All posts filed under: Reviews

Ancient History at Your Fingertips ~ Sunday

Nearby to the Ancient Greek Agora you can find Hadrian’s Library and The Roman Agora. The Roman Agora is far less impressive than the Greek version, but of course as a tourist, one must visit everything. This Agora was built in the 1st century by Julius Caesar and Augustus, and has a more spectacular building still intact; the Tower of Winds, the structure featuring a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane. And at the entrance of the Agora still stands The Gate of Athena Archegetis. After much sightseeing, we were starved, heading toward the neighbourhood of Plaka once again to visit another local-recommended cafe/restaurant “Yiasemi”. Located on the famous steps of Plaka, Yiasemi is tucked in at the side between some other restaurants in the area. Upon entry, there are narrow concrete steps that lead to ledges you can perch on to eat, or further bar stools and ledges or regular tables and chairs. The ceiling rose high above and the walls were covered in the most beautiful array of vibrant green plants. Through different …

First Aid Mondays

Monday became a day of recovery from a little too much wine at Cinque, slowly meandering through the centre of the city, having seen nearly all the ruins and now in need of souvenirs (and rest). To nurse our hangovers, we discovered Klimataria, a tiny tucked away authentic Greek restaurant, dishing up homey Greek dishes with generous portions. It’s located in a kind of random part of the city, not next to the usual tourist restaurants in Monastiraki. If you get lost, look for the shrubs and leaves sticking out of the building and the vibrant yellow interior glowing from the inside. On the menu for us was an uplifting and delicately delicious pan of scrambled eggs with mixed veggies, like tomatoes, peppers and even some shards of bacon (not a vegetable, I know). To follow, I had a dish with Aubergine “cream” (silky, creamy pureed aubergine) with tender chunks of beef in a rich tomato sauce. The view from our Airbnb. Fresh sesame bread popularly sold on the streets of Greece. For souvenirs the …

A Slice of Pie & History ~ Sunday

This morning we hit up a renown local cafe in the city, it having been around since 1931 as a family business. It began by distributing milk and later producing puddings, creams, yoghurts, butter honey and pan pastries, all made according to traditional recipes of course. They also make sure to carefully source their ingredients from select producers in Greece, making the food is more delicious than it already is. Hidden under vines and leaves that ripple across and over two buildings on wooden structures, cafe furniture is spread out in front of the cafe, illuminated by warm yellow lights inside and green neon in-front boasting its name “Stani”. We had to try multiple things, of course, ordering the famous traditional sheep milk yoghurt served with thick fresh honey and crunchy walnuts, a filo cream-pie and famous Greek cheese-pie, with hot coffee on the side to wash it all down with. The yoghurt was exquisite; delightfully creamy and sour with a traditional “crust” atop, the sweetness of the honey cutting through the sharpness of the …

An Athenian’s Agenda ~ Part 1

Awaking in our beautiful Airbnb was bliss, hazily pouring fresh filter coffee into mugs, sitting on the balcony and nibbling and orange-scented butter cookies (it was all we could find in the cupboards, but by God they were tasty). Rather last minute, we planned out our day, attempting to visit most of the historical sights in the city, but leisurely – we had four days in the city and so more than enough time to explore without excess stress. We stepped out, armed with sun cream and bug repellent (I had been bitten at least thrice since stepping out of the metro), into Kaisarini and walked through the streets lined with orange trees, up and down hills packed with tall apartment blocks, all quite uniform in style and colour. We were en-route to locate the Panathenaic Stadium when we stumbled across a baklava bakery – it could have been a scene from a movie; our heads turned in sync at the shop-front window, lined with shelves adorned with trays of oozing slices of baklava. No …

Artistic Enlightenment (Shortly Followed by Cake)

