Category: Food-Porn (Page 1 of 2)

Welcome to one of New Zealand’s oldest pubs, The Thistle Inn.

Hard to believe but New Zealand has some good old history too! I discovered one of NZ’s oldest iconic public houses, built in 1840 and survived all the fires and earthquakes, Thistle Inn. Based in Thorndon, next to Parliament it received the second liquor license issued in the whole country and many famous Kiwis visited this establishment for refreshments. One of them was great Maori Warrior Te Rauparaha, Free spirit and poet Katherine Mansfield loved to visit the Thistle Inn too. But also various politicians, dock and government workers enjoy their delicious food and pints.

It’s one of the most memorable places that I visited in Wellington: incredible service, friendly and polite staff, giving you great tips on what to order. It feels like being back in England with all the rustic furniture, wooden floors and welcoming atmosphere. The fireplace in the main room gives you cozy and relaxed vibes and there is also a glass floor through which you can observe the cellar from 1840 with the huge but cute rat John. Don’t worry the pet is not real but a funny addition to the original cellar.

Cute rat John

There are other options in terms of dining rooms like the bright area next to the main room. The glass ceiling lets in plenty of sunshine to lighten the space. Another one is the Historic Dining room designed in traditional royal, earthy green colours, surrounded by Wellington’s historic photos. And that’s not all, if you are curious and follow the stair up there are more of extraordinary rooms. Furthermore there is a smoker friendly balcony where you can get some fresh and not so fresh air. What is definitely impressive is the fact that there are original newspapers from the 1930’ies and 40’ies with significant milestones in our history. It’s also possible to book a short tour and to get more interesting facts about the iconic pub.

Historic Dining Room

But let’s talk about the crucial reason why I went there: Food. The Thistle Inn offers a great range of choices on their menu, supplemented by various beverages and daily special offers. The menu doesn’t contain too many dishes, but all of them will satisfy every guest. It’s an interesting mix of old pub food like fish and chips and pork scratchings combined with a fine and exclusive cuisine. From the very beginning you get a fancy glass of lightly sparkling water with a slice of cucumber and lemon. Waiters always keep an eye out to make sure your glass full, so you are constantly hydrated.

Bar area & handsome man

We started our delicious journey with the Duck Liver Paté $16. Our order was served promptly and the size of a portion could make a group of 3-4 people happy. The texture and flavours of the paté were on point, the bread was fresh and crispy. Loved this signature dish!

Duck Liver Paté $16

We were suggested to try the soup of the day with potatoes, leak and truffle oil $15 and the Monk fish, prawn brochettes, tomato linguini, capers, pecorino $26. Shortly after the paté we could observe the descent sizes of the plates filled with delightful creations in front of us. The hearty and warming soup was a thick creamy puree loaded with incredible flavors. Doubtlessly a must try at the Thistle Inn. The fresh soup recipes change every 3-4 days but if that one was so amazing I’m curious how the others would taste?

soup of the day with potatoes, leak and truffle oil $15 and Monk fish, prawn brochettes, tomato linguini, capers, pecorino $26

You can’t do anything wrong if you order pasta, especially the one that we’ve tried: linguini served in sweet tomato sauce combined with refreshing but not penetrant herbs. Decorated with chunky and savory pieces of white monk fish and huge prawns skewers covered with big slices of pecorino. The dish is not only picturesque for your eyes but mind-blowing on your tongue. It was hard for me to resist and not to steal some mouthwatering prawns coated in red sauce and exclusive cheese. I would recommend both dishes to everyone!

Apple & Blackberry crumble, vanilla bean gelato $14

After our mains we needed some time to digest the food and all the exciting impressions for our senses. And because our motto is YOLO, we needed to try a dessert. We decided to share one, because there was almost no space left in the stomach. Our choice fell on the Apple & Blackberry crumble, vanilla bean gelato $14. If you love refreshing and scrumptious pies that would be the winner.

Date & Apple Chutney

My partner and I were celebrating our 2 year anniversary of being happily together (cheesy, right?) and the restaurant staff knew that. As a gift from them we received their house-made Date & Apple Chutney. Super cute and also delicious afterwards! You can purchase them in the establishment for $6. An interesting and healthy mix!

 

All in one I adore this place and would recommend to enjoy food or drink at the Thistle Inn. It’s a great spot for a date or to enjoy and unwind after work, just make sure you reserve a table for dinner. This place can get crowded and busy in the evening with a nice mix of young and mature guests.

