20/09/2018

Restaurant: Aqua Shard - The Shard, London


The 16th September always seems to come around fast - it doesn't seem like a week has passed since we celebrated our third anniversary at Sushi Samba. Now a year later and we're shooting up to the top of another London skyscraper, ready for a monumental meal and milestone in our relationship.

With our finest clobber on we were a little surprised to see an LA Lakers shirt being donned by the first gent we saw upon arrival - maybe it's not as high brow as we thought, but thankfully, that wasn't reflected in the food nor service.


Having booked the three course set menu for £44 per person, we'd eyed up the diverse brunch options  on the web beforehand, contemplating the less than traditional dishes with wanting to take the opportunity to try something new. 

Yellowfin tuna tartare with soft quail egg and avocado puree certainly fitted the desire for something different and it was absolutely delicious. The fish was flavoursome, egg bursting with yoke and the sourdough bread and butter was just perfect. Meanwhile the buttermilk pancakes with berries, streaky bacon, creme fraiche and maple syrup was equally delectably soft, spongy and guilt tripping. 


Facing out towards St Paul's cathedral, Blackfriars and London Eye, we had the perfect window seated position, despite the weather being typically gloomy. With plans to head out West to Kew Gardens following brunch, we thought it was at jeopardy. However the sun unexpectedly came out and we enjoyed a glorious afternoon strolling through the spiritual home of David Attenborough - check out our travel post from the afternoon.


Big expectations of the main courses were fully justified within moments of it touching down on the table. Jessica's wagyu brunch burger was so big it required a knife but it was the black truffle and parmesan fries that stole the show. The flavour was strong but well balanced and perfectly complemented the tender burger and treacle cured bacon. 

Having gone for a unique starter, it was time to channel the traditional fella within me and opt for the classic full English breakfast. Everything down to the baked beans and tomato had a coating of luxury on it, so much so that I'm thinking about labelling it the best I've ever had. 


With dessert and midday coming at around the same point, we were completely full and were hoping the final course would be little and light. We both ordered the white chocolate and lime cheesecake, but of course The Shard does not do ordinary so when it arrived deconstructed, we shouldn't have been surprised. It was amazing. The freshest of strawberries, delightful almond crumble and white choc cream gave us just the right way to end a wonderful meal. 


Not a place we'd go to every Sunday, but Aqua Shard was a fantastic choice of venue for our fourth anniversary. The food was faultless, service attentive and the view was outstanding. The next 16th September is a bit of a biggy and we think we know where we want to go. All we'll say is that it's not on home soil.


Food: ★★★★★
Customer service: ★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★

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13/09/2018

Lunchbox: Couscous with Broccoli and Feta


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Every since moving out, meal prepping our lunches for work has become a regular thing - it's more money saving and it's simply easier to control the healthy lifestyle we are trying to create, and with having this blog and just in general, we love trying new dishes to have for work.

What also makes our meal prepping easy are the food containers we use, recently we've been using the standard Tupperware, you know them takeaway ones but we've been introduced to Locksy Ultraclip* and it is life changing, much more better quality and the ones with compartments are just life!

I don't know what essentials you have in your cupboard, but we have 1kg of penne pasta, couscous and rice, so you know 9 out of 10 we're having one of those bases for lunch. We've always thought that couscous is so underrated but we love it, it's so versatile and super easy to make.

This dish tastes just as good without the meat and is so full of flavour - there's a lot of ingredients but all compliment each other!



Ingredient:

- 1 cup uncooked couscous
- 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup shredded carrot 
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

1. Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. While couscous stands, boil broccoli florets, covered, for 3 minutes or until tender.

3. Combine couscous, broccoli, onion, and next 10 ingredients (onion through chickpeas), tossing gently. Sprinkle with cheese.

Disclaimer: we were sent this product (*) in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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06/09/2018

Review: Levi Roots Caribbean Snack Pots


Spice up your lunchtime with a Caribbean vibe with Levi Roots Caribbean Snack Pots! Ever since I, Jessica has been working for The Reggae Brunch, I just had to jump at the chance to try these new snack pots as my love for Caribbean food has grown with having jerk chicken with rice 'n' peas every Saturday. How could I say no?

