Thursday, July 24, 2014

Two Days in Seville:: My One Week Andalucia Road trip

Doing a road trip around Andalusia has been a dream of mine for a long time and it finally happened this April! We decided to take a week driving around Andalusia in a loop – starting at Seville, visiting Cordoba, Granada and Marbella and finally chilling at Vejer.

The first day after landing in Seville airport, we took a cab (about 20 euros) to our hotel IMG Rey Alfonso X in Barrio Santa Cruz, dropped off our bags and then just wandered around Seville soaking in the atmosphere, eating tapas after tapas and of course, relaxing with a siesta! 

Walking around Seville is a pleasure – it’s a city with such charm and gorgeous Moorish architecture. Since we were there during the Holy Week, we also got to see some Santa Semana processions led by various brotherhoods which were fascinating. 

On the second day we visited the Cathedral which was stunningly impressive. I believe its one of the biggest Cathedrals in the world. Originally, there was a huge 12th century Mosque which knocked down and a decision was made to build "a church so large, future generations willl think we were mad". My favourite part of it was the Giralda – a former minaret of the original mosque that remains and was converted to a bell tower. You can climb all the way to the top and its fairly easy one since there are no steps but just a sloping pathway winding all the way to the top (so that a rider on a horse could get to the top!). 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mandarin Kitchen: Excellent Chinese restaurant in Bayswater with the best Lobster Noodles

I’ve never really eaten much seafood at Chinese restaurants – I always tend to go for the more meaty options. But when we were told that Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater serves the best Lobster Noodles in London – I was totally up for checking it out. The source of this information was our trusty driving instructor Albert Low; who by the way is an excellent instructor. Leave a comment if you’d like his contact details for driving lessons in Central London or Richmond. He’s one of the best :) 

We went to Mandarin Kitchen on a Thursday evening and it was packed. Unfortunately we didn’t make a reservation and had to wait for about 20 minutes for a table, but seeing all the delicious plates of food being carted out of kitchen and being in no rush, we settled in to wait. And then soon enough, we had a table – one of the best, right near the window which was prime viewing position. 

We started with some lovely Oolong Chinese tea (Ti Kuan Yum) and ordered one of their signature dishes – Steamed King Scallops in a garlic soya sauce that came with tiny crystal noodles. It was delicious and I’ve never seen scallops so big. A great starter to whet our appetite and then shortly later, the piece de resistance appeared – a gigantic Lobster with Ginger and Spring Onions on top of a bed of soft glistening noodles. The waiters break it up for you and serve it quite efficiently so all you have to do is dig out the soft delicious lobster flesh. And having soaked up all that lobster juice, the noodles were incredibly tasty. Such a simple elegant dish – and Manderin Kitchen deserves all the accolades for it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mondsey: A Malaysian Supper Club in Bermondsey

I stumbled upon Mondsey at the Bermondsey Street festival and had a taste of what this talented duo of Karen and JP could offer at their food stall and resolved to find them again. I was in luck; they also held regular supper clubs in Bermondsey showcasing Malaysian cuisine. So I roped in my Spanish friend to come with me to one of their Saturday night supper clubs. He'd never been to a supper club before and was gamely up for a new experience. (He also asked if there would be single girls there - I may have said yes).

We rushed in a few minutes late and were welcomed with an utterly refreshing cocktail called Monk’s Ice Tea made with Plantation Barbados Rum and Air Mata Kucing (a juice made from Malaysian fruits). I couldn't get enough of it – and sneakily had two more refills.