We hopped on the Eurostar for a few days of sun in Paris back in August this year. I feel like having been to Paris for so many times, I know the city pretty well that I know where to go and what to do during my days out here.
My go to place for crepes is definitely Crêperie Suzette which is in the hustle of Le Marais where you have your quirky coffee shops and non stop shopping. My favourite is the galette Barbette which is a savoury pancake made from buckwheat with cheese, potatoes and bacon inside topped with crème fraîche and a drizzle of basil dressing. It’s amazing – just get it!
Nothing is complete without an early lunch at the famed Carette in Place des Vosges. We opted for the French onion soup, a sandwich platter (Parisien ‘Duo’) and a lemon crêpe for afters.
We were on our way to the Eiffel Tower when a small Popellini caught our eye. Must go to get my pistachio fix! Deliciousness every time, small but filling and one is certainly enough.
We lazed around on the grass with a view of the tower in sight. It was a lovely afternoon before saying ‘Au revoir Paris’ and then ‘Hello London again!’
When walking past bakery shops, I always have to stop and peep inside for any pastries, buns or cakes to satisfy my sweet cravings. I passed by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and was immediately drawn to the baby pink neon signs (especially the cute peace sign) outside the shop and OMG cruffin alert!
We opted for the chocolate brioche donut and the famous cruffin! Two of these should be enough to share between the three of us! We found the donut was a little bit sweet but the cruffin was really moreish. The pastry was crispy but flaky at the same time and the chocolate creme really complimented it well. But definitely these delights are to be had once a few months! I really recommend the cruffin which is great for sharing. I have also heard that there is now a concession in Shinsegae department store in Gangnam so there is now another place to go to if you want to avoid the crowded Garosugil.
So as you casually stroll along the streets of Seoul, specifically in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam, you may come across Dior’s largest boutique in the world – House of Dior. This six floor flagship store opened in June last year and after getting word of it, we decided to plan a visit to check it out. I was even more intrigued when I heard that there is a Café Dior by Pierre Hermé on the top floor and they do the best macarons in the world (it’s true, trust me).
The best part of visiting during the weekdays is that there is absolutely no one in the entire shop that you need to squeeze past or maybe that normally occurs during the weekends which is why we avoid visiting at that time. Of these six floors, the first four floors consists of Dior’s collections – bags, clothes and shoes for men and women, the fifth floor is definitely worth a tour as it is the museum where you do surprisingly learn a lot about the Lady Dior bag. We then made our way to the top floor – the café!
The colour theme was a lovely inviting pale grey with mint and cream hints around. The café itself was not huge but they also had a seating area outside but since it was cold, we chose to sit inside for our little coffee and pastry break!
The mono chronic plates and cups gave a vintage French café feel and along with our order of macarons, this was a perfect break!
The seats were simple but stylish and they gave off a very chic and understated atmosphere. I do recommend a visit if you are interested in fashion or architecture or interior design (I’m into all three) as it is quite a building and to end it on a high note, it’s currently the largest Dior store in the world. Welcome to Seoul!
When you find yourself wandering around Shoreditch which is now the hip area to be in if you are in East London, there are many streets and alleys filled with boutique lifestyle shops, independent cafes and not to mention, restaurants. There was one coffee shop that I had walked past many times whilst working in the City but never could find the time to visit.
This was CREAM and it is located along New Inn Yard where the fitness studio Frame is. I was determined to visit as the exterior and interior was very inviting and I had read that their food and coffee is worth a try. As you step inside, the large dropping lights are the first thing one would notice, followed by their neat and simple array of tables and chairs with white walls and a high ceiling. It is very refreshing to simply sit down with a cup of coffee while still having the space to breathe and talk as many independent coffee shops are rather small with limited seats.
We visited on a weekday morning so we had the pleasure of trying out one of their breakfast options. We opted for the french toast with fresh figs and maple syrup which was a great balance as it was neither too heavy or too bland. The fresh figs tasted so sweet and was an excellent accompaniment. The waitress who served us kindly cut the toast in two as we were sharing.
For myself the atmosphere is what would make me come again as it is very relaxed and the staff are friendly. The food and drink are all at reasonable prices so do pop in one day but make sure to go before 4pm because that is when they close during the week.
Swedish bakeries have been making their mark across London and the latest addition comes from Fabrique who has just opened their second branch in Covent Garden. They open from 7:30am on weekdays and are famous for their cinnamon buns. I happened to be around the area around 8am so decided to make my first visit as I was very eager to try their buns after having read so many good reviews about them.
As I entered the cafe, I realised I was the only person there at that time which was great! The decor is bright and cosy with a hint of a middle eastern flair with their flooring but very much a Swedish affair all around. Most of the buns and bread were laid out behind the counter and I was greeted by two friendly staff. I opted for a cinnamon bun along with a latte to start my day.
This was the first time I had sampled a Swedish cinnamon bun and it was soft and not too sweet. The flavour was neither too strong or weak and the slight stickiness of the bun made it a joy to devour. I was amazed by how large one bun is and took my time to finish it with my latte. I do recommend a trip to Fabrique and bring along a friend so you can share the bun between the two of you as one is definitely more than enough to keep you full for the next few hours. A delightful way to start your Monday or any other day of the week.
So I finally made my way to Crosstown Doughnuts last week to try one of their doughnuts. I really didn’t think I could have eaten two considering how large each one was! So which flavour did I pick? Well it was a tough choice since they had ten different flavours laid out at the counter in front of me. So what happens next? Of course I ask the staff what’s your best selling doughnut here? She smiles and says the Creme Brûlée Doughnut and the Sea Salt Caramel and Banana Cream Doughnut are their bestsellers. I think not being able to see the Creme Brûlée Doughnut on site made me want to try it even more. She said that the Creme Brûlée Doughnuts are just sitting and will be ready to eat in 30 minutes or so. So I ordered one Creme Brûlée Doughnut and a latte to go. Within a few minutes, I had my doggy bag and coffee with me.
The Creme Brûlée Doughnut was divine. You could actually see the vanilla seeds from the vanilla cream once you bite into the doughnut. The creme brûlée glaze on top was not sweet and just right for those of you who prefer sweet things to just have the right amount of sweetness without being too OTT. I shared the doughnut as I think having one to myself would have really filled me up. I will be going back there to try the others but will just have to take it one at a time.