Tag Archives: The Brunch Club

For Ladies Wot Brunch… In Paris!

12 Mar

After months of planning, several hundred emails and countless meetings, Saturday 25th February 2012, the date of our very first trip abroad arrived!  Woopie!  The crisp morning welcomed 15 effervescent young ladies, ready to have fun and rock ‘n’ roll in the French capital.

We met bright and early at St. Pancras International Station and everyone was surprisingly alert and perky!  Although, this may be attributed to the copious amounts of caffeine which was bought and consumed in record timing (we had to drink all liquids before passing through security!).

After a few hours of gist with each other, networking with the other passengers (everyone in our carriage knew who For Ladies Wot Brunch were by the time we arrived in Gare Du Nord!) miniature munchies and several aggregate hours of power naps, we arrived in Paris, ready to show the Parisians how fabulous we were!

The countless hours spent planning the trip meant that we had an airtight itinerary: every minute was accounted for!  Our day’s activities included a trip to the stunning Louvre Museum, sightseeing at the Eiffel Tour, a cruise along the River Seine and shopping in Galleries Lafayette and environs.  But of course, with plenty of activities, we expected we’d build up a hearty appetite and so a sumptuous pit stop for a delicious dejeuner would be required.

Food

Chez Francoise, situated near the Eiffel Tour was the venue chosen for our French lunching experience.  My research churned out rave reviews, and the restaurant promised to have something to offer each diner.  On arriving at the restaurant, we were a bit sceptical: from the outside, it was not the most glamorous, nor the swanky looking of venues, however on entering, all our fears were allayed.  The decor was low key luxury, mood lighting relaxed our eyes and hushed French accents created a sumptuous background hum.  We were seated at our table and swiftly greeted with complimentary champagne.  Salud!

As the majority of us opted for the seasonal set menu, we ended up having an array of French dishes spread across our table.  The voyeuristic diner in me was disappointed that typical French fare such as snails and crème brûlée were not on the menu, but of course, this didn’t stop me from ordering: I was starving!

The group’s favourites on the menu were the Game Pâté for starters, the Cod with Langoustine Linguini and Parsley Sauce for mains and the Chocolate Fondant cake with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream for dessert.   Several of the Ladies, who initially ordered the veal for their main course, ended up having to send it back and order the cod instead, complaining that it tasted like kidneys…  Ewww!

Although the food was not to everyone’s taste, where the food fell short, the service and decor made up for it by a mile.  Our personal waiter Luke, was an absolute darling!  Catering to 15 divas is no easy feat, but he handled us like a gentleman answering the several translation questions we had and effecting and fetching various amendments to our orders.

The restaurant staff overall were also fantastic, greeting us with their suave French charm and bringing out the food and drinks graciously.  They even corroborated with my sneaky plan to organise a birthday cake for one of our Ladies who was celebrating her birthday that day and all came out to sing joyeux anniversaire to accompany the celebratory sponge cake.  Tres joli!

Highlights

As you can imagine, there were several gist fuelled conversations, lots of picture taking and lots of shopping!  Here are the highlights of the day:

Louvre-licious Ladies: As soon as we arrived at the museum en masse, it was difficult to miss us: clearly 15 glamtastic women don’t hit Paris very often!  From the security guard who was so keen to speak with us and find out about the group that he let us in for free (Dratz!  We shouldn’t have been so efficient and pre-purchased our tickets!) to the Japanese tourist who was so convinced we were models that she insisted on taking photos with us, our first stop at the home of Paris Fashion Week gave us a little snippet taster of what we could look forward to if we ever decided to change careers…

Snooze and you don’t lose! After a hefty 2.5 hour lunch and a last minute dash to make our River Seine cruise, we were all happy to rest our feet and view Paris from the comfort of the luxury liner.  Some were perhaps a little too happy…  It was perfect for a power nap! Zzzzzzzz!

Macaroon Wars: by the time we arrived at Galleries Lafayette, there was limited time available to shop.  Throughout the course of the day, the Ladies had quietly joined one of two camps: Ladurée or Pierre Hermé Macaroons.  Which do you prefer?  Both sides presented their arguments, laced with personal experience and filled with pride.  When the culmination point arrived, the Ladies purchased several boxes of delicious french fancy.  I personally could not reach a conclusion, perhaps another 2-3 boxes will help me decide… Tee hee hee!

Overall

I can honestly say that the day was an absolute blessing.  The laughter, the company and the positive energy made The Brunch Club’s first trip abroad a memorable one.

A huge thank you goes to Feyi who worked with me closely to plan the trip and of course each and every single Lady Wot Brunches who attended and ensured the day was a success.  They brought exactly what they were asked to: positivity, a smile and the penchant to have some fun!  I’m already itching to plan the next trip!

