Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Khushi Indian Buffet Restaurant, Middlesbrough - Restaurant Review

 Middlesbrough's newest Indian Buffet restaurant has opened up on the outskirts of Linthorpe Village. The less-developed end of Linthorpe offers few decent options to eat and drink, but Khushi may just be the thing to remedy that.
Formerly the Red Rose pub, the building from the outside seems secretive and enclosed, but once inside it is bright, airy and spacious. The whole place has been opened up so as you enter you are faced with rows of buffet tables stacked with food. The staff were ever so lovely, friendly and always helpful.
Buffet style is new for me. Without wishing to sound above myself, going out for a meal means being served. Here at Khushi, you must grab a plate, fill it up with whatever you wish, and then bring it back to your table - like breakfast at a hotel. But the advantage of this is you can take your time, take as much (or as little) food as you wish, and wait as long (or not) as you feel like for the next round. Eat starters the whole time if you wish! I almost ended up doing that... A selection of prepared starters included pakoras and samosas as well as some non-Indian sundry dishes such as chicken popcorn and onion rings. An entire buffet table offers sauces and condiments. Hot starters such as chicken tikka, lamb sheeshk, and fish masala sit in a row of chafing dishes, along with slices of naan bread.
In the centre you can choose your main meal from a selection of curry, including lamb Rogan Josh, chicken Karma, Chicken Karachi and the Khushi special. Rice, Tarka daal, and a range of aloos also available.  

Pakoras, Samosas, Bombay Aloo, Chicken Tikka, Khushi Special Curry, two courses, and raspberry cheesecake.
  Food is good value for money at £12.99 per adult, when you can eat as much as you like. Even non Indian food fans can come along as there is also a selection of pizza and various fried food to cater for them. Perhaps even tempt them to try something a bit spicy? The drinks are a tad extortionate at £4.99 a pint, but you can have a bottle of house wine for around fifteen smackers. The place is clean and the staff are attentive, taking your empty plates away as quickly as they are finished. Quality-wise, the food is freshly cooked onsite en masse so is a good as can be expected when it may have been sitting there for a while.
Desserts are currently a selection of cheesecake, chocolate cake and fresh ice cream, with a variety of Indian desserts coming soon. Overall the restaurant is clean and the service, despite some reviews, can't be faulted.

Newly opened, Khushi has potential to become a destination restaurant for Linthorpe Villagers and visitors alike. A few tweaks to the buffet itself, and with the help of some local development and clientele, I wish Khushi all the very best. Eat with Happiness.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Cake

Christmas is nearly upon us! How many times have we read that recently...!
Tis true though, only a week away. Lots to do, so I've decorated my Christmas cake today. I made it in November sometime, and instead of one big round one as I usually do I made it into two smaller squares.
My Mum's recipe, as usual, had a weekly bath in fine Irish whisky, and I've used whisky marmalade as a glaze instead of apricot.
My 9 year old wanted to help, as it's for Grandma, so I let her off with some red sugarpaste and access to my 'toolbox'. Off her own bat she used a stocking shaped cutter (from last year's crackers, I'm sure!) and a gold edible pen, and we stuck the stockings round the edge.
I wanted to keep it simple, so I simply made lots of little white sugarpaste stars and made a Christmas tree shape, with red and gold edible glitter.
The other square cake I simply covered in white sugarpaste, pressed in some snowflake shapes and sprinkled in white edible glitter. Simples. That cake is already gone, so no picture...
Happy Christmas Everyone!
Ho ho ho...

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Homemade Truffles with Orange, Cointreau and Pistachio - Recipe

