Sunday, 28 May 2017

teapigs Matcha Terrace @ Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge

Yep, you heard right - a MATCHA TERRACE! 

To celebrate teapigs' 10 year anniversary at Harvey Nichols, they have taken over the 5th floor of this flagship store and set up a gorgeous terrace to serve an all day matcha-inspired menu. 

teapigs have worked closely with the chefs at Harvey Nichols to create a menu designed to show people that matcha green tea is extremely diverse. There are so many ways it can be used - from your usual lattes to the more experimental eggs Florentine and matcha cheesecake!

Myself and one of my best friends, Max, headed down to the terrace on a gorgeous sunny afternoon and here was our verdict..

Atmosphere: 5/5
Buzzy, cosy and an absolute sun trap! We absolutely loved the terrace transformation into a teapig matcha haven. The retractable roof was amazing - we enjoyed our lunch in the shade before the waiters withdrew the canopy for us to enjoy a couple of hours soaking up the sun! 

Food: 5/5
From the left: matcha mint iced tea, matcha latte, matcha energiser smoothie
This really was dreamy - not just for a matcha lover like me, but even for people that are new to matcha as the flavours are so wonderfully subtle. 

I went for the matcha marinated chicken skewers to start followed by the pan fried salmon with matcha sauce and a matcha mint iced tea. 

The chicken was deliciously tender and the salmon was cooked to perfection. We shared a matcha energiser smoothie (but I ended up finishing it myself as it was so damn delicious..!)

Max had the sautéed prawns with a matcha mayo followed by the black quinoa and asparagus salad with a matcha dressing and an almond milk matcha latte. 

I tried these dishes as well and they were all so yummy. The salad was very well balanced and the dressing brought everything together really well. I've had a lot of matcha lattes in my time but this has to rate as one of the BEST. The frothy cinnamon topping was to die for and it gave the latte a perfect sweetness without the need to add any sugar. 

Close up: salmon on the left and sautéed prawns in the forefront
teapigs only use whole leaf, whole berries and whole herbs/flowers in their teas. Therefore, it doesn't come as a surpise that their matcha is made from 100% premium organic green tea leaves. This provided a great flavour to all the matcha dishes and ensures you don't get an overpowering bitter taste coming through, which you can often do from poorer quality matcha powder. 

The only criticism I would have of the main dishes is that on their own they were slightly incomplete. My salmon just came with some seasoned cucumber shavings, which even though delicious, wouldn't have filled me up if I hadn't have had a starter and the drinks.

As it was, I was very satisfied with the meal but if you're going just for one main dish, I would recommend ordering a side such as quinoa and of course, one (or more) of the amazing drinks they have on offer!

We were quite full after this little feast but had we have had room, the desserts also sounded amazing!

Service: 4.5/5
The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful as soon as we arrived. The service itself could be slightly quicker as I was so parched when I got there due to the hot weather that waiting 15 minutes for some water seemed like a lifetime. However, they were completely full and every table was occupied both inside and out, so I'll let them off this time..!

Once this initial blip was over, it was onwards and upwards from there so a big thank you to the staff and manager for being so accommodating to us.

The matcha terrace opened on the 3rd May and will close on 25th June so get yourselves down there to enjoy some of the amazing dishes they have on offer. The perfect accompaniment to this glorious weather! 

Of course, you can purchase teapigs matcha at Harvey Nichols but you can also do so directly from their site:

If you do make it down to the terrace, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Jess x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Timmy Green, Victoria

For anyone that lives in London, it is likely you will have heard of the Daisy Green collection of restaurants. I mentioned this Australian brand in my London Matcha Guide back in October as they also do a mean matcha latte. But about a week ago I also got to experience the hype of their latest branch, Timmy Green in Victoria.

Atmosphere: 5/5
We went at 8.30am for one of my gorgeous friend's birthdays, but it was packed, even at that time. The restaurant is situated inside the newly developed Nova building, which is extremely striking in itself given that it is predominantly made of glass. There is an amazingly buzzy and vibrant atmosphere as soon as you walk into the restaurant.

Canvas fabrics, reclaimed oak and gorgeous white marble give this Aussie hangout an air of tranquility amongst the rush of city life.  Quirky artwork dresses the walls on each floor. Look out for the two huge privately commissioned pieces - striking to say the least and well worth a visit just to get a glimpse of those.

Food: 5/5
I went for the shakshuka with their infamous charcoal sourdough bread, a side of smoked salmon and a loose leaf white tea. We then all shared the warm banana bread sandwich and the coconut bread french toast - umm wow..!

Let's start with the savoury.

I am a huge shakshuka fan and I'll admit they did a good job with this one. The eggs were perfectly runny and the tomato base had a lovely smokey flavour to it. I've got to admit though, there's something I love about eating my baked eggs out of a cast iron skillet so if I'm being super fussy, that's one thing that I think could be improved.

