Zetter Townhouse

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Table for two?

Last night I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Robert, which is quite a treat for any lady. I met Robert a few years ago on my first day at a new job. We clicked immediately and have become great friends.

When I first met Robert I was new to London and didn’t have a clue about the finer things in life but Robert took me under his wing and introduced me to a whole world of possibilities…….but mostly cocktails! He is London's greatest advocate and is out every night of the week gallivanting around town to see the latest offering at the Royal Opera House or judging the newest trendy restaurant, usually before its been mentioned in Time Out.  

I was lucky he found room to squeeze me in to his busy schedule.

We first came to Zetter Townhouse a couple of years ago for cocktails as part of our mission to visit the best cocktail bars in London and from then it has always been in my top 3 cocktail bars. Tonight we decided to revisit for old times sake and to see if it still lives up to the hype I’d created in my own mind.

Zetter Townhouse is based in Clerkenwell, which is Robert’s stomping ground. You could just walk straight past without realising the treats on offer inside but that would be a terrible mistake.

As soon as you step in through the front door it feels like you have been transported to the home of a crazy aunt who lives alone and decorates her house with weird and wonderful things, probably souvenirs from her years of travelling the world as a young girl. Like for example this lovely lady, doesn’t she look purrr-fect in her dress! (sorry, that was terrible!)

(Auntie's Lounge)

We were seated in a cosy corner in 2 big leather chairs and given our menus. There is a choice of about 12 house cocktails and it can be difficult to choose between them.

I went with a Kir Noir – a delicious mix of Pinot Noir cordial and Perrier-Jouet Champagne. Robert chose the Koln Martini - Beefeater Gin and dry Martini with a hint of homemade citrus aromatics.  Recently I’ve been like Goldilocks when its comes to cocktails, some are too sickly sweet and some are too ridiculously strong but my Kir Noir was juuuusssst right. So I had two.
Robert’s cocktail came with a little performance as the waitress squeezed a few drops of the homemade citrus aromatics into his glass. I admit there was a smidgin of drink envy!

The real reason I wanted to come back to Zetter Townhouse is the food. When we first came here I hated olives and I hated anchovies but after trying their deep fried anchovy olives, I was converted.
So obviously we had to order some of those to get us started, as well as everything else on the menu that took our fancy. 

Grilled yoghurt flatbread with white bean hummus and dukkah, toasted seaweed and smoked cod roe sauce (which was excitingly served in a pipette), pork belly in master stock with Japanese mustard and Townhouse rarebit baked spuds.

And for dessert, we couldn’t decide so we ordered them all.

Apple and cranberry crumble, knickerbocker parfait and chocolate tart. Yum yum.  

The crumble was my favourite, so I finished that off whilst Robert ate the other two. What porkers!  

We had a great evening, chatting the night away whilst eating our way through the menu.

The bill arrived, placed in a book which Robert was happy to announce was even older than him. We paid up and went off on our merry way.

Zetter Townhouse is bar food worth travelling for (and very reasonably priced), with some great cocktails to wet your whistle.  Word on the street is that they do a mean afternoon tea so I’ll definitely be back to test that out. Oh and apparently they have a big stuffed kangaroo that wears boxing gloves but I didn’t get to meet him this time (that on its own is worth going back for!).

Zetter Townhouse -
Cost: £8.50 for cocktails - bar snacks ranging from £5-10
Food: Small plates
Address49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ
Type: Date Night / Drinks and nibbles with friends

If you enjoy what you read then please spread the love by liking, sharing, tweeting.

Little London Girl x

Resisting adulthood!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

There was a brilliant article in Stylist this week which literally hit the nail on the head in explaining my life, and my inability to feel like a real life "grown up". Read the article in full here. Thankfully it confirms that I am not alone in feeling like a big kid and it seems we're all in the same boat off to the land of immaturity and avoiding responsibility.

There is one section in particular which really made me shout out at the pages 'Yes, that is me!'

When my friend Sammy told me she was pregnant my first thought was 'oh god, what will she do!?' Surely she'll be thrown out on the streets, disowned by her family and probably made to live in a nunnery before giving her baby up for adoption. But then I remember that a) we are not living in the 30's and b) Sammy is 27, happily married, living in a lovely flat and both husband and wife have stable full time jobs so actually why wouldn't they be having a baby!?

The whole thing still gives me palpitations just thinking about it because in my head we are 15 and gossiping about boys in Mc Donald's. Instead, we are over 10 years older and gossiping about boys in Mc Donald's (or in the case of today's blog, Hache burger restaurant) . At least I now know that you are all feeling the same (those of you who admit it anyway!) and are struggling to refer to your "husband" without giggling or freaking out about the fact that you are managing a team of people at work and they might find out that you don't know what you are doing! Thank you Stylist, I am very grateful.

