La Bodega Negra

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‘Viva la Mexico….’ is all I could say when I saw an old sex shop in Soho being converted into a restaurant. What a wonderful idea to have the shop front remain the same to fit in with the Soho grime and convert the inside into something not so seedy. This would have passers by in a daze as to why young families were popping in with their kids, what a free thinking world???
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Alas, if you didn’t fancy the questionable looks of going into this hidden eatery you could use the other entrance (less fun). The sex shop front only opens at 6pm when the neon lights come alive and there definitely is a difference between the two restaurants. The Compton St tame entrance has a more modern interior and the dirty shopfront entrance is a bit more rustic and charming. Service is friendly, charming and personal which I do like about this place, waiters genuinely offering their opinions on dishes as well as asking about your plans for the day and popping in their own suggestion of what you could get up to in central.

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The cocktails are divine. I can’t remember the last time I had such a tasty mock-tail.

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Food is a bit hit and miss and well I think there were more misses than hits to be 100% honest. The nacho starters were great and the guacamole was one of the freshest and finest, so much so I can probably say that they are rivalling Chipotle here. However, then you have to question how can someone get nachos wrong and can this really be the only silver lining of the food here especially when the nachos are probably not made in house.

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To start with we had pulled lamb tacos which were £18 for 3. I think this is actually rather over priced. We had one taco each which was enough for two bites and it wasn’t the most heaviest in flavours. I am rather sensitive to salt and am never one to add salt to food so I needed to ask Elena and our friend Vish what they thought of the salt content and both thought the taco was overly salty making it not so enjoyable. Not the best start but it kept us knocking back the drinks which increased the tab so maybe there is a thought process behind it.

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For mains Elena and I ordered the Huevous Rancheros with stripped beef. Now, I love this classic Mexican breakkie dish and fell in love with it in Mexico and the Hotbox brunch version of it. Huevous Rancheros is a baked all in one dish with black beans, corn fritters, eggs, cheese and guacamole, please don’t expect this for the La Bodega Negra version. I am always open to developments of dishes as long as they are an improvement. This dish was not an improvement, the only flavour I could taste was salt, again I checked to ensure it wasn’t me being sensitive but Elena couldn’t finish her dish due to how salty it was. The meat was nice but rather on the fatty side which meant again there were bits that couldn’t be eaten. Upon investigation it came to light that the black beans were the culprits of the excess saltiness in our system but it was hard to avoid the black beans as they were covering the base of the plate so were covering all the other bits of the dish.

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Our fried Vish had the chicken fajitas which looked really impressive with the heap of colours and condiments. It looked like fun having to pop each fajitas together. After trying the fajitas we can say it was nothing to rave about. Saltiness was less so than the rest of the dishes we had tried but again it was very apparent in the seasoning of the chicken.
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As much as we loved the concept and the fun features of this quirky Mexican dine it’s a shame the food didn’t live up to the hype.

Worth paying a visit just for a quick picky of the shop front.

La Bodega Negra
16 Moor Street, London W1D 5NH
labodeganegra.com

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Coffee Break: The Mock Turtle

Contrary to the name The Mock Turtle has nothing to do with turtles but everything to do with the best tea and scones that Brighton has to offer.

Every time we come to Brighton we always have an afternoon tea session at The Mock Turtle. It is always heaving with people inside and out and for good reason too. With scones the size of my head, cream and jam as sweet as nectar (in my head I think nectar is really sweet) and tea as heavenly as something you can only get in heaven, The Mock Turtle is the place for high tea whether you are a tea person or not.

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This high tea experience is not pretentious at all which is the general connotation people get whenever it is mentioned. It is a very cool and chilled out experience and to be fair everything in Brighton has that similar laid back feel to it.

The interior is rather quant with lots of ‘old skool’ fine china on the walls, the ones with the blue paint work that you see on antiques road show. As you enter there is a table with handmade cakes on cake stands, displayed in a similar fashion to a church fair. The clientele is so eclectic; teenagers, the elderly, young professions, children and mature adults all smiling and enjoying a cup of tea with a scone.

