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Opium's dim sum & cocktails 9th birthday masterclass

Monday, 29 November 2021

This week on my quest for quirky restaurants and unique experiences in London, I came across Opium and their birthday celebrations in Chinatown.
From the street, all you see of Opium is an inconspicuous entrance leading up to an extremely dark stairwell but at the top, the noise and heavy atmosphere hit me as soon as opened the door. Lit up with lanterns and packed with people, it was dark, hidden, busy; a tiny little place that felt kind of exclusive, like a secret.
Having arrived early, we had time for a quick drink before being ushered down some stairs into a secret bar which was where the event took place. Having flicked through the menu, I knew this place was going to be good. Each cocktail was totally unique and the ones we ordered with delicious. 

There were about 20 people in total, in the secret little bar. Designed to feel like an old school Chinese drinking den it was the perfect venue to host what really was, an awesome evening.

The time flew by as we made our way through three classic cocktails and then their take on each one; paired with some dim sum.

Starting simple with a G&T; their take came mixed with pineapple & cucumber wine. It took away all the usual bitterness of gin and was the first time I've enjoyed it. This light and fruity drink came with a basket of king prawn dumplings which we made our way though whilst listening to an explanation on how gin and tonics got paired. That sort of stuff is always interesting. 

Next was a Mai Tai. We tried the classic and then watched Chef Jeremy make their version whilst he told us about its origin. With the addition of toasted cumin, this drink was absolutely something else, the smell alone took you to somewhere else. Mango cordial gave it an added fruity zing added so much to the original cocktail. We drank those with spicy duck dumplings.

Last was an old fashioned which I didn't like. Whiskey is, just not for me, although, this heavy drink came alongside some Cantonese BBQ pork buns and those were delicious. We actually stayed and ordered some more after the event came to an end - along with some more food and drinks - and would have continued to do so for a few hours had the kitchen not shut.

So yes, a very good evening. Sadly, the event was a one time thing, but if what we ate and drank was anything to go by, then I'll be very keen to head back as soon as I get the chance.

It was mid November so acceptable time to get my first sparkly top of the season out which was very exciting. I paired it with black jeans, leather boots and some new jewellery which I've been gifted via Estee Lalonde at Daisy London. I haven't worn a necklace, or a bracelet for that matter, for years but I did like the way these pieces looked - a simple chain can add so much to an outfit. 

5 unique places to drink cocktails in Mykonos

Monday, 22 November 2021

Cocktails are an important part of any proper holiday - they are for me at least.

I started writing this post laid up by the pool with two frozen cocktails next to me (not quite sure how that happened - my boyfriend has a habit of over ordering) and although pre-lunch drinking isn't a normal occurrence for me, late afternoon and evening holiday cocktails are.

Mykonos is extremely expensive and getting anything apart from beer or wine, sub €15 seems to be a rarity. Don't worry, I did find some - getting through as many cocktails as we did we were sure to find a couple - and whilst I have mentioned them, this list is more about getting the best experience for your money.

180 Degrees Bar

Best for: Sunset views

Having tried multiple times to book a table beforehand; we just turned up a couple of minutes before the sunset started and honestly, it was carnage but we got in in the end. It was just the two of us and I was determined to find a seat - so I did but if there's a big group of you, I would suggest getting something booked before you arrive because it was no easy feat!

There was a €20 entree fee but this included a free drink so when you factor in that we were spending €15 for cocktails everywhere else, the entree fee was hardly nothing. 

Be warned, it was very busy and also a little bit pretentious but I wouldn't let that put you off, the sunset views are worth it.

Yialo Yialo

Best for: Romantic evenings

The restaurants that line Platis Gialos beach vary quite a bit but this one was the busiest so we took a chance and it paid off; plus I liked the candle lit tables on the beach here, all very romantic.

We initially stopped for dessert (which was very good) and were shocked to see the cheapest cocktails we'd come across - €13 each!

A lot of places in Mykonos serve their own unique cocktails; ones they had created had themselves which more often than not, were not very good but this menu was full of classics so we went straight ahead and ordered a pina colada and a frozen daiquiri. 

SantAnna

Best for: Beach club vibes

I'm not usually one to sit at the beach all day but Mykonos is full of beach clubs so we wanted to experience it.

I decided on SantAnna on Paraga beach and I was more than happy with my choice. Some of the prices at the other places were completely outrageous but SantAnna gave us what we wanted for a slightly more reasonable price. We booked a little beach cabana for €80 each, half of which was redeemable against food and drinks and the vibe was super relaxed and laid back.

