You won’t often find me posting about wine – I’m more of a spirits person (and I get way too drunk way too easily on anything grape based!) – but when Le Petit Ballon invited me down to their Spring Aperitif event at my favourite burger restaurant in London, Big Fernand in Soho, well how could I say no?

Le Petit Ballon

Image provided by Le Petit Ballon

Le Petit Ballon are a French wine specialist who, as well as having their own store in Paris, provide a wine subscription box service in France, Belgium and the UK.

The Box

A pioneer in the world of wine subscription boxes, Le Petit Ballon is a fun, easy to understand wine box. Perfect for a novice (like me!) but equally as good for a connoisseur – there are actually two boxes to choose from;

The Apprentice (£24.90 per month) – Recommended for those wanting a head start in the world of wine, the Apprentice offers something a little different, but excellent value for money.

The Master (£39.90 per month) – Featuring more prestigious and well known labels, this one is perfect for building your wine cellar (living in London I can’t imagine I will ever have space for a wine cellar, but that isn’t the point here…).

le petit ballon

With a Le Petit Ballon subscription, you received two bottle of wine per month, carefully selected by their sommelier, Jean-Michel Deluc, based on your preferences. You also receive their monthly magazine, ‘The Gazette’, and some handy tasting notes (the ‘cheat sheet!’). Oh and subscribers get a discount at their online store too!

It’s a nicely presented package – modern yet classy and I can’t help thinking the branding is aimed at a younger, newer clientele – people like me.

The Wine

You’re in safe hands with Jean-Michel – as the former Head Sommelier at The Ritz Paris, he’s a man who knows his stuff. I was given the opportunity to interview him at the event but I’ll be honest, I was clueless as to what to ask!

Le Petit Ballon

Image provided by Le Petit Ballon

I know next to nothing about wine, and if I’m honest I find it all a little bit daunting. My wine selection is usually based on what’s on offer or what has a pretty label, haha! But I think Le Petit Ballon have really stripped back the wine selection process and made it a little more accessible and easy to approach for people like me.

Le Petit Ballon

Image provided by Le Petit Ballon

One thing I found handy in selecting my wine at the event was the ‘cheat sheet’ which Jean-Michel and the Le Petit Ballon team developed to ‘classify’ their wines. The classifications are indicated in their online store to help you pick a wine you’ll like and if you aren’t sure, you can take their little quiz to give you a better idea.

The Food

Now I know this event was about the wine, but I can’t let an opportunity to mention the food at Big Fernand slide.

big fernand

Image provided by Le Petit Ballon

It’s no secret I like my beef mooing, and it’s hard to find a rare burger in London. But you can have a Big Fernand burger blue if you want one. And of course I wanted one!

I’ve visited the restaurant a few times now, and it’s been consistently amazing. Sort of fast food like, you order at the counter and wait for your food, which you take on a tray to your table, Maccy D’s style.

I can’t believe I just compared Big Fernand to McDonalds, haha! They are worlds, WORLDS, apart.

Big Fernand are gourmet burgers at their best. Beautiful Charolais beef (or chicken, or veal, or Portobello mushroom, whatever takes your fancy), French cheese, fresh vegetables and herbs all served on a perfect sesame seeded bun.  I’m pretty certain there is no other burger comparable to this one in London at the moment.

big fernand

Oh and the sides and desserts are pretty good too.

You can actually find some Big Fernand recipes in the current issue of The Gazette. Unfortunately, The Gazette I had was in French! Don’t worry though, the English subscription copies will be in English, I just quite liked my French copy.

big fernand

Thank you for a lovely evening, Le Petit Ballon!

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise stated.

Big Fernand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yes, I know, I skipped a week! But it’s been a bit of a busy fortnight so I’ve been a bit slack on my blogging – I’ve had my birthday, a trip to Paris, Christmas… But the main reason I’ve been a bit quiet is that I’ve focused on a few job interviews I’ve had (and yes, they went well!). So here are a few things I got up to over the last fortnight…

Le Bun Brunch at The Zetter

To be honest, it’s a small miracle that I haven’t yet posted about Le Bun since, in my humble opinion, they’re the most exciting thing on the London food scene (okay, I may have given them a little mention in my post about National Burger Day, but trust me, they deserve a post all of their own!).

