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Smithfield Market

Hotels, Hotels - Design, Hotels - Luxury, London

The Rosebery, Clerkenwell

The Rosebery is a contemporary luxury aparthotel set in a beautifully-restored Victorian red brick building in leafy Clerkenwell.

Part of Supercity Aparthotels, it is ideal for medium to long stays in London and offers the extra home comforts and space that most city hotels can’t.

The stylish design and fabulous location attracted me to a staycation at The Rosebery.  Since moving to London, Clerkenwell has been high on my list of dream places to live, so staying at The Rosebery gave a taste of what life (albeit a luxurious one) in EC1 might be like.

The Rosebery features 58 suites, ranging from a comfortable studio to a spacious two bedroom suite.  All of the suites are fully furnished and benefit from a weekly maid service.

On arrival, the lobby felt serene and welcoming, with a number of interesting artworks surrounding a giant silver blow-fish sculpture.  Next door is an inviting wine bar where guests can enjoy a glass of wine and a bite to eat within the apartment complex.

Our one-bedroom suite was very spacious and slick with contemporary furnishings and panoramic windows offering a spectacular view over the City and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The focal point of the apartment is the delightful open-plan living room and fully-fitted kitchen.  The living room features a plush sofa with textured cushions, a glass dining table with three chairs, wall-mounted LCD TV, free wifi, a selection of glossy magazines and a bowl of fresh green apples.

The stylish grey kitchen has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including an oven-microwave, hob, washing machine with dryer, dishwasher, fridge, kettle, toaster and a full set of crockery, cutlery and glassware.

A Nespresso machine with a generous amount of espresso capsules and a selection of black and herbal teas are kindly provided.  I also loved that there were thoughtful touches such Club biscuits and mini Mars bars to graze on and an Aerolatte milk frother to jazz up our hot drinks.  There was also a small bottle of milk and two bottles of mineral water in the fridge to get us started – just what you want on arrival.

The smartly-appointed bedroom has an extremely comfortable king-size bed with sumptuous linen and two large fitted wardrobes with more than enough room (and hangers) for a long stay.  The bedroom is simple and uncluttered, making it a tranquil, quiet spot for a good night’s sleep.

The stylish bathroom includes a bath and shower with good water pressure, plus plenty of thick, luxurious towels and a full set of generously-sized Gilchrist and Soames bathroom products.  I particularly liked the grainy bathroom tiles with a slight sheen and the wide bathroom mirror, however a bathrobe would be a welcome addition for the ultimate comfort.

Close to the entrance of the apartment is a working desk with an iPod dock, portable phone and branded notebook and pen.  The high tech control panel is an impressive feature, which can be used to manage the lights and air-conditioning, plus secure entry system allows you to see who is at the door.

One of the most remarkable things about The Rosebery is how quiet it is, despite being on a busy road and so close to central London.  We felt like our apartment was in the heart of buzzing London yet the lack of noise made for a very peaceful and centering experience.

Also, the views from our living room and bedroom were fantastic, with the skyline lit up in bright lights in the late-evening and a clear vision of the City’s imposing glass skyscrapers in the morning.

Other handy perks of staying at The Rosebery include complimentary access to the fitness centre, dry cleaning services, discounts at local restaurants and use of a ‘Zipcar’.

During our stay, we decided to make full use of the kitchen and cook an evening meal, however there are some excellent eateries within walking distance of The Rosebery.  Just a few steps away is Exmouth Market with an array of fabulous restaurants and cafes such as Paesan, Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack, Caravan, Moro, Morito, Humus Bros and Gail’s Bakery.  You really are spoilt for choice and could eat out in Clerkenwell every evening without getting bored.

The Rosebery is also well-located to visit Smithfield Market, The British Museum, Sadler’s Well, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the Sir John Soane’s Museum.

The Rosebery is a fantastic accommodation option for those visiting London for a week or more.  It has the privacy of a home residence yet the friendly reception staff and concierge are on hand to organise and enhance your visit.  My past experiences of serviced apartments have been mixed, but The Rosebery excels in every way, making for a memorable, inspiring stay.

For more information, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of The Rosebery

Photos by Chérie City (exterior by The Rosebery)


London, Restaurants

The Grill On The Market – West Smithfield, London

Smithfield Market is one of my favourite foodie areas in London, as it has a real  ‘old world’ atmosphere with its cobbled streets and Victorian architecture.  I’ve had some great dinners in this neighbourhood, so expectations are always high when trying a new grill restaurant.

The Grill on the Market overlooks West Smithfield and is much larger than it appear from outside, with a large yet homely bar, two dining rooms and a private dining space.  Formerly the Smithfield Bar & Grill, it is now part of the Blackhouse group, which also has branches in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds and Cheshire.

When we arrived, the place was already buzzing and filled with the mouth-watering aromas of grilled meat.  We were sat in an curved leather booth, which made it much more intimate and cosy than a regular face-to-face table.

