A hip little collection of cake shops, cafes, restaurants, an Apple Mac shop, and a good supermarket. Grab a coffee and sit and watch Bangkok's finest come and go in their new 4WDs.
Thonglor Soi 15. Get a cab from Thonglor BTS station if you don't want to cab it all the way.
Bangkok is actually a very hip place; the people are entrepreneurial and have a great sense of style. Playground is a mini-mall with a great magazine selection, a couple of cafes and a good restaurant on the top floor, a bookstore, clothes, great regular art shows and other designy things to look at.
It's on Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55). Get the BTS to Thonglor then a cab up the road. Playground is on the right. Or just get a cab from wherever you are, it's cheap.
The oldest pub in Sydney and one of the best. Established in 1841, this wonderful watering hole sits at the corner of Kent and Argyle Streets in the Rocks. Ideal for lunch - or a rejuvenating pint - during a walk around Sydney's most historic district. I recommend the pie and mash...
Life in Lima exists because of and for the ocean. Limeños are ever so aware of the importance of the Pacific Ocean in their lives. Seafood, therefore, is the most important of the many bonds than bring us and the sea together.
Take your time. Don't jump to it right away. Put aside a whole afternoon to sample (unfortunately only a fraction of) our seafood. Head out to a cevichería around lunch. Order a few dishes to share with your party; this is the best way.
Some of the dishes you might want to taste:
Ceviche - white fish cooked in lime juice (the acid cooks it) with corn and sweet potato on the side and onions. There are mixed ceviches, octopus ceviche, langostine ceviche, etc.
Tiradito - ceviche with no onions.
Chicharron (of fish or calamari) - deep fried usually surved with yuca and tartar sauce.
Causa rellena (with tuna, crab, langostines) -a pionono made of yellow potato mash and avocado filling.
Jalea -huge mixture of chicharron.
Choros a la chalaca - muscles with corn, onion and chili sauce (granted they don't look good but are delicious).
Conchitas a la parmesana -scallops on their shells oven cooked with cheese and butter (and a pinch of lime juice); amazing!
Arroz con Mariscos - this is the most crucial test for any cevicheria. If they do a good 'Arroz con Mariscales' then then you are bound to get a great taste of Peruvian seafood. This is rice with seafood. Give it a try!
Each place will have its own version of each one of these dishes. And if you go elsewhere in the coast you'll get the local variations as well.
Just ask for a good cebicheria.
Quite a few in Chorrillos; El segundo Muelle is a good one; there is a new place in La Mar in Miraflores; anotherone just opposite where they only sell Causas (brilliant!); La Rana Verde in El Callao is one of the very best.
Vlados is simply Australia's best 'meat' dining experience and has been for the past 20+ years. Nowhere else in Australia is the emphasis on meat, meat and not much else. Starters are meat with a mixed grill entree followed by a main course of meat... the steak you choose yourself from the many on display. It's cooked the way you want it and comes with chips (if you want them).
Dessert? Strawberries and icecream or pancakes. The whole thing is aimed at getting the discerning diner simply the best meat meal.
61 Bridge rd
Vesterbro is a dynamic, youthful neighbourhood well worth a visit. Istedgade is the main street to wander down. By the central station there are sex shops, tourist hotels and a mini Chinatown, but continue on and soon lively middle-eastern green grocers, trendy boutiques and wonderful cafes appear.
A high concentration of great and varied restaurants, fantastic coffee places and an invaluable insight into the daily life of Copenhageners are to be found in this old working class neighbourhood.
To the left of the Central Station on the map. Walk up Istedgade to Enghave Plads (square). At an amble it'll take a relaxing 30 minutes.
Five Ways is a little intersection of, you guessed it, five streets. It's got a whole bunch of fantastic cafes and bars, while still maintaining a low-key feel. It's a great place for buying the Sydney Morning Herald and eating breakfast.
It's in Paddington, so you can walk there easily from Oxford Street
Dispenses with the usual k-tel classics you get in curry houses, and opts instead for an altogether cooler soundtrack, as well as fabulous live jazz nights on Wednesdays.
107 Alcester Road, Birmingham, B13 8DD; Tel:0121 449 3883
Award-winning curry restaurant in the famous Birmingham Balti Triangle. Widely regarded as the place to go for the best balti in Birmingham. Try the aubergine pakora and any of the house specials. Remember to bring your own beer as its unlicensed.
186 Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, B12 8JS;
Tel: 0121 753 3120; www.alfrash.com
A traditional local Aussie pub - and with 24-hour opening you'll never need to leave! Forget the over-priced touristy restaurants at Darling Harbour and head to the 'PBH' for a $6 special, hours of fun on the video dukebox and plenty of well-priced alcohol! Prepare for sticky carpets though - this place is authentic!
Nearest metro station: Star City
You can't go to Sydney without sampling (probably several times) the best Thai food outside of Thailand. Thai is to Australia what Indian is to the UK - usually decent, very affordable and everywhere.
For cheap as chips Thai made with the freshest of fresh ingredients, fight through the crowds at Tum Thai in Randwick (up the hill from Coogee Beach).
For more daring Thai with a view, Sailor's Thai, a Sydney institution is a must. The restaurant is not cheap but those in the know head for the more relaxed surrounds and reasonable prices of Sailors Bay Canteen, just upstairs.
