The Hummingbird Bakery Press Night

Last night The Blonde and The Brunette had the pleasure of attending a private evening at the ultra-popular Hummingbird Bakery.

Held at their newest branch in Spitalfields Market, their award-winning, luscious desserts are not for the faint-hearted; that’s why they left The Man at home. In fact the Chief Product Developer herself confirmed that the normal Hummingbird customer tends to fall into one distinct category – the downright obsessed. The Blonde counts herself as one of those. Averaging up to three cupcakes a week and having sampled various competitors across London, Hummingbird continues to reign supreme.


Given the cult bakery’s notoriously strict no-public-backstage policy, it was with great pleasure and a sneaky feeling of illicit behaviour  (incidentally The Brunette’s favourite feeling) that the girls were treated to a tour of the steel works where the calorific magic happens. On that note, The Blonde made the error of asking approximately how many calories were saturated in one cupcake. A casual 600. For anyone who has ever wondered.

With twelve of their best-selling red velvet cupcakes to play with, The Blonde and The Brunette got stuck into an over-sized tupperware box of their infamous cream cheese icing. While The Brunette delved straight in with her hands, declaring the experience to be like something out of Willy Wonka, The Blonde slowly encountered what can only be described as a state of sugar-induced euphoria.

Now for technical stuff – each cupcake is given an ice-cream scoop of icing (every Hummingbird customer should have the same experience) and they have perfected the sponge-to-icing ratio for an optimum sugar hit. The icing is then shaped gracefully to form a cone shaped mound, before a skilled hand movement with the spatula knife leaves a pretty swirl. The Brunette was surprisingly adept at this part. “All in the wrist action” apparently. A gentle sprinkle of red velvet crumbs adds the finishing touch.

Sheer bliss. Each cupcake is made fresh that day. Overstock is binned or goes to charity. And they’re just a lovely bunch of cake-wielding genuises. So while it was more rolling pins than rock ‘n roll, The Blonde and The Brunette still declared themselves suitably high by the end and skipped home happily, cupcakes in hand.

The Hummingbird Bakery branches are in Soho, Portobello, South Kensington and Spitalfields Market.

For more information, visit their website here.

You can follow the Hummingbird Bakery on Twitter here.

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London’s most eccentric restaurant?

On Monday night The Blonde, The Brunette and The Man marched intrepidly through the rain for your reading pleasure to review LMNT, Dalston, a restaurant which proudly describes itself as London’s most eccentric!

Festivals, more adventures with the Poachers Pocket and a date with the Hummingbird Bakery are all keeping our trio busy until next week. But the opinion of London’s most eccentric diners on London’s most eccentric restaurant will be with you shortly.

http://www.lmnt.co.uk/


Amuse-bouche: Leon

Always one to enjoy a trend, The Blonde has thoroughly enjoyed the latest food fad to hit the FP (Fash Pack) offices. Forget that Diet-Coke-and-a-fag lunch break, it’s the humble fish finger, YES FISH FINGER, that’s making a comeback.

Brainchild of Leon, who have made “fast food” healthy with their super food recipes and organic ingredients, inducing an almost messianic loyalty amongst their clientele, this latest addition to their Spring menu is one to awaken your inner child. Having made it onto The Sunday Times Style’s Hot List and with hundreds of office canteens trying to recreate their own version across London, The Blonde estimates an average count of at least five Fish Finger Wraps circulating her own office at any one given time.

Crispy cod fingers (from sustainable Icelandic shoals of course) dressed with herb tartare, slices of pickle and fresh cos lettuce – it’s served up in their lightly warmed flatbread and comes in a heated tinfoil wrap. Fans of Birds Eye should look away now as at £3.60 it doesn’t come cheap, but Leon has nailed this guilty pleasure with just the right amount of indulgence, taste and the genuine belief that it’s actually good for you.

With an epic menu selection including Moroccon Meatballs, Smoked Mackerel and Beetroot Salad and Sweet Potato Falafel, The Blonde would like a chain of them please.

Additional comment: it also cures a stonking hangover without the post-McDonald’s comedown.

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For a full perusal of their menu and locations, click here www.leonrestaurants.co.uk

Follow Leon on twitter here 


The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

This Sunday morning The Blonde and The Brunette, nursing jager-fuelled hangovers, found themselves disappointed on two fronts; primarily with the rain, secondly with the noted absence of The Man. In an attempt to cheer the spirit, mac and high-top clad respectively, The Blonde and The Brunette ventured to East London’s latest hidden ‘speakeasy’ bar/bruncher. And the secret location belongs to The Breakfast Club’s most recent opening on Artillery Lane, Spitalfields.

Located behind the door of a Smeg fridge and down a darkened flight of stairs lies the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town whose new brunch offering officially launched this weekend. With low level lighting, candles and a bare brick interior (visualise stag heads and quirky bookshelves), if your ears perk at the sound of exclusivity, this brunch by day and cocktails by night venue is the one for you.

