30 January 2015

The more I think about Ceru, the more I like it. I think it's partly because the food was so fresh, nutritious and colourful - it's exactly the kind of meal I'm craving lately, what with trying to balance out the indulgent December past. But it's also because it was delicious! And eaten in good company, which always makes everything taste better.

Alexandra and I headed to the new pop-up in Fitzrovia, Ceru, one freezing Friday evening last week. Offering Levantine cuisine, meaning a mixture of flavours from Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel, their emphasis is on sustainable, fresh and quality ingredients, cooked only in olive oil with hardly a drop of dairy in sight (yogurt is as far as they get, I think). The menu is clearly marked for different dietary preferences, and there is a large selection of vegetarian dishes as well as fish and seafood.

We were very warmly welcomed by Patricia, the owner who runs Ceru with her husband and her team, as well as the friendly waitress and waiter serving us wine while we chose our dishes. It was great to hear a little bit about the background of the place, including the fact that the entire restaurant was set up in just 10 days. The decor of which I really liked, too - colourful, modern and bright.

Amidst the chatter, we managed to decide on our picks from the menu, which were:

- a selection of their dips (Pancar, Fadi, Spicy Roast Red Pepper Dip & Humous) with pita
- Crisp Apple, Mint & Pomegranate salad
- Roast Fillet of Sea Bream, Oregano & Chilli
- Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Shawarma Spices
- Chermoula Roasted Aubergine

Every dish was so flavourful, and we could tell that they clearly do use top quality ingredients. The dips were excellent, but what stood out to me were the pita triangles (the bread basket on the menu) - they weren't just bland old pita bites, but seasoned and topped with herbs, which I think makes a big difference. The fish and the lamb were my favourite - the lamb is melt-in-your-mouth good and the fish was light and lovely.

The dessert was the only slight letdown - the yogurt, walnut & pistachio cake was a little dry and lacked the flavour the savoury dishes had. However, I actually already have plans to return in February, so next time I'll go for something else and hopefully find a dessert in the selection that I prefer!

All in all, it was a great meal - it's a great thing to experience a pop-up like this at its beginning stages, although it was already pretty packed as you can see above. I can see Ceru becoming a very popular spot for shoppers on Oxford Street needing a refuel, or for quick lunches for people working nearby - they actually have a breakfast menu as well as a takeaway menu, so there is something for everyone. 

As with everywhere these days, but especially pop-ups, it's best to follow them on their social media sites to keep up to date with any menu additions or new location news, so here are their links: 

They are at their current location (29 Rathbone Place) until April, so I would suggest giving them a go before they go on tour. I'm already excited about my next visit!

Disclaimer: I was invited by Ceru for a complimentary meal, and to give an honest review. All opinions are my own, as always.

Blogger Spotlight :: Angie from SilverSpoon London

28 January 2015

I have a feeling that Angie needs no introduction to a lot of you, as her presence in the food, travel & luxury bloggers' community is hard to miss (in the best possible way)! I've been reading SilverSpoon London for quite some time now, and have even been lucky enough to meet Angie and had a wonderful time - and hope to do so again soon. 

For now though, I'll let you get to know her a little better through her own words and beautiful photos!


1 :: Tell us a little bit about your blog - what do you love to write about, how did you get started and how often do you blog?

My blog, SilverSpoon London, is about my favourite things: food, luxury travel and having fun in London.

I try and keep it light-hearted and happy, my intention being to put a smile on people’s faces. I’m slightly addicted to blogging and I blog 4 – 5 times a weeks and sometimes even more! 

2 :: As a fellow Londoner and foodie, can you share your 3 favourite high end restaurants and your 3 top casual dining spots?

The best restaurant that I’ve ever been to in London is Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, the food is exquisite and the atmosphere is so romantic. Generally I prefer Asian food and my two favourites are Hakkasan and Roka, both have really sleek and chic dining rooms and a buzzy atmosphere. 

For my casual places I think Kurobuta has great food and it’s a really fun place as is Chotto Matte. I recently visited LIMA Floral and I absolutely loved the food there. 

3 :: What is the best thing you've experienced so far from being a blogger?

