Posts Tagged ‘Covent Garden’
If you are fan of organic products, Melvita is already on your favourite list. The founder, Bernard Chevilliat, a beekeeper passionate about nature and traditions, created the brand in 1983. Melvita wmade a name for itself before the trend for natural and organic cosmetics took hold and remains one of the most important French names in that field. There are two dedicated boutiques in London and they are so worth stopping by. Recently invited to discover the one in St Martins Couryard, I remain quite impresed with the range of products – more than 200! – and the so fluid textures, deliciously perfumed.
The most iconic is without doubt Apicosma. Based on 3 organic honeys (thyme, acacia and orange blossom), the spa and cocoon effect is immediate and the hydratation maximum. It will like a velvet glove. Don’t forget the healing powers of royal jelly - magic words in the winter season. Why not try the discovery box? It includes a body milk, a hand cream and a fantastic lip balm. So much softness in those 3 products…
Still in the gift category (plenty of assortments for Christmas!), the rose one is a must-buy. Using wild rose petals, it is surprisingly modern, delicate and so, so refreshing. Such a nice combination: a rose water splendid as a tonic, a divine shower gel reenergising fantastically after a day running around and a divine cream hand.
On that evening, hand massages were proposed. The first step was a scrub - funny how you never think of doing that at home. Like for the body, the skin needs to be cleaned of dead cell to absorbe hydration best. And such a difference, such a suppleness! I always have found difficult to find the right grain: too small and it disappears quickly, not coarse and it proves aggressive. But this one is just right, a lovely roundness that soothes nicely. Oh and the smell - so fruity. Almost dangerous, like a dessert. The yellow fruit ones – quince, apple and hazelnut is splendid.The extraordinary oil is worth trying too. It groups 5 different ones form around the world (Moroccan Argan oil, Kendi oil from Indonesia, Buruti oil from Brazil, Pracaxi oil from Amazonia) for their fortifying, regenerating, hydrating qualities. So rich, such a discreet yet cheerful fragrance yet it is absorbed so very quickly and radiant-looking skin. Brilliant as a hair mask too, you will be amazed at how supple it will be. Oh, and their is a gold-dust version of this to look even more festive.A last love-at-first-sight, the jasmine-bergamot perfume. So unique, so unusual… for an exceptional woman, of course.
Still a few presents to make? Great range for guys – you would be amazed how the word “organic” makes them happy to take care of themselves but also a nice collection for mums-to-be/yummy mummy/babies. Oh and most of the iconic products exist as bag-size versions so use them as stocking fillers!
St Martin’s Courtyard
Some days call for a celebration, a little extra sparkle, some wow yet comfort delicacy, a little more sun and cheerfulness. I find mine at Champagne + Fromage, a couple of streets away from Covent Garden. Close enough to make you feel in the buzzing heart of London, far enough to get away from restaurants filled with tourists. It has a French bistrot feel, the warmth of wooden tables and this special red that will get glossier with as time passes. A beautiful line of glasses glistens above your head, the air is filled with delicious smells of saucissons and Basque cheese. The team is already smiling at you. they know just what you need. Bye-Bye London fish & chips, bonjour terroir!
Rather than a wine bar, this cute little address has opted for the champagne option. Thankfully it has left the cold style of the City version – suits and way too much seriousness - to focus on the important thing: a bubbly time and making your cheeks pinkier with happiness. No need to be an expert. There is such a huge difference before the drink usually served in launches – bland, flat – and one single glass of one chosen with passion. Your tastebuds suddenly come alive, your eyes wil open wide, the flavours are so very intense. Like tea, champagne can make you forget the noise of the world.
If your knowledge is minimal, fear not. The menu matches each dish with a perfectly chosen glass of champagne. The team is incredibly helpful and will make your mouth water in a few words description. Just have a look below at the gorgeous pale gold of this Pertois-Morizet. Brut, round, with elegant red fruit touches that will leave you hungry for more. We tried it with Poilâne bread tartines – crisp slices, this unmistakable nuttiness. Our choice was the Auvergne - rich roasted figs and melted Fourme d’Ambert. But you could also go for other unusual options: Armagnac prunes and roquefort… Pear and Langres cheese… Tomme de brebis cheese, roasted pepper and mango chutney. French stereotypes also are given a twist: snails are served as a raclette salad with Mesclun, tomato and creamy Morbier. Oh, and frogs legs are transformed in to tempura, with a roquefort sauce.
