Monday, 18 March 2019

My Breastfeeding Journey and my Top Ten Tips







I have wanted to write this post up for a long time and now that we have reached the end of our breastfeeding journey it finally seems like the perfect time.

Before I start on this ‘controversial’ topic I would love to make it clear that although I have a huge bias towards breastfeeding that does not mean I am anti bottle feeding; to be honest how you choose to feed your baby is your business alone and does not bother me in anyway. Bottle-fed, tube-fed, cup-fed, expressed milk, oat milk… the important factor is they are being fed. All parents know the pros and cons for whichever method they choose to use to raise their families. This is purely to provide some insight into my journey and hope it can help any new parents out there.

Background


I remember sitting at my first midwife appointment at around 8 weeks pregnant and being asked if I would be breastfeeding, the right answer at the time seemed to be to say yes. But the truth was I was still coming to terms with the fact I was pregnant and hadn’t even thought about which method of feeding I would choose. There is a huge pressure that starts as soon as you see that positive test on all parents on how they are going to nurture their children.
We chose not to do any NCT classes, so whilst pregnant the only actual breastfeeding support I was given was a two hour class involving lots of knitted boobies and then a few months later a tiny baby was placed into my arms and I was told to feed him.
I am sure this is a familiar story for many new mums.
Where my story took a slightly different turn was I was then in hospital for another week, with access to feeding specialist on the ward every day, amazing midwives with over 30 years of real life baby experience and doctors whose main priority was mine and my baby’s health. The combination of all these three things meant I had support, education and my only priority that first week was feeding myself and my little baby, no visitors to entertain, no tidying up(apart from my little cubicle) and no other pressures.
The feeding specialist helped me hand pump colostrum into a tiny syringe so I could know how much milk the little one was getting and to be able to distract him with this rather than sugar syrup when it came to drawing blood or other painful procedures. The midwives were great not only at answering my questions but also at giving out real advice; such as teaching me how to feed him lying down so we could both rest. Finally the doctors who stepped in and told me to give him formula as it had been 5 days and my milk had still not come in, without attaching any guilt to feeding my baby from a bottle. He was jaundice and needed to have two bottles of formula in order to help him, if I had been at home I doubt I would have turned to formula given the huge pressure to breastfeed, despite it being the best thing for him at the time.
The reason I have gone into such detail about this first week as a new mum, is because I believe it set me up to be able to successfully breastfeed for 18 months with both of my babies.
New mums often ask me for advice and I love helping, but it does show the huge disparity between the advice given to breastfeed and actual useful and practical advice to be able to do this in reality. I am not a qualified professional in any way but the tips below is what worked for me both times around. Second time around I was able to feed her straight away, while I was still delivering my placenta and because I had the experience and knowledge from the first time around it meant she never even dropped below her birth weight and by day 5 was already over her birth weight.
One final disclaimer, I was able to breastfeed, some people cannot for various reasons such as milk supply, tongue tie etc and these should always be investigated by a professional. I do think though that several breastfeeding journeys end earlier than they need to because of a lack of knowledge and support, the hardest part of breastfeeding is those first few weeks.  This is all obviously if you want to breastfeed, it’s not for everyone and that’s why formula exists. The below is what worked for me and I hope it can help any new mums out there who choose to breastfeed, pump or combo feed.

Support


A support network is really crucial - recently on social media there has been a big hype of finding your 'tribe'. When my first was born we had a mini baby boom in my family and it really helped me having my cousins and sister in laws who were going through the same things to ask questions to.
Another person who is involved in both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding is they baby's dad. The first time around my other half did the majority of changes, burps and other tasks whilst I focused on the feeding. There are also lots of support groups on social media and in your local area to provide assistance, motherhood is all about the wider circle.