The restaurant was very festive, with elegant garlands and baubles adorning the walls and live music from an excellent jazz pianist, singing a mix of swinging Christmas songs and old classics.  It really added to the warm atmosphere and I would love to see more live jazz in London restaurants…if it’s done well.

I started with the Baby Scallop, Garlic and Bacon Salad (£6.50).  The baby scallops were plump, soft and perfectly bite-size.  The mixed leaves with a garlic, herb and olive oil dressing and thin matchsticks of crispy bacon went perfectly with the scallops.  It was a light and tasty dish – perfect before an indulgent steak.

Steven went for the Salt and Pepper Chicken kebabs (£6.75).  The chicken was tender and well-marinated and came with a sweet chili ginger dipping sauce, topped with fresh chili and spring onions.

The cocktail list at The Grill on the Market is a tempting mix of classics with a twist and the restaurant’s own inventive concoctions.  My Ginger Sidecar (£7.50) – Martell VS, King’s Ginger Liqueur, Ginger puree, sweetened lemon juice and Bittertruth orange flower water – was absolutely delicious.  It was sweet, aromatic and packed full of potent ginger.

Steven ordered a Smoky Old Fashioned (£7.50) – Woodford Reserve, maple syrup, oak smoke and an ice ball.  The cocktail was served in a glass bottle filled with smoke and our waiter advised to swirl the liquid around the bottle for an extra smoky taste.  It tasted oaky, smooth, slightly sweet and was very easy to drink.

For the main course, it had to be the Fillet Steak (200g) (£22.50) with a skewer of garlic prawns (£6).  My medium-cooked steak was thick, tender, succulent and full of juice.  The garlic prawns were so fresh with a subtle garlic taste.  They went so well together, that regular steak will just never be the same.

The large portion of triple-cooked skin-on chips were perfectly cooked and the Béarnaise sauce was creamy, buttery and indulgent.  I couldn’t finish the entire bowl of chips, so I’d recommend sharing, if you both order steak.

Steven’s Traditional Fish and Chips (£13.50) was exceptionally good.  The two fillets of cod were fresh, succulent and covered in a crisp, golden batter that wasn’t too oily or heavy.  The smashed minted peas were more interesting than regular mushy peas and other extras were a tangy tartar sauce and a tiny jar of pickled onions.

My Red Velvet Cake with kumquat clotted cream (£5.95) was disappointing, as the flavours didn’t stand out after two courses including lots of garlic, however the texture was pleasant.  Unfortunately the cake had absorbed the aromas of the savory food in the kitchen, so it didn’t taste quite as it should.

I had serious envy of Steven’s Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream (£6), which was the best that a pudding can be.  It was light and spongy with tiny flecks of oats and a scrumptious, buttery toffee sauce – not at all stodgy or overly sweet.

We finished with another round of floral, fragrant coctkails.  My Mint and Violet Crush (£7) – Bacardi Superior, Briottet Violett, mint, sugar syrup and fresh lime juice topped with lemonade – tasted like a Parma Violet Mojito.  It was delicately perfumed and the floral aromas perfectly complimented the citrus zing of the lime.

Steven’s Rosewater Collins (£7) – Bacardi Superior, Briottet Rose, sweetened lemon juice, Bittertruth Rose flower water and soda – was just as refreshing, with lots of lemon and a pretty pink colour.  Both drinks would be particularly cooling and delicious in the summer.

The Grill on the Market is perfect for a fun, relaxed, unashamedly carnivorous evening, with friendly service in a comfortable setting.  It’s one of those places that you go with friends, family or your partner and while the steak with all the extras can push the main meal towards the £30 mark, the burgers and fish and chips are more affordable yet substantial options.

For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of The Grill on the Market

Photos by Chérie City and The Grill on the Market

The Grill on the Market on Urbanspoon

Hotels, London, Restaurants

Fox & Anchor: Clerkenwell’s Boutique B&B

My first experience with London B&Bs (The Wishing Well in Peckham, just in case you want to avoid it) was like an episode of EastEnders.  I slept with one eye open for three long nights after the barman breezily told me that the recently fired cook had threatened to burn down the pub in revenge.

Through the horrors of shared bathrooms and potential death, I still managed to get through my first ever internship at a glossy monthly and eventually move in to my next flat, with my new friends oblivious to my traumatic adventures.  I figured my opinion of London B&Bs could only go up.

What I wasn’t prepared for was just how incredible my stay at the Fox & Anchor in Clerkenwell would really be!

When you hear the words ’boutique B&B’, one immediately conjures up images of country boltholes in The Cotswolds or The Lake District, but London’s luxury bed and breakfast scene is gradually on the up.

Nestled on a side street opposite the traditional Smithfield Meat Market, the Fox & Anchor may seem like an unassuming, traditional London boozer from the outside, but it quietly boasts six incredibly stylish rooms and a buzzing, English Eccentric restaurant.

When we arrived, we checked in at the bar and met the charming, unpretentious staff who showed us up to our room through the separate front entrance.

