Restaurant Review: Meat & Shake, Tooting - London

halal steaks london

If you're in the look out for new Halal steakhouses and burger joints, then you must definitely read till the end. Meat & Shake, a restaurant having three branches across the city (Warford, Tooting, Ealing) serves Halal steaks and burgers in London. The interior has been designed to give the place a casual look with brick walls, yet it gives a welcoming touch. 

Paid parking is available on the nearby streets for £2.60 per hour and is free 6:30 pm onward. Meat & Shake (Tooting branch) has a brilliant location, and by that I mean that you won't have to go around streets looking for it, rather it can be spotted easily. 
halal steaks london

It was lunch time when my husband and I arrived at Meat & Shake and after parking the car in the nearby street, walked towards the restaurant. We started off with the spicy beef and lamb Hot Link Sausages (£4.50) served with pickles and mustard. Initially, we were thinking what to order but I left it on my husband to take the decision and although, I personally don't enjoy sausages much, these were great! When the platter arrived, it wasn't what I had in my mind as the aromatic sausages had been sliced. They were well spiced but dipping them in the mustard and sauces available on the table were perfect for adding an extra hot taste to it. 
halal steaks london

I wanted to try the mocktails, however the Tooting branch doesn't do them anymore so I am hoping to try them next time in one of the other branches of Meat & Shake in London. As the name mentions the word 'shake' itself, we had to try one of their shakes and opted for the small Coconut and Mango shake (£4.50). The milkshake had desiccated coconut in it, the thickness was perfect and it tasted good too! So that was the only milkshake we tried (husband and I actually shared) because we wouldn't have been able to finish the food otherwise. 
mango milkshake

Our side was Dirty Fries (£7.8) that had chili corn carne and was topped with jalapeƱos mustard, sour cream and cheese. The chili corn carne is actually a spicy stew containing meat, beans and peppers and is seasoned with other spices. I've had Dirty Fries at a restaurant before, but these ones tasted different. They were hot but enjoyable - I actually LOVED them! 
dirty fries

halal steak london

Our mains were steaks - the Sirloin steak (£19.90) and the Rib Eye steak (£21.90), both 300 grams. Another name for the Sirloin is Porterhead steak. Both steaks had been marbled generously, were served with green salad and already had some sauce on it. Meat & Shake does have a few options to choose from, if you prefer another sauce and we tried Peppercorn and gravy. However, it wasn't really needed if you're happy with the BBQ flavoured sauce already drizzled on the steak. I found peppercorn a bit mild in taste if compared to the gravy or maybe it was because I had tried the latter first, and it quite a strong taste. There is also blue cheese on the menu, if anyone prefers that with steak. Moreover, they do have a variety of sides, but they aren't included in the price of the steak, so have to be ordered separately.
halal steak london

fresh green salad

halal steak london

halal steak london

Smoking bandit (£10.90) was our choice for the burger which included chipotle mayo, cheddar, turkey bacon and leaves, all smokey! I really liked Meat & Shake's innovative concept of serving it. They dish out the burger and then fill smoke inside, through a pipe and keep it covered so the smoke stays inside. If I was just going to eat a smoking bandit for lunch, I would have easily eaten two of them especially when I'm too hungry. The burger was recommended to us when placing the order as it's the most popular burgers served at Meat and Shake, had it not been recommended, it would have really been a challenging task to make the choice from the list on the menu card.

halal burger london

Mississippi Mud pie

For the dessert, it was the chocolaty Mississippi Mud pie (£6.5) served with vanilla ice cream and some chocolate sauce drizzled on it - perfect to end a Saturday lunch!


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Rating: 8/10 
Pricing: Mid-Range 
Halal Meat: Everything is Halal
Child-Friendly: Yes 
Alcohol Available: No

Contact Meat & Steak: 
Telephone: 020 8355 4496
Location: 47 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7TR

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What's your favourite steak cut and combination of sauce to go with it? 


