Killer Tomato + Cheeseburger Tacos = the ultimate hybrid of the greatest foods on earth…

Tacos.

Like the final of Bake Off, my desert island food list and learning the words to the entire ‘La La Land’ soundtrack, this is something I take very seriously.

When they’re bad, I’m not happy and my less-than-perfect poker face will do the honours and let you know. Cheap meat cooked badly and stuffed begrudgingly into heavy, lumpy tortillas does not a good Mexican time make but when they’re good? Oh man, they totally transport me back to downtown LA, to dives where I’ve feasted like a fricking queen, to beach-side shacks where the juices have dribbled down my hands and onto the sand beneath my feet, to meals I’ll never forget and have tried to replicate & recreate in every other part of the world I’ve visited since.

FYI, we all realise I’m talking about soft corn tortillas that fit perfectly in your hand here and not the splintery shells that wage a personal war on your poor innocent gums, yes? Ok good, just checking.

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This adoration of the taco makes its’ current resurgence in London something I’m damn happy about and when a work colleague – who you better believe I’ll be shaking the hand, patting the back and kissing the cheek of tomorrow morning – told me about a little spot on Goldhawk Road that served up awesome reincarnations of these moreish beauties, I’d been waiting for the right time to go west (and let’s just pause for a second to remind ourselves of how many great songs those kings of the ’80’s had) and get stuck in. Well, thanks to a Saturday date night with J, Sean Lock and a few thousand stand up comedy fans in Hammersmith, that time arrived this weekend.

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Partaking in the very best of British tradition with a perfect afternoon tea at Fortnum & Masons…

Afternoon tea is a long-standing love of mine. Like Keanu Reeves, happy dogs and pints of cookie dough crammed ice-cream, it’s something I’ve adored for more years than I’m willing to admit. A sincere, proper, uncomplicated, unadulterated love because when it’s done right, I honestly believe there are few experiences nicer to share with someone you love. Hell, for the sake of a good scone weighed down under a flamboyant cushion of clotted cream, sometimes just someone you like will do.

Fortnum & Mason does so many things well; service like nowhere else in the capital, products tailor made for the wide-eye tourist throngs that flock to it still in reassuringly vast numbers and a minty green décor that’s as timeless and elegant as some of the surrounding buildings on London’s Piccadilly. On Mother’s Day, as you would expect, it was heaving but in the quietest, calmest, most relaxed and controlled way it’s possible to be. Ushered to a table in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon that fit our party of 6 more than comfortably with room, frankly, for another 6 of our closest friends, the tone was set for the loveliest of afternoons.

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Satin leafed and blush pink ranunculus poked beaming petalled heads shyly out of glass vases, antique silverware gleamed and flawless white linens were pressed to perfection. One of the very best things about taking tea here is that even though the room itself has space enough for a dozen extra tables, they avoid filling in those gaps. Everyone has their own space in which they can relax without fear of disturbing neighbours or being disturbed themselves and in a place that could clearly double their takings with a little table tweaking, the fact that they don’t smacks of charm and understated confidence. Read More

Brunch at Exmouth Grind or how I found yet another way to love my neighbourhood…

Finding a lovely new spot for brunch that’s within walking distance of your front door is like finding a fiver in the back pocket of jeans you forgot you had in your wardrobe. It’s unexpected and it’s awesome. Exmouth Market Grind is that fiver for me though truth be told, it’s totally a tenner.

Sat where the lovely little Café Pistou used to be on the corner of the market, it’s got a 5* location and boasts a menu that mixes the traditional – full English or baked eggs anyone? – with the modern – wild boar eggs Benedict and breakfast burritos over here please – which means you’ll be able to please every sort of breakfast hunter in your party.

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Inside it’s open, airy and modern, marrying marble beautifully together with blush pink menus and coral coloured booths. Staff are super lovely finding a table for four with the minimum of fuss on a busy Spring Saturday morning and noting requested menu changes with nary a raised eyebrow but a warm acknowledgement and cheery smile.

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Yoghurt & granola bowls at a neighbouring table looked fresh & virtuous and there are several small plates on offer as well as breakfast dishes. If you order anything as a side – and really why wouldn’t you, it is the weekend after all – you owe it to yourself to make it the chorizo stuffed dates with pancetta & labneh which will now forever be known to me as the Dwayne ‘Rock’ Johnson of the menu in that they are enormous and excellent. Casting shadows over the dish, they dwarfed the sourdough toast that came alongside, were perfect for mopping up the sweet, smoky, golden-oil streaked yoghurt and provoked the table next to us to lean over and ask hungrily what they were. FYI, it’s so satisfying when other people get food envy from your order.

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A breakfast burrito was crispy and squidgy and stuffed with avocado, scrambled eggs & sausage while a splendid serving of eggs Benedict with wild boar & chilli saw incredible sunset coloured yolks spilling generously over creamy hollandaise drenched muffins. Three house ground coffee blends were up for selection and met with approval by the caffeinated people in our group while the option to make it brunch of the bottomless & bubbly sort for £12 make it a great shout for the next long boozy girls breakfast in your diary.

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Exmouth Market isn’t exactly short of places to eat well in which means anyone moving in there had better bring their A game and fair play to Grind, they’ve done that in spades. Book yourself in there now then tell me you’re not jealous that I get to call it my local…I won’t believe you.