1.Relax

Hormones are a huge part of feeding and milk supply, stress can massively have an impact of this and when your actual milk comes in.
So normally after you give birth for around the first 2/3 days you will only produce colostrum which is basically like the thick layer on the top of organic blue milk, very fatty and full of antibodies and nutrients tailored to meet your baby’s need, kind of like a custom made very good espresso to get everything moving in the right direction. After this around day 3-5 your actual milk supply will start to come in, normally at the same time as a huge drop in hormones causing lots of tears and from here on in you can start establishing your milk supply in order to respond to your babies need, a bit like your baby learning that they like a English breakfast tea with breakfast, followed by a caramel latte for mid-morning pick me up and a cappuccino after lunch J .
The sooner you are able to relax, which is not easy after going through a traumatic birth and the daunting reality of having a new-born to take care off means the quicker you can bond with your baby and be able to feed. Easy to say but it truly makes all the difference.


2.Skin – to – Skin

I gave birth to both of mine in the heart of summer, and it was actually hot which is not always the case with British summers, so skin to skin was not difficult as they were often stripped down to just a nappy for feeding. Not only did this help us to bond but it also helped them stay awake for longer when feeding and one of the hardest things to do is stop them from getting to cosy and falling asleep after a 5 minute feed.


3. Diet

There are a lot of old wives tales about what to eat and not to eat, a lot of which do have an element of truth to them but I think the most important thing is to actually just eat real proper food at regular intervals. If you do not fuel yourself how will you make anything of value for your baby? After having my second I was living at my parents, so I didn’t have to worry about cooking and was lucky enough to have all my meals made for me throughout the day, the routine helps in those early days when night and day begin to merge into one tired mush.  My typical day would be:
Breakfast – 7.30 – Yoghurt, granola, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, blueberries, strawberries, banana and cup of decaf tea
Mid – Morning – 10.30am – Decaf tea/coffee + biscuit/breastfeeding cookie/rice cake/fruit
Lunch – 12.30 – Omelette and veggies with a wrap
Mid- Afternoon – 3pm – Decaf Tea + cake/popcorn/Indian savouries
Dinner – 7pm – Rice, chicken curry, yoghurt and salad
Evening – 10pm – Fresh Fennel Tea


So obviously the biscuits and cakes are not beneficial nutritionally but mentally they are great for the happy boost, just a shame I am still trying to shift them. For me what really helped was oats and flaxseed in the morning to keep my supply up in the day and fennel tea in the evening to keep it up during the night.I also know lots of mums who swear by 'Pajiri', the age old version of granola filled with lots of goodies to help not only with breastfeeding but also to help the body heal after childbirth. The only thing I avoided was cauliflower and broccoli as I found it gave the little ones too much wind but apart from that I ate everything.


4.Hydration

Water, water and then when you think you have drunk enough have another two glasses. Lots and lots of water is key. Also monitoring your caffeine intake, which to be honest after being pregnant for 9 months is not hard to do, its just about finding the balance between tiredness and caffeine effects on your baby. A real coffee or a glass of coke can often do you more good than harm on certain days after a tough night, like everything good in life its all about the balance. Similar to drinking alcohol, generally I am not huge drinker but the odd glass whilst feeding is fine and it did not have any affect on my milk supply, I did secretly hope it would help the little on sleep for longer but no such luck.

5.Schedules and Sleep

One of the most common things I always get asked is how do you know if your baby has had enough milk, or how long to feed them for. Often in the early days it always feels like they are not getting enough milk when breastfeeding, especially when they are crying the first response is to think they are hungry. The truth is they could very likely be hungry with such a little tummy to fill and given how easily breastmilk is digested. But they could also have wind, be hot, be cold, want a cuddle, be scared by all the extra space around them, need to do a poo, have a wet nappy.... the list goes on.
When both of mine were newborns I fed a minimum of every 3 hours, but more if they work earlier or seemed hungry and I tried to feed for around 10-30 minutes on each side. It is important in the early days to not just fed on demand but also keep up the 3 hour schedule through the night to, even if they are asleep, at least until they go above their birth weight. You also make the majority of your milk during the night so those night feeds or pumping sessions are a crucial signal to your body to keep making milk.


