Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Moroccan Themed Afternoon Tea at Momo Restaurant

Hidden away from the bustling crowds of Regent St is a small food court on Heddon St. It contains various restaurants and bars including Ice Bar and Momo Restaurant. We were given the choice of either sitting inside or outside but since inside was a bit too warm for us, me and J.Y decided on the latter. Now sitting outside in November, in London sounds crazy but they had the overhead heaters which made it bearable, however what we did not account for was the fact that they offered shisha. Personally for me shisha and tea do not go together so we did feel regret when the table next to us started blowing big puffs of smoke our way, as we were trying to be dainty and ladylike with our afternoon tea.

For the menu please see here. We decided on the traditional afternoon tea which was £22 per person however there is a 13% service charge which they say is optional. In regards to tea I chose 'The A L'opera' green tea and J.Y chose the 'Blanc & Rose' white tea which we were both happy with. The food did take awhile to come out and I can not say for sure that it was worth waiting for. Although my expectations may have been too high to begin with.

To start off with is the savoury plate at the bottom. Now the overall appearance was somewhat off-putting. Imagine my surprise when I was taking the picture and realizing that the brown roll resembled something from the toilet but immaturity aside the mechouia (Tunisian salsa) on toast was quite nice however the zaalouk (eggplant) on toast I was not too keen on. The filo pastries had cheese inside which J.Y was a big fan of.

These mini sandwiches were so cute, it reminded me of something from Mario. Inside it was smoked salmon and cheese. The wrap had a Moroccan chicken filling which was delicious.

The start of the sweets begin here! First up was the scones with clotted cream and a strawberry and fig jam. The jam was absolutely gorgeous! It was flavoursome without being too sweet. The scones itself had a slight cinnamon flavour and raisins inside. If I could have stomached 2 I would have but being greedy has its consequences. 

Next up was the maghrebine pastries. I think these were the biggest disappointment, most of them had the same kind of texture (a sort of sponge soaked in syrup), just with different flavours.The nicest one had to be the one shaped like a mini loaf which had a subtle coffee-flavour to it.

The macarons were lovely! It was pistachio-flavoured with a lemon filling. The brownie had bits of walnut inside and on top was a dark-chocolate icing. The last one was a victoria sponge with a slab of white chocolate stuck on top with a tiny bit of lemon filling to stick it together. 

The service was good and the waiters were very friendly, maybe too friendly. One of them asked us where we are from when he saw me snapping away with my camera and I said 'We're Chinese', he then proceeded to throw out all the mandarin he knew which made it very awkward. I am not going to start a cultural lesson here but what I will say is that China has over 200 languages and yes the main one is Mandarin but please do not assume that every Chinese person can speak or understand it, especially British born ones! 

Overall I would not recommend this afternoon tea to friends. I think when you dislike nearly a whole plate or level then it is not worth it. Although I would go back to the restaurant and try the food because much of the savouries were nice and we had a good whiff coming from the table next to us who had ordered from the restaurant.

Friday, 19 September 2014

[Review] Garnier Body Tonic Smoothing Sugar Scrub

Usually I purchase 'Soap & Glory's Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub' which is a good product but at RRP £8 it is quite pricey for a body scrub, so I wanted to see if I can find a cheaper alternative which is when I came across 'Garnier's Body Tonic Smoothing Scrub'. It had a lot of good reviews and for only £3.56 (on special offer in Superdrugs now, RRP £7.15), it was worth a try.

Directions and ingredients -
(Click on picture for bigger view).

Containing fruit extracts it has a strong smell and I am guessing the small red dots are suppose to be the fruit extracts. The scrub is very grainy so you do not need to rub it in too much. The back of the tube claims that after one use your skin feels noticeably softer and smoother and I was thoroughly impressed after my first use. It did leave my skin feeling soft and smelling fresh. However we shall see if after 3 weeks if my skin feels toned, (though I only exfoliate once a week).

After my initial first use I was very happy however the next day my skin felt very heavy and sticky, like there was a lot of residue left though I had washed everything off already. Maybe I had used too much product but I will not be purchasing Garnier's Body Tonic Smoothing Scrub again and will stick to my Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub.

Rating out of 5:    

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cuban Themed Afternoon Tea at Asia de Cuba

This outing with M.S was long overdue and since she had not been to afternoon tea before I decided to take her. As usual I was looking on afternoontea.co.uk and one deal that caught my eye was the champagne afternoon tea at Asia de Cuba (inside of St Martins Lane Hotel), for £25 per person. Having read reviews and seen the pictures I was very excited about this themed afternoon tea.

The Entrance at St Martins Lane Hotel - So sorry about the bouncer, he was obviously happy to spot a friend across the road.

