The Chelsea Cafe, Bath

One time in Bath, pre dog walk, Mr A and I grabbed a coffee from The Chelsea Cafe, in Bath. It looked amazing inside and I was gutted we didn’t get a chance to sit down and investigate properly.

Luckily last week we had some time to sit down in the sun and take a further look.

From the outside it doesn’t look particularly amazing, just like a normal coffee shop really, but inside it has a effortless, trendy London feel where you can see that they really care about their coffee and fresh local producee – they have written a nice little piece about their suppliers here

Chelsea Cafe
We ordered two flat whites (of course) and some sandwhiches – I went for a tuna melt & Mr. A later regretted his boring chicken and mustard choice (not slating the sandwhich, it was indeed very nice just a bit boring). They also had a larger menu of brunch options but we failed to notice that before we ordered #fail

Sandwhich

The staff were really lovely and there was such a happy feel to the place, everyone in there just wanted to take some time and enjoy a coffee with a friend or family. We were lucky to blag a seat outside and had lovely views of Bath as the cafe is at the top of a REALLY BIG hill.

Chelsea Cafe
Here you can also see an amazing brownie and a gluten free flapjack which was SO tasty. Probably a little over indulgent but oh well.

The Chelsea Cafe was resonably priced – all of the above came to about £19, what I think you would expect from a independant coffee shop in a nice area.
You can check out the website HERE

CHELSEA CAFE: 8E CHELSEA ROAD, BATH, BA1 3DU

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The amazing Tales & Spirits – Amsterdam

WHERE: Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, 1012 TE,  Amsterdam
WHEN: 12/04/14
WHY: We fancied a fancy meal out during our weekend in the ‘dam

A late post I know…time has run away with me and I seem to be a little behind…oops.

SO, during my wonderful trip to Amsterdam, Mr A. and I went to this utterly incredible restaurant/cocktail bar. I was recommended (more like ordered) by a friend so visit – so we managed to get a booking and hurrah! there we were, sat down in this beautiful cocktail bar hidden on a backstreet reading a small novel (which actually was the cocktail menu) Here’s a handy link to the website where most of their cocktails are listed
Tales & Spirits

We were greeted by a lovely, smiley waitress who knew my name (nice touch!) who I had actually already been texting to confirm our reservation and ask for directions.

We were sat down and given two small wooden books – these my friends where the cocktail menus. They had a small story behind each of their house cocktails and a lengthy list of other cocktails – all with a great description and quirky name. We started off with “Bird Is The Word” (rum based) and “Quiz Fizz” (gin based) which were both lavely!

Tales

The most AMAZING aperitif Pea soup arrived shortly after our cocktails – I honestly haven’t tasted anything quite like it. The texture was beautifully smooth and the flavours were so intense and rich without being too ‘pea-y’

Our lovely waitress came back and started her well rehearsed speech in how to order…the menu was slightly different to normal in the sense all of the dishes are small so you are recommended to order two each. I was confused though  because they are not like tapas – but a weird in-between main and starter. We got stuck in though and chose the following…
Hummus with asparagus, tempura, rye-sesame crumble, baby red chard and poppadums’
This particular combination of ingredients didn’t seem like they should work together, but they did, and it was all presented in a lovely (slightly random) flower pot
Risotto with sautéed wild mushroom, rocket lettuce & Parmesan
Really incredible but a little rich alongside all of the cocktails!
Beef fillet with dauphine potato, aceto reduction and Serrano crumble
The beef was cooked to perfection (as expected) and the aceto reduction was really, really great – a must have.
Mini ciabatta’s with dukkah and extra-virgin olive oil
They were mini and in a little leather sack – who wouldn’t love that!

The beef, asparagus tempura & risotto.

The beef, asparagus tempura & risotto.


*Sorry for the rubbish photos*

We didn’t go for a desert and instead ordered two ‘Zombie’ cocktails…the ‘Zombie‘ cocktail is a combination  of rum and absinthe and other stuff and limited to only two per person…I have had similar in London a few times (a well known being the ‘Grog’ in Meat & Liquor) so nothing to write home about but still damn tasty – and they set it on fire! Whey!

