‘BABS| Kebabs Done Right | Glasgow

BABS!! Every time I talk about this place (which is a lot because it’s incredible) people think I’m saying baps?! No no, its BABS…as in KEbabs! And it would only be natural to think of a sleazy little kebab shop to frequent at 3am (because there’s nothing wrong with that) but it’s hard to convey that it’s actually the newest, trendiest little restaurant to arrive on West Nile Street serving charcoal fired kebabs using ethical, local and seasonal produce. When I tell people that it’s the sister restaurant to the insanely amazing and much loved Bread Meats Bread, I seem to get people’s  attention! Expect quality. From its fresh and flavour packed food to its amazing interiors , all with influences from the Balkans! Think blue mosaic tiles, insanely succulent meat, fresh salads, mezze, coffee and Turkish delight! I took way too many photos, so I’ll let them do the talking instead of numerous unnecessary adjectives…as it was all simply delicious!

Smoky mozzarella sticks – deep fried smoky mozzarella scamorza sticks with a side of marina sauce

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Chicken souvlaki – greek style free-range chicken supreme cubes grilled over coals, served on flatbread with a sweet pepper & carrot puree, house pickles, grilled tomatoes & garlic aioli

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Garlic & Parmesan Chips

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Bacon Skinny Fries – chopped bacon & harissa mayo topped skinny fries

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Spicy ‘njuda sausage arancini – risotto balls in crispy coating covered with spicy ‘Nduja sausage & feta made in house & served with a side of marinara

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Lamb spiedini – skewered lamb grilled over coals on a bed of marinara sauce, topped with grilled courgettes & sweet peppers and a side of house made focaccia.

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I love this place. I think the (friendly and efficient) staff might have got that vibe too as I kept stroking the beautiful tables! Awks. This was our second trip to Babs and we have loved everything they ever put on our table, from the babaganoush, tzatziki and pitta’s/breads, to the baklava and fresh coffee with Turkish delight! The spicy arancini and garlic & Parmesan fries were highlights, and James couldn’t stop telling me about how tender and flavoursome his lamb was.

From speaking to a few friends that have visited they all agree that you leave feeling really fulfilled but not disgustingly full, and with a list as long as your arm of the other things you want to try on the menu! The sign of a good restaurant in my eyes. Next on our list are the Shawarma chips, Bubba tuna Bab, Watermelon and feta salad and the Babs burger! 

We’ll be back soon ‘BABS,

Ellen x

Peggy Porschen |Cake Parlour | London

When I was in London recently I decided to make a quick trip to the hugely instagrammable Peggy Porschen on Ebury Street in Belgravia. I’ve gotten used to using the City Mapper app while in New York the last few times and so I decided to use it in London to see if I could justify nipping in before I caught a train to Margate to see my besties. 

The app is so so useful and has a “Get me somewhere” button where it uses GPS to tell you the quickest options to get to where you want to be which might include a few methods i.e walking, train, tube then walking etc. It told me to get on the tube at Oxford Circus (I was on Oxford Street) and to get off a couple of stops away at Victoria Tube Station and then it would be a 6 minute walk. So of course I decided to go. What the heart (belly) wants! Sorry white jeans, I’ll try to squeeze into you next year! I really like this app as it makes everything so easy to understand. Sometimes you think someone telling you to go to a specific station and get the tube or train to another specific station is simple, until you get there and you’re like, shit what tube or train actually goes there? 

That’s why I loved this app as it tells you specifically what line to get on and how many stops & minutes it is etc, and then once you get off you can use GPS to direct you on foot. It also has a stats page where it encourages you to make good choices, telling you how many calories you’ve burned, how many trees you’ve saved and how much money you’ve saved! Anyway, I liked the app, I got there, and it looked like this…

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The place is just picture perfect. So so cute! If you’re a fan of things like this I’d really recommend making some time to go on your next trip to London as it’s really not out of the way. One of the things I did regret though was not being there with a friend. It seems like the ideal place to sit outside, get some cute pots of tea and cake or mini bottles of Moët, put on your sunglasses and soak up the girlyness in all it’s glory! If you’re lucky enough to have one, I’d probably take one of those friends that’s good at taking insta pics, the will get down on the ground to get a good angle – tell you to lift your chin so you only have one – know your good side without asking kind of friend…because you will not feel embarrassed instagraming until your heart is content here! In fact…you can’t help it! 

