For Valentines weekend, we headed over to Cucina Asellina near Covent Garden for a mouth-watering feast…

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This is a new restaurant that you will not want to miss. I began my Sunday evening with some pretty good (and strong) cocktails at Dirty Martini, with the gent.

He’d also booked us a table at a restaurant I had actually never heard of, but once stepping inside I couldn’t believe I had never visited before!

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Cucina Asselina is a New York style Italian restaurant, with an amazing designer setting, but most importantly for me, amazing food.

The service is also pretty great, as soon as you walk in they take your coats for you and take you to your table. We had our booking at 4pm so it was kind of in between lunch and dinner, also making it pretty empty. So I’m not sure what it would be like at its busiest, but at this time, I cannot recommend it more.

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The dishes are pretty small here, so be prepared to order quite a few dishes if you’re hungry and perhaps just share them to get a taster for everything.

We began with a seafood platter, sides with blue cheese dips, lobster ravioli, a margerita pizza and a rack of lamb. I would definitely recommend the ravioli and the lamb – aaaaamazing.

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I would describe the food as a kind of rustic a la carte – which is right up my street. (aka great tasting, fancy food but not too poncey)

I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world so couldn’t resist the plum panacotta. There’s also another coffee-cocktail here that we ordered which you have to try! Speaking of coffee, their tiramisu was pretty spot on.

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What: Cucina Asellina
Where: Me London Hotel, London, WC2R 1HA
Price: on average, small dishes are from £7 to about £12 each
Website: Cucina Asellina

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Is there a better place to watch the rain fall outside than in a Notting Hill bakery? I think not.

And any morning involving pancakes and coffee is my sort of morning. Despite being British (aka advanced professional when dealing with gloomy weather), walking through rain in January isn’t exactly my idea of heaven. However, sipping hot coffee in a cosy artisan bakery whilst watching the rain dance down the window is slightly better…

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The market in Portobello Road is pretty minimal in the rain, yet the wonderful coffee shops and bakeries remained open, their warmly lit interior tempting all of our cold, wet souls inside. If you’re going for the market only, I’d personally advise you to go on a sunny day.

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After passing café after café, and craving a caffeine hit, we settled on Gails Bakery.

Settled on a corner in Notting Hill, its large windows offered a perfect view overlooking Portobello road.

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We had coffees.

And pancakes.

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And French toast… But I could have eaten everything on the menu!

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I had to resist taking home one of the many affordable, organic, pretty bread loaves.

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And considering both the location and tastiness of the food here, the prices weren’t too bad either. Although the quantity and amount on the plate wasn’t the best I have seen, the quality definitely made up for it.

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Friday is supposed to be Portobello Market’s second busiest day of the week, according to the website, and even though it has a section about bad weather, I still doubted a bit of rain would put them off. Us Brits usually won’t bat an eyelid even if the weatherman says “dangerous flood warnings”.

Yet, on Portobello Road Market on Friday only a quarter of the market was set up due to the rainy skies of January. So again, to be safe, make your visit in Spring onwards.

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