You may have heard of Levi Roots before as Levi Roots is not only an artist, but he also has his own smokehouse and a range of Reggae Reggae hot sauces, which by the way, I adore!

These new snack pots are available in four delicious flavours, packed with Caribbean spices, this new range uses natural, wholesome ingredients, and low levels of salt and sugar, to create the authentic, home-cooked flavour that they are aiming for.


The four flavours are: Reggae Reggae Noodles, Levi's Curry Noodles, Caribbean Coconut Rice and Pasta Pasta.

The ones that I have tried so far are the Reggae Reggae noodles and Levi's curry noodles: the Reggae Reggae noodles is a sweet BBQ with subtle tomato and smoke notes with a Caribbean lilt of allspice, thyme and scotch bonnet which gives this product its stamp of authenticity, while Levi's curry noodles is an aromatic blend of numeric, chilli, coriander, fennel, spices mixed with onion, garlic and parsley that gives this noodle snack the taste of the Caribbean.

When originally trying these noodles, I wasn't a big fan, the soup had much flavour but the noodles itself was very bland and lack flavour, but after leaving it for sometime, the noodles soaked up the soup and I then tried it once more - it was perfect, full of flavour and actually surprisingly filling, as it does state on the pot as a meal or a side - so I imagine it depends on your appetite.

We have yet to try the coconut rice and the pasta and I do imagine if it's anything like I said, I would enjoy them so much more. I will make sure to write an update here when I do.

Levi Roots Caribbean Snack Pots are suitable for Vegetarian diets and are currently available in Nisa, Costcutter and selected Spar stores.

Disclaimer: we were sent this product in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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01/09/2018

Lunchbox: Chicken Burrito Bowl


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins

One of our favourite meal prep for lunch has been this chicken burrito bowl, we've made it time and time again, and can easily be adjusted to what suits you - instead of chicken, it can be mince or tofu. 

Ingredients:

For the Chicken
- 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 packet taco seasoning

For the Rice
- 1 cup white basmati rice

For the guacamole and salsa
- 1/2 ripe Avocado
- 2 tablespoons cilantro minced
- 1 red onion minced
- 1 small tomato diced
- juice of 1 lime

Other things for the bowls
- 2 Bell Peppers sliced into strips
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup black beans


Instructions:

For the Chicken: Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. In a large bowl, cut into small pieces and combine the chicken and taco seasoning along with 1 tablespoon oil and place on an oven tray for 20 minutes.

For the Rice: While the chicken is cooking, following the instructions of your rice packet.

To make guacamole and tomato salsa: While the rice and chicken are cooking, mash the avocado in a small bowl. Add half the minced cilantro (1 tablespoon) and half the minced onion (1 tablespoon). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir until the avocados are fully mashed. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, and the remaining minced cilantro (1 tablespoons and minced red onion (1 tablespoons).

To assemble: Divide the rice, chicken, bell peppers, and beans into 4 meal-prep bowls. Divide the romaine lettuce, a tomato salsa, a scoop of guacamole and scoop of sour-cream into the remains 2 bowls.

Storing: Cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days and the cold ingredients (salad, guc, salsa) for 2 days.

To re-heat: Heat ONLY the chicken and rice bowls for 2-3 minutes in the microwave. Top with the salad bowls when ready to eat. Prep more of the cold bowls when you run out. Enjoy!

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30/08/2018

Afternoon Tea: Lion Quays Hotel - Gobowen, Oswestry


This bank holiday weekend, we headed up North to Chester, as I, Jessica, work Saturday's, it's been harder to go to to visit James' family for the weekend, so we decided to take advantage of the long weekend and take the time to be with his family.

During our stay, it coincidentally fit in with our anniversary of the day we met near to Chester in Oswestry, so on Monday 27th August, James booked us a treat to Afternoon Tea in the same hotel we met in 4 years ago.


