Saturday brunch, for me the most coveted meal of the week and in London there are endless options for avocado on toast with poached eggs or something a little greasier if that is your thang.
After becoming slightly bored with these same-y but seemingly must hang out brunch spots, Saturday brunch kind of lost its spark. Until Daisy Green was brought to my attention, a small chain with already 6 locations across London. After urgently checking the menu, I was counting down the days until Saturday! From just looking at the menu I was immediately struck by how Daisy Green took healthy brunch to the next level – this was more like a menu from LA, it even included activated fermented charcoal bread mmmmmmm.
This place was burning a hole in my mind, I decided to check out the one most accessible to me in Little Venice, where I was imagining sitting out on the canal on a summers Saturday morning. The reality was slightly different, with a small amount of canal but more of the M4 flyover, urban is an understatement. Daisy Green is Australian inspired and this really shines through as soon as you enter, a relaxed, fun and friendly vibe.
Two paragraphs ago I said how I was bored of avocado on toast with poached eggs, however the Daisy Green version had me – served on activated fermented charcoal bread witch avocado, labne, lime and lemon dukkah. A good staple made more interesting, it was delicious with a multitude of flavour and virtuous at the same time, even the bread was good for you! I also tried the french toast served with greek yogurt, berries, griddled mango, shaved coconut, bee pollen and pure maple. Again I loved the mixture of flavours and goodness here, anything coconut always taste good in my opinion.
Daisy Green is perfect for Saturday Brunch, when you want to eat healthy but still want to get over excited about what your eating and for it to taste amazing, I need to go back and try their famous banana bread sandwich
As with every trip, restaurant research is key. There is nothing worse than being in an incredible destination and ending up at a sub-optimal restaurant due to lack of planning. Although sometimes by chance I agree it can all fall into place.
Forte Dei Marmi, on the Tuscan riviera, which crazily immediately reminded me of Miami. With its super straight coastline and long, deep beaches and the fact everyone cycles everywhere!
MareChiaro really is a special place, renowned for its delicious food right on the beach. Upon arriving in FDM on our girls only weekend, we soon realised the options for beach side dining are mind-blowingly endless, so I really would recommend knowing where you want to go in advance.
This Italian gem is simultaneously traditional and elegant, we were led through the inside of the restaurant to the beautiful candlelit, beach terrace. On taking our seats the super chic owner informed us this was a restaurant specalising in olive oil and proceeded to hand us the olive oil menu!!!!!
The menu is full of fine Italian favourites; ravioli with a Parmesan mousse, macaroni with a cheese sauce (macaroni cheese!) Spaghetti in a bread and cheese sauce – are you seeing a theme here?! As in Italy where pasta is normally fir the first course, before the main course, the portion size was lovely i.e not so large that you are left feeling wildly bloated afterwards. My favourite was zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta in a tomato sauce and also the beef carpaccio. All of these dishes are served with a different, appropriate olive oil.
This is a restaurant that takes food seriously, they are passionate about Italian food and olive oil (rightly so!) You really can taste the love and care that has gone into each plate. Mostly the menu is all dishes that you will already know, nothing wildly new but at MareChiaro these classics somehow taste a million times better than anywhere else. As for the Olive oil, I tried one of the strongest on the menu, the depth of the flavour was intense and certainly made dipping some fresh Italian bread in it more than a pleasure.
I will go back to Forte Dei Marmi just for MareChiaro.
On Approaching E.B.C you may not exactly recognise it as your standard English beach side fish and chip and hut and that is because it is anything but standard. From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking it looks like a bizarre, large, brown, irregular shape which mildly represents a wave. Designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick, the building has won over 20 national and international awards for its design and architecture. E.B.C regularly appears in different versions of the top ten beach restaurants in the UK, beating many in the more traditionally popular spots in Devon and Cornwall. This old fish and chip hut has been spectacularly transformed. Inside I kind of had the feeling of being in a cave, but a large bright, white cave with wonderful sea views.
The menu does that lovely thing of strongly nodding towards traditions like fish and chips and burgers but punctuating the classics with some slightly more adventurous dishes like a seafood risotto or pearl barley risotto. The food is uncomplicated, with a promise of the fish being caught locally and all other produce where possible from the immediate surrounding area.
So I chose something on the less traditional side and by chance my amour chose the super traditional option. I had pan fried sardines with seared beetroot tomatoes and olives and he had traditional beer battered fish and chips accompanied with pea puree and tartar sauce. My sardines were delicious, the fresh beetroot tomato sauce was full of flavour, setting the sardines off perfectly. I was offered a bite of the fish and chips to which I obliged, honestly incredible the freshest fish in the lightest non greasy batter physically possible, a good portion of peas, with a great dollop of tartar. You know normally after you eat fried food, that sleepy, really full feeling comes over you, not with this fish and chips, the best fish and chips I have tasted in forever. Luckily the portion was rather large so there was no excuse for me not to dig in. I really enjoyed my sardines but the fish and chips were truly next level.
Desserts follow the same idea as the mains from a traditional sticky toffee pudding to an apple and pear tartin. As well as a large display of fresh cakes and biscuits. We shared a caramel slice, a dreamy end to our trip to the seaside!
