Friday, 1 August 2014

A Spicy Zomato Meet-up at Pacata

I suffer from terrible fear of missing out (FOMO), especially when it comes to great opportunities to meet new people and taste great food! But with a wedding to organise and then an epic honeymoon I found myself unable to attend lots events that I wanted to go to. I even considered popping along to a Blogger's Afternoon Tea the day before my wedding! But obviously I spent it with my family instead... 

A few months ago I met with the lovely ladies from Zomato and I started adding my reviews to their website. I loved the concept of Zomato as it's unlike other foodie websites, not only can you find amazing restaurants, add your own experiences and share them with your friends but you can also follow your favourite foodies and read their reviews. There is also a convenient app which allows you to see what restaurants are nearby and read the latest reviews from the foodies that you trust. 

The fab team at Zomato had invited me to dinner Notting Hill Kitchen, dumpling making at Marani and another cocktail night, all of which, with regret I had to say 'no' to. Finally a couple of weeks ago when Alexandra from Zomato invited me to another cocktail meet up I was able to go!! 


There was no more FOMO and I could join in the twitter conversation in the build up to the event! 

The #ZomatoMeetup took place at Pacata, a fab new Covent Garden restaurant that fuses Eastern and Western cuisine to create innovation Asian Comfort Food. 

It was great to put some faces to names / twitter handles.


From left to right is Amy from Yummei, Rebecca from Runaway Kiwi and Fiona from The Very Hungry Londoner. Not pictured, I also met Ella from Little Brown Books, Owen from Food Over London and Miho from Wander to Wonder. I love meeting fellow foodies and it was great to get everyone to together in one place. The cocktails that you can see the girls holding are A Secret Garden (containing apple, pear, cinnamon, rum and Singha beer) and Anahata Rama (gin, basil, ginger, lemongrass cordial, fresh lemon and guanbana juice), the perfect concoctions for a summer's day!!

The Zomato gang led us upstairs for a surprise...


It was a Zomato themed rickshaw, we were asked to take some #Zelfies (Zomato Selfies) and post them across our social media. Obviously this involved a game of 'See how Many Food Bloggers You Can Fit in A Rickshaw.' We got around 8 people in but it was pretty wobbly...

Back inside Pacata another round of cocktails came out: 


And we gathered round for a demonstration on how to make a Papaya Salad. 




The Thai chef added chilli, cherry tomatoes, green beans, lime and garlic to the already prepared papaya and carrot. 


He used a green papaya as opposed to the orange one that we're used to and explained that it could purchased in Asian supermarkets but if you can't get hold of one it can be substituted with celery or turnip. He added a mixture of fish sauce and cane sugar to the preparation and the spicy salad was ready to try. 


As it's so spicy, he explained it's best eaten with the lettuce wrap - along with some pork scratchings! With appetites whetted it was time for more food and some canapes were circulating allowing us to try some dishes from the Pacata menu: 


Popcorn chicken was the star of the night.


But chicken satays and mini Korean burgers also went down a storm. 

Next it was time for a cocktail making lesson...


Pacata's skilled barman put together a Hustler: he pounded lychees and passion fruit into a glass and added lemon juice, sugar syrup and ice...



and a good swig of gin...


And let us have a sniff of the orange liquor before adding that too. Then it was time for two intrepid bloggers to try their hand at cocktail making and with a generous amount of 'juice 'n gin' the ladies prepared their rather tart Asian cocktails. 

And so ended a rather fabulous night of foodie fun at Pacata.

If you enjoy my reviews I'd love for you to follow me on Zomato, that way you'll never miss out either 

Pacata 
4 New Row Street
London
WC2N 4LH
020 724  01602

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Palm Court Brasserie - You Can't Beat the Classics

We are all creatures of habit but, as my blogging buddies will tell you, it can become a little frustrating; we want our blogs to show a diverse range of cuisine and that means we can't always order our fall back favourites. However, sometimes the classics are the best and often this means good old-fashioned French cooking. The Palm Court Brasserie is a Covent Garden stalwart which is open from midday to midnight seven days week.

When dining en-Francaise I like to start with a glass of champagne...

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

....who am I kidding, I always like to start with a glass of champagne!!

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

The interior of the brasserie replicates an elegant French cafe.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

Complete with art-nouveau design, bistro chairs, vintage posters and...

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

....a large bronze champagne bucket.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

Mr S chose a French onion soup, warm, comforting and thick with cheese.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

Smoked salmon...ok I know I'm boring but I didn't I say the classics were always the best?

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

We couldn't resist a third starter and we shared a pan of prawns with a buttery sauce and touch of chilli heat.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie


I chose one of my favourites, a Nicoise Salad, to transport me out of Covent Garden and into the sunny Cote d'Azur. Well ok not quite... it was a lovely salad, despite a slight overload of raw onion.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie


Mr S veered away from our French theme but went for another classic, the British Roast.

And he soon went to work on his piled up plate.

Review of Palm Court Brasserie

And not quite done ready for one more classic? 


The traditional trio of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream!

What your favourite classic dish? Let me know in the comment form below.

Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary as the result of a competition win with Squaremeal  

39 King Street 
London
WC2E 8JS 
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Monday, 28 July 2014

SilverSpoon On Honeymoon: LA Part 3 - A pretty woman on Rodeo Drive

Of all the chick flicks I've ever seen, there's one that tops them all, the queen of all romantic girlie movies: Pretty Woman.

And to quote another favourite film of mine, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, 'I just get really happy when they finally let her shop.' Yes, that epic scene where Julia Roberts character, Vivian, is allowed to buy a dress in a posh shop after a previous snub. She later goes back to the first shop dressed in her new finery to tell off the first sales assistant. The shopping scene in Pretty Woman is definitely one of my favourite scenes of all time, and was my inspiration for visiting the legendary shopping street, Rodeo Drive. 

First it was time to indulge another guilty pleasure, my love of reality TV! I love the glitz and glamour of the Real Housewives series, but my favourite of all is The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills. The ladies in the program are all incredibly rich; they throw huge parties and own massive houses with epic wardrobes  After reading Caroline's blog on her visit to Villa Blanca, owned the inimitable British import Lisa Vanderpump one of the show stars, I knew I had to visit too! 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Day on Rodeo Drive

Day on Rodeo Drive

Villa Blanca has an all white interior, shabby-chic furnishing with huge full length mirrors and it is full of beautiful white orchids. The menu is very reasonably priced and contains a mixture of Mediterranean and Asian dishes. As I sat in Lisa's restaurant I really felt like I was inside the TV show, its really cool to see these places for real. 

And with a view directly on to the street, it's absolutely perfect for people watching! 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Day on Rodeo Drive

Day on Rodeo Drive

The starters were good but main courses were fairly average, but we 'd come for the atmosphere, I just loved feeling like I was on a film set. 

Nearby to Villa Blanca is Alene Too, owned by Kyle Richards another Real Housewife. Of course, we had to pop in! 

Day on Rodeo Drive

And before exploring Rodeo, I obviously had to get my hair blow dried.

Day on Rodeo Drive

OK, it's not quite Julia Robert's tumbling main of red curls, but it was close enough!

Day on Rodeo Drive

Though we didn't buy anything it was so much fun to explore all the shops on Rodeo drive and walk around in such a pleasant climate (unlike the cold / rain in London or the blistering heat we experienced in 5th Avenue).

Day on Rodeo Drive

To end our Pretty Woman day we popped into The Beverley Wiltshire, the iconic hotel featured in the film. 

Day on Rodeo Drive

They'd rather cleverly organised flowers to match my dress exactly ;). 
The hotel is totally beautiful and ultra luxurious though its clearly been renovated since Pretty Woman was filmed in 1990, though I checked out the lift to see if it still had the famous seat that Vivian was so impressed by (it didn't!). We didn't get to try it, but apparently the afternoon tea in the hotel is excellent. 

I loved the climate in LA but I was surprised to experience quite chilly evenings. But fortunately I had a new cropped blazer from The Kooples to keep me warm. I channelled some of my favourite fashion bloggers for the photo!

Day on Rodeo Drive

That evening we headed back to Nikita in Malibu for some more beach front dining. 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Nikita was a gorgeous open restaurant with terraces looking out on to the Pacific.

Day on Rodeo Drive

Fire pits at your table burn to keep off the chill.

Day on Rodeo Drive

Unfortunately, despite the fire pits it was still a little to chilly to sit outside (plus i was scared my hair would be set on fire). So we took an indoor seat which still had a fab view of the ocean.

Day on Rodeo Drive

Nikita was really beautiful, but I would suggest it's a better place to go for lunch so that you can outside and really enjoy the view. However, you don't just go for the view, the food is also excellent! 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Yes, it's yet another seared tuna dish, this time served with a light raspberry dressing. 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Poached salmon with beetroot was beautifully presented and another tasty light bite. 

Day on Rodeo Drive

A delicious and perfectly cooked seafood pasta. 

Day on Rodeo Drive

And my all time favourite....seabass with artichokes!

The next day was our final day in LA, for this leg of the journey, anyway and we had lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Venice Beach with some family friends. Including this huge slab of dessert!

Day on Rodeo Drive

Mr S and I had a late flight at midnight so we wondered around the shops in Santa Monica to pass the time and we decided to make our last dinner a cracking one!! We headed to The Lobster located on the Santa Monica pier, jutting out on to the sea and with a perfect view of the beach. 

We shared one of our favourites: 

Day on Rodeo Drive

A big bowl of mussels and clams in a spicy tomato and white wine sauce which we mopped up with big hunks of bread. 

Then it was time to put on a bibs and brandish our tools because we couldn't come here without having one of their signature dishes! 

Day on Rodeo Drive

Day on Rodeo Drive



We got going with our tools and extracted as much of the delicious lobster meat as possible. Prepared with lemon and garlic butter, it was delicious and incredibly decadent.

And now it was time to bid farewell to the third member of our team (the car!!) and board our night flight to the island paradise of Bora Bora and the next part of our big adventure.

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