Thursday, 16 June 2011

Brunch at Albion in Shoreditch, London

A couple of weeks ago I went for Sunday brunch at Albion in trendy Shoreditch with my friend Rena.  This cafe/shop/bakery is obviously a popular spot - we waited just about 30mins for a table and, let me tell you, they aren't short of seating space. I've walked past on other weekends and there always seems to be a bit of a queue.  Positive albeit slightly annoying when your body is screaming for bacon and coffee. 

You are made wait in the shop area where you will be tempted by cakes, bread, teas, wines, dairy products (organic, bien sur) and other treats.  It is a bit like queuing to pay in the fenced-in areas of Marks & Sparks next to all the nuts and chocolate - only the stuff at Albion is a hundred times more tempting.

Once seated in the very bright and airy dining area (it felt very Scandinavian because of all the light wood and minimalist decor), I ordered a bloody mary and a bacon sandwich.  I thought the brunch offerings were a bit dull, but it was a tasty sandwich. The service was friendly and fast. 

After our meal we browsed through the impressive selection of delicious and exciting goodies in the shop.  I'm definitely coming back for some of their cakes. 

Albion is on 2-4 Boundary Street in Shoreditch E2 7DD. 0207 729 1051

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Eating and drinking in Broadstairs and Margate, Kent

As a surprise Mr. Sprinkle whisked me off to the Kentish seaside for a weekend of walks, food and drink.  We stayed in Broadstairs and walked up to Margate along the Coastal Viking Path Saturday and down to Ramsgate on Sunday.  It was great getting out of London for a bit.

Now, I wouldn't exactly say these towns are brimming with culinary gems, but we found some good spots.  And they are by the sea so there is always the option of fish and chips on la playa.

In Broadstairs we had dinner at Restaurant 54, where we enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal and very friendly service.  For starters we had the Prawn & Fennel Bisque and the Cornet of Fresh Crab and Smoked Salmon.  Hunger and excitement took over so I forgot to take pictures, but both were lovely. 

Next we had the Herb Crusted Roast Fillet of Cod and the Pan Fried Fillet of Sea Bass.  No complaints there either - good-sized portions and very tasty. 

Following our mains, we were incredibly full, but after a quick glance at the dessert menu, we manned and womanned up.  Mr. Sprinkle ordered the cheese platter while I went for a selection of 54's homemade ice cream.  Hello strawberry & basil, orange & chocolate, and lemon meringue ice cream - where have you been all my life? Divine. 

The cheeses were served with grapes and a delicious chutney.  

All in all a great meal in cosy surroundings. I will definitely be coming back.  

Another excellent place to eat and drink in Broadstairs is Peen's Gastro Bar. They serve everything from breakfast to cocktails to roast to tapas.  The decor is typical gastro pub - white glossy tiles, enamelled factory lamps and chalk boards.  Love it. Also, the playlist was awesome: Simon & Garfunkel and loads of other classics which slip my mind right now. 

We had drinks there one evening - I had a gorgeous Campari Orange made as it should be (with freshly squeezed orange juice).  Mr. Sprinkle went for a well-mixed gin martini. 

We also tried the lunch menu; Mr. Sprinkle had a very tasty paella while I went for some simple dishes (hummus & pitta; chickpeas with spinach & pancetta).  

Our only meal outside Broadstairs was at BeBeached in Margate, a slightly run-down town on sea.  Right on the harbour, Bebeached serves brunch, lunch and dinner.  We had the burgers (yes, I should have had fish, but sometimes I just need a burger) which came with excellent homemade chips.  

We had to wait a while as the kitchen was quite busy, but as we sat 
overlooking the harbour, sun in our faces and a delicious glass of local white wine from Biddenden Vineyards in our hands, we weren't bothered (note self: do some further sampling of Biddenden wines).

I noticed that you can buy Kentish Simply Ice Cream at BeBeached. Great to see that they support their local food and wine producers! 

That was our weekend in Broadstairs. Only 1hr 20mins from King's Cross in London by train. We have already agreed to go back sooner rather than later. 

Restaurant 54 is on 54 Albion Street, CT10 1NF. 01843867150. Make sure you book a table. 

Peen's Gastro Bar is on 8 Victoria Parade, CT10 1QS. 01843861289. Make sure you book especially for dinner. 

BeBeached is on Margate Harbour Arm, CT9 1AP. 07961402612.

Do you have any places to eat and drink that you would recommend in Kent? 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Simply Ice Cream - very possibly the best ice cream in the world

Ever heard of Simply Ice Cream?  I hadn't until Mr. Sprinkle and I picked up a tub of Simply Ice Cream Heavenly Honeycomb Crunch from our local deli last night. Oh. My. Gawwddd. This small Kent-based ice cream producer has every right to call her ice cream made from locally sourced cream "heavenly".  Oxford Dictionary should have a photo of Simply Ice Cream Heavenly Honeycomb Crunch under the definition of heaven. It puts most other ice creams to shame with its wonderful creamy taste.  It is perfection. 

I can only recommend that you run out and find a tub or seven. Be sure to bring a spoon so that you don't have to wait till you get home before you indulge.

There are three other flavours: Sublime Strawberry, Divine Chocolate and Dreamy Vanilla.  I haven't tried them yet, but they just made the top 3 of my to-do list.

Here is a 
list of all the places that sell Simply Ice Cream.