24 May 2017

Restaurant review: TRATRA, The Boundary Hotel

Tratra, 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD (020 7729 1051). Starters are £6 - £16 and main courses for 1 or 2 people to share range from £15 - £22. Opened May 2017.

Tratra is a meat and charcuterie focused restaurant in Shoreditch’s Boundary Hotel.

French butchery master and chef Stéphane Reynaud has taken over the basement of The Boundary Hotel transforming it into a delightful restaurant, wine bar and dining room area. The interior evokes stylish glamour with red velvet chairs alongside warm and inviting lighting. The fact that the kitchen can be seen through a large glass window is something I love seeing in restaurants. 

There is one dish on the menu at Tratra, a new French cuisine restaurant in East London’s Shoreditch which reflects Reynaud’s childhood. It’s the Cochon de Lait costing £19, which consists of suckling pig crepinette, dates, tarragon and creamy mash. It is full bodied and robust in flavour melting in your mouth alongside the delicious mash. 

 Suckling pig crepinette, dates, tarragon, creamy mash
Photograph: Natalia Jane for Fleur de Londres

Although this is Stéphane's Raynauds third restaurant, this is his first restaurant outside of Paris. His casual cuisine is largely inspired by recipes from the Ardeche region in France, where he spent his childhood. Having grown up in a family of pig farmers and butchers, Stéphane naturally places a huge emphasis on meat and charcuterie. 

Spring vegetables with tomato, sweet chilli, apple and pistachio sauce.
Photograph: Natalia Jane for Fleur de Londres

Organic hen eggs, herb mayonnaise, toasted sesame, crispy shallots.
Photograph: Natalia Jane for Fleur de Londres

Hanger steak, herb and snail butter, panisse, shallots
Photograph: Natalia Jane for Fleur de Londres

Alongside the meat dishes there is a lovely variety of fish dishes such as sardines £8
with sea lettuce butter, rock oysters at £2.5 each or £22 for 12, razor clams for £16, with seaweed and sugar snap peas and monkfish, celeriac purée with squid ink sauce for £22, alongside many more.

I didn't get to enjoy the wines here, which are designed to match any of the dishes on the menu because I'm currently pregnant, however, I did have a superbly delicious non-alcoholic elderflower cooler, which was delightfully refreshing.

The dessert was an absolute treat. It was the special of the day and consisted of a perfectly baked pavlova full of delicious berries.


5 May 2017

How to Style a Trench Coat

Coats go in and out of fashion but one style that stays strong year after year and throughout every season is the trench coat. It has stood strong for over 100 years and has not changed much in style. 
The trench coat is a staple wardrobe accessory this season. Its chic and sensual look is easily attained with limitless ways to wear it and seasonal updates of new fabrics and fresh colours keep things interesting. The main colours of a woman’s trench coat are the classic honey-beige, black and navy.  

The trench coat can be worn every season as it’s super versatile and comes in a wide variety of styles. There are so many ways to style a trench coat. It can be easily transitioned by wearing lighter clothing such as a plain white tee tucked into high-waisted denim underneath the trench, with plimsolls or heels. For a more Parisian look go with a crisp white shirt with skinny trousers and pair with fashionable accessories. 

The three main trench styles are The Classic, which contains all the essential elements a trench is stylishly worshipped for. This style is my favourite because you can dress it up or throw it over jeans and trainers. The Swing coat shape was popular in the 1950s, it is super feminine and looks great in pastel colours such as pale powder blue. If you prefer shorter jackets the crop style works beautifully. The cropped silhouette is perfect for wearing in the summer months when the weather is warmer. It also compliments shorter people as it gives the illusion of elongated legs and body. As it has a modern look it is teamed better with more casual wardrobe pieces. Whether it’s jeans and cropped tees, leggings and sportswear, or a summer playsuit, this is a classic style you can have fun with.


12 April 2017

Breakfast at Coppa Club

It was a sunny Thursday morning and I was on my way back from the Julien Macdonald and Debenhams press launch which was held at the exquisite Sanderson Hotel. At five months pregnant I go through periods where I can get quite hungry and if my blood pressure is low, then more so. I walked down Market Place road and couldn't avoid being pulled in by the breakfast menus placed outside the many restaurants and cafes on the road. My eyes literally popped when I read pancakes, bacon and maple syrup outside Coppa Club restaurant and I knew, that would definitely fulfil my appetite. I adore maple syrup, primarily on pancakes but since I ate bacon and maple syrup pancakes and waffles in New York, it's always been a favourite and a dish where each flavour compliments each other wonderfully. 

Whilst I was enjoying my hot chocolate the waiter came with my pancakes. The first thing I noticed was the portion, it was huge. Excited and overwhelmed at the same time, I couldn't wait to tuck in.  The pancakes were thick, delicious and wholesome. 

