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breakfast

Blog, Mexico, Tulum

Mur Mur, Tulum – EAT

February 19, 2017
Mur Mur, Tulum

Mur Mur wins my award for most Instagrammable place of Tulum.  We passed it a number of times as it’s in a great location near big hits like Harwood and Arca.  While it’s set back from the ‘main strip’, it’s very eye catching (and there are some pretty – though extortionate – boutiques surrounding it).

Mur Mur, Tulum

So one day we tore ourselves away from the beach and cycled to Mur Mur for lunch.

Perhaps it’s the combination of their palm tree printed arm chairs, moss green sofas and distressed wooden furniture that give Mur Mur the ultimate laid back but stylish vibe.   The sofas are so comfortable that getting up is the last thing you want to do, so inevitably you end up spending hours here, sipping a cold beer or glass of white wine and savouring the peace and quiet.

Mur Mur, TulumMur Mur, Tulum

This is the perfect place for breakfast or lunch, more cafe than restaurant – though they do have a cool cocktail bar (of course), which is also open in the evening.  Fancying a change from the Mexico cuisine overload, we opted for their sour dough sandwiches with side salads.  I went for the grilled vegetables and Rob for the chicken.  Expecting something far less refined, I was very impressed by the standard of the food.  It’s all locally sourced and you can tell how fresh the produce is.

Mur Mur, Tulum

The service here was slow, and they took their time with our order, but sometimes you need to remind yourself that you’re in Tulum not London and relax.  Having said that, our waiter was excellent, friendly, and knew his stuff – recommending beers and wine to us.

In short, while Tulum is not short on excellent restaurants, Mur Mur is a great day hang out.  Even if you’re not hungry, grab a beer and enjoy some time out of the sun in this delightful little establishment.

Mur Mur

Quintana Roo 15,

Tulum

Mexico

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, London

Thomas’ Cafe at Burberry, Mayfair

December 31, 2016
Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

When fashion designers try and do restaurants or bars or hotels they can get it wrong (par example the Versace Hotel in Miami), but trust Burberry to get it so right with their first Café opening: ‘Thomas’’ (names after the founder, Thomas Burberry).

It is beautiful, undeniably so.  With dark walls, dim lighting and a welcoming fireplace, it feels like you’ve walked into someone’s very sophisticated but cosy country home.  And while it’s clear that the interiors are well thought through and stylish, it’s done in an understated, unpretentious way.  Nothing flashy, or too polished.  A bit like the brand itself.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

Finding somewhere to go for coffee is difficult around Regent Street, unless you’re happy to settle with Pret or Café Nero and a bunch of tourists.  So Thomas’s is welcome for more than one reason.  Also, you can book, which means no unnecessary and tedious queuing for brunch.  And lastly, while you’d think it would have the same eye-watering prices as Burberry itself, you’re wrong.  It’s not cheap, of course.  But it’s reasonable.  And everything, from the beautiful presentation of the eggs with soldiers, to the tea with its own hour glass timer which tells you when the tea leaves have brewed to their optimum, is delightful.

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, MayfairThomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

I could happily sit there for hours, sipping my cappuccino, watching people come and go, until it’s cocktail hour and then gently move on to one of their G&Ts.  There is no rush to leave your table (or if there was, we never felt it).

You are so well looked after here, by young, good looking, could-be Burberry models. Who are exceptionally polite and accommodating. But my favourite thing about the place is the soundtrack, which I recognised from their impossibly glamorous Christmas advert casually starring Siena Miller and Lily James (and which I still wish was a trailer to a 2 hour long movie).

Thomas' Burberry Cafe, Mayfair

And so, with January around the corner, this is a place that will make you embrace winter.  And be the perfect refuge for your post sale shop.

Thomas’ Cafe

Burberry

5 Vigo Street / 121 Regent Street

 

Blog, France, Paris

Brunch in the Marais, Paris

October 16, 2016
Brunch Marais Paris

The Marais is an area in Paris which you must visit when there.  The best time to go is undoubtedly Sunday, when much of Paris is closed but when the Marais comes fully to life.  Do not be stupid like me and think you’ll spontaneously find a nice brunch place here.  You might find many great looking places, but they won’t have a free table for you.  You really need to book for Sunday brunch.

