Blog Archives

Mac and Wild Fitzrovia review: Hearty comfort food and the best of the Highlands

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Venison Topside Steak 200g and chips

When I first heard about Scottish game restaurant Mac & Wild, I initially dismissed the cuisine as not for me. As a pescatarian, the likes of haggis and venison are off-limits to me. However, after hearing good buzz about it and realising they have menu options for me, I decided to give it a try. A freezing night in February seemed the perfect time for some Scottish fare, with my carnivore boyfriend on hand to sample the meatier options.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

An Irn Bru Daiquiri

Mac & Wild initially started out as a street food stall, bringing Scottish culinary exports to Londoners, before opening a pop-up, and today has two permanent restaurants in the West End and City. The menu prides itself on offering seasonal Scottish produce sourced from hand-picked suppliers in the Highlands. If you’re expecting a Scottish theme restaurant, you’ll be disappointed as there are no ginger wigs or tartan costumes in sight. The Fitzrovia branch has gone for a modern, rustic-inspired look with handmade tables made from old trees, brown leather cushions and black and white landscape photographs of the Highlands. As we sat down to our table, my immediate thought was how cosy and warm it was. A posey of Scottish thistles in an Iru Bru can masquerading as a vase was a quirky touch which made us chuckle.

Having noticed the iconic orange can on our table, I knew I had to try to the Irn Bru Daiquiri as my apéritif when I saw the cocktail menu. Admittedly I had forgotten what Irn Bru tasted like as it had been decades since I last drank it. While I approached the drink with scepticism, I was pleasantly surprised and it went down a treat. Served in a martini glass, it consisted of Ron Matuselum Platino Rum, Irn Bru reduction, Angostora Bitters and Lime – a sweet concoction. Meanwhile, my companion opted for The Forager, billed as a Wild Old Fashioned, made with Glenkinchie 12yo, foraged pine needle tincture, double infused heather honey and finished with barrel-aged bitters, which he said was an interesting twist on his favourite cocktail.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Cullen Skink, a soup made with smoked haddock, potato, onion, chives and dill

When it came to starters, we both chose fishy ones. As I was anticipating a three-course meal, I decided on a lighter starter – Inverawe Smoked Salmon served with sourdough, whipped butter and lemon. The salmon was so fresh and rich in flavour and served with the bread, it didn’t linger long on my plate. Meanwhile, my boyfriend had my second choice, the brilliantly named Cullen Skink. To the uninitiated, it’s a classic Scottish soup made with smoked haddock, potato, onion, chives and dill. He praised the flavour and it’s suitability for a cold winter night. I tried a sip and thought it was delicious – definitely one to order on a return visit.  Read the rest of this entry

Fitzrovia Chapel: A beautiful hidden gem

Life is sweet! Sample boozy sweets at the Flavour Rooms pop-up at the Sanderson

© Smith & Sinclair

Sweets aren’t just for the kids! This Christmas, adult Londoners can get their sugar fix while indulging their passion for cocktails. Following the success of their first ever edible alcohol store Eat My Drink in Soho last year, candy wizards Smith & Sinclair are returning with two immersive shopping experiences. This festive season, two pop-up sweet stores will be opening in Fitzrovia and Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

© Smith & Sinclair 2015

Down the hatch! Try Smith & Sinclair’s trademark cocktail pastilles

The Flavour Rooms at the Sanderson hotel will be like a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with a boozy twist. The fun new experience will run alongside Smith & Sinclair at Purple Bar – which will serve alcoholic concoctions, including cocktails that change flavour. From 18 November until Christmas Eve, guests will step inside a surreal installation featuring a cocktail sherbet wall, pick ‘n’ mix, edible perfumes, twisted ‘salt & pepper’ shakers and alcoholic dib dabs. After sampling some of the treats, you can shop for boozy goodies – a great Christmas gift for your cocktail aficionado pals.

Smith & Sinclair have enlisted creative studio BeyondExact – famous for their works with Adidas, House of Holland and Lady Gaga – to design the Flavour Rooms. The studio’s founder James Ruth said: ‘Working with a brand like Smith&Sinclair is always a pleasure, as like us, they like to push ideas, through design and concept. To make people think, challenge and abandon the mundane.’

  • The Flavour Room London is open from 18 November – 24 December 2016 from 12-8pm. Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit The Flavour Rooms website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

Or to find out about London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Restaurant at Sanderson review: Fine dining at Fitzrovia’s boutique hotel

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Roasted Salmon with white Bean and Chorizo Cassoulet at The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Sanderson has long been one of the coolest hotels in London. Situated in Fitzrovia, the boutique hotel is situated in a 1950s building and features one restaurant and two bars. I had previously visited their lovely courtyard for alfresco cocktails and really liked the place. However, recently, I finally got round to booking a table in their restaurant for a girlie dinner.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The signature Sanderson cocktail (Beefeater Gin, Lychee Juice, Melon Liquer, Lime and Aperol)

On the night in question, all four of our party ended up arriving unusually late due to dreadful transport issues due a large outdoors event going on in the West End. However, the staff were incredibly patient and friendly. We were shown to a well-placed table on the higher level of the dining room, with views out to the courtyard, which was full of twinkling lights.

