Wannabe Foodie #14: Mud, Tooting

Toot a Toot Tooting! What an amazing place, full of diversity, community, eateries, and home to some of the best brunch. Mud has become the pumping heart of many a freelancer, to those that simply fancy eggs benny with a twist. As the monosyllabic name suggests, Mud is to the point and gets you what you need…pronto.

Mud prides itself on its fantastic coffee and is what draws many people to come back again and again and again (ooohhhh I can smell the caffeine addcition from here). With Ozone supplying the goods, the double shotted wonders go to show that Mud isn’t here to play games. From the staple Long Black to their weekend ‘special drink’ you won’t be dissapointed.

📸 Perisha Kudhail

Tales of the bespoke coffee grind (as well the master of all hangovers) is what initially brought me through the doors of the cafe. I went for a latte (which is a mile off my now usual – long black with oat milk) coupled with the corn fritter stack and bacon. This more than hit the spot. With the chilli jam being made in the house, this beast of a brunch was the perfect way to keep me sustained through my Sunday and guide me into my blissful nap later in the day.

Alongside the sizeable portions and hard-hitting coffee, the staff were a delight. As a small family owned joint, the love is definitely one that is transferred to how the staff make their customers feel and I was no exception to that. From the hustle and bustle of weekend brunchers to the chilled vibes of the weekday, the staff are here for their customers and will indulge you in the delights of amazing conversation as well as fabulous coffee.

Check it out:

141 Mitcham Rd, Tooting, London SW17 9RU

Wannabe Foodie #13: Dans Le Noir

It’s always said that going out to eat should be an immersive experience. Dans Le Noir (Dine in the Dark) takes this to the extreme by providing a platform for diners to eat in complete darkness. The premise is based on heightening your other senses once you no longer have the option to see what you are eating- this is definitely one to do with people you are at the utmost comfort level with!

As a first timer at Dans Le Noir, I went with an intimate group of 4 for my birthday and opted for the £75 surprise menu. There are three options, red for meat, blue for seafood and green for veggie. You can of course outline any allergies, intolerances and extreme aversions that you may have before you enter the dining hall.

As part of the £75, we got a three course meal, a gin and tonic, prosecco and a surprise cocktail. As phones and belongings are put in lockers before hand, you are left entirely with you imgination as to what the food and restauraunt looks like.

All the waiting staff are full or partially blind which makes you even more aware and exposed when going into complete darkeness (and I mean pitch black)! You gain an understanding that for some people they live their life this way and this awaress is deepened as you continue the experience.

We were guided in by our waiter, we were led by holding onto his shoulder and each of us seated in the darkness. I was intitally worried about my cutlery placement as I thought that we would have to keep our table setting the same in order to aid our server, but it wasn’t neccessary at all – they completely navigated around us. Sounds naive I know, but it was expectation when we went in.

Following being seated, the noise in the area seemed instantly heightened and I was trying to figure out where abouts we were sitting and at first I thought we were by the wall, but then I felt a table being seated behind us, so I quickly realised that wasn’t the case.

Our first course came out very quickly as it was a pre ordered menu, I opted for red (the meat option). I guessed my first dish was pork and another party member had pigeon (which I have never tasted before so the taste was unfamiliar). Which was then followed by the main and a malta cake for dessert – this was a buttery oasis. No joke. The cake was fire…

Following the meal (and much alcohol :/) we were escorted out by our waiter (who was an absolute gem) and shown pictures of what we had just eaten. The time is very short as you pre choose what menu you would like before entering the restaurant.

Interestingly, there are not big groups of people waiting to go in at one time, it is all a very gradual and relaxed process. I would 100% only reccomed doing this with people you are entirely comfortable with as the dark room can be unerving and I feel that company can make all the difference to your experience.

Wannabe Foodie #12: Doughnut Time, Shaftesbury Avenue

Bringing the down under to London, Doughnut time has bought an exciting way to eat lavish doughnuts. With spots all over London, I headed to their flagship in Shaftesbury Avenue and tried out their tasty treats!

From the infamous Nutella stuffed doughnut to the Percy Pink pearls, Doughnut Time has a doughnut for every taste bud and fancy! I went for the Nutella classic (served with a mini Nutella Jar!), Kinder Egg doughnut and the Malteser Bunny number.

