Thursday, 21 August 2014

Patty & Bun, James Street, London

You've probably noticed by now that I am quite the fan of burgers - my blog is spotted with reviews and mentions of beefy patties, sweetly caramelised onions and generous portions of fries. In fact one of my first posts was all about my favourite burger venue, 7Bone in Southampton.

It's odd, really, because I'm not a big meat-eater. I'll nearly always choose the veggie option. But there's something I just can't resist about a succulent burger (veggie, chicken or delicious beef, I'm not picky), all the toppings and a tasty bun, with sides to boot. It's indulgent, allows for plenty of flavour, and fairly low-key. A meal you can enjoy with friends, family and your other half, on any occasion.

Which is why, after plenty of research, I deemed Patty & Bun the perfect pre-theatre dinner destination a few weeks ago, during a weekend in London town.

All dressed up after a morning lazing around in Hyde Park, I left the hotel and turned to Google Maps to take me to a little gem recommended by the lovely Rosie Londoner - who seriously knows her burgers. Needless to say, if Rosie loved it, I had very high expectations, and was delighted when I found it, tucked away at the end of the street; unassuming and very, very....well, cool.

Arriving at 5.30pm on a Saturday afternoon meant that the evening rush hadn't quite started, and I was seated within fifteen minutes of asking for a table, which I was pretty pleased with. This was something I'd been really worried about - London is notorious for it's foodie hot-spots, and  with so many restaurants declining reservation requests, you never know if the meal you've been planning for weeks will actually go ahead. It seemed we had arrived at the perfect time, and I settled myself down to peruse the menu.

The room itself was...well...tiny. Unfortunately I wasn't brave enough to take photos of the room, which would have potentially made the other diners uncomfortable; I didn't feel the restaurant was big enough to snap away unnoticed! Creatively decorated with burger-themed cartoons and basic walls, it had that 'I woke up like this' vibe; as if a lot of effort had been put into making it seem like it had been decorated in under 24 hours. It was not what I expected, but it was comfortable, welcoming and relaxing.  There was, however, a definite fast-food vibe - this wasn't the sort of restaurant you would hang about at for hours, gazing into your date's eyes, reminiscing with friends or planning your evening - this was a 'get in, eat your burger and head out for your next destination' kind of place. Perfect for that particular evening, but perhaps not somewhere to go for a long, drawn out meal with friends.

Anyway, let's cut to the best bit; the food, of course. As with any great burger joint, there wasn't a huge amount of choice; but this could only mean one thing - that the effort was put into the taste, and not the range. I ordered the 'Ari Gold' cheeseburger, chips with rosemary salt, coleslaw and a simple lemonade. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but you can't go wrong with a simple cheeseburger.

The food came very quickly - this was seriously fast food - and presented in a suitable fashion too; expertly wrapped up in paper. The coleslaw and rosemary chips came in polystyrene bowls. I liked the burger presentation but I wasn't so sure about the polystyrene - it was quirky, but I almost felt like the food seemed less appetising that way. Perhaps I'm just being picky, though.

The moment of truth arrived; unwrapping my burger. As I peeled back the paper, strings of hot American cheese clung to the sides, oozing and stretching invitingly. It was a good size too; not too small, but not too big. It smelt great too. First impressions we very, very positive.

It tasted very good too; I particularly enjoyed the tang of pickled onions, which made a great change to the usual caramelised or fried onions you tend to find in similar burger joints. I could tell that the food was incredibly fresh, and the bun was lovely and soft. The meat was good; tasty, moist and moreish, and well cooked (medium for me).

Eating the burger was a messy business; this isn't really somewhere you go if you want to seem delicate and sophisticated. It's also probably not the ideal place for a first date, unless you don't mind your suitor watching you devour a burger with cheese and sauce smeared around your greedy mouth - which will happen when the burger is as good as this. I was told that I ate mine with such gusto that I received disapproving looks from the poised ladies next to our table; I'm not a messy eater...but I couldn't help it. This was the sort of place where ketchup down your chin is a compliment.

The fries, I'll have to admit, were a little disappointing. While they were tasty, the rosemary salt just didn't come through. The coleslaw, however, was a different story. It was some of the best coleslaw I've had. Patty & Bun added a hint of mind into the mix. This gave it a surprising and delicious twist, and I just wish I had ordered two portions.

With the burger finished and the last of the sides devoured, I sat back to relax and take a moment. The table was cleared quickly - but then, with just paper and polystyrene to deal with, this wasn't a mammoth task. I left feeling happy, full and satisfied. 

My only regret upon leaving was that I hadn't ordered any chicken wings, which I remembered were highly recommended just too late. Watching the ladies at the next table tucking into them was torture, and I will definitely be treating myself to a portion when I return. I was told with good authority that the 'Smokey Robinson' burger was very good, and I'm tempted to go for the Portobello 'Dig It' Mushroom burger next time as a veggie alternative.