I spent the whole trip drinking caprioskas and the ones at SantAnna were some of my favourite - each enjoyed in a different part of the club. We spent the day by the beach, had lunch under the huge bamboo pergola and finished the late afternoon drinking by the pool.


Veranda 

Best for: Old town experience

Having made it out of the maze of streets in the old town center, we stumbled across a little cluster of bars hidden around the back. They were right on the water with the windmills in the distance, it was an awesome place to sit - as long as you didn't mind the occasional splash from a big wave. 

There was a different vibe from the main part of the old town; more relaxed, kind of less bothered about what was going on around them - having spoken to a waitress later that day, we realised its because that's where to locals go.

I was impressed with the cocktail menu and the high quality of these drinks compared to some of the places we went to.

Beef Bar

Best for: Beachside luxury

The Beef Bar is located in the Bill&Coo hotel and was a bit of a hidden gem in my opinion. Our hotel recommended it so we hopped on the quad bike and went for a late afternoon drive. 

It looked over the hotel's small private beach and out to the sea meaning there were hardly any people around. The view was flawless plus it was just calm and very relaxing.

The whole place felt very exclusive but the price of the drinks obviously factored that in, because my cocktail was €24. That being said, it was also the best cocktail I had whilst in Mykonos and the location was pretty perfect.


Which one will you visit first?

Italian Gourmet Ready Meals By Delita

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Last month, I popped down to a very fancy house in Notting hill for a night in with Delita.

Technically pre-made and microwavable, Delita don't quite resonate with the term 'ready meal' because they are more than just that. 

It's a premium product; a ready meal like no other.

Having struggled to find any authentic and ready to go Italian food, Ava and Daniel - the co-founders, decided to do it themselves and they've done a great job.

The result? Restaurant standard food; ready to eat in minutes. 

Each dish is created with high quality ingredients and comes in a vacuum sealed glass jar which removes the need for preservatives. The packaging also details how to plate up with style so you can really make a statement when you serve it.

Over the course of the evening, we ate a lot and had I not been sat at the island, watching Daniel make the food; I wouldn't have believed it came out of a microwave. It was rather fancy. 

Georgia loved the tagliatelle; and I can agree - for a veggie dish, the pasta had an awesome, almost meaty bite but my favourite was the octopus. Served with roasted cherry tomatoes in saffron potato cream, it wasn't chewy at all. I just love how boujie it is to be eating octopus at home.


What a lovely event, really. I brought Georgia along and it just felt like we'd been invited to a dinner party with friends. Good company, amazing venue and delicious, high quality food!

*Invite

Coppa Club's new Putney Location

Monday, 8 November 2021

Having dinner in an igloo is a new idea that seems to have made itself quite at home in London, I mean it's definitely cold enough.

Not only are they very instagrammable - they are - but these cosy little domes are great because they provide a private space away from other diners and they allow you to enjoy eating outside without freezing the death in the temperatures of the British winter. With the Thames running through the city, there is more than enough reason to want to enjoy a riverside meal outside, it's very pretty in the winter.



Whilst these plastic structures are popping up in all of London's scenic spots it doesn't seen to be any easier to get a booking. Luckily for me, I was in the right place at the right time and managed to secure an igloo at Coppa clubs new location in Putney, on their opening night.



There are three igloos in Putney each of which seat up to 8; they really are set up for a cosy winters evening.

Inside, they're adorned with foliage, paper lanterns, and blankets on each seat. And outside; the riverside view which was really beautiful with the bridge lit up against the dark nights sky.



The menu at Coppa club wasnt a specific cuisine, it pretty much has something for everyone with options from pizzas and pasta, through to steaks, chicken, fish and the odd exotic dish - which is what I ordered!

Booking an igloo also gives you access to the 'igloo menu' which David took full advantage of. He ordered the truffle wagyu burger whilst I enjoyed the Thai green prawns. Both very good in terms of both taste and quality.
 


The igloos were great but very intimate and romantic with just the two of us so we decided to take dessert inside to soak up some atmosphere. 

The main resturant was very busy. I think it was fully booked so we found a cosy booth in the bar area and got stuck in to some sweet treats there.

Mixed in among starters, desserts and cocktails, it was surprisingly one of the cheapest meals we've had out in a very long time.




Good job, Coppa club. We will definitely be back.

Shout out to Charlie who was an awesome waiter and made our evening with free champagne and great service. He is a font of coppa club knowledge.

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