It’s been a busy eating week for Elldrew; we’ve lunched at old favourite ‘The Wolseley’, suppered at Bruno Loubet’s ‘Grain Store’ and last night we had the pleasure of dining at the newly reopened Quaglino’s. And despite The Wolseley retaining its crown as Elldrew’s favourite dining spot, it’s Quaglino’s that gets the honour of our attention and review.
Quaglino’s has to be one of the grande dames of the London dining scene. Currently celebrating her 85th birthday, she’s been “in” and “out” so many times that she’s rather like one of Soho’s less salubrious residents, and Elldrew remembers Quaglino’s well, from her last revival and hey-day in the nineties. Back then she was an airline hangar of a room; the jewel in Conran’s fledgling restaurant group. She was white and bright, vast and opulent, and symbolised all the decadence of the early nineties and optimism of the approaching millennium. But she withered and floundered, struggling to attract the crowds in the noughties as the new hip, young and trendy joints around the London restaurant scene emerged – like every elegant lady of a certain age she long ago needed a little bit of, errm, “cosmetic maintenance”. Fortunately for Lady Quaglino, D&D Group came to her rescue and treated her to a full workout and makeover, reopening mere weeks ago with a fierce new look and a drinks and food menu to boot!
Everyone loves a cupcake, but who would decline the chance to sample different mini cupcakes without feeling ‘calorie’ guilty? We do! And that, in a nutshell, is why Elldrew have become fans of mini cupcakes (oh, and they look cute too).
Turning to one of our favourite cupcakes books for inspiration, the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days when we need ideas for some delicious desserts to end a meal with friends and family. Recently, we chose a selection from the “Hot Drink” range, settling on a menu of Earl Grey, Espresso and Hot Chocolate mini cupcakes. Having experimented with various recipes in the past, we are always amazed how many mini cupcakes one can get from a single mixture, but this time we needed to stretch ourselves, and our batter, to not only cater for around 25 people, but we needed to make sure we delivered quality as well as quantity. Read more for recipe instructions.
With the summer season soon ending there is still time to head down to the London Wonderground, at Southbank Centre, to catch some fantastic live performances and cabaret acts inside the amazing 1920s Paradiso Spiegeltent. The Spiegeltent was originally built in Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these circular, mirrored tents are wonderfully atmospheric and authentic.
A programme packed with circus, cabaret and family entertainment, you can soak up the carnival atmosphere or just people watch under a canopy of man-made and mother natures fairy lights. Gorge on hot dogs, burgers and fairy floss, enjoy a drink on the the revolving carousel bar – it’s an experience in itself and we bet you will need a few minutes to get your land legs (but please do drink responsibly) – or take a ride on the 60-metre high ‘Star Flyer‘ for unrivalled views over London’s rooftops (if you can bear to keep your eyes open).
Hurry, it must end soon but it is a perfect end to a great London summer!
Elldrew adopted this Japanese restaurant as our local after the Hi-Sushi in Hampstead changed it’s menu and went a bit wacky…yes, even we frown at ourselves for sometimes eating the same food every time we go to a local favourite. But, in all fairness, we do tend to try most dishes on a menu then work out which dishes we liked the best, ordering a selection of these each visit, depending on our mood. Elldrew are more into sampling a variety of dishes vs one main meal so Spanish Tapas, Japanese, etc are the restaurants we will frequent most.
Summer holidays are over, which means the diet’s also over and Elldrew can get back to Sunday afternoon baking (although our new policy is to share the goods with our colleagues and thereby minimise the impact on our personal waistlines!). This week’s treat was Donna Hay’s decadent Caramel Crunch Brownies but with an added Elldrew twist to make them a more grown-up affair, and we took a sneaky shortcut to speed up the process. Read on for the recipe, and our tips (including a nifty trick for rescuing a split ganache).
After a busy day at work one of Elldrew’s favourite meals is this quick and easy chicken, cashew nut and spring onion stir fry. Not based on any celebrity chef’s recipe, requiring only very basic prep and using ingredients usually in our larder, it’s a good standby meal for hungry tummies (that need feeding quickly).