A birthday afternoon tea with the family at St Ermin’s 

Afternoon Tea, Dining with the Children

I do love an afternoon tea, last birthday I went with my husband and children to a local hotel and spa for an afternoon tea in Kent and was really not impressed. We daren’t attempt it again so this year I wanted to tea in London. I didn’t want anything too extravagant but I did want something a bit special. Most importantly it had to be child friendly.

So my husband did his research and we agreed on St Ermin’s Hotel. They offered a children’s tea menu, which is an obvious sign they welcome children, and they also had a special offer for the adults.

IMG_3593

We arrived by taxi to my sons excitement, my son is obsessed with all different modes of transport. The doorman welcomed us in, and we sat in the lobby whilst we waited for the tea area to open. Staff and guests were making a fuss of my daughter, especially of her sparkly silver shoes.

IMG_3599

We were shortly shown to our table. The afternoon tea dining area was situated on a balcony which looked over the main reception area. We walked up the beautiful staircase and were shown to our table. It wasn’t very busy, probably because our reservation was for 12, which is very early for most people, but for those with children you’ll know that 12 is lunch time.

IMG_3595
The table settings were really pretty. My daughter thought it was a play set so I had to move all the cutlery away from her so she didn’t start drumming the plates.

IMG_3606

We sipped on our complimentary glass of champagne (an offer though the booking website at the time of booking) The children were offered a choice of fruit juice and we were given a tea menu.

IMG_3610

First to arrive, after our drinks, were the scones. I have had many afternoon teas and have never had the scones first but my children aren’t fussy about what order the food arrives. So we devoured the scones.

IMG_3611

My favourite were the gingerbread, I only got to sample a tiny piece of the triple chocolate, daddy is a fan of anything sea salted so he ate those ones. A perfect family selection of flavours I thought.
FYI I’m a cream first then top with jam kinda girl.

IMG_3612

Next came the exciting part the sandwiches and cakes! We had to tell the children that they were to eat sandwiches first. They were served three flavours of sandwiches chocolate, jam and egg . Which are fun treat flavours for children. Think it would have been nice to have a cheese and/or cucumber too. We, the adults, had turkey and cranberry, (it was still mid Jan so still festive) cucumber and cream cheese, salt beef and horseradish and smoked salmon and caviar. All really nice sandwiches.

IMG_3619

IMG_3617

Onto the cakes!! My children couldn’t stuff these in their mouths quick enough! The remains were smeared all over their faces!

IMG_3623

IMG_3629

IMG_3624

I thoroughly enjoyed the cakes, the peanut butter macaron was divine! I liked that there were two of each as with some teas there are only one of each cake. It was great not having to share.

IMG_3621

The childrens tea was honey bee themed as the hotel produce their own honey, they have a bee hives up on the roof and a bee hotel. We did pop up and have a look after our tea. I think this is a lovely idea and a great feature for children, my son was excited knowing he was going to visit a Bee Hotel. Not that we saw any bees. They were all sleeping.

IMG_3634

IMG_3635

After our plates had been cleared I was presented one last treat on a plate with happy birthday written in chocolate, such a lovely touch, the lovely lady who brought it out even sang a solo happy birthday, my husband was fetching the kids who had got fed up and started wandering about. Luckily it wasn’t very busy and they didn’t bother anybody.

IMG_3633

I can not recommend St Ermins enough, it’s a gorgeous hotel in a great location near Westminster, we did actually go to the London Aquarium after as it was only across the bridge.

The service was fantastic and we were made to feel so welcome, it’s always a bit nerve wracking to take the kids out to eat as they’re so young and they do get restless, but they were well behaved and absolutely loved their bee themed tea.
The teas are a bargain price too, almost half of what I’ve sometimes paid. So if you want a special afternoon tea, suitable for children that doesn’t break the bank consider St Ermins Hotel. I will certainly be back with my family.

IMG_3630
Tea Lounge - St Ermin's Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2014 – My year in restaurants

Afternoon Tea, Brunch, Dining with friends, Dining with Mum, Dining with the Children, Dining with the Husband, Food Festival, Michelin Star Restaurant, Non Michelin Restaurants, One Michelin Star, Pop Up Experience, Three Michelin Star, Two Michelin Star

2014 has been a year of amazing restaurant experiences for my husband and I.  Halfway through the year I decided to start documenting my meals on WordPress to share with fellow foodies and to remind myself of the delicious plates of food that have been sat in front of me.

