The celebrations may be ending but the new diets are definitely beginning. It’s the cliche “new year, new me” and guaranteed you will feel like you aren’t hearing the end of it. But in all fairness, after a month of gluttony, everyone could benefit from a bit of dry January and some “detoxing”.

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The Detox Kitchen on Mortimer Street

The Detox Kitchen Deli on Mortimer Street is where I kick started the new, healthy approach this weekend. It’s quite hard to spot if you don’t know where it is.  There is no grand advertising outside the restaurant on this very dormant street, yet it was packed to the brim on the inside. There is even a fitness studio on the lower ground floor. Their slogan – “where healthy meets delicious” – couldn’t be more relevant.

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The Detox Kitchen offers a pick and choose service where you can pick the size of your portion and then choose your salads and protein accordingly. All of their dishes are wheat free, dairy free and free of refined sugar. A medium sized container is £5.95 for three to four salads and a portion of protein will cost you an extra £3.

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There were around eight delicious salads to choose from, three different types of protein and three vegetarian protein options. All of the food was packed full of flavour, defying the myth that healthy food has to be boring. On top of the deli food on offer, there is also an eat in brunch menu available here.

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There are also a wide range of smoothies and juices to choose from if that’s all you’re after – I had “protein power,” which was heavenly, and a meal in itself! One warning I would issue is that strict dieters beware as the calories aren’t listed on the food description labels. However, if you have the “My Fitness Pal” app, you can probably work it out yourself (give or take a calorie or two).

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Delicious vegetarian frittata at the front and other protein in the back

I’ve got to say, the food was absolutely delicious! They really go all out on flavour here, the “roasted squash, grilled pepper and paprika dressing” salad had to be my favourite – not to mention the pesto courgetti or the cauliflower and avocado salad. They don’t do boring salads here and you really have to try the food to experience the flavours.

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A medium sized portion with protein

The Detox Kitchen was heaving on a Saturday afternoon. The layout of the restaurant is made up of two long tables that fit about seven people each and there are a further three separate tables that can fit four at a push, meaning that if you can’t get your own smaller table you will have to share with others who are trying to enjoy their Detox Kitchen experience too.

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The decor is simple and modern, yellow tulips on the table definitely added a brightness to the dining experience. A wall of live plants greets you as you come in, adding to the whole earthly, detox feel they are going for here.

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The wall of live plants

You’ll need to check that there is available seating when you walk in as I witnessed a couple of people buying a delicious “eat in” plate of food, without first checking there were free tables to sit at, needless to say they were left standing there for a while whilst they waited for a table to free up.

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The staff were all incredibly lovely and three different members came over to check that the food was okay and that we had what we needed. There was a slight delay in making my smoothie so they upgraded it from a regular to a large at no extra cost which was an unexpected surprise!

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Protein Power

We were also given added extras of hummus and sweet potato with our meal at no extra cost. I couldn’t actually finish my regular size portion because they were so incredibly generous with their portion sizing.

The Detox Kitchen is perfect for a healthy lunch outing, I was left feeling comfortably full and extremely satisfied by what I had eaten, it’s even left me considering a dairy free & wheat free way of life. I’m dying to go back again. There are also other Detox Kitchen outlets in London that offer services such as grab & go.

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Enjoying a Protein Power smoothie

Lunch for two with two regular sized portions, two pieces of protein, a regular smoothie and a coffee came to just over £24.

If you want to visit: Fitzroy Place, 10 Mortimer St, London W1T 3JJ

Take a peek at the website: http://detoxkitchen.co.uk

Like many of the wonderful places I have discovered in London, I stumble upon most of them by accident.

Beaufort House was definitely a worthy discovery. After getting the wrong bus home from Soho, Beaufort House was the first place we layed our eyes upon. It’s ideal if you want to let your hair down on a Friday night, but don’t want to go the whole haul with central London or a nightclub.

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Beaufort House

We absolutely couldn’t make our mind up when it came to the vast cocktail menu. I opted for a honey berry sour (£9) which was divine and looked the part too, you can tell they don’t compromise on cocktail ingredients here! Check out the drinks menu here.

The atmosphere in Beaufort was fun and flirty and everyone seemed like they were having a very good time, including the staff and it felt more like we had stumbled upon a party rather than a bar with a mixed crowd. When the bar was closing up we were taken upstairs with our freshly made cocktails by a member of staff to a louder, more lively bar which was pretty packed, so much so that we made a swift exit. We didn’t quite feel like we were meant to be there and upon more research we realised we were in the private members club area, but it seemed to be totally okay, even for a Friday night where a private party was happening.

I was so impressed by the staff and cocktails at Beaufort House that I headed back with another friend for dinner on a Saturday night and it was much quieter than the last time I’d visited, far more fitting for a quiet catch-up dinner.

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Jess with her halloumi salad

The menu definitely has a healthier feel to it and the mains weren’t overbearing at all – perfect if you’re starting your January diet but still want to eat out this weekend.  I had sesame seed coated salmon and it was moist and fresh with mouthwatering flavours, whilst my asparagus side was crunchy and buttery – just the way you want it. There are salads, fish dishes, and the majority of the sides are on the healthy side even though they do offer the classic sides such as chips.