 

The Wellington Food Show

Wellington is famous for it’s culinary creativity and constant development of new delicious recipes. But on the 26th – 28th of May at Westpac stadium it will surprise us with an amazing exhibition “The Wellington Food Show”. It means all courages foodies can come to taste and purchase various local and international delicacies.

Numerous exhibitors will spoil visitors with sumptuous cheeses, grass fed Angus beef, handmade dumplings, deluxe chocolate, ice cream and many other healthy and high quality products. I already had an opportunity to taste some of the products like “West Coast Cocoa” Dark Deluxe Hot Chocolate. Just one spoonful of this delicious powder, including a lower amount of sugar mixed with hot milk will keep you warm and happy for the whole winter! Another item that surprised me with it’s great taste is the pure and raw wildflower honey from J.Friend and Co. This honey is very rich in fresh floral and fruity citrus flavours. So I’m looking forward to see what else will expect us at The Wellington Food Show.

The highlight of The Wellington Food Show will be the cooking theatre where culinary stars will demonstrate magic in the kitchen featuring cook Annabel Langbein, Simon Gault, Annabelle White (looks like the name Annabelle is blessed to be a great cooker), Michael Van de Elzen etc. So we all can learn tips and tricks how to prepare delightful and mouth watering meals at home.

There is no fun without liquid beverages like coffee or craft beers. This is another highlight to expect: a variety of brewers, wineries and more! So you see you on one of these days at Westpac Stadium tasting one of the nourishing or handmade treats.

Dine out in Wellington’s trendy restaurant Foxglove

This Christmas we were wondering where to celebrate one of the most important holidays of the year. We were searching for something extravagant and unique. Wellington’s restaurants have a tendency to be very casual and ignore the etiquette of fine dining, but lucky us we discovered exclusive place, Foxglove Bar & Kitchen, in the ideal location: the heart of Wellington’s Queens Wharf. Nevertheless everyone is welcome and prices are acceptable as it may not initially seem so.

Mesmerizing design of Foxglove

Foxglove is all about mesmerizing design spread across two spacious levels. The bar and restaurant have a gorgeous vintage glamour look with it’s oversized couches and armchairs, an intimate corner with an open fireplace and a wall decorated with hunting trophies. Animal lovers shouldn’t be worried, because these trophies are not real but purely esthetic creations. Somehow you feel like being in a modern museum or Narnia, walking through the majestic wardrobe and exploring every square inch of Foxglove. The great and relaxing atmosphere is emphasized by friendly, discrete and thoroughly professional waiters and bartenders, who would love to help you with any request.

Trophies on the wall of Foxglove

Foxglove offers it’s guests the opportunity to enjoy Wellington’s rare sunny weather and ceaseless stunning view of the harbour on it’s deck. This is where we decided to clink our glasses to the Christmas spirit. The cocktail menu may appear short but here is an fondness for quality, not quantity. The presentation, size and taste of the cocktails is delightful for the surprisingly good price of $12.

Little Bourbon based cocktail and refreshing Spritzer

Little Bourbon based cocktail and refreshing Spritzer

Insider: On Thursday all cocktails cost just $10 and tap beer $7. So it’s a great opportunity to enjoy after work and have a lovely chat with your friends. 

Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35

Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35

Our main reason for visiting Foxglove was to try it’s mouthwatering menu, so we decided to proceed to the dining room on the ground floor to our booked table. The choice fell on seasonal and locally sourced dishes: Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $31 accompanied with house salad side $7. And the Seared venison, baby spinach, toasted cashews, marinated olives, freekeh, blue cheese dressing, balsamic reduction $35 with hand cut fries $10. Both dishes left us speechless with big happy smiles on our faces. The salmon was juicy, fresh and not bathing in oil, which can happen pretty often with this kind of fish. The spicy sauce emphasized the meal’s savoriness. The meat was done on point keeping the red colour in the middle of every piece. Both dishes were not only rich in flavours but served in magnanimous portions. All in one it will keep every gourmet and foodie happily fulfilled.

Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $3

Panfried salmon, coconut & chilli wild rice, bok choy, black sesame, seaweed salad, chilli sambal $31

Foxglove is definitely a marvelous place to impress your date or celebrate a special occasion. Withal, if the menu is too high priced in your opinion, Foxglove is still a great choice to come and have a coffee or delicious cocktail and enjoy the sweeping harbour view. So don’t forget to treat yourself sometimes!

Best things to do in Wairarapa, New Zealand

If you’ve never heard about Wairarapa, it’s time to get to know this tranquil region of New Zealand a bit closer. It occupies the south-eastern part of the North Island and contains three main sub-regions, Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton. There are plenty of marvelous places to discover and activities to enjoy.

