Sin-free Sweet Potato & Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Have you ever been in one of those moods where ALL you want is pancakes?

WP_20150602_856 (1)Sometimes I wonder whether it’s the actual pancakes that I’m craving, or if it’s just a hankering for anything oily-sweet and eggy, like a heap of maple syrup doused french toast or any slightly stodgy form of carbs, such as sweet potato fries or hot blueberry muffins or carrot cake with mounds of whippy cream. cheese. frosting…

The craving could be a-a-a-a-anythinggggg. And that’s just confusing. (although being personality-type indecisive has never seemed to help the situation).  And so most times, given the uncertainty; I try and ward off the whole lot with anything but the real things, convincing myself that *insert any food healthier-for-you-than-pancakes* will do instead. It doesn’t help how society kind of implies that, if you happen to squeeze in time for pancakes more than 2,3, or possibly 4 times a week, then you are having too much fun and should probably go and find something actual to do. That is, something besides layering IG filters over the sheen of your autumn-orange pancakes in the afternoon light… #proudpancakemama.

Sweet potato and low fat cream cheese vanilla pancakes Gah. Dilemmas. Can you see how easy it is to get carried away assessing the situation? But sometimes, it is truly in your own best interest to just start frying up the one brunch you’re really after. Even if it is 3 o’clock. On a Tuesday. And you haven’t got anything ‘actual’ to do after all.

Sweet potato pancakes are so so dreamy. They are nothing short of being the perfect balance between the 2 different carb groups – the heavy and stodgy kind, versus the feel good, energizing kind (in the lead here).

Unfortunately these sweet potato pancakes here are not gluten free (since oats + food processor + washing up + me wasn’t exactly on the brunch agenda…) – but feel free to replace the wheat flour with equivalent amounts of oat/almond flour). They are also low in fat and made with zero refined sugar. Better yet, who will ever need to settle for a bite of cake when their urge for some frosting fix calls again? This low fat cream cheese frosting is an absolute must! So creamy and vanilla-y and sweet, but not in the same sickening way that tops baked goods; it means you can go all out and build a towering pancake-sammie as high as you can handle – guilt free. You heard me.

  1. 1 x medium sweet potato (cooked and mashed) combined with 1/3 C flour (appx 5 tablespoons),  1 x tsp of baking soda, a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of vanilla.
  2. Then mix the above ingredients with 2 x tbsp apple sauce (used in order to replace the oil + sugar), whisk with 1 x small egg, and lastly a splash of milk
  3. But don’t forget the blueberries! 
  4. Fry them in a lightly greased pan on medium-high, flipping only when bubbles appear on the top side.
  5. P.S. you will want your batter to be pretty thick/spoon-able. If it is too runny and spreads out in the pan before it has a chance to fry properly, then just gradually add some more flour. Thicker batter = thicker pancakes.
  6. For the frosting: you literally just gotta scoop out as much cream cheese as you want (I used 75% reduced) – say 3 tbsp? Add 1/3 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of salt + a teaspoon or so of maple syrup (but no rules here) – and whip it all together with a big fork.
  7. Then the pancakes are a blank canvas!

*Ideally the above should serve 2 peeps. But I’d actually say… 1.5 persons? Which basically = they serve 1 (me or you) + leaves a bit leftover for snacking later on. In other words, double it if anyone is sitting down for brunch with you.

I think it’s fair to say these pancakes were definitely crafted by the carrot cake pangs we mentioned above, but there are also blueberries lurking in there, too. I promise you I didn’t just throw ‘blueberries’ into the name to cheat them into sounding fruitier and better-for-you. After all, anything so naturally orange has gotta have some kinda health benefit of it’s own anyway, no? I’m sure you don’t need any more persuading. Except that they also pair really well with some buttery scrambled eggs (do it).

Sweet potato pancakes with vanilla cream cheese low fat frosting

All in all, it turns out that pancakes are a food group of their own, one with little tolerance for substitutions. And yup, this was most definitely the 3rd, (and arguably the 4th) time that pancakes + me have crossed paths this week ;) Yay for apple sauce and sin-free indulgence! This particular mood seems pretty determined if you ask me.

Anyhow, grab a plate and dig in. I don’t want to mind sharing. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

xo

Brunch at Granger and Co. Notting Hill – Goodbye 2nd year!

Freeeeeeedom!

Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london

Those were a dark few months that have just passed. Seriously, emerging from that final exam was like seeing the goodness of light for the first ever time.; you can only be a study hermit for so long until you can actually feel your soul growing stagnant and increasingly antsy by the day. Of course, every year I try to be that organized type who manages to maintain *proper* to-do lists, who fully sees tasks through and stands untempted by procrastination. But obviously it never happens. Instead, every year I’m greeted by the same chaotic + frantic mess of a student as the year before, only with knottier hair and even more responsibilities and deadlines topped off by 3 hours exams that wont. stop. coming. By this point the stress gets so much that you actually become strangely chilled and silent. It’s weird. You also you find yourself irrationally sceptical about whether this hoax of a term is ever going to end.

Thankfully it did (omg). And so YAY! Here I am preaching to you about (what I’m convinced are) the hands-down-bestest-ever scrambled eggs in London.

Granger and co. notting hill scrambled eggs

Jessie and I had been dreaming about/drooling over/perfecting our plans for our first brunch of freedom ever since the dawn of exam season (procrastinators gonna procrastinate), so when we got there it was all sunny and bright in Notting Hill, we were still so happy and feeling all light and airy from our examless-ness that didn’t even mind the queue outside. To be fair we actually met up an hour later than originally planned because I thought I’d discovered a new London life hack by hopping between circle line trains without actually checking the destination… Turns out I was yet to learn the true hack: for the love of God, stick with your initial platform – that means even if it has been 15 minutes and you’re dubious of whether this forsaken train actually exists or not, because I promise you it will come at the exact moment that you choose to run to the adjacent platform for the wrong train and fall up the stairs in the process. So there you have it. You’re welcome.

