RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Having spend a bit too much money in recent trips to Paris & Copenhagen (more on that coming this week on Cake + Whisky!), I decided to put myself on a spending ban for a little while.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

But looking’s not spending, and the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is the perfect excuse to indulge in a spot of window shopping.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Returning for its seventh year, the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is an annual showcase of innovative architectural shop window display.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Some of Regent Street’s leading retailers, including Liberty, Kiel’s and Kate Spade, have collaborated with RIBA’s finest emerging and established RIBA Chartered architects to create a series of stunning windows with an architectural twist.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This year’s windows reflect the versatility and ingenuity of the architects in creating new and fresh designs that build on each brand’s history and vision.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Liberty’s windows, designed by Architecture Social Club, tells a modern tale of the store’s founder’s story.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a play on the brand’s iconic floral patterns and a plethora of details, it’s one of the most stunning displays I’ve seen in years. and definitely worth taking a detour when you’re next in the area!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a special appearance of Sir Arthur himself, his marble bust having been moved from its usual pedestal for the occasion!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Kate Spade’s display, imagined by Design Haus Liberty, is a play on the iconic golden dots & black and white stripes present in many of the brand’s collections.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

The perfect playful-yet-sophisticated background for the brand’s newest baby, the Cameron Street Byrdie bag!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Down the street, architecture firm Bureau de Change pays hommage to suit-and-shirt specialist brand Charles Tyrwhitt’s craftmanship.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Including wooden replicas of the brand’s patterns, the window is a salute to its expertise and width of product, ranging from shirts, to suits, ties, and even shoes!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Across the street, Kiehl’s window is a work of love & patience.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dozens of handmade china ‘petals’, assembled to ressemble a quinoa husk (quinoa being the active ingredient in Kiehl’s new Night Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate).

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

A unique collaboration, and a lot of work indeed, but the result’s well worth the effort.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

And that from every possible angle…

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

And it would be rude not to pop in & say Hi to Mr Bones (and possibly try this revolutionary quinoa elixir for yourself when you’re at it!)

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With ten unique windows blending contemporary architecture, innovative art & design practices, the RIBA Regent Street Window Project is a showcase for some of London’s finest emerging architects.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

RIBA Regent Street Windows installations will be on display from Monday, 5th September for a three week period until Sunday, 25th September, so that leaves you plenty of time to plan your own Christmas-window-shopping before Christmas tour!

Double brownie points if you manage to get some actual Christmas shopping done while you’re at it!

Visit architecture.com/windows for the full programme of events and a free walking map to download

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RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Jen Café, Chinatown

If you make abstraction of the tourists flocking to the area every day to take pictures in front of the majestic gates, Chinatown is one of London’s most intriguing area.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Home to a very close-circled community of Chinese immigrants, it’s a place like no other.

And an excellent spot for some of the city’s cheapest and most satisfying food.

Of course, not every place is good. Most of the restaurants in the area are really just tourist traps to be honest, but there are some real gems to be found if you know where to look.

You know how it goes… You dim sum, you loose some!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Ignore the ‘all you can eat’ buffets lining up Gerrard Street and head straight for Jen Café instead.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + WhiskyJen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

If you come early enough, you’ll be able to catch the house speciality, Beijing dumplings, being hand-folded in the restaurant’s window.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

And while I could have stood there all day, looking at the dough being cut, rolled, stuffed and folded into rows and rows of delicious little bundles of joy, I truly recommend you only do that for a while before getting a seat.

With only a handful of table & a strong popularity with those in the know, Jen Café fills up quickly!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Don’t spend too much time pondering the (many) options on the menu either.

The Beijing dumplings is what Jen Café’s known for, and they’re definitely what you should get!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Juicy, fragrant little parcels of pork mince with lemongrass & ginger wrapped in the thinest sheet of soft dough, they’re comfort food at its very best (especially when topped with a generous spoonful of chilli oil!).

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

And at £5 a plate (which will leave you pretty full if, like me, you’re a rather petite eater), it truly is one of the best value meals to be found in London.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

But then, that’d mean you’d miss out on the pan-fried dumplings, and that would be a bit of a shame…

So better make sure you take a dumpling partner-in-crime with you!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Plus good company will only improve the warm feeling you’ll get from munching on dumplings, sipping on bubble tea & watching in awe as skilled cooks folded dozen after dozen of dumplings.

So if you’re ever looking for the spot in Chinatown to satisfy your dumplings cravings, Jen Café is the place.

Handmade, traditional, fresh and such good value, it’s all that and dim sum!

Jen Café4-8 Newport Pl, London WC2H 7JP

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Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Jen Café, Chinatown

Blackberry Friands

The Summer-girl-at-heart side of me might be in full denial right now, but the truth is, Autumn is right around the corner.

You can feel it in the way the night comes back a little bit earlier with every day that passes, in the first squashes of the season popping up on the market stalls, and, more importantly, in the blackberry bushes bending under the weight of berries.

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Now, I’ve already confessed my (sort of wild) love of foraging, and as a result, blackberries have been gathering in my fridge over the past few weeks…

… only one thing to do. And that is, of course, cake! #whatelse

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Just as I was pondering what to do with all those berries, I remembered the delightful, light as a cloud little bundles of joy Chef Luc Morbihan baked for us as a part of our Lobster Masterclass in Saint Malo.

Blackberry friands it was, then!

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

The rich, nutty flavour of almonds and hazelnut butter balances the tanginess of the berries perfectly and makes it the perfect treat any time of the day!

Make a batch this weekend, I’m sure you’ll find them berry good!

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Blackberry Friands (serves 6) – adapted from Michelin-starred chef Luc Morbihan’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50g of almond powder
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • 45g of plain white flour
  • 110g of egg white (about 3 medium eggs)
  • 75g of butter
  • a handful of blackberries

1. In a big bowl, combine the almond powder, caster sugar and flour.

2. Add the egg white.

3. Cook the butter in a really hot pan until it turns brown and smells nutty, then add it to the batter. Mix gently, then set aside for at least an hour in the fridge.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Butter the moulds, pour the batter into them, then pop some fruit on top of each of them.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (until the edges turn golden). Serve warm or cold, with a coulis or some ice cream.

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Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Blackberry Friands