Doughnut time bakes their doughnuts fresh and once they’re gone, they’re gone! The first doughnut I devoured was the Nutella filled doughnut and I am telling you, they do not scrimp on that chocolatey goodness. As the filling is quite dense, you could probably (as much as you might not want to share this with someone. I personally loved it, however eating the whole thing, for me, was a mistake. When Doughnut Time say Nutella filled, they mean it!

Once the Nutella reign had calmed down, I moved onto the Kinder Egg doughnut. It was the vibrant orange icing and the prospect of building a toy that attracted me to this little baby and it did not disappoint. With no filling in this one, it was a lot easier on the stomach, you could really taste the freshness of the bake in this one. Topped with an actual Kinder Egg,t he decoration did not fail Doughnut’s time creative reputation .

Finally for the third course I tried the Malteaster bunny doughnut. This has a gorgeous chocolate outside, followed by a Malteser chocolate bunny topping. I gobbled this up in no time and I would say was my favourite out of the ones I tried.

The price points of these doughnuts, start from £4.50 and get cheaper per doughut depending on how many you buy. I would recommend going for a box of four and splitting the cost rather than going for four separate delights.

Alongside the regular showstoppers that Doughnut Time offers, the special edition doughnuts are also on my bucket list. The thematic nature of their specials, really encompass the diversity in and around London, embracing Chinese New year and Easter, just to name a few.

I am yet to try the famous Percy Pig delight, but I know I will definitely be revisiting this spot!

Try them out for yourself: https://doughnuttime.co.uk/

96 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 5ED

Wannabe Foodie #11:Beijing Dumpling, London Chinatown

When it comes to dumplings, peoples’ experiences can often be hit or miss, but with this little gem in Chinatown you will be satisfied with these hand made bundles of joy.

Beijing Dumpling will probably catch your eye as you stroll through Chinatown because of the queue that is often seen outside the door and the window display that beholds the churning out of fresh dumplings. Once you are inside you will be seated quickly and given a paper menu on which you tick off what you want to try. The turnaround in here is pretty quick, so perfect for casual dinner.

Pork Dumplings

We went in as a group of four and decided on getting a range of starters (so we could try as many dumplings as possible) rather than mains, so we could try different bits and pieces.  In terms of dumplings we went for spicy pork and pork xialongbao (soup dumplings), sea food dim sum platter, pan fried pork dumplings and spicy chicken dumplings in soup. We accompanied this with crispy duck pancakes, hot and sour soup and tom yum soup.

With a focus on the dumplings themselves I would definitely go for the spicy pork xialongbao. With a light steamed pastry, juicy pork filling and broth inside, this dumpling is an absolute delight. If you prefer milder food then go for just the pork xialongbao for the same dumpling minus the spice.

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Alongside this pork delight, the pan fried options are also great, served on a plate rather than a steamer basket, these are great if you prefer a crispier outside. The chicken dumplings in soup, has a steamed outside and are served floating in a broth. For me the soup itself wasn’t really anything to rave about, but the dumplings themselves were yummy.

The other starters that we chose (the duck and soups), we lovely, but very standard. I would definitely pay Beijing Dumpling a visit if  dumplings are going to be the centre of your meal. Although I can’t attest to the rest of the mains on offer, I cannot stress how foolish it would be to not try the dumplings.

Considering the reasonable price range, you would be surprised that Beijing Dumpling has been awarded a Michelin Star. Coming in at around £8 for a basket of the more expensive dumplings, split between a group you will not leave hungry.

Paired with an ice cold green tea, this is great place to grab a bite to eat and leave feeling satisfied and your wallet not taking the heat.

Price: ££

Check it out:

http://beijingdumpling.co.uk/

Wannabe Foodie #10: You Me Sushi, Grays Inn Road

With sushi being a fresh summer favourite for a lot of foodies, You Me Sushi is an affordable alternative to eating in a restaurant.  They offer high quality selection boxes as well as the option to put your own together. I went into the Grays Inn road store, but there are also seven other stores around London and delivery is offered too.

I went for the Tokyo Roll Speciality Box, which came with edame beans, a piece of chicken tempura and the sushi roll. Sushi rolls typically have nori (seaweed wrap) on the outside and rice in the middle, but the Tokyo Roll has the rice on the exterior and a nori inside. The filling of this roll contains fresh salmon, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, flying fish roe and finely chopped chives. This sushi box came with a free side of miso soup and came to £7.95. It was delicious and definitely worth it!