Once, in, at first we both 100% wanted the hotcakes. Why? Because… because…pancakes…except not pancakes! And brunch has to have something or other that’s syrupy and sugar dusted, amiright? These hotcakes have also been all-the-rave on Instagram recently too, like Andrea’s feed. Coming and going without meeting them for ourselves was obviously not an option.

Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london ricotta hotcakes

But then we started eyeing up what everyone else there was already eating. DILEMMAS.

All we could see was a plethora of the most beautifully whipped heaps of swirly, buttery scrambled eggs, huge avo halves, inch thick sour dough toast being passed around and many jumbles of cute little chipolatas and chestnut mushrooms and so much more. We didn’t think our hotcakes were quite gonna cut it. Not today. Besides, I wanted a heap of those whirly egg piles so badly. Being struck down by indecision in a restaurant full of food envy has never been so appetizing.

So ah, here’s where I drop in just how much I love going for brunch with Jessie, who is thankfully always up for something savoury to cancel out all the sugar I tend to over-order. We find it really easy to compromise on our cravings, so this time we settled on sharing the hotcakes as well as a cheeky big brekkie/”Full Aussie” to go on the side, asking if we could swap the tomato for some of that ridiculously green avo.

I also pushed her into a side of toasted + dusted + buttered coconut bread to share. Because puuuurlease how. can. you. not?!

Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london. COCONUT BREAD TOASTED

Halfsies = happy times. It was definitely the kind of event you wish could last all day. The ricotta hotcakes were more thick and ‘squidgy’ than fluffy – definitely not comparable to butter milk pancakes (you don’t say) – but they tasted more like the healthy/yoghurt-y kinda pancakes I tend to make at home; not so indulgent to put you into a food coma for the rest of the day, and I’m used to that taste anyway.

Scrambled eggs full aussie avocado Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london

They do lush mochas here also. When mine arrived, the two American gals sitting at the end of the bar next to us were all like “OH MY GAD, is that the hot chocolate?” (too bad accents can’t be typed…) as soon as it was put down; too rich to be true, just a bitter-sweet drink-able heaven (though not for the faint hearted/milk chocolate lovers).

Granger and Co. Notting Hill London Brunch best scrambled eggs breakfast london mocha real hot chocolate thick

The next time I stop by I am sooo going for a combo of the hotcakes plus a side of those dreamy scrambled eggies as well as round two of their amazing sourdough, only with some almond butter + dulce de leche as they promise they can serve with it. It’s decided. Already unsure how I could settle for a birthday breakfast anywhere other than here, guiz.

I should probably mention that we were given the option of sitting at the bar, as opposed to an extra 15 minute or so wait, which was fine. The bar space actually turned out to be really spacious, especially compared to the seated area which seemed pretty crammy! So if you ever find yourself queuing outside and offered the bar space – don’t turn it down! You will end up with far more elbow room than anyone enjoying the window light. Oh and p.s., try to grab Charlotte as your waitress – she’s so sweet!

Sometime during our brunch Jessie tried to convince me that Florida was in California…We fixed that little disagreement with the second quick Google of our brunch (first time was trying to figure out what on earth Labneh was), hoping that the 2 American gals didn’t a) hear us or b) figure out that we are both Geographers (Jessie can be quite convincing). #Awkward.

What a lovely way to kick-off summer time and mark the end of year 2. Caramel fro-yo’s, coffee and strolls along Portobello road trailed. This year has been such a blur. Time really does fly! It’s almost time to list out all the to do’s I need to have not seen through by this time next year (see first parag). That said though, if there’s anything I can take away from the past 9 months or so, it’s that nothing turns out the way you idealize. Reality is far more unexpected, less utopian… but way more exciting. Something you couldn’t make up. We came to Granger and Co. expecting to be an hour earlier, hoping for an actual table, to eat hotcakes and leave. But what we actually had was way more colourful and perfect for us on that very morning – A slightly elusive (ok yes terrible) analogy for the way this past year has unfolded… but everything really has been slowly clicking into place just in time for now. Even though the way here was chaotic and sometimes gloomy, this is a good place to start appreciating all of the the little unexplainable chances that criss-crossed this ones spirally little path. And for that, I’m so thankful.

P.S. Happy 1st birthday TLS!!

<3

Spain Spain Spain ❤

“Happiness don’t drag its feet, and time moves faster than you think…” – Kip Moore, Hey Pretty Girl 

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

What a whirlwind 2015 has been so far. All I can give is a bad poem to express just how baffled I am at the fact it is already MARCH:

Time is flying

Spring is near

And although Christmas feels like yesterday,

We are already ¼ into the year…

Say what?!

As usual I set way too many resolutions for myself, and ended up forgetting to remember what the majority of them were. But 2k15 to date has been marked by a sort-of-productive new me… being chased by deadlines, getting lost with Murakami in the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, smashing my phone to pieces, resisting the urge to cut my fringe andddddd…  getting away to magical Spain -which went on to mark the most beautiful adventures of the year so far…

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Seville Granada Even though I totally intended to keep a travel diary during this trip, I managed to forget my pretty travel notebook and the perfectionist in me said that nothing else would do…As such, it looks as if all of our blue skied memories of little orange towns (Seville) and castles in the clouds (Granada) will be left to forever float about in a tapas-infused picture paradise; framed with giant churros, sprinkled with sunshine and last but not least, drizzled in the thickly melted creamy decadence that the Spanish pass off for ‘hot chocolate’ (no complaints here)…

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana GIANT CHURROS AND CHOCOLATE Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

 

bicicleta cafe Spain - Sevilla and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaScroll away! And I hope you enjoy these snippets as much as we enjoyed snapping them! xox

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

 

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Langley

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana langley

 

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana cream crema filled croissant pasteleria bakery patisserie

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana-2 Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville jessie lim and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana cafe amorino Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana cafe amorino cafe amorinoSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana horse and cartSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana night Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana white hot chocolateSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana seville orangesSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana cathedralSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana european hot chocolate