M.S had a bit of trouble finding the place even though she was actually standing right outside of it but I do not blame her. I have walked past St Martins Lane Hotel before but I always wondered what that building was because there are no clear signs, actually there are no signs full-stop. Although the veiled curtains and yellow bottom certainly catches your eye, it is also a short walk from Leicester Sq. station and Charing Cross station so it is easy to find, once you know what you are suppose to look for anyway. Into the lobby there was a mix of eclectic furnishing such as the chessboard seats and the gnome table, however St Martins Lane were able to incorporate all these different objects without making it seem too tacky, somehow. I have to mention the toilets as well, they were so weird, if you look below it looks like a storage unit. You had to push the 'doors' to reveal the toilet and once inside it really does feel like you're in a box.

We were seated and shown the menu to choose our tea, the menu itself was in a Cuban box which also contained our utensils and a tea strainer. As we had already booked this afternoon tea we did not really need the menu so the waitress took it away rather quickly before I could take any pictures. I ended up having to borrow a box from another table. This afternoon tea actually has 3 courses and for each course there is a selection of 3 teas to choose from. The ones I chose were the Dragon Well, Lychee Red and Phoenix Honey Orchid to finish off. I would definitely recommend the Dragon Well and Phoenix Honey Orchid. The staff were very informative and they guide you through the teas and the dishes on the course.

The first course tea arrived in a big clear teapot, I absolutely love these teapots! The second course tea arrived in a smaller version and the last tea was served in a tiny clear cup. The last course teas are all cold and is suppose to aid digestion for the whole experience.

The savoury course was amazing, although the only thing was they were all cold by the time we got to it (M.S decided to go toilet when the food arrived and the obvious thing to do would be to wait for the other person before starting, unfortunately). I think my favourite would have to be the scones and my least favourite the vegetable summer rolls (they had no taste whatsoever even with the sauces provided). The mango, kiwi and strawberry layered bottles were also delightful, they were like a fruit puree. 

The desserts were sort of 50/50 with me. The banana spring rolls were weird but nice and the doughnuts with butterscotch sauce were amazing however the chilli chocolate was quite spicy and the key lime pie was much too sour for my liking. The cold tea to finish off was a great end, it was  very refreshing and was not too strong. All in all I was very happy with the afternoon tea and would definitely recommend Asia de Cuba to friends.

Monday, 15 September 2014

[Review] Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Skin Toner

You may have seen me mention this product in previous posts and since this is my 3rd bottle I will do a review about it. When I was in Seoul 2013 I decided to try a new toner and the one I picked up was 'Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Skin Toner'. The reasons I picked this series was because it claimed to both moisturize and soothe the skin which sounds perfect for combination skin-types. I wanted to believe the soothing qualities as I usually use an aloe vera plant for burns so this product should not irritate my skin. 

The bottle itself is made out of plastic and the packaging is pretty simple. It has the ingredients listed both in Korean and in English. The toner consistency is slightly gooey, like aloe vera itself and it comes out clear. It also smells lovely, not too overpowering. I use this product twice a day and apply with a cotton wool, on application it sinks into my skin quickly and does not feel sticky at all. My skin feels moisturised and prepped for my cream.

I have been using this product for just over a year now and have not looked back. It does everything I want from a toner, it moisturizes, cleans off excess make-up and soothes the skin. I have not had a break-out in a long while and will not be switching my toner any time soon. The only thing is Etude House products are not available in the UK so you can only order it online (Ebay, Yesstyle, Sasa), which also means it can be quite pricey compared to if you bought it in Korea. I usually get mine from Yesstyle UK as they regularly have discount codes and deals on.

Rating out of 5:     

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Afternoon Tea at BB Bakery Covent Garden

I have had my eye on this place for awhile now and for 3 reasons, the fact that their website is plastered with pink, the number of good reviews left by past visitors and last but not least the amount of sweets that you actually get with the price! It was £26 per person which is very decent for both quantity and quality. A friend of mine has not been afternoon tea before so I thought this would be a perfect place to take her, as she too is very girlie. Altogether there were 4 of us ready to go. When booking there is an option to write down special requirements but silly me forgot to ask for a vegetarian option for R.K and for a low-fat alternative to clotted cream, however upon emailing BB Bakery and on 2 different occasions I got prompt replies from the Head Pastry Chefs themselves , Mathieu and Thibault, who were more than happy to accommodate us. BB Bakery is just 5 minutes walk away from Charing Cross station and we all made it for our 2pm booking.

