Yelly Eats

Eating Taiwan in London!

We’ve walked past this little place on Rupert Street in Chinatown that specialises in Taiwanese dishes so many times for ages, either on our way to another restaurant in Chinatown or on our way to Yolkin (the cutesy shop that sells macaroon ice cream sandwiches, also found on Rupert Street). We’ve always been curious about the food and how good the food was because there was always a queue of people. But we never really had the opportunity to try the food, because we were always going for a meal somewhere else. But thankfully, last Saturday provided an excellent opportunity to stand in the queue and chance it!

We waited in the queue for about 20 minutes and looked at the menu that was very helpfully next to us, by the shop window, next to where we were queuing. We ordered a few dishes to have individually and thoroughly enjoyed our choices! For our individual meals Alan had deep fried salt & pepper pork chop with rice (which was served with preserved greens and braised pork), I had a very generous bowl of Sichuan dan-dan noodles that had an extremely tasty peanut sauce and the right amount of heat and spice and Yuki had the Old Tree thin noodles soup with oysters which as deceptively small but was incredibly filling! We also ordered a side of Taiwanese style salt and pepper crispy squid which sooooooooo good! It had the right amount of plum favouring sprinkled on it too!

The space has maybe 20-30 seats but always seems packed to the rafters. So if you’re aiming to go and try the food, be prepared to wait a little. It’s a fairly good sign that a lot of their diners look Taiwanese, and that they all seem willing to wait in the cold for their chance to be seated. To me that means the food is good enough to queue and wait for, and it was a taste of home away from home.

I so wish I could’ve been to Taiwan, to try the restaurant food, and the street food and the fabulous snacks. However, I’m more than happy to trust the opinions of all the customers queuing up by OTDB. There is something infinitely comforting about the small space with the assortment of tables all crammed to maximise possible revenue. It reminded me of the little eateries (which we called carinderia in Filipino) which my friends and I used to go to to eat cheap but delicious food.

The food at OTDB is more than just cheap and cheerful though. It is yummy and ultimately comforting. I suppose to me it is such a comfort because the food traditions in Asia, especially around Southeast Asia are very similar to what their neighbours are eating. Also, everything is relatively…incestuous for a lack of a better word. Everyone has a version of a dish that is similar to something from another country.

Apart from the culturally similar flavours, I absolutely enjoyed the numbing heat of the Sichuan dan-dan noodles. I’ve had a couple of other versions of it, and I think this is, by far, my favourite version of the spicy stringed yumminess. I think the addition of the peanut flavour provides a different yumminess to the numbing heat of the noodles. My tolerance for spicy food has definitely waned a lot, because Alan and I stopped actually eating hot food. I’ve got a spicy new favourite now though…and I think I’m going to start eating a lot of spicy noodles again!

Yelly Eats

Craving Korean comfort food

Alan will be making feijoada tonight so that is an absolute treat and completely comforting.  But I find that because of the weather I am craving a lot of Asian food at the moment.  I am particularly wishing we lived in London so that I can order Korean food from Deliveroo!

I would love, at the moment, to be able to indulge in a large half soy half spicy platter of On The Bab’s yang yeum Korean fried chicken.

yang yeum fried chickenPairing that with their spicy pork buns

OTB Spicy pork buns…and just to be completely stuffed, I’d like to finish it with a warm and comforting bowl of bibimbap!

OTB Bibimbap

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Yelly Eats

The friendliest fish and chippy on the Soho block!

We’d walked past Poppie’s in Soho several times during our recent trips to London.  The Soho branch is on Old Compton Street and Poppie’s in Soho has taken over what used to be Bobby Chin’s House of Ho.  Whilst the signage is mostly black and white, the bunting strung across the signage makes it very cheerful, and, dare I say it, very British!

My friend Ally was visiting from Singapore and this was the only opportunity we had to meet with her.  I’d asked previously if she’d already had a fish and chippy meal since she arrived in London, fish and chips being quintessentially British, to me anyway.  She said no so I thought it would be good to have fish and chips because it would be a substantial enough meal if we were hungry but light enough because, well, it was fish. While I am partial to the fish and chip shop where I live, there was no way I was going to haul my friend up to Harwich to have just a fish and chip meal and push her back onto the train back to London Town.  It was our first trip to Poppie’s but we’d heard a lot of good things about it online.  It was convenient because it was close to where we wanted to go to in London.

