Le Bistrot, Aix en Provence, France

The weekend that we were in Aix, the city was overflowing with an extra several thousand people, there either to perform in the Half Ironman or cheer someone on. To top it off, many of the restaurants were for some reason closed on the Saturday night (?!). We got on Trip Advisor and were able to book something that looked okay… and were pleasantly surprised!

List of things not to be missed in Aix en Provence! And the menu… very cool, as each dish has a fun name… usually a French expression. Less funny was listening to the poor waiter explain the menu in English to some American girls, three times…

Finally, I went for the pate de campagne, served with a huge vat of cornichons, and Andre had the foie gras. Then, I had the special of the day, the curried monkfish with rice, while he had the beef.  All delicious, in a very charming setting… and a huge cheese trolley for the end of the meal – I would definitely come back and try some of their other dishes!

Yooji’s, Zurich

A day trip to Zurich, the weather was gorgeous as I walked around…

I found Yoobi’s as I walked along a long road with many restaurants, each that had their outdoor terrace and was welcoming the lunch crowd… I decided that between Greek, Italian, pizza, sushi, Thai or Swiss German food, sushi was really what sounded best to me.

The menu is quite easy to use, and you write down what you want to order… I got several pieces of sashimi and a “platter” that included a summer roll, a few sushi roll pieces, and a few nigiri.

The restaurant has its own soy sauce, either the regular kind, or a yuzu-flavoured kind, depending on what tickles your fancy…  And finally, my meal: the five pieces of sashimi, two tuna, two salmon and a yellowtail, were all super fresh. I had two pieces of salmon nigiri (fine), two pieces of summer roll (a spicy prawn summer roll, something I’d never had before, that was delicious), and four pieces of roll sushi: two of a salmon flower roll, which was raw salmon served with chives and some flowers on top (very tasty!) and two of a Caesar spring roll, served with pieces of what I thought was cooked tuna, but I guess were cooked chicken, in a sauce.

Overall, the perfect amount of food, and look at those colours! This was a great selection/value for lunch.

 

Lorne, Victoria

A night out with my friend Leigh, and we went to Lorne, a restaurant that I had pointed out had just opened near her… and she had since tried four times!

The restaurant itself is cosy, narrow but quite deep, giving it a private, comfortable feeling – and the decoration can only be described as the same as what you find on the walls at Michael’s in New York, kind of South-of-France contemporary.

She was raving about the pea puree (served with small shrimps, watercress, radish, and preserved lemon). The puree had a thicker consistency, making it more like a thick custard than puree, with a very clear pea taste.. it was delicious.

Then, i went for the hake with courgette, black olives, and cannellini beans. The courgettes (partially grilled, partially stewed with the beans) were very good, and the hake was perfectly cooked… unfortunately, it was a Monday, and the fish had a slightly fishy taste to it. But the rest of the dish was very good and blended together quite well.

So will I make it back here again? Definitely with Leigh. And definitely to try a few of the other dishes.

Barrio Alto Hotel, Lisbon

The next morning, we headed over to our favourite rooftop hotel for brunch… The Barrio Alto Hotel in Chiado has a direct lift up to a secluded rooftop, where you can order a meal or drink. It has a fantastic view of Chiado, the river, and the other side of Lisbon over the bridge.

We went for a rather simple breakfast, with the idea being that we’d grab lunch soon… I went for the cut fruit, which included some papaya, pineapple and orange. Andre went for the bread basket, which was plentiful and came with a bunch of jams… which watch quite enough for the two of us! We sat for a while, reading a copy of Le Monde that we’d found in our hotel lobby, and enjoyed the view…

Caviar House and Prunier, Heathrow Terminal 3

After messing up my flight dates and only realizing when trying to check my bag in at Gatwick, I managed to push that flight back a few months and to book a different flight leaving from Heathrow that night… Urgh.

I had been looking forward to a chilled out dinner in Lisbon with Andre that night, but instead was at the airport… so I made the most of it. I went for the special, which included two types of gravlax (regular and dill-marinated), a salmon tartare (mixed with some nice relish), king prawns, small pink shrimps with Rose Marie sauce, an oyster, and some potato salad, covered with a spoon-full of caviar.

If I had had any misgivings about eating seafood at the airport, they were instantly squashed… this was a delicious plate and good pick-me-up before I prepared to board my flight to Lisbon!

Chuc’s, Notting Hill

Sunday morning brunch… I have mentioned Chuc’s in Mayfair, which is tiny and very old-world Italian feeling… they also opened a branch in Notting Hill, on Westbourne Grove.

This Chuc’s has a larger retail store (with £250 swimming shorts for men) and a restaurant downstairs, that has fewer than 10 tables inside, as well as a few outside, in their heavenly garden.

Since the weather has been so good, it’s been impossible to get a table there by just showing up, so as I wake up on Sunday morning, I book in advance so that we can get a table outside 🙂

It’s pretty quiet when we show up at noon (and gets busier around 1pm) and all feels very civilised… they bring us some radishes and salt to nibble on while we look through the menu.

The brunch menu is pretty simple, but they start serving lunch dishes (anything from sea bass to chicken paillard to pasta) quite early. So we went for a mix…

The cob salad, which is prepared in such a pretty way… The waitress suggested we try it with smoked salmon instead of chicken, and it was a great change to a classic!

Then, the steak tartare, which was served Italian-style, marinated in olive oil and maybe a bit of balsamic, it didn’t taste completely raw… but was good nonetheless.

And my omelette, with ham and gruyere… it doesn’t look like anything special, but it was light and fluffy, and crammed with lots of cheese and ham!

I forgot to take pictures of our salad and tomato sides… but they were equally as good! A light, fresh meal in the shade of the Chuc’s parasols, in their private garden… what a civilised way of staring the day!

Les Mandarines, Megeve, France

The last ski weekend of the season, we headed to Megeve… where a few other friends were also spending the weekend! The snow wasn’t great, as the weather was warm, so we ended up skiing one day out of three!

That day, we found our way to Les Mandarines, and stopped for little lunch… and saw that everyone was wearing black cowboy hats. After ten minutes of sitting in the sun, we figured out why… it’s that warm out! … so we followed suit!

After several days of gluttony already behind us, we decided to go straight for main courses. I had a fantastic veal chop, perfectly cooked (still tender and almost pink inside, with a luscious layer of fat on the edge), a little salad, and some grain mustard.

Oh, and that in the corner? The puree. It was good, but a bit chunky, which meant that I didn’t inhale the whole thing… it was probably for the best, as I would have, had it been smoother and mixed with more cream.. haha.

Andre had a really nice-looking piece of beef, but as is typical when my food is so good, I didn’t even taste it.

After this, we stayed out on their terrace for another hour, snoozing in the sun. NO guilt, as the snow was so slushy, we enjoyed the sunny afternoon and finally skied down!