My Dairy-free Birthday Breakfast

The day after my birthday, I planned a day of pampering, relaxation and “me” time. It started with having breakfast solo at The Breakfast Club – one of my favourite breakfast spots. A friend was meant to come with me but cancelled last minute, so I plucked up the courage to go by myself. And I loved it.

My main reason for choosing The Breakfast Club was because I wanted to try its new vegan addition to the menu: the Beauregarde Pancakes. These were gluten free pancakes (a bit annoying because I’m not gluten free) with warm blueberry compote, complete with Oatly cream and maple syrup.

I also ordered bacon, because how can you not have pancakes with bacon, and avocado because I am crushing on this fruit and am obsessed with its health benefits.

To drink, I had the cold pressed green juice – spinach, celery, lemon, apple and ginger. Anything with ginger and apple in it and I am sold.

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I didn’t like the consistency of the pancakes because they were gluten free, making them drier than I am used to. They weren’t too sweet, but the blueberry compote added a natural sweetness.

I love that the cream was Oatly, because that’s the alternative I use on a day-to-day basis.

The breakfast was satisfying and I would definitely order it again.

Mich x

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P.s This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Ayannas

For my unexpected birthday meal, my hubby took me to Ayannas  – a fine dining Caribbean restaurant in East London.

When I realised that it was Caribbean food, I was disappointed because I eat this type of food regularly. But Ayannas surprised me, starting with the decor. The restaurant had a gorgeous couch and black piano at the entrance.

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For starters, I ordered the peppered prawns, which I forgot to take a picture of, and my hubby ordered the jerk chicken fillet (pictured above). My prawns were cooked to perfection – chewy and soft, but not undercooked. It was definitely peppered, so if you can’t handle spice then it’s best to avoid it.

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This was my main – the jerk chicken on a bed of tomatoes, with rice and peas and fried plantain. My goodness was this good! First of all, the rice and peas was cooked with coconut milk, which is the ONLY way it should be done. Alas, I know people who cook it without. Big no no!

The jerk chicken was delicious; I can still taste it now just thinking about it. It was incredibly flavoursome and a little hot, as jerk seasoning is. The tomatoes were a tangy complement to the chicken – an excellent touch.

I have to praise the plantain. Plantain is one of my favourite foods; I can eat it until I drop. And that’s exactly what I did with these. I was full but I couldn’t let them go to waste.

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This is what my hubby had – the curry goat and rice and peas. Isn’t the presentation something? Who would have thought to serve curry goat in filo pastry? I love the creativity, and my hubby enjoyed it too.

Caribbean food is one of those cuisines that you think is only best enjoyed when homecooked, which is why I was sceptical in the beginning. But Ayannas has proven me wrong, unlike a certain kitchen I won’t name. If you know, you know.

The staff were polite, professional and friendly. They even gave me a celebratory rum cake. It was a shame that I couldn’t eat it because of my dairy allergy, but my hubby ate it for me.

I loved my birthday meal. It’s one of the best ones I’ve had yet. If you like Caribbean food, I recommend Ayannas.

Mich x

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P.s This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

Back at Bill’s

A date night with the man was way overdue. I told him to pick the destination and he chose Bill’s, just a hop, skip and a jump away from us.

I’ve been to Bill’s twice before – once for breakfast and again for dessert from before I was dairy-free, which you can read about in this post.

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Calamari for starters. Always. You just can’t go wrong. Is calamari ever not good?

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And Dakkochi Chicken Skewers for the hubby. Of course chicken, with a spicy Korean barbecue glaze. I had to try some.

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Look at that smile!

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My main was a flat iron steak with caramelised red onions, chimichurri, and a smoky tomato, olive, red pepper and rocket salad and fries. I only wish that the steak had been well done, but they said it would take longer to prepare. Excuses if you ask me. The steak was chewy and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. But it was edible.

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Hubby went for the steak, egg and chips. No problem with his being well done. Look at that beauty.

Overall, it was nice to spend time with the man. I wish I’d ordered differently, and next time I will.

Have you ever been to Bill’s?

Mich x

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Rock & Rose

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My sister-in-law has great taste and for her birthday, she chose Rock & Rose in Richmond as the restaurant to celebrate it in. It took a while to get to, but it did not disappoint.

First impressions are everything and Rock & Rose is fascinating upon entry. Before you get into the restaurant, it has a cosy outside seating area, which had been reserved for us when the time limit on our table had run out. They had provided cushions on the steel seats and blankets to keep us warm. There was also a fire burning.

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Inside, the decor channels a kitsch and antique mood. We were sat opposite a giant mirror with scratched gold detailing, and the wallpaper in the corridor by the toilets gave me ‘grandma’ vibes, but had a lovely beige chair in the corner, so it was a mixture of the old and new.

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I can’t remember what I had to drink but I know it was good!

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For starters, I had the chilli salt squid with sweet chilli dipping sauce. You guys know how much I love calamari for starters. I really have to start choosing something different, but it’s because I know it won’t let me down.

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For my main, I chose the rib eye steak with roast tomato and rock fries. It was tender, flavoursome and satisfying. Like I said, my sister-in-law really knows how to pick her places. I enjoyed it so much that I would even go back with Julious, preferably when we get a car.

Have you ever been to Rock & Rose?

This post is not sponsored.

Mich x

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The best Duck & Waffle ever!

