it allows you to transition easily from running in the gym to running about town. Who cares if you're in spandex; why get changed when you are already sporting clothes that are comfortable and look good?
I always stock up on Lululemon workout clothes when I'm in the States (much more affordable than in the UK) and I swear by Sweaty Betty for running gear in London. After some research (and extensive online shopping!) I've discovered a whole new range of ultra chic designer athletic clothing brands around the globe worth splurging on.
These brands are so fashionable that you can easily wear pieces from their collections in and out of the gym - maybe even to the office! Whether you need an extra incentive to make that early morning workout in the colder autumn mornings or if you’re already writing your Christmas wish list, here are the top designer sportswear brands:
I’ve been a fan of California’s Koral Activewear for years. Their products combine eye-catching design and colourful fabrics - just putting them on makes you feel empowered and ready to go. 
Koral Activewear is far from cheap, but their garments last ages and you will get a lot of wear out of luxury sportswear that looks this good.
Backup dancer physique sadly not included. 

Outdoor Voices is a slick collection of stylish and relaxed sporty apparel. I first stumbled upon this American brand by asking a fellow yogi in class where her cute yoga top was from.
Their clothes are lightweight and flattering; great for lower impact and toning workouts (yoga, barre bar, pilates) and for wearing around town. 
I love travelling in their loose-fitting trousers, which keep me comfy throughout long flights.

If you’ve tried a hot Bikram yoga class before, you know how wet, sweaty and gross your clothes can get. Daquini specialise in breathable and quick-drying fabrics designed for hot yoga workouts. Similar to Spanx, Daquini’s form-fitting capris support your physique even in the most unflattering of postures. Their stylish sports bras, tank tops, shorts and capris ensure your downward dog is always fashion forward.
Free shipping worldwide – another reason to lift that yogi leg up and jump for joy!
My dearest friend Megan first introduced me to London’s luxury sportswear brand Lucas Hugh when I was training for the London Marathon and needed an extra incentive to take the gruelling workouts to the next level. A pricey pair of their Prism Leggings did the trick.
Made famous recently by Jennifer Lawrence who wore a Lucas Hugh workout jacket in The Hunger Games, Lucas Hugh is equally high-end fashion and high-quality versatile sportswear. The New Zealand founder and designer, Anjhe Mules, has perfected eye-catching and flattering stretchable fabric that keeps you supported throughout your workout. 
I can verify that Lucas Hugh’s sealed-seam technology prevent chafing – a HUGE plus for runners and gym rats. Like most designer brands, their clothes come with a hefty price tag, but their products won’t disappoint. I’m already saving up for their latest line – listen up Santa!

Available in select London boutiques and online at Matches Fashion and Net-A-Porter

Whoever said sportswear can't be hot didn’t know what they were talking about. Michi has to be one of the sexiest designer athletic brands on the market. If you imagine yourself on the red carpet or the runway when you’re on the treadmill then this provocative athletic brand will put some seriously sexy pep into your workout.
Made by hand in Canada, Michi cleverly combines glamorous lingerie with sophisticated designer sportswear for an edgy, seductive and polished look. You can easily wear their latest line straight from the gym directly to the hottest nightclub in town! 
Designer sportswear will cause harm to your credit card, but in my opinion, if it encourages you to fit a workout into your busy schedule, that is money well invested. Think of all the money you have saved by staying in the gym and out of your local pub. Combat the quickly approaching festive and calorific holiday season with some extra stylish workouts! 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dirty Tommi's Pop Up, Kensington

Now that it's suddenly awfully chilly outside, it's the perfect timing for one of the greatest London comfort food collaborations with Dirty Bones and Tommi's Burger Joint. Introducing Dirty Tommi's, now available for burger critics and hot dog fans alike each Sunday from 12-4pm and 6-11pm at Dirty Bones in Kensington Church Street.
The pairing of these two fingering licking good menus with the especially created new Dirty Tommi's dishes means there is truly something for everyone to feast on. Grab your expandable waist trousers and leave your diets at the door for some seriously deliciously dirtaay grub - you have been warned!
Behold: The Dirty Mac Burger

I had only ever been to Dirty Bones before for cocktails, although I've heard an earful from my foodie friends on how amazing their hot dogs and flat iron steak are, not to mention those dirty fries. I'm already a huge fan of Tommi's Burgers, so I was pretty excited to test out Dirty Tommi's on opening night for myself with fellow burger loving pals.
My first impression was how much atmosphere Dirty Tommi's has on a Sunday night - it immediately ticked a lot of my boxes for what constitutes a great date night venue. Although it's quite dimly lit in the evening (hence the reason why a lot of my pictures look like I took them in a cave!), there is a buzzing atmosphere with DJs and live music and the décor gives off a retro hot dog bar vibe.
Photo credit
We tried as many dishes as we could eat, but I have to admit I was rather destroyed by the  juicy beast that is the Dirty Mac Burger (£10.00):
Yes, that's mac & cheese on top a Tommi's beef patty with Dirty Bones steak glaze, and a smidgeon of lettuce. I had my doubts when I first placed my order, but holy cow (sorry!), mac & cheese goes great on a burger. The flavour was absolute pure cheesy genius! Washing it down with a Strawberry Shortbread Shake (£8.50) was a must.
A creamy blended mixture of strawberry and vanilla ice cream, shortbread spread, milk, strawberry sauce and a splash of Finlandia vodka - hands down the best way to get your daily dose of calcium. On cold October nights, this comforting boozy shake will not disappoint!
When a side of regular fries just won't do!

