Padella – London

Just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge you will find Padella. Weirdly, I had never heard of this place before. I say weirdly because when we got there the queue was wrapped all around the building and the next table for 3 was available an hour and forty-five minutes later. So clearly Padella is a popular place!

After a nice girly catch-up and a few drinks at a close by venue (more on that one very soon!), we finally took a seat around the bar with a prime view into the kitchen, where all the magic happens.

Padella kitchen London

And it is not any magic happening at Padella – it is delicious Italian-pasta-magic!

Being a girly catch-up dinner, we all ordered wine of course and we decided to share two starters – the burrata and the salame. Both were delicious and between three people the perfect amount of food to save our appetite for the pasta!

Burrata and salame Padella London

The burrata was creamy and filling and the salame had the flavour of real well-made charcuterie (for a few bites I felt like I was back in France).

A special mention to the staff, one of my friends doesn’t like parmesan ( I know, weird, but we are still friends). The staff went above and beyond to make sure she enjoyed her main and that there would be minimal traces of parmesan on her plate (rather challenging in an Italian restaurant).

We all went for a different dish but all tried each others’ so I can comment on all! It is also good to note that Padella is very affordable. A meal without drinks will only set you back a tenner!

Padella London menu

Hemma went for the spinach and ricotta ravioli. These were excellent and so creamy!

Spinach and ricotta ravioliPadella London

Camille went for Padella signature dish Pici cacio & pepe, a very satisfying and simple cheesy plate of pasta! Comfort food at its best!

Pici cacio & pepe Padella London

I went for something a little different, the tagliarini with chilli, anchovies and capers. I felt adventurous and wanted to try something new. It was really good, neither too fishy nor too sour. All the flavours were subtle yet noticeable and it wasn’t too spicy either!

Tagliarini with chilli, anchovies and capers Padella London

So is Padella worth staying in the queue for? Absolutely! And while you are waiting, make sure to go explore and have a drink at Flat Iron Square, another nice discovery I made that same day (I can smell another blog post)!

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Good Hope Cafés – London

Can you imagine being able to eat breakfast and drink a warm cup of coffee for a good cause? Sounds a little too good and easy to be true? Well, not in Lewisham!

If you head to south-east London and are in need of a bite to eat or a warm beverage, make sure to swing by a Good Hope Cafés!

There are three cafés: one in Hither Green, one in Ladywell Fields and one on Lewisham High Street. My favourite is the Hither Green one simply because it is a bit cosier than the others. The three places support the same cause though!

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

The cafés were created following the passing of Jimmy Mizen, a young schoolboy who was attacked in 2008. Rather than revenge, his parents decided to focus on compassion and to invest in the local community to make it safer for young people. In 2009, they founded the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, now known as For Jimmy. The charity is working to involve the young local people so they feel part of any decisions affecting their lives. They are encouraged to change positively the communities they live in.

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

“I want you to take hope and encouragement from all that we do. Please don’t feel sorry for us, but take strength and determination to work for change. It starts with each one of us. Let’s work together to bring peace in memory of our fine young people who have lost their lives to violent crime.”

Margaret Mizen, MBE

A great cause and an important one, London has been struggling a lot with youth violence over the past decade. The type of attacks Jimmy was a victim of unfortunately often make the headlines in London and big cities in general.

Now, what about the food? Nothing too fancy here. The menu is simple but everything is tasty! For breakfast, you will find the regular eggs on toasts, breakfast muffins and pastries. For lunch, you can order nice toasty sandwiches which will keep you full until dinner.

Good Hope Cafe breakfast muffin

And if you are visiting between meal times you will find some tasty cakes! What’s not to like?

The best part is that all the cafés employ local young people, giving them valuable work experience to help them as they grow into adulthood. All the money collected is reinvested in the cafés and help support the various charity’s programmes.

Good Hope Café Hither Green London

Andrew and I live very close by and often go there for a tasty (and reasonably priced!) brunch. In addition to all the good For Jimmy is doing, we particularly enjoy going there as we believe it is important to support local businesses. Eat local, shop local, create local jobs and be part of the local virtuous circle!

