Posts for the 'Travels' Category


Al Trapo, Madrid

AL TRAPO MADRID

Al Trapo Restaurant in Madrid is a slick operation serving a fun-filled, modern menu by renowned Spanish chef Paco Morales. With Al Trapo, Paco Morales’ vision was to give diners complete freedom to mix and choose so that they could personalise their own sharing experience. In 2011 Paco Morales was awarded a Michelin star for his Restaurant “Ferrero-Paco Morales” which closed in 2013. With his Michelin star background, Paco Morales brings a level of refinement to the quirky menu.

Situated on the ground floor of the IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Vía, the concept behind Al Trapo’s menu revolves around different inspirations, each of which are originally titled. The inspirations begin with ‘To eat with your hands and lick your fingers’, a section devoted to small canapé sized tasters. From there it moves on to ‘Gentle And Classy’ for something subtle and then to ‘Roguish and zingy’ for something more bold. ‘Meseta and sea’ are for all things swimmingly delicious, and then there is ‘From just around the corner’ which provides diners with a taste of traditional Spanish flavours. For a touch of the international there is ‘So far and yet so near’. A selection of ‘Cheeses from far and near’ and ‘Desserts, little indulgences’ round off the choice of culinary delights to be savoured at Al Trapo. Each section features about four to six dishes.

Our first stop was ‘To Eat With Your Hands And Lick Your Fingers’ where we tried a number of different items, the first of which was the Spanish tortilla soufflé bites with green bell peppers and anchovies (€5 – 4 pieces). These were really interesting. Inside the thin crispy aerated bread shell was a ‘cream’ filling that tasted like an eggy tortilla. The filling was a little salty, but was otherwise really tasty with a beautifully smooth texture.

Al Trapo - London Food Blog - Spanish tortilla

Al Trapo – Spanish tortilla

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The Bridge Room Sydney

THE BRIDGE ROOM

The Bridge Room in Sydney is located within the heart of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and is within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Opera House and Circular Quay. Owned by Chef Ross Lusted and his partner and Sunny, The Bridge Room is recognised as one of the best restaurants in Sydney, receiving many glowing reviews and high critical acclaim. The Bridge Room holds a Two-Hat distinction (out of a possible three) as awarded by the prestigious Sydney Morning Good Food Guide. In 2014 Chef Lusted himself was also recognised as The Chef of The Year by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and as the Hottest Chef in Australia by the Weekend Australian Magazine Hot 50 Restaurants.

Chef Ross Lusted has had an illustrious cooking career, previously holding the positions of Executive Chef at Sydney’s Rockpool, Park Hyatt Sydney’s Harbour Kitchen & Bar and Singapore’s Mezza9. Chef Lusted then went on to become the Head of Food & Beverage Development for Aman Resorts before returning to Australia and opening The Bridge Room in 2011. The Bridge Room serves Modern Australian cuisine, drawing inspiration from European and Asian influences cooked with the best of local, seasonal Australian produce.

Housed in an art deco building, The Bridge Room features an open kitchen with a custom built charcoal grill. The dining room is rectangular in shape and is modern and airy in its design, with a key feature being the hand-made ceramics designed by Chef Lusted himself.

We had an amazing experience at The Bridge Room, starting with some Smoky Bay Pacific (on the right) and Port Stephens Rock oysters ($4.50 each – £2.10), both of which were gorgeous. Meaty and tasty with a rich sea flavour, the oysters were served with a shallot and red wine vinegar as well as a white miso dressing with chives that was fabulous.

The Bridge Room - London Food Blog - Oysters

The Bridge Room – Oysters

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Penang Top Eats – Penang Road Famous Cendol & Sisters Curry Mee

PENANG TOP EATS

Being the foodie capital of Malaysia, Penang resonates with many special signature dishes such as char kway teow, wok fried noodles with prawns; hokkien mee, a prawn noodle dish in a prawn broth; and assam laksa, a tangy and spicy fish broth noodle soup, but to name a few.

