Look we all know London is expensive; I mean painfully expensive. The rental figures that constantly come out about London are always worrying, yet we can't help but pay them because well...London. It's the place you love, whilst also hating so much of it.
With this in mind, and for those skint Londoners like me, I wanted to piece together my favourite cheap eats in London. You really don't have to spend a fortune to eat out at great places, it's one thing I'll be incredibly grateful for.
Flat Iron, Soho
I blogged this one a while ago, but it remains one of my favourite places in London to eat...even if not on a budget. I've had a fair few friends head there too and all say how great it is. You can read my full review here.
It's essentially paying £10 for the flat iron steak, and then additional for the sides. I've never paid for than £40-50 for a meal for two...and a bit one at that inclusive of wine!
I'd recommend getting there at 6pm and putting your name down, if you can of course. Queues can get as long as two hours.
17 Beak St,
Soho, W1F 9RW
Mother Mash, Soho
Once again - find the full review here.
Mother Mash is the perfect location to get those homely treat you crave on the occasion for a super reasonable price. Not paying more than £10 for a huge portion of good quality food is great for this central location. I'd recommend this when hungover too - not quite a roast but it's excellent!
26 Ganton St,
London W1F 7QZ
I love Thai food - and as far as the British equivalent goes Firefly isn't bad. It's super reasonable, but it's usually rammed every night of the week so either book up or head there early. I love their Pad Thai, and they even do takeaway if you want to eat it at home.
3, Station Parade, Balham High Rd, London, SW12 9AZ
020 8673 9796
Franco Manca, Various Locations
Pizza...need I say more?
With all of the pizzas being under £10, and they are huge, you can quite conceivably have a meal for two with a bottle of wine for under £30...actually I did this a couple of weeks ago in their Broadgate branch. It's incredible value for money.
A vegetarian option, because not everyone wants meat. This little place is one of my all time favourite places in London. I thought I'd hate it - but quite the opposite. I love the variety of food here and it's super fresh.
45 Lexington Street, Soho, London, W1F 9AN
0207 494 1634
Mister Lasagna, Piccadilly
Over 20 different types of lasagna - and at a more than reasonable price? It's hard to say no to that. I tried several different flavours and I can hands down say they are delicious. My favourite would be the cheesey bacon one - not sure on the specific name but it's delicious.
53 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 7PG
I am known among friends, family and colleagues as a foodie/pig/greedy - delete as you will. For at least 7 months I've been on a binge - I'm talking I start a diet every Monday, but by 2pm I was scoffing my face with anything full of sugar, fat and salt.
I lost a lot of weight last year and whilst running myself to the ground working, dating and drinking I didn't put it back on. It was as if being unhappy made me skinny, but fast-forward a few months when life is going well and alongside my happiness levels being up the weight levels are also increasing.
Now don't get me wrong - I've never been fat as such. I've always been a size 8, and it wasn't just my size which bothered me. I was, and to some degree, still am exceptionally unhealthy. At 21 - running to the end of the road would have me out of breath. It's no more than 200 metres and I'd be done. Finito, finished.
My skin was also appalling - breaking out all the time. I just felt shit, stodgy and rough 90% of the time because I was eating shit, not working out and sleeping way more than I should be.
Something really had to give - and that wouldn't be another hole on my belt.
I started eating healthier - I banned snacks at work, I'll try to bring in lunch and refrain from buying shitty processed food. After the first week I figured exercising would be a great way to really get me into it and I signed up to CycleBeat.
CycleBeat, based near Bank, is a high-intensity spinning class. As someone who clings to every bit of sleep, I wanted to challenge myself by signing up to their 6.45am class. It's a class which is monitored by each bike and displayed on a leaderboard.
Monday morning spin classes are the one. I was in pain, sweating alcohol and thought I was going to die throughout but I felt incredible after. I'm going to write a proper post on CycleBeat soon, but I wanted to talk you through my favourite place to workout; Frame.
