Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa

I must admit I’m a bit of a Jamie Oliver fan-girl: the books, the TV shows, the YouTube channels, the food… I love it all. And yet, I had never been to any of Jamie’s restaurants. Shocking, I know.

So when a lil’ email popped into my mailbox, inviting me to an exclusive butchery masterclass at fire-and-meat focused Barbecoa, I was very excited to say the least!

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Located just behind St Paul’s Cathedral, Barbecoa is a beautiful restaurant.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

There’s a beautiful bar, a gigantic, open kitchen, lushious dark wood and gorgeous views. That I obviously didn’t take any picture of. #BadBlogger

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

And then there’s an entire wall worth of whiskies… Way to make this girl fall in love, well played Barbecoa!

We started things off with a glass of bubbly and some nibbles.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Crispy pork crackling with thyme and apple ketchup (I bet you can’t have just one!)

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Moroccan-spiced lamb pasties (so selicate and delicious!)

Before moving on to the main event, the Plat de Resistance if you will…

(vegetarians friends, look away now!)

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

A man, a lamb and a rather dramatic setting for a butchery masterclass!

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Barbecoa butchers all of its meat in-house and regularly runs butchery masterclasses.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

One of the restaurant’s award-winning butchers will guide you through the process of breaking down an animal and all the steps until it reaches the plate.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

From breaking down the animal…

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

… to tips on how to best choose, prep and cook meat at home…

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

… and some of the trade’s best kept secrets, it’s the perfect event for those like me who love to take a peak behind the restaurant scene’s curtains.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Or well, any meat lover, really!

But there’s much more to Barbecoa than just meat…

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Including magicians/bartenders playing with fire to craft the most delicious cocktails.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Best of them all is the Barbecoa Blazer (Blazed Apple & Cinnamon Evan Williams, Orange, Cherries, Aromatic Bitters)

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Basically a whisky version of the best mulled wine you’ll ever be able to put your hands on. #BringWinterBack #justkidding

What more could you possibly need to make it the best night ever?

More nibbles? Oh, go on then!

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

The cutest little mushroom and carpaccio rolls with bearnaise sauce.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Homemade taramasala on plain and squid ink crackers.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Mind-blowingly good beef short rib croquettes with ‘nduja mayo and daikon pickles.

So good. Someone please send a box full of those to my desk.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Adorable chicken wing drumlets with yoghurt & lemon zest. Another winner.

Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa | Cake + Whisky

Topping it all of with refreshing little shoters of rhubarb sorbet. The perfect way to balance of a rather rich meal (canapés are a legit meal, right?)

Barbecoa definitely lived up to its reputation of cathedral of meat & fire and the perfect introduction to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire. Now I simply can’t wait to discover more!

Want to become a master in lamb chopping yourself? More info on Barbecoa’s website

Or you know, just pop in for a cheeky cocktail or two. I bet you won’t find a better place in the City!

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Butchery Masterclass at Barbecoa

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong

Chinese New Year celebrations in London, which hosts the biggest party outside of Asia, are always loud and colourful and usually come with delicious food, decorations, dragons and dancing.

So when an email from Ping Pong popped into my mailbox, inviting me over for an evening of dim sums, cocktails and general mischief to celebrate the beginning of the year of the monkey, I knew I was in for a treat.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Tucked right behind the Royal Festival Hall, Ping Pong’s Southbank venue is an absolute beauty of a restaurant!

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Complete with olive booths, dark wood tables, statement lamps and enough cocktails to make any party an immediate success!

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

One of the Chinese New Year specials, the Dizzy Monkey (Monkey shoulder whiskey, Hedonist cognac, lemon juice, vanilla syrup and daisy flower rim)

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Lychee and Roses martini (beefeater gin, rose petals, fresh lemon juice and lychee juice) and Ping Pong (martini bianco, white wine and lychee juice)

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, my favourite of them all: the 47 Drunken Monkeys.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

A refreshing twist on the classic G&T with monkey 47 gin, pedrino tonic, pedro ximenes and citrus, lavender, poppy seeds and pink grapefruit.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Isn’t it a beauty?

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Add to that some brilliant entertainment (in the form of DJ music, belly dancers and fortune tellers) and you’re onto a winner of a party!

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

But it wouldn’t be a Ping Pong party without the dim sums, and it was lovely to be able to learn how to fold them with some of the restaurant’s chefs.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

It looks so simple when expert hands are at work, but I can tell you it’s not quite as easy as it seems (and I’ll need another 25 lessons before I start to get the hang of it!)

Luckily, I wasn’t in charge of catering and instead of my misformed dumplings, we were treated to a taste of Ping Pong’s best dishes.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Including the incredibly golden 4 mushroom puffs

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

Beautifully crispy prawn toasts

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

And best of all, the Firecracker Chicken Rolls.

A spicy Chinese New Year special that’s sure to please the mighty Fire Monkey himself!

