Princi, Soho, London

Princi is Soho always packs a crowd. There’s ample seating for them too, as well as plenty of happening Italian menu items on offer. All the food’s mostly ready, so it’s efficient to order and take your seat. As a result, there’s not much in the way of service. The interior and vibe at Princi is quite nice, even with the loud company and a quirky tableside drinking fountain art piece thing. At least I think you can drink from it. I ordered in, one vegetarian lasagna and a side salad (which you can get two options for). This was slightly over the £10 mark. Creamy, cheesy, well-made. I would have liked a bit more variety beyond the green beans (only mild gripe) and like all lasagna it does feel quite heavy. The pasta was fresh and tasty. The side salad was a complementary lightness, you don’t get too much of it on this size though. Pizzas are the most popular as it would appear and there’s plenty of sweet (Italian) treats on offer too. Nice meal, go join the crowds and check out Princi one lunchtime.

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8/10

Princi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe de Nata, Hammersmith, London

Could I pass up the chance to try one of the best Portuguese tarts in London? Nata. I don’t usually strike a blow in Hammersmith, but my friend Judy and I were passing through. Our final destinations being Kew Gardens, yes! We picked up a few treats from Cafe de Nata before making our trek, although I only sampled two flavours. These are priced at £2 each. Or fill up with three for £5, etc. Pastéis de nata, by it’s traditional name, is a baked custard tart. There’s a signature crispy, flaky pastry and it first originated in Lisbon. Here in London they feel more modern with updated flavours like berry, chocolate and caramel. And the nata is excellent, the best I’ve had to date (although I haven’t had many). I enjoyed the pastry, it’s a departure to the ones I’m used to ingesting at the Chinese dim sum places. And the creamy custard in the nata was also delicious, surprisingly filling. Well worth checking out if you’re passing through and if you’re lucky, you might even get them straight out of the oven.

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Cafe de Nata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Michalak, 3rd Arr., Paris

One and half days is woefully inadequate for a trip to Paris. On the upside, it gives me another reason to return and I do actually have one (at least!) more visit planned for the tail end of the year. The French are sheer geniuses when it comes to the art of patisserie and I got to know that side rather well (read: eating everything in sight). I started off with a hit list from one of my Parisian friends to guide me. But even without, everything looks so gobsmacking tasty in ever corner of the city. The final sweet treat for the weekend was the uber-cute Religieuse fraise (€8.50). It’s a multi-tier strawberry choux and like all of Paris, it comes very well dressed. I did find it a messy eat, the shell is hard and inside there is a solid helping of the strawberry cremeux and strawberry confit. It does spill out, out of volume. I liked the pistachio creme, it wasn’t so sweet and the choux is perfect. And that’s it, my final puff for Paris, for now.

michalak

8/10

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London

Cheese, cheese, everywhere. That’s the good part. Everything else about Shake Shack was disappointing for me. Originally starting out in Madison Square Park in a literal shack, the chain had exploded globally and eventually found it’s way to Covent Garden here in London. As with any lunch time, it’s busy and there’s a chunky queue. My order was for the ShakeMeister single patty for £6.50 and a Cheese fries (£4.00). You get given a buzzer when you order as there’s a bit of a wait until it’s ready. The burger feels very small and sloppily prepared. You can’t quite see it, but there’s the tiniest of squirts (remind me how much I hate that word) of the ShackSauce. The meat wasn’t in a patty form either, it was split in pieces. It felt like a such a greasy eat. I felt unclean. The shallots were nice and the fries were as expected. The two storey venue does feature some fun people watching.

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5/10

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Cirkusz, District VII, Budapest

After being dropped off by my shuttle bus in a seemingly random location, I staggered over to Cafe Cirkusz before I completely collapsed from starvation. Fret not, there is some hyperbole there. At a later afternoon hour, there isn’t much of a crowd at Cafe Crikusz, so I could get my food in minutes. When in Hungary, eat like the Hungarians right? I went with the Hungarian country-side breakfast (1800 HUF) option. This no-cook plate comes with duck liver pate, sausage, ham, butter, toast and vegetables. Nice and clean, easy to eat. I like the sausage (slices) and ham, these made for a charcuterie-like sandwich. The meat was very tasty. The duck pate was alright, but not as creamy as some of the more fancy ones that I have had (and loved). The brown bread was also good, served warm and there’s plenty on the plate to keep you fill.