I heard about Frame (I mean, come on who hasn't?) and given it's a mere 5 minutes from my work thought I'd give it a try. Here are my top three classes:
Box-FitBox-fit really varies on trainer - I've done about 10 different sessions of it with about 5 different trainers. My favourite would have to be Sophie Everhard's Monday morning session. At 6.45am, it's a pretty big commitment after the weekend but it never fails to get me going at the start of the week. Sophie, I would say, makes the class a little more dance-based but super easy to follow.
If you're looking for something more challenging, I'd recommend Kevin Keti's class. I recently did his class for the first time (and cannot wait to get back). It's incredible intense, you're guaranteed to ache the next day. Heavy on the toning, but also a lot of cardio. It's a completely different style but both are a great way of working out.
Ass & Abs
I've done this class a couple of times - and every time I feel the burn for a few days after. I recently did a class with Adam Tench, who I kind of fell in love with, and he gave me the best workout of my life.
The class is intense (I've witnessed people walk out) and you may struggle - I absolutely do struggle. It's worth doing if you're looking to really work your abdominal muscles and get the BEY bum.
Christ, as someone who has the stamina of a 90 year old man this was tough. The workout quite literally rendered me useless after, and 30 minutes is more than enough. Rob Birchley's cardio session is sure to make you sweat - I was dripping after.
For me - it's great. I need someone to shout at me and make me workout, and he did just this. I'd really recommend this for those of you who want to really get your fitness levels up. It's a great way to start the day with their 6.30am class which quickly sells out!
I love all of the classes I've done at Frame - but these are my top three. They now have four locations, and I'd really recommend giving them a try. It's become my go-to place to workout. It can get expensive doing 3 classes a week (£10 per class for the majority, if you have a Frame card) but for me it's worth. I know I wouldn't go to the gym, so it makes sense to spend a little extra and do something I genuinely enjoy.
A: 29 New Inn Yard, East London EC2A 3EY
T: 020 7033 1855
"Hi, my names Kassie and I am a sugar fiend"
Firstly sorry for the awful photo - I couldn't charge my camera quickly enough.
Firstly sorry for the awful photo - I couldn't charge my camera quickly enough.
Following on from my confessional post about IBS - I'll admit I've been working hard to eat a lot healthier, cut out anything processed and potentially bad for my stomach and focus on all things healthy, natural and most importantly gluten-free...easier said than done when you have an exceptionally sweettooth.
I am guilty of this, I have to have something sweet to cut off a meal and sometimes fruit just doesn't cut it. It doesn't give me the finish I oh-so need.
I have spent hours, if not days, searching for healthy alternatives to my ever-so loved chocolate cake or Ben & Jerry's...it's tough. People like Kayla Insines have fantastic recipes - healthy and great - but the cost of the ingredients and the amount of them means, when working a 40-hour week, I don't have the time to make them.
I researched a few different recipes - and found a reoccurring one - avocado chocolate mousse. I tried a few - but I couldn't like them. There was something in there I just didn't like, so instead of stopping I decided to play around myself to see if I could like it.
When eating healthy and looking for alternatives it's easy to force yourself to eat shit you simply don't like because it's "healthy" but when you begin to do that you end up hating healthy food thus leading to running to your nearest convenience store and stuffing your face with a Teaser bar (we've all been there - me more than others).
Now I'll be honest and say it took a lot for me to not add sugar to this recipe - I literally had to hide it from the kitchen whilst experimenting, whilst reciting "natural ingredients only, no shit Kassie no shit". I am the girl who hates diets, the girl who cracks at eating healthy eating after just a few days so I need something which tastes as close to my desires as possible - and with this I think I've found it.
You will need:
- 1 and a half avocados
- 2/3 bananas
- almond essence (1 cap full)
- vanilla essence (1 cap full)
- 4 tbsp of Cacao Powder
- A spoonful of greek yoghurt
- Lemon juice - just a splash
To top with:
- Fresh strawberries
They're super simple!
1. Peel your avocado and banana, mix together in a food processor until they make a gooey like substance
2. Add in the almond and vanilla essence.
3. Add the lemon juice
4. Slowly add the cacao powder (I use the funnel at the top of my food processor to make sure it's going in gradually as otherwise I lose patience and throw it all in!)
