Posts Tagged ‘Camden’
In Camden’s cheerful universe, urban symphony, swirls of world influence, kitsch yet ever-so-fun bazaar, is a brand new Yo Sushi. On the wall, graphic and bright designs, beautiful modern lines, dynamic decoration - the address fits right in the neighbourhood atmosphere. This time, no matter how tempting the path of sushis in front of you, do open the menu and choose from it. Prices aren’t more expensive and there are so many more flavours to discover: spicy tuna hand roll, with a sweet sauce and spring onions… Crunchy rice balls with a heart of crab, coriander and chilli served with a wasabi mayonnaise… Hand roll with tender crab, a touch of yuzu, slices of pickled radish… Or why not inaris, a very fine soya bean pancake, very tasty, slightly sugary, wrapping nutty rice with sesame seeds and fresh cucumber. But for dessert, no hesitations, it has to be the delicious chocolate mousse mochis which you will find impossible to share!
10 Jamestown Road
Camden, NW1 7BY
Behind stern buildings can often be found luxurious, soothing, green havens. At the Chiltern Street Studios, the tiny courtyard offers a transition between two worlds, details of another era, keys opening invisible doors, ivy like necklaces around vintage glass bottles. A welcoming chair, a bird singing cheerfully. Funny how a few square meters can be such an escape from the wild wide world outside. Do you have a secret garden in London too?
That’s art baby:
* After the elephants, the eggs… 75 phone booths have been redecorated and scattered around town. Happy hnting, until July 18!
* It is spring on the new facade of the Whitechapel Gallery – worth seeing.
* Yoko Ono opens her show at the Serpentine.
Take the little ones along:
* An architecture festival dedicated to kids? What a fabulous ideas. Look at the program for great workshops.
* Are you hunting the BT Artbox phonebooths around town? Now this one, with a knitted monster should really wow them.
* Cupcakes bloom in sweet bouquets at Mulberry Teacup – deliciously beautiful!
* Musicals fan? Come sing and dance on Trafalgar Square this week-end.
* Exhibition Road has a fabulous musical day planned on Saturday - check it out!
* Spitafields too celebrates music, with a street party on Saturday.
* Walk through Camden in the most musical way.
Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday, watch Royal Ascot on the big screens at Canary Wharf.
* Kensington Palace will be open late next Friday for the most enchanting evening.
* Watch the sumos race.
* Fancy walking on the roofs of the O2?
* The Old Vic Tunnels turn into a holiday camp for adults this week-end – give it a try!
A little while ago, I was invited to the KLM evening with other travel bloggers. To present their flights to Amsterdam (no less than 79 each day from 16 UK airports), the team had invited us at De Hems, the only Dutch bar in town. Situated just outside the Chinatown, it makes you feel you have travelled around the word in a couple minutes. There, you can indulge in a Texel Wit with its touch of orange, a Witbier underlined with coriander notes, a Trappe Dubbel – liquid caramel – and so many more. Your mind will wander, dreaming of the famous Netherland breweries: Bavaria, Alfa, , Gulpener, Budels. You can already picture enjoying a pint along a canal… Remember, it is just a plane away! And if you are staying in London this week-end, scroll down for ideas.
That’s art baby:
* Try an art walk.
* Lovers of urban poetry and fascinating cartography, do have a look at the Mind the Map exhibition at the London Transport Museum.
* Artists to be will love trying this Damien Hirst style painting style.
* Add some magic! Wonderground on Southbank promises an unforgettable circus show tinted with a little Tim Burton.
* Street art goes digital with USB keys planted in walls…
Out of the ordinary:
* Indulge in a street food part in Camden on Friday.
* Or listen to storytelling for adults aboard a candlelit narrowboat.
* Discover the Alfie’s Antiques Market.
* Ever wondered what Covent Garden used to look like, when it was still a market? Have a look here.
* Oh, and do go there on saturday, there will be plenty of vintage routemasters.
* Decipher the London alphabet.
* Fancy a litteray afternoon in an orchard to celebrate the summer?
