Such a long time since my last post on this blog I know…but it was for a very good reason: a 3-month trip around the world. I’m just back from this incredible experience through Peru, Brazil, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. If the travel is not the topic of the blog – nevertheless, you can discover all about our itinerary and our favorites on Polarsteps, account: M&S – I wanted to share some memories with you. Even if we mainly chose the places recommended by the locals, few ‘London style’ spots crossed our paths. Here below, my selection of London addresses abroad.
One of the first posts of the blog was dedicated to our favorite restaurants in the Farringdon area. I liked a lot the one star Michelin Club Gascon, the delicacy of the mains and the excellent wine list but I had been a bit disappointed by the decoration very classical without a true spirit. I was so happy to discover they have also opened a gourmet bistro/delicatessen called Comptoir Gascon, just 5 minutes away. There, you will find a true tribute to the south-western France. Ochres bricks, large wooden shared tables and a selection of authentic products to take away, no doubt you are in “Gasconnie”. We chose to eat in for a 2 hour-session of comfort food: rillettes, saucisses au couteau with home-cooked mash potatoes, neck pork with Espelette Chilli, a pastis and a languedoc glass of wine, just the perfect match. If you will find the most delicious products coming from this countryside, Comptoir Gascon tried also to reinvent the classic ones. Why not taste the lillet-based Spritz (Lillet is an old french alcohol based on fruit liquor and wine) or the Eton Mess, plum and cointreau? A perfect address for those who are looking for an excellent touch of sun at an affordable prince – they have also the Baranis and the Cigalon for those who prefer the south-eastern France.
If you are visiting Little Venice and its somptuous surrondings, please don’t miss my favourite hidden gem in London: Clifton Nurseries , the oldest nursery in London. Built in the middle of beautiful white stuco villas, it’s the paradise for any gardener if you want to indulge yourself with some plants, flowers, furniture or even barbecue but also for the traveller in need for a peaceful and colorful break. You will find a cute little café : The Quince Tree Cafe with a very good food and pastries, and you could even book it for a wedding or a private party. You won’t be able to leave without buying a little souvenir for your home, your balcony or your garden, believe me!
Je suis sur le point de vous dévoiler ma petite adresse coup de cœur de Londres: Clifton Nurseries . Si vous vous baladez vers Little Venice, osez pénétrer dans le somptueux quartier qui entoure le canal. Non loin de la station de métro Warwick Avenue se cache la plus ancienne pépinière de Londres (1851), construite au milieu de majestueuses villas en stuc blanc typiques du quartier.
L’entrée sur Clifton Villas n’est pas très visible mais une fois entré dans cet espace hors du temps et de la ville, un sentiment de quiétude vous envahira. Vous trouverez tout ce qu’il faut pour le jardin, bien sûr et bien plus : des meubles d’extérieur, des barbecues, un boutique de décoration et même un pop-up store, et tout ca dans plusieurs bâtiments.
Mais parlons d’abord des plantes, fleurs, cactus et autres végétaux . Que vous ayez un jardin à paysager, un petit balcon à égayer ou un intérieur à fleurir, vous n’aurez que l’embarras du choix et il sera très difficile de repartir les mains vides. Je vous laisse découvrir un petit échantillon.
Mais la cerise sur le gâteau, c’est le petit café trop mignon et sa terrasse au milieu des fleurs, The Quince Tree Cafe qui propose petit-déjeuner, brunch, afternoon tea avec de délicieuses pâtisseries entre autre. Vous pourrez même le réserver pour des soirées privées ou même pour un mariage bucolique.
En gros si vous êtes dans le coin c’est LA petite adresse à découvrir. Clifton Nurseries, 5A Clifton Villas, W9 2PH London. Plan
Posted by Charlotte
Not so easy to find a charming but relaxing place in the thrilling Trafalgar Square…but we were not afraid by the challenge. Previously, we had confess our admiration for the UK designer Tom Dixon, that’s why when Charlotte has heard the Bronte (not a tribute to the Victorian poetess but to the Admiral Nelson, earl of Bronte, who has his status standing nearby) was the bar and restaurant opened in July 2016, designed by him, we haven’t hesitated too much…. Hopefully, we haven’t been disappointed at all. On this Saturday afternoon, we chose the Afternoon Tea, an exquisite and generous selection at £24. One of the best we have tried until now. High quality ingredients in the finger sandwichs, delicious selection of “petits fours” (lemon tart, eclair, cheesecake, chocolate mousse…) but above all the perfect recipe of scones. With its golden and copper reflects, the lights are welcoming and refined at the same time. For once, you have a lot of room between each table and few stairs on the left, 3 curtains here and there helps to create a cosy atmosphere and an out of time moment. And as an image is worth a thousand words…look at ours pics below.