Starting in the northern Marais, the more residential, local part of the area – there are plenty of wonderful places for brunch. Healthy hotspot Season (for other healthy options check out this post) has a terrace in the sun, as do a number of other lovely looking places on Rue Charles-Francois Dupuis.

brunch marais paris

Cafe Pinson and La Petite Table are both small but come very highly recommended.  There are always queues so, if booking is possible, book!  If you want to just grab a coffee on the go, I’m told that Ob-la-Di (so tiny it’s almost like a hole in the wall) makes the best coffee.

La Petite Table, ParisCafe Pinson, Paris

Walk south down Rue de Turenne, which for 5 minutes or so is a bit of a brunch waste-land.   Soon you’ll notice more people (tourists!) and more restaurants, more bars and more shops.  This is the heart of the Marais, around Place du Voges (a must-visit) and Rue Vieille du Temple.  It is a shoppers paradise, with plenty of vintage shops, as well as all your favourite French brands (Maje, Sandro, Claudie Peirlot, Cottonniers des Comptoir).

Place du voges paris

The most popular place by far seems to be Benedict.  I’ve never seen queues like it (not even in London).  They (apparently, I obviously wasn’t going to wait) serve an excellent French/American brunch.  I guess it’s popular for a reason!

Benedict, Paris

Les Philosophes is brilliantly located on Rue Vieille du Temple, with a fairly large terrace and thus ideal for people watching.  This is a bit of an institution, the food is as French as it gets (if slightly unrefined) and the prices reasonable (they rip you off though on the bottled water – 5 euros, opt for a carafe instead). The waiters are either friendly and upbeat, or over-worked and stressy (in which case you just can’t take it personally).

Les Philosophes, Paris

For something slightly more upmarket and quieter, try Jaja.  It’s set back from the Rue Saint-Crois de Bretonnerie, with a lovely courtyard and a small, more exclusive menu (more lunch than brunch).  Opposite, you will find the charming Au rendez vous des amis, which you again must book – it serves traditional French food and the staff are charming.  I was gutted not to be able to get a table here as it looked heavenly.

On the way to St Paul Metro station you must stop by Maison Georges Larnicol, for the best chocolate in town (and good as a snack on the Eurostar home).  You won’t regret it.

Maison Georges Larnicol, Paris

In short, there are plenty of options for an excellent brunch in the Marais, but just save yourself a lot of hassle, and book before you go!

NB I have not eaten at all the above recommendations.

Blog, France, Paris

Healthy Paris

October 16, 2016

Paris, like the rest of all European cities, seems to have jumped on the health bandwagon too.  While croissants, hot chocolate and macaroons are still definitely the top things to consume while in the city, if you need a break from all the butter then the following are some excellent healthy alternatives (without compromising on quality):

SEASON – the Marais

The northern Marais is wonderful, especially on a Sunday morning.  And walking from Temple Metro to Season, through this lovely, vibrant neighbourhood, there are multiple brunch places I wanted to check out. If you want to explore the Marais it’s a good way to do it, starting north and ending south near Place du Voges.  Yes, you’re going from more local and residential to fairly touristy, but it’s also fun to compare.  Anyway, Season is a lovely little cafe, perfect for a healthy breakfast in the sun (their Acai Bowl and Maca cakes look incredible).  They have a small terrace and it’s quiet.  They serve ‘Juice it’ juices (see below for further info) which are 6 euros and they have a whole fridge full (good for a takeaway).

Season, ParisSeason, paris

 

JUICE LAB – Saint-Germain des Pres, Pigalle & the Marais

Wow, this is as slick (and minimalist) as it gets.  There are three of these trendy juice bars in Paris, one in Pigalle (very close to Le Pantruche, which is meant to be great for lunch), one in the heart of the Marais, right by the stunning Place du Voges and the other in gorgeous Saint-Germain des Pres (below).  If you need a solid vitamin intake, this place has whatever juice concoction you might wish for.

Juice Lab, Paris

 

WILD & THE MOON – the Marais

This might have been my favourite healthy cafe.  While some of these places can be a bit smug, Wild & the Moon is very welcoming, with beautiful interiors.  Their main focus is on vegetables, super foods, and organic, seasonal food.  And they love to serve their food ‘cold-pressed, raw, intact, and prepared with love’.  This is clear.  Their ’boutique cafe’ in the northern Marais is an ideal place for brunch (though it does get busy on the weekends of course).  They also have a ‘Wild lab’ in Pigalle.

