Saturday, 31 August 2013


My great friend Amanda is always keen to try out different places and was recommended Sa Naveta by a local who said it was one of the best new restaurants of the year. It is in the middle of Binibeca Vell which is probably best described as a tiny hamlet close to the beach & it has a chilled lounge vibe with billowing curtains, lots of white with accents of blue, and a spacious, relaxed environment. Amanda previously had such a good lunch there with her family, we went back with her a couple of days later.

Menorca is the most fantastic island in the sunshine however when it rains there is not much to do - you can either go shopping although that will take under an hour or you can have a long lunch. You probably won't be surprised to hear that I went for the latter and this was the day we tried Sa Naveta and it turned out to be the most wonderful wonderful day!!

My fiancé, the children and I arrived before Amanda and her family and were warmly welcomed by Marta & Charo, the sisters that own the restaurant. We were shown to our table and promptly ordered drinks - Marta immediately turned her attention to my daughter Arabella and gave her a special plate setting, a straw for her drink and a little bowl of crisps - I have never heard Arabella say grazias so much! Marta then realised we were all chowing down on her crisps so bought out more for us - that went perfectly with our sangria which was slipping down very nicely.

Amanda, her husband, her two boys and parents arrived and despite only eating at the restaurant once before, it was kisses all round as if they were part of the restaurant family. A couple of gin and tonics were ordered and Marta served these with a pink gin and poured the tonic first and then the gin down a swizzle stick - they were so good that we all had to try one of them too!

The menu was varied - there was a menu del dia for 20 euros which was three courses, bread, wine and water and included croquettes, paella and a chocolate pudding - or there was tapas, fresh fish, burger, pasta and so on plus a children's menu.

While we discussed the menu and finished our drinks we snacked on ham croquettes (my favourite) and ham with tomato bread (another favourite).

Both were delicious - the bread very fresh and ham thinly cut and tender and the croquettes crispy on the outside but soft & tasty on the inside.

I then shared the tuna tataki with my friend's husband Boris - it was delicious and was perfect as a starter or main. The tuna was cooked on the outside and raw in the middle and drizzled with a sweet soy sauce and it came with a juicy big prawn and potatoes. It was very good to try a different fish in Menorca compared to my usual mussels, prawns or squid.

Pascal had beef carpaccio with parmesan which he said was extremely good - I obviously had to have a taste and he was right (for once)!

To follow I then had the cannelloni - I had high hopes as cannelloni was a favourite childhood dish of mine in Menorca as they do it differently to over here - I was impressed. Marta explained it was a recipe passed down from her "mama" and it was cheesy and creamy and meaty all at the same time.

Pascal being a fellow piglet had a "fideua de marisco" which is a paella but with fideua which is a kind of noodle or in his words a cross between rice and pasta. Even though the dish feeds two, he managed to have most of it and we all couldn't resist a taste as well. It is something I had never tried before but definitely will again.

Boris had been told the burger was one of the best on the island and so he went for that. It was stuffed with two patties, cheese, bacon, egg and jalapenos - no idea how he managed to get it in his mouth but he did and gave it the two thumbs up.

Amanda and her mother went for gratinated cod served on a bed of green vegetables and potatoes - in the name of research I had to try this as well and I was pleasantly surprised. I had eaten something similar in Mallorca several years ago and not been a fan. This however tasted fresh and the mayonnaise and cheese were light and not overpowering.

My eldest stepdaughter has parpadelle with vegetables and a carbonara sauce. Once again this was heavenly.

Everyone else cleared their plates before I could take a photo including the kiddies which is always a good sign.

While we relaxed over drinks and coffees the children were treated to ice creams by Marta and Charo and they even entertained them. Marta noticed my daughter's nail polished was chipped so very kindly gave her her own bottle and even painted Arabella's nails. Baby Rafferty was asleep in his pram and so the sisters bought him a jumper to wrap round him. Then to give us some peace and quiet they put cartoons on for the children (that is after a game of it around the restaurant)! 

We could not have been made more welcome or treated better, the service was unbelievable and I think the friendliest I have ever had. I have to say this is one of the most surprising meals I have ever had and I will definitely be coming back year after year.

Sa Naveta
Complejo Turistico Binibeca Vell
Local No. 26
07711 Binibeca Vell (Sant Lluis)

Tel: 00 34 665 574 768

Friday, 30 August 2013


I have been coming to Menorca every summer since I was born and even though there are plenty of new restaurants popping up each year, I always like to stick to my old favourites. One of these is En Caragol, the setting is absolutely beautiful as the restaurant sits on the rocks over looking the sea and it is open at the sides. 

The restaurant is French owned so is one of the very few places on the island that has beautiful Provence rose. A friend had told us to start with a mojito and wow, what a great recommendation. The drink is made extra special by having a ball of lemon sorbet in the middle & is delicious - I could have had several!

