Mission for Cupcakes at the Hummingbird Bakery

Last week a friend and I met up in London for a catch up and to visit the Hummingbird Bakery. We went to the South Kensington bakery but there wasn’t any space for us to sit and chat, so we decided to go to a different cafe and come back later…. Although later, it was even busier, so we missioned it across London to the Soho bakery. After a couple of detours and very sore feet, we finally arrived!! However, there weren’t any seats for us either, which didn’t matter at this point as the cupcakes looked amazing!

I picked up a red velvet cupcake, black bottom cupcake and a pink cupcake with pink glitter on it (can’t remember what it’s called!). The packaging was pretty as well:

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Black bottom and red velvet

Hummingbird Cupcake

Every time I’m in central London, I think I’ll be bringing back a cupcake every time – they are delicious!

Only wish is that they open up bigger bakeries with lots of seating! Please make this happen! Have you tried a cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery?

The cupcakes came to just under £9.

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Visit to the Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry Over the weekend I went to The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell with some of my family to celebrate my cousin’s birthday over brunch.

The restaurant decor was clean, fresh and modern and the atmosphere was casual, relaxed and busy at the same time. The staff were friendly and warm as we arrived. We were 10 minutes late for our booking but our table wasn’t ready yet anyway.

Once the table was ready, we were seated upstairs. The restaurant is set in a Georgian listed building, which felt homely and welcoming. It’s definitely a nice place for friends to catch up at.

To drink, I had organic apple juice (£3.00) which was nicely presented with a slice of apple in it. However, it tasted a bit weak after a while because of all the ice that was in the glass. To eat, I ordered a cooked breakfast. I chose two poached eggs and toast with smoked streaky bacon, slow roast vine ripened tomatoes and buttered mushrooms (£8.50).

Unfortunately the food took over an hour to arrive, it was like they forgotten about us! They did acknowledge this and when the food came, they said there was no charge for the food which was really nice.

The food was nicely presented and really tasty (not sure if I was just very hungry though!). The poached eggs and mushrooms were perfect, the bacon was nice but wasn’t a great fan of the bread which was very oily. All in all, it was a nice breakfast treat!

In the end we only paid for the drinks and service charge. The service could have been better, but if I’m in the City again, I would definitely go to The Modern Pantry again as there are other things on the menu I would like to try!

Have you visited The Modern Pantry before? Leave a comment on Munch and Makeup and let me know how your experience was.

Balinese Massage Treat at Mandara Spa

massageI was lucky enough to win a fab Balinese massage at Mandara Spa from @Beautylavie on Twitter.

The spa is located in Park Plaza Westminster hotel, which is a modern, stylish hotel located in London, conveniently close to London Waterloo Station. The spa has a more relaxing ambience and feels very welcoming. The waiting area offers jugs of flavoured water, a selection of teas, biscuits, cakes, fresh and dried fruit, making filling out the health and safety form more fun.

After the therapist introduced herself and offered me a range of massage oils to choose from, I picked the ‘calming’ oil and was taken to the treatment room; it was spacious, nicely decorated with a huge massage bed/table in the middle of the room!

I’ve only been to a spa once so wasn’t sure what to expect, but the therapist explained that she would leave the room while I undressed and relaxed on the bed. It did make me wonder if she would give me enough time to get my winter layers off, or if she would catch me starkers running towards the table…! Luckily that didn’t happen…

The massage started from my feet all the way up my body, the long strokes and the spicy aromas around the room were soothing and made me nearly drift off to sleep, but the best bits were the palm and thumb pressure which unknotted my back and shoulders. It was so relaxing that afterwards, it felt like I was walking on air.

I could have just had a nap right there and then but all good things must come to an end and the session was soon over. Unfortunately it was time to get dressed and head home! Had a bit of an awkward moment when the receptionist asked how I wanted to pay for it, but luckily I remembered the PR’s name that was running the competition.

The only thing that would have been nice was an offer of a robe and towel to use their shower, as I was feeling a bit greased up! Really wanted to have a swim at their lovely looking swimming pool and also the sauna, but felt to cheeky to ask after winning the massage through a competition.

The treatment lasted 50 minutes and is worth £85. Their website describes the Balinese massage as –

“Our most relaxing massage, harnessing the therapeutic properties of 100% pure essential oils. Used for centuries to renew, strengthen and heal both body and mind, this traditional therapy combines stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm and thumb pressure techniques to relieve tension, improve blood flow, ease stress and calm the mind. It can also help to improve the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular and nervous systems”.

It is definitely relaxing, and there’s a longer Balinese massage on offer (1 hr 20 min) for £135 if you have more time (and money!).

