Just Eat with Eat First

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

Food delivery services apps have really taken off in the last couple of years, which means getting a takeaway in London has never been easier. I love using Just Eat as I find it easy to navigate, reliable and with a great selection of restaurants to order from. Getting food ordered in no longer means greasy Chinese or unhealthy pizzas as Just Eat has over 27,000 restaurants to choose from including healthy eateries and some of my favourite London restaurants. I live in Southwark and was excited to find such a wide selection of cuisine such as Turkish, Peruvian, Indonesian and even French food from Toulouse Lautrec. In the end, I plumped for Eat First for my first Just Eat order.

Eat First

I recently attended a food entrepreneurs event and heard more about Eat First From Rahul Parekh, the founder. Eat First is one of the options available on Just Eat and provides healthy meals and snacks created fresh by London based chefs. This immediately appealed to me as I love trying high quality healthy dishes but sometimes you just don't want to move from your desk or sofa and go to a restaurant!

There are a range of dishes available catering for different dietary requirements and all are reasonably priced. I ordered a number of different healthy dishes, including the Salmon Teriyaki, Korean Chicken Wings (baked not fried), Super Beef Protein Salad, the Winter Squash Salad and a green juice. Ordering using Just Eat was a quick process and I received 20% off as my order was over £30 but I was a little disappointed to see the estimated delivery time for Eat First was 75-100 minutes.

I received texts and emails from Just Eat to keep me updated and to confirm my order and delivery. My order ending up arriving after only 65 minutes, which was a happy surprise.

First impressions- I loved the minimalist packaging and most importantly, there were no leakages! The containers were compostable and the lids recyclable. The dishes also came with cards explaining the ingredients and dietary information.

The food- The beef in the Super Beef Salad was perfectly cooked as were the all the other elements but the dish seemed like it was created by throwing lots of superfoods together rather than by considering balance of flavours and textures. The salsa verde was also quite anchovy heavy and in my opinion, would have worked better with more basil and left a little chunky.

Likewise, I found the dressing in the Winter Squash Salad too sweet and felt it was seasoned enough. There was also far too much frisee lettuce and the squash was overcooked.

The Korean Chicken Wings were my favourite as I loved that they were baked not fried and the coating was perfectly spicy and tangy. I also enjoyed the green juice as it as an excellent balance of texture and flavours and wasn't bitter like many green juices I've sampled.

I saved the Salmon Teriyaki for the next day. It lasted well as it was only part cooked and I liked the accompanying teriyaki sauce. I would have liked to have seen more vegetables rather than white rice to make it a healthier option but generally well-cooked and tasty.

Overall, I thought the food was good and I am interested to see what different dishes are available on Eat First in the future. However, there were some things I didn't enjoy about the dishes (and the long estimated delivery time) so I may be more inclined to try out different restaurants on Just Eat in the future or just stick to my favourites.


Review of Kiln Soho

Posted on March 03, 2017 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

Kiln Soho is a Thai barbecue restaurant from the brains behind Smoking Goat. This Soho based eatery has quickly gained a cult status despite being notoriously difficult to get into. Like many of London's most popular restaurants, it has a no booking policy for tables under 4 people, which means you're almost guaranteed a wait. Luckily, this doesn't mean queueing outside as their digital system qudini means that you can go grab a drink nearby and wait to be notified when your table is available. But trust me that the wait is truly worth it!

The restaurant boasts an open kitchen and bar counter which runs the full length of the restaurant and ensures that you're right in the middle of all the action. The atmosphere was buzzing and lively, and the staff were all friendly and knowledgeable. 

The menu is fairly short and simple comprising regional Thai food with some Burmese and Yunnan dishes and all cooked in traditional clay pots (hence the name Kiln). The wine list is similarly minimalist but featured a good selection of reasonably priced wines.

We ordered almost all the small dishes on the menu to share. My favourites included the Sour Yellow Curry of Red Mullet, the Beef Heart Laap with Makhwaen and the Wild Ginger & Short Rib Curry from Burma. I also loved the Isaan Style Mushroom Salad, which was meaty in flavour and texture yet full of fresh herbs. The Laap was particularly memorable as it wasn't as full of chillies as I expected but was beautifully and delicately spiced. 

We also ordered the Clay Pot Baked Glass Noodles Tamworth Belly & Brown Crab meat, which was delicious and perfectly complemented by the zingy lime and green chilli sauce that accompanied it and the Stir Fried Cornish Greens & Soy we ordered.  

