EVENT: Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Food Festival, Spring Harvest, 20 May-1 June plus Easter Weekender, 1-6 April 2015


I can't believe it's that time again with the Spring edition of the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Food Festival. I keep saying it but boy, oh, boy, this festival has evolved from a few stalls and events to a gourmet onslaught of dinners, events, quizzes, markets, supperclubs and pop-ups.

Not just for the food geeks, the festival is inclusive for all tastes and budgets, with many of the events still free to attend. The festival used to be something I would attend mainly on my own a few years back. Now my friends contact ME with long lists of things they want to go to together.

Luckily the shops are teeming with trousers with an elasticated waistbands this season, because this spring you are going to need them. As always here are my favourite events that I've picked as the unmissable gems. However, it's now almost impossible for me to give you a concise list as there is so much going on with lots of micro drink and children's food festival off-shoots too. For the full line up visit www.brightonfoodfestival.com.

Do book early for the events as some are really popular and tickets get snapped up quickly. 

Sussex Food and Drink Routemaster Tours
For full information and tickets for the individual tours visit: www.brightonfoodfestival.com.
Standard tours are £75pp and the Michelin-star tour for £150pp

I've featured a couple of the fabulous Sussex food and drink Routemaster tours on the blog now. Available still are the classic Wine tours (21 March, 23 May) which visit some of the best Sussex vineyards with a buffet and the gourmet tours (18 April) for behind the scenes visits to local producers plus a great lunch and other goodies. New on the list are Sussex Beer, Cider and Wine tours (27 June) and a very special Michelin-star Sussex Gourmet Bus Tour (25 July) with a lunch at The Pass restaurant at South Lodge.

To see what you can expect visit my posts at:
http://www.thegraphicfoodie.co.uk/2014/08/brighton-gourment-bus-tour-vinyard.html
http://www.thegraphicfoodie.co.uk/2011/04/sussex-goumet-bus-tour.html


Wednesday 1 April
Chateau Musar Wine DinnerThe Restaurant at Drakes, 43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton
7.30pm, £85 in advance
Tickets from Drakes on 01273 696 934 or via link at www.brightonfoodfestival.com
I'm a big fan of Drakes’ head chef, Andrew MacKenzie. Here he prepares an exquisite menu to match fine wines from the distinguished Lebanese winery of Chateau Musar. French in origin, the Hochar family has been making wine in Bekaa Valey since 1930s and achieved international fame and acclaim. Should be an interesting evening.


Thursday 2 April
Make Your Case: Extreme! (supporting Rockinghorse Children’s Charity)Hotel du Vin, Ship Street, Brighton
7pm, £35 in advance
Tickets from www.brightonfoodfestival.com
Personally, I already thought this event was extreme! Always good fun and without a wine bore in sight, presenters have three minutes to pitch a wine to you the judging audience whilst you taste it blind. The only difference is that they’ve all been challenged to present something that is absolutely out-of-the-ordinary. Its fast, its furious, and its a wine tasting unlike you’ve ever experienced before. Tickets include all your wines, sharing platters of food and cheese.


Good Friday 3 - Easter Saturday 4 April
Big Sussex Market
New Road, Brighton
10am - 5pm both days, FREE ENTRY
The big one. Producers, restaurateurs and farmers from across the county showcase food and drink at Brighton’s biggest street market of the year.


Thursday 30 April
Ridgeview Wine Dinner
Jeremy’s Restaurant, Borde Hill, Haywards Heath
7.30pm for 8pm, £70 in advance
Tickets from Jeremy’s on 01444 441 102 or www.jeremysrestaurant.co.uk

I must say I was VERY impressed with my recent visit to Jeremy's, so I would put money on this dinner being an absolute corker. Plus, Ridgeview wines!! Love them. You will be served a tasting menu created by chefs Jeremy Ashpool and Jimmy Gray, perfectly matched with award-winning English sparkling wines from Sussex’s Ridgeview Wine Estate, presented by Tom Surgey and Mardi Roberts. 