The menu has a long list of starters and is mainly seafood based. At the beginning, the waiter always brings round the fresh catch of the day and will help you decide what to choose. 

We decided to share starters and like always had the nems – these are phenomenal and we ended up fighting over the last one. They aren’t greasy like Chinese ones can be and are instead just full of flavour and taste delicious wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Since our visit here, my daughter has been begging for more. 

We also had a local Spanish dish of pimientos de pardon – these little green salty peppers are delicious but eating them is like playing Russian roulette – every so often there is a very very very hot one! 

For mains, my fiancé had fresh squid which he said was delicious – it came with potatoes and ratatouille – and even though Pascal always says he does not like fish, he polished off the entire plate with gusto (I also kept on picking at the ratatouille). 

My daughter and I shared the calamari sautéed with garlic and parsley and a goats cheese salad. Both were delicious however the squid was not as good as previous years, if I went again I would have the pulpo. The salad was great though and could definitely serve as a meal in itself.

My two stepdaughters had cheeseburgers, which they said were excellent and even though the restaurant does incredible home made puddings like tiramisu and chocolate brownies, we were all too full to order more. 

So if you are in Menorca around the Binibeca area, I would definitely recommend this restaurant, it is great for lunch or supper or even just to pop in for a mojito to watch the sun go down (I am told their gin and tonics are also pretty special)! It is more expensive than other places on the island but the view and food are worth it. 

En Caragol 
Cala Biniancolla 
Between Binibeca & Son Ganxo 
07710 San Luis 
Tel: 00 33 629 165089 / 00 33 669 46 03 11

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Like with most American exports, I was so looking forward to the opening of Balthazar. I had been to the original in New York six years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. Even though I was restricted with what I ate (being a first time mum I followed all the food rules), I had a fabulous meal and adored the buzzy environment.

I was most excited about Balthazar opening in Covent Garden and had been salivating over the menu as soon as it was posted online – there was so much on there I liked I figured one trip would never be enough.

I booked to go with three girlfriends and was surprised to be able to reserve a table at quite short notice. Like in the States the restaurant had a very busy, lively atmosphere and we had to squeeze past packed tables to get to our seats. While this does create a great ambiance, in practical terms it meant that we could not hear each other speak, there was nowhere to put our handbags and we actually had to pick up and move our table slightly as my friend Corrie kept on getting knocked by the staff.

There were plenty of waiters and we were given menus and offered an aperitif straight away however unfortunately the service went downhill after this. We waited a while to order our food and then it took FOREVER to receive our wine (a big no no in my book)!

I found it difficult to choose from the menu as I wanted everything – in the end I chose dressed crab and mac and cheese with gruyere & bacon – two of my favourite things. I was also tempted by the escargots, the frissee salade aux lardons  & obviously the burrata for starters. Then for mains I was also keen to order the moules or the cheeseburger (no surprise there).

Unfortunately I think I ordered badly.

Don’t get me wrong, the crab wasn’t bad, it just was not great nor particularly flavoursome. The sauce tasted like it was a marie rose sauce from Sainsburys or something. I obviously ate it all & the crab itself was good quality but all together it was nothing compared to other London restaurants.

My mac & cheese certainly looked good and it was very very cheesy but once again it wasn’t bursting with taste – I had to season it repeatedly and it was definitely not worthy of main course status. I think I would have been ok with it as a side but as a main it was a let down – my mac & cheese is far better (even if I do say so myself)!

On the plus side my friend Ceri had Nettle Agnolotti , which was absolutely amazing and the fries were exceptional.

All in all, the restaurant did not live up to my expectations and was a little bit of a disappointment. My friends and I had a great night together and the restaurant definitely had a fun, party element to it but the service and food needs sharpening up. I am not sure whether I would return for a while, however if I did I think I would try lunchtime as hopefully it is slightly quieter so you can actually hold a conversation with the person next to you!! 

I think my friend Corrie summed it up very well when she said it is just a “posh Café Rouge"!

4-6 Russell Street,
Tel: 020 3301 1155

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I am not the biggest chicken fan but some chicken recipes really surprise me, especially this one. It is so quick and simple to make, it is absolutely delicious and pretty healthy too which ticks all the boxes for me. My daughter adores it and so it is a good one to serve to her and her friends which makes a change from the usual pesto pasta or pizza express margarita. 

Ingredients for 4 people: 

4 skinless chicken breasts 
4 slices of palma ham 
120g Boursin 

Put the oven on 180 C (fan) or 200 C, gas mark 6. 

Cover the chicken with some cling film and then with a rolling pin or kitchen hammer (this is something I inherited from my father!), bash out the breasts until they are flattish and twice the size. This can be quite a noisy process but good for releasing any anger or stress!! 