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The Victoria and Albert Museum – London

The Victoria and Albert Museum, otherwise known as the V&A, is I and many Londoners’ favourite museum. Long before the lifestyle magazines, lifestyle bloggers and vloggers, the V&A has been filling that museum gap between History and everyday life. Going through ages and civilisations, the museum showcases items of the everyday life and explain design approaches through various historical eras and geographical locations. There you will learn anything from Medieval metalwork to shopping habits in 1800 England.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

This is why I love this museum because you can picture how people were living at different times. But rather than going through the long list of what you can find at the V&A (more than 4.5 million objects!), I thought I would highlight my favourite parts, so when you are visiting you can hunt for those. Be warned some can be challenging to find!

The Victoria and Albert Museum garden

Let’s start in the grand entrance, where you will find the beautiful and gigantic chandelier – a glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. It is messy, colourful, fun, and it looks like a glass firework!

Chandelier in the Victoria and Albert Museum grand entrance

Now a here is a tip to see the chandelier from an even better and less crowded angle – head to the second floor and the Medieval and Rennaissance area. Walk through the exhibition and find your way toward the Metalwork area, and right at the entrance of this exhibition, you will be at the mezzanine level just above the grand entrance, with the nicest view of the chandelier!

Chandelier in the Victoria and Albert Museum grand entrance

To get to the best view of the chandelier, I mentioned that you will need to walk through the medieval age exhibition, which is great because it is another of my favourite part!

Start in the beautiful gallery just right of the ticket office.

Renaissance City at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Walk through the ‘Renaissance City’ and admire the artists live drawing some of the sculptures.

Artist drawing at the Victoria and Albert MuseumArtist drawing at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Once at the end of the gallery, you will find the staircase taking you to the Medieval age area.

Renaissance City at the Victoria and Albert Museum

In the Daylit Gallery, you will find some of the most impressive items the V&A has, an entire staircase, a full house front facade.

Medieval exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The scale of this exhibition is almost too big for your brain to process it.

Medieval exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Walk through the corridors to see everyday life items from the Medieval age, including almost spotless knight armours (one would wonder if it wasn’t more used to show off rather than actually fight).

Knight armour at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Walk across the mezzanine and through the metalwork section and go to the fourth floor where you will find my favourite exhibition – the British Galleries – more specifically Great Britain during the Victorian era. I love this section, in particular, because you get a real insight into people’s lives at that time.

Vintage posters at the Victoria and Albert Museum

A lot of today’s everyday life habits were born at that time, department stores, interior design trends, catalogue shopping, women working, etc.

Women work in 1800 at the Victoria and Albert Museum

It is fascinating as it all happened more than one hundred years ago,  yet it is so similar to today’s consumer habits.

It is also good to note that the fourth floor British Gallery is far off the beaten path and quiet – which makes it even more pleasant to visit.

Make sure to also check out the Clore Study area, where you will find ‘Breathless‘ a wonderful installation by Cornelia Parker.

Breathless by Cornelia Parker at the Victoria and Albert Museum

End your visit of the British Galleries on the north side and go down one floor to find one of my favourite rooms in the V&A – the library.

To find it you will have to walk through the Modern gallery which is wonderful if you are into interior design. Some iconic household pieces are displayed there.

Modern design at the Victoria and Albert Museum

At the end of the Modern gallery, you will find the National Art Library, a room out of the Beauty and the Beast. Walls and walls of books!

The Victoria and Albert Museum library

A beautifully ancient library currently hosting a collection of modern design items.

At that point in your visit, you would have already done a fair amount of walking so I recommend you go back downstairs to find the cafe.

The Victoria and Albert Museum cafe

The food is good and the sitting areas are beautiful. The cafe definitely worth swinging by!

The Victoria and Albert Museum cafe

Vintage or modern atmosphere, you choose!

The Victoria and Albert Museum cafeThe Victoria and Albert Museum cafe

After a little break, end your visit exploring the fashion section if you like beautiful textiles and glamorous outfits.

Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Indian, Korean or Japanese exhibitions for a trip to sunnier and more exotic places.

Indian gold statue at the Victoria and Albert MuseumTiger sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Or have a break and a ‘wow!‘ moment in front of some of Raphael most beautiful work.

