Sunday, 7 February 2016

JANUARY MONTHLY ROUND-UP

So I do realize that I am slightly behind on the monthly round-up of my January posts, highlights, and things that I have been up to at the start of 2016. EXCITING times...well, sort of.
So without further delay, let's get started, as I sit comfortably on my yoga mat (mainly used for sitting on whilst painting) with Legally Blonde playing on TV in the background - the perfect way to wind down on a rainy Sunday evening.

Shuang Shuang - Hotpot In Motion


 Hot pot, or for those of you who hail from Malaysia/South East Asia like myself, who better know it as 'steamboat', refers to a simmering metal pot of soup/stock, into which ingredients are then cooked in it at the table. Those of you who have grown up enjoying this during family gatherings will understand the simply pleasures of this concept of sharing food from the same communal pot... [click here to continue]

Saturday Brunch at Jackson & Rye


Weekends are made for relaxation and doing things that I love in life, and what better way to spend it than enjoying brunch with family. It sure has been a while since my last visit to Jackson and Rye, and I remember my first visit with Wilkes when they first opened where we were both rather fascinated with the slab bacon...[click here to continue]

Barrafina Drury Lane


If you're looking for a quick and satisfying dinner, then Barrafina would be a good call. All three branches are usually packed during peak hours, so the best time to turn up would be just before 6pm if you want to avoid the long queues. The food is delicious and service is quick and efficient - one of my favourites and top recommendations if you're looking for some good Spanish tapas.

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Brixton


I do love a visit down to Brixton every now and again, especially on the weekend when there's a lively and buzzy vibe. This was my first visit to Cabana - they have a few branches scattered across London and the Brixton branch opened just a few months ago. The interior is bright and colourful, which suits the vibe and feel of the area, with rustic wooden floors and furniture...[click here to continue]

Sambal Shiok Takeover at SIN

After a tantalizing preview just before New Years, I managed to make another visit on the last day of Sambal Shiok's two week residency at Salvation in Noodles in Finsbury Park. The menu featured her aromatic bowls of Kari Laksa, fragrant Nasi Lemak and some sides such as those moreish Hainanese Dumplings. This was the second pop-up after a sell-out event at Newman Arms last year - she is currently in the search of a new pop-up venue, so watch this space.

Afternoon Tea at Park Chinois

 
 Park Chinois has been on my list for a while, but I never realized that they did afternoon tea until a friend of mine suggested it. Walking through the heavy red velvet curtains, we are greeted at the front reception desk before being led through another set of doors, above it hung a notice with the words 'On Air'...[click here to continue]

Dry January at Strada More London



For the month of January, Strada teamed up as the official food partner for Alcohol Concern’s Dry January. We had the opportunity to sample their range of de-alcoholised beers and wines, as well as their new winter food menu. 


Dinner at Piquet by Allan Pickett


It has been about half a year since I last visited Allan Pickett's summer residency at The Sanderson Hotel, prior to the opening of Piquet in Fitzrovia. Food aficionados will already be familiar with the pithivier of Littlebourne snails as pictured above, which tasted just as good as it looks.
A blog post will be published soon... 

Family Visits...

 Vivienne and Ross popped down from Edinburgh to visit for the weekend, so as honorary Londoner/tourist guide, I brought them round to some of my favourite spots, which included Smoking Goat, Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel, and some coffee spots...
 




 And last but not least, as part of my New Year's resolution to myself, I wanted to spend more time doing what I love, which included finger-painting. These are the pieces that I have completed in January where you can read the full descriptions on my art Instagram page @dancexart_cheekster



  
I will be posting new paintings regularly, and also be accepting requests/orders via email (feliciatys@yahoo.co.uk), so do feel free to follow my journey on Instagram.

Well, it looks like it has been a pretty eventful month, doing all the things that I love in life - a great start to 2016 so far. 
There will definitely be plenty more exciting things to come in the coming months, and more paint-stained fingers - just the way I like it.  

The Cheekster, signing out x

 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

AFTERNOON TEA AT PARK CHINOIS

Park Chinois has been on my list for a while, but I never realized that they did afternoon tea until a friend of mine suggested it. Walking through the heavy red velvet curtains, we are greeted at the front reception desk before being led through another set of doors, above it hung a notice with the words 'On Air'.
The red colour theme continues throughout, with interior decorations and furniture that give a 1920's Chinese dance hall feel to it.








The place is rather lavish looking, with floors lined with red carpets, sparkling chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and waiters smartly dressed in white jackets. A string quartet starts to play, which adds on to the ambience.


There was the option of having the afternoon tea with tea, coffee or hot chocolate - there was quite an extensive variety of teas, from which I chose the Rare Earl Grey tea. 