You need months to try the best that Penang has to offer, but if there are two things everyone must try at a minimum, then in my opinion these are the following:

1.Penang Road Famous Cendol

This cendol is legendary in Penang. All my research pointed to this being the best in Penang and every local I spoke to also agreed it was the best. Made with coconut milk, pandan jelly noodles, shaved ice, palm sugar and red beans, this was a deliciously refreshing, creamy and not too sweet. It was so delicious I kept going back for more. At MYR2.50 (about £0.42), I also thought it was great value (by Western standards).

Penang Road Famous Cendol - London Food Blog

Penang Road Famous Cendol

Penang Road Famous Cendol - London Food Blog - Cendol

Penang Road Famous Cendol – Cendol

Note that there is another cendol stall across Penang Road Famous Cendol, but just head to the one with the queues. You really can’t miss it.

Penang Road Famous Cendol - London Food Blog - The queues

Penang Road Famous Cendol – The queues

Penang Road Famous Cendol - London Food Blog - Locals eating cendol

Penang Road Famous Cendol – Locals eating cendol

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Lone Pine Hotel – Penang, Malaysia

LONE PINE HOTEL

After our stay at The Eastern & Oriental Hotel we ventured up to the beaches at Batu Ferringhi, which is located on the northern coastline of Penang Island and about a half an hour drive from George Town. There, we stayed at The Lone Pine Hotel, the sister hotel to The Eastern & Oriental Hotel. The hotel first opened in 1948 and was the first hotel to be established on the beaches of Batu Ferringhi. Lone Pine is a beach resort boasting of a quintessential seaside character and is very comfortable with a relaxed, laid-back energy. It caters well for those looking for a well-equipped four-star standard beachside hotel versus high-end luxury. The hotel boasts of a full range of contemporary comforts with a swimming pool, a wellness spa, a fully-equipped gymnasium, a business centre as well as meeting rooms. There is also a games room, two restaurants and a bar. There is complimentary wifi throughout the hotel, although this worked better in the lobby and not so well in our room.

Lone Pine Hotel - London food blog

Lone Pine Hotel

Lone Pine Hotel - London Food Blog

Lone Pine Hotel

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The Danna – Planter’s Restaurant, Langkawi

THE DANNA – PLANTER’S RESTAURANT

The Danna is a luxury 5-star hotel in Langkawi, a grand colonial hotel that is classically beautiful and effortlessly elegant with high ceilings and an impressive presence. Perched on a lovely stretch of beach, it has the marina on one side and lush tropical lands on the other.

We went to one of the restaurants at The Danna for dinner, Planter’s, which is recognised as one of the best restaurants on Langkawi. Located towards the rear of the hotel, you get to Planter’s from the impressive hotel lobby by walking along the corridor, past the seductive Verandah Bar. Upon reaching Planter’s, one is presented with an impressive sight, not only because the restaurant is beautifully romantic, but also because it looks out onto the hotel’s infinity pool and beach. The perspective is mesmerising, and particularly lovely if you chose to dine al fresco on the restaurant’s outside porch. The Planter’s menu makes for an interesting read by serving an eclectic collection of Western, Thai, Indian and Malay dishes. It’s a very comprehensive menu and easily caters to a variety of tastes. We visited on a Friday night which is buffet night, although the al la carte was also available. Tempting as the ‘all-you-can-eat’ option was, we elected to order off the a la carte menu, preferring our food to be cooked to order.

We started with a Thai seafood broth (MYR40 – £6.80) with king prawns, calamari, mussels and fish. This was deliciously light, with the stock having been prepared using kaffir lime, lemongrass, galangal, coriander and a seafood base. The result was a stock that was crystal clear with a distinct and delicate flavour. A classically trained French chef would have been proud had they produced a consommé of such clarity. Each of the seafood elements was also nicely cooked to round off a lovely starter.

Danna Langkawi - London Food Blog - Thai seafood broth

Danna Langkawi – Thai seafood broth

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Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS, ABU DHABI

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers - London Food Blog

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

On my recent visit to Abu Dhabi I stayed at the iconic 5-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a 280m tall luxury hotel located on the West Corniche in the exclusive Ras Al Akhdar area of Abu Dhabi overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The hotel is close to the central business district and adjacent to the famous Emirates Palace Hotel. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is one of a group of five towers that includes a prestigious office tower and three towers housing apartments, premium boutiques and contemporary restaurants. The Etihad Towers are an integral part of the Abu Dhabi skyline and most famously featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7.