Raphael Cartoons at the Victoria and Albert MuseumRaphael Cartoons at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Then head out to continue your London adventure, feeling inspired and a little bit smarter! And if you love a good museum and want to see what else London has to offer, check out Museuly very cool Top 10 London museums infographic!

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Ethos – London

When visiting London as a tourist or meeting friends for lunch somewhere central, it can be challenging to eat healthily. London offers so many temptations. You can have some of the best burgers and pizzas available, and there are endless unhealthy snack options. London is a big playground for foodies.

After enjoying every naughty food options the city has to offer, you will eventually crave for some healthy food. I just know the type of place you will be looking for on that day, where only healthy food is served but without any compromise on flavours. No boring kale salad here!

Just behind the very busy Oxford Street, you will find Ethos an eatery only serving tasty vegetarian food. A temple for all the gluten-dairy-sugar-free Londoners, and a nice discovery for common human beings like me. I am French which means I eat meat (medium rare please!), cheese (a lot) and bread with all the gluten in it. Yet even I have days where I crave for a tasty salad and Ethos is my go-to for a healthy and tasty kick.

Ethos London

The concept of Ethos is that you pay-by-weight. The food is served at a buffet, you grab a plate, load it with whatever you like the look of, and go to the till to pay.

Ethos London Buffet

Options go from salads to hot dishes, dips and cakes. There is something for everyone!

Ethos London Buffet

I highly recommend the beetroot fritters, they are delicious! (top of the picture below)

Ethos London Buffet with beetroot fritters

The place itself is lovely too. It has a bit of a New York vibe and the Ethos team has added a few nice little touches to the decor, highlighting their main objective to work gently with what nature has to offer.

Ethos London Interior

Just be careful not to have eyes bigger than your stomach as prices can be a little steep for a big plate. Mine was about £12 and it was just enough to keep my appetite at bay until late afternoon.

Ethos London Lunch plate

So if you need a break from the gourmet burgers and the cupcakes, and you happen to be in central London, try to get a table at Ethos! You may just need to be patient as it can get very busy! Bon appétit!

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Brunch at Sparrow – London

I have been a Londoner for seven years now. Five of them were spent in my beloved Shepherd’s Bush and the last two have been spent in Lewisham.

If you are from out of town, you probably have never heard of Lewisham, or if you have it would probably be because of the fire station scene in Bridget Jones. If you are living in London you may probably think “Lewisham, oh dear, is that even safe?”. Lewisham has not the best reputation, I will give you that. It is still very much at the early stages of ‘up and coming’ but you cannot beat the prices when you are looking for a house to buy in London.

Slowly but surely though, there have been some nice little places opening making Lewisham city centre less gritty, one of them is Sparrow.

Sparrow Lewisham

We had been to Sparrow before, but it was for dinner straight off the plane from Japan, and with the jet-lag we weren’t really able to fully appreciate the meal. So this review is only about their brunch and I guess I will have to visit again to let you know about the dinner (life is hard).

We headed mid-morning to Lewisham roundabout where Sparrow is. The area is being fully redeveloped and you will find Sparrow squeezed between a shopping centre and a development site. It doesn’t sound great, but never judge a book by its cover!

Inside, the place is how you would expect any trendy restaurant in Shoreditch to look like. Subway tiles, open kitchen, young friendly staff, overall a very pleasant atmosphere.

Sparrow Lewisham

The menu is very interesting too, between the traditional full-English breakfast and the eggs Benedict, you will find some more surprising dishes inspired by Sri Lanka cuisine, such as poori masala and appam.

Sparrow brunch menu

We placed our order – one full-English for him, one appam for me.

The full-English was beautiful, with vibrant colours and great flavours! One very satisfying breakfast.

Sparrow full-English breakfast

I didn’t know what to expect with the appam, having never had one. It was delicious! Appam is similar to a pancake and made with fermented rice and coconut milk. Light, crispy and fluffy, with delicious flavours of coconut milk, a very nice discovery if you are not too hungry.

Sparrow appam

With that we ordered the fresh juice and smoothy of the day, which were exactly what we needed after a little too many drinks the night before.