5. Add the spoonful of greek yoghurt - let it mix for a while to make sure it's smooth
When done, simply put in the fridge.
Individual places are what makes east London the great place it has become, and ChrisKitch is no exception to this.
Christian Honor - a renowned chef, yet one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met - is the curator behind the food...and curate he does. After setting up a cafe in Muswell Hill, Chris has decided to set-up a restaurant in Hoxton Market.
Hoxton Market is perhaps best known for well-established places like Meat Mission, however with treats like ChrisKitch coming along it's no surprise that it's becoming a shared territory.
I headed to ChrisKitch on a work basis, but it's simply too good for me to confine the review to one platform. If you'd like to read that version, please do so here. We headed there on a Saturday evening, not long after the launch, for around 7.30pm.
Classic me, running a little late, after having a minor (massive) wardrobe malfunction whilst throwing the content around my room. Nonetheless when we arrived, at around 7.45pm, they were incredibly welcoming.
The decor is one absolutely noteworthy thing; exposed brick walls, dark wood chairs adorned with black leather and sleek glass tables. It's all very chic, with hints of a high-brow restaurant shining through. I love going to exceptional places, but I am far more at home at low-key places. ChrisKitch, somehow, manages to combine both of these factors. An incredible well-done interior, with the laid back vibe which is hard not to notice.
We are seated - our drinks orders taken. I love wine, but I'm definitely not an expert. I ask for a recommendation, ‘Jim Barry The Cover Drive 2012’ – a Cabernet Sauvignon originating from Australia - is recommended. It was nice and full-bodied – yet sweetened by “ripe blackberry fruit”. The wine has become a favourite of mine since, and that evening instead of switching wines per course we stuck to this particular one.
Whilst waiting we are presented with a series of entrees; kale wrapped and combined with a series of herbs and ‘lollipops’ which are cheese biscuits on sticks.
The kale was delicious – yet incomprehensible. The common theme throughout the night would be asking the question, “what does it taste like?” followed by, “I literally cannot explain it”. The flavours were like nothing I have had before in my life.
After a while making up our minds we finally decided; my friend opted for the Tuna tartare with avocado, chives, chilli and caviar, whilst I went for the charcoal-grilled marinated chicken with lemon, black pepper and parsley.
In-between the first course coming, Chris came over to introduce himself. I was so incredible taken aback by his modesty. Never have I met a chef so incredibly passionate about food, whilst also being so happy and grateful for being able to do what he loves. He is a true credit to the culinary world - and I'd go back purely to enjoy seeing someone who makes cooking a true form of art.
When our starters arrive it’s immediately clear that presentation of the food is important at ChrisKitch. It’s truly something special with some incredible colours going on - instagram, eat your heart out.
The tuna tartare, which I tried, is incredibly fresh bringing all of the flavours together to create a truly delightful starter. It’s the perfect way to start a meal when opting for a slightly heavier main. As someone who doesn't usually like raw tuna, this blew me away.
For mains we ordered ‘Egg and bacon, slow cooked pork, roasted quinoa, mushrooms, asparagus and potato fondant’ whilst I went for the ‘Hay-smoke blackened lamb, feta, slow braised pearl barley, eggplant and date chutney’ once again on the recommendation purely because everything looked so exceptional I literally couldn't choose just one.
The lamb was tender on the inside (it literally broke apart) whilst the outside was blackened, as promised, and gave a slightly smoky taste. The feta added another layer of flavour – especially with the date chutney - which you wouldn't typically pair. Chris manages to bring flavours together you'd often turn your nose up if they were paired.
The slow-cooked pork was incredible; cooked to perfect, complemented with the potato fondant and asparagus. It's been around three-weeks since I visited, and I am still craving this particular dish on a near daily basis.
Dessert wasn't optional; we couldn't resist despite being painfully full. It wasn't long before the crème brulee and chocolate fondant were en-route.
