Weekly round up of goings on – 11th November

dessert ice cream Cookies and Scream

Vegan desserts get a total makeover for me at Cookies and Scream

Night out on Holloway Road – from Italy to vegan Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory…

I recently had a great night out by myself, and enjoyed it so much I had to share it in my blog post here. Although I enjoy eating out alone, and do it frequently, I don’t normally make conscious plans for a solo dinner, but after that night I’m wondering why on earth not. I discovered two great new places which I will definitely be visiting again, in fact I’m thinking about them right now. I’ve since been back to Zia Lucia to try more of the pizza (and see if it delivered a second time), so look forward to a more detailed review soon, with a bonus…

The incredible milkshake-come-sundae from Cookies and Scream (photo above) has transformed my perception of vegan desserts. They make their baked goods and fudge sauce in house, and said that one of the things that helps to make their desserts so tasty is a decent non-dairy ‘ice cream’. I would happily go back for a dessert which satisfies my deepest, darkest sweet spot because my shake hit the spot.

Posh Pasta on Carnaby Street

Pasta bars are a growing thing. I’ve seen quite a few sprouting up in shopping centres and some street food stands, and they’re taking pasta to the next level beyond dried carbs out of a bag into boiling water, then drain and serve with sauce. Even posher standalone pasta bars are also on the increase, one of the best known ones being Padella in London Bridge (which I have yet to try – it’s on the list!). Pastaio is the newest pasta bar to open, just off Carnaby Street; I went for their soft launch week. The environment was modern and convivial, the food OK.

Pastaio buffalo mozzarella London food

The buffalo mozzarella starter from Pastaio

I enjoyed the fresh buffalo mozzarella (from Campagna) with chilli and olive oil; the tagliatelle with wild mushroom was pleasant but not overwhelming. It had also been sitting on the pass for a bit, as it arrived warm rather than hot, but those are exactly the kind of teething troubles that soft launches are designed to identify and address, so if I were to return then I would expect that to be fixed. I found the two dishes together to be too rich for me, but that is probably my fault for not choosing wisely. Would I go back? Possibly, if I was in the area and craving pasta (not happened yet, but you never know).

Pastaio pasta tagliatelle London food

The tagliatelle with wild mushroom and truffle from Pastaio

Pancake feast

I am a massive pancake fan, and am always on the lookout for good ones here, comparing them to the epic ones you get in Pancake Heaven, AKA the US. Last week I shared a week’s worth of drool-worthy pancakes on Instagram, all from different places in London. (check them out at @birdflyingsolo if you’re curious!). This is proof that good pancakes are available this side of the Atlantic, although you have to hunt them out. My most recent discovery was this incredibly decadent stack of gooey, rich ricotta pancakes from North Audley Canteen. I enjoyed these two ways, as I transformed the leftovers at home for a brunch-for-dinner meal the following day, and it was incredible!

North Audley canteen pancakes London

Ricotta pancakes from North Audley Canteen – very sweet and totally decadent

North Audley canteen pancakes London

Too sweet to eat all in one go, so I took some home…

North Audley canteen pancakes London

…and enjoyed them the next day at home with flash sautéed fruit, honey yoghurt and salted caramel sauce. These were really delicious!

And finally…stunning sunset

We’ve had some lovely weather recently (for autumn), and one of the advantages of shorter days is enjoying some beautiful sunsets earlier when many of us are still out and about. I caught this stunner in Camden recently, and it really lit up the sky…

London sunset Camden

A beautiful autumnal sunset in Camden

What’s next on my list…

Lily Vanilli Chocolate Tart

The chocolate rye tart from Lily Vanilli – these are truly chocolatey, and are available daily at their Spitalfields stand

On my wishlist – more street food! I’m craving a food wander around Spitalfields Market and wish I could be there for the Bake for Syria event on Saturday 18th November, but sadly I have another engagement. If you can pop down, do – it will be full of delicious, gourmet, baked goods including Spitalfields staples Lily Vanilli and Happy Endings, and also Dominique Ansel (a personal favourite), Bread Ahead (with their famous delicious doughnuts, maybe?), Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, The Good Egg, and more! I’m wondering whether I can steal away from my engagement and turn up for a short while…

If you haven’t already, please do follow me on Instagram, where I share more instant, short sharp reviews and moments of my activity around London…normally with good food involved…

 

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