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Staycation in London, with FG Properties

fg properties london

You know how fond I am, of travelling and exploring new places and activities, especially in London. It was on a recent trip to London for which we had booked one of the lovely Kensington Hazlitt Hideaway apartment for a mini staycation in the city. Isn't it a bonus when you find a place to stay, which is both welcoming and affordable? It's not very common to find such places but FG Properties, a short term fully furnished property rental entity is definitely something to be considered. They not only have properties in central locations in London, but also in Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. They have well managed to provide a luxurious, bright and hotelesque feeling to the guests, but at a better price than the hotels. So especially if you're meaning to travel in a group, this option will definitely get more points.

fg properties london

The booking process was extremely smooth and simple and I got a confirmation email from City Relay, the company that manages the property. The check-in time starts at 3:00 pm and the very lovely Josephine personally came to receive us and show the property around. Most of all, it was delightful seeing the pretty bouquet of fresh flowers and chocolate on the dining table. Check-out time is 11:00 am. 

fg properties london

The first impression on entering the property was fantastic. I personally love high ceilings, brightly lit places and minimalist decor. Both bedrooms and the living cum dining area were spacious and the property was equipped with all the modern furnishings (most of them from IKEA), and amenities such as a widescreen TV. Really liked the screen size by the way, however the SKY channels weren’t working so we only had access to the Freeview channels. The comfortable L-shaped sofa in the living area was convertible (not referring to a car, but a bed) and could easily accommodate 2 persons. The living area just had two lamps, a floor lamp and a table lamp, that were working. However, the lighting after sunset seemed inadequate as the ceiling lights were out of order, which unfortunately also couldn’t be fixed at an urgent basis so we decided to bring another floor lamp from one of the rooms to brighten the dining area a bit. If you have children, I would recommend seeing the place around to ensure their safety. We actually spotted a few pieces of glass which had been overlooked by the cleaner because of which I thoroughly had to vacuum clean the blue rug. 

fg properties london

fg properties london

fg properties london

The open plan kitchen in the property was good enough to fit one person in the kitchen at a time (I like more space), but had all the modern amenities such as oven, microwave, fridge, kettle, toaster, washer cum dryer and all kitchen utensils (metal cutlery including spoons, forks, knives, dessert spoons, cooking spoons, tin opener, pots and pans, serving dishes, plates, bowls, glasses and mugs). They had also provided kitchen towels, dish washing essentials and table mats. There was an under counter fridge at the property which included a small freezer section inside as well and it was very thoughtful of them to include complimentary tea/coffee and sugar for the guests. 

Both the bedrooms were brightly lit (before sunset), with comfortable bed and bedding, and with lots of storage spaces that also had extra pillows, linen, hair dryer and hangers. They had also provided towels, linens and complimentary hotel-style toiletries. However, the lighting in the second bedroom was insufficient after sunset because the ceiling lights were out of order and just one table lamp was working. It took me a while to sleep at night because there was lots of noise coming from the outside (probably because the windows weren't double glazed), in the main bedroom so I decided to sleep in the living room. However, the foot steps of the people staying in the apartment just above ours throughout the night were a nightmare. I waited till 2:00 am but it seemed as if they had been walking in the property all night. The same continued on the second night even though I decided to sleep in the second bedroom, but the noise was still very clear. 

fg properties london

fg properties london

fg properties london


I really liked the bathroom, and although there wasn't a window there, it was brightly lit with ceiling lights with dimmer and a fantastic sized bath with space for storage. 


fg properties london

fg properties london

fg properties london

fg properties london

fg properties london

Since our property was situated in the heart of West Kensington, we had access to the city center and most chic areas of London. BabyN’ is really fond of animals so my husband and I decided to take to the Natural History Museum the next day, it was Sunday so we easily found free parking nearby. There are also many Halal eating spots in the area, which was a bonus for us, and we decided to have our dinner at an authentic Indian restaurant in Fulham. You can read about my experience, here. There are also many other museums in the same area including the Leighton House Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum, if you’re interested. Besides, there were also many other tourist destinations such as Harrods, very near to the Kensington Hazlitt Hideaway apartment. 

The property has parking available right outside and is free, 7:00 pm onward till 9:00 am in the morning on a weekend. Otherwise, it is £2 per hour. Since we weren’t much aware of the area, we initially paid for a few hours but thinking of it to be a rip off, my husband went outside to explore the area around to find a better parking option, and luckily found a free parking spot at the Milson Street just 2 streets across our property, and almost 15 minutes by walk but it helped us save a lot of pounds. Other than a few nitty-gritty things, our stay at the property was great, both in terms of comfort and ease, and I look forward to booking the stay with FG properties in future too.


How has been your experience of staying at hotel apartments, if any? 


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Restaurant Review: Pure Indian Cooking

pure indian cooking halal indian food

Authentic Indian cuisine is one of my favourites, and there are a few dishes that I cook at home regularly. Recently, I dined at Pure Indian Cooking, a restaurant on the Fulham high street, known for it's authentic Indian cuisine. Now this is a restaurant  whose kitchen is headed by a female chef, passionate about food and her knowledge for different cuisines is immense. Ever heard of that before? Generally, the male chefs are seen in the limelight so it was intriguing when I heard about a lady chef, and was really looking forward to the dining experience at Pure Indian Cooking.

It was a Friday evening and since we had a very light lunch, my husband and I reached the restaurant at 6:00 pm. There was easy access to free parking on the street, just behind the restaurant and is also available on the front but after 7:00 pm. It's always lovely to dine at a restaurant which is not much crowded and therefore, we often like to choose slightly odd timings. However, I've often observed that whenever we visit a restaurant, the diners start pouring in after some time so maybe we just get lucky for the restaurants where we go!

pure indian cooking halal indian food

We started off with the pre-starter options that included Papad (poppadums) that were served with assorted chutneys (£1.5) and Taste of Mumbai (£4), that included Bhel (rice crispies salad), Pani poori, Papdi chaat (wheat crisp toppings). I was really looking forward to the pani poori because it had been a VERY long time since I last had it. Both the pre-starters were beautifully served and the platter had been styled creatively! 

pani poori
pani poori

Once we were done with the pre-starters, next up was the sharing board (£13) that included malai lamb chops, tandoori paneer & vegetables, malai tikka, seekh kebab, spinach salad and curried cashewnuts which were served in a cute little bowl. The board actually includes chilli fried squid but we replaced it with the lamb chops. The starters were fantastic especially the malai lamb chops, they were the BEST I've ever had. The chops had been cooked well and we didn't have to struggle to rip off the meat from the bone but it came off easily and melted in the mouth. Also enjoyed the rest of the items and although there was a green chutney on the board, we didn't really need it because the food itself was seasoned well. 

malai lamb chops

After an delectable meaty session, the table soon filled up with the mains, which were Lamb Sukke (£12), Kalimirch ka Murgh (£11) and lamb biryani (£13). We actually wanted to try the Achari lamb shank but the Halal version was unavailable, so settled upon the Lamb Sukke, a Maharashtrian styled lamb cooked in dry spices. This was the first time I was trying out a dish from Maharashtra and I had no idea what to expect. When it was served, the meat was tender and tasted quite good with the Laccha Paratha (£2.5). Even kalimirch ka murgh was something I was trying first time but I had an idea what it would be. Kalimirch refers to black pepper and murgh is chicken in Hindi, and malai chicken tikka in this case, which had been cooked in cashew nuts, yogurt, fresh mint and black peppercorn. The spices in the curry were subtle and the food was filling. 
Lamb Sukke

Kalimirch ka Murgh

lacchha paratha

I was too full after trying the food and was actually a bit occupied in keeping BabyN' busy because he was a bit cranky and wanted to sit on my lap instead of sitting on his own chair. Luckily, I had the iPad in my hand bag, so it came in handy. Husband is really fond of lamb biryani so he went ahead to try it and I decided to enjoy my share later at home. We both love biryani and the one we were served at Pure Indian Cooking in London was fantastic. REALLY! It looked homemade, just like we cook at home with lots of love and care, the spices were on point and the lamb had been cooked well so full points from my side! 

The restaurant has both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We opted for the mocktails - Passion Delight, Red Smash and Pineapple and Mint Affair. The best of these for me was the last one I tried.

lamb biryani
You all know how fond I am of the last course of the meal, isn't it? So this time, it was Pistachio ice cream (£4) and Apricot Halwa (£5). It had been a while since I last enjoyed a proper Pista ice cream because the last time I had it at a restaurant, anyone could have easily said that justice hadn't been done to it. However, this one was quite good. Not sure, if it was made in the house or if it had been outsourced. 

I like apricots and really enjoy the apricot delight that I make at home. I wasn't actually expecting this apricot halwa to be served in such a presentable manner and in that style. It tasted great, loved the combination of a hot a cold dessert. There was a layer of cardamom crumble on top of the apricots and since it had been freshly prepared, the dish was still hot. Pairing it with vanilla ice cream was indeed the BEST decision! 

Pistachio ice cream

apricot halwa
The idea behind Pure Indian Cooking is to provide real Indian flavours to the diners and they're really working hard to prove it right. The overall dining experience at the restaurant was marvelous, and I would definitely recommend you guys to try it out! 

--------------------------
Rating: 8/10 
Pricing: Mid-Range 
Halal Meat: Yes (Please double check for some items)
Child-Friendly: Yes 
Alcohol Available: Yes

Contact Pure Indian Cooking: 

Telephone: 020 7736 2521
Location: 67 Fulham High StreetSW6 3JJ

--------------------------

How often have you heard of a lady chef heading a restaurant's kitchen? 


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Disclaimer:  I was invited to the restaurant, but this is an honest review and all the opinions are my own.