Then lay a slice of ham over each breast and spread a quarter of the boursin over it. Finally roll the chicken up and wrap it in foil like in the picture – as Fay says it should resemble a Christmas cracker! Do this with all the chicken breasts and then put them on a baking tray in the oven for 25 minutes. 

I serve this with salad for my fiancé and I while my daughter loves it with peas and sweetcorn. Fay recommends it with mash. All the juices will leak out but you can just pour them over the chicken breast at the end. Delicious! 

We actually served this at a dinner party recently with a vegetable pasta salad and you could prepare it all before which I find essential when you are entertaining as then you can concentrate on actually enjoying yourself with your friends! 

According to My Fitness Pal it is 327 calories per rolled up chicken breast.

Monday, 12 August 2013


I have wanted to go up the Shard since it first opened however my main priority is food so I decided to wait until the restaurants had opened. For me it was a no brainer as to which restaurant I wanted to go to - Oblix - as the guy behind it Rainer Becker is the founder of Zuma, Roka & the Shochu Lounge. Surprising the food isn't Japanese / Asian and instead is inspired by New York.

There is a lounge area with a deli, comfortable relaxed seating, live music and the food is served deli style (it looked delicious, cold meats, salads, delectable puddings). Then there is the restaurant - you walk past the open kitchen to the tables and you are just blown away by the views - the whole experience is very modern and sleek.

Even though Pascal & I had just spent 45 minutes marvelling at the view several floors up, we were still completely awestruck. 

The restaurant is on the 32nd floor (the highest viewing platform is 72) - we were early for our table so decided to treat ourselves to a glass of champagne at the bar. My fiance was so surprised at the price of the Bollinger that we went for the full bottle & neither of us could stop smiling as we sipped our bubbly and stared at London beneath us. My only complaint was the lack of bar snacks - not a olive or peanut in sight! Hence we didn't stick around for two long as asked to be seated at our table.

There is an abundance of staff and everyone is more than happy to assist you as much as possible. I was disappointed that we were not sat right at the window in the restaurant - we still had a fantastic view but if you can the window seats are even better! I have eaten at the restaurant on top of the Eiffel Tower and at Galvin at Windows but I think the Shard's view is far superior.

I had read several complaints about Oblix ranging from the slow and rude staff to the quality of the food to the high prices. One reoccurring theme was that the starters were better than the main courses so Pascal & I decided to order a selection of starters to share. Oblix do not print a menu online which I found incredibly frustrating as I like to plan ahead about what I want to eat!! Anyway we ordered a flat bread covered with smoked salmon, cream cheese, chives & red onion.

This was absolutely delicious and we actually ate it like a pizza - it all tasted extremely fresh, the flavours complimented each other especially as there is a strong hint of lemon.

I was very torn between ordering the soft shell crab or the crab cake - I wanted to order both but Pascal disagreed so we went for the soft shell crab and I am very pleased we did. I think it was one of the best I have ever had - it was crispy but light and not at all greasy. The crab literally melted in your mouth and was not chewy like some can be. The creme fraiche type mayonnaise was also delicious.

We both agreed simultaneously that we would have the burrata and once again this did not disappoint, it was creamy and full of flavour and served with perfectly ripe tomatoes, pine nuts and pesto.

Unfortunately I was not very impressed by the ice berg wedge with blue cheese and bacon. It also included dried fruits which made it too sweet and the dressing was more mayonnaise than blue cheese, in fact I couldn't even taste the cheese.

Luckily I had ordered a side of macaroni cheese which was delicious. The waiter obviously saw me drooling over it so moved it closer to me on the table - a nice touch!!! We did have fries as well which were very good however these were eaten before their photo opportunity!!

By the end of all that food we were stuffed so could not have a pudding which was a shame as they did come highly recommended.

We had several waiters assisting us and I want to mention how good they all were, so professional but also so friendly & helpful. 

The bill was certainly not cheap but you would not expect it to be in such an incredible location. It is my birthday in September and I would be very keen to go back as the whole experience was so fabulous and far exceeded my expectations. While it was lovely to see the view on a summer's day, I expect it will also be incredible in the evening. If you have a special occasion coming up - do go - it will be worth it!

Level 32, The Shard
31 St Thomas Street

Tel: 020 7268 6700

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Friday, 9 August 2013


I have probably mentioned once or twice before in this blog that I love a burger and so every new burger joint in town I am desperate to try out. After the success of Shake Shack I was keen to try the other new American import Five Guys although as I had never heard of it before it came here, I was not expecting to be blown away.