 A last minute chocolate-y treat for a visit to my lovely friends. I had a rummage to see what I had in, and what I could make in the couple of hours I had in between everything else that's going on! I had a bar of white chocolate, a jar of Terry's chocolate orange spread (like Nutella, just even more delicious!), a bit of cream, and then the usual store cupboard ingredients. I read somewhere about easy microwave truffles, so I thought, hmm... that should work!
I was really chuffed with my friends' response to these so I thought I'd share the recipe. Although normal truffles are made with dark chocolate, I used the white, and added in extra cocoa. The texture was soft and gooey but no worse for it...
Chocolate Orange and Cointreau Truffles
Makes: about 20
Prep Time: 30 minutes plus freezing and chilling time (at least an hour)
200g white chocolate
2-3 tbsps Terry's chocolate orange spread (of course you can use Nutella)
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splash of Cointreau (for a bit of naughtiness and so the kids can't have any!)
To decorate:
Chopped pistachios
Edible glitter
Cocoa powder
Break up the chocolate, and in a microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate, chocolate spread, cream and butter together in 30 second blasts, mixing in between, until it is all smooth and non-lumpy.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla and Cointreau.
Place in a flat dish and into the freezer for at least half an hour, longer if you have the time.
Once the mixture is quite solid (but not rock hard), remove from the freezer, and using a teaspoon make little balls. You can shape them in your hand, so prepare get messy! Ideally a watermelon baller thingy would work perfectly here, or a mini ice cream scoop.
Once you have shaped the truffle, roll it in either chopped pistachios, edible glitter or cocoa.
Pop on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and place in the fridge to set until you are ready to eat them. For a quicker setting time, stick them in the freezer for a bit.
Store in the fridge, as they lose their shape if they are not kept cool.
Gooey. But good.

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Godiva Chocolates launch Come Fly With Me at Hix Soho

Honoured once more to be amongst the 'select few' invited to the launch of the winning Godiva Chocolate Challenge dessert at Hix, Soho, I popped into the Brewer St venue on an otherwise dull Tuesday evening for a real treat.

Come Fly With Me at Hix

Heather Bennett, last year's winner with her Conference of Chocolate, returned as creator of THE most sumptuous dish, Come Fly With Me. The chefs at Hix have, in their wisdom, adapted it slightly for restaurant service, but you can find Heather's original recipe for Come Fly with Me here, and trust me, it's worth it.

Fuelled by a specially designed Chocotini (that's a Martini made with Black Cow's Milk-distilled vodka - the perfect accompaniment to any chocolate dish), I had an entire dish to myself. Whilst talking to Heather and the PR people, I do believe I zoned out, savouring every single mouthful of milk chocolate mousse, surrounded by chocolate and raspberry meringues and infused with rose cream and fresh raspberries to perfectly balance out the sweetness. Pure heaven. Hix Heaven. Indeed I did feel as though I could Come Fly With Me... 'inspired by the classic French Concorde, like its namesake and Godiva it is a symbol of Luxury.'

Chocotini at Hix Soho

Godiva's brief this year was more complex than last year: Mousse, Meringue, and a touch of pink - a task which Heather embraced with her inimitable talent for chocolatiering. For every entry, Godiva made a donation to Breast Cancer Now, and continue to donate with each purchase of their delicious Mousse Meringues. (For what it's worth, I LOVE the lemon one!)


Heather Bennett, Godiva Chocolate Challenge winner for the second year 
As for Heather, well... not only is she an accomplished Chocolatier, AS A HOBBY, she often spends weekends making up delicious chocolate treats. She has a pop-up chocolate shop at work and you can find many of her products on her website, Coco Cat Chocolates. Will she return next year for the next Godiva Chocolate Challenge? Please yes!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ma Petite Jamaica, Camden - Restaurant Review

Ma Petite Jamaica is London's newest Caribbean diner - a Jerk Pit and Reggae Bar. Just a couple of minutes from Camden Town tube, Inverness Street is a thus little-known part of the infamous Camden now peppered with several new restaurants, catering for tourists and Londoners alike.

I was invited along for a review for Love Food Love Drink on a quiet yet blustery Tuesday evening. We were seated in the centre in what felt like a spotlight, other quieter cosier tables scattered around under bamboo canopies, with colourful art and furniture brightening up a dull November.
The staff were lovely, young and friendly, and we could see the chefs at work in the kitchen at the back of the restaurant.

Nothing like starting with a cocktail to warm the, err, cockles. Many rum-based favourites like Cuba Libre and the might Mojito, but we opted for a Spanish Town Rumgria - basically, yes, a sangria made with 7 year old Havana rum, but MUCH more potent! - and a Bird of Paradise, a fruity colourful number, also extremely potent. Totally tropical, mon.

Bird of Paradise, and Spanish Town Rumgria

To start, we greedily ordered three plates between two of us: Pumpkin and chickpea curry with stuffed roti - creamy and full of warmth; Jerk chicken skewers, served with a peanut sauce - this was a huge portion, lacking in spice I found, until about halfway through, when the chilli hit me (maybe I was numb from the rum!); Salt fish fritters with a mango chutney - crispy and a little dry, but full of flavour. You can choose from a range of small plates and larger platters to share, tapas stylee, to get a flavour for all the traditional Jamaican dishes - patties, ackee dumplings and barbecued ribs.

