Tue 26th July 2016 I am not a vegetarian, but I love this place. This is the second time I dined at Mildreds (Soho) – this time, I came with a vegetarian friend, Iris. I had been looking forward to this since we arranged to come here together weeks ago. Who would have thought – a meat-eater getting so excited about a vegetarian / vegan restaurant? Well, this … Continue reading Vegetarian & Vegan | Mildreds (Soho)
Sunday 11th October 2015 For a Sunday luncheon catching up with my female friends, Skylon is a place that cannot fail: setting on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall, high ceilings flooded with light with superb Thames views from soaring windows, delightful staff, and a lovely pianist playing relaxing tunes at the background. It’s been a couple of years since I last visited Skylon and it remains … Continue reading Sunday Lunch | Skylon
Thu 15th October 2015
My husband and I found Mahdi, the Persian restaurant in Hammersmith (London) by chance, many years ago, when my cousins came to visit us. It was a beautiful Friday summery evening so we decided to go for a stroll along the Thames. We intended to have dinner at a gastro, but on our way there we were drawn into Mahdi by the deliciously inviting smell of their Iranian bread freshly made in their tandoor-style oven. Over the years, Mahdi still remains a favourite local cheap-eats—it’s great value for money, consistently good and does not disappoint.
When I am not busy exploring the world, or finding new restaurants to excite my tastebuds, I really enjoy going to the cinema with my husband and friends, or just putting my feet up in front of the TV and putting on an all-time favourite film. What I particularly enjoy is a great movie about food—a feast for the eyes, a fusion of two things that I’m really excited about—when done well, it deepens my passion (and knowledge) for food.
Burnt is coming out soon, a movie based on a screenplay by Steven Knight and Michael Kalesniko and developed in part by a man who greatly influenced the London dining scene: Marcus Wareing. I have high hopes for this film. In the meantime, while I eagerly await the release of Burnt, I would like to share my list of top 10 food-related movies to whet your appetite. Of course, these are based on my personal taste, so I would be pleased to hear your thoughts and welcome your recommendations, if you are happy to share your list with me. Bon appetit! Enjoy…
Sat 10th October 2015
I’ve been visiting Big Easy for a long time, ever since I moved to London so many years ago, but always the Chelsea branch. I do like lobsters and Big Easy on King’s Road became my go-to place whenever I fancied somewhere affordable, where I could devouring a lobster and enjoying a nice cocktail or two. This has become a long-lasting tradition of mine, way before the day when the first Burger & Lobster restaurant opened in London’s Mayfair (in December 2011) and soon started multiplying and taking over the London lobster scene.
Big Easy Covent Garden opened its doors in March 2014, so it’s not brand new, but is still extremely popular and booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment, despite it’s 300 covers at any time. (At least they accept reservations, which is a lot better than so many other trendy restaurants in central London these days.) Once you have walked through the long tunnel from the main entrance, the restaurant suddenly opens up. The place is big, and ticks all the boxes for a good American eatery—metal cages, wooden blocks, low-hanging light shades, dark ambient lighting… It has quite an industrial feel, rightfully making homage to its past—the venue was previously the original home of the Charing Cross & Strand Electricity Supply Corporation. I cannot fault the decor of Big Easy Covent Garden—after all, interior here was all designed by Macaulay Sinclair, who are responsible for the fantastic interiors at Hawksmoor.
Tue 6th October 2015
BBQ Special #3—yes, we have visited 3 American-style BBQ restaurants in London within a couple of weeks—great for a direct comparison, but perhaps not so good for my waistline (hence my more-frequent-than-usual gym visits). This time we have come to west London, for a change of scene, to the Meat & Shake Southern Barbecue in Ealing, a “new kid in the block”. What makes this restaurant chain quite appealing is that they are halal, making them suitable for the friend we are meeting up with tonight.
Unlike Bodean’s and Red’s True BBQ, there are no animal skulls on the wall at Meat & Shake. The decors here are simple and vibrant; quite a relax vibe. Good choices of music playing at the background—Kings of Leon, “Tetra” by C2C, a bit of “Sweet Home Alabama”… you get the gist.
Sat 26th September 2015
It’s finally the day! I’ve been dying to visit an Ottolenghi restaurant for a couple of years now. I found Yotam Ottolenghi an extremely fascinating chef, who moved to the UK from Isreal in 1997 with the plan to start a PhD, but ended up signing up to a six-month course at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London (and never looked back). Shameful to admit that we haven’t managed to make it happen—not sure why—until tonight. Tonight, my husband and I are dining at Ottolenghi Islington—finally taking advantage of a generous wedding gift from my husband’s ex-boss and his wife (thank you so much Dan and Kate!)
Some may call it a posh deli, no more than an overpriced salad bar. Yes, it has received a lukewarm review or two in the past—I’ve read them—but did not let them put me off. Boy, am I glad I didn’t. As soon as I walked in the door I was impressed by what I saw—a beautiful window display full of sweet treats—a real feast for the eyes. Don’t let the no-fuss, friendly atmosphere fool you. The setting may be somewhat casual, you may get assigned to sit at the long communal tables, shared with other guests (yes, I can see how this can be far from ideal for some). But foods here are far from simple. 15 tapas-style savoury dishes on offer tonight—7 form the counter (cold dishes); 8 from the kitchen (hot plates)—they mean serious business. All are the result of serious consideration of balanced flavours, food rooted in Ottolenghi’s native Israeli upbringing, influenced by a wider range of incredible textures and flavours from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia. Small portions; huge flavours. Continue reading “Ottolenghi”
Fri 18th September 2015
It was seven O’clock on a Friday eve. We found ourselves in Old Street, a lively area of Central East London. We were here to give our friend a proper send-off before he ran off to Oz, to start a business to build energy storage systems for the home, from discarded cells (Relectrify.com). Good for him!
Tonight was particularly bustling. People everywhere. Not just because it was a Friday, tonight was the start of the RWC 2015—Opening Ceremony followed by England’s first pool match against Fiji! After a few pints at the pub, we couldn’t resist our rumbling stomaches any longer and a liquid dinner just wouldn’t cut it. We unanimously decided to have a change of scene and move on to somewhere good to get a bite to eat.
I organised this long weekend away last year (all in secret) to celebrate my husband’s 30th birthday, so this was a trip rather close to my heart. I didn’t blog about it at the time – I’ve only started my blog very recently. I owe this blog post though to our charismatic cruise director Alexander Yepremian, who we met onboard the beautiful Celebrity Reflection in May 2015. (Sorry for the delay Alex – hope you find this useful and Congratulations again!!) For anyone else out there who are interested in a bit of a getaway to Iceland, hope this helps you too.
In the recent years Iceland has really raised its status in the world of tourism and become one of the most popular destinations in the world. There is no surprise here though – with its natural beauty that featured effortlessly as the backdrop to the popular TV series “Game of Thornes”. It is also closer than you think (only a 3-hour flight from London and offers direct flights to numerous places worldwide) yet Iceland is far more different than you ever imagined! Glaciers, volcanoes, wildlife, spas – from adventurous activities to luxurious relaxation… you name it, they have it. And the Icelandic people are really nice too! Depending on your travelling style, there are so many different ways to explore Iceland. Many people rent a car to drive around the country. My blog is targeting at a casual 4-day escape. The format of my itinerary is fairly straightforward: using Reykjavík as a base, take excursions during the days, and spend the nights back in the capital. Continue reading “4 Days in Iceland”