So, after weeks of anticipation, what is my ultimate verdict? It was good; the burger was fresh, tasty, moreish and sufficiently cheesy. The coleslaw was wonderful, but the fries left a little to be desired - I would have liked to taste the rosemary more, and a slightly bigger portion too. Price-wise, it was standard for a popular burger venue in London. The service was good, though it wasn't as it's busiest, and the atmosphere was very welcoming and chilled. I personally like my restaurants to be a place to relax and stay a while after eating,  so I wouldn't choose Patty & Bun for a leisurely lunch or dinner. It was perfect, however, for what I wanted that evening; a quick but delicious bite to eat before an event.

I'd love to return, especially to try those chicken wings, and I'd definitely recommend going it you're a burger-lover and like your quirky restaurants and excellent fast food. 

Just make sure you order the coleslaw; and don't forget a napkin to wipe the sauce from your chin.

Have you been to Patty & Bun before? What's your favourite burger joint?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Burgundy Blogroll: July

It's time for me to share with you some more of my favourite posts of the past month (it's a little delayed, but I'm sure you'll forgive me!). There were some lovely posts in July; I won't lie to you, many of them were food based (the way to my heart really is via my stomach!) but they're all worth popping onto my monthly blogroll.

I hope you enjoy reading some of these gems - if you do, let me know in the comments! As always, the titles are linked.  Hopefully you may find some new favourites amongst them.

What Olivia Did: Salted Caramel Popcorn and English Breakfast Muffins

Salted Caramel Popcorn                         English Breakfast Muffins

Olivia's recipes are always a firm favourite of mine. Ok...I've never had the time to actually try them, but I have them all stored up for a drizzly Sunday afternoon this autumn for a baking extravaganza. These recipes are, of course, on that very list, and Olivia has outdone herself! The popcorn sounds like the perfect movie-night snack, and had me drooling all over my keyboard at work when I read it at lunchtime (not really...that would be disgusting!) Only this morning I was waxing lyrical about how much I love crumpets (with Nutella, no less!) so I'd love to make my own using Olivia's recipe - it's always best knowing what goes into your food! If you haven't checked out the rest of her recipes, I really encourage you to.

A Level results have now been released, and thousands will be starting university in September. But what if you didn't get in? What if you didn't even want to apply? Another brilliant (non-food related) post from Olivia, this time detailing her decision to leave university and follow her heart. I adored being a student, being quite the academic, but several family members and friends chose a different path and in today's university-centred society it's vital to remember that no degree does not mean no hope - in fact, it means just the opposite.

This post isn't what it says on the tin. I've been growing more and more in love with Zoe's blog and her honest, grounded and colourful view of the world. At a time of year when we are all feeling a bit inadequate in the bikini-body department (for no good reason...what even is a bikini body anyway?!) Zoe questions the entire concept and offers a little reassurance. Definitely one to read just before your trip to the pool.

I jump for joy whenever the lovely Hannah posts, because it always means she has something worthwhile to say. This post is just fantastic. In a world where we are always attached to a screen and constantly multitasking - when was the last time you watched TV without being on Twitter? - there is just no time or awareness of the need for literally switching off. I hope to write about this theme soon, and was completely inspired to take more care of myself when it comes to technology. Read this, and start planning your blackout. Preferably with a hot bubble bath, a best friend or chocolate, of course.

Honestly Healthy: Mindless Eating - By Chris James

I love getting inspired by Honestly Healthy, and this post really spoke to me. Another example of our need to multitask; more often than not I find myself eating dinner in front of the TV, watching Netflix, reading blogs or scrolling down my phone. It's time to be more aware of what we put in our mouths, and how it affects us; the tastes and smells and even colours of food should be a joy, not a necessary part of the day. Read this post...but not at your dinner table.

Darling Magazine: Getting your Attention
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

A brilliant series which I love popping back to, and on a very similar theme to those above. We have so much going on in our lives that we now have very limited attention spans; we are always thinking of something else, not giving people enough time, not listening enough. It's time to get back in the room and really take stock of what is going on around us.

Which posts or ideas have really caught your eye in the last month?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Night Bath-time Essentials

Nothing soothes the soul more than a bath - even when it's summer, and it almost feels too hot! I like to make mine into an event, of sorts. After all, if you're going to do it, you should do it properly! Facemasks, bath oils and fresh towels are all essentials for me, as well as a good book and a cup of tea!

On Sundays, I make a point of settling down for a relaxing soak. Lighting a candle is usually the first step; then, running the bath and pouring in bubble bath - last week I used Soap & Glory's Calm One, Calm All, which is light and soothing. Next step; I usually deep clean my face with Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish to get rid of the day's dirt and prepare for a Lush face mask (of course!). At the moment I'm finishing off a pot of BB Seaweed

Once I'm clean and covered in clay (ahh facemasks...) I sink into the warm bubbles and start reading. During my last bath I enjoyed Nathan Filer's The Shock of the Fall (still early days, but gripping so far), sipping on my tea and finishing a Galaxy bar for good measure. 