Breathtaking view from Rimutaka Crossing

The ideal way to explore the attractive destination is by car, because it offers an amazing scenic drive from Wellington. I was lucky to get to know John, who owns and operates Capital Personolised Tours company and offers a great selection of journeys throughout the best spots and surroundings of Wellington. John took me for the entire day to explore the gems of Wairarapa. The best about traveling with Cap Tours is that it does personalised trip in smaller groups, so you don’t need to hurry up if you would like to enjoy picturesque views without time pressure. Nevertheless John’s company is flexible and also provides tours for groups up to 12 people!

Lord of the Ring locations you can’t miss!

The archway from the legendary movie

The day trip started when John picked me up from the place where I was staying in Wellington and we drove to our first stop: the exciting film locations of Lord of the Rings in Kaitoke. Shortly about Kaitoke: It’s a magnificent regional park where you can follow the signs to the spectacular Lord of the Rings filming locations complete with information panels. There you will find the secret spot used as the set for Rivendell in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Faithful fans should doubtlessly be aware that their camera battery is fully charged. The adventurous ones can walk on the swing bridge and enjoy the views of the Hutt River.

Swing bridge

Swingbridge in Kaitoke

Charming Greytown

Greytown has nothing to do with the grey colour, contrariwise it’s a cute, colorful and sophisticated village with free Wi-Fi hotspots along the Main Street. It’s worth to make a stop and stroll through the mix of independent boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and great cafés.

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Crem

Incredible Medina products: Daily Face Cream, Exfoliate, Eye Cream

It’s unexpectedly a great shopping destination where you can find various intresting products. I discovered the marvelous organic skin care shop Medina on 81 Main Street. It’s a little heaven for every girl and woman who are aware of taking good care of their skin using only natural, high quality products. Medina Morin is an inspired owner with a background in beauty therapy. All her products are handmade without any bad toxins and furthermore, they are not tested on animals. You would probably expect that the prices are insanely high, but surprise, surprise! Nothing is over $60 and you can already find natural daily face cream made from olive leaf extract for $35. I couldn’t resist and purchased 3 different products: face and eye cream, Egyptian hibiscus exfoliate. Additionally I got a little present, a detox mask tester. I’ve tried them all and they are amazing, my skin has never been so smooth and bright. So don’t hesitate to visit Medina in the shop or online and you can even ask for a consultation.

Martinborough, quixotic wine village

Wine lovers don’t need to be asked twice to explore the surroundings of Martinborough, famous for it’s never-ending grape fields and family owned vineyards. The charming town features over 30 wineries, most within walking distance of each other. If you decided to come without John’s luxury 4WD then you can rent a bike and experience a diverse representation of vineyards in a sporty way.

Infinite vineyards of Martinborough

The vineyards are not only for admiring but also to taste and enjoy the pride of Wairarapa. You will doubtlessly discover why Martinborough is famous for it’s Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. If you have the opportunity to visit this area in November don’t think twice: Toast Martinborough will be on, a famous wine, food and music festival.

Martinborough is just 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Wellington but it’s an ideal rural place to escape the hectic city and to enjoy high quality food and world class wines. Furthermore there are marvelous olive groves producing the finest award winning olive oil. If you have an opportunity to enjoy your sunny day somewhere else, then definitely go to this picturesque colonial village!

Amazing Sauvignon Blanc

Tip: Hungry one’s shouldn’t be worried, John from Cap Tours will take care of it and bring you to a top local restaurant to let you experience the best of the surroundings! 

On the way to Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Colony of cute fur seals

Colony of cute fur seals, count how many you can see!

After viewing the vineyards’ infinite paths we drove towards the most southern point of the North Island, Cape Palliser Lighthouse. The road to it is dramatically scenic and offers a fascinating sea and landscape. Furthermore the Cape is home to a colony of cute fur seals. It’s worth to make a stop and observe sleepy voluptuous animals camouflaged on the rocks. The seals in New Zealand have lovely pointy noses and long whiskers. If you go on an adventure between November and January you will see plenty of adorable seal babies. Just be careful and don’t come to close to them, the seals may seem huge and lazy but they can move pretty fast when the feel threatened.

Just 251 stairs to reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse

When you reach Cape Palliser Lighthouse, which stands there since 1897, don’t be frightened by the notable 251 step climb to the cliff, it will test your fitness. On the top you will be rewarded with the unforgettable scenery of Palliser Bay. Unfortunately there is a sad story behind the deep majestic ocean: during the 19th century more than 20 ships wrecked near this area. Although it’s an incredible place to watch waves dramatically crash, to hear the strong wind roar and to feel one with nature.