Wild & the moon, Paris

 

JUICE IT – Louvre/Palais Royale

This more relaxed juice bar is the perfect place to head to for a juice on the go in the cultural heart of Paris.  If you’ve tired of the Louvre or shopping on the Rue Saint Honore (or in nearby uber trendy concept store Colette), grab an excellent juice here and head to the Tuileries Gardens for a stroll.  Perfect!  They also stock their juices at other healthy cafes (like Season). 

Juice it, Paris

 

 

Blog, Italy, Rome

The best Brunch places in Rome

March 25, 2016
Coromandel, Rome

Romans don’t really do brunch.  An espresso for €1, standing at the bar perhaps, or a quick pastry on the go.  Brunch is not really a ‘thing’ in Rome, nothing like the craze in London.  But in the past years the city has started adapting to tourists needs and wants, and brunch is right up there.  Still, manage your own expectations as the standard is not near what you’d expect in New York or London.

Here are some of my favourite brunch hangouts in Rome:

LA. VI. LATTERIA & VINERIA for the buffet

Via Tomacelli, 23

Arguably more a lunch than a brunch place, but brilliant for its €20 per person all you can eat brunch.  Ideal if you’re not quite sure what you feel like, as they have everything from pasta to incredible salads, meats and vegetables.  Definitely leave space for pudding, as they have stacks of pancakes, incredible tiramisu and cheesecake.  They have a huge terrace/balcony which is clearly the place to sit when the weather is good (January was a little too cold).  Inside the interiors are attractive, with high ceilings and quirky touches.  Apparently also quite fun for cocktails in the evening.

La. Vi. RomeLa. Vi. Rome

 

COROMANDEL – for your traditional brunch

Via di Monte Giordano, 60

This is probably you’re best bet if you’re looking for a traditional brunch.  They offer everything from pastries, to pancakes to eggs in all kinds and forms.  However, before you get all excited to see Eggs Benedict on the menu, I’d strongly avoid this option.  They just can’t get it right, trust me.  What they do do very well are juices, coffee and pastries.  The pain au chocolat was fresh and still warm.  The pancakes with berry coulis were simple, but good too (and huge portion). The place itself is very centrally located and cute, a cosy place to start the day.

Coromandel, RomeCoromandel, Rome

 

ACTIVE NATURAL EATING – for the healthy brunch

Piazza di Pietra, 62

Rome is all about pasta and pizza, and bottles of excellent red wine.  Healthy juices aren’t first on your agenda.  But should you want a health boost, head here.  Here you can enjoy a huge range of juices and smoothies, as well as salads and soups, bowls of fruit and healthy snacks.  It’s well done and a nice place to sit and relax, or grab something for on the go.

Active Natural Eating, Rome

 

PLATZ GRAND BISTROT – for brunch on a piazza

Piazza Sant’ Eustacio, 54

We came across this place during our wanderings through ‘centro storico’ and I liked the large terrace of the quiet Piazza Sant’ Eustacio.  We had excellent cappuccinos, juices and croissants and enjoyed watching Rome go by.  The interiors are contemporary, and it’s a good place to sit to read the newspapers they offer.  The service is slow, but it was a busy Sunday morning.  I’m not sure about the rest of the food, but if you’re looking for a simple breakfast then it’s perfect.

Platz Grand Bistrot, Rome

 

Amsterdam, Drink, Eat, Healthy

Lavinia’s, Amsterdam

June 14, 2015
Lavinia Good Food, Amsterdam

Lavinia is Amsterdam’s most popular ‘good food’ (as they call it) cafe.   We went in to grab one of their raw hot chocolates, but it appears that we were not the only ones in search of a post-Christmas ‘health’ injection.  It is super cosy, warm and welcoming, with good breakfast options (go for the banana pancakes), sourdough sandwiches, spelt pizzas and ‘green cocktails’ (without alcohol of course).  Highly recommended but be prepared to queue.

Lavinia Good Food

Kerkstraat 176

 

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