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My Barbados Diary

October 25, 2017

To me, Barbados is like a love note. It starts out sweet, gets really passionate in the middle and ends on a high. When you think of a place with great local food, bars, amazing music vibes and probably the most friendliest people in the world- you have to think of Barbados. It’s a place for couples to honeymoon, single friends to explore everything the island has to offer and of course- is the island of Rihanna. You can’t go wrong here.

One of the reasons I loved being on the island was it’s so family orientated, with the beaches right next to anywhere you go, there’s so much to see and do.

  1. Oistins

Oistin’s at Bay Garden is a fishing town on the south coast with local live food stalls lining up the streets and street-dancing is a norm. Here you’ll find that the food is the main draw – fresh fish, (tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish), lobster, chicken served in an extremely informal setting. You can get your fish grilled or fried depending on which vendor you choose from. It’s all cooked on the spot in front of you so get instagram ready. Don’t forget to visit “Hot Legendary Fishcakes” for literally- LEGENDARY FISHCAKES.

A plate of fish (and there’s plenty fish on it) and a beer will cost you about Bds$30 – $35 (US$ 15 – 17.50). Ask for a side of Macaroni Pie, you won’t regret it.

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2. Harrison’s Crystal Caves

When I was a child, I recall my mom taking me through these caves and I remembering thinking it was the most wondrous place I ever visited. I went back 15 years later, and I am still sticking to my opinion! At the heart of Barbados, the magnificent Harrison’s Cave is located in the central uplands of the island. The crystallised limestone cave has a variety of waterfalls, deep pools of pure mineral water and towering columns of limestone crystals.

The tour guide takes you by a tram through the caves, and shows you the natural light of the cave before it was discovered which is PITCH BLACK. I couldn’t even see my hand right in front of my face.

 

3. Animal Flower Cave

The ANIMAL FLOWER CAVE in Barbados is located under the cliffs at the Northern tip of the island. These dramatic, adjoining caverns open on the Atlantic in the rugged sea cliffs off the north point where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Seas meet. A stairway through a blow-hole in the bedrock provides safe access to them. The cave’s ‘natural swimming pool’ it is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its depth but looks deceptively shallow. Make sure to wear shoes with a strong grip, my hubby was slipping everywhere and holding onto me for dear life! Luckily- I had good grip;) 

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TIP: take a look around above the Animal Flower Cave for amazing instagram-worthy scenic views.

4. St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery

I think I overdosed on Rum by the time I got back to Hong Kong. ‘Rum and Ginger ‘as one of my friends got me addicted, I was officially on a sugar high post-holiday for at least a month. Rum is the island’s drink- can’t go anywhere without a Banks Beer or Rum. The old sugar plantation turned into a rum distillery while being handed down through generations. You can have a tour of the Jacobean Mansion, visit where the rum is being made, check out some talking parrots and taste fantastic rum!

Definitely try the Spicy Rum or (pepe rum).. it’s an experience!

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5. Places to Stay

If you are coming as a couple, I highly recommend The Crane. It’s the oldest resort set on a beautiful beach extending for miles. The resort is shaped to cater to those who enjoy fine dining, luxury suites and stunning views. I also highlight recommend dining at Zen.

For families, I recommend staying at Yellow Bird Hotel. Yellow Bird Hotel is set at St. Lawrence Gap which is full of food & beverage venues to check out during the day. It’s a quaint family-run hotel with cozy rooms, a pool and faces the beach!

For everyone, Accra Beach Hotel is one of the places to stay at! The Accra Beach has various water sports- just don’t forget to haggle. Tucked away amongst lush gardens, this 3.5 acre beachfront property offers breathtaking views of the island, pool or ocean, providing ultimate relaxation to ensure you have a once in a lifetime experience.

Stay tuned for the next blog on where to eat in Barbados & my photo diary of London!

 

Featured, Hong Kong

Alvy’s Kennedy Town

September 27, 2017

Kennedy Town is the neighbourhood recently heard on everyone’s lips, and Alvy’s is the new hangout serving up craft beers, pizzas and wickedly delicious comfort food.

Alvy’s has collaborated with Young Master Ale to bring local brews, imported beers, wine, US craft whiskies and cocktails. The space is inspired by a New York City style pizzeria with neon lights, a long wooden bar, white oval plates and a mirror where the specials of the day are written on. Oh, and the highlight? Towards the back of the restaurant spot the Big Red Bitch AKA. the big pizza oven.

