Monday, 28 January 2013

DINNER AT SAVOY GRILL

Yes, some of you may think it may be rather excessive dining at The Savoy 2 days in a row...but nonetheless I've very much enjoyed the experience - good food and good company, who could possibly complain? 
It's good for a nice treat every now and then!
Sometimes a bit more often...

Once again welcomed by the same friendly receptionist, we were promptly seated at our table - this time a proper dining table.
Unfortunately my favourite waiter wasn't around as he was offered to go home early... - yes, there is no denying that I am rather smitten by his quirky charm!

This time round we ordered from the a la carte menu.
We ordered a bottle of French red wine to share - and also managed to coax Andrew who doesn't often drink alcohol to join us.

Shellfish bisque

My main: scallops
I also had to order a separate side for my dish (as you can probably tell why from the size of my dish), I picked some peas and carrots - otherwise I would have probably still be pretty hungry knowing my appetite!

Laura + Andrew


Lili + Feli

The waiter then suddenly brought over a little birthday cake to our table. Much to our confusion we were left with the cake anyway (another waiter had recognised me and Lili from the day before) even though none of us were celebrating our birthdays. So we all made a (belated + early) birthday wish and blew out the candle together!



We then headed to the famous American Bar for some drinks - regarded by many as the capital's classiest custodian of the classic cocktail.
Be prepared though to pay at least £15.00(?!) for a drink.
We all ordered different cocktails recommended by the waitress, so we had a nice little selection.






I don't really want to look at my bill this month...thankfully there's only a couple of days left in January.

For those that missed out my previous post, you may click here.

So ends another weekend...and it's Monday again...time to get back to gym this week as I've been slacking for the last week.

The Cheekster is signing off now x 






Sunday, 27 January 2013

LUNCH AT SAVOY GRILL

First things first...I've recovered from my little bout of food poisoning!

Spent the morning Skype-ing with the parents before heading out to meet Lili.
With Lili's perseverance, she managed to get us into Savoy Grill at the last minute so that we could try Gordon Ramsey's Help for Heroes menu promotion which was ending this weekend - the lovely lady opened up the bar table for us, which was a bit smaller but just big enough for us two petite Asian girls ha.
We also got a nice view of the dining area from our little private corner.


 

Our table was waited on by two of the loveliest and sweetest waiters ever - I especially loved the cute Spanish Francisco with his geeky glasses!
We each had a glass of Reisling Framingham which was recommended by the waiter.


 

Pumpkin soup with toasted hazelnuts and smoked bacon

Breaded turkey escalope with Parma ham, garlic butter and winter leaf salad

Prune and Armagnac tart with toasted almond and amaretto ice cream


After spending a good 3 hours eating and chatting away, the cute Francisco gave us some complimentary pastries (that we gobbled up before I remembered to take a photo).
Surprisingly, he then offered to give us both a tour of the kitchen!
Apparently one of the chefs looked like Lili - and they DID actually look quite similar, especially the eyes!
He introduced us to the chefs, showed us the different areas in the kitchen and a brief view of the Chef's table - oh how I'd love to dine in there one day!

And if today's experience wasn't good enough...we are actually going to be back at Savoy Grill tomorrow (Okay, actually a few hours later today since it's past midnight now)
AND, we are once again going to be waited on by Francisco! Now that's going to be my highlight of the day.

That's now the second Gordon Ramsey restaurant ticked off my list, I'm on a roll!

After lunch we just wandered round Covent Garden...and did a bit of shopping.

 

I was still kind of full from lunch, but still managed to devour my Thai dinner later in the evening!

 

Isn't that just the prettiest cocktail ever...x

It's been a real good foodie day...time to rest now and re-energize for another day.

Sweet dreams x


Friday, 25 January 2013

VENICE, THE FLOATING CITY: DAY 3

Our 3rd and final day in Venice...


As we had to check out by 11am, we left our bags at reception before we went out.