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The scones are the biggest we have ever seen and you can choose from a range of different one from plain to fruit filled. We always go for a platter of plain scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam and english breakfast tea. The scones are so filling that we can never muster dinner after it (but we do as we try and find a good gastro pub to dine in on the way back into London).

It’s an incredible experience this high tea business and I don’t think we will ever not pay a visit to The Mock Turtle when we are in Brighton. Make sure you get your fill of scones the next time you visit Brighton, maybe we will bump into you there.

The Mock Turtle Tea Room
4 Pool Valley, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1NJ

Cafe Route

Interior, is a typical industrial look with exposed kitchen. Tables are long with enough with room for your typical Dalston guy on the laptop and groups of friends. All cafes that do not rush you to finish your food and get out get a massive bonus in my books. And Cafe Route is exactly a place like this, tucked it away from busy Kingsland road, it a great spot to grab a healthy meal or very good coffee.

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Having spent last few days eating very heavy fried foods, I was pleased with a refreshing vegetable heavy menu at Cafe Route. Their Mediterranean inspired salads were complex, what seemed as minimum eight ingredient mash ups, that delivered very surprising taste combinations. Not to mention extremely generous portions. I had to take half of my main home for nibbles later.

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Chicken thigh with roasted pepper, haloumi in flat bread looked very pretty and was delicious! Served with a perfect side of potato wedges, it was a big meal.

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Sweet potato with tahini sauce and chickpeas was lovely and soft. Tahini added a touch of earthiness to this dish that i really enjoyed. Refreshing side salad of carrot, red pepper, broad beans was my favorite! Zingy and crispy it was a good contest to the main.

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We completed our very long dinner with a cup of strong coffee.

I like this place for it’s simple approach to food, it’s delicious food and easy atmosphere.

Cafe Route
Unit A Gaumont Tower, Dalston Square, London
http://www.caferoute.co.uk

The Paperworks

The pop up bar/restaurant/music venue of the summer. Set in between warehouses and the train tracks of elephant and castle this is the perfect venue for that Friday feeling.

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Walking into the venue you almost feel like you are at some sort of music festival which is so not my thing. However, with the crowed being young urban professionals like myself I was safe in the knowledge there would be no mosh pits or beer spraying. Instead I was knocking back prossecco like it was going out of fashion.

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There are a number of bars and food stands dotted all over the venue. My attention went straight to the lobster grill which had a long cue. I had to find out what the fuss was about. For half a lobster, salad and chips you pay £15 and have the food prepared in front of you. I was uber excited to watch my lobster sizzle away on the grill.
One thing I hadn’t really thought about was how I was going to eat this thing. There are some bench seating options which unfortunately for myself and my friends were taken up on this night. We ended up sitting on railway sleepers and eating off our laps. The next hurdle was how to eat the lobster with only a plastic knife and fork. I realised very early on that there would be a lot of wastage as there was no way I would be able to get all the meat off it with those. I have to admit it was a lot of fun trying.

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The lobster itself was not the freshest thing I have eaten nor was it meaty. The chips were the largest I have ever seen and were much better than the lobster. The salad was a bit of a waste as it wilted from the heat of the other food. Not worth the £15 price tag.

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Despite the food The Paperworks is a cool and chilled out venue. People sitting on the floor having a chin wag, bodies dancing in free spaces, live music blaring and every under the London Sky.

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Calm and happiness are the two things I will link to this little pop up. Great for a summers evening.

Ladies, word of warning, this is not a place for heels or suede shoes. You will be facing a range of different terrains: gravel, grit, stones and dirt. Play safe and stick to flats. I learnt the hard way.

The Paperworks
48-50 Newington Causeway, London
www.thepaperworks.co.uk

Sawyer & Gray

I love no meal more than breakfast! My perfect weekend consists of a lie in followed by a trip to Saint Espresso. With their mini cup flat white in hand I head to Chapel market to get freshest ingredients for my most important meal of the day.

There is something quite luxurious about taking time to prepare breakfast. Lots of love goes into the process and I enjoy the fact that afterwards I can kick back on a sofa without feeling guilty.

But obviously not every weekend is the same. It was a bright Saturday morning, I got up unusually early. With gym session scheduled for 11, it gave me just enough time to grab some breaky with my really close friend.