The thing with having Afternoon Tea is that when is arrives, you never think it'll fill you up but boy that's how you know my eyes are bigger than my stomach because I always have the same thought but each time, I fall into a food coma or missing something out (and taking it away)

We had a classic Afternoon Tea starting with the sandwiches: egg and mayo, ham and chutney, salmon and cucumber, and cheese, followed by the biggest scone we've ever had, along with clotted cream, garnished with strawberries and a choice of strawberry and raspberry jam, and last but definitely not least, a selection of 4 mini desserts - all with such richness!  


The weather may not have been the best, but it was a beautiful day reminiscing on the first time we met, appreciating what we have now and discussing our future plans. 

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★★

When was the last time you has Afternoon Tea? Do you always go for the bubbly?
Let us know in the comments below.

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25/08/2018

Restaurant: By Chloe - Covent Garden, London


If you've been reading our blog for a while now, you'd know we've wanted to try more veggie/vegan friendly dishes, not only just making them but eating out too. By Chloe is the first plant-based restaurant we've ever been to together and it won't be the last.

By Chloe is located in Covent Garden and holds the expectation of being very instagramable, with their neon light saying, swinging chairs and take away coconuts, which let's be honest was one of the main reason why visiting By Chloe was high on my list to visit.


I do love the way they took some classic dishes from the UK and tried to recreate them only using plant based products and with that, we were also very curious to see how close they can be to a non vegan/veggie. The price was a bit steep for what it was but then again, when it's based on it being a specialty food right bang in the middle of central London, I don't know how I expected any less.

"by CHLOE. aims to share delicious, wholesome, plant-based food that fuels and energizes without compromising flavor, taste or satisfaction. Our chef-driven vegan menu features locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create inspired dishes, made 100% by us daily. We are passionate about feeding our customers hearty, nourishing meals made from whole ingredients that can have a positive impact on their overall mind, body and health."


We both opted for the Guac Burger and shared a portion of air baked fries. The "burger" itself was not a thick as i thought it should have been but the guac part of the burger was great, the red onion gave it that crunch it needed and I simply adore avocado so the burger was great - I would say I didn't miss it having meat at all but it was missing the density of the burger itself when you take that first bite - do you know what I mean?

We're in no rush to return but I'd love to try the mac 'n' cheese pot and their fish and chips (as my sister had it and loved it).

Have you been to By Chloe? What do you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below.

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★

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23/08/2018

Restaurant: Ramo Ramen - Kentish Town, London




After a long afternoon working in Camden on a Saturday, we were kindly invited to visit a new restaurant in Kentish Town by a long time follower on Instagram, Jaycee, to a Filipino-Japanese ramen bar, Ramo Ramen

Typically I don't tend to visit Filipino restaurants because let's be honest, no one makes it better than Lola (Grandma), but this was a great exception. Japanese style ramen but with Filipino signature flavours. Ramo Ramen is a Filipino-Japanese noodle bar, serving ramen, gyoza and bubble tea, and who am I to deny James the taste of the Philippines?


To start with we decided to go for something to share and asking Jaycee what she would recommend, we opted for the Miso Baked Shrimp Gyozas. All I can say is that it was drowning in melted cheese and I was all for it! It definitely left us wanting more and we couldn't wait for the main dishes!

"Anybody can make ramen, but it takes passion, determination and years of experience to make a Ramo bowl. We're using that and infusing Pinoy flavours to bring you a Japanese staple like you’ve never tasted before."


 As always, James and I ordered two different flavours, so we can share and try each others. Prior to coming I looked online to see their menu and I already knew what we would order, but unfortunately one of the dishes was out of stock - this was the Oxtail Kare Kare.

Oxtail Kare Kare is based on a traditional Filipino street food - a rich peanut butter broth topped with pulled oxtail kare kare, niitamago, pea shoots, spring onions shiitake mushrooms and nori. Sounds so good right?

So upset it wasn't available, there is now a silver lining in that we now have to return! 

One of my original choices was still available so I went for it - Chicken Sopas Ramen. Their Chicken Sopas Ramen is topped with chicken chicharonnes, pulled adobo chicken, niitamato, pea shoots, menma, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms and nori.

The other dish was Spicy Tempura Shrimp & Clams - a light seafood broth, shrimp tempura, fresh clams, padron peppers,  roasted tomatoes, fresh chillies, niitamato, pea shoots, menma, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms and chilli oil.


