Friday, August 30, 2013

A belated 30th on the 38th floor...

You may remember me mentioning that loverboy made dinner reservations for my birthday at the beginning of the month, which we missed, as we lost track of time(!!!).  Well, he re-booked, so I was treated to a wonderful belated birthday date night dinner earlier this week.

I was super excited, as I had been wanting to visit this restaurant for a very long time - and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

SushiSamba is located on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower, and boasts spectacular views across London.  I was a little nervous about taking the super fast lift, which is encased in glass on the outside of the building, but it was fun!  It added to the whole experience, although I will admit that the first couple of seconds of the descent made me squeal a little!

Arriving at the 38th floor!

Sunset when we were leaving...

Waiting for the lift to arrive...

Going down!

The decor of the restaurant is bright, clean and modern with bamboo arches encasing the room, and lots of lightbulbs dangling from the ceiling.  There are two balconies - one where you can dine al fresco, and another which is a bar, featuring a wacky orange tree right in the centre.

 Can you spot the cheeky monkey swinging in the tree?

The food is a fusion of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian, and it was all super delicious!  I have not had such visually pleasing, yummy and interesting flavour combinations at a restaurant in a long time.

These grilled Padrón peppers were a simple but very tasty little snack whilst perusing the menu.

Kuromitsu glazed pork belly wraps - OMG NOM!

Gotta love a gyoza - especially when they are stuffed full of wagyu beef.

A selection of seviches with really interesting flavour combinations, including watermelon, mandarin and wasabi peas together with the seafood. Doesn't it look like abstract art?!

The grilled miso Chilean seabass might just be one of the yummiest things I've ever eaten...

Samba London rolls!  A carnival in my mouth!

Warm El Topo rolls with salmon, jalapeño, shiso leaf, fresh melted mozzarella and crispy onion.

 Dessert! Organic red chocolate chili peppers, peruvian chili mousse, red pepper tuile, raspberry-red pepper sorbet, chocolate crumble.  It might sound strange, but the balance of flavours was so delicate, interesting and well-executed - we loved it!

The cocktails are also yummy, in case you wondered...

Our waiter for the evening was knowledgeable about everything on the menu, and was helpful and attentive without being overbearing.  The service really couldn't be beaten - they even refolded our napkins when we left the table briefly to take photos on the balcony!

The hubs made sure that the evening still felt like a birthday surprise, and made arrangements for a birthday macaron to be delivered to me during dessert - at which point he presented me with a gift!  A gorgeous Bakelite bracelet from a gorgeous, thoughtful man.

Belated birthday macaron - which I totally dunked into the white chocolate 'happy birthday'!

A coffee heart for a coffee-lovin' sweetheart!

It really was the most perfect evening and we enjoyed ourselves so much!  Our dinner date at SushiSamba was definitely worth the wait, and this restaurant has earned a place at the top of my 'favourites' list.

I can't wait to return for more deliciousness and breathtaking views across London.... 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Naked ladies, leopards and lei...

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for all the birthday wishes and lovely comments on my last post!  It's been a busy old month so far, and feels as though the celebrations just keep going!

Last week, loverboy and I had a date night, which started off with a bird pooping in my hair - a less than ideal start to the night, but seeing as it's supposed to be 'lucky' (personally, I felt that Aaron was the lucky one, as he avoided being the poopy-head) it was a good thing that we were heading to the Hippodrome Casino, where I could test out my status as Lady Luck.

 I was having a pretty wild hair day - seriously, my mane did not want to be tamed!

I hadn't been to the Hippodrome in years (since before it was a casino) and I have to say, the venue is beautiful.  Right in the heart of central London, this huge venue is super fancy (even if the patrons do not all dress like it) especially the Matcham Room Theatre, which is where we spent most of the night having dinner, drinks and watching a show courtesy of the Soho Burlesque Club.

Even the ladies' bathrooms were resplendent, with Hollywoodesque light bulb-framed mirrors.

Hosted by Miss Polly Rae, the Soho Burlesque Club put on a sexy, funny, cheeky and playful show.  The interaction with the audience was amusing and Miss Polly Rae is a fabulous compere who oozes old-school glamour and elegance.

All of the routines were super fun to watch, and there were multiple acts including Kitty Bang Bang, Laurie Hagen and boylesque star, Phillip Anthony (Phil InGud).  My favourite, however, had to be the reverse striptease by Laurie Hagen, where she starting off naked and ending up fully clothed.  A truly unique and clever idea, executed with precise movements.  I also loved Kitty Bang Bang's fire-eating routine performed to Alice Cooper's Poison - this woman is so fierce that she even got her claws into loverboy...