So about the cakes…they did not disappoint! Although they didn’t look like this by the time I got to Margate! I think I must have been gleefully swinging my arms about at the thought of seeing my best friends (we all live quite a distance from one another, including Rachel who was coming all the way from Dubai!) and so they got a little bashed! I didn’t notice initially but the fruity one on the right hand side actually had a heart filled with a juicy filling that you squeezed into/onto the cake yourself! They were all delicious though, the Oreo one had an Oreo at the base, and the salted caramel had a mountain of gooey caramel in the centre! TOO GOOD. They were about £3/4 each but worth it. Hey, if they are good enough for Stella McCartneys wedding they are good enough for me. 


Here’s a few other London suggestions for your sweet tooth 

  • Maitre Choux – giving the eclair some luxe! 
  • Biscuiteers – literally biscuits for every occasion! 
  • Crumbs and Doilies – fun variety of cupcakes just off Carnaby Street!
  • Lily Vanilli – one for the vegans and gluten free lovers among you, and right beside Columbia Road Flower Market! 

Love Ellen x

    Tantrum Doughnuts | Glasgow

    This week I made a visit to Tantrum Doughnuts in the West End, just a hop skip and jump away from Kelvingrove Art Museum. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about this place is it’s branding. It’s just ultra cool! 

    The shop is really nice and intimate with just a couple of bar areas with stools. I really love that sign above with the branding printed on a pistachio and hibiscus doughnut. FYI I’ve discovered that I really enjoy saying “hibiscus”. I didn’t actually realise that the kitchen where they make all the produce is just a couple of doors down from the shop. Again, like the shop it’s got a really cool exterior where you can even see the staff at work inside. 

    As soon as we entered the shop the staff were really welcoming and friendly while we were trying to decide on flavours. There was a good variety of options, but we decided to go for Creme Brûlée, Pistachio and hibiscus, Jam, Hazlenut chocolate, French toast glaze & candied bacon, and Double Blueberry with white chocolate. We decided not to get any of the coffee’s shakes or sundaes, but they looked tempting!

    As you can see, they all look delicious! The presentation is immaculate and they taste lovely. My favourites were probably  blueberry and white chocolate, and hibiscus and pistachio. I do however think that sometimes I just prefer the classic no frills version of things rather than the ‘gourmet’ jazzed up version. Although I can definitely appreciate Tantrum’s spin on it, I don’t think it’ll be a regular purchase for me. Maybe I need to broaden my horizons but I’ve never tasted a better doughnut than the warm and sugary ones I used to get from a van at Wishaw Market when I would visit my Gran at the weekend! (Insert link incase the westenders don’t know where the buzzing metropolis of Wishaw is). I also thought just over £2.00 was expensive for one doughnut, especially if you were buying a few to share with friends or take to a special occasion. But I do get that they are hand made and small batch with a lot of love and attention to detail put into them. Overall, I think it’s a great shop and I really admire what they are doing and how well they are doing it! I’d still definitely recommend this place to people who want some cool, tasty and interesting Doughnuts! 

    Ellen x

    Mamafubu | Pan Asian | Glasgow 

    Last week I popped along to Mamafubu on Glassford street for some “Pan Asian” goodness! It’s really central, just around the corner from Polo Lounge and Ingram Street. 

    Now this blog post isn’t filled with super impressive foodie photos because frankly I’d just woken up from nightshift and a block of extremely busy shifts and I was absolutely starving so the photos are a bit rushed! But the food was really tasty and I’d definitely go back, so I thought it was worth a share on here as I’ve been neglecting to document my foodie adventures since I started this thing. And I love seeing inspiration online for where to eat out! 

    My first impressions were good, it’s a nice relaxed space with tables beside the window, a bar area to sit at with stools, and an elevated area which is where we were sitting. The staff that we met were all Asian men and so so friendly. Good service just makes you like a place instantly don’t you think? 

    The menu had a really good extensive variety of options! We opted for a few classics to share between us that perhaps aren’t the most ‘instagrammable’ but tasted delicious! 

    Breast of chicken fried rice 

    Chicken Dumplings

    Garlic Pac Choi

    Salt and Chilli Chips 

    Beef Yakitori skewers

    So there we go. They were all delicious! No fancy ‘concepts’ or presentation. Just good food!

    They do a great value lunch deal, bento box’ and takeaway option that I’m sure is really popular with the locals. They’ve also opened a sister restaurant called Kowloon Bar & Kitchen in the Southside that’s now on my list!

    Here’s me wondering if I’m pregnant or if it’s just the salt and chilli chips…

    Yep just the chips. 