Friday 22 May
Cantina’s Taste of Guernsey Supperclub
Central Hove location
7pm, £40 in advance
Tickets from https://cantinabrighton.wordpress.com/

The crown for Brighton’s supper club queen, sits firmly on top of Tina Horvath's head. Here she cooks up a special evening showcasing the stunning produce of the Channel Island of Guersnsey, including organic pork from farmer and butcher Jason Hamon, Torteval cheese, Fresh Guernsey Herbs and the dairy produce that the island is rightly renowned for. Hosted in Tina’s own cosy living room, her supper clubs always sell out so book early!


Sunday 24 May
Food Lab
64 Degrees, Meeting House Lane, Brighton
2-5pm, £70 in advance
Tickets from www.brightonfoodfestival.com

This was the hottest ticket of the last festival and I am still sad I was away and missed out big time. The second outing of Food Lab sees seven top chefs matched randomly with seven Sussex producers, and challenged to come up with a unique dish or product. Participants including Michael Bremner (64 Degrees), Matt Gillan (The Pass), Seb Cole (Boho Gelato), Jimmy Gray (Jeremy’s Restaurant), Matty Bowling (Terre à Terre), Alun Sperring (The Chilli Pickle), Andrew MacKenzie (the restaurant at drakes), Mardi Roberts (Ridgeview Wine Estate), Sarah Thompson (Blackdown Sussex Spirits), Tom Stephens (Wobblegate Cider), David Deaves (La Cave à Fromage), Kier Foster (Brighton & Newhaven Fish Sales), Michaelmas Blackman (Blackman Bee Farm) and Niki Deighton (KingBeer). 


Tuesday 26 May
The Three Chefs go to the movies
Curry Leaf Café, Ship Street, Brighton
7.30pm, £42 in advance
Tickets from www.brightonfoodfestival.com

The Three Chefs suppers are a brilliant way of being cooked for by some of Brighton's bests chefs, without leaving your seat. This time, they are moving venues to the Curry Leaf Café with three talented chefs who are currently really shaking up the food scene of the city and surrounding Sussex: Kanthi Kiram Thamma (Curry Leaf Café), Jimmy Gray (Jeremy’s Restaurant) and Semone Bonner (The Set Restaurant). Each of the chefs have chosen their favourite movie scene and will be creating a dish inspired by the action. I can't get my head around it (especially if someone has chosen Alien) but i be it will be a great night. 


Friday 29 May - Sunday 31 May
Waste not want not
sponsored by YELO Architects
supporting FareShare Brighton & Hove
Festival marquees on Hove Lawns
11am - 4pm, FREE ENTRY

This is totally different for the festival this year. The team at Yelo Architects will be building an interactive ‘house’, made purely from everyday domestic and commercial food packaging that otherwise ends up in the bin. Not only that, the Yelo team will also be creating unique furniture (which you can buy on the day) using bamboo chopsticks from Moshimo and plastic ice cream spoons from Boho Gelato. 

REVIEW: Jeremy's Restaurant, Haywards Heath, West Sussex


Jeremy's Restaurant is well known and established in Sussex, residing in the Borde Hill Garden estate for the past 18 years. It has been on my to-eat list for absolutely ages, but like most Brightonians, I get a little lazy when having to travel for food. To be honest, although I had heard positive feedback about Jeremy's, the mental picture I had was that of a very formal, traditional jus-with-everything food and a slightly stale environment in weekend blazers. But what I found couldn't have been further from my preconceptions.

With owner and chef Jeremy Ashpool still rightfully in the kitchen, he now has a young head chef Jimmy Gray (winner of Sussex Young chef of the year 2013) to bring some fresh ideas and a modern approach to Jeremy's. This strikes the ideal balance of keeping a firm foundation in solid, classic cooking that champions the local and the seasonal but introduces inventive detail. Despite being just 26, Gray is some real talent and has clearly grown up with his own family ties to the restaurant industry. I've been to other in-the-middle-of-nowhere fine dining establishments that have become stagnant but investing in new talent will always keep you current and also attractive to a new generation of clientele.