We weren't very organised and arrived at Five Guys bang on 1pm and there was a massive queue outside and a massive queue inside - Pascal & I looked at each other in despair - he hates queuing but I did not want to eat elsewhere! We (or I) decided to just stay and queue and actually it moved pretty quickly - it was a ten minute wait max to join the queue inside.

Five Guys was originally set up by the Murrell family in 1986 and since then it has grown and grown to over 1000 branches with a further 1500 in development. They had a simple concept to serve only hand-formed burgers cooked to perfection on a grill along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. The menu offers burgers, cheese burgers, bacon cheese burgers and bacon burgers with either a single or double patty. There is a BLT sandwich, a vegetable sandwich or a grilled cheese. The fries are either served salted or cajun style. Apparently hot dogs will be added to the menu soon (I will obviously be back to try these). 

The thing which sets Five Guys apart is once you have ordered your burger you can add further toppings free of charge - as much or as little as you like - they claim there are over 250,000 ways you can have your burger at Five Guys (it will take me a while & a lot of weight gain if I try to prove this so will just take their word for it)!! The toppings range from salad to ketchup & american mustard to jalapeños. 

After queuing and waiting for about 25 minutes we finally got our burgers and they were PHENOMENAL!!

Pascal had a bacon cheese burger (two patties) with mayonnaise and grilled onions:

He then also had a little bacon cheeseburger (one patty) with lettuce, pickle, grilled onions and mayonnaise (no point holding back)!

I had a little bacon cheeseburger with pickle, grilled onions, ketchup and american mustard.

Er I then also had a grilled cheese sandwich.....

And we shared fries (salty not cajun)!

We both agreed the burgers were the best we had ever had - better than shake shack even though a few days ago I thought they were the best! The bacon was so crispy, the beef juicy, the buns slightly sweet (but this works), the cheese cheesy - it was an incredibly messy affair, I must have used about ten napkins - but it was worth it. It is not the place I would come on a date, the burgers are impossible to eat in an attractive way but they are so good you don't care. Unfortunately the grilled cheese was absolutely rubbish - just a burger bun with a little bit of cheese in the middle - I ended up just picking out the cheese and putting it on the fries a la shake shack! The fries also didn't impress me that much, not enough salt and very potatoey - however Pascal adored them. If I could buy the burgers from here and eat them with the cheesy fries from Shake Shack I would be in Heaven!!

I also have to mention the drinks machine - they offered over 100 fizzy drinks such as dr pepper, orange flavoured coke and even my favourite de caff diet coke - it was free refills - I wish I had something like this at home!

All in all I will definitely be back for a burger and hopefully a hot dog - it is not the most relaxing experience nor the cheapest (our meal set us back nearly £35) but for a burger that good, it is worth it!!!

1-3 Long Acre
Covent Garden
London WC2E 9LH
Tel: 0800 0833 005
(You can also order online to avoid the queues).

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Thursday, 1 August 2013


I am a wannabe American and always have been  - I think it stems from my obsession with American TV like Saved by the Bell, Baywatch, Beverley Hills 90210 and so on (I could go on forever)! Whenever something American comes to England – whether it is a clothes shop or a new fad or restaurant – I am always keen to go.

I have been waiting for the opening of Shake Shack for months and finally managed to drag my fiancé and daughter there today. Being French my fiancé is not into self-service and prefers restaurants with table clothes etc, so he wasn’t too pleased when we turned up at Shake Shack at 11.40am and already a lot of the tables were taken.

Despite the fact it was before 12pm, we decided to go ahead and order. I had been dreaming about this for months so knew exactly what I wanted!

I had the shackmeister sausage, Pascal had the double smokeshack and Arabella had the single cheeseburger plus we had two portions of cheesy fries.

We were all impressed!! My hot dog was a Cumberland sausage topped with crispy onions and cheese – it looked pretty small however it was actually perfect size and really hit the spot.

The burgers were incredible – such soft, squishy buns, cooked a little pink, meaty but not too meaty if you know what I mean, lovely American gooey cheese.  Arabella’s was so simple – no lettuce, tomato or sauce and it certainly didn’t need it, it was so flavoursome – I have never seen her polish off food so quickly (unless it is Haribo). Pascal’s had the double patty as well as bacon and chopped cherry pepper. This complimented the burger perfectly, and despite being “stacked” you could still fit the burger easily in your mouth without wearing most of it round your face!

Finally the cheesy fries – these were crispy, crinkle cut chips covered with Shake Shack’s blended cheddar cheese sauce. As I mention repeatedly I love cheese & this cheese I could live off! The fries were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with just enough salt and cheese sauce – delicious!!

I wanted to try one of their famous concretes or frozen custards but I thought I would save that for another day as I will definitely be back!

Covent Garden
24 Market Building
The Piazza
London WC2E 8RD
Tel: 0203 5981360

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