When you first start a blog you don’t really anticipate the places that it’ll take you and the things that you will do. I can be quite an anxious person but the blog has made me try new experiences and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve met some amazing people, many of whom have become friends.

4 :: You're a bit of a globetrotter - you've been to some amazing places! Which of them would be your picks for 1) Adventure, 2) Food and 3) Romance?

1) I had the adventure of a lifetime during our trip to Australia. I’ve never been somewhere where I visited the mountains, beach, rainforest and desert all in one trip.

2) I’ve the most incredible food I’ve ever had is in Italy. Whether it’s a Michelin star restaurant or a tiny trattoria off a back street, I’ve never had a bad meal there. In particular I love Italian fresh pasta accompanied by a cold glass of prosecco. 

3) For me, there’s nothing more romantic then visiting an exotic country and I love South East Asia, particularly Thailand. It’s the kind of place where you have everything: adventure, food and romance and I love the fact that every experience there is so far removed from experiences that you have in UK. 

5 :: What are the difficulties (if any!) that you've found through writing and maintaining a blog?

It's really important to me to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is very difficult when I’m often blogging about food and events. In between all those meals out and parties I stick to a strict healthy eating and exercise regime. 

Another difficulty is actually a good problem, I often find myself with too much content and a backlog of posts. I think that very careful and organised scheduling is the best way to stay on top of everything. I have a master spreadsheet / calendar where I log every upcoming post, the date it’ll be published on and other information such as the category of the post and whether other bloggers were present. 

6 :: You've enjoyed some amazing looking afternoon teas around London - for anyone who is visiting London and would like a special afternoon tea experience, where would you most recommend?

Although I’ve never actually tried it, every tea expert I know says that Claridge’s is the very best, and it’s so iconic in London. Personally I prefer teas that are a little more quirky, I’ve been to some really fun themed ones such as the Christmas tea at the Conrad Westminster or the fashion tea at the Berkeley. Fortnum & Mason is also excellent as there are so many different options depending on your dietary requirements. 

7 :: It's so nice to see your husband's smiling face pop up on your posts! How does he feel about your blog and sharing your travels and adventures on the internet?

He loves it! He always wants to be in the pictures and if he’s not he wants to be taking them. Actually he’s been incredibly supportive and my blog couldn’t have grown without him. I wanted my blog to be as much about love as well as food and travel and so I think Mr Silver is an integral part of the story. He’s taken a real liking to photography and it’s a grown into a hobby of his, he’s even started to read photography blogs. He reads every single one of my posts and we talk about ways that SilverSpoon could be improved and ideas for the future. 

8 :: What do you personally look for in blogs that you like to read regularly? What do you feel is important when it comes to creating an engaging blog?

Personality is just absolutely vital for an engaging blog and I prefer to see a human side to the blogger no matter what the subject. Whether the blog post is really personal or whether it’s about a lipstick, or the sandwich that you had for lunch today, the blogger’s true voice should stand out. Personally, I like a variety of posts on a blog, which is why generally prefer lifestyle blogs rather than blogs about a single subject. My favourites are those that have bags of personality and don’t take them selves to seriously. I definitely prefer to laugh whilst having a read. 

9 :: What would your perfect day in London look like? With no obligations or plans, how would you spend your day around the city? 

I’d probably start the day at somewhere like the Wolseley, a place known for it’s amazing breakfasts! I’d have a very simple smoked salmon bagel with a few milky coffees! 

I’m a typical girlie girl, so my perfect day would be spent browsing around some of London’s boutiques with Mr S and we’d stop at Scott’s for lunch to recharge our batteries with some seafood and champagne. In the afternoon I’d head to the salon and get my hair blow-dried before going home to get ready for a night on the town. Our favourite restaurants for a great night out are Hakkasan, Roka or Nobu so I’d choose one of those for some cocktails and delicious Asian food. 

10 :: Your blog has grown at an incredibly fast pace, and it feels like everyone in the food blogger community knows you! What advice would you give for bloggers trying to expand their readership? How do you maximise the use of social media and other tools to help your blog get exposure?

