Sunday, 28 October 2012

Little Secret #10 – Franzè & Evans

What is common between a beauty therapist, an artist and a barrister? Redchurch street, right at the heart of Shoreditch, holds the is of course Franzè & Evans. Franzè & Evans is an italian delicatessen, very different and nothing like In Parma, which was established by three good friends Theresa Lococo, Nicolas Franzè and Clare Evans.
With a huge variety of sweets (including the unusual lemon and courgette as well as chocolate and beetroot cakes), salads and savory dishes, Franzè & Evans claim to source all their ingredients locally, sometimes organic, from suppliers the three friends know and respect.
The atmosphere is casual and relaxed with wooden tables and modern chandeliers (which seems like it is becoming the trend now like at Everbean). You can choose between large tables with comfy sofas or smaller and more private tables that remind somewhat of kids toys. The large mirrors running across one side of the store make the space look bigger and the large windows make sure the place has plenty of light...on a sunny day that is.

Franzè & Evans also offers many italian products and wine and of course all their food is available for take away. Apparently, Theresa also makes one of the best hummus in town. So why not buy your lazy Sunday lunch with an italian bottle of wine and avoid the Sunday cooking at home?  
There was only one thing that could have been better and this was the service...However, hopefully this was just a one off and therefore definitely worth visiting again.

Franzè & Evans
101 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DL
0044 20 7033 1910

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Little Secret #9 – BB Bakery County Hall

The BB Bakery County Hall is the new addition to busy Covent Garden which definitely catches your eye from outside and invites you to spend some time in a totally Parisian café.

The meringue towers just by the entrance are literally pieces of culinary art and are a great hint of what to expect inside. The overall style and atmosphere is french; with the Jacques Garcia chairs alongside dark wooden tables and old style china which give a very french heritage style. Even the staff, who almost all were french, were wearing a color coordinated pink outfit which resembled Marie Antoinette's maids
The variety of patisserie is amazing, such that it is almost impossible to decide which one to try. From amazing eclairs to soft delicious macaroons and cupcakes which can travel you to Paris in a bite.
Our pick of the day the amazing meringue lemon tart which had the perfect balance between the sourness of the lemons and the sweetness of the heavenly meringue. 
If you want to mentally travel to Paris and see the "Meringue Tower" then BB Bakery is the place to be...
BB Bakery County Hall 
6-7 Chandos Place, London , WC2N 4HU
0044 20 7836 6588

Monday, 10 September 2012

Little Secret #8 – Kaffeine

Who said that Kaffeine is only about caffeine. This Australian/New Zeland owned coffee place has lots more to offer from just great quality Square Mile coffee. An independent coffee place located literally 4-5 minutes away from Oxford Circus which has set the bar high for high quality coffee in Fitzrovia. 

Apart from great coffee a mixture of sweet and savoury treats is prepared daily by the friendly staff. The sandwich and salad ingredients change regularly to reflect the different seasons and provide a variety of options whilst showing the owners' passion for fresh quality vegetables and cheese. The menu changes weekly which means you will never get bored and will always have something new to try.   
The interior is very simple, exposed brick walls, tall tables with wooden stools and wooden crates which are put together to create tables and chairs. The outside area welcomes anyone who is keen to enjoy a nice iced latte in the sun. 
Our pick of the day is the blackboard located outside Kaffeine which always has a smart message to share with the by-passers and surely intrigues them to get in and try the coffee.  
Kaffeine is also the winner of the 2010 Allegra Best Independent Cafe Europe award. If the coffee experts rate it this high maybe you should see if you agree with them and if Kaffeine's coffee can make you a morning person...

66 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 7QJ

0044 20 7580 6755

Monday, 27 August 2012

Little Secret #7 – Everbean

Have you ever been out shopping and felt an urgent need to grab a coffee and a cake and  relax? In the heart of Mayfair and off the shopping paradise of New Bond street Everbean offers exactly the right energy or relaxation fix for shoppers.

