Love

Honest Burgers, Liv St.

Honest Burgers is a name that is familiar to most across the city. My first run in with it came when I was based in Clapham South, exploring the area I caught a glimpse of a queue stretching around the corner of the high street. A queue of over 50 people stretching around a corner just before opening time – well that speaks for itself right?

Photography by Kang L

Photography by Kang L

I’ve had a lot of criticism for dubbing Bleecker St the best burger in London – people have been throwing ‘Honest Burgers are King’ at me from all sides. So, I tried it.

This famous little burger joint began it’s journey in 2010 when it’s owners, Tom and Phil, met whilst working in a restaurant in Brighton. Since meeting they have progressed from serving food from marquees at festivals to opening their first restaurant in the oasis that is Brixton Village. Being the first of its kind in Brixton, where they couldn’t even have high quality meat delivered to their door and consequently cycled to Marlyebone every morning for their ingredients, these boys established themselves not only in the borough but in the city.

First glimpse at the menu and there is just enough range to appeal to the masses. If you want a classic burger with no frills, you can have that for £8.50, stripped to basics with bun, patty, signature red onion relish and lettuce. Feening for a Cheeseburger? Choose between Mature Cheddar, Red Leicester or Blue Stilton for £9. I thought it’d only be rude to go for anything but the ‘Honest Burger’, consisting of ‘beef patty, red onion relish, bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce’ for £10. There’s also a Chicken Burger and Veggie option up for grabs. And all are served with their Rosemary Salted Chips.

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Thanks to a late night in the office and dinner on the client, I jumped at the opportunity to order from the wonder on wheels that is Deliveroo and finally try an Honest Burger. The order came within 40 minutes and compactly packaged with an array of sauces which I’m still not sure whether I ordered or not. At first glance, this burger is pretty perfect looking but I have to admit – I didn’t think it was enough. I like to eat, and I like it to last. I could tell right away this thing was going to be delicious and it was going to be over way too soon.

Usually, I’m a no frills kind of gal when it comes to burgers, but each of the toppings complimented the others and individually tasted effing divine. The red onion relish? You can see why they drop this onto every beef patty on the menu. The brioche bun, soft and sweet. The patty, I think was outshined by the delicious toppings and the bacon was slightly more chewy than I would have liked. But I’d also like to give some leeway due to the fact I had it delivered and didn’t eat in the actual restaurant. The rosemary chips were to die for, perfectly seasoned and sitting on the delightful cusp of being too crispy. Just a warning that they are pretty salty, you will be apologising to your body incessantly whilst eating them.

I can see why this burger holds the top spot for so many people. It’s significant focus on combining both sweet and salty nominate it to be the McDonalds of the gourmet burger. Not in a bad way, I mean back when McDonalds was freaking fantastic and people just couldn’t get enough. I’d definitely recommend everyone to try it, this was a great meal and I like the entrepreneurial spirit that oozes from this company.

Personally, I prefer a burger that makes me feel guilty about eating it. I mean so guilty that it is no longer a cheat meal and it becomes a full on gluttonous rampage that then unfolds into a state of ecstasy that is the food coma. So Bleecker St still reigns King in my book I’m afraid.

 

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Bleecker St. Burgers

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If you see the black and white logo above, anywhere, I suggest you and who ever your with literally flock towards it. Because what this logo symbolises, is that the best burger in London is within your grasp.

Bleecker St. Burgers sets up shop in Spitalfields but can usually be found around street food markets in the city. I’ve tried them twice now, the first time was at popular London festival – Field Day, and secondly at a pop up street food event called Kerb in Kings Cross. Both experiences equally as memorable.

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At a first glance, this probably isn’t the prettiest burger you’ll ever see. No brioche bun, tomatoes, lettuce etc. But that’s because they don’t need it. The cheese burger (£6) is compiled of your standard bun sprinkled with sesame seeds, beef patty and cheese with no nonsense added. This place is all about the beef, it is hands down the most tender, succulent, melt in your mouth patty you will ever experience. Try it as they recommend, medium rare. Go for the double patty for £9 if you’re feeling up to it. They also serve a Bacon Cheeseburger (£7), the Blue Burger (£6.5) and the Bleecker Black (£10). And a Veggie burger for for £6, but, that’s irrelevant.