Spring is definitely here! In April, the days are longer, warmer, brighter, and this is one of the best month to discover what London has to offer. You can walk in the streets and discover all the pink and white blossoms, you can enjoy the sun rays and have lunch outside and you can hunt the hidden eggs left by the Easter Bunny, because April is above all the Easter Month with a very long Easter weekend and therefore plenty of time to plan what we’ve selected for you this month! Happy April and Happy Easter!
Discovering Primrose Hill is walking in one of the most charming, quietest but expensive district of the Camden’s borough. Not surprising when we know it was a royal hunting ground for Henri VIII and it has remained closed to the public until the XVIIIth. The view of London from Primrose Hill is in itself a reason to go down at Chalk farm. Theses adorable colored houses (Chalcot Square), the calm streets and converted mews, the lively Regent’s Park Road will charm you with no doubt. For a brunch or a lunch, choose the healthy but tasty Greenberry. For a traditional tea paired with a home-made cupcake, make a visit to primrose Bakery. At last, for a luxury beauty moment, let Cowshed pamper you.
We have spent an afternoon in Stoke Newington, the new trendy district at the North of Dalston (still the Hackney Borough) defined by some people as the “new Shoreditch”. A bit exaggerated for me, because Stoke Newington is the not the place-to-be to chill out but above all because its architecture is far more beautiful – oh the lovely Victorian houses – and its atmosphere evokes a trendy village. Even if all our addresses are located in the Stoke Newington Church Street, we advise you to come from the Canonbury station to enjoy the neighborhood and feel the calmness and the sweetness of the area. In the main street, you won’t find the usual utilitarian stores: Boots, Supermarket, falafel and co..but some design shops, stylish coffees and a small furniture flea market (Marton Street). Have lunch at the Antica Pizzeria di Michele to taste the famous double Mozza pizza (simplicity is sometimes effectiveness) and the adorable Green Room café hidden in a flowers shop. Enjoy then a glass of wine at the Stoke Newington Tea House (jazzy nights and beer garden). Look for the hidden Bansky “Royal Family” in the streets nearby and admire at the design Shop the English chess game conceived with UK famous buildings.
Close to the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch, you can find some quieter places to enjoy a lunch, drinks or a dinner. Except for the Box Park (but how could we avoid to mention this first pop-up malls created in 2011 in containers?), we have selected 3 addresses not located on the Shoreditch High Street, the perfect stops to pair with your street art walking. For a lunch: choose Rochelle Canteen, located in an old Victorian house which has since evolved into a co-workers hub. The perfect hidden place to treat yourself with a home-cooked flavors thanks to a short (and affordable) menu changing every day. To have a drink, seat at Barber and Parlour, an unusual building which is simultaneously a grocery, a barber, a bar and which houses The Electric Cinema. A must-do to live a 30’s cinema experience in a comfortable leather sofa. And to end your day with a more refine atmosphere and really qualitative italian food, Bottega Prelibato is definitely the perfect choice. Find all the addresses below.
A new comer in the Victoria’s neighbourhood on the food stage from February: it’s Aster. This French-Finnish restaurant gathers a Déli, a Café and a more classical restaurant. Furbished by the talented Russel Sage Studio (who has already created the Dishoom and Bounce interiors amongst a lot of luxury hotels, bars and restaurants), you will find a cosy inside, a vintage bar with an antique gold patina, some surprising and aerial lights and an incredible painting. Our advise: book a table at the café and share a lot of nibbles, sides, and starters to discover the nordic cooking interpreted by Helena Puolakka. We recommend the golden beetroot salad, the pork roll with the aquavit mustard, the wild shrimps and of course the home cured salmon. The beetroot borscht is very thirst-quenching and the duck salad delicious (ordering the small size is enough). The whole team is very caring and you can’t imagine a nicer welcome. Good to know, upstairs, you have 2 private dining rooms you can book for corporate events or a special occasion.
If you’ve been living in London for a while, you have probably already heard of Picture, an independent restaurant created by 3 friends who had worked before within Michelin-starred restaurants. Rewarded by the Bib gourmand since 2014, Picture is a successful bet with 2 addresses in Fitzrovia and Marylebone. We had a beautiful diner 2 days ago in the first one. Thanks to bookatable.com, we chose the 6 courses Menu with a cocktail for £35. if you can find the decoration refined and very (too?) simple for this place, the plates are far more interesting and that’s what matters. You will see below the menu of the day and the pics of the mains. They speak for themselves. Mouth-watering dishes, selected ingredients, very aesthetic presentation, and above all a great consistency in terms of realization, both for the appetizers and the desserts. We were very impressed by the Venison bites we had as a nibble to accompany our Bellini Rhubarb: crunchy outside, melting inside with the marinated meat and a thick but fine white sauce. One of the other surprising recipe was the smoked crisp pork, presented like a small Opera cake. A very interesting mixte of textures, perfectly balanced by the acidity of the Grany Apple beside. We loved it! Conclusion: a perfect romantic diner with no false steps from the beginning to the end and a surprise in every bite. And special thanks to our waiter, he was very caring.