 Anyway, back to that pregnant hussy (I joke, I joke!!):

Sammy and the bump, and what a fine bump she is!

Me and Sammy made the most of the sunshine on Saturday and met up in Camden for some lunch. We're on a mission to find the best burger in London and started our search with Hache.

Hache has a few locations across London and receives great review for its burgers and the sheer amount of options that it has available.

 Great praise indeed but we'll be the judge of whether you make it into our Top Ten list.  

We both went wild and ignored the wide array of choices and ordered the Steak Au Naturel. Obviously with lots of carby sides, fries AND wedges, plus extra gherkins for the preggo one. You have a choice of buns at Hache, we went for Ciabatta. Brioche just didn't sound right to us.

Hache was quiet when we arrived just before 1pm but as soon as the clock struck one, the crowds of tourists began to arrive. The small restaurant buckles under its popularity and staff were frantically rushing around trying to get burgers served, tables cleaned and the next lot of hungry tourists in.

Unfortunately our burgers were cold when they arrived, not a great start for our challenge to hunt down the best burger. The sides were great though (served in cute little baskets) and the mayo in the burger was really tasty. The ciabatta bun was good but a bit too crunchy for us and far too floury, we were literally covered in the stuff! Sammy had to get her wet wipe stash out, she'll make a great mum. Always prepared! 

Overall the food was ok, the burgers weren't too big that you feel uncomfortably full afterwards. For us though, we're looking for a nice soft burger bun so that was the major downfall.

Service was pleasant enough but not special in any way. We did get some smarties with the bill which almost made us increase our score but we must take our roles seriously and only focus on the burgers so no bribes will be accepted! A cold burger is unforgivable even in the busiest of restaurants so Hache we score you 5/10. I'm afraid you won't be making it into our Top Ten burger list, I'm sure you'll forgive us considering your popularity, maybe we caught you on a bad day.

We went for a stroll around Camden to work off the burgers and make the most of the sunshine. Camden is madness on a Saturday with millions of tourists pouring from the tube station. It is pretty overwhelming, I wouldn't recommend it to the faint hearted. There is music pumping and constant advertising for piercings and tattoos. It's worth a visit if you've never been before but it can be hard work! 

Me at Camden Lock. Big poser.

Some amazing outfit inspiration for next Saturday, maybe I'll buy one in every colour!

A great way to spend a Saturday, having a catch up over lunch with a friend then strolling around in the sunshine. London makes me want to skip with happiness when the sun is shining, if only it would happen more often! Today's activities would probably have been my ideal day as a 15 year old too, a trip to Camden market and a burger. Oh well, resisting adulthood continues.....

Hache -
Cost: £15 p/head for burger and sides with soft drink
Food: Burgers
Address: Various across London but we went to Camden: 24 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ
Type: Quick bite with friends / Lunch

If you enjoy what you read then please spread the love by liking, sharing, tweeting.

Little London Girl x

Dukes Brew and Que

Friday, 21 February 2014

Dinner club has begun.

Me and the girls decided to start a dinner club, on the 3rd Thursday of every month we will meet up to eat at a chosen restaurant (taking it in turns), that none of us have eaten at before. Last night was the first of our "organised fun" nights out, and I was the lucky gal who got the ball rolling.

My choice: Dukes Brew and Que.

Dukes has been on my ever growing list of London restaurants that I want to eat at since it featured in Time Out for its Beef Rib. It seemed the perfect choice, as I’m now a Hackney girl (working, not living), to show off the local offerings to the girls. Especially after all my whinging and whining to them about the lack of a Pret at lunch time!

Dukes is in a strange location, close to Haggerston overground but not much else. As I approached I felt the fear that I’d chosen the wrong Hackney based restaurant, this was going to be a complete disaster! We hurried inside to escape the chilly night and were immediately welcomed by a team of very happy, eager to please staff. Maybe I had made the right decision after all!

The restaurant is within an old pub and feels as trendy as you’d expect for an East London joint. Lots of bare brick walls and random décor like a pram, antlers hanging on the walls and a pair of retro rollerskates. Thankfully you can actually book Dukes, which doesn't seem to be the case with most restaurants in London recently. And it seems that if you want to eat here then that's exactly what you need to do - Dukes was near empty when we arrived at 6pm but it quickly filled up over the next half an hour and by the time we left it was packed to the rafters.

First question, what to drink?

It was pretty dark in the restaurant which made reading the menu a struggle so rather than straining to see we just agreed to a round of the special cocktail of the night: Sailor’s Plum. A pink girly drink combination of Havana 3 yr, spiced plum syrup and fresh lemon. Yummy but lethal!

Dukes is famous for its ribs but shockingly none of us actually had them! It was another round of the special of the night for us, but this time it was half a BBQ chicken cooked for 6 hours served with creamy coleslaw, beans (mixed with pulled pork) and fries.

