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    Monday, 18 February 2019

    EMILIA'S CRAFTED PASTA, ST KATHERINE'S DOCK

    A steaming bowl of pasta and a good glass of wine - two of life's greatest pleasures, right? Now imagine that, paired with a gorgeous view out across St.Katherine's Docks, well that's exactly what you get at Emilia's - a gorgoeus little Italian, serving handcrafted pasta by the waterside.
    It's a cute and cosy restaurant overlooking the far-side of St Katherine's Dock (almost opposite the Dickens Inn) where they pride themselves on their hand-made pasta which they make fresh every morning.

    It's not just any old pasta though - the guys here have spent years, researching and anaylising, the best pasta shapes suited for each kind of sauce. They've pain-stakingly tested, how long each needs till it's cooked to perfect, and created a menu with dozens of unusal pasta shapes paired the perfect sauce to suit. 
    In terms of the menu - it's classic Italian of course, with a handful of great dishes on both the anti-pasti and main menu. We shared portions of the delicately sliced bresaola (£8) - a type of cured beef - along with the Heritage Tomato & Burrata Salad (£10).

    The beef arrives at the table with a good crack of pepper and toasted ciabatta which you can pile high onto - and the cheese is deliciously creamy, topped with fresh herbs and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
    For the main course, it has to be pasta. There's eight different dishes to choose from, each with its unique pasta and sauce pairing. As mentioned, the pasta is hand-made on site, and cooked in salt water in boiling water until it's perfectly al dente - which actually helps to maximise the flavour but also aids with digestion. 
    The four hour slow cooked bechamel bolognese is definitely the restaurant's 'hero' dish - served with pappadelle and absolutely covered with grated parmesan (£12.50). It's proper comfort food - like a big hug in a bowl - with the perfect ragu to pasta ratio.  
    We also loved the casarecce - a short twisted pasta which I've never tried before - which arrives coated with basil pesto, parmesan and pecorino (£11). It's packed with big, punchy flavours and the  portions are super generous - meaning you definitely won't be leaving hungry! 
    We loved our visit to Emilia's - the food and service were incredible and the atmosphere of the restaurant was buzzing making it the perfect spot to enjoy a Saturday afternoon, watching the world go by.  

    The restaurant is fairly tight on space, and it gets super busy - especially at weekends, so it's definitely best booking. They do hold back about 25% of the tables for walk-ins on the off-chance you're in the area though so you may get lucky if you don't a wait.  

    Exciting they've just opened a second Emilia's down in Aldgate which operates the same policy - I know I'll definitely be heading down there ASAP!

    * Our food was complimentary
    Our opinions are honest

    Saturday, 16 February 2019

    INCREDIBLE PIZZAS AT FIREBRAND, MARYLEBONE

    Do you know how excited I get when I discover great restaurants in West London? Growing up on this side of the tube map, it's not often you get to shout about your delicious food finds. All the best pop-ups, markets and street food vendors seem to reside in East London - but I've found an absolute gem of a pizza place, out here in West and I'm excited to shout about it! 
    It's called Firebrand and it's tucked away just behind Marylebone station - towards Lisson Grove rather than Baker Street - making it the perfect spot for an after work pizza, if - like me - that's the place where you jump on the train!

    It's got a small but cosy vibe, with exposed brick-work, brown leather seating and a huge clay pizza oven which takes pride of place at the front, visible from the street. I popped down last week with one of my good friends, courtesy of Love Pop-Ups London, and was treated to a night of good wine, great food and even better company. 
    The menu here is simple - serving classic Italian dishes with the freshest, high-quality ingredients. You'll find everything from Tuscan Sausage Bruschetta to Mixed Cured Meat Platters on the starter menu - so it's definitely worth ordering a portion of the garlic bread (£5) to share while you decide.  
    When I say garlic bread - I really mean Garlic Pizza bread because it's served as a huge round of pillowy dough, studded with garlic and a light sprinkling of herbs.
    Try not to fill up on it too fast though as you won't want to miss the starters! If you're a cheese fan - you're in luck with Mozzarella, Goats Cheese and Burrata all featuring on the menu.
    The Burrata, which is served with grilled courgettes and peppers (£8) is deliciously creamy - and even better when spread across a slice of that garlic bread (see why I told you to order one!). If I'm being super critical - I would prefer the burrata to arrive as a ball, rather than already sliced open - there's just something so enjoyable about cutting into yourself to reveal all that glorious cheese, isn't there? 
    Continuing our cheese theme, we also ordered a portion of the Pan Fried Goats Cheese which comes served with spinach and topped with red onions which have been caramelised in a delicious balsamic glaze (£8). 
    We ordered this on recommendation from our waiter, and I'm so glad we did - it was my stand out dish of the night. I might be a bit bias - as I ADORE goats cheese but it was absolutely delicious. Soft, creamy, salty and sharp - it's a definite must-order if you visit!
    Now for the main event - and the real reason you're here - the pizzas. Firebrand prides itself on its sourdough pizza bases, made using caputo flour from Naples, which are left to prove for 72 hours before being baked in the in-house pizza oven.

    They're served the classic Naples way - thin, crispy but still with that delicious chewy texture and slathered with great toppings! I went for the Goats Cheese (shock), courgette and sweet potato pizza (£13) which was delicious. I've never had sweet potato on a pizza before but the discs were slightly crisp and added a lovely sweet flavour to balance out the goats cheese. My friend opted to the Nduja, Salami and Mushroom which she vouched was absolutely delicious too - and great for lovers of spice!
    We both really enjoyed the food at Firebrand and were super impressed with the quality of the pizza. It's got such a nice, local vibe in the restaurant and was absolutely packed by about 7.30pm on the Wednesday night that we visited. The team are just about to launch a brand new restaurant in Hammersmith - another win for West Londoners - and I know I'll definitely be heading down there, I highly recommend that you do the same!

    Firebrand
    41-43 Lisson Grove, Marylebone, London NW1 6UB

    * We were guests of Firebrand
    Our meal was complimentary but all opinions are honest

    Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    CELEBRATING THE DAY OF LOVE WITH MR KIPLING [AD]

    Everyone knows the way to my heart is through my stomach. Honestly - feed me and I’m yours. I’m a real sucker for novelty food too. Heart-shaped chocolates, pink icing topped cakes, and now thanks to Mr Kipling – cakes which spell out just how much someone means to you.

    Yep – Mr Kipling has launched a gorgeous limited-edition range of cakes, meaning you can have your favourite cakes in the prettiest Valentine’s Day themed packaging.
    There’s something for everyone, from ‘You’re Heavenly’ Angel Slices to ‘You Mean the Whirl to me’ Flower Whirls. Each comes in gorgeous pink themed packaging so you can let your cakes do all the talking this Valentine's Day.

    The limited-edition range which features seven different cakes is available from all major supermarket now until Valentine’s Day, with the Mini Battenbergs and Flower Whirls hanging around until Mother’s Day – so you need to be quick!
    Lucky for you guys though, I have a whole bundle of Mr Kipling cakes to giveaway so simply enter your details into the widget below and they could be yours – good luck!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    * This post was sponsored by Mr Kipling