You can't have a burger with mac & cheese without having some over the top indulging Sloppi Dirty Fries (£5.50). A calorific combination of triple cooked fries covered in Tommi's sloppi joe mince and Dirty Bones gravy topped with Kimchi sauce and spring onions. Practically an entree by itself.
We had to try a 'dog' while in Dirty Bones's home court, so a Tommi's Burger Dog (£11.00) is what we ordered. A hot dog consisting of Tommi's burger meat served 'doggy style' with confit onion, Dirty Bones short rib, dill pickles with crispy shallots and dirty cheese sauce on top. The  Tommi's Burger Dog is a real showstopper at Dirty Tommi's Pop Up. It's easily the dirtiest dog I have ever had!
Another reason I rate this pop up so highly is because of the charming and lovely staff at Dirty Tommi's. They were kind, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour, which I always value. 
At the end of your meal you are invited to share your feedback in a Dirty Bones notebook, which is filled with pictures of burgers, cartoon hot dogs and romantics leaving their phone numbers and Twitter handles. We couldn't stop laughing when we stumbled upon Giacomo's message - LOLZ!

Hurry up and grab your fellow carnivorous buddies and check out Dirty Tommi's Pop Up for the fiercest, juiciest and most tantalising comfort food around town. 

Dirty Tommi’s at Dirty Bones
020 7920 6434

Sundays from 12 - 4pm and 6pm - 11pm

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Weird & Wonderful Tokyo Souvenirs

I never imagined I would completely fall in love with Tokyo until I visited earlier this month. I was only there a few days, so I had to make the most of every last minute and see as much as possible. I walked, ate and shopped my way around the districts of Shibuya, Harajuku, Roppongi, Shinjuku and Minato. Exploring a foreign city which is illuminated by lights and lanterns at night was a pretty dreamy way to get lost in translation in Tokyo.
It's true what they say about visiting Tokyo for the first time, the food is just unbelievable, you can easily buy a kimono, Japanese tea services are a must-try, the Tsukiji fish market will surpass your wildest dreams, the jet lag is insane and the loos are mind blowing. For first time visitors (like me!) it is hard to anticipate the many wild, crazy and typically Japanese items you will stumble across. In case you are headed to Japan sometime soon, here are my top eccentric souvenirs from Tokyo:

Green Tea Oreos
Just when you thought Oreos couldn't be any more addictive, add a dash of neon coloured green tea to the equation and you have struck the cookie jackpot. My only regret is not buying more! 

Strawberry, Bean and Green Tea Kit Kats
It's a mystery why these enhanced Kit Kat flavours haven't made it to the UK or US as I have no doubt they would fly off store shelves. I now prefer the strawberry Kit Kat to the original. Further reason for my next visit?

Clear Umbrellas
The Japanese are such fashionistas that the umbrella of choice to be seen using in Tokyo is translucent in colour - to match every outfit of course! Downpours have never looked so chic.

Harajuku Shoes
You have to see these elevated beauties in person to believe they exist- or that it's humanly possible to walk in them! The achingly cool Harajuku girl platform shoes worn by Tokyo's youth must make Lady Gaga proud. Rabbit tail pom pom footwear accessory sold separately.

His & Hers Wine Kimonos
For the couple that has everything, behold these stylish male and female kimonos for your wine bottles -Valentine's Day present solved! 

Sparkling Sake
Prosecco is soo last season. Get the party started with sparkling sake - it's bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Baby Makeup
There are no words to describe seeing an entire aisle of baby makeup in a Japanese department store including powders, lip gloss and designer scented baby wipes for your little one. You can never start pampering yourself too early?!

Shampoo Hats
Keep shampoo out of your eyes with this revolutionary stylish shampoo 'support hat'. Great for unruly tots or granny, although I can imagine the shampoo hat application could get tricky.

Face Brightener Cream
This self-application foam mask takes feeling bright and breezy to a whole new level!

Snail Face Masks
One of the latest beauty fads to hit Tokyo is the snail essence face mask from Korea. This slimy moisturizing beauty treatment smells surprisingly nice and practically injects collagen into your face upon application. 
Perhaps one of your best chances of getting upgraded on the flight home is applying a snail mask mid-flight. This mask is great for combating jet lagged skin - all hail the snail!

Quacking Dog Muzzles
It took me a while to figure out how this duck shaped dog muzzle worked, but essentially it humiliates your dog to stop it barking. Quacking mad right?! A new dog training trick to try when Fido misbehaves...
Canine Kimonos
Another shocker on store shelves was the doggy kimono. Halloween can never come too early right? Just when I assumed this outfit was for pint sized pooches only, along came these rather fabulous kimono clad huskies. 

Super 'Kawaii' Toys
One of Gwen Stefani's songs, Harajuku Girls, speaks about Japanese school girls' fatal attraction to cuteness - aka, items that are super 'kawaii,' which means super cute in Japanese. And now I see what she meant. The rather ridiculous plush toys in Japan are so utterly adorable, it is hard not to instantly fall in love with them. 

The only other advice I would give anyone traveling to Tokyo for the first time, would be to bring your camera charger and not be ashamed about transforming into that tourist with a camera at the ready. I said "Konichiwa" (which means 'hi' in Japanese) to these teenage boys and this was their reaction!
Sayonara for now Tokyo, next time I'm bringing a larger suitcase with me!