One of the most difficult things to do is to keep babies awake whilst feeding, as soon as they get cosy they fall asleep, then wake up after a cat nap as they are still hungry. Stripping them down, tickling them and generally annoying them helps. Do not worry this automatic falling asleep does not last forever and soon you will be wishing for the days they feel asleep so easily.
One of the biggest benefits to breastfeeding is being able to fed on demand, anytime, anywhere and respond to their cues whatever time of the day or night.
Talking about nights and sleeping, it is often said that breastfed babies do not sleep for as long as formula babies. My second was not a great sleeper, even when he did finally take a bottle and it was not until he was around 2 years old he stopped waking at night. My second who by the way had the same breastmilk, wore the same babygros, the same sleepbags and slept in exactly the same moses basket was a great sleeper and could sleep through the night at around 8-10 weeks old. It did not last forever but she is still a lot better that he was, so I think it often depends on the baby rather than the type of milk they have.

6.Position

I used a feeding pillow both times, but it especially helped after having a c-section. But holding your baby in this position is not the only way, and it may not be the most comfortable for either you or your baby, and its all about finding the one that suits you the most. One of my favourites is lying down, mainly because we co-slept and this way I got the most rest possibly. Don't feel like you have to stick to the one kind and if something is not working mix it up.


7.Latching On



A good latch is the key to feeding successfully, and different positions affect the way the baby can latch. A poor latch will make everything painful, it will take a while to get used to feeding and a certain level of discomfort is normal, but if your in excruciating pain then I would always get it checked out as it could be linked to a medical reason such as tongue tie or lip tie. Nipple shields are also good in the early days to help improve your babies latch and make it less painful. Most areas run breastfeeding clinics so you should be able to get help even after being discharged from midwife care.
The advise I was given which worked for me, was to put the baby's nose near your nipple as opposed to their mouth, when their strong sense of smell realises food is close by they automatically open up their mouth in reflex nice and big and you can then tilt their head back so they get in the right position to latch onto the whole of the arola area and not just the nipple.


8.Growth spurts and cluster feeding



I loved ( and hated) the Wonder Weeks app , as it often helped identify a growth spurt after a crazy night and day spent feeding constantly. At first it seems so frustrating when you cannot get anything done, even showering seems an impossible task but as the kids grew older and these became less frequent I began to enjoy these days and it was always the perfect excuse to camp down on the sofa and have a netflix binge. So my advise is to grab a big bottle of water, find a good box set and get comfy. Make your aims for that day to have a happy and fed baby and try not to worry about anything else. I found it would take my body around 24 hours to respond to a change in supply, so for example when they get ill and increase their feeding then by the next day by body will have respond with more milk and antibodies. I found breastfeeding granola or cookies were great to give my supply an extra boost in particular as they get older and fed less often.


9.Public Feeding


If you use to exclusively breastfed and still have some form of life then their will come a point quite early on in your journey when you will need to feed outside the comfort of your home. Before I had my first my sister in law showed me to the two top method and this always worked best for me whenever I was feeding. I'm always cold too so wearing two tops is normal to me. You wear a vest top with a feeding bra and then over the top whichever top, dress or jumper you wish to, lift up the outside top and lift down the inside top and unclip your bra to feed. I did by a cover with my second but only used it a handful of times as she got too hot and it was to much faffing about, but they are great for privacy and if you need some extra time getting the little one into the right position.
I was very comfortable feeding anywhere and everywhere, I think this helped and being confident meant that often people would not even realise I was feeding or if the baby was just sleeping. It does take practise but the less you think about it and more you do it the easier it becomes, but the first step is to just get out there and feed.
Holiday wardrobe
When away I wear a lot of jumpsuits with crop tops and zip openings to feed aswel as button down dresses as the two top method does not always work when its really hot. In terms of swimwear, most non-wired bikinis, wrap over swimsuits or plunging necklines work great.
Some examples of these are below:










Indian Wardrobe

My brother got married when my first was around 10 weeks old and I spent most of his week long wedding feeding as it would obviously coincide with a growth spurt week. For his wedding I had custom made outfits with poppers and openings to be able to feed him but with my second I just adapted outfits I already had by just wearing crop tops and dresses with indian skirts/salwars. I loved putting these outfits together and also found them really comfortable to feed in. 