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana seville sevilla orangesSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains TashianaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana paellaSpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana langleySpain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana Spain - Seville and Granada Street Photography Mountains Tashiana

Needless to say, this trip really wouldn’t have been what it wasn’t for my partner in (crime) and travel… Jessie! Thank you for being so super organized, for never complaining when the 100329382th picture still wasn’t right, for also having witnessed Juan Jr (LOL) – for the Taylor Swift sung songs, the long walks, that 1kg of giant strawberries you picked up from the fish market; for always letting me order way too much goats cheese with dinner… and for always saying hell yes to round 2 of chocolate and churros, bakeries for breakfast, or fro-yo on the kerbside. And P.S: I’m still sorry I made us take that 2 hour ‘detour’ in search of the snow capped mountains that never did get any closer… You are the best.

Jessie Lim and Tashiana Langley

Going away for 5 days is kind of weird; when you get back –you get that ‘long break’ feeling, as if something mildly significant should have changed while you were away… but it quickly dawns on you that next Saturday hasn’t even come around yet. Everything is still the same; the only difference is that you are refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off on a fresh tank of energy; a giant exhale. Short breaks are such a treat and I am so grateful for having had such a smooth + safe time away!

Now all I’ve got to do is get through March; I believe Easter this year will happen precisely 5 days into April? I cannot lie: I am literally counting down the days until I may once again sandwich a whippy mound of peanut butter between 2 slices of wholegrain-jammy goodness. In other words: LENT IS HARD AND I’M TRYING TO HIDE HOW CRAZY THIS ABSISTENCE IS ACTUALLY MAKING ME. Did any of you guys give anything up for it? Or even better, does anyone have any tips for surviving w/out peanut butter?! The struggle is getting more and more real every day.

Hope you are all well X

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere, and don’t notice it.”―  Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Nothing makes a food blogger happier than a bunch of brown bananas that nobody else wants…

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

I actually can’t even tell you how good it felt to hug this loaf the moment it came out of the oven; everywhere smelled warm and sweet and basically like that home-made-heaven again…

I’ve missed baking. Like, a lot. For the past couple of months, the goodies have completely stalled. Coursework piled up, Christmas came and went, and…well, the library doesn’t have an oven.

Given that baking basically = my one way ticket to procrastination, I kind of just had to let it go and be more studious for a bit. The #withdrawals were real.

But rn? Bliss = banana bread made with peanut butter and sided with all the best things: yogurt, frosting, and tea.

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

This beaut also contains waaaaay less fat than your standard loaf cake, given that there is only 2 mere tbsp oil in the whole recipe. Meanwhile, the remainder of the tin has been filled in with super-moistening ingredients like apple sauce and mashed bananas – this ‘bread’ definitely borders more on being a ‘cake’. Peanut butter is also a renowned super-food– meaning its fat content doesn’t really count… ;) So by all means, go for that 3rd slice – the logic is real.

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

Serves 8-12, or 1 x giant + hungry brother:

  • 2C flour
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • ½ C white sugar
  • 5 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 C peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 large tbsp apple sauce
  • 3 medium bananas, peeled and mashed.
  • 3 small-medium eggs
  • 1 x tbsp vanilla essence
  • Splash of milk

Frosting:

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/3 C icing sugar
  • Splash of milk (2 tbsp should do it)

Method:

Mix dry ingredients + powders|Mix wet ingredients + egg + vanilla|Combine wet + dry ingredients|Add the splash of milk, you should have a nice batter – not too thick, not too runny|Place in a lined loaf tin and bake for 45-55 minutes at 180*/350*, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top is golden brown|.

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

Even though January moving swiftly on so eagerly has led to all of these dissertation prep classes to suddenly become scarily real – the plus side of this time warp is that Jessie and I are now only 23 days away from our Spanish adventure! We are heading off Seville + Grenada during our college reading week (strategic, eh) for some winter sun, tapas, good wine and fun – definitely #soulsearching. The countdown is so exciting, especially since we’ve been wander-lusting about the whole thing for months now! However, we aren’t going to be here for Pancake Day?! I half spent last year smelling hops in a brewery, and the second half serving all-day pancakes to other people for dinner. I reckon that a follow-up, ‘Pancake Week’ is due.

This trip is also kicking me into taking my Spanish module a little bit more seriously… our tutor this year has been a little too lax with everything and any kind of progress has suffered. Even though his attitude was quite a perk last term, I’ve been nowhere near pro-active enough to benefit and I am currently nothing but less fluido’ in this language than I was a year ago…We also have an exam next week. Dios Mio.

All in all, January has been incredibly exciting for way more reasons than I could even list on here! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start to the year. Hard work always pays off, so whatever you’re up to/working towards/dreaming about – keep pushing, because everything will happen at the best possible time, and there is so much to love along the way. If you always keep yourself waiting for something, then there will always be more.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely start to the year!

Anyone been to Seville/Granada? What was it like?

More importantly: What have you been brunching on this Jan?!

xx

Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Tiger Bread

 

“Every event in life — the rejections, the relationships, all the embarrassing things you do will lead you to the person you are destined to be with. You may want to change certain things about your past, but everything has been just another chapter in your book of life. If you don’t believe me, buy a book — any book — and rip out an entire chapter — any chapter — and read it. Now, get a full copy of the same book and read it again. Odds are you’ll find that chapter pieced everything together the way it was supposed to be.”― Mike Zacchio

“God answers all prayers, but sometimes his answer is ‘no’.” ― Dan Brown, Angels & Demons

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square, London.

Few restaurants in London have managed to capture my heart like Muriel’s Kitchen. Muriel’s just has it.

And while I may be biased – given my ever long hankering for all things pancakes + brunch based and generally sweet… Muriel’s serves things like waffles and big brekkies. Ain’t that a treat?

