Tag: Where

Lobster Bar

Lobster Bar in Itaewon just celebrated their 3 year anniversary, it truly is insane how quickly time flies these days. It seems like only last summer that they opened up in their first location on the hill, and had hordes of hungry patrons queuing up to get in on the new lobster roll trend.  To celebrate this momentous occasion and keep things fresh they have added some new items to the menu. They kindly invited me along to give them a try, and I was powerless to resist, I mean who says no to free lobster right?

One trend that isn’t going away any time soon is burgers, so putting a new lobster burger on the menu was a very savvy idea. The lobster burger (17,900), certainly looks very impressive, and will look very attractive on your Instagram feed. After taking about 18,000 pictures of it, I finally got to lock my lips around the mighty mound. The burger itself pretty tasty, and it remained firm despite the tower of ingredients topping it.  While I enjoyed the lobster and cheeseburger combo, I wast sure about the addition of the jalapeno mayo as I think it took away from the flavour of the lobster. There are plans to add a few different versions to the menu in the next few weeks, so I think they could come up with a few interesting options.

As well as the burger, we also tried the Spicy Bang Bang Shrimp (9,500). I was really happy to see this on the menu, as Bang Bang chicken is a dish I always order from the Chinese takeaway back home, so was pleased to see it here in Korea. We both really enjoyed this dish. The crispy battered shrimp were large and juicy and the spicy mayo sauce was very moreish. The shrimp were on top of a pile of rice and lettuce, so you could easily eat this as a main dish to yourself, or share it as a starter.

We also got to try the new Fried Crab Popcorn (9,000). This was a giant paper cone filled with tiny deep fried crabs. They made the perfect dish to snack on while we were enjoying our drinks, especially when dipped into the accompanying chili mayo. I thought they made a an interesting addition to the menu as they differ from the spicy Korean style.

To drink I of course had to order my favourite cocktail, the Tropical Berry Punch (15,000). This drink is all kinds of blackcurranty fruity goodness and is a highly addictive tropical treat. I also think it has grown in size since my last visit too, which is never a bad thing.  TFB was rather boring and stuck with a pint of Great White (9,000), however their drinks menu is actually pretty varied and has quite a selection including rather cheap bottles of spirits if you are dining with a large group

Overall we had a great dinner, and it is always nice to return to an old favourite. The menu has been kept fresh and and it is clear that Lobster Bar really cares about their food and keeping their customers coming back. I’m glad to see that they are expanding their range of seafood, while still keeping their most popular items like the lobster sandwiches on the menu. If you are hankering for some shellfish, then this is the place to get it.

Lobster Bar is located at 56-13 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) come out of exit 4 and walk straight, keep going until you reach Mcdonalds. Lobster Bar is on the 3rd floor just above Starbucks. For more information you can call them on 070-8225-3963 or check out facebook page.

Tongin Market

Street markets can found all over Seoul, but one of my favourites is Tongin Market. The small arcade style market is packed to the rafters with all kinds of wonderful traditional Korean street foods. The market is a short walk away from Gyeongbuk Palace, so its the ideal place to stop for lunch if you have visitors. It is also located in the cutest neighbourhood full of adorable and quirky one off stores, and my favourite British bakery Scoff.

One of the most charming things about this market, is that you can exchange 5,000 won for a collection of old coins and a lunch box. You can then use these coins to buy foods to fill your lunchbox. Most items cost 1-2 coins and there is a huge variety of different foods. Almost all of the different stalls offer this service. I am sure kids in particular would enjoy choosing their own foods in exchange for the coins, although even kidults like myself can enjoy it too.

We went to the market at 11am when it was just opening, so everything was extra fresh and just made, so we were able to get some incredible shots, soon after it opened the place began filling up with lunch box customers. One of the things yo have to try at Tongin market is their special crispy fried ddeokbokki, it comes in two ways, spicy and non spicy. Being a girl who is not into her heat I went for the milder sweet option.

