STK London – Anniversary Meal

For our 2nd anniversary we decided to try STK at the ME hotel on The Strand.

The hotel and restaurant are part of The One Group who are also the owners of The Cosmopolitan, where we stayed for our honeymoon in Vegas, so it was an apt choice to go for our meal.

We reserved around 2 weeks in advance and could only get an early sitting of 6pm, with a 2 hour time limit for the table.

The hotel is quite understated from the outside, so not easy to spot, but sits on the island between Aldwych and The Strand, so not too difficult really.

The restaurant is very stylish, with a dark and glitzy look. A nice selection of booths and tables, with ample space, so you don’t feel like your all squished in together.

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Our waiter was very attentive and took great pride in telling us how lively the place got later, with dancing on the tables when the DJ cranked up the volume. Seeing as we had to leave by 8pm this was a cunning ploy to pique our interest and maybe try for a later sitting next time.

We ordered a Cocktail for me, Oh L’Amour, and Beer for Hubby.

For food we chose the Chateaubriand to share, Lobster Mac & Cheese and Parmesan Truffle Chips. The main also came with Foie Gras and Spinach. The meat was cooked perfectly and there was plenty of it, so much we took home a doggy bag! The mac & cheese was delicious, and chips super tasty!

With my steak I had a glass of white wine and hubby a glass of Malbec.

Hubby had spotted a Cheese & Champagne restaurant earlier in Coventry Garden, so he already had dessert sorted, so I opted for the Cold Chocolate Fondant. It was amazing! The base had popping candy in it, and the orange sauce was lovely.

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At every course the waiter had some interesting fact to share about what we were eating or drinking, and was a great host for the evening, always ensuring we had enough water etc.

The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. Food was perfect, and not too unreasonable for central London.

We have seen how lively The Cosmopolitan got as the evening drew on, so can only imagine what STK London could be like after dark.

Only negatives would be the distance to the toilets – around 4 flights downstairs. And the fact that the service charge doesn’t go just to your waiter/waitress, but to the restaurant. This isn’t a big surprise, it was more the fact that they point this out on the bill, which almost guilts you into adding extra to the 12.5% already on your bill.

We would definitely go back to try some of the other items on the menu, especially their great choice of cocktails.

LONDON – Dirty Martini – Chocolate Heaven

I recently went to the Covent Garden Dirty Martini, and I just had to post a blog about the experience.
Now I know I’ll probably be told by all you experts that it’s not the best bar in London, but compared to many of the bars found in the Covent Garden area I really liked it.
Plus the Chocolate Martini blew me away! I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

I actually started the evening with a Strawberry & Rhubarb Fizz, which consisted of fresh strawberry and rhubarb puree and Crème de Fraise syrup, topped with Prosecco. This was very nice and light, however the fruit was a little stringy, and I often had bits of fruit hanging out my mouth after every sip – attractive!

Strawberry & Rhubarb Fizz

Strawberry & Rhubarb Fizz

I then thought I would try a house speciality, seeing as I haven’t had a Martini before, the Chocolate Martini caught my eye straight away, consisting of Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and Crème de Cacao, shaken with cream and cocoa.

OMG! It was AMAZING!

What is even more amazing is that they have Happy Hour everyday, and these two drinks are half price, amongst other Martinis, and Prosecco cocktails – BARGAIN!

Link to their drinks menu here

The Covent Garden venue is quite small, and most tables were reserved for later that evening, so it’s a great venue if you book, or just going in for a quick couple of drinks, and there’s not too many of you.

Dirty Martini - Covent Garden

Dirty Martini – Covent Garden


Service is good, they happily corrected their mistake when I received a Tropical Pear Martini instead of Chocolate (very tasty as well!), and the waitresses are very attentive as soon as you finish your drinks. They even have a good selection of bar snacks, not sure where they fitted the kitchen though!

I would definitely go back again and recommend to friends. Did I mention that they do an amazing Chocolate Martini?

Images from http://dirtymartini.uk.com/covent-garden/gallery.php

Nervous Networking: A Silicon Drinkabout event

The other week I decided to do something very brave and out of character. I decided to put myself in a room with some complete strangers and force myself to network.

“But surely that’s what you do at Band of Bakers” I hear you cry. But that’s different, as at least we have baking in common to talk about.
Randomly this was a techy networking event called Silicon Drinkabout, and apart from a Digital Media degree from 2002, my superb social media skills and “crappy” (husband’s words not mine!) online gaming that’s about as techy as I get!

So what made me put myself in this awkward situation? Two words Mind Candy. I love what these guys have done with their online game Moshi Monsters, particularly with their consumer products and licensing program that has stemmed from the success of the game.
Coming from a licensing and product development background myself it’s great to see how a start up IP has gained momentum and is being marketed so well and that is just in the UK, so far!

Plus I was very intrigued to see their offices as apparently it had a slide!

Mind Candy has been voted one of the best employees in London and have employed over 100 people in the last 12 months, and hosting the Drinkabout is just one of many ways they look to recruit new (mainly) techy staff.

The Drinkabout is actually organised by a group called the 3beards, they do indeed have beards. It was through twitter that I found out about this gathering at Mind Candy’s new HQ near Old Street.
I tweeted Silicon Drinkabout with my concerns that maybe I wasn’t techy enough, but they instantly replied saying ‘all were welcome’.

What further encouragement did I need? Errr? Actually courage!

This came in the form of another random tweeter who wanted to rock up and have a nosey at the new offices (you know who you are!). So after checking she wasn’t a murderer, I.e. check her twitter photo and last few tweets to check they didn’t contain any murderous inclinations, I tweeted to see if she wanted company to crash the event. Luckily she said yes and team ‘Drinkabout crash’ was formed.

Talking to strangers is hard, even harder when you don’t actually work in their field. Most of our conversations lasted a maximum of 10 minutes. The longest conversation was with Jack McCall of Mind Candy. It must be weird having all these random strangers rock up to your work place, but all the Mind Candies seemed to take it in their stride.

The idea behind the Drinkabout is a brilliant one, particularly with the amount of startups we have in London and the Google Campus, there was definitely a lot of investment hunting going on that evening.
My networking skills improved by 100% but more practice is definitely needed, and strangely I felt comfortable around the techies.

Who knows I may even rock up to another in the near future…now where did I store that courage? And that video camera 😉

How rubbish am I?

True to form I have neglected my blog posting. Lucky this blog is not a pet otherwise the RSPCA would be onto me.
I have no excuse other than laziness as it’s not like I haven’t got things to write about, and with my memory it’s unlikely I’ll remember them all now. Since I last blogged I’ve hosted Christmas, run another 10k, signed up for a half marathon, did some techy/geeky networking with a complete stranger I met on Twitter and lots more. The only thing I haven’t be doing much of is baking, but that all changed last night. (Blog to follow).

I solemnly promise to keep up with my blogging, lets call it a March resolution. Plus I was very surprised when one of my friends said ‘You haven’t done a blog for ages – come on I’m waiting!’ So this is me ‘coming on’ so you can wait no longer, plus more to follow – Brownies promise.

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Mama Lan – Beijing Street Food – Brixton Village

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A quick bite to eat before the Band of Skulls concert – yum yum.
We had beef noodles, beef dumplings, spicy chicken wings, fried vegetable balls & pickled seaweed. It was all super tasty.
Point to note you only get chop sticks, so get practising or wear a bib!