Over the past three and a half years I have written about my personal dining experiences from England and around the world. My collection will continue for as long as I have a passion for great food, travel and good company. My reviews are much more personal then you would normally find as I focus on the company as much as I do on the food.

I am hoping that those featured in my collection will be taken back to the moment and also on the memories they have from that day/night.

I am not a "margarita pizza" kind of girl when it comes to trying new foods. There are of course tastes I will sample once and never again - such as a battered chickens foot, however it is all about the experience of tasting something new and making up your own mind

I love food and writing and I hope this comes through when reading my blog. The aim of it is simply to make you smile

All the best


"Enchanting Afternoon Tea" Alice’s Tea Cup, New York July 2012.

Afternoon tea is typically known as something very British, but today I opted for a taste of of this in New York. During my time in the big apple, I became accustomed to a daily slice of pizza, and thought it was high time for a more “dainty” lunch. I find it quite delightful to be served decedent sweet and savoury tastes on a three-stand tier, alongside drinking endless cups of tea. My search led me to Alice’s teacup.

The tearoom was opened in 2001 by two enthusiastic sisters and is located on the ground floor of a pre-war brownstone building. I am sure the name gives it away but Alice’s teacup is all about Alice and her wonderland adventure from the world famous Lewis Carroll novel. The décor is enchanting and innocent, complete with fairy wings for your little ones to play dress up whilst eating. Within the glass tables were all things Alice including dolls, books and even a Cheshire cat grinning at you if you look closely enough. 

I chose to eat “The Nibbler” from the menu, which translates from wonderland language to your choice of one scone, one sandwich, assorted cookies and a pot of tea. This is a great way to sample a mix of the menu if your taste buds are torn between sweet and savoury like mine are so often.

Although I am biased towards a cup of English breakfast tea, I do also love to try tea from different origins. After browsing the vast selection of over 140 on offer, I chose a pot of Alice’s house tea. This is a house blend of black tea married with rose petals, Indian black vanilla and Japanese green tea, and was delicious. I highly recommend you try this smooth, delicate blend. The brew is made from double filtered water, which really makes a difference. The loose tea is available to purchase, should you wish to drink a cup of tea outside Alice's world. I bought enough loose tea for 20 cups of this very drinkable blend to enjoy at home.

A three tiered stand arrived to the table with charming mismatched patterned china. Although not quite enough for the entire mad hatters tea party, there was certainly enough for one. I am often defeated by afternoon tea and rarely finish. I now realise that amongst the indulging, this is due to drinking so many cups of tea in one round!

I chose the delicious homemade pumpkin scone, served warm, accompanied with sweet berry preserve and thick cream served on the side.

The middle tier was a fragrant curried chicken salad sandwich, made with celery, red onion, crisp granny smith apples, tomato slices and tangy marinated chicken served on semolina raison bread. The heartiness was a pleasant surprise as there was not a crustless cucumber finger sandwich in sight.

True to my prediction, I did not have any room left to attempt the third tier cookie selection. Upon my request these were whisked away and wrapped in a pink paper bag for me to enjoy the remains of "the nibbler" later that evening. 

“Mmmm Mmm Mmm Do I Smell Fried Chicken!” Mama’s Food Shop Manhattan June 2012

Since visiting, unfortunately I have heard that Mama's Food Shop has closed down which is a real shame. Although I won't be able to return to try the banana cream pie, I still wanted to share my enjoyable eating experience here.

I had left the “big smoke” after nearly 4 years and arrived at the “big apple.” I was very lucky to embark on a fantastic life opportunity spending the summer months in New York.

The weather in Manhattan is as summer should be. I could finally put my winter boots to bed, after wearing them in the UK all the way from November until June!

Adam and I caught the Subway down to the East Village to meet a friend Brandon for some afternoon drinking in a local garden bar. A few hours later we were ready for an early dinner, so headed a couple of blocks down to Mama’s Food Shop.

Southern food is not a cuisine readily available in London, aside from “The Colonel” at KFC. As much as I secretly enjoy it on the odd occasion, I highly doubt any southern Grandma would count it as authentic!