When you turn into Old Compton Street , Poppie’s will be easy to find because it will be hard to miss the bright red Mini parked in front emblazoned with Poppie’s logo.  We popped our head in the door and asked for a table for 3 and we were greeted pleasantly and promptly showed to a booth.  The dining area was bigger than I thought.  Since the shop had a food prep and cooking area and a take away counter separate from the main space, I didn’t expect the space to be comfortable.  I thought that they would’ve tried to stuff as many tables as was possible.  But I was very wrong.  We had enough space to wriggle around very comfortably.  There was a certain charm to the diner/shabby chic decor of the space.

The staff is friendly and cheerful.  My friend thought we were regulars because of how the serving staff interacted with us.  I daresay you won’t find a friendlier group of people in the food service industry!  They were really nice and happy.  Some people might think they might be overly familiar, but it was nice to have friendly service that felt really genuine and welcoming.  The Poppettes, as the servers are known, know their food as well and can answer your questions about food really well.

Our food came out fairly quickly and piping hot.  You knew that the fish was fried to order.  The portion of chips was a great ratio to the regular portion of fish.  The fish was fresh, sweet and cooked to perfection.  The service was great and they looked after us without us feeling like they were forever hovering.  When we finished, they cleared our plates away efficiently but we didn’t feel like they were hurrying us up to free up the table.  We were allowed to sit and chat and finish our drinks.  The bill was also a surprise because it was very reasonable for what we ordered.  Great value for money as well!

I chose to order the cod because cod is always a safe option when eating at an unfamiliar chippy.  But I am definitely going back and ordering rock for my next fish and chip meal at Poppie’s.  It is definitely worth it!  When you’re in Soho, pop into Poppie’s for the best fish and chip meal!  You won’t be disappointed!

Poppie's Soho

Yelly Eats

A gem off the beaten path: Coleman Coffee Roasters

Coleman Coffee Roasters frontWe came across this lovely café quite by accident.  We were exploring Lower Marsh and the rain started to come down quite heavily.  We were also looking for a place to have breakfast because our usual cheap eat favourite Marie’s on the same street was closed.

We took shelter and the smell of coffee  wafting from the beautifully gleaming vintage espresso machine was amazing!  We were greeted with a really welcome “Hello guys!” so we went further in and looked at the menu.  We were intending to be polite and just have coffee and possibly cake.  But they served Staffordshire oatcakes or “oaties” and there was quite a choice from sweet to savoury fillings for the oat pancakes.  We’d never had oaties before so our curiousity was piqued!  We chose to have bacon and stewed tomatoes.  The aroma of cooking bacon was amazing, and boy were the oaties oh-so-fabulously good!  It rated an “oh-my-God-this-is-amazing!” with my mouth full of oatie-bacon-tomato goodness!  The oaties were light but surprisingly filling.  I expected to feel full and bloated after, but I didn’t.  It was heaven on a plate.

oaties!Now. let’s get to the lovely brew!  I opted for drip coffee because it’s what I do when trying out a new coffee place (my better-safe-than-sorry coffee measure).  I was offered a choice between the Guatemalan and another blend (I think it was Costa Rican blend) and I chose the Guatemalan.  It was very nostalgic for me because it was served on a Duralex looking cup, which reminded me so much of the French coffee cups that my father favoured.  At first I was worried because the drip coffee looked light and watery.  But oh no, was I VERY wrong!  The coffee was rich, comforting and oh-so-flavourful.

Mmmm coffee!The staff are lovely, very friendly, so very helpful and they know their products.  They’re happy to explain what they sell, what you’re options are and they give you lovely recommendations.  They also love what they’re selling.  That’s key!