Dinner for two including two mains, a side, two cocktails and two glasses of wine was £65 including service charge.

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Beaufort House on a quieter day

Beaufort House also do a wonderful brunch menu and afternoon tea – which I’m dying to try out!

Take a peak at the website here: http://www.beauforthousechelsea.co.uk

If you wan’t to visit: 354 Kings Road, London, SW3 5UZ

 

This is one for a special occasion.

Afternoon tea is an old age tradition in England, yet it’s often seen as more fitting for the older generation. If you’re looking for something to do for a celebration or a special occasion, and cakes and tea are your thing, why not try afternoon tea at Lang (part of the Shangri-La Hotel) followed by drinks with a view at Aqua, both located in The Shard.

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Afternoon tea for one at Lang £30

Lang describes itself as an “artisan deli” and it’s accessible by London Bridge. Lang offers an oriental feel that fits in with the rest of the Shangri-La’s theme. It’s located on the ground floor of The Shard in the Shangri-La Hotel, as I was saving my experience of the sublime views over London for the drinks part of my afternoon. However, if you want your afternoon tea with a view then there are other restaurant’s in The Shard that offer this; Ting (£49 for one), Aqua (£42 for one) and Gong (£54 for one), making Lang the most affordable, at £30 for one.

The waiter who served us was honest enough to tell us that afternoon tea for one would definitely be enough to share between two (we had already had lunch), we were also offered a complimentary pastry or cake from the beautiful patisserie selection as you walk in.

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Rich hot chocolate, not complimentary with the afternoon tea but well worth getting

We were served a tantalising mix of treats – for instance, who knew earl grey scones existed? Or that apricot jam with afternoon tea was so good?

Here is a link to the current afternoon tea menu at Lang http://www.lang-shangri-la.com/afternoon-tea/

After satisfying our cake cravings we headed up to Aqua Shard on the 31st floor, notorious for its wonderful views.

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The view from Aqua

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The view from Aqua

The photos can’t do it justice but it really was magical, accompanied by a champagne cocktail – where at £16.50, you seem to being paying for the view too. It was rather busy up here as it’s obviously an infamous tourist attraction as well as a great place for Londoners who are splashing out to head to. Therefore, be prepared that you may have to stand or wait for a table to free up. However, we stood with our cocktails overlooking the view and it didn’t thwart the experience one bit.

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So, if you’re looking for something a little more special and afternoon with unforgettable views, then Lang and Aqua at The Shard should be on your list.

The Shard is located at: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG

Website: http://www.the-shard.com

 

It’s 10pm on a cold Autumn night and I’m walking around Soho, I’m suddenly stopped in my tracks, first of all, by the sight of a crepe maker in a shop window (heaven), followed further by a colourful array of gelato at the back of the shop. All of my Summer memories from Florence came flooding back to me in an instant! I gawped through the window only to discover churros (also heaven!), waffles and cakes too.

That was it, I had to go inside.

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I headed here after a light dinner, however it’s never the wrong time of day to go for ice cream, or the wrong season – there’s a growing trend in London for swapping dinner and drinks for puddings, and why not. For pure indulgence I had the Nutella filling with white chocolate sprinkles (£4.70). I have to say it was completely worth the calorie content. You can add a scoop of ice cream and an array of toppings.

Check out the crepe and waffle menu here.

There’s a couple of tables to sit down at but not many, so you may want to take your pudding away and go for a stroll around the West End while you munch.

If you really don’t want to leave the warmth of your bed but you are now dying to try Scoop, you can have gelato from Scoop delivered to your home by Deliveroo.

If you want to visit:

Covent Garden Branch – 40 Short’s Gardens,
WC2H 9AB London

Soho Branch – 53 Brewer Street,
W1F 9UY London

South Kensington Branch – 16 Old Brompton Road,
SW7 3DL London

Opening Times:

June to August
Mon – Sun 12:00 – 24:00

September to May
Sun – Wed 12:00 – 22:30
Thu – Sat 12:00 – 23:30

Take a peek at the website:http://www.scoopgelato.com/index.html

My top pick for today is Balans Soho Society, located in Kensington (187 Kensington High St, London, W8 6SH) and Soho (60-62 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4UG). Breakfast is served between 8am and 12pm everyday and brunch is served from 8am to 5pm on weekends. George opted for The Soho Full English (£9) whilst I had 2 eggs any way (£5). My eggs were poached and cooked to perfection, accompanied with bacon (£2) and avocado (£2). We were greeted by a friendly & attentive waiter, festive music and an extensive brunch menu that any hungover party-goer would die for! Balans offer “remedial action” in the form of Bloody Mary’s (£7.50) and Bucks Fizz (£7.50) and plenty of other cocktails and “hair-of-the-dog” tipples to take your fancy. After a night full of Sauvignon Blanc this place is a haven, and upon a quick scan of the room we realised that we weren’t the only ones who had come here to seek aid from the night before. As Balans’ website says, “brunch without prosecco is just a sad late breakfast.”

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The food was all cooked beautifully, not an overcooked egg or fatty piece of bacon in sight. Balans also offer sweeter options such as French toast and pancakes. Check out the menu here:

http://www.balans.co.uk/restaurant/kensington-london/