The crème brulee was placed on top of a jam-tart style base and drizzled in, what I presume, to be a lemon dressing with raspberries scattered on top. It was weird, different but incredible. Quite possibly the best way to finish an already exceptional meal.
The chocolate fondant was delicious; both agreeing possibly one of the best chocolate based desserts we've had. A little heavy after red meat - but between two it's perfect.
I can, hand-on-my-heart, say this has topped my favourite restaurant list in London. It's a real culinary experience and a must for any self-confessed foodie. It's not expensive; it's mid-range for Michelin star quality food.
I want to add that I cannot think of a more deserving person to have your custom than Chris; I truly was so impressed with how lovely he was, whilst also being mindblown by his food.
ChrisKitch, I salute you. Go forth and conquer the culinary world, you deserve it.
Find Chris Kitch
A: 5 Hoxton Market, London, N1 6HG
T: 0207 033 6666
I recently visited 100 Hoxton for work (in case you didn't know - I blog for Access London and this was part of that) but within a week I'd actually visited this place again on my own accord. It really is a hidden gem and I simply cannot wait to share it with you. If you want to read my other review, it's here: Access London 100 Hoxton Review
Hoxton used to scare me - I won't lie to you it really did. I suppose as they say - reputations die hard. It's silly because now I love it, I spend a lot of time there through work and leisure. You've got a variation of incredible bars, pubs, restaurants and pop-ups - it's the place to be.
Needless to say - 100 Hoxton is in the perfect location. It's a little further up than the infamous Hoxton Square, opposite the White Lyan owned by the same person who does Dandelyan in the Mondrian Hotel...bloggers, you ought to know it!
100 Hoxton seemed like a great idea - relatively new, good review and a quirky menu. I was set to enjoy myself!
100-102 Hoxton St, London, N1 6SG
020 7729 1444
Flowers are something I love to have, enjoy buying and sending. There is nothing quite like receiving or giving a great bunch of flowers - yet I spend so little time thinking about what goes into them, what type they are. I'm guilty of sticking with the classic rose or peony, when I wish I was a little more adventurous.
Bloomon is perfect for that - being adventurous.
I was invited along to Carousel, near Baker Street, for an event with Bloomon. Bloomon is "founded by three rebels wanting to turn the flower industry on it's head" and after learning a little more I can't help but agree.
Head stylist, if you will, Stuart was at the forefront of the event and immediately showed his passion for the company. "I love my job" he declared almost immediately and quickly introduced himself, the company and what was in-store for us that morning. We were to become florists - and that was final.
Stuart demonstrated his bouquet whilst talking to us about his past (he worked for Selfridges flowers beforehand - during Valentines Day too so he knows exactly what he's doing). With Bloomon it's a little different - it's not overly cramped flowers, it's very much about the minimalism - yes the very same kind that Instagram knows and loves.
In true Nordic style, the bouquets are minimalist yet they work incredibly well. The kind of bouquets you'd see on Isabel Lath's instagram feed alongside her Chanel bag. Yes, they are pretty incredible.
Apparently Amsterdam is one of the best places to get flowers from - according to Stuart - which is where all of Bloomon flowers come from.
The morning continued to unfold with us all taking lead from Stuart and being given free-reign with our own bouquets. With a selection of over 20 different flowers and the ability to choose as many as we please - it was pretty fun. Though when you have a bouquet like Stuarts infront of you - the pressure is on.
I opted for a mixture of flowers all pink, orange and white...with a bit of foliage! I actually never knew that foliage is often worth more than the flowers - you wouldn't think it as it's normally a bit of a pain, but low and behold it is.
The flowers have been on the table for around 3/4 days now in a relatively hot room (our flat is super hot with lots of windows!) and they still look incredible and fresh. I have to admit I am really impress - the colours are what impressed me the most. The peony isn't the classic baby pink - but the most beautiful shade of hot pink I have ever seen. It's truly lovely.