This isn’t quite on the main road from Waterloo Station, but this is definitely worth a visit.  The space is small and there are only a few seats, but that’s part of the charm.  If you have the opportunity to wander around Lower Marsh, pay the lovely folks at Coleman Coffee Roasters a visit.  It is DEFINITELY worth it!

Coffee and oaties!

Yelly Writes

Of passports and celebrity sightings

I am now officially eligible to apply for British citizenship…but I am a proud carrier of a Philippine passport.  I am planning on applying for UK citizenship though, if only for the ease that it presents when I do intend to travel to parts unknown because apparently you get visa-free access to 173 countries with a UK passport!  Not that I’m a traveler but it would be good to take be able to take advantage of travel deals, to have the convenience of going on a mini-break to almost anywhere, if and when I can.

But until then, I shall have to renew my Philippine passport every 5 years.

I went to London today to renew my Philippine passport because my passport expires in June this year.  I came armed with my tablet so that I could read my ebooks or work on work emails while I waited.  Because there would be a wait.  One thing that hasn’t changed much is the waiting in line in Philippine government institutions.  The Philippine embassy in London isn’t any different.  But as soon as I stepped through the double doors of the Philippine embassy in London on Suffolk Street it felt like being back home.  You could hear conversations in Filipino and for some reason there was an aroma of steamed rice wafting all over the embassy!

I like to come prepared and I like to make sure that I prepare for every possibility (or at least, I like to think so!).  Before I left for the embassy, I made sure I read and reread the instructions for passport renewal.  Also, if you are applying to renew your passport, if you can, I suggest you print a copy of the application forms because, whilst there are forms that you can fill out at the embassy, it makes things move along quicker if you have all your forms filled out, your money ready, and your passport and other supporting documents available and in order according to the numbering on the forms.

You get to the embassy and take a name from the number thingmebob and wait for your number to be called.  It was a bit of a wait because not everyone came with the right documents, or they didn’t have photos or they didn’t fill out the forms right, or they didn’t have the right forms.  I guess, after filling out forms for my UK residency (there were pages and pages) I learned to prepare and pay attention to detail.  Am not trying to say anything bad about my countrymen at all.  I’m sure anyone who worked in an environment where I worked would make sure all the boxes that needed ticking would be ticked and all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.

It took all of 5 minutes to submit my documents, get them inspected and me to make the payment.  Then I was sent upstairs to wait to get my photo taken.  They call you when your passport is ready for pick up so I had the rest of the day to spend in London.

I was horribly hungry so I went to my new favourite place to eat:  Tokyo Diner in Chinatown.  It’s a brilliant little space on the corner of Newport Street.  The food is tasty and authentic and you get a small serving of Japanese rice crackers and bottomless genmaicha (brown rice tea) on the house.  They don’t accept tips, by the way and prefer that you pay in cash.  (They also give you extra rice if you ask for it…as much rice as you can manage!).

Tokyo DinerI ordered a tamago don from the lunch specials menu and waited for my food to arrive.  And when it did, it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Tamago DonI did my usual people watching and noticed this beautiful and familiar blonde sitting in the corner of the restaurant.  I thought she looked like Myanna Buring from Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  At one point, she moved to the table next to me.  I noticed her looking at my food and when she ordered, she placed an order for the tamago don lunch special as well!  I was certain she was Edna Braithwaite from Downton Abbey.  I even did the creepy thing of taking a sneaky snapshot!

Myanna BuringI sent her a message on Twitter to ask.  And she confirmed that she was indeed Myanna Buring and that I should’ve said hi.  Ah well!  I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be me-time.  One never knows whether you can interrupt celebrities these days.

TweetMyannaBuringAnd the celebrity sightings didn’t stop there.  After having my late lunch, I headed back to Liverpool Street.  I was early but all I had to do was hang around Liverpool Street Station for the direct to Harwich Town train that left 16:44.

