A girls day out is all you need every now and then... and because they're so rare we went all the way.
Brunch and bubbly at the Fifth Floor, a spa treatment, manicure and pretty, posh beauty products.

Thanks for a lovely day Susie. 


I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but hey here it goes again for those of you who don't know: I really, really like Jamie Oliver. I like his passion for food (good, not poncy food), the way he talks about it, how his recipes are so inaccurate that they animate your own creativity and how he bish-bash-boshes everything into delicious, messy platters you just want to dig into.

When it came to our anniversary, the logical pick seemed to be a nice meaty dinner at Barbecoa - Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang's barbecue restaurant in the city.

I so wanted this to be amazing...
The location is absolutely mind-blowing. A vast space in the New Exchange Passages, the restaurant is basically surrounded by one large window, sitting right next to St Paul's Cathedral. The interior of the restaurant was extremely well thought through, going for a slightly industrial look with a mixture of oak, black iron, leather and amber stained glass. Sadly it has started to look a little tired: the paint's peeling in places, the chair legs are battered and people have started to carve their initials in the tables. 
But that's not what we were there for... so let's get to the food.

The bread, oh the bread...was probably the best I have ever had (and I eat a lot of bread!). Served with a dollop of creamy homemade butter, there was a selection of sweet black treacle bread, a slice of a grilled sourdough loaf, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and rubbed with garlic and a melt-in the mouth, warm sesame flat bread. I would've been a happy girl, had I only been served the bread :)

For starters we decided to go light and went for the Seabass Ceviche with Yuzu (a veeery expensive Japanese citrus fruit) Chilli, Garlic, Pomegranate and Coriander Cress and the Lyme Bay Crab Plate with Avocado, Chervil and Tomato. Both dishes were absolutely delicious, light and full of flavour and the perfect choice to start what was about to come.

Barbecoa's main course selection is my idea of food heaven. They've got the steak, the burger, the lamb chops... No wonder this felt like making my life's most difficult food decision. After a long time of thinking about it we went for the Pit Beef with Smokey Baked Beans and the Pulled Pork Shoulder with a Waffle, BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw and a side of Duck Fat Chips.
I hate to admit this, but when we got our plates, a second of disappointment crossed our faces. The presentation was ok but the plates were a little dirty and it just wasn't really what we had expected.

Although everything tasted really nice, the meat was melt in the mouth tender, the waffle fluffy, the baked beans creamy, smokey and spicy - it still felt like our main courses weren't 100% up to scratch. It was that little bit too sweet, too cold... Our probably biggest disappointment were the chips, which were cold, not crispy, not seasoned and didn't come with the Volpala Vinegar or Salt.

Part of me wishes that the reason for all this was the chef having a bad day or that maybe we just chose dishes our palette didn't get.
I'd definitely go back for the bread, the starter and probably a steak (the people next to us had the steak and it looked ahamaaaazing!) or a burger ... oh and the butchers downstairs.
If you love meat the Barbecoa butchery is a sight out of this world. Beautiful cuts of meat, sausages and ham hang in the massive glass coolers. There are blocks of wood, black iron, impressive butcher's knives and the brown paper bags, with the navy stripes and white, stamped on Barbecoa logo everywhere - absolutely beautiful to see! All the meat comes from happy animals that were reared on English, Irish and Scottish farms. Will definitely get my Christmas roast from there. :)

And that's how we spent our anniversary on a gray and rainy London summer day... eating food and drinking wine!!

Try it for yourself!

Dinner for two, including a bottle of Santa Rosato Merlot, Sparkling Water, bread, starters, main courses and service charge came to £100. 

20 New Exchange Passage
London, EC4M 9AG
+44 (0)203 005 8555


The world's gone a little bonkers over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee lately...and I'm loving it!!
There's Union Jack's, vintage china and "Best of British" everywhere. I will not lie, I am a bit of a royalist (yes I own a Wiliam and Kate mug) and am particularly excited about the whole British revival when it comes to food. There's pork pies, Sunday Roasts, Piccalilli, Coronation Chicken and trifles everywhere.

The other week I decided to add to the long list of modernised British classics and threw together this super yum Pea and Ham Salad.
The smokey ham complements the sweet peas so well and is simply rounded off with an English mustard dressing. Perfect for an early summer picnic or a light weekend lunch.



For the salad
    • 150g smoked ham hock
    • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed and cut into bite-size chunks
    • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
    • a handful of frozen peas, de-frosted by blanching in some hot water
    • a large handful of mixed leaves
    • a large handful of watercress
    For the dressing
    • 1 small teaspoon of English mustard
    • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • a little honey
    • salt and pepper to season
    1. Mix all your salad ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. In a clean jar add all the dressing ingredients, close the lid and shake until everything has combined into a silky emulsion. Give it a try and add salt, pepper, vinegar and pepper according to taste.
    3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly (ideally using your hands).
    And that's it... as simple as that! So delicious with crusty white bread and a nice glass of Pim's!!