"Ramen is like chilli. It’s ridiculously easy to make, and anybody can put their spin on it. Hell, there’s a good chance you’ve boiled a packet of noodles for yourself this month... But there’s a huge difference between a pack of instant and Ramo Ramen. Now’s the time to reveal a few secrets of what makes Ramo taste so great."

Is your mouth drooling? Because mine sure is after writing that! It was definitely the perfect dish to have for dinner and it was all so filling - I even had to take the rest of mine away. I was so full but I refused to waste it!

The flavours tasted like home, the broth was like a hug in my tummy and having both cultures combined this way has made it so unique to all my other ramen experiences. 


On top of every amazing that we've already mentioned, Ramo Ramen is suitable for all. They also have vegan and gluten free noodles, upon request, as well as all their meats being 100% halal - making them London's first fully halal ramen spot.

Not only do they serve bubble tea, but they also serve my favourite beer from the Philippines - Red Horse. You just have to try it to understand. I don't mind beer and I wouldn't say I had a favourite but if I had to choose, it would be this one!


If you are a fan of ramen or looking to try something new, with the typical London summer returning, it's the perfect time to try this new spot. We will definitely be returning over and over again, bringing my mother, my father, sister, cousins, aunties and uncles - as you do in the Filipino community ;)

Haven't had ramen before? You can read all about the roots of ramen on Ramo Ramen's blog page.


And just when you thought that was the end, just down the road is one of their sister companies Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream. Although we were full, but there is always space for dessert - no regrets!

I won't say much now because we will be returning and may do a separate post, so watch this space! Make sure to check them out and shout out to Jaycee and our waiter, John!

Food: ★★★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★

Disclaimer: we were invited to the restaurant for a discounted meal, but as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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05/08/2018

Event: Ballie Ballerson Bottemless Brunch


Bottomless brunch in a giant ball pit? It's the kind of thing you would only find in Shoreditch - East London's hipster hub where trendsetters and creatives come together to make incredible places like this. 
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26/07/2018

Italy: Food Coma at Lake Como


With being in Milan for the last three days of our time in Italy, we sought the best pizza, Aperol Spritz and took one but not two trips to Jolibee - Philippines' answer to KFC and their only branch in Europe. 

We saved our pennies (cents) for our very last day which we chose to spend an hour North of Milan at Lake Como and the surrounding area. 


With the afternoon spent in Bellagio, we visited the no.1 TripAdvisor ranked cheap eats restaurant, Bistrot Restaurant "Antichi Sapori." Jessica and Charlyn both opted for the above seafood pasta which I can confirm tasted absolutely amazing and following our stop there, we scoured the picturesque shopping streets and enjoyed some heart shaped ice cream lollies in the shade.


As we took a one hour long boat journey from Bellagio to Como, the rain began to fall... hard! Our friends Ashley and Hannah were waiting for us but because of the weather, we didn't venture any further than our dinner destination. Following their suggestion having been to this area of Italy earlier in the year, we had big expectations of this place, and boy did it deliver.

With a seafood theme running throughout as we sat watching a couple fish in the lake right beside us, we soaked up the final Italian flavours of this magnificent trip. Mussels, salmon, prawns and much more saw us so full that we took some back on the train to Milan with us for our final night. 


We knew before coming that Italy is one of the top foodie destinations of the planet, but nothing can ever prepare you for tingled taste buds and the dreamy feelings that the best food provides. This last meal was the epitome of that and we cannot wait to return one day for more of the same.


We hope you've enjoyed reading all about our foodie travels to Italy this summer! 

Where next, you ask? We know, but you'll have to wait to find out.....