I make a point of visiting Le Bun at their every venture, and I was extra specially excited to visit their residency at The Zetter in Clerkenwell for brunch, to try their Bloody Mary with cheeseburger garnish after I saw pictures of it on social media. So on Sunday 13th myself and a date went for an early brunch (followed by some drinks at the new Brewdog nearby). It did not disappoint.

bloodymary

I ate so much – after starting with the Bloody Mary, I had their delicious Truffles & Waffles (I’ve eaten a mini version of this before, it’s one of my favourite street food dishes – so I couldn’t resist a full sized version!). I also ‘shared’ (by shared I mean I ordered it ‘to share’ but ate it myself) an avocado benedict.

lebunwaffles

If you get a chance to try Le Bun do it! They currently have a burger van at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park until January 4th.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and The Bronx at Brooklyn Bowl

This is actually the first gig I’ve been to at Brooklyn Bowl (inside the O2 in Greenwich) and it’s now one of my favourite venues! We had a meal in their diner pre-gig, which was a bit of a waste of time as they also catered the VIP area for the show, so I really had my fill of their (delicious) French bread pizza.

Anyway, it was a really great evening – I’m a big fan of Frank Carter and his various ventures (except Pure Love, they really weren’t my thing) and this was my first time seeing him with The Rattlesnakes.

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And The Bronx are one of my favourite live acts. It was also great to catch up with a couple of old friends.

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Winter Wonderland

Every year I visit Winter Wonderland on the Friday afternoon before Christmas, it’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember.

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I was actually really pleased to see that Winter Wonderland was a little less commercial than the past couple of years – it started to get a lot of stands for larger brands to just give out non Christmassy samples and promotions. This year it seemed to have a bit more of a German Christmas market feel again, although there were still a lot of fairground rides.

Look how pretty Hyde Park looks…

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The Bavarian Village is predictably my favourite bit – I’m not sure why there was a giant with a bird there this year? Given my heritage, if it’s a Bavarian thing I really should know, so if anyone can enlighten me…?

wwgiant

I actually popped back to Winter Wonderland on the Saturday too, with Luisa (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat) where she purchased (without me knowing at the time) some beautiful red rose lights for my Christmas gift. We ate pretzels and drank cider before heading back to hers to exchange gifts with the other (non-blogger) member of our friendship trio, Georgia.

luisaww

Yelp’s Festive Afternoon Tea at Ma’ Plucker

Before meeting Luisa to go to Winter Wonderland on Saturday 19th, I went along to Ma’Plucker in Soho to have a festive afternoon tea with the guys from Yelp. I’ve really got into Yelping lately – it’s so much more than just a review site. I strongly recommend checking out their events, as they have some really cool stuff on – like this afternoon tea, which was complimentary.

mapluckertea

I had such a great time and will be giving a full review shortly, but you can have a little preview on the Yelp site if you’re interested! If you’re on Yelp, or want to join, feel free to add me as a friend – you can find my profile here.

The Glam Clam

It was a busy Saturday! In the evening I was fortunate to have been a guest of Design My Night for an evening at The Glam Clam – a pop up jazz club and drag cabaret in Tufnell Park, with a dinner menu by Gizzi Erskine. It was pretty special and you can read more about it here.glamclam

Birthday Lunch at BoxPark

Sunday 20th December was my 28th birthday. As it’s so close to Christmas I never do anything for my birthday – this year I just had a quiet lunch at BoxPark in Shoreditch. We had a couple of vegetarians/vegans with us, so the layout of BoxPark made it really easy to keep everyone happy!

I had a festive pizza from Voodoo Rays,  with pigs in blankets on!

pizza

Paris

Obviously, I’ll post about my three day mini holiday to Paris seperately, but for now just know I went, okay!