* On Sunday, Marylebone high street will turn into a giant party.
At Chin Chin Labs, ice cream is as much an art than a scientific success, the perfect equation adding taste and liquid nitrogen. This is the first address in Europe to present them in such an innovative way. And those are done on the spot, right in front of you, within a minute, a frosted fog unrolling around the machine. Look around, the decoration is inspired by chemistry labs, popping candy in test tubes, sweet equations on the white board, sugar and home made sauces in bechers. The choice is simple but so tempting. Exquisite vanilla or decadent chocolate for classics and always a couple highly creative choices. Mine was a frozen mint julep – fresh mint, cucumber, elderflower and whiskey. This comes with a topping or a sauce (homemade) of your choice (try the caramelised peanuts with a touch of green tea – I would make a detour just for this). You are told, when handed your treat, that this has the texture of snow. For a minute, you will probably struggle, trying to remember the last time you tasted a flake, not quite succeeding. It becomes clear at the first spoonful. An ice-cream, you see, tends to melt as soon as it touches the warmth of your mouth leaving you with the creaminess and sugar. But this has a much better, much more velvety consistency, giving you more time to make it roll on the tongue, enjoy the flavours fully. So much more elegant, so very refined. Even better enjoyed sitting along the canal, a few steps from there.
On the menu this week? A very refreshing and exotic sorbet, bringing rambouton, rosewater and kaffir lime zest together.
Chin Chin Labs
49-50 Camden Lock place
London NW1 8AF
The most beautiful flowers are those blooming forever. On greyish days, I dream in front of this paper lace work by Rob Ryan. Of escapes to the seaside and spring valleys. A few seconds of sweetness before reality kicks in. Somehow, it proves even more efficient than chocolate.
Take the little ones along:
* Saturday, learn how to make 3D pancakes. It’s free.
* Also on that day, try the apple wassail at Camden’s Natural Reserve.
* The Duck Tour now proposes a James Bond theme.
Love, Love, Love:
* Victoria & Albert, a royal love - fabulous animations.
Out of the ordinary:
* Saturday, go clue hunting in Shoreditch.
* Or sing at the pub. At the Coach & horses, it has become a tradition every Saturday. They even have a piano.
* Prepare your own potions.
* A little London love.
* See a movie. On a roof. In a theatre made of reclaimed material form the olympic park.
* Camelias are in bloom at the Chiswick House – gorgeous!
There are a thousand ways to explore the personnality of a city. Wander endlessly, getting lost in its narrowest streets, looking up, down, around in amazement. Leaf through guide books, writing down addresses, details, discovering them one by one. Read the best blogs for those gem places that are not yet too trendy. Get fictions taking it as a background. Join walking tours. Ask friends and colleagues for their advice on this and this neighbourhood. Choose and event and walk in spirals around it . Decide on a theme a day – chocolate shops or gardens.
For Camden, go for card reading.
The agency You have found Coney has created a fun site with a gorgeous design: Camden Players. You get to choose cards fitting your mood and personnality then learn you are a Camden bohemian, adventurer with a dash of a rebel, dandy with a dash of poet… Always brings a smile to your face.
The atmosphere will remind you of old fashioned tarot cards, illustrations retaining a gothic-gipsy feel, an enigmatic look. A few seconds later appear 3 propositions of exhibition, show, festival… in Camden. Most I had never heard of and go through quite a few sites a day! 101 ideas to discover, an option towards the end allows you to see the whole list. Your week-end will just not be enough.
Camden Players website
A ray of sunshine and the barbecues are out.
Yesterday, I listened to my colleagues comparing the latest models. Electric, gaz, coal? Was it worth trying to smoke your own food? which marinade works best with pork?
Those who had neither garden nor balcony still jumped in – they buy a portable version and stop at the nearest park or beach.
My supermarket, at this time of the year, even offers a whole aisle of brochettes, keftas…
Add to this that we are in the middle of the barbecue week (yes, it does exist!).