Let me go into a little more detail of the experiences I’ve had with Bleecker. So on Field Day, drunk and ravenous, I spotted the famous black and white logo – instantly recognising it and remembering the recommendations I’d seen scattered across the net. In pursuit of what I’d heard to be the best burger in London, I headed over to the swarm of people that surrounded the food truck. I waited a good half an hour all in all and God damn, it was worth it. I scoffed that burger down faster than I thought humanly possible, crazy happy. My good friend, Alex, asked for a bite. Hesitant I passed it over – after all I did want to share this momentous moment with someone. As the film Into The Wild tells us ‘happiness is only real when shared’.

Now this dude took the biggest mouthful of that burger he could and I hated him. I actually loathed him. Just for a split second. We’re totally good now – all has been forgiven. But see below the moment captured perfectly of me raining down on him for his faux pas – look how rattled he looks. And look how I’m cradling that burger – that’s how much food means to me.

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The second time around I knew better. I ordered a double cheeseburger when I came across the truck again at Kerb. Pushing all my friends to order one too. They did and what followed was one of those blissful moments that occur when everyone’s eating something that tastes so good – people just don’t talk to each other. Another one of my friends tried Alex’s burger as the truck had run out of burgers – yes, that’s how popular it is – and literally dropped to his knees in awe of this burger.

I don’t have a picture for that moment.

But you do have my word.

Go try the damn thing.

Bad Egg, Moorgate

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With a new firm comes new territory, I’d gotten to know the backstreets of Fitzrovia and all it has to offer within the year I’d worked in the area. I’m no longer on West End grounds and find myself close to the quirky streets of East London and smack bang in the city’s centre. At first glance I was worried there wouldn’t be many inspiring eateries amongst the modern concrete and glass clad offices but thankfully a few of my new colleagues have paved the foodie way for me. Luckily, I stumbled across this little gem within my first week.

Bad Egg is the new venture from Neil Rankin – who has previously worked his wonders in both Smokehouse, Islington and Pitt Cue Co, where he has based a menu around the protein packed breakfast favourite, eggs – playing on different flavours from around the globe. The menu boasts dishes ranging from goat’s cheese tacos to Korean sweet and spicy ribs – with feature craft beers on offer and a buzzy diner atmosphere, these lunch sized portions are perfect for your midday escape from the office.

Now there are some things you just don’t order when you’re out with new company such as spaghetti bolognese, noodles or ribs. I like to defy these unwritten rules and enjoy putting my etiquette into good old fashioned practice. Starving and craving something meaty avoiding all salad based dishes on the menu, I went for the Peking Ribs (Umami Rich Soy, Hoisin and Ginger Sauce) and some fries on the side – totalled at £11.50. Pretty good price for Central London.

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Our food came within 10 minutes and to my surprise my dish wasn’t at all messy as I’d pictured, it was one hefty, pork belly rib with a crispy outer layer and smothered in sauce, it looked delicious! The fries were plain and nothing really to shout about but necessary to pair with something as rich flavoured as the ribs I ordered. Another plus to the meal – the rib was so large I could use my knife and fork, usually I wouldn’t really care but it was my 3rd day at work – no way can I walk into the office after lunch with an ambiguous stain on my white shirt now can I? The Peking Ribs were so, so great for the first few mouthfuls, cured and slow cooked to perfection, the meat just fell off the bone. But as I got further through my meal I found it got more difficult to enjoy, maybe I needed more sides to mask the generous helping of hoisin sauce which became more sickly with each bite. Along with the amount of fat that was oozing onto my fork, it just wasn’t for me.

I wouldn’t say it made me write off the restaurant all together, the food looks impressive and the recipes are creative but with the result of my meal and the lack of competent service – generally when hiring a floor staff you choose someone who can remember which customer said what and be able to handle it when there are more than 3 tables with hungry customers. It’s not somewhere I would make dinner reservations on a Saturday night to be the centre point of a planned evening but a good option on the lunchtime list all the same.

