LIFESTYLE – london spotlight: kew gardens

lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens

Combining bright lights with beautiful botanics, Christmas at Kew was one after-dark magical experience…

After hearing all about the stunning scenery at Kew Gardens, me and my friend Ali decided to experience them at night. We were amazed by how beautiful the gardens looked all lit up! The glittering trail took us past bright buildings, towering neon trees and even candle-lit land!

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It was such a lovely experience and was the perfect place for romantics! You had just over an hour to walk the trail (plenty of time to indulge in one of their delicious food stalls) and you could even roast your own marshmellows!

I would definitely recommend this experience or even a day visit to Kew Gardens, as it’s a totally different atmospheres from the hustle and bustle of central London!

sigyhl

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FOOD – pho house, highbury & islington london

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london

Not to be mistaken for popular chain Pho Café, Pho House is a quaint little Vietnamese restaurant just a few doors down from Highbury & Islington station. Boasting quirky décor, attentive staff and delicious, healthy food, it’s no wonder why it’s the perfect Londoner lunch spot.

A site previously hosted by much loved Korean restaurant Busan, Pho House has taken into its new location with pride, stripping away Busan’s minimalism and instead choosing to showcase more of an industrial feel with bare brick and tastefully graffiti-ridden walls.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - interiorWithin minutes of arriving, me and my friend were quickly greeted with a friendly waiter and a huge menu. Like the restaurant’s name suggests, traditional Pho was on offer, as well as other popular dishes including summer rolls, Vietnamese chicken curry and even salads. With so much on offer, it was a real struggle to pick what we wanted. In the end we both decided to share some prawn summer rolls (around £4.50) for our starter, with Vietnamese special fried rice for me, and Pho chin for my friend.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - prawn summer rollsMade from Vermicelli noodles wrapped with Vietnamese vegetables, herbs and prawns, the summer rolls were a refreshing starter. Despite there being only four rolls for us to share, each one was full to the brim! The accompanying nước chấm sauce added some much needed flavour (the rolls were a tad bland), but we were both very happy to have picked it!

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - chicken bun noodlesI’m not going to lie, when my friend’s Pho arrived (featuring tender beef, rice noodles, vegetables, chillis and tofu) in a giant bowl of goodness, I had a serious case of food envy! That’s not to say that my special fried rice didn’t hit the spot. But it was clear why Pho was the restaurant’s name and its signature dish. A lover of spice, my friend loved the large amount of chillis, the tender beef melting in his mouth and having not tried tofu before, he was won over by how flavoursome it was.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - vietnamese special fried riceThe special fried rice filled me up quite quickly. Although a tad dry, it did have one thing which was surprisingly tasty – sausages, and was overall a whole-hearted, meaty dish. The accompanying salad was overshadowed, and pretty much not needed, but all in all, for around £9.85, it did the job!

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - holloway roadDespite the major food envy (the next time I visit I’ll definitely be ordering a Pho), we both loved Pho House’s vibe, tasty food and fabulous service. My friend kindly paid for both of us (as a birthday treat for me), and for just over £20 including two drinks, you can’t go wrong!

Pho House is located on 39 Holloway Road, London, N7 8JP.

Love from Sarah

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LIFESTYLE – exploring greenwich, london

london - greenwichOne of my goals for 2015 was to explore more of London, so me and Bobbi ventured to Greenwich for some classic pie and mash, and a quick nosey around!

Serving London’s most traditional pie, mash and liquor for over 125 years, Goddards at Greenwich is a family run business just located off King William Walk. Serving freshly made food over the counter ‘dinner lady style’, you can take your pick from their delicious selection of pies such as chicken and ham, steak and kidney and even a veggie soya pie.

food - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich interiorfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich no spitting signfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich pie, mash and liquor I decided to go for the traditional minced beef pie with mash and liquor, whereas Bobbi went for double pie, double mash and liquor, both were around £5-£6 each. Sat in one of their wooden booths surrounded by paintings, photographs and old signs, you really feel Goddards’ ambience. To say it was my first time trying liquor – and that I was a little apprehensive – it turned out to be amazing and was just the perfect winter warmer that I needed!

london - greenwich mean time gmt observatorylondon greenwich mean timeAfter our pie encounter, we headed to the Royal Observatory – home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). I love exploring places like this, and learning something new about Britain’s history. Aside from time, another great thing about the Royal Observatory is that you also get to see some beautiful panoramic views of London – for free!

london - view of london from greenwich royal observatorylondon - greenwich carAnother one to tick off the ‘London bucket list’ was seeing the famous Cutty Sark and the old historical buildings. It’s hard to believe that this village is a part of London – it seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Central!

london - greenwich - cutty sarklondon - greenwich buildinglondon greenwich flagThe next stop was Greenwich market and the local shops. There were carol singers and even a finely dressed-up goat! I love visiting markets and seeing all the different food, book and clothes stalls. In the market there were also some pretty cool art galleries which I would definitely recommend!

london - greenwich marketlondon - greenwich market - bookslondon - greenwich market - goat

Greenwich is such a pretty place, and I am so happy that Bobbi showed it to me! Have you been to Greenwich before?