Jerk Chicken Skewers, Pumpkin and Chickpea curry, Saltfish Fritters
Not quite stuffed enough, and continuing on the warming theme, we then opted for curried goat - of course! Served with rice and peas (obviously) and crispy fried plantain, this dish was the highlight of the evening. Tender (it had been slow cooked over 24 hours), rich, and just the right amount of spice. The only downside was the bones, but that was indicative of the length of cooking. Also, the red snapper, a meaty white fish, served with a barbecue jerk sauce - sumptuous.

Red Snapper, Curried Goat

As the evening wore on, the reggae played and the wine magically disappeared, we felt chilled, and warmed at the same time. A great little find in Camden town, for great food, tropical tastes and a totally relaxed vibe. Them belly full.

Ma Petite Jamaica
4 Inverness Street, Camden
020 7482 2977

Meal for two with wine/cocktails ~£65
Lunchtime Belly Full meals £7.50

Read my review for Love Food Love Drink magazine here.

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Ma Petite Jamaica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Arigato Sushi and Thai, Winchmore Hill - Restaurant Review

Thai cuisine is my favourite. Luckily for me, a new Thai and Japanese restaurant has opened up locally, so I felt it my duty to check it out with some friends and let North Londoners know what it's like.

Located on Green Lanes, a few minutes walk down Station Road from the Green and the pubs of Winchmore Hill, Arigato offers a menu with all the traditional best-loved Thai dishes, as well as an array of Japanese specialities such as Sushi, Sashimi, Nigiri and Teriyaki. Formerly Makan Minum, a Malaysian eatery, it has been refurbished in a contemporary oriental style with some Japanese pallet tables and a guitar inside the door for anyone to play (we didn't!).

Mixed Starter: Spring Rolls, Prawns in blankets, Prawn toast, Thai Fishcakes and Satay chicken
Pud Thai
Thai Green Curry
Mussaman Curry

I have read quite a few bad reviews, poor service, wrong orders, but on this occasion the waitresses were very sweet and helpful. As it's BYOB they charge a small corkage fee, so once we plonked our Prosecco on the table, the waitress brought us glasses without even asking. The Japanese menu is extensive and seems to cover all areas of Japanese food, but we stuck to the Thai menu (which is, after all, the best cuisine there is!).

Starters are the thing. Always a good barometer: If you just want to carry on eating starters all evening then you know it's good. However, I wasn't blown away by them. I think I wanted to be, but the satay chicken didn't taste of anything, and the spring rolls were falling apart. Between three of us we ordered the mixed starter and it was just enough.

The main event was much more promising though. My friend ordered the Thai Green curry and it was fresh and flavoursome, though perhaps lacking in heat. My Mussaman curry was actually really good - creamy and coconutty with some the traditional potatoes and topped crispy fried onions. My other friend had the Pad Thai and was rather impressed. 

Portion sizes were really big - if we hadn't been going on to the pub we would have had enough for a whole other meal to take home. Since eating here, my friend has ordered takeaways from Arigato and been more than happy. This is great for the area, particularly since the closing down of the Green Dragon Pub, where the Thai food was excellent. It did feel a little as if it were a Japanese restaurant catering for people who liked Thai food, and specializes more in Sushi and the like, so I think I may have to return to try out some tempura and maybe a bento box...

Doitashimashite (You are welcome!)

741 Green Lanes N21 3RX
020 3581 1609

~£15 a head, not including drinks
Bring your own alcohol.
Cards not accepted.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Godiva Chocolate Challenge #2 - The Finals

As National Chocolate Week draws to a close, I know of one lady who will still be celebrating. Last year's Godiva Challenge Winner, Heather, returned this year as a finalist and according to the judges, it was no 'Hix Fix' that she retained her title.

The four judges, Mark Hix, Gizzi Erskine, William Sitwell and Godiva's Master Chocolatier Jean Apostolou (an old friend of mine ;)), took a little less than an hour of deliberation whilst us honoured invited guests (and non-finalists) mingled and tasted the four desserts. Impressive skills, a high standard and being able to taste the fine chocolate ingredients was key in their decision. Each finalist reproduced their dish six times - four for each of the judges, one for photos, and one for the rest of us to sample.

