A little bit of insight to London; art, bars, cafes, clubs, restaurants, and other things to do in this wonderful multicultural city.

Friday, 31 May 2013


Every first Saturday of the month the Dalston bar "Birthdays" hosts a "vintage sale". Its not really a vintage sale, its where individuals choose to sell their old clothes at a really really cheap price. I found a Zara top I wanted from 2 years ago there for 5 pounds. They have some designers stuff, some high street clothes, and some quirky individual make clothes. 
You walk into the bar and you can order coffee or food, and browse through the racks of clothing and accessories. Some people were selling clothes that were really summery and weather appropriate whereas others were selling clothes for all types of different weather. On the ground floor there are loads of different sellers lined up around the "edge" of the room. You then go down a set of stairs where the bar's dance floor usually is and there were more racks of clothes. The colours of the clothes were harder to see downstairs because the lights aren't very bright but there were more unique clothes in the downstairs section. 
Sadly, I didn't find anything, but hopefully I'll be going back on the 1st of June to see if they have anything better. I also want to go there at night cause my friend Daniella said that there was a really good vibe there the last time she went. Also, I really like the venue's logo, its so cute, I love that font! 
I heard of this event through Facebook, but you can also find it on the Birthdays website: http://birthdaysdalston.com/


Solera is an incredible tapas bar on Sydney Street in Brighton. My friend Sophie told me to go here, and I will never ever doubt any of her food choices ever again because it was incredible. In fact it was so good I didn't even take many photos cause I was too excited to be in there, eating. The tables are small wooden tables, and you still on square wooden stools. Each table already has plates for each seat, and your cutlery so you're ready to eat. The menu is a laminated paper, but everything on it makes your mouth water. 
The food is all Tapas. This is a style of eating from Spanish culture, the food is all served in smaller portions but you are able to eat more and therefore you taste more things. My friend Daniella and I ordered 5 dishes to share between the two of us, and a jug of Sangria. And I'm sad to admit but we went a little overboard with that whole jug of Sangria. But overall everything about this place was good, there was nothing I didn't like. I was just sad to leave, and annoyed that I didn't have any change to leave a tip. Now I just need to find a good tapas bar in London. Here's their website: http://www.solera-brighton.co.uk/


Walking through the Lanes in Brighton again we decided to stop for a drink in the sun. The nicest place we happened to walk past was Havana. The menu consisted of several different drinks, all somewhat original combining flavours that ordinary bars in London don't do. I chose a "Mango Colada" which happened to be similar to a Pina Colada with with mango and pineapple as well as a broader spectrum of alcohol.
Daniella got a pineapple Daiquiri that looked incredible in the glass they served it in. The drinks weren't cheap, but they were delicious and it took me quite a while to drink mine. The whole venue was decorated in a very beach-y expensive summer sort of style and it was a perfect way for us to sit outside and enjoy the last bit of sun for the day. 
I think if I lived in Brighton every sunny day you'd find me there trying to live like someone out of a film. 
Here's their website: http://www.havana.uk.com/

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Food For Friends

Food for friends is a vegetarian restaurant in the Lanes in Brighton. Their menu has a lot of varied food, curries, gnocchi, tofu, cheese, and other things that you do not necessarily associate with being vegetarian. I didn't even notice it was a vegetarian restaurant until I walked in and it said so on the menu. They had a huge variety of drinks, nibbles, starters, mains and desserts. It was quite a formal place based on the way they displayed their food. 
The sauces are spread out evenly without a drop out of its place. The waiters are very polite, and the tap water jugs have cucumber in them to give the water some flavour. The ambiance is very warm, welcoming but also clean and well presented. The food comes quite quickly, and everything looks like a work of art. It being late for lunch, my friend Daniella and I eat rather quickly but still being able to notice all the flavours in the food. The rice given with my coconut curry is spiced perfectly to match the main dish. Whereas Daniella's gnocchi have a light sauce drizzled over them and just a slice of Parmesan cheese on each one. 
The bill comes with a cute little survey card, and I fill it out promtly, knowing that I'd love to come back and eat something else because there was so much I wanted to taste. 
Here's their website: http://www.foodforfriends.com/

Angel Food Bakery

Walking through cute tiny roads in the central area of Brighton we passed by Angel Food Bakery" which happened to have several really well decorated cupcakes in the window. I couldn't stop myself from going in. Everyone was so friendly, even if it took me ages to decide which flavour I wanted.  All the cupcakes looked incredible, but so did this huge Victoria sponge cake. It was so difficult to choose.
In the end I had a lemon meringue cupcake, which had lemon-y custard stuff in the middle too which was really good and unexpected. The shop is so cute and small but there's enough space on the bar for them to show off all their cakes. There are nice little bar stools for the customers to sit on while they eat their cake if they wish to eat in. 
Generally in the UK they charge you more if you want to eat in, and this place was no different so I took my cupcake to go, and I devoured it in the middle of the road before heading into an art shop near by.
Here's their website: http://www.angelfoodbakery.co.uk 

