Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Ice cream expedition to Clapham Common with the boys...Charlie and Freddie

Looking very happy and excited with their ice creams.

Macaron Patisserie, 22 The Pavement, London, SW4 0HY

First impressions:
This is such a dreamy little patisserie situated directly in front of Clapham Common with a rustic but stylish French interior. It even had one of those big retro ice creams outside (pictured right) which you just don't seem to see anymore but actually I think they are pretty classic.

The service:
French and extremely friendly.

The ice cream:
You are greeted by the ice cream display instantly and some of the flavours were a little exotic, such as yogurt and apricot. Considering they only had about 6 or 7 flavours that is ballsy for a parlour. I am always under the impression that for a one off shop the less flavours the better, as this way you know or at least hope that they are making them fresh. I had the yogurt and apricot with Charlie and it actually tasted of yogurt, so pretty reassuring. Freddie went for raspberry sorbet which again received the seal of approval.

£1.80 for quite a decent scoop.

Notice he is still grasping that Milk cream is not enough for some people!

They sold one of my favourite kinds of chocolate, Valrhona (pictured). This is one of my secret ingredients when I make chocolate ice cream and is incredible when making chocolate sauce or simply great for a light snack.

Another great touch was this assortment of homemade chocolates .


I did not have time for tea as we had another parlour to investigate but Charlie explained how they arrive in these cute little tea cups and there is a great selection of coffees in the jars pictured below.

This little place definitely left you wanting more as I would have liked to have stayed with some tea and chilled on their terrace, perhaps with something from the bakery too? I thought it was unique and quite stylish, the only negative is that it's not close enough to my house so I cannot become a regular anytime soon.

Next up on the ice cream quest was Nardulli.

Nardulli, 29 The Pavement, Clapham, London, SW4 0JE

First impressions:
This is completely the opposite to the quaint patisserie as it was modern and had a simple design. Again, the situation of the shop is perfect with the Common being so nearby and it is ideal to grab an ice cream and have a stroll round the park. The waiters were also extremely friendly being typical Italians.

The ice cream:
I had hazelnut and straciatella and they were both equally good although by this point I was a little sugared-out. I think in comparison to the Macaron Patisserie the quality may not have been as good but it was still a fun place to visit.

£2.10 for one generous scoop

All in all a fun excursion with Charlie and Freddie, although Freddie, the greedy bugger, who still had an entire box of Milk Tray continued to steal some of poor Charlie's cone. Cheeky!

Love FEGO Caffe

I think this is probably the cutest cappuccino I've ever seen and it is made from 6 different coffee beans sourced from Italy. Coffee is definitely their expertise so if you're wandering down St John's Wood High Street then grab one of these to go or simply sip and enjoy in the outdoor seating.
Price: £2.35

Taste of LONDON with L'Anima

This summer I worked at the taste of London with my old restaurant, L'Anima. Held in Regent's Park, the Taste of London is the ultimate food festival with stalls from famous to unknown restaurants. This year the festival included demonstrations from the some of capital's most prestigious chefs such as Michel Roux, Heston Blumenthal, Angela Hartnett, Giorgio Locatelli and my favourite, my boss, Francesco Mazzei.

It was amazing to be part of the festivities and to sample some of the best restaurants in town with their taster menus. They had every variety of food on offer and I managed to find two ice cream stands which are definitely ones to keep an eye out for.

Purbeck's Dorset ice cream was presented in this old school ice cream cart and they prided themselves on producing quality products. They reminded me of the ice cream I used to have as a kid and it had a nice homemade branding as everything is produced on a farm.

I perhaps preferred this Laverstoke Park's buffalo mozzarella ice cream. It was delicious and had this incredibly heavy yet smooth texture from the cheese. I was expecting the mozzarella to be too strong but instead it worked well as a base for ice cream. They sell to many shops and restaurants and they are definitely worth checking out. I personally enjoy making ice cream the old fashioned way, without cheese, but I think with some high quality mozzarella this is an interesting take on the traditional treat.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

LUCKY LUCKY SEVEN...the American pancake of your life!

Lucky Seven, 127 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5QL

First impressions:
I've been coming here for years but I can still remember my first time as I absolutely loved this place the minute I walked in. My sister Juliana introduced me to the diner and since then I have spread the word to all of my friends. It has this inviting and chilled-out vibe with big booths and an open kitchen. It is not flashy in the least but has an inviting retro feel. It constantly plays new and old music and I always love the fact that they play entire albums.

The service:
Waiters are always friendly and the food is quick.

The food:
It is without doubt a great place to come for a burger, fries, breakfast, milkshakes and it's incredible American style pancakes. I went with my sister and my nephew, Noah who likes to make his way slowly through a burger, fries and a strawberry milkshake.

I went for the blueberry pancakes with Juliana and we shared a portion, as they come with four very large thick buttermilk pancakes.

I cannot describe these as anything other than the most perfect, buttery yet also fluffy delights I have ever eaten. They arrived with a gentle dusting of icing sugar and a sensible sized jug of maple syrup. I was happy to see a few squares of extra, but still necessary butter.

These were delicious and I've had a lot of pancakes in my life. We had the blueberry pancakes but you could order plain or banana. I could taste that they were made with quality ingredients and if you're going to treat yourself you may as well indulge in one of these.

The price:
At £8.25 for the blueberry they are not cheap, but I highly rate these as you get a decent amount for your money. A massive bonus is that they practically give you a whole bottle of maple syrup and believe me you need it!

You can also get milkshakes priced:
Regular at £3.95
Thick at £4.95
X thick at £5.50 (I normally have the extra thick because they put loads of ice cream in but Noah opted for the regular)

What I always take from this experience:
It's fun to hang out here and it is great for all ages. Whether for the burger, milkshake or these mouthwatering buttermilk pancakes, I think once you have tried Lucky Seven you will keep coming back.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Pin up of the week: Be

I was sent this when my friend Be was in Rome...

I think he deserves to be the pin up of the week as he is clearly showing that tough guys in tanks tops can still try to look cool whilst enjoying some gelato.

Crêpe affaire, more like crap affaire!

Broadway Shopping Centre, Hammersmith Broadway, London, W6 9YE

First impressions:
I had just come from a barbecue and was looking for a little chocolaty snack so I thought this crêperie might be what I was looking for. I was wrong! I wanted to leave the minute I saw these horrible square looking crêpes but I was already too far along in the transaction. The machine in the background of the photo below is the crêpe making monstrosity which I was told turns out a crêpe every 30 seconds. They keep them out on display in that lovely plastic cover and the traditional large black hob is merely used to heat up the pancakes.

After these two photos were taken I was told that I was not allowed to take anymore for what reason I cannot imagine. I managed to creep and lean over slyly to get this shot of the outside.

The service:
The girls that served me barely knew what they were selling and they were very unfriendly.

The crêpe:
I had a Nutella crêpe and Nutella can usually save most things that are lacking in taste but this crêpe, if you could even call it that was beyond any kind of help. The texture was rough and it looked stale, despite this I needed to try it and I was still trying to be a little optimistic.

Two stops later on the tube after Hammersmith and I felt a bit sick. I still was holding a little bit of the Nutella crêpe which was a world record for me. I relentlessly never leave a Nutella anything so the situation must have been bad. I was hungry so I admit that I ate the majority as I was secretly hoping that it would start to redeem itself after each bite. Sadly this was not the case and you could tell that this was made from extremely poor quality ingredients and I dread to think when is was made. To top it off I had to go another three stops with Nutella all over my hands as the bitch didn't give me a napkin.

The price:
£2.95 = nat worth it!