Whether you’ve had a busy day exploring London, or are commuting and in need an indulgent treat, then definitely think of Mandara Spa. It’s a little gem in the City!

Visit to Barbecoa

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went for drinks and dinner at Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang’s Barbecoa restaurant in the City.

Barbecoa Menu

The story behind Barbecoa restaurant sounds impressive along with its kitchen, which according to their website has Japanese robata grills, tandoor ovens, fire pits and Texan smokers to cook the meat and food with. It would have been great if the kitchen was open so we could see the food being cooked. However, we did have a fabulous view of St. Pauls Cathedral!

St Pauls Cathedral

We had a table booked quite late, for 9pm but the restaurant was still buzzing and had a nice relaxed atmosphere. The staff were friendly and seemed happy to help.

To nibble on, we had pork scratchings (£4) and a bread board (£4). The pork scratchings were crispy and so nice. The bread board was really filling, the only thing that would have been nice was some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to go with it.

pork scratchings

bread board

To start, we shared a portion of crispy calamari (£10) which came with smashed avocado, lemon and rocket and a portion of crispy pig cheeks with piccalilli, chive and lamb’s lettuce salad (£8). Calamari is something that I’ll always order if I see it on the menu as it’s one of my favourites. The batter was quite light so wasn’t as crispy as I was hoping it to be, but it was still tasty and went well with the avocado. On the other hand I didn’t enjoy the crispy pig cheeks, the texture was like eating a stringy/ tough fish – I’m not sure what I was expecting though as this was my first experience eating it!

calamari

Pig cheeks

For our mains we shared the APL rib-eye for two (£65), which is described on the menu as ‘dry aged for a minimum of 48 days, minimum 1.1kg’. The steak was cooked medium rare, as recommended by the waiter/chef and it didn’t disappoint at all. It’s probably the best steak that we’ve tasted for a while. It was succulent, reddish and melted in our mouths! We also had duck fat chips (£4) on the side, but I found them too salty. However, my boyfriend liked them (he’s a salt lover!).

Rib eye steak with chips

Even though we were really full and our bodies were overloaded with cholesterol, we couldn’t say no to dessert! We shared white chocolate ice-cream (£6), although I only took one bite as you really needed to have a sweet tooth, which I don’t have. On the other hand, it went down a treat with my other half!

white chocolate ice cream

The meal came to £159.47 which included a service charge of 12.5%. If you like your meat, definitely go to Barbecoa and try the steak. If you’re not a meat eater, it’s best if you take your money to a different restaurant. Overall, I had a good night and am glad that I’ve finally been, but I wouldn’t go again for a while.

Visiting Yauatcha for Dim Sum

This is the second time I’ve visited Yauatcha. The first time we were sat upstairs which is bright and airy, but this time we were seated downstairs. The atmosphere downstairs is different, it feels more like a glam bar/nightclub but still beautiful with twinkling ceiling lights, candle stick style lights on the wall, tea lights on the tables and a fish tank running across the bar.

The first time I went, we got told off for taking photos…. so this time I sneakily tried to take quick ones on my phone (apologies if they don’t come out very well!).

There were 4 of us who went, 3 of us shared dim sum while the 4th person had a plate of beef ho fun and a bottle of coca cola to himself!

We were taken to our table by a friendly and glamourous looking waitress and were served by other nice waiters and waitresses throughout our meal. I was surprised there was so many staff working at the time.

The tea we chose was the flowering orchid tea, which tasted nice and went well with the food. We ordered 6 little eats with the intention of ordering more afterwards. Our melt in your mouth venison puff pastries were the first to come out, which were delicious and made us wanting more.

We had our usual har gau prawn dumplings, which were tasty and what anyone would expect from a good restaurant, and we also had char sui cheung fun which was also what you would get in other dim sum eateries.

My favourite was the next dish, the wheat squid, which was the best deep fried squid I’ve ever tasted!

The prawn, cuttlefish and zucchini dumplings were probably my least favourite, they didn’t look too appetising either – maybe I’m a fan of more the traditional dishes than the contemporary ones…!

Our king crab siew long buns with pork were very tasty, especially the soup which you could suck out…

I only got to try a bit of the beef ho fun and the bit I did taste was nice and flavoursome.

Even though 6 dishes didn’t seem like too much, we were full afterwards so didn’t manage to order anything else (not even their delicious looking desserts!).

I only have one quibble, a waiter accidentally dipped his fingers in our chilli sauce, took it away, but never returned. I love and missed my chilli!

The meal cost us £16 per head which included the 12.5% service charge, which was very reasonable for a Michelin star restaurant at lunchtime. I would definitely recommend going there if you are after some fancy dim sum (and can’t face the cost of its sister restaurant, Hakkasan!).