Look out for the beautifully restored Art Deco facade and the white on black lettering reading 'Electrical Engineers' as you head up Peckham Rye for a stroll around the park.
Visitors are tempted inside this former electrical and hardware store by the beautiful furnishings, comfortable sofas, giant sanded dresser behind the bar and the collection of paintings by local artists adorning the walls. This cafe and art gallery hosts different exhibitions and private views every month. The cakes are all home-made and the menu includes some mouth-watering items such as smoked haddock, baby spinach and lemon fishcakes. The cafe/gallery opened in November 2010 and French manager Julie plans to incorporate a large deli, with meats, cheeses, home-baked bread and a vast range of tempting treats and there's an arts and crafts fair every Saturday morning on the leafy terrace, over the road from the Common. It's a wonderfully sophisticated, cultured yet friendly place to hang out in south Peckham.
184 Peckham Rye, London SE22 9AQ
+44 (0)203 490 3039
Open Mon-Sat 09.00-17.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
Evening openings and website coming soon
Bus No. 12 to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/p6WAxc
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.
Situated on the edge of Peckham Rye Park and right in the middle of Peckham Rye Common, this cafe is a fantastic place for a bite to eat, an ice cream or a sit down in the shade. Gone are the days of stale, curled up sandwiches and lukewarm coffee, now there are pitta, ciabatta, all-day breakfast butties, Rye burgers and tasty wraps. The ice cream comes from Jude's in Hampshire and I tried a divine blackcurrant crush sorbet. Very refreshing.
Strakers Road, Peckham Rye Common, London, SE15 3UA
+44(0)208 693 9431
Open Mon-Thur 09.00-17.30, Fri-Sun 09.00-18.00
Flat Iron Square is almost too tiny to be marked on any map, however it can be spotted if you study the pages of your A to Z, or take a ride in a helicopter over Southwark!
This tiny square (well, triangle really) has been renovated recently and there's a little cafe hut in the middle offering all sorts of tasty nibbles, and several other great eateries in the shade of the Shard.
The Island Cafe
1 Flat Iron Square, (off Union Street) London SE1 0AB
+44(0)20 7407 2224
Nearest underground: Borough
Google map: bit.ly/n5Atqw
Dining with a view normally comes with a price, but Marina Grosseto offers quality European fare with a stunning view of Prague castle without an outrageous price tag. This floating restaurant, built on the base of a cargo boat was completed in June 2010 and has become a favourite with tourists, expats and Czechs alike. Spread over two floors, the restaurant is modern, light and spacious, with a glass side that slides back on warm evenings allow a gentle breeze to circulate.
The view is heavenly, and the food and service are also impressive. Expect standard European dishes with the emphasis on Italia pizza, pasta and fish dishes. With soups from 55 CZK and mains from around 160 CZK (for pizza) or 250 CZK (for meat and fish), it's not the cheapest place in Prague but the location easily compensates.
Book ahead - Marina Grosseto is very busy throughout the year, particularly in the summer.
Alšovo nábřeží, Praha 1
+420 605 454 020
Nearest metro: Staroměstská Metro
Cheap and tasty Mexcian fast food on Botanic Avenue. With excellent vegetarian and meat burritos, tacos (hard and soft) and salad bowls, nothing costs over £5 and is extremely filling and tasty. Be aware it can be very popular with the local students at peak times!
73 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim
+44 (0)28 9031 5334
Amsterdam is known for many things, but a good steak is definitely not one of them. But there is a gem to be found just south of the city centre named Café Loetje. Skip the dime-a-dozen "Argentinian steakhouses" that dot the tourist areas - they don't come close to matching Loetje (pronounced "loot-yuh").
Cooked only one way – rare (you could ask for it differently, but you then risk betraying your outsider status) – and served in a light gravy with fries and a side salad, the steak is a favourite among locals and the location in a residential neighbourhood provides a respite from the tourist masses. While everyone else ambles back to the centre or the city, head here after a day at the nearby Van Gogh museum. Price-wise, it is quite reasonable.
The staff are busy but refreshingly friendly, the atmosphere casual, noisy and clean, and they won’t take reservations for less than six people, but standing around with a beer or wine while waiting for your table to become available is part of the fun. To add to the casual atmosphere, you may see a dog or two lying around. As for what to order … other menu items look just as tasty, but you don’t want to make a mistake and miss steak.