Topshop Therapy Sessions

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So, it would seem that I somehow managed to jinx myself in my last post – I wrote about breakups and that’s exactly what’s happened. Now as the natural order goes, I will be doing some serious retail therapy and thankfully I have two wonderful excuses to do so (aside from the aforementioned event). After a year of working in recruitment for communications and pining after the jobs I was recruiting for, I’ve landed myself a place in a globally renowned PR firm – which I am insanely excited for. Secondly, I’m off to Berlin for a weekend break with my friend Aysha, it’s our first time there and we’re busy planning the sights we want to see and doing some serious speculation on how we’ll get through the infamous doors of the Berghain.

Now as the new season is creeping in, the temperature is on the rise which kind of leaves us in the in horrific stages of ‘coat on too hot’ ‘coat off too cold’. Although, after researching Berlin’s weather forecast, it looks like London is hotter so some jumpers won’t be going to waste on this trip. Now, over the past few months I’ve been trying to organise my wardrobe and buy items wisely, sticking to a similar colour palette so I can throw things together easily. This has been working so well for work, when all my washing is done and placed in my wardrobe and not the floor, it takes me two seconds to throw together an outfit that works. I mainly stick to black/navy and white/beige, but there are some blue and mustard yellow splashes in there too. Here’s whats on my to buy list this weekend, all from Topshop as I feel I’ve been neglecting an old time favourite for too long – and Topshop always feels like a treat doesn’t it.

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So as you can probably see, I’ve tried to mix it up with some of the new season trends which have come in such as the Shirt Dress, Stripy Crop Top and Utility Detailed Skirt, the rest are just simple basics to make it easy to wear for the everyday.

Benihana, Chelsea

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So, last weekend held the day that some singles dread, either throwing some form of Galentines party or crying into their pillows with a box of tissues, Netflix, wine and array of chocolate surrounding them, like a moat of misery. And couples, well…I guess they could be dreading it too, pouring effort into a day which has no real romantic credibility to their relationship but has been drilled into our heads from a young age that this is a day to show just how much you love your partner. The stress of this day actually causes a rise in anxiety and puts pressure on relationships, research has actually shown that the highest number of break ups happen on Red Tuesday, the Tuesday before Valentines Day. Just a fun fact for you. As someone who has been single for the entirety of my life until a year ago, please rest assured this blog post isn’t to boast about my relationship but to honestly tell you how amazing the food was. I am not one of those people who posts selfies of myself and my partner giggling into each others faces like teenagers in a 90’s chick flick. But at the same time, props to my boy for choosing an awesome place to eat, he’s a good one.

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This restaurant probably adds a little more flash than my usual posts, it’s a little more fancy and definitely a lot more pricey – but totally worth it. The venue is gorgeous, the entrance is ambiguous, placed on the corner of a building with a small corridor leading down some stairs, where at the bottom you are greeted by the concierge who will take your coat for you and take you to your seat. Leading you through their huge open plan area where the bar is located with modern sofas and seating, following a gold and grey colour palette – then through to the dining area where you’re seated onto a half moon shaped table. The seating plan is very different to anything I’ve seen, the tables look as if they were oval shape and split in half then separated to fit in a Teppanyaki (Flat Iron Plate) and two chefs. Each table holds 8 people and you are directly facing another, 8 which has a slightly eery feel to it before the chefs join the table. Staring at a bunch of other couples in anticipation of your food is odd when they’re total strangers. Another element was that the music was oddly upbeat for such a dim room which had such an ardent atmosphere but this would all come together once the chefs started.

