Tuesday, 30 September 2014

London Food: Bob Bob Ricard

My friend Sam has always been raving on about Bob Bob Ricard in Soho. Every time I walked past I thought the place looked rather intimidating, and somewhere where older gentlemen went to have fancy whisky! Not sure where this presumption came from but it probably had something to do with the gold themed exteriors and great-gatsby-esque decor!

Anyway, I decided to book dinner here after hearing a few other people had loved it.

I dressed up in my finest even though it was a Monday, and slicked my hair back due to a bad hair day! I love this dress and have had it for a few years, it always comes in handy for occasions like these.

Dress Twenty8Twelve (Old season)
Shoes Zara (Similar here)
Bag from Bosnia (Similar here)

The restaurant has cute little (but spacious) booths that look like train booths, and every booth has a clever little 'press for champagne' button!

The crystal glasses were so beautiful I wanted to steal them

The walls were adorned with intriguing portraits and unique one of a kind wallpaper...if you only look at the surrounding walls you'd have a feeling like you were in someone's old vintage home...

Bob Bob Ricard is a restaurant with an English and Russian menu, with mostly Russian staff. It's probably a little strange that they have this mix, as the decor and ambiance to me was more reminiscent of 1920's American glamour. The details all around were beautiful to explore, with old Victorian portraits, bespoke patterned wallpaper, marble tables, curtains next to every booth, and gold tones and brass well, everywhere! They definitely spared no cash when building this place. Although it looks like a playground for the richest, there was a mix of restaurant goers there including people just having cocktails at the bar, and the overall ambiance was warm and enjoyable.

As we entered Bob Bob Ricard, we were greeted by a friendly doorman, and a hostess at a reception area where our jackets were taken. They then took us to our booth, and made sure we had something to drink straight away. I have to mention that a few people have said the service here is not great, and I had a very different experience. The service was impeccable, the staff friendly and attentive, and the food came quickly.

OK I couldn't resist!

DRINKS *****
I'm not a wine connoisseur but Bob Bob Ricard claim they are known for the best value fine wine and champagne list in the UK. We opted for a signature cocktail which was great, and a couple of other drinks during the meal. They had a vast choice of drinks and am sure there was something for everyone on the menu so thumbs up.

The sides we ordered with our beef Wellington were soft mashed potato and mashed peas

The gravy perfectly complimented the beef

FOOD ****
For our starter we had the Waldorf salad (image above) which had bits of endive, celery, apple, grapes, radish and roquefort cheese, and was served with honey dressing. The cheese was a little overpowering but we survived.

The best part was the main - we opted for the beef Wellington for two, 48 day aged, which took 45minutes to be made. Every minute of the wait was worth it, as this beauty was one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. The scotch beef was cooked to perfection (medium rare) and wrapped in pancake and pastry but was so, so soft. The whole thing was very filling and I wish I had space to eat the whole thing!

One thing I didn't really like was the amount of blue cheese on the starter, and the general look of the plates. I felt that for the atmosphere, style and price of the restaurant, the plates were a little on the cheap side, surprisingly. Something else that bothered me was the fact that there was foie gras in the beef wellington, but this was not mentioned on the menu. I was a little upset that I had just eaten that without knowing, even though I was actively trying to avoid ever eating it.

For dessert I chose the Bob Bob Ricard Signature Chocolate Glory - I love a dessert that entertains! It was pretty cool - the waitress delivered a shiny gold ball next to a few raspberries and gold leaf flakes on to the table...she then poured hot dark chocolate on top and voila - the ball opened to reveal bits of chocolate brownie, mousse, meringue and passionfruit orange jelly. As you can see below, it was pretty damn good as I polished that plate!!!

Bob Bob Ricard also has a stunning Club Room where you can dine in an even more extravagant, intimate atmosphere with entertainment near you. You can book via the website but you will need a minimum of 4 guests in your party to book here.

A meal for two at the restaurant with two drinks each, bread, one starter, two sides and desserts costs around £200

1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Food: Culinary Canvas

I recently randomly discovered the wonderful food art by Lauren Purnell, who loves to play with her food. Her creations are so cool! Check some of them out below and on her website.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Beauty: Simple haul

A while ago I had run out of eye make up remover, and I just grabbed the next cheapest thing that I saw on the Boots shelves as I was in a hurry at the airport. I had no idea that Simple would then become my go-to brand for almost my entire basic skincare routine today!

The Kind to Eyes Eye Make-Up Remover (RRP £3.49) is just like it says on the cover...simple. The thing is, it works better than any other designer brand remover I have personally used in the past...including Dior and Garnier. It cleans any make up off the eyes quickly and efficiently, but without stinging or smudging which is the common problem I found with a lot of other brands. It is also gentle enough to use on the eye, but effective enough so that you don't actually need to apply too much pressure when using it. Perfection.

I was then sent the Purifying Cleansing Lotion (RRP £3.29) and Deep Cleansing Face Mask (RRP £3.99)to try out, and was just as impressed. The cleansing gel was very effective and I didn't need a lot of it to get my make-up off - just one cotton pad. This meant that the bottle has lasted me a good few months, whereas all the other lotions go a little quicker.