And so, I went in quest of inspiration. Delighted by my visit at Salaam Namaste, I had also noted that their new branch in Camden specialises in Indian and Pakistanese style grilled food. The decoration is more modern and colourful and fits right in that cheerful neighbourhood. And right in the heart of the restaurant, an open kitchen presents an amazing tandoor oven. Brochettes are plunged in an open fire, the juice falls on the charcoal, creating a fragranced smole that gives the meat an incomparable taste.
We decided on a bench-tasting. First – get some strength back after a long and hot day.It is always best to go through an appetizing menu helped with poppadoms.
Indian restaurants usually bring you a pile of simple round ones. What a nice surprise to get a basket of different shapes and textures! One of those is close to puffed rice and includes cumin seed for an extra wow effect.
The chutneys also have a twist. The classic mango - a British favourite - is there as is a green chilli salsa and a tomato based sauce, almost sweet and tasting of sunshine.
To celebrate, we order Indian Teas (£6.50) – very exotic indeed and you could almost have it as a desert too: gin, lemongrass, blackberry, litchee. The lemongrass makes it a perfect match to any spiced dinner. Next time, we’ll try the intriguing Cool as Cucumber (£6.50): cucumber, vodka, elderflower, apple juice.
And then the fest begins. How could you not fall for the Lamb Barra Kabab Afghani style lamb cutlets (£5.50), made tender by a ginger, black pepper and spices marinade then slowly cooked in a tandoor? Let me tell you - no barbecue champion could make a better dish than this one. Great smoked flavour too.
I went for the Peshawari Lamb Chops tender pieces of lamb chops (£10.95) – perfectly cooked, almost caramelised sometimes, almost no need for a knife. Meat lovers will devour it and will no doubt hesitate to order some more stright away. Well done too for the slate-plates, brought still warm: nice modern touch, makes the food look like a painting.
We could not resist to get some more. So sorry for the blurred pictures – it looked so gorgeous that I was more eager to taste then photograph…Look at this huge portion of Sheek Kabab (£7.95) - a mix of lamb, garlic, ginger, garam masala and green pepper, home smoked. Delicate and so moist - I would have gladly stolen the recipe. Great idea to sprinkle fresh coriander on top (take notes for you next garden party!). We paired it to a glass of Pampas del Sur Chenin (£3.25), an Argentinian Sauvignon, medium dry that make apricot and peach notes dance on your tastebuds.
Not a meat lover? Not to worry – go for the seafoodlike like the Whole Baked Sea Bass rolled in spices before being grilled (£12.95). Or the Ajwaini Wild African Jumbo Prawn (£9.95), seasoned wirh coriander and spicy Goan salt… I loved the Char grill Jingha Tiger prawns, huge prawns married to ginger, yogurt, paprika, dried mango… (£14.95). Add a little lemon juice – a bite of heaven.
Try it with a glass of Ca’ Solare (£3.50) – a lingering pinot grio which tropical, pineapple touch highlight s the dish perfectly.
Fancy some vegetables? There is quite a choice: Baby potatoes with cumin (£3.50), Dhall Makhani slow cooked black lentil, (£3.50), South Indian style stir fry vegetables (£3.50, below) or my favourite Sesame Baby Aubergine with mustard and curry leaf sauce (£3.50): eahc ingredient balances the other, a gourmet/Indian version of my french ratatouille.
No Indian meal is complete without a naan. Namaaste Kitchen again, stars - what a range! Where to start? The sweet Peshawari with nuts and raisins (£2.50)? The ginger and date which would be an ideal replacement to poppadums (£2.50)? The dried tomato and rosemary (£2.50)?
A-ma-zing. No place left for desert. I almost liked my fingers and you can be sure guys will love it. The cuisine is inventive, the dishes presented with great care, the price just right for the quality. The team proved ever so kind with each table, smiling sincerely and truly delighted at compliments - you can see they are proud of the restaurant.A must-stop in Camden if you fancy an exotic meal!