Long needed were those mornings where, upon awakening, the glorious sensation hits that you have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever. So used to rude awakenings by a shrill 7am alarm and mounds of tasks to accomplish, these few mornings had been the biggest gift. A sleepy trip to Great Market Hall was needed, however, to pick up an assortment of compulsory holiday gifts.  Tiny bags of paprika (interestingly translated from Hungarian to “red gold”) were mandatory of course, complete with tiny hand-carved wooden spoons, traditional candies, marzipan chocolates and tiny bottles of palinka – one way of getting around the 100ml liquid restriction on flights. I lazily strolled around the great hall, walking up and downstairs in search for more surprises (and a steaming cup of coffee). I braved my way back into the crispy morning air to navigate around Vaci street to find some breakfast, stumbling on Mantra Specialty Coffee Minibar on narrow side road, snugly hid amidst larger shops and apartments – mini was definitely the word for it. Inside, you hang your …

Second Day, Part 2 ~ Hungry in Hungary

Night fell and after many a photo we descended Gellért Hill and walked North up the Danube towards the famous Hungarian Parliament – and it was more than impressive.  The glowing neo-Gothic building mirrored itself onto the still and serene Danube, rippled only sporadically when a tiny cruise boat crossed its reflection. Only being over 100 years old, the stunning architecture boasts both Renaissance and Baroque features, but it’s sharp peaks and tall thin windows undeniably neo-Gothic in style. Unfortunately, modern air pollution constantly attacks the porous limestone walls, so the building often requires frequent restoration. Hungry, cold and having drunk too much water, we hurried to a famous Hungarian Bistro in Pest. Highly rated and with extremely affordable prices, this place is a must-visit to sample traditional, home-cooked Hungarian dishes. Upon entry, you almost feel as if you were in a friend’s home. The exceptionally friendly staff greet you upon entry and show you to your table, a waitress, who could very well be your best friend, tending to you throughout your time. And on …

Moodapest

When snow turns to slush, it’s a sad sad day. The drizzly weather and dark grey fog overcast Budapest, the misery of the dirty snow, turned icy mess, proliferated. We spent the afternoon walking from Corvin to the Great Market Hall, winding up and down roads and alleys, arriving at a wall of fog at Liberty bridge; the white clouds engulfed the bridge, leaving just a little in sight for cars and trams to drive on to. Still unfamiliar with the city, it was impossible to tell where we were from looking out across the river – there was nothing to be seen, just a wall of white swallowing the landscape. My hair dampened as I took photos, walking up and down the river around the bridge entrance to catch the light of Budapest’s yellow trams snaking through the fog. Clearly, about thirty others had the same idea, photographers and iPhone-bearers swarming around the area promptly. Night began to fall and the spookiness of the fog grew, and we dawdled away down to Vaci street …

Goodroots Food Festival

Where can you find a celebration of tasty wholesome food, wellness and hundreds of food crazed Londoners queuing for free samples? Goodroots Festival 2016 at MC Motors, Dalston. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds this Saturday to welcome the one day food and wellness festival just up the road from Dalston Junction overground, hosting an array of food and produce stalls and talks from well known cooks and bloggers from home and overseas. Of course I was there for the sole intention to meet the beautiful minds behind the best food blog around, Green Kitchen Stories, but I did get fan-girly when Deliciously Ella and her husband came within a 2 meter radius of me. From flavoured water kefir, to ethically sourced sushi, to chocolate avocado mousse and t-shirts bearing yoga and avocado slogans, you can easily walk around the festival 5+ times and gawk at everything like you’ve never seen it before – as you can tell I arrived too early to hear Green Kitchen Stories talk so I had to kill …

Rainy Spells and Fernandez & Wells

Misty dreary days with spluttering skies seem the idyllic setting for train journeys, a perfect time to simply rest your head against the rattling train window, let your mind wander and watch the countryside roll by. These days I grow ever fonder of what should be a long and bleak journey on a slow train, which is remarkably lighter on my budget yet heavier on my time. Spring’s rainy yet warming embrace has painted the fields of England golden yellow and vibrant green, speckled with grazing lambs, calfs and ponies. Today the sky seeps down towards the earth in an enveloping fog and unannounced sporadic drizzle, but alas, it’s not such a sullen scene, perhaps refreshing, alternate, melancholic (in the best of ways). Looking downwards the carriage I glance towards fellow train goers, heads bobbing in sync with the sways and bumps of the train rattling over the tracks. A serenity fills the air. An unexpected bout of design interviews brings me back to London, and I have to peel myself away from the comfort of …