Monday 24 September 2018

Special feature - Breakfast at Arlo's Restaurant

1 Ramsden Road
SW12 8XQ

also at

47 Northcote Road
SW11 1NJ

Opening Hours
Monday: 12noon - 10pm
Tuesday to Friday: 12noon - 11pm
Saturday: 10am - 11pm
Sunday: 10am - 9pm 


 I'd spotted The Full Arlo's Breakfast a few months ago on Instagram and knew straight away that I just had to try it next time I was in London. I usually go in search of the full English breakfast but the steak and chorizo based Full Arlo's looked so appealing and had really grabbed my attention.

I visited the Balham branch just a short walk away from Balham tube station. I didn't take any interior shots but the restaurant is bright, spacious and a great environment to dine in. The staff are really friendly and efficient with a good knowledge of everything on the menu. The breakfast/brunch menu is served daily until 3pm and offers something for everyone including good vegetarian and vegan options.

The coffee here is excellent.

The Full Arlo's consists of Bavette steak, Brindisa chorizo, roast portobello mushroom, cherry tomatoes, fried eggs and sourdough toast. Everything on this breakfast has heaps of flavour and the items all compliment each other beautifully. This had to be the most delicious breakfast I can ever recall eating, such a pleasure to eat!

The most important aspect of this breakfast for me was the Bavette steak. I ordered mine to be cooked rare and it arrived cooked to perfection with a nice loose texture and incredible flavour. 

The desserts here are exceptional too, I recommend trying the warm chocolate brownie served with ice cream and chocolate sauce. I loved Arlo's Restaurant, a great place to dine with lovely staff, exceptional service and amazing food. Definitely a place well worth checking out next time you're in London!

Monday 10 September 2018

Amsterdam Food Adventure - Day 3


We'd enjoyed our time in Haarlem but it was time to head back to Amsterdam for our final day. A quick coffee and toastie in Haarlem before boarding the train and by lunchtime we were back in Amsterdam and making tracks towards Westerpark.

Beside Westerpark is a fascinating building designed by Michel de Klerk. Designed in 1919 Het Schip (The Ship) contains 102 homes for the working class and is an important example of expressionist architecture. 

The building was built in response to Amsterdam's major housing shortage and was a far cry from the squalid conditions many families were living in during the 19th and early 20th century.

It's a stunning building with striking features.

The level of detail in this brickwork was incredible! We enjoyed admiring the building from outside but there is a museum inside which you can visit for €15.

There's a Sunday Market in Amsterdam which rotates between three locations, today it was in Westerpark which is about a 30 minute walk from Central Station.

My main interest was the food so I carefully checked out all the food vendors working out where to buy some lunch from.

The Sunday Market is a great place to buy cheese and there's so many samples to try. I didn't want to fill up on too much cheese but when it tastes this good it's very difficult to resist!

Tony's Chocolonely is a chocolate you'll see all over Amsterdam. Their headquarters and a shop can be found in Westerpark, visiting the shop is a must.

Their 100% slave free chocolate comes in many different varieties which are all available to buy in their shop.

My wife and I loved their branding and the ethos behind the company.

In the shop you can try generous samples of each of their chocolates. 

Having checked out the food vendors my wife decided on Worst Truck.

She bought a vegan hot dog serve with chips, salad and onions for €7.50.

I opted for Mr Brasa Foodtruck, everything on their menu sounded so good!

I ordered the smokey sticky spare ribs which cost €9.

There was so many ribs and they tasted incredible, the meat fell right off the bone. Definitely my food highlight in Amsterdam and somewhere I strongly suggest you visit if you can.

There's a canal beside Westerpark where we relaxed with a pint of sangria in the sunshine.

The Gashouder in Westerpark was built in 1902, at the time it was the largest in Europe. The gas was stored above the Gashouder in a steel tank that extended telescopically to a height of 40m. Nowadays it's a huge venue used for large scale exhibitions, live shows and company presentations.

As well as food vendors the Sunday Market in Westerpark is a great place to look for vintage items.

With a couple of hours left before heading to the airport we looked around some shops.

Had a beer beside the canal.

And I bought a smurf ice cream. 

Finally back at the airport I had a final Heineken and burger and chips before boarding the plane. It had been an excellent weekend and in just three days we'd seen a lot of this great city!

Sunday 9 September 2018

Amsterdam Food Adventure - Day 2

NDSM Wharf and Haarlem

We decided to try the €11 hotel breakfast which turned out to be really nice. A selection of meats, cheeses, eggs, salad, pastries, fruit juices and fresh coffee. The best part though was the selection of breads on offer, the Dutch whole wheat bread was delicious. 

This morning our plan was to visit NDSM Wharf, a short ferry ride away from Amsterdam Central. As we walked along the main road (Damrak) leading towards the station the shops lining the street all seemed very familiar.

Actually Primark came in quite handy as my wife had been looking for a small handbag.

The arched passageway known as the Beurspassage on Damrak has been turned into a stunning artwork by artist duo Arno and Iris.

