For years I scrolled past the pictures of succulent steaks from this place, so I grabbed the chance to dine here with some colleagues.
Since it was all going on the company tab, I decided to go all out with a t-bone steak and hand-cut chips accompanied by chocolate fondant cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The glaze on the steak was unlike anything I have ever tasted before! The meat itself was cooked to a tender medium served with peppercorn sauce. In line with the spectacular standard of food, I expected nothing less from the service. You’re made to feel welcome from the moment you’re shown your table.The waiter carefully ensured that we understood the menu and checked on us every so often.
This would be suitable for special occasions with your spouse or if you really wanted to treat a loved one to something unique.
Years have gone by and I haven’t changed my order at the Banc: a Beef cheeseburger costing roughly £12-£14 plus an additional topping of caramelised onions.
The burger is by far the best beef burger I’ve ever had in my life. You can see the oozing sauce they used to flavour the burger when you take a look inside of its perfectly layered cross-section! And the caramelised onions offer just the right sweetness to bring it altogether
The service has always been 10/10 whenever I’ve been, and if on the rare occasion something isn’t up to scratch, they make sure they rectify it quickly.
The atmosphere of this place is lively as it does get really busy most evenings so it’s best to book ahead of time. Remember to note that the restaurant has a no tracksuit policy, so opt for something smarter. This is suitable option for date nights and special occasions with your other half.
When I saw this pop up on my Instagram feed from other bloggers I had to try it ASAP! My platter featured a bit of everything. but the real star of the show was the brisket burger.
Platters here vary in cost, depending on what you want, but expect a bill of roughly £15-£30. Individual items on the menu are around £10 with sides ranging between £3-£6
The combination of slowly smoked meat with a subtly sweet jalapeño jam and bbq sauce is a beautiful combination that's hard to find elsewhere.
The owners wander around the restaurant offering the best care and will go out of their way to cater for bespoke needs. This place is suitable for dates with your other half, as well as a family outing.
I had never heard of a halal Venezuelan food in London before I went to this restaurant. I was curious about the cuisine, so I had to go and check it out.
I opted for the beef pabellon rice box with slow cooked brisket, costing between £8-£12. This meat is absolutely sensational. Juicy, flavoursome meat is combined with seasoned avocados, plantains and salsa, and then topped off with house sauce. One spoonful made me go WOW!
It's a homely vibe as it is owned by a husband and wife who make guests feel like family.
This is a street food vendor, however, the market they’re in has plenty of seating so I would say it’s suitable for a lunch date or even casual get together with friends,
I was eager to try an authentic Mexican restaurant and steer away from the casual takeaway joints. So of course I went for steak tacos & a beef chimichanga. A squeeze of lime unlocked the flavour in the tacos and cleared my palette for the next round.. Everything inside was just tender, juicy and full of flavour.
The service here was impeccable and timely. The restaurant takes a no-frills approach to interior design, with casual seating and decor
This would suit for various occasions such as date nights & family events/parties & special occasions or even a casual get together with friends/family.
It was well documented that this place is known for their steaks and burgers, so I had to swing by
I ordered a customised brisket burger, but standard meals range from £15-30 per person. Occasionally, you may find a deal for under £10.
The brisket melted in my mouth as the chilli gave it a gentle kick. You can really taste the quality of the brisket owing to the careful smoking process.
The rustic decor make it ideal for date nights, special occasions & casual get togethers & it’s good value with decent portions as well.
Malaysian food with halal duck and beef rendang is a triple threat. I got the roast duck dish with a side of rice which roughly came to around £7-£8 and the beef rendang around the same price which is an absolute bargain in Central London. The aromatic duck mixed with rice was a match made in heaven. The beef was just as soft; with a rich, creamy, texture and the right level of heat running throughout.
It was ridiculously busy which is a testament to how good the food is. It's normal to have to queue outside, but I was seated quickly regardless. The atmosphere here is buzzing as it gets packed & everyone is talking amongst one another.
This would be ideal for lunch with the significant other should you wish to try something different to steaks & burgers which is very common.
I was told this place would challenge my views on Turkish food so I approached it with anticipation and took a few good friends.
The food was succulent and full of flavour. This place definitely transformed my views on Turkish cuisine as every mouthful was flavoursome and intricate. We got the jumbo platter which came up to roughly £62, but bear in mind there was 5 of us. This platter came with assorted meats and rice.
To avoid disappointment, it is best to book ahead as it gets very busy most nights. The atmosphere here it is relaxed with a slight buzz and very efficient service.
This place is ideal for dates with your spouse, family/friends gatherings whether it be a small or large gathering.