The construction of the Etihad Towers was overseen by Australian architects DBI and began in 2006. The Towers are particularly dramatic for their staggering modernity and are beautiful on the eye. Inside, the hotel is no less beautiful, oozing with a cosmopolitan ‘city’ chic that is sublimely sophisticated. The lobby is wide, tall and deep, shining with natural light during the day, and dazzling from the glow of the handmade chandeliers at night. Much care has gone into the selection of the finishing touches which were awe-inspiring and which features a unique use of rare marbles, semi-precious stones and crystals.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers - London Food Blog - The lobby

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers – The lobby

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Mr Cooper’s House & Garden

MR COOPER’S HOUSE & GARDEN

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is located in the luxury Midland Hotel in Manchester. The name of the restaurant pays homage to Thomas Cooper, a popular historical figure in Manchester who came from a family of coach-makers. The family’s house and garden, where the restaurant is currently located, was famous for the fruit that it produced and The Coopers would often open the doors of their garden to the general public so that they could have access to it for picnicking and leisurely strolls.

The décor of Mr Cooper’s House & Garden has stayed true to it origins by offering a multitude of different dining settings. There is a lounge in the garden surrounded by a wall of plants and a 30ft tree, a cosy Library where drinks can be enjoyed, and a study area with leather booths where friends can enjoy intimate chats and some lovely food.

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden comes from the hands of Simon Rogan who is undeniably one of the best chefs in the UK. He tolds two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel, as well as a one Michelin star at Fera at Claridge’s in London. With Mr Cooper’s House & Garden the food is more casual than that served at his Michelin outposts, but no less engaging. The menu centres on a spirit of flair and creativity, and particularly interesting were the starters with their many Asian-inspired touches.

We started with some caramelised scallops (£11). These were nicely cooked and were accompanied by a delectable cucumber sambal, memorable because it was nice and tangy. To temper the sambal was a lovely tahini dressing, and as garnish there were some jalapeno fritters which were glorious. Surrounded by a light and fluffy batter, they offered a sharp bite to the dish.

London Food Blog – Mr Coopers - Caramelised scallops

Mr Coopers – Caramelised scallops

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Brudenell Hotel – Aldeburgh, Suffolk

BRUDENELL HOTEL

Words and photos by Food Porn Nation and myself.

We popped along to Suffolk for a weekend visit recently and stayed at the lovely 4 Star Brudenell Hotel which is located in the quaint, charming town of Aldeburgh. The Brudenell Hotel is perched on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast, and accordingly the hotel offers panoramic views of the sea along the property’s frontage.

The décor at the hotel is fresh and vibrant, and embraces the seaside theme with its vibrant energy and light, bright colours. It’s an intelligent, engaging space, and wonderfully comfortable. There are 44 cosy rooms in the hotel, with some offering sea views. Our bedroom again embraced a contemporary, coastal themed décor with a seating area by the window which allowed us to relax and watch the ever-changing movements of the sea. Our room was really comfortable, and there was something wonderfully rustic about sleeping to the sound of waves lapping up along the shore.

Also in The Brudenell Hotel is the recently opened AA two-rosette Seafood & Grill restaurant. This too has a sea-facing terrace which will soon be made available for use when the weather gets warmer. It’s a contemporary dining venue, and there is an informal bar area where hotel guests and local residents can relax and enjoy a drink or two.

We enjoyed both dinner and breakfast in the Seafood & Grill restaurant and thought highly of both the food and the service. Chef Tyler Torrance draws inspiration from his surroundings, proliferating his menu with not only seafood dishes but also sourcing his other ingredients from the abundant Suffolk area. For dinner we tried a variety of starters, with the wild scallops (£12) being our favourite. The scallops were heady with flavour and came together beautifully with the accompanying cauliflower puree and caviar.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell – Wild Scallops

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