I’m allergic to oysters. And Chloé is allergic to crab and lobster. So we thought we’d make the perfect pair to pop into Bonnie Gull‘s seafood shack in Soho and between us, try as many of the dishes as we could possibly manage.
And we loved it.
One hour. Actually, 50 minutes. 50 minutes is all you need for the rollercoaster, high intensity, million emotion-packed, fizzing-with-energy play that is ‘Chef‘, written by Sabrina Mahfouz and performed by Jade Anouka. And only Jade Anouka.
And she gives it Everything. She’s. Got.
Last week, Crosstown Doughnuts opened their newest doors on Broadwick Street in Soho, and have pretty much sold out every day ever since.
If you’re not already familiar with them, Crosstown Doughnuts are a London gourmet artisan doughnut brand, who hand-make their hybrid sourdough & fresh bakers yeast doughnuts every night, so they’re ready and waiting for you, gleaming in their glazes, just in time for your breakfast. And your late morning doughnut run. And afternoon tea. And dinner. (Don’t judge me.)
Last week, Mbosh and I headed to Maison Bertaux in Soho, the oldest patisserie in London, to catch up, drink coffee and indulge in beaucoup de gateaux Francaises! (A lot of cake.)
The Bertaux family opened this wonderful café’s doors in 1871 and it was bought by Mr Vignaud in 1901. The current owner is a woman called Michelle, and she has worked there ever since she was 14, when she started as a Saturday girl under Mr Vignaud’s grandson – the then owner…
This week has been so busy, I feel as though my feet haven’t touched the ground. I know they have though, otherwise I’d have been flying and I know THAT can’t be true, because if I could have one super power it would be invisibility. NOT flying.
As always, I’ve been busy capturing my week on Instagram and here are some of my favourites for you to peruse with a cup of tea, hot chocolate, or a Dark and Stormy. (I have discovered that I really (really) like rum.)
Pizza? Jazz? Pizza and jazz? Yes. Pizza and jazz. There is no better combo since jelly and ice cream. Cheese and pineapple. Um. Peanut butter and tomato! (Just me?)
If you have never been to this legendary basement jazz club, then it’s time you went. Jazz lovers have been flocking to this 120-capacity club in the heart of Soho for years, to hear and see some of the best jazz players in the world.
Top jazz players have been playing the club for years and more recently, more mainstream musicians like Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall and Amy Winehouse all sharpened their chops here.. Also, as an audience member you really couldn’t get much more up close and personal. (Which reminds me, don’t have the chilli sauce on your pizza if you can’t hack it, or you’ll be sneezing olives into the piano. This definitely did not happen to me.)
Last Friday night I was lucky enough to catch the fantastic Liane Carroll Trio with guest guitarist-amazers, John Etheridge. John, whose career has taken him from a long-term collaboration with legendary violinist Staphane Grapelli to being a key member of seminal jazz-fusion band ‘Soft Machine,’ has a way of being completely yet understatedly brilliant. It’s rather unnerving, how you suddenly realise that your jaw has dropped open in awe… and you have a bit of rocket in your teeth. (Again, this definitely did not happen to me.) Pat Metheney has named him as ‘one of the best guitarists in the world’ so I feel entirely justified in being utterly bowled over.
Liane is dynamite on stage. Funny, self deprecating, hilarious, silly and wonderful. She is a hugely skilled and inventive singer and pianist, who manages to redefine the boundaries between jazz, pop and blues… She was joined on stage by Roger Carey on bass and Mark Fletcher on drums. Oof, they were good. I’m glad I can now do dirty whistles with my fingers – I was making a happy racket. Her heart melting and emotional version of ‘The Nearness of You’ was my highlight.. and I still managed to whistle, even though I was sobbing into my Fiorentina pizza…
I love this jazz club. It makes me feel excited and alive and lucky to be in London. It’s moody, it’s intimate and it’s the real deal. It’s steeped in jazz history and its walls are packed to the hilt with pictures of faces gone by to prove it…
It’s a total gem of a venue and with jazz music pulsing through it seven nights a week, there will always be a gig on the horizon for you to catch.
See you there,
Pizza Express Jazz Club
10 Dean Street
I haven’t laughed so much and so continuously (for a whole hour) for a very long time. In fact, I’m not sure it’s ever happened. My tummy hurt the next day. I have new stomach muscles now, thanks to the very, very clever Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Who is really annoyingly talented. I’d hate her if she hadn’t made me laugh so much and given me, what looks like to be the beginnings of a six-pack. (It’s nearly a one-pack, but you have to start somewhere.)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is not only a very talented actress, but is also a rather spectacular playwright. Fleabag is written and performed by the lady herself and it is now one of the most talked about plays by Soho Theatre Associate Company, DryWrite. Not bad for a debut.
This one-hour-one-woman show wowed audiences and had sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival last year, where it picked up a Fringe First award… and so now finds itself housed and perfectly located at the Soho Theatre.