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs. Still, whether its the decorative green vines strung along the furniture, the swingy-egg like seat by the window, or the brick thick brownies and cake frosting galore on display from first thing in the morning…I’m not quite sure. But Muriel’s is an all-day haven in the middle of Leicester square, treating central-goers to good eggs and fresh juice there, or again over in South Ken.

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs.  fresh juice vitamin hugWe learnt that Muriel’s is perfect for bacon-based brunches draped in maple syrup and eggs.

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs. But are also a couple of other things they’ve gotten just right for breakfast that are worth mentioning…

  1. Avocados are on the menu. Haters gonna hate, but the option is there should your mood be too. Nothing irks me more than an avocado-less brunch spot visit that coincides with an egg-and-avocado-with-hollandaise kind of day. Srsly. The struggle can be real.

…Admittedly, it wasn’t quite one of those days, but it made the decision process a little trickier nonetheless (which is always a sign of a mouth watering menu).

Jessie had her hollandaise with some flaky salmon though:

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs.  eggs royale salmon

  1. Everything is big. Big. Big big big. It’s called breakfast for a reason right? As in, you’re literally breaaaaking that 12 hour fasting coma that you’ve woken up from… It’s a big deal and deserves serious nourishment every single time. At Muriel’s, the big jars of granola are big. The butties are big. The cakes are big. The big breakfasts are…well, big. And while the waffle could have come with say, 2 eggs instead of just the one (yup, yolk addict here), it was otherwise the perfect portion – graciously big. Muriel’s kitchen knows how to feed you. The restaurant is also big and tables are plentiful, plus the staff totally let you stand around for 5 minutes ++ while you decide where you wanna sit. Who doesn’t love a brunch spot that seats you without a wait? I can’t speak for South Ken, but in my experience I’ve never found Leicester square too busy to accommodate me and my appetite. Go Muriel’s.
  1. Their pancakes. Their pancakes are just like…oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-order-those worthy. SERIOUSLY. When me and Jessie visited Muriel’s, I had decided to make it a savory trip and embrace something bacon & eggy for once (before I drizzled maple syrup over it all, by standard). The pancakes had caught both of our eyes, but I guess we just kind of thought they would be ordinary pancakes and not actually oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-order-those worthy. We were so wrong. About an hour later however, the girls who had sat down at the table next to us got delivered the most beautiful, sugar dusted plate of inch thick and fluffy, blueberry pancakes. All I can say is: our eyes flickered. The food envy was intense.

Naturally, we decided we hadn’t had our fill and went to order some of our own to share. Unfortunately…we had asked a little too late (or 5 minutes too early?!), as breakfast was ending at 12 and the “chefs would go crazy”…Although we had technically asked for them at 11:55am precisely, we just didn’t stir anything up and instead just kind of dropped the idea and moved ourselves somewhere else for mochas and some Spain planning. I work in a restaurant myself, and whenever this brunch/lunch cusp scenario makes an appearance we all just give in as long as the time truly is within reason since, at the end of the day, an extra dish does get to be sold…

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs.

Anyhow, I totally made up for it in the next few days though with these blueberry and pear pancakes though, plus some other stacked banana beauties that made the lingering cravings fade.

So yeah. While we became a little silently huffy over the pancake rejection, Muriel’s is still my favourite café/restaurant/brunch spot in London for all of the reasons above plus many more that I haven’t quite put my finger on yet. I just love the concept of Muriel’s.

I also love their seasonal menus and fresh ingredients. I love their blue Clarence court eggs and the way you can order baked beans on the side of things. I love their cakes and brick thick brownies and, I love the way that waiters there never cease to remember me as the girl hovering around the counter who just ‘can’t make her mind up’, in the best possible way.

Take a visit and, just like Jessie over here – you might be tempted to simply fall in love with the place at first seat/sight of these pretty burdies:

Muriel’s Kitchen: Leicester Square. Because you know you can’t resist a bacon-based brunch draped in maple syrup and eggs.  muriels decor

Stay tuned for round 2 (hopefully) featuring pancakes a la here!

Where in London do the best pancakes you’ve ever had? Do you ever make something at home after you’ve seen it somewhere else on a menu? And most importantly: What’s does your ideal brunch consist of?!

Have a great start to the week!

xx

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes – Happy 2015!!!

Aaaaah: 2015 is really upon us! I appreciate that I’ve joined the new years train a little late buuuuut…isn’t it better to be late than never? Here’s to an amazing year, stacked with good fortune and drizzled in maple syrup.

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!! Drizzle your year in maple syrup.

How are we all doing on new years resolutions?  I’ve already kind of disappointed myself by already breaking half of the resolutions I set this year. But whatever. That yucky assignment which felt like an oversized splinter in the head (srsly) during this entire holiday period has finally been submitted, and the remaining essay feels like a piece of cake in comparison. RELIEF.

And HEY. While we’re nearly-but-not-really on the topic of cake…

Pancake(s), anyone?!

I knew you would.

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!!

 

And while I do still have a stack of brunch-themed reviews and photographs to post for all of you hungry Londoners, I figured that these pancakes were godly enough to queue jump…

What d’ya say?

These light and fluffy pancakies were whipped up with little more than a dollop or two of natural yogurt, and infused with blueberries and pear. I kind of shocked myself with my ‘adventurousness’ here. Normally I like my pancakes pretty dense and plain (with bananas at the very most), and basically just piled  sky-high under curtains of drizzly golden maple syrup, and maybe some vanilla cream for the naughtiest days…But yesterday brunch-time was different and 100% worth the upgrade.

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!!

But you know what I love about *healthy pancakes*? It’s that you genuinely feel good after eating them – inside and out. They don’t weigh you down, taste strange, or induce a premature sugar coma; they actually make you feel more energized afterwards than they do sluggish. Maybe it’s the protein? The bonus of no added sugar (yes really!), or substituting yogurt for cream? Whatever – these pancakes contain the feel good factor and, dannnnng are they good for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Plus, you can basically eat a full stack and not feel guilty because 6 pancakes is their legitimate serving size. Srsly.

