This was my second time at Blacklock and I’m a big fan. Annoyingly it’s another of those no reservations restaurants however if they don’t have any space they’ll put your name on a list and they give you a time to come back when they can fit you in and thankfully this being Soho there’s lots of nearby bars and pubs in which to grab a drink while you wait. Also most importantly it’s actually worth the wait. This restaurant is a meat lovers paradise. They serve great big platters of grilled meat. Though they do have vegetarian options, I would definitely say this is not really a restaurant for your vegetarian/ vegan friends. Brilliantly they’ve also done away with happy hours and have any time £5 cocktails instead, bargain.
For £20 per person (min 2 people) they do what they call an ‘All in’, which includes pre chop bites, beef, pork and lamb skinny chips all piled high on a charcoal grilled flatbread to share with a side each per person. The pre chop bites include cheese and pickle, pigs head and kimchee, and egg and anchovy. They come in bite size canapés type portions. I had two of each and JP who I was dining with had six egg and anchovy as they’re his favourite. A delicious way to start the meal off and perk up the taste buds. The massive platter of meat comes next and it’s pretty impressive, stacked high on a large serving plate for you to devour, with the flat bread at the base which soaks up all the lovely meat juices and is a delicious treat when you get down to the bottom. By that time we were completely stuffed, but if you do want dessert they do a white chocolate cheesecake which looked great. Highly recommend this place. Pretty good value for all the delicious food you get as well. Apparently they also do a mean Sunday roast as well.
I used to got to Quaglinos a lot in the early noughties when I first moved to London, I’d not been for years though. So when my friend JP invited me for Sunday brunch with some of his friends I was delighted to return to an old favourite. We were going to their ‘Soul Sunday’ brunch which for £49 each includes a starter, main course, a pudding and unlimited wine. To start I had a lovely chicken liver parfait with compressed apple. Then for main I had roast beef and all the trimmings. Unfortunately they had completely ran out of roast beef and so gave me a ribeye steak instead, which although very nice and considerably more expensive was not exactly what I ordered or was expecting. however they did very kindly knocked it off the bill without me even asking which was very good of them. For pudding I had a lovely, if a little small, treacle tart. It was lovely and rounded the meal off very nicely though.
Hamilton is notoriously difficult to book tickets for so when my friend David casually mentioned that he’d booked tickets I made sure he saved one for me. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know a great deal of US history and had no idea who Hamilton actually was, or really in fact what most of the show was about before I went. I literally knew that it was meant to be an excellent show and that was it. Thankfully despite my lack of knowledge I was able to follow what was going on and the songs were brilliant, really catchy and beautifully done. Despite being a historic subject it’s done with super contemporary music. I really enjoyed it. For days afterwards I found myself humming the tunes and I’ve downloaded the soundtrack onto my phone. Definitely worth seeing.
Every year I apply for Wimbledon tickets in the public ballot and without fail I don’t get anything. Anyway this year finally for the first time in ages I got lucky. Not bad tickets either, second week so generally better players who have made it further in the competition. Court number one, not centre court admittedly, but still the chance to see some big matches. Good seats as well, roughly in the middle so a decent view of all the action.
My sister is a big tennis fan and a former county number one player so I invited her along with me. We had a lovely day, saw some brilliant matches and some well known players in action, including Djokovic and the Williams sisters. We had an early lunch and arrived at the ground just after midday. You’re allowed to bring one bottle of alcohol into the grounds with you, so we bought a bottle of champagne with us which we enjoyed while watching the first match. Late afternoon we went for a traditional cream tea and then later on we had a cheeky Pimms. Thankfully the weather held out for us and we had a lovely sunny day for it, not even a hint of rain. Wimbledon always has such a lovely jovial atmosphere and we really had a pleasant day, I do so enjoying going when I’m finally successful in the ballot.
As soon as I heard that JK Rowling was doing a stage version of Harry Potter I knew I had to see it. I’m a massive Potterhead. I read all the books as a teenager and have watched all the films multiple times. Tickets were predictable extremely hard to come by, selling out in record times. I tried the Friday ticket ballot multiple times to no avail. Finally on the second big ticket release I scheduled it in my diary and got online and in the queue to big. Unfortunately I was something like number 38,000 in the queue. Annoyed I left for work, however on arriving back home from work that evening miraculously I was just nearing the front of the online queue. I was in and managed to book stall tickets for April. Only problem not April that year, but April 2018! Yes a full sixteen months away. I don’t think I’ve ever had to book anything that far in advance in my life ever before. Anyway after what seemed like an eternity the time came around. I took my school friend Rup with me, we’d both read the Harry Potter books at the same time so I knew he was also a massive Potterhead.
The play is split into two halves and we saw them on preceding days. After so much excitement I was worried I might be underwhelmed, I needn’t have been though the show was excellent. First off I have to give a shout out to the staging and the visual effects, which were the best I’ve ever seen on stage then or since. Apparently they spent a fortune on them and you can really tell, with a play about magic and wizardry you’d expect amazing special effect and that didn’t disappoint. Without giving too much away the scenes with the train and also the dementors were visually stunning. Actually left me in awe and scratching my head about how on early they achieved them. Honestly breathtaking.
The actual play was great as well, no tired spin off here, the writing was spot on as you would expect from JK Rowling. I genuinely believe she could have spun off this story into a full blown additional Harry Potter film franchise it’s that good. I quite like the way she chose to do a theatre production instead though, I think she’s definitely encouraged a lot of younger people who may not have usually gone to see a theatre production to go see a play.
The play is very much a continuation of the books/ films though, so unless you’d seen them I think you may be a tad confused and struggle to follow the plot and what is going on. In fact so much went on I kind of want to see it again so I can study if again in more detail. Just have to try and get another ticket I suppose!