Friday, 20 February 2015

How to be a tourist in London #3: Go to BIRD


Much like the majority of things in my life at the moment, I've been meaning to blog about Bird for a while, but I've unfortunately been side-tracked by the demands of dissertation and final year, which are quite clearly ruining my life. For this reason, the tale of my Bird experience has been cruelly forsaken, coupled with the fact that my last visit ended up with me eating everything in sight before I could reach for my phone and take a picture. So, since I recently had the opportunity to return to Bird, I thought now was as good a time as any to finally tell you all about my new favourite restaurant and urge all (who aren't vegetarians) to go. Go now. And thank me later.

I'd been hearing a lot about a new restaurant (or at least to me) in Shoreditch called "Bird" - a restaurant that specialises exclusively in fried chicken. For someone who essentially grew up poor and chubby in South East London, fried chicken was a staple part of my diet for a long time. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are taking my treasured one pound to the nearest Morley's or Favorite Chicken and being given 5 wings and chips in return (which is how you know it was a long time ago because one pound can't get you shit all now). In the days before I knew what calories were and fried chicken became the evil bastard that I only had to look at to put on weight, me and fried chicken were essentially inseparable. So, given my indisputable expert experience, I went to Bird with some high hopes and expectations. And did it disappoint? HELL. NO. 

The interior of Bird is best described as the American diner's edgy younger brother. There's a cocktail bar just as you walk in, the walls are brick and the restaurant is dotted with low-hanging red lamps.

The menu boasts to offer the 'best fried chicken you've ever tasted', offering wings and chicken pieces with a range of sauces and glazes or you can go for the Chicken and Waffle Burger, the Fried Chicken Sandwich, or Mu Shu Crispy Fried Chicken (think an American take on Oriental Duck Pancakes). Oh yeah, and there's salad. Make of that what you will. 

One thing I would 100% recommend getting when you visit Bird is the chicken wings with the Gochujang (hot and sweet) sauce. Both times I've been to Bird I've chosen this sauce on my wings and both times I've almost cried from happiness, it is so, so good. I also tried honey ginger, but it didn't compare and judging by my friend's reaction (there was a lot of intense, quite uncomfortable looking groans of pleasure coming from him during his meal) the chicken and waffle burger is amazing too. And yes, I did eat all the chicken wings in the picture above. There were twelve. Judge me.

To top it all off, the music in Bird is just up my street - lots of hip hop and current popular songs, which is my ideal background to eating a feast of fried chicken. Plus, the manager, Ryan, a.k.a chickynuggy, is the best person on this planet. Offering us complimentary donuts and hilarious conversation, Ryan, the music and the food, firmly put Bird high on my list of restaurants I would visit again and again in 2015 - if it wasn't for the small of issue of wanting to still be able to fit through my bedroom door. It's a must-visit and if any of you do take a trip, let me know what you thought :)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

How To Survive Your Last Six Months At Uni #1: Make A Jar Of Joy

The last six months of any undergrad's life is somewhat...stressful. Essays are due and so are dissertations (but not done). There's a sudden rush to apply for every and any job and a resentment of those that were actually prepared and already have one. If you love your uni, you begin the process of premeditated mourning for 3 month summer holidays and student discounts, and if you hate it, you begin anxiously awaiting the day you never have to look at another essay submission page again. To be honest, I don't even know why I tried to be so candid, the last six months of university are a mess. And that is where I am. Knee deep inside this mess that is my final six months of university. BUT I HAVE A PLAN! In order to help me survive this time, make the most of it, actually bloody graduate for the Love of God PLEASE let me graduate, I am making myself a survival guide, which is where the inspiration for this series came along (along with the fact I have an affinity for making numerical lists, so shoot me). And the first thing on this list? Make a Jar of Joy. Or, what I prefer to call: "I can't really remember much of what's happened at uni between the hangovers, stress and binge watching of TV, let's salvage the last six months by recording every moment in a jar and reading it later in the hope to reclaim some sort of happiness from this experience. P.S. things aren't that bad, be positive xx" So, Jar of Joy for short.


1) A cute jar

2) Some joy (dig deep) 

3) Paper of any kind, but preferably the cute mini-sized squares that come in a pack 

4) A pen

The traditional Jar of Joy involves what is usually a glass or transparent jar in which you record any positive experience you have, either whenever you have it or every day for a year. Then, at the end of the year, you look through your memories and relive the joy. HOWEVER, The Jar of Joy: Uni Edition doesn't have the time for all of that and is only six months long. So it has the same sentiment with a few differences.