London Liverpool StreetI went to WH Smith to get myself a free drink (thank you O2 Priority!) and as I was walking back to the main central area of the station I heard a girl giggle heartily and the sound made me smile so I turned to look at where the sound was coming from.  It was from a very pretty Filipina-looking girl in a black turtle neck paired with black palazzo trousers and chatting to someone animatedly on her phone.  My jaw dropped.  Two celebrity sightings in one day?  I had to say hello to a fellow Filipino and one of the prettiest faces in country.  So I turned on my heel and went to say hello to Dominique Cojuangco (Gretchen Barretto’s only child).  Then I started to doubt myself.  I may have just imagined that the girl was who she was.  Also, I didn’t really want to act all stalkerish.  Everyone deserves their alone time and I thought most celebrities enjoy time where they can be themselves and have time to their thoughts.

I did the usual and sent her a tweet and she did say that it her and I should’ve said hi.

TweetDBCojuangcoAh well!  Next time, maybe?

 

Yelly Eats

An Ode to Gallus

I love chicken.  If you ask me what I miss most from the Philippines, it will probably be Chickenjoy from Jollibee (a fastfood restaurant in the Philippines) and fried chicken from Max’s (am not quite sure this is a fastfood restaurant but it is Filipino and I grew up going to Max’s!).  So it follows that when I moved to the UK, I would look for a chicken place to go to.  And I thought I’d found a great chicken place.

We discovered Gallus, Empire of Chicken on Timeout.  They were offering a £10 voucher for a £25 food spend.  Alan said that as it was £10 for £25 of food, you couldn’t really complain.  So we looked on the website and thought, what the hey, it’s something new.  So on our next trip to London, off we went to Gallus!  And let me tell you, £25 bought you a lot of food!

Gallus offered a lot of chicken choices – you had chicken skewers, chicken burgers, salad with chicken, sides (there were chips, side salads, coleslaw…and a lot more that I can’t remember!), desserts and a good selection of drinks!

Gallus Mexican chicken salad

We went back several times because the chicken was genuinely good.  Because the chicken was marinated in several ways, you never really got bored of the chicken choices.  You could go Mediterranean, Oriental, South Asian or Latin American.  You could go mild, spicy, or umami.  The servings were generous and it was excellent value for money.  The staff were polite but very attentive and they knew their product – we never felt there was a question too silly about the food they served!

But if you notice that I keep talking in the past tense, it is, sadly, because Gallus has closed.  We walked past the Charing Cross Road restaurant to find that all the windows were papered and the sign has been removed.  I know that they didn’t really have a lot of footfall whenever we went (I think we managed about 4 trips – it was conveniently close to the theatres so it was brilliant for pre- and post-theatre meals) but I had hoped they were more popular and that people would cotton on to the fact that they were good.

Gallus chicken burger

It is sad that in the wonderful melting pot of wonderful places to eat that is London, Gallus was eaten up, swallowed and spitted out like, dare I say it, chicken bones.  If you didn’t get to eat at Gallus, you missed a great chicken place that served succulent chicken pieces that offered a better option than KFC for almost the same price.

I have high hopes that Gallus will rise from the ashes like another fowl of myth.  And maybe this time, their marketing will be much better and people will flock to the empire of chicken!

Gallus chicken skewers

Yelly Eats

The flat white from Flat White

There are a lot of reasons why I’d love to live in London.  There’s something about the frenetic activity of a world-class city that makes one feel alive.  For one, the shops don’t close at 5 or 6PM.  There’s always something to do and there’s always something to happen.  What I love about my London trips is that you literally walk in history.  Each corner and cobblestone may have had a place in history!

And the food!  London is such a cultural melting pot that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where and what to eat.  You have a choice of going to a restaurant chain or going to an independent one-of-a-kind shop.

I love my coffee strong (some might say strong enough to stand one’s spoon in!) and while I will always somehow feel a certain loyalty to Starbucks (sometimes Starbucks coffee can leave me wanting more), London offers a wide variety of choice when it comes to places where one can get a brilliant cuppa.

One of my favourite street food purveyors of great coffee is Bean About Town.  Their coffee is strong and robust and you get the perfect caffeine hit.  I’ve been known to head to South Bank when a headache rears its ugly head just to stop a migraine from coming (obviously only when I’m actually IN London)!  I remember once my migraine really was starting and we were in South Bank  I was very disappointed that they’d run out of beans and I couldn’t get my caffeine fix.

