Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Mr Foggs Festive Tipsy Tea.

Tis the season for afternoon tea. Ever since Mr Foggs opened Mina and I have been discussing going there to check out the apparently awesome cocktails. Sadly life has got in the way and it's been a while since we caught up, so when she asked if I fancied joining her for Mr Foggs Festive Tipsy Tea it didn't take me toooo long to say a big fat yes.

You walk down a small back street in Mayfair just behind my old haunt Berkeley Square, and as the light in the sky was dimming it all felt very mysterious. The lane was full of construction works, and then nestled right in the middle was a new-ish looking building with a big wooden door. I walked up to it and rung the doorbell (you can't just barge your way inside), and a gentleman answered and let me in. 

I walked in to a room full of artifacts and nick-knacks that wouldn't be out of place in the world of Sherlock Homes or Dr Dolittle (the original, duh). Naturally the room has been designed to portray fictional world-traveler Phileas Fogg's home, and what with my social circle being in the world of London's Clubland where Fogg's wager took place (in the Reform Club, no less), I felt right at home.

Dark woods, old Chesterfield's, and a buzzing atmosphere made for a delightful afternoon. Mina and I feasted on a unique afternoon tea of fig and walnut sandwiches (the best sandwiches ever), pistachio cakes, and raspberry and passionfruit macarons.

Our 'Tipsy Tea' for the afternoon were a mixture of cocktails infused with tea. I opted for a gin cocktail; Robin Red Breast. It was insanely good, very fruity and full of berry flavours, it tasted like a Christmas iced tea - except it was full of gin!

Mina went for the Belvoir Castle tea, which came with a 'milk jug' of Champagne which she was then instructed to pour into her cup of 'tea'. The Tipsy Tea's are bottomless, so when we finished each of our teapots, I had the same as before (it was too good not to have again!) and Mina had the Catherine of Braganza, which was a gin infusion of creme de apricot, Tanqueray No.TEN, Contrieau, and orange marmalade!

The afternoon certainly got very tipsy with all of those cocktails, and set me up perfectly for the Christmas ball later that evening! I did feel sorry for the gentleman doing my hair for the ball though, I was chattering away to him while he was trying to concentrate on my hair (he was doing a very elegant, Hollywood glam style marcel wave for me).

I'm so glad we finally got to try out Mr Foggs, and I'll definitely be back; it's such a wonderful chance for your imagination to run wild whilst escaping the hustle and bustle of the nearby tourist hotspots. Plus you can never have too many Tipsy Tea's ;)

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*Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purpose of review. All my opinions are completely honest.

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Royal Automobile Club Christmas Ball.

I have a confession. I lied to you. You know how I told you all I wasn't going to the annual inter-club Christmas Ball (see previous posts here) this year? Yeh. I went. Originally I wasn't gonna go, then I decided at the last minute to just go. Hearing about so many of my friends going, I suddenly got major FOMO. But then I had an issue, I had to decide what to wear etc in just two days.

I decided which dress to wear, then realized far too late that it's actually a size too big now as I've lost weight since I last wore it to the white tie Trafalgar Dinner, so spent the entire night trying to hold it up with my arms. Anyway, I had Saturday all planned out, I'd drive to Chelsea to have my hair blow-dried at Duck and Dry, then go for afternoon tea with Mina, then go to the ball and get changed in the club. 

Sadly the traffic and a football match had other plans for me, so I missed the hair appointment and they couldn't fit me in at any other time. So I called every blow-dry bar and all were fully booked. Darn. My hair was a complete mess, I was desperate and ended up going to Headmasters in Soho. Thankfully the ah-mazing stylist in there did a Marcel Wave for me instead of a standard blow dry, and I fell in love with it.

Anyway, I finally got to the Royal Automobile Club and met the others in the lobby. As I've said in many posts before, it's one of my favourite clubs and Chris Barsley always does an awesome job of their events. We took a coupla pictures by the pretty tree and car, then headed upstairs for the champagne reception, before taking our seats at dinner.

The ballroom where the dinner was held had weird red lighting in it as the theme for the ball was 'Moulin Rouge' (although no one dressed up in anything to do with the theme), so it was impossible to get decent photos. As usual the food was absolutely amazing, so tasty and it was so great to have something different to the standard Salmon starter that every event seems to have. I really do wish the Christmas Ball's would provide a full Turkey Christmas dinner though, or goose would be interesting! Otherwise the dinner doesn't really feel overly special or different from what we usually have.

After dinner there was a jazz band and a casino room, and we spent hours dancing the night away before we all went down to the long bar for after-party drinks. 