All in all I had a wonderful, wonderful experience  at Tales & Spirts. The décor was beautiful, the food was amazing, and the atmosphere and staff were great! The size of the portions was a little annoying and I would prefer actual dishes but that won’t stop me going back next time I am in the ‘dam.

P.S. It all came in at a cool 92 EURO so defiantly not the cheapest place to eat out. And we probably could have eaten more.

(Lebanese) Meza, Tooting Bec, London

There’s no better place to award my first review to than to the truly amazing Meza in Tooting Bec.

A quick background: Lebanese tapas as I like to call it. Tucked away on Trinity street in Tooting Bec SW17, Meza can only seat 17 people at any one time and the kitchen is basically part of the restaurant (with 3 out of the 17 seats being on a bar that looks into it)
Bookings are hard to get and they have 2 sittings every evening, one at 7pm and one at 9pm.

The food is just unreal, you can tell that the chefs are well experienced and take great care in their work – which can be hard to come by with Lebanese food!
Selection of food

I have visited Meza near on 10 times now so it is probably easiest if I give you a run down of my favourite dishes (and if you have any sense you will be sure to order these when you visit)..

Hummus Awarma (hummus with walnuts and diced lamb)
The walnuts and the small amount of diced lamb contrast the hummus perfectly. I find hummus can be a little sickly/rich sometimes (especially if ‘home made’) but the addition of the walnuts and diced lamb balances the flavours perfectly – great for a starter…and a main…and to pick at when your done actually.

Grilled Kallaj (melted Haloumi in flatbread)
I’d suggest 1 serving for 2 people as this is so delicious (me and my friends always get 1 per person but that could be seen as greedy). Absolutely no squeak on the Haloumi and just the perfect amount of melting – the bread is so light you can eat bowl after bowl and still be ready to conquer your main! (Honestly, this could be my most favourite thing in the world)
Falafel

Falafel
A falafel made properly! Suitable for gluten free-ers, these falafels are made pan fried crushed pine nuts and no flour. Very delicious and give you a real taste for the authentic middle eastern flavours.

Mixed Grill
This is perfect when you can’t choose which meat to go for. Particularly good dish if there is a party of 2, 3 or 4. It covers all of the best meats and the portion size is great.

Soujouk (Garlic and chilli lamb sausages)
Beautiful ‘mini’ sausages with the right kick, they compliment the otherwise non-spicy foods that I find take over this menu (I’m not complaining though, I annoyingly can’t ever tolerate the mild at Nando’s. I am working on this though!)

The service can be a little slow at times but the staff are always so cheery and happy to assist. The staff here are always honest and tell you if you have ordered too much food – that is one thing I love in a restaurant and can be hard to come across.

Both the white and the red wine are house Lebanese wines. The red is so so tasty (better than the white I feel and I am normally a white drinker) One bottle will cost you £15 think it may be £17 now though?), a
price that will make any hangover a little more bareable. If you prefer to drink by the glass the prices are still great. Also,  they don’t tend to measure out their glasses – meaning you always get a little more than expected! (N.B. Pouring wine into a metal measuring thing before it goes into your glass is one of my pet hates – bluegh!)

When combining the cost, service, quality of food, quality of wine and authenticity of the menu/venue, I think I can go as far as saying this is my favourite restaurant. (!!!) I am never, ever(!) disappointment and my bank balance is always happy enough after a visit there!

See, there we are, taking up half of the restaurant

See, there we are, taking up half of the restaurant

WHERE: 34 Trinity Road, London, SW17 7RE
WHEN: I last went about a year ago *sad face*…I lived in Tooting for almost 2 years and went around once a month. I am hoping to visit soon (after my move east!) and will update with new points when this happens..

A handy link to the menu online…http://www.zomato.com/london/meza-tooting/menu