Spotlight on: Bonapeti – Freshly prepared and healthy food delivered to your door!

2015 Update: Bonapeti is now live, so you can all try out their tasty and healthy, freshly prepared meals! Rather excitingly, they’ve vastly extended their delivery area which now stretches down as far as Wimbledon to Vauxhall south of the river and Cricklewood to Kentish Town north of it. Better still, they’ve introduced a special code for 40% off first orders (plus free delivery) – simply use the code BON201502. Check out www.bonapeti.com, and happy ordering!

I had the pleasure of trying out the Bonapeti food delivery service a few days ago, being treated to a full three-course meal of their freshly prepared and healthy food.

Bonapeti’s meals arrive in a smart chill box emblazoned with their logo – and opening it up as rather exciting as you see the delights of food that you’ll be eating that day. The box is well insulated, and everything arrives neatly packed so there’s no fear of your food being harmed in any way, even if it is left for you for a few hours before you come home.

Bonapeti
L: Opening the Bonapeti chill box R: Delivery’s here!

Placed on top of the box I received were three cards detailing and explaining what I’d be eating – as well as instructions on how to construct each course, and the all important ingredients, allergy and nutritional information. I say ‘construct’ – if anyone’s now thinking “hang on, this is a delivery service…why am I having to cook my own meal?!” it’s nothing remotely taxing in the slightest! As meals arrive cold (so, again, they can be stored for a few hours before eating) most mains simply require a few minutes warming in the microwave, or oven if you so prefer. Side dishes and desserts simply require assembling; such as mixing in some salad dressing (no soggy salads sitting around for hours!) and topping fruit with crunchy nuts. Seriously, it took me barely minutes to get everything prepared…plus a little longer for me personally as it seemed a shame not to present it nicely!

Bonapeti
The full selection of items to assemble dinner

Bonapeti’s website does suggest that their items could also easily be used to cook up your own delicacies if you so wished, which I think is a great idea – a really easy way of obtaining healthy, delicious and perhaps slightly unusual ingredients that can be readily adapted as you like.

I tried the carrot salad with pumpkin seed Dukkah; the coconut tamarind curry Laksa with marinated tofu Pasembur (essentially tofu fritters); and the chilli marinated roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, mango and papaya salad. Now, although I’m not a vegetarian I do indeed love vegetarian meals. Bonapeti’s meals had nothing missing for me, personally, because of an absence of meat – and I was (honestly) rather stuffed towards the end of dinner, not even being able to finish my dessert. However, I can easily see how easy it would have been to add in some meat or fish – perhaps prawns to Laksa, or chicken pieces to accompany the fritters – to further extend the meal.

The Laksa (I love a good laksa!) was mild with intriguing flavours and worked well with tender chunks of roasted squash. The accompanying tofu fritters came in a great spicy peanut and sweet potato sauce and were practically melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous; the bed of veggies (carrots, cucumbers) that came with them were a great crunchy contrast.

Bonapeti
Carrot salad with pumpkin seed Dukkah
Bonapeti
Coconut tamarind curry Laksa, with the marinated tofu Pasembur

I personally ate the carrot salad as a starter – the shredded carrot was well complimented with chickpeas and pomegranate; covered with the Dukkah spice mix and tossed with a lemon dressing, the salad overall was an interesting, light yet gorgeous mix of tastes and textures.

The pineapple, mango and papaya fruit salad was the perfect end to the meal – another dish of fascinating flavours (chilli!) that really set the tastebuds alive!

Bonapeti
Pineapple, toasted coconut, mango and papaya salad – with plenty of crispy macadamia nuts as a toppping!

As mentioned, this was indeed a very filling three-course meal. Although the starter/side dish and dessert perhaps sound on the light side, they are anything but – and the main (the Laksa with a side of tofu Pasembur) was a very generous portion indeed.

Bonapeti’s ethos of providing ‘real whole foods’ (meaning no artificial additives, preservatives or flavouring, or trans or saturated fats) made up of plant-based ingredients means their meals are healthy and wholesome. The service is great for anyone that’s looking for the ease of getting food home-delivered but wants restaurant-quality courses; wants interesting and mouthwatering items but a healthy diet. (There’s also plenty of options each day for those looking for wheat, gluten, dairy and nut-free or vegan choices.)

Bonapeti are launching in January 2015, and will be offering their delivery service to select postcodes in West London. More on Bonapeti and the team behind the company can be found at www.bonapeti.com, where you can also see a preview of the dishes they will be offering. And do also keep up to date with all their latest news from Bonapeti on Twitter and Facebook!

OpenTable Gifts cards giveaway on Kensington High Street!