I think until you start blogging you never realize what a fantastic community there is out there. I’d really emphasise the importance of getting to know that community and other bloggers in your niche. Sharing is caring and as you read each other’s content, comment on it, share it and retweet it. Through working together like this bloggers can help each build a following in a natural and organic way. 

The accessibility to other bloggers and brands means that Twitter is my favourite form of social media and the easiest way to find others in your niche. But don’t just get to know them on Twitter, if you can meet them in real life! 


I hope you enjoyed Angie's interview as much I did - I found myself reading her answers and nodding along in agreement to many of them, as well as clicking through to her travels and suffering from wanderlust!

If you're looking for a blog full of character, delicious food, stunning travels and personal stories, SilverSpoon London is one to put on your reading list.

Angie's links :: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Bloglovin' // Pinterest 

Would you like to feature in a "Blogger Spotlight" post on Wander to Wonder? You can have a look at the advertising options here - if you book a spot before the end of the month, enjoy a 15% discount with the code HAPPYNEWYEAR !

bordeaux :: by night

26 January 2015

For some reason, I remembered this poem whilst walking in the cold and looking at the lights in Bordeaux. We walked to the Miroir d'eau, which in summer has a vast pool of water creating a beautiful reflection of the Place de la Bourse and is sadly closed in winter, but was still stunning all the same. 

City lights at night are one of my favourite things.

Stars Over The Dordogne

Stars are dropping thick as stones into the twiggy
Picket of trees whose silhouette is darker
Than the dark of the sky because it is quite starless.
The woods are a well. The stars drop silently.
They seem large, yet they drop, and no gap is visible.
Nor do they send up fires where they fall
Or any signal of distress or anxiousness.
They are eaten immediately by the pines.

Where I am at home, only the sparsest stars
Arrive at twilight, and then after some effort.
And they are wan, dulled by much travelling.
The smaller and more timid never arrive at all
But stay, sitting far out, in their own dust.
They are orphans. I cannot see them. They are lost.
But tonight they have discovered this river with no trouble,
They are scrubbed and self-assured as the great planets.

The Big Dipper is my only familiar.
I miss Orion and Cassiopeia's Chair. Maybe they are
Hanging shyly under the studded horizon
Like a child's too-simple mathematical problem.
Infinite number seems to be the issue up there.
Or else they are present, and their disguise so bright
I am overlooking them by looking too hard.
Perhaps it is the season that is not right.

And what if the sky here is no different,
And it is my eyes that have been sharpening themselves?
Such a luxury of stars would embarrass me.
The few I am used to are plain and durable;
I think they would not wish for this dressy backcloth
Or much company, or the mildness of the south.
They are too puritan and solitary for that—
When one of them falls it leaves a space,

A sense of absence in its old shining place.
And where I lie now, back to my own dark star,
I see those constellations in my head,
Unwarmed by the sweet air of this peach orchard.
There is too much ease here; these stars treat me too well.
On this hill, with its view of lit castles, each swung bell
Is accounting for its cow. I shut my eyes
And drink the small night chill like news of home.                     

Sylvia Plath


behind the scenes :: of an introvert

23 January 2015

In the second post of my Behind The Scenes series, I thought I'd talk about what being an introvert means for me. I'm no psychologist and don't own or claim to know the correct definition of the term, but it is a big part of my personality, and hopefully some of you might relate to these!

I recharge my energy by spending time alone.
From what I gather, this is the deciding factor. Extroverts recharge by spending time with others, while introverts do so by having time to themselves. This is definitely true with me - if I spend too many evenings in a row in social gatherings (as fun as they are), I start to feel stressed and frazzled. Even if I am working and spending the majority of hours by myself during the day, the relaxing time in the evening is somehow so necessary for me. I know that FOMO (= Fear Of Missing Out. One of the very few current words I'm up to date with.) is a thing for a lot of people, and for me too on occasion, but most of the time my need for space and time to myself takes priority over spreading myself too thin.