The menu also is thought for sharing - how about a board of cheese or charcuterie? And trust me, the latter is of a rare quality. The peppery of a ham, the tenderness of the freshly cut meat, the floral of a saucisson, the crunchiness of a gherkin and teasing of a pickled onion. Both aromas and flavours are amazing, exquisite. Surprise - this is served with a pink champagne, a Michel Furdyna brut, a fantastic choice to which I would not have ventured on my own. I guess there is a misconception linked to rosé wines (cheaper, less “serious”, lighter too) that leaves you with the thought that this is just about the pretty colour. But ah, chilled and crisp, a very frank taste, an elegance. It brings an amazing structure to savory food. It is strongly recommended with lamb too and I cannot wait to try this combination. And although your eyes are already sparkling from the brilliant selection of dishes, it is the dessert that really will leave you speechless. Yes, you will have a slight doubt when reading Chocolate fondant with Basque blue. Yet cacao and cheese can match - I have tried brownies made with goat’s cheese in the past and apart from having a special creaminess, you could never have guessed. Go for it. It is divine and will indeed surprise you. The melting heart has a mmmmh texture. The chocolate and blue both have their own strength but complement each other rather than clashing. And so you go back, trying to place, enjoying each spoonful, spiced with some Espelette chili. A sudden thought comes – why be reasonable? Yes, do order another… It is either that or licking the plate. Finish with a glass of Lacroix La Réserve, admiring the complexity of its blend – Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier et Chardonnay. A hint of vanilla, ripe fruit, broche. A sigh of pure happiness.
The bistrot doubles up as a boutique and yes you can buy the charcuterie, cheese and champagne. As well as rillettes, cassoulet, terrines, soups, jams to die for. Eurostar to France can wait - there is a lovely slice of it in Covent Garden…
Champagne + Fromage
22 Wellington street
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.
Funny how the tube map proves fascinating. Stations like stars in a galaxy, modern labyrinth of connecting lines, Harry Beck’s vision of it including a bottle shape in the heart of the network. It inspires so many artists - remember Simon Patterson whoreinvented by thems, changing each stop name to footballers, comedians, saints, philosophes… The London Transport Museum has recently opened their Mind the map exhibition – fabulous cartography, some historical, other imaginary, some more contemporary, even created for the occasion. Quite fascinating indeed, this walk through lines coming alive, in MacDonald Gill’s universe (his Wonderground – 5th picture down – would fit into any Terry Pratchett novels), sweet wishes of favourite places sent by internauts and projected on a Greater London map, but also through a digital dimension where you can create an emotional tube map based on your fondest memories. For lovers of beautiful graphic designs, intricate cartography and urban poets.
Mind the Map, until October 28, 2012.
The entrance to the museum costs £13.50/adult (exhibition included but allows you to come back as many times as you wish for the following 12 months.)
London Transport Museum
Covent Garden Piazza
London, WC2E 7BB
I love, in the London tube stations, look for little details. All of them have a secret to tell – maybe an art work, a beautiful mosaic, a detail from the past… What is your favourite one? Scroll down to find ideas for the week-end!
That’s art, baby:
* Indulge yourself with a ticket to see Babel – an amazing outdoors theater play of epic proportions. Get one for a mere £10 for Sunday May 13 by calling 020 7223 2223 or visit BABELLONDON.com promo code: Blogger.
* On Saturday, the London Symphony Orchestra will delight music lovers on Trafalgar Square.
* Hermès celebrate 175 years of exquisite skills with a free exhibition that will make any fashionista sigh in envy.
* Have a look at artists’ studios in Wimbledon.
Take the little ones along:
* The Punch & Judy festival in Covent Garden always is worth the detour - even better, it’s free.
* Dream with the miniature world of doll houses - a whole festival in Kensington.
* Add to the magic and enjoy Narnia in Kensington Gardens.
Out of the ordinary:
* Be zen and celebrate Bouddha’s birthday at Leicester square.
* Saturday, Morris dancers will make Westminster so much more cheerful.
* Another look at the jubilee but on the stamps side.
Seeing this installation in the Fortnum & Mason’s windows, I immediately thought of Postcrossing. In a world where we all tweet faster than our shadow, this excellent website put postcard, pens and stamps back on the table. Set up your free account and you will get the address of a total stranger, a few lines describing their hobbies. Write a kinf note a little hello, good wishes for the day, a quote. Some time later, you will in turn receive a card from another total stranger. So much nicer than ads and bills when going back home…
St George’s day:
* Not to be missed on Saturday. For St George’s day, Trafalgar Square turns into a garden for an afternoon. Bandstand and 3D effect included.
* A movie? Yes, but with style at One Aldwych, martini included!
