4 June 2016

London Town: Big Bowl Noodle

Everyone has their favourite Chinese take-away or perhaps it's an Indian or Fish & Chips? My other half raved about the Chinese food at Big Bowl Noodle located on Philip Lane in Tottenham, not far from Seven Sisters tube station.

It was on his radar since he was a kid, somewhere he would go with his family - okay I get it, you have a favourite Chinese take-away. But it's not just a take-away he retorted, in fact, I think they've had a refurb recently, we should go in?

I went along one evening, it was only a short stroll from his house after all, his bro even tagged along. Now I've been to sit-in/take-away restaurants in Tottenham before and admittedly didn't have very high expectations - boy was I pleasantly surprised. The decor was industrial cool - a massive graffiti wall and communal style long wooden tables, the menu refined and appealing - and wait, cheap! 

We ordered a selection of starters, the salt and chilli ribs and wings with some spring rolls. I went for the bbq pork with rice as a main - large portions and tonnes of flavour. We've been since. Several times actually. Whenever we can't bear to cook, I throw 'big bowl' into the atmosphere and let him think about those black bean spare ribs before he replies, "yeah go on then!"

On our most recent visit we ordered the quarter Peking Duck with pancakes, the hoi-sin sauce was especially delicious. It certainly seemed to go down well with my Snapchat fans (cornwallandme).

If you'd like a cheap and cheerful Chinese feast and you live in the North London area - be prepared to fall head over heels for Big Bowl Noodle. If you're just passing through the area - pop in and get the salt and chilli squid as a delicious snack. Don't miss the freshly squeezed juices too - the combined orange, apple and carrot one is favourite! 

16 February 2016

London Town: TOOTOOMOO in Crouch End

The branding of TOOTOOMOO is what first catches your eye, their shop with its bold font and colours with matching delivery bike and van parked out front makes it hard to miss among Crouch Ends otherwise more subdued cafes and restaurants. Then comes the menu, as a lover of Asian food, Pan-Asian really stands out to me as an exciting concept, taking the best traditions and mixing them to make new dishes.

I'd chose it as the destination to take my beau for a surprise birthday meal last summer and hadn't been since until a few weeks ago when we decided to head there for an impromptu date night. To my delight happy hour cocktails were being served between 5-7pm - perfect for my 6.30pm arrival - I started with the Coconut Caipiriuka (their cocktail of the week bartender Anna told me). Edamame beans were a must while I waited for Conor to join me.

I kept bartender Anna company at the front with bar stool seating for take away orders and drank my way through a few more cocktails and a cheeky order of the duck & watermelon salad. I cheekily mentioned the salad reminded me of a similar recipe I ate at Notting Hill's E&O restaurant when to my surprise I was told the head chef had moved to TOOTOOMOO recently and brought the dish with him. The chef even popped out to say hello. Okay, he was getting a drink of water from the bar at convenient timing but he said a polite hello none the less.

Conor finally arrived and we were seated, with our Mango Martini and Long Island Iced Tea. We then ordered our curry dishes - some of which unsurprisingly we asked to take home to finish - considering I'd eaten an entire starter and main already.

The bill came to a modest £70.00 which included service. TOOTOOMOO really is a favourite of mine and one I'll dearly miss when I move out of London (their three branches are in Crouch End, Archway and Finchley), maybe I can convince their friendly Irish owner to open shop in Truro. Their stand out branding and refreshing cuisine will surely be a hit in West Country! What do you say?

29 January 2016

#MyTravelMemory to Thailand

Working as hard as we Brits do (okay when we're not on a tea break that is), holidays are places we can truly relax and enjoy luxuries we don't come by often. I love these kind of breaks, the ones where I come back feeling as light as a feather from detoxing from life's stress and worries. When it came to sharing my favourite travel memory here as part of a competition with Caribbean Cruises to win a Mediterranean Cruise, I didn't opt for one of my more luxurious travel moments but one that is irreplaceable in my heart - that is of course the first time I visited my family in Northern Thailand.

My dad remarried almost eight years ago now, my Thai Stepmum Ariya found a way into our hearts almost instantly with her quick wit and friendly charm. However, our extended family was complete nearly three years ago with the arrival of my darling baby sister Sky.

My first visit to their village home, at the top of a rainforest in North-East Thailand was when Sky was only six months old, it was my second time to the country and I had throughly enjoyed the tourism and culture across Bangkok, Koh Tao, Phuket and Phi Phi Island but village life was what will truly stay with me.


2 January 2016

Getting to know you: Basel, Switzerland

Arriving in Basel, Switzerland, I was certain we'd have snow instead we were met with the bluest of skies and glimpses of sunshine. 

Hotel Victoria was the most convenient location of any hotel stay of my European trip yet, with Basel central station literally opposite the hotel's front door and the bus from the airport taking us direct to the station in fifteen minutes or so. The reception was grand and we were greeted warmly. We did end up upgrading our room for an extra £20 per night, as the standard double room we booked was in fact a queen bed with little other space in the hotel room. A free upgrade would have been nice - especially as the hotel was far from full. Our new comfort room on the other hand was lush, with comfortable twin beds and en-suite with a bathtub.

Early the next morning, we headed out to explore Basel and it's glorious Christmas market at Barfusserplatz tram station - considered one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. What I loved about this Christmas market in particular was the extent of decoration each stall went too - pushing it that little bit further with their wooden carvings or light up ornaments on the roofs (almost how some neighbourhoods in America compete with their Christmas house lights). It all made for an enchanting walk around, especially when you buy a hot drink from one of the stalls - which came in a rather festive porcelain boot cups (for a 3CHF deposit). My coffee with cream (kaffe melange) went down nicely.

By far, the most sought after stand at the entire market was for the Raclette Fondue - a delicious Swiss cheese melted and served with either bread or potatoes and gherkin/onions. I alreayd had a taste of this delcious cheese in Berlin and knew we were in for a treat.
Talking of the delicious Swiss Raclette Cheese, I found you can actually buy a smaller verison of the ovens used to make your own melted cheese in your own kitchen - on my WISH LIST right now!

We continued over the bridge and along the river with it's winding lanes and fairy light lit wooden windows, with many houses having intricate vines spreading across them with the odd burst of flowers - I could only imagine how stunning it would look in Summertime.

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