10. Bottles and weaning off






When I had my first baby I just assumed that they all take a bottle, bottles exist and all the babies I had ever met just drank from one when they were given it. However despite introducing this at 6 weeks and trying every type of bottle brand, nipple type and milk type he refused it until he was around 10 months old. Even when he did finally take it, we did nothing different to the million times before but it just seemed as if he was finally ready and happy to accept it. I felt I wasted lots of time, energy and money trying to get him to take one so second time around I did not really bother. I tried a few times and if she took it ok, but if she didn't I was fine with that too. She started nursery at around 10 months and some days she would take it fine but she soon moved onto having a beaker of cows milk instead which she was a lot happier with.
I always planned to feed for around 18 months, but when she turned 18 months we were actually away in Mumbai so I carried on breastfeeding for the rest of the holiday and a few days after we returned before stopping gradually and moving her onto a bottle for a her night feed.
I started by first cutting out her day feeds and offering a beaker, fruit, snack instead. The her night feeds stopped and finally her early morning 5.30am feed, I instead offered her water at night or early morning. Once she was happy with this routine I offered her a bottle at night after her bath, starting with around 4oz and moving up to around 8oz. The first night she cried for about 15 minutes wanting to breastfed instead, the second night for around 5 minutes and the third was a 30 second moan, she now loves her bottle and instead cries because she does not want to even put her pjs on before having it. I feel if I had tried to do this earlier with her she would not have adjusted so well or quickly to it.


These 10 points are what helped me and made my feeding journey easier, memorable and enjoyable. I am not an expert in any way but this worked for me and now I quite miss it all. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to feed, nourish and see your child grow with all your hard work and although it is sometimes hard for new mums to believe if you stick at it, it does all become so much easier. No washing up, no sterilising, no figuring out how many feeds you need for a day out. For us as a family who love to travel to it made this so much easier to do. To sum up, it can be great if it works for you and your family so embrace, enjoy and make the most of it because they do grow up very quickly.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Preparing for a trip to India with Kids



Travelling to India - what I did to prepare in the weeks beforehand.

1.Vaccinations

You will need to attend a travel clinic either on the NHS or privately to asses which vaccinations you need and it will be on a case by case basis. For example 👦🏽 needed Hep B but 👧🏽 had this included in her childhood vaccinations so did not.

Also worth checking if the area in india you are travelling too is a malaria risk.

We ended up going privately as there were no NHS appointments available and both kids handled the vaccines really well, with no side effects. 

2.Visa

This is a bit of pain but there are a few options:
1.OCI - overseas citizens of india - kids are able to apply for this if their parents have one however it has to be renewed every 5 years in line with their passport - and renewing it is not an easy task.
2.Traditional visa valid for between 6m - 5 years - similar to an OCI you will need to visit the Visa office for this, for example Goswell Road in London to apply and the revisit again once granted for it to be put into your passport. 
3.E-visa - apply online with the biggest pain points being getting the pictures in a specific pixel size and passport in pdf format. However after these hurdles it is a straightforward form (with lots of random qs) with a quick response that can be printed out and carried with you for entry.

I applied for an Evisa forthe kids, each one cost $100 if you wish to factor it into the cost of your holiday before travelling.

3.Insect repellant

In terms of precautionary measures I always travel with insect repellent to any warm country but for India this is highly recommended.
I have always used Vie both as a repellent and roll on.

In addition I also have a pushchair mosquito cover in case the kids falls asleep in the evening and this time around I also brought some mosquito patches.

4.Milk

I am still breastfeeding so I did not need to carry any formula however the kids do have milk in their cereal and sometimes with their afternoon snack.
I purchased a few long life cartoons which I always find hotels either let you keep in the mini bar or the main kitchen fridges and also individual smaller cartoons of long life milk.


Finally as a snack I also got these chocolate milkshakes.