* Or see Hitchcock classics in London churches.
* Try Bugsy Malone at the Troxy. Not just the movie, the setting and the atmosphere. A fantastic experience.
Take the little ones along:
* On Saturday, ride on a vintage bus.
* Meccano fans, feel like a child again at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.
Out of the ordinary:
* Have lunch at the Hackney homemade food market.
* At the Horse Hospital, play with the strange and the occult.
* Go for a romantic walk.
* A new exhibition space is opening in Covent Garden, dedicated to movie stars. Amazing iconic pictures - a must see.
* To celebrate record store day, independant shops are planning free concerts and nice workshops. Have a look here.
I love April skies. Indecisive, tortured. A ray of sunshine, a shower of rain, the sudden music of hail. Of course, it may lead to a certain surcharge (shirt, scarf, hood, sunglasses - be prepared for everything. In the same day.) But as dusk approaches, clouds take a velvety appearance, get painted with even brighter colours if only for a minute, like a luxurious marble… Get your umbrella and scroll down to discover ideas for your week-end in London!
That’s art baby!
* Rediscover London through photographs of its past at the Wandworth museum
* Be amazed by Cate Blanchett, on the stage of the Barbican for a few days only.
* Fall for the “Afternoon tea in the park” hampers by Bea’s . Ah, if only we also could order some sun!
* This week-end, the Southbank market celebrates India.
* Dine as on the Titanic - the final menu is recreated at Hix for the centenary.
* A mobile tea-room – love it! Follow it in Soho.
Take the little ones along:
* A delicious idea from Carluccio’s: a biscuit workshop for bakers-to-be.
* Take them to see the newborn ducklings - nothing could be cuter.
Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday, shop rock’n'roll at a cute themed vintage market.
* Abracadabra, have a look at the Magic Circle Museum.
* On Friday, indulge in a free concert at the V&A, a mix of jazz and Indian music.
* Every Sunday until the end of August, the Spitafields City Farm proposes an outdoor “eco-chic” market - worth a detour if you are around Brick Lane.
* Did you know you can swap your books on Carnaby street?
* On Sunday, to celebrate the Olivier Awards, the place to be will be the Covent garden Piazza with performances from top West End shows.
Not just a florist, a real school. Whether you are a professional or just passionate, there is a course for you. Come for a day or an evening and learn to make the cutest bride bouquet, make a blooming rainbow, create flower hats, or arrange autumn leaves and berries.
The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers
St Martin’s Courtyard
9 Slingsby Place
London, WC2E 9AB
This iconic hotel, which names remains full of magic, has lost nothing of its sparkle. Sitting in the most elegant lounge, listening to the pianist’s magic touch, you can picture stars sipping on champagne… Choose the 15.00 afternoon tea on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday which is preceded by a tour of The Waldorf: you will discover, among other things, beautiful stained windows, the famous Palm Room which inspired the grand salon of the Titanic and learn the basement used to have its own Masonic templse and still hides many passage ways… Look at the pictures – the treats are as delicious as they look.
London WC2B 4DD
Afternoon tea £23.50
Afternoon tea with champagne £34.50
Sweet dreams are guaranteed at One Aldwych. A gourmet breakfast too!
As for dinner, children have their own menu to choose from with more adapted portions – scrambled egges with ham & cheese (whether mixed or on the side), eggs and soldiers, English muffins with bacon, warm vanilla scented milk, gorgeous Valrhona hot chocolate… You will not hear a word form them, they will be too immersed in their own private feast.
Steaming cup of coffee in hand, newspaper in the other, you can take your time to wake up - no rush here. The windows frame amazing bouquets – delicate sunny orchids on that day. Choose from on of the set menus (English Breakfast, healthy option…) or like me, select everything à la carte. The muesli is absolutely perfect – moist, generous in a wide variety of nuts, seeds, fresh fruit. Order two at once. No you will not want to share. The eggs royales are an absolute must-have – slightly toasted muffin, tasty smoked salmon, eggs with a golden yolk, a slightly lemony sauce, very unctuous – I still dream about it. It is all in the elegance, the presentation, down to the honey comb touch…
I can easily picture inviting a work team here, having a good brainstorming: the atmosphere is so quiet, soothing, the food inspiring. Feel like coming with friends? Indigo proposes at week-ends, from nooon, a sensasional brunch. Or you could enjoy one of thei Moet movies – recent films projected in their own private, cosy cinema. the price also includes dinner, a glass of champagne and popcorn, quite a celebration indeed. And a good excuse to come back…
Teatime in Wonderland was a (very spoilt) guest of One Aldwych