Friday, 25 February 2011

Sunday Night Dining – The Spread Eagle, Greenwich

I don’t know about you, but I get fed up competing with others to get a table in a restaurant come Friday and/or Saturday night. If I can, I will opt for a more tranquil experience, where I can go and eat a meal peacefully, enjoying the ambience and not knowing or (caring for that matter) if there is a second service during the evening. This often means going out for dinner on a Sunday evening. While several restaurants do a rip roaring trade for Sunday Lunch, come Sunday evening, they either close or custom is relatively quiet as the Monday to Friday masses prepare for the onslaught of the following week.
As a welcome change from dining out on Valentine's Day, which landed on a Monday this year, we decided to bring it forward a day to the Sunday evening and in doing so, discovered a little gem called “The Spread Eagle” in Greenwich.

The Spread Eagle, Greenwich
The restaurant is a former coaching inn and dates back to the 1600’s. On entering the restaurant, you step into a warm and inviting bar with an imposing wrought iron staircase and a crackling fire which you can enjoy while sipping something special before you go through to the main restaurant.

The restaurant is adorned with beautiful paintings and bronze busts you would believe it could double up as an art gallery. The tables are dressed with crisp white linen and candles and the chairs are upholstered with contemporary colours which complement the mood of the restaurant. The restaurant is dimly lit, perfect for creating that all important intimate ambience. We opt for a table by the window so we can watch the world go by.
Inside The Spread Eagle 

On a Sunday evening The Spread Eagle does a set menu:
Two Courses for £16.50 or Three Courses for £21.50. The style is French fine dining.
For Starter, Main Course and Dessert there is a choice of four dishes for each course.
I decide to go for the Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute with Wild Mushrooms followed by the
Pan fried Sea-Bream Fillet, with Potato Puree and Saffron Sauce (Yum!). All washed down with a couple of glasses of cool, crisp Viognier wine (Oh yes please!).

The bread is served warm and crunchy on the outside with a choice of white and brown rolls nestled in your very own bread basket.

The service is very attentive; a good pace, the waiting staff are polite and not constantly breathing down your neck (Never a good way to win customers over I feel!). They merit the 12.5% service charge added to the bill.

My Veloute is smooth, rich and is served with smoked Girasole Mushrooms. Heavenly! I love the way that The Spread Eagle is using seasonal produce on its menu; otherwise it may have been some time before I was introduced to the Jerusalem Artichoke.

The main course of Sea Bream follows and it is just how it should be; crispy on the outside and fleshy and moist on the inside. It is perfectly positioned on beautifully seasoned Potato Puree surrounded by a sumptuous Saffron Sauce. I was tempted to lick the bowl but refrained out of respect for my partner!
Sea Bream Fillet, Potato Puree and Saffron Sauce

As we are full, we decide not to take a dessert but we are certain that we will make a return visit to “The Spread Eagle” in Greenwich. They also do a tasting menu for that special occasion which I believe, is available most nights (except Sunday).

If you are looking for a high quality meal, enjoy French cuisine, don’t mind dining out on a Sunday evening and don't want to blow the budget, take advantage of the set menu at The Spread Eagle in Greenwich. You can’t really go wrong.

You can book online at

Tell them MeLikeyUK sent you!

Enjoy x

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Beauty Product Review - Spa Paradisa Lip Butter

Now that we are nearing the end of winter, my poor lips are looking for a break from all the bouts of chapping and dehydration, and so it is perfect timing that the nice girls from Targetgroup, invited MeLikeyUK to review the Spa ParadisaTM lip butter range!
The new lip butters from Spa ParadisaTM 

Launched in 2009, these tropical lip butters are bursting with fruity scents of either “Sweet Coconut” or “Juicy Passionfruit”. They are enriched with Vitamin E and Shea butter, which guarantee to nourish any poor neglected lips!

Spa ParadisaTM  has beautifully packaged the 10ml size tin which is a perfect fit for any make-up bag, handbag or indeed pocket!

