Crocker’s Folly | 8 Highlights from a 12 course meal

An invitation to a twelve-course meal is not one I am ever, under any circumstances, going to pass up on. So when the lovely team at Zomato emailed me, I practically fell over myself in glee/desperation to get a seat on that chef’s table. Having heard so much about Crocker’s Folly from their last Zomato meet-up, I was pretty psyched to get to go myself. I hiked up to Maida Vale, swanned in late (a recurring problem) and quickly settled into my dinner.

Now. I could attempt a marathon post detailing every single dish- all glorious twelve of them- but I think I’d struggle to say something interesting and witty about each and every one, so instead I’ll give you my highlights. To be fair, there are still a lot of highlights… I guess I’m telling you to buckle in, in any case.


Highlight One: My seat.

I was sat in a little blogger’s dream- opposite Rosie from A Little Lusciousness and Grub Club extravaganza, effortlessly stylish Catherine from a Lux Life, Adrian from The Hedonist who I spent a good hour captivated by on the progression of music and cultural appropriation with, and Andrea Zagatti who saw my inability to enjoy warm desserts as a challenge. Scattered across the table were bloggers and writers I admire, and getting to stuff my face with the lot of them was a pleasure.

Highlight Two: Chicken Skin.

While it might not sound like the most naturally appetising snack, ambitious chef Damian Wawrzyniak worked his magic and presented us with a crisp, jerky-like dried chicken skin with a shot of sweet, sweet onion soup. A slightly unusual canape, yes, but an excellent introduction to the mind of a chef who loves a challenge.


Highlight Three: Gravadlax

I am all about salmon. Gravadlax, raw salmon cured all Norwegian-y, is one of my favourites. Delicately cured salmon is the kind of food I could stuff into my face all day err’y day and still buzz quietly at every mouthful. I like this stuff, we’re all on the same page, clear. What makes it a highlight at Crocker’s Folly is watching chef Damian and his glamorous assistants carve it out, fresh from the fillet, in front of you. Bonus points for asking how many slices I would like (had to restrain myself in front of new impressive people, if this was any other day I’d have wept with joy and eaten the whole fish.)

Highlight Four: All The Pretty.



Highlight Five: The Veg.

I love a good vegetarian dish, though I’m usually too chicken to order them at a restaurant in case they turn out bland, unimaginative, or worse- soggy. We’re all sick of halloumi burgers, I get that it’s easy to whack out a pea risotto, now show me the interesting stuff you can do. Well. The things Damian can do with a cauliflower, let me tell you, are not to be sniffed at.

Highlight Six: The Josper

Tucked away in the kitchen lies a monster. As a treat, we were led downstairs to meet him- the Josper. Josper, for the uninitiated, is basically a mega grill that cooks from all angles, fuelled by charcoal and pure love. I even got to play with it myself, jeapordising the entire meal for everyone else. Damian showed me how to tell how cooked a steak is, just by giving them a prod. My action shots are CRAP so let’s move swiftly on.

Highlight Seven: The wines.

I don’t think I’ve ever had Lebanese wine before (I’ve never noticed it while swigging it anyway), so it was really nice to try something new. My favourite was the Rose (duh), which was paired with the early dishes. The wines, from the Bekaa Valley were generously poured out all evening, and I gleefully put it away.


Highlight Eight: Chocolate Sphere

This was straight up the best thing on the menu. A dark chocolate sphere that took a real bashing to open up, filled with goodies. Worth a visit on it’s own and the hero dish of the night.


Crocker’s Folly is a beautiful room- that old school Victorian feel- with a fresh and unique menu, and you won’t need twelve courses to figure that out.


Crocker’s Folly, Aberdeen Place, St John’s Wood.

Crocker's Folly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Afternoon Tea at Hotel Café Royal | The Oscar Wilde Bar

Disclaimer: I really, truly, cannot express my disbelief that I have turned-evolved- into a person who regularly takes afternoon tea- one that doesn’t come in an oversized Sports Direct mug, at least. But when your amazing friend Mary takes you to afternoon tea at the Langham, the only fair way to repay her is to take her to afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal.

We rocked up, fashionably late (my bad), and swanned through to the Oscar Wilde Bar. The old haunt of Winston Churchill, Liz Taylor, Rudyard Kipling and Mr Wilde himself; if you ever need to impress someone, take them here. The room has this amazing old school elegance that radiates class and debauchery (a tough combo to crack- trust me, I’ve tried.)


If the room feels luxurious, the afternoon tea feels downright decadent. I’d had some friends visit already that had warned me of the vast quantities of food I was about to tuck in to, so I’d gone prepared on an empty stomach- you’d be wise to follow the same advice.

To start, the tea. Well, actually we had champers to start, but can you blame us? The Oscar Wilde Bar is a room that deserves toasting.


Back to the tea. The selection is wide reaching, but after a few quick-to-bitter teas at other places, I stuck with something I knew and had the Mango Noir. I hate tea that is served in a pot, left to over stew turning into sharp gross cold liquid after just one cup, so was very happy with my fairly unadventurous, but happy-swilling-around-for-more-than-two-minutes cup. (I think this means I’m posh now, everyone.)

The savouries were lush. Delicate cucumber sarnies, goat’s cheese and tomato muffin, teeny chorizo tarts. All very good, all demolished within minutes of our lovely waitress leaving the table.




On to the sweet stuff- washed down with a quick shot of iced tea (oh la la). The scones were fresh and delicious- being the glutton I am, I would have preferred a larger helping of cream and jam- and the delicate pastries and inventive desserts were a) beautifully presented b) perfectly flavoured and c) piled high. All the winning traits.