Restaurant booking website OpenTable – which features over 4,000 bookable restaurants – are launching a brand new gift card service, OpenTable Gifts…and they are giving away a number of cards to passers-by on Kensington High Street today, 5th December!

OpenTable Gifts is an instant gifting service that will suit everyone’s tastes, as you’re able to give the gift of a meal out. Gift givers can purchase a gift card with a set amount that can be spent at either a named restaurant, or at a restaurant of the gift receiver’s choice. OpenTable Gifts cards are accepted at top London restaurants such as SushiSamba, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Q Grill and Buddha Bar Restaurant. You can find out more information about the service and purchase a gift card at gifts.opentable.co.uk.

If you’ve dined out in the last few years, I’m sure you’ve come across and used OpenTable’s excellent restaurant booking service – I know I certainly have! OpenTable currently seat more than 15 million diners per month via online bookings across approximately 32,000 restaurants; since launching in 1998, they’ve seated over 665 million diners around the world. They also power online reservations for nearly 600 establishments, including many of the Internet’s most popular and global brands.

OpenTable helps restaurant-goers see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus and other helpful information, as well as easily book a reservation – and they help personalise the whole process, meaning it couldn’t be simpler for diners. Their easy-to-use mobile apps mean you can now even make reservations on the go!

More on OpenTable can be found on their website, and do also look them up on Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure you pop down to Kensington High Street today, Friday 5th December to look out for the OpenTable team – you could be in with a chance of receiving a free gift card!

(Which you could of course use at one of the area’s top local eateries!)

Christmas Shopping Event at The Chelsea Gardener, 27th November

The Chelsea Gardener is hosting a special shopping event this Thursday, 27th November – just in time for you to stock up on all the Christmas decorating essentials for your home!

Visit The Chelsea Gardener between 6pm and 8pm this Thursday and you’ll be able to enjoy an exclusive discount of 10% off all items, plus free delivery of your Christmas tree in London. Once you’ve piled your bags high, pop next door to Heal’s for more festive shopping opportunities that evening; Heal’s will also be offering shoppers 10% off as well as a glass of Prosecco.

The Chelsea Gardener

The Chelsea Gardener stocks an extensive collection of charming decorations and ornaments that are perfect for adorning your Christmas tree and decorating your home. As well as a colourful and sparkly range of artificial wreaths and foliage, plus the best quality fresh cut and potted trees, there’s also plenty of unique and original gift items available – so you can buy something for yourself (or rather, your home) and your friends and family!

The Chelsea Gardener

The Christmas, The Chelsea Gardener is also welcoming acclaimed floral designer, stylist and horticulturist Kitten Grayson for a range of special wreaths and garlands. Kitty combines natural foliage, flowers and fruits with more unusual elements such as Christmas decorations or small woodland animal adornments, making her items wonderfully unique.

If you’re not able to make the shopping event this Thursday, The Chelsea Gardener is of course open daily so you can pop by any time for all your decorating needs. A hand picked selection of items is also available to buy online at www.chelseagardener.com.

Christmas Shopping Evening at The Chelsea Gardener
6pm – 8pm, Thursday 27th November 2014
125 Sydney Street
SW3 6NR
www.chelseagardener.com

The Chelsea Gardener

University of London Symphony Orchestra concert – The Chairman Dances, 23rd November 2014

The first concert in the University of London Symphony Orchestra’s new season sees a programme of Shostakovich, Adams and Bernstein in a concert titled The Chairman Dances.

Daniel Capps will return as musical director for this concert, which contains an ambitious and varied programme with plenty of virtuosic flair and emotional connection. Starting off with the pseudo jazz inflections, chugging rhythms and colourful orchestration of Chairman Dances by Adams, followed by the musical theatre of Berstein’s On The Town, the concert will finish off with Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, which is considered his greatest work; one forged in the heart of oppression and terror in Soviet Russia, and a piece of profound meaning and subtlety.

London University Symphony Orchestra

The ULSO is one of the leading student orchestras in the UK, run by students for students. It brings together the best musical talent of London’s universities to create a youthful, exuberant orchestra with a unique vitality. MusicWeb International has described the ULSO as an orchestra of “unfeigned commitment and concentration…obvious talent“.

Tickets for the concert cost £10/£8/£5 and can be purchased at the door or online.

As part of the ULSO’s Education and Outreach programme, all secondary school students are being offered tickets for this event for only £1. With Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 one of the set works for A-Level Music in 2014, it’s a great opportunity for all those studying the work to see it live! To claim this discount, students can use the special code ALevelStudents when booking online. Alternatively, simply buy a ticket at the door using student ID.

