Thursday, 18 September 2014

1 year work anniversary

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1 year, 365 days, and what honestly some day feels like a lifetime, is the amount of time I have spent in my job. 

Tuesday marked my 1 year anniversary at work. Strictly speaking I moved to London a couple of weeks beforehand so I can't say its 1 year in London, but well, when there's a chance to celebrate I'll take as many reasons to as possible. 

In my book, celebrations mean champagne, and so glass firmly in hand, I reclined on Eelbrook's terrace overlooking Eelbrook common in Fulham. 

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I wont lie, it's a very yummy mummy area, so I half wished I had a pair of over sized sunnys and a giant designer tote with me. Work-aversary present?

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A few of us had gathered at Eelbrook as ever on the look out for new restaurants, this was firmly on the list, and needed to be crossed off. Eelbrook is a gorgeous little find, on the corner of Eelbrook Common specialising in Mediterranean cuisine. This being Fulham though meant the new kid on the block had to have some serious game, and boy does it. They've only gone and put Brett Barnes in the kitchen, of Hix and Ducksoup fame. Not bad boys.

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Tasting menus are sometimes the best choice for dinner. Why? Because you get to eat everything! Don't judge the greedy pig in me.

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We kicked things off with Salt cod brandade with the most delicious seaweed bread. Never would I have thought of those two together, but trust me it works.

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Before I could make a cheeky request for more bread, the next course was in front of me. No bread needed. Smoked eel on potato pancakes with horseradish cream. Now I'll be frank, I normally hate horsradish, but honestly, this was nice. It had that awful blunt kick taken away to just leave a lingering soft flavour. Oh and of course the pancakes were spot on, but there pancakes, pancakes just rule by default.

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This was followed by one of my fast growing favourite; steak tartare. Except this was better, much better. It was Venison. Oh yes. Mixed with juniper berrys, lemon and a burnt shallot sauce, it was so pleasurable.

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Moving back to fish, we feasted on wild salmon with such a light, summary herb pistou. If you want something light and almost refreshing, this is your dish.

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It was the last dish that stole the show though. Seriously, look at that beauty! A whole partridge just for me, with what is now my new found love; sweetcorn puree- if you haven't tried creamed sweetcorn, you haven't lived.

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Before desserts arrived, Brett came over and sat with us, chatting about cooking and of course the dishes in question. I had to ask what made the horseradish not so... well horseradish like. Top tip for you here folks- add lots of creme fraiche and a good kick of lemon juice. 

I just loved his work ethic which being my 1 year work anniversary, struck a cord with me. Trying to balance a full time job at one of the worlds largest investment banks, a blog, and some sort of home life is pretty manic. I do find I have very little down time, to the point where I don't even have a TV, as what’s the point? I'd never see it. I know a lot of people will say oh blogging, its just fun and games, swanning off to fancy parties. Which I won't deny, I do get to go to some pretty amazing places, however it is hard work. These parties are there because a client has invited you. I treat it like I would my clients at my bank- blogging feels like my second job, and so I treat it as such.

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Never one to finish a meal without dessert, I devoured a glorious plum soup with icecream... oh and then cheese and rye bread. Because you know, cheese is errr... full of protein? Yes, that means it's healthy. 

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laurahyatt

Having drank probably my fair share of their wine collection in celebration, it was time to hit the road, but not before one last lazy drink overlooking the now dark and silent common.

Eelbrook is such a lovely, relaxed place, I'm already planning my next meet up here- 1 year, 6 months anniversary maybe? Next time though, with my sunnies, and that giant tote...

Eel Brook Common
New King's Road
London
SW6 4SE

Monday, 15 September 2014

Dinner in the Sky

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There are some moments in life that make your heart beat fast, your skin tingle and your brain all fuzzy from excitement. On Thursday I found myself running- OK walking very fast; I was in heels- back to my flat to grab my camera, beaming like an idiot all the way.
Only half an hour before I’d gotten one of the most exciting messages I’ve had this year.
“Laura, are you free tonight? I’ve got a spare ticket to London in the Sky. Do you want it?”

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Oh my gosh. Even if I wasn’t free, I would have dropped everything. So with a quick ‘Sorry guys I’ve got to go’ to work I dashed off beaming like a kid at Christmas.

Why? Might you ask.  Well London in the Sky, is the most exciting this I’ve possibly done in London. Scratch that, it is.

It an effectively a restaurant in the sky. 22 seats surround a small stove, where some of London’s best Michelin star chefs cook dinner- 100ft up in the air, suspended from a crane above canary wharf. 

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That’s right, suspended by a wire, the table spins and moves with the wind, and most defiantly things can drop.

Excited does not cover it. 

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Arriving early for a pre ‘flight’ drink of Taittinger, we were given a safety talk and shown the rules of the night. No loose shoes... I’m so glad I changed my work courts into strappy shoes. Can’t have my babies plunging to their death. 

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As darkness fell, the previous dinners descended, and soon it was out turn. All aboard. 

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The platform is surrounded by 22 race car style seats, with heavy duty seat belts to make sure no one takes an untimely tumble. All strapped, prepare for lift off.

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London in the sky is by no means just a cheap tacky stunt, oh no. This is dinning with class. Michelin Star restaurants fought to get places with a few select making the cut. Tonight I was lucky enough to be cooked for by Tom Fleming himself from Michelin Star Angler, the seafood restaurant in Moorgate.