One of my favourite coffee places of all time though is Flat White.  It’s this little coffee shop nestled in between vegetable stalls and fabric shops on Berwick Street in Soho.  It serves, well, flat whites (of course!), cappuccino, lattes, and a selection of other coffee based drinks.  They also offer a great selection of teas.  If you’re feeling peckish and need a little something to have with your cuppa, they’ve got a selection of bread-based eats and baked goodies as well.

I love Flat White.  Mostly because they make a good flat white – strong and not at all too watery or milky.  For those who haven’t had a flat white, a flat white is a coffee drink developed in Australia in the 1970s and further developed in New Zealand in the 80s.  It’s prepared by preparing steamed milk with small, fine bubbles into a shot or a double shot of espresso.  Flat White a smallish narrow restaurant that has a long L-shaped banquette.  But what I appreciate most about this little gem of a coffee shop is that even though seating is limited, the atmosphere is very laid back and no one rushes you to gulp down your drink, inhale your food and free up seating space.  You’re allowed to chill out and linger over your coffee.  The staff are wonderfully friendly (no question too silly!) and you are served with an amazing efficiency (the music is not too loud and brilliant to listen to!)!

Table Flat White

If you’re ever in Soho, and you’re dying for a cup of coffee, mosey on along to Flat White.  It will definitely be worth it!

Flat White's flat white

 

Yelly Eats

The (Chicken) Bucket List

I have always, always loved chicken: fried, stewed, roasted, poached, steamed, sautéed, you name a cooking process, I’ll probably say go and do it and I’ll eat the chicken.  I’d even go as far as saying that I prefer chicken to any other meat.

My all-time favourite chicken dish, however, is Southern fried chicken.  I loved it so much that everytime I hear of a chicken place that claims to serve “proper” Southern fried chicken, I ask Alan if we can go and try it out.  Thankfully, Alan is almost always too happy to indulge this particular obsession.

So after a lot of thinking, Alan and I have come up with THE list.  It’s a list of chicken places that we have tried and places that we want to try, mostly because they serve chicken.

Presenting our chicken bucket list!

  1. Roost
  2. Spit and Roast
  3. Mother Clucker
  4. Bird
  5. Clock Jack
  6. Wishbone
  7. Red Dog
  8. Jubo
  9. On The Bab
  10. Stax
  11. Ruby Jean’s Diner
  12. Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
  13. Chooks
  14. Meat Liquor
  15. Rita’s Bar and Dining
  16. Eat 17
  17. Jackson and Rye
  18. Clutch

So watch this space as I write through the (chicken) bucket list!

 

Yelly Eats

Eating at the House of Ho

Soho is a brilliant hodgepodge of restaurants.  You are spoiled for choice when you head there for a meal.  There is a brilliant mixture of chain restaurants, small mom & pop establishments, specialist restaurants that feature European, traditional English, South American, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.  There are a variety of bars, coffee shops and patisseries as well.  The question of what to eat becomes even more difficult to answer when faced with so much choice!

One of the newer kids on the block featuring Southeast Asian cuisine is Bobby Chinn’s House of Ho.  Found in the middle of Old Compton Street, the monotone gray facade of the restaurant contradicts the diverse flavours of the dishes that are on offer on the menu.  Bobby Chinn describes the food on offer at House of Ho as “modern Vietnamese food and flavours.”  I was mostly excited that it was Bobby Chinn’s restaurant.  I was a bit of a fan of his when I lived in Manila.  His cooking shows were an afternoon staple when I was at home and had access to TV.  Apart from that, I love Vietnamese food.  We had a Vietnamese lady stay with us once for a few weeks and she would cook us a proper Vietnamese meal once in a while.  My favourite was a chicken recipe with lemongrass.  I fell in love even more when I was introduced to pho and the fresh spring rolls (in Atlanta of all places!).  Vietnamese food is one of the lesser known Southeast Asian cuisines, although it is now becoming more and more recognised (thanks in part to very popular street food purveyors of banh mi and pho), and Philippine cuisine, being a Southeast Asian country, the flavour bases are typically the same with Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, and Indian influences.