The amuse of spinach soup was a beauty to look at. Topped with a tiny, cheese filled wonton and given texture with finely chopped fresh radicchio, the soup was lifted with coriander micro herbs.

Our starters reflected the clever classic/contemporary contrast I mentioned with a very modern plate of salt baked heritage carrots and a more grounded bowl of scallops in a crab bisque.


The scallops were plump, sweet and perfectly cooked as you would expect and sat in a rich, decadent bisque. It was nice to see monks beard for flavour and texture as well as apple for contrast.


My jewel coloured heritage carrot dish was visually spectacular and had a lot going on. This seemed a bit of a wild card on the menu which always attracts me and the textures were really at play with a cold sorbet, smooth Slipcote cheese, firm black beans and a vanilla black bean puree. There was also a vibrant citrus dust. All in all a really experimental dish that whilst not entirely harmonious, was definitely one to remember. I also really loved seeing proper flat leaf parsley back on the plate. Personally I find it a really nice leaf to eat and a break from the micro herb trend.


Beetroot and venison will always belong together in my book. Their earthiness go together so well and couldn't have been more pleased with my main choice. My worries about the chocolate sauce was unfounded, just adding a richness to the dish. The Balcome Estate venison loin was beautifully tender and the smoky venison sausage and meatball kept the dish interesting. This was such a gorgeous plate of food and I loved the visual effort of matching the loin shape by cutting the cabbage, beetroot and turnip slices into perfect rounds.


Equally, Mr GF was very happy with the tenderloin and confit belly of Plumpton pork. I was scratching my head at the strange shape on top of the plate, thinking it may be some obscure root vegetable I'd yet to come across but they had cleverly dehydrated then fried the pork crackling which made it puff up to the lightest, most airy and crispy crackling you will ever taste. Chefs seem to be dehydrating everything in sight these days which getting a bit dull, but when it's done to enhance rather than for sake, I'm on board.

After such a stellar few plates of food, I was keen to see the desserts so chose a fresh rhubarb and stem ginger mille-feuille. Is this not the prettiest dessert you have ever seen (top image)? Now this IS a good choice of plate to enhance the food, we can clearly toss out all those naff slate plates now! The candied fennel was the element that added the sweet hit to the dish and was exactly the refreshing taste I wanted to end the meal (I'm not one for chocolate and sweetness after a meal).


Mr GF may as well start a sticky toffee pudding blog. I swear that man must have had every one in Sussex. It's that boy's drug of choice! But again it was a great dessert and the tart buttermilk ice cream helped to take the teeth, tingling sweetness down a notch.


I really miss smart, traditional service and still think there is a time and a place for it. At Jeremy's the waiting staff hit that formal yet friendly balance well. The whole meal was perfectly paced throughout.

We ordered a la carte, but it's worth mentioning that there is also an unbelievably good value set menu available 2 courses £18 and 3 for £22 available Tues - Sat lunch and Tues - Thurs dinner. The wine list was varied and sensibly priced too.

Although I was expecting a slightly stuffy environment and menu from my own preconceptions, the award-winning Jeremy's is a great modern restaurant in an elegant setting. It may have been around for 18 years but as you can see, there is still plenty fresh about it to warrant the trip up from Brighton for. I know it can be hard to go that extra mile for dining, especially for the younger city crowd, but sometimes it's really worth it. Jeremy's is just a short train trip and cab away from Brighton if you want to have a drink with your meal and in the summer the terrace overlooking the gardens is another bonus for visiting. There is also a more informal cafe next door (run by Vera Ashpool) which I popped into that has a nice outside space and would be great for children too.

www.jeremysrestaurant.co.uk
Borde Hill, Borde Hill Gardens
Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1XP

I dined as a guest of Jeremy's.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Charlie Bigham



At my happiest pottering in the kitchen, I can't say I rely on ready meals in any way. But I do keep a keen eye on food industry and shopping trends for working life and there is no denying the huge demand for prepared food. Increasing time poor and with the whole family working, it's sometimes just not do-able to get a slow-cooked meal on the table every night. And as a working parent myself, I can now totally sympathise!