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You could be quite distracted by Tom and his cooking... until you look down.

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Woah. The seats are completely suspended 100ft above the ground. With your whole body exposed to the elements, this is certainly not for the vertigo inclined. It may not look that high up from the pictures, but in real life, it sure does feel it.

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Legs and feet are just left dangling above the ground. I'm sure glad I changed my shoes now.

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Once you have gotten used to the unique environment, let me tell you, the view is pretty damn good. No other restaurant will veer be able to rival the feeling of actually being surrounded by the night.

It feels like you have left this world, and taken a break far away, just watching everyone else go by their lives. It really is quite surreal. I can't explain, but its so peaceful and quiet up their, it really does feel like an oasis away from the madness that is City life. For one short moment, you can leave it all behind.

Now that I'd pay good money for.

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Dangling your glass of New Zealand's most awarded wine; Villa Maria, over the vast nothing. I said it was pretty surreal. 

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Turning back around, it was time for the first course. 

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Shellfish ravioli with tomato, chive butter and fennel and ginger slaw.

My gosh, it was outstanding. No wonder they have a Michelin Star. It was unbelievably flavoursome and just cooked to perfection. Possibly one of the best dishes I've had. Yes, that good. 

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Next up was, Orkney Scallop ceviche, with pink grapefruit and pickled cucumber. Again, these scallops were out of this world. I've had scallops before and was always a bit meh about them, but these have changed my opinion. 

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Watching the chefs work this close was simply amazing. No where else would you get this exposure and intimacy. 

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For mains there was Roast turbot, ragout of squid and sea purslane. Rague of squid- its a game changer. More please?

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Now all was going fine, the height wasn't bothering me at all... until we discovered that the seats reclined. Oh. My. Gosh. 

One of the scariest moments- I may have freaked out a little...

video

(Please someone comment to say whether this works or not, as I can't view it on the machine I'm currently on- I'm being sneaky sneaky)

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Finally dessert rolled out, with Lemon posset, with lavender and white chocolate crumb first and then Manjari chocolate ganache with banana bread and caramelised peanuts. Oh dear lord these were amazing. No seriously. You know how I said the other week I went to Bubo, where the offical worlds best chocolate dessert was? Well that was like Asda's cake compared this these masterpeices. 

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Sadly after what felt like a lifetime up there as genuinely time jst seems to move so slowly, we were lowered down to earth.

I can not even express how amazing this whole experience was. Really, I still get butterflies talking about it now. I’ve got to do some pretty awesome things this year, but this is up there at the top.
I won’t lie, its not cheap. Dinner, which is what I had, costs an eye watering £250. However if you have a special occasion coming up; birthday, anniversary etc, please do this. You won’t regret it I assure you. 

For more information, visit the website: http://www.eventsinthesky.co.uk/events/london-in-the-sky/

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Belle Epoque and The Gherkin

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On Tuesday night, wearing my best glad rags, I hopped in a taxi and popped up to the top of The Gherkin... you know, as you do.

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The Gherkin, or as it's supposed to be called, 30 St Mary Axe, is one of London's mostly iconic buildings. Everyone instantly recognises it around the world, making it one of my must visit buildings. It's primarily a commercial building; it's not that easy to access. However with a little help of Perrier-Jouet, I got my wish granted. And it was worth the wait. What a view.

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I'd dressed up for the occasion in a frankly bust crushing top by Oh my love and the most amazing gold sequin skirt from Virgos Lounge

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We were here to celebrate the launch of a very special champagne. Perrier-Jouët were unveiling their 2005 vintage of its most loved Cuvée Belle Epoque Rosé in a limited-edition bottle designed by acclaimed Brazilian visual artist Vik Muniz. In champagne terms, 2005 is a excellent year, as they had an Indian summer, so we all knew we were in for a treat.

But first came the treat for the eyes. Just visually stunning. I'd almost buy it just for display... if not a little pricey display mind you. Maybe if I'm extra extra nice to the boy...

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Muniz’s design is a fairy-tale fusion of a hummingbirds and flowers. Originally he actually created it from scraps of gold, which he then photographed and applied to the Belle Epoque bottle via a gold plate.

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After admiring its beauty for long enough, we sat down for some good old champagne tasting.

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I just loved their 2002 vintage, which again in champagne terms is just an excellent year. But the star of the show wanted attention, and so we welcomed the Belle Epoque Rose 2005.

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Described as one of their most exciting champagnes in a long time, I have to agree. It was elegantly soft, and almost melted on the tongue. It was full of red fruits, and even  a touch of spice to stop it being so sweet. Delicious,

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After a rather formal start of the evening, it was time to let our hair down and get the real part started. Climbing up to the very top of the tower, the lights went down and the music went up. Who doesn’t love a good old dance eh?

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All accompanied by champagne of course.

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I love this photo, see, I'm not the only camera mad one, despite what my friends think.

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The party went on to well into the night, but like Cinderella I had to make a dash for home around midnight as sadly the real world started again tomorrow morning.

If you are in need of a date night, the you must visit the Searcy’s Club at The Gherkin where Belle Epoque Rose will be exclusively sold. The views are stunning and the drink even more so. If have been a very good partner this year, the  you may be in line for a treat from your other half- tell him or her to get it from Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Go on, leave those book marked pages casually lying around...
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