Tuesday, 24 November 2015

340 The Kings Road: Fairfax and Favor at London Après

On Thursday evening, a new pop up threw open its doors at 340 The Kings Road. London Après, a collaboration of several British brands, had arrived on the iconic street and my sister and I were invited to the opening celebration.
One of the brands behind the collaborative pop up is Fairfax and Favor, a small yet upcoming British company that specialises in making ‘affordable luxury footwear’ that bridges the gap between the country and the city, or, more importantly, beautiful boots that I have been just dying to get my hands on!

After being swept off my feet and into a pair of boots by a rather jovial man with a spotted pocket handkerchief, my sister and I  managed to pin down Marcus, the Fairfax half of the boot making duo. Then, in true Lucinda style, my sister began to interrogate Marcus for just about every detail of his journey into boot making. (I took the very important role of drinking my pink gin cocktail and listening...)

It turned out it all started when Marcus and his business partner were interning for another shoe company. After several months, the pair decided to go it solo (despite being told they would never manage it!) and try to forge their own path into the shoe business. They pooled their savings, crossed their fingers and flew out to Spain to track down a factory which was to become the future producer of Fairfax and Favor’s beautiful signature boots.
The pair went from selling boots out of the back of their cars  and popup tents to visiting prestigious country shows up and down the UK, selling hundreds of pairs of shoes, all within a matter of a couple of years. Quite an impressive feat given they were new to running their own business. Now, with bricks and mortar over their heads, I think we can say they have safely established themselves as a brand here to stay!

Talking to Marcus was quite an inspirational experience. He and his partner hadn't necessarily tried to come up with 'the next new thing'. Instead, they had entered a market with a good product and let it do the talking. They had believed in themselves, took the risk of starting a company at the young ages of 24, worked hard and come out the other side with a successful business. It goes to show that with a bit of drive and a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can create something truly rather impressive which is a valuable lesson I feel we can all apply to our own lives. 

All too soon we had to leave the warm shop and step back out into the icy night. The Christmas lights were twinkling away and once again I was reminded just how lovely London is. Thankfully, like Fairfax and Favor, I'm here to stay. 

The popup is open everyday until December 13th so if you want to pop by for  a peek at the boots, a sneaky cocktail or to interrogate Marcus yourself, I would honestly recommend it. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Fit for a Queen: Darbaar

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of Darbaar, a new Indian Restaurant in the heart of the city aiming to give you the royal experience. Darbaar's is the brainchild of Abdul Yaseen, who was part of the founding team of the Cinnamon Club and went on to become head chef of the well renowned Cinnamon Kitchen. However, now it seems he has branched out on his own to create another pretty spectacular dining experience. The whole concept is based around the idea of food you can share and is inspired by the decadence of Royal Indian Court banquets. Understandably then, my sister and I were rather excited as we walked up the red carpet (past a rather fetching elephant) and into the restaurant for the first time.

We were greeted by sunset cocktails and trays of canapés which, in anyone's books, can never be a bad thing. Lu and I, never to be shy around food, dug straight in and went to explore the (rather large) restaurant. The decor was sleek but beautiful - we both especially loved the dramatic light fittings over head!

In the main restaurant area, there was a long bar from which you could see straight into the kitchen which included an open clay oven! I loved being able to watch the chefs dash around preparing the dishes. However, as you'd expect, the real stars of the show were the platters of treats circulating around.

 Now, I am by no means an expert when it comes to Indian food, so I have to admit I was not exactly 100% sure what I was putting into my mouth, but to quote one of the few remaining memories of English GCSE, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". The food was delicious, who cares what it was called?!

 After having eaten perhaps slightly more than our fair share of canapés (including some deliciously creamy prawn cups, sizzling lamb and delicate pastry filled...things) we realised we had made a near fatal mistake. Main courses were coming out and we were running out of room.

Around came pretty little silver buckets filled with rice and delicious curries, along with a variety of other dishes. If Abdul aimed to create food to share, on one hand he definitely managed it ("Lu, try this, it's amazing!) but on the other he had failed miserably ("No, get your own, this is ALL MINE!").

 We were also lucky enough to meet Abdul Yaseen himself. Even better, he came armed with a tray of flavorsome carrot cakes! My sister and I waxed lyrical at him about his food while he laughed at our enthusiasm for the Indian deserts. Lulu and I had a wonderful evening at Darbaar. The food was excellent and the cocktails good fun (did I mention there were bursting blue bubbles hidden at the bottom of one?!). All I can say is that I'm excited to return!