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

And some excellent cinnamon ice cream to top it all.

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong Southbank | Cake + Whisky

And a little wish never hurts…

Playful, fun, full of life and free from inhibitions, the Chinese New Year celebrations at Ping Pong were the perfect introduction to the year of the monkey.

I hope yours started as brilliantly as mine. If not, you know where to go!

Ping Pong, Festival Terrace, South Bank Centre, London SE1 8XX  Ping Pong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese New Year at Ping Pong

London’s First Mulled Wine Festival

There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season (yes,  it’s only mid-November,  I know,  I know!)  than with a cup of spicy mulled wine.

Oh wait. Yes there is.

Several cups of it.

Plus mince pies and candy canes.

And London first Mulled Wine Festival, organised by Yelp London, has it all and then some more,  making it the best thing that could have happened to your weekend.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

To find it, easy,  just follow the Christmas trail!! (or you could check it out on Yelp…)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Strong Christmas sweater game? You’re probably getting close…

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Giant reindeer? Getting hot!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

And when you see a big group of Santas,  you know you’re in the right place!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Download the app and check into the event, get your wristband from one of the fantastic Yelpers on site (and say hi! for me), and you’re all set to go!

Go where I hear you say? The most wonderful place of them all.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Mulled wine land!

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

A hot cup of the Christmas staple will make you forget that winter is coming.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

And soon you’ll be saying that it’s ice cream weather.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + WhiskyYelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

(YES,  mulled wine ice pops are a real thing. A really,  really good real thing even!!)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

A side of mince pies is pretty much obligatory.

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

But that’s if you can resist the inviting smell of MeatLiquor‘s burgers (don’t even bother trying.)

Yelp #MulledWineFest London | Cake + Whisky

Eat, drink and be merry!

London’s first Mulled Wine Festival sure is the best way to welcome the festive season!!

Yelp’s #MulledWineFest is in full swing on Covent Garden Plaza today and tomorrow (November 13-14), 12-9 PM. Entry is free if you download the Yelp app and check into the event.

London’s First Mulled Wine Festival

London’s Dîner en Blanc 2015

There are events that look so beautiful they almost not feel real. From the very first time I read about Le Dîner en Blanc, I knew it would be one of those.

Launched by a Frenchman returning to Paris 27 year ago, the event has since grown and thousands of people attend one of the worldwide events each year. From Paris to New York, Cape Town, Brisbane and Copenhagen, every city wants to host their version of the chic-est picnic of the year.

And with a tradition of posh picnics as soon as the sun shines, London‘s first Dîner en Blanc was set to be a massive success.

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

Early in the evening, guests, dressed in white from head-to-toe, gathered at a few handpicked locations around town…

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

… before heading to the secret location the Dîner will be held at, causing a lot of confusion and wondering everywhere they pass by!

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

Secrecy is key in building anticipation, which is why everyone only finds out where it’s all going to be at the very last minute!

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

There truly is something quite magical in hundreds of people dressed in white all flocking to the same venue.

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

I heard people saying it must be a wedding, or coming to me asking what we were all up to… One thing is sure, it does leave everyone around wondering!

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

Once you finally arrive, it’s time for a few well-deserved selfies…

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

… as well as setting the tables and getting the picnic party started!

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

On that point, some are more organised than others…

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

(others being me, quite obviously! But in my defense, it was my very first Dîner en Blanc!)

Dîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + WhiskyDîner en Blanc London 2015 | Cake + Whisky

Actually, it didn’t look all that bad once I finished putting it all in order! There was salad and lemonade (and a few cheeky chocolate puddings as well!)…

Diner Blanc London 2015 officalDiner Blanc London 2015 officalAfter dinner, we lit sparklers, ate cake, danced and drank wine until late in the night.

The brightest party of the year? I sure think so!

 

London’s Dîner en Blanc 2015

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky Continue reading “Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms”

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky

Founded in 1895, The Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts held annually in the Royal Albert Hall.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyOften described as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”, it’s a very civilised affair indeed; no mud or camping here; it’s all about the Champagne and classical music.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyAnd to some extend, the queues… But well, when the best tickets in the house are only £5, I suppose it’s only fair game.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum, details | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum | Cake + WhiskyHaving picked up a couple of raffle tickets, we left the Royal Albert Hall behind and raced off towards South Kensington to pick up a few bits for a little pre-concert improvised picnicLa Patisserie des Reves, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyAfter contemplating our many options for a quite a while (and deciding that a pudding-only meal wouldn’t be reasonable despite how delicious everything in La Patisserie des Rêves‘ window looked), we settled for an old favourite: Comptoir LibanaisComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyWe picked up enough baba ganoush to feed a small army (and a few baklawas too, I simply couldn’t resist that amazing window display) and carried our feast back to the Royal Albert Hall. A Night at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySoon after we returned, we were led into the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyFrom then on, my jaw didn’t stop hitting the floor for the entire evening.