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Brighton Beach and Pier

My friends and I wanted to go to Brighton during bank holiday weekend but staying in a hotel Sunday night turned out to be really expensive. So, we decided to make our bank holiday longer and stay in Brighton Monday night instead. We took the train to Brighton from London Bridge, and 20 minutes before our train was supposed to leave the announcement says that our train is cancelled. So we start freaking out, but thankfully during the time we were queuing at the information desk our train was no longer cancelled. So we were able to arrive in Brighton at 11am on Monday.
First thing we did was walk towards the beach. After all, living in a city makes you miss the seaside.  We sat at the beach for about an hour before the wind started making us shiver. I think the fact that there were people laying in their bikinis made me feel even more cold. We then started walking towards the Pier. We stopped at several cute little stands which were selling different beach memorabilia and we went into an adorable pottery shop. 
Once we arrived at the Pier we noticed how crowded this little beach town was. We walked on through to the end of the Pier stopping to look at people on jet skis under us. We decided to take advantage of the fair, and bought 30 tokens and rode on some rides. The scariest ride was "Crazy Mouse" because you were pretty much in a little car over the sea. 
After that I stopped for some traditional fish and chips, because I still hadn't had any since I moved back to the UK. It was incredible. We continued strolling along the beach front until about 3pm when we then headed to our hotel to check-in and leave our bags. 


On the 5th of May before going to Islington we stopped in Soho for a tequila tasting at Amathus. Amathus is a wine shop with several small stores around London, at their Soho store they have enough space to set up a bunch of tables in the middle/back of the shop. On the biggest table at the rear of the shop there were a few employees making margheritas in tiny little shot glasses. They later handed out these glasses to everyone in the store, if you weren't holding anything they gave you one. 
There was also a woman that makes her own queso, which in her case is a specific type of cheese, a younger version of queso manchego. It was really refreshing and taste-y, a really good contrast to the alcohol. She also had a chili spread if you wanted to add more flavour to the cheese. 
The smallest table, closest to the entrance was serving tequila. There are 3 main different types of tequila. White tequila, which is the youngest just taken from the plant, reposado tequila which is slightly aged tequila (reposado means rested) and anejo tequila which is the most aged and darkest tequila. Out of all these tequilas I liked the white one the best because its got the freshest and lightest taste where as the darkest tequila is very similar to whiskey. 
Overall, I really like the musical atmosphere because they had a mariachi band playing and everyone was incredibly happy and friendly. I was really tempted to buy one of their t-shirts that said "tequila is never enough" but they didn't have any left in my size. Maybe I'll have better luck next year. 
Here's their website: http://www.amathusdrinks.com/

Monday, 27 May 2013

Victoria Park

Last bank holiday Monday I was able to go to the park with my flatmate Emily. We brought lunch, and we just sat down on a blanket and relaxed in the sun. But not too in the sun cause we didn't want to get burnt. Living in east London means that the closest park is Victoria Park, but to our surprise its also a really nice park. 
I think the park ambiance on a sunny day in London is probably what I liked the most. Little children running around, and cute dogs too. So many groups of people were playing ball sports and doing barbecues. It really felt like being part of the city. I didn't even read my book cause I was too busy people watching. I loved it. 
Emily occasionally got freaked out by a bug, but that's fairly normal to me. I hate hate hate bees. Overall, it was just a really good thing to do on a day off, because you could tell no one was in a hurry to do anything. I love days like that, just days to relax. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Nordic Bakery

In soho in front of a beautiful square garden there is the Nordic Bakery. The colours of the bakery are very grey and blue, and there are big wooden tables in the eating area. What I liked the most about it was that we were able to get our food and drinks and go enjoy them in the garden across the street. And when my friend needed the bathroom they remembered that he had just been there so they didn't make a fuss about him going to their loo. 
I got a cinnamon bun/roll and it was incredible. They're better warm but it was so good and sticky in the right places. Its not like an American cinnamon swirl, there is no icing, but the layers of the cinnamon bun were squishy and crunchy, you just want to eat it forever. They also have savory foods too, mostly with salmon and herring. They display all their food really well, so if you go in just wanting a coffee expect to leave with food too. Its very hard to resist their food. 
They also sell Nordic food cook books and other cute stuff. I know next time I'm in soho I'm stopping for a savory treat, cause I only got to enjoy the sweet treats last time. 
Here's their website: http://www.nordicbakery.com/

