Summer Diary: food for thought


If you think of chilli and tacos when someone says ‘Mexican’ then you’re in desperate need of a quick education and a highly indulgent evening at Pied-a-terre on Charlotte Street. These guys will take you on a real Mexican food crash course. I’m talking Veal Cheeks with Creamy Sweet Potato Vanilla and black chichilo to chocolate textures with corn and tascalate. The presentation mirrors the unexpected tastes and the interiors are smart, falling short of intimidating. Charlotte Street seems to be the apres 5.30 destination this summer, along with the rest of ‘Fitzrovia’ but this restaurant transcends the ‘TimeOut’ trend, boasting 20 years on the street and continues to please!

34 Charlotte St W1T 2NH. 020 7636 1178 Pied_a_Terre_Dish_2

Anesis, Clapham

It’s Friday and you have a smart do to get to, no blowdry booked and limited funds to splash on a last minute rush to somewhere where they offer you Earl Grey Tea over the hair tongs. So instead, you ring Anesis who could not be more ideal for ‘on-the-go’ body admin (nails, hair, all covered). They’re open till 8 and you’ll want to pre-book an Elemis facial while you’re there to help your hangover the next day.

17, the Pavement, Clapham Common, SW4 0HY. 020 7627 1500


I’m feeling desperately reluctant to share this unspoilt haunt in Soho. A recent discovery when trying to get into the restaurant opposite, we walked with our tails between our legs to Aurora and stumbled upon its enchanting garden – a little oasis of calm amongst the Soho pulse. The owners have decked out the small courtyard with Mediterranean furniture and cushions against the ivy walls, so you feel as though you’re eating al-fresco somewhere along the Amalfi coast. It’s oddly quiet and seems miles away from busy London but is still up-beat enough for you to discuss inappropriate topics and drink in equal measure. The food is quite different to your average med-resto, with a mosaic of flash and rather basic dishes. NB, sweet potato wedges are not for sharing.

49 Lexington St, W1F 9AP 020 7494 0514 aurora

Trinity Hospice Charity Shop

Less a charity shop and more a vintage shop, Trinity Hospice by Notting Hill Gate tube never lets me down. I found some Dolce & Gabbana leopard print boots in there for £38 and some fab sunnies from the 80s. The places doesn’t smell like other charity shops and this eccentric ex-model in her 70s drops in every day to offer her style advice on everyone’s picks. And it’s not sugar-coated advice but the brutal truth. The jewellery in there is eclectic and you could kit out your flat with all the silver for sale at the back of the shop. Gucci dresses hang next to old H&M numbers so it’s a real routing job but totally worth it.

20 Notting Hill Gate London 020 7792 2582

Shoe exhibition 

Yet to go and review this one but it’s firmly on my June hit list. It looks at the extremes of shoes from around the globe from ancient Egyptian sandals decorated in pure gold leaf to wacky designs by contemporary makers. It sounds like it’s got more substance than some fashion exhibitions with a peek into the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes.

13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016, V&A Museum

Tickets cost £12

shoes caroline groves 1959

Pineapple Dance studios, tap classes

Mondays are less bleak when you have a hilarious tap class to look forward to with your friends in the evening. They do classes for beginners to experts and you’ll be surprised at how much you sweat and how many calories you burn after an hour of prancing around. The teachers are so fun and will inspire you to quit your job and become a dance teacher. Some epic people watching opportunities too after class with all the ballerinas warming up and hip hop people performing their final pieces downstairs. Serious Billy Elliot territory

Classes cost £12 and remember to bring cash

Vauxhall Gardens watching film

Staying in and watching a film on a sunny summer evening feels criminal, especially if you’re not hungover. But combine the park with a cult hits and there’s no longer an issue.

vauxhall pleasure gardens

Chocolate classes with Hotel Chocolat

I was lucky enough to test drive one of these classes. It’s like a University lecture with all the unsavoury parts removed and everything you’d ever wish for included. A lady with a voice as smooth and velvety as the chocolate we were making took us through how the coco beans were picked, right up to how the chocolate was mixed and melted in their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque kitchens. You even get coco-bean tea and are educated on why chocolate is good for you – so you feel less guilty when you roll out of the store.

hotel chocolat

Katie Fremantle; nutritionist

You can cure so many problems with going to see the right nutritionist: insomnia, stress, sore stomach, constant fatigue etc etc. So many problems boil down to you eating the right things, and most importantly that this be tailored to your body. Another batch of prescribed antibiotics will not suffice in the long run. This lady knows what she’s talking about.

