There’s a fresh prince in town: Bel-Air

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It was one of those cold, grey February Saturdays when I went to the soft launch of Bel-Air – a new healthy food spot opening next week in Old Street, London. The smiling staff at Bel-Air and the sleek marble counter piled high with fresh, summer-style salads greeted me like a ray of Californian sunshine. It may have been drizzling in Shoreditch but the sun was shining in Bel-Air.

Bel-Air London

This bright new joint specialises in ‘feel good fast food’, prioritising ingredients that make you feel great rather than calorie-counting. The cold options include freshly poached salmon, Jerusalem artichoke salad, broccoli and almond slaw, slow roast aubergines with tahini and dukkah. These are ingredients designed to make you glow from the inside out.

Bel-Air London quinoa risotto with feta

The black quinoa risotto was delicious, and much lighter than a standard risotto thanks to the holy grain that is quinoa. Topped with crunchy pine nuts, sunflower seeds and feta cheese, I am now a total quinoa risotto convert. The concept may confuse a few Italians…

Bel-Air London lemon chicken

If you’re craving something more substantial, then Bel-Air’s Ancho Chill Braised Beef (also gluten-free) is heavenly tender and slow-cooked to perfection. With guacamole, lime, salad and fresh coriander you still feel light after eating it.

Bel-Air raw root vegetable saladd

I hear they are also doing ‘build your own breakfast pots’ which will include puffed quinoa, raw oats, along with buckwheat and almond milk porridge. I’ll certainly be going back to try those!

Bel-Air has reminded me about the joys of summer eating and I can’t wait to go back. It’s opening on the 16th March 2015. You can stalk them here and here.

See you in the sunshine.

54 Paul Street
London, EC2A 4LN

Breakfast with Charles

Breakfast with Charles
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“Dinner parties are mere formalities. You invite a man to dinner because you must; but you invite a man to breakfast because you want to see him.”

Brunch parties are my absolute favourite. They allow for the most indulgent of breakfasts, debauchery before teatime and an early night’s sleep. Make that brunch in London Bridge on a seriously hot Sunday at The Rooftop Cafe, under the soaring stalagmite that is The Shard – and you quickly forget that winter ever happened and London becomes the best city on earth. photo 4

Greeted by a glass of bubbly or a selection of brunchy cocktails, I was grateful when the dinky breakfast canapés were served on the terrace. Homemade granola with a rhubarb and gin compote, Fresh baked beans with prosciutto bacon and Mini shakshouka, with a quails egg on top. They were so good I only managed to get a picture of the empty pots. photo 3

The stars of the show are Leiths-trained Charlie Hall and Max de Nahlik, who whip up a storm in the kitchen from great seasonal produce. Once we were seated, the food just kept on coming. Scallop kedgeree with bacon and a spiced tomato chutney (delicious if a little heavy on the cardamom) was followed by Salt-beef hash with homemade pickles and an “hour-long” egg. (Not sure what an “hour-long” egg was, but it was damn good).

These guys have set the standard for brunch so high, that I just won’t bother making it myself again. If I’m having brunch, I’m having it with Charles from now on. They’ve just released tickets for their upcoming dates. Book now, they will definitely sell out. 8/10

Breakfast with Charles
The Rooftop Cafe,
28 London Bridge Street,
London, SE1 9SG

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