It suits our marriage that we are both introverts.
E and I didn't start living together until right before we got married. Not for any religious or moral reason - our circumstances just made it happen that way. But I was never worried about the adjustment. We had both lived alone for years beforehand, so I knew that he was also used to having his own space, and also knew that he is much like me in terms of needing time by himself. In fact, he is probably even more of an introvert than I am! As we are both self-employed and spend a good amount of time working from home, it means we share our time and space more than couples with office jobs. And even though that may seem like it could be a problem (trust me, our flat isn't exactly huge), it actually works out perfectly for us. We leave each other alone when we're working, we have lunch together (or sometimes we eat at the same table but are busy doing things whilst we eat), and we have a good balance of doing things together in the evenings with chilling out by ourselves for a while. 

Being self-employed/freelance is good for people like me.
Speaking of being self-employed (I'm not a freelance writer/blogger, my work is completely unrelated), this is also a lifestyle that suits me. My work does involve communicating with people and I go out to work everyday, so it's not that I spend all day every day alone - that, I probably would not like - but it's also not a job that requires me to be chatty with coworkers and be sociable on a daily basis, which I think I would find quite tiring. There are, of course, aspects of my work that I would probably do better in if I was more of an extrovert and could push myself to network more and to sell myself better, but it's all a work in progress!

Introvert does not equal shy or anti-social.
I think that this is a common misconception, that introvert = shy. If you met me, you would certainly know that I'm not shy - I love to meet new people, to chat about all kinds of things, and to communicate and engage with different personalities. I've enjoyed every event that I've attended as a blogger, even those at which I knew no one there to begin with!  And I really love to see friends, to talk endlessly on the phone, and pipe in with my opinions and stories within a group conversation. I'm not a total wallflower at parties (not that I frequent huge parties of any kind...), but I don't particularly enjoy large crowds of people and would prefer an intimate dinner with a few friends any day. Basically, don't mistake me for a hermit. I'm maybe more hermit than some, but that's ok with me.

I have both introvert and extrovert friends.
I really do. My best friends include those who I consider as having the same introvert qualities as me, as well as those who I consider extroverted (whether that is their own opinion or not!). It means different things to everyone, so I'm just going off my own definition, but it really has not mattered to me whether people close to me are similar to me in this regard or not. In fact, it's a great thing to be close to people who are different to you, in all sorts of ways - it teaches you a lot, and makes you learn how to accept and understand others' needs and wants. 

I often hear that people who enjoy expressing themselves on the internet (read = behind a screen) often have introverted tendencies - a bit ironic, as I'm pretty sure being a blogger has bulked up my social calendar. In any case, I'm sure that's just a generalisation. Or is it?

You can read my Behind The Scenes series here

kintan japanese bbq

22 January 2015

If you're a passionate meat lover, you're going to like this.

In Japan, we call this "Yakiniku" - literally meaning cooked meat. Much like Korean BBQ (remember when I reviewed Koba?), it's all about grilling the seasoned and marinated meat at the table, accompanied by lettuce for wrapping and a few side dishes.

I was very excited to be given a voucher from Zomato for Kintan, and headed there for dinner last month with E and C - it was a shame C's fiancé was away as he would have enjoyed this!

The place was buzzing, clearly a popular spot despite being relatively new. I also heard a few conversations in Japanese going on - always a good sign!

We had a generous selection of beef and pork (the best meats for this sort of thing in my opinion, although he menu also offers chicken and seafood), as well as gyoza, seaweed salad. noodles and karaage chicken on the side. The chicken and salad were great, but the noodles and gyoza were subpar.

But we weren't disappointed with the main event - the meat was flavourful, fresh and high quality. The Kalbi is a must, it's always the best! With some lettuce leaves and steamed rice, we had no problem polishing it all off.

And we somehow still had room for dessert - E went for his favourite, matcha ice cream, while C and I chose mochi ice (mochi filled with ice cream - sounds weird, tastes delicious). It was all nice, but nothing spectacular.

Would I recommend Kintan? Yes, but take my advice and focus solely on the meat - skip the sides and just indulge in the BBQ. While I felt that the sides and dessert were overpriced, the meat is reasonable for what it is and you won't get much cheaper in any other similar places. And the taste definitely won't disappoint.

Thank you to Zomato for the voucher that contributed to this meal - you can find my Zomato profile and reviews here.