31 March 2014

A Day For Mum


Mother's Day is an opportunity to show your Mum how much you love and appreciate her - perhaps we don't always do it quite enough. If you're lucky enough to have a lovely Mother in your life like me, then I hope you had a great time celebrating with her this weekend.

This year my brother Andrew, sister-in-law Sarah and I decided to treat Mum to champagne afternoon tea. The location of choice was Sketch; a stylish restaurant and bar set inside a grade II listed building which was once the headquarters to Christian Dior. I've had afternoon tea there once before and was charmed by how they manage to successfully combine classic tradition with sheer quirkiness.


An example of this quirkiness was my pretty bone china saucer with a rubber teacup!


The finger sandwiches here were some of the best I'd had throughout my London afternoon tea experiences and they didn't disappoint. The fillings include smoked salmon with Jacob's cream, egg and mayonnaise with a quail's egg and caviar on top and mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur. Then there are the wonderful big scones served with clotted cream and fig and strawberry jam along with the many, many tasty cakes.


It's not often I move straight from delicious food to showing you the toilets but I have to make an exception when it comes to Sketch. Their futuristic bathroom is just fascinating and the egg-shaped cubicles look like something from outer space.

I love the little messages written on each of the mirrors too.


After our tea and cakes, we headed over to the bar at Aqua Kyoto for a couple more celebratory drinks.

It was a such a lovely afternoon and most importantly, Mum had a wonderful time 


So here's to the Mum's!


Just a tiny thank you for doing hardest job in the world!

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28 March 2014

Lunch At Pacata & City Drinks


Yesterday was what one might call a day of excess. Copious amounts of wonderful food, fruity cocktails galore and then a few glasses of wine to boot. Today and tomorrow will be healthy days to counteract this indulgence but before I head to the gym, I'd like to introduce you to an exciting new pan-Asian restaurant in town. It's called Pacata and they were kind enough to invite me along to be one of the first to try it out.


You can find Pacata in the heart of the West End, not far from Leicester Square. It's owned by beer giants Singha and the menu has been designed by the world's first Michelin-starred ramen chef, Yasuji Morizumi, who spent 10 years working at a French restaurant before going into the ramen business.

The d├ęcor is fantastic. I just wanted to walk around the restaurant looking at all the pictures and gorgeous little knick-knacks dotted around. The lighting is low and it feels very homely - perhaps that's why Edita and I ended up hanging around all afternoon!

Pacata specialises in Asian food with a Western edge and the menu offers everything from noodles and chicken satay to burgers and fries. We decided to start off with some of their bar snacks: spicy chicken wings, edamame beans, popcorn chicken with deep fried Pandan leaves and Korean beef satay skewers.


You can see how beautifully presented everything is - it all looked so fresh and inviting. The wings with their wonderful tangy sauce and crispy coating are a must and I couldn't stop picking at the little morsels of tastiness that were the popcorn chicken. Although the beef was a little on the chewy side, the satay sauce was yummy. As you can see, the portions are pretty generous so these four plates kept us nibbling for quite some time.

Luckily for me and my blog, the cocktail menu is not something Pacata take lightly. With concoctions such as the delightful Secret Garden (apple and pear with cinnamon liquor, rum and Singha beer) and the Absolutely Crushed (mandarin vodka, passion fruit liquor mixed with kumquats and homemade vanilla sugar), cocktail lovers like me will not be disappointed.


So my main course was one of the tastiest and most inspired pasta dishes I've had in a very long time. It's called the Pacata Pasta and it's Thai style squid ink tagliatelle with spring onion, egg, bean sprout, Chinese tofu, juicy prawns and a wonderful sweet sauce.


It was a Pad Thai with sparkle! A real winner of a dish for me!

Edita had the Thai Curry Burger - a beef patty in a bun with Thai red curry sauce (served on the side) and sweet potato fries. 


She wasn't blown away by the burger which admittedly looked a little lacklustre on arrival (more height needed!) but the sauce was great and I couldn't stop dipping those lovely crispy sweet potato fries in it. Yes, I was eating Edita's meal too...

For dessert, we decided to share the green tea brownie served with green tea ice cream.

Now I drink green tea all the time but more for the health benefits than for the taste. Was this dish going to work?


The answer is a resounding yes. Absolutely delicious with a subtle flavour and smooth, creamy ice cream.  It would be a perfect dessert for those who don't like anything too sweet.


I was really impressed with Pacata. Not only was the service outstanding and incredibly friendly but the pasta and the dessert just blew me away. I think the two beef dishes could be improved but it's still such early days and the need for a little fine tuning is inevitable. And five stars for the cocktails! I could just tell how much love was going into each one.

It was an added bonus that we got to meet the guy who made it all possible - chef Morizumi - who was visiting London for the opening week. 


He's the man!



By the time we left Pacata it was 5.30pm and I had a date with a couple of friends at Eight Bank.


This stylish yet relaxed private member's club* is located right by Bank tube station, hidden away down historic Change Alley. I was meeting Mary and Sham and as I'd not seen my ex-insurance buddy Sham for a couple of years, I wanted to choose a venue that was perfect for a good old chat and not too loud. It turned out I made a good choice!

* I am not a member!


We caught up over some lovely vino...


....and before we knew it, 10pm had arrived and Mary and I were taking selfies. 


Pretty standard ending really!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone! Spoil your Mums and don't forget the clocks go forward!

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