The Third Space gym, Soho

Wanting a healthy lunch for my desk on a day that I was going to spend the whole day stuck in the office, I picked up something on my way in that morning.

The Third Space gym has a cafe where you can pick up a number of different meals (this one is the chicken souvlaki), as well as veggie and protein snacks (including a small pot filled with strips of steak and nothing else, for a quick protein boost!)

The chicken souvlaki was good, the veggies had a nice mix of tastes, especially with the feta and olives. The chicken itself had a really nice spice rub on it, there wasn’t a huge serving of chicken but it tasted really nice… a bit spicy, so the tzaziki sauce provided on the side was a nice touch as well! There are a number of other lunch options, either labelled “lean,” “performance,” “muscle gain,” or “vegan,” which gives you a good choice depending on your mood and needs!

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Machi-ya, St James

Another local restaurant that opened up a few months ago, this one touting itself as a Japanese comfort food restaurant. I’d take it!

The place is small and cosy, so you instantly feel at home. I went on my own, as I just wanted to get out of the office and no one was around to join…

I started off with the chicken balls or tsukune, the minced chicken skewers served with a soy/egg yolk mix to dip them in, and a shimichi pepper spice on the side, should I want them to be spicy. They were squidy feeling in my mouth and tasted okay, but to be honest, I think that the best thing about them was the extras, ie, the egg yolk, soy, and spice.

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But with this, I ordered one of the specials, the sea bass which was served with a  miso jalapeno sauce, and this was MUCH better. First of all, it was a very generous serving of fish for ┬ú9, and the fish was cooked perfectly. The miso jalapeno sauce gave it a nice extra kick, as did some of the grilled lime juice that I squeezed on it, but even on its own, the fish would have been quite nice.

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Shared with a market salad (and a sesame dressing), this was a perfect lunch, cosy and good. The specials board had a number of different other specials, including other types of grilled fish and roast pumpkin – you can bet that I’ll be back for those!

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Constanzer Wirthaus, Constance, Germany

After our very rainy day in the Austrian Alps, we decided to spend the next day on Lake Constance, as the weather looked like it would be much better there… and it was!

On our way, we drove through Switzerland, through beautiful, rolling fields and charming Swiss houses. On the way, we found a pumpkin sale on the side of the road…

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As we drove in Konstanz, we wanted to find a restaurant overlooking the river to have lunch… and the Warthaus, which claimed to be a large beer hall/ restaurant, was such a restaurant, with good reviews to boot!

So we parked ourselves and got a table outside….

We started with a mixed salad. I love mixed salads in Switzerland and Austria, with all sorts of different veggies mixed in and a creamy dressing… It turns out they’re exactly the same in Germany ­čÖé

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Andre went for the weiner schnitzel, served with potato salad… and once again, it was spot on.

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I went a bit more exotic and went for the ox-tail with onions and peppers in a tangy sauce and herbed butter… with roasted potatoes in a delicious crust. How was it? Okay. The best part was the deliciously roast potatoes, that tasted as they had been roasted several times.. crunchy on the outside and really soft inside… topped with that herb butter… mmm. The rest of the dish was fine.

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Then, we napped by the lake as our feathered friends walked by…

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What a beautiful day on the lake, after much chillier weather in Austria earlier in the weekend!

Mesnerst├╝ble Cafe-Restaurant, Schwartenberg, Austria

As a birthday weekend surprise, Andre took me to the Austrian Alps for a weekend of hiking and culinary stops along the way… unfortunately, it chucked down rain the entire time, so it was too dangerous to do the culinary hikes.

So, we took the advice of the hotel owner and headed to Schwartenberg, where she promised a good time as the Austrain cowboys brought the cows down from the mountains for the winter. And it was a fun time, watching the cowboys in their short leiderhosen and hats, herding the cows.

Here is Andre making friends… One of the cooler things about the architecture in this area is the tiles on the houses… they are small, scalloped tiles instead of square ones… what a cool pattern!