On the night in question we opted for a set menu, starting with a signature Sanderson cocktail (Beefeater Gin, Lychee Juice, Melon Liquer, Lime and Aperol) to welcome us. I was initially unsure as I’m not mad about melon or lychee, but the gin and lime flavours came through enough and I found it refreshing and light. Being situated right next to the hotel’s Long Bar, their mixologists were close by for whatever you fancied during the meal.

The menu contains a mix of British cuisine with a European influence and is seasonal. To start with, I opted for the Spiced Parsnip Soup. The flavour was subtle and is a good gentle start to the three-courses.

For my mains, I accidentally ordered a dish in a rush, not realising there was meat included and they happily switched it for another one (I’m a pescatarian). I had opted for the Roasted Salmon with white Bean and Chorizo Cassoulet.

Finally to finish, I decided on the Dandelion and Burdock Popping Candy Ice Cream – a rather more creative and fun dessert than I am used to seeing on the menu. It was quite an unusual combination, with the flavour more subtle than I expected, but I liked it. I also tried my friend’s Coconut and Mango Posset with Lime Zest Crisp, which was fruity and refreshing.

Overall, the meal was good. I would like to go back when there are different set menu options. The best part of the evening was probably the staff, they were incredibly friendly, attentive and accommodating – particularly given my order mistake and our tardiness.

  • The Restaurant at Sanderson, Sanderson London, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, ?. For more information, visit the Sanderson London website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Coconut and Mango Posset with Lime Zest Crisp


For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.

The Restaurant - Sanderson Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Riding House Café review: Weekend brunching at a buzzy, all-day brasserie

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Buttermilk pancakes at The Riding House Café in Fitzrovia

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Glossy Mags (Prosecco Frassinelli, Cocchi Rosa and Fever Tree Tonic)

Without a doubt, The Riding House Café is one of the most popular eateries in Fitzrovia. I have often heard of friends meeting there for work lunches or weekend brunches. Recently, I finally booked a Saturday brunch (served 12-4pm) with a friend and was fortunately to book a slot a few days before. The venue is very popular and there was a queue of people waiting for brunch so I was fortunate I hadn’t been disorganised enough to chance a walk-up!

The RHC is an all-day brasserie split into two dining rooms. Huge windows let in lots of light, with the sleek leather and bright tilework giving a very New York feel. I personally wasn’t keen on the taxidermy mounted on the walls, but hipsters may appreciate that quirky design feature. We were shown to a small table at the back of the restaurant. Although we were seated pretty close to other diners, the general buzz of chatting people mean you didn’t feel like they could overhear too much.

The cocktail menu features a section specially recommended for brunch, so I opted for a Glossy Mags (Prosecco Frassinelli, Cocchi Rosa and Fever Tree Tonic) at £8. Served with dry rose petals, the drink was less sweeter and more dry than I anticipated. It was refreshing and, while I have some friends who may prefer it, it wasn’t for me so I would opt for something else next time.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Lobster Benedict on an English muffin

I love lobster was so thrilled to see Lobster Benedict (£9.50) an option on the menu. There was a choice of one or two servings. I opted for one, but immediately regretted not ordering two when it arrived as it was fairly small. Size aside, the lobster was lovely and tasted great with the egg and hollandaise sauce. I would likely order the same should I return, but definitely two of them!

However, one positive of not ordering the larger portion of Lobster Benedict was I still had room for a second course – something that doesn’t often happen for me during brunch. I had heard good things about the Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries, Vanilla Clotted Cream and Maple Syrup (£7.50) from friends who dined at RHC previously. I was pleasantly surprised to see a decent quantity of Berries as I often find eateries sometimes scrimp on those. The pancakes were just a tiny bit overcooked so a little bit crispier than I would have liked, but generally tasted fairly good.

Overall, I did enjoy my visit to the Riding House Café and would return again. I made some wrong menu choices, but that was simply down to my tastes. The service was fast and attentive and I liked the atmosphere.

  • The Riding House Cafe, 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7PQ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, Warren Street, Goodge Street. For more information and booking, visit the Riding House Café website.

For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.