Coppa Club in Oxford Circus showcases a beautiful brass bar and furniture alongside blue velvet chairs. The kitchen is open-plan, which is always great to see and stools run along the length of Coppa Club's ground floor restaurant. My favourite feature is the outside covered terrace with heaters and lighting that can be used all year round.


Julien Macdonald X Debenhams

Last Thursday I attended the Julien Macdonald x Debenhams press breakfast which was held at the exquisite Sanderson Hotel in London. The setting for Julien's new collection was beautiful. Each piece complimented each other against the pieces of furniture in the rooms. The showroom displays were very pretty and showcased each piece with great clarity. The collection is super glamorous with shimmering metallics and sequins alongside the softest of throws.

From the catwalk to the home, internationally renowned fashion designer Julien Macdonald brings a fabulously decadent story with his Star by Julien Macdonald collection for Debenhams. Staying true to his style, Julien creates stunning catwalk inspired pieces for the home, offering a glamorous statement that creates maximum impact. The Star by Julien Macdonald interior collection dazzles with embellished deco inspired beading, sparkling embellishment, and etched lace detailing, bringing ultimate opulence to the home. Julien's recent collections bring a more delicate softer look with refined texture, intricate ruffles, pearlescent finishes and subtle shimmering metallics, perfect to add a touch of luxury.

For A/W 2017 the glamour continues with hints of velvet, feminine feather engravings and iridescent glass, creating a supreme look of luxury for the new season.

{images: my own}

3 March 2017

A beautiful Southbank Tower apartment

Rachel Winham Interior Design project at Southbank Tower features a wonderful interior brimming with bespoke designed furniture pieces by Rachel WinhamThe TV joinery designed by Rachel is exceptional along with the beautiful bespoke liquid metal detailed console table which features lovely decorative accessories. I adore the cantilevered bedside tables, which provide a touch of elegance along with the pendant lighting featured in the contemporary bedroom which creates a warm and cosy ambiance. Porcelain artwork was also hung above the bed to create an additional feature. This is a luxuriously warm and contemporary space fit for any fashionista.

{images via - rachelwinham}


27 February 2017

Fabulous Flavours Catering

Nutrition is a popular topic at the moment, mainly because of the rise in fitness and food blogs and its social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. More people than ever are investing in eating healthily and making sure they eat their three meals a day without skipping any, especially breakfast. When at home it's easy to take control of what you have in your fridge and the meals you make, however, the workplace is a different thing. Most people skip lunch or snack on junk food because it's easy and also because many have shorter lunch hours or have to work through their lunch. Companies such as Flavours Catering provide an exceptional service which covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Corporate catering is becoming increasingly popular and so is the quality and variety of food available from many catering companies. Gluten free and cold lunch options are available alongside a healthy nourish menu range. Clients thrive when treated well in the workplace and when food is presented at board meetings or office events, it's sure to go down well.

What's great is that Flavour Catering can also provide regular office breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner for the office. There's also a try before you buy which is appealing and their menu collection for office event catering is available online.

Fresh seasonal produce and creative food artistry is fundamental to creating quality catering and that's what Flavours Catering are all about, delicious food and a great service.



25 January 2017

How to keep your flowers fresh for longer with Michelle Buck

Following an amazing floral workshop I attended, presented by Tesco's Head Florist Michelle Buck and leading floristry designer, Jamie Aston, here are some of Michelle's Top Tips to help ‘Keep Love Alive’ this Valentine’s Day, ensuring your flowers stay looking their best for longer:

1. Check for freshness - Always check the water that the flowers are standing in, it must be fresh and not smelly or gungy. Check the leaves on the flowers and make sure they are not yellowing or wilting
2. Give them a trim - Once you have removed your flowers from the packaging remove lower leaves and recut stems with a sharp pair of scissors
3. Cut the stems - Cut your flower stems at a 45degree angle. This creates a larger surface area for the flowers to drink
4. Use a clean vase - Always make certain you clean your vases – dirty vases harbour bacteria, a simple wash in hot soapy water and a little bleach will eliminate the bacteria
5. Give them a nice home - Never leave your flowers in direct sunlight or in draughts
6. Keep away from fruit - Keep fresh flowers away from ripening fruit, it gives off a gas called ethylene and will cause your flowers to lose their longevity
7. Keep your head up - If your roses ‘neck’ or bend after a couple of days, they could have an airlock in the stem. Simply cut the stem and place into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then recut the stem as the hot water will have damaged the ends and place in to cold water. This should destroy the airlock and you should notice the heads lift after around 30 minutes
8. Avoiding stains - Try to remove lily stamens so they do not stain furniture or clothing. If you do manage to get lily pollen on your clothes do not rub it, simply take a piece of cello tape and dab the pollen away
9. Bleach for longevity - Did you know that Gerberas are quite susceptible to bacteria.
If you do not have suitable flower food you can use a tiny amount of household bleach in the water.

All images are my own. 

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