Saturday, 30 June 2007

HOT: Carluccio's, Westbourne Grove Bayswater

My second time to Carluccio's chain of restaurant/cafes in as many weeks and the mushroom pardadelle was so good that I asked for a repeat performance. I also definitely recommend the gelati. Good quality home made pasta in bustling surroundings and a great fallback when faced with other potentially dodgy restaurants. Life's too short to eat bad food.

Friday, 29 June 2007

HOT: Space NK Shopping Night, Marylebone High Street Marylebone

My 'beauty philosophy' (cos every girl needs one) is that I will pay a bit for good skincare and facials, but refuse to buy expensive makeup. So I'd never been in Space NK before, dismissing it as full of pricey cult brands. But with three girlfriends in tow, free champagne and chocolates and a makeover, I was hooked. Everyone came out looking beauteous (I thought Annette looked like a movie star) and excitedly clutching our massive goodie bags.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

HOT: Ooze Risotto Bar, 62 Goodge Street

Thanks to toptable, a 3 course meal of bruschetta (great), seafood risotto (very good) and bombe alaska (wow) with wine came to 12 pounds per person! London is such an expensive town that a discount is a must when you're entertaining overseas guests. Carly and I hadn't seen each other since our Montreal days, and she hadn't changed! One day she'll be a famous musician and she'll be gushing about Ooze in NME.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

NOT: Fifth Floor, 5th floor Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge

I have to admit, my chicken salad and crumble was very good (and for the price, you'd hope so). But no matter how posh the location, it stilll felt like a department store restaurant to me, a place for a pitstop before hitting the fitting rooms again. And the service? Shocking - what's with gay bald waiters with 'tude in this city?

Sunday, 17 June 2007

HOT: The Waterway, Formosa Street Maida Vale

Watching canal boats putt their way up the water while sitting in the outdoor terrace of this fashionable canalside pub makes up for its slow service. Plus the juicy burgers and jugs of Pimms were very good and one waitress was absolutely lovely about the couches Matt and I had booked for our Virtual Housewarming.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

HOT: Aesop counter, Liberty of London Regent Street

I love the way Aesop products work on my skin, the no-nonsense packaging, the generous samples and that all the staff around the world know each other and are passionate about what they're selling. This little Australian company can only be found in London at glamorous department store Liberty, and the counter is presided by funky Tracey from Melbourne. For 40 pounds, I was taken into a room which looked like the inside of a bullet shell and Aesop magic worked on my face for 50 minutes. And the cost was redeemable with purchase which meant I came away with their most potent product - B Triple C gel. It smells lovely and feels fantastic!

Friday, 15 June 2007

HOT: Thai Origin, 38 Kensington Church Street

Intimate underground Thai restaurant, good as your standard local Thai restaurant. Avoid the starters and go straight to the curries and stir fries. Toptable strikes again!

HOT: Whole Foods Market, Kensington High Street

I was suspicious of the Whole Food phenomenon (Tesco trying to be green and good) but I admit I was blown away by the variety and presentation of the products - everything looked so fresh and healthy! My recommendation: the bulk food section, where you can press your own fresh nut butter, and stock up on pantry staples - I get my olive oil, maple syrup, honey, shoyu, red and white wine vinegars , rice, oats, seeds and nuts all from there. My sneaky tip is to buy your uber-expensive dried fruit such as cranberries and blueberries from the muesli bar - there is no rule about what you can fill inside your tub, and the tub costs only 7.98 a kilo. I also recommend the bakery (though not the croissants) and the fish counter, where the fresh fish is wrapped in special foil packages. Food heaven.

Update 25 July 2008: Whole Foods have just released a nifty market trolley for £19.95 which folds up into its own A4-sized zipped bag. Very cool, easy to throw in your handbag and a great gift.

Update 15 November 2008: My latest Whole Foods find - pies from the cutely-named Pie Minister. Try the wild mushroom and Heidi pies.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

HOT: Aveda Hairdressing, Kensington Church Street

Claire was recommended to me by Tracey from Aesop (see above) on my first day in London. She's a powerhouse hairdresser - ex-Toni & Guy assistant director, confidently skillful and talks at a million miles an hour. She really funked up my hair, only appropriate as my sartorial standards are taken up a notch in fashionable London. All for £40, apparently a bargain price in London. Ouch!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

HOT: Kiasu Malaysian restaurant Bayswater

My friend's boyfriend's girlfriend says it's the most authentic Malaysian she's had in London. The Haianese chicken rice was fragrant and the Char Kway Teo was not a soy sauce-soggy, MSG-laden mess. I'm definitely going back next time I have an Asian food craving.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

HOT: Paris je t'aime, Odeon Whiteleys Bayswater

I was stoked to have scored free tickets to "Paris, je t'aime", a gorgeous series of short films flicking through the neighbourhoods of Paris watching love begin, grow, rekindle and become lost. The experience was marred by our run in with some fat bitches who death-stared us as we shuffled past them to our seats, screamed when I accidentally stepped on one of their (fat) feet, then left midway through muttering 'I can't sit next to them, I don't want to sit next to them, they smell.' Did I mention that Caroline and I are Asian?

Sunday, 10 June 2007

HOT: Open Squares Weekend cycle around London

A sunny Sunday morning and I joined a bunch of die-hard cycling pensioners to visit some private gardens around London, open for just one weekend of the year. Kensington Roof Gardens had stunning views of the city, a Spanish terrace and flamingos (apparently fed carrots to make them more pink). Thrive Herb Garden, hidden in Battersea Park, was my ideal garden - edible and medicinal. And the garden is used as therapy for disabled people. Belgrave Square was a tree-filled delight serving cake, a band, and perfect families dressed in white. Middle Temple and Inner Temple were were appropriately contemplative and calm lawns for deep discussions. Finished off with more scones in Bloomsbury Square.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

HOT: Regent's Park picnic

It's 15 minutes from my house by bike and houses the London Zoo, but I'd never been to Regent's Park! What a better way to experience it's tranquil greeness than with a picnic with friends. I ate, then ate some more, then felt sleepy. The guys were more energetic, attempting to launch a kite to our great hilarity.

Monday, 4 June 2007

HOT: Benihana Japanese Restaurant, Kings Road Chelsea

A cavernous underground teppanyaki restaurant. But oh the food! 20 pounds for 7 courses of freshly cooked seafood (sushi grade salmon YES), meat and vegetables, coupled with dramatic chopping. I'll be going back with a group of people and not on a Monday night.

HOT: East London Graduate Fashion Show, Battersea Park

I love fashion shows and there's nothing that says 'I'm an arbiter of cutting edge fashion' than attending a Graduate show. My date? Huypac of the tight pants and pointy shoes. The beautiful models were certainly a cut above the David Jones parade, and they waltzed around in clothes we loved and clothes we hated (of course, the stupid frilly doll dresses won an award).