Like with all Simple products, what I love the most is that they are perfect for my sensitive skin. I think everyone should be careful with that they use on their face, and I also think that you don't need to spend a lot on the basics. These products are perfect for taking all my make-up off gently, with no stinging, and I know it all comes off without causing any strain or adding chemicals to my skin. I then use the No7 Protect & Perfect Anti Ageing Night Cream (RRP £23) as this is one of the scientifically proven products to work against wrinkles. I'm still only 25 but the earlier we start the better in my opinion!

Next I tried the Revitalising Eye Roll-On (RRP £5.49). I was a little sceptical about this as I have seen a lot of them on the shelves but never really believed that they work. How is a bit of cold liquid meant to wake up my tired eyes?? Thing is, it didn't necessarily do this but it did help with the puffiness, and it definitely helped my eyes open up a little more if they were tired or heavy. The roll-on created a slight cooling sensation as well as a tightening of the skin. It certainly isn't a miracle worked but it helps a little!

I'm now off to buy the Toner as I am completely hooked on all the Simple products so far!


Sunday, 21 September 2014

London Food: Cocktail & chocolate making class

I've always wanted to go to a chocolate making class, and finally got to do it a few weeks ago with My Chocolate. Best thing about it? We got to learn how to make cocktails, too!

The venue was quite big and they were equipped with every type of tool you would need, plus lots of sprinkles and infusions like lavender which I used in my truffles!

You will make a Daiqiri and whisky cocktail, as well as with some chocolate-y twists. 

Easily done and looks gorgeous!

We were then taught step by step how to make smooth and rich dark chocolate truffles from fresh organic ingredients with the best quality cocoa.

You then have the option to use decorations or add anything you like, including chocolate flakes, strawberry curls or hazelnuts. 

A little marshmallow found it's way into a chocolate making class!

Well we just had to eat the messy ones...

These beauties were also done by hand, with a small cutter and gold transfers on top


Once finished, you can wrap each truffle individually and box it to take away.

Check out their website for a variety of courses, with prices ranging from £49 for one person, or £98 for two.

The whole thing lasted around 3 hours and was great fun! It's a lovely and inexpensive gift for a friend, a fun day with mum or just something to do with your partner that's a little different!

Check out their website for a variety of courses, with prices ranging from £49 for one person, or £98 for two.


Travel: A day in Venice

Venice seems to be one of those places everyone dreams of going to...and it was everything one would expect - dreamy canal ways, cute little bridges, alleys of traditional shops and all the while echoes of the Gondoleros singing in the distance.

My friend and I took a very convenient day trip while we were in Pula, Croatia, which costed us just around £90 return via a 3 hour boat! We just couldn't resist.

We took the Venezia Lines speed boat, and you can either book tickets online or in Pula town centre. The journey was comfortable, not fussy and they had a small cafe on board if you needed anything. We also paid a small amount for the transfer bus to the port, and a gondola ride with the boat tour company.

You can easily book everything once you get there, but as we had only one day in Venice we tried to book everything in advance!

The Gondoleros skilfully manoeuvred their beautiful boats through the narrow canals and past one another...

Something I didn't expect was the Gondoleros all singing! It wasn't even cheesy, they are pretty good!

Restaurants and hotels line the canals, where you can stop off for a little pasta or wine

We took a stroll through Piazza San Marco, where you can get (a very expensive!) coffee while being serenaded by a live violin and piano band

We visited at the end of August, and it was SCORCHING hot and humid...the only thing that made the day rather difficult!

Vintage camisole
Topshop skort
Aldo sandals
Vintage hessian clutch bag
Ray Ban sunglasses

On the way to another attraction - the Rialto Bridge

Cute windows lined the narrow streets, with beautiful artwork and statues scattered everywhere...they are hard to spot if you don't look high up every once in a while!

While walking through Venice's residential streets it's easy to forget that you are surrounded by the sea and canals, which makes the sight of them even more magical

There is also an area with designer shops which I didn't expect to find, but we ended up buying some lovely Brazilian style bikinis in the Italian Yamamay store-make sure you go there as their stuff is great!

What you can't see here is our suffering from the heat!!

Venice is truly like a painting

The shops have the classic things to buy...Murano glass items, Venitian masks and touristy souvenirs. We opted for lace fans for the heat, and large tea towels with venice printed on them to take home.

One day in Venice, Italy was actually enough to get a taste of this little stunning city. I felt like a movie star being driven in the taxi boats (probably looking at too many pictures of George Clooney at the Venice Film Festival!) and I really enjoyed our little trip.

Like mentioned earlier, the only thing that bothered us was the excruciating heat, I really didn't expect it and it was very uncomfortable but apparently this is the norm for Venice. It was also at the height of tourist season so was extremely crowded everywhere, something that made the little bridges a little less romantic. We didn't take a map or guide book, we just walked around and got lost which was the best thing to do when there are too many tourists around. We ended up in quiet residential streets, sharing a delicious gelato and finally crossing the little bridges without having to push around with others.

I would recommend a long weekend in Venice, but be prepared to dig deep into your pockets (Private gondola rides are around £100!) and for the big crowds if you go in the summer.

I really hope this place doesn't lose it's charm, or sinks too quickly!!!

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