There is also an incredible array of banchan style dishes, they have almost everything you could imagine and more. One of my favourites is the very simple fried egg veggies. There are numerous varieties, and with the coin system you can just pick out your favourites. There is also a lot of fried chicken on the stalls so if you haven’t had chance to try Korean fried chicken yet (the other KFC) then this is a great place to try it. I’m particularly fond of the Nyangnyeom sweet and spicy version.

If you are planning to eat your lunch box at the market, there is a seating area in the middle of the market, just above where you buy the lunchbox. If not just tell one of the stores you want your food to go and they will wrap it up for you, and will even give you chopsticks.

Tongin Market is located at 18 Jahamun-ro 15-gil, Cheongunhyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gyeongbukgeong (line 3) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight for about 5 minutes. You will see the entrance to Tongin Market on your left hand side underneath the awning. For more information you can visit the Tongin Market website. The lunchbox coin exchange is open from 11am-4pm.

C27

I’m not sure if you will believe this, but this year I didn’t have a birthday cake. A tragic tale I know, but it ends very well because my very wonderful friend Lizzy offered to cheer me up and take me the land of cake, a magical place in Sinsa that offers 27 different kinds of cheesecake! There is nothing like a dazzling array of wondrous desserts to put a smile upon your face, and forget your troubles.

The dessert cafe is set over four floors, a true tower of cake filled goodness. The main cafe is on the first, making it easy for you to order your drinks and desserts, then you go and find yourself a seat and wait for your order. While every floor of the cafe is different, being two rather lazy ladies, we settled for the ultra comfy sofa nook in the back of the first floor. However there are dozens of cute selfie spaces  strewn throughout, just check out this mannequin and beauty mirror combo, obligatory selfie taking girls included.

Life is full of hard decisions, and none so hard as choosing which of the 27 different cheesecake we were to try. Since my companion was the president of the cake club and much more experienced than I when it comes to desserts, I left the decision up to her. It was for the best as I was getting carried away, if I had had my way i would have tried them all. A dream that one day I hope to fulfil. On the drinks side they offer the usual assortment of coffees and a teas, plus a couple of yogurty type smoothie things and wine. Nothing that overshadows the cakes though.

In the end we narrowed it down to three. The Earl Grey, the Dutch Apple and the Chocolate Cherry Cheese all 8,800 per slice. All the cheesecakes are the same price which I think is a nice touch, and allows you to make a choice based on flavour rather than price. While all the cheesecakes were orgasmicly good, I’d have to give the Earl Grey my star prize. I never would have chosen this one but it was rather magical. The cheesecake itself was sweet and creamy and incredibly delicious. It was topped with a very light fluffy creamy topping, and had a tea flavoured sponge at the bottom. The Earl Grey flavour wasn’t particularly strong, but there was enough to give you a hint of flavour as the cheesecake melted in the mouth. Each of the plates comes decorated with a trio of grated cheeses, not sure if it really works but it is a playful idea, and I’m always willing to eat a bit of cheese.

Our second choice was the Dutch Apple (8,800). This one was topped with a very crunchy and sweet and crumbly biscuit topping, this made for a nice contrast of textures against the silkiness of the cheesecake itself. We also loved the chunks of fruit strewn throughout giving a fruity pop now and then. This one didn’t have a sponge bottom like the others, it had more of a pastry bottom instead of the sponge, which made it a little more like an apple pie.

Lastly we ordered The Chocolate Cherry Cheese (8,800), which was probably the most decadent of the three we tried. This one had a chocolate sponge bottom, and was topped with a chocolate cheesecake which was studded with little bits of cherry, then a layer of fresh cream, and finished with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.  This one was he sweetest of the bunch and very chocolatey, the chunks of cherry were nice when we found them but I would have liked a lot more. If you are a chocolate lover then this one is likely to be a winner, though there were at least half a dozen other chocolate versions too.

