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

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Machiavelli Kitchen & Dining

I wanted to go out to eat on my Birthday with a few friends so I decided to book a table at Machiavelli Kitchen & Dining. I have walked past it about 30 times and always wanted to go inside to find out if it was a store, a cafe, or a restaurant. Little did I know, it is both a store and a restaurant. Upon our arrival the evening following my Birthday we were lead downstairs to the main restaurant section. (it does bother me a bit that so many restaurants in London are on the basement level, but there's nothing I can do about it.)
After waiting on a couple of people we decided to have two appetizer trays with sliced hams and some other tasty bits. The music was fairly low, and I'm pretty sure our table was fairly loud. I really got into the Birthday spirit by being the bossy one at the table and making jokes that the waitresses weren't paying enough attention to us. But anyways, I really enjoyed my time there. Everyone seemed to dig into their food, and really enjoy it, so I think it was a good way to celebrate without making too much of a fuss. 
The restaurant itself was very cute, with napkins wrapped in string at every table and drawings of Machiavelli dotted around the place. I'd love to see if their lunch menu is different from their evening menu. And I know next time to not overlook the option of getting lasagna. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Camino Tapas Bar

I went to the tapas bar Camino with my friend Katie when she was in London for the afternoon. We didn't want to take the tube or go too far and the weather was bad, so I was looking for somewhere we could sit, eat, and catch up. King's Cross is starting to become a more fun and interesting area and when I saw there was a tapas bar I knew exactly what I wanted to eat, croquetas!
It was about 2pm when we got there so there were quite a few tables free, but we settled down at one and started looking at the menu. By the way, their lemonades are amazing, they have the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Once we ordered the food came pretty quickly. But the service overall wasn't very good. I think it was probably because the waiters were getting hungry and weren't as alert as when the restaurant is full.
The food didn't disappoint. The croquetas were great, the polpo (octopus) I had was amazing, and everything seemed to fit together well. One of the big things I love about tapas is the fact that you share the food with the people at your table. So you end up tasting a larger variety of foods. Sadly we were too full to get dessert, but some of the things on the dessert menu looked yummy too. Camino is great for a quick lunch if you're there during lunch hour, otherwise just stop by for a relaxed afternoon bite. 
Here's their website: http://www.camino.uk.com/
(all the images are from the Camino website)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pizza Pilgrims

So, this amazing authentic pizza place opened in Soho and I had to try it out for myself. It's very cheesy Italian with the checkered table cloths, and calming music, and its called Pizza Pilgrims. Their menu isn't very long, but that tends to mean that they're good at the few dishes they do make. They even have a proper pizza oven. My friend Noah and I went there, and he's a baker, so he was explaining the whole correct cooking process for the pizza dough. It really made my experience much more authentic. 
Not only is Pizza Pilgrims a restaurant but they also have a pizza van that goes around London. And they've come out with a book too! I had pizza with bufala mozzarella on it and it was amazing. The perfect lunch pit stop. 
Also, a whole thin pizza is the perfect amount of food for lunch. The restaurant has 2 floors and the staff is super nice. Overall, my experience there was pretty good. Noah made me notice how the pizza dough wasn't perfect, and that's the only reason the meal wasn't perfect. 
Here's their website: http://pizzapilgrims.co.uk/
(all the images are from their website and instagram)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Rich Mix

Rich Mix is a venue at the end of Brick Lane that does events as well as being an affordable cinema. I’d been there before to play ping pong with some friends, but this time my flatmate Charlotte and I went there to see Nymphomaniac volume one and two, as well as a live Q&A with some of the cast members in Chelsea. 
We brought snacks, stretched our legs, and queued up for hours of film watching. They stamped our hands so that we could leave during the intermission if we wanted to. But I didn’t move, I was just soaking in the films. The theatre rooms have a lot of characters. The screen we were in front of had really cool walls and ceiling which I only got to see at the beginning of the show. 
The nearest bathrooms are a little far away, so go before the film so you don’t miss anything. Watching Nymphomaniac was an experience in itself, it was really interesting and eye opening so it didn’t really matter where I was watching it. But I’m grateful I got to watch it in a comfy chair without any distractions. 