The chicken was juicy and the BBQ sauce provided a fruity flavour. The beans made us all very happy as it was packed full of pulled pork. It could have been a meal on its own. The portions are huge at Dukes but prices seem slightly higher than you'd expect considering the location. Especially in comparison to Foxlow, which has a cheaper Beef Rib on offer.

It seemed a very popular joint with guys, not surprising considering its a meaty packed menu and wide range of keg and cask beers on offer. Enough to please the most distinguished of caveman! I'm sure most girls would enjoy Dukes too though (maybe not the veggy types!), especially if they keep a girly cocktail available on the specials menu.

Service throughout the meal was attentive and friendly, with a never ending supply of water much to Liz’s pleasure! We were all happy with our food choices and we were stuffed by the time we had cleared our plates so no desserts for us, just lots of gossiping instead. Our waiter happily left us chatting even though the restaurant was packed and they probably desperately wanted us out!

Once we were all caught up on work, relationships and random gossip, we scurried off into the cold night with full bellies in search of a night cap.

A good start to dinner club. It’s Jazz’s turn next so I’ll let you know where she takes us.  

Dukes Brew and Que -
Cost: £25 p/head for main course with cocktail
Food: Meaty
Address: 33 Downham Road, De Beauvoir Town, Hackney, N1 5AA
Type: Date Night / Dinner with friends

If you enjoy what you read then please spread the love by liking, sharing, tweeting.

Little London Girl x

Nike Training Club + Prosecco

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I've found a great new app that I thought I'd share with you gym bunnies out there.

It's called Nike Training Club.
The app is split into lots of small (15 min) workouts focusing on different areas that you can do in your bedroom when you get some spare time. Or if you skip the gym, like I did tonight, then 15 mins of the ab burner is sure to make you feel less guilty.

I've had this app on my phone for months, after someone told me they developed a slight six pack after doing 15 mins a day, but until today I hadn't actually bothered to open it.

Well I'm glad I did, my stomach burns! OW!! Best of all the app is free and you can download workouts created by different sporting stars.
Only problem is that for a lot of the workouts you need weights or a big exercise ball so you may need to improvise. I used a bottle of prosecco instead of a weighted ball to do ab twists. It's easier to reach up into a crunch when there's a bottle of prosecco to aim for. I'm sure Nike would advise this is dangerous and irresponsible but just work with what you have lying around. Then drink the wine immediately afterwards to celebrate your achievement!

Let's do it, 15 mins a day until we're all bikini ready!


Follow me on twitter @1LittleLdnGirl


Sunday, 16 February 2014

In true spirit of avoiding the commercial consumer driven holiday known as Valentines Day (DG's words, not mine. I love that rubbish!!), we decided to have one over on V-Day and enjoy a delicious dinner the night before restaurants' doubled their prices and crammed in twice the number of tables.

I was very excited. Foxlow opened in November and I have been desperate to go ever since. It is the newest opening for Hue Gott and Will Beckett, the dream team behind the Hawksmoor steakhouse group, and being based in Clerkenwell claims to be a 'neighbourhood' restaurant but as prices are still pretty high  (around £50 per person) I'm not sure how often the neighbours are visiting.

The feel is similar to Hawksmoor with bare brick walls, white tiles and leather galore but not quite as dark and manly. Although the other diners were mostly suits, with a few couples thrown in. Service, as always with Hawksmoor, was friendly and attentive.

We were talking too much and not concentrating on the menu so ordered the anchovy and goats butter crisps to nibble whilst we had a catch up. DG thought they were good but I'm not a fan of anchovies so wasn't too sure.

Steaks provided by Ginger Pig Butchers - my lovely neighbours!

I was getting food envy constantly for the table next to ours so ended up ordering everything they had. To start I ordered Smokehouse Rilletts and DG had Five Pepper Squid. We ended up swapping as I loved the squid.

The main was a meat feast. We both ordered the ten hour Beef Short Rib with Kimchi. It was huge and the meat literally fell off the bone. I will dream about these ribs!

Just look at that bad boy!

                 Blink and you'll miss it!

I never manage to eat 3 courses but I ordered the cherry ripple sundae and it was yum! Perfect end to the meal.

Thanks Foxlow, I will be back. If you are heading to London for the weekend and fancy a meat feast then head to Foxlow. You won't be disappointed.

P.s. DG bought me a V-Day card, now that's progress!

Foxlow -
Cost: £50 p/head for 3 courses with wine
Food: Meaty - not veggie friendly
Address: 69-73 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1N 4AN
Type: Date Night / Client Dinner

Standard Tandoori: Amazing Service

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

So I finished a productive gym session and was feeling very pleased with myself, then I decided to ruin all that goodness by convincing DG we’d have a curry delivered. There’s a great place called Standard Tandoori on Holloway Road, odd name but luckily the curry is better than standard!

