Showing: 3 RESULTS
A Bit Fancy Breakfast and Brunch London

Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden

What’s a better way to start your day than a huge breakfast with a stunning view of London and your best friend after a session of sunrise yoga? Okay, fine, I can hear you shouting a fair few alternatives at me, but I stand by it that this was a great way to spend a Thursday morning, despite the 5.15am alarm.

Design My Night have brought back sunrise yoga at Sky Garden for just a tenner a go, which is pretty good as far as yoga classes go price wise in London these days. The catch is you’ve got to get yourself to the top of 20 Fenchurch Street by 6.30am. Whilst the early wake up call is brutal, doing a bit of yoga as the sun rises and starts to beat down on the glass ceiling of Sky Garden feels pretty special, and the promise of a fancy breakfast as a reward of sorts makes the whole getting up before the sun thing totally worth it.

Whilst there is the option of a breakfast buffet on the Sky Garden terrace for an extra £10 after yoga with Design My Night, we opted to book a table at Darwin Brasserie just above the terrace instead. With a view overlooking London from every table, there’s a kind of magic in the setting. Our spot looked down onto the river and the Shard – a view I for one never tire of seeing.

A continental buffet of mini pastries, cereals, fresh fruit and jams lined up next to soft, freshly cut bread and pats of butter line along the bar as you walk into Darwin Brasserie, and naturally we launched into this to start off with aplomb. Bircher muesli and yoghurt with granola, freshly squeezed juices and vats of fresh tea and coffee complete the buffet, and all of this comes in at £16.50, which considering the setting and the important fact the buffet is unlimited, is a pretty good deal in my book. For an extra £8.50 you can order one of the hot dishes from their a la carte breakfast menu which includes pancake stacks, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, wild mushrooms on sourdough and for a £5 supplement, you can go big and get a Full English.

Tempted by the pain perdu with crisp bacon, crushed pecans and maple syrup, I eventually landed on an old favourite, Eggs Royale, whilst my friend opted for smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs and tomato and chilli salsa. Whilst mine – being so rich with the hollandaise – was a punchy choice after so much food from the continental buffet, both were excellent and did the trick of keeping us full far into the afternoon. The bircher muesli and thick greek yoghurt with English honey were favourites from the buffet, and the choice of fruit was excellent – apple, grapes, pineapple, a selection of melon and mango, too. Please note I am also now looking at sourcing a set of drawers to hold mini pastries and muffins a la Darwin Brasserie for my own kitchen.

Often the quality of food and service is sacrificed when the view is this good, but not here. Sky Garden is a gem of London as it is, with its rainforest design and views of London on all sides, but Darwin Brasserie alone has made its mark as a foodie destination with one of the best breakfasts in London.

Sky Garden, at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 8AF
+44 333 772 0020

Liked this post? Subscribe here so you never miss an update!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

A Bit Fancy Food London

Ivy Chelsea Garden

You’ve heard of The Ivy, everyone has. It has long history of almost 100 years old entwined with celebrity visits, business meetings for the corporate world and special occasions. Whilst it’s certainly considered A Bit Fancy, the consistency of The Ivy’s reputation is surely based on its food, classic and high quality, as opposed to the famous faces who walk through the door. So when my best friend invited me to take the afternoon off to join her and some friends for a leisurely boozy lunch at The Ivy’s Chelsea outpost, Ivy Chelsea Garden, I naturally jumped at the chance. I rarely let the combination of the words ‘boozy’ and ‘lunch’ pass me by, and the opportunity to try The Ivy’s famed menu at last was enough for me to immediately book a half day off.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden is a beautiful restaurant. Stylish yet classic decor with white tablecloths, bevelled mirrors and beautiful big glass and brass lanterns throwing light across the room is second only to the pièce de résistance: a conservatory area that opens into the coveted garden. It was a beautiful day which would have made the garden area a dream but unfortunately despite requesting two months in advance, it seems you may need to know someone in order to secure a table out amongst the pergolas and fountain.