Overall you couldn’t find a better place for cheesecake. The array of flavours was incredible and the cheesecake was excellent.  The cheesecakes are baked but have a similar silkier smoothness to the non baked ones that are more popular in the UK, so I especially enjoyed them. The cafe itself is quite stylish and has plenty of room and is a nice place to while away an afternoon while enjoying some good desserts.This is the main branch of  C27 but there are several other locations, including a new one opening soon in Hongdae.

C27 is located at 545-12 Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa station (line 3) and come out exit 8. Walk straight and take the fourth left (the one after Garosugil). Walk straight down this road, you will see C27 about four blocks down on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-544-9901 or check out their website.

Plant Cafe & Kitchen

As it is summer and we’re all showing an ungodly amount of flesh at the moment, I thought it might behove me to share somewhere that is a little bit more on the healthy side. So today, I will talk about the amazingness that is Plant, the vegan cafe and kitchen. Plant has been a stalwart of the vegan and vegetarian community for years, however their home was a tiny little place in a back alley location that you would never come across unless you were looking for it. Just recently they have moved to much bigger premises, which can fit a lot more hungry vegans. The old location is still there, and is now being used a Plant bakery.

The new plant restaurant is located in the old Left Coast location on the furniture street in Itaewon. They have really transformed the space and made it feel very homely with their plants and cute cushions while at the same time making it feel light airy and slightly tropical. I was getting a real Bali kind of vibe going on. The menu like the new location has grown too, and has some great new additions to it.

We started off with a drink each. I went for the Mango Coconut Smoothie (7,500), this was divine and a taste of tropical bliss, though I found the addition of coconut milk made it a touch on the pricey side. My fellow pals got a Kombucha (6,500), and the Power Green Smoothie (7,000)  which is made with soy milk. I know that many people struggle in Seoul to find coffees and drinks that are made with dairy free milk, and at Plant they have options with both soy milk and almond milk, which should be music to lactose intolerant ears.

My favourite dish of the day was the fabulous BBQ Jackfruit Tacos (12,000). These are the vegan version of pulled pork and while I have had them before elsewhere, these ones were by far the best I have ever had. The shreds of Jackfruit were charred on the outside and tossed in a tangy BBQ sauce. With the cabbage slaw and salsa and chips on the side they were very filling. I’m pretty sure that if no one mentioned it to you, you would have no idea they are meat free. Unfortunately they are only available on Tuesdays, so you will have to plan your visit accordingly if you want to try them.

For my lunch I ordered the Sesame Peanut Soba Bowl (11,000). This was a wooden bowl filled with soba noodles, sesame-peanut satay sauce, fried tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green salad, and pickled slices of carrot and radish. The peanut sauce was very morish and I found the tofu was a nice change from chicken while the noodles were very filling. A good hearty lunch for sure.

Lastly we got the Plant Cheeseburger (12,500). There are three kinds of burger on the menu, but this one is my friends favourite. This one comes with the Plant veggie patty, vegan cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, pickled cabbage, sriracha aioli, and yellow mustard. I tried a bite and have to agree it was really lovely, the bun in particular was very good. This one might be even better than the vegan burgers they serve at Huggers. It also comes with a nice helping of fries on the side, because lets face it, who wants a burger without fries?

Overall we had a very enjoyable lunch. The tacos in particular were really something special, so I’ll certainly  be visiting again on a Tuesday. The new space has a great vibe and is very relaxing, and I’m sure absolute haven for the vegans of Seoul. Though we didn’t partake this time they also have some incredible vegan cakes and their previous location is now a full time vegan bakery.

Plant Cafe & Kitchen is located at 117 Bogwang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (Line 6) and walk out of exit 4, turn back on yourself and take the road on your left (the street where Taco Bell is) and walk straight. Keep walking on the same side you’re on for about 150 meters, Plant is on the right on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-749-1981 or check out their facebook page. They are open Mon – Thurs 11am – 9pm, Fri + Sat 11am-10pm, and closed every Sunday.