Sparrow juice and smoothie of the day

Slowly but surely, Lewisham is finally becoming a destination Londoners go to for a good meal! We will need many more nice eateries to compete with trendy East London of course, but with places like Sparrow, I think we will be just fine!

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Hélène Darroze at The Connaught – London

This is my first London blog post! A very special moment after seven years living in this city, and maybe the beginning of some London content sharing. Let me know if that is something you would be interested in!

For this special occasion, I picked a very special place to share with you, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught. Not just any restaurant, a two Michelin stars restaurant! Hélène Darroze is a very famous French chef. She is coming from a chefs’ family and began her career working for Alain Ducasse. She worked in Paris, Monaco and now London.

The Connaught is a very luxurious hotel, so be aware that the dress code is a little more elegant and I would recommend you avoid jeans and trainers when visiting.

Being a few weeks away from Christmas, we didn’t enter a regular hotel’s lobby but a real winter wonderland!

****note that I took all pictures with my iPhone 6S so the quality is not as great as the usual Sony Nex 5****

The Connaught Christmas decoration London

The staircase in particular was amazingly decorated!

The Connaught Christmas decoration London

Eating at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is not only a culinary experience, it is also a brain exercise! You will be invited to take part into the experience, first by playing a game – the ‘what should I have for diner tonight?’ game.


One of the most difficult choice I had to make in a restaurant! Leave what you want on the tray, remove the marbles you are not interested in, then look at the waiter organising the marbles in the order the dishes will be served to you.


Andrew and I both went for the seven courses option, in my case I picked the grouse, the eel, the foie gras, the halibut, the venison and two desert, the pineapple and the chocolate. A tip I have to share, seven courses was wayyyyy too much, retrospectively I should have gone for five. The portions are rather generous for a Michelin star restaurant and the mistake we made was to want it all instead of being more selective.

You are also given a more conventional menu to help you with decide.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught menu

And for the sake of transparency, here are the prices. Yes, this is a very expensive restaurant, a real treat, but it absolutely worth it, trust me!

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught menu

Once our choices made, the show started, and what a show it was! First we got served fresh bread, with a regular butter and a piment d’espelette butter, and the most delicious dry ham. So delicious that I made friend with our waitress (who was adorable by the way!) and she got me an extra serving!

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught bread butter and ham

The bread was followed by some ‘amuses bouche’ including a small foie gras pie and a potato churros. If the mains were to be as good as these, we were in for something very special.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught amuses bouches

The first dish I was served was the grouse in the form of a pie. the chunks of meat, foie gras and the light wiped cream all melted together to create the most satisfying autumnal flavours.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught grouse

Next, I was served the eel, which for greediness reasons, I completely forgot to photograph. I was too busy eating it, but trust me it was good! For those of you not familiar with eel it is very similar to white fish just a little meatier.

The eel was followed by the most filling of all dish, the foie gras. It was delicious and served with a puff pastry duck roll.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught foie gras

Another meat dish followed by another fish dish, the next one was halibut, melting in the mouth, what you would expect a good white fish to taste like. The buttery sauce was excellent!

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught halibut

The final savoury dish was probably one of my favourite too. The venison was served medium-rare as it should be (I am French so I don’t do well done). It was served with butternut squash cooked in four different ways. Flavours of winter.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught venison

At that point my stomach started to ache from being served too much goodness, but I  hate waste so I couldn’t bring myself to leave plates unfinished. Unfortunately we weren’t remotely done. Luckily what was to come was delicious and sweet.

First came the pineapple dessert which was by far my favourite.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught pineapple

It was followed by the chocolate dessert, which I liked less to be completely honest, probably because the pineapple was just so good and hard to compete with.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught chocolates

We ended the dinner with two last little ‘gourmandises’ before calling it a night.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught sweets

And when we thought it was all over the waiter came with one last treat for the road! We saved those for the following day and discovered some lovely canelés in there the following morning!

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught canelé

An amazing experience that taught us one thing, only order five dishes otherwise you will end in a food coma. It is hard to choose but hopefully this post will help you do so!

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