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She is also quite a foody and told me that I absolutely have to meet her at Highbury & Islington so she can take me to her new favourite coffee house – Sawyer & Gray.

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As you walk in you are charmed at the door step with the eclectic interior. We chose a cosy booth downstairs, perfect for a little gossip over coffee.

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Even though breakfast was followed by a session at the gym, I failed at making a healthy choice and went with their most scrumptious breakfast on the menu – Avocado on toast with poached eggs and bacon.

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I am a sucker for food being served on a wooden plank. It’s such Instagram classic!

Food was yummy, my only wish was for more avocado, which I’m sure they would have given me if I wasn’t too lazy to ask.

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Coffee was true to form, delicious! Service was really friendly, efficient and laid back. Five stars to Sawyer and Gray for capturing a great weekend spirit!

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Sawyer & Gray
290 Saint Paul’s Road, Islington, London N1 2LH

http://www.sawyerandgray.co.uk

Stoke Park

Stoke Park is Europe’s leading 5 AA star hotel, spa and golf course and I found myself there a few times for different occasions. What I have always loved about UK’s hospitality standard is that when they say 5 star, they mean 5 star. Stoke Park’s service is impeccable, you feel at home and it’s one place where i have truly been able to forget about the world I have left behind in London.

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Stoke Park is an oasis of parkland, lakes and gardens, located just an hour away from London. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful landscape! I was lucky to see it both in full bloom of summer and in stunning autumn palette.

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My most memorable time here was for Father’s Day 2014. My father is a brilliant golfer who is travelling all corners of the world with the game. Stoke Park was on his list of courses to play, so when I heard he was visiting London, I knew exactly the place where we could go for a treat.

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Golf break included one night stay at the hotel, a game of golf, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Between steam room and swimming pool we took a quick lunch at San Marco, Italian brasserie with tables situated on a leafy terrace. Weather was perfect – sunny with a soft breeze. I ordered a crisp tuna salad. Portion was very generous, but uber fresh and so delicious, I wiped my place clean, despite wanting a very small lunch. Atmosphere at San Marco is lovely, I love that guests were encouraged to have lunch and drinks in their spa robes.

IMG_6330 I loved the decor of the rooms, unlike the rest of the resort, this room was an eclectic take on classic British. Who can resist a little leopard print?!

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As my father left for a game of golf, the rest of my day was filled with more steam room, swimming and sunbathing sessions.

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For dinner we booked a table at Stoke Park’s 3 AA Rosettes Humphry’s restaurant. It was the perfect setting for a special occasion. Restaurant offers panoramic views of the estate and the lake. l can only imagine how stunning weddings here must be!

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We opted for ‘a little bit of everything’ kind of dinner.

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Honey Goat’s Cheese with Beetroot Textures, and Celery Leaves

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Roasted Duck Breast with Apple and Celeriac Rosti, Caramelised Apples and Calvados Jus

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Pan-roasted Sea Bass with Petit Ratatouille Stuffed Courgette Flower, Chorizo and Broad Bean ‘Ragout’, Martini Velouté

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Dorset Crab and Avocado Tian with Cucumber Jelly, Soft Boiled Quails Egg and Pink Grapefruit Salsa

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Bitter Chocolate Box filled with Caramel and Chocolate Mousse, Spiced Cointreau Gel, Clementine Sorbet, Hazelnut Tuile and Caramel Sauce.

This meal was fabulous from start to finish. Each course flowed perfectly into the next and flavors were both delicate and surprising. Service was impeccable and we have thoroughly enjoyed our evening. I would highly recommend visiting Humphry’s if you find yourself in Stoke Park.IMG_6370

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I loved Stoke Park so much I got massive blues on my taxi ride home. Little did I know it would only be less than 4 months and I’d be back! Yes!

Stoke Park
Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, SL2 4PG
http://www.stokepark.com

Pizza East

Shoreditch, the epicenter of ‘cool’ in London. Home to some of the trendiest bars and restaurants, it is the place to be when you want a plod go hang with your amigos.