Seated in the buzzy main restaurant and starting as we meant to go on, we ordered a beautiful bottle of rose whilst we scoured the menu, everyone wanting more than one thing – the starters a particular battle. Apparently I’ve travelled back in time as I’ve recently grown a serious penchant for a good prawn cocktail, but after much deliberation I opted for the buffalo mozzarella with asparagus, edamame, roasted pine nuts, pesto and baby basil (£8.95). And what a choice; honest to God one of the best starters I’ve ever had. Good food is food that stays with you, and this dish is certainly one of them. Luckily for me, the others at the table were generous with their choices, so I got to try not one but two tuna dishes, both of which I toyed with ordering myself. Tuna carpaccio with spiced avocado, lime, creme fraiche and coriander shoots (£9.95) was no disappointment, but certainly out done by the melt-in-the-mouth Ponzu marinated tuna served with radish, ginger and mango with wasabi (£10.50). The arrival of salt encrusted sourdough (£4.25) and more of the aforementioned rose made the first course a hard one to beat.

Service was excellent throughout, and respectful of the fact we asked for a wait between courses, something that isn’t always the case and a real pet hate of mine. When we did get around to the mains, three of us had gone with the chicken Milanese topped with a perfectly fried egg with the goldest of yolks (£16.95), whilst the remaining of our party went for the sea bream. The former was excellently done, the brioche crust of the chicken crisping beautifully, along with perfect truffle Parmesan fries (£4.50) and thick cut chips (£3.75). For good measure I swiped some zucchini fritti (£3.75) too but found them too floury – the truffle and Parmesan chips came out on top in the potato stakes.

But enough of all that, let’s talk about THAT dessert. You may have seen it doing the rounds on Instagram; a chocolate bombe sitting in milk foam, melting as hot salted caramel sauce is poured over it to reveal a vanilla ice cream and honeycombe centre (£8.50). I know. Honestly, it’s worth making a booking at The Ivy for this dessert alone. It’s better than it looks and better than it sounds. Friends ordered dark treacle tart (£6.95) and frozen berries with yoghurt sorbet (£7.50), all perfectly lovely but the envy was palpable. Frozen berries over a chocolate bombe with salted caramel? Amateurs.

Regardless of whether the dessert of dreams stays on the menu (why would it not?), The Ivy is definitely a restaurant I’ll be returning to for years to come. Classic, fantastically executed food with attentive service in a beautiful setting, The Ivy feels like a real treat without the pretentiousness I’d expected. I just hope I can get a seat outside next time.

Have you been to The Ivy and had their famous chocolate bombe? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

Liked this post? Subscribe here so you never miss an update!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

A Bit Fancy London


For two people who have a shared brunch wishlist at least thirty restaurants strong, my best friend and I can take an astonishingly long time to choose where to eat. It took an hour’s debate to land on Jose in Bermondsey for a midday lunch post yoga (her) and chore morning (me) one sunny Saturday.

Jose is the first of chef Jose Pizarro’s three outposts of excellent Spanish food, set up on a cosy space on the corner of Bermondsey Street under the watch of The Shard. I’d been keen to try it out for a long time, and at Alli’s suggestion (likely to prevent her from having to travel no more than two minutes from her yoga class) I jumped at the chance to finally go.

Keen as ever, I was the first person there when they opened the doors at 12pm, quickly parked myself at the end of the window bar, catching the spring sun that poured through the floor to ceiling glass and ordered a bottle of their blanc de blanc (£36 a bottle). A regular prosecco drinker, it was a good change to have something a little drier and the blanc de blanc was an solid choice. Later in the day we would try the English sparkling Nyetimber down the road, and both agreed it’s one of the best sparkling wines we’ve tried. But back to Jose.

Of course, being tapas, sharing plates is the go to here, so we ordered a selection to start with including croquetas (£6.50), mixed cheeses (£12), pan con tomate (£3.50) and the inevitable cuts of cured meat: jamon iberico (£13) and cecina (£8), which came topped with bright red pearls of pomegranate seeds and turned out to be a brilliant addition. We drank our wine and on ordering another bottle topped up our order with tuna skewers (£10), chorizo peas (£7.50) and sukalki (£8), a beef ragu that felt more like an English stew than traditionally Spanish but well done nonetheless. The croquetas deserve a particular shout out, perfectly golden and filled with cheese and small chunks of ham, as does the chorizo peas topped with the perfect fried egg, which we were instructed to mash up all together before enjoying. It never occurred to me that three simple ingredients could taste quite that good together.

The thing about picking slowly at small plates with good wine and your best friend – aside from it being one of the best ways to spend a few hours – is how you become so full quicker than you expected. Full of good food, cold fizz and long conversation. Too full to order dessert, and I’ve heard very good things about their chocolate with sea salt and olive oil. Then again, that plus their ever changing menu is the perfect excuse to go back.

104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB

Liked this post? Subscribe here so you never miss an update!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.