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19/07/2018

Italy: Hidden Venice Food Tour


The Roman Guy's Hidden Venice food tour was in fact last food tour of our Italy trip (queue very sad faces!) But it's okay as we were able to discover this magically unique city by being guided around all of the best local food and drink spots with our guide, Elizabeth. 
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12/07/2018

Italy: A Food History Lesson with the Pisa Explorer


Whilst checking out TripAdvisor and gaining advice from other bloggers etc about food tours in Pisa, we couldn't get away from the strong recommendation of the Pisa Explorer. Unfortunately they were fully booked for the date we planned to visit, but that didn't stop the explorer himself, David, from getting in touch and offering a couple of hours of his time to show us around his glorious city. 
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05/07/2018

Italy: Our Three Best Cheap Eats in Florence


Before our trip to Italy we were always reminded by others about how beautiful the country it is, closely followed by how expensive it is. These two things are very true but unlike our recent getaways to Scandinavia and Zurich last year, we found that there was always a cheap option and 95% of the time, that didn't mean that it wasn't amazingly delicious! 
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28/06/2018

Italy: The Roman Food Tour


Along our travels we always look to squeeze in a food tour, especially in places with rich food history and tradition. Rome is one of those world wide famous places for all things pizza, pasta, meats, fish and wine so we simply couldn't give it a miss.
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21/06/2018

Italy: Best Pizzas in Naples


I know this is what you've all been waiting for, PIZZA! Prior to visiting we did all the research we possibly could to find the best pizzerias in Naples but with one literally on every street corner, we knew the only way to find out was to ask the locals... and this is exactly what we did. Along the way on our free walking tour we stopped outside Antica Pizzeria Portalba. It is the oldest pizzeria in the Naples and with pizza being born here in the city, it of course makes it the oldest in the world. 
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31/05/2018

Restaurant: Steak & Lobster - Marble Arch, London


A little like our recent post from Giraffe, this post comes to you on more of a sentimental note than anything else. Just like this time two years ago when we visited Fortnum & Mason for Afternoon Tea as a welcome meal for me in London, I was again treated by my love on the day of my arrival. After a long day packing, travelling and unpacking once more, it was the perfect way to cool off and relax.




A long long time ago we had dinner at Burger & Lobster, sister of this wonderful restaurant and fond memories came flooding back when we saw a special offer on Open Table for a three course meal with cocktail for £39 each. Considering their signature main course dishes cost £20 alone usually and given the occasion, it was a steal and it turned out to be well worth it.


Starting with Chilli Cheese Bites and Beef Tacos, our appetite was well and truly whet as both dishes gave explosions of flavour, plenty of spice and a massive compliment to the Strawberry and Rhubarb Fizz' we had to go alongside. You may have guessed what we had as main courses - the menu is simply The Steak or The Lobster. Both with unlimited fries and salad, we ordered one each and devoured both in due course.


With running this blog we'd like to think our pallets and tastes have widened and matured over the last few years, however sometimes you can't beat a simple handful of fries. They came in a never ending abundance here and that meant we became rather full before our dessert arrived. However the salted caramel cheesecake was light, dreamy and the perfect way to see us off home to prepare for our holiday the next day.


From the fantastic customer service and sophisticated decor, the freshly caught lobster and steak from Northern Island, it is clear from all aspects that this restaurant aspires and delivers on the highest quality. Our experience certainly lived up to the occasion and we fully recommend it to those looking to celebrate in style.

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★

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24/05/2018

Under 30: Cheater's Easy Homemade Pizza

Makes: 4 | Prep Time: 12 mins | Cook Time: 8 mins

You know when you have those lazy days and you simply want to order take away and if it's not Chinese, it's obviously pizza! But let's be honest, those take aways can add up and who on Earth wants to wait 40 mins for it to arrive when you can make a cheat cheat easy peasy pizza at home with  as little or as many ingredients as you'd like.

Using tortillas as the base is genius, even if I do say so myself! Simply life changing and making this cheat pizza is so easy, you just can't go back!



Ingredients:

- 4 tortillas
- 20g tomato purée
- 2 x 125g pack mozzarella, drained and sliced
- a range of Woodall's charcuterie*

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the tortillas on 2 large baking sheets and spread with the tomato purée.


2. Arrange the mozzarella slices and charcuterie on top of the tortilla. Bake in the oven for
 6-8 mins, until the cheese has melted and the edges of the tortillas are golden.


3. Remove the pizzas from the oven. Serve immediately. 

Disclaimer: we were sent (*) product in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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