I have travelled with all of these in the past and they are great for when you are out and about. Milk is also one of the things that can contribute in a big way to ‘Delhi belly’ when in india so approach milk and milk based products with caution.


5.Nappies


I travel with nappies from here, I just pack up small ziplock bags of around 10/15 nappies that I take out every few days, it also means I can replace the space they took up on the journey out with shopping for the return home.


Also when travelling I take more of the pull up nappies as you never know where you may have to change a nappy and these are so much faster especially with toddlers.


6.Food

The holy word when it comes to food and kids is SNACKS. I carry lots, lots and lots of these.Not only for the plane ride and car journeys but also for when they fall asleep at odd times and miss meals, to entertain them while you get ready in the mornings, to provide them with something familiar when everything else in their world is suddenly new. 


Some examples of snacks I always take include -fruit squishes, cereal boxes, popcorn, crisps, individually packed biscuits, rice cakes, nuts, cereal bars, protein balls, custard pots and dried fruit packs.


For this trip we are staying both in hotels and also at my parents place in Mumbai so we have access to a kitchen only for a few days. I will also take along some baked beans, pasta and noodles to whiz up a quick meal for the kids if I need to. They love indian food too, so hopefully it won’t be too spicy and they get to enjoy some.


Eating out is obviously my favourite thing to do. Some rules to stick by - always eat at busy places with a high turn over, stick to grilled options rather than curries( you never know when they were cooked), try to limit your dairy intake including yoghurts, milk based drinks and coffees, paneer(which is everyone in india) and ice cream and finally make sure every bite is delicious. Just in case it does make you ill at least the taste would have been worth it.


When travelling with the kids the magnitude of having any tummy  problems increase for all the family.


7.Travel systems 


We travel with our GB pockit stroller which is great for Mumbai as it’s small enough to fit into taxi boots and even fold up and take on a rickshaw. We did previously use the traditional umbrella stroller but I think the is much more suited to a city break.

For the occasions when a pushchair is not suitable we will use a carrier with her.

I follow several mums from india on Instagram who are big pro baby carriers which was reassuring to see. We use two types the Tula which I find great for plane journeys and the baby Bjorn for when out, about and exploring.

On our last trip it also came in handy when my oldest got tired and wanted a turn in the buggy or when both kids fall asleep at the same time. 


8.Medication and Hygiene


Weather we go on a European city break or an African safari I always carry a medicine bag in addition to the medicine I keep in my hand luggage.

It includes calpol, neurofen, priton, inhalers, antiseptic cream, snuffle baby, saline spray, plasters, thermometer, teething liquid, insect bite relief, sudocream, diaroylte and anti bacterial.


The usual applies whenever you travel, I love Milton including the wipes and hand sanitiser. 


9.Water


I’m planning on boiling the mineral water and using this for drinking and brushing their teeth. All the usual holiday rules apply, no ice, no salad, no fruit you haven’t peeled yourself etc. My kids are bit water drinkers and don’t like juice or squash but it’s always handy to carry the small squash shots as I fine the mineral water in india does have a very unique strong taste. 


10.Activities  


It may require a little bit of extra planning but a trip to india with kids should be an amazing adventure to so don’t let any of the above out you off.


Mumbai is one of my favourite cities so I am hoping my kids love it to. 

The vibrancy, the bustling at the seams, the organised chaos, the world class service, and omg the food. It’s a city that for me I’ve seen grow over the last 20 years and to now be able to see what it has to offer through the eyes of my children is such a wonderful opportunity.

Stay tuned to see what we get upto to in this city of dreams!


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Brigadiers Indian Restaurant Review


Brigadiers - Indian Army Club Culture Restaurant & Bar


This fathers day we decided to go and visit a new restaurant that has recently opened in the heart of London's financial square mile - Bloomberg Arcade. I love trying new places and Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines. Having grown up eating this my whole life I love trying the different variations chefs have on some of my home favourites.


Over the past two decades I feel Indian restaurants have come on leaps and bounds. From once serving unauthentic flavoured curries in darkly lit establishments; to now serving delicately spiced regional food highlighting quality local produce and traditional cooking techniques.