And our dessert at the local cafe, a berry tarte that was delicious. For lunch itself, we shared a large mixed salad, then had a Weiner schnitzel (when in Rome!) and a creamy stew of local wild mushrooms with dumplings as main dishes. Both were very good!

A very cosy cafe for a rainy Saturday afternoon… it seemed like the whole town was there, either eating, having some of their fancy, cream-topped coffees, desserts, or large glasses of beer!

Rifugio Blitz, Craveggia, Piemonte, Italy

A weekend in the Italian mountains, visiting some old friends in the most BEAUTIFUL setting. 45 minutes from Lake Maggiore, we are in for a treat! After a day on the lake on Saturday, we took it easy on Sunday, and had lunch at a local mountain restaurant.

We started off with the local charcuterie, which included salamis, coppa, prosciutto, and lardo… my favourite! Alongside this, some grilled aubergine (that didn’t have tons of taste) and a very nice bowl of white beans with celery which was pretty good.

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Then, as a main, we ordered one of each of the meats on the menu and a side of polenta for everyone. Check out that polenta, it looks like huge scoops of ice cream!

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And the meats… ┬áThere was a sliced pork in a brown sauce, a minced veal ragu, a veal in a citrusy, orange sauce (this was my favourite, and the┬áone at the bottom of the picture, served with the slice of orange), and a beef dish, with a heavier red sauce. All good with the polenta, but the only standout was the veal with orange!

For dessert, fresh blueberries with whipped cream and an espresso. Apart from being the only vegetables or fruit I’d had all weekend (!!) this was the perfect end to the meal!

After this, a hike up to the top of the mountain to see the other side, along with grasshopper catching along the way… what a gorgeous afternoon!

Pomona, Notting Hill

A recent local favourite is a restaurant called Pomona in Notting Hill. We’ve been for dinner a few times to this California themed restaurant, which serves a large menu of tacos, salads, and mains. It’s our go-to now when we want to go out for dinner, but want to stay on the healthy side.

But here’s the thing. Pomona has outdoor seating in front of the restaurant, cafe-style, as well as a terrace in the back… both very charming… and every time that we’ve come here, the place has been practically empty, we can’t figure it out! The food is fresh and good (and healthy-ish), and you can sit outside, which is hard to find in London… so why are more people not coming here?

Last night, we came last minute and each had relatively healthy dishes… Andre went for the tuna poke starter (delicious, its slathered with sesame oil and really nice)

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and the Cobb salad (which he almost always gets… with added grilled prawns).

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I got the soft-shell crab, which was served with a really yummy green sauce… I think with some cumin and coriander in it… and an especially juicy and not over-fried crab. Yum.

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And I got the Caesar salad, with grilled prawns added on… nicely coated salad with homemade croutons (check them out, they’re larger than your typical ones and slightly softer… and filled with butter).

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Other things we’ve tried here have been the hanger steak – all of their meat comes from the Ginger Pig, one of the best butchers in London, and this steak was no exception. The steak tartare is also very nice, as are the tacos – tiny, you order them in 2’s or 3’s, either the king prawn or my favourites, usually served with some roast corn. And finally… the smaller salads, the lentils with squid, the artichoke and parmesan, or the shaved Brussel sprouts (sadly no longer on the menu) in a nut oil with parmesan… all are delicious.

This place is a hidden gem, get over here and try it out!

Hippie Fish, Mykonos

Back to one our favourite low-key places for lunch in Mykonos, and half of the restaurant had been rented out for a party!! Oh well…

But we got a table anyway and went for a light lunch… starting with the Mykonian salad, this version with lettuce, local cured ham, tomatoes, efta, and dried figs. Perfectly sweet with the figs and savoury with the ham…

Then, the sea urchin… Andre thought that it had a slightly weird taste, so I happily gobbled the whole thing up ­čÖé


And the roast octopus… slightly dried out, but good… sprinkled with thyme, it had a pretty good flavour.

Overall? Good to be back at Hippie Fish!

We went back another night for dinner, and I got my favourite pasta dish, the pappardelle with cream cognac sauce and king crab legs… this is the most decadent dish on the menu, and delicious!