'Please don't break my glasses, please don't break my glasses...'

As part of our evening, we were given a complimentary £10 chip which I doubled on red before cashing out - I think I have the pigeon to thank for that.

On Friday we went to a new night, The Leopard Lounge, held at Hoot'N'Annies in Kentish Town.  This is set to be a new weekly do, where you can feast your ears on a mix of tunes from the 40s-60s.

Whilst there wasn't much dancing going on, it was a fun evening, and it's great that there's a regular Friday night event with good music, where we can go to meet our friends from now on.

Talking of regular events, we headed on down to Swing at the Light on Monday, for Hawaiian night.  This weekly dance night is super fun with a great atmosphere, but alas we do not make it as often as we'd like to, mostly due to Monday night laziness!  Well, we had a super fun time this week, and it was packed!  We got our dance on, we got our sweat on, and we got our Hawaii on!  Aloha!

Finally, apologies for all the slightly fuzzy pictures in this post!  I have been really lazy about bringing my camera out with me lately - that coupled with the fact that I am slightly obsessed with Instagram at the moment, and so I end up taking a lot of pictures with my phone.  Normal photo service should resume soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Big Three-Oh-Yeah!

Last week was my birthday!  If you follow my Facebook page, you may have seen a couple of posts in the lead-up, in which I dubbed it the big 'Three-Oh-No'.  I will admit that I was very reluctant to let go of my twenties (read: clinging on for dear life), but after lots of celebration and fun, I have now renamed it the big 'Three-Oh-Yeah'!

Loverboy knew that turning thirty was a pretty big deal to me, and he most definitely pulled out the big guns this year, treating me like a princess all day.  We both had the day off work, and my morning started with opening cards and presents from family, which included a gorgeous bakelite bangle from my sweetheart - definitely a great start to the day!

Beautiful bakelite from my sweetie and card from my sister!

We then headed out for my first surprise, before which, I was under strict instruction not to moisturize or wear any make-up.  All became clear when we arrived at a spa for a pampering session!  We were greeted with mint tea, before being taken to a steam room for a Moroccan Hammam treatment.  During this time we had ice water thrown on us, then we were scrubbed down with a black olive mask, followed by a clove mud mask.  It felt amazing, and by the time we came out of the steam room we felt completely relaxed.

Make-up free and on our way to the spa! 

We were then shown to a lounging area, covered in cushions and drapes, and given fruit salad and more mint tea, before being taken for a full body massage and facial.  Our total treatment was supposed to last 2.5 hours, however, we were so relaxed that we had no concept of 4 hours later, when I asked what time it was, we realised that we had missed our dinner reservation (cue much pouting from me, when the hubs told me where he had booked!) but Aaron has since rescheduled for later this month, so the celebrations continue!  Hooray!

That night we got dolled up and headed to my next surprise: Dirty Dancing the musical!  Given that this is my favourite movie, I was very skeptical about how it would compare with the film...however, I was most pleasantly surprised!  The show was great, the dancers were fabulous and the sets were super cool.  Of course, the lead actor was no Patrick Swayze, but who cares when the Brown Swayze was my date?

I should have suspected that we were going to DD when loverboy gave me a card with a lady carrying watermelons that morning...

On the weekend, we threw a birthday picnic with friends in Regent's Park, which was a super fun day and lasted 'til it was dark - we pretty much shut that park down!

I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many awesome, kind, lovely, wonderful people, who helped make it the best celebration I could have hoped for!

There was soooooooooooo much food, drink, and CAKE!

Jim with some of the cupcakes he made - do you remember the cake he made me last year?

My mum made a scrumptious plum and almond tart, my friend Jim made me a selection of beautiful cupcakes (cherry, raspberry and lemon) and Miss Turnstiles made chocolate cupcakes that had photos of me on them!!!!  They were all totally amazing and deeeeeeeeeeeeeelish!

There was also music and dancing (of course) and decorations, also kindly brought by Jim!  We definitely had a real party going on in that park, and I'm pretty sure that all the passers-by wanted to join in!

I also received lots of lovely presents and cards and felt totally spoilt!

I feel very fortunate to have such great friends and such an amazing husband, who really helped me kick off my dirty thirty with a bang! 

Here's to fabulous family, friends, fun and flirty thirties!