In general I am not a huge fan of miso soup, so this was mostly left, but the sushi was fantastic. I tended to alternate my bites between the wasabi and soy as well as the side of pickled cabbage. It was fresh and filled me up (which was surprising). For those of you who enjoy miso soup, that’s a tasty little treat you can indulge in too!

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Tokyo Roll

The lunchtime service at You Me Sushi was great, it was quick and the staff were very polite. This, coupled with the price tag, you can’t really complain.

Price: ££/£££££

Check it Out: 180 Grays Inn Rd, Holborn, London WC1X 8EW

Wannabe Foodie #9: The Breakfast Club

Post hangover feels, in desperate need of good stodge, cue The Breakfast Club which was my guardian Angel this fine Sunday.

Based in the tucked away corner of Camden Passage, The Breakfast Club sorted me right out.  I went for the Salt Beef Reuben, with fries, coleslaw and a side of avocado (this is London after all). I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The salty beef of the Reuben was just what I needed, washed down with a BIG glass of ice cold cola.

The sandwich itself was delicious,  served on sourdough bread it really was up there when it comes to sandwiches. Alongside the mound of salt beef (brined brisket), the sourdough delight carried sauerkraut (chopped pickled cabbage), mustard, cheese and a pickle. Although this sandwich was a hefty meat lovers delight, I used a range of sides to help break up the saltiness a tad.

For the sides, I had fries ( these were standard really), slaw (also ok) and a side of avocado (does what it says on the tin). All in all the avocado was a God send to help me finish the sandwich, because the freshness was just what the palette needed.

breakfast club
Salt Beef Reuben 

Although we queued (for four of us) in the rain for about 30 mins, the service at the Angel branch could not be faulted. As soon as we got in, we were quickly seated and the servers were great. Not only were they attentive, but they had it going on when it came to banter. Overall great experience and, even if just for the service, was definitely worth the wait!

Check it out for yourselves: https://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com/locations/angel/

31 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA

Wannabe Foodie #8: Milk Train, Covent Garden

Milk Train in London is definitely conducting the ice cream world into a candy floss filled arena. Combining classic ice cream toppings with creative flair, you can choose any ice cream you want.

I went for a ‘make your own’ ice cream and decided on the Oreo crumbled into the ice cream and covered it in cornflakes an desicated coconut in a cone surrounded by candy floss (because I’m a commercial marketers basic dream). I must say for a fairly pricey seven quid, you could probably remake this at home for a fraction of the cost, but the expereicne and novelty of it is great.

The location itself (located in Covent Garden) is an Insatgrammer’s dream. With a gorgeous flower wall, the décor matches the flouncy delicacy of the candy floss. Milk Train goes from basic flavours to the most complex ice cream pairings and it’s all in your hands!

My Cornflake Masterpiece

Overall I would give this ice cream, a 6.5/10. It was lovely and was a great way to bring the glamour to the humble iced treat, but the price was a bit steep considering what you were getting, however, the aesthetic was delightful.

Wannabe Foodie #7: Dishoom, Carnaby

Having never seen this spot without a waiting list, I had to give Dishoom’s delights a try. I decided to opt for the Carnaby branch and it was not a disappointment!

As there was a lunchtime waiting list, we headed to the bar to try some of the infamous bottomless House Chai (until 5pm). The flavours of spice blend and warmth of was a perfect way to save us from the rain outside. We were seated fairly quickly and were seated under the skylight, on the lounge sofas. This spot is great for a lunchtime catch up and if you don’t mind a relaxed eating area, this is perfect!

We decided to order a selection of things so we could share and try different things. We went for:

Far Far is a crispy snack, that has the texture of a prawn cracker and salty too. This a a great way to start off the meal if you’re starving because they come out so quick, but if I was to skip something off the menu it would definitely be this. Compared to the rest of the menu this is not the most exciting.

Chilli Cheese Toast is exactly what is says on the tin. Delicious, melted cheddar cheese on a thick slice of white bloomer with the kick of chilli. This was a delight and a no brainer for veggies!

Paneer Tikka, is, straight up, the way to show that you cannot have enough cheese. Paneer is a milk curd used a lot in Indian cooking. It bears resemblance to the texture of tofu, but with subtle flavour. At Dishoom it is marinated and charred and served with green peppers. Delight!