Beside Amsterdam central station there's no end of bike storage facilities. We had intended on hiring bikes during our time here but never got around to it.

Amsterdam’s ferries provide free connections across the River IJ for pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds. Many of these ferries can be found directly behind Amsterdam Central Station, providing a frequent and free service across the water to and from Amsterdam Noord.

We only had to wait 15 minutes until a ferry arrived to take us over to NDSM Wharf. On the short journey we passed the banks of Noord with A'Dam Lookout, a 20 storey building with rooftop restaurant and bar. Next to it was the distinctive building home to Eye Film Museum.

We hadn't really done much research on NDSM Wharf so didn't really know what to expect when we got there. As we approached the skyline was filled with cranes and we could make out some really huge warehouse buildings.

As the ferry pulled into the dock we passed a derelict submarine. Apparently the Soviet Zulu submarine had been brought to Amsterdam to serve as a party location. The project didn't turn out as they'd hoped though and now it's waiting to be scrapped.

Sexyland is an art project on NDSM. The wooden clubhouse offers the opportunity to organise your own acts or party. Every day of the year someone else owns the club with club nights varying from a poetry night to a cd release.

After the glorious era of Dutch shipbuilding was gone, the empty buildings at NDSM were squatted in the 1980s. In recent years though craftsmen and artists have converted the NDSM wharf into a breeding ground for creative talent. It's a fascinating place to walk around and you never quite know what to expect around the next corner.

Shipping containers inside the main warehouse are now home to talented designers and creators.

Some of the old machinery can still be found inside the warehouse.

With most places opening at midday we were a bit early so we decided to explore the surrounding area and come back a bit later.

We walked along the slipway and found some old trams. This one looked like it had been converted into a cafe, it wasn't open for business yet though.

Right next to the trams is Crane 13, it's been converted into a hotel and offers 3 luxury hotel rooms. It's also possible to bungee jump from the arm of the crane which an hour or so later we saw somebody do, it looked like great fun!

We stopped for a glass of wine at  Café Noorderlicht. The brunch being served here looked amazing, we'd already eaten though.

Café Noorderlicht is on the waters edge and has an outside seating area with swing chairs, an open fire pit area and even an outside stage. It offered excellent views of Amsterdam in the distance and yes, I was getting carried away with wine glass reflection shots!

We had another good look around the dock area before returning to the NDSM warehouse.

It had gone midday but almost everything was closed still, I guess they're quite relaxed about opening times here. 

Something that was open though was the Fuse Exhibition which was high up in the warehouse on a huge concrete platform. 

The Barbie Peepshow was open too.

Just pop €1 in the slot and enjoy the show!

You can leave a message if you like.

Before leaving the warehouse we had a good look around. There's multiple levels to explore and although nearly everything was closed there's still plenty of things to look at.

Back at the ferry port we waited for the next ferry back to Amsterdam Central. In the distance you can see Botel, a modern floating 3 star hotel.  Towering above the top deck of the Botel are five distinct Loft Letters, spectacular designer rooms each conceived and decorated by a different international designer.

Back at Amsterdam Central Station we caught a train West to Haarlem where we'd be staying tonight. 

There's some amazing architecture to be found here too.

Our first port of call was Grote Markt where I couldn't resist buying a waffle topped with chocolate sauce and strawberries, delicious!

Next we checked into Niu Dairy Hotel which was conveniently located right next to Patronaat, the music venue we'd be going to tonight. The hotel was modern, spacious and well equipped with everything you could possibly need including bluetooth speaker, Rubik's cube and a giant beanbag. A double room for one night here cost us €104.

We had a few hours before the gig so we took a look around Haarlem.  One of Haarlem's most distinctive sights is the De Adriaan Windmill, Unfortunately the original Windmill burnt down in 1932 but it was eventually rebuilt and completed in 2002, 70 years to the day it was destroyed.

Haarlem also has a network of canals and each of the bridges crossing the canals has a name.

Next we stopped off at Vanveg for a bite to eat.

Two curries with rice here cost €14, we choose the Yah mani and Rundown stew.

The Rundown stew contained black carrots, mushrooms and broccoli, it was deep purple in colour and very fragrant with a lime and coconut flavour. The Yah Man curry was much spicier and contained beans, corn, plantain, peppers and sweet potato. Both excellent curries with really impressive flavours.

We went in search of some cocktails but the only ones we could find cost €5 each and they tasted like they had very little alcohol in them, quite disappointing really.

The view of St. Bavo Church across the street did at least mean we'd picked a nice spot to have a drink though. Afterwards we made our way to Patronaat as it was about to open for tonight's show which was the reason we were visiting Haarlem.

The support band was Starfish, a Dutch reggae rock band. I'd never really listened to any of their stuff before tonight but really enjoyed their set.

The band we were here to see were next on stage, Jaya the Cat. They always put on a great live show and tonight was no exception. We had a great time and the crowd here clearly did too, a top night!

After the show there was just enough time to grab a doner kebab, essential after a few beers.

Click here for
Day 3 - Westerpark