It is a sensible approach for an ice cream shop to advertise separate opening hours for sunny or rainy weather. Even when the skies cloud over the ice cream served here is a worthy diversion from your shopping or bar sampling in the Châtelain district – and excellent value at three euro for the double scoop! It’s made the traditional way using egg yolk, whole milk, crème fraîche, vanilla pods and fresh fruit; and the sorbet using fruit juices and pulp – with absolutely nothing artificial used to colour, preserve or enhance it. There are around 200 flavours in the repertoire and you can expect to find up to 24 of these on offer on an average summer evening. This week I chose a double cone of old fashioned vanilla with candied mandarin, while my friend picked Périgord nuts and Speculoos.
Of course there are typical Belgian flavours to choose from, including Liège waffle, salted butter caramel, dark chocolate and speculoos. However for me it’s always vanilla that is the yardstick by which all other flavours are judged, and here the vanilla is very good indeed: not artificial or overbearing; while the mandarin sorbet is delicate and fruity. Once the ice cream has gone finishing the cone is normally a chore. Not here: the crisp, not over-sweet wafer is dispatched within seconds.
Rue du Bailli 35/Baljuwstraat 35, Ixelles
+32(0) 647 51 44
Google map: bit.ly/p1xhdi
Fairly new but already a firm favourite among Prague’s curry enthusiasts, The Pind (which means ‘village’ in Punjabi) offers very high quality curry dishes from northern India at reasonable prices.
The menu includes some ‘curry classics’, a wide range of starters, sides and breads as well as some less standard dishes, including some excellent vegetarian curries.
The inspired menu is complemented by wonderfully friendly and efficient service. As well as a wonderful evening venue, The Pind has a weekday lunch all-you-can-eat-buffet for 109 CZK which includes two types of rice, one chicken dish, one lentil dish, and two vegetarian dishes with salads, yogurt sauce and bread. You may need to roll home afterwards.
The Pind provides a very causal smoking area upstairs and a downstairs room which is a little more formal, warm, inviting and non-smoking. Some limited outside seating is available in the summer.
A wonderful find in Vinohrady.
Korunní 1151/67, Vinohrady, Praha 3
Open every day until 23.00 (22.00 on Sunday)
Nearest tram - 10 and 16 to Vinohradská Vodárna
Nearest metro- Jirího z Podebrad Metro
Google map: bit.ly/pWinzo
Greensmiths is an amazing food emporium, café, cheese heaven and bakery.
The aroma from the cheesemonger’s section reminded me of old fashioned speciality shops last smelt in my early childhood. So evocative. I was offered a tasting nugget of Coolea cheese made by a Dutch couple who moved to Cork, Ireland, it is a bit like a hard, tangy Gouda, and very moreish!
Fresh meat is delivered from the Ginger pig farm in North Yorkshire, while bread, pastries and cakes come from the superb Old Post Office organic bakery in Clapham’s Landor Road.
The Waterloo wine merchant provides the bevies, and the Solstice fruit and veg department looks like something out of Harrods food hall, with every aubergine polished to within an inch of its life and every grape gleaming in the sunlight.
The café is located upstairs and outside on the pavement. My friend enjoyed the all-day veggie breakfast and I wolfed down a roast beef and horseradish ciabatta sandwich, refreshed with specialist coffees and other brews from Caffe Antica.
27 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RG
+44(0)207 921 2970
Google map: bit.ly/lv6Hte
Open Mon-Fri 08.00—20.00, Sat 08.00—18.00, Sun closed
Overground train or Northern Line underground to Waterloo, Bakerloo Line underground to Lambeth North, bus 12, 53, 148, 159, 453, N109, 171
Sweet Mothers is a larger cafe about 20m from Deluxe. It's got (retro/quirk) style, good food, good ambience and does do dinner - and, unlike much of the Courtenay Place area, does it well and affordably.
Deluxe is a small cafe at the far end of Courtenay Place, underneath the 1930s Embassy Theatre. It has good food that also suits most ethical and/or digestive needs and is cheap for the quality. Not really workable for dinner, but otherwise can suit through the day.
10 Kent Terrace, Wellington 6011
+64 (0)4 801 5455
Google map: bit.ly/jbbR6E
Thoroughly good eatery in the elegant Vinohrady district, not far from Jiřího z Poděbrad. Eat well for under a tenner: excellent salads and crisp Müller Thurgau.