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Pizza East is always heaving with people so you would be quite the optimist if you think you can go without a reservation on the weekend. Pizza East is great if you want to dine with large groups of people because of the ample seating and space to move. It sits on top of a club called Concrete, not our cup of tea but the perfect place to head if you want a place to chill or boogy after your meal and trust us, you will need an after place for Pizza East as like most places has a two hour timer on each table.

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The interior is rustic and industrial so very at home with the Shoreditch vibe. They have a wonderful open kitchen and bar where you can sit and watch the action of preparation. True to form for a lot of places in East London prices are cheap.

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However, I think the positives that we have mentioned are actually pretty superficial. The food is nothing to rave about and if you love pizza prepare to be disappointed. The menu is Italian fusion so you will see Mac ‘n’ cheese on the menu which from our previous visit was great. The pizza‘s here are majorly lacking in flavour which ever you pick. Elena and I went for an aubergine/pesto pizza and an asparagus and ham (speck) pizza. The pizzas are very tough and the base has no taste which is a shame as there is A LOT OF BASE. Toppings are seriously lacking and not evenly distributed so you end up having a number of slices that are just cheese and tomato.

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Service is a tad ridiculous and there is an air of disorganisation. We ordered our starters at 7pm when we had arrived. We were excited to have olives with toasted almonds and prawns with avocado and chilli. The starters were brought to us at 8:15pm once we had eaten half way through our dry and tasteless pizzas. There was no shock or horror from the staff about the forgetting of the starters which communicated that this mess up was a regular thing. The prawn dish was again tasteless and the avocados were over ripped. The olives were the best part of our meal however, it’s not like Pizza East did anything to them but merely served them from the packaging they were bought in.

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This meal was a real shame as we really were looking forward to some tasty pizza. We read some other reviews of Pizza East to ensure we hadn’t just visited on the worst night of their life but it seems Pizza East have a pretty strong bad reputation amongst fellow foodies. I think next time we fancy some traditional Italian pizza we will head to La Porchetta in Angel to avoid disappointment.

Pizza East
56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
www.pizzaeast.com

Fera at Claridge’s

As we dismounted from horses (Uber cab), we were greeted like princesses by the staff of Claridges, exactly how we love to be treated after a Sunday morning heavy gym sessions.

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The interior of Claridges is a timeless example of Art Deco excellence. As you walk through the twirling door you are transported into the glamour of the 1920s and you can almost hear the echoes of jazz coming from the ballroom. For design freaks like us we really appreciated this architectural heaven in Mayfair.

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We came for a Sunday luncheon to Fera, one of Claridges restaurants. We thought we deserved a treat as I was feeling a tad down about work over the last couple of weeks and this was definitely mood lifting. Upon arrival we felt the five star luxury service with the warm genuine greeting by all. As we looked through the stunning menu we were served wafers with cheese foam and flowers. It was crisp and creamy and there were different flavours popping out with every tongue lash.

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Once we had ordered we were served a warm wedge of rye bread which was freshly baked, it was served with hand churned butter. It was all so moorish I could have eaten a couple of more wedges.

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For starters Elena had the Spring Velouté with Smoked Pork, turnips, ramsons and herbs. The Spring Velouté was theatrically poured around the dish in front of us. Every element of the dish brung its own flavour. The ramson, something we had never tasted (we think) brought a warm garlic flavour and the idea that we should really be using this ingredient in our own cooking.

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I had the Smoked Mackerel, Pickles Mushrooms, Dandelions and Apple Marigold. The mackerel wasn’t overly smoked but had a subtle undertone with every bite. The mushroom pickles were tiny and brought little pops of that vinegary flavour to the dish. The dandelion leaves brought a fresh and spicy twist to the dish. This truly was a feast for the taste buds.

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For mains Elena had the Cornish Cod, gem lettuce hearts and leaves, parley and jersey pearls. The cod just flaked away so easily and melted in the mouth.

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I had Reg’s corn fed chicken with BBQ leek, onions and celeriac cream. The chicken has a lushious crispy skin. The chicken tasted sweet throughout with was a lovely flavour indeed. The celeriac cream was smooth and rich and I could have eaten a whole bowel full.

