PEr FYI

December 7, 2018

Maze, London…Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen

In the heart of Mayfair, this was one of Gordon Ramsay’s most acclaimed London restaurants. It lost its Michelin star in 2015. He’s one of those celebrity TV personalities you’ll either love, or hate – I still haven’t made my mind up yet.

The gorgeous chili and garlic juicy prawns grilled sourdough was perfectly cooked. The first thing to say about the steak (dry aged 21 days) is that it is cut proper thick. It was a lovely piece of meat. It is elsewhere that Maze falters. The grilled loch Duart salmon had to be sent back  as it was overcooked to the point of charred.

Gordon Ramsay needs to get back in the kitchen of Maze and sort it out. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 10, 2018

Lila’s Laundrette, London…expensive and next to no joy

I slim down my suitcase by doing laundry every few days when on vacation. Self-service laundromat helps saves money than hotel laundry service when you are self-funding. Therefore it seems not a bad idea to take a few days accumulation of clothing for a hot water wash at a laundrette place.

Unless you really have to, do not go to Lila’s Laundrette near Marble Arch. It is expensive, the owner is not the most honest guy and they do not change dryer filters which increases the cost to dry your clothes.

For me, that’s not good. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 14, 2018

Monarch Coin Laundry, Cambridge…the shabbiest laundrette I’ve been in

It hits me as soon as I step into Monarch Coin Laundry, it’s absolutely filthy. Looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years, really. There are nearly no self serve laundromats in the area so this place doesn’t even have to try.

There are plenty of different sized washers and dryers for small to large loads. Not much else good to say. Other than being dirty, there are no change machine on site (nip over to the Tesco express next door) and no folding tables or anywhere to fold.

It’s a beaten up laundromat. Don’t go in with high expectations and you’ll leave decently satisfied. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 22, 2018

The Book of Mormon, London…vulgar, offensive but extremely lovable musical

‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Robert ‘Avenue Q’ Lopez are the folks behind this Broadway-munching musical, so brace yourself for a shock.

For me this winner of 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical is the best West End musical in recent times. It’s good-natured poking of fun at all things sacred. Very funny, breathing three-dimensional, all-singing, all-dancing life into the absurdities of literal Mormon dogma without ever being particularly mean. A series of great-to-sublime songs; the lyrics are deliciously witty, and the superb score is packed with catchy melodies.

Be warned: “Mormon” is irreverent, racist, raunchy and profane, and insults just about everyone. You may be ashamed of how much you enjoyed it, but that’s forgivable.

I can give an “Amen” to that. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 26, 2018

Eat., London…budget-saving food

London is not a cheap city, but it does boast a thriving foodie scene with plenty of reasonably priced dining options. Eat. is one of them, serving delicately done British fare in friendly surroundings.

Their very simplest dishes, like the pies, mash & gravy with crispy onions, really are decent. Brie & Truffle mac & Cheese with cranberry sauce and crispy onions is the ultimate comfort food. I must warn you, you might not be able to fit into your pants after eating this, your heart may have some trouble beating from all the cream and cheese, but I promise, it will be worth it. Pigs in blanket hot roll with wholegrain mustard mayo & onion & ale chutney was traditionally made with buttery rolls and warm toasty, savory hot dogs bundled inside.

Eat. is a reasonable and Instagram-worthy “cheap eat” which will give you change for a tenner. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 12, 2018

The Eagle, Cambridge…a lead hangout

It’s about 400 years old,  full of charm and a Cambridge student feel and it’s where Watson and Crick supposedly discovered the structure of DNA.

Proper food here as well as bar snacks, all the usual pub classics and it’s pretty meat-heavy. Lots of burgers – the Buttermilk fried chicken burger – Ayrshire-dry cured bacon, guacamole & chilli mayo is a winner – and sausages and chicken. Fish & chips – battered cod, crushed peas, tartare sauce, triple-cooked chips was perfectly golden, crisp, firm but flaky and succulent.

For a pub The Eagle does a decent selection of standard cocktails. Everyone cares about their pints. There are plenty of the usual lagers and bitters on offer

It seems to have already cemented itself as a lead hangout in Cambridge. Time to get glugging. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 22, 2018

Bicester Village, London…Who needs the sale when you can shop here year round?

First, get the pronunciation right. It’s like “blister” without the “l”.

This rural England shopping centre – more than 160 stores and precisely 46 minutes by train from London’s Marylebone station – is almost as popular among Chinese tourists as Buckingham Palace.

This is the place to find deep discounts on designer and name brands. You will find everything you need from head to toe and from kitchen to living room. It is chockful of popular brands and perennial favorites, so anyone who is a loyal fan of any particular brands will want to check ahead to scope out their choices.

You will have saved so much. Even if you go in the poorhouse, you’ve spent your money wisely. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 8, 2018

Aladdin, London…bland Disney magic

Colourful designs and lively song and dance routines. The songs themselves are a mixed bag: the big romantic number A Whole New World is completely upstaged by the magic carpet that floats through the air with no strings attached. Not visibly, anyway. The Genie’s big show-stopper Friend Like Me – a jazzy riot of infectious trick-mustering showmanship that conjures the spirit of Las Vegas and hits the jack-pot in terms of hummability.

There’s so little of Lion King’s fecundity of imagination here that the ideal target audience would seem to be much younger, and more easily impressed. There’s been a cull of the animals – Abu  and Iago – that featured in the 1992 cartoon. It barely rises above the generic.

My honest advice, save your pound sterling. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 13, 2018

Cambridge Chauffeur Punts, Cambridge…enjoyed the views but not the narration

Punting is the most elegant and romantic way to navigate Cambridge’s River Cam. Who could visit Cambridge trying getting a punting experience.

A punt is a traditional square-ended, flat-bottomed boat, usually propelled using a long pole. What’s punting like?  It’s a calm, soothing boat ride on a river, something like riding in a gondola in Venice, except that gondolas are propelled by oars instead of poles.

The boats are kitted out with blankets for the colder months and especially after the sun goes down. The chauffeured punting took us on a 45 minute tour through the College Backs – a great way to see the river and experience the history of Cambridge. Though the guide was informative, telling us about the beautiful university buildings that line the river, he didn’t speak loud enough for us to hear him clearly.

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stretches of river in England. The views are unmatched! his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 28, 2018

Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant, London…the most overrated restaurant in London.

It just makes my day when I spend a ton of money on something that I didn’t even enjoy eating. (insert sarcasm here) Okay, I’m totally kidding. I actually hate that feeling and that’s why I am writing this. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you spend a ton of money on food that isn’t even that great.

The food looked good from a distance but on closer inspection turned out to be rather unappetizing. The duck in the three combination barbecued meat was the only acceptable bit. The grilled eel in honey sauce was revolting and the house special “pei-pa” beancurd was not as good as the off-the-shelf beancurd equivalents in Sainsbury’s.

Seriously though, it really is awful. I’m struggling to think of a reason why anyone would actually want to eat here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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