The architecture, the music, the company… Everything was perfect and made for one of the best nights I could ever have wished for.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t take pictures of the concert so I’m afraid you’ll have to go check it out for yourself some time soon!

Have you ever been to the BBC Proms? 

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

Gü’s Dessert Island

I’ve been so tired these last few weeks that I’ve been dreaming of beach holidays even more often than I usually do. All I wanted was the sound of the waves, the kiss of the salty wind on my face, a good book and maybe a few cheeky cocktails.

Unfortunately, taking the first plane to dreamy destinations such as St Lucia or the Barbados isn’t quite in my budget. Luckily, the team has more than one trick up its sleeves and when they invited me with the promess of pudding in a beach-stastic environment, I almost did a little dance of joy!

I quickly packed sunscreen, sunglasses and the rest of my summer essentials (more on this soon, keep your eyes peeled!) and I was on my way!Cake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upPudding paradise was waiting and I was READY!Cake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upAfter a quick look around the upstairs lounge (they had the most beautiful flowers there!) and a bit of a debate on which Gü dessert was the best (Chocolate & Vanilla cheesecake in my opinion, the combination of the dense chocolate truffle layer and airy vanilla mousse just can’t be beaten!), I was quickly swifted downstairs… or should I say St Lucia!Cake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upAaaah! Blue skies and transparent water. I could already feel myself being a lot more relaxed than I was a few minutes earlier! Cake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upCake + Whisky - Gu #dessertisland pop-upAnd the pudding you ask? Well it simply was as velvety and decadent as ever!

The Gü #DessertIsland experience is on at 15 Bateman Str. today (20/05/2015) and tomorrow (21/05/2015) and a little bird tells me they still have a few availability for tomorrow.. so if you’re in the neighbourhood, drop by for a delicious and relaxing experience!

Gü’s Dessert Island

Yelp’s After Hours Bubble Tea Event at Bubbleology | All the bubbles! | Notting Hill

One of the reasons I love London so much is that there’s always something new to explore. Which is closely related to one of the most challenging things about this city: finding a way to keep track of what’s going on!!

For a few weeks now, I’ve been trying out the Yelp app, which is the perfect pocket companion to any London explorer. It allows you to keep track of the places you’ve visited (thanks to the check-in option), give you the opportunity to read reviews before you pick a place to go out for dinner (bye-bye dodgy restaurants!) and even to write some yourself. Basically, it’s like the whole of London has suddently became your best friend and wants to give you tips about what you should check out (or not).

Even better yet, from time to time, Yelp actually organises events for you to meet other members! So on Friday, I grabbed one of my very best friends (who was visiting for the weekend) and we headed to Bubbleology in Notting Hill to the Yelp Afterhour Bubble Tea event!Cake + Whisky | Bubbleology Notting Hill Bubble TeaWe were greated by a wacky lab in the window… Mad scientist themed party? YES please!!Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill After taking a good look at all the scienc-ey artefacts (and clicking a few pictures of us lounging around…), it was time for the bubble madness to begin!Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill First up, pick up some tea from the very long list of flavours availables (here, apple-tea-ni or strawberry daiqui-tea). Add some chewy tapioca bubbles (they’re the dark ones and the most traditional topping) for good measure. Cake + Whisky | Bubbleology Notting Hill Bubble TeaNext up: move on to the less traditional, much more colourful side of things. Go crazy and add popping bubbles (they quite literally explode when you bite into them, it’s really fun!) and/or jelly bits… Better get a variety of colours and tastes too (you know, in the name of research…).Cake + Whisky | Bubbleology Notting Hill Bubble TeaTadaaaaaah, you’re really to go! All that’s left to do is find the classiest way to slurp those bubbles up! (I still haven’t quite found out, but I’m working on it!!)Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill If you need a little snack, Bubbleology has you covered too as they also serve delicious macaroons that are just as good as the one you can buy in the most luxurious of places! Except that they’re much cheaper (yay to that!!).
Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill Mingle with other Yelpers for a little while…Cake + Whisky | Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Notting Hill Grab another cup of bubble tea. Repeat. It’ll all make for a very nice night indeed.

What? Bubbly drinks in pretty much any flavour you can think of. Bubbleology doesn’t usually serve the cocktail versions of their teas (but I really really wish they will in the future as I fell in love with the strawberry daiqui-tea and our romance simply can’t end up that abruptly… Please help?)

Where? Bubbleology, 45 Pembridge Road, London W11 3HG

* disclaimer: Drinks & nibbles were courtesy of Bubbleology for the event. Yelp events are free to attend for registered members and they’re a lot of fun! Join in now, we can be buddies

Yelp’s After Hours Bubble Tea Event at Bubbleology | All the bubbles! | Notting Hill