How awesome is this Disney toy tree at St Pancras…?

disneytree

Christmas

Christmas is a tricky time of year for me, as I have pretty much no family, and this year I’m single at Christmas. But, for the second year in a row, I volunteered on Christmas Day for the Rotary Club, serving Christmas dinner to the elderly at Battersea Evolution.

You won’t see any haul posts from me – I don’t really have anyone to give me gifts, although, as I mentioned above, myself, Luisa and Georgia did exchange them this year. It’s cool though, believe it or not I’m not a very materialistic person, and I find volunteering at Christmas really rewarding.

So that’s my life lately, sorry it was such a long post, but it was a fortnights worth! I’m sorry I haven’t updated the blog much recently – I mentioned earlier that I had a couple of job interviews. Well, I was successful in both, and have been offered a new opportunity by my current employer, so I’ve been focusing my thoughts on making the correct career choice. I think I’m finally almost at a decision!

I hope my readers have had a lovely festive period (yes, I know, it isn’t quite over yet!) and I will be making more of an effort to blog regularly for 2016, I promise! I already have some cool things lined up, including a January trip to San Diego so watch this space!

L xx

All photos my own.

You know what it’s like, you never do anything touristy in the city you live in, do you? Well, given that I live in London, one of the most incredible cities in the world, I realised not long ago that I really was missing out. So, when Joe Blogs invited me along to a Haunted Theatre walking tour in conjunction with Every Hotel Piccadilly I jumped at the chance!

Did you know that ghosts are, apparently, common in theatres as they’re drawn to places of creativity? Anyway…

The Tour

I’d never been on a walking tour before, not in London, not anywhere. So I didn’t really know what to expect. I was a little dubious, on a dull October day, that we may get caught in the rain. But Every Hotel had thought of everything, and provided us with umbrellas, just in case! It turned out we didn’t need them (thankfully!) – although our tour guide, Diane, had her bright green one up anyway so we couldn’t lose her!

everyumbrellaAfter meeting up at Every Hotel Piccadilly, our first stop was the Royal Haymarket Theatre (currently showing ‘Mr Footes Other Leg‘). It’s actually quite fitting that this play was on at the theatre at the time, as it related to Diane’s story as to where ‘break a leg’ originated from. Samuel Foote was the actor-manager at the Haymarket Theatre, and was desperate for ‘Royal’ status for the theatre. He managed to get his wish from the Duke of York after losing a wager, in which he lost a leg!

trh

I was particularly taken with the rear of the theatre, by the stage door, where a Blue Plaque is displayed – as this was the location where Oscar Wildes first performances (of ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and ‘An Ideal Husband’) were presented.

oscarwilde

Royal Haymarket Theatre also apparently has its own ghost – as witnessed by Dame Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart! Believed to be the actor John Buckstone, the Victorian ghost is said to walk through walls.

Our second stop was the London Coliseum, home to the English National Opera. I love the location of the Coliseum, right opposite the National Portrait Gallery. The theatre has a large spinning globe on its roof, which attracted visitors, particularly soldiers during World War One. It’s said that the theatre is haunted by these soldiers – in particularly one is said to be often spotted in row G.

coliseum

From the side entrance of the Coliseum, we could see the Duke of York’s Theatre. Now, the interesting thing about the Duke of York’s actually relates to a piece of clothing – a jacket (once worn by Thora Hird) is said to tighten around the neck all by itself! There’s also allegedly the ghost of a former actor-manager, Violet Melnotte, who messes around with the door locks!

doy

En route to our next stop, we took a little walk through Goodwin Court which, as a Harry Potter fan, I was quite taken with, as it reminded me of Diagon Alley! Diane explained to us that it was in fact an alleyway used by prostitutes back in the day, and part of Soho’s infamous Red Light District.

goodwin

This led us to the Adelphi Theatre, which had one of the more interesting ghost stories. Actor ‘Mad Archie’ (full name Richard Archer Prince) blamed colleague William Terriss for losing his job, and stabbed him in the back – the ghost of Terriss apparently haunted both the theatre and nearby Covent Garden station (which stands on the spot of a former bakery Terriss would frequent), until his exorcism in the 1950s!