It was a long day but…

… it was full of magnificent and memorable impressions. I was happy to explore the treasures of Wairarapa in an exclusive and most comfortable fashion. The road back to Wellington may seem for some travelers like me, to be winding and unsettling. John’s jeep is perfectly suited for whole day scenic trips, that’s why no need to worry. The pre-cautious person can bring some motion sickness pills or just try to fall asleep on the return journey as I did. Conclusively Wairarapa area is a must see and experience in New Zealand!

John’s comfortable four-wheeler (Capital Tours)

Reach a coffee nirvana in Wellington’s Hangar

Wellington has been named as one of the top coffee destinations in the world. The thriving coffee culture has a long history dating back to the 1930’s and has become an important factor of this metropolis’ identity since then. On every corner of the city you will discover various coffee shops serving the great liquid energizer. There is a special one though which has respect for talented baristas, ethically produced and locally roasted coffee beans, The Hangar. You can have a lovely breakfast or brunch made from local, seasonal and organically produced ingredients.

The Hangar is located on 119 Dixon Street, in the heart of the city and it lets every customer experience it’s high quality Flight Coffee on a different level. The interior is rustic and industrial. The wooden decor and concrete block walls give the place an unfinished yet comfortable and cozy look, resembling an authentic coffee roastery. The busy but friendly staff is always happy to help you to get to know more about the extensive coffee menu and to find the perfect one for you.

Sumptuous warm brownie with yoghurt. Divine!

Sumptuous warm brownie with yoghurt. Divine!

The Hangar may seem as an ideal place for a quick and delicious takeaway for energy boosters but it’s doubtlessly more than that. I would suggest to take your time and confront yourself with the wide range of coffee options. The real coffee lovers or just the curious ones can widen their knowledge and order the Tasting Flights: You will be served with three cups of different coffee. All of them are from various countries, with different flavors and ways of processing. It’a an amazing opportunity to taste the diversity of the essence and to discuss it’s characteristics. My favourite is La Virginia from Colombia with it’s smooth berry taste. It’s the perfect start of the day!

Tasting Flight Coffee

Tasting Flight Coffee and sparkling water to neutralize your taste palette 

I love the mentality of this place, they believe that brilliant coffee can come only from high quality raw beans. That’s why Flight Coffee operate their own small farm in Calarca, Colombia so they can work on perfecting their process and agronomic experiments. They also cooperate with other small farms like for example in Ethiopia or Kenya to support them and their environment and have a better view on the quality of the beans. So next time if you order their coffee or buy coffee beans you know that it’s done in a fair way by happy people. By the way if you want a fresh cup of this roasted perfection every morning within your own four walls, you can order it online and they will ship it to your home door for free! What a service, right?

Choose your favorite and try it home!

Choose your favorite coffee and try it at home!

Another incomparable experience at The Hangar is the cold shot of coffee served on rocks and extremely rich in flavors, carrying the name Cold Drip. It’s a fancy and complicated brewing method which takes 12-24 hours to prepare this quixotic drink. It’s refreshing, different and honestly it tastes like Whisky!

Coffee on rocks. Tasty 100% of power

Coffee on the rocks. Tasty 100% of power

The Hangar is definitely Wellington’s treasure and epitome for people who’s heart starts beating stronger for a coffee even before taking a sip of it. It’s always worth to visit the café, because you’ll be constantly surprised with new ideas like coffee cola. Sounds crazy, tastes indescribably good!

Hard to resist, Coffee Cola

Hard to resist, Coffee Cola

Visit a Dumpling Queen in Wellington’s House of Dumplings

Wellington is famous for it’s culinary variety and delicious food. On every street you will discover a cute café with tasty pastry, fancy restaurants with sumptuous food or quirky bars with a wide craft beer scene. But I will tell you about a real insider of the culinary capital, located on Taranaki Street in Te Aro, where everything is made with love and passion. It’s a pioneer of Wellington’s steamed and filled pieces of dough since 2012, House of Dumplings, which is owned and founded by Vicky, the Queen of Dumplings. It’s an ideal place for takeaways or a quick appetizing top quality lunch.

