Revolucion De Cuba is a venue, which has had a few names; it was formerly known as Bia Hoi and a few other things besides…
As the name suggests Revolucion de Cuba is a Cuban themed restaurant which I’ve been to a few times for drinks and food and enjoyed the general ambience of the place and the food on the plates!
It has a relaxed atmosphere with colourful posters on the walls and cushions in the booths, and Cuban inspired tunes.
Both times I have had food here I have enjoyed their tapas offers and gorged on a selection of lovely dishes. Last time we went for food was on a Tuesday evening for an after work meal, the place was not packed but there were enough people there to provide a good atmosphere.
When we sat down, we looked at the menu to choose what we wanted but although there were, waiters and waitresses about our no one took our order until I started heading to the bar with my menu.
We decided to order a selection of tapas on an offer, which came with a complimentary trio of salsas, including a pineapple one, which my companion thought, was amazing.
We ordered Quesadillas, Nachos, Patatas Bravas with Chorizo, Chiles Rellenos, and Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes. This ended up filling most of the table, which is always a good thing!
The highlights of the meal were the Quesadillas with pulled pork in them, although I also enjoyed the Nachos and Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes. My companion loved the Chiles Rellenos, which were jalapeño’s stuffed with cheese and covered in breadcrumbs.
We had a difference of opinion about the Sweet Potato & Chorizo Croquettes though, I enjoyed them but my companion thought they were a bit too fragile and not as flavoursome as he had expected. We both also expected more chorizo in the Patatas Bravas with Chorizo as we only noticed about three bits hidden amongst the potatoes.
Despite these few niggles we enjoyed our meal at Revolucion de Cuba and I have even arranged a work get together here later in the month to sample Revolucion de Cuba’s Mojitos and Burritos!
Revolucion de Cuba is part of a growing mini chain, with restaurants in Manchester, Cardiff, Norwich and soon to open one in Derby. For more info visit their website: www.revoluciondecuba.com
Saturday 22nd Septmber is the Bermondsey street festival, which seeks to promote local talent and creativity, that’s local designers, performers and musicians http://www.bermondseystreetfestival.org.uk
And our friends ’A Grape Night In’ are taking wine to the people!
Not only will there by lots of wine, but also a fantastic afternoon of performances, art, music and food. As the organisers say, the Festival is “the perfect blend of village fete folksiness, with Bermondsey street style”
Find A Grape Night in, in ’The Meadow’and we’ll be selling wine by the glass and bottle to enjoy with the delicious food available at the Festival. Come down and say hi and throw your best tasting note in the ring to win tickets to one of their tastings!
Niki is a food blogger and currently undertaking the ultimate gourmand (read: greedy) challenge: 365 days of dinner blogging. Follow her journey (and plates) at http://dinneroftheday.tumblr.com/ and http://twitter.com/breakinglon
Juice of the Month #1
Marks and Spencer: Asti Spumante NV :Asti DOCG : Italy
As sporting events are handing out the medals, and announcing its winners, we too thought we would crown this M & S Asti Spumante as Juice of the month in honour of all the medals it has been winning! Furthermore we thought that this off dry, grapey, sherbet sparkler would be a perfect contender to match your strawberries at Wimbledon this summer…
A multi-award winning £7.99 @ M&S
Juice of the Month #2
Ernie Els: Proprietor’s Blend 2009 : Stellenbosch : South Africa
It only felt right to pay honour to a sporting legend in the wine world this month – that is Mr Ernie Els. Ernie already a big name in the golfing world, made his debut in wine over in the cape in 1999 and the rest is history! In respect to the Cape terroir his Proprietors Blend is a bordeaux blend with a touch of Shiraz. This is built to last with rich cassis, savoury spice and blockbuster power. Needless to say this is well worth the extra pounds if you are celebrating any sporting wins this month!
A celebratory £23.95 per bottle @ Lea & Sanderman
A Grape Night In next event is: Grape Games at @Seven at Brixton on the 22nd July.
No athletes here, just wine lovers! Join A Grape Night In where they will pitch long-term grape rivals against each other in the ultimate test of taste, which grape will be crowned ‘King of wine’
To find out more visit: www.agrapenightin.co.uk
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While the Jubilee is over and it is back to normal for most of us, Tea with Rachael takes us on amazing review of her favourite bits. Most of which can be enjoyed at anytime, not just when Queen and country gives us a four day weekend.
It has been a very busy few weeks, out and about for the Jubilee festivities and enjoying our short-lived Summer weather!
