Serious Seafood in Southampton: Soleto

During our recent visit to the New Forest we took the train to Southampton and hired a car from there to get to our final destination near Brockenhurst. On our way back we stopped for dinner at Soleto, Southampton’s top location for seafood, an Italian restaurant ranking #14 out of 639 on Tripadvisor, and proud holder of a Certificate of Excellence. The owner, who also happens to be the chef, greeted us upon arrival, gave us some recommendations and cheered us up with some anecdotes from his life. We decided to go for the mussels (£9.50), a mixed salad (£3.50), and the “Fish Medley” (£24.95).   Both dishes arrived fairly quickly and we tucked in. The mussels were among the nicest ones we’ve had in a while, really lovely sauce too. The seafood platter was equally delightful. I particularly liked the squid and the cod, both of which had near-perfect […]

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Boisdale, Mayfair – Lovely Steak

Last Saturday for lunch, Ms  B & I decided it was time for a juicy steak, so we walked the short distance over to Boisdale Mayfair, next to Marble Arch. Ms B, or voucher-chick, as her schoolfriends used to call her back in the day, had found a 50% off deal on Open Table. She had already visited the Boisdale Canary Wharf a few months ago with work colleagues and highly recommended the steaks (I had previously only been there for drinks). There are two more branches, one in Bishopsgate and one in Belgravia. Boisdale is the brainchild of self-styled enfant terrible Ranald Macdonald  , a man admiringly described by Tatler, the pompously posh periodical or manicured millionaires’ magazine, as “the most politically incorrect restaurateur in Britain.” The younger of Clanranald and eldest son of the 24th chief and captain of Clanranald, Macdonald’s background sounds as if he spends his […]

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Palazzina Grassi – Best Brunch in Venice

Italians are not very big on breakfast or ‘la colazione’, just an espresso and one piece of pastry will usually do the job. So what to do if you’re spending a weekend in Venice and you happen to be really into Sunday brunch like we are? After a bit of research we quickly filtered our options down to three upmarket hotel restaurants. Thank heaven that the first two places we called had already been booked out, so we ended up with a reservation at the magnificent five-star American boutique hotel Palazzina Grassi (alternatively Palazzina G) right next to the Grand Canal, very close to the Westernmost point of the San Marco neighbourhood, roughly 15 to 20 minutes’ walk from St. Mark’s Square.     It took us longer, because we didn’t find the entrance in Calle Morolin/Ramo Grassi right away, there’s not much in terms of signs and not a […]

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Hostaria Osottoosopra, Venice

Friends had recommended Hostaria Osottoosopra to us and finally we were going to check this place out for a very late lunch. Tripadvisor (#26 of 1,323 Restaurants in Venice, certificate of excellence) seemed to agree with our friends’ opinion. The slightly odd-looking name is pidgeon Italian for “Below and Above,” referring to the two floors. Osottoosopra is just across the Canale Grande from Palazzina Grassi (even though a fair walking distance, unless you hop on a boat), where we had enjoyed brunch the previous day (blog post here). This is where the three neighbourhoods of San Marco, San Polo, and Dorsoduro touch. It is one of our favourite parts of Venice. Despite the physical proximity to San Marco you might find yourself walking along canals and down crooked alleyways for several minutes without spotting other human beings. Quite the opposite of super-busy San Marco. There are other quiet areas such […]

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Drake Eatery, Bondi – Great place for an afternoon snack, if you’re in the area

During our recent annual visit to Sydney to catch up with friends and family we stayed at QT Bondi for a couple of days, to enjoy the beach and the coastal walks. On our first day we felt like an afternoon snack and found nearby Drake Eatery, which came highly recommended from a number of reviews we had read. We opted for two Aperol Spritz (AUD 10 each), 6 oysters (AUD 3 each), and their meat and cheese board (AUD 38 for the two of us), taking advantage of their ‘’Wine Time” from 4pm to 6pm every day.    The oysters were spot-on, the bresaola outright delicious, the bits of salami, ham and cheese very tasty too. We also enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that there was a light breeze cooling the air through some of the windows that had been opened.     We’ll probably be back […]

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