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Desserts were again so well thought out with each taste and texture on the dish. Elena naturally went for the chocolate option and had a stunning Smoked chocolate cream with pecan ice cream and verjus caramel. As your tongue wraps around the chocolate you get that initial chocolate taste we are all used to but then you get the smokey after taste which was lovely but took a few scoops getting used to. A very rich and decedent dessert.

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I had something more traditional yet equally as delicious. Bramley apple cake with cinnamon ice cream and pecans. The cake was freshly baked and warm, such a comforting feeling in the mouth. The pops of pecans added another dimension to the dish, delicious.

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As we paid for our for our stunning meal we were given some sweets to leave us with the sweetest memory. Marshmallows and fudge, small yet intense.

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A special meal for a special Sunday. There was a touch of class and luxury for every step of this meal, something we could easily get used to. We can not wait to have an excuse to come back to Fera at Claridges.

Fera at Claridge’s
49 Brook St, London W1K 4HR
feraatclaridges.co.uk

Coffee Break: Louis Hungarian Patisserie

Call me bias if you must but I firmly stand by my opinion that European cakes are the best in the world. America always goes over the top with sugar where Asia don’t add enough, Great Britain’s cakes are a bit like their weather – soggy. Europe’s love affair with dessert started very early with first baked cake recorded in 17th century. From then on baking became an art form adored by everyone from Paris to Russia. Patisseries in Europe are amazing. We saw some examples of a grand patisserie first-hand in Lisbon. From the decor to the selection of cakes, your tea time in Europe has been transformed to a formal affair with silver service.
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You can imagine my delight as I spotted a Hungarian patisserie in Hampstead. As soon as I spotted the sign I started dreaming of fluffy Hungarian cremes… unfortunately they didn’t have them on the menu, so I opted for a very similar cake called ‘Creme Slice’. This slice was not as sweet as it looks. It was a gorgeous combination of creme lighter than air and crispy layered pasty. Of course the portion was bigger than one can eat, so had to be shared.
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 Cheese cake is not as you and me know it. Hungarian cheese cake reminded me of polenta cake by texture. It didn’t even smell of cheese, with a slight sweetness and lemon flavoring it seemed a bit dry. A little bit disappointing. Perhaps it’s a good excuse to go back and try all Louis Patisserie’s cakes.

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The decor takes you back in time. The galore of cakes is displayed on the front window, main room is a mixture of dark brown leather covered sofas and wood paneled walls. Sweet old lady with white apron serves tea in sets are delightfully floral. She doesn’t speak a word of English which in my book enhances the experience of a foreign cafe.

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Louis patisserie was dead quiet despite a few tables with customers. Everyone was talking with hushed voices, slowly flipping pages of a newspaper and quietly sipping on their coffee. It was quite nice and relaxing for a change.

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For £12 we had a cappuccino, hot chocolate and two desserts. It’s a little pricier than your regular coffee shop but worth paying extra for a taste of Hungary.

P.S. Beware – they only accept cash.

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Louis Patisserie
32 Heath Street, London NW3 6TE

In Parma

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For someone who loves all the finer things in life such as meat, wine and cheese -In Parma is the perfect restaurant. We came here in the summer for a bite to eat after getting lost in the streets of Bloomsbury. The waiters welcomed us as if we knew each other for years! We got a nice table outside and tucked into the menu.

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This is definitely not your traditional Italian, there is no pizza or pasta in sight! Parma in Italy is famous for Parma ham and Parmesan cheese which makes a delicious menu: meat, wine and cheese….and a few sides…but who needs veg anyways!

We ordered a few cuts of ham, boiled potatoes and melted cheese bowl, perfect for dipping into with fresh bread. The small pot with black paste you see below is black olive pate- delicious!

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Sparkling red wine called Lambrusco, to our amusement, was served in bowls!  This is apparently how the locals in Parma drink it. I found it a very easy red wine to have, mainly because it’s served chilled. Similar to house wine and traditionally a farmer’s table wine this had a very refreshing flavor. Perfect accompaniment to meat and cheese.

As we can never resist something sweet, we opted for chocolate salami. For those who don’t know that’s chocolate paste with pieces of digestive biscuits rolled into a salami sausage shape and served slightly chilled. YUM!!! They make this dessert as well as my mother,  this is taste of childhood for me…i love it!

