Chiang Mai Kitchen, Oxford

Our evening on our Oxford day trip concluded with a dinner at Chiang Mai Kitchen. We paced ourselves rather well over our day, and timed the meal with enough space to get to the station with ease. Chiang Mai brings the elegance and charm of Thailand to this town. There’s some gorgeous presentation on offer and the curry knocked our (tired) socks right off. We took our seats promptly, but we needn’t had rushed at all, the kitchen serves all items quick-fire. We ordered the Massaman curry beef (£9.95), chicken cashew stir-fry (£8.70) and the fried tofu (£6). And a side of arbitrary coconut rice (£3.40).

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Hot Oven Bakery, Roncesvalles Village

One of my mornings in Toronto saw me heading along to the Hot Oven Bakery. Established in 1957, there’s a few of these bakeries dotted around Canada. The tourist in me saw it as any other neighbourly bakery mind you, it has a friendly, warm vibe. Perfect for getting up with a smile on the day. I opted for one sweet item and one savoury. I liked the sesame seed topped ham and cheese pastry. It’s fresh, light and a good touch of salt. Whereas I found the Chelsea bun much too sugary. The Glacé cherries coupled with a rich syrup ended up intoxicatingly sweet.

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Banoi, Melbourne CBD

Banoi is a Vietnamese restaurant right in the heart of corporate CBD focusing on the lunch crowd. I went one Friday with a friend from work to try out their Friday special – Crispy pork. Being a big lover of Pork belly i was very excited and definitely not disappointed with the Pork being crispy and well cooked.   The accompanying salad was acceptable and went well with the Pork. My only slight criticism was that the ratio of pork to salad was a bit off for me with more Pork significantly improving the dish in my opinion.  Dishes were reasonably priced based on the food and service and i will definitely be back to try out the rest of the menu.

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7.5/10

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

The Magic Garden, Battersea

My big brother’s currently in town, and we had our second catchup meal in the quaint neighbourhood of Battersea. Our newly engaged friends were along for the ride. Being London, the weather was questionable on this Bank Holiday. The Magic Garden has an eclectic, funky vibe. Littered around (litter = literally) there’s an old car, mystery shed and a mosaic of old furniture. Coupled with the soft, dirt ground, it made me wonder if it’s for kids or drunk adults. Either way, it’s a good time. Few others ventured out to the Magic Garden on this afternoon, but the meals still sure took their time. Menu choice for this day was more limited. So three of us veered towards the burger and my sibling went for the fried calamari and cauliflower fritters.

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Wagamama, Covent Garden

As I love to mention to anyone I meet, I used to work at a Wagamama’s. It’s such a thing here, and back at home no-one really went near it. And something curious always seems me returning to dine at one. Not sure what it is, but on this occasion we were after a fixed time meal before our showing of Kinky Boots.

The show, not the item of clothing. We found one of the spots on ground level, outside but inside and downstairs is a spacious dining space. Service was lacking on the higher ground, but we weren’t so bothered since I do know my way around the service counter here. I ordered the teriyaki chicken donburi at £9.95. I didn’t care for the kimchi but the chicken has a nice, grill coat. There’s a disproportionate amount of carrots and pea shoots, but the teriyaki flavour in the sauce is nice. It does need more of it. From memory this is possible on request of the server, but she wasn’t around. From memory I should also be able to recall the recipe. But otherwise, another good sized meal at the Waga’s, finishing in perfect time and no dramas.

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7.5/10

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

1565, Kensington

1565 is an absolutely adorable local Gelato shop/general Italian paradise.

I’ve lived in Kensington for 6 months now and feel ashamed to say that i’ve only just got round to trying it. We were down in Kensington having a somewhat disappointing brunch at one of the local stops and decided to head over to 1565 to cheer me up.

I’m a huge gelato fan so any opportunity to eat is a good a time for me.

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Biju Bubble Tea Room, Soho

It’s been a busy, busy few weeks and I am thankful for every moment’s reprieve I can get during the working day. I slipped out for a frozen dessert of some description but I wasn’t alone with the same view. With the cruel hands of time slipping away, a quick drink was requisite. So I hit up Biju Bubble Tea. The layout of the store is a little odd, but with four staff the treats get dispensed oh-so-quickly. I didn’t have time to commit to some weird concoction, so went along with the matcha bubble tea with pearls. The matcha flavour is quite good and there’s not an overwhelming level of sweetness. I could have done with much less ice and much more pearl(s). One of the slogans is fresh milk, but I don’t think I’ve come across a store that doesn’t do this. And its a bit hypocritical to say fresh, given all the flavours are out of chemical-looking bottles. Still back to work!

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7/10

Biju Bubble Tea Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Benugo, City of London

Well, I missed my flight today but I’m going to make the most of it with some more food reviewing. Surely that will bring me some joy. I had a bit of joy from my most recent sandwich from Benugo. Last time I quite contented with the food, and this time was no different. I ordered in, getting a toasted Parisian with bacon. It’s full with thick-sliced Brie, crispy bacon, rocket, caramelised onion marmalade and English mustard mayo. It’s a great mixture, with the sweet notes of the onion marrying with the saltiness of the bacon. As well as the delight that can only be described as melty cheese. I’m not a huge fan of a strong mustard, but here it was rather subtle and a good complement to the sandwich. The ciabatta is fresh and toasty warm, and the sandwich makes a more than generous serving size.

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7.7/10

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

Travels: Amster-damn right I’m on holiday

I landed back yesterday from my first European city weekend escape, Amsterdam! Netherlands has been hovering around the top of my to do list, due to affordability, friendliness and a outrageously healthy amount of liberalism. I booked 48 hours away with my pal Craig, us leaving on the Friday night and returning on the Sunday. As you do, when one lives in London.

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Summary

Canals. Gabled facades. High art. Weed. It’s irresistible taking a weekend away from the big smoke, and I came to fully understand the charm of the capital of the Netherlands. The World-heritage canals along with spurious foliage make for a truly beautiful city. It’s surrounded by smiles, good times and many, many bikes. There are a wealth of ways to get around all nooks of the place. And it’s an easy transition from the UK, with much of the population English speaking and polite enough.

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