The Balcon at Sofitel

Do you ever find yourself hungry near Piccadilly Circus?

If you appreciate shopping, love theatre-going or (god forbid) are hosting guest that insisted on dragging you to Leicester Square on a weekend, I’m going to go ahead and assume that yes, yes you do!

 

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + WhiskyThe Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Of course, there’s plenty of not-so-great chain options nearby, but if you look around, there are also absolute gems to be found.

My latest discovery? The (rather grand) Balcon at Sofitel.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + WhiskyThe Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

A stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square, with windows overseeing Pall Mall, The Balcon is just the place to trade the business of London’s most tourist-y area for elegant surroundings and excellent French-British cuisine with a contemporary twist.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Starting, as all good (French) stories do, with bread & (salted) butter.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Followed by a not-so-classic yet absolutely excellent Steak tartare…

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

At The Balcon, the French classic comes adorned with artichoke crisps and drizzled in truffled egg yolk.

A brilliant update if you ask me.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

For mains, the ‘Grill’ section seemed to be the most popular (but then again, can you blame anybody to ever fall for Rossini steak?), but having had a sneaky peak at the dessert menu, I decided to keep things a bit lighter…

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + WhiskyThe Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

That said, the Crispy skin sea bream with samphire, fricassé of salsify and chive beurre blanc was still very indulgent while allowing me to save some room for pudding.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Pudding that came in the form of a glorious Passion fruit and Sauternes creme brulée with mango sorbet.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Rich, creamy, and topped with an ice-thin layer of caramelised sugar it was everything a great brûlée should be.

And then some, thanks to the addition of sweet Sauterne wine and tangy exotic fruit bringing in some very welcome freshness.

The Balcon at Sofitel • London restaurant review • Cake + Whisky

Absolutely flan-tastic from the beginning to the end!

Food, service, atmosphere, decor; everything’s done the classic way to an excellent standard, making The Balcon perfect for a business meal, a romatic date… And also all those times when central London’s crowds get too difficult to handle on an empty stomach!

The Balcon at Sofitel, 8 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5NG
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The Balcon at Sofitel

Brunch at Oldroyd

I don’t believe Oldroyd needs any introduction.

I have already written about it several times, and yet here I am again, writing about it once more.

You might want to call this a bad blogger syndrom, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But then again, what’s a girl to do when one of her absolute favourite locals starts doing brunch eh?

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

With about 30 seats and simple yet tasteful decoration, Oldroyd is a dream no matter when you visit.

But if you asked, I’d say Sunday is probably the best day.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Because it’s Oldroyd’s brunch day and they serve up their signature fettucine carbonara.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, so first things first.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

And by that I mean Bloody Mary, obviously.

As a matter of fact, the very best one I’ve ever had in London (and trust me when I say beating The Smokehouse‘s Chicken Salt delight was no easy task)!

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Spicy and very pickle-y, it’s not one for the faint-hearted but still the very best way to get the brunch party started.

Though a tall, icy glass of Earl Grey iced tea does rather nicely as well!

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Croquetas have been a feature on Oldroyd’s menu since the restaurant opened and they’re an absolute must-order.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

This time, they were filled with mushroom, served with a generous dollop of truffle mayonnaise and as delightful as ever.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Zucchini fries are always a good idea too.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Feather-light, thin & crispy, they’re utterly irresistible.

But if you’re there for brunch, you might as well make the most of it.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

The Bacon & egg fettucine, with confit garlic & berkswell, is out-of-this-world good.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

It has eggs and bacon and carbs, it’s rich and creamy and comforting and basically all of your brunch dreams come true.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

And if you want more, the Braised ox cheek with polenta & gremolata is an excellent choice.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Melt-in-the-mouth meat never goes out of fashion as far as I’m concerned. Warming, comforting and satisfying, it’s winter food at it’s finest.

The only issue is that it might well rule dessert out. Don’t worry chocolate mousse with raspberries & salted pistachio praline, I’ll be back for you!

I can never stay away for very long anyway (and if you want to make sure you don’t have to fight me for the last table, you better book here)!

Oldroyd, 344 Upper Street, London N1 0PD

PIN FOR LATER:

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Brunch at Oldroyd

The joys of a good local at Oldroyd

There are the restaurants you go to for the novelty of it.