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I am looking forward to weather getting a little bit friendlier so I can go back to that table outside and have a feast!

In Parma
10 Charlotte Place, London W1T 1SH
www.in-parma.com

Hong Kong Guide

Fork & Talk are back!

My gosh, how much fun we’ve had in Asia this past week!

I hope you guys enjoyed our live blogging from Hong Kong. There was so much to see and so much to eat! We have tried to sample a variety of what Hong Kong offers. We went down with the locals at grimy cafes and up into the skies above the city for a cocktail or two. One week in Hong Kong is definitely not enough and with our reviews we have barely scratched the surface of foodie finds.

Never the less, we have put together a little Fork & Talk Guide to Hong Kong. We hope you find it useful. Enjoy!

Breakfast

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Urban Bakery
Must try: Egg custard croissant
Fun Fact: This hip and urban cafe is inspired by London’s Borough Market

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Kam Fung
Must try: Traditional Chinese sweet bun
Take note: If there are not enough of you, you will be seated with others

Dim Sum Lunch

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LockCha Tea House
Must try: Steamed mashed Lotus seed bun
Take note: This tea house is located in Hong Kong Park, to get there, you will be putting yourself in mosquito danger zone, so dress accordingly.

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Tim Ho Wan
Must try: Pork buns
Take note: When you see a queue, do not wait your turn, go straight to the front and grab your ticket number. They will call you when your table is up

Best Asian Burger

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Little Bao
Must try:
Pretty much everything, but if you have to choose go for truffle chips and pork belly bao.
Take note: This restaurant can get pretty busy on weekends, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Dinner with a view

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Sevva
Must try: Anything from the dessert menu
Take note: Strict dress code applies to your male companions

Japanese offerings

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Tonkichi Tankatsu Seafood
Must try: Katsu king prawns
Take note: Everything on mixed katsu platters looks the same, so make sure you ask your waiter  to point out the chicken and the pork.

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Sen-Ryo
Must try: Tuna sashimi
Fun Fact: Restaurant introduced screening system where a microchip is placed under each dish to ensure the foods’ freshness and quality.

That Famous Roast Goose

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Yung Kee
Must try: Apart from the goose, of course, try prawn fried rice
Take note: if you order roast goose ‘to go’ you will have to pay 50% deposit.

Dining with the Locals

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Crowd Restaurant
Must try:
Hairy crab
Take note: Remember that green tea pot waiting for you on the table is for washing your plates and cutlery first, and drinking later.

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Crystal Jade
Must try:
Sweet and sour fish

Coffee & Dessert

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Lab Made Cafe
Must try: Unfortunately their ice cream flavors change every two weeks…
Fun Fact: It only takes 60 seconds for Lab Made cafe to create your scoop from fresh ingredients.

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Teakha
Must try: Rose tea
Take note: They do not sell coffee, only tea

Yung Kee

‘I want roasted goose’, the chant we couldn’t stop hearing from our friend Birth who joined us in Hong Kong from Thailand. So on our last day we went to the prestigious Yung Kee Restaurant near Central Station. Yung Lee’s roasted goose is so famous that they offer a packaging service for their goose should you wish to take it on a flight home. Of course, our friend Birth had to take advantage of this service as soon as we arrived and got them to prepare two whole gooses to take back to Thailand. He paid a whooping 1200 HKD for two roasted gooses so you can imagine how pricy the rest of the menu is going to be.

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The decor is very stereotypical of what we would class as a ‘Chinese’ restaurant with the rich and royal colours of gold and red, Ming vases and gold Chinese dragons. It really is a treat for the eyes. The restaurant has been running since the 1940s and it has that air of class and elegance from this period. The restaurant are so proud of their accomplishments over the years that the first five pages of their menu are dedicated to the awards that they have one.

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Naturally we ordered the roast goose for ourselves but only a quarter for 200 HKD. Honestly, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about and it was the first time I have eat goose and I won’t be rushing to eat this meat again. The glaze which was used to make the skin so crispy was nice and sweet but after two slices I couldn’t eat anymore.