I was looking for a nice change from the typical English breakfast, so after I heard how much people were hyping this spot, I decided to give it a try.
I always end up with the desi breakfast which includes masala egg (a choice of scrambled or omelette style) batakani potatoes, lamb Keema, and parathas/rotis. The food was so good it was as though a relative lovingly prepared it. The keema was delicious and had just the right amount of spice suitable for breakfast (or lunch). As you eat, you'll start to plan your subsequent return.
The atmosphere in here is relaxed as families with kids dine here regularly, he simplicity of the decor lets the food take centre stage.
The service during busy times can be a little on the slow side, but rest assured that everything is made fresh making it worth the wait.
It’s perfect for families or couples who want a hearty meal in a relaxed environment.
"My alone feels so good, I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude."
― Warsan Shire
Amid the hustle and bustle of modern life, in between demanding jobs and family duties, creating quiet time for ourselves has become something of a luxury. In a world that seems to place so much value on relationships and being in a couple, it's easy to forget how rewarding our single years can be. Whether you're single, engaged, or divorced, remember that you don't need a partner to enjoy the gift of life that Allah has given you. Trusting in Allah's plan is about accepting where we are in the present and submitting to the qadr of Allah.
If you plan it right, your single years can be some of the most rewarding times of your life.
Tawakkul, in short, means to rely on Allah as a source of our strength. Having tawakkul is learning to accept that Allah's plan is greater than ours. In the context of marriage, worrying about who we will end up with whilst we're still single has no benefit and robs us from enjoying our lives at present. Having tawakkul is empowering as it allows us to wilfully surrender to the power of Allah and trust that he will align us with the most suitable spouse.
Step one: pray, pray, pray and pray some more. Learn how to pray salat-al-istikhara and make it a routine in your life.
Next, learn to date yourself. Yes, date yourself. Dating yourself isn't about accepting a life of loneliness; it's about getting to know who you are as a person, what you want, and ultimately what you stand for.
Wander around an art gallery or museum
The quietness of a museum is a great place to reflect and just be still. You can learn a lot about the local history of your area, or the history of a completely different place altogether. It’s the perfect place to stay plugged in about current affairs and feel connected to something greater. Most museums and galleries have a cafe or somewhere quiet you can enjoy a hot drink. You can also purchase a souvenir to remember the day, or a book from the museum’s gift shop.
Check out the app Art Rabbit for listings on art exhibitions worldwide, including free ones!
Surround yourself in nature
Being at one with nature is one of the best ways to remind ourselves of the beauty and intricacy of Allah’s universe. It’s also a good way to introduce moments of reflection into your usual routine. Living in the city is no excuse! You can find a local park to sit and read, stroll by a river, or visit a city garden.
Join a weekend or evening class
Single or not, it’s always a good time to invest in your knowledge and skills. Most cities and towns have institutions which run weekend or evening courses on topics from art, history, literature, languages, and more.
You can also join an online course on sites such as Skillshare which operates worldwide, allowing you to learn from teachers from all around the world from the comfort of your home
Your single years are also the perfect time to study the rites of marriage and ensure that you are prepared for married life. Check if your local mosques offer courses in marriage rites. Alternatively, discover Muslim Central for curated podcasts and lectures on a marriage, including the fiqh of nikah.
Take yourself to a new restaurant
No need to check if anyone else is free or where they'd like to eat. Put yourself first by clearing some time in your calendar and reserving a table for one in that restaurant you've always wanted to try.
Volunteer for a charitable cause
Volunteering your time and skills to a charitable cause is also a form of sadaqah. You don’t have to offer great big chunks of your time, simply offer what you can for a cause you care about. The benefits of volunteering are endless; you’ll meet new people, learn new skills, and invest wisely in your akhirah.
Start a bullet journal
Bullet journals are becoming more and more popular these days. With so many styles and formats to choose from, you are sure to find something that suits your style of planning. It's a therapeutic way to keep on top of your goals, track your daily to-do list, and let out your thoughts. Find a chunk of time in your day, morning or night, to reflect on your notes and doodles.
Our body is an amanah (something Allah has trusted us with) so we should take care of it. That also includes our mental health. Sometimes all you need is a couple of hours to groom yourself whether that’s going to the hairdressers or making your own d.i.y face mask. Beautifying ourselves for non other than Allah is an act of worship. Looking our best on the outside can help us feel better inside too.
Written by Nailah Patten
From a respected family, never been married and have no kids.
Why?! I hear you ask - because as a divorcee this reads completely differently to me. Instead I imagine a dinner table of judgemental faces, looks of distain as it becomes clear I am certainly not Asian or Arab, not a virgin, no. I am even worse. I am a divorcee - with a child!
