Local Hot Spots – The Melbourner’s Picks

 

So I’m fully aware of how much I’m seriously slacking off on the blog posts of late, which I profusely apologise now for in advance. You see, life in Melbourne has been a little on the busy side these past few months, especially when everything is so new and super exciting. It really is proving hard to say no to so many incredible eating establishments and cocktail bars that are off the hook; (I think you can understand where I’m coming from here). I’ve also been working pretty darn hard at my ‘actual’ day job which hasn’t left me with a lot of time nor the brain capacity for writing, but enough with the excuses already…

Continuing on the subject of eating and boozing, I wanted to share some of my new local hot spots ,which I have recently frequently and worth a mention if you are ever thinking of visiting this wonderful city in the near distant future. I can’t really say that there has been one shoddy or unpleasant place I have experienced thus far (mind due, it has only been 5 months) and I have a good feeling that this city is going to provide all the goodness and meet the high expectations that I had whilst living in L-town. 

 

Mr Miyagi

Friends of mine had recommended I give this trendy, urban Japanese eatery a go and why not considering that this type of cuisine is part of my diet almost everyday, with my healthy obsession with sushi. 

If there is one thing that stood about for me about this place, its definitely the quality of food that is presented in front of you. The highlight for me was the salmon nori taco which is delivered to your table in a cute little box. Awwwww

Friday and Saturday nights are almost impossible to bag a table if theres only a few of you but there is the option of Yuki’s snack bar located at the back, which offers a variety of delicious snacks including the HIMALAYAN SALT SLAB CURED KINGFISH and tempera runner beans. Yummo oh and don’t forget the beaut cocktails to match. Winner winner. 

99 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

Jane Doe

Greeted with a white picket fence and velvet vintage sofa chairs, this retro cocktail bar located on Chapel Street is your pre-drink, post drink kind of place. They offer daily happy hour which includes 10 buck cocktails  and 5 dollar wines, so really, whats not to love! 

219 Chapel St, Prahran VIC 3181 

 

Bistro Morgan

If you have a killer sweet tooth, then I wont even need to go into too much detail to try and sell this one to you. In the past few months I’ve visited at least three times and that includes an Uber Eats delivery…say no more? The brains behind all of this is a savvy 17 year old entrepreneur called Morgan Hopworth, who has been dishing out an array of decadent, syringed filled donuts at his High Street premises in Prahran. It would be fair to say that these are best around town but who am I to say, pop in and be the judge for yourself. 

190 High St, Windsor VIC 3181

 

Borsch Vodka & Tears

This Polish restaurant and bar located on Chapel Street actually made my eyes twinkle. After only recently visiting Krakow in Poland my expectations were fairly high and I definitely did not leave feeling bitterly disappointed. Not only are the dumplings heavenly, the stuffed zucchini flowers are to die for AND they have over 9 pages of listed vodkas for you (no jokes) to try. It doesn’t end there, they also have flights with three types of flavours, which you can even choose yourself. How lovely! 

Besides from the appetising food, it’s actually very reasonably priced, oh and hazelnut vodka is next level – no doubt I’ll be back for a few more. 

173 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

 

Killing time

Another quirky Chapel Street venue with a cosy, underground vibe, playing some seriously good techno and house music. I’ve been lucky enough to have already experienced a couple of special gigs by my friends, Motion Theory music. Its always filled with the coolest of peeps, DJ’s playing the raddest of tunes, plenty of dancing  and even comes with the decks behind the bar.  I almost feel like I’m at some house party rather than a late night bar. 

11 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

Revolver Upstairs 

I know some of you are giggling right now but how could I not share the club of all clubs in Melbourne – come on 🙂 The first time I stepped into the infamous club was one Friday night where dinner was still being served – yes there is a Thai restaurant called Colonel Tans and its goes alright. If food isn’t your thing and you are all about raving until the break of dawn, then Revs is calling your name from that lovely steep and scary staircase. Attracting some big name techno DJ’s its by far the best underground club that this city has on offer… and besides, lets not deny the fact that the atmosphere is wicked no matter what time of day it is. 

229 Chapel St, Prahran VIC 3181 

 

Sash Japanese

Sash is somewhat a modern day version of Nobu, offering a new take on Japanese fusion ranging from sliders, tacos, pizzas, sake and the ultimate cocktail list. Head bartender, Kyle Rose who takes the art of cocktail making to the next level, will most certainly cater for whatever your tastebuds desire.

The restaurant itself stretches over 40 metres, with funky neon signs and a variety of areas to perch including the bar if you’re stopping by for a late night cap….(I highly recommend) 

113 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181 

 

Darling cafe

Offering new and old menu favourites, this cafe is the perfect spot for a Sunday brunch hang with your nearest and dearest. From sweet pancakes, to smashed avo, to vegan quinoa and bircher muesli – there is something for all. I ended up choosing the beetroot ricotta patties with sweet potato, edamame and poached egg on top, which was devoured in seconds and certainly worth it after waiting almost half an hour to get a table.