The Lyceum Theatre (currently showing one of my favourites, ‘The Lion King‘) has a very famous ghost – Madame Tussaud herself! She is said to be seen watching a show, with a death mask in her lap!

lyceum

On to the theatre with the highest number of ghosts in London – the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, with a whopping three ghosts! As well as a creepy clown who appears in mirrors and a man in grey, the Drury Lane is haunted by comedian Dan Leo – allegedly you can tell when he is near by the scent of lavender!

drury

Finally, and possibly my favourite – the Fortune Theatre, where ‘Woman In Black‘ is currently being shown. I loved the movie, so I really want to see the stage version! Anyway, not only is the Fortune showing the Woman In Black, it has its very own woman in black ghost! About ten years ago, the Victorian female began to appear in the wings. Perhaps coincidentally, the theatre is adjacent to a children’s playground, which is built on an old cemetery.

wib

The Hotel

Every Hotel Piccadilly were fantastic hosts, and put on a lovely buffet and open bar for us on our return to the hotel after all that walking! In particular I enjoyed the chicken burger.

everyfood

Perfectly located just off Leicester Square, the hotel itself is lovely – and the rooms are sound proofed so you don’t have to worry about all that central London noise when you’re trying to nod off. And I love a good rainfall shower.

Newly opened, Every Hotel pride themselves on their amenities – all rooms have a free (non-alcoholic) mini bar, Smart TVs and Nespresso machines. They also claim to have the world’s fastest hotel WiFi – now I can’t tell you how accurate this is, but I can confirm it was pretty damn speedy! They really have paid attention to the details – as well as the usual three prong plug sockets, there are also direct USB plugs in the wall to charge phones (or whatever else).

everybed

They also have a ‘Techno Gym’ (which unsurprisedly I didn’t check out, although I wish I had because what exactly is a ‘Techno Gym’?).

Now, I’m not a believer in ghosts, I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a non-believer either, but I very much enjoyed Diane’s tour, and I would recommend it, or one of her other tours, if anyone has an afternoon spare.

Thank you very much Joe Blogs, Diane and Every Hotel!

L xx

All photos my own.

You can check out Every Hotels own blog post about the event here.

I love my food, so this will be a long post! I had planned on just doing one food post for the whole trip, but that’s just not going to be possible…

Day One – Airport Food (Amsterdam, somewhere over the Atlantic and Seattle)

Ok, so technically this isn’t really US trip food (at least not until you get down to the McDonalds, haha) but I like to be concise.

I started the trip with a breakfast pretzel from Starbucks at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. It was AMAZING. I love pretzels, and I love pretzel bread even more. This one was filled with prosciutto, provolone and sun dried tomato spread. Why does England have the dullest Starbucks options in the entire world? Trust me – more Starbucks to come.

pretzel

We flew with Delta for the main flight, and I have to admit the food wasn’t bad for plane food. I’m not someone who’s particularly negative about plane food, although after an awful food experience with Swiss to Tokyo I tend to take my own snacks. But Delta provided a decent chicken option, and it was served with a pretzel roll – and we’ve already established how I feel about pretzels.

Do you like my attempt at making plane food look semi decent…?

delta

Delta also provided a really good vanilla ice cream pot swirled with chocolate. I don’t normally like vanilla or chocolate sauce but this was crazy good!

My final meal of the day, and my first in actual America, was at McDonalds at Seattle-Tacoma airport. I went for the chicken bacon club – it was way better than anything I’ve ever had at a McDonalds before, anywhere in the world (I have this thing about trying the McDonalds in every country I visit). Even the bun was a soft brioche – delicious.

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For my drink I tried the sweet tea I always see Americans raving about. That was a mistake.

