After much debate and deliberation, I find myself finally beginning the blog I’ve always had in mind of writing. For those of you that do know me you know I have (i don’t want to call it an obsession, but let’s be real it probably is) for finding the perfect restaurants and trying out recipes. I’m the type of girl to invite people round so I have an excuse to try out a new recipe that is meant for eight + people, and can justify spending the time cooking because I now have the company and a bottle of wine. I am also one of those people who scourers the internet for local food blogs and websites like trip advisor for any place I’m visiting abroad so that when I get there I know I’m trying out the best restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid believer of spontaneity and sometimes, the best food places are found that way. However, for those who do know me, you will also be aware that I am completely consumed with planning every detail of my life, and so naturally, that includes restaurants and where I want to eat.
Take my recent summer holidays. I visited Aix en Provence, Barcelona, Mykonos and most recently Mexico (the excuse being that my masters stress simply required holidays and sitting on the beach as the appropriate remedy) Naturally, in each location, the food was delicious. In Barcelona, my boyfriend and I tried a lot of good places, but two are worth mentioning:
Cal Pep: This was a small but lively restaurant nestled in between the hustle and bustle of the El Born neighbourhood. There are no reservations, and it is essentially one long bar with about 20 seats serving authentic Spanish tapas food. It is busy until late at night, and the atmosphere is full of locals sipping wine and dining casually. Mark and I ordered an abundance of food (this is pretty standard), but my favourite dishes had to be the fresh clams in parsley and white wine butter sauce and the famous tortilla de patatas. Seriously, it was to die for. It had a thick garlic aioli paste on top and morish bits of onion, chorizo and cheese that oozed in the middle. We tried to find other places that replicated that particular dish and take my word for it when I say we didn’t find anything quite like it. If you want authentic tapas, and you’re in Barcelona, go here.
Suculent: Next, suculent is slightly further away from the ‘typical’ tourist zones. It took some convincing for me to take Mark there who proceeded to tell me that I was apparently taking him to some remote ‘dodgy’ area as we left central Barcelona behind. Boy, was he wrong. Tucked away in the old city, Suculent left us pleasantly surprised. The dishes are spanish classics which have been given a modern flare and include items from ‘the sea’ and ‘the land’ as well as ‘the mountain’. The menu changes seasonally as far as I’m aware but when we were there, we ordered the duck in orange sauce and cannoli with lamb. The flavours all combined to create a perfect combination for the palate. If you want to dine like the locals do, visit it
Next, my family trip to Mykonos, Greece. I still have a list saved on my phone of all the places we were going to visit (food wise…). We had some of the best meals while we were there and (to save time and your boredom – jokes I hope not) I’ve rounded it down to my personal favourite three:
Eva’s Garden: Authentic Greek food at its best. In a touristy place like Mykonos (especially in August), it can sometimes be hard to distinguish the average restaurants from good. Eva’s Garden is a family owned restaurant decorated in the appropriate Greek style of pearly white walls and cascading green plants. Our favourite dishes were the Dolmades Avgloemono (stuffed vine leaves with mince) and the Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters)- you’ll find these dishes all over the island, but whether they are as delicious as Eva’s Garden’s is unlikely.
Hippie Fish: This is the kind of place where you order seafood, and the waiter walks away silently and comes back only to lead you to the display near the kitchen where you pick exactly what fish you want. The day’s catch laid out fresh for your eyes to see, Hippie fish’s food was fresh and of a high standard. I had been craving lobster for nearly the entire holiday, and it certainly did not disappoint. If you’re not a fan of seafood like my sister, do not be alarmed by the name! There are also meat and pasta dishes to suit all.
Ling Ling by Hakkasan: I know. You’re probably thinking. Hakkasan, that’s not something new and undiscovered. BUT, as we too uncovered ling ling has added its own special dishes which left us all salivating. My personal must try recommendations are the crispy pork belly bites and the fried dumpling platter – (duck and pumpkin, who would have thought!)
Disclaimer: as this is my first blog post written in the spontaneity of potential jobless doom I don’t have any pictures to share (fret not, they’re coming!)