The Riding House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Square Meal

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Lucky Pig review: Swig a cocktail (or four!) at this decadent drinking den

Lucky Pig © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Retro style: The Lucky Pig bar features vintage furniture, ripped wallpaper and retro lighting

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Basement speakeasy: Head downstairs for some retro decadence

I always loved the 1920s and 1930s as a stunning era for fashion, design and architecture. So with the release of the recent Great Gatsby movie, I was in the mood for an evening at a venues which fit the bill for a flapper’s night out. Arranging to meet a girl friend for some mid-week post-work drinks and a gossip in central London, we decided to meet at Oxford Circus and check out The Lucky Pig in Fitzrovia. While there are nearer tube stations, it’s really such a short walk to Clipstone Street – which is just off Great Portland Street. Located just under Bolshover House on the junction with Bolshover Street, you are greeted by a colourful mural with the name of the bar, inviting you downstairs to the basement below. While the cocktail bar is located in a basement, it is far from dinghy. Some skylights, coupled with twinkling chandeliers and retro lampshades, give the place just enough light. Although it hasn’t been there for years, the faded and peeling wallpaper, old posters and vintage furniture make you feel like you’ve walked into a hidden gem that’s always been there.

Lucky Pig 4 © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Back in time: The mismatched furniture and retro lampshades gives the bar a vintage feel

My friend and I arrived on a Tuesday evening, but found most of the tables were reserved or taken so pulled up a stool at the bar. Happy hour was on giving two-for-one cocktails so we spent quite some time trying to decide between the wide range of original cocktails. We started off being a bit decadent than usual – well it did fit the theme of the bar! – by ordering a Prosecco-based mixture. We started with the Isadora Belle – a concoction of Belvedere Raspberry Vodka, framboise, pineapple juice and Prosecco, served in a martini glass and was delicious. We also tried a more light, refreshing Grey Goose Le Fizz – Grey Goose Vodka, lime, elderflower and soda. Although on the night in question there was quiet background music enabling us to talk, the bar does host live music and DJs too. Overall, the staff were friendly and the drinks went down very easily. I loved the venue’s faded-style grandeur which gave it a lot more atmosphere and style than so many other bars in the area. I will definitely be back.

  • Lucky Pig, 5 Clipstone Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6BB. Nearest stations: Great Portland Street or Regent’s Street. Open Tues-Sat. For more information and detailed opening times and menus, visit The Lucky Pig website.

    Lucky Pig cocktails © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

    Cheers! A Grey Goose Le Fizz (left) and a Isadora Belle (right)


For a full list of all of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

Click to add a blog post for The Lucky Pig on Zomato

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

A revolving restaurant and communications hub: History of the BT Tower in Fitzrovia

BT Tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Lofty: The BT Tower in Fitzrovia stands tall at 581ft, with the aerials bringing it to 620ft

It’s a dominant symbol on the London skyline, yet many city dwellers don’t quite have the same affection for the BT Tower as other lofty landmarks. Maybe this is because most of us haven’t had the opportunity to have a shared history with the building because it’s been closed to the public for over three decades. Many visitors to the capital may be surprised to know the building has been hovering over the streets of Fitzrovia since the 1960s and is a Grade II-listed monument.

Originally commissioned by the GPO (General Post Office) and designed by Eric Bedford and GR Yeats, the tower’s main function was to carry telecommunication signals from London to across the country. Although construction began before the Millbank Tower (387ft), the latter was erected quicker and was briefly the tallest building in London until the BT Tower was completed in 1964. At 581ft high, it reigned supreme as the tallest in London until Tower 42 was built in the City of London in 1980. Opened by the then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson in October 1965, the £2.5million BT Tower included 37 floors and two elevators. Seven months after the official opening, the building was open to the public with quite a variety of amusements to keep them occupied in May 1966.

Monument view St Paul's BT Tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Dwarfing the great dome: The BT Tower stands over 200 feet higher than London’s previous tallest building St Paul’s Cathedral (as seen from The Monument)

BT Tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

The Tower is still used by TV and satellite companies, as well as to monitor air quality

One such attraction was the Top of the Tower revolving restaurant. When I was a child growing up in London in the Eighties, I remember my parents talking about the restaurant on the 34th floor, which was sadly closed in 1980 due to terrorism fears. In 1971, an IRA bomb exploded in the men’s toilets at the restaurant. I remember for years not realising it had actually closed and in my young girl’s mind, fantasising about hanging on to my table for dear life as the restaurant whizzed around at speed. Actually it was one gentle revolution every 22 minutes. Also towards the top of the building were public viewing galleries and a gift shop. However, a year after Top of the Tower closed, public access was also halted.

Of course, while telecommunications have changed drastically over the past 30 years, the BT Tower is still used by TV and satellite companies, as well as to monitor air quality. Since 2009, a 360 degree LED display has been wrapped around the Tower at the 36th and 37th floors projecting messages and the BT logo.

Although we are spoiled for choice when it comes to seeing London from a height – most recently with The Shard and The Orbit at the Olympic Park, I believe there would be demand and many willing, paying customers who would love the chance to eat in the BT Tower’s revolving restaurant again. While this appears unlikely to happen at the moment, who knows what the future will hold…

  • BT Tower, 60 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 4JZ. Nearest station: Warren Street or Goodge Street.

For Metro Girl’s other blog posts on London’s tallest buildings, read about Tower 42, the Lloyd’s Building, the inauguration of The Shard laser or Galvin at Windows at the Hilton.

For more of Metro Girl’s history blog posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin