We were recently invited to London Pullman St Pancras to try the newly launched 'Intelligent Breakfast', a healthy breakfast offering featuring a variety of meat free, gluten free and sugar free breakfast items.
Created by Honestly Healthy founder, Natasha Corrett, the five dishes and two breakfast smoothies are a great way to start the day - without weighing you down. Options include plum and kuzu compote breakfast pots (to aid digestion), a chia and turmeric omelette (to boost energy), and a selection of smoothies.
The 'Intelligent Breakfast' menu is available in the hotel's meeting rooms or the stylish Golden Arrow restaurant, which is perfectly located in Central London for an informal catch up with friends or ideal for a low-key business meeting.
We thought all of the items were tasty, making it difficult to pick just one! If you're really peckish, we recommend that you order a few items, such as the omelette, muffin and a smoothie, to fill you up and keep you going until lunchtime. But perhaps that's just us being greedy! Overall, we think it's a great option if you're looking for an alternative to boring porridge or a not-so-healthy fry up.
London Pullman St. Pancras
100 - 110 Euston Rd
Situated on the South Quay of Canary Wharf and dwarfed by the city’s imposing office blocks, Bella Cosa is a modern Italian restaurant offering authentic Italian food in a sophisticated environment.
Upon arrival, a maitre d’ greets guests, creating a welcoming atmosphere. Guests have the option of dining at the informal 'Chef's Isle', a relaxed open plan area consisting of a bar and an exposed marble-fronted kitchen, or the upstairs fine dining restaurant for a more refined experience, which we opted for during our visit.
For guests seeking more exclusivity, there is also a private dining room with sleek glass sliding doors that diners can retreat to. Inside, diners will enjoy the decor, which includes a striking feature wall, which features wine bottles that are beautifully displayed over the entire expanse of the wall.
We started as we meant to go on, with a cold glass of Prosecco and a selection of canapés, including a delightful fish roe served on a deep-fried polenta crisp and a naughty savoury cannoli filled with mortadella mousse.
An amuse bouche of celeriac purée topped with poached confit oyster and truffle shavings served in a china oyster shell was three little mouthfuls of sensational food I’ve thought about for days.
Indulge in amazing antipasti
From the antipasti selection, we tried the octopus leg with smoked potato mousse, chicory, pesto and olives (£15) and it was an absolute coup - meaty, salty and fragrant and in stark contrast to the sea carpaccio (£18.00), which was a skilfully presented delicate arrangement of finely sliced king prawn, seabass, tuna, mackerel, marinated anchovy, octopus, cured fish roe Bottarga and caviar (£18). The remarkable antipasti selection is a prime example of where Executive Chef Kentaro Torri’s Japanese heritage shines through as he combines the finesse of Japanese cuisine with traditional Italian ingredients and techniques.
Tuck in to delicious mains
For our mains we had the Tagliolini twirled with sea urchin and Cornish crab, topped with Rapini pesto and a final flurry of herbed breadcrumbs for texture (£13-£19). This looked petite and elegant but was incredibly comforting with a rich depth of flavour. Similarly, the five-cheese ravioli with cubes of the most succulent pork cheek, a saffron sauce and shaved black truffle (£13/£18) was a luxurious and well-executed dish that I didn’t want to end.
Next we sampled one fish dish and one meat dish. The roasted monkfish with an olive tomato crust was a fabulous contrast of textures and the fish, which was cooked to opaque perfection, sat atop a silky seafood fregola (£22). Our final savoury dish was the double-cooked San Daniele pork belly (£20), which was so tender that you could cut it with a spoon. The earthy flavours of wild mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke puréewere nothing short of sexy . And I think it’s worth saying that I’m a salt-fiend and I didn’t add it to one dish as the seasoning was perfect.
Enjoy a tipple
During our meal, each course was paired with wine, which was a particularly lovely touch and one that only enabled us to appreciate the flavour combinations even more. We had a stellar Soave (£9/glass) and a well-rounded Valpolicella (£10/glass). We also enjoyed a palate cleansing Limoncello that left us feeling as though we were in Sorrento than Canary Wharf!
For those who prefer beer to wine, Bella Cosa has introduced beer and food pairings, which we were assured extends far beyond Peroni and Moretti!
