Category Archives: Where We Ate

London in 5 Days

London 20London Bridge

London

Like everyone says, London is the most incredible City in the world and after spending a short week there i can see why. I had not been to London for more than 6 years, when my husband mentioned that he had to travel there for work Ii quickly booked myself a ticket and was lucky enough to tag along. Coming from Singapore I was not prepared for the cold and certainly didn’t have any appropriate clothes, but when we woke on the first morning to blue skies I was feeling pretty happy, once we stepped outside I was shocked, it was so mild. And wow, what they say is right, when the sun shines they all go a little crazy!! The parks were filled with Londoners sunbaking in their swimmers, bars and pubs were spilling onto the streets at 4.30 in the afternoon, and the streets were filled with shoppers enjoying strip shopping and not being locked away in malls. We were so lucky to be there for such glorious weather, each day was between 18-22°C with no wind and blue sky, as i’ve been told we were so lucky, it’s not like this all year round…really?!? It was the perfect weather for a tourist like me with no nap times to race home for, i was a free spirit roaming the streets and happily being lost among the blossoms that line the streets of the most expensive real estate in the world.

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Day 1:

Straight off the plane, and into the car for a one hour journey to Bicester Village with my sister-in-law for some serious retail therapy. If you have not heard of Bicester Village, imagine a quaint English quasi village filled with over 130 designer outlets, this is my idea of heaven – no kids and a day of shopping at seriously discounted prices.

London 1

Bicester Village

Sitting down to a long lunch when you are in shopping mode is a waste of time in my books, so grab a quick salad or wrap from Pret. Yes it’s a chain restaurant, but their turnover is so high which means everything is fresh and not to say tastes really good.

 

If you don’t have much time in London, but love shopping and want designer brands at great prices, then definitely go to Bicester Village. Bicester is very easy to get to from London, click here to find out more about the shopping and how to get there.

 

Day 2:

From Paddington Station I took the train to Oxford to visit my dearest friend who is studying her PHD there. I was taken back by the beautiful English scenery that you pass on the train, it’s such a peaceful scenic route that only takes one hour and with wi-fi on the train, it’s a easy trip.

 

Straight from the train station I was taken on the mandatory tour of Oxford University. It honestly felt like a scene out of Harry Potter, the college library’s, dinning halls and chapel’s are just incredible.

 

Oxford is your quintessential English Village, narrow cobbled stone streets, old sandstone buildings, trees that are older than my great great grandparents, thatched roofs, and green pastures till as far as the eye can see and even a stream running along side the town. Oxford has lovely café’s and restaurants filled with students typing away for hours upon hours, so you may have to wait for a student to pack up their laptop before getting a seat.

Day 3:

I was determined to find a good breakfast spot, and in the lane way behind our hotel I stumbled upon Ravello, http://www.myravello.co.uk a great little café off Moorgate Road. My morning staple became a smoked salmon and egg roll, which was served on a freshly baked roll that was still warm and a quick coffee to set me off for the day.

 

My first mission was to see Borough Market. I started walking in the direction of London Bridge to cross the Thames and easily found the market, it was sign posted very well. The markets are incredible, they stimulate all your senses and the biggest challenge is restraining from buying everything in sight because it’s pretty hard to pack most of it into a suitcase. From the fresh breads, cakes, speciality cheese stores, Croatian delicacies, Italian delicatessen’s, freshly made pasta stand, incredible fruit and vegetable stalls with such a vast selections of amazing ingredients, Turkish stand with every flavour of Turkish Delight you could ever wish for, meat wholesalers with cuts of meats that any man would salivate over, cured meats, fresh seafood, and the list goes on and on. My biggest mistake upon visiting the markets first thing in the morning, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? I should have gone when I was starving at lunch time.

From the markets I took a beautiful walk along the Thames and back across London Bridge to St Katherine Dock http://www.skdocks.co.uk.  I’d never heard of it before, but coming from a bit of a boat loving family Mum and Dad suggested I take a look. It’s a marina that is home to some incredible boats, and surrounded by café’s and restaurants and some amazing apartments. Nice for a morning walk and a coffee break.

 

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St Katherine Dock

Next stop was Islington. My friend at Oxford suggested I take a walk down the High Street of Islington. Straight off the tube I could see I was in a bit of a funky, up and coming area, it was very different to Notting Hill and Maida Vale that I’m more familiar with. My first stop was a bakery that specialise in cakes made with “no refined sugar”. After a few hours of walking, I thought I would try this novel concept for a cake store, or at least I thought so. Novel it was, a piece of cheese cake with no sugar…. I’ll stick to the more traditional ones!!

