CK Oberża, Śródmieście Północne, Warsaw

I had my first Warsaw meal at CK Oberża, a budget priced diner. It has an authentic East European pub feel and plenty of beer, and plenty of meat. Whilst it doesn’t seem to be a fave with the locals on Zomato, it did appear on my list of places to check out (for some reason or another). The airport shuttle bus from Modlin drops passengers off at Centrum and the restaurant is located handily nearby. There’s no way to go but all-in, I went for the Korlewska Deska Mies for 37,90zł.

This is a carnivore delight on a plate. There’s chicken wings, black pudding, smoked sausage, chicken fillet, pork belly, pork fillet, cabbage salad, dips and baked potato. Phew! To say it was an overwhelming array of meat is an understatement, this meal gives you a bit of everything. I wasn’t such a fan of the Polish version of the black pudding, but all the meat was fantastic. It’s novel to have a sample of everything on offer and it would make a great dish for sharing. Service was polite, they spoke English and I had a nice relaxed start to my time in the city.

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7.5/10

CK Oberża Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Travels: I came, I Warsaw, I conquered

At first, I wasn’t a fan of Warsaw at all. I thought it was dull and it didn’t quite charm me with its warmth. But it wasn’t long until I stepped outside the usual tourist trappings and found myself loving the idea of being a temporary Varsovian. Poland is a relatively cheap destination (especially from London).  And it’s intriguing, surprising, a real city of corners and towers, it shatters your expectations and in a fulfilling way. These days I’m a mini-ambassador for Warszawa: it’s a beautiful city worthy of your weekend and not enough of my crew here have checked it out.

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Ping Pong, Soho, London

The number eight is an auspicious number in Chinese culture, it reflects fortune and wealth. And triple 8 is even better. It also happens to be the price of Ping Pong’s current lunch special. Only £8.88 for your fusion-Asian dumpling fix. There’s two basic options, one meat, one vege. I opted for the latter which gives you four dumplings and two sticky rice parcels. That’s definitely not enough for one appetite, let alone mine, so I supplemented the BBQ pork buns (£4.10). Ping Pong (the restaurant, not the sport) is quite prolific here in London, with nine stores and all the gravity of such a footprint hence deals – and marketing!

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On Sundays they offer a make-it-or-break it bottomless brunch dim sum option for £25. That has been tempting. The food is all steamed right in front of you. It’s fast and the dumplings and buns were great. The pastry is sticky but manageable and the fillings are flavourful and interesting. Even the rice parcels had some vege paste inside which made them enjoyable (I had anticipated plain-ish rice). And I was very content with the pork buns too. The fillings are proper and meaty and didn’t taste dodge as they can (and do) in some places. So I’d be bouncing back to Ping Pong in no time.

8/10

Ping Pong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mazel Tov, Budapest

If there’s gonna be one restaurant I’d recommend for anyone heading to Budapest, it’ll be the one that was recommended to me! My cousin lived a little while in the capital, getting to know the scene, and Mazel Tov was top of her list. And it ended up being top of mine. Stellar Israeli-fusion food, in a signature ruinpub setting, and snappy (the good kind of snappy) service. I feasted on the sous-vide rose duck breast skewers Grill plate for 2900 HUF. All the grill plates at Mazel Tov arrive with matbucha salad, beetroot, parsley tahina and grilled pita with pomegranate seeds. I’m not much of a tomato boy so the matbucha was never going to be a match for me, but everything else was outstanding. A Sam-sized portion, a super sweet beetroot side and tender duck, cooked perfectly. The breast had a great crust, with punchy notes from the pomegranate and the sides. Well balanced and a great fusion dish that breathes some innovation in the familiar pita genre.

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10/10

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Cathy Goedert, Luxembourg City

I like my mornings to start with pastries. And Cathy Goedert does a superb job of them. After a morning of haplessly wandering around Luxembourg City we found ourselves in this chic location. Sanctuary. Cathy Goedert evokes memories of some of the other new wave modern patisseries. The results are as good as the classics. Craig and I shared the French-styled breakfast for one. This has: bacon, eggs, fruit salad, yoghurt, six cakes and a giant bowl for bread and pastries. At €20 it at first glance, feels a bit dear, but then you realise there’s plenty to be shared. Throw in an apricot tart and the (surprise) cakes at the end and you’ll be away laughing.