With nothing much left to do, we wandered the streets of Venice for one last time. 

Foggy day


We stopped by a church, where we lit some candles and I said my little prayer.



 



I don't usually shop much when I'm on holiday – I usually spend my money on food, accommodation and transportation. But along the way, I stumbled across this cute little skirt and bought it for a bargain price of 12.40 euros – not going to break the bank is it?



Conscious about the time, we popped into a nearby restaurant for a quick lunch. 


I must remind myself next time not to eat squid ink food – having black teeth and lips is not a very flattering look.

Happy feli :)


Stopping for some local biscuits and my final taste of GROM gelato, we collected our bags from the hotel and just made it in time to catch the shuttlebus to the airport! 

Thankfully our flight was not cancelled despite the bad weather, and we arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule! Go BA!
The queues for 'All Other Passports' was surprisingly short and we got out of the airport within 30 minutes.
Then began THE LONGEST train journey back to London Bridge... - there were so many stops in between that it took forever before we reached our stop. And then another half hour journey on the tube back home. Getting back into Central London took even longer than our flight...

Short weekend trips really sap the energy out of you...but it was worth it. 
My first trip of 2013, and one city ticked off my list. 

It's been a really tiring week, having to drag myself into work with this horrible cold...
Oh, and not forgetting to mention that I was sent home from work today. I spent 3 hours at work stuffing myself with sweets and mints to get rid of this nauseous feeling until I couldn't take it anymore. 
I got home just in time before I threw up the entire contents of my stomach, which actually made me feel better but has now left me with a headache and fever...
Yes, I think I might be suffering from food poisoning.
What happened to my super-strong Penang stomach (?!)
There goes my clean absence-free history at work (Nooo...)

Oh well, at least I get to rest in my warm bed and should hopefully recover by tomorrow.

My weekend has come early for once!




And if you missed my earlier Venice holiday posts you may click the links below:

Day 1

Day 2




Wednesday, 23 January 2013

VENICE, THE FLOATING CITY: DAY 2

Sunday, as we had predicted was a really wet, rainy day. Being an early riser, I was once again the one to interrupt Stacey's beauty sleep.
We went downstairs to have breakfast – not quite too impressed with the limited array of food, but it didn't really matter because I was just hungry (as I always am in the mornings!). I don't know how people go skipping breakfast...

Armed with my bright pink umbrella, we headed out to find our way to Burano. Unable to find a direct route there, we had to stop over at Murano (famous for its glass making) and jump on another vaporetto to Burano. 

Murano

Murano



Burano was a pretty dead town, or rather village...it was hard to tell if there was even anyone living in the buildings. But the buildings were really pretty and colourful.

Burano

Burano

 

 

 

 

Leaning tower


It was still pouring down with rain so we stopped by a small restaurant for lunch. We ordered the escalope and mushroom, and a seafood tagliatelle to share between us. 


I ordered a hot chocolate, but I kind of lost my appetite after watching the woman make it rather unprofessionally in an old-looking plastic measuring jug... It also had a really thick, nauseating texture to it...then again, it might have been psychologically-related...



After lunch we went for a little wander round and snapped a few more pictures before making our way back to Venice. Maybe it was the weather, or maybe it's generally always that quiet, but at least now I can say that I have been to Burano and Murano, if anyone asks!



We went back to the hotel for a little while to do some research on places to eat that night. Once again, we decided to try out some local baccaris/osterias in the area. 
We tried out Osteria Al Pugni and Osteria Al Squero.


And to finish off, I once again indulged in some yummy gelato from GROM – best.gelato.ever.



Overall it was a relaxing day as we had done quite a lot the previous day. 
Luckily we took our gondola ride the day before it started raining. Some things to note though...

1. Gondola rides are not as romantic as it seems...
2.  Gondola rides are rather chilly...especially in winter!
3. The punter does not serenade romantic Italian songs to you...