January
The year started off with my birthday meal at the Midsummer house.  As we approached the restaurant, walking over the bridge, the beautiful fairy lights looked magical.  The food I encountered was also magic.  I loved this restaurant, it was very romantic and felt special, the food was incredible and a perfect destination for celebrating my special day.  I loved the BBQd beetroot.  

February
Birth month for my husband and we dined at the Ledbury for his special day.  The service was amazing we had the tasting menu.  We were actually allowed into the kitchen and got to meet Brett Graham who was very welcoming to us.  

We also got to celebrate Valentines day in style at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

IMG_2743

IMG_2746

IMG_2752

March
I took my Mum for Mother’s Day to The Skylounge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Tower of London.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the champagne and cocktails went down a treat!

IMG_3083

Me & my Mummy

IMG_3085

April
We celebrated our wedding anniversary and stayed at Penny Hill Park and we dinned in their 2 Michelin Star The Latymer.  This was an incredible evening away, the hotel upgraded our room, the spa is the best I’ve visited and to have this incredible restaurant located in the hotel made it perfection.

 IMG_3327
Gorgeous outdoor pool at Penny Hill Park

IMG_3322

Beautiful roll top bath

May
We ate at the highly anticipated Fera, hubby was desperate to get a table for the opening week but had to settle for the opening fortnight.  I loved this meal.  I loved the excitement in the dining room, I loved the way Simon Rogan presented us one of our courses and I loved that it’s so much like L’Enclume (another of my favourite restaurants).

During May I also experienced the John Lewis Garden Room pop up restaurant, twice

IMG_0508

IMG_0599

IMG_0734

IMG_0763

And attended the ‘too many chefs’ event at the Drapers Arms in aid of action against huger.  10 chefs, 10 different courses.

IMG_0720

 

I also had a catch up with a dear friend at the two Michelin star restaurant Hibiscus. We ate from the amazing value set menu and had such a lovely time before we knew it we were the last two people in the restaurant.   I loved the ‘Pork Pie’ dish.

June
We attended the best food festival London has to offer, Taste of London.  I have been to most of the London food festivals this year and in my opinion this is head and shoulders above the rest.

IMG_0957

I also had a fab girly night at Shaka Zulu, Camden

IMG_0995

IMG_1001

I attended a meet the makers event at Bread Street Kitchen with Gonzales Byass Sherries.

IMG_0812

July
A fantastic Birthday Brunch with my mum at One Aldwych

IMG_1288

We took the kids to The Big Easy

IMG_1190

Had an alfresco lunch at Cha Cha Moon

IMG_1227

I made marvellous macarons at Jenius Social, which was really good fun, and hard work too!

IMG_1232

IMG_1230

August
I visited the lovely Tamarind of Mayfair, where I had my first taste of lobster in the form of a masala and I particularly enjoyed the Papdi chaat.  This is a fantastic restaurant the staff are lovely, it’s like being in your local Indian, but they have a prestigious Michelin Star.

This was the month I also faced my fear trying Sashimi at Yashin ocean house and actually enjoyed the experience.

IMG_1540
One of the best and most underrated restaurant I visited this year was Launceston Place.  I was certain this would get a second Michelin star as the food and service we received certainly deserved it!

IMG_1760

September

I dined 100ft high in the sky with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
London and Alyn Williams at The Westbury.

IMG_1903

IMG_1937

I also experienced a kitchen takeover Glynn Purnell at Nathan’s Outlaw’s at The Capital

IMG_2021

October
We visited the sophisticated Alyn Williams at The Westbury, my second experience of Alyn Williams’ food but with my feet firmly on the ground.

IMG_2208

Booked almost a year prior to the visit we eventually visited Tom Kerridge’s famous pub The hand and flowers.  It was great and the food was fantastic particularly the desserts.

IMG_2349

Drakes restaurant Woking was a lovely treat and with no expectations I was very pleasantly surprised.  Great feel to the dining room and fantastic food really liked way the cheese course was presented.

IMG_2561

November
This was a casual month where I dined with friends.
I dined at the The Fish & Chip Shop, Islington and it definitely is the best fish and chips I’ve had.  I loved the quirky decor too.

IMG_2749

IMG_2756

Another place I visited was The Remedy wine bar, a fantastic little gem. Real cosy place offering great  charcuterie and cheese boards and quality wine.   My friend and I had a fab evening here. I will definitely be revisiting in 2015 for more catch ups with friends.

