Monday, January 12, 2015

Thai Cooking Class in Valence with Aoy

During Christmas, I spent a week in Valence in the South of France and while I was there, I decided to take a cooking lesson in Thai food from Aoy. Aoy runs Thai cooking lessons in her home and I couldn’t resist a chance to learn some tips on how to cook some authentic Thai food.



Aoy knows whole gamut of Thai dishes and I decided to first learn how to cook the ubiquitous Thai Green Curry. Sure I’ve attempted a green curry before – buy some pre-made green curry sauce and stir-fry some vegetables but Aoy’s slow cooked Green Curry with Aubergines and Beef was the real deal.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bubbledogs: Hot dogs & Champagne in Fitzrovia

With an hour of time to kill one evening, I decided to wander down Goodge street. I found myself in front of Bubbledogs, with miraculously no queue in front of it. Well it was 6 pm on a Wednesday but I’ve always refused to go near Bubbledogs since I can’t rationalize the standard 60 minute wait just for hot dogs with a glass of bubbles - all of which can be consumed within 15 minutes.

When I went to the door, I was told there was still 10 to 15 minute wait. I asked if there any way they could squeeze me in given I was there by myself and the manager was nice enough to find me a spot at the bar. Sitting at the bar is the best seat in the house in my opinion and perfect if you’re flying solo. It’s an excellent viewing point to see the rest of the room and watch the bartenders make fancy cocktails.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Orrery: Serene and Elegant French Restaurant in Marylebone

When my friend mentioned having lunch at Orrery, a Michelin-star restaurant on Marylebone High Street; I originally misheard the name and thought he said we were at going to eat at ‘Ovary’. Seeing my bemused look, my friend then spelled out the name but I was none the wiser to what Orrery meant.

Chicken Liver Parfait

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tommi's Burger Joint: Marylebone's Chilled-out No-fuss Burger Joint

Right after Meat Liquor and Patty & Bun opened up in Marylebone; another burger joint started making waves on the High Street: Tommi’s Burger Joint. I still swear allegiance to the juicy Dead Hippie Burger at Meat Liquor and I adore the chicken wings at Patty & Bun but there’s something about the Burger Joint that keeps drawing me back for more.

No queues. At all.




Friday, October 17, 2014

Opso: Greek flavours with a modern twist


Opso is my new favourite restaurant. It’s located on Paddington Street, just off of Marylebone High Streets and sits in the space that used to be Ping Pong. I’m quite happy about the change in occupants. Gone are the dark, tired looking interiors of Ping Pong, now replaced by the airy light wood interiors of Opso.



And now, anytime I want to go out for a meal, I keep veering back to Opso. So much so, that I’ve tried pretty much most of their menu which is full of inventive creations using classic Greek flavours to the best results.

Here are some of the dishes I've tried:


Monday, October 13, 2014

Best restaurants in Minneapolis: My top picks for 2014

After every trip to Minneapolis, I start liking this city a bit more and more. Of course it helps that I only visit in the summer. (I made a mistake of going in the winter of 2007 and there was snow up to my waist!)

The Stone Arch Bridge

I love how all the building are built to celebrate their industrial legacy, loved the sleek Guthrie building dedicated solely to theatre, the Walker Art Centre and the gigantic public library. But my favourite is the Stone Arch Bridge encompassing the vast Mississippi river, full of healthy Minnesotans cycling and running on the paths. In retrospect, I should have been one of those active people exercising away given the amount we ate out – but hey I was on vacation and my brother had a whole slew of restaurant recommendations. What can I say he is my brother after all.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Marbella and Vejer de Frontera :: My One Week Andalucia Road Trip

After Granada, we drove to Marbella. Our route took us through the Sierra Nevada mountain. Beautiful views though at times I was bit queasy with all the sharp turns! We soon hit the coast and I was expecting Marbella to be full of over-the-top full of stag parties and crazy kids but we stayed in the Casco Antigua - the charming Old Town, which is close to the beach. Despite the fact that it was wet and rainy, I couldn't help but love the picturesque little streets of the Old Town. 


