Bring my bottle

The blog about BYOB in London (and other lovely things)

Chalkboards of Morningside, Edinburgh

During the three-and-a-half years that I spent in Edinburgh, I took countless photos of the castle, the view over Princes Street from the Scott Monument, and of the cobbled streets around the Royal Mile.

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Tagine, Moroccan BYOB Balham

On Marrakech

I really wanted to love Marrakech. Before visiting, I’d read mixed reviews. It was either heat, hassle and dirt or colours, bustling markets and delicious food. I dismissed the former, partly because I am terrible at taking travel advice, but partly because  I’ve travelled plenty before, been endlessly hassled, and woken up next to grinning cockroaches. This has all been worth it for the interesting sights and lovely people.

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When in Puglia

I’m terrible at accepting travel advice, because I always seem to think I know best. So when an acquaintance of Irish, who was born and raised in Puglia, told us that that we were crazy for planning a trip around the region on public transport, I insisted that we ignore it.

It turns out that Puglia has possibly the most inconvenient public transport network (if you can call it that) that I have ever experienced. The cliches about Italy’s North/South divide are, in my experience, painfully true. In Northern Italy, you feel the G-force as the high-speed train whisks you from Bologna to Florence (115 km) in half an hour. In Puglia, the trains – where there are trains – chug along a single track around at least 15 minutes behind schedule and stop at every tiny rural town en route. The only points at which the track divides are at stations, where trains going in opposite directions will meet and swap places.

But you have to take the good with the bad, because it was the remoteness that drove us (though sadly not literally) around Puglia in the first place. I love Florence, but we wanted to avoid crowds, so the most Southern part of Italy was perfect.

Matera, Basilicata

Not technically in Puglia, but close. Matera might be one of the oldest cities that I’ve visited. It’s famous for its cave dwellings and the ancient Sassi (old town). It was scorching hot but very beautiful. Surprisingly few tourists, and surprisingly unknown. The Passion of the Christ (feat. Mel Gibson) was filmed here.

Sassi, Matera

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Khamsa, Brixton BYOB (and FOMO)

Ah. Quiet Saturday nights in. Just a bottle of red wine, Netflix, and the intense social anxiety that the friends I have tried to reject invitations from are having way more fun than I am right now. 

And that – the fear of missing out (affectionately known as ‘FOMO’) – is essentially how last Saturday’s relaxed evening in escalated from half a bottle of cheap Prosecco in Clapham North and ended in a roof-top hot tub as the sun was beginning to rise. Sandwiched unexpectedly somewhere in-between was a visit to My Current Favourite BYOB, which is why I am telling you all of this. (Infernos may or may not have happened too, but can we not talk about it?)

Khamsa Brixton

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Carioca, Brazilian BYOB Brixton

Carioca BYOB Brixton

It seems impossible to mention anything Brazil-related right now without at least one mention of the Olympics. However since the global sporting event really has no relevance at all to the dinner decisions we made last week, I’ll make just one quick reference to my favourite event so far this year. And that would be the moment that #OlympicNan became Twitter famous after her emojinal show of support for Adam Peaty, her gold medalist grandson. Let’s recap:

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Cah-Chi BYOB, Earlsfield

Quite recently Irish Boy moved to Earlsfield. I had never been before, but was excited to discover a high street full of brunch spots, restaurants, the odd wine-drinking location and – unexpectedly – a Korean BYOB. We were actually en route to Brixton Village when we nearly walked past Cah-Chi. It was a happy distraction.

Cha-Chi BYOB Earlsfield

BYOB Earlsfield

Korean is not everyone’s go-to cuisine. This is understandable: the national dish is pickled cabbage. Not exactly endearing, and a fact that certainly didn’t offer Irish – who was pretty apprehensive at our dining prospect – much reassurance.

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Krua, Thai BYOB Balham

We were craving a Thai curry. Peppertree, Clapham had a queue out onto the street; Firefly, Balham was full. So it was Google to the rescue – and we ended up knocking on the door of a little known restaurant called Krua.

Which, totally unknown to either of us, happened to be BYOB.

Winning.

Thai BYOB

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Wine & pigs @ The Provincial, Brixton Market

I’ve started a new love affair with Brixton Village. There is literally nothing to not to adore about a place with small, independently owned restaurants offering freshly cooked food from around the world. And one of the many cherries on top of this cake is the abundance of BYOB options, which is why I believe that it should be a Mecca for wine lovers. After all, BYOB means a limitless wine list – and it does’t need to break the bank.

byob brixton market

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Beginner’s Luck: Lahore, Tooting (BYOB)

Beginner’s luck, it turns out, is no myth. At least not for this poker beginner who scooped a cool £50 on Friday. It was my second attempt at the game. In my first, a fortnight before, I’d gone all in on the first hand – and rapidly back out again. Fortunately there was no shortage of wine and cheese for my consolation.

There was no need for consolation the second time around – but a mild hangover the next day called for one food type rather loudly and clearly. And so Irish Boy and I headed down to Tooting to splurge my winnings on a cheap curry (generous, I know).

Poker face
Lahore, Tooting BYOB

We chose Lahore as our destination, rather appropriately since it was the first ever BYOB I’d dined at in London back in 2013 – another instance of beginner’s luck.

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