Stuarts tips for keeping your flowers for longer:
- Change the water every two days
- Wash the vase out with bleach and add a drop in with the water to kill bacteria
- Don't allow any greenery in the water
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- Cut at an angle
- If the flowers are left for longer than 30 minutes, cut again as they seal up!
If you'd like to visit Bloomon and get your own bouquet then please do so here:
I'd really recommend you do - I absolutely cannot wait to get my second bunch of flowers from Bloomon!
J'adore flower lovers.
London Bridge, London
Location: London Bridge
Ambiance: Dimly lit, romantic
The Shard is perhaps one of the most touristy attractions in London. The highest building in London, completely glass and made to look like a shard of glass - to those who pass it, it's impressive.
The Shard is conveniently located on top of London Bridge station - literally it's on top of it. For those of you on the Northern Line this couldn't be more convenient.
It hosts a variation of bars and restaurants - The Shangri La hotel is located higher up than the restaurants and bars. In this restaurant area you have; Aqua Shard, Oblix, Hutong, Lang & Ting.
Aqua is also the area in which you can enjoy just drinks - separated slightly from the diners in a spacious area.
I've been a couple of times now and, although it's pricey, it's nice. You're essentially paying for the view - which is incredible - and if just having drinks you don't get much more than that.
The wine list is okay - I've had better and I've had worse. Now this sounds like a scathing review but rest assured it's absolutely not. I genuinely would recommend going to the Shard for drinks - not for food, I've heard awful things.
One of the huge perks for me is that even on a busy Friday night, you can get a table. I've been at "peak" times on both Friday and Saturday yet faced no issues when it came to queuing or seating...in London this is a huge perk. This for me justified the more expensive drinks.
All in all - I'd totally recommend it for a quick drink and the experience of the height. I'm in no rush to head back to the heights - or try the food - but nonetheless it's worth doing the once.
Tags: London drinks
Last week, when it was actually sunny and not cloudy and rainy, I headed to RoofEast in Stratford. Now, as a South West girl through and through I rarely head too far east of the River Thames.
Now don't get me wrong - I love east London. I work in Shoreditch and I can safely say I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. It's a great place - neighboring onto Hackney which is the less expensive, gentrified version of Shoreditch. My current hairdresser, Glasshouse Salon, actually resides in London Fields.
So it's not that I don't like east London, it's that I never venture too far into it. Stratford has to be one of the most up and coming places in London - it's not quite there yet - and with the incredible amount, and rate, of things popping up there I'd be silly to ignore it.
RoofEast - an events space/area - is located on the top of a car park. In true east London style it's different and challenges the cliche experience of your average rooftop bar in east London.
Within RoofEast you've got The Rooftop Film Club, Birdies and various food and drinks stalls. Needless to stay you're spoiled for choice and you can easily wind-up spending your whole night there...which is just what I did last week.
Myself and my housemate headed to RoofEast to see what they have to offer this summer (which by the way, is a lot). I have to admit - I wasn't excited beforehand. I felt really unwell, I was quite tired and I'd participated in ass & abs class at Frame Shoreditch at 7am that morning. I was, no exaggeration, in pieces. I powered through and headed to Stratford post-work.
RoofEast is surprisingly big - hosting a huge open cinema, a decent-sized minature golf course and shacks with burgers, hotdogs, healthier quinoa-based options, strawberries and more.
Instinct took me straight to the RockaDolla stall and ordered myself a burger - because it was cheat day, and a burger is essentially salad with large croutons holding it together. I opted for the triple cheeseburger.
Whilst there I also met-up with Kirsty from What Kirsty Did Next who I'd met at a Mister Lasagna launch. We decided to head to the bar to try out their cocktails - we ordered an Elderflower cocktail whilst Kirsty opted for prosecco. She was celebrating her wedding anniversary later than evening so it couldn't have been more apt.
Whilst we devoured our food and drinks, we also enjoyed live music which played throughout the evening. The sun was shining, there was a great atmosphere and the food was GREAT.
Happy Hump Day indeed.
Later on in the evening, and a few cocktails later, we played a spot of crazy golf at Birdies. I am the first to admit I am terrible at anything golf related however I persevered, just, and managed to survive the game....scoring an admirable 37 and coming last. Woo!
