Tuesday, July 22

London Eats World: Ukraine Russia + Lithuania

London Eats World: Ukraine

In my London Eats World series I'm on a mission to eat my way around the world without leaving London and this week it's Ukraine. Not the most common cuisine here in London, so I dragged a few of my friends all the way to Canning Town to a restaurant called Albina that serves Ukrainian, Russian and Lithuanian dishes.Canning Town is not exactly a leafy, suburban London neighborhood, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

London Eats World: Ukraine

When we walked into Albina, we were greeted by our friendly host who advised us to sit anywhere we wanted as the place was literally empty. It being a Tuesday night, I think he was glad that someone actually showed up. The entire restaurant had a very folkloric feel to it; ethnic place mats on the table, flowery plates and lots of er... interesting Ukrainian art work hanging on the walls. In the back was a large flat-screen TV playing music videos on what looked like Russia's answer to MTV. I've never been to Ukraine before, but this is what I imagine all restaurants would look like.

London Eats World: Ukraine

While trying to figure out what to pick from the menu, I had a Georgian glass of red wine, which tasted exotic, but came with an exotic price tag as well. 

London Eats World: Ukraine

Our host came to our rescue after he noticed we couldn't quite make up our minds. He made some recommendations and I went for a Ukrainian cheese and tomato salad as a starter and two meat pancakes with sour cream. It seems Ukrainians are not all that familiar with eating light as I only managed to finish 2/3s of the salad and only half of one pancake. My friends, who opted for the borscht soup and cabbage dumplings, only managed to eat the soup and struggled to finish four of a mountain of dumplings.

London Eats World: Ukraine



London Eats World: Ukraine

Having no more room for desserts, we rolled ourselves back to Canning Town Station with doggie bags in our purses. I didn't actually eat the other pancake, as one very heavy Ukrainian meal in one week, is more than enough.

Sunday, July 20

Coffee Tasting at Dash

It seems that the King's Cross area is getting trendier by the minute. Yesterday I headed there for a coffee tasting at Dash.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

Dash is part of Drink Shop Do which is best described as a coffee shop that organises creative and not so creative events. Think Lionel Richie biscuit decorating and cross stitching while having cocktails, but also stuff like how-to-talk-to-strangers workshops and dance nights.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

 At Dash, however, they stick to one thing and that is making great cups of brew. Open from Monday to Friday, they open up some Saturdays for coffee tastings hosted by Sebastien.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

The tasting started out with getting the low-down on where coffee comes from. Sebastien explained us the entire coffee making process from bean to coffee cup, before letting us sniff 5 different kinds of beans. To me they all smelled pretty much the same, until the beans were ground and water was poured over them and I was able to distinguish different notes and learned that coffee can sometimes taste of veggies, fruits and even mushrooms.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

After a brewing time of 10 minutes, we were given a spoon to taste. Accompanied by a lot of slurping and slushing sounds, which apparently is totally allowed when tasting coffee, we found that different coffees actually have very distinctive flavours. Some nicer than others.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

We finished the session with a cup of cold Nicaraguan La Argentina brew that takes roughly 18 hours to filtrate. It took about a minute to drink, because tasty it definitely was.

Coffee Tasting at Dash

Thursday, July 17

My Five Favourite Beaches

Summer in London is great, but the one thing I miss when temperatures soar in the city is the beach. Not just any ole beach. These are my five favourite beaches I long for the most:

Scheveningen in Holland
The weather might not always be at its best, but even if it's chucking it down, there are loads of cool beach bars to take shelter in. Most of these beach clubs have very cool vibes and offer great food and drinks and on weekends many of them put on beach parties. Nothing beats having sun-downers on a seaside lounge bed while listening to relaxing tunes.

My Five Favourite Beaches

Maho Beach St Maarten
It's not pretty, it's not idyllic or secluded. This beach is in my top 5 because of the entertainment. The beach is located at the top of an airport runway, so watch out for incoming aircraft and jet-air blasts blowing across the sand by planes taking off.

My Five Favourite Beaches

Bermuda beaches
The beaches here are pink. Yes, pink! That alone deserves to be in any fav beach top 5.

My Five Favourite Beaches

                   This Photo of Bermuda is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Sardinia beaches
The beaches on this Italian island really took me by suprise. I never knew that European Mediterranean waters could be so clear. Standing knee high in the sea, you can see the fishes swarm around your legs and some are even so bold as to nibble on your feet.

My Five Favourite Beaches
Photo by jmj2001 off Flickr

Diani Beach Kenya
This beach is as white as can be, but the thing I love about it most, was the people watching. Don't expect the usual beach scenes like badminton games, kids playing in the sand or conspicuous changing of clothes. Here you see camels walking by, fishermen smashing octopus against the sand, and monkeys jump from tree to tree.

My Five Favourite Beaches

Tuesday, July 15

London Eats World: Russia

London Eats World: Russia

In my London Eats World series I'm on a mission to eat my way around the world without leaving London and this week it's Russia. I actually found quite a few options for Russian food in London, but I went with Abracadabra on Jermyn Street.

London Eats World: Russia.

It's not as posh as its address might suggest, as Abracadabra is also a hostel. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I descended through a majestic wooden door into a frivolous looking room with a tatty decor. Think harlequin, mosaic floor, tacky chandelier and plush benches. I wasn't quite sure whether I'd ended up in the hostel reception or the actual restaurant, but the host quickly came to my rescue and showed me to one of the booths.

London Eats World: Russia

My booth was decorated with all kinds of USSR propaganda posters, Putin nesting dolls and other Russian paraphernalia. Other booths had scary looking masks hanging on the walls and lamps shades with women's legs. The menu featured Russian classics such as borsch, shaslik and Pelmeni (Russian dumplings), but we went for the Stroganoff. The beef was accompanied by a couple of potatoes and some slices of cucumber, which tasted alright, however for the price I was expecting something slightly more elaborate.

London Eats World: Russia

We finished the meal with a recommendation of the waiter which was a very yummie layered honey cake and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

London Eats World: Russia

When searching for the ladies' I discovered anther floor below the basement with a bar area and dance floor which according to the waiter is really hopping on a Saturday night. All in all it was an ok culinary experience, but the thing that will make me remember my dinner at Abracadabra were the loos. The ladies' room basins were heart shaped and kitted out with golden, penis shaped taps. That was a first for me. It did made me wonder though, what the male punters were washing their hands with.

London Eats World: Russia