We took our seats between two crazy, young couples. One couple so young they didn’t have any alcohol within arms reach and definitely spoke of their school peers the entire meal. Voices were kept low and the atmosphere was intimate – perfect for valentines day. We had one server to our table who catered for our drinks and explained the Valentines Taster Menu to us, we’d be having all 5 of the starters (joy) and had the choice of either mains from Menu A (Teriyaki Chicken, Black Cod with Miso Sauce & Sirloin Steak with Mushrooms) or Menu B (King Prawn with Sesame Sauce, Filet Mignon with Mushrooms or Cod and Grilled Lobster Tail) and to finish an Ice Cream Sponge Cake. I clearly chose Menu B, seafood is my favourite thing to eat out and it feels kinda fancy – I also wanted to try Filet Mignon as to this day I haven’t tried a steak I like. Plus it’s one of those things I’ve only heard of in rap music – the title itself just makes me sing that Lil’ Wayne song in my head. I’m going off topic. My partner chose Menu A, for gains.

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So, the thing with Benihana is that everyone on your table starts their meal at the same time, as of course you all eat your starters together which are prepared by the kitchen in time for the chef to come out and prepare your mains. We started with Benihana’s own Onion Soup which was light and aromatic, a perfect appetiser, and then on to a crisp salad with homemade ginger dressing which really cleansed the palette. Next was a cute heart-shaped soy sushi with avocado, best sticky rice ever. Then the chef came in to prepare the Prawn, Courgette and Onion Volcano which turned out to be this impressive show of slicing the onions and piling them to the shape of a volcano, cranking the Teppanyaki to max and adding God knows what to create a blast of fire which pretty much threw me off my seat. But very impressive all the same. The lobster and prawns were delicious and very filling when paired with the egg fried rice the chef had prepared for us earlier, I was stuffed by the time my steak arrived. Now, the filet mignon was lovely but I’ve decided that steak just isn’t for me but from my boyfriends reaction it was excellent and blew his sirloin steak out of the water.

The next hour was filled with lots of impressive knife juggling, flipping bowls with a variety of cutlery, catching eggs in hats, super speedy chopping and shaping food into various valentines shapes – we couldn’t keep our eyes off him. Our chef was so fun and interacted with every one of us, it was such a fun dining experience – not only was the food good but you also realise that you’re not just paying for the food but also a show and a damn good one at that.

 

SS15 Trends

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New York Fashion week is currently at the forefront of every Google search and magazine headline right now and I’m writhing with jealously, as of late, in admiration of the collections and A-List appearances. It’s seen some firsts, such as Jamie Brewer’s participation in Carrie Hammer’s ‘Role Models not Runway Models’ campaign, making her the first lady with Down Syndrome to walk in New York Fashion Week. Which is an incredible step forward for the fashion world. In other news, Kanye West’s show with Adidas saw the most star studded front row so far with Alexander Wang, Rihanna, Jay Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour. Impressive.

But, the clothes. What are the trends which are making the most noise on the runway for SS15?

The 70’s.

The 70’s are back people. It’s a style I have shyed away from as I think my afro hairstyle just takes the trend to a new level, you want it to look chic and not like a flashback from Saturday Night Fever. The runway has seen many a flared and fluted trouser for this years Spring Collection, in particular from Karen Walker, Diane von Furstenburg and Coach.

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 Karen Walker SS15

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Diane von Furstenburg SS15

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Coach SS15

Shirts and Shirt Dresses.

The simplistic white shirt has returned, I am so happy to announce this. Not only does this mean minimalist fashion is in it also means more choice for work attire, which at the moment is proving a struggle. So the shirt is back in all shapes and sizes, to be worn boxy, sleeveless or underneath dresses. I love this arrival, particularly the shirt dresses.

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Marc by Marc Jacobs SS15

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Michael Kors SS15 

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Diane von Furstenburg SS15

Gingham.

Here is a style I was not expecting and one that frankly reminds me of either my primary school uniform or Dolly Parton. Essentially, it has arrived from nowhere but has wowed the industry and you can expect to see it everywhere in SS15 and is incredibly popular across collections right now. Cutouts, harsh lines and colour blocking give it a modern twist on the country girl chic you’re picturing or to add sex appeal there are more sheer fabrics to choose from.