ULSO’s next concert will be held in Spring 2015 and will feature Brahms’ illustrious 3rd Symphony, and the Sibelius Violin concerto.

Further details of the ULSO can be found on their website at ulso.co.uk.

The University of London Symphony Orchestra: The Chairman Dances
7.30pm, Saturday 23rd November 2014
St Stephen’s Church
Gloucester Road
SW7 4RL
ulso.co.uk

London University Symphony Orchestra

Doggy Dating at Embargo Republica, 6th November

Chelsea’s Cuban-themed bar Embargo Republica is hosting a dating night with a twist next week – inviting singletons and their canine companions for a speed dating event and doggy disco!

Doggy Dating at Embargo Republica

The evening will take place on the venue’s roof terrace, which means that human attendees can meet like-minded singles, whilst their four-legged friends have space to play and even enjoy some special doggy treats! And with the largest roof terrace in all of SW10, there’s plenty of room for the little furry friends to have some fun.

General Manager at Embargo Republica, Andy Johnson, says about the event:

“The Chelsea set love their canine cuties so we thought transforming ourselves into ‘Embarko Repuglica’ for the evening would be a great way to raise some money for the brilliant Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Dogs are a great way to break the ice between strangers, so we’re sure the event will be a huge hit and love will be in the air!”

Admission for the doggy dating event costs £10, and a place can be reserved by emailing enquiries@embargorepublica.com. Availability is limited so do get in touch ASAP to avoid disappointment. All funds raised go to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Dating at Embargo Republica

Embargo Republica offers its guests a mix of lush surroundings, the best Latin beats and exotic cocktails – the selection includes the Hemingway, the Cuban Kiss, the Fidel Castro and the four-person Republica de Cuba, served in a cigar box. The venue regularly hosts live bands, DJs and acoustic sets from artists such as Victor Hugo & the Mambo Boys, The Cuban Brothers and Salsa Fuego Trio. And with the Cuban al-fresco feel of the roof terrace, it’s one of the best ways of experiencing a little Havana magic in London.

Dating night at Embargo Republica

Head down to ‘Embarko Repuglia’ for this dating night with a twist next week, or pop down to Embargo Republica on any night for a fun evening out!

Embarko Repuglia
6.30pm – 9pm, Thursday 6th November 2014
Embargo Republica
533 Kings Road
SW10 0TZ
www.embargorepublica.com

New gallery Apart opens on Kensington High Street

First opened by Adrian Palengat in a former antiques market on Portobello Road in 1999, erectile Apart has operated as a full time pop-up gallery since 2006. Now, for Autumn/Winter 2014, the gallery is occupying two floors of stunning gallery space on Kensington High Street.

Gallery Apart Kensington High Street
Gallery Apart Kensington High Street

Apart is known for its early work with a significant number of established artists and for its playful, pop influenced eye. More recently, the gallery has become well known for its overseas show programme with exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the United States.

During the run of the exhibition in Kensington, work by the following artists will be shown:

  • Pakpoom Silaphan
  • Finn Stone
  • Miss Bugs
  • Russell Young
  • Andy Bridge
  • James Holdsworth
  • Sunil Pawar
  • Michael Viviani
  • Ryan Hadley
  • Sean Alexander

…and many more!

Gallery Apart Kensington High Street

Gallery Apart Kensington High Street

Further details on Apart and its Autumn/Winter exhibition in Kensington can be found on its website www.ap-art.co.uk or on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/2014christmasshow.

You can see a preview of the works being shown at Apart via the images in the post, but do otherwise pop down today to the gallery to view the exhibition for yourself.

Apart
176 Kensington High Street
W8 7RG
www.ap-art.co.uk

Gallery Apart Kensington High Street

Gallery Apart Kensington High Street

Visit Kensington & Fulham Open Studios this weekend

For all keen art collectors – on this coming weekend (10th to 12th October) and the next (17th to 19th October), Kensington & Fulham Open Studios will give you the chance to visit and purchase art works in the very spaces where they were created.

Now in its second year, five-five participants will be taking part in the 2014 edition of Kensington & Fulham Open Studios, with thirty unique spaces available to visit – including local attics, living rooms, cafes, galleries, food stores and even a houseboat! Many art forms will also be covered over the two weekends, from jewellers to milliners, potters and sculptors to painters, photographers to print-makers all taking part. The event aims to encourage people to explore unknown streets and get to know their neighbours whilst also providing them the unique opportunity to purchase from local creators in a relaxed setting.

A taster of all the art that will be on show in the area starts today (7th October) until the 19th October at the Chelsea Gallery on King’s Road. Sponsored by Paragon Design Construction, the show lets visitors see a sample of works from all the open studio artists in one place.

Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Leigh Glover
Leigh Glover
Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Isobel Hutchinson Cannon Street
Cannon Street – Isobel Hutchinson
Kensington & Fulham Open Studios - Camilla Shavig
Camilla Shavig

This year, Kensington & Fulham Open Studios will also include a number of exciting mini-events – including the Art for Youth fundraising exhibition at the Royal College of Art on 15th and 16th October; tours of the Royal Brompton Hospital art collection and pop-up studios at Kensington and Fulham Whole Foods stores.

Entry to all Kensington & Fulham Open Studios venues is free. Full information – including profiles of the artists taking part, maps and opening times – can be found at www.kfopenstudios.co.uk. Do also look out for KFOS brochures at your local library or cultural centre.

Kensington & Chelsea Open Studios
10th – 12th October and 17th – 19th October 2014
www.kfopenstudios.co.uk

Moira Wong Orthodontics opens on Kensington Church Street

A new orthodontics practice recently opened up on Kensington Church Street, offering a wide range of specialised dental treatments for both children and adults alike.

From clear ceramic brackets to invisible braces on the inside of teeth, as well as the Invisalign method, Moira Wong Orthodontics provides many treatments that help to enhance self-confidence in patients and well as improving the overall general health. For children, the clinic specialises in interceptive treatment from the age of 7 that aims to prevent and reduce the need for more complicated attention later in life. For adult patients, Moira Wong Orthodontics seeks to solve long-term problems (such as jaw problems, discomfort when eating or even headaches, neck ache and shoulder tension) caused by mis-aligned teeth.

Moira Wong Orthodontics

Treatments take place in the practice’s contemporary building which also houses a brand-new play room that’s been exclusively designed for children to play games, make friends and feel as happy and comfortable as they would do if they were at home.

The practice was founded by Dr Moira Wong, a dental graduate of the Royal London Hospital. After beginning her career as a house officer in prosthetic dentistry, she moved to Bristol Dental Hospital where she held senior house office positions. It was here that she gained her fellowship in dental surgery and worked in the paediatric dentistry department, treating special needs children and addressing complicated development problems. Dr Wong later moved to Guy’s Hospital, gaining her master’s degree, before continuing on to the consultant programme at King’s College and St George’s Hospital, achieving her Fellowship in orthodontics. At the moment, fewer than 300 practitioners have this level of training in the UK, with only 5 to 10 people each year gaining the accreditation. Dr Wong prides herself on her excellent reputation for highly skilled work and her approachable, communicative manner.

Moira Wong Orthodontics

Moira Wong Orthodontics was officially opened by the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Maighread Condon-Simmonds, a few weeks ago on an evening that also saw more than £1,000 raised for local charity Borne which strives to promote research into premature birth. At the opening, the Mayor praised the new local business, especially in its scope for helping younger patients:

“We need dentists in the local area a lot, especially highly-skilled orthodontists […] Children often have to travel quite far, all the way up to the West End so it means a lot to the community when finally they have a local orthodontist to go to. I’m pleased that our children in the area from now on are in the great care of Dr Wong […] There are lots of primary and nursery schools in Kensington so this opening will certainly bring more convenience for parents living locally.”

Moira Wong Orthodontics
Caroline Greenhalgh and Professor Mark Johnson from Borne together with Dr Wong
Moira Wong Orthodontics
Dr Wong with the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Maighread Condon-Simmonds

The founder of Borne, Professor Mark Johnson, also said:

“The charity strives to change the lives of mothers and babies by reducing the incidence of premature births. However, in order to do this, we need support to carry out our work and research. The funds raised in the event today mean so much to us, as it shows ongoing commitment of the local people and community. Certainly it gives us more encouragement on our journey to help prevent disability and death in childbirth and create lifelong health for mothers and babies.”

To find out more about the practice and the treatments it offers, please see moirawongorthodontics.co.uk.

Moira Wong Orthodontics
27A Kensington Church Street
W8 4LL
moirawongorthodontics.co.uk

Kensington: Dirty Bones Review

Kensington of course has some very fine eateries and cafes, everything from ultra-posh (as you’d probably expect) to places that are more casual and laid-back. It’s home to many a fine pub, as well, with more and more of these turning gastro – and providing a very reasonable dining experience indeed. But the proper ‘fun’ places are rather few and far between.

But at the start of this year, along came Dirty Bones. Located at the start of Kensington Church Street, this basement bar and restaurant certainly tries to amp up the fun, styling itself as something of a dive bar. (Luckily – I love dive bars!)