Itaewon the Burger Gangnam

It took me a long time and many meals to find a burger that I love in this city, and I finally found it at Itaewon the burger. It is by far and away my favourite burger joint in Seoul, and it is clear that I am not the only one who thinks so as they have just expanded and opened a new location in Gangnam. Knowing what a fan I am of their food, they invited me and a couple of my bestest friends to come and give the the new menu items a try.  The new place is huge and located on the second floor of a building in Seolleung, it’s bigger, brighter, and more colourful than the sister store. I always find it difficult to find good places to eat when I am in this part of town, so I am sure people are out rejoicing in the streets about this new addition to the neighbourhood.

The big speciality of this new location are these amazing freakshakes, which are sadly not available in Itaewon. So far there are three on the menu: The signature shake being the Swag the Party (13,900), a peanut butter shake topped with half a sweet shop. The glass is encrusted with MnMs, and topped with marshmallows, wafers, peanut butter cups, caramel sauce and a giant ass lollipop. This one is definitely for the sweet toothed among us and a total sugar rush, pro tip, you can get a salted version which is even yummier. The shake itself was lovely and if you are sharing between a few of you, I’m sure you’ll have fun doling out the candy between you.

As well as the Swag Party there is also the Toasted Marshmallow Mount (10,900), a chocolate and hazelnut milkshake which was topped with toasted marshmallows, hazelnuts, cookies, wafers and peanut butter cups. This one was my favourite, as I adore hazelnut, it was kind of like a giant Ferrero Rocher. Last up is the healthiest shake, the Avocado and Banana (10,900). This was a mix of vanilla, banana, and avocado. This one I wasn’t quite so sure about. I often enjoy a bit of avocado in my green smoothies as I like the creaminess but as a flavour all by itself I wasn’t convinced. My two dining companions liked it more than me though, and the slices of fresh avocado must make it worth about a billion dollars by itself.

The burger menu is the same as at the Itaewon location. My favourite of all the ones I have tried is the Big Double Burger (13,900). It consists of 2 x 140g beef burgers, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion,pickles, and a healthy slathering of mayo . It has been a couple of months since I last had one but after retasting it, I was glad to find that it lived up to all my expectations. When I bit into it, it got a loud and resounding Mmm. It was the favourite of both of my dining companions too.  The burgers here are flame grilled, which is probably what makes them so great in my eyes, and gives them a healthy edge on the competition.

Since my last review the Avocaddict (13,900) has been added to the menu. This is one serious burger, and I have tried it on a couple of occasions over the past few months. It is absolutely monstrous and you will have one hell of a time trying to eat it, just check out my Instagram video if you don’t believe me. This really is an avocado lovers dream, and as you can see they aren’t chintzy with the avocado. Avocado and bacon is always the perfect combination, throw it on a burger and it is party time. While it is jolly hard to eat, it is blooming tasty, the beef and avocado make such a good match. They also serve a version in a lettuce wrap instead of bread for anyone who wants a lighter option.

The other new item we got to try was the Bacon Cheese Fries (6,900). I have never been a fan of the fake cheese-like paste that Americans seem to be fond of. But these were awesome, not sure if it was the bacon, the fake cheese or a combination. They were just uber rich and salty, and we polished them off pretty quickly. The crunchy chunks of bacon were very plentiful, it was such a great sharing dish.

By the time the three of us has polished off this mountain of food, we were fit to bursting, which is always a good sign in my book. If you keep eating even though you are full it always means the food is good. The new restaurant is a great addition down in Gangnam. Other than Firebell there really aren’t a whole bunch of western burgers in this area, so hopefully it will prove to be very popular with the locals. The space is great, and I’m told reasonably quiet at the moment on the weekends because they mainly cater to the office crowds. So if you trying to get away from the madness that is Itaewon on the weekend then this is your place.