Then comes the ritual of exfoliating, shaving and cleansing, before clambering out of the bath as pink as a peach and feeling squeaky clean. As a little addition to my ritual last week, I used Lush's Volcano foot mask - slathered all over my feet and left for ten minutes, then washed off to reveal clean and soft feet.

Finally, the moisturising. Last week I used So Natural's Face and Body Oil for the first time (utterly divine - watch this space for a review!) all over my skin, and emerged from the bathroom feeling relaxed, pampered and clean as a whistle - ready for a restful night before a long week.

I have always loved a bath on a Sunday night - there's nothing like a ritual to make you feel better.

What are your bath-time essentials?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

July Favourites

I'd just like to start off by apologising for the miserable lack of posts on SWB last month. I've been pretty busy, and life has just taken over - as it quite rightly should. I've also been feeling a little distant from the idea of blogging, and putting my life out there online (something that I hope to write about in the coming weeks). However, I've been brewing many ideas and have plenty of posts drafted and ready to publish, so hopefully August will be much more fruitful, regardless of my concerns!

Now, onto my monthly favourites. This month, of course, my favourites have been mostly based around the lovely summer weather. I haven't been shopping very much, but I've still managed to pick up a few star items, and there are some really exciting and different bits and pieces in this month's post which I will be elaborating on over the next few weeks!

John Green, Paper Towns

After falling in love with John Green's novel The Fault in our Stars (and bawling my eyes out watching the film adaptation) I couldn't wait to try one of his other books. I bought this at my local independent bookstore to support them while they were going through a little funding crisis. It's a fantastic book and definitely one of my new favourites. Paper Towns tells the story of a mysterious, enigmatic, creative young lady and a straight-laced, routine-focused boy. It's a coming-of-age adventure that commands your attention and can make you consider life's bigger questions. I've got my eye on Looking for Alaska next!

Pimm's Blackberry & Elderflower

Summer just isn't summer without Pimm's, and after weeks of sunshine I finally got round to trying some of their limited edition Blackberry and Elderflower. I think Elderflower is just divine, and couldn't wait to have some. It's delicious - perhaps not all it's hyped up to be if I'm being honest (and you can't really have it with the standard fruit and mint) but it is very very tasty and I will definitely be having some again.

Seventeen Falsifeye HD Mascara in Blackest Black & Soft Smudge Pencil Eye Kohl in Grey

I picked these up when I rushed into Boots to replace my Soap & Glory mascara in a makeup emergency; the mascara was cheap and newly released,  and there was an offer on - so I grabbed them both and hoped for the best! I've been very pleasantly surprised though - the Falsifeye HD mascara is amazing, and such a bargain, and the grey eye kohl makes a brilliant change from my usual black eyeliner. I'll be writing more on these very soon, since I really am completely converted.

Warehouse Sunglasses

I picked these up at the end of June and have been wearing all through the past month. Although they're a little different to my usual style, I think they're lovely and quirky without being too 'out there'. The only little issue is that the arms are quite loose already, but otherwise they do the trick and keep the sun out of my eyes, while looking good. I think these are in the sale now, so there might be limited availability, but it's definitely worth checking them out online if you're looking for a pair of good high-street sunglasses.

Sleek Makeup Gel Effect Lacquer in Waikiki

I received Sleek Makeup's Gel Lacquer in Waikiki in my goody bag for Cosmopolitan's Superblogger Masterclass at the end of June (I never reviewed the event, sadly!) . The colour is not one I thought I would buy, personally, but it's perfect for summer and is really not as bright as I expected, which makes it very wearable and the perfect summer shade. It even makes me look like I have a slight tan, which is always a plus! I'll definitely be wearing this throughout the remaining summer months (and beyond!)

Next Point Shoes in Rose Gold

Well...these rose gold stilettos from Next aren't my usual style. They're metallic, eye catching...and very pointy. However, I casually entered Next's weekly 'Shoe of the Week' competition on Twitter...and won them! It was a huge surprise and really made my week. I was a bit worried I wouldn't like them but as soon as I received them in the post I completely fell in love. They're very elegant and put me out of my fashion comfort zone (which is what I need to do more!) . They looked perfect with a dress I wore to a friend's wedding, as they're fairly neutral with a twist! I'd love to write about them more actually - so watch this space.

Hawaiian Tropic Satin Protection Ultra Radiance, SPF 30

Another treat from the Cosmo Masterclass gift bag. This Hawaiian Tropic sun lotion is the perfect size to carry in my handbag, and it smells delicious - not the usual clammy sun-cream scent! It also has a little shimmer, to enhance your tan (not that I have one...). Simple, but effective - a definite summer staple!

This bookmark doesn't have a name or title - I bought it in a very cute little independent nick-knack store when I visited the seaside and fell in love. I'm really trying to inspire and motivate myself more at the moment, and adore the little mottoes found on Pinterest and blogs like this. I thought this saying was perfect and, since I read so much, I see it every day. It reminds me to push myself and work hard for the life I want to live. Isn't it cute?

What have you been loving this last month?