So yes, you will have to have a bit of patience and no, you cant book on the weekends but this is Melbourne for you and I’m sure in good time I’ll get over it. 

2 Darling St, South Yarra VIC 3141 

 

38 Chairs

Some people call it a hidden gem but I prefer to call it a diamond. Located in South Yarra, I instantly fell for this petite, intimate Italian eatery very quickly. Firstly, their homemade pasta is delightfully fresh, authentic i taste and the seafood linguine is an absolute must. For dessert try their chocolate filled tortilli which will leave you with some serious food orgasms (don’t say I didn’t warn you). To top it off, the service was on point, a wonderful atmosphere and the wine list was just exceptional. Once again I will be returning. 

PS great for dates! 

4a Bond St, South Yarra VIC 3141 

 

St Edmonds

Firstly I was recommend this converted garage, come minimalistic cafe by a real estate agent while hunting for properties in the area one Saturday morning. He had advised me that this was the best coffee in the area, which really doesn’t mean a whole lot to me as I am more a tea drinker, however it seems when you live in Melbourne, this is a vital part of everyday life… which I still don’t get it but whatever floats the boat. 

You’ll be pleased to hear that it not only offers great coffee but also fabulous food to go with it. The staff are a friendly bunch and very welcoming, so if you’re ever passing by Greville Street, pop in and say hello. 

154 Greville St, Prahran VIC 3181 

 

Ramblr

So amazing, I’m going back again for more this week. Another Chapel Street hot spot (yes another one) is I’m informed from the locals, a bit of an institution. Why you ask? Well, once you’ve been you’ll totally understand what I mean. There is no signage out the front which kinda makes it even more intriguing (I must have walked past like an idiot a few times). The menu has a decent selection of veggie/meat/seafood options which apparently is designed for sharing but really when it’s this good, whose down for sharing right?!!! The sticky eggplant with shiitake and black bean sauce is beyond ridiculous and the crab noodles which don’t look overly appealing, are absolutely friggin delicious (don’t ever judge a book by it covers my friends). 

This is some of the best food I’ve eaten since leaving London – massively impressed to say the least. 

363 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141

 

Entrecote

I have to admit that I do have a massive soft spot for anything European, in particular, French wine, food and the language; which do I miss terribly since leaving London, however Melbs offers the next best thing and that is some fantastic, quality establishments within a stones throw of where I’m currently residing. One of those notable spots is a quaint, converted terrace house/restaurant called Entrecote adjacent to the lush Botanical Gardens, with its own gorgeous alfresco patio area for the optional, outdoor dining experience. I was seated next to the double bay window and treated to a glass of Pinot, a hunk of juicy steak with a mountain of frites in service à la française.  Finishing off with the most extravagant looking dessert, it just has to be done if you want the full French experience.  

131-133 Domain Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141

It all started with Ichi Ni…

 

 

Moving to Melbourne has been something I have visualised for the last couple of years and towards the end of my time in London, I had already written a brief list of restaurants of bars that I needed to make a point of visiting (and which I’m sure is going to grow at an alarmingly fast rate over the next 6 months!)

One of the things I always love to ask when I’m new to a city, is for honest recommendations from the locals. There is nothing more exciting, than being able to explore, going on new adventures and experiencing the ‘unknown’.

 

I had a bit of time up my sleeve before getting back into employment life again, so I wanted to take full advantage of my free availability by checking out a couple of hot spots. I’ve always quite liked St Kilda, perhaps because it is so close to the coastline, with a long stretch of beach esplanade, thriving nightlife and undoubtably, some pretty famous landmarks. I had decided on some Japanese cuisine At Ichi Ni and of course being my absolute favourite thing to eat, I’ll try not to be overly biased while writing about the food (promise!)

The restaurant itself is of a fairly decent size, which appears to be divided into 3 sections, with two areas at the front floored with decking and wooden bi-fold doors sprawling into an outdoor patio area (perfect for the summer months I’m guessing!). Interior wise, bright colours of red, green and traditional Japanese flair have been used. There is also seating in front of the chefs, so if you like watching whats been made for you, the selections are endless for your perching selection. 

Starting off with a refreshingly cold 300 ml bottle of Sake – just an absolute no brainer and If you know me well enough, you’ll know that Japanese and Sake go hand in hand. Like cheese and red wine (you know the score).

Food wise, I opted for the tuna tataki which I’m a little obsessed with… mostly raw tuna which seems to be slightly difficult to find over this side of the world? Tataki is always seared, meaning barely cooked, raw on the inside and sometimes coated in sesame seeds. This one was lightly drizzled in soy, yuzu and shallot dressing which you can never go wrong with.