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Another recommendation from reviews we read was the shredded jelly fish. The idea of eating the jelly fish was not the most appetising thought but when in Rome……
It’s a cold dish with translucent jelly strips and sprinklings of sesame seeds. Looking at the dish you would never think it’s jelly fish. Taste and texture reminds me of seaweed. However, we could only must a bite or two before the idea of it being a jelly fish we were consuming became to haunt the tummy.

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We also ordered prawn fried rice, BBQ pork vermicelli noodles, beef flat noodles and egg plant with crab meat.

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Now, I’ve mentioned this before, if you avoid pork and try and follow a halal diet you need to be careful in Hong Kong, they love putting pork into the most strangest dishes without even stating so in the menu for example putting it on top of a seasonal vegetable dish or in this case cutting it into chunks and putting it into a dish called prawn fried rice. Best advise I can offer is to speak to the waiters that can communicate in English and make it very clear that you can’t eat pork. However, I’m sorry to say that some lie so it’s best to have a friend who speaks the lingo. Anyway, rant over.

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The food here is good but out of everything we have eaten it is nothing to rave about. It is a good tourist attraction to just say you have been here. For what we were eating the total cost was ridiculous and the bill came to 1,298 HKD between four people. It was the only place that has charged for green tea for our entire stay not sure how that can be justified.

Yung Kee
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Sevva

Since we arrived in Hong Kong our friend Catherine wouldn’t stop talking about Sevva, the roof top bar her fiancé took her too for their first date and proposal. We could tell it meant a lot to her so Elena and I decided to book dinner and drinks there to kick off her hen party. We spent the entire week avoiding her requests to go there for some drinks just so we could surprise her.

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Sevva sits on top of the 25th floor of the Prince’s Building in Central. It has a roof top bar with a stunning view of Hong Kong and the islands close by as it sits near the harbor. During the evening it has the most stunning views as the whole city lights up so we can understand how it made an impressive first date. Sevva has an indoor restaurant which just stunning.

The menu is a fusion menu so expect to see some strange combinations of foods and some adaptations of some world classics.

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A selection of starters including caprese salad and pea soup.
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‘Gems of Neptune’ sushi selection.

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Wagye beef cheek and ox tongue pot pie with porcini fries.
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Braised chicken
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Triple cheese macaroni with seafood
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Spaghetti with champagne sauce, king prawns and crab roe.

Like most of these places that cost a fortune and are in the most stunning places, the food is not the best feature by far and well Sevva was exactly that. This is the reason why I won’t be going to details of each dish.

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Service however was at a five star rating. The staff were attentive and most helpful throughout. The restaurant manager was so kind and gave us a complimentary dessert platter when he heard we were a hen party. The best dessert we have had in Hong Kong so far, with cakes so light and airy.

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After dinner we spent hours on the roof top bar reminiscing about the old days and talking about the possibilities in our futures as we gazed over the skylines of Hong Kong. We truly had an incredible time!

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Cost wise it was the most expensive meal in Hong Kong as would be expected. We paid 1,572 HKD each which is about £130 which included drinks and meal. Regardless of whether the food wasn’t up to scratch everything else made it worth it. We love Sevva but maybe it’s more a drinks and dessert place rather than a full meal.

Sevva
Prince’s Building 25th Floor, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong

Breakfast in Hong Kong

One of the things that kept coming up in guide books and online tourism blogs is that Hong Kong doesn’t have a breakfast culture. Shock and horror! Surely, we thought, Hong Kong residents cannot be starting their busy day on empty stomach. After arriving to Hong Kong we have discovered that their breakfast does exist but it is nothing like London where you sit down for ‘the most important meal of the day’, roll out your napkin, arrange cutlery and await your fruit salad with eggs Benedict and a pot of Earl Grey.

Since Hong Kong is a real mix of foreign styles and cuisines we have decided to try both ends of the breakfast spectrum. We didn’t want to be thrown in the deep end so  decided to start off with the familiar ‘western style’ breakfast first.

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Urban Bakery has a number of branches across the city. Decorated in a very hip industrial style, this shop offers freshly baked croissants with a range of creative fillings.