Here’s their website: http://www.richmix.org.uk

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


The Boundary Restaurant is a fancy French restaurant hidden on Redchurch Street. I've gone to Albion, their daytime cafe, and decided to give the restaurant a try. The dining table was facing towards the kitchen, and the table was round, giving plenty of space for the food. The service was a bit overly attentive particularly when the waitress tried to pour water into my glass by crossing over my arm as I read the menu. 
I of course get a little over excited and order the tray of charcuterie as well as my main dish of beef. And let me tell you, the beef was a very wise choice. Half the fun of the meal though is the place. The tiny little details they've got around. Like a wall full of silver trays, these incredibly comfortable chairs, the steak knife with their logo on it. And of course the little amuse bouche they brought, as well as the chocolates with the bill. 
Sometimes eating out, somewhere slightly more expensive is worth it, especially if you're sharing it with interesting people. The Boundary is the perfect place to show off a little without being too over the top. The only thing I really didn't like was the fact that the restaurant is underground. It's really common in London but I think the only thing that would have really improved my meal would have been a really good view. 
Here's their website: http://www.theboundary.co.uk/
(pictures 1 and 2 are from their website, the rest are mine)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bailey's Stardust

Bailey's Stardust is a show I was really looking forward to seeing because I had seen a few of David Bailey's pieces throughout my life. Along comes this beautiful show put together by the man himself including different collections of all of his work, so of course I had to go. Firstly, I have to say the staff at the National Portrait Gallery is always very nice and very friendly, it's always a pleasure to be there and interact with them. Secondly, somehow no matter which day of the week or what time of day, the temporary shows are always really crowded. But I guess that's good for business. Thirdly, you can't really take pictures inside the show. I was sneaky and sent a few snapchats but nothing I could keep. 
The space used for this particular show was a large variety of rooms that followed a pretty obvious sequence. Of course to avoid the crowds as much as possible I went round the opposite way. But there was a room for the Rolling Stones, another with mainly fashion photography, a collection of portraits and the list goes on. Every image I saw made me stop and catch my breath. Some more than others, but that's always the case. 
I left the show feeling I had learned something, not only about his life, but also about photography and how much the work of one individual person can change. I would love to see other photographers' bodies of work in such a large space, showing the transitions in their lives. I was just really taken by all these images and I still think about them every day. 
(it's on until the 1st of June) 

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Once in a while I like to enjoy a day out on my own. On a Monday a few weeks ago I chose to take myself to lunch and then stroll around Covent Garden. I decided to have lunch at Polpo an Italian restaurant which recently created a lot of buzz. The exterior looks just like any other Italian restaurant but once you're inside you can smell the difference. This is what real food smells like. 
Its set up so you share food with a group, so you can taste many different things, but since it was 2pm I ordered 3 dishes on my own. I had the liver pate with sundried tomato on a slice of bread as my starter. And then I had two mains. I had to get the octopus with the broad beans because the name of the place is the word octopus in Italian. And then I also got the gnocci with tomato sauce and rabbit. All these dishes were exquisite. The menu is printed on the table cloth in front of you, and the restaurant is spacious enough for you to be able to eat comfortably on your own. 
I was able to enjoy the food, read some of my book, chat with the neighbouring table and even have an amazing affogato. An Affogato is pretty much just a ball of vanilla ice-cream in a large coffee cup, covered in an extremely hot espresso shot. The coffee melts the ice-cream but not completely, and this way you don't have to add sugar to your coffee. Overall, my experience at Polpo was really good, if I ever miss authentic Italian food I know where to go. 
Here's their website: http://www.polpo.co.uk/

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


#Art is a show my friend organised and contributed to. It was for one night only here in London but it sold out even before the day of the show. #Art was a show to bring together people, ideas and ambition. There were photographers, musicians, designers, painters, and free beer. The space was between Angel and Old Street, with the entrance on the ground floor and the actual show on the basement level. 
The group of people there is what struck me most. Yes, of course there were a lot of friends and family present, but all of these people believed in what their friends were creating in any of these creative fields. It is really important to me to support artists in any shape or form. Without creativity we're just machines repeating the same steps through life until we die. The exhibition was a good eye opener. It was wonderful to see how well people collaborated and the effort each individual put in was very noticeable. 
The microphone was acting up so most of the performances were done without. The biggest struggle was keeping the crowd quiet. After a few drinks people were getting louder and louder. I stayed throughout the whole show, talking to friends, congratulating my friend Matteo's achievements and just enjoying the positive vibes. I was so happy to be there and witness it, even if I wasn't more involved, it was amazing. 
Here's my friend Matteo's Tumblr site: http://matteoscaglione.tumblr.com/