We all know you cant go out and have Japanese without digging into some crispy, golden tempera and since I’m swaying towards being a pescatarian these days, I’m all about the fish and the veggies so the sweet potato option was next up and something that I also cant get enough of. It doesn’t matter which way you cook it, the flavours never left you down.

Nigiri – probably the most likeable style of sushi in my book. Thinly sliced bits of mouth watering, raw fish on a bed of rice, dipped in wasabi drenched soy sauce is just mind blowing to say the least. I always go with the salmon which can get boring but its okay to play safe as long as your mixing it up a little and up for trying something new – its fun!

The scallop was sensational, presentation on point and extremely fresh which is the most important thing when your eating anything raw like that.. I’m super fussy when it comes to food being prepared and I’ve only managed to fall ill once from oysters in Montenegro, but lets not get into that now 😉

I finished off with some good old maki salmon, avocado which hit the spot nicely, leaving absolutely no room for dessert to my utter disappointment (joking, I really didn’t need it) 

A thoroughly lovely afternoon lunch with delightful bay views, exceptional eats, reasonable prices and immaculate service.

 

Ichi Ni 

2 The Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182

Cafe Sydney – Harbour Style Dining

 

 

After only being back in Australia for a few days, I knew my birthday was looming around the corner and I wanted to find somewhere extra special as a welcome back treat for myself. A few friends had suggested numerous places but the one that had stood out for me was in an extraordinary location, located in Custom House on the 5th floor and offering some of the best views a girl could possibly ask for!

Cafe Sydney, I’m advised, is famously known for its extensive wine list, outstanding menu and breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour bridge. I had asked a friend to join me for lunch as she has just moved from the UK also and I felt a fine dining, memorable experience was in need for the pair of us! It was scorching hot that day and although it would have been cooler inside with some nice air-conditioning, I was not passing up the chance to perch on the alfresco style balcony, looking out to some pretty iconic architecture and glistening water of the harbour. I quite liked the fact that paper fans were provided at the table, as a small momentum to take away with you, which is such a nice touch (and a brilliant idea in the heat).

Once we were seated, I ordered us a bottle of riesling called Stargazer from Tasmania, since I knew we were eating salads and fish today, I wanted something slightly lighter than the usual Sav blanc. After living in the UK for 7 years, all I’ve been drinking is either French, Austrian or German so I’m pretty excited to explore the many wine regions that Australia has to offer (and there are plenty!) 

To start I was pretty keen to order some oysters, as Australia is known for its amazingly fresh seafood and since it had been quite sometime since I had eaten shell fish after my little mishap in Europe, it just had to be done!! The Sydney rock & Pacific oysters are equally both on par as far as delishness is concerned and freshly shucked with a pinot grigio vinegar to drizzle over. YUMMO.

 

Carmen and I shared a couple of appetizers together since it was such a hot day, my appetite wasn’t up to its usual standard of wanting to gorge as much food as possible 😉

The peach and goats cheese salad was exquisite and so perfectly light for eating on a summers day (actually Autumn but you get what I mean here) 

I had the Salt cod croquette with zucchini flower, poached prawn and accompanied with a lemon parsley dressing which was absolutely divine and well presented! I had been craving stuffed zucchini flowers for so long as this is something you don’t see in many restaurants in the UK (if not at all) so as you can imagine, every bite was thoroughly savoured. 

We also ordered a side of spinach and goats cheese naan bread which seemed a little strange to me since we weren’t eating any indian cuisine and to be honest, I generally avoid it with being super oily BUT boy oh boy did this redeem itself. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted naan bread is good as that before so I guess i’ll take everything i’ve said back on this one occasion. 

And last but not least, as I ALWAYS state in my reviews – the best part of the meal – DESSERT!!

They had five options to choose from and obviously I had to go for the salted caramel, banana fritter, chocolate peanut tart and ice cream option (not a hard decision there). You’re probably thinking that is going to be ridiculously sweet but to be honest, it wasn’t a huge portion, just the right size without feeling like you’ve basically eaten a bowl of sugar (no thank you). 

IT WAS BELLISSIMO!

I’d have to say my favourite part of this dish, was the banana wrapped around in what seemed like a cinnamon donut – super lush on every level. 

Carmen had the coconut panna cotta, caramalised pineapple, coconut and passionfruit sorbet – a slightly healthier option to what I had chosen, however it still provided some highly rateable flavours. These days, I love anything with coconut in the ingredients, you just cant go wrong with it, especially in a dessert. 

So to summarise, I’m thrilled to have dined at this beautiful restaurant for my birthday. It literally made our day – an exceptional experience for the both of us, which was really appreciated from start to finish. The service was to a very high standard with friendly, polished and knowledgable waiters; the venue itself was sophisticated, very instagramable and a perfect spot for any special occasion – I highly recommend you check it out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 3 Brunch hangouts for Jan!

 

 

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for a good hearty Brunch and even more so at the moment with trying to fill in the gaps of healthy activities and things to do at the weekends. I am indeed a big lover of breakfast or morning feedings anyway, they have always been a favourite time of the day for me to eat and as they say, its the best way to kick start that metabolism each day! 

London is endless for choice; we are particular spoilt in that department with plenty of variety and of course bottomless options for those who enjoy the prosecco. I, on the other hand was not drinking however I managed to come across a few delightful places worth mentioning with or without being dry as an option.  

 

Malibu Kitchen – CITY

Located in the outstandingly beautiful Ned hotel near Bank station, this grand building houses a number of fine restaurants, bars & cafes, even a roof top pool over the summer. Some of it is members only but luckily enough Malibu kitchen is not one of those so its open to the public 7 days a week. Their Californian menu is hardly shabby and features a very healthy menu of superfood salads, fish, smoothies and even shots of sprilena! My choice for this brunch was the Açaí bowl with granola, berries, banana and bee pollen while my friend opted with the turmeric pancakes. So so good and absolutely no hidden nasties in this lot!

 

 

Darcie & May – PADDINGTON

This place is just the cutest!! If you’ve never been to Little Venice before, then this is an absolute necessity. Situated in the Paddington Basin and only a short walk from the station, is a long barge boat coated with plenty of art deco brightness and brining plenty of flare to the area. It is split into two parts, one being the bar and the other the restaurant. They serve delicious Australian food for brunch, lunch and dinner and there is also a ‘roof terrace’ which I am assuming will be used to the extreme through-out the summer months of 2018. 

I went for the Shakshuku – a classic egg dish with intense chilli tomato flavours, house made labne, avocado and turkish bread for dipping. To pair with it I had with the red zinger juice and thats about all I could fit in because it was ridiculously filling (what we like to hear!)

 

Timmy Green – VICTORIA

Also under the Daisy Green collection, TG is new to Victoria in the ever so modern Nova building (which I am absolutely loving for restaurant choices). It was noticeably busy being a Sunday but with such high ceilings, the space and volume of noise is not an issue and I was still able to have a conversation without shouting (not a fan!) 

My choice for this brunch was the broccoli and corn fritters with avocado, poached egg and chilli pesto. I did order some bacon but then realised that i’m not actually eating red meat at the moment and had to leave most of it on the side of the plate (oops!) This dish is super filling and satisfying and I highly doubt you will feel like anything afterwards. I managed to squeeze in a green detox juice which was equally sensational. 

 

 

A night to remember @ Mr Fogg’s 5th birthday soirée

 

When I was invited a long to this pretty special event a few weeks back, I was a little hesitant due to it being a very quiet non-sociable month for me, plus I didn’t really want to face the freezing cold night time air after a hard days work BUT anyway (first world problems!), I persuaded myself to make the effort because I absolutely dig MR FOGG’S and their cocktails are just out of this world!! 

Funnily enough I wasn’t drinking but this should definitely NOT stop you from going out because we can always have a good time without loads of booze 🙂 Luckily for me they had a couple of very appealing mocktails to choose from including the berry straight & narrow, (rate the name) the red herring which went down an absolute treat and of course many other spirited libations! 

If you haven’t had the chance to visit one of the most charming and quirkest bars in London, well you are simply missing out (no joke!!). It’s tucked away, just behind the poshness of Berkeley square in Mayfair but don’t worry its very different when you are welcomed inside, its like you’ve stepped well back in time!

Based on the eccentric British adventurer, Phileas J. Fogg, it also features a Hendrick’s botanical garden, beautiful furniture pieces as well as a number of interesting decorative items hanging off the ceiling. (your eyes wont know where to look)

The cocktail list is phenomenal and no imagination is spared when it comes to the creation that goes into each and every drink. Trust me on this one 🙂

During the evening there was also plenty of entertainment provided including Mr B the Cockney rapper who was a barrel of laughs, as well as a once in a lifetime horse and carriage ride around Mayfair – something you rarely get to do these days! The horses were beyond stunning and even though we waited for what seemed like an hour in the cold, it was well worth it to have such an incredible opportunity and one that I’m probably never going to experience again. 

Thank you Mr F for your kind hospitality!!

 

 

Address: Mr Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD

https://mr-foggs.com/residence/

Dry Jan & what I really think about it

 

Every January its the same thing – no booze for 31 days, depressing miserable weather (UK) and the people of London moaning about how dark and cold it is while wishing it was summer again (whoops that might be just me).