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For Ladies Wot Dine… At Shaka Zulu

1 Dec

So that time of the month came round again, and on Saturday 19th November, a group of fabulous ladies got together, broke bread and had a great time.  Only this time, we decided to do it a little differently.  At our last meeting, in between the drinking and gisting, the Ladies suggested it would be nice to meet up in the evening, and as a true Brunch Club facilitator-cum-hostess, I was happy to oblige…

Booking

As I had been to Shaka Zulu before, I was familiar with the booking process, and as booking processes go, it was pretty straight forward.  A telephone call was made to a seemingly friendly booking manager and Voila!  C’etait fini!

Shaka Zulu have many promotions, encouraging non adventurous diners to experience a night in “South Africa” so it’s worth mentioning any offers or discounts you may be using when making your reservation.

Gist!

Although this time we were fewer in number (ladies, you were missed!), whenever we get together, there’s always something to laugh about.  Always an update to share, a joke to tell and tears of laughter to shed.  The entertainment provided at the restaurant kept us amused in between our conversations, which were fuelled by a combination of rich rioja and rosé.

Here are some of the topics that gave us the giggles that evening:

White boys can get it!  OK, so let’s be frank – as a group of predominantly non Caucasian women, the race of the men we date and marry is a popular topic.  Amongst the group,  we have a decent amount of experience dating outside our cast.  And more recently, have shared stories about blond haired, blue eyed hotties.  There is nothing wrong with having a preference and sticking with it, but it is equally important to respect other people’s decisions.  Aside from being 21st Century women understanding that the world is constantly evolving, and with this evolution comes development of ideas, tastes and desires, we at The Brunch Club are very REALISTIC!  Whatever rocks your world and floats your boat is what you should go for.  Black, white or otherwise.  The tale shared on that particular evening recounting how a dashing young Englishman swept one of our members off her feet in a very debonair fashion, coupled with sexy specimens like Gary Barlow and Matthew McConaughey confirmed that white boys can indeed get it!

Wolves in sheep’s clothing aka Young Pastors:  *Disclaimer* Not all pastors fall into this category!  But the experiences we collectively have, makes me question what these young disciples are really focusing on nowadays.  I recently bumped into an old acquaintance, who told me that he’d answered the Lord’s call and was pastoring a congregation.  Well done!  Good for you!  I was genuinely happy to hear this and so when he asked for us to swap numbers and catch up, I didn’t think anything of it.  Weeks down the line, the calls began.  When they became overbearing, and I stopped answering, the text messages followed suit.  And when I stopped responding, the prayer points/visions/prophesies/attempts at mental manipulation took root.  This man actually believed that if he could see into my life and predict the great and marvellous things I was going to experience, then I’d be more inclined to speak with him, share my inner most fears and aspirations and eventually fall hook line and sinker, head over heels in love.  Mr Pastor Man – the man who saw into my heart(!).  Except, I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears several stories of women who fell into this same dogged trap and dated and married MONSTERS!  Pastors by day and wife beater beasts by night!  Olorun maje!  *clicks fingers over head*  GOD FORBID!  I will use the same Holy Ghost Fire to rebuke you to the pits of hell and I suggest all women out there who may find themselves in a similar predicament do the same!

Abokoku Babes!  People please help me!  A VERY significant part of some of the ladies’ evening was spent outside on the phone with their better halves (you know yourselves!), which lead to a conversation about how far some women are willing to go for their men.  An Abokoku (woman who will do anything to keep her man “till death do them part” in Yoruba dialect) is willing to surrender all for her partner and will happily annihilate anyone or anything that may stand in her way.  Although none of our Ladies Wot Brunch illustrate these extreme tendencies, it was pointed out that God helps those that help themselves and even the Bible says possess your possessions!  So the advice which followed detailing how a very zealous and scandalous office PA would be finished if she even tried to come near the narrator’s boyfriend was listened to attentively.  Yes, I even took notes!

Food

As well as taking you on an authentic South African lounge experience, Shaka Zulu also promises to tickle your taste buds with its Taste of Africa menu .  To be honest, we were not very focused on the food, instead diverting our attention on the live entertainment and our conversations and so we didn’t realise when we all ordered exactly the same starters and mains.  And being so caught up in the afore mentioned, I kinda failed with the pics too (sorry!)

The starter of deep fried soft shell crab with rose harissa and lime was quite nice.  It was definitely flavoursome and crunchy but I found it a little messy and wasn’t too clear on what to do with the excess shell(?!)

By the time the main of spit roasted Kariokor beef with dry rubbed spice and peri peri fries came round, we were all so spent from chatting, no one finished the meal!  The meat was thoroughly cooked (we had been assured that it had been roasted for 7 hours!), but I thought it could have been slightly more moist and not so chewy.  Trying to chew chewy meat after chatting is a chore!  Tee hee hee!  The peri peri fries on the other hand were lovely, excellently seasoned and cooked to perfection to ensure they were crispy and light.  I ate every last one!