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Oh, and obviously I grabbed a Starbucks for the final flight from Seattle to Sacramento. I went with the Beast Mode frappuccino – a special created with Marshawn Lynch (the running back for the Seattle Seahawks) which I assume is unique to Seattle? Anyway, Beast Mode is the name of his clothing line.

beastmode2

With mocha and mint and topped with matcha and berry drizzle, it looked really pretty, and had extra protein powder. Which obviously I really need in my diet, but whatever.

beastmode

I love how, in America, they’re so supportive of their local sports teams. The McDonalds at Sea-Tec was covered in Seattle Seahawks flags, and wreaths in their colours.

mcds2

We couldn’t have that over here, places would just get vandalised by the fans of opposing teams. And that kind of behaviour people of England, is pretty much why WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. Rant over.

Day Two – Sacramento & Aftershock

Obviously when in America you have to go to Denny’s right? And with it being October, and me being the pumpkin obsessed basic white girl I am, I had to order the pumpkin pecan pancake breakfast. They were delicious and pretty much tasted like Christmas. Another reason England sucks – severe lack of pumpkin products.

dennys

I should have just got the pancakes on their own really, but I went for the full breakfast which included eggs (mine were over hard – I’d never heard of that before, only over easy), streaky bacon and hash browns. I love American hash browns.  But, SO MUCH FOOD.

I kind of regretted the big breakfast because I love festival food, and American festival food is a million times better than British festival food (are you seeing the trend here? USA>UK, haha!). So I only managed a sandwich at Aftershock.

drewskis

But it was an AMAZING SANDWICH. The ‘Tricycle Sandwich’ from Drewskis food truck (which has apparantly been voted Sacramentos best food truck three years in a row – and I see why!), it was described as the ‘ultimate grilled cheese’ containing cheddar, havarti and swiss cheeses on sweet French bread. And of course I added bacon.

tricycle

Actually, looking back, I didn’t actually eat that much for me on day two. Especially considering the numerous JD cocktails… Oh well.

Day Three – En route to San Bernardino & Knotfest

So I made up for Saturday’s minimal food on Sunday… We didn’t bother with breakfast but stopped off en route for my favourite, Carls Jr. I normally go for the teriyaki burger at Carls, but this time I tried one of the thickburgers. It was good. And I’m crazy for the fried courgette (or zucchini as they like to call them).

carlsjr

Last time I went to Knotfest I was really impressed with the food – the Chinese and Mexican stands were amazing. I’ll touch on this a bit more in an actual post about Knotfest, but those exact same food stands were there again this year in the exact same places! So for lunch I went for orange chicken (orange chicken is yet another thing I love that we don’t have here in England).

knotfestfood2

And for dinner I went for Mexican from the truck in the VIP area. Carne asada quesadilla, yum. You can tell by the picture I was a little worse for wear by this point… I think I just really wanted to get my favourite Black Milk Clothing lace up leggings in the picture, haha!

knotfestfood1

I also really, really like the drinks available at Knotfest – cocktails made with Coldcock Whiskey and Ole Smoky Moonshine. LOVE. I keep meaning to buy some of the moonshine to bring home, but I can never find anywhere that stocks it!

olesmoky

So that’s days one to three, check out the next instalment!

L xx

All photos my own.

 

Last night myself and my friend Kat were lucky enough to get a table at the newly opened Dirty Bones in Kingly Court, Soho, without a reservation. Having only been open a week, it was unsurprisingly fully booked on a Saturday night!

I love Kingly Court. Just off Carnaby Street, it’s a three storey dining destination with a open roofed courtyard (for al fresco dining at the ground floor restaurants). It’s really lovely, day or night, but can get a little busy. It has some great restaurants and bars, and something to cater for all tastes. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend it. I actually love the whole area around Carnaby, it’s so lively and uniquely London – with some fantastic one off shops as well as popular chains.

kingly

Anyway, Dirty Bones… At first glance it appears to be another American diner in London, offering burgers, fried chicken and hot dogs. But it’s not your average diner food, it’s a little more special than that. The quality of the ingredients and the cooking are top notch.