I’ve been speaking to a number of friends over the last few weeks who have decided to partake in going dry for the month, which got me thinking, what on earth is dry Jan and what is the purpose of it all? After doing some serious research, I decided to write a post about the real health benefits and why people seem to think they are doing their bodies a favour. 

I’m not normally one to post anything overly opiononated but I’m up for a bit of a debate about this one, so please feel free to comment below or give me some feedback 🙂 please note that I am not a specialised doctor or a nutritionist but I do have some common sense and I do know how to look after myself. 

As most of you may know (or not) that i’ve decided to lay off the booze, not because of dry January at all. I’m actually in the process of making some serious lifestyle changes (I have been since October last year) which means CUTTING BACK on the booze to a certain extent. Yes, I am definitely staying far clear of it for this month, and perhaps for most of February, maybe even March, but i’m not going to restrict myself permanently, be made to feel guilty for a slip up or set myself up with unrealistic goals.

As far as I’m concerned its all about EIM. Everything in moderation for the long version. Binge drinking has always been a bad habit of mine since I was about 19 years old and i’m definitely not alone on this. I am now 34 and soon to be approaching 35 in the coming months and to be honest with you, getting stupidly drunk is not a great look when you are approaching your mid 30’s. Of course you still need to live your life and have some good old fun or a blow out as Brits call it  – I get it…. but doing this all the time (lets be real here) is not doing me or you any favours long term. We should still be able to go out and have an amazing time without drowning ourselves in bottles of wine, vodka, beer etc without being labelled as boring or no fun and after 15 years of partying, I’ve done and seen it all with many excruciating hangovers and its safe to say, i’m not really missing it. 

Being a blogger in London makes it somewhat difficult to avoid – but it can be done. I’m always invited to loads of events with plenty of bubbles, wine, cocktails, you name it and although this sounds very lavish and enjoyable, it can be utterly exhausting. It’s very hard to say no, but eventually you do get to that point where the novelty just wears off. This is purely because, (myself in particular) you start to hit a wall and your body and mind eventually feel like a bag of you know what. I know for a fact, that I have a tendency of becoming severely unproductive and unmotivated, I cant focus properly at work or even think about doing any exercise. Im tired, groggy and worst of all – moody! Who can relate to this? 

Lets be honest, most of us after the 31st of January (me included) one way or another, have gone out and gotten completely tanked up on what we call a retox or an impulsive binge, simply because we have restricted ourselves so badly the previous month, that we now must simply get back to the ‘normal’ life of boozing it up and forgetting just how awful those last 31 days were. The sad reality is, is that most of us will then make up for lost time over the next 11 months and then we will do it all over again, hoping that it will help us in some way? Im not so sure about that. 

The thing about doing dry January is most of us don’t realise that by avoiding drinking for one month only, is going to have very little health benefits. Sorry about that. Although I am not aware of what most would like to get out of this or achieve health wise, I’m guessing that it could be along the lines of feeling less bloated, loosing weight, steering clear of junk food, being clearer in the head and slightly more productive etc etc etc but in reality, there are no significant health benefits whatsoever unless you decide to perhaps give it up completely. 

Maybe some of you binged over Christmas.. shit happens but don’t whinge about it, perhaps this year look at cutting back slightly so the overpowering guilt is not there come January. I had a bit of a ‘blow out’ over NYE but it didn’t bother me one bit because I had the best time ever and sometimes it is just has to be done. 

Personally I think that if you want to give up drinking, then just do it. Not for a month, not even for 6 months. For those who don’t care or happen to think its the most ridiculous thing ever, no worries, its not that much of a big deal anyway just live your life how you want it to be. 

As I mentioned previously, i’ve always been about the EIM – eating well, exercising, no diets, taking supplements, getting some sun and no over-stressing. I’ve never been overweight, my weight is normal for my height. I have no health problems, allergies and I’m rarely sick.  In fact, the only negative thought that comes to mind is my anxiety, which most of the time is caused from a big night, lack of sleep and too much alcohol (there you go). 

I’ll always enjoy a glass of wine here and there, maybe the odd cocktail but in all honesty its not a necessity or priority in my life anymore. If you do what’s right for you and your health in general, then dry Jan shouldn’t really apply 😉 Be kind to YOU!

A Copenhagen City Break

 

The Danish really know how to turn it on so I can totally see why it has been labelled as one of the happiest places on earth…because everyone is actually very friendly. A massive plus and huge attraction when visiting a new destination, in my opinion.

 
I had asked my good friend and avid traveller, Natalie to join me on this short Nordic adventure over the weekend.  The most unfortunate thing I’d have to say was not being able to spend the extra day or two in the capital as this city truly is one of a kind. In fact, it would be a big call to say it is my second favourite after Berlin, I was that impressed, I’d gladly go back in a heartbeat.
I decided to fly with British Airways and upgrade myself to Club Europe on the outbound flight. Its not something I would do often, especially when its such a short flight, but I do enjoy the chance to use the airport lounges, while having a bit of extra space (and enjoy the champagne). 

I’m a big fan of boutique hotels and I managed to stumble across one in the trendy Latin quarter called SP34 via Booking.com for quite a reasonable price. This included breakfast in the lush green-house looking restaurant called Väkst – but I will come back to this a little later on.

The hotel was approximately ten minutes walk from Norreport station which is the stop after central and very easy to get to when travelling from the airport. It only took me about 20 minutes and was greatly less cheaper than a taxi is in Copenhagen. So while we are on this topic, I will note that its not the cheapest of places in the world, so don’t be surprised by the prices of everything – they pay high taxes which is all relevant to wages and the cost of living. I get it. 

Nat had arrived a day before me so she was already pretty familiar with the neighbourhood. I met her for a beer then we quickly made our way to the hotel to dump my stuff off and go for a quick explore. As it was a Friday night, it was fairly rammed around the main streets. It was also in good proximity to the very famous Tivoli gardens, you know the fun park. I didn’t have time to check it out but I’ve heard its worth going if you do have some free time and a bit of a thrill seeker. I was pretty exhausted after travelling from work so we opted to go back to the hotel for a few glasses of red wine and a catch up session in the funky foyer area of the hotel. I was really loving the interior design – totally my kind of style!

The next morning, we arose fairly early to have breakfast and go about our day. I didn’t want to be sleeping in as there just wasn’t much time for that on this trip. The breakfast at Vaskt is quite a delightful experience. Most of it is very healthy and all organic. You can sit upstairs amongst all the hanging potted plants, while downstairs is the kitchen there are rows of food items such as fancy yoghurt, fruit, cheeses, veggie sticks, boiled eggs, hand made bread and pastries. There is even bottles of freshly made juices and smoothies and champagne if you are up for it. Of course, we couldn’t resist a cheeky one to get us going for the day! 

After breakfast we finished getting ready and off we trotted for some sight seeing. The one thing that drawed me into this city, is the variety of cafes, art galleries, bars and restaurants – it is endless. In my last post I spoke about my experience at the Studio restaurant which is just one of dozens of Michelin star restaurants they have on offer here. Rather than me repeating myself about this ultimate 9 course lunch, you have the option of reading more in depth by clicking here https://wp.me/p4vC9M-1gU 

We decided after properly gorging ourselves, that a stroll around Nyhavn was very much needed. Famous for its beautifully coloured buildings, sail boats and the ferry terminal, it is what I call the the most instragramable spot of Copenhagen. Of course after a few photos snaps, a beer a long the waterfront was necessary before making our way back to the hotel.

The thing I really do love about travelling is not knowing what is around the next corner or getting lost without hitting panic mode – just casually mooching around discovering new sights and everything that comes with it. On our journey home we stumbled across what I would call a street party with live bands and even a saxophone player! We couldn’t stay long because we knew that wine o’clock was calling us at the hotel… yes they have free wine hour at SP34 from 5 – 6pm. It packs out very quickly as you can imagine, so we made the most of it by grabbing a couple of glasses of wine in the early evening. 

As I am always thinking about food, I was beginning to feel peckish again, so decided it would be a good idea to grab something to eat, freshen up and see if we were up for venturing out again. After all, it was a Saturday night. 

Cocks and Cows was a fun burger joint attached to the hotel and seemed a rather popular place to hang out on the weekend. Not to mention the extensive cocktail list they had and the most delicious, generous burgers I have probably eaten in a long time. I had the New Yorker which was full of juicy chunks of steak accompanied with twister fries, veggie sticks and chilli cheese balls. Not exactly that healthy but that wasnt really what I was aiming to be on this trip.. and anyway all that walking balances it out 🙂

As predicted later on, I went into a massive good coma so we thought it was a good time to call it a night, with cups of herbal tea in bed by 10pm. Rock n roll! 

The following day I woke up with a fuzzy head but I was so glad that I had made myself go to bed at a  decent hour because there is nothing worse when you’ve got loads planned and you’re tired and groggy. Its happened far too many times to even count and I think I’m finally starting to learn. (or is that grow up?!)

The plan was to hire cycles which we did through the hotel, that way we would be able to see more of the city in a short space of time and really, its just what you do here. Even if you aren’t the most confident on a bike, I can assure you that its pretty straight forward in Copenhagen. Bikes tend to rule the roost, a bit like Amsterdam and I really dig that. Not only is it good for your health, its better for the environment and it has financial benefits! 

We wanted to see the Little Mermaid that I was told, was rather on the small side so try not to be to disappointed when you see it. I think I was more fascinated by just how many people were crowding around taking photos of this iconic statue. It reminded me when I was in the Louvre Museum, checking out the Mona Lisa painting. Gosh, too much for my liking but anyway, but you have to laugh. 