Charlie Bigham products definitely have shelf appeal in the ready meal aisle. The crisp white packaging and nicely crafted script writing pings out from the sea of brown, red and green. The illustrations are fun but very broadsheet in tone and a nice touch that each range has it's own joke between the characters.

And let's face it, everyone has a peek under the sleeve of prepared food. Normally you are met with a brown, lumpy mush but CB have gone one step further in the presentation stakes with oven-safe wooden trays for the meals and ceramic ramekins for the pies, that are also topped with branded paper tied with string. A bonus as well is that all of this is a darn sight more environmentally conscious than piles of plastic trays. So yes, if you could specifically brand a ready meal for the middle classes, then this hits the nail firmly and squarely on the head.

Price-wise they are amongst the top end of the ready meal sector at £7 for a meal for two. But to me I find that a little reassuring. There are more quality questions raised with a ready Chicken Korma that can be sold for £1.20.

But looks aren't everything. Are these really going to make me down my kitchen knives?



First up was the fish pie. It looked great and was very well made with plenty of chunks of fish salmon and white fish. To be fair, I was surprisingly impressed with it. It tasted like a very, very good homemade fish pie both texturally and visually. As I may not use too much butter and cream in my everyday cooking, this was richer and felt like a treat. Looking at the ingredients, there was nothing that you wouldn't  put in a fish pie yourself and the addition of breadcrumbs and fresh parsley on top helped it feel hand crafted. I'd be more than happy to eat this one again.



The Steak and Ale pies looked the part in their ramekins. Unfortunately I left Mr. GF to cook them (oven. 30 mins) but they seemed to have become a tad singed in his care. It had been a hard week for him - clearly. Now I'm not one for a pie like this normally. I find flaky puff pastry more irritating to eat than anything. Underneath though there were generous hunks of tender meat in a rich gravy. For me though, the gravy was too intense, too much ale resulting in the filling being quite one dimensional. I like a bit of variety in there, more vegetables and more vibrant flavours. The quality of the pie however, couldn't be argued with. Maybe I'd be better off with one of the other varieties personally, as this was more to the husband's taste.

All in all though I was left with a new respect for quality prepared food. The fish pie was just gorgeous. Why can't all prepared food taste like this? (Production and consumer demand for cheap, cheapy, Mc cheap food is the answer, I know!) I suppose it's good to know brands like this do exist. Maybe for a more niche, affluent market but clearly there's one out there.




I was sent these products for review.

REVIEW: Hen, ethical chicken restaurant, Brighton


After enduring years of seeing Brighton laden with gaggles of women descending on the city with veils, L-plates, cringe-worthy blow ups and bottles of Lambrini, it’s good to see a new Hen in town. This one however, is a touch more stylish and inviting as the UK’s first ethical chicken shop.

Although I’m personally fatigued by 2014’s food obsession with upmarket fast food, I do appreciate that it has made a wider audience aware of what they are eating and heck, even McDonalds are suffering falling sales now people aren’t Lovin’ It quite so much.

At the time of writing, the exact definition of the chickens at H.en (meaning Happy. Eat Natural), wasn’t exactly black and white, complicated further with the very blurred lines as to what exactly defines “free range” “higher welfare” and “Freedom foods”. The chickens here are currently supplied by a small farm called Brooklands in Surrey that is not certified with any label but their hens are described as free roaming, higher welfare with no horrid additives or Frankenstein feed. I would hope H.en define this asap as it’s their main USP.

