It has the most incredibly friendly staff. They will help will all sorts of things, not just waitering, and the chips come in little silver buckets. They also know the area and can tell you where to windsurf, theatre etc. The food is inventive, healthy and cheap, and the range of coffees is superb! I've joined the local poetry group escapeshute who meet there once a month (the date changes but you can find it on their website) and I've just discovered you can book either the downstairs or upstairs room if you're having an event. I find that if I sit in the first few seats near the doorway people at neighbouring tables will strike up a conversation with me as a matter of course! Definitely a supportive environment for anyone new to Brighton. And they have free WiFi. Enjoy!
After swimming lengths, I'm always famished.
Actually, I need no excuse to pop into the Brockwell Park's Lido Cafe, swim or no swim, I'll be there enjoying a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate. The menu is extensive and inspired with smaller portions for kids, and food served throughout the day. When the outdoor pool is open, there's even a little hut where swimmers and 'sunbathers' (ha!) can get snacks.
Special events include live jazz and flamenco evenings and five-course supper parties.
Art Deco fans can also admire the interior, when not gazing at all the beautiful bodies by the pool. Dream on!
The Clock House is an amazing pub located right on Peckham Rye Common. It's a traditional inn, with polished wood and brass, many great bitters from Young's of Wandsworth, gorgeous stained glass windows, plenty of clocks and timepieces - obviously - and there's even a tiny cinema, where you can watch new releases in a friendly, 'front parlour' atmosphere. The menu is extensive with tapas and some great pub favourites: steak & ale pie, North Atlantic crab cakes, linguini with clams. The batter is made with best bitter and - joy of joys - there's home-made gravy! There's a 'snug' room at the back and outdoor seating on benches overlooking the leafy common. A real find.
It's a pop-up Bombay beach bar located right in front of the Hayward Gallery - and the huge cuddly toy fox! - so if you are emotionally exhausted after Tracey Emin's exhibition, you can gather your strength with an exotic cocktail, some naan bread rolls stuffed with tasty things, and a loud blast of Bollywood and Bangra tunes, all right by the Thames. A fun venue.
Dishoom Chowpatty Beach Bar
Pops up from 13 May to 4 October
Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace
Belvedere Road, London Se1
Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment
Open Mon-Fri noon until late, Sat-Sun 10am until late
Google map: bit.ly/kyKaPS
At the Nanxincang branch of Da Dong Roast Duck they have 22 private rooms, making it a great restaurant to do business – it is also the best Peking duck in Beijing. You have to reserve, though, because it is a popular place and the queues can be horrendous.
A bit of a local secret in the heart of Toronto. Two floors offering a surprisingly diverse and reasonable range of foods, from sandwich shops stuffed with meat (which is everywhere in Canada and about the closest thing I could find to a national dish) to Japanese and Ukrainian cuisine.
I recommend the veal and aubergine (eggplant for Americans) sandwich. Definitely worth a taste!
95 Front Street East, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1C2
Berlin in a nutshell. Peculiar mix of people - 70 year-old ladies in old-fashioned evening dresses and gentlemen in suits, urban bummers in Hugo Boss as well as crazy hipsters are to be seen in this old ballroom (existed since 1913) in the centre of Berlin.
Situated in a scraped building surrounded by numerous art galleries, the place was visited by Tom Cruise during his search for old-fashioned shooting locations for the film 'Valkyrie'. Good food and delicious home-made cakes. Music changes depending on the day (cha cha, swing, waltz and tango). In the summer, the garden is an additional attraction.
If you walk down the Auguststr (Berlin Mitte), you'll spot an enchanting garden and the scraped building behind it.
Clärchens Ballhaus, Auguststraße 24, Berlin Mitte.
Notes from Madrid is a blog about Madrid written by a bunch of city-savvy expats. It includes everything from where to shop, eat, drink, and go out (neighborhood by neighborhood) to information on museums, parks, excursions outside the city, even what to avoid in the city.
This is a great cafe on Rodney Street in central Liverpool, not far from Liverpool Lime Street. They serve a wide range of food; from light lunches to amazing cakes.
I recommend it for convenience, price, atmosphere and generally being a really nice place to hang out for the day.
They have great fresh coffee, the beans are apparently imported from Portugal. After an hour drinking coffee and some delicious 'chocolate salami' we decided to have lunch. The menu had a fantastic selection, all at incredibly reasonable prices, including some Portuguese dishes as well as the old favourites like salads, sandwiches and paninis. I wanted something light so went for the roast vegetable bruschetta, my friend went for the cod fishcakes. Both were excellent and cost around £4.
Cafe Porto is at 14 Rodney Street; telephone number 0151 708 5276, open Monday to Saturday. The nearest station is Liverpool Lime Street.