Once we had ticked this off our list, it was over to the Palace for the second time in a row. Natalie is a Princess Mary fan and that has nothing to do with the fact that she is an Aussie 😉 The palace is a very open space to the public and consists of four grand-looking buildings facing each other. I was quite surprised by how accessible it was considering when you compare it to the likes of Buckingham Palace which is completely walled off, although there are plenty of security guards roaming around. 

We had a quick pit stop at the tipsy mermaid which was a boat-bar serving local craft beers & rather cute might I add. In the summer months I can only imagine how busy it would get with a prime spot on the water. Next it was over to the bohemian district or Christianshavn, which is well now for its hip cafe culture, arts, music and street food. We didn’t stop there for long as we only had the afternoon to check out the meat packing district in Vesterbro which I believe is the place where all the locals like to hang out in. When I visit a city, its important for me to explore a place like I’m a local and really embrace the cultural by going off the beaten track a little. We ate at Warpigs which serves traditional American BBQ dishes and many beers on tap to choose from. Weirdly enough, I opted for the veggie option but if I hadn’t of eaten a burger the night before I would have been totally down for some ribs. 

There was one particular bar I wanted to visit called Noho. Decked out with pink flurescent bright lights, quirky ornaments and oozing that chic industrial feel, it was love at first site followed by a glass of crisp white wine on the sofa while thinking, I could really do with staying just a few more days. **Sigh**

We ended our bicycle journey at a local trendy cafe called the Living Room. The two level space was decked out in mismated furniture including multiple sofas and supplied with most thirst quenching juices, smoothies and cocktails. The perfect location on a chilled Sunday afternoon reading a book or catching up with friends for a coffee. 

I was feeling emotions of sadness on my way in the taxi to the airport. I knew this city was unique but I had no idea just how special it really was. I cant even imagine how much it would come alive during the summer months and I’m so eager to get back over this way at some point again. Its such a wonderful part of the world and if you haven’t been before, I strongly suggest that this be on the top of your travel list of places to visit! 

November Treasures – Playlist

 

Well, its almost the end of the year…can you actually believe it?! Winter is coming and its  pretty much Christmas already here which means things are moving way too quickly for my liking, but anyway, this month playlist is purely about all my fav’s back in the early noughties. I was right into my electro back then, where artists such as Junior Jack,  Axwell, Armand Van Helden and Deadmau5 dominated the dance floors and music festivals all over the world. 

I used to remember dancing outrageously to Flaunt it by the TV Rock guys, with the awesome Seany B singing on lead vocals – it was a huge hit in the Australian charts for weeks and everyone went crazy over it. (those were the days!)

I also went nuts over Tiga’s you gonna want me which is a rather sexy, electo house track, that came out in 2005 and was a massive hit all over the globe. This tune was played at least 1000 times on the car stereo! 

 

Happy listening!!! 

The Studio – A Culinary Danish Affair

 

Copenhagen has placed itself on the map as being a leader when it comes to Michelin star restaurants, not only for the quality but also the quantity.  It is said that it is the city with the most awarded stars restaurants in the entire world, which is pretty unbelievable when you think about it. 

I had done my fair share of research before I arrived in the Danish capital but the choices seemed to be endless, making it a hard decision to pick one and then deciding whether I wanted to eat a truck load of courses during the day or just before calling it a night. Of course I had my eye on Noma – the 2 Michelin star eatery wowing the critics and once named the worlds best restaurant 3 years in a row, however that has now closed to my utter disappointment and re opened as a spin off called 108.

Finally I came across The Studio, which was situated one floor up on the waterfront with lovely views, in a Tiffany green multi-story complex, which also houses the Standard and was set up by Claus Meyer – who happens to be the co-founder of Noma.

The head chef at Studio is Torsten Vildgaard, who hastrained at a restaurant called Tinggarden north of Copenhagen, and then at restaurants Norrebro Bryghus and Extra. However his formative years were spent in a intense eight-year stint at Noma (there it is again!) where he worked as sous chef and head of research and development before he moved to Studio. In his new kitchen, he gained a Michelin star only four months after opening and believe me, after enjoying this high level culinary experience, I can really see why this was awarded.

 

So it was decided that lunch was the way to go. 9 courses, which does seem a lot, but these are tasting dishes which means they are very small mouthfuls of food but in some cases extremely rich on flavours. 

It is a smaller scale restaurant which sits 40 diners and the 9 course lunch menu is available on a Saturday for 1000 DKK (approximately £120.00) I didn’t fancy drinking too much as this tends to fill me up rather quickly, so just opted with a glass of white called Pouilly Fume. 

Jerusalem artichoke/ cep / pineapple weed

Sorrel / Fermented creme fraiche/ dried caviar

Churro / cheese / truffle

The staff were very tentative and welcoming, and each chef brings the dish to your table explaining the ingredients, which I thought was a winning touch.  The first couple of course are litereally a bite size each, followed by the most incredible tasting bread with salty butter, ‘the main courses’ and then the mind blowing desserts to finish with.  

Scallop ceviche / raw onions / elderflower 

Monkfish /celeriac / apple 

Lobster / passion fruit / chilli 

Duck / grapes / lavender

Apple / coriander / olive oli 

Almond / cep/ balsamic apple vinegar

Everything was timed at a steady pace and nothing was out of place – the execution was completely flawless and the food… well this was out of this world. Playful, unique, experimental and the presentation on point. So many bizarre pairings of ingredients but they worked deliciously well! 

A few more after meal treats

The restaurant itself is minimalistic and contemporary in style, designed by team duo Christina Meyer Bengtson and Ulrik Nordentoft. I really liked the layout, as sometimes you can feel so overwhelmed by over the top designs and trying to cram too much furniture in.

I also got a chance to meet with the chefs, who were all super lovely to chat with and genuinely interested to know what I thought about the food and my overall experience. Very important to ask these questions in my opinion! 

A big thumbs up to the Studio and chef Damian Quintana for making this such a memorable and special Nordic experience for us, I couldn’t recommended it enough – this is the place you want to be visiting when in Copenhagen! 😉

A Prosecco & Pizza fuelled brunch @ Bunga Bunga

Stop everything!!! 

Yes put that down, yes that TV remote, magazine, phone, cup of tea.. no wait not the hot cuppa you can kelp a hold of that one for now.

Right, now that I have (hopefully) your undivided attention, I can go onto begin about that crazy time I was at Bunga Bunga Covent Garden for their latest addition…..The Matinee Brunch.

Im sure by now you’ve heard me speak about Bunga and the brand, if you have bothered to read my other posts (only kidding!), I speak very highly of these venues across London and below are some of my reasons why.

 

  1.  Attention to detail – this is across the board with every venue
  2.  Fun atmosphere – next level
  3.  Service – the staff are always vibrant and and happy

This was my very first time visiting the Covent garden location and once again I was totally wowed by just how ridiculously cool it is. I bought my wonderful friend Yvonne to join in on the craziness as she was well up for the challenge (good girl!). When you first walk in, its actually part of Bunga Tini which happens to be another bar/restaurant on the top floor. Downstairs is where it all happens…

We were whisked away underground and greeted with loud noises of harmonious singing voices, a flamboyant stage, loads of people already seated (yes it was busy) and disco balls with flashing lights.

It had already began and I hadn’t even had a glass of bubbles yet!

Once seated we were greeted with a very smiley waiter who worked his way through the menu and explaining how it all works. It simple for me – food and just pass that prosecco please 🙂 So as it is a bottomless brunch, you can imagine that the bubbles were flowing at an extreme rate. I must of seen at least 40 bottles pass my head at some point – no not for me! But you get the jist of just how generous they are throughout the 2-2.5 hour sitting. 

After listening to some awesome sounds, it was then over the to the band on the stage, where the curtain was drawn and the karaoke screens were fully displayed. I then realised that it was us that had to be involved.. err not quite merry enough for all this just yet… but luckily a few other punters were straight up there hogging the microphone and belting out the classics we all love.

In the midst of all of this, the brunch items were being bought to our table. Starting off with a number of small plates of warm brioche bread, the creamiest of burrata surrounded with lush home made tomato jam, antipasto of meats and salamis, added with some vegetarian quiche which I’m sure wasn’t meant for us but the extra touch was gladly welcomed!

After all this it was then onto the massive metre pizza which consisted of three tasty types like creamy spinach, mozzerella cheese, tuscan sausage etc etc on top of an very nice miniature roman pole stand and wooden flat-board. I love how it was presented so beautifully but it was slightly on the difficult side to see Yvonne over the top of it hehe

When I’m out to a restaurant, I always like to find out what the bathrooms are like – I know, very strange but this can make or break you know! The women’s of course was separate from the mens although to wash your hands was in this rather amazing fountain, which I thought was far too fancy for the toilet – any hoo!

Not to mention that they have some very unique rooms for hire if it takes your fancy for a large soiree in mind. A choice between the lavish Emperors Box, The tipsy Disarano boat or the swanky Martini Lounge.

So whether you are up for an Italian feast, next level over the top entertainment or a mountain full of endless bubbles, this might be something to add to your list of ‘Brunches to do’. 

PS – dessert consumption was missed due to us eating through everything at a snail pace (and maybe consuming a little too much prosecco) hard to believe but there is a lot of food – trust me!!! (go large)

 

The Martinee brunch welcomes you every Saturday afternoon @ £44.00 per head

 

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