Whether you are alone or with a big party there is plenty of seating downstairs, with comfy stools just by the bay window next to beautiful flowers or the large welcoming rotunda. The inside is industrial -which surprisingly does not make the place look cold at all- yet colourful and it is complimented by very imaginative handmade chandeliers with metallic butterflies.  
Another great feature of the interior is the overlooking balcony above the bar which creates a nice space upstairs with view on to the Avery Row shops. The selection of coffee, cakes, sandwiches and pastries is wide and complimented by very nice teas. 
The outside area has small tables, almost hidden by the lovely flowers, and the quiet surroundings of Avery Row make you forget for a moment that you are in the middle of a busy city. 
So whether you are a tired shopper, curious wanderer or coffee lover and you have never been to Everbean why not give it a try?

30 Avery Row, London, W1K 4BB
0044 075 7261 5440

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Little Secret #6 – 28°- 50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen

Do you have any idea between which latitudes most of the world's finest wines are produced? If you don’t maybe it’s worth paying a visit to the new 28°- 50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen whose name is the answer.

This new branch of the City based restaurant in Marylebone has a fascinating design which welcomes any eager pedestrian walking past it as its huge glass panes give the impression that the interior is well integrated with the exterior. Its open plan kitchen/bar which seats comfortably 12 people is the heart of this restaurant where some of the best wines in London are served in fine and stylish wine glasses. This is how all wine should be served... 
Similarly stylish is the smart and impressive idea of storing wine (including very rare collector wines) in wooden wine tagged boxes on large metal shelves that are accessed using a folding ladder at the back side of the bar.

The menu is as impressive as the design of the restaurant offering salads, soups and a selection of main courses and deserts. However, our pick of the day was from the sharing platter section: charcuterie and cheese platters which is the best company to a cold glass of white wine while listening to Doors.
Highlight: The huge vases with dark pink lilies which smelt amazing.
28°- 50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen
15-17 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2NE
0044 20 7486 7922

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Little Secret #5 – Lanka

On which island in London can you enjoy some of the finest French/Japanese patisserie whilst drinking Sri Lankan tea? But of course in Lanka (lanka means island in Sanskrit).
After working in Michelin stared restaurants in London for more than 15 years, Chef Masayuki Hara has opened this cute little patisserie in one of our favourite and busiest streets in Primrose hill - Regent's Park Road. Lanka offers a selection of Sri Lankan teas, very strong Monmouth coffee and some of the finest French/Japanese patisseries which can be easily compared with the ones offered by Patisserie Valerie or Paul. Our pick of the day: macaroons to die for...
The place itself is tiny and can only accommodate 8-10 people inside and 6 or so outside (weather permitting of course). 
Lanka also greets dogs with a bowl of fresh water next to the entrance but our little friends are also welcomed inside. This is a great place to treat yourself to fine French/Japanese deserts after enjoying beautiful Primrose Hill nearby - plus your dog will love it as well...

1 Regent's Park Road, 1 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 8UY
0044 20 7483 2544 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Little Secret #4 – In Parma (By Food Roots)

“If you are looking for the classic traditional italian restaurant which serves pizza and pasta this place is not for you.” – said the passionate owner (Christian) as we were sipping our fine Lambrusco.
In Parma (By Food Roots) offers something very different. High quality cheese, wine and charcuterie. This lovely little gem located in one of the nicest alleys in Fitzrovia will change the way you think about italian restaurants.
Clearly a lot of time and thought has been put into this tiny cozy restaurant which is decorated with wooden lattices containing traditional italian products, hanging italian meats, cheeses and wines . The atmosphere is nicely complemented with brazilian music and with friendly staff who clearly know their job very well...The knowledgeable owner, very passionate about what he does, can explain to you with every little detail about his PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) products and his country of origin.
The selection of original italian products is amazing not only in terms of breadth but also in terms of quality - all of them are personally chosen by the owner from the best producers in Parma.  Our pick of the day was the finely sliced prosciutto served on a wooden board. 
This is the perfect place to enjoy a fojeta of fine Lambrusco and try one of the best – if not the best   prosciutto you have ever tasted... 