This casual self-service food shop has been open since 1995. As we walked in I said, “mmm mmm mmm do I smell fried chicken” in my impressive attempt at a southern accent. I then heard customers say, “this is fantastic” with a satisfied expression, as they tucked into their platefuls of homemade style southern comfort food.

There is a feature wall covered from top to bottom with an array of miss matched self portraits, alongside floral patterned curtains, and a pea green ceiling, which make it look like an old fashioned sitting room. You will find hot sauce in glass condiment bottles on the tables, which is an all time southern staple, and poured generously over just about anything...with an exception of the banana cream pie! 

You should only come to Mama’s when you are ready for a tremendously filling meal, as the portions are wholesome and hearty, just as home cooked food should be. For $13.50 I ordered mama’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and mac and cheese. Adam ordered the same with sides of broccoli and corn salad so we could share. The perfectly cooked chicken was indeed “fantastic” just as the other diners had described it. There was a subtle flavour of rosemary on the golden brown crispy coating, leaving tender chicken inside falling off the bone.

Sweetcorn is at its best when in season just like other fruits and vegetables. The salad was fresh and zingy, made with shredded corn off the husk, tomatoes, red onion, herbs and lemon juice making a great accompaniment to the chicken.

Eating a piece of fried chicken simply cannot be done with any airs and graces, as you just have to get right on in there. I for one needed plenty of napkins to wipe my face, hands, dress, legs and anything else near me, as I seem to be a bit of a messy eater!

Fried chicken is just one of mama’s basics she serves up. Others include roasted chicken, pan fried tilapia and meatloaf. There are lots of seasonal and traditional sides such as collard greens, tomato and watermelon salad, beet salad and corn bread just to name a few.

Here I was sat in the quirky east village on my first week back in New York, sipping fiery ginger and mint iced tea, eating southern soul food at its best. The talked about $5 banana cream pie had sadly sold out earlier in the day due to its popular demand.  I will just have to make another visit during my stay, so I can sample the calorific slice of heaven for myself! Note to self that I must pack baby wipes in my handbag next time to avoid any spillages!


200 East 3rd Street, Manhattan, NY 10009, United States
(212) 777-4425

“Let The Falafel See The Pita” Shlomo's Falafel King Tel-Aviv May 2012

Tel-Aviv was my chosen destination for the start of the summer 2012. My itinerary included two weddings, a day trip to Jerusalem, a dip in the Dead Sea and time to relax with family, friends and my fiancé in the sunshine.

I stumbled across Shlomo Falafel King, situated on the corner of Nordau Street and Ben-Yehudah, whilst walking to the local supermarket a stone throw away from the Grand Beach Hotel where we were staying.

At the street food stand, you are asked “Kama?” translating to “how many?” You pay, you eat, and then you tell the next person you see “oooh I just had a great falafel”. There is no menu as they mainly sell falafel, aside from a couple of alternatives including latkes (potato cakes) and shakshuka (Middle Eastern poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.)

This impressive business has thrived for 45 years. I spoke with Gabi the owner, who has carried on the successful falafel making tradition from his parents. It is a no frills, simple street shop selling one of the most popular tastes of Israel.

I arrived during the lunchtime rush, where I watched dozens of people casually hover around the serving stand in no kind of orderly fashion.  There are no such things as a queue or line in Israel! Some passers-by pulled up on motorbikes to collect their order and then sped off, whilst others relaxed, and enjoyed eating the contents of the wax paper parcel on some nearby wooden benches. The smell of falafel was in the air on Ben Yehudah!

The operation starts with the star of the show- the falafel. These are cooked fresh to order, a batch at a time. I watched the young boy working alongside Gabi take a utensil just smaller than an ice-cream scoop and fill it with the raw falafel mixture. Traditional falafels are a delicate mix of chick peas and Middle Eastern spices. As a vegetarian dish, this is really satisfying. The falafel ball is then dropped into the hot oil for some deep frying action. Whilst cooking, a fluffy, fresh white pita is carefully slit open to make a pocket for the filling. Humous lines the bottom, and then let the falafels see the pita! Israeli salad which is a mix of diced tomatoes and cucumber is added, as well as finely shredded white cabbage and salty pickled cucumbers. The pita’s are packed to perfection, and are piled high with all the fresh ingredients.