 

I kept walking down the street, crossing the road a few times to explore different shops and what appears right in front of my face OTTOLENGHI!!!! All my dreams came true at that very moment. It was only 11.30am, but there was no stopping me – I was sitting down for lunch. After countless recommendations, and being an averred follower, it was number one on my list of places to go in London. As soon as I walked in I knew it was going to be incredible!!! My biggest problem was choosing only three salads on my plate, I wanted them all and by all I really do mean ALL. The display in the window was breathtaking – well for any foodie it was. The display of deserts is mouth watering and the salads are displayed in an incredibly moorish way on huge platers topped with so many different herbs, nuts and sauces. This is definitely somewhere you MUST visit, but make sure you get there early. I was in Notting Hill the following day, and by 10.30am there was a line outside the store and down the street, so get to Islington early or be prepared to line up at Notting Hill.

My belly was full and now it was time to hit the High Street’s! After such a peaceful morning, I was not ready for the crowds that blanketed Oxford Street. A quick stroll down the street with a diversion into Selfridges shoe hall and soon I found myself on New Bond Street trying to escape the crowds. Now I’m feeling it, high end fashion and jewellery at it’s best. By this point my feet needed a rest, I could not resist a slice of carrot cake and coffee from Paul Patisserie. Paul is a French Patisserie chain with stores all over London.

 

I made my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum, however don’t make the same mistake that I did, buy your tickets before 4pm. I wondered around the amazing parts of the gallery that were free, but I could not access the exhibits. Next time!!

 

Time to head back to the hotel for a refresh and of course change into heels before dining at NOPI. I booked this as soon as I knew we were going to London because I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to experience Ottolenghi’s amazing food. We started off with a drink at the bar and then sat down to an incredible meal that was bursting with exotic flavours and really pushed our culinary pallets. I wont bore you with ALL the dishes we had, but a few of my favourites were the eggplant and octopus starters and the fish as a main. NOPI was exceptional, from the 5 star service, the variety of food, the casual but funky setting, you could not fault it just be prepared to open your wallet!!

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NOPI Restaurant

Day 4:

As we woke up and the sun reflected on the incredible sandstone buildings outside our window, I knew another stunning day was ahead of me. First stop was Ledbury Road in Notting Hill. Sadly i was mainly window shopping as the shops are all pretty pricey, at the same time salivating at the cakes in the window of Ottolenghi, but I wasn’t prepared to wait in the line that was out the door and down the street.

 

My sister-in-law and I had a lovely lunch in the garden courtyard of MAZI in Kensington. MAZI is a Greek restaurants serving authentic food with a modern twist. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will know I’m slightly obsessed with Greek food so I was eager to try this. We had beetroot tzatziki to start with freshly baked crunchy bread. Beetroot tzatziki sounds a little strange, but it had a nice refreshing flavour. We then had incredible tender bbq octopus with a seafood risotto, both dishes were delicious. MAZI is beautiful for a casual lunch or even dinner with friends as it’s nice to share dishes so you can try more.

 

 

I set off on foot down Portobello Road admiring the antique markets and general vibe of the area as it was buzzing with people on a gloriously sunny afternoon. My cousin gave me the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook years ago, so it would have been rude of me to not stop and try their tempting cakes. I was drawn to the cinnamon scroll, I know it’s not the traditional choice as cupcakes are their speciality, but it’s my husbands favourite and I thought I’d have it in honour of him (because sadly he was sitting in the office whilst I was exploring). the lady working at the shop said it’s incredible. Well she was right, it was deliciously sweet with just the right amount of sugar and enough cinnamon to give it great flavour.

 

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My delicious cinnamon scroll from Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Road

 

In the evening we met family at Charlotte Street Hotel  for aperitivo, sliders were on the menu so they are hard to go by! We then headed across the road for dinner at Ninth. I have to say, we went on recommendation, the food was not exactly what we were expecting. It’s described as French Mediterranean style of sharing dishes, and I have to say each mouthful was an exploration of different flavours and combinations of food that you may never have experienced before.

 

Day 5:

 

Saturday had been set aside to spend time with family. A short strol away from Maide Vail tube stop where our family live, we headed towards the canal where we had lunch at The Waterway restaurant. On a beautiful day in London there could not have been a better place to be, by the canal, eating outside surrounded by cheerful Londoneners revelling in the sunshine. The food was perfect for a casual lunch with family including kids, serving a variety of dishes to make everyone happy.

