Sunday 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas and A Round Up of 2012

So 2012 has almost whizzed by and despite it being the wettest year on record, what a fun, exciting and positive year it's been. Red, white and blue has dominated the landscape for a massive chunk of 2012, as we've seen our country do us proud not only hosting the best Olympic Games ever, but winning medals left, right and centre. The Queen has been at the helm of a multitude of magnificent royal Diamond Jubilee celebrations, as well as performing her acting debut with none other than Mr Bond (who turned 50 this year). And the news that a Royal baby is on the way.

Amongst it all, Miss Immy has been very busy exploring and discovering all sorts of intriguing new places for the blog. This year's adventures have included an amazing trip to Hong Kong to see in the Year of the Dragon; dining on stew in a Dickensian-themed arch; meeting the extraordinary duo who are James and Streetcat Bob; shopping for monster supplies in Hoxton, and listening to bedtime stories whilst dressed in a nightie, sipping cocktails...

A definite highlight for me was being featured in Time Out. Twice. Once in the actual magazine, and another on the Time Out website which you can read here. Oh and I even got around to creating a Miss Immy's London calendar which has proved hugely popular. If you'd still like to order one, just get in touch.  Now over two years old, Miss Immy's London is practically an established veteran in 'Blogsville', so a big thanks as always for your continued support.  In the meantime, here are a selection of my personal favourites from 2012 (click each title to go to the link).

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and see you in 2013!

Miss Immy x

Sunday 9 December 2012

PipsDish at The Garage

Last Sunday, my friend and I had lunch inside a bright red truck parked inside an old garage. As you may have gathered, this is no ordinary place to dine. This is PipsDish at The Garage - a hidden, self-styled restaurant tucked off Upper Street in trendy Islington. As you enter the old Citroen repair workshop via a small red door, you find yourself in a wonderful, huge space full of long tables with checked cloths; antique cupboards and shelves creaking with vintage crockery, and wicker baskets laden with farm fresh fruit and veg. And as it is the season to be jolly, there was a merry smattering of festive fairy lights, decorations and a Christmas tree to add to this enchanting gem of a restaurant.

The Chefs/Hosts/Brain Wizards behind this unique establishment are Philip 'Pip' Dundas and his fabulous kitchen 'soulmate', Mary Doherty who really are a culinary Dream Team. They originally created PipsDish as a temporary dining experience, but its enormous popularity has meant it's here to stay a while longer. Thank goodness! The decor is rustic and simple, with the focus being on the kitchen which takes centre stage as Pip and Mary beaver away producing delicious, wholesome and impromptu dishes of home-cooked grub. The blackboard on the wall details the menu being offered each day, and sometimes you'll find a couple of choices, whilst other times it's a set menu which adds to the intrigue of wondering what delicacies you'll be devouring. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.

It doesn't matter where you sit at PipsDish as all the seating is great, but I must say there was something pretty special about having lunch in the truck (you'll probably need to request this in advance if you'd like to eat in there). Decked out with a candlelit wooden table, chairs and a comfy cushion-clad sofa area, this really is the place for an intimate lunch or dinner for up to 5 guests (maybe 6 at a push). To give you an idea of what kind of food to expect at PipsDish, this is the excellent menu offered from our Sunday lunch. We literally dined on quince and a host of other delights. The only thing missing was a runcible spoon!

Chicken Liver Pâté served with toasted sourdough
Cauliflower & Horseradish Soup

* * * * *

Steak & Woodpigeon Pie served with Roast Potatoes & Kale

* * * * *

Apricot Trifle
Homemade Chocolate Mousse
Manchego Cheese Plate with Quince

Being hungry (and greedy) so and so's, we sampled the lot, apart from the chocolate mousse which due to popular demand, shot off the menu before we got a look in. I can honestly say that absolutely everything was delicious - perfect hearty, winter fodder. Other dishes you may find on Pip's menu include Shorthorn Boeuf Bourguignon; Squid stuffed with Chorizo & Tomato; Baked Peach Alaska with Chantilly Ice-cream, and Homemade Lemon Creams with Shortbread. Yum!

When Pip's not busy creating culinary magic, he's creating perfect cookbooks. His first one 'Cooking Without Recipes' is already published (and available in the restaurant), and there's a second one in the pipeline. PipsDish is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, offering canapes followed by a creative 3 course meal. Sunday lunches at PipsDish are epic and a perfectly quirky way to while away a Sunday afternoon. As PipsDish is BYO (with no corkage fee), it really is affordable and worth every tasty morsel. Also on Sunday, kids under 8 years old eat for free, and those under 12 can eat for half price. Pip and Mary's generosity doesn't stop there - they're so kind and thoughtful that they're working with AgeUK to provide free nourishing lunches for the local elderly folk on a weekly basis. So if you know any old people around Islington, do point them in Pip's direction. Or better still, take an elderly person with you and treat them to a meal they won't forget. With a dining capacity of around 45 covers, it's also very much worth considering hiring out PipsDish as an ideal venue for your next party. But not til I've booked mine first!

Miss Immy was a guest of PipsDish. Big thanks Pip & Mary!

133B Upper Street
London N1 1 QP
Nearest stations: Angel or Highbury & Islington
Tel: 07503 293 438

Dinner: Thur, Fri & Sat (3 courses & canapes @ £30)
Sunday lunch 1pm (3 courses @ £25 or main course only £15)
BYO wine

Friday 30 November 2012

Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse

After offering a secret password to the behatted gent on the door (something about whether he'd be kind enough to warm my muff), my friends and I stepped through a secret gate and fell headlong into Victorian London where we walked along an eerily quiet makeshift street and found refuge at The Queen Victor pub. Located within a dark and musty old railway arch, the pub was heaving with interesting punters. This is Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse. A fantastic pop-up venture which is destined to disappear at the close of 2012.

The hospitable innkeeper served us enamel mugs of dandelion & burdock and ginger beer; jam jars of gin, and bottles of Tangle Foot beer. We found a pew in the corner at a wooden table made from an old barrel top and supped our refreshments as we sang along heartily to someone belting out old classics on the piano. A couple of local Victorian ladies mingled amongst the tables offering chat and a secret game of poker.

As well as hosting legendary Victorian pub nights, there are all sorts of unusual events to be found at Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse, including Music Halls Nights and Tweed & Lace Parties where street games, magicians, jugglers and comedy acts can all be found. There is even an 'End of the World is Nigh' bash on 21st December (ask the Mayans) And as a Leyshon Brothers grand finale, they're putting on the mother of all knees-ups with a fantastic New Year's Eve bash on 31st December. Bawdy behaviour and dressing up in Victorian garb is very much encouraged (but not compulsory). The whole concept is brilliant and I really hope there's a chance that Leyshon Brothers will be able to continue their venture into 2013. It's the most ideal place to while away a cold, winter's evening.

Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse
(hidden somewhere near London Bridge)
Currently open until the end of December 2012
All tickets £10 (apart from New Year's Eve)
New Year's Eve party £25 (ticket availability limited, so get booking!)

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