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Barrio North

On the fifth of May Mexican people celebrate "Cinco de Mayo". Since this year I didn't get to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I felt like it was my duty as a person to go out and drink on another day that is celebrated with alcohol. So in the evening on the 5th of May we decided to go drink margheritas at Barrio North near Angel. 
The place was decorated with pinatas and colourful banners, whenever you bought a drink they've offer you a stick on mustache and the first round of margheritas were 8 pounds each, but after that they were 5 pounds each. The drinking festivities started around 8pm, and continued on until about 3am. The music was fun and fast pace with a mix of latin music with newer house music and the occasional reggae piece. 
The outside smoking area was really nice too, cause there different coloured tiles all along the entrance, giving you the impression you're not in London. The main dancing area was really crowded, and there were so many different people out enjoying their night. Further back into the venue there were some couches and stools for people to sit, talk and relax which for us was really good at the start of the night, before the first few drinks.
The back section of the bar had really cool wallpaper with cut outs from newspapers, and pictures of Mexican wrestlers. The bathroom had a repetitive print of golden skulls all over the walls too. I think what I enjoyed most is that the bar was so authentic to the night's celebration. Even the stamp they put on our hand when we went in had a Mexican wrestling mask on it. 
Here's their webpage: http://www.barrionorth.com/

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Walking down Portobello Road you stop at all the market stalls but somehow I never stop at the restaurants around it. This time I was finally able to look around a bit more, and I decided to stop at a place called "Zaza". This place has Italian ice-cream, or as I like to call it "real ice-cream".
I chose the smallest size cup, for 2,50 pounds, and the flavour licorice. I know, I know, its a weird flavour, but since this one summer I tried it in Sicily I can't get enough. It was amazing, it had a very subtle taste with a pang at the end. The store also had Italian candy and other Italian desserts.
The ice-cream flavours they had were all really cool for example there was; amarena, zuppa inglese, cassata, and many others. It was great because they had the English descriptive name on the top of the label and then the actual Italian name underneath. The people serving were all Italian except for one person that seemed like he was new at the job because he was still learning how to use the touch screen on the till.
The place has a few small tables in the back and around, there's also a stack of pillows that you can grab to make your seat more comfortable. Being such a small shop gives it more personality, and it reminded me a lot of an ice-cream place in Milan. I really want to try some of their other flavours when I go back to Portobello. Here's their site: http://www.zazagelato.eu/index.html

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Lift (574) is a cool relaxing place near Dalston. The interior is really nicely decorated with small details giving the place a lot of personality. I went there with a few friends on Saturday the 4th of May, just for a cup of coffee. A latte costs 2,35 pounds, and a double espresso is 2,50 pounds. You go up to the bar to get your food and drinks, and you can watch them make your coffee if you like. They also do freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. 
We sat on some cute stools and a red couch, just chatting away with our coffee. The music in the background is really mellow so its doesn't distract from conversation. In the back room of the "restaurant" there is a pool table, so you can probably spend a whole evening there without getting bored. 
Overall, I just really liked it because I was able to have a good conversation, sitting down, without the rush of London surrounding me. I'm really happy we sat inside because it started hailing while we were drinking our coffee so that would have really put a downer on our day. I'm probably going to go there again just because it gave me a really good vibe, and they have free wifi, so I could always take advantage of that. 
Here's their website: http://lift574.com/

Friday, 17 May 2013

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Across from Dalston Junction station there is a really cute garden. This garden is called "Dalston Eastern Curve Garden". It was created in 2010 where there was an old train station. There are beautiful daffodils and tulips around the seating area in the shade at the start of the garden. Further into the garden there are fatboy bean bags layed out for you to enjoy the sun.
There are children playing, people chatting, and even people alone trying to do work in the relaxing environment. One thing I really liked is that pretty much anyone can go there to enjoy the garden even if its not a public garden. There's also a little cafe set up at the entrance so that if you wish to have something to drink or eat you can. I got fresh green tea, and I personally got to see the woman preparing it for me taking the mint leaves off the plants that they grow in the garden.
The garden also has adult and children workshops set up throughout the year so that they can raise money and do more. Their current project is to build a pineapple house. A sort of green house to grown exotic fruits and normal vegetables so that they can provide for themselves all year round. I'm thinking of volunteering at the garden next year, because its always good to help and I really like what they've been able to do, and I'd love to get involved and help them grow. Here's the garden's website: http://dalstongarden.org/