1. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London


    Somewhere you should go… Conflict Kitchen London

    It doesn’t want to force a message down your throat, but it hopes that by the time you leave you might have digested more than just dinner. Conflict Kitchen London wants to be a restaurant with a conscience.

    The pop-up eatery, launched ahead of the International Day of Peace on September 21, is serving traditional food from Myanmar, Jordan and Peru to encourage discussions about the prospect of peace in those countries.

    More than 100 people attended the first week of the three-week residency at Monikers, a space in East London.

    A mixed crowd of locals, foodies and nationals of Burma, the country now called Myanmar, got a chance to meet new people and try dishes including hincho, a spicy soup, and a chicken-and-coconut curry served with egg noodles.


    As the £35 three-course meal was being prepared, guests broke the ice with strangers, using conversation cue cards about everything from Myanmar’s largest exports to the number of years its opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, spent under house arrest.

    They could also order themed cocktails, with a Negroni masquerading as a “Rangooni”, after the original name of Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.

    Debbie Riehl, an up-and-coming Myanmar-born chef and artist who conceived and prepared the dishes, said the restaurant catered to a number of needs.

    “To talk about global issues over a meal? I just had to get on board with this,” she said. “It’s non-confrontational, people are having conversations about things, and exchanging ideas, thoughts, views, everything.”


    The agendas for debate are far from rigid. On one table conversation soon swayed towards the topics of the Scottish referendum and the current state of music education in the UK.

    On another, a pair of Burmese friends discussed how they had never attended such an event before and could usually share Burmese food only in one of the few Buddhist monasteries in the capital.

    Debbie added: “A lot of Burmese people have come as well. They’re thrilled that there is a Burmese pop-up but also to be associated with something like this because they’re obviously more aware of the conflict in Burma.”

    The creative decor is designed to bring diners up to speed with the issues. A large rolling chalkboard outlines the history of Myanmar as a creative infographic. Communal tables have placemats with world maps.


    A bell rings before each course is served, followed by a “fact” shared by Phil Champain, director of Emerging Programmes at International Alert, the charity behind the concept.

    He outlined the history of Burma’s independence from Britain in 1948, decades of authoritarian military rule and the reforms in 2010 which could lead to the country’s transition to a full democratic government.

    “But peace is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

    He added that Conflict Kitchen London was inspired — loosely — by Cocina del Conflicto (Conflict Kitchen), a project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which only serves food from “countries with which the United States is in conflict”.

    The non-profit pop-up is part of International Alert’s current Talking Peace festival, which offers a series of peace-related events across London.

    “It’s very much looking at this kind of food as a way of bringing people together to ultimately resolve differences and reconcile and also deepen understanding,” Champain said.


    A few days later, diners were invited to think about Jordan, facing pressure from an influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

    The final week will put the spotlight on Peru, where there is conflict between indigenous people and companies over land rights and natural resources.

    “I think it’s unusual to have food mixed with politics but those are two things I enjoy,” said Nina Harris, an 18-year-old student from London who came to the Jordan evening with her sister.

    “I’ve really enjoyed the evening. It was good to mix with different age groups, people with different jobs and backgrounds.”

    Robert Sutton, a 36-year-old American living in London, agreed. “It’s a good way to meet a lot of people to talk about issues that are current topics in the world. You can talk to people about their views and enjoy food represented from their countries first hand. It’s really good.”

     (First published on Reuters, 18th September. Editing by Michael Roddy and Andrew Roche)

    For more information about Conflict Kitchen London, visit: www.grubclub.com/conflict-kitchen


  2. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Rossopomodoro (via Deliveroo)


    What we’ve been up to… Rossopomodoro (via Deliveroo)

    I love dining out as much as the next foodie, but sometimes you just want to kick back and let the good eatin’ come to you (without having to pick up a single fry pan).  That was the case for TCé when we recently got the chance to try out Deliveroo, a new food delivery service  working with some of hottest , upmarket restaurants in town. Busaba Eathai, Carluccios and Ping Pong are all on the roster, along with Rossopomodoro, a lovely Italian eatery that serves heart-shaped pizzas and the mind-blowing Calda Calda, a fried pizza dough(nut) topped with icing sugar and Nutella. Both food and delivery were on point – our order arrived quickly, while it’s good to know a decent, quality meal is only a few finger taps away. Next order – Busaba calamari!

    For more information about Deliveroo visit www.deliveroo.co.uk




  3. News just in! Extra Lauryn Hill show in London, 28th September:

    Ms. Lauryn Hill has announced that she will perform a very special intimate show at Brooklyn Bowl, London on Sunday the 28th September. This will follow her forthcoming run of UK tour dates, including two sold out shows at O2 Academy Brixton.