But what they do have is a limited menu and I love that. Simplicity and confidence is what I want to see when I order, nothing puts a downer on a meal than having to interrupt conversation for 15 minutes reading a restaurant’s version of War & Peace.

Here at H.en you choose from a quarter or half a grilled or fried chicken, wings or a chicken or vegetarian burger. Add a sauce and a choice of two sides (sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, a selection from their salad bar or grilled halloumi). Done. They also do brunch options, waffles and a chicken broth.



My fried quarter chicken was, for want of a better phrase, finger licking good (apologies Colonel Sanders). The batter was thick and crunchy, seasoned well and lightly herbed. I rarely eat batter on things but this wasn’t greasy and too tempting to miss out on and the chicken inside was succulent.

My salad was health-tastic kale, cucumber and raisin and along with grilled corn on the cob made an ideal, balanced meal. I would have liked a more interesting dressing on the kale other than lemon juice and dried raisins are a pet hate salad garnish, but I appreciate this is my pickiness.



The grilled version (I do appreciate the fact there is a healthier option here) that my dining mate ordered also looked pretty darn good too. Again simply seasoned and treated.

One possible contentious thing about this place is the fries are only available as sweet potato fries. They were thinner and crisper than I imagined they would be, coated in the house salt, but I think that the customer may demand the humble potato back on the menu before long.

Sauces were made in-house and the choice of three gave a good range depending on your taste. Personally, with chicken, the only way to go is spicy so it was The Duke for me, sweetened with dates and heat from ginger.

The drinks menu was good, with well selected bottled brands of soft drinks and beer, homemade lemonade or juices.



I have to mention the interior which is fresh and modern, on the right side of hipster with pegboard walls, industrial lights and planted succulents. HUGE plus point for the little kids table with chalkboard tabletop to keep the littlies quiet for five minutes while you, the parent, shove as much food as you can into your mouth while the kids are occupied (sigh, I know, I know…). The location is spot on and looks great from the outside, finally good to see the space used well after a couple of flops following the closure of the popular Nia Cafe.



Staff are young and friendly and the vibe exactly right for a modern chicken shop.

H.en is just in its first few weeks so obviously there are a few small points to iron out but once running smoothly, I imagine it will be very much welcomed as a casual dining spot with a conscious.

http://henrestaurant.com/
87-88 Trafalgar Street
Brighton
BN1 4ER

I was invited to review Hen.

Where to get pancakes in Brighton this Shrove Tuesday



Better late than never! I normally do a pancake post for Shrove Tuesday but it's been flipping (groan) busy.  But here is a quick heads up on where to go.

The Creperie www.thecreperiebrighton.com
They launched in 2014 on Shrove Tuesday so no doubt will be celebrating their first birthday as well as being Brighton's only true creperie. There's enough on the menu for a starter, main and dessert all in pancake form.

Sam's of Brighton www.samsofbrighton.co.uk
With their French head chef, it's hardly surprising that Sam's have a full crepe menu on the night which looks fantastic. They have black pudding, onions and fried duck egg or mushrooms and Gruyère cheese to start and the classics as well as caramelised apples and Calvados for sweet. Sam's will also match a small selection of beers and cider on the night, sorry "cidre".

Terre a Terre www.terreaterre.co.uk
Terre a Terre are making a meal out of it. On the menu will be "Okonomiyaki Hiroshima" - filled with togarashi noodles, sauteed cabbage, spring onions served with kewpie mayonnaise.

Plateau and Mange Tout www.plateaubrighton.co.uk/ and www.mangetoutbrighton.co.uk/
There will be savoury pancakes at one of my favourite Brighton spots, Plateau and sweet ones at their sister restaurant Mange Tout. Pancake crawl!

64 Degrees www.64degrees.co.uk
64 Degrees were hardly going to slap a bit of Nutella on a pancake were they? Instead expect bone marrow wraps and a take on a Korean dessert.

The Gingerman Group www.gingermanrestaurants.com
All of the Gingerman pubs will have a crepe specials on the night.