Be it a potato-focused café or that place everyone loves for reasons you simply don’t see, the probability of you re-visiting them is actually quite low, because there’s always going to be something newer and more exciting to try instead.

But then there is a handful of true gems that you keep going back to times and times again.

Restaurants you’d pick over the excitement of trying something new.

The places you’d rather not bring your camera to so you can truly enjoy the experience.

The ones that make you commit every #BloggerCardinalSin under the sun but you leave with a big smile of your face and a renewed faith in the restaurant world.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Truth being told, there are not so many such restaurants on my list.

A couple of places in France, Morito, The Smokehouse… and Oldroyd.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Oldroyd, the first solo restaurant from former Chef Director of the Polpo Group Tom Oldroyd, opened its doors about a year ago and it’s been a favourite ever since.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + WhiskyOldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

It basically ticks all the boxes when it comes to a good local restaurant: quick to get to, excellent value, stunning service and food that’s not just good but also varied and interesting, so every visit brings some element of surprise.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + WhiskyOldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Rabbit & dijon rillettes w/ pickled carrots is the perfect example of Oldroyd’s playful take on a classic.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

All the elements of the French Lapin à la moutarde, and yet something completely different and absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Smoked haddock croquetas aka crunchy/melty heaven in a mouthful.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Nettle & ricotta malfatti, broad beans, berkswell & crispy sage.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Delicate gnocchi/ravioli hybrid parcels and proof if there ever needed one that vegetarian food can be truly stunning.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Oldroy’d menu is rather light on the meaty side, but the few meaty dishes are well worth ordering.

Proof is in the Lamb sweetbreads with peas and bacon; a great example of bistro food at its finest.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + WhiskyOldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

Finally, my favourite of all dishes: Norfolk asparagus, brown crab rouille, Cornish white crab & chervil.

Basically Spring on a plate.

Oldroyd, London | Cake + Whisky

After chatting with the staff for a little while (and a few spoonfuls of the homemade tiramisu…), we said our goodbyes and headed home already dreaming of the next time we’d be heading to Oldroyd.

Want to make them your local? Find them here

And if you ever need somebody to go splitsies on any of Oldroyd’s crab dishes, give me a ring!

Oldroyd, 344 Upper Street, London N1 0PD  Oldroyd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The joys of a good local at Oldroyd

Native, Neal’s Yard

What better way to start the week than with a new restaurant to get you dreaming about next weekend already?

I mean, it is just 3.5 days away! #GodBless4DayWeeks

The sun seems to finally have found its way to London, taking a stroll into Covent Garden one of the very best things to do!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Wandering the cobbled streets is the best way to build up an appetite.

Once you’re good & hungry, make your way to Neal’s Yard colourful hidden courtyard, marvel at how truly adorable it is, then get yourself a table at Native.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

A greenery-adorned, garden-in-the-basement table, that is!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

The menu is short, simple and changes pretty regularly.

Depending on how many people you are / how hungry you are, you might even be able to try it all!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Things started off on a high with the Pigeon Kebab with beet hummus and harissa.

An Eastern-Europe-meets-the-Middle-East kind of dish and an absolute success!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Followed by an Easter special of Rabbit dumplings with wild garlic and pickled walnuts.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

So simple, yet elegant and perfectly balanced and probably my favourite of all dishes.

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

For mains, we shared Goat cutlets with cauliflower puree, roast carrot and wild garlic.

A nice, comforting dish that could only have been improved by a couple of extra spoonfuls of that delicious, zingy herb dressing!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

All washed down with glass after glass of Native’s homemade Elderflower cordial.

Fresh, subtle and elegant, it’s something truly special and you must make sure to try it on your visit!

Native, Neal's Yard | Cake + Whisky

Just like the brilliant honeycomb-adorned Truffles.

Slightly salted, very rich and 100% decadent, they are what chocolate dreams are made of.

 

A truly exceptional ending to a lovely lunch and one you should definitely experience for yourself!

If you’re after seasonal food at its very best and a side of wandering in the spring sunshine, you really couldn’t do better!

Find Native online and make sure you book a table as it’s teeny-tiny (but oh so adorable!)

Native, 3 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H   Native  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Native, Neal’s Yard