I recently watched a programme ( Metropolis ) on London, which said we now have more Indian restaurants here than in Delhi and Bombay, and I for one love exploring them. Brigadiers thankfully delivered on fathers day and we enjoyed a wonderful family meal.


First Impressions


From the street itself, only a small Brigadiers sign shows the location, however as soon as you enter into the restaurant you are transported back to a Colonial Military Club in India. The lobby area contains a large shoe polishing chair, perfect if you need to take a seat whilst waiting for others to collect their coats.
To the left is a large bar area, showing lots of sports of the several screens and to your right is the main dining room. Decorated in rich maghonies browns, deep reds, with lots of leather and animal prints, you can feel the history of the different regiments and see some of their hunting trophies adorn the walls. We were seated in a cosy booth, perfect for a larger group to see be able to be social whilst talking and sharing food. Much as the old army officers would have done in a time gone by.

Dimly lit corridoors lead onto the restrooms and several smaller private dining areas - perfect for parties and special occasions.
My first impressions were to be very impressed with the opulent decor and how fitting it is to the theme of the restaurant.

History



The idea behind Brigadiers is the old Army bars in India where the higher ranking Military officers would gather to eat, drink and plot their next moves. As this were dominated by males back then the food very much focused on using outdoor cooking - BBQs, tandoors, wood ovens etc. They provided a social gathering spot for them to come together, play card games, smoke and drink. This culture can be seen in how Brigadiers has lots of smaller rooms to provide social spaces for gatherings, lots of different alcohol options and great tasty food.



Location


Brigadiers is located in the newly opened Bloomberg Arcade in Bank, a state of the art building with an emphasis on the lower units being rented out to only new upcoming food spaces rather than the many chains more commonly food in this area. During the week Bank is packed full of office workers, however at the weekend it is a bit of a ghost town, probably due to the lack of attractions compared to other more popular parts of London. This in a way worked to our benefit though as even on a busy Sunday we were able to get a table reservation and navigate a pushchair through the empty streets with ease. Also great links to travel in via public transport, we caught the tube which was part of the fun day out for Bubs.

Brigadiers occupies a large corner plot of Bloomberg Place and also has an outside terrace which I am sure gets packed out during the summer evenings. Maybe with more eateries and bars opening up this could see more visitors during the weekend.

Service


Excellent, right from the outset of booking a table to receiving our bill and coats. Sometimes newly opened restaurants have a few tweaks they need to make but this was not the case. All staff were attentive with drinks, refilling water and knowledgeable with food recommendations and menu choices.


Child Friendly 


Children were welcomed with open arms, as we visited on fathers day the majority of tables did have children, toddlers or babies on them. Although there were no baby highchairs available yet, they maybe on order and I did not see any baby changing either in the ladies toilet - it may have been in the disabled toilet. Bubs2 actually slept for most our meal in her pushchair so this was not a big issue for us. Also as we also went with my brother, my sister in law and my dad we had plenty of hands available to hold her or take her for little walks around the restaurant. I understand this restaurant is located in the City and therefore families and children are not their main clients. There was no kids menu so I order Bubs a chilli - cheese naan bread - without the chilli which was actually like an Indian cheese on toast and he also enjoyed the chicken wings. They were more than happy to recommend less spicier items and change them to make them more kid friendly. The dining room itself is not very large so best suited to children who are happy to stay at the table than run around.



It also has lots of large taxidermy animals on the wall which they loved seeing. We had great time taking the kids there, so although not it may not be child friendly in terms of facilities, if you know your child is happy to try new foods, sit at the table and enjoy them you will be fine.