To munch on, we started with the latkes ($78) which is a cantonese-style dish of char is, ginger and onion paste and potato pancake served on a bed of sour cream. The Yu Kwen Yick fried chicken ($88) was tangy, zesty and spicy which excuse the steal ‘FINGER-LICKING’ good. However, the star of the night was the a la Vodka pizza ($108). FYI I have been guilty of now ordering this pizza on a sunday night when I am in my onesie binging on Narcos. It’s been done several times over.

The vodka tomato sauce, melted mozzarella bocconcini (omg yas) and pecorino really makes it worth the carbs. The best part about it, it’s not over the top cheesy.

The fries were not bad, but not worth the mention either.

It’s a homey neighbourhood bar kinda vibe, definitely need to take a few friends there just for a beer and perhaps a slice of a la vodka.

8/F Holland Street, Kennedy Town

Tel: 2312 2996

 

Spoon Rate: P8301YELP8301YELP8301YELP8301YEL/5

Dining Scene, Featured

Pirata Hong Kong- Restaurant Week

August 4, 2017

The Flagship restaurant of the Pirata Group, Pirata didn’t leave much of an impression on me the first time I tried. In fact, it was placed in the “whatever” pile of Italian restaurants I may not ever visit again based on the fact that I didn’t remember much of anything that I tried.

This time around, Restaurant Week popped up and we decided to take another chance on it and give it a go. When we arrived at Pirata, we were 15 minutes early for our booking so they made me climb 2 flights up in 4 inch heels to sit at the bar that was outdoor with one fan, not a great start considering it was 35 degrees out.

Finally when they called us back down via an elevator (Why didn’t we just take it up?) we sat down and got greeted by an incredibly friendly waiter (shocking in Hong Kong) and he took us through our menu.

Before I get into my favourites, let me just say that Pirata was EXTREMELY generous with their Restaurant Week menu with each portion coming as full sized including the starters so it was technically a 7 course meal.

My standout dishes were the Mamma’s Meatballs, the Burrata Cheese Salad, The Parmesan Ravioli (I asked them for no beef) and the Orrecchiette with Sausage and N’duja. The desserts were alright nothing we haven’t tasted before and the mains were average as well but really worth it for the price of 398 per person. I went home in a #foodcoma but definitely had a #foodgasm.  I would suggest the next time around to go for the pastas plainly because this group has launched Pasta legends PICI and know their pastas pretty well.

Butter sage ravioli with goats cheese filling and shaved truffle. Endless courses at @piratahk my opinion has certainly changed of this fabulous place now one of my favourites. The things they can do to pasta baffles me, not to mention MAMA’S MEATBALLS.

PIATTI PICCOLI

Burrata Cheese (v)

Tomato, basil, rocket

And

M.M.M. (My Mamma’s Meatballs)

Pork, beef, egg, tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil

And

Arancini (v)

Acquerello rice, saffron, D.O.P Fontina cheese

PASTA

Orecchiette with Sausage and N’duja

Home made orecchiette, Italian sausage, spicy n’duja, cherry tomato

And

“Liquid” Parmesan Ravioloni with Truffle

Beef ragu, shaved truffle, parmesan cheese, butter, sage

PIATTI GRANDI (Please choose one of the below per person)

The Butchers’ Cut

Flank steak tagliata, rocket, cherry tomatoes

Or

Giant Tiger Prawns (2 Pieces)

Grilled prawns, salsa verde, garlic, parsley

Or

Eggplant Parmigiana (v)

Deep fried eggplant, tomatoes, D.O.P buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, parmesan

DOLCI

Tiramisu

Traditional style with coffee, mascarpone, Marsala wine

Or

Panna Cotta

Home made raspberry coulis, fresh raspberry

 

Pirata: 239 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai

Spoon Rate:P8301YELP8301YELP8301YELP8301YEL/5

Featured, Hong Kong

Praya Waterside Brunch

July 13, 2017

Making my way to K-town, walking fast and faces pass as I’m home-bound to Praya Waterside Eatery. Home of comfort food and epic brunch in Kennedy Town.

The fab view takes away the hustle of Central and of course it’s in my hood as the perfect escape. As Praya Waterside adds to the the hub of trendy restaurants and ventures, it’s definitely a space to grab brunch noshes in a chic space. Originally opening as Kinsale, the owner has rebranded the venue with a revamped concept.

On a Saturday & Sunday morning, Praya Waterside is the space to enjoy the sun and the social scene of K-town. Sometimes feeling understaffed, the food makes up for it.