I had been completely overwhelmed by the unadulterated chicness of St Tropez, a million miles from the popular song ‘Welcome to St Tropez’ with my particular favourite line being ‘too much money in the bank!’ Which most people around here really do.
The iconic Club 55 is a perfect blend of elegance and that St Tropez chicness, mixed effortlessly to create a dream like ambiance.
Firmly grounded on Pamelonne beach, the very first beach club in St Tropez and by far the best, in my opinion in a league all of its own.
Upon entering on a Saturday lunchtime in late June I was greeted by a wash of white and natural wood, with bronzed, perfumed bodies eating, chatting and laughing idly.
I have an obsession with the use of fruit and vegetables as decoration and centre pieces. When I see this in a restaurant, it is a good sign. On every table there was a large piece of irregular wood laden with crudites -fresh, raw whole vegetables; tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, artichokes, carrots, mushrooms.
The French as a whole, with Club55 very much included, just get it right. They keeps things so simple but do simple so well! To start we had hard boiled eggs, served in their simplistic form with the shells on and a perfectly salted anchovy dip to accompany. It tasted divine, seriously how can a hard boiled egg with a sauce taste so good and I loved how it was served with everyone peeling their own eggs and cutting as they so desire. We were in a sharing mood/ wanted the opportunity to try as much as much as possible. We had a number of different salads including nicoise, mozzarella and tomato and a goats cheese with lots of fresh fish, grilled and served with lemon. I know I have mentioned simple numerous times already, but it really does go to show how that can win through, especially when you have high quality fresh ingredients. Whatever you are eating it just tastes better when you are beach side with the sun shining and right in the middle of the best beach club on earth.
A true experience, weather you are a regular or more a once in a lifetime type of client. This place has been open for over 60 years and still has all the glamour and cool that you would expect from the top spot in the South of France. Eat the most simple food, prepared and cooked to perfection in an absolutely stunning environment.
A perfect speck in the Ionian Sea – is how the writer Durrell lovingly described Corfu. It is hard to disagree with him, with its lush countryside, perfect turquoise seas and warm Greek spirit.
The White House perched on the edge of the rocks of Kalami village, just round the corner from the Rothschild residence. The taverna is accessible by car or boat, I would highly recommend the latter. Traveling by sea is the easiest most stunning way to see this jewel of the Ioanian. What better way to walk into a restaurant than with sea legs and drenched in sun and salt. The restaurant has the most idyllic spot, clinging to the rock face with sky blue views to infinity and beyond (well Albania!)
The menu matches the view – perfection! A delightful selection of all the Greek favourites with a few special twists. I never tire of Greek dips and treats to start and some grilled fresh fish drenched in lemon for main, of course accompanied by a fresher than fresh salad. To start, as well as tzatziki and marinated anchovies , we had grilled halloumi, dripping with greek honey and an abundance of sesame seeds for added flavour and all round deliciousness. What better way to wash down these gems than with a glass of prosecco which they topped with fresh strawberries . For me these small touches make all the difference. For main I had a large fresh tuna salad, simple, yet so effective. When on holiday salads just seem to taste different and are much more exciting. I put it down to the freshness and quality of the simple ingredients; tomatoes bursting with juice, cool, crunchy cucumbers, red onions and all drenched in cold pressed olive oil from the vineyards of Corfu and lemon juice from the tree you can see from the table. All of this while watching ‘our’ boat bob up and down in the crystal, diamond scattered Ionian Sea. It is hard to want anything more.
The sun is shining in London! You are re-considering your love affair with the city, especially after previous days of torrential downpours. Where can you make the most of this city when the sun comes out to play? Where can you dine al fresco? Is there a restaurant that takes you on a mini-holiday? Yes yes yes! The Summerhouse is all of the above. It is located literally on the canal in Maida Vale, just moments from Little Venice. Can a single restaurant really elicit the feeling of being on holiday, I hear you cry? I would say The Summerhouse on a sunny day is as close as it gets. As soon as you step inside, you could be at any magical beach-side restaurant. The decor has a strong nautical theme. I love the black and white photographs of people having a blast on the beach. The overriding vibe is relaxing and simplistic.
Seated at your hopefully waterside table, admiring the boats occasionally floating past and blocking the buildings opposite, you have to have some kind of reminder you are still in London. You will cast your eyes over the menu, if the ambiance and decor so far has not taken you to your special holiday place. Then surely the menu will tip you over the edge. Fish, of all varieties, calamari, smoked salmon, popcorn shrimp and chowder make up the starters. For mains, the fish really gets going – baked whole, shellfish linguine, fish and chips, fish pie, I think you get my drift. I chose the seabass for two people baked in salt and served whole, simple, with potatoes and greens. It was delicious, high quality and as fresh as though I was on a Mediterranean beach. One of my party who ordered the fish pie described it as ‘THE BEST.’ To tide you over after placing your food, expect a basket of fresh focaccia and real butter, such a treat!
Order a Knickerbocker glory for dessert, in keeping with the holiday spirit. You won’t be disappointed! The cheese board is also most appealing, I enjoyed a wide selection of cheeses and high quality biscuits.
So here it is, the place to come when the sun shines, your very own riviera in London – the London Riveria! Sit back, waterside, watch the boats go by and sample some of the best fish in town.