IMG_2930

We attended Taste of winter for the first time.  Had loads of fun and I tried food from Kurobuta London and it is a restaurant I look forward to visiting in the new year.

tw3

IMG_3013

I also attended a SPIES event at South Place Hotel and had a fantastic magical mystery evening.

IMG_3032

IMG_3036

December
For the second year running I enjoyed a festive afternoon tea with my friends at the Conrad Hotel, Westminister.  With free flowing champagne for £45 I think this is an absolute bargain! I’m sure to be back again next December.

IMG_3132

So that’s a round up of my year, what a great year it has been too!  Thank you to my hubby for taking me for all these incredible meals and thank you so much to all the restaurants for the incredible food and service received.

Here’s to 2015!

 

Family feast at The big easy

Dining with the Children, Non Michelin Restaurants

The service in this place was great, especially as we had taken the kids. This was my first experience of an authentic American BarBQ shack. It will certainly not be my last.

We had planned a family day out to the London transport museum, my four year old son is crazy about trains, buses and pressing the button at traffic lights so he was in his element. Then we announced it was lunch time and a tantrum erupted! “It’s ok were just having lunch and coming back” I reassured him! We left the museum and headed in the wrong direction, towards the tube station, but thanks to google maps we found The Big Easy. Its not hidden and very easy to find. We’d even walked past Maiden Lane on our way into Covent garden!
We arrived slightly too early so had to wait until the restaurant opened. My son got upset again at being told he had to wait. I dread family days out when my son behaves like this! My daughter, who is one, is very good and waits contently in her stroller. The staff at the desk announced they were open, even though there was a gathering of people already waiting they let us in first. We were shown to a corner with a back wall filled with American number plates, this was a great way to keep my son occupied asking him to find numbers and letters! My daughter was very delicately strapped into the booster seat by a staff member, and she was immediately grabbing anything within reach, the steak knife was moved pretty sharpish! Boom boom! Another family arrived and were sat at the table opposite. Although it can feel like we’re being confined to an area away from the other dinners it’s quite a relief as there is a feeling of comradery too, knowing we’re all in it together and we won’t get frowned upon if the kids get a bit noisy. Don’t get me wrong my kids are angels when I see how some children behave, but they do have the devilish moments.

After swapping the seating arrangements we were ready to order our food. I’d heard good things about this place so I was very excited. We ordered our drinks, a round of milkshakes peanut butter and chocolate for the adults and chocolate for my son. The milkshake was incredible! It was like liquid reeses, absolutely delicious! Best milkshake to ever pass my lips.

We ordered the food, an enormous sharing platter, BarBQ Blow out. It consisted of the hugest ribs I had ever seen, half a chicken, pulled pork, fries and coleslaw, we also ordered sides of mac n cheese, voodoo wings, beans and a cesear salad. When the food arrived I gasped! The plates barely fitted on the table! The staff were very careful not to put anything in grabbing distance of my ‘little lady’ as they referred to her.

IMG_1190

We dived straight in. The ribs are like none I’ve ever eaten before, I’m actually embarrassed that I’ve eaten the pathetic ribs unauthentic American chain restaurants serve up. These were enormous! They were succulent, smokey and had loads of meat on them. Literally the best ribs I’ve eaten in my life. The chicken was so tender and the pulled pork was almost all gone before I got to even sample it.

IMG_1186
My son is going through a fussy eater phase at this point in his life, he used to eat everything but now he needs persuading and reminding that he likes certain foods because he’s eaten them before. His plate consisted of mostly chips and mac n cheese. My daughter is not going through a fussy phase at all. She devoured the pulled pork.
The food here is amazing and had lived up to my expectations. The smokey BarBQ flavour is incredible and the meat is so moist.

IMG_1199

It was time to go, the children had eaten and were now getting restless. The bill was taken care of really quickly. That can really spoil the experience if I’m left waiting ages to pay. The meat mountain was only half eaten, so we took the remains home in a doggy bag. The Chicken was delicious cold for lunch the next day.

I will definitely return to The Big Easy, it would be great to return without children and enjoy the X-Rated shakes and cocktails. We were really well looked after and the staff were all really attentive towards the children. I would highly recommend this place it’s great for families and would be great for any occasion. If you want to try real ribs then go here! I’m definitely going back for more.