With a menu offering a delectable “hair of the Cat” selection, the ladies were tempted to dabble. A subtle mention that coffee was practically off the menu in this joint sealed the deal. The Bloody Maria in a pint glass and fresh orange Mimosas were, as expected, a delight. Drinks sorted, The Blonde opted for poached egg, bacon and avocado on multi-grain bread (high protein for the fash pack) while The Brunette chose the pancakes, bacon, maple syrup and blueberries (size 6 with a rather sickening metabolism).

Long-time devotees to The Breakfast Club’s less clandestine offerings, The Blonde and The Brunette expected high standards and macro-portions and were not disappointed. Crispy bacon, poached-to-perfection eggs and fluffy pancakes were all present and correct. Although service left a little to be desired (let’s call it ‘teething problems’) all was forgiven as it was provided with a smile and alongside the sounds of an eclectic playlist. Uncharacteristically, even The Brunette didn’t have the heart to complain.

While the menu resonates with The Breakfast Club’s usual offerings and prices (and the loo is named ‘The world’s second smallest disco’ – LIKE) The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town avoids the queues, mayhem and bacon rolls – offering something a little more gritty and ‘underground’ yet with an altogether more polished finish.

Leaving the building via another secret portal, it’s probably the best fun they’ve ever had behind a fridge (…probably). What perfect Sunday silliness. Rain…what rain?

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The Breakfast Club can be found at:

12-16 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields E1 7LS

To play behind the fridge you’ll need to contact The Mayor: @mayorscaredycat

Drinks around £5
Plates around £8


A Dorians Dinner

Concerned that his current diet of opiates and mixed analgesia was turning him into a rattlesnake, The Man met The Blonde and The Brunette for a brace of gin and tonics and a couple of Negronis before heading to A Dorians Dinner.

In no finer a postcode than Exmouth Market and the setting of The Mission Rooms (church hall turned bingo hall turned entertainment room) did The Dorians Dinner unravel. Literally unravel. Stumbling waiters, broken glasses and chaotic seating arrangements – this comedic pair had their routine finished before we’d ordered our drinks.

Saying that, the young professionals pulled it together with hilarious banter amongst the staff, diners and various pop-up acts in between courses (although reports conclude that one table did in fact leave pre-dessert!).

Food

The Man, like Duran Duran’s now legendary wolf, is always hungry, so he waited in barely concealed frustration for the meal to commence (tempered only by the present wine & fine company).

First was presented an amuse-bouche of Yellow Cherry Tomato Consomme with Herb Infused Olive Oil Ice Cube and Parmesan Cheese Straw. The cheese straw disappeared into The Man’s mouth, immediately becoming myth rather than substance, like pushing a fine cast plaster bust into a saw mill. The delightfully flavoured shot was knocked back in one in anticipation of the starter, which after a small wait soon arrived.

All three chose the Vanilla Soused Mackerel with a Salad of Shaved Fennel, Jersey Royals and Quails Egg, Pink Peppercorn and Dill Emulsion
rather than the Charred Asparagus; sensibly all at 3 Eat High agree that the only time to be a vegetarian is between meals. The mackerel was somewhat of a surprise to The Man. Having only had it grilled or smoked before, he had never experienced so fleshy a fish (not meaty like tuna, but fleshy, “like the delicately flavoured leg of a drowned child” he said). Though it went with the quails egg and the salad perfectly, overall The Man thought it was a little tart and though he has been known to enjoy such a thing, in this context he was not overly smitten (though he did manage to finish off The Brunette’s as well as his own).

The trio also opted for the same main; Seared Breast of Corn Fed Chicken with Summer Vegetables, Chive Potato Cake and a Foie-Gras Butter Sauce (again ignoring the vegetarian option of Truffled Wild Mushroom Tian and Roasted Garlic Veloute). The Man enjoyed this immensely; a touch of OCD leaves him inexplicably pleased when food is perfectly stacked upon itself. The chicken was delicious, as were the Foie-Gras sauce and “potato cake”. That said, both The Brunette and The Blonde were hoping said cake would be something they refer to only as ‘fadge’. It wasn’t and The Man is still no wiser as to what ‘fadge’ really is..? The main course was most pleasing to The Man not least because it was round, and looked a little like a burger. It’s the simple things in life, and as complex a man as The Man is, on occasion he’s been known to be quite simple.

We digress.  A White and Dark Chocolate, Chilli and Lime Cheesecake was an ideal end to the meal. The consistency of the topping was in the Brunette’s opinion perfect – smooth and creamy yet still light enough that our diners between them polished off an extra two portions which they somehow snaffled from the kitchens.

Drinks

Perceptive readers will already note that our trio enjoy a tipple. It was therefore slightly disappointing to encounter a drinks list restricted to water, one red, one white or beer. That said, the red wine was absolutely passable and our diners seemed to have no trouble in getting through 3 bottles so not too much criticism can be made. The Dorians might take note to offer at least a pre-dinner gin and tonic next time though, if only to whet the appetite (for both food and comedy).

To conclude

In summary 10/10 for effort and something definitely had us giggling on our wobbly stools (whether that was pre-dinner Gordons or the 3 bottles of wine remains to be seen)

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Dinner £25/person, wine £12/bottle.

A Dorians Dinner popped up for two nights June 2nd – June 3rd 2011.

