Phi Beach and Spinnaker, Porto Cervo, Sardegna

Saturday night, out and about, we were told to head to Phi Beach for the sunset… and what a scene it was! There’s a lounge/bar area, a restaurant, and a nightclub, all outdoors, and all facing the setting sun.

The sunset was totally worth the rushing to get ready and get there in time…

Then, dinner. I went for the seafood plate, which had some grilled calamari, grilled prawns and grilled langoustine.

Giuliana went for the lobster pasta, Sara got the grilled tuna and we shared a (pretty funny looking) plate of roast vegetables.

And Alicia got the tuna tartare, which was small but substantial.

Apart from the ten minutes when the electricity went out and we all dined by candlelight (chic but worrying, as we hadn’t received our food yet and wanted to make sure it would get cooked!), it was a lovely night with delicious Sardinian seafood in a lowkey setting.

Zafferano’s, Colonna Pevero Hotel, Porto Cervo

A girl’s weekend in Sardinia! It was the first time I’d ever been, and I loved the rugged landscape of the Sardinian coast, along with the sparkling, Caribbean-clear water!

Our hotel was really nice, with six different pools sprinkled around the property. We spent the first afternoon sitting out and enjoying the sun…

… and sat more, wanting to take advantage of every hour of daylight…

We had booked dinner at the hotel that first night, at their gourmet restaurant, Zafferano. And my, was the food gourmet! We all had pastas as a main course – my loringhitas (these skinny, braided tubes) were served with burst cherry tomatoes and crab meat.

But Sara’s was even more impressive… ravioli served with mussels and a seafood puree… I just tasted one ravioli and a mussel, but it was pretty good… not as tasty as my pasta, if much better presented!

But the best part of the meal was actually the dessert. It’s rare for me to prefer dessert, but this one was exceptional! We ordered the peach tarte tatin, and were expecting a small tarte… which showed up with a lot of other bits and pieces!

The tarte is the domed-structure at the top of the picture, with pieces of fresh peach topped in the shortcake crust. This on its own would have been delicious, but alongside this, there was the lavender cream to the left of it, perfectly creamy and with little hints of lavender taste…  the macaron next to this cream was unimpressive, and probably the least-impressive bit of this dessert… but looked nice. In the middle of the picture is what looks like a bit of gel… it’s actually a square of a lemony paste, mixed in with pieces of thyme. Again, what a delicious combination. So. Good. And finally, white vanilla ice cream (the real stuff) topping the biscuit at the bottom, tasting like those cigarette cookies that you sometimes get served with your coffee.

What a dish, it was seriously impressive! The rest of the meal was good, but nothing stunning… whereas this dish really stood out!

Le Bilbouquet, New York

In New York very quickly for a few meetings, the weather was lovely, so it was a pleasure to walk around. Rockefeller Center has continued its tradition of exhibiting art in the summers, and has a ballerina by Jeff Koons.

I met my friend Craig for lunch at Le Bilbouquet, as I had never been, and we sat there watching people stroll by…

I went with his suggestion of the Cajun chicken and loved it! It came as two pretty robust chicken breasts (for once, properly, not over, cooked) in a dry-rub Cajun sauce. The accompanying fries and salad were perfect, and I even had a few spears of grilled asparagus… but the chicken was the definite winner of the lunch! I’ll definitely be back here for another serving soon.

The Onslow Arms, West Clandon, Surrey

A beautiful Saturday, so we decide to head to the countryside and do a loop in Surrey. The road along the way is tiny, at times a small winding village road, and we pass many different pubs with people sitting outside, enjoying their Sunday roasts in the sun. And finally, we pick one to sick down at as well…

And what a good choice it was! We shared the goat cheese and red onion tarte tatin to start… and it was delicious, if a bit small for two… but gave us each a taste to start with some greens!

And then the Sunday roasts, Andre went for the lamb shank, which was apparently very well cooked, not overcooked… And I got the chicken. Half a chicken, to be precise. And it was also perfectly cooked, succulent. It was served with a chicken stuffing sausage (see the square sausage bit at the upper right of the plate)… I tried one piece of this and went back to the chicken itself, which tasted a lot more natural… but there was still enough that Andre had to help me finish!

And on the side, a plate of veggies… some of Britain’s finest. All steamed, they were perfect with a bit of salt and pepper, and made the whole meal feel a bit healthier!

After a coffee, we were back on the scooter to head down to Box Hill and continue our ride!

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.