Dirty Bones Review
The Asian dog

The bones in the name refers to chicken, ribs and fish of course, although there’s dogs here too. Hot dogs, I mean. And, unusually, I’d always gotten the impression that Dirty Bones were far more famous for their hotdogs than their bones. (Though including ‘bones’ in the name seems to be a popular choice for restaurants in 2014.)

Early on a Tuesday evening, we descended into Dirty Bones to give it a whirl. The bar area you walk through first is supremely funk-ily decorated, with the actual restaurant area a little more muted. We were very well attended to, being asked multiple times whether we need help with the menu, or wanted any recommendations. Starting off with cocktails, with opted for a Dirty Bones Negroni, the Mutt’s Nutts (great name) and a Top Dog (…); cocktails are reasonably priced, by London standards, at around £8. My negroni was certainly well made, and the feedback from the other cocktail inbibers was positive too.

Keep with the dog theme for cocktails, we opted for three different dogs for food – one Brit Dog (with bacon, cheese and mustard), one Mexican (with pulled pork, salsa and guacamole) and an Asian (kimchi puree, wasabi mayo and crispy seaweed). And then, to round things off, three different sides – triple cooked fries, dirty fries (as the previous, but with chilli cheese and BBQ sauces on top) and a good ol’ mac ‘n’ cheese – that we wanted to share as one big pile in the middle of the table.

Oddly enough (especially for someone going to a hotdog restaurant), I’m not the biggest fan of hotdogs – but am a fan of dogs pilled high with delicious toppings. And given I’ve been on a bit of kimchi fix of late, the Asian dog was perfect for me. The actual kimchi flavour was pretty delicate and the wasabi mayo on the lighter end of the scale; the crispy seaweed gave each bite an unusual bit of texture. (I opted for the beef version – all hot dogs can be pork or beef.)

The dirty fries were insanely more-ish – their description on the menu makes them sound a bit over-the-top, but I couldn’t get enough of those bad boys. The naked version (i.e. ‘just’ triple-cooked chips) were equally tasty, and the small portion of mac ‘n’ cheese was as well. An unsual colour (more reddish than the usually cheesy yellow!), I can only assume there was some cayenne pepper or paprika in the mix somehow.

Dirty Bones Review
Mac ‘n’ cheese, dirty fries…and regular triple cooked fries to complete the set

My one main gripe was the price of the beer – £4.50 for the cheapest option, and that for a 330ml can! Sure, the price of a pint is expensive in London these days but £4.50 for roughly 3/4 of a pint sure is cheeky. (Or £5.50 for Brooklyn lager…)

All in all – bar the beer pricing – it’s a reasonably priced and rather fun place for some tasty ‘junk’ food…a welcome addition to the Kensington dining scene. And bar scene too – it’s a useful place to know about for some darn good cocktails. With names to giggle about.

Dirty Bones
20 Kensington Church Street
W8 4EP
dirty-bones.com

Kensington Mums’ Social Events this August and September

If you’re a little down because summer’s almost over (and the weather seems to suggest that summer’s definitely over) then don’t fear – local parenting website Kensington Mums once again have a number of exciting events lined up to ease you into Autumn!

On Thursday 18th September, from 1pm to 3pm, Kensington Mums will be hosting a Beauty Masterclass at Whole Foods Kensington – join Whole Foods’ in-house healthy eating specialist Maura and learn how to make some amazing natural products…that you’ll also be able to take home! The products you’ll be taught how to make are an apple cider vinegar toner, a ‘Green Goddess’ face mask, and a coffee & coconut body scrub. The class costs £10 and little ones are welcome – learn how to make something new (and healthy!) as well as connecting with local, like-minded mums. Booking is essential, and can be done online – places are limited, so early booking is recommended! More details here.

Kensington Mums Fit Club

If you’re after something equal parts relaxing and social, there’s also the Kensington Mums and Bumps Coffee Morning taking place on Monday 22nd September from 10am to 12pm at the lovely Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street. For £5, you’ll receive a complimentary hot drink, be able to view a chocolate presentation by the resident chocolatier and also have an opportunity to try a small selection of chocolates. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a 10% discount on any purchases made at the cafe or shop. Tickets can be booked online – once again, book early to avoid disappointment! Children welcome; more details here.

And if you’re looking for something a little more energetic to get started with straight away, the Kensington Mums Fit Club is being held in Kensington Gardens every Saturday, 10.30am to 11.30am. This free club is hosted by actual Kensington mums Sabrina and Iram, and is open to all levels – and you can jog, run, bike or just walk during the session. More details here.

More on local mums, parents and kids’ news at the excellent Kensington Mums website: www.kensingtonmums.co.uk.