All rooms are named after the London location that inspired their design and we stayed in the Saint Paul (see the silkscreen print above the bed).

Our room was one of the largest I’ve ever stayed in and was more like a mini apartment, with a reception area leading to the bathroom or open-plan bedroom and sitting area.

The bedroom had a contemporary but homely atmosphere and was decorated in neutral mink and cream shades with accents of lime green, turquoise and chocolate brown.

There were interesting design features such a duo of hanging chain lamps, which provided much amusement, and exquisite, heavy embroidered curtains and statement cushions.

Comfort features included a large LCD plasma screen TV with Bose soundsystem and Sky channels, a DVD player, a mini bar stocked with complimentary still and sparkling water and a tea and coffee making station.  We were even greeted to the sounds of David Bowie on entering the room and the Fox & Anchor supplied us with a stack of classic CDs – a thoughtful, personal touch.

The wood-panelled, New England-style bathroom was the real pièce de résistance and reminded me of those that grace the Soho House Group rooms.

The design of the bathroom is an absolute dream, with a hand-stencilled black and gold claw foot bath, a copper tub sink, a vintage-style toilet and a powerful rainfall shower.

The attention to detail is impressive, as the bathroom is filled with vases, a wooden stool for your towel, a wooden tray for over the bath and even a bronze sculpture in the corner.  Adorning the walls are black and white photographs of butchers from Smithfield Market, reflecting the area’s proud, untouched heritage.

REN toiletries were stocked in abundance and best of all, The Fox & Anchor provides conditioner!  It may seem trivial, but most hotels only anticipate the basic bathroom requirements of the average business traveller and it is a joy when you find one that understands and caters to the needs of girls and guys who appreciate silky hair on holiday.

At night, the pub is bustling with an after-work crowd and locals, but there is also a separate dining room with cosy nooks and a private alcove called The Foxes Lair.  We were shown to one of the corner snugs, perfect for tucking into your dinner with wild abandon, or for a romantic, intimate dinner.

Our waitress was utterly charming and made jokes and recommendations throughout the meal.  I asked her which wine she recommended from the extensive list and she suggested the Fleurrie Beaujolais, which was light, fruity and zingy – a perfect choice.

The Fox’s reputation for giant portion sizes precedes it, so we passed on starters and went straight for the meat.  I ordered the Fox & Anchor burger (£9) with duck fat chips and Steven went for Gammon, Pineapple and Chips (£11.50).

When my burger came, it needed an actual wooden kebab stick to hold it in place, rather than the usual cocktail stick.  It was a leaning tower of beef and toasted bun, oozing with cheese, bacon, seasoned mayo, lettuce, onion and tomato.

It was so huge that I had to slice it in two and eat it with a knife and fork to avoid everything spilling out.  The meat was excellent quality, well seasoned and cooked to medium perfection.  The accompaniments were also of a high standard, although the humongous slice of extra mature cheese could have been slimmed down, as the burger became very rich and a real Everest.

The goose-fat chips in a copper bucket were a triumph – crispy, full of flavour and not too greasy.  Steven was presented with three giant slices of roasted gammon, topped with fresh pineapple rings and chips on the side.

The menu at the Fox & Anchor is full of gourmet comfort food – robust, generously-sized British classics with locally sourced ingredients.  It is also reasonably priced for the sheer amount of food, excellent quality and attention to detail.

For dessert, I went for the Blueberry Tart (£5) with vanilla ice cream and strawberry coulis.  It was a cross between a dense frangipani tart and a home-made cake with gooey blueberries and a delicious thick crust.

Steven went for the Strawberry Shortcake (£5), which was a tower of Eton Mess sandwiched between two home-made shortcake biscuits, topped with vanilla ice cream, fresh stawberries and coulis.

The Blueberry Tart was delicious, but the Strawberry Shortcake was the real stand-out dessert and was a super indulgent treat.

After a long, leisurely dinner, we still hadn’t finished our bottle of wine, so our waitress offered us two wineglasses and a large bottle of chilled mineral water to take up to our room.  The staff are incredibly accommodating and nothing is too much trouble for them.

Following a wonderful, deep sleep (thanks to the luxurious king-size bed), we went downstairs to the pub for a late breakfast of Eggs Benedict and a Latte.  The hollandaise sauce was a little heavy on the vinegar, but the bacon and eggs were exceptionally good.

Coffee was strong, rich roasted and a generous size – just what you need in the morning.  Unlike most London accommodation, breakfast here is reasonably priced, with Eggs Benedict for £5 and a Smithfield Market-sourced Full English Breakfast for not much more.

The Fox & Anchor really is a hidden gem and its luxurious rooms far exceed the quality of London’s more famed hotels. Its boutique, intimate atmosphere is part of its charm and you’ll leave feeling more than a little bit pleased to have found somewhere in the city that really is a ‘home away from home’.

All rooms at Fox & Anchor are priced the same and start from £95 for weekends.  For more information and booking, visit

* Chérie City was a guest of Fox & Anchor

Fox & Anchor on Urbanspoon