Tuesday, 26 May 2015

An Alfresco Lunch at The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy in Covent Garden has always been synonymous with luxury, celebrity and discretion and now the Caprice group have gone one better. A new Ivy in Chelsea with its own garden! Could there be a more perfect venue for two luxury travel bloggers to enjoy a ladies lunch?

I was meeting foot wear queen and the guru of gluten-free, the lovely Kelly from Around the Would in 80 Pairs of Shoes.

The Ivy Garden Chelsea is located on the fashionable King's Road and provides a gorgeous space for dining indoors as well as in the garden. Despite the chill in the air (and I hate the cold!) we were really pleased to be given a seat in the garden. Large umbrellas and numerous heaters meant we couldn't feel the cold at all and we were completely protected from the downpour, I didn't even frizz!

Like its sister restaurants in Covent Garden, the original Ivy and the newer Ivy Market Grill, the menu is a mixture of hearty British comfort food and a healthier options. The choices on the menu looked awesome and Kelly and I agreed we could have easily eaten our way through the whole menu!

We both wanted two courses, and as I prefer savoury I chose to have a starter while Kelly chose to save herself for dessert. My scallops were cooked just right and were served with grapefruit, fennel salad and citrus dressing. The combination of grapefruit and citrus dressing meant the dish was very acidic and I would warn you against it if you don't like bitter flavours. However, I loved the flavour combination and I happily munched on it whilst chatting to Kelly and sneakily scanning the other patrons for Made in Chelsea cast members.

Kelly had a beautifully cooked and totally gluten-free chargrilled salmon fillet with steamed asparagus! 

Now, I'm lucky enough not to have any food allergies but I very much sympathise with those who do, it must be very frustrating not to be able to eat whatever you want. I have a good friend who has a bad allergy to gluten and she has to question the waiting staff everywhere she goes to make sure there's absolutely no gluten in anything. It could easily be hidden in sauces, salad dressings, some dairy products and things like sweets and chocolate...the list goes on. I would really recommend reading Kelly's blog for gluten-free travel tips, London afternoon teas, UK days out and lots more.

I also really enjoyed my main course of tiger prawns, with ginger and chilli and sweetcorn salad. A perfectly light dish for a warm (ish) day. 

Now a rather delicious looking dessert had made it's way on to social media and with fingers crossed we asked the waiter about the ingredients. Hurrah! It was gluten-free! 

A perfect chocolate dome was presented to us, and it brought to mind the dessert from Bob Bob Ricard, which I earlier declared to be the ultimate guilty pleasure

Clearly this chocolate bombe in milk foam deserves special attention in this blog post and we watched with delight snapping away...

...as hot salted caramel sauce was drizzled over the top...

And that gorgeous chocolate orb melted in on itself...

To reveal a honeycomb centre and vanilla ice-cream! 

What a dreamy pudding!!

Kelly and I loved the The Ivy Chelsea Garden and I'm already planning a return, it's open for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea so I may just try them all! Or even just for a glass of King's Road Cobbler in the sun....

The Ivy Chelsea Garden
197 King's Road
SW3 5ED 

020 3301 0300
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Monday, 25 May 2015

My Top Ten Luxury London Loves

I so excited that Lauren and Amy have launched a brand new London link up celebrating everything about our capital. The first topic is what do you love about London and I thought it was a great opportunity to tell you my top ten luxury London loves.

1. Best Super-Luxe Hotel for Feeling Like a Princess...

I love The Dorchester, for me the iconic hotel on Park Lane just has it all. A stylish bar for cocktails, The Promenade for afternoon tea, the fabulous Grill room for breakfast and Sunday lunches, China Tang for Dim Sum and Alain Ducasse for three-michelin starred fine dining. The Spa is the perfect place to take a break from shopping for a pedicure and a glass of champagne followed by lunch in the Spatisserie. It's basically your one-stop-shop for luxury.

2. Restaurants for guaranteed fantastic food and great vibe

I think Roka serves some of the best sushi in London and the vibe is sexy, intimate and cool. There are four branches of Roka in London and I would recommend the Mayfair one for a romantic date night, and choose the Charlotte Street one for a night out with friends and cocktails in the restaurant's Shochu lounge bar.

You can't beat the buzz at Hakkasan and the food is Michelin-star award winning. There are two branches in London, Hanway and Mayfair, both with a vibrant and exciting environment and fantastic service.

3. Fine dining Restaurants for a special date night

With three-Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester is officially the best restaurant in London.

The dining room is understated but glamorous with a shimmering waterfall of optics and a wall decorated with silk buttons. But the food, from the one of the world's most decorated chefs, is truly out of this world. Just check out this gorgeous dessert that we received on Valentine's Day.

Galvin at Windows is another restaurant that is perfect for a special night, with beautiful French food, an incredible view of London and perfect service, it's a place that defines fine dining for me.

4. The perfect place for pre-drinks

For classic elegance I absolutely love the bar at Claridge's. With the gorgeous art deco interior, mirrored walls and glittering chandeliers, you can't help but fall in love really.

For a younger and more lively environment I'd highly recommend the bar at Duck & Waffle; it has a fantastic atmosphere, an incredible view of London and an innovative cocktail list. In summer you can sip your cocktails outside at Sushi Samba's bar located one floor below D & W.

5. And for when you've finished dinner...

My favourite place to dance the night away is Roof Garden's, London's only rooftop nightclub. I'm getting a bit too old *ahem* for super late nights and crowded bars so I love the fact that at Roof Gardens you can step away from the crowds and chill out in the surrounding gardens.

I love the summer barbecues where you can soak up all the champagne with delicious fresh grills while enjoying music from top DJs.

6. Where to take in a movie...

Comfy sofas, cashmere blankets, a bar serving coupes of champagne...the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill has it all. It even has beds...but book early for those.

7. For a lovely lunch

You can go far wrong that wondering around Soho for a fun and casual eatery, some of my recent favourites have been Ceviche, Polpo, Rex and Mariano and House of Ho.

But my absolute favourite place for a luxury lunch is Scott's in Mayfair, just have the prawns...trust me! Plus if you're feeling flush you can pop to the Louboutin shop afterwards! 

8. For a view from the Top 

My award for the best view of London from a restaurant definitely goes to City Social as you have a close up of some of London's iconic building, and the food is amazing!

The Shard is fab but my favourite landmark to view the city from is the London Eye...you can even do it SilverSpoon style with your own private capsule and champagne and canapes!

9. Enjoying the sunshine 

Regular readers will know that I love living in Victoria and we're lucky enough to be able to take a walk to Buckingham Palace and enjoy the (rare) British sunshine in Green Park or St James' Park. Both are absolute beautiful spaces and I'd recommend Inn the Park, if you're preference is a restaurant over a picnic.

10. For something a little different

If you want to take a look around London but avoid the queues, crowds and cliches of some of the tourist attractions I'd highly recommend a unique walking tour. I loved the Macarons and Mews tour that I took recently. Guide Yannick Pucci, knows his stuff and the history of London, and where to try the very best macarons!

I really enjoyed writing this post of Lauren and Amy's link up and I'm excited to learn about their future topics . Check out their website to read more posts in this linky and use the hashtag #LondonLiving

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