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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Visiting 'the Making of Harry Potter'

M planned a surprise day out today as he knows I love surprises. Unfortunately, I'm the world's most annoying girlfriend and never actually end up getting surprised as I spend the whole time guessing every last possibility beforehand. I'm ever worse with christmas presents. No surprises therefore when I guessed we were off to the 'Making of Harry Potter' at the Warner Bros studio in Watford.

As a huge Harry Potter fan, I've been dying to go ever since it opened. There's no point writing much - the photos negate any need for that. I'll only add that it was truly magical seeing all the film sets in real life - I couldn't believe how small some of them were. The beds in the boys' dormitory were diddy!

The tour itself only took a couple of hours. Tickets were £29 each. It was really good and magical, but I'm not sure I'd be rushing back to go again - it's effectively just a Harry Potter museum. I'm not sure what else I was expecting!

We bought some Butterbeer which I hated - it was like cream soda with spicy coke, bleurgh. M enjoyed it hugely.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Franco Manca

I realise I'm very late with this post about Franco Manca, seeing as the whole world and his wife have already eaten there, but I finally got to eat there last night.

I've lurked hopefully outside three of his restaurants: Northcote road, Brixton Village and Balham to no avail. The queue outside has always been far too long for someone who's at worst seriously impatient. However, when my friend Julia suggested going on a Monday night I leapt at the chance to see what the fuss was about.

Thankfully, Franco Manca was well worth the hype. The restaurant is small and crowded - think sharing tables and practically sitting on top of your neighbour. Happily, we managed to get a table for two.

The menu is minimal and authentic. The pizzas have little to no tomato on them. I chose gloucester old spot ham, ricotta, red onion and mozzarella. It was absolutely delicious and the ingredients were such high quality. The real star, however, was the sourdough base with the most intense flavour that only a dough that has been proved for a really long time can obtain.

We washed it down with some organic wine.

And the best thing about Franco Manca? The bill. My pizza and large glass of wine came to just ten pounds.

Beautiful food + cheap price = the ingredients for huge success. Why don't more restaurants cotton on to this fact?

Which is your favourite pizza restaurant? 

PS I visited Richmond at the weekend and couldn't resist adding these photos.


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Restaurant Review: Zumbura

So last night's dinner was amazing.

Egg curry, daal and numana
Initially, we couldn't decide where to get food from. It had got to Friday night and, as usual, we'd been super disorganised and not booked anywhere during the week. All the decent places are always booked up by the time you get to Friday so we were resigned to the idea of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (which is perfectly fine, but now how I visualised completing my first half term at school).

Happily, that didn't happen. We popped into a brand new restaurant around the corner from where we live called Zumbura on the off chance they had a spare table. They didn't but they asked if we minded sitting at the bar to eat. We didn't mind at all so we crammed ourselves in between two couples.

The restaurant
The bar where we sat and our amazing waiter!
Wow what a meal. Zumbura specialises in making tapas style Indian dishes all exceptionally well priced. We were hungry and just about ordered everything. All the dishes were  amazing, but the egg curry and lamb on the bone curry were exceptional.

Delicious lamb curry. The meat fell right off the bone
I love meals like this where you get to try lots of different flavours. A big plate of pasta is my nemesis because I get so bored half way through eating it. There were no such concerns at Zumbura, my taste buds were left tantalised after every mouthful.

Aloo tikia
Our salad
We couldn't resist some after dinner cocktails in the form of 'scorched nuts' a concoction of Frangelico (hazelnut liquor), Amaretto and lemon (our personal favourite) and a second star anise flavoured hot cocktail.

The amazing scorched nuts cocktail
The cardamom creation in all its creamy goodness
My non-alcoholic pink jewel mocktail
Although I was stuffed, I couldn't help ordering dessert in the form of mango sorbet, pistachio and cardamom ice cream. The mango and cardamom were sublime, but boy was the pistachio out of the world. To quote M: 'it tasted more of pistachio than an actual pistachio.'

Pistachio and cardamom ice cream
Mango sorbet
The ambiance and decor of Zumbura are equally amazing, but a special mention must go to the waiting and bar staff. So friendly and knowledgeable - their recommendations for both food and drink couldn't be faulted.

Zumbura is a real find in Clapham. We ate during it's 'soft opening' where they're supposed to be ironing out any little problems, but what faults? We couldn't spot a single one. You should get down there fast, before the secret's out and it's impossible to get a table at.