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8.5/10

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Yum Yum, Pimlico, London

Not quite as yum as they name suggests, but nice and fast. From my last JustEats delivery fail I had a bit of credit to use up, and went for Yum Yum which is of close proximity to the flat. It’s double quick, the food was ordered and delivered in a thirty minute timeframe. Nice. For a little over £15 I had an order of the lemon chicken, egg fried rice and beef flat noodle. You get three well-sized battered breasts for the chicken, but the sauce is a tad more tart that the ones I’m used to. The rice was rather plain, only the occasional traces of egg in rice. Some mixed vegetables or variety would have been nice. You get a lot of food at Yum Yum for the price, and there was enough to go around the flat for sure. Last up with the flat noodle, the flavours were a bit underwhelming and it ending up tasting quite plain. I may have made the wrong choices, but with so menu options its hard to know. Fine for the price and efficiency, but the food wasn’t the best. yumyum.jpg

6/10

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

Gelupo, Soho, London

I have a new favourite gelato place in London. And I’m not the only fan. One of the busiest gelaterias in central London is Gelupo. Gelupo has only one store, and that’s in Soho. That is already a good sign. Why do I like this place? The gelatos have immense flavour, they come in a variety of revered and unusual flavour combinations and the soft, creamy texture is great. It is very melty, so make sure to eat up quick. The Island Poke (pineapple and chilli) sorbet has a wild kick worth trying, but my preference is in the gelatos. Of that, the ricotta and sour cherry is my favourite. They offer samples, although the salted caramel never disappoints. I can’t remember the name of the rich, chocolately flavour one I had – that seemed to have doses of everything and is an extremely indulgent dessert. Almost like a gelato fondant. Prices are fair, £3 ,£4, £5 for one, two or three scoops, and although there’s a queue at busy times it is always worth the wait.

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9/10

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

New York Cafe, Budapest

Advertised as the world’s most beautiful cafe in the world, it’s hard to disagree after experiencing the opulence of New York cafe yourself. These days, it’s more of a tourist hotspot, with queues of tourists ready to snap up the food and on their cameras. The food and drink is expensive, as you could expect. I had two cakes which were both around the 2,400 HUF mark, that’s about £7 a pop. The food isn’t particularly stellar, the patisserie feels rather haphazard. My first bite was the Sacher cake, this is a Viennese style torte that is usually chocolate heavy. The ones at New York Cafe have a clumsy thick chocolate shell wall and an orange paste that is overwhelming. My second dessert was the vanilla mousse with Hungarian sour cherry Pálinka. There ain’t a lot of Pálinka, it’s mainly decorative. I preferred this of the two, it was light and not dense but again the presentation was poor. There was finger mark on the side of the cake which didn’t speak of care. Anyway, the crowds come for the grandiose decor – it’s amazing, photographable and inspiring. But the same can’t be said for the food.

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6/10

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Banh Mi Bay, Holborn, London

The Vietnamese baguette is a simple dish, but with varying levels of success. Always ideal for a lunch and just a step beyond the usual sandwich. Generally, the ones in Melbourne have been outstanding. It’s a mix of quality bread with wholesome fillings and flavours. And over in Toronto they’re a little modernised but still worthwhile. Unfortunately, I can’t say the one from Banh Mi Bay was as enjoyable. I do rate their meat and rice dishes, but the caramel pork (£5) was a bit of a letdown. The bread isn’t a proper crusty French baguette and the meat was unsatisfying. Cold (but this is advetised) and a bit dry. Also, butter and pate aren’t staples in the filling, they cost extra. Either would have definitely helped as the pork was a tad monotone in flavour without these additions. I request no chilli and ended up with chilli in the roll. I’d return for the rice meals at Banh Mi Bay but would give the banh mi itself a miss.

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6.5/10

Banh Mi Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Misato, Chinatown, London

Dining at Misato brings me back to the days of being a student. But in the best possible way. It’s some sorcery that the restaurant is able to offer food as cheap as it is. In fact, Misato’s been around twenty five years now so they must have some formula worked out. I ordered the chicken torikaraage (£4.50) and a serve of six avocado maki (£2.50). There is a minor (optional) service charge, but this is an incredible value meal. Especially considering the location in Chinatown and wider Soho London. And the food is solid. Both dishes arrived lighting quick and are gigantic serves. The chicken has a nice crispy coating and the flavours are mostly there in the proper tasting meat. The maki roll is freshly rolled and tastes great. The sheer range in the menu is also a delight. No frills, just great times. Misato’s definitely on my list for returning based on high value for money, speedy service and a top location. Notes: there’s queues on busy days and it’s a cash only enterprise.

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9/10

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