JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

Bar Shu, Soho

I bit concrete last week. Literally. Cut my knee, bruised myself up good, and had a little belly flop onto the footpath. Nightmare. Obviously as soon as I was alone I burst into tears and wished my mum and dad were around to baby me. 

One of the things I miss the most about living apart from my folks is the lack of homemade Asian food in my life. Hence why I drag PetiteFolle out for something spicy whenever she visits. 

We headed to Bar Shu on her most recent trip to London.

If you like spice, this is the place for you. We had a couple of non-chilli lovers with us so we curbed back on ordering the super chilli charged dishes, but I'm going to have to go back to set my mouth on fire sometime soon.

Asian is my comfort food. Chinese vegetables, noodles, fatty pork, dumplings, chilli. Pure comfort.

Luckily I don't have to fall down every time I want to be comforted. 

Bar Shu on Urbanspoon Square Meal

My favourite time is now

I've spent more than three years on the road. I've visited 57 countries. I've lived in Sydney, I've lived in London. I've eaten at amazing places. I've met inspirational people. I've worked in small companies and big. I've been in musicals and stage productions. I've learnt languages. I've written stories. I've swum on deserted beaches. I've been on week long parties. I've had years of being selfish, of going where I want, eating what I want, being what I want.

And yet. Even after all that.

THIS is my favourite time.

The CG laying his head against my belly every night, and telling the baby about his day. My three year old nephew hugging my legs, and patting my belly saying "baby" any chance he gets. My mum knitting booties. Seeing our fat little baby wiggling around during our scans. Feeling it moving around inside me.

My favourite time is now. 

And there's so much more to come.

Harwood Arms, Fulham

Know what rage without an outlet becomes? Apathy. Exhaustion. Despair. I have never been so angry and so deflated at the same time. And the worse thing? I can't talk about it. Legal bollocks and all that. Ugh.

It's a good thing we have a baby cooking to take my mind off things. I actually felt it moving for the first time last week, and it brought an instant smile to my face. Every day now I feel it wriggling, and every time it's a guaranteed smile generator.

But back to my food baby.

I've eaten (and cooked, if I do say so myself) some damn good roasts in my time. So when I say The Harwood Arms is in my top five roast experiences of all time, you can be assured it's worth a visit. As in, make it your mission to go. Now.

Don't skip the bread to make sure you've got room for the main. It's worth it.

And if you're really ambitious and are willing to donate a little bit of room to a starter, share a scotch egg with someone. Just look at that deliciously runny yellow yoke. LOOK AT IT.

Now you could strike out on your own, and order a neck of pork as you Sunday lunch. You could do that. And you'd be happy.

Or you could share a whole braised shoulder of Berkshire roe deer with bacon and you'd be ECSTATIC.

Not to mention those crispy garlic potatoes. Oh. My.

Tender, moist, perfectly falling-off-the-bone meat. In bacon. Sweet, sweet bacon.

I had to have a break from Sunday lunches after that beauty. I knew nothing could live up to that experience any time soon. THAT is how good it was. 

Somehow desserts actually made an appearance. All were excellent, but I was still on a meat and potato high and couldn't honestly say which was best. What I can say is the staff were patient, attentive, and super helpful which just added to our delight.

As soon as the baby is out, I'll be heading back for the roast rib of beef. Served raw. Yessiree. Just try and stop me.

Harwood Arms on Urbanspoon Square Meal

A Room for Every Season

Two years ago I didn't want to get married. Then we got married. And now I want to do it all over again.

Especially when I go to events like the one recently hosted by rhubarb in Somerset House: a showcase of dramatic themed rooms for every season.

I adored Spring: is there anything more whimsical than candles handing from a tree? On a table as a centrepiece? Now that's impressive.

I'm already badgering the CG to throw me a birthday party with a gourmet popcorn station. Think truffle and parmesan, serrano ham and pea, black olive and yoghurt, and tuna mujama and lemon zest popcorn. Mind blown.

Oh wait - did I say gourmet popcorn station? I meant a gourmet popcorn station AND a liquid nitrogen dessert stall. 

That's right. Liquid nitrogen ice cream made in front of you, chocolate cones, cronuts, marshmallows and chocolate lollipops with popping candy. Yes. Oh yes.

High on sugar, I think I almost managed to convince him. Either that, or he agreed to renew our vows over ice cream, I can't quite remember.

I wonder if he'll let me buy another wedding dress too?

Benihana, St Paul's

R & B recently popped down to London to celebrate Ms B's big 3-0. (Well, maybe not so recently. Maybe I was just lazy as hell and got pretty far behind on my blogging and am now picking up my camera thinking "wow, I forgot I did / ate / saw this!")

We headed to Vinopolis so B could learn about wine, while the rest of us smacked as many buttons on the interactive screens as possible.

And sip...

...then suck through your teeth to let the vapours of the wine fill your mouth....

...and wash down with some tapas. Et voila!

40 wine credits later, we wandered across millennium bridge towards St Paul's for dinner.

Where we headed to Benihana for some hibachi, or teppanyaki, action. 

Now before I say anything else, the quality of the food was excellent and I really enjoyed our meal. Unfortunately, the little fly in our soup was a particular waiter who failed to grasp the concept of "the customer is always right". So when he produced a serving of prawn tempura when we had ordered prawn tempura sushi rolls, he insisted loudly and aggressively that we were wrong, because he had written down prawn tempura (and anything that is written MUST be right). He then spent a further 5 minutes trying to tell us to eat the tempura as it was, because it was just as good.

Now I'm no expert, but it's hardly like the prawns would go to waste since all he needed to do was take it back into the kitchen so they could bung them into a sushi roll and charge us for the inconvenience. Customer service fail, big time. The rolls were pretty damn good, thankfully.

I'm usually very weird about restaurants that require cooking to happen at your table because of the cooking smell you walk away with in your hair and clothing. I'm pleased to report that ventilation has certainly stepped up a notch since the last time I visited a teppanyaki restaurant, and I walked away smelling of nothing more than roses (my natural musk, obviously).

The hibachi rice and miso black cod get a special shout out - particularly good.

Hope you had a delicious birthday B!

Benihana Restaurant at Grange St. Paul's Hotel on Urbanspoon Square Meal