Dessert - the perfect ending to a great meal...
We finished our meal with a refreshing clementine carpaccio with lemon sorbet and Prosecco foam (£8.00), which was heavenly. For those seeking a lighter option, I'd recommend the 'pretty-as-a-picture' and rather innovative ‘Mont Blanc in the Snow’(£8.00), which features Chestnut, Chocolate, Hazelnut. Whatever you do, ensure you don't miss out on the deconstructed Tiramisu (£8.00) specked with little nuggets of Amaretto jelly and twigs of chocolate.
Our experience overall
There is so much about this place that makes me happy: the staff, their attitude and passion for what they do and what they offer, the precision with which the chefs cook, while producing light-hearted, smile-inducing dishes. Our only criticism is that we wished it it were a bit busier, but that could vary depending on when you visit.
Food and drink *****
Staff attentiveness/friendliness *****
213 Marsh Wall
Renowned as one of London’s best Thai establishments, Nipa Thai is a 55-seat Thai restaurant located on the first floor of the Lancaster London hotel. Boasting unrivalled views across Hyde Park, it's perfectly situated for those looking for fabulous Thai cuisine in central London.
Nipa Thai strives to be as authentic as possible. Everything from its Thai staff to the decor (a teak panelled interior with traditional Thai furnishings), to its cuisine (made using original Thai ingredients), helps to reinforce this. Given that Nipa Thai has received the prestigious 'Thai Select' award from the Thai Government for its excellence and that it's further bolstered by its 2AA Rosettes rating, and one can gather that they must be doing something right when it comes to nailing authenticity.
The menu at Nipa Thai
The extensive à la carte menu at Nipa Thai includes starters such as Por Pia Tod (crisp spring rolls containing glass noodles, cabbage and crab meat with a sweet plum sauce). Main course dishes include specialities such as Pla Nueng Ma Nao (steamed seabass in a garlic, lemongrass, lime leaf and chilli broth). There is also a wide selection of Thai salads, pan-fried dishes and red or green Thai curries. Delicately flavoured Thai desserts include favourites such as Caramel Lychees (caramel delice with a crunchy lychee centre, chilli and pineapple Carpaccio with salted caramel ice cream).
Our visit to Nipa Thai
During our visit we were well looked after by Nipa Thai’s Restaurant Manager, Kaseam Jongpitakrat. Given the extensive size of the menu, Jongpitakrat talked us through the options and provided recommendations.
We started with the Por Pia Tod (£11.00), deep fried spring rolls filled with glass noodles, cabbage and oriental mushrooms, and a portion of prawn crackers (a classic favourite). Next we tried the Satay Kai (£11.00), char-grilled marinated chicken served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish, which was nutty and scrumptious. It was also recommended that we try the Kao Krieb Pak Moh, a steamed rice wrap, sautéed chicken, shallots, roasted peanuts, served with crisp lettuce, fresh chillies and coriander. The lettuce provided a pleasing crunch and it was very tasty indeed.
For our mains, we had Panang Nuea Rue Moo (£16.00), dry and aromatic beef red coconut curry with basil and kaffir lime leaves, the Kaeng Kiew Warn Kai (£16.00), vibrant chicken and Thai aubergine in a spicy green coconut curry, and the Kuey Tiew Phad See Iew Kai (£12.00), wok stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and oriental greens. All of the dishes had great depth of flavour and were nicely presented. My favourite dish hands down was the Kaeng Kiew Warn Kai,which was gorgeous and had a bit of a kick without being too over-the-top spicy.
After our meal, the waitress provided us with a steaming hot hand towel, which is always a nice touch. Although we were ridiculously full after our Thai feast, my friend and I shared a banana fritter with ice cream.
As Nipa Thai is located in a hotel, it can be a bit lacking in ambience, depending on the time of day that you visit. Overall, the food is fantastic, and it's a great place to visit if you're seeking premium quality Thai food in relaxing surroundings.
Balans Soho Society is a Soho mecca where fun reigns supreme. Its clientele come for the lively atmosphere, stiff cocktails and massive portions of tasty food served with a smile.