The Coal Shed, Curry Leaf Cafe and Coggings & Co. also have something lined up too.

Or if you fancy staying in try one of my recipes:

Savoury


RECIPE: Crespelle with Roasted Mushrooms, Bacon, Ricotta and Walnuts
RECIPE: Baked Crespelle stuffed with Celeriac, Pancetta, Ricotta, Thyme, Garlic and Parmesan

Sweet

RECIPE: Buckwheat, Blueberry and Banana Oat Pancakes
RECIPE: Sicilian Cannoli inspired Pancakes filled with Sweet Ricotta, Vanilla, Orange and Toasted Almonds 

REVIEW: Dine in services comes to Brighton


It seems that the food home delivery service is booming. I've come across a good number of new sites that now offer a new way to order in your dinner. To be honest, I've only ordered take away to my home a small number of times as I can always rustle up a plate of spaghetti, aglio e olio, but really take away food has never appealed. A stale pizza in a box or a low-quality burger? No ta. But I am really interested in restaurant food home delivery and this is where these sites come in handy. Great for the restaurants too as they can easily increase their client base without the hassle of organising drivers and logistics.

As a parent now, I remember those early baby days (weeks, hell...months even) of not really being able to get out to my favourite restaurants. This really is a lifeline for new parents (or anyone that can't get out) to get their fix of favourite food too. I'll be testing out a couple of these services in the next few weeks but first up is https://www.dinein.co.uk/.

DineIn is well established in London with some fantastic restaurants on the list, they have recently launched in Brighton. At the moment there are only a few places listed like MEATliqour, Regency, Coggings & Co., The Creperie as well as some pizza places and fast food outlets. Great news is that Curry Leaf Cafe will be available from the spring and hopefully more restaurants will join them. I'd already been for a menu tasting at MEATliquor this week (hard life) so tried out Chaula's, an established Indian restaurant in town.



As 50% of the experience is the booking here I thought I'd show you the site too. If I'm honest, the website design and UX is pretty basic. The navigation isn't that intuitive and feels clunky. You also need to click on an info button for dish description which is a tad tedious as some restaurants have a huge food list. Although I do like the clean nature of the design in theory, the branding and colours don't evoke a sense of food, warmth or deliciousness (it's a word!).

The ordering side is not too bad though and ran pretty smoothly but again, I think a better design, bigger buttons and a slicker interface would improve customer experience. You only need to register an account if you have to use a voucher or code. Later you can track your delivery which I did think was a useful touch and the restaurants are given a tablet and an app so they can be quite specific as to the stage of your delivery.


My delivery from Chaula's turned up right on time for my chosen slot and was really well presented in a branded poly-fabric bag. Ten points for first impressions and food-wise this was a no-frills great curry. We ordered a Hydrabadi Chicken and Lamb Jalfrezi and thoroughly enjoyed them too.



There was a generous amount of meat in both dishes which was also tender and lean. Nothing worse than mean, gristly or chewy chunks of meat. The saffron rice was gorgeously fragrant (not just dyed with turmeric, which is what I was testing for!).

Delivery charges are worked out on distance and credit cards are charged at an extra 3%. So yes, other than a few niggles with the site design and build, all in all a really good service, and hope more restaurants are made available soon. In time I would like to see how my favourite fish, steak or other non standard takeout food travels but the concept is great and as I said before, really will appeal to various demographics.

https://www.dinein.co.uk/

I was invited to review Dine In with a part paid voucher.

TRAVEL: A weekend in London

I sometimes forget London is pretty much on my doorstep and to be honest, haven't really spent much time there other than for business. I'm back on the train to Brighton in a flash, no doubt with a fridge cold station sandwich for company.

So it was lovely to finally go up for a bit of a break. I think I’ve had the most intense work/life periods of my life the last couple of months (exciting though!) and a new bambina on the way soon so I jumped at the chance to spend some quality time and stay over for the weekend with Superbreak.