The price is £3.50 per tin or £6 for a twin pack (1 x "Sweet Coconut" and 1 x "Juicy Passionfruit").

Spa ParadisaTM  lip butters are available at Boots, Debenhams, Urban Outfitters and online at

MeLikeyUK Review



Available in “Sweet Coconut” and “Juicy Passionfruit”. I tried the “Juicy Passionfruit” and was immediately transported to a Caribbean beach! 


A rich, smooth and intense treatment. My lips felt instantly moisturised, without feeling greasy.


The tin is decorated differently depending on the scent; yellow for “Juicy Passionfruit” and red for “Sweet Coconut”. The imagery itself reminds me of the advertising in the 1950’s of which, I am a huge fan!


Available at well known high street stores with the option of purchasing online at Next.



At £3.50 for 10ml it is quite pricey, but this is somewhat mitigated with the twin pack offer (i.e. two for £6)

Frequency of application:

If like me, you are a regular tea and coffee drinker, you will need to apply regularly throughout the day

Overall MeLikeyUK rating:


My thanks to Courtney and Natasha for introducing me to Spa ParadisaTM.

You may want to check out other products in the Spa ParadisaTM  range.

Indulge yourself at:


The contents of my blog posts are my opinions alone. It is important for me to uphold the integrity of the “MeLikeyUK” blog. When I am asked to review a product/service, I will only agree to refer to it in my blog posts if I genuinely like it and will provide an associated rating. The blog posts without a rating signify me sharing an experience with the audience unprompted. To avoid misleading the audience, and to save time, I will not review and publish products/services which I believe are not compatible with my blog.
Anything with a rating of 5/10 or above will be deemed to be acceptable and published on the MeLikeyUK Blog.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare at the Greenwich Playhouse Theatre

It’s been a while since hubby and I have ventured into theatreland, so I was attracted to the recent offer quoted on alluding to the production of “ The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare. 
Photo Credit:
The offer was £9 per ticket and was showing locally, at the Greenwich Playhouse theatre, one of the smaller theatres in London. Although having studied Shakespeare at school (Hamlet and Macbeth), I have only seen one Shakespeare play, which was Measure for Measure, and this was in a hot and stuffy theatre in Edinburgh during the festival. At the time, both my boyfriend and I were students and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to British culture (he was French), mmmm a decision I soon learned to regret! Much frowning, vacant expressions and pants of exasperation soon ensued and my boyfriend did not show much enthusiasm either!
After some deliberation, I took the plunge and booked 2 tickets for the Saturday night performance. I should inform you that the aforementioned boyfriend is now my hubby and we have been living in London for 11 years, so he is now more accustomed to the British lifestyle!
The Greenwich Playhouse is accessed via Belushi’s bar ( which is located on the left hand side of the main exit of Greenwich train station.
Seating plan inside Greenwich Playhouse
Photo Credit:
The theatre is snugly situated above the main bar and would comfortably accommodate an audience of approximately 60 people.
Not to give too much away, The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays, believed to have been written between 1592 and 1594. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity. It has been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre.
The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. 
Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft,  madness, and demonic possession.

There are approximately 16 characters in the play, with some actors taking on duplicate roles. The acting is superb and the performances are enhanced by the intimacy of the theatre. Quite often we were inches away from the actors and actresses. We were particularly amused by the master and servant relationship portrayed by Antipholus and Dromio (both sets of twins!).
The running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes with a 15 minute break after 1 hour. Drinks are permitted in the theatre and the audience is encouraged to top up at the bar during the interval.
This production runs until 20 February and is a great alternative to the cinema. Even without the discount, full price tickets are £12 which is still excellent value for money!

If you fancy introducing some Shakespeare and comedy into your life, book online at:

You won’t be disappointed!

Tell them MeLikeyUK sent you!

Enjoy x

Friday, 11 February 2011

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – A Birthday Treat!