My only gripe is that I was a little disappointed that there were no langoustines on the menu as I associate them with Southeast Asian cuisine and believe they would be a welcome addition to the flavour and texture combinations at Kiln. 

Overall, I would love to return to sample the dishes I didn't try on this occasion and am interested to see how the restaurant evolves and how the menu changes seasonally. I would wholeheartedly recommend Kiln as a great place to go with friends or even on a date as the atmosphere is intimate yet lively and the food is absolutely delicious. 

Find out more and check out the full menu here.




Posted on February 12, 2017 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

I've always wanted to visit the Moroccan coast and when I read about a relatively new Surf and Yoga camp in Morocco, I was instantly hooked. Zen Surf Morocco is a small surf camp set in the South of Morocco near Agadir in the Taghazout area. The camp's tagline is 'awaken your senses' and focuses on relaxation and wellness to create a unique and relaxing experience. After a couple of particularly stressful months last year, I figured I could do with some well earned R & R and booked a week away for myself. 

Zen yoga camp

I'm a big believer in trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to exercise and keeping active. Surfing and yoga perfectly complement one another, as yoga assists with building the flexibility required to perform surfing manoeuvres as well as helping with muscle recovery after a long day at the beach. Being by the ocean also provides a blissful and relaxing environment perfect for yoga or meditation. 

There are several different packages available allowing you to customise your trip based on your experience, budget and preferences. I chose Zen Surf Coaching, which is perfect for beginners or intermediate surfers as you have five 2-3 hour lessons from an accredited surf teacher throughout the week as well as supervised surf practice and wetsuits and boards included. I also had a yoga package, which included rooftop yoga every day. What is included differs from package to package but mine included accommodation, three meals a day and some transport. For further information click here.

Surf camp

The camp is surrounded by banana fields and set back from beach, by about 250m, off a rough track in a cluster of other homes and buildings. It has six bedrooms and is set out in typical Moroccan riad style with the rooms organised around a central courtyard with a flat roof terrace, two traditional caravans and an outdoor space. It is extremely beautiful and full of relaxing plants, coloured walls and cool open spaces.

Everyone shares a communal kitchen, dining room and bathroom, which gives it a really community camp or hostel-like feel. As I seasoned traveller, I loved this and it also made it easy to meet others and socialise. There was a diverse group of people, mostly professionals from Europe aged 30-35 who were looking to escape from their hectic lives and relax. The majority had not surfed before but like me were keen travellers and outdoors enthusiasts. 

The facilities were simple but clean and comfortable and attended to by a daily cleaner. There were also two live in staff members who were always around to help or answer questions or organise additional services such as massages. The camp offered a number of excursion options, such as visiting a local market on the Wednesday or going to Taghazout to party. The food prepared by the onsite cook was simple and hearty, there were amazing breads and olive oil with Amlou, almond butter as well as fresh fruit and traditional Moroccan dishes. There was also excellent wifi in all the areas. 


Surf camp

Here's an example of a typical day for me at Zen Surf-

8.30am Breakfast in dining room
10am Leave for surfing with surfing instructor for a 2 hour surf lesson. Transported to local surf spots depending on surf.
12.30pm Packed lunch on beach
2pm Beach time including free surf time supervised by surf instructor
4.30pm Return to camp
5pm/6pm Yoga lesson in camp or in Taghazout
7.30pm Dinner in dining room followed by free time 

surf camp

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience and would recommend it wholeheartedly. The staff were incredibly warm and helpful and it was clear that they were passionate about what they do. My surf teacher Hossain was particularly amazing and as well as helping me with surfing, also taught me a lot about the local culture and traditions. 

The waves were also great for beginners and intermediates and the beaches and surrounding area were beautiful and unlike typical touristy beaches I often come across when abroad. I already loved surfing after a previous trip to El Salvador but was unsure about surfing in the cold Atlantic in a wetsuit. However, I completely fell in love with surfing as it allowed me to get totally away from all my thoughts and de-stress as you have to be completely present, concentrate and just be with the waves. I would recommend it as a relaxing yet active getaway, particularly in the winter months when you're in desperate need of some sun to re-energise and reinvigorate. 

www.zensurfmorocco.com (Use the code ZENSURFANDFOOD for 10% off all packages.)