The Cavendish Hotel is brilliantly located on Jermyn Street and pretty much everything we wanted to get to. Mr GF could stock up on his shirts and I could lie in a bed that was bigger than my first flat, undisturbed, without anyone asking me where their socks are, if they could have a beaker of milk or if the presentation for their new brand was ready. Hea-ven in Egyptian cotton.


But I had to peel myself away and fall a few feet into Fortnum & Mason for afternoon tea (weep for me). I love F&M. As soon as I see that cool duck egg blue and gold, I’m in. Luckily there was no time to grab a gold shopping basket as this place seriously damages my finances. Their Diamond Jubilee tea room is refreshingly modern and light but very on-brand. I’ve had some pretty swish afternoon teas but nice that this one was a little more relaxed but still felt special.

It's amazing that so many places charging £50 will give you stale edged sandwiches but these were fresh and enticingly filled, the rare, thinly sliced beef being the best. Scones were crumbly and the top tier of patisserie was of a good standard. There was also a choice of cakes from the trolley after all of this which would have been crazy, but the very nice waitress insisted like an Italian mamma that I take home a slice of pear tart with me...oh go on.

Shame I didn’t get to try any of the F&M honey, particularly as I had a view of their premium hives from the 14th floor of The Cavendish and you can buy some gorgeous, rustic wax candles from them too.

Next up was a trip to the theatre. Now, I’ve had my fair share of highbrow theatre and back in our courting days (a moon ago) myself and Mr GF used to go quite regularly to cross off all the main shows. I also covered the real classics in my English Literature days at school (even more of a moon ago). Forward a number of years and being older, burnt-out working parents, we craved something a little lighter so for whatever reason chose Wicked. As the curtain went up on the (magnificently designed) set, I realised there was a problem. Wicked was a musical. I HATE musicals. But 15 minutes in I was on board and shockingly, really enjoyed the whole thing.

Pass me my jazz hands, I’m converted to the temple of song. Never, never, never would I have imagined to see this day.


After a trip back to the hotel bar (virgin cocktails for me - boo), I had one of the most delicious sleeps in months. Breakfast was brought to me in bed and as hotel breakfasts go, this was really nicely cooked, fresh and hot. You have to pre-order the night before which means you can go a bit crazy with the tick boxes on the list, but this fuelled us for the following event.


Despite being one of the coldest days in history (possibly), the walk around Kew Gardens was just lovely. I’d wanted to go on the treetop walk since it had been built and the grounds were beautiful, even in the dead of winter. Imagine what it would be like in the summer - I’m sure returning myself to see. We warmed up with soup in the Peyton and Byrne cafe there before sadly heading home to the real world.




Although not included in the trip we also visited Brasserie Zedel near the hotel for lunch. I’ve been itching to go as I’m a true sucker for vintage (original or in the style of) interiors as well as large, bolshy, brass trimmed Parisian brasseries. Zedel is a cavern of wonder with dripping chandeliers, deco wallpaper and in addition to the main dining area had bars, entertainment rooms and an upstairs cafe. This ticked a lit of boxes and didn’t disappoint. I still can’t quite believe the low prices here with the location in mind. Food wasn’t ground breaking but generous, well made and the sort of classic Parisienne food you would expect. Mr GF’s hanger streak was particularly good actually and my confit duck with bean stew was full of flavour. Service was attentive and smart.

Also a good shout is the Wolsey which is also a stones throw if you wanted to treat yourself for breakfast as well.

The weekend was a perfect break and we felt refreshed coming back home. The Superbreak site is not something I would have normally thought to book through but there is no denying that a one-stop shop to make up your entire weekend itinerary and can often work out cheaper overall than booking independently.

To give you an idea, one night at the 4* Cavendish Hotel including breakfast, with top price evening tickets to Wicked, entry into Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason is £231 per person, based on 6th March 2015 arrival.

I was a guest of Superbreak, thanks for resting my head and body for a while!