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Altuzurra SS15 

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Diane von Furstenburg

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Lela Rose SS15

The Colour Palette.

So the colour palette game this year is strong. It’s all about being bold and making a statement. Monochrome as ever, is a popular colour pairing, one that is loved by just about everyone, particularly me. Aside from the wonders of black and white, designers were indulging in their Reds, Greens, Blues and Yellows for this Spring, in colour blocking and in statement prints. Pair a splash of any of these colours with all white and you’re on point for this Spring.

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3.1 Phillip Lim SS15

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Victoria Beckham SS15

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Michael Kors SS15

Stripes.

Stripes dominated the runway this year and I’m so happy to see my childhood favourite come flying into 2015, who cares if the horizontal stripes mythologically make you look ‘larger’, this is all I want to be wearing in Spring. Multi-coloured, black and white, vertical, squared, stripes on stripes – anyway you put it, it works.

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Victoria Beckham SS15

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Alexander Wang SS15

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Peter Som SS15

Texture Up. 

The last key trend for the upcoming season is texture. We’re expecting tactile layers upon tactile layers here – I’m talking Faux Fur, Suede, Leather, Mesh, Perforations, Lattice, Lace, Fringing and the list goes on. Fur in particular may not have been expected for Spring but this gives a playful kick to your wardrobe and makes you more or less festival ready for summertime, I’d say.

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Oscar de la Renta SS15

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Proenza Schouler SS15

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Rodarte SS15

So there you have it, my lil breakdown of the key trends to watch this Spring. What am I most excited for? I guess the stripes, monochrome, splashes of canary yellow and fringing are real stand outs for me, it’s easy to keep minimalist but still managing to stay in the present. I try not to buy over flamboyant pieces and stick to key items which will pair well with the rest of my wardrobe. Happy shopping.

Style Snippet Vol.1

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Aysha Bhimji | 22 | Assistant Property Surveyor

I’ve known my girl Aysha for 3 years now, we’ve remained close friends since meeting at University in our second year where we bonded over both our love of pulling all nighters and for bed ridden weekends of film marathons. Aysha’s style has always been one that I’ve admired, always managing to combine effortlessly cool with totally polished- something I’ve never quite mastered due to my messy afro mop and slightly more tomboyish ways. So for the above reasons, Aysha is the first feature of what I’m calling a ‘style snippet’ to give you a glimpse of her wardrobe and personal style with some insight into how she puts outfits together and what her favourite items are of right now.

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Coat: Topshop | Boots: Zara | Bag: Osprey, London | Top & Skirt: American Apparel 

Favourite designers/places to shop? 
For work, probably, Zara. Recently I’ve been really favouring American Apparel as well, but I do think there’s only so much you can buy from there because it’s all very similar. Their styles do not really change but it’s great for basics as it’s all so simplistic which is what I love. It’s hard to think, I actually don’t think there’s that many great shops that stand out to me right now. I used to shop on ASOS a lot but now the site is way to big and there is too much choice.

Weekend

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 Jacket: Zara | Jeans: Topshop | T-Shirt: Zara | Bag: Louis Vuitton | Boots: Dr.Martens 

What do you find yourself incorporating into your day to day look?
To be honest, these days I always stick with the same kind of outfits, so jeans and a t-shirt. I try not to go too fancy, just keep it simple and something I feel comfortable in. I like to pair ‘boyish’ items with something girly. I remember reading once in a magazine they said for every one girly thing you should wear it with two things boyish – but for me that can get a little tomboy like so, one on one is good. My friend, Emma, is one of the people who most influences my style for this reason – she’ll always wear really baggy jeans and a barely there crop top. I’ve stopped following lots of fashion accounts on Instagram now, I feel it’s important to understand what works for others may not work for you, so it’s best to avoid copying and wear what you feel comfortable in.

Favourite item right now?
This new pair of jeans I got from Topshop, they’re ripped down the front and fit really well – not too high-waisted and just sit on my midriff. I have such a problem with jeans – because I’m so short – I usually find that with Topshop Petite Jeans they can sometimes be like ankle bashers, making you look shorter than you are but feel like I found a great pair in these.