Scrumptious Meal Pack, $16.50

Scrumptious Meal Pack, $16.50

For those who have never heard about dumplings, it’s a small mass of leavened dough cooked by boiling or steaming. The most common dumplings are filled with meat or vegetables, but in the House of Dumplings you will find curious and mouth watering combinations of dumpling flavours. The easiest way to discover your individual favorite one is to try them all. In Vicky’s place you can order not only steamed but also pan fried dumplings, the Western version of Asian kitchen. I couldn’t pick just one ideal flavour, so here are my three winners:

Fried VS steamed

Fried VS steamed

  1. Crystal Prawn Garlic Chives, steamed – prawns are always delightful and if you mix them with sesame oil, pepper and garlic chives then you will reach culinary heaven.
  2. Japanese Six-Mushroom Dumplings, fried – the composition of six different types of mushrooms wrapped in carrot dough are just too tempting.
  3. Sweet Almond Dumplings – filled with a savory nutty mixture and served in a cute bowl, it’s something that I’ve never had before. If you are foodie, don’t hesitate to try them!
Sweet Almond Dumplings, $6 for 2

Sweet Almond Dumplings, $6 for 2

Vicky’s House of Dumplings won an NZ Food Award in year 2016 for her carefully handmade yummy doughs. The crucial secret of the tasty dumplings is using only local ingredients, natural flavors, spices and herbs. Another are the irresistible sauces: Mum’s Sauce and for the extremists, Chilli Oil, based on recipes handed down from generations. You can even purchase this liquid divinity in a bottle for 15$ or both of them for 25$. It’s a good deal, the only danger is you can get addicted to it.

NZ Food Award 2016

If you prefer to enjoy your dumplings inside your own four walls, you can buy a prepared frozen box of your favorite flavours directly in the shop or in various supermarkets, soon even in Countdown. For the street food lovers there is an opportunity to savor the steamed doughs on Cuba Street Market, Wellington Night Market and Harbourside Market. So there is no way to escape Vicky’s creations!

Addictive Mum’s Sauce

Last but not least you can learn how to make tasty dumplings with your own hands. Interactive and passionate foodies can have a private class. In a group of 15-20 people the dumpling queen herself will share her secrets and teach how to create a perfect masterpiece. If you don’t like to socialize you have the option to follow Vicky on Youtube.

Double Enjoyment

Double Enjoyment

Conclusion: if you like healthy, natural and satisfying food made with good vibes then House of Dumplings will be your number one spot!

Cute Interior of House of Dumplings

House of Dumplings´cute interior

The variety of craft beer in Wellington’s Crafters & Co

Everything started in 2014 when two brothers decided to surprise Wellington with a cafe where modern creativity embraces vintage. Nowadays Crafters & Co is a Wellington hidden pearl located on the corner of the Vivian and Victoria streets behind the colorful graffiti walls. Here it’s all about great vibes and outstanding service. The artistic wooden ceiling, maritime highlights, good music and detailed decoration fill the room with a cozy atmosphere. Moreover it’s a place where you will be spoiled with a choice of craft beers cold like the heart of your ex. And when finally the weather is good in Wellington you can take a seat outside and enjoy your drink under the sunlight. In the near future you can even relax on the rooftop of the bar.

Free Wi-Fi, great!

Ladies, who are not interested in beers can taste refreshing and delicious ciders, from Eddie’s Cider Co micro brewery which is located just next door. The curious ones can even taste samples to personally find out which is more enjoyable. There is also a unique variety of wine and spirits, so no one will have an empty glass.

Roses are red, Violets are blue, In Crafter & Co you can have a beer or two

Crafters & Co is an ideal place to catch up with a friend for a great coffee and delightful food. You can find everything for a small or big hunger, from sweet cookies until juicy burgers, all for a decent price. We had the crispy chicken waffle with baby spinach salad and salt and pepper squid with delightful wasabi mayo and tomato, capsicum and kiwi fruit salad. Both dishes didn’t just look appetizing but tasted excellent. Especially the unexpected combination of a salad on the side of the fried squid left me positively surprised.

Crispy chicken waffle with baby spinach salad

Crispy chicken waffle with baby spinach salad

Another wonder of this bar is that they offer happy hours every day from 4 – 6 pm with 2$ off on tap beer and house wines. So if you want to enjoy your afterwork away from the chaotic city or you just want to have an awesome beer for a lower price then it’s time to visit homely Crafters and Co. You feel like a house party would be a great idea then you can get your favorite take away bottles for 2$ off any day till 10pm.

Salt and pepper squid with wasabi mayo and tomato, capsicum and kiwi fruit salad

I’m looking forward to visit Crafters & Co again to try the seductive beer brownies served with peppermint anglaise and vanilla ice cream. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? So probably we’ll see each other there on a Sunday Sesh, when the happy hour is not just an hour but the whole day!

