Notting Hill: Honest Burger, Talkhouse Coffee and Lisboa Patisserie

Pastel-hued houses, a renowned antiques market and Hollywood validation mean that Notting Hill is one of the most famous and desirable corners of London. It’s easy to see why people are so keen to pay the area a visit as they pass through London or even try and settle here. To be perfectly honest, Portobello Road is so rammed at the weekends it can be a little overwhelming if you’re not keen on crowds. It’s also unfortunate that there’s been a certain amount of Camdenification of the market in order to bait tourists, but there’s no question that Notting Hill…

View Post

My enduring love affair with a city called Siena

If I were to write what I know, as they say they should, I would tell you that it is February and London is not at its best. It is a few months yet until the people pour out into the streets at 6pm or thereabouts, and upon seeing the sun still lingering in the sky, feel that the day is still full of possibilities. Instead then — especially what with it being Valentine’s week and all — I shall write what I love. I shall tell you how at the age of 18 I found myself falling for a…

View Post

Let’s talk about the amazing cake in Budapest

I like to think I’m open minded about different cultures, but if I’m really honest with myself there are some countries I feel like I just… connect with on a deeper level. The one factor they have in common isn’t spiritual or political or profound in any way – the answer lies in a simple appreciation for cake. An easy test is as follows: does a place have an abundance of shops selling mainly freshly baked cakes, or cafes where glorious cake eating is the main event, the reason d’etre, along with which one may also order an accompanying hot…

View Post

A Boxing Day walk on frosty sands

Christmas in my family has been the same for years – there are only two places it can occur and it’s always the same ten or eleven people in the attendance. The years have slipped by though and now it’s the children rather the parents who are the ones with the responsibilities and complicated work schedules that celebrations need to be organised around. By pure coincidence, four of the family’s junior doctors are now working up in the north east, and by some miracle, they all had Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, so we decided to shift Christmas up…

View Post

Japanese cookery class at Atsuko’s Kitchen

When KLM asked me if I wanted to take a Japanese cookery class a couple of weeks ago at Atsuko’s Kitchen in Shoreditch, I jumped at the chance. My favourite events are the ones where you can roll your sleeves up and get stuck into an activity, preferably before then proceeding to eat and drink the results of that activity. Twelve months ago I did a fantastic class at L’atelier des Chefs where I cooked a Christmas dinner and earlier this year I spent a wonderful evening learning to mix some mindblowing gin cocktails at the London Cocktail Club. Gin…

View Post