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7.5/10

Bone Daddies, Soho, London

I haven’t found much ramen in London that floats my boat, but Bone Daddies remains one of my current favourites. It’s a busy venue, in Soho, and there’s been a bit of a queue on some evenings. I evaded that with a lunchtime visit and ordered the Tonkotsu ramen for £11. Bone Daddies is not your typical ramen destination. By it’s own description it’s New York inspired and your ramen purist might roll up their eyes by the mere sound of that. Give it a chance though and it’s still a great shade of one of my favourite dishes. Fresh notes, flavourful broths and some of the best fried pork belly that I’ve had in this form. The twenty hour broth is bright not only in appearance, but in flavour with some punchy savoury seasonings. Some of the richest soups I’ve had and it won’t break the bank.

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8.5/10

Bone Daddies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Egg Break, Notting Hill, London

The humble egg has always been an integral part of my family’s cuisines. No matter what meal of the day or what occasion, it’s there in one form in another. A quaint little cafe that celebrates the egg in London is Egg Break, based in Notting Hill. For £10 I had the Sweet potato rosti with goats cheese, honey, pinenuts, dill yoghurt, and poached eggs. I love all the ingredients on this list, but the dish didn’t wow me as much as I was hoping for. The goats cheese slice is extremely thick and that dominates the flavours on the plate. My main disappointment was that the poached egg was less than stellar, the white was a bit all over the place which didn’t make for the most appetising execution/ appearance. The rosti itself is nice, I could have done with less of the kale bed and a touch more crispiness. Good size for a brunch and the setting and staff are perfect for this time of the day.

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Egg Break Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Snooze, Luxembourg

The experience takes a while so you might actually have a snooze whilst at Snooze. That is in jest, but our time at Snooze in Luxembourg did feel like a long one. We did have the pre-warning that the burgers would take twenty minutes, but coupled with slow service, the time waiting did feel significant. Perhaps it was the thoughts on our impending flight home compounding our unusual lack of patience. The burgers are worth the wait though. My selection was the Sweet Honey Burger (€18.50) with polenta fries and an Aperol spritz. As far as burgers go, there’s one are hefty. Patties are enormous (partially explains the wait) and it’s loaded with bacon, cheese and the super sweet sauce.

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7.5/10

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Yogism, South City West, Dublin

Every country needs their own frozen yoghurt chain and in Dublin, the have Yogism. It’s a busy little store at that, located in a shopping arcade. There’s about four machines from memory, with all the familiar flavours. I went for the no fuss-salted caramel with a minimalism of toppings. The staff were super friendly, and the store had a cool feel. And to the froyo: it’s nice, creamy, not too sweet. My only qualm is that it melted very fast, not sure if that was the machine or the normal texture. The menu items at Yogism did look a little more impressive than the froyo options, so I’d suggest diverting your attention these if you happen to pop in.

yogism

7/10

Yogism Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vietfood, Chinatown, London

Take a break from the crowds of Chinatown and get into Vietfood. Great value Vietnamese cuisine in an antique-styled setting. The owner formerly worked as the Chef de Cuisine at Hakkasan and earned a Michelin star. The experience here at Vietfood is much more laid back. No booking required, find a table downstairs or up before the staff will whisk over a menu to you.  I went for the lunch special Com Hộp (£7.90) with the lemongrass chicken option. All the specials get served with a salad of salad, and rice. Both were worthwhile mentions, the rice has a nice soy seasoning (with garnish) and the salad has a tasty dressing. The piece of chicken isn’t huge, but together it’s enough for a lunch. The seasonings were very Vietnamese and tasted authentic. And with just a touch of char which brings out the smokiness of the sweet lemongrass marinade on the chicken. More then satisfactory.

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8.5/10

Vietfood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato