Leicester Square Kitchen | Review

Leicester Square Kitchen facade, London

Bank holiday Monday was glorious, Ed and I decided to have a date day and booked tickets to see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at the Harold Pinter Theatre as it is his favourite book. So of course I went on the hunt for the perfect pre-theatre menu for some pre-show indulgence.

I came across Leicester Square Kitchen on bookatable.com and was totally sold by the fact they had been featured on celebrity Masterchef and the concept behind the food was sharing. I think it’s a given fact that girls love sharing food with their boyfriend’s and the boys all turn in to James Corden from Gavin and Stacey with his lamb bhuna. (If you don’t understand the reference google it because depending on who you side with it will say a lot about you as a person).

The pre-theatre/lunch menu works as follows: each person picks one dish from each section and there are three “main meal” sections and a fourth of deserts. We were completely full after three so it ended up being £22 each for six dishes. Considering how crazy London prices can be I think this is such good value as tapas style meals are notoriously expensive!

Before I dive in to the individual dishes, I want to give a shout out to our waiters as the service we received was excellent! Whilst the restaurant was pretty empty as we were eating early, the staff were so attentive and made sure out water was refilled, cleared away empty plates promptly and were very conscious to check we had everything we needed!

Whilst I haven’t taken a picture of every dish (we had up to three dishes crammed on our tiny table at any one time and I was honestly just too interested in the food) I have ranked all six dishes we had out of ten, to hopefully give you an idea of the ones you simply can’t miss out on! We did also have quac and chips to nibble at the start and the quac was simply divine. It came in pretty steeply at £7.50 for what was just a bowl of quac and tortilla chips, but I would hesitantly say that the price was worth it for one of the best quacs I’ve ever had!

Crispy Duck and Pomegranate ensalada with papaya chilli dressing, Leicester Square Kitchen, London
CRISPY DUCK AND POMEGRANATE ENSALADA WITH PAPAYA CHILLI DRESSING
cripsy duck and pomegranate ensalada with papaya chilli dressing 10/10

This was the absolute stand out dish for me! I’m not normally a massive salad person, I’d never normally order a salad in a restaurant but the thought of crispy duck and juicy pomegranates was something I couldn’t not try. For me, this dish had the perfect balance between the meaty duck, zesty dressing and the bursts of freshness from the fruit. Both Ed and I agreed this dish was one of our favourites, hence why it’s earned the top spot on my list. A lovely fresh addition to the line up!

CRIPSY TIGER PRAWNS WITH CAYENNE PEPPER MAYO 9/10

These were some of the juiciest prawns I have ever had in my life! This was our final course to arrive so by this point we were pretty stuffed, but the fresh and crispy prawns helped me power through. Despite being cooked to perfection in a crispy batter, the prawns kept their salty flavour and were delightful. The cayenne pepper mayo was such a great accompaniment and was my favourite dip of the day, as the others were a little too tequila-y for me.

MEXICAN MATCHSTICK CHICKEN WITH HABENERO 8/10

The matchstick chicken was simply divine. Ed and I have sampled a lot of chicken wings over the past few months after being in the states and even have tickets to go to wingfest (don’t ask) in a few weeks, but I honestly think this chicken will be hard to beat. The only thing that stopped it getting the full 10/10 was the habenero sauce. Obviously habenero is a hot chilli, however it really was just a bit too much after the multitude of strong mexican flavours we had already eaten by that point. Instead of leaving a full flavour in my mouth it just burned which was not the best when we still had a few dishes to eat.

Robata Pisco Glazed Smoked Paprika Ribs, Leicester Square Kitchen, London
ROBATA PISCO GLAZED SMOKED PAPRIKA RIBS
ROBATA PISCO GLAZED SMOKED PAPRIKA RIBS 8/10

The ribs had an almost sweet yet smoky taste and were a really nice break from all the spicy Mexican flavours. The meat was so tender and was served sizzling hot in a cast iron dish. The sauce was sticky and very more-ish and if you are a rib lover then these are a must order, as they were so different to the BBQ ribs I am used to.

BLACK PEARL PEPPERED CALAMARI WITH TEQUILA LIME SAUCE 7/10

The only reason this dish wasn’t rated any higher was simply that I preferred the prawns and they were very similar. The calamari was lovely and crispy, let down only by the sauce. I am not a tequila fan, but mixed with food I don’t mind it, yet both Ed and I found ourselves saying that the sauce had an uneven tequila flavour and some times it was just too overpowering. Still, if you are a seafood lover then it is a lovely dish and worth sampling!

SMOKED TUNA TOASTADAS WITH TEQUILA LIME MUSTARD TOASTADA 6/10

I would say that this was the only dish I ‘didn’t like.’ It came in a platter of three and usually Ed and I would either fight for the third or split it, but after one bite I handed him the third instantly. To be completely honest I’m not sure what element of the dish it was really that didn’t do it for me, but I think the mixture of the raw tuna with tequila was just a little off. The flavours just didn’t quite mesh harmoniously together for me, hence it comes bottom of my list with 6/10.

I would definitely consider going back to Leicester Square Kitchen if we are ever in the area again, as there were so many other dishes we wanted to try! Even if it was just to order six of the duck salads… For a pre-theatre menu I think the value for money is excellent and if you like Mexican/Peruvian food, or are just a fan of strong flavours and trying something new, then I would definitely recommend a visit!

Have you ever been to Leicester Square Kitchen? Let me know in the comments! If not, leave a comment with your favourite pre-theatre menu in London and I’ll be sure to check it out!

Dealing with Life as a Graduate

The end of Summer means only one thing, the start of school/university again. Yet this year, for the first time in 18 years I will not be going ‘back’ anywhere. Life has truly begun. I’ve graduated and no longer have the security and stability that full time education provides. How scary.

So far, this blog has captured my move to London, how I’m finding hunting for a job, dealing with rejection and just generally getting out and about exploring the city. It is such an exciting time in my life. I’m planning to move in with my boyfriend and cannot wait to find the perfect job for me! But damn, graduate life is not easy.

I recently went along to the first Gals Who Graduate event hosted by Bronte King. After leaving university, she realised that so many girls were struggling and not quite knowing what to do. Whether that’s how to cope moving back in with their parents after the freedom of University, dealing with that overdraft that is supposed to be decreasing yet seems to be impossible to defeat, or the difficulties in finding a job in the competitive graduate market. So she decided to set up the Gals Who Graduate platform for girls to come together, share advice and discuss their problems. The first event was held at Kalifornia Kitchen on Percy Street (the food was INCREDIBLE!) and there was the best atmosphere of support and solidarity amongst all the girls that were there.

Very quickly I learned that I was not alone. Everyone was somewhat struggling to deal with the highs and lows of graduate life. There is so much pressure to know what you are doing as soon as you leave University, to get a job and not move back to the family home. To show on Instagram that you are living the high life, free from education and your parents. However in reality it’s a lot more lonely than that. Constant job applications leave you dealing with a lot of rejection, quite often moving to a new city where you know very few people and struggling to find financial balance after the drain of student life.

Ultimately, there is no correct path. I met girls who had moved country to find their dream job, girls who had moved back in with their parents but were loving their new job, girls who were still looking for a job, girls living with their boyfriends, friends, strangers, girls who had absolutely no idea what they were doing and just came to meet new people. It was so refreshing. I had met nobody there before, but it didn’t matter. There was a strong sense of community and I left truly feeling that I had a great support group of other girls who would be there if I had a question, even if they were just online!

So if you’ve just graduated, a massive congratulations! University was hard, but I think life as a graduate might be slightly harder. Most importantly though, you’re not alone! Reach out to your friends, chat to the other graduates you meet in your office, try and put yourself out there to meet new people, because chances are, they are feeling as nervous and overwhelmed as you!

Gals who graduate logo, Bronte King

How Blogging Can Help Your Career

If you’re reading this post then there’s a high chance you’re already a blogger yourself or a regular reader of blogs. Blogging is a great creative and therapeutic outlet and the benefits of blogging are numerous; it’s cathartic, a space for creativity and has also introduced me to so many wonderful people.

Whilst blogging is still just my hobby, it has had a profound impact on my experiences of looking for a job. Despite my 2.1 degree from the 2nd best university in the UK (we are clearly very proud of this) and the numerous sporting and academic activities listed on my CV, it is actually the small paragraph at the bottom of the second page that catches the eye of most interviewers. “Tell us a bit about your blog, what made you get in to blogging?” Having a blog and regularly blogging speaks volumes to recruiters and interviewers as it displays so many skills and attributes, so if it’s not already on your CV, here’s why it should be!

Creativity

Whilst I’ve already acknowledged that blogging is a creative outlet for me, it can also act as a portfolio of work that you can show to interviewers to display your creative skills. Not only does it demonstrate your writing skills, there are also the photographs, post, site layouts and so many more facets that show your creative skillset to potential employers. This is particularly important for any job where creativity is an essential part of the job description. I’ve been looking at jobs in marketing and many of them list strong writing capabilities as a key attribute, what better than a digital collection of passionate writing to illustrate your skills?

Attention to Detail

Re-reading and editing posts is probably my least favourite part of the blogging process, however it is incredibly important to me that the quality of writing and content on my site is of the highest possible degree. Producing grammatically correct and accurate content illustrates to employers that you have an eye for detail and are able to produce quality pieces to a high standard.

Organisation

The vast amount of time it takes to have a blog stands as testament to your organisational and planning skills. Most bloggers don’t simply pick up their laptop when they have a few minutes, bash out a post and that’s them done. Blogging requires a great deal of time, forcing you to plan ahead and manage your time wisely. It demonstrates an organisational ability which almost all job descriptions I have ever read have listed as a key requirement.

Initiative

As well as demonstrating creativity, starting a blog requires initiative, a further attribute that is often discussed during interviews. Having the confidence to put yourself online and the drive to continue to post regularly, shows employers that you have the initiative and determination to start with a concept and follow it through.

Social Media Management

With an increasing number of jobs and industries turning towards digital channels to promote their products, social media is playing an ever growing role in business and marketing. Since we are now in 2019, it’s safe to say that almost everyone will have either a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest account, or all of the above! However it is the extra skills that you develop as a blogger that set you against other candidates. Scheduling platforms such as buffer and Hootsuite, co-ordinating a promotion plan and forward planning layouts are all tools used by most bloggers to increase their reach and reader base.

Collaboration

Most industries will require you to work with either clients or other businesses to achieve objectives, requiring strong lines of communication and often working to a brief. If you have been lucky enough to work with brands as part of your blog, then this is something you should definitely be mentioning in interviews. Whilst you may have worked with a make-up or fashion brand that has no relation to the job you are applying for, the skills you have gained from the experience are extremely attractive to employers and will impressive any interviewer.

Have you ever been asked about your blog in an interview? Please share in the comments if you have any other skills you’ve gained from blogging that would be beneficial in a job hunt! There is also the pinnable graphic at the bottom of the post if you want to save it for later and look back when you’re writing job applications or preparing for an interview!

How blogging can help your career, pinnable graphic.