We walked past House of Ho around lunchtime.  I recognised Bobby Chinn straightaway.  He was sitting at a table, having lunch, by one of the large open windows of the restaurant.  We crossed the street and looked at the menu and thought the prices were really good (I mean hey, it is a Bobby Chinn restaurant!).  There were lovely things like spring rolls, morning glory (we call it kang kong in the Philippines) and sautéed choyote (we call it sayote in the Philippines) on the menu.  It got me really excited!  But what made my day was when we walked past Bobby Chinn, we said hello and we said we’d be back and he smiled at us, said hi and said that that would be great.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy, but that made my day (insert fan girl wisecrack here!).

We decided on having dinner at the House of Ho.  We’d been walking around London and were still quite full up from all the small bits of eating that we’d done throughout the day, so a light but late supper (we’d been to see The Commitments before deciding on dinner) was in order.  As luck would have it, Mr Chinn was again in front, twiddling away on his mobile phone.  I’m not entirely sure that he recognised us, but we did say we’re back as promised and he ushered us in and told one of the staff “They came back!”  We were promptly seated into nice seats.

The interior of the restaurant at night has subdued lighting and the seating is efficiently spaced – it only seats about 90 people apparently and while it does use space well, the seating isn’t cramped and you don’t feel like they’ve squashed as many seats as they could in the space that they had.  There was breathing space.

We chose edamame for nibbles, our usual sodas (diet for me) a bottle of water, a bowl of steamed rice to share, chicken Imperial rolls, chicken curry and apple smoked pork belly.

Everything was great.  I was a little taken aback by the portion sizes.  Southeast Asian eating is mostly family eating size.  So you get a big bowl of rice and a big bowl of your main dish or dishes.  But that being said, even though the portions were smaller than expected, they were enough to share, so that you could get a taste of everything.  I understood what Bobby Chinn was trying to do.  He wanted to make the dishes look elegant (because let’s face it, family eating is about functionality and not elegance, not really) so that apart from the look, you could focus on the taste.  And boy, did you get a taste!

House of Ho table

The rice came late, which was a bit of a disappointment (and on our bill, we were billed twice for it, but that was quickly changed with a lot of apologies, so that was okay!).  Rice is ESSENTIAL in Southeast Asian dining.  It comes first.

The Imperial rolls were lovely.  They were petit spring rolls, not like what the British are used to.  In the Philippines we have a version that we call Lumpiang Shanghai (loom-pee-yang Shanghai).  I’m not ashamed to say my yardstick for really (really) good cooking is my mum’s cooking.  And the Imperial rolls pass muster.  It’s up there in terms of taste compared to my mum’s lumpiang Shanghai.  I was in spring roll heaven.

Imperial rolls

The chicken curry was probably one of the best chicken curries I’ve ever tasted.  Everything was delicate and yet the flavour hit you.  You knew you were eating chicken curry but you weren’t walloped into realising it.  All the flavours just melded.  I wanted to ask if the delicate green leaves on top were the paddy leaves because they were yummy.  There was an amazing explosion of aniseedy flavour in your mouth when you included on of the sprigs.  I would probably, very willingly, dive into a vat of that chicken curry.  It was GOOD!

Chicken curry

But the showstopper was the apple smoked pork belly.  Oh.  My.  God.  Wait.  Let me gather my thoughts…That was the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted.  Ever.  Really.

My mum has a pork dish that she calls Lutong Intsik (loo-tong in-chick) which translated means “cooked the Chinese way.”  I think my mum used a pork shoulder joint and then braised the pork until it was meltingly soft.  House of Ho’s belly pork dish was like.  Only a thousand times better (sorry Mum!!!)!  It was just too good.  I know there was soy, there was probably some sort of sugar, there were spices.  I can’t put into words how good it was.  It was just an explosion of flavours in your mouth!  I mean there was a party in my mouth and it was hosted by that beautiful belly pork.  I think about the pork and I sigh.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it is probably the best thing I’ve ever had.  It was really that good.

