PEr FYI

October 5, 2019

La Favela, Bali…get there

Nightlife can take many forms, but for Balinese and visitors looking to let off a little steam, nothing quite does the job like a night at La Favela.

The setup: There are semi-indoor gardens, artificial waterfalls and ponds, alfresco tables and chairs. Indoors the interior design is really amazing, a real work of art where antique furniture lines its floors, plants seem to be (artfully) overgrown and even old bikes and a Volkswagen van rounds off the appearance. There are cosy, intimate spaces that will have everyone spilling secrets within the hour.

Will I fit in? This is a night out for anyone and everyone, so the crowd is a real mixed bag. Oh, and more beautiful people than at a Victoria Secret’s casting. A word of advice, though: you will probably feel most at home here if you aren’t too far past your early twenties.

La Favela does a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the rest of the spots in Bali. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 17, 2018

Glow, Ho Chi Minh City…perfect for an undisturbed pint in the moonlight

Nowadays it’s a race to the top as everyone vies to head up to rooftops for cocktails that little closer to the stars.

Thirteen storeys up at the President Place building in District 1, Glow boasts a laidback atmosphere with plenty of tropical trees, black-and-white furnishing and spacious dancefloor. There are fabulous views whichever way you look. The place hum with the sort of vibe that practically demands a second bottle of white be ordered.

It’s perfect for an undisturbed pint in the moonlight. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 10, 2018

Eataly Caffe, New York City…I died and went to Italian Heaven

Disneyland for Italian-food lovers, Eataly is an Italian-food marketplace which sells all things Italian. There’s a fishmonger and butcher (and vegetable butcher) and an espresso bar, a wine store, a cheese store, a cooking school, a kitchenware department and a great deal more. There is a restaurant at Eataly that serves fish. There is a restaurant called Le Verdure which serves only vegetables. It is bruschetta city there. There is a pasta area. And there is a first-come-first-served bar area, La Piazza, where you can stand at a marble-top table and drink wine or eat salamis and cheese as if in Venice.  From the bakery behind the pizza ovens: good breads. From the chocolate station up front: dessert.

Eataly serves up delicious dishes while offering a bite of Italian authenticity. The Prosciutto croissant with tops which are golden and flaky is packed with plenty of pleasantries. The Italian prosciutto was delicate, sweet and adds flavor to every bite. The wonderfully airy apricot croissant was irresistible pleasure! This one is truly a breakfast in bed item.

A word of advice – if you’re waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant, browse around the store but don’t buy anything. Your stomach may protest, but your wallet will thank you

Eataly is an answered prayer. It represents a step forward for Italian food in New York. It is now my new “happiest place on Earth.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 10, 2018

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London…100% worth a visit

If you are already planning your year end holidays, here’s how you can make your Christmas extra special and magical.

If you fancy some festive atmosphere, Winter Wonderland is an annual event in London’s Hyde park with fairground rides, Christmas stalls, markets and entertainment for all ages. Entry is free. This is truly a wonderful wonderland thanks to the sheer volume of what’s on offer. There are pre-bookable attractions that you can book online.

Wrap up warm for The Magical Ice Kingdom as it’s -8C in there! Last year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Bar Ice is next to the Magical Ice Kingdom and this time it’s about -10C. Here, you’ll be given a winter cloak and gloves. That’s because the seats, tables, walls and even your glass are made of ice.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does indeed feel very festive. The food on offer looked tempting – including the usual bratwurst and German beer, to fish and chips, hog roast, minced pies and mulled wine.

They’ve got every kind of ride imaginable… Christmas coasters, carousels, waltzers and dodgems. They’ve got a Fun House which is four storeys tall! The Haunted Mansion is actually a mansion. Of all the thrill rides, highlight for me was Air Maxx. G’s all the way. My inner adrenalin junkie was truly satiated.

The Grinch would have a real challenge stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 17, 2018

Agua, Barcelona…seafood lover’s dream

Thanks to the city’s proximity to open waters, seafood has always been an important part of the Catalonian diet.

Situated directly along the boardwalk, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, not too far and a beautiful stroll along the sea with the W Hotel. The menu covers the Mediterranean basics with fresh, eclectic seafood being the specialty.

Let’s start with the one bad dish. The paella was very salty. Everything else was great. It’s as if the best of the Catalan market has been brought to your plate. Even my friend in the group, a notorious seafoodie, was overwhelmed. The sangria de cava was the star. Drinking it was smooth, light, refreshing and exhilarating. Back off, mojito!

Agua is a fantastic choice for Mediterranean seafood. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 29, 2017

Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub, Seoul…fruit makgeolli madness paired with flavor-bursting food

I’ve read that makgeolli is a growing trend among the youth in Asia and I can see why. This fragrant milky goodness or “rice wine”, is sweet and smooth with a little tang and the right amount of carbonation to make it refreshing.

Neurin Maeul is an urban brew pub in Jongno Center One Building with an in-house brewery that you can examine through its plate-glass walls. A pub run by one of the country’s top brewers, you will find food and drinks for you to “enjoy slowly”.

The pan fried Korean style seafood pancake was incredible. It had a nice crisp all throughout. The seafood was anything but sparse and retained the perfect texture, without being overcooked or rubbery. Spicy seafood tteok-bok-ki with cheese is one of the hardest to spell Korean street foods but if you’re a tteokbokki fan the chewy rice cakes and fiery chili paste here are impossible to put down. The brewery’s pork plate marinated in house makgeolli was stunning. The meat was amazingly tender and seasoned perfectly. The assorted savory fishcake soup was refreshing, tasty and so comforting.

Needless to say, the main draw of Neurin Maeul is that it offers a wide range of makgeollis flavoured with fruits. You can get out of there nicely drunk and feeling very satiated with the good food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 29, 2010

Menza, Budapest…a MUST in Budapest

This is the bottomline: the best restaurant in Budapest. If I were to come back to Budapest I this would definitely be the first stop for me.

A place to delight all senses. A good buzzy ambience and the menu selection is the exact essence of the Hungarian dishes’ repertoire …with a modern twist. The food is excellent (yes, it is really that good) and, as I found with most places in Budapest, the staff all spoke a high standard of English.

Being so popular, it is a very busy restaurant, but don’t let that discourage you – either book your table in advance (like me), or if you’re not that organised, just show up and wait. It’ll be worth the wait.

The gulyás soup was prepared traditionally with nice chunks of beef and vegetables in the broth. The Chicken a la Menza was a casserole-type dish mixing large slices of chicken with mushrooms, french fries, and cheese, all topped with a broiled camembert cheese crust on top. The donut filled with goose liver was truly a mouth-watering experience! The veal stew with dumplings was amazing!

Diners can choose a Hungarian wine to complement the meal from the restaurant’s extensive list. I had the best wine in my 16 days in Europe here. I had the Szentgyorhy Hegyi cabernet savignon 2008 Szaszi Pince.

The servers are exceptionally attentive and aware of guest needs, without hovering. The staff waiting on us was attentive and I never felt forgotten while waiting. With great friendly service, and with an attractive retro-vibe all around (though the unique 60s/70s retro style, with orange, green and brown decor, might be a little jarring on some senses), you can’t go wrong with this place. The wallpaper, tablecloths and even bathroom tiles look great! The music is kinda lounge and chill. Very good.

The conclusion: Menza is a stylish place which has not forgotten that a good restaurant is about satisfying and honest food. And the proof is there: it’s always full, with a very relaxed atmosphere at the same time.

A must visit!

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