We started by sharing chicken wings glazed in lemon, topped with chilli and spring onion (£6) and deep fried mac balls with DB sweet chilli sauce (£5.50). The chicken wings were a decent portion of 5 half wings, and the citrus flavour was a nice change from the usual honey mustard, barbecue or hot sauce offerings at places like this. The mac balls were incredible – 3 of them between 2 wasn’t enough!

dbstarters

Unsurprisingly, for my main I went for The Burger (£8.50) to which I added beer cheese and bacon (which added an extra £2.50). This was a good burger, and I could tell it would be just from looking at the toasted brioche bun. The bun is such an important factor in a burger (which a lot of places seem to overlook) and this one was spot on, and was perfectly toasted.

dbbun

I requested my burger rare – I find it reassuring when restaurants will actually do this, as you can really tell the quality of the meat when served this way. It really was rare, and absolutely delicious. The DB burger sauce provided a bit of flavour without being overpowering, allowing the flavour of the patty to shine.

dbburger

We also shared a portion of Double Dirty Fries (£6.50) – skinny fries with DB BBQ sauce, cactus salsa and pulled pork. These were so good we’d finished them before I remembered to take a photo!

Cocktails are also good – on my servers recommendation I went for the Top Dog (£8) which comprised of Finlandia Vodka, fresh strawberry, chambord, lemon and Jeio Prosecco. Served long, it was refreshing and well balanced. It made up for the disappointment of them being out of shakes! (I love a good milkshake!)

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Regrettably we had no room for dessert, but I see another visit to Dirty Bones in the not too distant future, so I’m not too fussed!

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For the two of us, the bill came to £46.12, which included 12.5% service as well as a mystery £10 discount. Not bad, especially for the quality of food.

L xx
Dirty Bones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you haven’t already noticed, I love my food and a good cocktail- so when I was offered sweet JD honey marinated meat and free Jack Daniels beverages, I wasn’t going to turn it down! So along I went to the premiere of the first episode of the new Munchies and Jack Daniels collaborative BBQ Road Trip series.

jdbar

If you haven’t heard of Munchies, it’s Vice‘s food channel. The series is a culinary journey around the globe in search of ‘the most magical fire infused meat around’. To be honest, I didn’t have the best view of the screen since I was right over the other side of the PACKED bar, but what I did see I enjoyed. I’ll definitely watch the episode properly when it airs on 16th October. Here’s the trailer;

The event was held at MEATmission in Hoxton – the only London restaurant in the MEATliquor chain (one of my favourites!) I hadn’t yet visited. We were served plentiful, delicious Jack Daniels cocktails. My favourite was the Dust Up (JD Honey and dry sherry blended with fresh lemon juice, homemade raspberry syrup and egg white).

jddrinks

As expected, the food was excellent. You can look at the menu for yourselves, but on offer were MEATmission favourites like a smaller version of the cult Dead Hippie burger (mustard fried beef patty, Dead Hippie sauce, cheese, pickles, lettuce, mustard and ketchup) and fried pickles (I LOVE fried pickles but hate regular ones – go figure!) as well as special creations with a JD Honey twist like the honey mustard chicken wings and the Jack Palace burger (beef patty, cheese, grilled JD butter onions, pickles mustard and ketchup) pictured.

jdburger

Pro tip: Make friends with the waiting staff! The waitresses at MEATmission were not only super friendly, but they were really knowledgeable!

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This is Becky pictured – she talked me through all the drinks she served me and I was really impressed. With service like this I’ll definitely be going back to MEATmission.

L xx

All photos my own.
MEATmission Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday was the third ‘National Burger Day‘ – a collaboration between Mr Hyde and Big Eater. In celebration of the humble burger, they took over Street Feast at Dalston Yard for the evening. Instead of the usual variety of street food on offer at Street Feast, there were burgers everywhere you looked – with 18 sliders on offer from some of Londons top burger joints (and one American!), as well as two burger inspired desserts. Oh and a couple of bars featuring Kozel lager, Jose Cuervo Chillibacks (bleurgh!) and Jameson Picklebacks (double bleurgh!).