Itaewon the Burger Gangnam is located at 33, Samseong-ro 85-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Seolleung station (line 2), and come out of exit 1.Walk straight then take the third right. Walk along this street then take the second left. You will see Itaewon the burger a little way down on the right hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-565-8940 or check out their facebook page. They are open Mon – Sat from 11:30am – 9:30pm with a break from 3pm-5pm.

Scoff Bakehouse

I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but for the past three years I have known about the existence of a British bakery, and have never been to visit it. Its located up in the depths of Jogno and not easily located by subway which always kinda put me off, I am a very lazy girl after all. However just recently they opened up a second branch which is still in Jongno, but a more reasonable walk from Gyeongbukgung station. It  is located in the most adorable area by Tongin-dong that is really worth a visit by itself. After hearing about the new location I knew I needed to go give it a try, but it wasn’t until some friends of ours brought some of the fantastic Scoff goodies to a BBQ that I hosted that I was compelled to go at the next opportunity.

Scoff is located in the most gorgeous cute and quaint neighbourhood, I have written about it before as it is home to my favourite croquette place Nalari, and Ellay’s Icecream (which is sadly no longer there as its moved to a different hood). The Bakehouse is set over several floors, with the main bakery on the ground, and then cafe seating up above, the most heavenly aroma wafted down the street as we approached and my mouth was watering before I could even feast my eyes upon the array of baked delights.

The bakehouse itself is very modern with a rustic twist. The whole place is filled with reminders of my very British childhood, from the old wooden art desk draws, to the old teapots and china chickens for keeping eggs in. The owner Jonathan told me that every time his parents come to visit they bring his another car-boot sale treasure to cement him to his heritage, and decorate the cafe. I was very charmed by it all.

The first thing that has to be talked about are the Sausage Rolls (6,000) which are so orgasmic we bought another two straight after devouring the first one. This really is the gold standard of sausage rolls as far as I’m concerned, I’m not even sure if I have had a better one back home. We make them ourselves quite often, but they cannot even compete with these bad boys. The sausage itself is short and stout, kind of chode like in appearance, but wrapped around the well but simply seasoned pork is a duvet of thick and and golden pastry. The layers in it are awesome, some of which cling on to the meat with all their might. I’ve always though good pastry has layers you can peel off and enjoy just by themselves. This was very filling, one was plenty to fill me up, so get one to take home for later, you wont regret it.

Now we have talked about the amazingness that is the sausage roll, we can talk about the cakes. The brownies are very popular and after sampling several I can see why, we loved the simplicity of the Scoff Brownie (4,000), but to me the stand out was the Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brownie (5,500). I am not one for foreign objects in my brownie unless it’s more chocolate, or an occasional nut, but the tart combination of the raspberries and the creamy swirl, was heavenly. The gooey fudgey texture of the brownie itself was enhanced by the pop and sweet tingle of fruit, and I almost found myself longing for them.

The Raspberry and Almond Tart (4,500), also must be mentioned, as it is kind of like an unofficial Bakewell Tart. The pastry bottom was perfectly crisp, the spongy middle was soft,moist and punctuated by more of those fabulous raspberries. My own mother made this regularly during my childhood, but I was never all that partial to it until now. Another popular item for Brits I’m sure are the Hot Cross Buns (3,000). The sticky glazed buns were perfectly spiced and sumptuously soft. It might not be Easter but I just couldn’t say no.

Being a cafe, they have an array of drinks for you to enjoy while having your cake and eating it too. I stuck with my usual Ice Vanilla Latte (5,000), while TFB went for their Scoff Lemonade (5,500). This was exceptionally good, nice and sour with a tickle of sweetness at the end. They also have a few fruity variations of it which also sounded delicious. I found the drink prices to be very reasonable and cheaper than most chain stores, especially considering they have a captive audience and could charge a lot more.