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We opted for somewhat Asian inspired egg custard croissants with coffee. I have to be honest I was very pleasantly surprised because unless I am in Paris I have very little faith in croissants. But this piece of pastry was perfect!

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Crunchy top layer and the middle flaked easily. The egg custard filling was dreamy. Not too sweet with lovely smooth texture.  It was such a delicious breakfast! So tasty in fact, it made me feel a little bit guilty.


The next day we finally gathered enough courage to try the traditional Chinese breakfast.

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After a brief queue to get in, we sat down at a table at a very small and crowded  Kam Fung cafe on Spring Garden Lane in Wan Chai. Kam Fung cafe has been established in 1956 and is a classic example of a Hong Kong cafe.

As there were only two of us, the waiter wasted no time squeezing a local couple on a bench at our table. We tried not to let a sign that said ‘NO SPITTING’ to spoil our appetite and ordered cold milk tea with sweet buns.

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I have never been a massive tea drinker but somehow white being in Hong Kong i have developed a real taste for it. Milk tea is now my favourite cold drink. I have tried it in Starbucks in a form of a ‘frappaccino’, which was lovely and light, and it is also a very surprising flavour for ice cream (Lab Made Cafe).

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Kam Fung’s milk tea was nice and strong which is exactly what you want to start your day off with. Sweet bun was served with a slice of butter, which wasn’t particularly needed as the bun was really fresh, soft and moist already. Taste was similar to a brioche bun, but perhaps a touch less sweet. I could definitely do with a meal like this everyday.

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Our bill was served on a tiny piece of paper, for 54 HK dollars in total we could not complain.

Although this breakfast was very different to Urban Cafe, I would definitely recommend Kam Fung as a place to experience Hong Kong culture and how locals live.  But if you want your soya milk flat white and place to catch up with a few emails, then do head to Urban Cafe for some peace and quiet.

Urban Cafe
Room 322, 3/F, The Landmark, 12-16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central Connaught Pl, Central, Hong Kong

Kam Fung
G/F, Spring Garden Mansion, 41 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai

Crowd Restaurant

Being in Hong Kong a country surrounded in water you are guaranteed to have some amazing fish. We had to find the best seafood in Hong Kong and I’m pretty sure we have come close to it.

In the back streets of the Wan Chai district is a little restaurant where you see the integration of the expats and the locals over the fruits of the seas.

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Crowd Restaurant on Gresson St is a small local restaurant with no frills so expect to be seated shoulder to shoulder to strangers.

As we sat down to feast our expat friends started doing the most unusual things which we now understand are standard practice in places like these for good measure.

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The waiters gave us our chopsticks and crockery and a teapot of green tea. One of our friends proceeded to wash the chopsticks and crockery in the green tea to clean them. We noticed the other tables were also conducting this process. We found out that even though establishments like these washed their utensils people preferred to re-wash them for hygiene assurance.

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We ordered the famous Hong Kong hairy crab that everyone kept telling us about. We also ordered: razor clams, Thai seafood soup, scallop and prawn stir fried vermicelli noodles and sticky rice.

The hairy crab is covered in fried garlic which is lovely with the crab meat. It was the most expensive dish on their menu costing 200 HKD but so worth it. The crab is covered in batter and deep fried which makes you keep licking the shell. Damn, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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The razor clams look so odd, almost like small pieces of bamboo that have been split open. They are coated in black bean sauce so go great with the rice. The meat in the clams isn’t the perfect oval we are used to so prepared to pull something stringy looking out of the shell. Don’t worry, it tastes better than clams.

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Our favourite dish was the scallop and prawn stir fried vermicelli noodles. I for sure couldn’t stop eating it at all. The noodles we so light with a generous helping of scallops and prawns fresh from the sea.

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The Thai soup had a different range of fresh and tangy flavours which you naturally associate with Thai food.

The food came to a grand total of 680 HKD between five people were we’re stuffed. Paying £13.60 each for the amount of fresh seafood we consumed feels like we were almost stealing.

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If you don’t mind a tight squeeze in a charming local dine then definitely visit Crowd Restaurant.

Crowd Restaurant
14A Gresson St, Hong Kong

Two foodies, two forks and a whole lotta talk!