Now you won’t yet have picked up on this, but I am OBSESSED with burgers. So much so that this was very nearly a burger blog. In fact, I might actually start a stand alone burger blog. But I digress.

burgers

So you can probably guess how much I was looking forward to this. And how I may have lusted over the menu a couple of times in advance. And possibly checked which burgers on offer were special dishes for this event and which could be ordered anytime. Because, to narrow down my options, I wanted my choices to be ones I couldn’t have just any time. If I want a Green Chilli Cheeseburger Soaker from Dip & Flip, I could pop down the road and get one whenever I like (and believe me, it takes all my willpower not to, although I admit it’s the double bacon cheeseburger which is my Dip & Flip burger of choice). So there wasn’t much point ordering one at the event really.

My first burger was from B.O.B.’s Lobster – the ‘B.O.B.s burger’ (40 day dry-aged patty, jamón ibérico, sauce foyot, jamón dust) at £6 (you could add lobster for £4 – I didn’t). It was amazing. Possibly my favourite burger of the night, which surprised me since they don’t usually do burgers! Beautifully cooked, with top notch ingredients. Even the bun stood out. And they provided a little branded wet wipe which was thoughtful. Well played.

burgerbobs

Next up was one I hadn’t been planning on (as it had been their special not long ago), the ‘Karma Cola Burger’ (Ginger Pig – isn’t Ginger Pig everywhere at the moment? – dry-aged beef patty, Karma Cola braised short rib, smoked Applewood cheddar, house pickles, green chilli coleslaw and braised cola gravy) from Honest Burgers, but my friend bought me one without telling me, and who am I to turn down a good burger? I was glad I didn’t. It was meaty, filling and delicious. I’m not normally a fan of extra meats on my burger, unless it’s bacon or an extra patty, but this was really good! The short rib was so tender, although I couldn’t really identify any cola in the flavour. It was priced at £6.

burgerhonestMy next choice was Le Bun‘s offering – the ‘Foie Gras and Summer Truffles’ (aged brisket and chuck patty, foie gras and shaved summer truffle, truffled beef jus and American cheese). At £7.50 this was the priciest option at the event and I’m sad to say it just wasn’t to my taste. If you’re a fan of foie gras you may have felt differently. I thought if anyone could convert me to being a foie gras lover it would be my favourite street food eatery, but even they couldn’t manage it. So after a couple of bites my friend took over with this one. The truffles did however give a lovely flavour to the rest of the ingredients.

burgerlebun

To make up for my disappointment at Le Bun, my friend bought me the ‘Donald Trump’ (aged beef patty, bourbon and vanilla BBQ sauce, grilled onions, American cheese and pickles) from Lucky Chip. And it was so, so good. To be honest, it was the bourbon vanilla sauce which made this burger, it was sweet and delicious but overpowered the rest of the flavours. I’m not complaining though, I’d order this one again if it appeared on their regular menu! It was the messiest burger I tried though! The Donald Trump was priced at £6.

burgerluckychip

Now by this point I was at bursting point, but I couldn’t resist a little taster of two others my friend ordered!

Hotbox is a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for a while, so I was really happy to try their £5 (bargain!) ‘Piggy Burger’ (dry-aged beef patty, American cheese, pulled pork collar, white onion, crunchy pickle and scotch bonnet BBQ sauce). As you can probably guess, this burger was HOT! It was good, but there was a definite kick from the scotch bonnet sauce, and I was glad I wasn’t having a whole one! It’s left me more keen to pay the restaurant a visit.

burgerhotbox

The final burger was the ‘Toddy Shop Slider’ from Chai Ki (dry-aged beef and pork patty, bacon chilli chutney, kasundi mustard, smoked cheddar), which I was interested to try because Chai Ki aren’t a burger restaurant. they’re a toddy shop serving Bombay style food. And you could tell from their offering. It was a decent burger, my only complaint was the bun. The bun to burger ratio was off. Noone wants extra bun! And it was just a bap. If they’d put a bit more effort into something as simple as a bun they’d have been able to hold their own. What I did like was that the patty had a little bit of spice to it, it was a little bit different (as well as being the only burger on offer combining beef and pork in the patty). And they were generous with the cheese. It wasn’t at all bad for £5. Especially since they were giving away free cocktail vouchers and little pineapple and masala shots with the burgers too!

burgerroti

Obviously, despite being full of burgers, I had to get desserts. I mean, who could resist when they look like this?