Overall I was thrilled with Scoff and am kicking myself for not going sooner. They have an amazing array of baked goodies that can be enjoyed by both Brits and non Brits alike. For those who are looking for delights that cant be found anywhere else in Seoul like sausage rolls, hot cross buns, Chelsea buns, carrot cake, lemon drizzle, scones, and the best brownies ever you need to plan a trip to Nuha-dong immediately if not sooner, this place is not to be missed.

Scoff is located at 90-2 Cheongunhyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gyeongbokgung Station (line 3). Come out of exit 2 and walk straight for 3-4 blocks until you reach Tongin Market, Its an adorable place filled with lots of traditional foods and is worth visiting by itself. Walk through then then exit the other side, keep walking straight down the road almost opposite and then take the first left, you will see Scoff just up ahead. For more information you can call them on 070-7761-1739 or check out their Instagram page. Scoff Bakehouse is open Tue-Sunday from 10am-7:30pm but I’d advise you to go earlier in the day to avoid disappointment. 

10 Must Eats in Hong Kong

If you have been following my foodie adventures, you’ll know that I took an amazing trip to Borneo a few weeks ago, but I also found time to live it up in Hong Kong! Hong Kong is one of my favourite food capitals in the entire world. It just has everything I could want and more, namely Chinese and British food. This wondrous city is a pure treasure trove of delicious goodies.  For anyone who is travelling there and looking for some damn delicious things to eat then this list should help guide you.

1. Char Siu Pork Bun – Tim Ho wan is renowned for their fantastic char siu pork buns, probably because they are one of the worlds cheapest Michelin starred foods (18HKD for 3). I never miss an opportunity to eat them so we put them top of the list of things to try. We arrived on bank holiday Monday and the queue to get a table was absolutely insane, luckily as seasoned eaters at this place we knew we could order a take out order which was ready in less than 10 minutes. The IFC Mall where we got ours has plenty of places to sit outside so grab your order to go and have yourself a picnic.

2. Wonton Noodles – There nothing like a good bowl of noodle soup and Maks in Central is a great place to get one. We tried the shrimp wanton noodle soup and the fried noodles topped with pork in a slightly sweet and spicy bbq sauce, they were so good I wanted to lick the bowl clean, and cheap as hell too (around 60HKD) for a quick and delicious lunch.

3. Xiao Long Bao – Obviously dim sum is a must in Hong Kong, but my favourite of all the different dumplings in the world are Xiao Long Bao (aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings). Some of the best are found at Crystal Jade. And although they are traditionally from Shanghai, Hong Kong has some pretty good ones too. I’m sure there are better ones out there but I have always preferred Crystal Jade over Din Tai Fung. We ordered a couple portions of the original which were filled with the most delicious flavourful soup. There are plenty of other dishes to try on the menu too.

4.Char Siu – I already covered char siu pork buns but you really need to have it as a main course too. In Central there are dozens of restaurants with meat in the windows all with Michelin stars offering lunch plates for around $60HKD a piece which include a fabulous Hong Kong lemon ice tea. I love that tea so much I nearly gave it a place on its own. The melt in the mouth meat is typically served with rice or noodles and some bok choi, and if you are lucky a bowl of soup. Don’t be afraid if they have no menus in English on the outside, they will almost always have one inside.

5. Egg Tart -These little eggy custard tarts can be found in bakeries all over the city and cost next to nothing (8HKD). We ate a variety of different ones including a green tea and chocolate variety, though it’s best to stick with the classic. Be warned though they are incredibly addictive so make sure you get yourself a couple.

6. Champagne Brunch – If there is one thing that Hong Kong knows how to do well, it’s a champagne brunch. Virtually every restaurant in the city offers up a free flow package from as little 200HKD (25,000 KRW) for free flow wine, cocktails and champagne. It’s not called Sunday Funday for nothing, right? We enjoyed an extra special one at 2 Michelin starred restaurant Duddells to celebrate my birthday. Ours cost 750HKD per person which included unlimited dim dim sum, Chinese food, champagne and cocktails on their fabulous roof top terrace. But there are hundreds of other place to try throughout the city.