Pancakes will never not be exciting, and a brand new bottle of maple syrup will never cease to be liberating. #LifesLittlestPleasures.

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!!

So, although I’m not the greatest setter of resolutions, there does happen to be one motto that I’m bringing into 2015 with me…

According to my new years ‘mission statement’ (which has become official ever since I inked it down in swirly black italics on the first page the new thick-ass journal I treated myself to…), anything can happen, at any time. That’s why this year, and every other year after this one, is going to be magical. After all, isn’t making this wish come true is only a matter of accepting the possibility of it into our own worlds?  2015 is merely where this adventure starts.

And sure, while I might reach the end of this year having procrastinated through the best part of summer planning, missing every opportunity that came my way, having made the wrong choice of birthday cake, and just feeling pretty ripped off by all of the excitement that bubbled away so early on in 2k15… its all just a matter of shifting priorities, right?  Everyone in the world has something to look forward to this year. We’ve just got to remember that the desires we have in our heads for things to ‘be a certain way’ are not the realities we actually have to go out and live with. Still, if you take a closer look, happy things really are scattered all over the place and a little mindfulness goes a long way in filling the breaks between the extremes. The sooner we suss this out, then the longer we have left to be happy.

There is no right/wrong way for things to turn out. Ultimately, life will unfold whether you think you’re ready or not, and you can make the most out of it simply by being awake and following your thoughts, or just by being aware that the best moment of your life could happen at any given moment, simply because: why not?

As for now though, I’m off to boil the kettle for what must be by 5th mug of Roobios tea today and continue weeping at the spot where the Christmas tree once stood. Time is flyinggggggggg!

Happy New Year to you all! Please do let me in on your resolutions and I hope you enjoy a well deserved and relaxed weekend! X

Ingredients (Serves 1-2): 

1/2 C white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 medium pear, cooked and mashed.

1 x handful of blueberries

1 tbsp apple sauce (in place of oil/butter)

1/4 C natural yogurt (any kind)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon (lightweights), or 1 tbsp (hardcores).

Oil/butter for frying

Jugs of maple syrup.

Heat your greased pan/skillet on high|Combine the dry ingredients together|Add the cooked/mashed pear + blueberries + yogurt & apple sauce <For chunky pancakes, keep the batter thick + spoonable>|Add the egg + beat well|Fry until bubbles appear on one side|Flip|Serve with extra yogurt and fruit and of course; a large mug of milky, milky breakfast tea.

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!!

#BreakfastPerfection

& If it can’t be Christmas every day, then…

#IWishThisCouldBeBreakfastEveryday

Skinny Blueberry and Pear Pancakes - Low fat, made with yogurt and NO added sugar or oil! Happy 2015!!!

“Everyone runs around trying to find a place where they still serve breakfast because eating breakfast – even if it’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon, is a sign that the day has just begun and good things can still happen. Having lunch is like throwing in the towel.”– Jonathan Goldstein

25th December ~ Christmas Day Means Dinner!

IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAS!

Christmas Dinner trimmings england apple sauce sausage roast turkey carrots sprouts gravy traditional british dinner lunch

 

At least, it was… *sob*

Don’t you hate how quickly this day always passes?

7-noon consisted of morning mass wearing Christmas jumpers, present opening marked by the sea of wrapping paper that was left strewn all over the carpet, before un joyeux visit over to les grand-padres after a sunshine infused breakfast of eggs and white chocolate spread. Nothing has changed, and we are still the same bunch of extremely early risers who can only manage to resist nibbling away on all of our new Christmas chocolates/marzipan logs until 10am, max.

And hey, apparently, your (not so) baby bro also really likes his new cardigan when he’s unwrapped it and, (after a prolonged silence), says “Hm, I actually really like it” on repeat, rather than just saying thank you and giving you the obligatory sibling hug so you can move swiftly on and not have to ponder over why he sounds so surprised that he ‘actually’ likes it…

Brother christmas jumper opening presents christmas day

 

Meanwhile, if your other brother has decided to inform you beforehand that he would please not like to have his new checked shirt wrapped because he wants to wear it to church first thing in the morning, yet still wonders why he hasn’t got anything more to open from you – then underneath, he’s probably pretty chuffed with his gift too. Lolz I don’t understand #boys.

We also managed to make mum cry within her first 5 minutes of unwrapping. Miraculously, it wasn’t even my *skilfully* terrible wrapping skills which set her off – she just really, really loved the photo album that the three of us sibs put together for her. Like srsly; WOW, because oh my days, we’ve finally managed to perfect a present that mum actually likes/doesn’t want to return to the store within the next 28 days. The tears scream success! Although she did end up crying again later for real, thanks to some cute scenes from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (courtesy of Channel 4). #WhatElse…

IMG_3854

But hey, how about the highlight of today? Let’s not pretend that we don’t all spend like, 364 days of the year getting excited about the special feast beholden by the 25th

This is a food blog after all…

Christmas Dinner: 

Crispy potatoes

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner

Both roasted and sweet;

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner sweet potato honey maple cinnamon

Parsnips and honey,

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner parsnips and honey

With plenty of meat:

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner meat sausages

Sprouts and cabbage

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner

With carrots too,

Bacon and puddings;

Roast Christmas Dinner Crispy Potatoes Fluffy England British Xmas lunch turkye with trimmings Dinner yorkshire puddings puds toad in the hole

…More than a few.

#WeGoMad.

Our priest made us do it. Mass ended today in its usual way:

“Everything in moderation…Especially moderation…”

Soooo, did anyone else spend the evening plugged into the Christmas day film scene, whilst laying horizontally in some next level food coma + trying not to think about dessert? Lolllllllllllll. Don’t leave me hanging here! Let’s not mention the syrup sponge and ice cream and cheesecake and custard… We like our puddings to be served buffet style.