    Ellen x

    Borders Bakeshop | Crunchie Collision Box

    Hands up if you love honeycomb?! Honeycomb treats are my absolute favourite and so when it was the theme of one of Borders Bakeshop’s goodie boxes I jumped at the chance to try them! And I probably need to start jumping more often after the calories I’ve consumed! 



    Honeycomb Biscuit Slices

    An Oreo and chocolate biscuit base with crushed honeycomb, topped with white chocolate and Crunchie chunks. I thought my honeycomb dreams couldn’t have got any better until they invited Oreo to the party. They tasted amazing and I loved the white chocolate topping. I’m glad they came in smaller slices though because they were filling.

    Crunchie Rocky Road

    Crunchie chunks, milk chocolate, rice crispies, honeycomb matchsticks, marshmallows and homemade honeycomb. Now we’re talking. I kid you not these were UNREAL. I could have had a box of these alone they were that incredible! They were more of a rocky road/rice crispy type thing and definitely my favourite, so so good! 

    Honeycomb Marshmallows

    Vanilla marshmallow with honeycomb chips swirled throughout, dipped in dark chocolate with more honeycomb chips on top. I don’t overly love marshmallows but these were so nice and added a lighter variety to the box.

    Honeycomb Brownie

    A rich chocolate brownie with chocolate frosting, topped with a Crunchie rock, chocolate covered honeycomb pieces and honeycomb chips! Just like any brownie these were rich but not as rich as I was expecting which was good. All the honeycomb just makes it amazing, especially the Crunchie Rock on top! 

    I’ll 100% order another box in the future, they were so tasty and I much prefer supporting small business’! I’d probably buy them as a gift for a foodie friend or to take to an event. They do different weekly flavours of these gourmet goodie boxes that you can order via PayPal/Instagram. I’ve got my eye on the Biscoff Brilliance and the Oreo Overload! 

    Thanks Borders Bakeshop!

    Ellen X 

    The Larder | Bearsden 

    So I was invited along to The Larder today, and along with my friend Chloe we were treated to a taste of their new menu! 

    #tastethelarder was the first ‘blog thing’ that I’ve managed to go to and I’m glad I went. Although I’m a chatty and usually confident person, sometimes I can feel so weirdly nervous just before going to new social situations but then when I’m there it’s always totally fine and not stressful in the slightest. But I’m glad I had a slightly hungover Chlo-dawg by my side for what turned out to be a really chilled and delicious Sunday lunch! Watching her having to pull off a 3 million point turn to get the car out of a ridiculous parking space was worth leaving the house for alone! 

    Although The Larder is slightly tucked away in Bearsden, it’s really not far from the city centre! We missed the old firm traffic and got there within 15/20 minutes. The restaurant is really nicely decorated with these beautiful brass exposed bulbs with bright wiring. 

    The lovely Kimberley Ritchie greeted us as we arrived and she was so lovely that my awkward social anxiety moment disappeared. Kimberley is otherwise known as the scottish_pr_mum who founded the super cool Scottish Mothers Collective and has a new and exciting PR company called Flat White Communications to boot. We both commented on how she looked insane! Me and Chloe barely had the energy to brush our hair that morning while the mum of 2 was winning at life and looking amazing doing it. Briony from glasgow_food was on form too, just so friendly and her amazing instagram account always makes me hungry! 
    So let’s eat…

    I had the Sunday roast with chicken which was really tasty. The chicken was so juicy, and having a really refined palate myself means that of course the pigs in blankets were ideal. Swear down, never trust anyone that doesn’t like pigs in blankets. Also never trust anyone who calls them “sausages wrapped in bacon”. They are clearly maniacs.

    Chloe made a rookie mistake by picking the fajitas as her fragile state meant her construction abilities were poor. We all know it takes skill and a steady hand to build while assessing important factors like the right guac to chicken ratio. Nonetheless she really enjoyed them and they went down a treat!

    We also ordered a portion of these tasty chilli Parmesan fries because we love all the carbs. 

    Thanks so much to The Larder for inviting me a long for a delicious meal. The desserts look amazing so they are next on my hit list. Id definitely recommend going here for a family lunch as it was really relaxed and family orientated with an impressive variety on the kids menu. Speaking of kids, we got a goodie bag with cake and prosecco! 

    Ellen x

    Levain Bakery | New York

    All it took was watching one Instagram video of someone halfing a massive cookie in two to reveal the gooiest most chocolatey centre EVER to make me add it to my NYC to-do list. 