A shared passion of my husband and I is great food and for our birthdays we always mark the occasion by indulging in an award winning restaurant. Our birthdays are close together, his in December and mine in mid-January so all the excesses of Christmas spill over until this time.
Although I am in my thirties, I have never tired of having surprises and surprising other people and it is for this reason we keep quiet about the venue, well until 30 seconds before we walk through the front door!
For his birthday I took him to Launceston Place, where chef Tristan Welch delighted us with cep risotto, west coast scallops and dark chocolate soufflé with Laphroaig ice cream (this was a Brucie bonus as hubby loves his whisky).

Lunchtime at Launceston Place in December

Last month for my birthday he took me to Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (ok, ok hubby wins hands down!)
As The Dorchester is situated in Park Lane, he deliberately took me up the back streets of Mayfair not to make it obvious we were headed for the Park Lane area, with a few crafty moves and sneaky turns we were facing the main entrance of the hotel. It was a jaw dropping moment! I had to gather myself as I realised this was something huge!! He confirmed that it was indeed Alain Ducasse and that the booking was for 7.30pm.  It was just before 7pm so we had enough time to take a wee birthday aperitif at the bar.
When you walk into the Dorchester, you cannot help but be impressed with the sheer opulence of the lobby with its sparkly marble floor, and beautifully detailed rugs and drapes, a few oligarchs with approving smiles caught my eye as they seemed to be enjoying the remainder of their afternoon tea. Small wonder that it is one of a few five star hotels in London.

Lobby at The Dorchester
Photo Credit: flickr: UggBoy

The Bar (originally named) is very chic and buzzing with all types, from young guys adorned in the  latest trends to a group of men dressed in tuxedos swapping stories about their latest ventures. We are shown to a table and presented with a cocktail menu with eye-watering prices; from a brief glimpse we opt for one of the cheaper drinks; a glass of Champagne at £17 (eek!). This is served alongside a generous portion of olives and nuts but we are careful not to overindulge as we know we are in for a "foodfest" in the hours to follow. No sooner have we finished our champers, then we are offered another and with the best will in the world we politely decline and make our way to one of the only three Michelin starred restaurants in London. Having been to both Gordon Ramsay and the Waterside Inn, I wondered how the Alain Ducasse restaurant would compare.

The Bar at the Dorchester
Photo Credit:
This is the only Ducasse restaurant in London and was awarded with a third Michelin star in January 2010. We had been to the Mix restaurant in Las Vegas which had spectacular views but the food and service would not be a patch on this restaurant. The Michelin guide for this year had just been published and this restaurant had retained it's 3 star rating.

We are warmly welcomed into the restaurant and shown to our table which is located on an elevated platform looking over the restaurant with the hubbub of Park Lane behind us. The decor is light, warm, and airy with what looks like champagne/water bubbles on the wall. Very crisp and clean and immediately puts us at ease.

We are presented with a number of menus; a la carte, two tasting menus and the wine menu. Anxious to sample the chefs works of art, we opt for the cheaper tasting menu at £115 per head (If my memory serves me well, I believe the other tasting menu is edging towards £180 per head and this is before you consider wine and water....gulp!)

Although we both enjoy wine, we do not drink copious amounts of it and with the sommelier suggesting we have a wine to match every course (7), we feel that it is a tad excessive and ask him to recommend a couple of glasses (a white and a red) that complements all the dishes, which he does with much vigour and enthusiasm.

Preview of the Tasting Menu at Alain Ducasse

We are provided with some little cheese (gruyere, I believe) and black pepper filled choux buns before our first course arrives which we happily tuck into. It feels such a shame that there is a small mountain of them and we will not be able to finish all of them.

We are presented with a wide variety of bread to accompany our meal (olive, tomato, bacon focaccia and Scottish scones). Our first course comes which is a stunning dish of warm Scottish crab dressed in a coral jus. You immediately taste the sea and are blown away with the velvety texture of the jus.

The second course arrives and it is wild duck, hen pheasant and foie gras terrine with pickled vegetables. The foie gras is melt in the mouth and it's rich gamey flavour is abundantly clear and thoroughly complements the toasted brioche and our recommended white wine beautifully.