This is not a place where they do things by half measure. This café, restaurant, bar, and member’s establishment has a distinctly naughty atmosphere about it, which is good if you’re in the mood to party and listen to a bit of house music with your dinner but probably not so good if it’s a Monday night and the cocktail sirens are calling!
The décor is a mish mash of vintage and de-constructed glam, think cosy charcoal hued banquet sofas, industrial chic wood and iron tables, designer wallpaper, velvet curtains, naughty paintings and a few random pieces of brick-a-brac thrown in for good measure.
Balans Soho Society’s menu is overseen by Executive Chef Crispin Chetwynd, a renowned chef who has toured the globe with Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd. The seasonally-changing menu highlights the best local produce from Ginger Pig and H. Forman & Son (the oldest smokehouse in London).
Menu options at Balans Soho Society - Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the heart of Soho
Balans serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit. Breakfast options include everything from the Soho Full English (£9.00), Kedgeree (£9.00), pancakes (£7.50), French toast (£7.50) and house-baked granola with berries, yoghurt and Kent honey (£6.00). Brunch options include The High Society eggs Benedict (fresh lobster, avocado and bacon) (£12.00) and eggs in hell (two poached eggs in a tomato and chilli sauce with potatoes and Parmesan) (£7.00).
Light bites include burnt aubergine baba ghanoush peppered with pomegranate seeds and sumac; thrice-fried chicken with shichimi mayonnaise (£6.00); and charred squid and chorizo with fried potatoes and piquillo peppers (£7.50). The hearty mains include everything from the infamous Balans burger (£12.50) to grilled halloumi on olive mash with cherry tomatoes and lemon honey dressing (£11.00) and skillet-roasted chicken with farro, fig and pine nuts (£15.00).
Our visit to Balans ...
We've been to Balans on several occasions as we love its cheeky atmosphere. On this particular occasion, we decided to try something different. For our starters we had the seared 'melt in your mouth' yellow fin tuna in a chilli, garlic, ginger, soy and pickled cucumber marinade (£8.00), which was simple yet delicious. Next up was the proveleta (£7.00), which is simply baked Provolone cheese and cherry tomatoes on sourdough toast, which was a bit like a posh version of a margarita pizza.
For our mains I had the 12oz sirloin steak with double-dipped chips and bourbon BBQ sauce (£25.00). The steak was juicy and perfectly cooked with a smoky, chargrilled flavour. My husband opted for the cod special of the day - a generous portion of cod that was fresh and flaky - just how great fish should be.
Cocktails so many cocktails…
Cocktails take front and centre here. Here you’ll find everything from the porn star (Absolut Blue, vanilla syrup, passion fruit puree and a Champagne shot) and the elderflower Collins (Broker’s gin, St. Germaine, apple); to cheekily named cocktails such as the slap on the rum (Redleg spiced rum, pineapple, mint and ginger beer) and the Society teddy bear (Buffalo Trace, cinnamon, cranberry) served in a honey bear bottle.
During our visit we tried the non-alcoholic mocktail coco Rita (a non-alcoholic drink comprised of coconut water, lime purée, agave nectar)(£4.30) and the passion fruit and pineapple swizzle (Ron Abueli rum, pineapple, lemon and prosecco) (£9.50), which is basically a holiday in a glass.
Although we were absolutely stuffed after dinner, our friendly waitress insisted that we make room for a dessert. Indulgent dessert options include the High Society mess (for two) (£10.00), sticky toffee pudding (£6.00), a chocolate tart with Jack Daniel’s ice-cream (£6.00) or banoffee pie. We opted for the banoffee pie, a serious slab of banana, cream and toffee pie covered in thick whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Although tasty, this belt-busting dessert was pretty heavy going even for two people sharing.
One thing that really struck us about Balans Soho Society was how friendly and helpful the staff were. As you can see, everyone is up for a laugh and they have no problem posing for an impromptu photo! Before we departed our waitress gave us two tiny vials of absinthe, which we feel sums up our cheeky experience perfectly.
As a quote on their menu reads 'let us devour, imbibe and frolic’ – we can’t think of anywhere else where this is more apt. Keep up the fun.
Food and drink: ★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
Balans Soho Society
60-62 Old Compton Street
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.