The cozy interior of the bar

Wellington’s best view from Coene’s Bar & Eatery terrace

There is no other place like Coene’s Bar & Eatery in the whole of Wellington city. The simple reason is the scenic view where the metropolis meets the glistening waters of the bay. The magnificent restaurant has an ideal location along Oriental Parade, just a lovely winding stroll away from the city`s core. The building started it’s life as part of an American navel base during World War 2. Nowadays it’s an exciting mix of a sophisticated environment and relaxed atmosphere, where every guest is “Whalcome”.

Even though being in close proximity to the heart of the city, it lets you immerse into a tranquil holiday atmosphere. The perfect place to get away from the busy streets and enjoy delightful food and heartwarming service. Apropos the service: Coene`s  staff will make you feel like home. But let me tell you more about another highlight of this eatery: Delicious food.

The first savory creation on the plate was Coenes Cookout: Potato Rosti, Bacon, Tomato, Poached Eggs, Black Pudding, Roasted Mushroom w Smoked Tomato Relish & Toasted Sourdough. The composition was not only appetizing but also scrumptious. It’s a perfect meal for food lovers who like to try a bit of everything without overeating.

The other plate was served with roasted cauliflower salad with cranberries, almonds, herbs, chili, coconut and Tarakihi fish from the market. The salad which was full with refreshing flavors was perfectly complimented with the juicy panfried white fish. The portion had a good size as to leave some room for the sweet conclusion.

While we were waiting for our sweet sins to arrive from hell’s kitchen we decided to clink our glasses for the sun. To my positive surprise the lovely waitress informed me that they have French Rosé Chateau Routas, which is excellent. Marvelous is also that the prices are nor higher than anywhere else in Wellington city.

Pineapple & passionfruit cheesecake

Pineapple & passionfruit cheesecake

We didn’t have to wait to long for our desserts. One of them was sweet and sour pineapple & passionfruit cheesecake. It’s an interesting and mouthwatering interpretation of a classic cheesecake. Doubtlessly my favorite combination! The other one was a calorie bomb banoffee parfait with salted caramel, peanuts, choc brownie & ganache. An incredible dessert and a dream for every chocolate and caramel enthusiast! Both desserts will let you forget reality for a moment.

banoffee parfait with salted caramel, peanuts, choc brownie & ganache

Banoffee parfait with salted caramel, peanuts, choc brownie & ganache

…And when you open your eyes you will see the splendid view of the harbour. Don’t forget life can’t be always perfect but the moments at Coene’s place can be!

Malaysia’s best pork at El Cerdo and El Cerdito

Kuala Lumpur is famous for it’s delicious and diverse food. Everywhere you go the smell of street food and colourful restaurants big or small will try to seduce you. It’s an epitome for those who’s religion is a great meal, letting you experience fireworks in your mouth. It’s very challenging to find an ideal place to dine, because in you KL you are spoiled for choice. Nevertheless I discovered an amazing establishment where you can experience not only a splendid taste but also an interesting show and terrific atmosphere, emphasized with a cute and unique decoration: El Cerdo and El Cerdito.

Food and especially meat lovers be aware! El Cerdo carries a high affinity for pork, which you will notice on every corner of the restaurant which is decorated with funny paintings and little figurines of lovely pigs. This place will introduce you to tasty pork dishes and will help you to find your new addiction. I personally never thought that pork could be served in such various ways and also taste different. Lucky me that I could experience it in El Cerdo, located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on the vivid Changkat Bukit Bintang. The street is very close to the Bukit Bintang train station.

Wooden bucket with the broken plate

Wooden bucket with the broken plate

That place is very popular for it’s Spanish tradition of serving roasted suckling pig. The 14 days old piglet is soaked in Spanish white wine for 2 days then roasted till the skin becomes crusty and the meat tender and succulent. The pig gets chopped by using a plate, to see how soft the meat is and also to transfer all bad energy into the plate. Afterwards you should break the plate by throwing it into a wooden bucket. It’s a very interesting and entertaining Spanish tradition to follow so you can enjoy your food and to get rid of all the negative vibes.

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We started our dining with the all-you-can-eat pork buffet, which looked very delicious already when entering this pork heaven. The table was full of cold appetizers like numerous slices of different pork meat, pork liver paté and some interesting salads also mixed with appetizing pieces of roasted pork. Perfect starter!

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Grilled Pork shoulder steak

One of the oldest dishes on the menu is the Grilled Pork shoulder steak,  it will leave you speechless. The meat is unexpectedly tender and luscious considering that it’s pork, it melts like butter in your mouth. The sides of the dish are perfect components of the whole dish.