The four entries were:

Heather Bennet: Come Fly With Me

Heather's was really original, and so complex it took about six hours to re-create. Good luck with that to the professional chefs that will be serving it up in Mark Hix's Soho restaurant!

Come Fly With Me: Raspberry and Chocolate Meringue, Chocolate Mousse, Caramelised Almonds and Rose Cream

Anoop Momi: Nuts About Cherry

Anoop was supported by his lovely girl, who is always urging him to enter the Great British Bake Off. I reckon he would have a really good chance, his dish was perfection, in presentation as well as taste.

Nuts About Cherry: White Chocolate, Cherry and Pistachio Delice, Macarons, Tempered Chocolate, Kirsch Cherry and Ganache.

Joe Fallowfield: You Can Eat Flowers

Joe's beautiful dish showed off his chef skills with originality and opulence. An explosion of chocolate flavours.
You Can Eat Flowers: Chocolate and Rose Mousse, Kirsch Ice Cream Meringue, with Edible Flowers.

Rosanna McPhee: Chocolate Nut Torte with Cherry Meringue Ice Cream

Rosanna's dessert was, in my humble opinion, home cooking at its best. Although delicious and extremely skilled, it's also quite an accessible dish, which I hope to re-create soon.

You can find Rosanna's recipe here.

Chocolate Nut Torte with Amarena Cherry Meringue Ice Cream

Another wonderful evening hosted by Godiva. And better still, for every purchase of their delicious Mousse Meringues, they will donate a percentage to Breast Cancer Now. What better incentive to indulge in some luxurious chocolate?

Chef and Judge Mark Hix with the Godiva Challenge Winner, Heather.
Photos courtesy of LuxxPR, Photography by Carl Pendle.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Li Veli Winery & Bistro, Covent Garden - Restaurant Review

Li Veli Winery and Bistro, on Long Acre in Covent is bringing the simple authentic cuisine of Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy, to London. I was invited in for a review for Love Food Love Drink, and as soon as we arrived we were treated like VIPs. Our reserved table in the window was perfect for people watching, both on the street and inside this modern, spacious and stylish eatery featuring elements of Apulian design.

Li Veli Winery & Bistro

Our very charming maitre d', Nicolas, ushered us to our seats and remained attentive but not intrusive for the evening. From the Antipasti menu he recommended the Apulian 'Frisella' Bread and the Fave e Cicora, a broad bean mash with chicory. Not being a huge fan of tomatoes, I tentatively ordered the Frisella, a wholewheat bagel bread covered in organic cherry tomatoes and doused in San Domenico olive oil. It was good, really good. A sizable portion too. Himself went for the red tuna tartare instead of the Fave, and both of us were stuffed after our starters. 

Frisella Bread; Red Tuna Tartare; San Domenico Olive Oil;
Aubergine Parmagiana; Orcchiette; Pistachio Ice Cream
Most of the wine served in Li Veli is sourced from the owner's own vineyards in Puglia, The Masseria Li Veli. The white wine was light and fresh and extremely drinkable. The red, served with our mains, was earthier and slid down our throats like silk. 

Li Veli wines
Li Veli wines

For mains, we followed Nicolas's advice and plumped for homemade organic orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta, served with melted anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs. For me, aubergine parmigiana, topped with smoky caciocavallo cheese - delicious. 
The menu catered well for vegetarians, with only a few meat dishes, but every was organic, fresh, and simple. This simple yet sophisticated style is typically Italian, and more so Pugliese, taking quality ingredients and serving them in time-honoured traditions.

Dessert was the highlight of the meal. Tiramisu, of course, and an enticingly flavourful pistachio ice cream, drizzled with San Domenico olive oil. This you have to try for yourself. You won't believe it works, but it does. 

Join these two families, one culture, and the traditional Apulian taste in Covent Garden. Not your typical pizzeria...

69 Long Acre, WC2E 9JS
020 7240 8163

Pre-Theatre Dinner (5-7pm) 2 Courses £18, 3 Courses £22

Read my review for Love Food Love Drink Magazine here.

Li Veli Winery & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Godiva Chocolate Challenge #2 - Chilli Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry and Lime Italian Meringue

This year's entry to the Godiva Chocolate Challenge - an added incentive to submit this before tonight's deadline is that Godiva are very generously donating a fiver to Breast Cancer Awareness for each entry. After last year's challenge, I know the standard will be ridiculously high, so here is my humble attempt.