Just like the saying “roast beef and all the trimmings”, the traditional falafel has its own additions which completes the masterpiece. These include tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds and olive oil), mild or fiery red or green chilli sauce, and plump picked chillies for an extra kick! All of this for 15 shekels which equates to £2.50!!! You just cannot go wrong!

This is street food served at its best. The falafel king has continued to be successful over the years as its customers enjoy this simple snack, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in fact any time of the day, and certainly gets my recommendation.

After my first sampling, I shared my “find” with friends and relatives holidaying in the city. When I returned the next day, I found them all outside at lunchtime eager to try for themselves with my brother in law first up!
Out of the many food stands in the area, there are very few which have a long standing reputation, such as Schlomo’s, as most seem to only last a year or so before they need to reinvent themselves as something new.

If you do find yourself in Tel-Aviv, and fancy ‘fressing’ (meaning - to eat a lot without restraint) a good falafel, head in the direction of Shlomo Falafel King and you will not be disappointed!

Falafel Shlomo & Sons, corner of Nordau Street and Ben Yehudah Street, Tel Aviv

“Surprise Surprise” La Giostra– Florence February 2012

The famous Cilla Black saying “surprise surprise” says it all really. I was sat in KFC…yes I admit this is another one of my guilty pleasures! I asked Adam my boyfriend where we were going on our 3 day trip. We love our “mini breaks,”enjoying exploring and appreciating the beautiful English countryside staying in local B&B’s along the way. We have learnt the art of “countryside etiquette” if there ever was such thing. This includes saying “good day” to passing walkers; eating a full English for breakfast and of course a trip to the village pub. I would have been happy going to Wales which is where I had guessed, so when I heard Florence I was giddy with excitement!
Florence is a city with all things beautiful including the architecture, people, food and wine. We checked into the stunning Continentale branded as a contemporary pleasing hotel, situated right on the famous Ponte Vecchio.
After a lovely day of browsing the shops and exploring all the delights that Florence has to offer, our concierge booked a reservation at La Giostra whose doors have been open for 20 years. A cab ride away and apparently intentionally difficult to find, we pulled into the cobbled narrow street and welcomed into the restaurant by a mysterious looking man I believed to be the owner’s son. He was accessorised from top to toe with assorted silver bangles, necklaces and rings, and reminded me of a tribal leader preparing for a festive ritual. He had a calming aura about him and showed us to our table.
La Giostra which means “the carousel” has a personal, intimate atmosphere with only 16 tables. You are sat inside a piece of history which dates back to the year 1700, and was once a storage place for a local carousel…hence the name. With original brickwork,  skinny candles flickering on the tables, copious displays of expensive wine bottles and lots of quirky artwork and photo’s, the restaurant has a beautiful setting and romantic charm about it. We sipped our Prosecco, (which was on the house) and dipped our bread in the deep green olive oil while we sat back and relaxed.
The menu has a large selection of dishes to choose from and of course written all in Italian the helpful waiter translated where necessary...which in my case where languages are not my forte meant translating practically everything!  A plentiful selection of antipasti arrived at the table (another complimentary offering on the house) including bruschetta with plum tomatoes, chicken liver pate on crostini, marinated aubergine, roasted peppers, dressed celeriac and Italian cured meats. These bite sized tastes were all delightful and it became apparent I was going to be eating a lot over the next couple of hours!
I ordered “morelli” to start with. Before you pre-empted it, I have to say that I only chose this dish as it has my name in it! It translates as baby artichokes which were served carpaccio style dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese.   Adam ordered giant asparagus with shaved parmesan.
 For main course, astounded is an understatement when the wiener snitzel arrived at the table on yes a platter rather than a plate alongside various accompaniments.  Adam is certainly a meat eater and has more than a healthy appetite; however this portion could stretch to feed a small army! I tasted some of course and size aside, the meat was tender and delicious with a light coating of crisp breadcrumbs.
I ordered a slightly more delicate main course of sea bass which was beautifully cooked, served with a medley of black olives, tomatoes, courgettes and potatoes which is a typical Italian combination.
During the meal service the owner’s son who I mentioned earlier casually sat down for dinner alone, and was served his ravioli and red wine. You could see the pride in his eyes as his eyes glanced over the restaurant where there was not an empty table to be seen.
After a lovely stroll back to the hotel, we skipped a visit to the gelaterie as we were so full. Adam said he had one last surprise and pulled out a ring box from his pocket. Overwhelmed with happiness and excitement and of course black mascara tears gently falling down my cheeks,  I was on cloud 9 which is where I stayed for the next few days and couldn't stop smiling. Eek I’m engaged!
This dreamy restaurant is definitely somewhere to pay a visit to if you find yourself in this beautiful city. 
Borgo Pinti, 12-r  50121 Florence, Italy
055 241341

