Friday, 23 August 2013

Goin' Dahn Auntie Naan

Indian fast food restaurant 'Auntie Naan' opened yesterday on London’s trendy Broadway Market.

I popped along for a sneak preview last week and loved what I saw. Lee Cooper (ex Creative Director at White Stuff) and his friend Ali have joined forces to create an exciting, original Indian foodie adventure.

Bright, cheerful colours lift the rustic wooden interior and helpful staff are always on hand to offer advice about the food and help keep the place looking spic and span. You order food and drink from the bar. I loved the wine list; you could choose normal or ‘posh’.  Extensive? No? Easy peasy? Yes.

I greedily ordered lots of different food. The Masala fish fingers stood out (delicious) as did the tummy-rumble-quietening meatball naan. Warning: the mini poppadoms are ridiculously more-ish, make sure you leave room for the main event!

You can’t fault the concept of this fun hangout. It has a great vibe and you instantly get a feel for what it might be like to eat out in India; no plane ticket required. 

Auntie Naan
52 Broadway Market 
London, UK E8 4QJ

(020) 7923 2627

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Innocent Inspires: Taste

Wow, what an evening. What better location to talk about taste than a properly set table in a Clerkenwell’s Crypt on the Green. I left feeling happy, inspired and in dire need of a Rennie.

Some of the most influential, interesting people in the food business spoke. Some of my favourite pearls of wisdom came from the amazing Ms Marmite Lover, who spoke about hosting brilliant dinner parties. Here are some of the best!

 “Good taste is us imitating the aristocracy, pretending to be upper class”
“You want a loudmouth at your party”
“Invite a stranger and spread your circle”
“Get ready before you start cooking”
“Ask for help at the end”
“Don’t get too pissed”
“Never make pasta for more than 8 people”
“Theme your meals”
“Play with your food”
“Play restaurants in your house”

And these were the speakers:

Florence Knight, head chef at Polpetto
Pepper ice-cream
(Honesty and elegance to go)

Ms Marmite Lover, underground supper club queen
Posh marmite on toast with crispy seaweed
(Overt, excitable, funny)

Bombas Parr, jellymongers extraordinaire
I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly
(Eccentricity, enthusiasm, energy and intelligence)

Emilie Baltz, transatlantic food designer 
Demi fig avec vanilla pod
(Sexy, interesting, stylish. Bit of a girl crush, actually)

Ollie Dabbous, chef-owner of the game changing Dabbous
Oi Dabbous, where’s my steak?
(Down-to-earth, educational, looks a bit like Russell Brand when you look from the side)

To drink: A selection of yummy Innocent Smoothies and a Virgin Mary from Ms Marmite Lover.

Extras: Graze Box, dips from the Dip Society and Peppersmith mints.

Thanks for a scrummy evening Innocent! Learn more about Innocent Inspires and watch the videos here.

Tea towel invitation!

Mmm smoothie

Making new LONDON!

Brilliant design

Glam Florence Knight

Mmm pepper ice cream

Becky enjoys the evening

Wibbly, wobbly on the plate

Pasta: a spotter's guide (genius)

Very useful

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Wonders of Somerset House

Last Saturday, I went to see not one, not two, but three wonderful exhibitions at Somerset House! Hope you enjoy my mini reviews of each one.

elBulli: Ferran AdriĆ  and The Art of Food
05 July 2013 - 29 September 2013

When I heard about this exhibition about ‘The best restaurant in the world’, I wondered how on earth they would portray it without any tasters! It’s brilliantly curated, with videos embedded into the timeline on the wall, Plasticine models and incredible photography. Any foodie would enjoy this. I was blown away.

Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me
10 July 2013 - 29 September 2013

Fashionistas will love this fabulous exhibition of photographer Miles Aldridge’s work. Bold, bright and colourful, immaculate models stare into the middle distance, encouraging us, according to the plaque, to imagine what is happening in their lives. It sounds silly, but I even found the wall colours inspirational! The make-up was incredible too, which would explain why Mac was one of the sponsors.

Print Club London
01 August 2013 - 21 August 2013

Although this was actually the reason I went to Somerset House in the first place, it was my least favourite of the three exhibitions. Somerset House and Film4 teamed up with Dalston-based studios Print Club London to curate a screen printed poster exhibition in the newly opened West Wing Galleries. There were only 16 ‘new and original screen prints’ to choose from, inspired by each of the films screened this year. The prints have been produced in limited editions of 200, signed by the artist and are available to buy at £40 each. As we all know, art is subjective, but I didn't see anything to my taste.

Word to the wise:

If you’re seeing more than one exhibition (elBulli and Miles Aldridge, for example) you can get something called a ‘Joint Ticket’ which makes things cheaper. I’m so impressed with Somerset House that I’m actually considering becoming a member. I’m planning to go back for the ‘Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941–1960’ exhibition; I’ll let you know how I get on. That one’s on until September 1st.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Citypoint Club

If the MI5 gym were ever closed for refurbishment, I can imagine Bond opting for the Citypoint Club in its place. Sleek, chic and exclusive, there is a strict cap on the number of members, meaning a stress-free experience every time.

Plush towels and robes are readily available and for a small fee you can even arrange to have the gym do your laundry (an end to a breed of ‘my gym gear isn’t washed’ excuses, sigh).

Don’t get me started on the gadgets; for an additional £20 per month you can sign up for unlimited hydration drinks, literally at your fingertips. Oh yes, the machine remembers your fingerprint. This fee also includes the laundry service and a private locker. Citypoint’s relaxation chairs were designed by Nasa. They make you feel airless as you gaze, in a darkened room, at a tank of tropical fishes.

If you need somewhere to relax after a hard day at the office, the Citypoint Club has every area covered. The chlorine-free pool is a joy; clean, quiet and big enough to have a proper swim. There were only a handful of people when I was there at peak time on a weekday.  There’s a sauna, steam room and plunge pool, with cushioned loungers everywhere. The Med Spa offers a comprehensive range of treatments, from a manicure to non-invasive surgery! I had a wonderful Aromatherapy Associates massage which nearly sent me to sleep.

If you’re looking for fat-burning treatments, Zerona is the option for you. This non-invasive body contouring procedure removes fat without harmful side effects associated with surgical methods. All spa treatments are available to non-members too.

Oh, and there’s a fully equipped, snazzily technical gym too, should you ever fancy a workout. With all of the other relaxing options, I’m not sure I’m going to have time…think I’ll leave the touch screen treadmill to Bond. I’ll get Zerona instead.  

Membership: £110 per month