After ordering a long list of naughty treats, I jumped in the shower. I was in the midst of drying my hair when I heard the doorbell. Then I remembered….DG was still at work but had sent me a photo of his bank card and I’d completely forgotten to pay on the phone. I literally had 3 pennies in my purse!

This is where the fun begins…..

I opened the door in quite a state. Just picture a girl with huge hair, and I mean HUGE hair, PJ’s, red face fresh from the gym and a panicked expression! I was mid call to the restaurant begging them to let me pay over the phone but they couldn’t. So I just stood there. Looking at the delivery man. Holding my dinner.

Then miracously he turned into my knight in shining armour (his horse was a new BMW, and I kid you not he was wearing black tie!), and amazingly he offered to take me to a cash machine! I rushed in and threw on the first clothes I could find which was my gym kit (gross), ankle boots and a blazer (No bra, there was no time for that. Oh the shame!). Still with HUGE hair. Yes, I’m quite the style icon!

Unfortunately the only cash machine was on the forecourt of a petrol station which I had to run across in my fancy getup for all to see but by that point I didn’t care as I’d realised that in the panic, I’d left my hair straighteners on. DG would be mad if I burnt his house down! Really mad. Stupidly throughout all this I am trying to call DG for his pin number, only to later realise that I didn't actually have his bank card, just a photo, so unlikely I’d be able to get money out! Luckily I'd grabbed my purse!

As my adventure neared to an end, we pulled up to the house at the same time as DG. He had quite the confused look on his face when a random man started chatting to him and even more so when he saw me waving from the passenger seat.

Phew! Quite an adventure for a Tuesday night! The story ended happily, with me exhausted on the sofa, eating a delicious curry and wishing I had a new BMW.

Thank you Mr Delivery Man, you’re a gent!

Little London Girl x

The Incident of the Man Cider

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Today I am suffering and it's through no fault of my own, or so I insist anyway! I'll explain what events occurred to get me in this state then you can be the judge.

So the rugby was on and DG fancied a trip to the pub to soak up the beery atmosphere, I went along for the ride as a spot of day time drinking with the boy is always fun. I was behaving myself or so I thought by drinking cider, they didn't have my usual girly sorts like Kopparberg so I just got a pint of whatever was on tap. Well this is where it all started, nobody explains the difference to you between real man cider and girly flavoured cider so I drank away. 3 pints later I was the chattiest girl in London Town.

DG and I had booked to have dinner at Garufa weeks a go and I was really looking forward to it, so we hopped in a taxi at 8:30pm and merrily went off for dinner. I had been dreaming about the food at Garufa for weeks and had planned to take pictures galore to show off their delicious steak treats but what really happened is I took this pic and then the night was a blur from that point onwards.

DG tells me that I turned from a total chatterbox to being unable to talk at all. I didn't enjoy the meal because I just wanted to sleep and we ended up bringing most of the steak and 3/4 of a bottle of wine home with us. A successful night out all in all! Who wouldn't want a dinner date with me?!

So what's the lesson of the weekend kids....? Real man cider is bad, it must be treated with extreme caution or you will lose your mind!

I would highly recommend Garufa though, and hopefully I'll be allowed to go again one day. Check out their website. It's an Argentinian steak restaurant based in Highbury and they serve up an amazing mixed grill for two called Parrillada Garufa which includes Prime Argentine sirloin steak, fillet steak,  iberico pork, marinated rump, chorizo, black pudding, grilled spiced provoleta and chimichurri sauce. It is honestly amazing and I wish I'd taken a picture to show you. It's a definite treat for your belly! 

I'm off to lie under a duvet and watch the Sopranos now. I hope you agree that the cider incident was not my fault and that I deserve a lot of sympathy and care today. 

Little London Girl x

Jumping around...

Friday, 7 February 2014

On Wednesday, DG offered up a last minute ticket to see Phoenix at Brixton Academy. This was a welcome offer after a horrible day of travelling on every form of transport to get to and from work – tube strikes suck! I think he was only really offering me a ticket so he had a bed to stay in close to the gig but hey ho, who am I to turn down a free gig ticket?! I did cook him my famous Thai green curry as a thanks – I’ll remember to take photos whilst I’m making it one day to share the recipe with you!

So I don’t really know Phoenix, apart from a couple of their more popular songs but the gig was really good. I love Brixton Academy for its sloping floor which means I actually have a chance of seeing the band rather than just dancing behind some sweaty 6ft men!  

A great night was had by all, we danced, we sang, we waved our hands in the air. Then as a treat we jumped in a taxi and headed to bed.

Sorry for the terrible pics, I am still using my iphone when I really need to invest in a proper camera!

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