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FOOD – haché burgers, clapham london

food - hache burgers clapham london linebreak

My search for the best cheap eats in London led me to gourmet burger restaurant Haché Burgers. Opened in 2004, Haché Burgers offers quirky unrivalled burgers at an inexpensive price!

But the one thing which really sold it to me was their concept of the ‘Sunday roast burger’. Yep, you read that right. Nothing could surpass your mum’s Sunday roast, but at £9.95, this burger tried its damnedest! A Scotch beef patty sandwiched between two homemade Yorkshire puddings, soaked in a beef jus and topped with Dauphinoise potatoes and parsnip with crispy carrot strips. It sounded like heaven, and it most definitely was!

The medium rare patty melted in your mouth, whilst the crispy carrots and parsnips added an amazing texture. The Yorkshire puddings were large and soft, with the gravy and horseradish sauce being great accompaniments.

food - hache burgers, clapham - potato wedges and sweet potato fries

I also had a side of sweet potato fries (it’s becoming a reoccurring side dish in my food reviews, I know!), but you cannot beat a good sweet potato fry! These were nice and crispy and not too thin, and strangely complemented the Sunday roast burger perfectly! In fact, I could only manage a few fries as the burger was very filling, which was an extra bonus!

food - hache burgers, clapham - free sweets

For their interesting and not too expensive concepts, Haché Burgers is a must visit for those adventurous burger lovers wanting to try something new and different. They offer a quick and friendly service and the food does speak for itself!

Haché Burgers is located at 157 Clapham High Street, SW4 7SS, with branches in Camden, Chelsea, Shoreditch and Balham.

Love from Sarah

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FOOD – monty’s nepalese, northfields london

food - montys nepalese, northfields londonlinebreak

Established since 1980, Monty’s Nepalese Cuisine is an Indian and Nepalese restaurant with branches in Northfields, Kingston and Ealing. 

Lovers of curry and wanting to try sometime a bit different, me and Ali visited the Northfields restaurant.

food - montys nepalese, northfields - chutneys

When we arrived it was a very busy night, and despite not making a reservation, the waiters were very nice and quickly got us a table. After browsing the menu and ordering a couple of soft drinks, we decided that for starters we would have poppadums with a pickle and chutney tray – always a classic.

food - montys nepalese, northfields - lamb madras

food - montys nepalese, northfields - Chicken Dilkhoosh

 After filling us up quite nicely, our main courses came. Ali ordered a lamb madras with boiled rice for £7.60, whereas I went for the chicken dilkhoosh, (chicken breasts covered in a thick creamy sauce with rice and mushrooms), which was £11.90. My dish was absolutely delicious! I love creamy dishes, and this one didn’t disappoint! It was mild and sweet and the rice was just the right portion without being too over-filling.

We would definitely visit Monty’s again. I would say it is fairly cheap considering it’s in London and next time I’ll be sure to try more of the Nepalese dishes!

Monty’s Nepalese is located at 54 Northfield Avenue, London, W13 9RR, with branches in Kingston and Ealing as well.

Love from Sarah

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FOOD – beigel bake, brick lane london

food - biegel bake, brick lane londonlinebreak
On my search for the best cheap eats in London I came across snack shop Beigel Bake.
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Situated on Brick Lane, Beigel Bake is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The East End institution was built around the time when the community was predominantly Jewish – hence its traditional Jewish style-filled bagels.

food - beigel bake, brick lane - beef bagelFor £3.70 you can get its famous salt beef bagel with or without mustard. I opted for without mustard and as simple as it may look, the portion of salt beef was very generous (as you can see in the photo above, I had to take some out of my bagel) and the moist beef melted in my mouth. 

If you’re around Brick Lane, Beigel Bake is a definite must-visit. If bagels aren’t your thing, they do delicious Danish pastries, fresh cream cakes and even soup for under £1!

Beigel Bake is located at 159 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB.

Love from Sarah

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