So, that's Day 2 done – Day 3 coming up soon x

For my post on Day 1 click here


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

VENICE, THE FLOATING CITY: DAY 1

So after an awesome weekend getaway I am back in London with a rather bad cold. I've been trying to fight it off since Friday, and now that my holiday is over I am ready to succumb to the evil germs and let nature run its course.

Nonetheless, I've had a lovely time over the weekend and it's now time to re-cap.

We'd only booked this holiday a few days before - I was pretty hesitant but now really grateful that Stace asked me along. A really good way to take my mind of things and pick myself up after all the unnecessary s**t I've had to deal with.

So we booked a package deal on BA and I stayed over at Stacey's the night before, all packed to wake up SUPER early for our morning flight.
With news of ongoing bad weather and flight cancellations, we were worried that our flight may have been affected. Fortunately we flew off as planned, with just a minor 1 hour delay on departure.
Oh, not forgetting to mention we arrived at the wrong terminal and then had to dash over to the North Terminal - airports can be so confusing. The lack of sleep may have played a part in this as well.

After a 2-hour flight we finally arrived in Venice! We got our rolling cards, took a shuttle to the city...

 

 And then jumped onto the vaporetto...the public boats that we used to get around for the rest of our time there.

 


 

Our hotel!
The people at the reception were nice and friendly and we were allocated a nice room facing the canal. The only thing we had trouble with was the temperamental lock on the door that we always struggled with.

After I had a nice warm shower and refreshed myself, we headed out to explore the city!

 

 

And grabbed a quick bite from a side-street stall... 





 

 

Spotted some pretty gondolas on the way...

 

 

We then arrived at Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) where we had a little wander round.

 


 


Unfortunately we weren't allowed to go into St. Mark's basilica because they didn't allow bags (?!) 
We didn't understand why they didn't have any places to at least store our bags...we are tourists after all!

Oh well, just took a picture of the entrance anyway...

 

We did however manage to visit Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) one of the main landmarks in the city, which cost 8.00 euros with our rolling card.

 After quite a lengthy wander round the palace we went to check out some prices for the gondola ride. We were initially offered a free ride from one of the punters but we couldn't recognize which one he was so we continued asking around. 
It usually costs 80 euros per ride which can take upto 4 people at a time. Because there was only two of us we grouped up with Kyoungho, a Korean guy who was traveling on his own and managed to bargain a price of 60 euros for the ride.


 

 


Then came the time to look for a place to have dinner. As having a sit-down dinner can be rather pricey in Venice, with the additional 'coperto' and 'servizio', we decided to take a crawl through Venice's cicchetti pubs! - the local appetizers that line the counters of little pubs around town.
Deviating away from the glitzy tourist hubs, we scoured the streets in search for true Venetian baccaris. After all, the key for an adventurous tourist is to wander and not worrying about getting lost. In fact, get lost as often as you can...what are the chances of falling off an island?
As I am known for my poor sense of direction, Stace was mainly the one who got us back on track everytime!

Before we started our bar-hopping escapade, we stopped by a restaurant just to have a drink, but MAINLY to use their free wifi ha!
Not sure if the owner was too pleased but we carried on minding our own business, happy to be connected to the world again!

Here's a few snapshots of our little adventure...



THE most amazing pork balls!


Mouth-watering cured ham mmm...

Fresh oysters!

How could you possibly say no to a glass of wine that costs less than a euro? Okay, it may not be high-class expensive wine, but it's wine nonetheless!

After a satisfying night of bar-hopping we settled down for some warm food at a local restaurant...



We were quite fortunate to have bumped into Kyoungho that day as he seemed to really know his way around the island, saving us the hassle of planning our impromptu route!
Oh the joys of having a guy as a travel companion.

Well, it's time to sign off and head back to work in my snot-filled state.
If anyone messes about with me today I will threaten to cough and sneeze at them.

Watch this space for Day 2 and 3 of my holiday x