The dessert selection was very interesting.  Between us, we opted for the Koeksisters – deep fried braided doughnuts dipped in honey sugar syrup; Melktert – baked vanilla custard tart  with roasted cinnamon and; Coconut crème caramel and passion fruit.  The Koeksisters were yummy, but very rich and after several glasses of wine, I found it difficult to finish them.  The tart and the pudding however did not pack as much of a punch on the palette, infusing their milk bases with several familiar and some not-so-familiar dessert spices.  If you like rice pudding, cheesecake or ice cream, these would be the desserts for you.

Service

 As we were running a little late *ahem* and were finally seated an hour after our booking was made for, we did not have as much time at our table as originally planned.  However, despite our party’s tardiness, our table attendant, who by the way was a tall, black and burly, cockney, dread-locked man, was very polite and paid attention to detail ensuring our beverages and food were served promptly.  We ended up having our desserts in the lounge in order for the next party to be seated, but as the whole restaurant is party central itself, this was not an issue.  The staff, who each had tailored ankara outfits, were very friendly and rendered their service with a sunny South African smile 🙂

Overall

Due to the size of the venue and the hubbub generated by the diners, clubbers, staff, DJs and live entertainment, it was quite difficult to key into the intimacy which is often desired during dinner and if you are looking for the next date restaurant, unfortunately, Shaka Zulu is not it.  However, if you are looking for a party go-go dinner, then you may well have the perfect spot in Camden.  The venue is quirky and the décor is lush.  It is reminiscent of typical western adaptations of Africa, but still maintains an authentic charm and sleek finish. We happily dined, drank and danced in the same place, which is not something you can often say you’re able to do in London.  Given the fact that Shaka Zulu is also very trendy at the moment, you’ll find that the general vibe is nice n’ spicy.  We clocked several sexxxay mamas in even sexxxier ensembles and gents dressed so immaculately, they left with their girlfriends and several admirers in tow.

It’s a young venue: both in establishment age and target audience.  But it’s also a place where you can have some good grown up fun.  We will definitely be going back, even if it’s just for a midnight boogie!

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Hello World!

4 Sep

Here we are.  After a lot of talk, and even more moaning and nagging, The Brunch Club is born!  Yippee!  This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and thank God, I’ve finally taken the plunge.

The main and obvious driver behind the club is, you’ve guessed it – FOOD!  Whilst my physique may not betray me (although after Christmas it’s an entirely different story bebe!) I love food.  Experiencing new cuisines, sampling exclusive cocktails and unwinding in weird and wacky decors are my vices.  Whenever I came home on holiday from Madrid, I used to plan my girly catch ups around lunch and dinner dates, coercing friends and family into hours of gist infused, food fests.  From dessert bars to Do-It-Yourself styled eateries, finding new places in the capital to have a natter over food soon became a mini hobby.

When I finally moved back to London, I felt I needed to play catch up.  Everywhere I went, people spoke about restaurants and bars I’d never even heard of, let alone been to.  I was in need of a social jump start and decided to commence my auto-upgrade by playing the “I’ve been there too!” restaurant catch-up game.  The rules: Note the names of the numerous bars and restaurants which casually flung themselves into conversation as if their existence was common knowledge, and lace them into my own social eating plans whenever possible.  I drew on the knowledge of my socialite friends to add to the never ending list of must-visit food spots and in the process discovered some delectable places, which spurred me on even further.  The more I sampled, the more places I wanted to visit.  And the more I tried, the more I needed to explore.  A vicariously dangerous cycle for a glutton like me…

I soon discovered that I really enjoyed eating out socially between the hours of 11am and 2pm.  Random I know!  But it just seemed so convenient.  The lazy mamasita in me didn’t fancy getting up early for breakfast dates and yet the incandescent youth in me made sure I felt guilty if I was still sprawled under my duvet post midday.  The idea of meeting for brunch seemed like the answer – so effortless, so posh, so grown up and so different!  Like euros to pounds sterling, I quickly began converting a lot of my lunches and dinners to brunch dates and even allowed a gentleman or two to break the wining and dining tradition, instead sampling different late morning/early afternoon menus.

Several months and blueberry pancakes later, The Brunch Club was launched, with the motto For Ladies Wot Brunch, word play on the original English saying For Ladies Wot Lunch.  Though it’s a little stretch from the truth, the comedy factor alone made it stick :-p

The Vision – A forum in which fabulous young ladies can get together, sip bad-ass Kir Royales, sample different menus, have a laugh and generally unwind.  It’s as simple as that!  And along with some gorgeous girlfriends (who, up until The Brunch Club was launched, had heard a lot of postponed promises, bless em!) we plan to do just that!

The posts to follow will document our experiences – where we went, what we got up to and most importantly, what the food was like.  It promises to be a deliciously decadent experience…

For ladies Wot LBrunch

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