    A quick Google, Tripadvisor and IG search revealed that the queues for this place are always insane! Search the hashtag and it won’t take you long to find photos of the shockingly long line right up the street. Masses of people waiting in formation for over an hour to get their hands on a $4 cookie is the norm. Every review assured me that there was no “good time” to go and that the line was going to be astronomicle no matter what. I had already made my mind up before we arrived that I was prepared to wait, even though the thought of it stressed me out. (Heaven forbid I actually have real problems one day!)

    However, as much as I love him I am sometimes burdened by having one of those boyfriends that doesn’t think a cookie is worth an hour of our time and would rather we, I dunno, went up the Empire State Building or something. His priorities are all messed up. 

    Thankfully a miracle occurred that day and there were only a hand full of people in line. The queue didn’t even spill out onto the street. For a minute I thought it was closed! The food gods were looking down on us and we were in and out in under 5 minutes. We went sometime between 9-10am which may have been the reason for this miracle.

     Cookie for breakfast anyone?

    The bakery has a few locations in NYC: 

    • 167 West 74th Street
    • 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd
    • 351 Amsterdam Ave
    • 354 Montauk Highway

    We went to the one on West 74th Street which is set in a beautiful area and popular with tourists due to its central location. As you can see from the photo, the bakery is tiny with 2 or 3 stools at a small window which I doubt would be a particularly relaxing experience. Luckily, this branch is only a short walk to two big tourist attractions – Central Park and the Natural American History Museum. I would recommend killing 3 birds with one stone and scheduling your visit alongside the two. Sitting on a bench in one of the worlds most beautiful and iconic parks eating the best cookie of your life, before a few hours of culture at the museum.

    Hold on though. Before you walk anywhere you 100% need to break open the cookie as soon as you get it if you are a loony like me and want that extra warm and gooey picturesque, instagramable, Pinterest worthy video or picture!

    I went for the most popular flavour of Chocolate Chip Walnut, which is weird because I absolutely despise nuts! But I was assured from online reviews that it’s the best one, that you can’t even taste the nutty flavour and that they in fact add to the texture. Thank you to all of the beautiful people out there that take the time to write on Tripadvisor, you were all right and it did not disappoint! 

    I’ll let the Video do the talking…

    Ellen xoxo

    Three Sisters Bake | Christmas | Glasgow

    It’s December! 

    A time to be joyous, generous and kind. 

    However, I’m pretty sure Santa will forgive you if like me, you’ve recently contemplated punching some of your friends and family in the face. Why I hear you ask? Because of their smug social media posts declaring how they’ve already set their automated e-mail response to Out of Office in order to enjoy the festivities. Accompanied by the token salt in the wound hashtag of #sorrynotsorry that is sure to follow. I know what you’re thinking, “she works for the NHS, she’s supposed to be super kind and not think about punching people in the face” or something to that effect. And I am super kind, but I’m also over here with envious green eyes making sure my crocs (don’t you dare) are clean in preparation for working over the festive period, including on Christmas Day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. Especially when it recently prompted a brief sense of self pity that made me believe it was totally acceptable to order a box of 25 brownies from Three Sisters Bake all for myself! 

    Oops! But it was well worth it…

    What the…

    Oh ok, it’s just the packaging. And what beautiful packaging it is too! Underneath this layer is some cellophane, helping to give unopened boxes a shelf life of 2 weeks. Once opened, they can be enjoyed for up to a week if you store them in an airtight container. They are the perfect gift to take to a Christmas get together, to send to a friend that you wont be able to visit over the festivities, or to simply help Santa meet his macros while he is delivering all of our presents. 

    Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Lemon & Coconut, Praline & Chocolate, & Raspberry Swirl Blondies.

    Come at me! Here’s some photos to entice you…

    They really do taste as good as they look! The salted caramel with popcorn topping is probably my favourite! And I couldn’t believe how gold and shimmery the topping of the praline one is!



    There isn’t long left to order a box of these goodies so go to the online shop and snap one up quick! Even if you’ve recently set your ‘Out of Office’ on, I’m sure you deserve it! You can even pick up some other Christmas gifts like their cook book or vouchers for afternoon tea! Visiting the Three Sisters Bake cafes in Killearn and Quarriers Village is definitely on my list for the new year. 

    And visiting the gym, definitely visiting the gym.

    Ellen x

    Singl-End Cafe Bakehouse | Glasgow

    Singl-End Cafe Bakehouse kept popping up on my IG feed and catching my eye with its photos of amazing brunch food! So it was easy to persuade 2 of my friends to come with me on a rainy Sunday to try Glasgow’s number 1 Cafe according to Tripadvisor. Especially as they had both been the week before and loved it!