The third course is noted as one of the chef’s signature dishes and is the “Sauté gourmand” of Lobster and truffled chicken quenelles. Even the description sounds dreamy!
Before we are served, the maitre D’ presents us with the type of truffle that is used in this dish. It is encased in a glass jar to retain the distinct scent. My! Oh my! It really is quite powerful! I think to engage the customers in this way is a really nice gesture and should be encouraged more in similar restaurants.
When the dish arrives, the aroma is heavenly, again a salty, seawater freshness tinged with creamy velvety mushroom. The pasta is cooked to perfection and I am in heaven. You can certainly appreciate why it is labelled a signature dish! My only complaint is that I could eat so much more of it!
Next up is the simmered halibut with celeriac, shellfish and squid. This is a light and delicate dish, not too overpowering which sits nicely between the lobster and the dish to follow.
With a quick change of wines, we are now onto a Chateauneuf du Pape to accompany our next dish which is a saddle of venison with pumpkin, quince and chestnuts .Although I am not a huge fan of pumpkin, the sweetness of the vegetable matches the sweetness of the very tender venison well and I am savouring every moment!

Choice of wine: Chateauneuf du Pape

I cannot believe I still have two courses to go! I need to take a temporary break from all this gluttony and I decide just to leave the restaurant to walk around the lobby for a few minutes. On my return, waiters are falling over themselves to make sure I am seated correctly and my napkin is neatly folded and presented to my right.
OK! Cheese course I am ready! We are presented with a basket of hazelnut and raisin bread to accompany our cheese dish. There are 4 different types of cheese ranging from a mild goats cheese to the stronger Roquefort. They have been well selected and one by one we eat them in the order of strength. All delicious and with their own identity. I am however, having some discomfort – I skipped lunch today but am already feeling really full!
With a little break before dessert, we are presented with different flavoured macaroons (passion fruit, chocolate, lime) and a mixture of milk and plain chocolate, some of which are pralines (yippee!)
This is all very nice but where am I going to put all these?

About 10 minutes later we are presented with our dessert; a bitter chocolate tart with coffee granite. A nice conclusion to the meal. The richness of the chocolate is complemented by the sharp coffee notes.
Our plates are taken away and within minutes the waitress brings along a trolley packed full of sweets including rhubarb flavoured chews and nougatine!  Yum! I cannot believe me eyes! Again, I am thinking I have no space! The chocolates and macaroons which were earlier presented are still our table (untouched....well practically!). She swiftly recommends putting a mixture in a goody bag for us to take home." Oh yes please" we both announce! We pass on coffee and liqueurs.

We are then visited by the Maitre D’ who asks us if we have enjoyed the experience. He comes across as friendly, warm and knowledgeable and takes great delight in recommending other places to eat e.g. The Fat Duck (mmm yes if we can get a table!), The Hinds Head – a good alternative if we are in the area. He tells us he used to work in Royal Hospital Road with Gordon Ramsay and that within the industry the chefs and waiting staff are like one happy family. In fact he is taking “his lady” (a romantic Frenchman) to eat with Gordon Ramsay at the soft opening of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental. How lucky! I hear nowadays, their reservations alone are being sold for £90 on eBay. The world has gone mad! 
With a few more pleasantries the bill has been paid, I daren’t ask how much it is but it certainly has created a dent in the wallet. A sound investment methinks!
On departure, with goody bag in hand, we are escorted to the door by the Maitre D’ and presented with yet another delicacy from the house of Alain Ducasse;  a white box containing two little orange cakes that he recommends we take for breakfast.

 All that remains:Orange cake and sweets from Alain Ducasse

What an evening! I feel truly spoiled and incredibly lucky. I believe that this is one indulgence that everyone should experience in their life. It has given me very pleasant mouth watering memories that I will cherish forever.

If you are looking to treat a loved one, enjoy gourmet cuisine and are willing to splash out, book a table at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

You won’t be disappointed!

Tell them MeLikeyUK sent you!

