English Post only.
London looks beautiful any day of the year, but during Christmas I am obsessed about taking pictures of her (because London is a cool girl, right?! :)). It’s hard not to be.
Here are some photos I’ve recently taken that I wanted to share with you. The magic atmosphere of Christmas, I hope you can feel it!
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A few weeks ago I’ve been invited to try an Italian restaurant in Fulham. Usually I tend to avoid Italian restaurants because… well, because I am Italian and quite fussy about Italian food.
The restaurant has a nice outside dehors and a cosy bar where you can order a cocktail with some “stuzzichini”, small dishes which, back home, are usually served with drinks.
We ordered a Locale Bellini, made with Prosecco and strawberry liqueur, think of a meeting between the classic Bellini and a Kir Royal.
We than had a selection of starters: fried calamari served with homemade tartar sauce, some veggie bruschettas, deep fried soft shell crab cakes with saffron and dill mayo and pan fried scallops with mashed peas, rocket and crispy pancetta.
Almost full already, we went on to the mains: Giuliano had seafood linguine with clams, mussels, calamari and octopus sautéed with garlic, chilli and parsley. I chose casarecce with tiger prawns. Both were served with a glass of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore from Cantina Colognola.
After making sure that they’re “homemade just like in Italy”, we had to try desserts. We chose pannacotta and tiramisu, the latter being the best choice, it indeed is amazing. A glass of brandy on the side, provided a classy way to end a lovely meal.
Personal favourite: the tiramisu! Trust me, I have tried many tiramisu, and this is the only one that I am sure my uncle Roberto (the King of Tiramisu) would be proud of.
Only slightly negative point is the location, to reach Locale you have to walk for about 15 minutes from the nearest tube station. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After a meal like that, a nice walk was just what we needed.
Address: 222 Munster Road, London, SW6 6AY
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A few weeks ago I have been invited to try the Christmas menu of Tentazioni.
The restaurant is located in 2 Mill Street, on the south bank of the Thames, 10 minutes walk from Bermondsey tube station, in a very nice road that is reminiscent of the times when this part of London was used as the docks.
In a very cosy room at the first floor of the restaurant, where we were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, we tried some of the dishes from the set menu.
My favourite, actually everyone’s favourite, was the roasted pumpkin ravioli served with butter and sage, a fantastic example of Italian stuffed pasta that reminds me of my childhood, where I spent every Sunday in the kitchen with my grandmother, watching her rolling the dough onto a floured surface and then prepare hundreds of ravioli for the Sunday lunch.
I have asked Tentazioni’s Chef Alberto Modena if he can share his recipe with the blog, let’s see if I can have an early Christmas present.
2014 CHRISTMAS SET MENU (to see the complete menu, click here)
Two Courses £25.00
Three Courses £32.00
Address: 2 Mill St, London SE1 2BD
Phone:020 7237 1100
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Once again Harrods, in collaboration with Identità Golose and five Michelin star chefs, honours the excellence in Italian contemporary cuisine.
After Carlo Cracco in September, in October the Cerea brothers are taking over Harrods’ restaurant located at the Lower Ground Floor.
I have been invited at the press night with Enrico “Chicco” Cerea, owner and chef – with his brother – of the Italian restaurant Da Vittorio in Brusaporto, close to Bergamo and I would like to share the great meal we had the chance to try in advance:
• Anchovy from Cantabrico, tuna sauce and hazelnuts from Piedmont – myself and Paolo Marchi have tried to have a bis and a tris of this one
• Soft polenta, Roccaverano robiola cheese, white truffle and Grana Padano sauce
• Gnocco filled with melted cheese with white truffle- my favourite dish
• Sea-bass Mediterranean style with yellow tomatoes
• Avocado cream with caramelised macadamia nuts and yogurt sorbet – a wonderful 5 senses experience (ok maybe 4 senses, not sure if I can include the hearing :))
In November it will be the turn of Gennaro Esposito of restaurant La Torre del Saracino, Vico Equense in Naples, two Michelin stars.
Then Annie Féolde’s Enoteca Pinchiorri from Florence, three Michelin stars, and in January Enrico Crippa, chef at restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba, three Michelin stars and number 39 in the 2014 World’s 50 Best Restaurants. With only one restaurant in London being part of the 50 Best, The Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, it’d be a real shame not to try what Crippa has to offer.
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Are you looking for a SPA in London that doesn’t cost you a mortgage?
Well, I have the right address for you: the SPA London.
SPA London is a completely new concept that revolutionised the SPA market by offering luxury packages that are affordable and accessible to all. I heard about it, but I never had the chance to try myself until a few weeks ago when I went to the Ironmonger Row Baths branch, near Old Street. This charming 1931′s building was built as a public wash house and later upgraded to a Turkish Bath. It’s only one of the 6 SPA facilities that are available across London.
The baths now include:
- 2 saunas
- 2 steam rooms
- Ice Fountain
- Plunge pool
- Monsoon Shower
- Bucket Shower
- Hot Rooms (Tepidarium, Caldarium, Lanconium)
I spent more then one hour trying every room – you can read this as “I have done nothing else than relaxing” – and then I enjoyed some time in the relax area, lying down on a super comfortable chaise longue, reading magazines while sipping an herbal tea.
There are also a double treatment room and 3 treatment rooms, where you can indulge yourself with products from Elemis and La Sultane de Saba.
I pampered myself in the double treatment room with the signatures services: the Ironmonger Row Full Body Scrub and the Ironmonger Row massage and I can say that the entire experience has completely relaxed my mind, released my back and after that my skin was really smooth, I will definitely come back again and again. I’d like to mention that, as the name implies, you have to share the double treatment room and this might be an issue for someone. It wasn’t a problem for me or the other girl and I am sure you can discuss your needs with the beautician.
Now the best part, the price! The cost of the massage+ scrub is only £25+£10 and the the price for the 3 hour Thermal Spa Experience varies per location due to size and services available, the rate ranges from £9 for concessionary members through to £25 for a non member. It is really a SPA bargain!
They offer men only, women only and mixed sessions.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of SPA London, but hopefully you’ll trust this post is about an honestly enjoyable experience.
Photos are from Spa London’s website, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the Bath.