Gambas Al Ajillo

Gambas Al Ajillo

El Cerdo and El Cerdito is known for it’s pork dishes but not many customers know that they also offer seafood dishes. I really love shrimps that’s why I was curious to taste the Gambas Al Ajillo. I was surprised that everything this restaurant offers is letting you reach the highest level of satisfaction.

Green salsa baby back ribs

Green salsa baby back ribs

If you prefer ribs then don’t hesitate to order Green salsa baby back ribs. The juicy perfection is another signature of the restaurant. The best way to savor the soft meat covered in an ensemble of green salty salsa is with your hands. The unfamiliar but irresistible taste will let you experience pork in a unique way.

Bacon boquerones

Bacon boquerones

How about to try a completely unexpected combination of Bacon boquerones: fried bacon rolls filled with White Wine Marinated Anchovies served with tartar sauce. The mouthwatering taste of the divine flavors is doubtlessly worth a try at least once in your life!

Rum & Raisin Pancake

Rum & Raisin Pancake

You are probably surprised to see how much we ate in one go. First of all we shared our dishes and we wanted to try as much as possible because everything sounded incredibly delicious. Because of this reason we couldn’t say no to the coffee and Rum & Raisin Pancake served with ice cream. We were amused when we saw our cappuccinos with the latte art: an adorable face of a pig. The in-house made rum flavored ice cream and voluptuous soft pancake were delightful. I enjoyed every bit of it!

Latte art coffee

Latte art coffee

All in one El Cerdo and El Cerdito is absolutely a unique restaurant to savor pork in an unusual and memorable way. Especially if you are traveling and only staying in KL for a short period, don’t miss this chance and spoil yourself. I would be glad if you could share your opinion in my comments! Have a nice pork, oink, oink!

Roji, follow the stone path to Antwerp’s Japan

The ancient stone streets led me to the hidden pearl of Japanese kitchen in the heart of Antwerp. Fortunately I discovered the magnificent restaurant Roji, which is located on the main restaurant street of Antwerp’s Old Town, close to the Grote Markt. The place, where you get served various delicacies and even dishes that are not available anywhere else in Belgium. Plan to spend the whole evening to enjoy the memorable dining to it’s fullest!

Roji's sacred entrance

Roji’s sacred entrance

The building used to be a monastery, that was built in the 13th century by monks, so even if the weather is pleasant outside, don’t hesitate to explore the secluded indoors of the restaurant. You will be immersed into a tremendous room with ancient interior, arched vaults and modern design. The warm colors, dimmed lighting, wooden furniture and playful fireplace give the area a cozy and intimate atmosphere, which you will enjoy for the rest of the evening. An impressive fact about Roji, being a very classy and exclusive restaurant, yet the atmosphere doesn’t give off a pretentious and pompous feeling.

Dancing flames

Dancing flames

Not only the visual aspects of Roji left us speechless, but also the outstanding service. Very polite, professional and knowledgable waiters were emphasizing our memorable experience the whole evening. When we entered the place we were led to a big comfortable couch just next to the warm fireplace. We received hot, moist towels to clean our hands, which is a great opportunity for very hygienic people!

Welcome snack: baked sweet potato

Welcome snack: baked sweet potato

Afterwards we were handed a menu with drinks, which spoiled us for choice! Various cocktails, that you won’t find in every bar or restaurant, sounded delicious and the funny addition to the description made us giggle. So in the end after much deliberation we decided to try the non alcoholic “Bangkok Non-Stop” and Gin-based “Budo”. The description of “Budo” said it’s a perfect start of the wonderful evening and it was indeed! Both cocktails were refreshing and delightful to enjoy. Judging by the great quality of the cocktails the prices, which vary from 7-15€, were more than acceptable.

Refreshing Ice Tea "Bangkok Non-Stop" in outside area

Refreshing Ice Tea “Bangkok Non-Stop” in outside area

Did you know that Japanese Whisky is one of the most exquisite all over the world, receiving international top honors? So if you have passion for this strong spirit, then Roji will be a Whisky epitome for you! The menu includes various splendid Whisky sorts, including the famous Hibiki and Yamazaki.

Time to taste Roji

Delicious starter, various fingerfood

Delicious starter, various fingerfood

The beginning of our delicious journey started with a collection of fingerfood, including delicacies like Tempura Soft Shell Crab, fried to perfection, Edamame beans, flavored with a touch of sea salt, scrumptious Tuna tartare accompanied by ginger, wasabi and avocado and last but not least royal springrolls filled with juicy crab. The ensemble was perfectly culminated by a trio of Japanese sauces. My favorite of which was the unusual red salty yuzu, with a note of citrus. Every masterpiece on the plate was divine! My tip, you can order mixed plate with 7 different components just for 17€ p.P. Amazing deal for amazing quality!