Okra Fries in the house!! Taking lady’s fingers and turning them into a deep fried delight. Truly a display of finger food and how Dishoom make vegetables amazing. Try these dipped in the selection of sauces and chutneys that they give you.

Gunpowder Potatoes, I think were my favourite in this veggie feast. Taking the humble potato and grilling them with seeds, spices and fresh herbs, this is a gem. I could eat a whole plate of this on it’s own, and the heat of the aloo (potato) goes well with cooling raita.

Pau Bhaji continues to showcase the versatility of the aloo and is true that carbs are the one! Pau Bhaji is a bowl of mashed, spiced veg served with a hot, buttery roll, homemade of course. Great accompaniment with tea and if you want to nip in for a quick snack.

Although, you might be questioning the absence of meat, this vegetarian feast was fabulous and, being a meat eater myself, I did not feel its absence. Indian food is renowned for it’s flavour and flair with simple ingredients and Dishoom elevates that!

The service here was fabulous! Not only were we constantly topped up on out bottomless chai, but we were always checked on. The waiter was great at explaining what each dish was and recommended complimentary dishes.

Price: ££

Check it out: http://www.dishoom.com/

Wannabe Foodie #6: Miss Tapas

Sharing is Caring and is most certainly embodied within the cosy walls of Miss Tapas, Peckham. Offering flavorsome Spanish delights , Miss Tapas is great for a first time tapas experience and you will probably come back again.

Tapas are small Spanish savoury dishes that are often designed for sharing. They are often accompanied with drinking and you can order as many or as little as you want. The idea is to enjoy these Tapas as a meal. There is a varied selection of what Tapas can be and is not one food in particular. It can range from meat, fish and breads and you can mix and match as you see fit.

Being run by it’s owners, Miss Tapas offers a rustic and homely welcome. With their menu written on a chalk board as you walk in, different items are often added to the menu. A staple favourite of mine is the tortilla (Spanish potato and egg). This initially sounds as bit odd as it is served at room temperature, but it is honestly so delicious.

Spanish Meatballs

Alongside patatas bravas (potato in spiced tomato sauce), prawn croquettes and Spanish meatballs, the Jamón ibérico is a definite must try. This is a spiced, cured ham and is carved fresh to eat and served with small bread sticks. It’s a great way to break up the sauciness of a lot of the dishes and is great with a glass of wine.

The staff in Miss Tapas are noteworthy, they are so friendly and are happy to help you with any queries you have about the menu. Don’t be shy to try something new. I myself have tried beef cheek and pesto tuna here and they were both great. As the prices here are quite reasonable, split between a group of you, you could pay as little as £20 a head (including a drink) in one visit.

Bear in mind, Miss Tapas does not take reservations, but if you call beforehand you can be added to the waiting list or just walk in!

Price: ££/£££££

Check it out:

https://www.misstapas.com/

Wannabe Foodie #5: Amorino, Covent Garden

Gelato Gelato Gelato! A fabulous dessert for fabulous people!

Gelato is an Italian style ice cream and is only referred to as Gelato in this instance. 

During this delightful British summer, I decided to venture into the realms of Covent Garden and came across Amorino. This immediately caught my attention because it was a hot evening and my sweet tooth was on a rampage! The store itself consists mainly of the gelato bar and a small seating area, so seemed great for a quick fix.

Amornio offers various portion sizes and you can either opt for a cone (ranging in size) or a tub (ranging in size). I went for the tub, just because I knew a cone would probably be a disaster for me! With the cones, the gelato (or sorbet) is shaped into a rose shape and looks gorgeous.

With a variety of flavours offered, Amorino appeals to even the fussiest of palettes. As there is a range of sorbets and gelatos, it is  also a great choice for those avoiding dairy. I went for three scoops of gelato. Ferrero Rocher, Blueberry Cheesecake and Hazelnut were my weapons of choice and it was delicious. Normally I am a through and through chocolate fiend, but I have to say the blueberry cheesecake was the star of the tub.

Three’s a charm!

I came to Amorino’s on a Friday night, it was not crazy busy and I couldn’t fault the service. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of my server, but she was lovely. She served everyone with a smile and making the rose cones whilst taking standard orders too!

In terms of prices, they range from £3.50 to £9.50 depending on what you get, which for the quality of product is worth it.

Check it out:

https://www.amorino.com