Outsider Tart – London
I had a feeling that I was really going to like Outsider Tart, even before stepping foot into the shop.
An award-winning, authentic American bakeshop and café, run by two guys from New York and a counter top piled high with trays of freshly baked breads, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, sweet pies and tarts. What’s not to like?
Those with a sweet tooth will absolutely love this place. Not only because of the range of treats but because of the outstanding variety of flavours Outsider Tart offers.
Having said that, it is the huge selection of flavours that actually make it insanely difficult to order. Everything looks so incredibly good. Giant cookies, cakes covered in creamy frosting, cinnamon and sugar dusted cake doughnuts and gooey fudge brownies, just to name a few.
On my visit, after a lot of ‘umming and arring’ I, perhaps over indulgently chose two (yes, two!!) slices of cake. Red velvet and a chocolate chip cookie brownie. I mean come on, it was always going to be a rather dangerous pairing; me and an entire counter top full of delicious baked goods.
Although the brownie was wonderfully rich, it was the red velvet cake with its mascarpone cheese filling that really hit the spot. It was soft, moist and seemed to just melt-in-my-mouth.
To balance out the sweetness, I also ordered a homemade sweet Italian sausage roll. Wholesome and bursting with flavour it was equally as scrumptious as the cakes!
Whilst customers can of course take away, I believe Chiswick’s little slice of New York is best enjoyed by eating in, and pulling up a stool in the cafés casual and colourful surrounds.
For those who cannot finish their cakes, ‘doggy bags’ are provided on request. Speaking of dogs, Outsider Tart also makes a range of dog biscuits. Strange but true.
Aside from the cakes and dog biscuits Outsider Tart also sells an assortment of American products like, sauces, cereals, peanut butter and confectionary.
Overall, a trip to Outsider Tart is an excellent excuse to venture west, eat delicious treats, and explore Chiswick, which is a wonderfully leafy neighbourhood.
Thank you Lynn for this great recommendation!
Dirty Burger – London
After three and a half years in London (eating my away around town at numerous gastro-pubs, burger joints and pop up stands), I can say honestly say that the best the best burger in London comes from Dirty Burger.
“Big call!” I hear you say, but believe me … These burgers are exceptional!
From the outside you wouldn’t think much of the place – a steel shack, tucked under some stairs in a car park, but push back the corrugated iron door and you will find an inviting industrial chic interior.
The furnishings, which at first glance look as down beat as the exterior, are in fact slick and modern by design. Wrought iron stools sit under a wrap around bar, while a rustic looking table dominates the centre of the room.
The open kitchen, where the chefs are constantly flipping burgers on the grill, is small, as is the menu that hangs overhead. Actually, there’s only one option and that’s a cheeseburger (£ 5.50). I’m sure you could ask for it without cheese, but why would you? It’s an essential part of a great burger!
As for sides there’s slightly more choice. That is to say you can choose between crinkle cut fries or battered onion fries (£2.50).
Nick and I opted for two burgers with a side of crinkle cut fries.
It was a definite ‘love at first bite’ situation. The beef patty was lean, flavoursome, juicy and grilled to perfection. The melted cheese together with the mustard and mayonnaise sauce was especially tasty. All this combined with a slice of tomato and a pickle or two. Dirty Burger are onto a winning combination I’d say.
The greaseproof paper bag of crinkle cut fries was full of triple cooked salty goodness. The fries were crunchy on the outside and soft inside.
We washed all that ‘dirtiness’ down with a made-in-house vanilla milkshake. The shake was good, seriously good. It was super creamy and thick, but not too thick that it couldn’t fit through the straw. Just the way I like it.
If you can’t wait until lunchtime to get your Dirty Burger fix then there’s always the two ‘Dirty Breakfast’ burgers – one with haggis sausage and egg (£3.50), the other with double cured bacon and egg (£3.50) – each held together by Dirty Burgers tasty homemade buns. But for me, it is the cheeseburger that steals the show, so if you can hold out util 11am I would.
After writing this post I have such a strong craving for a Dirty Burger. It’s too bad I’m in NYC. I’ll have to wait and get my Dirty Burger fix when I’m in London town next. Come to think of it, it’s probably a good thing that I no longer live there, as I could have easily formed an addiction to these delicious burgers.
To all you Londoners and travellers passing through, get amongst the ‘dirtiness’ and enjoy!
Whilst writing this post I discovered a second Dirty Burger location has recently opened in Vauxhall.
Hawksmoor – London
With outstanding service, an elegant yet casual atmosphere and more importantly perfectly cooked steak, it’s no wonder the Hawksmoor is often hailed as “the best steak restaurant in London”.
From the moment you walk through the large double doors the ambience of the Hawksmoor warmly welcomes you. An ambiance created by the restaurants stylish interior of exposed brick walls, wooden flooring, dark leather swivel chairs, hanging chandeliers and impressively candle lit dining hall.
You will most likely need to make a reservation for dinner, but even so I suggest turning up a little early so you can enjoy a cocktail at the gorgeous bar, before heading into the main dining room. Once seated you will see a series of hanging black boards highlighting what individual cuts of meat are on offer that night, as well as larger cuts, which are intended to be shared among groups.
Once you’ve chosen your steak don’t forget to choose your accompanying sides, such as: triple cooked chips (a must), beef dripping chips, mash with gravy (amazing), creamed spinach, buttered greens and much, much more!
Expertly seared on a grill, just the way you like it, the Hawksmoor’s steak will melt in your mouth and make you question why you’ve never been here before.
Not only does the steak taste great but the restaurant supports sustainable agricultural practices and locally sources all their meat and seafood. So you can take great comfort in the fact that there is no mystery meat here!
Take my word for it, this is not the type of place you want to go wearing tight jeans, as you’ll be left feeling absolutely stuffed (in the best possible way) by the end of your meal.
Having said that, make sure to leave room for dessert. The sticky toffee pudding is divine, as is the salted caramel ice cream.
It’s also worth noting that the Hawksmoor offers an ‘Express Menu’ throughout the day, which is served until 6:30pm. 2 courses for £23 or 3 courses for or £26.
Duck & Waffle – London
Located atop of Herron Tower on the 40th floor, Duck & Waffle is a rather fancy-schmancy restaurant and bar offering unparalleled views of Central London as well as breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night menus.
Dishes at the Duck & Waffle are designed to be shared and sampled. And as you might of guessed the signature dish is indeed, Duck and Waffle, which is served with a perfectly cooked fried duck egg and a small bowl of mustard maple syrup.
Other specialty dishes include: whole roasted shropshire chicken with ratte potatoes, wild mushrooms and truffle, backed sea bass with lemon and rosemary, grilled tiger prawns with a pickled fennel salad, among other equally sumptuous dishes.
There’s also an extensive drinks menu, which the staff are just as enthusiastic to tell you about. The drinks are then poured and mixed by bartenders behind a sleek and modern bar.
In fact the entire floor is modern in design with simple yet stylish features like, a wooden paneled ceiling, marble top tables and rounded booths.
As you can imagine this place is incredibly popular so it’s best to reserve a table beforehand, which you can do over the phone or via email.
Dress code is smart casual. Check website for the kitchens opening and closing times.
Fork – London
A lovely little deli / patisserie located in the heart of Bloomsbury. There’s not a huge selection of food, but the food they have (mornings – fruit and yoghurt, granola, pastries, and at lunch – sandwiches, soups, salads) is always fresh and reasonably priced. Also, the coffee is Monmouth, so you can expect a great cup.
Make sure to check out the back shelves too as Fork stocks a few artisan products: preserves, sauces, oils, as well as coffee, pasta and other goods.