"Oh! So thats what BB stands for".
We were seated and given a menu to choose our teas. I love my tea strong and was very happy that it was loose leaves and not in a bag. 3 of us got the '4 Red Fruit' (4RF) tea and W.H got the 'Red Tea'. The 4RF tea had a slight sweetness to it and tasted lovely, even R.K who does not normally drink tea and is the type to add milk to herbal/fruit teas, liked it! W.H was also happy with hers. After we ordered we were given a glass of fresh orange juice which was a nice touch. There was an incident later which included an annoying fly who somehow ended up swimming and dieing in my orange juice, which I was savouring slowly. Have you ever felt the absolute sadness and disbelief of when a fly decides to die in your food and/or drink? Thankfully W.H told the waitress what happened and she went and got me a new glass.

Dainty cutlery although the pink plate was a bit dirty.
W.H lone teapot with  Red Tea
Our massive teapot with 4 Red Fruit Tea.
We were so busy taking photos of the interior of the cafe and the cutlery that is was not long before the food came out. First me and W.C were given the pink cake stand and R.K and W.H had the grey cake stand with her vegetarian sandwiches and savouries. We were then told that our scones will come later. 

The savouries tier at the bottom included a quiche, ham & cheese sandwich, cucumber sandwich and a smoked salmon pancake bite. The quiche was actually really nice, I normally do not like quiche but this one was very light. The only thing I did not like from the savouries was the smoked salmon bite as it was very fishy. The middle tier included a raspberry tart, brownie, lemon meringue tart and pistachio macaron whilst the top one had a strawberry macaron and a vanilla cupcake. The brownie was massive and one of them was evidently much bigger than the other, W.C ended up leaving me the massive one.. Although I absolutely devoured it. The dessert that I did not like at all was the lemon meringue tart but to be fair I was never a fan of lemons. Sour and desserts to me, just does not mix. By now we were stuffed but we knew we still had the scones. The scones took awhile to arrive but it was fine as we needed a break anyway. When they did arrive they were very nice, hard on the outside and soft inside.

The only issue I had with BB Bakery was the heat, there was no air con so intead they had to leave the door open (which assumedly welcomed that fly in my OJ) but that did not make much difference. I would advise going on a more colder day. However all in all it was a very good experience, and I will definitely be recommending BB Bakery to others. The atmosphere was good, the interior was filled with lots of girly and cute ornaments and images, the staff were friendly and helpful. Service was prompt and the food and tea was lovely.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Afternoon Tea at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Victoria

When my colleague/friend heard that in the end I never got to go afternoon tea for my birthday, she immediately offered to take me out instead. We used the website www.afternoontea.co.uk to try find one with a good deal and decent reviews. Out of 3 places short-listed we settled upon the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Victoria which had 40% off their afternoon tea! We had to book a table but there was no deposit needed so a few weeks later we were on our way. The hotel is literally 3 minutes walk away from Victoria Station and it does not have the most appealing exterior for a hotel but at least you can not miss it.

We walked in and asked the first person we saw (a bellboy I think) where we was suppose to go and he directed us to the restaurant, just on the right where his colleague all smiles was waiting to greet us. W.H gave her name and we were given a choice on where we wanted to sit down. We chose a big table on the side and shortly after we were given the menu. Doubletree Victoria have 2 afternoon tea options, the 'Traditional Afternoon Tea' for £20.50 and the 'Gourment Afternoon Tea', which in addition you get a glass of champagne, crumpets and strawberry cupcakes for £34.00. The pig in me, guess which I picked..

The choice of teas was not great most of them were the usual fare such as breakfast, camomile and peppermint tea. The only unusual ones were raspberry and chilli; lemongrass, ginger and citrus fruit; and wild sweet orange. W.H wanted the lemongrass but unfortunately it was sold out so she settled for the peppermint and I got the wild sweet orange. The food arrived in what looked like a mini shelf which was certainly different however the overall colours was very dull, there was just too much brown going on.

We started with the crumpets which were already buttered but it was unbelievably dry, W.H suggested that they should have put more butter on it. Next were the 4 sandwiches; salmon, egg mayonnaise, prawn and ham, which were okay. The scones did not look appetizing at all, they reminded me of the ones my mum buys at the supermarket which can be super dry but these were surprisingly moist and still warm. I actually can not remember what the little cakes were but the passionfruit drizzle on top was amazing. I do not know if my readers remember my last afternoon tea but the dreaded coffee slice dessert made its way back into my life again. I knew at first glance that it was the same one but for the sake of it I ate some anyway, at least W.H got to enjoy my disgusted expression. At this point as you can imagine, we were both quite full already but we had one last dessert left and that was the strawberry cupcakes with the cute heart sprinkles. The icing thankfully was not too sweet and the sponge was nice and soft.

Coconut macaron, coffee slice and toffee macaron.

The bill came up to £40.80 which is very decent for afternoon tea and for the amount that we had as well, however both me and W.H agreed that we would not be coming back here. The service was good but the actual afternoon tea was not the best that we have had, to say the very least. Although we had fun and it was nice to catch up again outside of work so thank you W.H!