Me & K went by Praya Waterside and tucked into a la carte dishes that they had. I went for the Lady EgGa which was delicious, truffled scrambled eggs, smoked salmon (which I asked for on the side) beetroot dressing (tasted like a healthy ketchup), and sourdough bread. K went for the Benny and the Eggs which 64 degree poached eggs with sourdough bread and he went for a side of mushrooms.

They also serve great brunch cocktails and fresh OJ so head on over! If you use the entertainer app it’s buy one get one, including house beverages!

Check out the menu here 

Address: New Fortune House, Shop 3, G/F, New Fortune House, 3-, 2-5A New Praya Kennedy Town

Spoon Rate:P8301YELP8301YELP8301YELP8301YEL/5

Featured, Hong Kong, In Focus

My flavour of popcorn vs His

June 2, 2017

I was debating writing this blog post for a little while now, it was a personal conflict on whether I’d just be rambling or if I actually had something to offer that many of us barely talk about. Marriage. Choosing between your flavour of popcorn vs. his.

I’ve only been married for a year and a couple months now so I am no expert (can you actually be one?) but, I have been in a relationship with that same person for 10 years now. Many people ask, is it any different? It’s an interesting question I used to ponder wondering whether it would actually be different. Once the cake was cut, the I do’s were said and we started a home- could it be different? I can honestly say- yes. It’s completely different than just gorgeous dinner dates and days at the beach duh!

 

How so?

 

Marriage is a whole other ballgame. Many hall of famers would agree.

 

Why? Because, everything you knew about each other starts to change once the honeymoon period is over, the 12-month itch, the routine, the danger of becoming a couch potato and packing on a few. The balance between selflessness and selfishness. You’ve been living for yourself and suddenly there’s this whole other person and extended family that you have to link yourself to whilst keeping time to pick up a book on your own.

 

You can blame Cinderella all you want ladies, even I grew up with the idealised version of what marriage is going to be like. The reality is it’s like the wave of the sea, we swell with intimacy, passion, and energy and then naturally wane through periodic episodes of separateness, quietness and space. As much as I may want to scream into a pillow, it’s never lasts forever. There are times when you want to love them and times where you want to be anywhere but here.

 

That’s just the one side of the coin.

 

Flipside. You constantly learn new things about each other. It’s quite fun. Even knowing the same person for 10 years, people change. Are you the same as you were 10 years ago? The answer will possibly be no.

 

I sure as hell have changed. My likes, dislikes, experiences, movies, interests it’s all changed. I can’t party like I am 19. That’s the exciting part. You have a whole new family that brings out different sides to you, it’s an experience I would never trade EVEN with the bumps and the bruises comes the adventure and the closeness.

 

The journey ahead is such a whole new slate, that you are writing a whole new book with experiences you can decide together with the person you love. I am not saying my instagram is filled with me & K declaring we have a perfect life but why live by society’s norms when you have the freedom to do what you want? Being imperfect by your own rules.

 

One of my friends asked me,

‘What do normal married couples do on the weekend?’

I replied saying,

‘What is normal? We only know, what we feel that’s normal. That may require sitting on the couch, it may feel trekking over to Kennedy Town park or doing a puzzle together.’

 

I read somewhere that people should take the first year off in marriage. Does that mean leaving your spouse in the lurch? No. It means take the first year off of your LIFE. ‘Focus on the happiness of your other half, so it makes sense to cut out the things that would draw you away from intentionally seeking your spouse’s happiness.’

 

Me and K didn’t implement this theory until 2-3 months after our wedding. We kept butting heads in so many areas of being partners that we forgot, it takes an effort to actually spend time and bond more. With work, my mnew job, late hours and stress I forgot what it meant to actually have a work/life balance. I had to make a lifestyle choice and take a job change which I did.

 

One of my best friend’s gave me the best advice ever, it happened after mine & K’s first big disagreement. We argued over ‘groceries’ and that we kept running out of things, and one of us would go pick it up which was frustrating and wouldn’t get what the other person needed. It sounds so silly now but at the time I felt so much pressure because I had a full time job, a part time helper and plus worrying about what’s in the fridge, what to put together for dinner and it just wasn’t a priority since I never had to worry about it before. I had to take a breather.

 

I spoke to my best friend who said, ‘sit down, communicate, explain what you’re dealing with and find a routine so that the responsibilities are split 50/50 since you both work long hours and full time.’ It sounds simple now, but at the time to put into action was such an effort although it made such a difference in our communication. We began to sort out grocery days, days to cook, breakfast schedules and gym routines. Things got smoother after that, now we share a joint calendar that reminds us of commitments, date nights and late night work events. It’s about prioritising and being organised – some days it means ordering in a pizza with messy hair and somedays my breath depends on my calendar. It’s how it just works for me and K.