We started off with a Selection of Traditional Sandwiches:

Cucumber, cream cheese, pickled cucumber, tomato, shiso, whole wheat bread
Norwegian smoked salmon, crème fraîche, dill, whole wheat bread
Egg mayonnaise, mustard cress, whole wheat bread
Chicken coronation, buckwheat bread

Each one neatly cut and filled with generous fillings, like they should be. 


 The warm raisin and plain scones were served with homemade strawberry and bitter orange compote, and organic Cornish clotted cream.


And finally the selection of pastries and cakes were brought over to the table, and what a scrumptious looking selection it was:

 Apple crumble
Hazelnuts & apricot sacher
Honey & pistachio financier
Vanilla, saffron & mango mousse
Lemon Victoria cake
Chocolate duo
Fior di fragola
Religieuse

Each one of them were really tasty, but my favourites were the honey & pistachio financier, and the religieuse which had a light and airy choux pastry.




I also have this thing about fancy toilets, so if this floats your boat too, I would recommend a visit, even if you didn't have 'to go'...


The afternoon tea experience was one of pure indulgence that I would add to my list of recommendations if you are looking to treat yourself. The dim sum menu also looks pretty tantalizing and reasonably priced, so I will definitely be visiting again soon.




The Cheekster, signing out x







Square MealPark Chinois Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 21 January 2016

CABANA BRASIL, BRIXTON

I do love a visit down to Brixton every now and again, especially on the weekend when there's a lively and buzzy vibe.
This was my first visit to Cabana - they have a few branches scattered across London and the Brixton branch opened just a few months ago. The interior is bright and colourful, which suits the vibe and feel of the area, with rustic wooden floors and furniture, and sofas lined with rugged denim material. There is an open plan kitchen down one side where succulent skewers are cooked over an open fire pit.
The restaurant is not as busy during lunch hour on a weekend, and I requested for a booth by the windows at the end of the room where there is also a bar along the back wall. 





We both ordered some sweet and fruity cocktails to start - Strawberry Caipirinha, and one of the Cabana Cocktails, which was the Red Tail Parrot, made with cachaça, strawberry and passionfruit purée, lime juice, and topped with Prosecco. It's never to early to have cocktails, especially when they are this drinkable.


Whilst we waited for our orders to arrive, we nibbled on some Guaca-Molho - homemade guacamole with limitless (!) corn chips, which is great if you're feeling peckish.
It was very more-ish and I had to hold back a bit to avoid filling up before the starters and main arrived. We were also advised to have them with some Spicy Mighty Malagueta Sauce, for that extra spicy kick.



For starters, we shared the Spicy Malagueta Prawns and Cheesy Baked Dough Balls. The prawns were grilled and basted with their spicy malagueta sauce, which actually was not as spicy as I had expected. I do generally have a high tolerance level towards spices, but Marta who usually can't handle too much spice also found the spice level manageable. 
As neither of us had really tried Brasilian food before this, the Cheesy Dough Balls were recommended to us, which is a traditional Brasilian snack, otherwise known as
Pão de Queijo. They were served warm and had a nice, chewy texture, served with garlic butter on the side.




Marta ordered the Guava-Cue Chicken, which is a sticky, barbecue chicken - a non-spicy version, as opposed to the Spicy Malegueta Chicken, their bestseller which is marinated with their secret marinade. 
I opted for the 8oz Cabana Steak, a classic Latin American cut, best known for its rich flavour. It was marinated in Chilli and Cumin sauce, giving it a slight hint of spice, and served with french fries and small Rio Beans. I requested for it to be cooked medium rare, so it still had a nice, pink centre and tender texture.
Both our mains were brought to the table on skewers, fresh off the grill before being served on our plates.








The dessert menu looked just as tempting, and we narrowed out choices down to the Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts and Brasilian Overload.
The fried doughballs were stuffed with nutella, with more to dip on the side. Warm, gooey and slightly chewy, they were tasty, but also quite heavy so we didn't quite manage to finish them.
The Brasilian Overload consisted of Caramel Choc Chip and White Chocolate “Cupuaçu” ice creams with “Brigadeiro” chocolate truffles and doce de leite caramel sauce - an indulgent dessert that is definitely one for those with a sweet tooth.



The bar downstairs is closed during the daytime but I had a little peek and it looks just as fun and colourful. I've been told that the place is much busier during the evenings with an equally lively atmosphere in the bar area. I just might have to swing by again sometime to check it out for myself.



The overall experience was pleasant, and I would recommend checking out one of their branches for some good, hearty Brasilian barbecue cuisine. The space is also rather extensive, which would be great for large groups and a fun night out - find a branch closest to you here.




The Cheekster, signing out x

 





I was invited to review, but views remain my own.
 Cabana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal