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London, Restaurants, Reviews, UK

AFTERNOON TEA ON THE THAMES: OXO TOWER, LONDON

October 1, 2016

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After a morning of meetings and an endless amount of walking an afternoon of relaxation (and over eating) at OXO Tower Restaurant to experience their Afternoon Tea was just what I needed. Me and my friend arrived around 15 minutes before we were due to be seated and whilst we waited we were invited onto the terrace to enjoy the views of the city from over the River Thames.

The restaurant itself features floor to ceiling windows that flood in natural light from their stunning terrace area. If it wasn’t raining on the day I came for my visit I would have definitely sat outside so I could admire the city skyline. However, the indoor area was just as lovely! The decor is modern and minimal with a white and royal blue colour scheme.

There is an array of specialty teas to choose from, all of which are refillable and you can try as many as you like throughout your afternoon – this applies also to the food that is served. Once we decided on drinks the waiter brought over the first round of indulgent treats. The first level consisted of finger sandwiches filled with carefully selected ingredients. The second level presented a selection of “bites” such as mini Yorkshire puddings and OXO Tower’s scotch eggs with an interesting twist. The waiter on hand described each individual sandwich and snack in great detail, highlighting the different flavours and elements.

The next serving stand offered the traditional scones with clotted cream and jams, as well as a selection of rich desserts and cakes. The scones which were dusted in caster sugar were warm when served – a small detail I think really makes an Afternoon Tea all the more satisfying.

Overall, I really enjoyed my afternoon at OXO Tower. The service was smooth and faultless, the food was incredible and the venue is simply beautiful. The attention to detail with regard to how the food is prepared, put together and presented is extremely impressive. Every single ingredient that they use in the sandwiches, condiments and desserts is well thought out by the chefs making this Afternoon Tea stand out from the crowd.

So if you are looking for an experience that offers impeccable quality food as well as an awe-inspiring venue to enjoy it all at then I recommend booking in at OXO Tower Restaurant. For more information or reservations please head to their website below:

www.harveynichols.com/restaurant/the-oxo-tower

London, Restaurants, Reviews, UK

DINING IN STYLE: THE IVY MARKET GRILL, LONDON

August 2, 2016

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The Ivy Market Grill is located right in the center of the bustling area of Covent Garden. The Ivy collection restaurants are renowned all over London and at select places across the UK for their impeccable service and their quintessential British cuisine. I was invited to their all-day dining restaurant for dinner and I was more than impressed with The Ivy hospitality.

The interior of the restaurant is warm and welcoming. It’s decor is made up of dark wooden furnishings, brass fixtures and an impressive bar that takes center stage within the restaurant where you can watch the barmen whip-up some of The Ivy’s superb cocktails. At first it reminded me of an Irish pub, but as I was led to my table and took in my surroundings the elegance of the venue was apparent.

To start, me and my guest had a cocktail each followed by our starters of mozarella with asparagus and seared scallops. The cuisine on offer here is mostly classic British dishes such as Sheperd’s pie and fish & chips, but the menu does span over to some European dishes such as chicken Milanese. There is also a huge range of high quality seafood options which were highlighted by our waiter. However, the grill section of the menu is what really caught my attention – after all it is named the “Market Grill”.

For the mains we ordered fillet steak and salmon fish cake both with side portions of their amazing truffle chips – which we quickly realised we didn’t need after a few bites as we both got extremely full. We only really needed one portion of the chips, if that! The dishes were served to perfection and looked great – totally “Instagramable” so don’t dig in straightaway.

Then finally to finish, I had the Strawberry shortcake sundae and my friend had the classic chocolate dome – you know the one every restaurant has where they pour over the hot sauce… I’d highly recommend the strawberry sundae and my only regret is that I didn’t leave enough room to finish off this dessert, it tasted so good!

Overall, The Ivy Market Grill was a fantastic place to come for an indulgent three-course meal. The seductive interior, impeccable staff and wide-ranging menu are all worthy of the iconic Ivy name. I would most definitely be dining here again if I were in the area.

For more information or for reservations please head to their website below:

www.theivymarketgrill.com

London, Restaurants, Reviews, UK

A QUIRKY AFTERNOON TEA: sketch, LONDON

August 1, 2016

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On the second day of my London trip I headed over to the elite area of Mayfair where I was invited to experience one of the best Afternoon Tea’s in the city and in one of the most interesting venues I have ever seen.

sketch is located at 9 Conduit Street and the building has a long history associated with architecture, design and art. It was formerly the Royal Institute of British Architects and then later became the London Atelier of Christian Dior. There are a number of different rooms within sketch consisting of the Lecture Room & Library, the Parlour, the Glade, the East Bar, and the Gallery.

The very fashionably dressed staff seated me and my guest in the Gallery for our afternoon tea. The Gallery is a dimly lit, but playfully decorated room that looks almost like an up-market American diner. The walls are lined with interesting art work by David Shirgley (239 pieces to be exact) and everything around you is pink and velvet! At the top of the room there is a bar and the tables are presented beautifully. The tableware such as the tea cups, plates, sugar bowl and tea pot are all designed by the artist David Shirgley which all bare interesting little words – completely Instagrammable by the way!

A selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jams were included in the afternoon tea which are all refillable. Then finally after all of this you have the little pastries which look far too good to eat. A wide choice of teas are also offered which again, you can have as much as you want. By the end of the afternoon me and my guest were extremely full. We couldn’t say anything bad about the service or the quality of the food – it was amazing! Even the toilets are amazing! You just simply have to go.

For more information or reservations please see sketch’s website below.

www.sketch.london

Manchester, Restaurants, Reviews

A TASTE OF THE PACIFIC: AUSTRALASIA, MANCHESTER

July 22, 2016

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Manchester has always been one of my favorite cities to visit. During the summer when I was visiting the area I never wanted to leave and especially whilst working as an air hostess getting rostered in for a Manchester flight was exciting for me – everyone else wanted to swap it for somewhere more exotic. But I loved jumping on the train into this vibrant city with the crew and trying out all the little cocktail bars and endless restaurants that fill its streets. Australasia is regarded as one of the best restaurants in this city and has prime place within the area of Spinningfields – “the place to be” in Manchester, or so I’ve been told.

The restaurant is located just off Deansgate and identifiable by its stylish glass entrance. Once inside you will see light brick walls with matching trees that sit between the tables along with lots of hanging lights and lanterns. It’s definitely a romantic hot spot given all of the other young couples that were dining there whilst I was, and note that it got really busy around 7pm and this was mid-week!

To begin the meal, myself and my boyfriend had a cocktail each and browsed through the menu. The menu at Australasia is Australian cuisine fused with Asian. There are tapas style dishes, Sushi and also main courses. We opted to have a tapas style experience and ordered six plates which all looked divine when they arrived at our table. For the Sushi they even grind out the Wasabi fresh from the stem which is really interesting to watch. Overall, I enjoyed the food and felt full after about the fourth dish, but I would highly recommend the BBQ Lamb Chops!

For dessert, I opted for the chocolate dome and Chris ordered the chocolate and raspberry souffle. The chocolate dome included the usual spectacle of the pouring of the hot sauce over the dome that reveals the tasty inside – a little trick that never ever gets old and of course, makes the perfect SnapChat video.

I’d definitely return to this ultra-stylish venue for both drinks and food. It’s extremely versatile, being suitable for both lunch and dinner.  Have a catch up with friends or have your date night here – it’s a win-win for everyone and for any occasion.