The charcoal bread definitely lived up to its expectations - organic, cold fermented activated charcoal sourdough. For someone who friggin' loves good quality bread, this was an absolute DREAM.

Now onto the sweets.

It's safe to say that the award winning banana bread sandwich is award winning for a reason. Hands down the BEST banana bread I have ever tasted. Warm and gooey with chunks of sweet banana and crunchy nuts. Served alongside a mascarpone cream, fresh berries, flaked almonds and honey. If you were too full from the first course, you will without a doubt suddenly make some room for this. Trust me!

For those that prefer a gluten free option, the coconut bread french toast will save the day for you. Served with thick greek yoghurt, berries, mango, shaved coconut and pure Vermont maple. Again, a great variety of textures and flavours. Actually a brilliant example of how something gluten free can still taste so good. But for me, the banana bread sandwich just can't be topped.

What I love about this place is how fresh, healthy yet delicious it is. I feel like I could take my family (who are not health orientated at all) and they would equally love the food here. This is a big plus for me and so many others that I know, as it can sometimes be difficult to find a restaurant tailoring for both ends of the foodie spectrum.

Service: 5/5
As I previously mentioned, it was super busy when we went for breakfast and there was quite a big group of us. However, the service was brilliant. They catered for a few of my friends that had specific dietary requirements with no problems and the staff couldn't be more helpful.

The food all came out relatively quickly - a big plus when you have 8 food and fitness bloggers starting to get hangry whilst waiting for breakfast!

So as you can tell, I can't really fault Timmy Green from my experience. Without a doubt one of the best brunch/lunch spots in London and definitely worth a visit.

Jess x


Monday, 1 May 2017

The National Café, Trafalgar Square

Tucked away off Trafalgar Square and only minutes from Embankment is the fairly recently opened National Cafe. It's a branch of Peyton & Byrne restaurants but being set in this gorgeous building makes for a much more enchanting experience.

They serve food all day, but of course, being the brunch addicts that myself and my good friend I-mae are, it was a given that we had to head down for breakfast. They served a wide variety of items on the menu and it did take us a while to choose..!

I settled for the poached egg, with crushed avo, baby spinach, chilli & tomato salsa and toasted sunflower seeds on a spelt and quinoa pancake. I ordered a side of mushrooms and ofc I had to get extra eggs 'cause one egg just ain't enough for this growing gal - that's my excuse anyway..

Imae went for the buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and then we shared the beautiful pink grapefruit, blood orange and pomegranate salad.

Atmosphere: 4/5
It was fairly quiet throughout the whole time we were in the cafe. However, it was quite early on a Saturday morning so it could be somewhat expected, especially as it's newly opened. A quiet restaurant usually makes for an awkwardly silent meal and inevitable eavesdropping on the next tables conversation.. However, the tables were really well spaced out and the amazingly tall ceilings combined with the buzziness of the gallery next door, gave us a perfectly relaxing environment to enjoy breakfast and chat for hours.

The neutral colour scheme was so gorgeous and the huge canvas paintings take inspiration from the neighbouring National Gallery to offer the most breathtaking backdrops.

The one area where the atmosphere fell down for me was the slight damp smell, which was initially noticeable as I walked in. It felt like I was walking into a greenhouse.. Let's just say I was kind of glad to get some fresh air when we left.

Food: 3/5
As a big green tea and matcha fan - I can't fault their loose leaf. It really was delicious.

As for the food, what sounded like the most amazing dish actually left me slightly underwhelmed.

One of my yolks was completely cooked through - not ideal when the highlight of your brunch is usually reliant on some good #yolkporn. The spelt and quinoa pancake was amazingly light and fluffy. However, the quinoa flour did give it quite an acquired taste, which can be fairly love or hate.

The salsa was not actually a salsa - more just some diced tomatoes. The sunflower seeds were sadly not toasted and the oil they used could have been of a much higher quality, which may have saved the dish somewhat.

However, the mushrooms were DIVINE! Slightly crispy, golden brown and doused in butter and olive oil - perfection. Hand me a bowl of mushrooms so buttery I look like I've just put lip balm on and I'm one happy gal!

The grapefruit, blood orange and pomegranate salad was so deliciously refreshing. The citrus notes provided the perfect finish to our much more indulgent first courses.

Looks like the green tea, buttered mushrooms and citrus salad saved the day.

Service: 5/5
This is one area where I really can't fault them. Amazingly helpful, wonderfully attentive (but not overly annoying) and fantastic attitude. Even when there was an element of slight hesitation with one of our meals, the manager was over in a flash in attempt to sort it out, which I thought was brilliant.

Good service is highly important to the enjoyment of my meal. Hats off to the National Cafe, we are ending on a high as I am pleased to say that they excelled on this front. 
Blog Design Created by pipdig