Evening

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2015-02-07 16.42.35Top: Ann Summers | Skirt: Zara Trf | Shoes: Office | Bag: Tkmaxx

What’s your preference in what to wear on a night out? 
I have this thing, I go through transitions in what I like to wear. The outfit we shot just now, I really like that because it’s sexy but understated – the fact it hangs loosely just avoids it looking too tartish. What I don’t like are the tight little numbers and tiny crop tops, that’s something I’m trying to get away from as I don’t think that’s stylish at all.

Shoes?
I used to be very much into my heels as I was always very conscious of my height but now I’m really loving flats. I love my Dr.Martens and have recently been thinking about Timberlands but feel they may be too clumpy. The maroon buckle heels I have on in this shoot are great but now I really try to stick to black. I really enjoy wearing black and white as it’s so easy to pull outfits together and get away with wearing repeat things on repeat!

H&M Collabs & Design Awards

I love when two greats come together, like when Pizza Express jumped on the 241 bandwagon with Orange, Idris Elba doing a cameo in the US Office, Sweet AND Salty popcorn, well Sweet and Salty anything really. But H&M really got it right with their collaboration with Alexander Wang, the perfect combination of sultry tones and sporty chic – and they threw in a coord. I applaud you H&M. 

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Another interesting side project of H&M is their Design Award which is an annual event in it’s fourth year, they give students at selected design schools around the world the opportunity to produce a collection and showcase their talent to a panel of judges, springboarding their career into fashion. The winner takes home 50000 Euros and their collection is awarded a place in Stockholm Fashion Week. There was some insane looks this year, I’m all about oversized clothes and boyfriend fit so there were some real stand outs for me, I loved Andrea Jiapei Li and Ximon Lee’s Collections. Here’s a glimpse of the final 8’s collections, see more at the website here.

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  Leonard Kocic – Xinom Lee

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James Kelly – Andrea Jiapei Li

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Graham Fan – Andreas Eklöf

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Fiona O’Neil – Magdelena Brozda

Bubbledogs, Fitzrovia

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I foresee this place being my next obsession. Does anyone else have that incessant habit where you find something you like, do that thing over and over and over again until you hate it? I do it with songs, food, clothes. EVERYTHING.

But I doubt I will ever hate Bubbledogs. I’d heard a couple of people mentioning it around my office and the name stood out right away, I’m a sucker for a quirky name. To my delight Bubbledogs happen to fall under the category of the unique dining experience of gourmet fast food, this time incorporating hot dogs and champagne. It’s like they just fabricated themselves from my dreams.

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Hot Dogs. Champagne.

Now if I’m honest when I go out to eat and order a Hot Dog its usually in a knock-off American Diner where everything is supersize and to be frank, when the dish arrives I’m a little overwhelmed without even taking a bite. This is not what Bubbledogs is like. Whether you like your Hot Dog plain in the bun with or without ketchup or mustard or you like it covered in macaroni cheese, bacon bits and crispy onions – there will be something for you. You can take a look at the menu here. My choice was the Sloppy Joe (topped with pork chilli and mature cheese) and a side of sweet potato fries. I was prepared to be intimidated by the portion, checking for napkin stations and perched strategically on the high rise seats to avoid any future incidents of missing my piehole.

But this was the perfect portion. The Sloppy Joe was just big enough, with just the right amount of chilli that it could satisfy the good old tastebuds as well as actually staying in the bun – which I would genuinely call a science. Filled with delicate flavours and cooked to perfection I couldn’t fault them. And don’t even get me started on the sweet potato fries.

If you’re looking for somewhere fresh and funky to go for dinner but aren’t quite ready to throw away that classy vibe, this is the restaurant for you. Although, our waiter seemed to be unable to comprehend we didn’t want any champagne with our meal and had actually visited the restaurant for their food the whole experience was great. I plan to return on Thursday next week to dabble in their champagne list, I’m no connoisseur, but no better time to learn seeing as I’m going to be spending all my time there now, right?