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I have a story to tell about the best customer service I have ever received. I had to share it because I was completely blown away.

My team had our Christmas breakfast at Duck & Waffle in the Heron Tower. Can I just say that the view is incredible, and so is that scary glass lift that takes you to the 40th floor in seconds. Thank God I came by myself so that I could hyperventilate in shame without anyone judging me. I had to hold my breath on the trip down though, so that I wouldn’t humiliate myself in front of my team (oh dear). Yes, you’ve gathered that I don’t like heights.

Anyway, when I found out that the majority of the menu either consisted of waffles, which are dairy, or eggs, which I also can’t eat, or both, I became quite dejected at the fact that I probably wouldn’t enjoy myself.

When the waiter came around, I asked for the house breakfast without eggs and without the cheddar and buttermilk scone. He asked me if I had allergies and I said yes – dairy and egg. He then offered to have a dairy-free waffle made for me. The eggs, he claimed, were processed, so they shouldn’t affect me. I decided to take him up on his offer and take a chance on the Duck & Waffle. For breakfast? Yes! I wasn’t paying after all.

Let me tell you, although the picture above looks plain, that was the best duck and waffle I’ve ever had! The waffle was so soft and fluffy. I didn’t react to it at all, and the duck was cooked so well. It wasn’t tough as I’d imagined it would be, but crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And the maple syrup wasn’t too sweet, so it was a delicious extra to an already perfect meal. I enjoyed my food so much!

I will definitely be going there again, if only to have the exact same thing that I had that day. This time, Julious will be coming with me so I can hold onto him for dear life in the elevator.

Have a good day all. I hope you were entertained by my story. It’s true you know 😉

Mich x

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Anniversary dinner at Zizzi

My hubby and I went to Zizzi – an Italian restaurant – for our anniversary on the 18th October. This is where we had our first date; same restaurant, just different location.

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To drink, I ordered the blackberry and lemon cooler, with Sprite, fresh blueberries, mint and rosemary. It was lovely and sweet; the lemon gave it a tangy kick.

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I really wanted calamari for starters but, unfortunately, the fryer wasn’t working and so, no fried food could be ordered. I chose the butterflied king prawns instead and was very happy with my pick. It was served in a delicious garlic butter sauce with two pieces of bread that I used to soak up the sauce with. Thankfully, I didn’t really react to the sauce, as it contained butter. The prawns weren’t too soft, not too chewy, and served in their shells, which I ate happily. Nothing was left on my plate apart from the lemon – signs of a delicious starter.

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I had the Calzone Carne Piccante – spicy roasted chicken, bolognese, herby wild boar pork meatballs, mozzarella, mushrooms and red chillies, wrapped in pizza dough. However, due to my dairy intolerance, I ordered it without the cheese. I know that this option is available to me, but I am constantly reminded of how much of a difference cheese actually makes to bringing out the flavour in food.

For that reason, I found my meal to be unfortunately bland. The spice was just spice and the meat was just meat. It didn’t taste particularly seasoned so, I was a little disappointed. Not to mention that the calzone is actually quite big so, I only ate half of it. I ended up wishing I had ordered something else, which isn’t exactly how you want to feel when you go to a restaurant.

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Yes! This is what I came for! *cue Rianna song* Seriously. I’d told my husband that I wanted to go to a Thai restaurant called Yum Yum, for our anniversary, but changed my mind when I was nonchalantly checking Zizzi’s menu, and found that they had introduced few dairy-free options; one of them being this sticky chocolate and praline torte!

Pros: It was dairy-free, sweet. Cons: It was very overindulgent. I forced myself to eat it all, but I shouldn’t have haha. It was so sweet that it became all a bit too much. But I didn’t want to let that stop me. I was just happy that Zizzi had been considerate enough to introduce alternatives to their menu. I think I would actually get it all over again. Don’t fault me. Being intolerant to dairy makes life hard enough.

I will definitely continue to visit Zizzi in the future; I’ll just make sure to pick a different main.

Have you been to Zizzi? What did you think of it?

Have a great weekend!

Mich x

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Frankie & Benny’s

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This post is so out of date – 2 months to be exact. I’m currently doing bridesmaid duties for a wedding on Saturday so, my posts have been a little out of sync. I haven’t been able to blog twice a week, but once the wedding is over, I will be able to get back into the swing of things.

When in Bournemouth, I took the hubby to Frankie & Benny’s for his birthday meal. I secretly chose it because I’ve never been and had always wanted to try it.

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For starters, I had the calamari. Calamari is my favourite starter ever! Frankie & Benny’s dish was the perfect combination of crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside.

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For the main, I chose the spicy meat pasta. And boy, is this exactly what it says on the label: spicy and meaty! I’m usually not fazed by spice because it is a staple in my mother’s cooking, but they really overdid it with the heat. There were so many green chillies. They could have toned it down a little, but the fact that there was just so much meat in my meal, made up for my burning tongue. I feel like Vapiano’s should take a note out of Frankie & Benny’s book. Don’t tell them I said that.

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I chose the Amalfi Sunrise – orange, mango and lemon juice and grenadine. Deliciously sweet, but I probably should have gone for good ol’ government juice (water) to help with the fire in my mouth.

I enjoyed my birthday dinner as much as the hubby did. I will definitely be going back. Have you ever been to Frankie & Benny’s?

Mich x

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