Menu



With a big trend being on having smaller more specific menus it was a refreshing change to see a large menu, also fab when there is a large table for lunch as you get to order more to try. The menu is made up of roughly 5 courses - Beer, Snacks and Bitings to enjoy with your pre-dinner drinks whilst deciding what to order; starters - Chhota Chapati and Anda, Rolls, Bun Kebab, Pao; middle course - Sizzlers & Kebabs and Steaks, Ribs, Chops; mains - Rotisserie & Wood Oven, Biryani and Sides finally finishing with desert. We took our time over the courses, with no rush from staff the immense amount of food we enjoyed over a few hours was delicious. I will definitely be returning to try the remaining items on the menu. There are also several set Feast menus for private dining available. A meat heavy menu I feel but all of the vegetarian options were tried on it were delicious and a big hit even with some of the serious carnivores at the table.

Food


Starters:

Original BBQ Butter Chicken Wings
Midly spiced, in a delicious sauce, succulent meat, could have done with more of a BBQ charcoal taste

Arbi Tokri Chaat (V)
Delicious, one of my favourite dishes, very crispy, spicy, sweet with just the right amount of yoghurt to cool afterwards. A true explosion of all the flavours

Smoked Aubergine Missi Rotis, Burnt Corn Kachumber  (V)
Flavourful small bites with a tasty topping



Amritsari Fried Fish Paos
Like little Fish burgers, delicious and well balanced with the chutney


Wagyu Seekh Kebab Anda Kati Roll
This was good, could not tell it was wagyu meat over a traditional kebab, but then my family makes very good kebabs at our own BBQs so I have high standards.

Lasooni Chicken Tikka & Heart Skewer
Personally I did not try the heart, from those who did I heard it was chewier and similar to chicken kidneys.

Beef Chuck Bonemarrow Keema, Chilli Cheese Kulcha
Not the best Keema I have had, not enough chilli or spice, generous bone marrow maybe added to much sweetness to the dish. Nice potato straws for texture






Middle Course:


Tandoori 5 Spice Chicken Chops
These were really good, glad we order two portions, very well BBQ with lots of flavour and juice chicken meat, served with a delicious chutney on the side.

Mains:


Sikandari Kid Goat Shoulder, Lacha Parathas, Lacha Onions
This just fell apart, the paratha, onions and gravy it were served with made it all the more delicious, very good and highly recommend. 


Dum Beef Shin & Bonemarrow Biryani 
A good biryani, not the tastiest I have ever had however. Lots of meat flavour but felt it lacked depth. 
Chaat Masala Aloos (V) 
Wow, another stand out vegetarian dish. Soft cubes of potato covered in tangy, spicy and chilli crust. Perfect accompaniment. 

Brigadiers House Dal
I love Dal Makhani so this was tasty but I prefer Black lentils over yellow/orange/green. 
Sesame Cucumber Raita
Creamy and cooling.
Bread Basket
Great selection and generous size naan - lots for everyone to share.
My favourites out all we tried would be the Arbi Chaat, Tandoori Chicken Chops, Kid Goat Shoulder and Chaat Masala Aloos along with all the breads. 



Desert:


All served as soft serves, both were delicious and I cannot wait to try the other two desert options on the menu.

Banana & Yoghurt 


Chocolate & Coconut 

Drinks 


An extensive drinks menu, along with a  separate bar, Tap room and self dispensing whisky machine in the pool room make Brigadier just as much about the drinks as the food. Personally I tried the Mango Soda - very refreshing and tasty. Similar to the Mango Shandy they offer, lots of different whiskey and unique draft beers on offer too meaning there is a drink available for everyones taste.


Toilets


I love a loofie ( loo selfie), and also checking out cool toilets which these certainly are. Old school western swinging doors and pull chain toilets you feel like you could be back on an old( luxury ) army base.


Bill 


We enjoyed lots of food and drinks and our bill came to around £50 per head which is fairly good value for money I felt for the amount and quality of what we ate and drank. Although this is at the higher end of pricing a few weeks before this we went to a local pub where the bill was not much different and considering the atmosphere and service provided by Brigadiers it is money well spent.

Final Thoughts 



This is one of my new favourites for Indian food in London and I would highly recommend visiting it, not one to go back to restaurants easily I look forward to returning here and trying the rest of the menu. Even if it maybe a bit further out to travel it is well worth effort, or would be great for an after dinner meal if you work locally.