One of the sweetest things about Hotel Café Royal is, in addition to the food and drink- alone enough to rave about- they amp up the experience with little treats. A live pianist brings class, a brief history in a booklet on your table adds depth, and a cheery Toastmaster, reading quotes from Oscar Wilde, adds a sense of occasion. None of the above are necessary to make Hotel Café Royal feel grand and luxurious, the gorgeous food is plenty to write home about, yet they think of everything here and you’ll start to wonder if you should arrange a live pianist for every cuppa you brew.


Highlights of the tea were the goat’s cheese muffin with the DIY-sauce injection, the rich and fruity (oi oi) Raspberry Regent, the creamy ‘Spitfire Lollipop’, the fruity history supplied in the little ‘OWB’ history book (it’s 150 years old!) and of course, the ever-charming Mary’s company. Treat someone you love or wanna show off to to afternoon tea at the Oscar Wilde Bar and watch the brownie points roll on in.

Afternoon Tea, Oscar Wilde Bar, Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent St, London.

Oscar Wilde Bar - Hotel Café Royal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Kinky Boots: Theatre Review

I try not to revel in the misery of others. The exceptions I make for this rule are limited to: when someone is mean and they stub their toe, when someone I love accidentally sends a text about their ex to their ex, and when someone has to give theatre tickets up.

So when Hazel, the lovely Hazel, sadly passed over her tickets for the Kinky Boots preview night, despite her clear reluctance, I couldn’t help fist pump. Sorry Hazel.

Telling the kinda-true-story of a Northamptonshire shoe factory that, despite their passion for men’s brogues, just can’t shift footwear. The defeated Charlie, who hesitantly inherits the boring business, stumbles across Lola. Lola, a six foot black drag queen who demands the sexiness of blood red and skyscraper heels, struggles to find boots that fit the sauciness bill, and round her size fourteen tootsies.

Lo and behold, in true fairytale musical fashion, this unlikely duo make a dynamite pair, and frolic into the sunset with a song and a touch of sass.



The London production of Kinky Boots was incredible. Lola, the real star of the show, gave me shivers when she sang, and certainly got the biggest laughs out of the audience- for all the right reasons. As with any drag character, there is a way to play them that pays homage to their humour and daring without turning them into pantomime leftovers, and I must say that Matt Henry gives Lola all the life, warmth and wit she deserves.

My love of drag artists and the talent of Matt Henry had me pining after more Lola scenes-  I tweeted Andrew Lloyd-Webber during the interval letting him know I’d be more than happy to throw my money at a musical about her day to day life. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, (I’m looking at you, Orange is the New Black), the side characters are more interesting than the main characters, and Kinky Boots is no exception.

c/o @KinkyBootsUK

c/o @KinkyBootsUK

As much as you grow to love Charlie, he takes a few scenes before you really feel for him. In fact, it’s not until he has a meltdown, launching an attack on Lola, that I have any real investment in him. I guess that’s the curse of playing a guy who’s defining characteristic is not being all that sure of himself- but Killian Donnely knocks it out of the park when he belts out ‘Soul of a Man’.

The stand out moment for me, despite there being so many to choose from, is an easy win for the incredibly funny The History of Wrong Guys. Lauren, who has an inadvised crush, tries to convince herself- to no avail- that she doesn’t fancy our hapless protagonist Charlie. Funny, light and smart songs like this punctuate the whole show.

Kinky Boots is a real strutter of a show, and I cannot honestly recommend a better way to spend an evening. Not until Lola gets her own solo stint at my local pub, anyway.



Pizza Union, King’s Cross

Since my fella moved in with me, I’ve had fewer excuses to hang out with his flatmates- three girls who truly appreciate a glass of rose and a lip sync battle.

And considering I owed Sally an overdue congratulations on her snazzy new job, I took her out for dinner at Pizza Union, King’s Cross to catch up and pig out.


Friends had raved to me about their other outposts, so I was looking forward to giving them a whirl myself. It has a distinct uber-cool school canteen vibe, topped with gorgeous mixed tiles that were oh-so-Instagrammable.



Good pizza should be quick, simple, and pack a punch of flavour. The menu at Pizza Union might look brief, but this is as it should be. Venetian Pizzarias don’t stack their menus high- Pizza Hut does. With fewer, more focused options, you can practically guarantee that thought and love has gone into your choice.


I had the Manzo- tomato and cheese base (how else?), beef, chilli and rocket.


Damn. The base was crispy, cooked to perfection in their mosaic pizza oven, with the toppings generously scooped on. Fresh, filling and moreish, the pizza took me near on an hour to eat while other Pizza Unionists were whipping in and out with their speedy pizzas in no time. I like to savour my meal, okay? Plus I was side snacking on a big cuppa olives and popped chilli nuts.



Pizza Union was the perfect setting for a catch up- relaxed enough to unwind after a day in the office, fun enough to not feel shy giving out great big belly laughs, and with enough early 2000 hits to have a little sing along between pizza bites. Despite the crowds we all seemed to be getting quick and happy service, an oddity in the London fast casual scene.


Dessert was dolce- Sally had coconut and I had salted caramel with peanut. When we both shirked the nutella option the waiter seemed agog- urging us to try his favourite- but despite his best intentions we stuck to our guns and can happily report the Caramello and Coco versions are worth a recommendations too. Sweet filling wrapped in a sweetened dough ring- quite a heavy but undeniably tasty end to the meal.


I’ll be coming back to Pizza Union- King’s Cross is my gateway to the North and I pass through pretty regularly. I can now sack off the Pret dinners to take on the train and get a decent, superfast (they mean it when they say superfast, our bums had barely hit out chairs before our buzzer went wild) pizzas from here. Bellisimo.

Pizza Union, Pentonville Road King’s Cross.

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