Aside from all of the food, family, love, and cyber exchanges with my bff today – other highlights definitely catching Ed Sheeran performing ‘Thinking Out Loud’ on telly (FAV SONG ALERT), enjoying something hilarious happening every hour of the day, and seeing how everyone else was eating/celebrating through Instagram etc… It is truly mystifying how so many millions of people from anywhere and everywhere all over the world are all sitting down for the same single feast at round about the same time on this day!  Why does it ever have to be over?!

There is always so much to be thankful for. Christmas is a time for reflection; past and future. We remember how different things once were, or could have been. Sometimes I can’t help but think about how different future Christmases may just be once life has moved itself on and displaced us all, whether for better or for worse.

IMG_3981-2

So here’s to another happy new year; I hope you all sleep well and don’t skimp out on tomorrow’s leftovers ;)

What were your highlights? What was on your dinner table today?

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! xxx

panda earmuffs

Merry Christmas Eve!

AH! It’s the 24th December already!? Already?! Where on earth has the year gone?!

Livermead house hotel christmas

O.K., I appreciate I have been asking this question pretty much all year anyway, but December truly has been a whirlwind of  a month, and I seem to have just disappeared off of here for 3 weeks straight (unintentionally). But eeeeek it’s Christmas Eve and there is so much chocolate everywhere and a ooh-la-la: this fruit trifle we’ve had in the fridge for a while expires today…

To all of my lovely readers, I am so sorry to have been absent from all of your most recent updates and bouts of Christmas fun! Contrary to what my sea-side and deathly pudding infused Instagram may indicate, life has been crazzzzzzy of late; aside from a few just-gone deadlines, we were sent away from uni with heaps of yucky work and plenty of reading to keep us fed up over Christmas. I’ve also picked up a few extra shifts for the next month because aren’t the holidays the perfect time to get a head start on the summer time travelling pot?

Plus, I’ve acquired this worryingly *advanced* habit of finding reason to procrastinate over absolutely everything. I can’t even bring myself to write blog posts because I just kind of feel that if I’m going to spend time typing something up, then why can’t I start on some of this coursework…But eeegh I seriously can’t bear the thought of this so I just end up taking a long walk and then finding some nice food and then end up taking pictures of something or other and then basically sleeping, eating, and repeating this whole cycle (as per). Statistics and quantitative analyses continue to plague my life and kill my mind every time they cross my mind, but who’s ready to kick back and just relax for the next 24 hours? MEEEE. Christmas = permission to put everything off for a later date = great.  I can’t wait to catch up with you all over the next couple of weeks!

This time last year I was on my way home from work after a long morning of wandering around an empty restaurant in a green party hat with my Christmas Eve colleagues, waiting for the customers that never came…

The first half of Christmas Eve this year however, was spent in Clerkenwell, munching on some yummy, hollandaise-drowned-toasty-bacon and eggs at the Modern Pantry in some seriously good company (shoutout to Jessie for making 2014’s Wednesday brunch traditions happen), and actually being the person getting served, rather than the waitress serving…Yay for cute breakfasts and sunny December mornings.

eggs Benedict and streaky bacon hollandaise at the modern pantry clerkenwell farringdon barbican london

Later this evening, I took a walk in the 3pm sunset. The sky was beautiful. It was pastel blue and chalked over with streaks of baby pink and hazy orange, the Wembley arch was lined with clouds of fire. If it didn’t feel like 0 degrees, or rather – If I could actually feel my hands at all, it would have looked like a summers evening, one that was ready to set 5 whole hours early.  I wish I’d brought my phone to snap it with!

On the tube home from breakfast, I got a lovely email notification from Stephie over at Tea in Your Twenties talking about all of the things that make her Christmas Eve.  Being the 24th, I had to just read the whole post there and then. It kind of made me feel all warm inside and happy that my family isn’t the only one that insists on going over all of our regular rituals year in and year out. I love how she says:

“Christmas in my family isn’t some kind of Pinterest affair; it’s, better, it’s real, and I don’t have to spend hours worrying about my wrapping paper colour scheme”. – THIS IS SO TRUE!

But surely, it’s more than just us two who can instantly relate to this? Since I am currently looking at a tree towering over a heap of gifts, made up of at least 4 completely different types of tacky wrapping paper (one of which has pretty much made an appearance every year since 1996…) I thought I’d compile a brief tribute to what Christmas means in our household…

Here, Christmas Eve is all about watching home alone on repeat amidst the twinkly glow of the Christmas tree and snowman corner light, wearing reindeer leggings and fluffy pyjamas and OD’ing on milky chocolates and mince pies and resorting to using the microwave to heat up bottles of orange and ginger mulled wine because the stove is already occupied by a bubbling cauldron of spicy parsnip soup…

Livermead house hotel christmas fireplace

Mum will be roasting chestnuts even though she says they never do any good for her skin. Dad will inevitably want to fry a batch of chunky chips just for the sake of it, while the bro’s will argue over which toppings they’ll be ordering on their pizza ,before spending the next 20 minutes hovering around their pile of badly wrapped presents before the doorbell rings.

Christmas Eve is all about letting dad lay out a crumbly mince pie and a shot of his special Russian vodka for Santa, because a tiny part of him still believes he can convince us that somebody else got hold of mums wrapping paper and swirly italic handwriting to drop off the presents under the tree. But most of all, Christmas Eve is about enjoying that final, festive tinge intensifying in the air as this big huge countdown prepares to round itself off. The fairy lights won’t shine as bright after tomorrow has come and gone.