Great for lunch. Go to the deli section, order a pie, sandwich, coffee etc. They have Greek, Italian, Vietnamese - you name it. Then find a seat in the alley out back and they will bring it to you. It is a sunny spot if the weather is fine. Afterwards you could stock up on bargain souvenirs to take back home. There is often some kind of street theatre going on too. It is a lively, vibrant place and definitely should be included on a visit to Melbourne.
Three great restaurants. Relaxed and friendly atmosphere; superb fish with stunning desserts - the trio of creme brulee was superb and enough to share.
Not cheap but worth every penny. Don't miss it - the two TV chefs borrowed the name, with permission. Named after the first to open at 88 Dumbarton Road.
118a Blythswood St G2 - close to Sauchiehall St
88 Dumbarton Road G11
and a new one in Argyle St.
Smashing local curry house specialising in delicious Nepalese food - definitely a big step above the usual Rusholme fare. It's been a while since I last visited, but I loved it before I moved from Levenshulme to Brazil a year ago. Top grub, nice atmosphere, good value - can't be beaten.
945 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 tel: 0161 248 8883
I've been eating here for over 10 years. It's a great family-run restaurant. Always busy (worth booking), yet the service has been consistently friendly. Stands out against fierce competition in the area.
Really good range of Handis, particularly the Green Chicken Handi.
Search out Monica Ali's review in The Observer.
73 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP. 0871 426 3062.
Fantastic local curry house. A tiny little place in a run-down back street in SW8. Fantastic east-African food with real flavour and very cheap. Bring your own drink. Regularly changing specials. Particularly good for vegetarians.
Wilcox Close, London, SW8.
Nearest tubes Stockwell and Vauxhall.
Nearest bus routes 2, 88, 77, 87, 196.
The best vegetarian Indian restaurant in town, which is saying something. Some of the 50 or so dishes will be new to many - for starters, try mysore bonda (amazingly light fried lentil balls with coconut dips), mosar vade (lentil doughnuts in yogurt) or a tangy, crunchy bhel puri.
Highlights among the mains include dosais, aloogadde soppu (the best spinach and potato dish I've eaten), a wonderful mutter paneer and a vibrant, earthy beetroot sasami. It's cheap, too: the most expensive main dish is £5.75. Service is always friendly, helpful and relaxed.
153 Granby Street,
Golden Bay is a unique and gorgeous area hidden away right at the northwestern tip of the South Island, and could just be the country's most complete destination.
It is sandwiched between two national parks (Abel Tasman and Kahurangi - lots of walking and adventure options) and stretches back toward the mountains from a strip of coast with loads of different beaches: from golden sands and perfect swimming (e.g. Tata Beach, Paton's Rock) to the vast, wild, and often deserted west coast ones, such as the unmissable Wharariki. There are also mountains, rivers, springs, forests, caves, limestone cliffs etc.
Yet, not only is the scenery totally stunning and worth a visit for its own sake, but the various little settlements of the Bay (Takaka is the main town) feature a wonderfully characterful jumble of shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation ranging from old school rural to laid-back contemporary, via quirky hippie/traveller (the place has long been a magnet for alternative lifestylers).
You will be spoiled for choice for food and drink whether you want to chill out with a perfect coffee and cake and watch the world go by (or the sea - there's even a cafe based on an old (moored) boat of Jaques Cousteau's, scoff fish and chips by the water (Golden Fries in Takaka is tops, and the sea a five-minute drive away), drink a nice cold pint of award-winning beer brewed onsite at the Mussel Inn, or savour the delicious nightly set-menu at the Sans Souci Inn.
There are plenty of cheap camping and backpacking options to be had and a good selection of mid-range, although if you want to splash some cash there are also some seriously luxurious places to stay. Just make sure you book accommodation ahead during high season (December-February), as the most popular places fill up fast.
And finally, make sure you save some time (and money) for dropping into the legions of home-based studios and galleries dotted all over the area, as the natural beauty of the area has long made it irresistible to artists and craftspeople.
Listing all this, I just can't wait to go back myself!
From Nelson head to Richmond and take State Highway 60, through Motueka and then over the Takaka Hill. Follow the signs for Takaka and/or Collingwood - there is a well-stocked information centre on the left just as you arrive into Takaka which can sort you out with maps, brochures, bookings and knowledgeable advice.
The best bar for miles. The food is always fantastically good (try the Blue Burger!!), the view out on to the beach is beautiful whatever the weather and it's such a chilled out place you'll wish you lived there!
East Cliff, Beach Road, Porthtowan. TR4 8AD
Fantastic, upmarket, comfy B&B style accommodation with a great restaurant, cosy bar and well-stocked book shop. Ullapool is a lovely town on a breath-taking loch and this is the pick of the places to stay.
18 West Argyle Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire, IV26 2TY
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