Bangkok meets London with a Zing – Rosa’s Thai Cafe

We had heard of and read reviews about Rosa’s many times before (they were all exuberant), but had always shied away from giving it a try, because of the fact that there was more than one of them around, placing them, in our minds, in the vicinity of chains like Wagamama, Itsu, or Pizza Hut. We normally try to avoid chains at any cost, preferring a dry two-day old sandwich from the corner store to a three-course meal at a chain restaurant, but man are we glad that we made an exception for Rosa’s. What a truly great experience.      The story behind Rosa’s is inspiring. It all started with a small food stall in Brick Lane in 2006, then moved into a former greasy spoon called Rosa’s in Spitalfields. Today, English husband and Thai wife Alex and Saiphin Moore own and run further Rosa’s Thai Cafés in Angel, Carnaby […]

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Communist patina, ancient monasteries, and giant pork knuckles – Bucharest

We just came back from our extended weekend trip to Bucharest. The trip had started with a bit of a disappointment. We had booked a four star hotel, but upon arrival were told without much of an apology, that the whole floor was under water, because a pipe had broken. We were told that another hotel of the chain only five minutes’ drive away still had rooms and that we could stay there at no extra cost. We asked if the other hotel was also four stars, and were told that it had. When we arrived, it turned out to be three stars, with bad wiring, no WiFi, a broken fridge, and a balcony (cool!) with cigarette butts everywhere (not so cool). The manager was quite rude when we complained, and more or less implied that we had already paid, so in his mind that was the end of the […]

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Dracula’s Castle?

One of the absolute highlights of our extended weekend trip to Bucharest was our day trip to Dracula’s Castle. It turned out that ‘day trip’ came close to the truth, as we left at 8am in the morning and came back the following day at 1:30am due to a number of traffic jams, but it was worth it. The route our small 25-seater bus took had its first stop at Peleș Castle, completed in 1883 for King Carol I. as his summer residence away from busy Bucharest. It was among the most modern castles of its time, and presumably is to this day (considering that people don’t tend to run around and build castles so much anymore these days), with central heating, electricity in all rooms, insulated walls, and professional venting.    It was interesting walking through the many grandiose rooms and checking out how kings used to live 130 […]

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Love Steak? You’ll love the new M Restaurant in Victoria!

The new M Restaurant in Victoria opened in November 2015 with a lot of noise, which is something that typically puts us off, as in our experience the more noise, the less effort the venue’s staff and management put into it, and the lower the quality of the food and service. However, walking past by the restaurant every now and then, seeing the stylish lobby and the pleasant way in which staff greeted diners, what had to happen, did happen one day: we couldn’t resist any longer and gave in. My wife had found a voucher somewhere on the web that promised 50% off and a glass of champagne for free, so we made our reservation and our way to the venue. You enter through the ground-floor lobby in Victoria Street, and are then immediately led down into the very high-ceilinged and very elegantly designed basement where your choice is […]

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Lille – from the top into the abyss and back

We had decided on short notice to go to Lille, because nothing else was up and we got a special offer on the Eurostar that we couldn’t refuse. Neither of us was expecting much. We hadn’t heard anything about Lille except that the Eurostar goes there and that it’s in Northern France. Not having made the effort to do any research, off the top of our heads we were expecting the town to be even smaller than the actual size of 225,000 residents, maybe half that size. However, as soon as you arrive at the central train station, you realise, this is a big and very rich city that doesn’t give a hoot about what if you’ve expected it to be smaller or whatever.   The whole metropolitan area of Lille is more than 1,000,000, making it France’s fourth biggest agglomeration after Paris, Lyon, and Marsaille, and that’s how this […]

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