Dating as a divorcee is complicated, whilst you have come to terms with the fact your marriage has ended, you find yourself having to explain the situation to others, not only others, but essentially - strangers.
After the initial pain, and disappointment you pull yourself together ready to again embark on a search for ‘the other half of your Deen’. I tentatively set up a dating profile - a few I will admit. I thought best about how to sell myself, as a convert, as a black woman and now as a divorcee with a child. As a convert, I had become accustomed to potential suitors patronisingly questioning my faith, and constantly wondering whether I would turn back to my old ways and abandon Islam all together. 10 years on the answer is still…no.
As a Black Muslim, I had become accustomed to being fetishized, and seen as this foreign sexual object. What I didn’t expect was now for none of this to be the problem! I was no longer a convert, or a Black Muslim, I was just – A DIVORCEE. Now the same question plagued my inbox, whether young or old, divorced themselves or not, converts or not repeatedly I heard:
“So why did you get divorced?”
No Salam, no what are your likes and dislikes, favourite colour? (no matter how much I despise this question). No interest shown in me AT ALL.
Immediately you become defensive. Wondering if anyone genuinely wants to get to know you, or just wants to hear a juicy story? (The story really is not that juicy by the way). I suspected most asked to figure out who to blame, me or him. Ironically I had never blamed either of us, we were just incompatible.
So, with my new status as a divorcee came not only new questions, but new agendas. Whilst I was perhaps used goods and not on par for a ‘never been married no kids’ kind of guy, I was perfect for the latter.
“The I’m looking for a second, third, fourth wife” kind of guy.
Suddenly, I was inundated with requests from Pakistan, the US, Saudi Arabia all promising me riches if I would agree to be a second, third or fourth wife- my child would be welcome of course. Now, it wasn’t the invitation to polygamy, or to live in a hot country that put me off. It was the reaction when I declined. How could I Mrs. Divorced possibly believe anyone else would have me? Did I really think I could do better than polygamy now?
Hell yes. Polygamy was not my preference before being a divorcee, and a failed relationship was not going to make me lower that standard, regardless of how others now perceived me. I saw that not only was I now the undesirable choice, but so undesirable others expected me to know this and adjust my expectations. I refused, I carried as much worth and value as I did before a divorce.
Unwillingly I answered most who asked, I received neither good nor bad feedback on my story- now they just knew a part of me. They didn’t seem to make any judgments, or want my reflections or realisations off the back of this life experience.
What I realised was that a majority of people who asked, had no intentions of getting to know me, it was simply intrigue. Whilst I repeated my story again and again, I didn’t just see a failed marriage. I saw that others didn’t have the substance, the depth and experiences I had gained by being in a long term committed relationship. I came across brothers who had no real concept of love, had never been loved. I came across brothers who simply saw marriage as a contract, not a life- long friendship and partnership. I came across men who being honest -just simply weren’t ready for a relationship let alone a marriage.
I suddenly realised that although it had not worked out, I had a plethora of emotional, life and relationship skills I could use to make better decisions and be a better partner. After a while, I realised that what everyone saw as my shortcoming, was actually my strength. What others saw as a failed relationship was a huge learning curve. Now unlike half of my counterparts I had deep insight into myself, what I brought to the table and most importantly not only what I wanted- but what I needed in a spouse.
Perhaps the most ironic part about dating as a Muslim divorcee, is that the label is what brings the stigma. Young Muslims are dating, cohabiting, having long-term relationships and splitting up too. Muslims, who haven’t been married, have also made the wrong choices, been with somebody incompatible, and had to make the decision to leave. But, without the label of marriage comes no label of divorce.
I realised that a majority of us had experienced this heartache, the letting go of a relationship with a significant other, and that there was no judgment only sympathy- until it was a divorce.
Now I’m honest with myself and others about what being a divorcee means, it does not separate you from the rest or make you less desirable. Instead it equips you, you become a more directional person knowing what you can and can’t live with.
Divorce has equipped me in ways being unmarried, single, or dating never had and never could.
After my divorce I didn't crumble, instead I became very practical and reflective, I wrote a list of every disagreement, every problem, every red flag. I realised it was a list of questions I should have asked!
And so, I wrote 101 Questions to ask your potential spouse. This book seeks to bring together all the questions we think of and forget to ask someone in the lead up to marriage.
101 Questions to ask your potential Muslim spouse covers Islam, personality, history, expectations, and lifestyle. This text seeks to help with the unique dating experience we have as Muslims.
Nailah Patten author of 101 Questions To Ask Your Potential Muslim Spouse, buy now on Amazon!