For more information or reservations please head over their website.

www.Australasia.uk.com

Dubai, Restaurants, Reviews

THE MOST ROMANTIC DINNER SPOT: ARMANI/AMAL, DUBAI

June 23, 2016

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Here at the Armani Hotel in Downtown Dubai is yet another must visit restaurant called, Amal which serves Indian cuisine. I visited for dinner and as soon as I walked through the lobby of the hotel I knew this was going to be a world-class dining experience. As you enter from the lift you walk into a lobby area with a stunning Indian-inspired backdrop and centre piece, our welcome drinks were enjoyed in the bar area and me and my guest were seated for dinner very shortly after.

The ambience of the restaurant is very mellow and sophisticated, I’d definitely recommend dressing up for this venue as it is just beautiful and you will want to take no end of pictures. To start we enjoyed a cocktail whilst we looked over the rather extensive menu – there are a number of set menus to consider, however we went for simply choosing our own dishes from the main menu. After choosing we were served with the traditional popadoms and sauces, and we also had a very small pre-starter dish delivered to us.

For the started I chose the spicy shrimps and my guest ordered a vegetarian option – both were incredibly well-flavoured and the waiter was very aware of the ingredients when describing the dishes to us before we ate which of course, is always impressive. For the main courses we both chose a traditional curry dish each served with rice and naan bread, the waiter is always on hand to serve out your food for you – I don’t think I lifted a finger once to plate up more food! The service here is just amazing.

Finally for the desserts the Head Chef presented to us Amal’s most traditional Indian desserts for us to try – I really loved this as I had never tried any Indian desserts before and I am all about new experiences! The Head Chef also presented us with their chocolate dessert made from the best chocolate in the world, I believe he said, from Vienna. This was delicious and by this point it was time to enjoy the fountains out on the terrace.

Here at Amal they have front row seats to the famous Dubai Fountains and the restaurant sits within the world’s tallest building, right at the foot of it. Taking in the views and the sheer size of the Burj Khalifa was, again, such an amazing experience and so romantic – after seeing this restaurant you will want to bring all of your friends, family and loved one here next time you are in Dubai. I can imagine it would also make the perfect setting for a proposal or a very special occasion which you want to remember forever.

Highly recommended.

For reservations or more information please visit their website here.

Restaurants, Reviews

THE BEST OF BRITAIN IN DUBAI: BREAD STREET KITCHEN & BAR

June 14, 2016

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I joined Gordon Ramsay’s Dubai edition of Bread Street Kitchen at The Atlantis for dinner and drinks, and I have to say I was extremely impressed. If this stylish restaurant located on The Palm isn’t on your list of places to go eat in Dubai then add it on.

The Experience

The menu showcases a wide range of quintessentially British dishes which of course are all made with the best ingredients. When I first arrived me and my guest were invited to have cocktails at the bar before dinner and we were presented with a really creative selection of both classic and signature cocktails. Both of our choices were incredible and the bar tender was happy to help us choose – asking us what we liked and making suggestions based off of that.

After pre-dinner drinks it was time to enjoy dinner and we decided on the octopus and the chicken wings to start. The waiter (Alistair) was extremely attentive and welcoming, answering any questions we had with ease. Alistair really helped us make up our minds about what to pick from the extensive menu where you want to try everything! Whilst we waited with our red wine, bread and butter was delivered to the table and presented in a branded basket. I love when restaurants do these extra things like bring you bread and offer you nuts with your drinks, it really makes a difference to the overall experience.

For the main course we decided on trying out Gordon Ramsay’s iconic beef wellington made for two people to share. The presentation was beautiful and it came served with a range of extras such as, Yorkshire pudding and mash potato to compliment the beef. Dessert was by far my favorite part of the meal at Bread Street Kitchen. The Head Chef and our waiter delivered to us ALL the different desserts on the menu to try out and the Chef described each one in detail. I would highly recommend Gordon Ramsay’s version of the British classic – Bread and Butter Pudding.

The Verdict

Overall, the experience was perfect. The staff were friendly and engaging, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was great – after dinner you feel like want to carry on the night on a high, not crawl into bed and watch a movie. 100% recommend.