Ah, the start of the gloriously summery weekend, which we really made the most of! We ventured outside and sat on a blanket on the riverside outside the wonderful White Swan pub in Twickenham, watching the world go by and drinking ice cold Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime – what a fantastic summer drink! It was almost like being beside the seaside…
The White Swan 4/5 – great location!
Organic food and drink in stunning surroundings – Ham House and Gardens
Rather disturbed by witnessing a moorhen fight/mating ritual(!), we headed down the riverbank to get the Hammerton Ferry over to Ham House and Gardens, where we enjoyed organic beer and Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade in the sunny gardens of the Orangery Cafe. After a stroll around the kitchen gardens for inspiration, we wandered round the stunning gardens and I managed to get some lovely pictures on this beautifully clear, hot and sunny day.
No visit would be complete without a visit to the gift shop, where I purchased some of the herbs we’d seen earlier, and ones I use regularly in my cooking – Thyme, Lemon Thyme and Tarragon. I will post my recipe for Tarragon chicken, using these lovely herbs, next!
I also got some lovely books: Comfort Food – providing more cooking inspiration – and A Taste of Tea by Brian Glover – a fascinating history of the various rituals associated with drinking tea.
I never go to a National Trust shop without buying Lemon Curd - and this time I bought some Raspberry Curd to try as well! I feel another afternoon tea coming on…
Ham House 5/5 – stunning grounds, lovely cafe and great gift shop!
During the Jubilee weekend, Twickenham was hosting the Charlie Shore Regatta as part of the Twickenham Riverside Jubilee Festival – Twickenham Alive. Always a fun event, this year the festivities were extended to include a craft fair on Church Street and the local church fair. Armed with a large glass of Sangria from Pincho, we perused the stalls and sat in the sunshine watching the river races.
After staying in during the downpour to watch the Flotilla on TV, on the Bank Holiday Monday we met some friends and headed to favourite local Twickenham pubs. The White Swan had a BBQ going and a street party in aid of children’s charity Shooting Star Chase – despite the gloomy weather – where we enjoyed burgers, homemade chocolate cakes and more Rekorderlig! Once it started raining more heavily, we moved on to the Royal Oak to check out the ‘Jumbilee’ in aid of local charity HANDS, where I picked up some fab vintage bargains!
Later in the day, we managed to sit in the sunshine (while it lasted) drinking organic cider outside the lovely old Eel Pie pub, before heading to The Fox for the biggest pie I have ever eaten! We all ordered chicken and cider pie with mash and gravy – not realising you each get an enormous individual pie! It was really tasty – fantastically hearty and quintessentially British in honour of the Jubilee! As we were particularly hungry after all the cider drinking, we ordered fries and chunky chips too, which were also delicious and went very well with the gravy! Heartily recommended!
The Fox 4/5 – amazing pie!
I made the most of my time off over the Jubilee Bank Holidays by drinking lots and lots of tea! As well as my usual stash of Twinings and TeaPigs, I had the privilege of trying a selection of teas from the lovely people at Ahmad Tea, which have very appropriate historical paintings of London on the boxes.
English Tea No.1 is a lovely blend of black teas with Bergamot and is a stylish alternative to Earl Grey. It even has a flotilla scene on it, from the opening of Tower Bridge! Very apt for Jubilee celebrations! Their Earl Grey is also very refreshing, and I particularly like the Darjeeling and English Breakfast blend too!
Ahmad Tea 4/5 – great taste, lovely packaging!
I made sure I had Jubilee-themed biscuits with my tea – I am addicted to Cadbury’s biscuits (favourite chocolate on biscuits – what’s not to love?!) and have eaten far too many over the past few weeks! 5/5
Juice of the Month #1
Chapel Down Bacchus 2011
In honour of English wine week & when all eyes were on England for the Diamond Jubilee we had to sneak in one of England’s finest. Based in Kent and often referred to as one of the leaders of English wine we very much agree that ‘It doesn’t have to be a special day to drink Chapel Down wines as they make every day special.’ We love their Bacchus – England’s signature grape aptly named after the God of wine. Often compared to Sauvignon Blanc, this is a textbook example with oodles of fresh lemons, and lively goosebury fruit. £9.59 English pounds at Waitrose
Juice of the Month #2
Royal Tokaji Dry Furmint 2010
As we look back at Her Majesty’s 60 year reign, there was a time when Hungarian wine was popular here in Britain, and now’s your turn to see why! Tokaji is a region famed for producing some of the best sweet wines around with the local Furmint grape. While we love sweet Tokaji Aszu, we’re pretty excited about the dry style that is taking centre stage right now. Dry Furmint produces a unique wine with hints of a viogner; fresh peaches & heady fragrance but with its own twist of fresh green apple, nuts & volcanic minerality.