This bitter-sweet and daring show lets us into the confused and complex mind of a girl in her late twenties. She’s angry, pervy, (very) confrontational, (very very) cruel, forgetful, unforgiving, flippant, capricious, but undeniably honest.
For one hour only, Fleabag lets us see the world, with all its nitty gritty, through her eyes as we follow her life, love, loss and heartbreak. Oh, and there’s a guinea pig themed cafe too. So there’s something for everyone.
Fleabag is directed by Vicky Jones, whose critically-acclaimed play The One was winner of the 2013 Verity Bargate Award for best new play.
It’s brave, it’s rude, (oh so rude) it’s dark, uncomfortable, really naughty in places and completely, utterly and tummy achingly hilarious.
It’s only on until the 25th May, so please go and (flea)bag yourself a ticket and brace yourself – it’s a bit of a ride, is Fleabag.
21 Dean Street
I have discovered a little gem. It twinkles and shines… it knocks up the most yummy cocktails and serves mouth-watering food that made my eyes water. (I got a little bit of chilli in my eye, but even if that hadn’t happened, I would have cried with happiness – it’s THAT GOOD.)
Let me introduce you to the most marvellous Central & Co. Situated on Great Marlborough Street, just opposite Carnaby St, this restaurant/bar has found itself a brilliant location and was busy and bustling with a chattering London crowd when we turned up last week.
Central & Co offers a selection of small plates, which are a big part of the menu. I’m not sure what would have sprung to mind before, had someone mentioned ‘British tapas’, but this is what it most certainly is. And it’s not pineapple and cheese on sticks (although, don’t mock it – love it) or soggy sausage rolls. Nope, it’s chicken liver parfait (lighter than air), mini salmon fishcakes, warm scotch duck eggs (this is about the time I started crying with happiness) glazed baby sausages and several other dishes – all sourced from this land we call Great Britain (cue: Land of Hope and Glory.) (I’m starting to cry again.)
These smaller sharing plates sit alongside larger plates, which include classic British aces with a Central twist; The Central Beef Burger looked amazing (our neighbours were tucking in) and we ordered the Pollock and Chips and Welsh Mussels.
Soho is a place that makes me feel alive. It also makes me feel like I don’t own enough rubber bras. I don’t own any rubber bras. But there seem to be so many people shopping for them I feel as though I must have missed a trick.
On Friday night I took the tube to Oxford Circus – I walked down Carnaby Street and into Soho, where I met K-Bosh, at Maoz Falafel, on Old Compton Street.
I love falafel. It’s tasty tasty (very, very tasty), healthy, gluten free (yip) and doesn’t break the bank. I went for falafel in pitta with humous, with a help-yourself-to-as-much-salad-as-you-want-saladbar. That, with a fresh mint lemonade came to £7.70. Bargain.
K Bosh and I go way back. Way way way. She knows things. We sat and chatted for an hour, (boys, books, jeans, boys again) before heading over to Ronnie Scotts to meet our chums.
Ronnie Scotts opened its doors in Soho in 1959 and has been the home to top notch jazz ever since. Tickets to the gigs can be quite pricey, ranging from £15 – £50, which can put you off if you’re not feeling flush. *Tick*
However, upstairs from the main club is Ronnie’s Bar, which opens at 6pm and closes around 3am. There’s live music every night of the week and poetry slams, jive nights and samba classes also find their way there.. The best news is that it’s free to get in before 8pm (hurrah!) and so this is what we did.
After some serious negotiation with the doorman, (yawn – he was clearly confused about the time and thought it was after 8pm. It wasn’t.) K-Bosh and I nipped upstairs and Mimbles, (we go way back too – she also knows things) Lena, Ingo and Neve followed shortly after. The bar was packed (capacity 140) so there was nowhere to sit, but we were happy standing and dancing once the music kicked off at 9pm – Viva La Revolution! (Name of the band, not my own sentiment.)
Wine flowed, Evian flowed, (that’s Neve’s – she’s doing a detox and looks completely glowy-shiny-lovely-amazing) and the wine flowed even more once Lena realised “it is cheaper if we just buy the bottle!” Ahhh.
The music was brilliant and FUN and we all danced with big smiles on our faces. Mimbles amazed us with her incredible miming talents, (I couldn’t possibly try to elaborate here) K-Bosh shimmied like no other and Ingo handled being in the company of four girls very well, I thought. He held handbags and drinks when loo runs were needed and even took on the role of official group-shot photographer. This episode was slightly less successful, but we all blamed the lighting.
I said my goodbyes and headed out into the sparkly streets of Soho. Beautiful, bright and full of hope. I do love this city…
…and I LOVE Liberty’s at night.
Me, my tired feet and a glass of warm milk (I am not 12, it is just so good) crawled into bed about 20 mins later… and I thanked my lucky Soho stars to be living in such an amazing, magical and musical city… and to have such wonderful friends.