I would hands down recommend heading to RoofEast to enjoy the crazy gold, Rooftop Film Club and food. It truly is the perfect way to spend your summer.
Stratford - you've converted me.
Floors 7 & 8, Stratford multi storey car park
Great Eastern Way, London E15 1XE
Find Roof East here: http://www.roofeast.com/
Find the Rooftop Film Club here: http://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/tickets/roof-east/
Turkish food isn't something which would initially spring to the forefront of my mind when considering eating out in London - it's notorious for the kebabs, but what about everything else?
It's a cuisine one doesn't normally consider as fine dining - and despite the kebabs usually being great whilst you're scoffing them at 3am after a night-out at Infernos - I feel it's somewhat damaged the representation of their cuisine.
Turkey was a holiday destination my family loved as a child - it truly was beautiful. Although we holidayed in the notoriously tourist area of Olu Deniz it was still beautiful and the car journeys to the slightly more rural destinations are fond memories of a country I love.
I was recently invited to an event, sponsored by Pinar, called Taste of Turkey. The event was to showcase the incredible food and produce Turkey has to offer - which isn't just kebab if you're wondering. From restaurant owners to wine merchants - all produced in Turkey - this really was the perfect experience to fully open my eyes to exactly what is on offer.
Given I used to be incredibly fussy as a child - I never tried much of the cuisine and often stuck with the touristy options of salad, meat and anything else incredibly British.
This night was the perfect opportunity for me to experience a snippet of what I'd missed out on - without having to spend money on heading on holiday.
Held at Brand Exchange - a building co-owned by Dialogue Agency - the day was a chance for everyone to experience a little bit of Turkey. With their breakfast, and all day food, for those who wanted to attend creating quite the storm on social media I was excited to head to their evening event.
Greeted with Turkish champagne - I usually hate champagne but this was delicious -alongside the tradition Turkish coffee and entrees including spicy couscous. The champagne was sweeter than usual - it was almost too drinkable.
Not long after we were seated in a larger room - there was a host of people there from Turkish natives to bloggers to members of the Turkish embassy.
For this particular event they had arranged for people to talk us through the cuisine, and country, providing both myself and friend, David from Custard Magazine, a bit more information about the culture.
Ozlem from ozlemsturkishtable.com was one of my favourite speakers - she talked us through each region of Turkey and what specific food they offer. Aubergine appears to be a firm favourite of the nation know for unhealthier food - who knew?
During we were also provided with wine - I opted for white - which were carefully selected by Melisa Atay from melisafinebrands.co.uk. I am guilty of enjoying wine perhaps a little too much (I didn't gain 2 stone in 8 months from just eating, come on) and without a shadow of a doubt this was one of my favourites I've tried. Cursed with having a sweet tooth - it was perfect for me.
Our food was prepared by Huseyin Ozer's restaurant Sofra (sofra.co.uk) to which we started with a selection of starters; breads, dips, meat. My favourite was the lamb and the spicy couscous. The main was an aubergine mashed (the consistency was much like porridge with a mild taste) topped with lamb, which was tender. Sofra offer a whole host of different foods in their restaurants in Mayfair and Oxford Street. I, for one, cannot wait to go back.
The dessert was a weird one - a soft cheese in a sweet pastry topped with a sugary caramel sauce. The cheese, from Pinar, combined with the sweetness was something which, in all seriousness, made me feel uncomfortable and apprehensive. I struggle with the concept of sweet and savoury - but I was pleasantly surprised when it tasted incredible. I need to find a place which stocks the cheese...#AllOfTheFood
Turkish food really isn't something to be overlooked and overshadowed by, perhaps, more mainstream cuisines such as Thai. For a cuisine which has so many flavours from so many regions it's surprising to see many people tarring it with one brush - I was guilty of it before experiencing a mere snippet of what they have to offer when it comes to food and wine.
If you want any further information about Taste of Turkey day head here: https://tasteofturkeyday.splashthat.com/