Drink like they used to for £8.49 at Majestic
Food, drink and lots of fun at Foodies Festival – and of course tea!
What a grand day out at the Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Green last Sunday! Despite the cold, we enjoyed great artisan and organis food, local produce, fine wines, cocktails, and of course, tea and cake!
Starting with a brief visit to the gorgeous Duckpond Market in Richmond to look at the lovely antiques, homewares and artisan foods (and lots of Jubilee kitch ideas – will definitely be back for some bunting!), we set off from St Helena Pier in Richmond for a leisurely cruise down the Thames on one of the Turks Launches fabulous steam boats. Unfortunately the sun didn’t want to come out to play, but it didn’t rain very much, so we braved the chilly breeze and breathed in the fresh air!
To warm up when we first arrived, I headed straight to the Tea Terrace – a quintessentially English tea room serving proper afternoon teas and a vast array of yummy cakes, pastries and treats! I swiftly downed a lovely cup ofTregothnan English-grown tea and a huge slab of my old favourite – handmade Lemon Drizzle Cake! We then queued up for the Portuguese Hog Roast fromRoast Hog, which was well worth the wait! Then it was time for some organic fruit cider to wash it down, and more warming up with some sizzlingly tasty sausages from the Great British Sausage Company.
After a peek at the amazing Hendrick’s Gin Curiositorium and their bath full of Gin (here I am next to it with my organic cherry cider!) and a delightfully bubbly organic Kir Royal, we went to taste some cheeses at the award-wining Cheshire Cheese Company. Being a Cheshire girl, I particularly enjoyed sampling their massive range of cheeses – especially the award-winning four-year aged Vintage Gold extra mature cheddar! We are now official members, and once the copious supplies of cheese we bought have run out, we will definitely be buying more online! Like Wallace and Gromit always say, you can’t beat a bit of cheese!
We then wandered over to the chef’s theatre to see the lovely Beverley Glock compering (in a beautiful Fifities’ style dress – she must have been freezing!), and watched wonderful local chef Greg Malouf of Petersham Nurseries show us just how it’s done.
Then we strolled down the Street Food Avenue, sniffing and tasting so many great foods from around the world, and sampled a few wines at the wine village. A real favourite for me was the aged Parmesan, and I bought an enormous chunk to take home!
All aboard for PIMMS O’Clock – CHEERS!
Whole Foods Market had a nice big stall, with some great (and bargainous) organic Prosecco, fruit and sauces. We bought the red pesto, which is absolutely delicious on pretty much anything!
We brought back so much lovely cheese, bread, olive oil and artisan treats – they should keep us going for a long time (or at least until the next Foodies Festival)!
I am definitely going to try to get to more of these fantastic festivals, both in the North and down South – my friends and family love these sort of food events and we like to try different shows in different places!
The next Foodies Festival is at Brighton Hove Lawns next weekend (May 25,26,27), with festivals taking place up and down the country throughout the summer.
Other Foodies Festival Dates from July onwards are:
Tatton Park Cheshire July 6/7/8
Bristol Harbourside July 13/14/15
Edinburgh Aug 10/11/12
London Battersea Park Aug 17/18/19Oxford South Parks Aug 25/26/27
Until next time, enjoy your tea break – and cheese! CHEERS!
The highlight of the weekend was visiting Colonna & Small’s in Bath, an espresso café and brew bar, it is renowned because of his co-owner Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, recently crowned UK Barista Champion 2012.
I saw Maxwell compete at the UK Barista Championship in London last weekend: in 15 minutes he prepared and served 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 espresso-based signature drinks. His performance was flawless, the audience was silent and in awe!
After watching the UKBC and with my trip to Somerset already planned, a pit-stop in Bath to visit Colonna & Small’s was a must!
Maxwell and Lesley Colonna-Dashwood source their coffees from four main roasters: Origin Coffee, Square mile Coffee, James Gourmet Coffee and Hasbean. All have direct relationships with growers, and the focus is on the flavour diversities and varietals grown. The types of coffees are changed every week and with the changing seasons, and the choices are written on a chalk board. [quote from The Foodie Bugle]
The essence of this shop is not only making good coffee but most of all helping the customers understand more about coffee and how to drink it best: the walls are decorated with information about processing and brewing methods; the barista recommended us not to add sugar to our coffees to really feel the taste; they have a space downstairs for coffee tastings and there’s even a coffee flavour wheel on the toilet wall!