Keep an eye on http://www.themarvellousdorians.com/ or follow The Dorians on Twitter @TheMarvellousDs to find out about future ventures.


Cleansing our sins in The Mission Room

Last night The Blonde, The Brunette and The Man feasted on dinner and comedy provided by The Marvellous Dorians at The Mission Room, Exmouth Market. A lovely pair of well turned out young chaps they turned out to be too.

Review coming just as soon as we’ve dealt with these hangovers.

For now you can visit The Dorians here: http://www.themarvellousdorians.com/


Amuse-bouche: Song Que

The Brunette, having the metabolism of a young race horse, frequently finds she can’t quite make it from office to home without stopping for some sustenance. Although it’s enroute, she hadn’t previously tapped Kingsland Road’s “Pho Mile” of Vietnamese restaurants. Frankly the overwhelming choice made The Brunette feel quite uncertain; and there’s nothing The Brunette likes less than feeling quite uncertain. Song Que tempted her in though, with numerous confidantes promising splendid dishes at a snip.

She was not disappointed. The Spicy Squid (£6.90) arrived searing hot and seasoned to perfection, the batter crisp and the meat tender. Pork with lemongrass, chilli and onion (£6.70) was succulent and highly flavoured, the perfect antidote to a chilly June evening. And at a bargainous £11, the crisp house white really couldn’t be faulted.

The Brunette had been warned about the dire service. Always a coper, she adopted the view that the poor service was merely there to act as a form of interactive performance art. This just about made it bearable. The waiters were gruff and incomprehensible, avoiding eye contact and choosing to ignore even the most blatent pleas for their attention. However rude as it was the service was extremely efficient. Wine arrived chilled to perfection with food seeming to follow within moments of ordering. As true to the rest of her life as to restaurant service, the Brunette prioritises swift satisfaction over ineffectual niceties any time…Bravo Song Que, she returned just three nights later!

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Song Que
134 Kingsland Road
E2 8DY

http://songque.co.uk/


Amuse Bouche: The Poachers Pocket

The Brunette does seem to have knack of ending up in unusual situations. Most unusual this was too;  under the auspices of the inimitable Adam Towner  the Hackney Cypriot Association centre saw itself transformed into a veritable Dalston hunting lodge one fine April evening.

A  well thought-out selection of delectable cocktails (£6) aided the suspension of belief as the Brunette and her excitable companion stepped into Towner’s world of hay bale seating, taxidermy-laden walls and tweed-clad waiting staff.  Of particular note was the “Hedgerow Sling” (sloe gin and raspberries) and the “Spring Fruit Punch” of exotic tea, rum and citrus fruits.  The drinks were perhaps well-needed to enable our diners to cope with that phenomenon the British aren’t quite accepting of yet, the “shared table”. With a pair on the left who seemed intent on recruiting cult members, and an ensuing domestic between the couple on the right our diners barely needed the extra entertainment laid on by The Poachers (excellent though the double bass playing all-singing duo were).

The food too was exceptional, especially for a pop-up. The pheasant (£12) arrived well-seasoned and tender on a tasty bed of Jersey Royals and spring greens. The vegetarian of our party was most taken with an inventive main of sweetcorn fritters and honey roasted beetroots (£9) which also proved delicious.  Dessert was an apple and rosemary fool served with honeycomb (£6) which The Brunette announced as being “the best thing I’ve had in my mouth this year.” High praise indeed.

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The Poachers Pocket next pops up at The Dalston Roof Park.

For more information please visit their website here.

You can follow the Poachers on Twitter @LondonPoaching


Amuse-bouche: G. Franco Pizzeria

With a penchant for pizza and residing a mere stones throw away, The Blonde often finds herself flocking with the masses to the delectable Pizza East.

But 45 minute waits aren’t cool (even if there’s the occasional eye candy to be enjoyed) so when her male flatmates were regaling tales of ‘the best pizza ever’, The Blonde’s ears were pricked.

Located down the alleyway of Luke Street, G. Franco’s is apparently the lunch-time hotspot for City workers.* With rumours of lengthy queues, The Blonde was somewhat anxious about her impromptu Tuesday night dining. She needn’t have worried, as on arrival at the blue plastic door (decorated with tea lights – standard Italian decor?), the restaurant was in fact empty. As it remained  for the evening.

It was a basic experience – cheap furniture, plastic menus and background noise of MTV’s  Sexy Summer Songs. Nevertheless excellent pizza was what she wanted. And that’s what she got.

With an authentic Italian menu (prepared by actual Italians), there’s a large selection of pizza, pasta dishes and antipasto. Opting for the pizza Melanzane (tomato, mozzarella, chargrilled aubergine and parma ham), the thin base had just the right amount of crisp and with no scrimping on the toppings – it was light, freshly prepared and a generous size for a mere £7.80.

Luckily The Blonde doesn’t need noisy hipsters to know a good pizza when she tastes one. And there’s no reservation needed.

*one who wears a suit and eats money

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G. Franco Pizzeria can be found at:

9 Luke Street, EC2A 4PX

(There’s also take-away with free home delivery. Papa Johns no more)


First review coming soon…

Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

The Blonde

The Brunette

The Man