London NW1 7AH
Teatime in Wonderland was a guest of Namaaste Kitchen
Feeling sad, tired, demotivated? Throw that vitamine C away. What you need is a few friends and a good dose of Blues Kitchen.
Recently opened in Camden, this friendly address is a lovely mix of bar, restaurant and music club. American atmosphere, wooden deco with extraodinairy lights (made me feel like raiding an antique shop to make the same), blues in the background, an always smiling and always cheerful team.
It takes just a glimpse to want to step in, just have a drink, you know, have a chat to catch those weeks that always go too fast, get some more personal news. Hesitation. Should we try their large collection of Bourbons…? We finally opted for whisky based cocktails and cheered with a Distinguished Gentleman (whisky, creme de peche, orange juice and angostura bitters – £7) and a Bourbon Smash (Bourbon, mint, raspberry, lemon juice, sugar - £7). Surprisingly refreshing. makes you forget about pubs, think about the Far West somehow. Conversations flow, laughs explode at the tables around us.
Hunger comes. It’s time for a huge sharing platter (£14) which can easily feed 3. There’s everyone’s favourite: grille green peppers and tortillas to dip in guacamole, salsa, soured cream… chicken and buffalo wings that you will not resist easting with your fingers… Sweet potato wedges – to die for! – with cajun spices…
By now, you have forgotten you had ever felt tired. The waitress proposes a real, thick, ice-cream milkshake. Her advice is spot on – the vanilla-peanut butter (£4.5) just matches the dishes perfectly (there’s even an alcoholic version!). Bonus point for the tall glass filled to the top brought with a little extra in the shaker. Very Happy days!
A burger passes by. A look at the menu, a smile at the mention of the bacon one: : The Big Daddy of burgers (£11). Well, that’s a deal then! The portion is huge, the meat juicy, served with fries and coleslaw. We were prett hungry but did not succeed to finish it. Next time, we’ll go for the very original Creole bean burger and Jerk chicken burger… We also tried the New Orleans Combo (£13) – takes you right there, you can almost hear the regional accent… This is such a comfort dish, almost a casserole, with its fragrant mix of smoked sausage, chicken, sweet potato, beans, tomato with grilled gambas on top. what’s not to love, he? Slightly spicy, just enough to make your cheeks go pink, not enough to stop you from having another fork…
And suddenly, the band comes closer, walking around the table. Think of the Aristocats scene with O Malley’s friends! As if they were pouring the music straight in you. Make you feel like dancing, shaking all the calories from the meal. What a swinging, jazzing, blues singing Camden place!
We left the rhythms still vibrating in us, humming soul music on the way home, thinking that singing the blues really could make you see la vie en rose…
The Blues Kitchen
111 – 113 Camden High Street
London NW1 7JN
Teatime in wonderland was a guest of The Blues Kitchen
Night falling from 16.00 onwards… First frosts and there are talks of snow… Say no to the winter blues and put fireworks in your life!
- It’s also party time in Seven Dials – get 20% off your shopping!
- Don’t forget the V&A late opening on Friday – free workshops to create your xmas presents and a DJ…
- Wander on a rooftop terrasse with a gorgeous view on St Paul. Free public access!
- Feel like ice-skating? Try an early session @ the Somerset House: for £18.50, and adult and a child can skate for an hour then have a hot chocolate, a glass of champagne and a cupcake. Or try a historical background such as Hampton Court or the Tower…
- Fall for nougat and chesnuts @ the Paddington Xmas Market…
- Escape with these beautiful landscapes…
- But what can girls pack in their handbags? The answer is at Selfridge’s…
- Want a brand new collection of clothes without spending a penny? Learn to swish!
- Be a child again with those illustrations…
- Step in artists’ studios…
- The road is yours! On Saturday, both Oxford and Regent St will be closed to traffic for a better shopping experience. Plus music and entertainement!
- Looking for an original gift? Why not an artwork in this pop-up shop? They even have a landscape made of neons…
- Rediscover Camden…
- Last but not leat… a cocktail served with a chocolate truffle… Cheers!