50s-style American dining, with authentic-looking decor, free jukeboxes and plenty of ketchup and mayo on the table for your liking. Meals are quite pricey - around seven euros for a burger and fries - DO NOT come for that! Pink lemonade a refreshing economical option and great choice of indulgent desserts.
Meal is a little rushed as you're given an hour slot. Reservations a must!
New Zealand has the freshest sea food on the planet. Most Kiwis love nothing more than catching their own supper, but if they've not been "lucky" or want more variety they head to the Fish Market. Just a short walk from the Viaduct Harbour (soon to be on a tram line) the Fish Market stocks a wide variety of live, fresh and frozen sea food. For you tourists though there are several cafes and bistros that serve fresh seafood at reasonable prices. If you are visiting in the summer and are lucky you might be able to go to the annual Seafood Festival, which takes over the whole area for a weekend.
Garden Tuscany is a cafe in Moonee Ponds situated down a quiet laneway and it's beautifully designed. Lance's coffees and hot chocolates are some of the best in the area! Highly recommended to those visiting Melbourne.
There are many options for good food in Hoi An, but at White Lotus you can enjoy your meal even more knowing your money is going to a good cause.
Since Australian Geoff Shaw set up Project Indochina eight years ago, this NGO has provided homes and medicines for the poor and installed waste and water treatment plants in schools and hospitals throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
All proceeds from White Lotus go to the charity. The restaurant is also doing its bit to help break Vietnam’s poverty chain by employing and training local staff from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The restaurant is extremely clean and stylish and the food of a very high standard. Hoi An spring rolls will set you back 45,000 dong (£1.40), veggie mains 40,000 dong (£1.20) speciality mains 100,000 (£3) and pizzas 70,000 (£2.10).
Cookery courses with the head chef can also be arranged, which involve going to the local market to buy fresh produce, then returning to the restaurant by boat to prepare the food.
I saw this bistrot recommended in a 2008 Guardian article as one of the 'Top 10 Paris bistrots on a budget'. I can gladly say that it continues to please. We were superbly attended to from start to finish by the friendly owner/ waiter making us feel very welcome. We ordered the three course menu (€18.50-very reasonable for an evening meal in Paris) and let the owner suggest a wine, which went perfectly with the fish we ordered. A constant supply of chilled water was brought to the table and baskets of wonderful fresh bread. The chocolate pudding and the tiramisu were delicious. As a digestif we had the excellent homemade Vanilla rum (€4.50).
30 Rue Pierre Leroux, 75007 Paris
+33 (0)1 42 73 28 34
Google map: bit.ly/l0TGpp
A Chinese restaurant with the best Chinese food in Victoria. The food contains no MSG and is always light, fresh tasting, and un-greasy; and the menu includes a number of uncommon dishes. Peter, the owner/chef, makes his own curry powder, for example, using it in his curried beef rolls.
It is only the second Chinese restaurant I've been to that knows how to make a decent lemon chicken.
I've eaten there many times and cannot praise it highly enough.
It's a very small, very simple, very modest place, but if you want good Chinese food in Victoria, it's the place to go.
2224 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC V8T4C6
+1(250) 386 8802
Google map: bit.ly/ipAVXS
The #6 bus goes right past the door and the #10 only a couple of short blocks away on Bay Street.
This is a great place to have breakfast, lunch or dinner (vegetarian meals are included, a rarity in Prague). There is a large non-smoking room upstairs, which is very nice, as cafés and pubs in Prague tend to get very smoky and uncomfortable.
This place serves top quality coffee, including Viennese coffee, Algerian coffee, Mafioso (cappuccino with Amaretto), and various types of hot chocolate, with coffee, with ice cream, with rum and whipped cream, with egg liqueur and whipped cream, you get the idea.
I ordered a double espresso and a warm apple strudel with vanilla and chocolate sauce and whipped cream – the pastry was light, flaky and not too buttery; the minced apples had just the right blend of cinnamon, sugar, and nuts, and the whipped cream, oh, the whipped cream! Light and airy, it melted in my mouth as soon as it reached my tongue. This dessert wasn’t sweet or heavy, and the mix of vanilla and chocolate sauce was perfect.
Café Louvre is open from 8am every day; and offers morning newspapers.
Free wi-fi is also available.
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