 

Sadly my foodies tour (and my poor husbands week of work) in London had come to an end after a glorious week, that I hear is very rear in London, thankfully I was lucky enough to experience it. What an incredible City, London is truly an international city offering culture, the arts, history, beauty, incredible food and much much more to the lucky people who live there and tourist who come in their millions each year.

 

TIPS

  • If you want a delicious lunch or dinner that is ridiculously cheap and beyond amazing, you MUST try Franco Manca, a chain of pizza restaurants that specialise in sourdough pizza bases. They have stores all over London so no doubt there will be one near you.

London 2

 

  • Buy a Oyster card (tube ticket) when you arrive are in London, take you ticket back to any tube station whhe you are leaving and you will receive a refund in cash. Well worth it, the only catch is you must have the card for a minimum of two days.
  • Install the Uber app on your phone before arriving in London. We discovered on one occasion our Uber fair was half the price of the Black Cab.
  • Pack comfortable shoes because the best way to see London is on foot.
  • There is wi-fi absolutely everyone so you can get away with not buying a SIM card.

 

If you want to know more details about my London adventure, please do send us an email otherwise comment below and I will definitely get back to you.

Elissa profile

 

 

 

 

 

E x

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New Gourmet Grocer opens in Singapore, Little Farms

Little Farms Shop

 

NOW DOING DELIVERY ISLAND WIDE!! Hooray – free delivery on all order over SGD$120. Log onto https://littlefarms.com

Little Farms is a gourmet grocer with great fresh produce and organic products that are well priced, just what Singapore has been waiting for! When I walked into the store I instantly felt at home, many of the products are exactly what is available in Sydney. The owner’s have previously worked at Thomas Dux in Sydney, so you can imagine how exciting this is for Aussies and others who are used to Wholefoods and stores of the like abroad. For those not familiar with Thoms Dux chain from Australia, it’s a premium gourmet grocer stocking everything from organic to farm fresh produce.

 

I’m a huge fan of premium produce, particularly my fruit and vegetables, and LIttle Farms has exactly that. Stocking over 2,000 products from fresh organic milk (and non-organic), organic yoghurt, meats, preservative free sausages, smoked salmon, sauces and condiments, and staples such as rice, flours, quinoa, granola’s, nuts, coconut oil, premium olive oil’s, fresh pasta and amazing Australian fruits and vegetables. Trust me, you will not walk out empty handed.

 

Little Farms

If you are an early morning person like me, you are going to LOVE Little Farms even more – it opens at 7.30am Hooray!! Finally somewhere that opens before 11am. And for those who love a spot of shopping after work or need to pick up a fees things late, it closes at 9.30pm.

In April/May Little Farms will do home delivery, so great if you don’t live near by River Valley or just want to take the hassle out of shopping.

 

Little Farms 6JPG

If those mangos are not jumping out at you right now, race to the store before the end of the Aussie mango season.

Little Farms Nuts

LIttle Farms are stocking a great range of nuts, granola and energy pearls from our friends at The Whole Kitchen.

Little Farms 2

Perfect for entertaining, the wide selection of dips and cheeses.

Little Farms Rice

If you are in LOVE with Rice & Quinoa, it’s now available at Little Farms – no need to smuggle it into Singapore in the suitcase!

Little Farms Pasta

Selection of fresh pasta’s perfect for a quick meals.

We were lucky enough to receive a delivery from Little Farms. I was beyond impressed with the entire process, from the ease of ordering online, to receiving updates on products that had to be replaced, then the efficiency of the delivery – I was so impressed. And I have to say the produce that arrived was exactly what i would chose in the store, it was all impeccable, noting was bruised, old or not fresh. So good and easy!! Have to love that! Log onto https://littlefarms.com to order now  – you won’t be disappointed.

little-farms-delivery

My delivery

Little Farms

Valley Point Shopping Centre (opposite Fair Price Finest)

491 River Valley Road #01-20

Singapore 248371

7.30am-9.30pm Daily

Grab and Go products are now also available a:

9 Raffles Boulevard #01-79/80, Singapore 039596

www.littlefarms.com

Enjoy a new shopping experience in Singapore

E x

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Where to Eat In Singapore – Luxe

What:  Luxe

Where: The hip and happening Keong Siak Rd

Eat: Café style food, but with an elegant twist

The Vibe:  Sydney style café chic.

