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.

 

Bluebelles, Golbourne Road

So if you keep walking north on Portobello Road, you eventually leave Notting Hill and make it up to Ladbroke Grove, which includes the very cute area of Golbourne Road, which has a mix of local Portuguese and Moroccan restaurants and vintage clothing shops, along with some trendier delis and curated lifestyle stores.

Bluebelles is one of the later, sitting on Portobello Road, and has a super cute brunch menu, along with about ten side dishes that help you to mix and match your meal to perfection!

We were lucky enough to snag a table outside ( we thought), until they kept adding tables every time someone else showed up… turns out they are quite lax on Sundays and can spread out when the bike shop next door is closed!

First came the coffees… Andre is not very impressed with his Americano, which has little bits floating in it…

But the food was much better… he got the Original Stack, which was like a full English on a stick: sausage, egg, portobello mushroom and crispy bacon, all on a rosti. It was actually pretty delicious.

I was also thrilled, I got the green breakfast, which was two poached eggs, guacamole (looks surprisingly white but tasted like any other guac), mixed leaves, and feta, all topping a slice of sourdough bread.

The food is MUCH better than that first coffee, to the point that we were going to order much more of it… so this will be a repeat brunch place, especially knowing that we will probably be able to get a table outside on a nice day!

Snaps and Rye, Goldbourne Road, Notting Hill

Brunch up on Goldbourne Road on a Sunday, as the weather was warm and the sun was out! We headed up to Goldbourne Road, thinking we’d head back to our favourite Bluebelles, but decided to try Snaps and Rye for lunch, instead. The tables outside aren’t in the sun until around 2pm, but it was warm enough that we could still sit outside, and the people-watching on Goldbourne is great!

We started with some tea and coffee… Snaps and Rye is one of the only cafes that gives you extra water with your tea, so that you can use the teabag more than once! And check out the cute pottery…

Andre went for the smorgasbord, a variety of different toasts… there’s the guacamole with tomato pico de gallo on top, the hake pate with smoked salmon, gherkins and capers on top, the herring topped with pickled red onions, and the sliced beef, also topped with gherkins and red pickled onions. I tasted both middle ones and they were both delicious!

We shared a beetroot and goat cheese salad… check out how nicely it is presented, with walnuts, pickled mushrooms (ya, sounds a bit odd but was good) and seeds.

As my main, I went for the Danish rarebit, which came with a number of different sides, but was a delicious cheese and grain mustard on toast, with a side of tomato ketchup (Bloody Viking ketchup, as they call it) and hog’s pudding (a grainy, very fresh-tasting sausage). Not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was delicious. 

Happily fed, we sat and watched people (and dogs, there are LOTS of dogs on Goldbourne Road) and enjoyed as the sun slowly crept onto the terrace…

(Quick note: Snaps and Rye does a prix fixe dinner every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, with a 4 course meal. I’ve only been once, but it was full of fresh, delicious ingredients… I’d really recommend this as well!)

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…

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!

MK Bar and Grill, Kensington

A beautiful Saturday and it’s supposed to be the warmest weekend of the year so far… on the way to Duke of York Square market, we stop a the MK Bar and Grill (previously the Mediterranean Kitchen) which has a long outdoor terrace along the side of the building.

I went for the grilled salmon and quinoa salad, that promised much more broccoli and avocado than it had… sprinkled with pumpkin seeds… but it was pretty good, and the salmon was very nicely grilled.

Andre went for the cob salad, which looked pretty gross to me… but after tasting it, the chicken was (also) perfectly grilled, bacon that didn’t look very cooked but was, and some boring-looking lettuce… the salad was perfectly seasoned and delicious. A much better choice than mine!

And what a fun time we had people watching, as everyone was out and about on the first day of spring…

The Greek Larder, King’s Cross

A sunny day that feels like the start to spring… after a very funny escape room scenario (where you have to figure out the clues to break out… we made it out with 32 seconds to spare!), we headed to King’s Cross to check out the restaurants there. There are several really good outposts of the Grain Store, Caravan, and Dishoom… but the ridiculous thing? None of their tables outside were available for lunch, only for drinks! WTF. So we walked on…

And found The Greek Larder nearby. And I’m so glad that we did. They have 4-5 tables outside and were happy to serve us food there… and some great food it was!

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Andre had the sfougato of Lesvos, basically an omelette baked with courgette and lettuce, and a spring onion, watercress and galotiri (soft) cheese on top. It was interesting, the baked omelette was fluffier than a regular one and tasted a bit like a frittata, but eggier.

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But it was really my dish that excelled… I had been a bit jealous when Andre ordered the sfogato and felt like I should branch out and try something else, but I definitely won for best meal. The below was a flat bread topped with elephant beans (kind of like cannellini beans but larger), graviera cheese gratted, slices of pastourma sausage, avocado, tomato sauce, tahini dressing, all topped with two fried eggs.  And it was so good. The beans in the sauce, standalone, would have made a great meal, so add in some sliced charcuterie, avocado and egg, and you’re onto a very decadent dish!

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Being healthy, we had some greens on the side, horta, which apparently are dandelion greens… mixed with some other Italian greens and topped with feta and some dried herbs, this was also delicious. I’m pretty sure they were cooked with tons of garlic, and it made them really good.

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The inside of the restaurant is quite interesting, it’s very long and thin, and goes back quite a way… the front almost looks like a diner, whereas the back sells all sorts of Greek products, making it feel more homey. And the dinner menu? Also very promising… I can’t wait to head back and have another meal here!