Thursday, 26 November 2015


It has been a while since I last did a staycation - the last one was during my birthday at the Royal Horseguards Hotel which was a fun weekend indeed. 

This time I had the pleasure of spending a night at The Arch London, a family-owned contemporary boutique hotel. Inspired by the London landmark, Marble Arch which is located just a stone's throw away, The Arch London spans over seven Grade II listed townhouses and two mews homes.  
We were booked into one of their ensuite Executive Rooms where there was a bottle of champagne ready for us on the table - I could get used to this.

Dinner was served downstairs in their restaurant, Hunter 486, which offers a 'Best of British' inspired menu. We were sat by one of the large Georgian windows which offered a view of the neighbourhood mews. 

For starters, I had the pan fried scallops with chorizo, red peppers, rockets and balsamic, which was good, whilst E had the soup of the day (butternut squash soup). The fillet of halibut had a subtle sweetness and nice, firm texture yet still nice and moist, served on a bed of white beans, mussels and clams. The organic salmon was just as delicious with creamy cauliflower puree, salsify, lemon and caper dressing. The side of cauliflower cheese looked pretty good, but it was maybe a tad bit overcooked and watery underneath.
We shared two desserts which were  simple and comforting - the chocolate fondant had a soft gooey centre and was served with with burnt orange ice cream, and the hazelnut and apple tart was nice and buttery with with cinnamon custard on the side.

Breakfast was also complimentary and served in the same dining area. They had a continental buffet counter on display but instead we ordered a la carte. We had the Eggs Royale and the John Ross organic smoked salmon and scrambled egg. - we do love our eggs and smoked salmon in the morning...

Our stay was overall rather pleasant and I would recommend checking it out if you are looking for somewhere central to stay for the weekend. 

Now, I wonder where/when my next staycation will be? 

The Cheekster, signing out x

Hunter 486 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 22 November 2015


I have been indulging in quite a lot of Indian food recently. or rather much more than my usual average. Following my visit to Moti Mahal, I recently attended a #ZomatoMeetup at the charming Bombay Brasserie in Kensington. 
Opened in 1982 (before I was even born!), Bombay Brasserie has been an iconic restaurant destination, well known for its authentic, eclectic Bombay and Indian cuisine. 

We started off with drinks at the stylish Bombay Bar - I ordered an innocent Passionate Sparkler which was really sweet and fruity with plenty of crunchy passion fruit bits.

We then followed Chef Prahlad Hegde's lead into the kitchen prep room where he conducted a little private masterclass before us. He explained a bit about the use of different spices in his cooking and gave a short demonstration of the starters that we were to be served that evening.
We were then given a brief tour of the kitchen, which was actually quite large - I always feel like I'm 'intruding' during kitchen tours, as I try not to knock over hot plates of food with my massive bag. We were shown the tandoor oven where the naans are baked and the chef even gave us some freshly baked naan to try which tasted delicious on its own.

For dinner, we were seated in the lovely, spacious conservatory area, decorated with plenty of greenery and hanging plants, which gave a bit of a tropical feel to it. 
I tried a couple more cocktails later on that evening: Lychee Martini (because I love lychee) and the Queen's Necklace (because it sounded pretty fancy...).

I was quite pleased when they brought out a sharing plate of mini poppadoms - we had passed by a huge pan of mini poppadoms whilst on our 'tour' of the kitchen area that I eyed at hungrily and was tempted to swipe a handful of them in my state of hunger...
Each of us were also served an amuse bouche: Sev batata puri, a crunchy mouthful which consisted of wheat crisps topped with Peruvian potato mix, gram flour straws and chutneys.

We were then able to try the dishes that was demonstrated by Chef Prahlad during the masterclass: Crispy prawns with trio of peppercorns, Tulsi chicken tikka and Lamb Seekh Kebab. All three of them beautifully marinated and full of flavour. I really liked the side of Palak patta chaat, which was crispy fried baby spinach topped with yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney.

Next came the larger sharing dishes with some naan and rice to go with them. The Tandoori raan (braised lamb shank marinated with cinnamon, black cumin and vinegar) was slightly dry for me, but I enjoyed the Kasundi monkfish, coated in mustard from Calcutta which had a nice, meaty texture.
I love a good bowl of dal, and I helped myself to generous spoonfuls of the rich Dal makhani to have with my olive naan bread. I also thought that the Aloo roast looked quite cute and tasty - roasted baby potatoes coated with ginger, lime and spices.

Pumpkin soup with truffle oil

And finally for dessert, was a trio of chocolate samosa, chocolate raspberry and mango fig ice cream. A pretty plate of mini delights which was just enough to satisfy my sweet cravings.

Another excellent venue that I would recommend if you're looking to satisfy your Indian food cravings. The Weekend Brunch Buffet also sounds rather intriguing which may tempt me back for another visit.
  Check out their website for more details.

The Cheekster, signing out x

Bombay Brasserie - Millennium Gloucester Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 20 November 2015


Those of you who are familiar with the London streetfood scene must surely have heard of Sambal Shiok, purveyor of Malaysian delights with a modern twist. 
You must have come across her legendary satay and rendang Malaysian burgers, and mouth-watering riceboxes, and if you haven't booked yourself in for their latest residency yet, then now is the time to do so whilst you still can (!)

For SIX nights only Sambal Shiok will be showcasing their amazing Prawn Curry Laksa at the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia, alongside a selection of Rieslings specially selected by Zeren Wilson (Bitten & Written).
Hot bowls of comforting, aromatic broth filled with yin yang noodles (rice vermicelli and egg noodles), juicy prawns, beans and tofu - Laksa Nights is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold winters day. Beautiful flavours with a good spicy kick to it that will surely leave your tastebuds tingling (in a good way, of course)
 There are also sides of chicken satay ssams, dessert, wine and other drinks available to purchase on the night. 

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get a preview of the delicious laksa, so if you haven't been convinced yet, then I'm sure that you will be after having a look at these photos...

Running from 14th November to 19th December, there are two sittings each Saturday (5.30pm and 7.30pm) - seats are almost SOLD OUT, so hurry and book yourselves in before it's too late (!)
  There are also a limited number of walk-in spaces in the downstairs pub area. 
First come first serve - you know the drill. 

Another pop-up that I would recommend having a look at is Tata Riceatery, which runs on a Sunday. One of the latest streetfood traders to pop up in the London scene, Tata Riceatery has teamed up with Japan Gourmet to present you a delectable five course tasting menu (all based on rice) with sake pairing.

I attended the first event on 8th November, and this is what it looked like...

Congee Congee + Fukuju Awasaki Sparkling

Pumpkin, Rice Broth, Caviar + Rihaku Dreamy Clouds

Chicken, Rose, Rice Wine + Amabuki Rose

Fishermen's Rice + Katsuyama En

Horchata + Amami Umeshu

All five courses were nicely executed, wholesome and not overly-complicated - it was hard to choose a favourite.  
And trust me, they tasted as good as they looked.

Bookings can be made by email via (bank transfer) or via this link.
The next event is on 22nd November, followed by 13th and 20th December.
If you love rice and sake as much as me, then I would recommend trying this out.

Two amazing pop-ups in a great, central location - what more could one ask for?

The Cheekster, signing out x

Read more about tata eatery @Newman Arms on Edible Experiences