Mobile: 07887754852 Skype: katie.fremantle. At her Putney, London Clinic: Tel: 0208 780 0898. At the Evergreen Clinic, Letchworth. Tel: 01462 486 444

The Corinthia Hotel

This is the place to go for a celebratory drink, or simply some mid-week bon-vivant and a courtyard not rammed with media-boozers. The hotels décor is awesome. It slaps glamorous art deco onto a fresh clean palette of beige and cream hues. The Northall bar is bright, airy and smart (not stuffy), with optimum people watching potential and the most DELICIOUS bar food. The courtyard is ideal if you want to finish the night with cocktails, cigars and a roaring outdoor fire.

Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD, 020 7930 8181 The-Northall-Corinthia-Hotel-London

No 32, Clapham Old Town

One of the best brunches I’ve ever had. You can go for the standard smashed avo on sour dough blah blah or try something a bit more experimental such as pumpkin and smoked bacon hash. We stayed spineless with the avocado, glimpsing enviously at the more daring table next to us, but it was better than similar package-plates elsewhere. The smoothies could not be more delicious and don’t just taste of 98% apple, 2% what they claim to be but you could tell it was all in there. The roof is a suntrap and also a hangover haunt so try and book as everyone has the same bright idea. T: 020 3535 0910,

Heddon Street Kitchen

So we walked in here for a review, only to have our gossiping stopped in its tracks as we marvelled at how pretty the room was. They have truly mastered the lighting in this restaurant – cosy inside with orange hues and breezy space towards the terrace which feeds off the natural light. Regent Street is usually associated with tourists and £15 t-shirts of Big Ben but this restaurant completely shatters that image. The portion sizes are quality not quantity so you can go for three courses and still walk to the tube. I had the duck with leek which was ludicrously tasty and stole some of my friend’s delicious honey roasted carrots. There’s a little cocktail corner to start (or end) the evening and the hot almost brioche-like bread is not to be turned down, no matter how impending your holiday may be.

On behalf of ‘Discover Food and Wine on Regent Street’ (3rd-9th Aug), Heddon Street Kitchen are offering an exclusive menu, so now couldn’t be a better time to try it out!

3–9 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BE 020 7592 1212


Dishoom (for breakfast?)

A curry for breakfast doesn’t sound so appealing, but this is real Indian food. Just listen to this: “THE BIG BOMBAY: Your plate will be laden with abundant Akuri, char-striped smoked streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig, peppery Shropshire pork sausages, masala baked beans, grilled field mushroom, grilled tomato and buttered pau buns.” Hangover heaven and recommended by so many people as the perfect antidote to the smashed-avo-on-everything rage.

12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB, 020 7420 9320 (and) 7 Boundary Street
 London E2 7JE
, 020 7420 9324

Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre: Lord Of The Flies

Regent’s Park is playing host to a real classic this September: William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies. The best sociological insight pre-dating the cult hit ‘Meangirls’. Open air is the best way to enjoy the last of the summer evenings, especially by September when you’re sick of BBQs and park drinking.

For ticket, click here


The Canton

My favourite grotty-gourmet pub in London, the Canton keeps things scruffy on the surface but underneath is the most celestial British pub food in London. It’s got game too – partridge, pheasant, rabbit – its menu ranges from day-to-day and includes sharing pots for tables of two or four. The atmosphere is what you come for if you just fancy a drink (and the haggis toasties) which are only £4 and will keep you going till breakfast.

The Canton Arms, 177 South Lambeth Road, London SW8, 020 7582 8710

Mademoiselle Privé: Chanel exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery

From 13th October, Chanel is due a retourn to the Saatchi Gallery for a new exhibition: Mademoiselle Privé. Three whole floors of Haute Couture’d focus, as well as a peek into the charisma, charm and spirit of the French fashion house’s main players, Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Largerfeld. The exhibition will provide a peek into re-editions of the High Jewellery Bijoux de Diamants collection created in 1932 – the only fine jewellery to be designed by Chanel herself. The best part is that it’s free and near Manicomios for a glass of wine after three scaling the museum’s three floors.

The exhibition will run from 13 October – 1 November 2015. Admission is free. #mademoiselleprive chanel071

Cable Bar And Café, Oval

We discovered this little café in the day for it’s fluffy cakes and coffee but it took us a while to stumble across Jazz Tuesdays. Drop buy after work on a Tuesday and you’ll find live Chicago-style live jazz, wine glasses lit by amber lighting and rarely a seat after 9pm. It’s got a real European feel to it and is the perfect middle ground between scuzzy Brixton and polished Clapham. The jazz isn’t bad either!


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