Cheeseburger and rosemary fries at Honest Burger

Honest Burger, Tottenham Court Road, London: An Honest Review

I love a good burger. In fact, it’s a great time to be a fan of the American fast food icon carnivore, with entrants like Byron, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Five Guys, Smashburger and London-centric establishments such as MEATLiquor and Patty & Bun roaring onto the fast-food-come-gourmet scene. There is now no-end of high-end restaurants to indulge in a gourmet burger, especially in London, and frankly I’m rather happy about this.

So when the good people of Honest Burger announced a new opening on Tottenham Court Road, just a stones-throw from my office in Central London, you can imagine my delight and excitement. I assure you it was akin to a puppy at Christmas.

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London dim sum from Dim t review

Going for Dim Sum at Dim t, London: Review

For me, dim sum is a gift from the gods; a delightful little parcel of savoury or sweet goodness. Serious mouthwatering stuff. It’s like honey to the bee (I promise no further Billie Piper references for the remainder of this review).

A bunch of colleagues and I headed down Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia last week for a spot of lunch between meetings and casually strolled into Dim t; naturally I was rather looking forward to ordering the signature dish.

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Chimichangas Milton Keynes review

A Man Date at Chimichanga, Milton Keynes: Review

It’s no secret that I’m not really a fan of chain restaurants. The process of duplicating the atmosphere and creating consistency in not just the quality of the food but also the experience of eating it, is one that can suck the very soul out of a place. But many others disagree and even I must concede that some chains are better than others (I’ve not been shy in polishing off a healthy portion of Nando’s in my time). But is what makes a ‘good’ chain restaurant the same as a ‘good’ independent? This was the question that burned in our minds as Suburban Gent and I enjoyed some Mano-a-Mano time when we found ourselves sitting in the puesdo-mexican surroundings of Chimichanga.

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Franco Manca London pizza review

Franco Manca Pizza, London Review: Is this REALLY the Best Pizza in the UK?

Ask to anybody based in and around Fitzrovia or Tottenham Court Road where you can find the best pizzeria and you’re likely to be directed in the direction of Franco Manca.

I’ve been walking past this place for some time and have marveled at its undeniable popularity, with regular queues spilling out of the door for a table, coupled with a steady scurrying of office workers leaving with takeaway boxes thrust under their arm.

The obvious popularity, geared with the The Guardian‘s promise of the “best pizza in Britain”, led me down to Franco Manca with my team  to try it out for ourselves. Would it really live up to the hype?

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Coldplay live at Wembley, A Head Full of Dreams tour

Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams, Live at Wembley Stadium Review (I had a bit of a disaster)

From Parachutes, with early masterpieces such as Yellow and Trouble, to the rousing sounds of their later albums such as X&Y, Viva La Vida or Mylo Xyloto, I’ve been a Coldplay fan thick and thin through every album. Whenever I think of a major milestone in my life, there’s always been a Coldplay record to complement it.

Coldplay are seemingly a band that many take great pleasure in knocking, but their huge back-catalogue of hit after hit certainly suggests they’ve been doing something right all this time. My thoughts on their success? It’s always been their live performances, such energy and euphoria lends itself to stadium arenas, which frankly, are out of this world.

Having been fortunate enough to see Coldplay twice previously on earlier tours (X&Y and Viva La Vida), I was really looking forward to seeing the guys play Wembley for their most recent tour and work, A Head Full of Dreams. I say really looking forward. I was bouncing off the walls. Nearly wet the bed. That kind of excited.

So, how was it?

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Heavenly Blends' Lisa and Debbie

Heavenly Blends, Milton Keynes Review: Supporting Local

There’s something really lovely about a cute little independent coffee shop. Somewhere to unwind, catch-up with good friends and enjoy honest homemade food. Sadly, due to the alarming growth of multi-national chains such as Starbucks, good independents are somewhat of a rarity in Milton Keynes – and that’s why I was so keen to head down to Heavenly Blends after stumbling across it on Twitter, particularly after spotting the promise of a thick American-style milkshake on the menu.

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Paris House Michelin star review

Michelin Star Dining at Paris House, Woburn Abbey: Review

We’re all friends here so I feel that we’ve reached the point in our relationship that we can be brutally, frighteningly honest with each other.  There are really only two types of people who eat at Michelin starred restaurants other than professional chefs: those who have more money than sense and those who want to impress someone else. And with no sense of shame I’ll admit that for my recent visit to Paris House, I fell very firmly into the latter category. It was my fifth Wedding Anniversary and by God I had quite a few Husband points to make up this year.

I should start this review with a caveat that says I’m going to be quite tough on Paris House. I’ll pick up on a couple of things that other places would probably got away with, but these guys have got a Michelin star and for the prices they are charging, you (and they) should expect perfection.

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Top 10 job interview tips from an interviewer

Top 10 Job Interview Tips.. From an Interviewer

Ah, the interview!

I’ve been on both sides of the interviewing table on countless occasions, both as a hungry job-seeker chasing that perfect career opportunity, or as a hiring manager looking to boost the skills and capability of my team by finding the ideal recruit.

Currently on a round of interviews to seek out a new vacancy in my team, I’ve been through at least fourteen interviews (I’ve been a bit picky..) thus far and have seen some good, and some not so good candidates… and interviews. I thought it might be worth sharing my own experiences of how I prepare for an interview and also some observations on what I like (and dislike) when talking to potential candidates.

Before we dive into my top ten interview tips, remember:

There is no such thing as being over-prepared for an interview, and in *most* circumstances, no excuse for being caught off-guard. The responsibility for nailing the interview sits with nobody other than YOU!

I really believe the “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” mantra applies here.

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Affamato Pizza milton keynes review

Affamato Pizza, Milton Keynes Review: A slice of heaven?

There seems to be a little bit of a food revolution going on in Milton Keynes – it’s never been a finer time to love good food and drink in the city town. Whether you love the gourmet BBQ offerings of our friends at UrbanGrilla or Percy’s, beautifully presented gastro pub-grub from the likes of the Black Horse in Woburn, enjoy the Michelin-starred creations of Paris House in Woburn or perhaps a local tipple from the Concrete Cow Brewery or Virtual Orchard, Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas are transforming into a foodie’s dream…. despite the five Nandos! 🙂

Local start-up Affamato is the latest food venture offering a point of difference to the good people of Milton Keynes, promising fresh and authentic Italian wood-fire oven cooked pizza delivered to customers’ doors. As a bit of a pizza-lover myself, this was one I was really looking forward to trying and given it was a Monday evening and found myself entertaining guests, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Affamato a whirl… not that I needed much in the way of an excuse.

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Smashburger Milton Keynes review

HULK SMASH! Half a review of Smashburger, Milton Keynes

Since I first mentioned the phenomenon in August last year, for good or for ill, I have accepted more than a few invitations to sample various dishes and visit restaurants but I’ve continued what seems to be my favourite habit of not being invited to any burger chain store launches. Clearly not wanting to buck the trend, Smashburger opened it’s first UK store right here in Milton Keynes and I didn’t go. While waiting for the opportunity to get in there, I waited to see what the other Milton Keynes twitteratti made of the big event and the result was a somewhat underwhelming silence…. now I know we are not yet a culinary force to be reckoned with but there are enough of us about that I would have thought that someone would have gone to tell us what they thought.

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