Here are the rules:
- the jar doesn't have to be clear, it just has to be big enough to fit six months of paper in.
- you record one memory a day.
- NO NEGATIVITY. The point is to claw something positive from the hell that is exams, essays and the grueling pressure of graduating into possible unemployment (lol). Do you really want to remember losing your mind in the library OR would you rather remember how good those five cookies tasted that you went to buy in a crazy act of procrastination? The cookies. Exactly. Even if you've had the worst day, even if you've done nothing but bunk lectures and watch Netflix all day, find something positive, write it down, and record it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes :) (or just stick around to see if I actually get to six months)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

How to be a tourist in London #2: Go to Big Easy

Deep in the depths of Chelsea and Covent Garden exists a very special restaurant, where alcohol is served in abundance and the finest lobsters go to die for the good of mankind (sorry vegetarians). It calls, longingly, to ravenous food addicts nationwide, who only dream of limitless BBQ on a Monday and shrimp the size of your fucking face. Yes, it is called Big Easy and it is a place of the Gods.

To put it simply (other than to say it's one of the best places on earth Iloveitsomuchomg), Big Easy is an American style BBQ and Crabshack that serves everything from lobster to steak in big ass portions. Having visited the location on King's Road and loved it, I took my friend to the Big Easy in Covent Garden and fell in love again. If you like any themed restaurant with a lively atmosphere, a huge bar and are willing to forsake your oath to "eat healthy" for one night, this place is 100% for you. Don't expect Nando's prices when you go there (we all know seafood isn't cheap), but if you're willing to spend it, it's good value for money. Plus, Monday to Thursday they have specials where you can get limitless amounts of different foods, including all-you-can-eat shrimp on a Tuesday, which I'm sure is where I'll have my first near death experience from over-eating.

(For the record, I'm the worst person at taking pictures of my food because I'm more concerned with shoving the food down my throat than taking the picture, but I'll work on it.)

So, if you want to go to Big Easy, I advise you to do three things:
1) Pre-book. ESPECIALLY if you're going in the evening because you're pretty unlikely to get a table if not.
2) Have a cocktail or five. (Or to make it easy, just get the £20 lobster, fries and cocktail deal)
3) Have napkins and hand gel on deck. I'm pretty sure the knives and forks are just there for decoration 'cause everyone was eating with their hands at this place.
Also, maybe don't spend as long as me and my friend did taking pictures with the lobster cracker.

ALSOALSO, If you do go to Big Easy, take a look at the book stall we found at Jubilee Market, which is less than a two minute walk from the restaurant. It's called "A Little Present" and it sells handmade journals that are like nothing I've ever seen before. If I can remember correctly, each A5 book is £28 and unique, ready for the most important of information to be stored in it ('cause if you're paying that much for a notebook, it's gonna have to be some legendary shit.) More importantly though, GET THAT BIG EASY SHRIMP. In fact, that should be the first thing you write in your notebook. Thank me later :)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

How to be a tourist in London #1: Go to Borough Market

One of the great things about having acquired friends from different countries is that when they come to visit you're forced to do the things that you'd usually take for granted otherwise. As a Londoner, I'm pretty rubbish when it comes to actually knowing London. I just type in an address in Google maps, walk there, walk back and that's it. No exploring, no nothing. And the last thing I EVER want to do is to join the long queue of tourists for that bloody London Eye. But when my friend invited me to be her tourist guide in central London (which she soon found to be a terrible mistake, since I knew just about as much as she did about historical landmarks and directions), I picked up my camera and tagged along. I am a good friend after all :)

I like to eat pretty much 24/7, so it's no surprise that I'm a pretty big fan of food markets. Before our visit, the closest I'd ever got to Borough Market was seeing it on the train to London Bridge, so yesterday I finally got to go and this place was fantastic. It's not just the fact it smelled amazing and there were free samples everywhere (although that is quite a big reason as to why I loved it and I did eat a lot of free samples), but there was so many different things to try and a hell of a lot of choice. There were cookies the size of my face, cheeses, spreads, wines, fresh bread, Chinese food, Caribbean food, Mexican food - ALL THE FOOD. If that doesn't say a good time then I don't what does. So yes, if you're a "foodie" or just hungry, I recommend you go and have a look (and eat all the free samples to save yourself money.) Look out for the giant cookies too, it's well worth the £2.00.