Herbalife - Skin Care Products Review


I'm sure you must have heard of Herbalife earlier. They have a range of skincare products formulated for all kinds of skins which have been developed to cater to your skin care needs. I have been trying a few of the skincare products from the Herbalife Skin's range since a few weeks, and the products that I am trying include the Polishing Citrus Cleanser, Instant Reveal Berry Scrub, Purifying Mint Clay Mask and the Energizing Herbal  Toner.


My daily skincare regime includes the use of cleanser and toner. I use the face wash in the morning and before going to bed and regularly use the toner in the mornings after washing my face but sometimes skip using it after washing my face before sleeping. The Herbalife Polishing Citrus Cleanser is clear (transparent) gel formula and contains green coloured microbeads that makes it's texture bumpy but have been added to give a healthy glow to the skin. The cleanser has been formulated for normal to oily skin and aims to reduce the skin's sebum. It smells great and leaves the skin refreshed! 

The Energizing Herbal  Toner comes in a spray bottle, and it's up to you to either spray it directly on your face or use a makeup removing pad or a cotton ball to apply it to your face. To avoid it from getting into my eyes, I do not spray it directly on my face and prefer using a cotton makeup removing pad to apply it thoroughly. The toner smells lovely and my skin feels fresh after applying it. The product is infused with aloe-vera and aims to refresh the skin by hydrating it. The best part is that it's alcohol free and smells great! 

The next step is to apply the serum and moisturizer, but I skip these two because I do not like to use too many skincare products on my face, in a regular basis. I only moisturize when it's needed, because my skin is oily and moisturizing further makes it oilier. 

I use Instant Reveal Berry Scrub by Herbalife no more than twice a week, and that's because using scrubs very frequently on the face causes dryness and is not advisable. The scrub is contains a transparent gel formula and berry seeds, meant for exfoliation to help achieve a smooth and healthier looking skin. This is suitable for all skin types and the fruity fragrance is very refreshing. I am somewhat fond of face masks and so I keep trying new options available. I apply the Purifying Mint Clay Mask by Herbal Life on the face, just once a week. It dries my skin a bit and after cleaning the face, I definitely have to moisturize. The clay mask is creamy and aims to remove dirt and excess oil from the face. This clay mask has also been formulated to reduce the appearance of pores and is suitable for skin types. I have also written some more posts on skincare, which you can read here (serum for pores), and here (natural skin care products). 

Herbalife has a range of skin care products so they also have some more products, and you can check them out on their website, here.


Would you like to share any of your skincare tips?


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Top Tips for a Good Night's Sleep


A comfortable mattress is highly important because last time's experience of purchasing a mattress for my bedroom has not been much favourable. My husband and I decided on buying a sprung mattress from a known brand but it was terrible because the sprung serves the job of the thorns pretty well. Since we had invested an amount on the mattress already, we were in no mood to waste more money so we have stuck with the same sprung mattress. So, if you guys have any such problem as well, try adding a thick duvet on the top of the mattress and then cover it with your fitted sheet. This trick worked pretty well for us. However, just make sure to keep adjusting the duvet by removing and then placing again because duvet sinks inside after a few days, making this trick useless. I have heard lots of people facing this issue with the sprung mattress so that's why I have mentioned here as well. 

Plush pillows are also really important. We've tried the basic pillows from a local superstore. They worked well initially but soon, they flattened and so we had to add another pillow to make the pillow look like it. Those pillows were unduly economical, but are only congenial if you're an international student and need them for a very short time. The second time, we opted for a set of pillows from a known pillow brand, categorized under their hotel collection and so far, they're commendable. Also, they were on half-price so it was a bargain. You can always wait for prices to go down, normally happens after Christmas. There's a lot of variety in stores which makes it difficult to decide but once you start checking on the quality of the options available, it won't be difficult to sort them out. 

Pillow sprays are really popular nowadays and of course, a nice smelling pillow would encourage you to sleep by creating a pleasant environment. If given a choice, I would prefer lavender or vanilla for myself. 

Selection of duvets depends on the temperatures. Personally, I like light weight duvets because the heavy ones with a higher tog feel a bit suffocating to me.   

Mindfulness always works for me when I am exhausted or I'm trying to sleep but not being able to. It's really relaxing and listening to it doesn't take long to kill the tiredness, and to put one to sleep. Works well for me, you can try it out too! 

Sleeping posture is imperative and if you have any medical conditions or are looking for relaxation, then the adjustamatic beds can help solve your dilemma.  Watch this video to know more about sleep posture and about the healthiest way to sleep.

Would you like to share any of your tips for a good night's sleep?


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