Tasty Gin-based cocktails "Basel Smash" & "Roji Aviation"

Tasty Gin-based cocktails “Basel Smash” & “Roji Aviation”

More drinks! After a phenomenal starter we turned our attention back to the cocktails. Jackpot! We found a liquid jewel, that perfectly complements Japanese cuisine: Basil Smash. A gin based cocktail mixed with basil, sugar and lime. An ideal example that perfection lays in simplicity.

Not every sushi is the same sushi

French-Japanese sushi fusion

French-Japanese sushi fusion

Nowadays sushi is a familiar and beloved meal all over the world. The same sorts are available in every city, so to find a unique sushi taste is a challenge. Roji’s creative hands will surprise you with an unexpected fusion of French sophistication and Japanese tradition. We were spoiled with a plate full of various rolls, including Tako, Tamago, Tokyo Roll, Roji Roll and sashimi with salmon, tuna and seabass, which had a delicate fresh taste. We were seduced by the indescribably delicious Sexy Rolls, filled with scampi, spicy green onion, eel, flying fish roe and small orange fish eggs, masago. The prices may seem extravagant for sushi but let me remind you, the symbiosis of the French and Japanese kitchen in one little roll, will make you experience fireworks of flavors in your mouth. And if you’re interested in trying experimental dishes, believe me, every penny would worth that one!

Neverending highlights

Black Cod, White Miso-Saké, Japanese Sweet Potato

Black Cod, White Miso-Saké, Japanese Sweet Potato

After sushi followed black cod, marinated for 48 hours in white miso-sake, served with sweet potato, pumpkin and soy sauce with salted citrus. The fish was tender, melting on the tongue like butter. The choice of flavors and spices was a perfect match to bring the best out of the dish. We enjoyed every bite of this culinary delight.

Have you ever heard about the most expensive and high quality beef in the whole world, Japanese wagyu meat? If not, then it is time to widen your foodie knowledge. Wagyu is a Japanese beef cattle breed from Kobe, where “Wa” means Japanese and “Gyu” means cow. These animals are famous for it’s breeding and feeding techniques. The cows get massaged and fed with only beer or sake, which logically influences the texture and quality of the meat. The beef is intensely marbled with softer fat and is lower in cholesterol than any other competitor. Exactly right, it has a unique taste and it’s additionally healthy for you.

Japanese delicacy, Wagyu beef

Japanese delicacy, Wagyu beef

Savoring one highlight after another we reached the climax of our magnificent dining experience. After our positive surprise finding Wagyu on the menu, we couldn’t resist to experience the exquisite taste of this Japanese delicacy. Later on we were also informed that the chef personally flies to Japan every 2-3 months to choose the perfect slice of wagyu meat. Although he expands his knowledge in Japanese cooking techniques and methods, to prepare masterpieces on the plate in an authentic way. But back to the wagyu beef! I will warn you now, once you’ve tried this Japanese deliciousness, you will realise the value and genuine taste of beef. The tenderness, succulence, smooth velvety texture and delicate but rich character will linger on the palate! Words can not describe the excellent flavor, you must experience it yourself. Roji is the only restaurant in Belgium, that serves this slice of paradise for it’s guests. Moreover you can enjoy wagyu for the modest price of 78€, which is even cheaper then in it’s homeland.

Every good thing has an end…

Sweet&sour dessert, lemon cake with flambéed meringue, homemade vanilla ice cream

Sweet&sour dessert, lemon cake with flambéed meringue, homemade vanilla ice cream

An ideal way to round up your magnificent meal is doubtlessly with a great dessert. Especially if you prefer a light, tasty and not too sweet dessert with lemon notes, then it would serve you well to chose Roji’s brand new final course. A lemon cake with flambéed meringue on top and honey crumbles with homemade vanilla ice cream on the side. The trio of sweetness, sourness and crustiness will leave a refreshing aftertaste and satisfy your senses to it’s fullest potential. By the end of the evening you will be floating in culinary Nirvana.

Interior of Roji

Interior of Roji

My verdict is that Roji is an amazing place for a memorable dining evening and a must visit in Antwerp. If you finally found a date and want to impress your chosen one, Roji has all the ingredients to make your rendezvous to fall in love with you. People who are not on the love path can come here for a celebration or family gathering to never forget. Finally if you are looking to treat your stomach as a king, there is no better place than incredible Roji! Bon appétit and kanpai!

 

 

 

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