Chocolate Chilli Mousse with Raspberry and Lime Italian Meringue


Prep Time: 1 hour plus 1 hour chilling
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4


For the chilli chocolate mousse:

120 g Godiva dark chocolate callets
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp chilli powder
4 tbsp milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tbsp caster sugar

For the raspberry coulis:

200 g fresh raspberries
50 g caster sugar
50 ml water

For the meringue:

2 egg whites
Juice 1 lime
120 g caster sugar
60 ml water

First make the chilli chocolate mousse:

Melt the chocolate callets in a heatproof bowl over a bowl of simmering water. Stir gently until smooth.

Combine the milk, cocoa powder and chilli powder into a smooth paste and add to the melted chocolate, stirring well.

Beat the egg yolks and add to the chocolate mixture. Cook this gently over the simmering water for about five minutes until thick, stirring all the time.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until there are soft peaks, then add the sugar and whisk until glossy. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.

Divide this mousse mixture into four cocktail or wine glasses, or glass ramekins, and chill for about an hour.                           

 Next, prepare the raspberry coulis:

In a small saucepan, put the raspberries, water and sugar, and bring to the boil.

Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Strain the coulis so you get a thin dark pink coulis, and set aside.

Finally, prepare the Italian meringue:

Make the sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stirring constantly until it boils. Allow it to boil for about five minutes.

While the syrup is bubbling, whisk the egg whites with the lime juice until you get soft peaks.

Slowly pour in the hot syrup and keep whisking until you get the correct consistency - stiff peaks.

At the very end of whisking, add about a teaspoon of the raspberry coulis to turn the meringue a light pink colour.

Once the mousse has set, pipe the meringue on top, and drizzle some of the remaining coulis around the side of the dish.

Good luck to all the entrants and most of all, thanks to Godiva for their generous donations to Breast Cancer Awareness.
The final takes place on 13th October, where four finalists will have their dessert - chocolate, meringue, and ... a touch of pink, judged by Mark Hix, William Sitwell, and Gizzi Erskine.
The winning dessert will be served at Hix Selfridges for a week!

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Indonesian Coconut Chicken - Recipe

As ever, for dinner, I wanted something quick and delicious, and had a few leftovers to use up. An opened packet of mini chicken fillets, the most of a can of coconut milk and a spanking new ScanPanCTX to try out.

I found a recipe in a little book called Step-by-Step Indonesian Cooking, which I brought back from Bali, about a million years ago. I just needed an inspiration so this one for Beef in Toasted Coconut appealed:

As I only had about half the ingredients, and a few other things I wanted to use, it was time to devise my own recipe. Here, my friends, is Indonesian Coconut Chicken. You Are Welcome.

Indonesian Coconut Curry

Serves 2

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


6-8 mini chicken fillets
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon rind, grated
2 cm piece ginger, chopped
1-2 chillies, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp palm sugar (or demerrera)
1 tin coconut milk (a little less will do)
oil for cooking
handful peanuts, chopped
3-4 tsp desiccated coconut
sprinkle of fresh coriander, chopped


Place the coconut milk in a bowl and add the garlic, lemon rind, ginger, chillies, ground coriander and turmeric, palm sugar, and the chicken. Marinate for as long as you wish, but 15 minutes is fine. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and drop the chicken in. Fry off gently until the chicken is cooked. Let the sauce to reduce but don't let it get dry.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the desiccated coconut and toss it through. This will toast the coconut and add a lovely texture.

Serve on a bed of rice, garnished with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Ruby Murray Curry

The best thing about food blogging is other food blogs. Love them. Always an inspiration, always something you need at just the right time. The first night back after our Spanish holiday (yes, I've been away - what, you didn't notice?!) nothing else would do but a curry. And for some reason, it had to be a Ruby Murray from Dishoom. It was a yearning. It had to be made. 

I found the recipe on The Food I Eat, written by an East London food blogger, with unending knowledge of the London food scene, restaurants, recipes and all the latest trends. She was sent the recipe for Chicken Ruby Murray by Dishoom themselves, after visiting their Southbank Pop-up a couple of years back.

It's relatively easy and doesn't take long, though I did have all the ingredients in my store cupboard. Although I do need a new bay tree... I may have left it simmer a little too long as the sauce reduced a bit too much, but the delicate flavours and tender chicken were just what I needed after landing back to the cool rain of London town. 

It's delish. Make it. I certainly will again.

Ruby Murray. Recipe by The Food I Eat. 