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Seriously, Crumbs & Doilies stole the show with these burger cakes. Just read the descriptions…

burgercake

Possibly predicatably, I went for the ‘Filthy Burger Combo’, although after eating it I wished I’d tried both options. It was quite possibly one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of desserts.

I was pretty impressed with how burger like they actually made it look!

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As well as all the food on offer, there was beer bobbing, burger piñatas, a pickle eating contest… It was such a fun evening!

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to get a ticket to the event (£15 in advance which included one of each of the featured drinks), you could still celebrate National Burger Day with 20% one of the numerous participating burger restaurants nationwide.

I’d definitely recommend it for next year!

L xx

All photos my own.

 

lescargotdrink

L’Escargot, a bit of a Soho institution (and one of few restaurants that welcomes dogs!), opened its first floor private members club, Club Privé, to the public this August in a collaboration with Fentimans. Since I don’t really want to spend £250 per year (£450 for over 28s!) for membership, I jumped at this chance to get inside!

lescargotbustFentimans had transformed the glass ceilinged bar into a Victorian style ‘greenhouse’ full of live botanicals. Very fitting to the company themselves, whose beverages are botanically brewed with natural ingredients. These plants, along with Fentimans mixers (naturally), are used to create the six cocktails on offer, each priced at £7;

Lillet Rose – Lillet Blanc , Fentimans Rose lemonade
Citrus Dream – Kettle One Citroen, Rosé Wine, Fentimans Victorian Lemonade
Little Treacle – Dark rum, lime, sugar, bitters and Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock
Curiosity – Bourbon, orange zest, Fentimans Curiosity Cola reduction
Easy Breezy – VII Hills Gin, grapefruit, Fentimans 19.05 Herbal Tonic
Fearless Fun – Tequila, Cointreau, Fentimans Ginger Beer

lescargotdrinks

Between four of us, we tried them all. By far my favourite was the Lillet Rose, which was seasoned with black pepper!

Each day, a selected cocktail is reduced to £5, and if you find one of the golden snails hidden around the botanical bar you can redeem it for a free cocktail! Sadly I didn’t find a golden snail, although I didn’t look very hard!

lescargotfoliage

As will become very obvious as this blog grows, I like my food! And especially a good burger. So I couldn’t resist ordering from the small (but varied!) ‘bar snacks’ menu. I went for the Burger Deluxe with Gruyère and bacon at £14 (which came with fries, thankfully, as fries on their own are £5!).

lescargotburger

When I ordered and was told my burger would only be served well done (a well done burger at a French restaurant? Really?) I was a little put off but I have to admit it was still delicious. Very well seasoned and obviously good quality ingredients. No sauces or out of the ordinary garnishes, just nice and simple. Well worth the £14. We also ordered a side of cheese straws priced at £4.

While we were there we were amused to witness a birthday party for VII Hills Gin, completely with cake (which we nabbed a few slices of, naturally!) and Happy Birthday sung to, erm, gin!

lescargotgin

And obviously, as we’re unlikely to come back to Club Privé any time soon, we had to have a little nosey around! As well as the bar where the pop up was held, there are three other rooms, including a library and poker room.

This red room was my favourite! (Georgia was a little drunk, haha!)

lescargotredroom

We had such a lovely night, and loved the bar – it was so open and airy (especially as it was actually such a small space!) and the bar staff were attentive and friendly. It definitely has me wanting to go back!

lescargotbike

As for the drinks, they were a bit unusual but it’s nice to try something nice once in a while! I’m still not sold on herbal soft drinks, but I will be purchasing the Rose Lemonade to try on its own!

L xx

All photos my own.