"A Taste Of Flamboyancy" Oslo Court February 2012

As well as being passionate about the property industry, my company is also known for their love of food. They very generously took our team for a lunchtime outing to the nostalgic Oslo Court. It is definitely a place to celebrate an “occasion”.  My colleague Lucy is due to have a baby soon which was our reason to go.
The restaurant is accessed from the ground floor of a mansion apartment building situated in the upmarket St John’s Wood. Passers-by would never know this old fashioned haunt ever existed as its entire reputation is based on word of mouth ever since it opened in the 1970’s. As I unsuspectingly walked into the lobby for the first time, I was beckoned to the right hand side just past the cloakroom, which takes you through the door where the magic happens! You are transported back in time as you observe the pristine peach table cloths, matching napkins, salmon pink walls and powder blue chairs.
I immediately knew that my every need was going to be taken care of as one of the delightfully over attentive, immaculately dressed waiters, complete with dinner jacket and bow tie pulled out my chair for me to sit down.
Crudites, melba toast and garlic mayonnaise arrived before our eyes. We ordered two dozen oysters for the table served with lemon wedges, complimented by tabasco sauce and vinaigrette to taste. My first taste of raw oysters, although slightly unattractive as you pour the liquid gem down your throat, I found after I had one… I just had to have another!
For starters, aside from one portion of fried calamari, we ordered a round of lobster cocktails which was from the specials list. This generous portion of sweet plump lobster meat dressed in its 1970’s glory of marie rose sauce, served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, alongside thinly sliced buttered brown bread (crusts removed )was a winning choice.
When the waiter recited the specials menu, it really felt like he was saying this for the first time. It is clear to see that all the staff have true passion for what they do which makes the customers dining experience spectacular. The room is filled with "nachas"and you cannot help but soak up the glowing joyful atmosphere surrounding each table. Forget moving with the times, the unique factor of Oslo Court is that their customers simply do not want change! The reason that the business continues to thrive forty years on, is that it is irresistibly delicious and really does run like clockwork.
My main course of fillet steak served medium rare with béarnaise sauce was presented. The accompaniments for the table which just kept on coming included a selection of buttered green cabbage, creamed leaks, potato gratin, mangetout and latkes. I found you almost offended the waiter if you asked for a small helping.
Amongst the table for main courses we ordered calves liver, venison, turbot, sea bream and veal. Filled with classic dishes, there really is something for everyone on the timeless French inspired 1970’s menu. My grandma uses the phrase “pickling”. If you have something you love, such as a dress from the good old days, you can pickle it for years, bring it out again and it will be revived and good as new.... and look even better then the first time round! The collection of dishes can definitely be described as “pickled to perfection.”
If you ever speak to someone that has eaten at Oslo Court, the first thing they will tell you if that you will love the slightly eccentric and very camp, flamboyant dessert waiter. He flaunts what he has to offer for the day from his trolley in his foreign accent. We were enticed and mesmerised with his selection ranging from a “fabulous strawberry tart,” to the “to die for pavlova" and his “sensational crepe suzette”. His famous spiel which can be heard echoing round every table is something which gives the restaurant its slight oddity, yet oozes old fashioned charm
As a girl in my mid-twenties, stepping into a restaurant that opened before my time was a true eating experience. Although I just had the one glass of white I definitely overexerted myself with the food. I was still digesting my starter late into the evening, and for me to pass on a Friday night dinner definitely says something else!
Oslo Court
Prince Albert Road, St John's Wood, London, NW8 7EN
 020 7722 8795