    Ms. Lauryn Hill tickets for Brooklyn Bowl go on-sale 9am on Friday 5th September priced £55 / £80 (VIP) / £150 (Meet & Greet) (subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee) and are available from www.livenation.co.uk, www.ticketmaster.co.uk or www.axs.com


  4. New Post: Something you should serve… Hemsley + Hemsley muffin frittatas


    Something you should serve… Hemsley + Hemsley muffin frittatas

    It was only a matter of time before cooking made its way onto TCé! I’ve recently been keeping busy in the kitchen, thanks to a birthday gift from friends who rallied together to get me The Art of Eating Well by sisters Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley.  I spent a solid week trying out everything from smoothies to cauliflower mash and I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty fabulous book, featuring a broad range of creative and tasty recipes. It’s also a good look for those trying to kick the refined sugar habit – like me! – or lower their carb intake.

    My favourite recipe so far is for the muffin frittatas. It’s easy to make, looks and tastes gorgeous and costs hardly anything to whip up – plus, if you’re inviting friends around for brunch, this would go down a treat (although I’m planning on giving it a Jamaican twist by serving it with ackee and salfish next time I give it a whirl). Check out the recipe on the Daily Mail website, and for more details about the book visit www.hemsleyandhemsley.com.



  5. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Manhattan Grill


    Somewhere you should go… Manhattan Grill

    You wouldn’t expect anything less than high-end when it comes to restaurants around Canary Wharf – and Manhattan Grill is the latest restaurant to live up to that philosophy.  It’s a steakhouse but unlike those chains you get every block around the West End, MG offers a decadent experience that runs through the interiors right down to the prime cuts of meat which is their source of pride.

    There’s a choice of Black Angus from Kansas if you want to keep things American or aged Scottish cuts that can also be matched with your pick of fabulous wines.  As for sides, these are typical but tasty US fare such as delightful  mac’n’cheese with lobster or the creamed spinach.  For dessert, the apple crumble is as lovely as can be, although you might go for their  take on a New York cheesecake.  It’s a densely rich guilt trip that tastes better with each bite and serves as the worthy encore for a lovely night out.  Expect to pay just over £100 for a 3-course meal for two with wine, so consider filing Manhattan Grill under “special occasions” –  but it  certainly won’t disappoint.


    For more info, visit: www.manhattangrill.co.uk. Check out  more pics from our recent visit below: 

    3 4 5 6 7 8 9

  6. Friday nightin’ at Ping, Earls Court Road. So far, good! Ping Pong in 30mins (and kudos to chef on the food front - freshly baked focaccia?! YESSIR!)


  7. New Post: Wha we’ve been up to… The Rookery, Clapham


    Wha we’ve been up to… The Rookery, Clapham

    Now that the summer is on the horizon and the days are longer, life seems to be for living again. So, a trip to south London for a north London girl sounded like an exciting opportunity, rather than a daunting task. On the Southside of Clapham Common (whose size never ceases to amaze me) stands The Rookery: a relaxed spot,  exuding a kind of New York style (exposed brick, hanging cables and lightbulbs, dim lighting… you know the formula), that could be the injection of independent cool that Claphamites are looking for.

    We started with delicious, seasonal cocktails of Rubarb and ginger prosecco cocktail, a harmonious balance of spice and tang and our helpful waiter advised on his favourites. We sampled the coronation chicken, rare beef salad and pea and mint arancini. The starters are reasonably priced at between £5-£7, and their size makes them almost suitable as a main. The rare beef salad is fresh and echoes the start of spring with its shaved raw asparagus. But it misses a kick of flavour to lift it further. The retro serving of Coronation Chicken was huge, large pieces of chicken in delicious homemade curry spiced mayonnaise; we devoured it whole-heartedly. The arancini wouldn’t fool an Italian but the mini size was fun for sharing.


    Our mains were a Pork belly with BBQ sauce and macaroni cheese with wild garlic and Jerusalem artichokes. Both again are large dishes and slightly overwhelming. The pork belly is well-cooked, and the fat crunchy and rich. It is drenched in BBQ sauce, which isn’t for all tastes, but comes with sweet potato fries and homemade slaw. The mains range from £13.50 – £23.50, which sounds steep but the size won’t leave you feeling short-changed. The wild garlic, which is always a pleasure to spy on a menu, lifted the macaroni cheese to the next level.
    My only gripe with the experience was the slow service. The restaurant was surprisingly busy for a weekday and this seems to have taken the staff by surprise too. I was left wondering if they had enough manpower to support the obvious demand from the hungry locals. We finished on a plate of chocolate desserts, which was a great sharing option. And, considering the size of the portions, that’s all you will be able to squeeze in! The menu is eclectic and includes French, Mediterranean, Modern British and a bit of New York eatery. The dishes change by season, which should keep their regulars interested too. There is also a large seating area out front, which will no doubt be a hit when that summer does finally arrive. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    For more info, visit: www.therookeryclapham.co.uk


  8. New Post: Something you should see… Claire Aho: Studio Works at The Photographers’ Gallery


    Something you should see… Claire Aho: Studio Works at The Photographers’ Gallery

    Artist Claire Aho began her career as a photographer during a time when men dominated the industry. A cultural icon in her native Finland, British audiences now have the chance to see the images that made Aho’s name at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. The exhibition concentrates on Aho’s career from 1950 to 1970 – a period where her use of colour and inventive style made her a leading name in the world of advertising, editorial and fashion photography. Studio Works is the first solo exhibition of Aho’s work in the UK and will include the original Finnish lifestyle magazines featuring Aho’s cover pictures, as well as images from her archive.