    Despite its city centre location on Renfrew Street, the former print shop retains a sense of intimacy with its basement entrance tucked away amongst the tenements. As we were parking, Morven had already arrived and txt us to announce

     

    Ideal Morv. Ideal! Less so the hipsters, more so the dogs. Although I do like how hipster company makes my Scary Mary post-nightshift junkie bun more socially acceptable. 

     We turned up at around 2pm on a Sunday when it was bustling with people and the comforting smell of brunch. We found Morven waiting for us in a cute wee sitting room/waiting area with a cup of tea in hand. As she had promised, we met 2 handsome British Bulldogs and all proceeded to clap them without hesitation and tell them they were good boys! 

    Escaping from the Glasgow winter, this homely nook made me feel instantly chilled and reminded us all of The Butterfly and the Pig which is unsurprising as both are owned by the successful Pagliocca family. No time for the board games provided though as we weren’t waiting for long. We swiftly got shown to our seats by a really friendly waitress with cool tattoos, a blunt Bob and chunky glasses.


    When walking through to the main cafe you start to feel a slight difference in the decor. Plum walls with vibrant blue pillars remain, but the tin can style counter and ceiling gives it more of an eclectic canteen vibe…but it works. I really loved the bright material covered window shutters! 

    As soon as you sit down your eyes are drawn to the quirky glass table tops that have a variety of cool Polaroids, postcards, illustrations and exotic stamps positioned within the glass. It prompted me to get out my Instax Printer and print photos of the girls from an app on my phone (*great Christmas present idea*). However they do make that ‘backwards glance you do before you leave somewhere to make sure you’ve not forgotten anything’ slightly challenging! But I’ll let them away with it. If you let me away with this blurry hand…

    After we inspected the table we got to looking at the menu. Packed with an exciting variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, I started to realise why my friend Morven liked it. We all have that ‘one friend’ and this is definitely the place to take them to avoid feeling guilty about the lack of options available to them.


    I on the other hand, can be adventurous with food but I tend to have more of a classic/traditional (simple and boring) palate, so a menu with too much quirky/healthy/fancy stuff tends to intimidate me. But Singl-End’s menu caters for all, adding a little something special without mixing it up too much, from porridge and cooked breakfasts to open sandwiches and smoothies. Not to mention the vast homemade bread list including sweet potato and almond, rosemary and garlic, and banana pecan to name a few. As expected I played safe this time and stuck with sourdough which was delicious!

    Eggs baked in a casserole of homemade pork and fennel sausage, cannelloni beans, tomato and chilli


    I really liked this and loved the presentation! Duffy had the veggie version, which looked identical but included baked eggs in a spicy chickpea and tomato stew with roast sweet potato. As you can see she loved it too!

    Beetroot and walnut hummus, maple roasted winter vegetables and pistachio nuts with your choice of bread.

    Morven had this two weeks in a row which is testement to how much she liked it! The photo doesn’t do the vibrant purple coloured walnut hummus justice!

    Quick toilet break before dessert. I felt like a complete creep taking my camera into the toilets, but I had to when I spotted these beautiful copper pipes and ornate tiles!


     

    Just when I thought that my alone time in a toilet was the last exciting thing to happen to me that day, I saw the cake table. I may have got a little too excited and forgot to take any decent photos of it, but all it takes is a quick scan of their Instagram page for photo after photo of the cake table that dreams are made of.

    This little caramel number was insane! Dark chocolate on the top with a base that was more like a flapjack than shortbread. So good, but quite rich so sharing it with a friend or having it in two sittings might be a shout.


    Raspberry and Nutella brownie. Yas! I love Nutella (and chocolate in general) but I always consider brownies to be a risky option because I’ve had so many dry and bland ones. These were incredible though! Next time I’ll definitely be getting some to take away!

    I’m certain there will be a next time because if you couldn’t tell, I had a great time at Singl-End. There’s days where you want to lie about in your stained jammies with a greasy roll n sausage and a can of irn bru, binge watching Gilmore Girls whilst analysing your life choices and attempting to solve the worlds unanswered questions like why we say “mint chocolate” yet “chocolate orange”….but for the days you’ve washed your hair, have enough energy to put a filter on an Instagram photo and generally have your shit together…I’d definitely give this place a go! Amazing food with a twist, really friendly and efficient service and a cool atmosphere! 

    Ellen x