For more information or reservations please go to their website.

Dubai, Restaurants, Reviews

QD’S DUBAI: RAMADAN TENT

June 14, 2016

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QD’s Dubai is set overlooking the stunning views of the Dubai skyline from over the water at Dubai Creek Golf & Yatch Club. During the holy month of Ramadan – a month where Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset – QD’s transforms into a Ramadan tent where a full buffet is set out just before sunset for those wanting to break the fast in style. It is also such a unique dining experience for those who are not Muslim and I’d highly recommend that if you are in Dubai during this time of the year that you try out a buffet, such as QD’s for Iftar.

The food presented consisted of traditional Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes and desserts – all presented beautifully. There are plenty of staff on hand to assist you if you are unsure about a dish and are more than happy to explain – this allowed me to feel that bit more comfortable as I’m not too familiar with the cuisine. The atmosphere was relaxed and from our table we watched the sunset and the Dubai skyline light up as night fell which was really amazing.

Overall the restaurant ticked all the boxes and more – it offered great traditional food, lively atmosphere and of course, that picture perfect photo opportunity! What more could you want?

Bali, Restaurants, Reviews

BARBACOA: LATIN AMERICAN DINING IN BALI

May 12, 2016

DSC_1043_1DSC_0972_1 DSC_0987_1 If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a chilled drink and BBQ style food with a stunning view of the Balianese rice paddies I’d highly recommend stopping over at Barbacoa. The whole venue has a warm and rustic feel to it, and the food is delicious!

Their lunch menu provides a wide selection of tapas style dishes, perfect for sharing and enjoying over a cocktail or beer. Me and my boyfriend ordered a few smaller dishes and one main to share, and this was more than enough for us to feast on.

There is also so much to look at whilst you dine – apart from the view, if you head over to the kitchen area you will see how the chefs roast their pork ribs! The atmosphere and ambiance here is 10/10 so add this Latin American eatery to your list of places to dine at whilst in Bali.

BarbacoaBali.com

Bali, Indonesia, Restaurants, Reviews

ILLIDO BALI: AUTHENTIC ITALIAN DINING

May 11, 2016
IlLido Bali Courtyard

After visiting their stunning rooftop oyster bar in Singapore – Southbridge – IlLido Group were kind enough to invite me to their first flagship in Bali to experience more of their amazing hospitality.

The venue was elegant and open-plan with a courtyard surrounded by trees, and furnished with dark wooden tables and chairs in true Italian style. The menu is extensive with a focus on quality – here you will find quintessential Italian dishes which are cooked to perfection and presented beautifully.

Upon entering the restaurant the staff were accommodating and remained attentive throughout the whole time that me and boyfriend were there. The atmosphere was relaxed and unpretentious which made for a great dining experience. To start, the wonderful manager, Claudio recommended two historic Italian favorites – bruchetta and grilled octopus which were both delicious. Prior to this home made fresh bread was served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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For the main courses I had the Milanese pork chop and Chris had the snapper. Both dishes were impeccably presented and tasted as good as they looked. The manager suggested both of the main courses for us to try after describing them with such knowledge and passion which was really amazing. IlLido is most definitely a restaurant where you can expect and will receive the highest quality Italian cuisine.

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Finally, dessert was served and of course, I had to try the Tiramisu and we also ordered the profiteroles. The waitress came to serve hot chocolate sauce over the profiteroles which was a very nice touch and was great to watch. Definitely leave room for dessert at IlLido, it is so worth it!

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Conclusion

I had a fantastic experience dining at IlLido. This super-chic venue along with its outstanding menu and friendly hospitality sets the standards high for all other trending restaurants in the Seminyak area. You can find IlLido at: 38 Jalan Raya Kerobokan, Banjar Taman, Kuta, 80361 Bali, Indonesia.
Reservations can be made via info@illidobali.com or by calling +62 361 731175.