    Considered a pioneer of Finnish colour photography, Aho started her career in film before establishing her own commercial studio in the 1950s. Aho’s photographs from this era depicted domestic life around Finland and many of these images will be on view. Aho’s pictures are saturated with colour and contrasting palettes usually appear side by side. It was the quality of Aho’s colour photography that created a commercial demand for her services across a range of industries. If colour is thematic in the work of Aho, so is humour and audiences will definitely get a sense of that at the show. Photographs such as Compressor Refrigerator, which depicts a children’s tea party wouldn’t feel out of place in a current ad run for Ikea. The fun and playful quality that underscores much of Aho’s images at the show should connect with audiences.


    Claire Aho says she never saw her work as pioneering during the 1950s, she ‘just worked hard’. But you need only watch the travails of Peggy Olson from the fictional show Mad Men to realise just how hard that must have been. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Claire Aho: Studio Works is on at The Photographers’ Gallery, from 19 April -21 July. For more info, visit www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk


  9. New Post: What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken


    What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken

    For all our food-filled escapades, it’s rare we’d be indulging three nights in a row – but that’s exactly what happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as we went Italian, Carribean/Brazilian and finally Soul Food American at a variety of spots in town you might just want to book:

    First stop, Friday : La Forchetta, Bethnal Green

    They’re not your typical Italian outlet and favour authenticity over bougie branding – so eating here on Friday night was a real treat. Portions are extremely generous too, considering the friendly pricing (desserts under £4 are a rarity nowadays) and the ambiance was cosy enough to make a good option for a date.



    Info: www.laforchettabethnalgreenroad.co.uk

    2nd stop, Saturday: Coco Bamboo

    It’s hard to find a quality Caribbean restaurant in London that ticks all the boxes (top service, great food, decent location), but it seems this eclectic spot up North (which fuses Caribbean and Brazilian) wants to earn that title.  As our party exceeded six people Saturday night, our only option was the party menu, which gives you the choice of 2 or 3 courses featuring crab cakes, fritters, jerk chicken,  curry goat and traditional Brazilian dishes. Service was super attentive, and the dishes were beautifully presented but were a bit comme ci, comme ca for the charge (£23.50 got 3 courses) – but definitely worth considering for a night out with friends.



    Info: www.cocobamboo.co.uk

    3rd stop, Sunday: Dante Fried Chicken at Death by Burrito

    Surprisingly, this was the first time we’ve been to DBB, but we weren’t here for the Mexican – we’d been invited to get a sneak preview of the brunch LA’s Dante Fried Chicken will be throwing this weekend, and we weren’t disappointed. Breakfast tacos, biscuits, grits-styled polenta and of course, the fried chicken were delicious – and topped off with a sweet potato pie, made this the perfect finale to a weekend of good eatin’.






    Info: www.billetto.co.uk/en/events/dfctakeover


  10. New Post: TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – April 2013


    TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go – April 2013

    The fourth month of 2013 promises aplenty in the way of festivals, parties, exhibitions and food glorious food – so forgive us if we’re feeling a little giddy about what we’ll be getting up to this April…


    Bird’s Eye View Film Festival: Celebrating Arab Women Filmmakers, April 3-10th – This year’s BEV will be honouring the work of women in the Arab world, offering insightful docs, film shorts, Q&As, live music and a special Fashion Loves Films programme, offering a host of parties and galas.

    Art & Culture

    Gaia: A Show of Hands at Nelly Duff, April 11th – One of the most thought-provoking street artists of our time will be presenting his first UK exhibition for one week only. The New York-born, Baltimore-based artist has built an international rep for his street murals, and this show will demonstrate his continuous fascination with hands through his unique style.

    Eat & Drink


    Dante Fried Chicken at Death by Burrito April 11-14th – We happily chowed down at Mr Dante’s finger-lickin’ pop-up last year so pleased to hear he’s back on our shores, this time with a cookbook and an exhibition. He’ll also be joining forces with Death by Burrito for a guest chef residency, where he’ll be serving up an exclusive dinner menu and all day brunch on April 14th, to mark the final day of the show.



    The Doctor’s Orders Presents
The Doctor’s Orders 250 Featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Nextmen And Rich Medina At Scala, April 13th – To mark their 250th event, the Doctor’s Orders guys are going all out to bring together some of the most celebrated DJs in hip-hop – and this is one party that won’t stop until the sun comes up.

    Art & Culture

    Pick Me Up 2013: Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset House, April 18-28th – Feast your eyes on an incredible array of illustrations and designs at this 11-day celebration of all things graphic. Highlights include workshops, creative forums and lively events every evening.

    Eat & Drink

    The Lab at Tobacco Docks, April 25-27th – The creators of the Taste of London fest are debuting a new experimental foodie weekend, featuring some of the most innovative chefs from around the world and masterclasses in experiencing food like never before.

    Best bits from last month