Finally, for Thai food mixed with people watching, try Longrain, a bar/restaurant in trendy Surry Hills. The reason why the girl next to you looks like Kylie is proabbly because she is Kylie!
Randwick Tum Thai - 167 Alison Road PH (02) 9326 3261.
Sailors Thai Canteen - 106 George Street, The Rocks. PH (02) 9251 2466. No bookings.
Longrain, 85 Commonwealth Street, Surrey Hills, (02) 9280 2888, www.longrain.com.au
It is a branch of the harbour in the city centre containing wonderful restaurants, a shopping centre, a convention centre, a glamorous casino, a maritime museum, an aquarium, chinese and japanese gardens, an IMAX cinema, and the Powerhouse Museum (a power station converted into a costume museum and other wonders).
via Monorail from the shopping district
A small little bay with a beautiful sandy beach hugged by gorgeous natural vegetation and an amazing view of Manly. A little cafe provides the perfect lunch or dinner venue.
A great place to beat the crowds.
Get the boat to Manly from Circular Quay. Walk through to the beack and turn right and just follow the bay round to Cabbage Tree Bay.
Everyone who goes to Sydney raves about the beaches at Bondi and Manly and rightly so - they are iconic Sydney beaches.
Yet any trip to Sydney would not be complete without a visit to Cronulla Beach in Sydney's south. This is a beach in wide-scape with something for everyone.
The northern part (known locally as Wanda Beach) is a haven for surfers, fishermen, kite-flyers and groups of young lads who simply want to impress the hordes of bikinied blondes who gather there for the sake of being impressed.
The southern part is the elevated end of Cronulla, adjacent to The Royal National Park, and it's a spot where families picnic in the parks high above the beach.
In between these two points is Cronulla central - where the beach meets the restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and cinemas. By day a place for families to enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk and, after dark, a gathering place for the beautiful people of southern Sydney.
Plane-spotters will also enjoy fabulous views of aircraft landing at, and taking off from, Sydney's Mascot Airport from all parts of Cronulla Beach.
Parking can be a problem. Visitors staying in the Central Business District of Sydney are best advised to take the train to Cronulla from Martin Place (platform 2), Town Hall (platform 4) or Sydney Central (platform 25). Trip time about 50 minutes each way for just a few quid return. A taxi will cost about 20 pounds each way.
A landmark since 1885, the Oaks houses four bars and two restaurants. The main draw card is the huge beer garden, sprawled underneath the enormous Oak tree. At night, the garden is illuminated by fairy lights wound around the tree's outstretched branches. The Oaks is perennially popular with locals of all ages.
Food wise, choose from the gourmet pizzeria or the Bistro, offering standard pub fare, vegetarian dishes and the option to cook your own steak on big communal barbecue plates. If you love a barbie, the Oaks is the place for you. Huge steaks and chops, delicious sausages - and even kangaroo if you prefer. Add to that a tasty salad bar and fresh bread rolls. A delicious but reasonably priced meal.
Best of all - you can't blame the cook if you're meat is overdone. You're the chef. Two huge grills (one inside and one out in the beer garden next to the huge oak tree from where the pub gets its name adds to the fun.
Look to pay about $20 all in.
118 Military Road, Neutral Bay, Sydney, NSW 2089
Tel: +61 (0)2 9953 5515 Fax: +61 (0)2 9953 9856
Head out to the Indian Ocean beaches at Cottesloe (15 mins on train from Perth) and go to the Blue Duck overlooking the beach. Time it late afternoon and sit on the outdoor terrace with a mango daiquiri and something simple to eat from the extensive menu (the potato wedges are great!). If you've timed it right you'll be able to watch a stunning sunset over miles of glorious beaches. A second mango daiquiri will prove to you life doesn't get much better than this!
Bills is apparently something of an Australian institution, part of the culinary empire of Bill Grainger, but when I stumbled upon it by chance I had no idea what to expect. This Darlinghurst cafe is simply and brightly decorated with a large central communal table where solo diners can read the papers or chat. I was there for breakfast and from the relatively short menu went for the scrambled eggs with apple cured bacon. Good lord. The eggs had clearly been whisked by angels and scrambled by a genius. They were simply divine, buttery, creamy, of perfect consistency but never heavy or cloying.
I never realised what heights a humble breakfast can reach. When I told the waitress how good they were, she said they had been voted the world's greatest scrambled eggs. I can see why. Seek out and enjoy. You will not be disappointed.
433 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst
In the most multicultural Australian city, Western Sydney is a sprawling, flat hinterland where this migrant diversity comes most to the fore. From Southern Europeans to Chinese to Latin Americans. And of course Middle Easterners: the second most spoken language in Sydney is Arabic. What looks like ugly, architecturally bland and often down at heel suburbia is actually an amazing mosaic of 'uprooted' peoples.
Driving through these suburbs (Cabramatta, Bankstown etc), hanging out in their shopping malls or any of the large communtiy clubs (glorified casinos and concert venues set up by football, migrant or union groups) you'll experience an important aspect of Sydney's heartland that goes against the Anglo stereotype. A subtle pleasure - if not that obvious at first...
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