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While I do a lot of baking at The Top Floor Flat, every so often it’s nice to indulge in someone else’s confectionery goods – especially if that someone else is winning French pastry shop Maison Bertaux. My flatmate Ann had been singing the praises of the shop for some time and finally we found a spare few hours, sandwiched between Christmas shopping, for us both to visit the impressive display of cakes, pastries and gloriously over-the-top desserts.

Instead of trying to describe the food, here are a few pictures:

For the incredible quality, the prices are very reasonable – but bring someone to share the food with you; one slice of cake proved too much for even me to handle (but that didn’t stop me from making a valiant effort.)

Maison Bertaux

28 Greek Street
Soho, London
Tel: 020 7437 6007

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Courvoisier Punch Bowl Experience (and what an experience it was!). But after sailing across a bowl of alcohol on a wooden orange slice, I had worked up an appetite and my friend Alice and I found ourselves in Soho, surrounded by some of London’s best restaurants, and not a clue where to eat. Half an hour of wandering later we had decided we were ravenous, desperately wanted sushi and didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg to satisfy both cravings. This seemed like an impossible challenge to overcome as we passed half a dozen overpriced sushi restaurants on the various side streets around Piccadilly Circus when we came across a little shop called Ten Ten Tei.

While the menu held fairly standard Japanese fare, what caught our eye were the preset meals, which looked fantastic and featured soup, salad, sushi, tempura, teriyaki, fried tofu and dessert. Expecting a reasonably sized sample plate of each of the offered items, we were delighted when generous plates of each were presented one after the other, with a large patter of sushi each topping off the meal.

For less than £20, we had an incredible meal. The ambiance in the restaurant itself was limited, although we were seated in the slightly cramped upper level on the ground floor alongside the sushi bar – it wasn’t until later I realised that lower level seating looked a bit nicer. Regardless of the space, however, it was a delicious meal and one I am very much looking forward to repeating.

Ten Ten Tei

56 Brewer Street,
London, W1F 9TJ
020 7287 1738

I’ve been singing the praises of the collaborative creation of Courvoisier and jelly makers Bompas and Parr ever since I heard about plans to create a giant punch bowl so big one could row a boat across it. The idea of a bowl of punch where one could not only drown their troubles but also all of the individuals responsible for said troubles immediately captured my imagination. So it was with immense excitement that I finally stepped through the doors of 33 Portland Place to witness the Courvoisier Architectural Punch Bowl Experience for myself.

Read the rest of my review for the Courvoisier Punch Bowl Experience on Spoonfed.

A Bibulous Event

The Spoonfed team has a lot of fun. We all get along well in the office, we get to write about the amazing events going on in London, we even get to review those events on occasion. In fact, we pride ourselves on being really quite good at having a good time in London. But it was certainly beyond my wildest expectations that we would ever have a weekday afternoon quite like the one we had last Friday at the Bibulous Drinks Experience event.

Like a group of children on a school trip, the whole office was ushered onto the bus that would take us straight to the venue, a place called (appropriately) Vinopolis, City of Wine which usually offers wine tasting events and tours. On the 27th, however, it was transformed into a smorgasbord of displays that would make the most reformed 12-stepper jump off the bandwagon. There’s tequila courtesy of Green & Red Bar, beers from around the world, real absynthe by Alan Moss, GinTime with Geraldine Coates and a range of ports, wines and sherries from Gonzales Byass – all of which we as the Spoonfed team were encourage to smell, learn about and taste. As a group, we all sat through the Gin tasting session only to discover that the vast majority of us didn’t like gin.

We then split up, our directors opting for the absinthe tasting session, our culture editor beelining for the port, us girls aiming for daiquiris… I even found a stall of American beers which had a rather lovely pumpkin ale.

Although we had been prepped as to what exactly this was we were attending, I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure I understood. Was it a trade show? In some senses – there were displays of various alcohol producers who were trying to promote their goods. A tasting event? That too – but while some stalls (such as the man with the funny moustache and the £2,000 bottle of tequila) encouraged everyone to try everything on the table, others were just showcasing. An alcohol class? That definitely factored in as we learned about gin and how to make the perfect mojito. Overall it was an incredible afternoon where the Spoonfed team got to sample some of the best alcohol in the city at one of its greatest venues. As far as team building activities go, we think this might have been perfect.

Of all of the London landmarks, the London Eye seems to be one of the most visitor-friendly. Unlike Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and all of the others, the London Eye is interactive, provides views of the rest of London, feels like an amusement park ride and looks damn impressive. Perhaps that’s why they charge you so much to go on the thing. Due to the price, my busy schedule and the fact that I was still hoping my parents would come visit and it would be a fun family activity, I had never actually ridden the Eye in the year and a half I’ve been in London. Yet despite the fact that I was holding out for a family outing, I was certainly not going to turn down the opportunity to take a champagne night flight on the London Eye if the opportunity presented itself.

Which, conveniently, the opportunity did last week. The evening before my epic Karma Kab ride, I, along with my good friend and coworker Alice, made our way to the South Bank to join a small group of bloggers on the flight. Alice had been on the Eye before when she was younger but during the day. I was the only one of the group who had never ridden it before.

We were first treated to a short 3D video teaser of the ride itself in the movie theatre. While there were no other riders around (a welcome change from the carnage of queues that usually extends along the South Bank for the Eye) this video seemed to be more of a pit stop for the families waiting for their turn rather than its own feature event. Still, it was an impressive showcase and include shots of the fireworks over the Eye on New Year’s.

Then it was up to the Eye itself for the 40 minute ride. We were accompanied by an attendant whose job was to serve us champagne, a nice perk (and available on all regular flights – for an added price). We were also given an aerial map of London to help us find the key landmarks from above. Although it was dark, it was still an amazing way to see the city, and we even picked out some interesting seasonal landmarks, such as the Ferris Wheel in Hyde Park (part of the Winter Wonderland event) and the Oxford Street Lights.

Overall it was an incredible experience and I’d love to go again during the day – I’m sure it’d be a totally different type of view. Although the ride is relatively short, it’s also an incredible way to get a sense of London and see a lot of the city in one go. Fortunately for my parents, sounds like I’m still happy to let them take me on the Eye when they come visit; just so long as we go for the champagne flight.