Foodie Adventures: Damson & Co

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Birthday weekends. The perfect one is hard to achieve, but you can go a long way in the right direction with a good brunch. So on the day after my birthday Helen (my official brunch buddy) and I headed into deepest Soho in search of something delicious. We were actually heading for a bigger establishment, but met with the Saturday lunchtime crowds we wandered away and found this place instead.

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The menu was substantial, ranging from breakfast items through to various dishes more reminiscent of lunch – I believe meatballs featured – and we both had trouble settling on just one thing to order!

In the end Helen ordered a green shakshuka (a spinachy omelette thing, with the eggs baked whole rather than beaten) and I had the eggs royale (poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and smoked salmon on an English muffin). My food was really delicious and everything was prepared perfectly. I couldn’t really fault it.

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I also ordered a banana smoothie. The smoothie was okay, but to be honest it wasn’t as tasty as similar ones I’ve made at home, so I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. Helen had better luck with her coconut milk mocha – even as someone who doesn’t really appreciate coffee I can tell you it was amazing. Rich and creamy with a real depth of flavour, and beautifully presented.

Service was good and fresh tap water was generously provided – one of the little touches which really makes an experience better. The prices are on the steep side, but what you’d expect to pay in this area of London really.

The verdict? Definitely give Damson & Co a try if you get the chance.

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Foodie Adventures: Bunty’s Tea Room, Lincoln

The first thing you need to know about this cafe is that it’s on a very steep hill called Steep Hill.  I just really enjoy that. I spied Bunty’s as we toiled up the hill into Lincoln city centre, and a couple of hours later when the inevitable murmurs of an urgent need for afternoon tea began, I steered us deftly back and in we went.

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There was a warm welcome, friendly service and yummy cake. We went for the Battenberg cake, the peanut butter and chocolate cake, and a fruit scone with jam and cream. All were delicious and presented on gloriously mismatched china.

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The teapots and decor were also really cool – a medley of vintage that was cosy and not overdone.  It just makes afternoon tea so much more interesting when it’d served in a variety of pretty bits and pieces. Oh, and they had a lovely sign made out of Scrabble letters. What’s not to love?

If you find yourself in Lincoln then I highly recommend that you check out this lovely little tea shop. You can find their website here.

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Everything is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Foodie adventures: Beam Cafe, Crouch End

Last Sunday, I went for a wonderful brunch with one of my best friends in one of my favourite parts of London. Could a Sunday morning get much better? I love Crouch End for its abundance of pretty cafes and cute card shops – perfect for a weekend wander. Unfortunately it was a bit of a rainy morning when we headed to Beam Cafe for breakfast, so there was less wandering and more eating brunch in the cosy confines of this lovely eatery. Not a problem in the slightest.

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I ordered the Eggs Royale: fluffy muffins lightly toasted, topped with perfectly poached eggs, smoked salmon, delicately creamy hollandaise sauce and a tumble of chives. It was delicious. Thinking about it now (8pm on a Monday evening) I could eat it all over again. In fact, I’ve thought about this dish an unhealthy number of times since I polished off the last forkful. This is what brunch was invented for.

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Freshly squeezed orange juice: sweet and tangy at the same time with a pleasing amount of froth

My friend had the avocado, egg and bacon on toast — she enjoyed it very much. I’d thoroughly recommend this little cafe: the interior was simple and cosy and yet felt chic at the same time. Even a couple of tight-fisted northerners like ourselves conceded that the prices were pretty darn reasonable, especially given how genuinely exquisite the food was and what a nice part of London this is. We’re already devising excuses to return soon!

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Fork – ACTION SHOT

Listening to Holding Back the Years by Gretchen Parlato, Let’s hear it for the boy by Deniece Williams and Put the Gun Down by ZZ Ward. All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: A Review

This was my first experience of Wes Anderson’s direction, and he certainly left an impression with his tale of the adventures of Gustave H, a hotel concierge, and his trusted friend Zero. I was immediately captivated by the cardboard cut- out world which he had created so painstakingly,  and which resembled the inside of a Parisian patisserie. From the icing sugar- dusted mountain tops of his fictional Europe to its outrageously colourful inhabitants, this film was certainly a joy to behold. I felt the urge to freeze each frame in an effort to drink in all of the detail, and to appreciate for a few moments more the beauty and drama of the quirky composition and eye- watering pastels. Accompanied by a staccato soundtrack, the actors moved with a kind of lyrical synchronicity which gave many scenes the feeling of a bizarre dance, and snappy dialogue brought wry smiles and deep thought in equal measure. A fabulous ensemble cast including the likes of Jude Law and Bill Murray elicited chuckles of recognition at every turn, and Ralph Fiennes was perfect as the charming and whimsical Gustave H.

But this film was not entirely style without substance: beneath the confectioner’s pastel we glimpsed the underbelly of this alternate but chillingly recognisable Europe: newsprint declared the coming of war, soldiers stood starkly at checkpoints and demanded documents, and grey flags were unfurled in the opulence of the hotel’s lobby.  But despite the darker elements, the story remained charmingly bittersweet. The characters were funny, they were clever, and they were likable, and most importantly they went on a good old-fashioned romp among the mountains of Wes Anderson’s imagination. There were cable cars, murders, a missing will, a chase down a snowy mountainside, a stolen painting, champagne, a prison break, a love affair and exquisite patisserie: what more could you really ask for? Extremely enjoyable and visually stunning, the Europe of The Grand Budapest Hotel is certainly a continent to visit.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014, apart from the film poster, which is from the movie’s official website.