 

This is my no-nonsense advice, go to bed angry! Everything is better after a good night’s sleep and a cup of caffeine. Not everything needs to be resolved every night before bed. Sometimes you need to reset, recharge and get some z’s to think clearly. You can’t be afraid of not liking each other. Then there are days where he’s making me a cup of joe in the morning and I just look at him to think how blessed I truly am.

 

The first year of marriage and the years to come is a constant effort to understand each other and make sure no-one says ‘I quit.’ There are days I wanted to just sit on a beach or hide under my bed till the next day, but he’s empowered me and made me stronger and I try to do the same for him.
It’s not always pretty but hey, sometimes you just have to give in even if you wanted sweet popcorn and he wants butter because the next time around he’ll do the same for you. That’s my two cents.

When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie.. Thats amore ❤️

Dining Scene, Featured

Review: The Cheesecake Factory Hong Kong

May 12, 2017

Come on now, unless your living under a rock you would have heard that the Cheesecake Factory has opened it’s doors in Hong Kong, Harbour City. Rumour has it, it’s not doing so well in USA that it’s finally decided to expand into Asia (next stop Taipei!). Well good thing, the Cheesecake Factory corporates thought so because Asia is a whole new market… (just remember to bring stretchy pants.)

Continue Reading…

Dining Scene, Featured

My Spoon: Mother’s Day Guide 2017

May 11, 2017

It’s the day for mama’s to relax, unwind and get the daddies/kiddos to plan a whole day dedicated to how great you are. So mama’s it’s about time to start dropping hints where you want to go this Sunday, here’s my roundup for 2017:

 

1.  Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour Afternoon Tea

Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour is launching the Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea set for $498HKD (for 2 peeps) and rumour has it there’s a caricature artist that will be there to draw a portrait of you and your loved ones. Also momma’s you get a free upgrade to a gin & tonic if you feel like knocking back an afternoon tipple instead of tea. Tuck into the White Rabbit Cheesecake, Queen of Tarts and much more…

Book now by calling +852 2111 9449

Facebook event :https://www.facebook.com/events/117628968795681/ 

Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central

2. Spasso

Mommas it’s time to saddle up your brunching gear and head over for a feast at Spasso this Sunday as the special “Mom-scato” cocktail is served! Special additions are added to the Spasso brunch for only $398HKD and you can opt for a free-flow option if you wish for only $168HKD. For those who want special mementos, there will be polaroid cameras for you to snap away and take home memories of your special day! 

Book now by calling +852 2730 8027 

www.divinogroup.com/restaurants/spasso/about-us/

Empire Centre, 68 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East

3. The Kinnet

Healthy moms this one’s for you! The Kinnet is the ideal location for a healthy lunch or dinner with rejuvenated dishes bang on with flavours! Foodies and weight-watchers can refuel their body with the holistic wellness Kinnet provides. FYI each person who order’s the Mother’s Day menu receives a complimentary group class.

Book now by calling +852 3968 7600 

http://www.thekinnet.com

Hillier Building, 33 Hillier St, Sheung Wan

4. Seafood Room

Brunch with a view? Check! Seafood Room is launching an exclusive Momma’s Day brunch on May 13th & 14th from 12pm-3:30pm starting at $448 per person. Each mom will get a pink flower and a polaroid snap- not to mention bubbles that you can choose from three packages. Delicious! 

Book now by calling +852 3708 9668

26/F, Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

5. Mercato

The epitome of family-style meal is Mercato. On the 13th & 14th of May, Mercato will feature hearty Italian sharing plates for the entire family to dig into. With the classic Black Truffle Pizza and new sashimi & spring pea salad, mother’s day is bound to be a success. By the way, a little bird told me there’s going to be epic dessert selections… Brunch at 650HKD + 10%

Book now +852 3706 8567

www.mercato-international.com/

 8/F, California Tower, No.32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong
Dining Scene, Featured

Calling all Gin Fiends- Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour

April 21, 2017

Calling all the gin fiends to this incredible gin library called Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour with over 250 gins… if you’re smart enough to find it.