Maxwell was not in the shop when I visited, but all the baristas at Colonna & Small’s are experts and will help you choose your coffee. We ordered Hasbean Rwanda SACOF Rulindo Cup of Excellence, hand brewed with the Clever Coffee Dripper; a Piccolo made with Sidamo coffee from Ethiopia and a Flat White made with a blend of Brazilian coffees (70% Mariano and 30% Das Almas).
The space is beautiful and bright, with white walls and lots of light. The blue cups and wooden furniture add a warm touch to the interiors. The table and bar stools were full, mainly with couples or lonely guys and their Macs.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Bath and Colonna & Small’s is certainly one of them!
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So it seems that the humble café is no longer enough. The café, the restaurant, they have to do more than just serve us food and drink. Themed venues are popping up everywhere (although I’m still waiting for New York’s very cool Ninja Restaurant to transplant itself onto these shores) and it probably won’t be long until London has its own Japanese inspired maid café. It was in one of these more-than-just-a-café (minus the maids) in King’s Cross that I spent a Saturday afternoon recently, celebrating the birthdays of a couple of friends. Drink, Shop & Do, as the name suggests is more than just a place to get some tea and cake (perish the thought!) Before entering the café you walk through a shop full of fun, handmade and locally designed gift ideas; cards, stationary, home ware and jewellery, and if that doesn’t tempt you then why not try the ‘Do’ part of the name. This café organises (often craft-based) afternoon and evening activities. Any of these take your fancy: balloon bending, ‘Transport Origami’, ‘Papier Mache Monster Mash’, or other fun times, including, ‘Adult Colour By Numbers’, ‘Musical Bingo’ and the saucily named ‘Vintage Pin-Up Porn Dot-to-Dot’.
If you, however, as we did, find yourself at Drink, Shop & Do on a lazy Saturday afternoon when there may not be any activities organised, then there are tons of board games to keep you occupied. We were sucked in by those old favourites, Jenga (I was terrible) and Cluedo (far better. For once it wasn’t that poor misunderstood Miss Scarlet). I’m a huge fan of board games in cafés and bars and I wish more places had them. They’re great fun, and before long a few tables had taken our cue and started playing. It’s a win win for the venue too. A lengthy Scrabble match may lead to you ordering more than just the one coffee. In fact it took us a fair while to work out it was that sneaky Mrs White after all!
The Drink, Shop & Do cafe area has that cute, slightly kooky vintage vibe that everyone seems to love; ice cream colours, mismatched chairs and crockery, cakes on the counter and old collectibles artfully dotted everywhere. It was this look presumably that the contestants on The Apprentice were trying to achieve a few weeks ago, but threw dead leaves over everything instead. Though the set afternoon teas sounded delicious (love that they have a guy-centric one with pork crackling and scotch egg) we’d come just for cake, it was a birthday after all. I’d been lusting after macarons after spotting them on the menu but they were sadly out of them, so I went for the cheesecake instead which tasted just as good as any I’d eaten in New York. The Nutella milkshake was delicious, although I requested it minus the malt as I feared it may have been a little too sickly. The Victoria sponge and passion fruit meringue pie also come highly recommended by the rest of the group, as well as the brown paper bags full of your old favourite sweets. More nostalgia came in the shape of the mismatched crockery, including one particular 80s side plate which lead to unexpected delight in memories of sugar bowls and milk jugs from that particular tea service.
As far as the loo review (I know, sadly omitted by most mainstream reviews), Drink, Shop & Do was exemplary. I particularly loved the hand wash and moisturizer combo and we were all intrigued by posters advertising the upcoming ‘The Mixtape Club’, an indie speed dating night with a twist. Couple that with the ‘Lunchtime Disco’ that they run on a Friday, yes you read that correctly, no more boring lunch breaks at chain sandwich shops for you, Drink, Shop & Do is pretty much guaranteed a revisit.
Tweeted Review Score: 3/5 Tweet
Niki is a food blogger and currently undertaking the ultimate gourmand (read: greedy) challenge: 365 days of dinner blogging. Follow her journey (and plates) at http://dinneroftheday.tumblr.com/ and Follow @breakinglon