Oh, and speaking of food blogs, I was delighted to be included in an infographic by Rebatezone, a website which offers coupons, discounts and offers on shopping, and has collated their Top 50 Food Blogs in the UK. There I am at Number 39! That's me! Thanks folks!

Lots of lovely food blogs to read now...

Top 50 Food Blogs In UK

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Addis, Caledonian Road - Restaurant Review

 Another new cuisine for me. Ethiopian. I'm not sure what I was expecting - beans and rice maybe. At Addis, we were served by a Macy Gray lookalike, smiling but abrupt. We did take an awful long time to decide... My friends had been before and just remembered it all being good, so I was sure to be in for a tasty meal.
Ethiopian Red Wine

And I was. The Ethiopian wine was a must, just because. It was a light red and went well with all the dishes. We had an aubergine salad with tahini and yoghurt to start - Selata Aswad. If you're a fan of aubergine, this is another take on it. Creamy and savoury with a hint of sweetness.

For mains (and in Ethiopia they usually only serve main dishes), we ordered four. The most traditional dish is the Wot, a hot pepper and spice stew with the meat of your choice. I ordered the Doro Wot (Hot) and Macy Gray looked at me as if it were too hot for me, was I sure? I was. It wasn't. It was delicious. All dishes are served on a large Injera, which is a type of soft pancake. Each person has another rolled up on the side (and more if you require), and all the dishes are poured onto the centre. We had Awaze Tibs, a lamb dish, fried cubes of meat with Ethiopian peppers, onions and spices; Shiro Wot which is a chickpea sauce; and Fuul Musalah, a fava bean stew with feta. Each dish, all of them a 'stew', was unique, full of flavour and eaten with the fingers, by rolling up a piece of unleavened bread and scooping it up. Don't come to eat here if you are OCD.

Selata Aswad; Fuul Musalah; Doro Wot; Awaze Tibs; Shiro Wot
Only a couple of minute's walk from King's Cross station, my first foray into African cuisine certainly won't be my last. We didn't have time for dessert or coffee but apparently the ceremony surrounding the coffee is worth coming back for alone, as if the exceptional Ethiopian food wasn't enough. 

40-42 Caledonian Road
N1 9DT
Meal for two with wine ~£40

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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Ziferblat, Old Street - The Time Café (ZomatoMeetUp#2)

Time is money. In Ziferblat, you only pay for your time. A 10 minute walk down Old Street (keep going, you'll find it!), on the junction with Shoreditch High Street, you'll see a non-descript shopfront with a door to the flat upstairs. Get yourself buzzed in, take a clock and enjoy the relaxed homely feel of somebody's living room. You can work, you can chat, you can drink coffee. No menus or table service, you can avail yourself of whatever you find in the kitchen: tea (of many varieties), coffee, cereal, bring your own food and heat it up... There are board games, bookswaps, and even a piano. Can't be bothered to hoover? Host a book club or an informal meeting here instead of in your house.

With free Wi-fi and comfy chairs, endless tea, and biscuits, you could end up staying for longer than you mean to. At 5p per minute, your clock ticks but you don't notice. The lovely David will help you with whatever you need.

I was there for the Zomato Meet Up. A bunch of lovely food bloggers, who all write reviews on Zomato, as well as their own fabulous food blogs. All foodies, all singing from the same hymn sheet. We all brought a dish of our own to share, and devoured each other's. David made us tea, and Zomato's Alexandra and Sheepa made us feel like VIPs.



Malaysian Curry Puffs by Vi Vian
Vi Vian's Food Blog

Ricotta and Chocolate Bundt Cake by Federica
Whatever Gets You Through The Day

White Russian Cupcakes by ME!
Recipe from KatieCakes
I made 'em, I didn't invent them!

Salted Caramel Brownies by Sheepa
Food That Makes You Smile

Dairy-free Zebra cake- with Nutella!  by Naomi

Feta and Spring Onion Bouikos by Sheepa
Food That Makes You Smile

Roasted Vegetables and Couscous with Balsamic Dressing by Ellie
The Young Domestic Goddess

Vietnamese Mango Noodle Salad by May
Red Velvet London

Initially I was apprehensive about the absence of alcohol, but I came away at the end of the evening just as buzzed up and feeling as though I'd been drinking wine all evening. The chat, the food, and the common love of food and writing made it an event to cherish.

Thank you Zomato, and Ziferblat for hosting.

All photos by Sheepa.

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