Ming Fat House (MFH) was established in 2014 by three young co-founders Jonathan, Shakib & Eric bringing the speakeasy concepts of Foxglove & Mrs Pound to Hong Kong and executing it the right way. Now the latest to the fictional love story, Dr Robben Fern’s Gin Parlour or Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour taking over the basement of the Landmark. You’ll see two doors on the right, one marked ‘Waiting Room’ and the other marked ‘Consulting Room’, I am not going to tell you how to get in- that’s a feat you have to face!

The concept is a fun speakeasy with Dr Fern who is an expert in botanicals prescribes gin and caffeine for ‘stress related symptoms!’Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour staff wear white coats and ask if you have an appointment which is super quirky!

 

Which door? Ill go sit in the waiting room. @drfernshk #ginparlour have you been yet?

The drinks: On the menu are Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour classic G&T’s however, you can choose from the mirror board near the bar for their daily cocktails that constantly change based on what the Doctor decides to pick up from the local farms for the day. My absolute favourite is the oriental cup- it’s a surprise in a tea cup!

The Food & Coffee: Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour provides plates of cheeses, charcuteries and cream cheese platters are available for snacking and their new afternoon tea is about to launch. There is a small selection of premium house spirits and wine if you are accompanying a friend who loves gin but you aren’t a fan. During daytime hours, Dr. Fern’s is great for a cuppa and a cake – so definitely drop by for your weekly appointments!

 Spoon Rate: 5/5
Dining Scene, Featured

Tokyolima: Peruvian Japanese

April 12, 2017
Those of you who have been to Pirata & the Optimist would have heard that the new shiny toy on the block is the newly opened izakaya, Tokyolima. 

This Peruvian-Japanese menu also can be called Nikkei, which is based on the marriage of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Did you know the chef is from Chicha? Chef Arturo Melendez. So naturally, my expectations sky-rocketed when I found this out. Sadly, my experience was such a disappointment.

 


I am a frequent fan of Kyoto Joes, Wasabi Warriors, Monster Sushi so naturally I couldn’t wait to add another Japanese favourite to my list. In comparison, Tokyolima is the brand-new go to place with absolutely no substance.
The food was tasteless, the vegetarian sushi was just pickled raw veggies, the tuna sushi was bland and the idea of asking for wasabi 3 times to make the taste slightly bearable really tested my patience.
The chicken karaage was the only dish that saved the meal, as the meat was tender, soft and quite delicious. The cod was boring, been there and done that.
At $350 per person I’d say even that wasn’t worth that much. Sad times.

G/F, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace,
Central, Hong Kong

Tel: (+852) 2811 1152
E-Mail:
info@tokyolima.hk

SPOON RATE: P8301YEL/5

 

What did you think of Tokyolima? Tell me below! 

Dining Scene, Featured

Hakkasan – Shanghai

March 29, 2017

As a ‘half vegetarian’ / don’t eat shellfish- I never get to the dim sum that really counts. But, on our one year anniversary when we made our way to Shanghai and celebrated at Hakkasan, the dimsum gods were looking out for me.

 

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Hakkasan is a Chinese chain that has made a home in Shanghai via London. This is the latest branch of the chain which also is located in New York, Miami, Sanfran, Vegas, UAE and even Mumbai. The heart of the menu is Cantonese and features a fusion of Western ingredients such as pepper steak stir-fried with merlot. The space is so striking, it’s beautifully decorated with dim lights, intricate wood screens that create little nests and it’s a great venue for a late night vibe.

With the vegetarian dim sum platter, I tucked into morel crystal dumpling, steamed dumpling with autumn truffle, truffle pumpkin puff and cheese croquette. My favourite suprisingly was the truffle pumpkin puff- it was crunchy, sweet and dipped into chili soy hit all four check marks (salty, sweet, chili and tangy!).

Next up, the Hot and sour soup with chicken and shiitake which was just as filling and delicious- we chose this dish because it was like 4 degrees outside! Finally, the Crispy prawn with dried chilli and cashew nuts that K absolutely loved & Stir-fry Chilean seabass with Sichuan pepper sweet basil and spring onion. The Chilean seabass I enjoyed, thought it could have done with a bit more chili and a spice kick.

Hakkasan is housed in the beautiful Bund 18 building, i’d recommend a drink at Mrs & Mrs Bund and then head up to Hakkasan for a truly unique experience. (Try the Saketini for a cocktail at Hakkasan btw- I ended up having 3!).

 

Spoon Rate: P8301YELP8301YELP8301YELP8301YEL/5

Hakkasan Menu

Hakkasan Shanghai
Bund 18, 5/F 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu Shanghai 200002

Reservations
+86 21 6321 5888reservationsh@hakkasan.com