Little Catch Up

Grab a cuppa, it’s time we caught up.
I’m curled up with a big, steaming mug of green mint tea.
Alright, and a cookie. A monstrous creation you may have already seen on Twitter. It was one of those moments where tidying the cupboard turns into experimental baking, resulting in chocolate cornflake marshmallow cookies.
Anyways, is your tea ready? You’ve nipped off for a biscuit haven’t you…
I’ll begin.

So, I was home in California for a bit, as you probably figured out from the ocean heavy Instagrams @alessandra_ldn.  www.alessandrabrian.com But then I returned to my lovely London and dove head first into research – or one may say, fork first.
You see, I’m working on something. And this something requires a lot of research, also known as eating.
Needless to say, I am very good at research.
www.alessandrabrian.comWhilst conducting said research, I’ve been gallivanting around the city enjoying the sunny (not) last (hopefully) days of winter. So, here’s what I’ve been up to.

A skip around Borough Market has always been one of my favourite foodie activities.

www.alessandrabrian.com

There’s always beautiful foods piled high, crowds of foodies searching for a treat and a delicious smell in the air. www.alessandrabrian.comI took the obligatory Shard picture for you. It’s no secret I am not a fan of this monstrosity, but you probably like it, so there you go.
I popped into my favourite cheese shop, Neal’s Yard Dairy for a fair share of samples, you know, for research.
www.alessandrabrian.comOh and look what I found in Whole Foods! They’re called graffiti aubergine.
Don’t they look cool? 
www.alessandrabrian.com And more cheese porn.
This was just begging to be researchedwww.alessandrabrian.com As I’m sure you’re aware, starting something new is daunting.
It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs filled with doubt and anxiety.
But, at the end of the day, if you’re trying to accomplish something you’re truly passionate about, it will all be worth it.
It always helps to have a little motivation, so this is my background at the moment. Just a little reminder to well, make it happen! Feel free to make it yours for that extra push each day.
www.alessandrabrian.com I’ve been having lots of meetings and brainstorm sessions, the best of which take fuelling the body into account. This particular brainstorming session took place at Hally’s over a light snack of avocado on grilled sourdough. www.alessandrabrian.com Oh, and a less light pot of truffled Welsh rarebit with dipping toast. www.alessandrabrian.com Which was balanced out by chargrilled field mushrooms and gremolata. www.alessandrabrian.com Don’t look at me like that, it was hard work!

For one of my meetings, I checked out the new Workshop Coffee Co. location in Marylebone. A darling coffee bar with fresh flowers, a smiling barista and the smell of roasted beans hanging in the air. Your cuppa comes with a cute little brew timer to let you know when your steep is complete! www.alessandrabrian.comI ventured around Selfridges for some Valentine’s Day pressies and was drawn like a bug towards an electric section of neon signs. www.alessandrabrian.com

www.alessandrabrian.com www.alessandrabrian.comIn the home section, I found some of the much lusted after Fornasetti collection, some of which clutters my LUSTlist on Pinterest.  
www.alessandrabrian.comAround the corner, I found the mother of all Moleskines! There’s a regular sized one to the right for comparison. You’ve got to have a lot of ideas to fill this bad boy. www.alessandrabrian.comPossibly less difficult to fill would be this handy book. Possibly.
www.alessandrabrian.comFor Valentine’s Day, I put plenty of love into Ottolenghi’s Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango.
www.alessandrabrian.com Speaking of love…
Homemade. Chocolate. Salted. Caramel. Truffles. www.alessandrabrian.com I also found something that should probably be carried around with me at all times. Imagine being really hungry and stumbling upon this box. I wonder what would be inside? www.alessandrabrian.com

Anyways, I’m glad we were able to catch up. I have plenty of food posts to fill you in on, so get the snacks ready as I will definitely be making you hungry. Talk to you soon!

The Providores & Tapa Room

I’m going to tell you about my new favourite brunch spot in London.

You may have already heard of Peter Gordon’s The Providores & Tapa Room, as it’s not exactly a new kid on the block. But if you, like me, have added it to your foodie bucket list and haven’t gotten around to it yet – I’m here to tell you, GO!

Go now.
Go tomorrow.
Okay maybe book for this weekend after a little lie in, but go!

We pushed past Christmas shoppers and fought against the winter wind down Marylebone High Street to arrive at the warm, little haven that is the Tapa Room.
A crowded café with banquettes lining the wall and communal style, tall tables filling the centre of the room.

It feels very LA and incredibly welcoming – the kind of place you could catch up over a coffee or munch away with a book.

We squeezed past the pastries and freshly made muffins lining the counter and headed up the stairs to The Providores, the restaurant’s formal half. Here we sat down to brunch, where there is an incredible menu filled with innovative takes on brunch classics as well as wild creations begging for me to try.

So we ordered three of the wild ones, and shared.
Naturally.

The Providores & Tapa Room Turkish eggs from Changa restaurant in Istanbul – two poached eggs on whipped yoghurt with hot chilli butter and sourdough or seeded granary toast.
This dish was phenomenal. A little taste of Turkey for breakfast which I could happily indulge in every morning.
The Providores & Tapa Room French toast stuffed with banana and pecans with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup.
This tasted every bit as decadent and naughty as it looks.
The Providores & Tapa Room The Providores & Tapa Room Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline.
This was my favourite dish by far, which says a lot considering I loved them all. The flavour combinations were strange, but married perfectly in each bite.
This is the dish you come back for. Promise me you’ll order this when you go?
The Providores & Tapa RoomThen onto dessert.
Don’t look at me like that…
Don’t all perfect brunches end with dessert? And how could I possibly turn this down?

The Providores & Tapa Room Mint, white chocolate filled Original beans 70% Virunga chocolate fondant with umeboshi, pineapple salsa and coconut sorbet.
See!? Could you say no to that?
The Providores & Tapa Room We certainly didn’t. The Providores & Tapa RoomThe Providores & Tapa Room was an amazing check off the foodie bucket list. This would be the perfect place to pop in whilst finishing up your Christmas shopping on Oxford Street or to go with friends to catch up on your weekend adventures.

Speaking of Christmas shopping, what’s the coolest gift you’re giving this year? I need some inspiration. You can always tweet me ideas @Alessandra_LDN …. #helpme!