Ultimately, Christmas all about being together, being appreciative of one another, and enjoying the effort we have all made to make each other happy. – Best friends count as family too, right? :)

Tashiana Langley

Let’s not forget how we’ll spend 80% of the Christmas meal asking for someone or other to please for the love of God pass down the tray of roast potatoes/Yorkshire puds again, and then the other 20% of this time wondering who’s gonna be the lucky one to acquire the last left (because srsly, Max, it’s been you for 5 years in a row now…)

I doubt many of you are going to be actively blogging tonight/over the next couple of days, but seeing as it is the time to be merry and festive and surrounded by delicious treats; if you are reading this tonight then I hope you have the most amazing Christmas and the perfect end to this wonderful year surrounded by everyone/everything/all of the custard you could wish for :)

christmas eve 2014 tealightsky

Merry Christmas to you all! :D

 

Niche Restaurant – Angel

When Niche followed me on Twitter last week, I couldn’t help but take a sneak peak at their menu straight away.

Next thing, the afternoon had come to a halt as fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding, and their extensive range of salads and sausages reeled themselves off my screen… the array offresh and traditional comfort foods made a good first impression, and dinner was destined to happen here sometime soon…

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies

So last night when my medic best friend – Joanna, gave me the instructions to find us a dinner place that served “something hearty” to follow up her 12 hour day of a breakfast/lunch-less hospital placement, there were no questions asked. Based on their re-tweets, a lot of people seemed to talk about the excellent service here at Niche, as well as the high quality of the food. So to Niche we went!

This cute little fairy-lit place just down the street from Angel tube certainly did not disappoint us – plus the service really is special!

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies

When we arrived at about 7pm on the dot, the whole restaurant was packed. It’s pretty small inside, so we thought we’d have to just give it a miss and go somewhere else instead. However, within the next 5 minutes or so, we managed to get seated, and then everyone just left all at once?! Weird! Apparently we smell. Either that or their pre-theatre menu is really popular ;) Nonetheless, once the restaurant had quietened down, the ambience softened so much that we could almost hear each others’ dish indecision…

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies

Despite the rainbow veggies that kept appearing on my Twitter feed, last night was one dark, cold, and rainy evening…Even the yummy sounding ‘superfood’ salad wasn’t fit for the job unless it was to come with a side of brioche encased beef burger and a basket of crunchy fries…

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies beef burger and avocado applewood cheese in brioche

Instead then, I just made life easier and ordered the beef burger. Extra avocado and Applewood cheese ended up in my order too. Just cause. Can we please just take a moment to appreciate this immensity?!

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies

It was big, juicy, tender burger, and the brioche bun was one of the nicest I’ve ever had – soft, squishy, pillow-like, and sweet! I’ve had way too many brioche buns that are more greasy than they are moist, but this one was perfect. Although it wasn’t toasted I actually prefer my buns like this! There is nothing worse than making fresh bread crunchy IMO – yay for untoasted.

The chips also came in the cutest little ‘basket’ ever. They were hand-cut and served in a mini fryer – a lovely touch, and definitely bending towards that ‘gastro-pub’ sophistication which chip fanatics like me can’t resist ;). Sadly they looked crispier than they actually were and were slightly on the cold side, but they were crisp enough and yummy overall.

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies gastropub

And though we aren’t sure if regular customers consume the same amount of ketchup with their chips, or mayo with their mash as we do, there was one tiny niggle we had with the meal. How do we put this? We are sauce people. As in, we like lots of it. As in, a lot…seriously. We’re talking pint-sized ketchup bottles on tables, and a general abundance of squeezy mayonnaise/mustards within an arm’s reach…

Okay, so we’re kidding about the pint but, we did have to keep asking the staff to bring us these little ramekins of ketchup (at least 4 times) and we kind of felt like we were being nightmare customers in the process – none of the tablespoon sized servings could quite cut it! The last restaurant we had this ‘issue’ in gave up on us and just placed entire plate of ketchup in front of us instead. Another restaurant that does this is beefeater – but again, WHY?

Niche: Pretty please put condiment bottles onto the tables and let the customers’ sauce their hearts content and then you will probably be perfect. Another niggle that isn’t really a proper niggle was that the huge bucket of bread we side-ordered (no complaining about portion sizes here), came to the table with the smallest knob of butter.  (In all honesty, the restaurant I part-time at does the same thing since most so many people tend to waste their butter), but there was nowhere near enough and we just wound up repeating the ketchup fiasco all over again.

Niche london bread

Meanwhile, Joanna had the Christmas Turkey dinner pie with mash and onion gravy. The gravy was so thick it looked like HP/chocolate sauce; she said the pie ‘tasted like Christmas dinner’… which sounds like a good thing. I forgot to photograph it.

The waitress we had was really lovely! She was very friendly and keen to please. Unlike many servers nowadays, she didn’t make us feel under pressure and had none of that waitress-chic attitude that seems to accompany efficient (or not so efficient) service nowadays. A second shout-out goes to the guy who took over our table for the second half of our meal – he was very professional and had really nice gentle mannerisms about him, the service here shines because the staff are so sweet.

Lastly, the desserts here are just another level of YES:

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

Sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream: What I love about the sweet options here is that you can choose any flavour from their extensive range of ice creams to top your pud with – Vanilla, every time for me (boringggggg I know!) but they had options like Ferrero Rocher and salted caramel, plus a few sorbets to name a few. The vanilla ice cream was fragrant and beautifully beany. That said, the sticky toffee pudding was simply uh-mazing!!!! It was extremely soft, moist, caramel-y and sweet, topped with a melting ball of creamy frozen scoop of the vanilla. It was also cut into the moist perfect rectangle which made it just that little bit more divine… #canyoueven (I can’t):

Peanut butter and white chocolate blondie: This was Joanna’s. The crazy thing was that, for the first time in my life I didn’t get peanut butter based food envy since I was so content with the toffee-pud. But WOW this blondie was good. The Blondie layer was spongy and moist, whilst the frosting layer was extremely peanut-y, thick, and dense. The ratio of frosting-sponge was equally excellent. Although Joanna did look up mid-dessert to say “sugar-coma”…Again, perfect slicing! Doesn’t it look delicious topped with that salted caramel ice cream?