In Parma (By Food Roots)
10 Charlotte Place, London, W1T 1SH
0044 20 8127 4277

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Little Secret #3 – Nordic Bakery

What better way to start a Sunday morning than with a warm coffee accompanied by a sweet or savoury freshly baked pastry? The Nordic Bakery offers exactly what you have been looking for; the perfect place to enjoy Sunday morning and read your paper in peace.

The Finish owners have gone with bold blue coloured walls (at the Golden Square, Soho branch) and simple dark grey ones (at the New Cavendish, Marylebone branch), next to wooden wall panels, dark wooden tables and little stools that look a bit like giant coffee beans. The stylish furniture and tableware shows that the owners have paid particular attention to detail and the way the coffee is served simply makes you feel at home...
Along with great coffee Nordic Bakery offers a selection of sweet in-house baked goods and a range of sandwiches and savouries. Our pick of the day was the Nordic sticky cinnamon bun, fresh out the oven, it was still warm when we tried it. Sticky and crunchy on the outside and doughy on the inside. The strong cinnamon taste almost brings back Christmas memories and definitely fills you up. Simply delicious...
You can now pick between three different locations depending on what you are after. The one on Golden Square seems to be the busiest so if you just want to relax and have a quiet one it might worth trying the one on New Cavendish Street or their new branch on Dorset Street. Enjoy...

Nordic Bakery

14a Golden Square, London, W1F 9JG
0044 20 3230 1077

37b New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 8JR
0044 20 7935 3590

48 Dorset Street, London, W1U 7NE
0044 20 7487 5877

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Little Secret #2 – Henry Moore: Late Large Forms

Just a couple of days after the announcement of Henry Moore’s Sundial sculpture being stolen from the garden of the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire we visited the Late Large Forms exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery. Located few minutes away from Kings Cross station in a quiet street, this little gallery had the honour to host nine large-scale sculptures of Henry Moore; some of which are being presented indoors for the first time.
Large Two Forms, 1966
The vast size of Moore’s sculptures made the gallery look tiny and we could not help but wonder how these mammoths made it in there - later on we discovered that a wall had to go down in order to accommodate them. The fact that they were indoors made the vibe much more personal. The white background surrounding their strong metal figures made them look vibrant and natural although the sculptures were not actually in their "natural environment".


Large Spindle Piece, 1974

Our pick of the day was the Large Four Piece Reclining Figure which depicts even stronger the contrast between its bronze patina and the white background.  

Large Four Piece Reclining Figure, 1972-73

Other sculptures of this exhibition include:
Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, 1979-81
Reclining Figure: Hand, 1979
Seated Woman: Thin Neck, 1961

Almost hidden close to the end of the gallery nine hand-sized scale maquettes present a real contradiction compared to their real-size sculptures.  An exhibition totally worth visiting...

The Henry Moore exhibition will be on until the 18th of August 2012.

Gagosian Gallery 

6-24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD
0044 20 7841 9960

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Little Secret #1 – Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar

In a small street just off one of the busiest streets in London, Oxford Street, is located one of the most original and independent Espresso & Brew Bars in London. At Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar baristas know how to make the perfect cappuccino by brewing some of the finest British coffees.


The atmosphere is very relaxed and minimal, white walls with very colourful paintings, long dark grey benches with comfy metal stools and Lana Del Rey playing in the background.  I love it when there is music playing in coffee places like this, it gives them such a different vibe. The staff were all very friendly and especially while explaining to the sweet pregnant lady next to me how to prepare her chai tea which by the way smelt great.The Espresso bar also offers a wide range of hot and cold sandwiches, delicious cakes and croissants.


Definitely recommended for a short or long coffee break from shopping or work as the location is perfect. If you are lucky and the sun is out, unlikely this summer, you can always sit at the tables outside and enjoy the sun! 

Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar

3 Lowndes Ct, London, W1F 7HD
0044 20 7434 3340