Costa de la Luz

We checked into the romantic  La Villa Marbella hotel for one night (60 euros a night). Their rooms are more like small apartments and are simply amazing. Each room had a theme: ours was ‘Bombay' and after two days of continuous driving, relaxing in our beautifully decorated room was such a treat. The staff are friendly and helpful and parking is close by. Oh and when you check in, they give you list of breakfast options – tick everything! Breakfast is so good.  



Monday, August 4, 2014

Granada and Cordoba :: My One Week Andalucia Road trip


Generalife Gardens of Alhambra in Granada

After Seville, we hit the road early in the morning and headed north to Cordoba, about an hour and half drive. Cordoba is home to the famous Mesquita, the 'Great Mosque' which is stunning. It was originally a mosque which got converted into a church. Inside the simple spacious interiors is a forest of 856 red and white stone pillars that form striped red and white arches that are unusually striking. I could imagine it being one of the most tranquil places to worship with its beautiful and intricate prayer wall. There is massive altar in the centre that was built by a Spanish King to convert it into a church and who, infamously later regretted building it saying it spoiled the beauty of the original building and "destroyed something that was unique to this world".


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Two Days in Seville:: My One Week Andalucia Road trip

Doing a road trip around Andalusia has been a dream of mine for a long time and it finally happened this April! We decided to take a week driving around Andalusia in a loop – starting at Seville, visiting Cordoba, Granada and Marbella and finally chilling at Vejer.


The first day after landing in Seville airport, we took a cab (about 20 euros) to our hotel IMG Rey Alfonso X in Barrio Santa Cruz, dropped off our bags and then just wandered around Seville soaking in the atmosphere, eating tapas after tapas and of course, relaxing with a siesta! 

Walking around Seville is a pleasure – it’s a city with such charm and gorgeous Moorish architecture. Since we were there during the Holy Week, we also got to see some Santa Semana processions led by various brotherhoods which were fascinating. 

On the second day we visited the Cathedral which was stunningly impressive. I believe its one of the biggest Cathedrals in the world. Originally, there was a huge 12th century Mosque which knocked down and a decision was made to build "a church so large, future generations willl think we were mad". My favourite part of it was the Giralda – a former minaret of the original mosque that remains and was converted to a bell tower. You can climb all the way to the top and its fairly easy one since there are no steps but just a sloping pathway winding all the way to the top (so that a rider on a horse could get to the top!). 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mandarin Kitchen: Excellent Chinese restaurant in Bayswater with the best Lobster Noodles

I’ve never really eaten much seafood at Chinese restaurants – I always tend to go for the more meaty options. But when we were told that Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater serves the best Lobster Noodles in London – I was totally up for checking it out. The source of this information was our trusty driving instructor Albert Low; who by the way is an excellent instructor. Leave a comment if you’d like his contact details for driving lessons in Central London or Richmond. He’s one of the best :) 

We went to Mandarin Kitchen on a Thursday evening and it was packed. Unfortunately we didn’t make a reservation and had to wait for about 20 minutes for a table, but seeing all the delicious plates of food being carted out of kitchen and being in no rush, we settled in to wait. And then soon enough, we had a table – one of the best, right near the window which was prime viewing position. 



We started with some lovely Oolong Chinese tea (Ti Kuan Yum) and ordered one of their signature dishes – Steamed King Scallops in a garlic soya sauce that came with tiny crystal noodles. It was delicious and I’ve never seen scallops so big. A great starter to whet our appetite and then shortly later, the piece de resistance appeared – a gigantic Lobster with Ginger and Spring Onions on top of a bed of soft glistening noodles. The waiters break it up for you and serve it quite efficiently so all you have to do is dig out the soft delicious lobster flesh. And having soaked up all that lobster juice, the noodles were incredibly tasty. Such a simple elegant dish – and Manderin Kitchen deserves all the accolades for it.