Brigade Restaurant, London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" once said Samuel Johnson.  I would like to offer an amendment to that statement to reflect the London of August 2015. Perhaps: "When a man is tired of continual bloody rain showers in the middle of bloody August in London, then he is tired of walking around with a cheap umbrella turning inside out constantly and ready to sit down with a massive glass of literally any alcohol going".

Not quite as snappy as the original I appreciate. It's a work in progress.

Windswept and freezing from the August meteorological horrors, J and I found our way to Brigade, a new social enterprise restaurant housed in an old fire station just down from London Bridge. Rather like Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Restaurant, a central portion of Brigade’s mission statement is to help vulnerable people acquire training and apprenticeships.  

One such success story was working in the kitchen that evening and thrilled to announce that he had just been offered a six month apprenticeship at the Savoy across town. Props to you sir. Would it be too much to ask for more restaurants to do that? For more businesses to do that? Jeez, what would happen if we suddenly lived in a society where we were truly looking after each other? 

The atmosphere was delightful – very open, with a bar in front of you as you enter, an open kitchen as you swing around to the dining room, and a wonderful host, Stefano, who actually gave us a choice of tables, as opposed to the old, “Oh, there’s two of you? There’s a delightful little cramped 2-top wedged between the window and the kitchen.”  As for dress code, you’ll feel equally comfortable here whether you’re dressed casually or rocking your latest Topshop purchase, as I was of course. 

Upon being seated we were treated to an earthy bottle of red, with some smoked almonds and sicilian olives to munch on - poor J barely got to taste them as I demolished them the moment they were set down. Stefano, the pride of Verona, was extremely helpful and attentive to our needs, explaining several things on the menu in detail and offering us his personal favourites. 

To start, I opted for the crab salad on a cucumber jelly with pink grapefruit (coz I'm classy like that) and J went for the gazpacho. The soup seemed more like a puree than a traditional gazpacho, but I was assured it tasted delightful with just a hint of heat from the chilies. The crab was very fresh and worked well with the coolness of the jelly and the acidity of the grapefruit.  

The main courses didn’t fare quite as well – the lamb was pretty tough, almost like a steak though described as a 'leg of lamb'. The steak itself suffering a similar fate, overcooked and a little chewy, though there were some pink parts to be found. The chips they served with the course however - in a darling mini deep-fry basket no less - were heaven.  

Dessert brought us back to the top of our game, with a lavender fool topped with elderflower jelly (ah, there you are British summer time) and a cheese plate which offered a trio of goat, cheddar and blue cheese, the cheese holy trinity.

You have to hand it to Brigade - they are a business who are truly giving back to the community.  When we zipped up our coats to leave we found we had a renewed energy to step out into the London evening. Hell, it had even stopped raining.

This post was made in collaboration with Shandy Pockets - a website curated by a fellow Brit in New Orleans

Red Alert

Hello Fashionistas,

Happy Tuesday from sunny (and I use that word ironically) London. Today on the blog I am wearing a fantastic asymmetric skirt bought in the Marks and Spencer's sale (who knew they were so cool!?)

The photos are again by the delightful

Juliette

.

Here it is #threewaystowear

#1 Wear with a shirt and jumper in neutral colours to really let the skirt shine. Add flatforms to keep it edgy.

#2 For a more romantic vibe wear with a sweet floral top and vintage heels. Perfect for a late summer brunch. Also please enjoy the incredible creepy door knocker....

#3 Go big or go home. Crop top, platform boots, massive church. DONE

Until next time fashion divas!

RD xoxo

London Calling

Happy Friday Fashion Darlings,

Today your English Girl In New York is actually in London! East london to be exact. The home of the best vintage stores, street art and disconcertingly cheap curries.

On the corner of Hanbury and Brick Lane I met my London secret weapon - photographer 

Juliette Carton

. This fabulous girl is only 18 years old and is already pretty hot on the London music photography scene. Check out her website to see more.

The outfit I have on today is an oversized trapeze dress which I bought from a stall at

Spitalfields Market

. The young designer, originally from Thailand, says she has no brand name, website or instagram. So if you like the dress (there were many more colours and patterns) head over to Spitalfields and find her stall in the outside part of the market opposite the Leon. 

Here it is #threewaystowear

#1 Wear over skinny jeans and platform boots for a casual "yes I'm always this cool" look.

#Vintage the s*** out of the dress by belting it at the waist and adding some vintage heels and a vintage headscarf.

#3 Play up the unusual shape of the dress by wearing with flatforms and geometric sunglasses. A side pony ain't just for women in spandex leotards you know, rock that side pony with pride.

Thanks again to the wonderful 

Juliette

More London photos coming next week. Until then divas!

RD xoxo