Saturday, 8 March 2014


One faithful Sunday, around lunch time I strolled by Trade, a new foodie place on Commercial Street. The first thing that caught my eye was their scrambled eggs, and for some reason I thought avocado and smoked salmon were a good addition. And in fact, I made a really smart choice. I also got a coffee, and fruit salad, so I could have a well rounded meal. They gave me a little silver number, and told me they'd bring everything to my table. I sat down, opened my book and took in the atmosphere.
On a Sunday lunchtime it was fairly empty, but all the tables were full by the time I left. The huge windows don't show much of a view, but they let in a huge amount of light. And the chairs and tables are this beautiful shade of light green that makes it feel like summer. Every table has their salt, pepper and sugar shakers yet somehow everything feels really polished, clean and uncluttered.
The staff were really friendly and nice as well, checking if I was enjoying my food, giving me more water, everything was perfect. Since you pay when you order it was a little difficult for me to tip, but I'm going to make sure I tip next time. It's the perfect place to grab a bite to eat away from the weekend madness as well as a great place to get some work done if you're not near home. I had a perfect lunch there and I definitely did not feel rushed which is rare for London. 
Here's their website: http://www.trade-made.co.uk/

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Urban Outfitters

When first moving to London I was so happy I was going to have access to Urban Outfitters. As a teenager I used to order their clothes as a birthday treat because they were so expensive and the shipping costs were high. So when I got here I started raiding their sales rack. They always have a amazing items on sale, and even the ones that aren't on sale yet still catch your eye. 
I love that they have homeware as well as a strong range of accessories. There are quite a few Urban Outfitters shops in London, and I feel like its always a slightly different experience at each of them. The closest one to my house is all on one floor, and it is fairly small but they have a great range of items and the staff there is really nice. The changing rooms are made out of old wooden door, which adds that little bohemian touch I would love to have in my every day life. 
I've been tempted so many times to buy a huge collection of things from there, but I've somehow managed to hold myself back every time. One day I'll go on that shopping spree, and buy all the homeware and all of the clothes, maybe some shoes too. Overall, I think its a cool an quirky store where you're likely to find something a little bit more different from the other high street stores but still something that would go with all of your other clothes. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Photographer's Gallery

A few days ago I went to the Photographer's Gallery again. Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, and David Lynch all have a floor dedicated to each of them. I took the lift to the 5th floor and worked my way down. Most of the images were in black and white, which made their subject stand out even more. It was very interesting to see the transitions of their different perspectives during the 20th century. 
The gallery itself has very open spaces, lining the images along the walls and using the central space to display books or other prints in glass casing. The thing I like the least about photography exhibits is when they cover the images with glass, because you end up seeing a reflection of yourself in the image. This can be used well as an optical illusion but it's really frustrating when looking at a very dark image.
I went to the show especially to see Andy Warhol's work because I've seen so many of his other pieces so I though I would enjoy these too. However I was most impressed by David Lynch's work because it reminds me of the part of London in which I live. There were run down brick factories in most of the images, and I live in an old wool factory, so it was really interesting to see the decline of these buildings and how they have been reused now. 
Overall, the show made me reflect a lot on the past and how things evolve. I rarely have time to think so clearly and deeply on a subject so going to this show helped me clear my head and focus my thoughts. It was really interesting, and a good 3 GBP spent. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

MJM Showroom

My friend Gabi and I were walking around Shoreditch when a cool door caught our eye. This door then lead to a staircase inviting us up. When we got to the first floor the room opened up, and we were in a showroom. Specifically the MJM showroom. The MJM showroom is there to display the designs of Makin Jan Ma a Hong Kong designer working in London. The showroom is also his studio where he creates most of his pieces. 
As part of his degree he created a story, with 5 different characters and his clothing label is a continuation of that project. Each collection belongs to one of the 5 characters and shows a part of them very vividly. In the future he plans on creating more characters for his different lines. I really enjoyed visiting the showroom, even if I can't afford any of the clothes. There were small things placed here and there that reminded me of Hong Kong. They also had some insanely beautiful flowers to brighten up the place.
Overall, I had a great time there, I've signed up for their mailing list just to see where this creative mind goes, and hopefully one day be able to afford something from one of his lines. The lady working there was very kind, and she told us the whole story about him and why the designs are the way they are. To me this is a really strong label with a very clear vision, I love it.