I'm not sure it quite matched up to last years incredible ball at the Hurlingham, but the Hurlingham have much more space so they're able to do cool things (last year they had one room with a jazz band, another with a DJ that was essentially a club, and one room with an awesome photobooth), however it was still a lovely evening and really great to see everyone. Here's to 2015, and all the wonderful events it will bring!

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Stelle di Stelle at Harrods.

Last week Melanie, Chiara and I went to Stelle di Stelle, a pop-up restaurant nestled on the lower-ground floor of Harrods amongst fine wine from around the world. The restaurant is light and bright, and the food incredible. You may remember how disappointed I was with the food when I went to Rome back in May, well this Italian feast of fine dining certainly made up for that! 

Stelle di Stelle opened in September, and will remain there until January 2015. Each month one of the top restaurants in Italy takes the stage/kitchen to serve up their signature dishes to UK foodies. The chefs have a whopping 13 Michelin stars between them, and we were lucky enough to experience the culinary expertise of Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie FĂ©olde from Enoteca Pinchiorri, a three michelin starred restaurant in Florence. 

We started with cheese and ham paired with a beautiful Ferrari Maximum Brut Trento Doc.

Before moving on to chestnut mousse with pancetta, pine nuts, and rosemary. This was a strange one, it was delicious, there was no doubt about it, but I just couldn't pin down what tasted so strange about it. The mousse was light and perfect, with just the right amount of pancetta so it didn't overpower the chestnut. 

After the intriguing mousse, we then moved on to one of my favourite dishes of the night, the octopus cooked in olive oil with pumpkin cream, coffee pearls, and watercress sprouts. I adore octopus, and this one was probably the best I've ever tasted. It was cooked to perfection; crispy on the outside, not too tough inside, and so full of flavour. The wine that was paired with this was another good one, really light and fruity, and the ideal accompaniment for the octopus.

Chiara doesn't eat seafood so she had asparagus and artichoke. 

Following the octopus was my absolute favourite dish of the evening, as it combined two of my greatest food loves; poached egg, and alba white truffle. You may remember my love for white truffle from my review of OPUS in Vienna, and this time around it didn't disappoint. The poached egg was cooked perfectly, it was incredibly runny and blended into the truffle and cheese fondue. Ugh, so, so good.

Phew, I was starting to get a liiiittle bit full at this point, but I powered through! Next up was fusili al foretto with artichokes, scampi, and liquorice powder. This was another sublime dish, the pasta was the gorgeous Italian 'al dente' pasta, not soft and soggy like the English cook it, but rather full of texture and bite. 

At this point the wines were starting to queue up (two of them were missing from the below photo - ignore the water, ha). I loved all of them apart from the beer, I'm really not a beer drinker. I did however, love the red wines, which I don't usually enjoy!

Right, on to course number five (six if you include the amuse bouche of cheese and ham). Yet again my tastebuds tingled with delight as I took bite after bite of the lamb topped with garlic and thyme. The lamb was medium rare, and so incredibly sumptuous. 

Finally we finished with bread, chocolate, oil and salt. Sounds strange, right? Right. But it tasted so good. I was so shocked at how well the crispy bread worked with the richness of the chocolate, but it really was perfect. I know I keep repeating this word, but seriously, this entire meal was perfect. I loved it so much, and I'd love to visit Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence now.

A huge thank you to Harrods for being so knowledgeable with the wines and giving us such a treat. We had the loveliest evening and my tastebuds are tingling just thinking about all of those dishes again. I can't recommend Stelle di Stelle enough, but if you want to have the experience we did, book in quick before Enoteca Pinchiorri's month ends on NYE!

Menus are priced at £110 for lunch and £160 for dinner (£130 and £180 respectively, with
matching drinks), with one lunch and two dinner sittings each day. You can book by phone -  020 7893 8700, or email -

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Drinks Fundraiser.

Over the years Lotte has featured on this wee blog quite a bit. She's infamous for throwing the most extravagant parties, as well as always being there for a good night of dancing or venting about men over dinner and wine. Lotte does quite a bit of charity fundraising, and last night she had a Christmas Drinks gathering to raise money for the animal charity she's running the London Marathon for; IFAW.

The theme was Christmas jumpers, and the evening was full of champagne, food made by Lotte herself (she's also a wonderful cook!), and a huge raffle which included four humongous hampers! She raised over £228, and we all had immense fun whilst doing so. It was one of those evenings where I woke up to discover a load of tagged photos on Facebook, one of which was of me clutching half a dozen bottles of Champagne...naturally...

Thank you Lotte for such a lovely evening!

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