Go With: Girlfriends for lunch, a big group for dinner or just for a casual, cosy dinner for 2.

Dress Code: Smart casual – Light floaty dresses for the girls, shirt and shorts for the boys.

If you follow our blog and Instagram account, you will know we are massive fans of this Australian brand. They are the ants pants in Sydney so when we heard they were opening up shop here in Singapore, we super excited! And the meal we had here recently did not disappoint. The restaurant has been beautifully designed by Victoria Hampshire Design making it a really enjoyable space to be in.

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The food is café style, simple but really well done. And the prices are really reasonable, just what you want to pay for a casual night out. We enjoyed a starter of the mixed plate of beautiful deli meats, freshly sliced and served with pickles and delicious bread. For main course, we couldn’t go past the Luxe burger and fries which really hit the spot. The drinks menu has a good selection of wine by the glass and yummy cocktails. We may have tried a few!

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All in all, this is a great place for a casual catch up with friends at prices that do not make your eyes water! We will definitely be back again soon!!

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Where to Eat in Sydney

Over the summer I went back to my homeland, Sydney, Australia where it was in fact winter! I will be honest, when it comes to Sydney I might be a tad biased, I think Sydney is Gods own country! I also think Sydney turns out some on the best food that I have eaten anywhere in the world (biased but true!) Here are some of the fabo places I ate while I was in Sydney.

Luxe – Bondi Junction

If you live in Singapore, you might be familiar with Luxe, because they have recently opened up right here in SG. I have been a die hard Luxe fan for as long as its been around and I always look forward to visiting while I am in Sydney. Without a word of a lie, of the million trillion coffees that I have had from Luxe, I have NEVER EVER had a bad coffee. The coffee at this joint is prefect, everytime. The other stand outs here, takeaway sandwiches, think sourdough bread, think beautiful ham off the bone, think so, so delicious. The banana bread is a real treat, I cant put my finger on exactly what is in it but I know I would love the recipe! And the bread, my goodness the bread. I started my trip just enjoying the bread by buying the takeaway sandwiches, but it just wasn’t enough. I ended the trip buying whole loaves of it, smothering it in Lurpack butter and stuffing it in my gob! And one wonders why I have come back a few kilos heavier than when I left SG!

Luxe (2)

Picture: Enjoying a sensational Luxe coffee by beautiful Sydney harbour.

Sake – InterContinental Double Bay

Wow is what I will say about this restaurant. Its a relative new comer to the Sydney dining scene but it is sure making a splash and has fast become a favourite for the locals of Sydney’s eastern suburbs! This is modern Japanese at its best. The food is so delicate and the flavours are fresh and complex. You just feel like your tatsebuds are dancing with every mouthful you take. Be warned though, the prices are not for the faint hearted, but for me, it was worth every penny.

 

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Picture: Tuna tasting plate complete with Sake shot at Sake Double Bay.

The Grumpy Baker

If your on your way to visit Sydney’s famous Watsons Bay, then this little whole in the wall café owned by an ex-chef is well worth a visit. Here you will find amazing fresh bread (pictured below), croissants and pastries to die for, as well as pies and sausage rolls. They also serve up Sydney style café breakfast which is superb. If you are looking to make a morning of your visit to this café, then it sits right next to Christian Park, which boosts a beautiful coastal work walk and a playground for the kids that has an impressive view (see picture below).

Grumpy Baker

Picture: Freshly baked bread at the Grumpy Baker

Coastal walk

Picture: Coastal walk in the park right by the Grumpy Baker

Playground

Picture: Children’s playground with a view!

Chiswick

If you want to eat where the locals eat in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, then head straight to Chiswick in the leafy suburb of Woollahra. Owned by famed Australian chef Matt Moran, this restaurant is a place that we visit over and over again and always enjoy. The restaurant has an impressive kitchen garden which supplies the restaurant with beautiful fresh produce. The food here is modern Australian which focuses on highlighting the best ingredients that Australia has to offer. The food is not ‘fancy’, its just really delicious food that you really want to eat. And if your used to the high prices that we pay to eat out here in Singapore, then you will be pleasantly surprised at how far your dollar will stretch at this restaurant! Items not to be missed are the yellowfin tuna, the crab sliders and the Moran family lamb (pictured below).

Chiswick 3Picture: Moran Family Lamb

Chiswick

Picture: Crab Sliders

 

 

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