Apple smoked belly pork

If you go to House of Ho, if you order just one thing on the menu (rice doesn’t count because you have to have rice) you MUST order the belly pork!  It is an experience in itself.  But you must go, at least once, to House of Ho.  The staff are great, the food is glorious and Bobby Chinn is a genius!

Am already looking forward to my next trip!  And yes, you can bet that I’m ordering that pork!

House of Ho outside

Yelly Eats

The Nordic Bakery

I am a lover of cinnamon.  Cinnamon bun, cinnamon cake, cinnamon rolls…you name it, if it has cinnamon I will want to try it!

The year I moved to England, Alan told me about this little tucked away coffee place called the Nordic Bakery that made really good cinnamon buns.  It was in Golden Square in Soho and being a non-native, when we went to pay a visit to it, it seemed to take forever to get to it (of course I’ve completely changed my mind now because I know that everything – well, mostly everything – in London is within walking distance of each other!).  When we got there, the place was packed and very busy and we ordered a cinnamon bun.  They packed it for us, and we took it back to the flat.  I had it and was a tiny bit disappointed.  It was nice – but to me, it was nothing to write home about.

I have, however, kept an open mind.  I liked the vibe of Nordic Bakery while I was there (it was probably not even 5 minutes) but the blue and dark wood interiors were indelibly stamped in my mind.  Every time we chanced upon Golden Square, I looked at Nordic Bakery and wanted to go in, sit down, have a coffee and a pastry (or four!).

Then just this month, I had the opportunity to enjoy the Nordic Bakery twice in 2 weekends.  Everything was delicious!  Even the cinnamon bun which I thought was disappointing the first time I had it.  Everything was really good because, for me, a recalcitrant diabetic with a sweet tooth, everything sweet is to be taken in moderation, and the goodies on offer were not toothache-inducingly sweet!

With a lovely chocolate sprinkled cup of cappuccino (I loved their coffee but will probably try one with an extra shot of espresso next time)

Nordic Bakery's cappuccino

I enjoyed their deliciously spiced lingonberry bun.  There was a lovely aroma of cardamom that went really well with the sweet-tartness of the lingonberry jam that was generously spread over the top of the very light cake.

Nordic Bakery's lingonberry bun

Yesterday, I had a selection of pastries: the savoury but deliciously creamy potato Karelian pie

Nordic Bakery's potato Karelian pie

followed by the yummy apple Tosca bun (it looked like it was going to be so sweet but it wasn’t! It was lovely and light and the apple flavour came through each beautiful bite!)

Nordic Bakery's apple Tosca bun

and I had the classic cinnamon bun to finish.  The cinnmon bun is one of Nordic Bakery’s best selling products.  By the time we had finished our coffee and cakes the once full basket on the counter was empty!  This isn’t your typical doughy cinnamon roll.  The layers are thin and light and oh-so-cinnamony.  The outer layers are also thin but almost crispy that they crackle when you slice or bit into them.  It has certainly redeemed itself!  It goes way too well with a hot cup of coffee!

Nordic Bakery's classic Cinnamon bun

I was so intrigued by the Tosca bun that I had to buy the cookbook.  It is filled with the wonderful recipes of all the Nordic Bakery favourites.  It’s not going to stop me from eating at the Nordic Bakery but it will certainly tide me over until my next visit!

Nordic Bakery Cookbook

My first Nordic Bakery cookbook bake is the Tosca cake.  It was so easy to make!  Am so excited to have coffee this afternoon (it’s a bit sad, isn’t it?)!  Join me for a slice?

My version of Nordic Bakery's Tosca cake

You need to visit the Nordic Bakery if you’re in London.  It’s a really nice place to have coffee and something sweet or something savoury.  The staff are helpful and are ever so patient when you have questions about the food on offer.  The service is quick and I love how everything is served in pretty plates, trays and mugs of varying shades of blue.   I’ve yet to try the rye bread sandwiches but they look so delicious and I intend to try one when I pay my next visit.  They have a branch in the Golden Square in Soho.  Apart from the Soho branch, they have one on New Cavendish Street and on Dorset Street, both in Marylebone.