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Zumba - are you ready for the party?

So what is Zumba anyway?

Wikipedia cites it as “A program combining Latin and international music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun. Zumba classes are offered through licensed instructors in more than 90,000 fitness centre locations in 110 countries with ten million participants!"

In an effort to lose some weight and put a bit of spring in my step I wanted to enrol in some Zumba classes in London. I had looked into buying a Zumba dvd and doing it at home (i.e. the cheats option) but I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the price.. £50 and knowing my experience of exercise dvds, It probably would not have been a wise investment!
Like many others, I dread the thought of going to the gym and working on the same machines, going through the same motions day in, day out (snore, snore). Even the numerous TV channels cannot hold my attention for too long! I never quite understood people who claim to be addicted to the gym - clearly I must be missing something!
I am a huge fan of Groupon and each morning I delve into my mails to see what treats they have on offer. A few weeks ago, there it was jumping out at me:
 "Groove Your Way to A New Body with Five Zumba Lessons and a Glass of Healthy Acai Juice at Maloca for £14.35 instead of £41".
But how could I resist? A new body and a free juice all for £14.35! It had my name written all over it! I signed up  immediately for it. The offer seemed very reasonable too. The classes are normally £7 and I think five lessons are enough for you to know if you are a Zumba converter or not!
I was spoiled for choice for classes. I opted for the Monday afternoon class 1-2pm.
Maloca is situated on Putney Bridge Road just up from and diagonally opposite the old Cafe Rouge restaurant– a 7 minute walk from Putney train station.
On arrival there is a warm and friendly welcome by the lady who runs the cafe, she takes your details and shows you downstairs to the changing area.
Five minutes later I’m back upstairs with my very revealing lycra pants (not to be worn outside!) in the Anaconda studio conversing with other newbies to the class – there are about 16 of us. The studio is large enough to hold us and we are all eagerly awaiting the instructor.
Suddenly a very petite and slender looking girl enters the room with a huge smile to match her confidence. It becomes apparent that she is the Zumba instructor. She introduces herself as Marta and she looks as if she is about to burst with happiness. It is so clear that she loves what she does and her enthusiasm is infectious!
After a brief introduction, she is getting us to warm up and she makes speed shaking her Zumba clad booty look so effortless – a skill I’ve yet to master!
This is followed by a number of different Zumba workouts  which have a combination of Samba, Rumba, Reggaeton and Salsa all performed to the tunes of Christina Aguilera, Shakira and other Latin artists (not forgetting the contributions of Marta – I did tell you she was enthusiastic). At some point I am convinced she is bouncing off the walls!

Is it difficult to follow? You know what they say “Practice makes perfect”. I am a bit slow initially as I feel as stiff as a board and I am not accustomed to moving my hips so vigorously! Eventually the routine falls into place and while I do not look like a natural, I have a good old giggle trying to mimic the moves of Marta!
Every routine is preceded by a 1 minute demo in slow motion by the Zumba Instructor so that the class knows which moves to make. All too quickly we have come to the end of the class and we are performing some stretches and cooling down and I ask myself has Zumba met their objective;

Do I feel like I have been exercising? Well judging by my knees and other joints - Yes!
Did I have fun? Yes – all of the class are grinning like Cheshire cats!

I believe this is somewhat helped by the variety of routines, the enthusiasm of the instructors and continuous theme of everyone enjoying themselves.
The proof? Lots of smiles on class attendees and the main question for the instructor – when are you next taking the class?
Will I be returning to Zumba? You can count on it!

Before leaving Maloca, the offer entitled me to a free Acai berry juice. I had not tried it before so did not really know what to expect. It was just the ticket to pick me up! It was more of compote than a juice, packed full of vitamins and topped with banana and muesli. Scrummy!

If you have the time and fancy trying out some Zumba classes in London, check out Maloca’s website for the class timetable at the link below:

Tell them MeLikeyUK sent you!

Enjoy x

Photo Credit :Zumba Class by Cimm & Acai Berry by Bruno Peck