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies PEANUT BUTTER WHITE CHOCOLATE BLONDIE

Just as we were finishing our desserts, a new couple in their 50’s or so sat down next to us. The guy out of them wanted to order some hummus and bread. But first, he asked the wife how healthy hummus was for him. She then replied by saying that it had too much fat, and didn’t let him order his hummus and bread after all….Life is too short! So come here, order yourself some delicious starters and grab yourself something hearty and proper. Then let yourself get disorientated by the pretty blue lights:

Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies led lights

All in all Niche: fab food, fab service, pretty (if minimalistic) restaurant, and… we will most certainly be returning for your fish and chips sometime soon!

P.S. we liked the Click London photography over the walls – a nice touch!

niche angel click photography Niche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh piesNiche Restaurant and bakery - Angel London. Dinner, lunch, coffee, comfort food, Christmas, pre-theatre, burgers, fish and chips, fresh pies

 

“You’ll look at the clock, and 5 minutes will have gone by, or an hour, or even a year…You can lose your clarity for quite some time. Where did you go? How did you come back?” — The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer

TAP Coffee – No. 26 Rathbone Place

“Life seems so am/pm. But really, it’s not all as balanced as that…” ― Jarod Kintz,  A Zebra is the Piano of the Animal KingdomTAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London

Cakes and coffee hit:

The door is wide open

Hey there, No. 26 -

How did you know

You’d be the place

We couldn’t resist?

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London Cakes Counter and SaladsInstant love: The time has come around again for you to eat your screens.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London cakes mini tartsFirst up: one of the things I liked most about this (almost) Charlotte Street gem was the friendliness of the staff.

Even though in most coffee shops, the air is calm and the service is nice enough – a lot of Londoners can probably relate to finding the majority of places to be quite hasty and cold in the way they have to ‘welcome’ you in…

Even though I spend a lot of time ordering Mochas and eyeing up cakes in new locations on repeat, I confess that I still get *those* awkward moments of unease when trying somewhere new.

I mean, sometimes, it doesn’t matter how good the cakes look or how much space is available for you to sit inside if the staff can’t just ‘let you be’… You ready or what? (Say their expressions) – Forced greetings. Chop, chop. Next! Then you’ve got to worry about finding a seat. Pressure much?! And then you feel your mind gulping and going fffiiiiizzzzzzzzz. It can’t just be me?!

But at no. 26, the process is completely different. Everything about this place is beyond warm – it is welcoming. Despite its minimalistic design and plain white walls, you are sucked in and made to feel right at home straight away – the open door really makes a difference (though this is my subconscious speaking). There is something incredibly warm in here.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London InteriorThe baristas are then happy to let you gawk at the display for as long as you like; they treat you as more than just another customer. I can’t explain it? They speak to you differently here, and it isn’t just a front they get paid to do. There is an effortlessness about their vibe which is what makes it so hard to explain. No. 26 has hired genuinely nice people who smile even when they aren’t serving and you’ve dropped crumbs everywhere like the worst customer ever (shout out to the girl with really long strawberry-blonde ish hair).

Oh, and this is probably a *good* time to mention that the quality of their coffee is really something too. The mocha is a thick, a heavenly blend of chocolate and smooth roast. Full bodied. Decadent but delicate; it’s rich and frothy-creamy, but not in the sickly sort of way.  The coffee and hot chocolate here are like… equal strength in perfect balance, strong – but not bitter; this one is dark and truly real. Love! I go back for two.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London Coffee MochaWe arrived at about 11:30am, and it was pretty quiet. By 12pm everything deadened a little bit more, which seemed a little contradictory, but no complaints. Come 1:20pm though, the tables are filled and the place has become progressively more packed with chunky sandwiches and upbeat chit chat. By 2, everything’s back to being all mellow and chill.

 

No. 26 definitely appears to be a local hotspot that has made one heck of a sweet name for itself. Jessie and I had only wandered over to this side of Tottenham Court Road after the sister branch – 114, was too full for us to sit. Heading over to this end was the best (and tastiest) decision of the day.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London sandwich TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London odyessieThe staffs were also happy for us snap away – “we love photographs!” they say.

IMG_2067 decor TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road LondonWhen I had finally chosen something to nibble on, an equally indecisive business man and his friend walked in and joined the queue behind me. Then we made light conversation about how difficult it is to choose a bake here. Even the customers are nice, I thought to myself. In the end, they vouched for the butter-cream filled sponge cake…

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London sponge cake buttercream vanilla…but I copied Jessie and opted for the chocolate loaf that seemed like it would do the Mocha justice, (it did).

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London chocolate loaf cake bananaThe barista had dropped in a line about how the chocolate loaf was her firm favourite and promisingly “moist”. In the end it wasn’t all that moist, but it was still damn good. Though there were brownies too:

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London brownies baked freshAlso, I didn’t think the frosting was generous enough for the frosting addict that = me…but Jessie said the sweetness of it was perfectly on point, although we both would have preferred a little more moisture. It’s the kind of cake you can indulge in without having to admit to; perfect for those morning ‘coffee-and-cake-kind-of-dates’; A light chocolate fix – a bread. Not a dessert. That’s why they call it loaf ;)

Did I mention the double chocolate chip cookies yet?

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London double chocolate chip cookiesAnd judging from everyone else’s lunch, soups are popular and the salads are leafy and huge. I spy walnuts and squash.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London Walnut Salads TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London butternut squash saladNo 26: A gem, though not quite hidden; people know about it – and with good reason too. So go-go-go for your morning brews + complimentary Wi-Fi access that is scrawled out onto this chained canister… I like.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London free wifiFinally, the last reason why you should go here is because their cutlery is fit for princes/princesses (see the pics), and they basically serve their beverages with the prettiest spoons I’ve ever picked up (see the mocha above). The deal is so sealed.

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London cake counter

TAP Coffee shop – No. 26 Rathbone Place Soho Tottenham Court Road London bike shop

No.26 – Rathbone PlaceW1T 1JD | Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm | Sat: 10am-6pm