Hot Spot: Itsu | Chelsea

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I’ve seen Itsu restaurants a gazillion times, for some reason I’ve always just carried on walking and ended up somewhere else to eat. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like or why I have avoided walking inside, pulling up a seat and getting my grub on, it seems like a popular enough place so it can’t be that bad, can it?

My ignorance changed last week, after attending an event with fellow blogger Wande; maybe my belly was rumbling so hard I had no choice but to stop at the first sign of food, maybe the pink banners with Itsu printed in welcoming font lured me in, who knows; but upon having a quick price check -currently on a strict budget this month- and admiring the food going round the conveyor belt, I was sold. I stood outside taking photo’s of the joint like some sort of paparazzi. Blogger rules: photograph everything, everywhere, everyday; every image is a story.

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The location: Istu [dining] 118 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea SW3 3AE

Itsu Chelsea was buzzing, it was a Friday night so there is no surprise there, this meant we had to wait for a table. We were given a pager and told we would be ‘paged’ when our table was ready. I found the pager system pretty strange, like really, this is not a ward on casualty, this is a restaurant no? I would have preferred it if a waitress collected us when our table was ready, its a lot more personable this way. For me, the pager = no service charge/TIP is coming from me!

Due to time – it was about 8:30pm – we decided to eat in the bar where we were asked to wait, our bellies were crying, we wanted to eat and get a start on the journey home as quickly as possible. Our decision left us limited to the option of hot food only but that was fine with us. The chairs were cosy, the room was a lot quieter and we were able to control our spending by ordering directly from a menu rather than getting excited and picking the world off the conveyor, perfect.

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What we ate: Teriyaki Grilled Salmon in a box – £8.95  | Hot Steamed Edamame (shared a plated) – £3.95 | Finca Cerrada Viura (White Wine) – £6.95(250ml)

The pleasant surprise I had when our food arrived, oh my, I was expecting a tiny portion. The box was a decent size, the salmon was placed on top of some beans and rice, looking so juicy my taste-buds were dancing with excitement. The sight of the teriyiaki sauce covering the tender looking fish flesh, the shiny edamame glazed with ginger, garlic and spices, it was all just… Please waitress, hurry and place it on the table already.

I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, the edamame was very ‘morish’ who knew beans could taste so good?! Its so simple yet so tasty. The salmon was as tender as it looked, rice cooked to perfection, no hard bits, nice and fluffy how I like it with the addition of the bean vegetable mix being just right. I left nothing on the plate. The edamame left me considering ordering another portion to take home, however, my budget was set so I stuck to it.

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Likes’s: The atmosphere is fab, you can stay in the buzzing areas of the restaurant or you can opt to sit in a more chilled and quiet zone. The edamame was a favourite and highly recommend it. I loved being able to eat in a luxurious part of Chelsea at a low cost.

Dislikes’s: The pager, it may seem like a new age way of dealing with customers but its way too impersonal and robotic for a restaurant, especially in this part of London where you expect attention to detail in the customer service.

If you’re in Chelsea, the Itsu [dining] restaurant is a nice option to refuel, the food is healthy and they have a calorie counting chart on their website for those watching their figures.

Price range:

Food: From the kitchen – £1.95 – £15.95(for eel) | From the conveyor – £2.99 – £4.99 |

Drinks: Wines – £4.50(glass) – £39.95(bottle) | Cocktails: £7.95 – £9.95 | Champagne: £6.95(glass) – £39.00(bottle) | Soft £2.40 – £3.75

Smooches, love and fabric sugars xxx

Hot Spot: Illy Caffé – Regent Street

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Coffee just got better! Illy Caffé, an Italian coffee shop serving a unique blend of espresso coffee and fresh food – food so fresh they bake their own croissants – has opened its doors in London. Illy are internationally renowned with branches in over 140 countries, so it is only fitting they open a store in one of the UK’s most popular shopping and tourist destinations.

The most amazing thing about this “new generation boutique café bar”  is the partnership Illy Caffé have with Samsung, the way Samsung have digitalised the shop is genius; they have merged technology with coffee in a brilliant way, whilst bringing themselves great opportunity for brand awareness. The shop is split over two levels, with the top level displaying two banks of Samsung tablets. Customers can enjoy a cup of premium quality coffee or splendid tea whilst checking the daily news, emails or surfing at their pleasure. There is a massive screen to meet you on entrance, showcasing cool Samsung clips, as well as Illy history and footage of how the coffee is made. The menu’s can be viewed on digitised screens behind the till (conventional paper menus also available), with the upstairs boosting a really cool display of Samsung TV’s showcasing both Samsung and Illy products.

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In true Illy Caffé style, the shop looks amazing, adorned with cool art fixtures including artistic photographs and posters, you can tell a lot of thought and effort was put into the architecture and design. Their main focal point is a chandelier made out of cute little espresso cups, 216 cups in total, all designed by artists over a 20 year period. If you’re into art, this is a café you will love, with the opportunity to purchase and take home your very own pieces from their art collection, available in their on site shopping corner!

This is most certainly a place for the fabulous and stylish, its classy, stunning, bright and relaxing; a must visit when you’re in town. The price is fair for its location and quality, it will be hard to find fault, the food tastes amazing and the coffee is mouth watering. A word of warning… you may become addicted!

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Illy Caffé is open Monday – Sunday 7am – 8pm | Location: 295 Regent Street, London, W1B 2HJ

Smooches, love and fabric sugars xxx