7. Roast Goose – Roast goose can be found hanging in the windows of many a meat shop, but the golden and crispiest goose in the city is found at Kam’s Roast Goose in Wan Chai. The place is exceedingly popular thanks to its Michelin star. We went for lunch and were able to get a set including goose over rice, a bowl of soup, a side dish and delicious and refreshing lemon ice tea for 75HKD which is about 10,000 won. One of the cheapest Michelin starred lunches ever! They also have a variety of different roast meats on the menu, the char siu came a very close second.

8. Egg Waffle – I guess Hong Kongers really love eggs in their desserts. You’ve tried the egg tart, now it is time to try the egg waffle. These little things are the absolute cutest. I stumbled across an adorable one when walking around Wan Chai, but I am told that other much more pimped out versions filled with ice cream can be found elsewhere in the city like at Oddies in Central.

9. Sweet & Sour Pork – By far and away one of my absolute favourite dishes in the words. In fact if I was on death row and I was having my last meal, this would be on my menu for damn sure. I love the lurid orange sweet and sour sauce, and the crispy chunks of battered meat, served with a pile of egg fried rice and I am pretty much in heaven. I didn’t get to eat nearly as much of this dish than I was planning but this one came from 2 starred Duddells, so I certainly got the cream of the crop.

10. British Food – Hong Kong has a huge population of Brits making it a great place to get some good old British fare, I mean they have proper M&S Food Halls!  So what better place to get yourself a roast dinner than Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. We indulged in their fabulous lamb & beef roast, which came with all you can eat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg, and gravy for 350 HKD. This really was epic, it was even better than my mum’s(sorry Mum), I was so happy. We also added an all you can drink element to the meal where we supped on free flow champagne,  and Bloody Mary’s which were some of the best I have ever had.

Hilton Hotel – Kota Kinabalu

If you have been reading this blog regularly and following me on Instagram and YouTube then you’ll be well aware that I have been living it up In Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. While we enjoyed a sumptuous stay at the beautiful Rasa Ria Resort, we also enjoyed a few days in the city. We were lucky enough to be offered a stay at the brand spanking new Hilton Hotel. This place is so new you can still smell the paint, it has only been open for just a few short months but is already one of the hottest hotels in town.

The team at the Hilton hooked us up with the most fabulous one bedroom suite. It was awesome, this place was even bigger than my apartment back in Seoul. There was a gigantic bed, double sink bathroom with a bath and a shower, dressing room, living room with two TV’s, office, dining room, and a guest bathroom. Like seriously, it kinda made me wish we had friends to invite over and show off to. had there been more of the two of us it would have been a great spot to host a party.

After the most relaxing night sleeping in our incredibly big King sized bed, we headed down to try the breakfast. Although I do enjoy the elegance of a private breakfast, we decided to have breakfast in the main restaurant Urban Kitchen instead of the club lounge, as my greedy self just couldn’t resist seeing what was on offer at the breakfast buffet. I have eaten at a hell of a lot of hotel buffets and this one was pretty epic. There was a killer baked goods section with everything you could want and more, including sprinkled, pink, Homer Simpson style donuts! There were also fresh fruits, juices and smoothies, cereal, yogurt, deli meats, cheese and salads, a western breakfast hot style buffet which included eggs to order, as well as an Asian hot section which is where I spent most of my time. Nothing makes me happier than eating spring rolls, fried noodles, and curry for breakfast. Honestly it was kind of amazing how many different dishes were there, I can’t imagine ever getting bored. I also loved the fact that they included local dishes within the menu too, it was nice to see another sota station, clearly these fresh bowls of noodle soup are the go to breakfast in Borneo.

One of the hotels best features is the fabulous roof top pool. The pool is surrounded by lovely comfy sun beds for you to laze the day away on. There are also tonnes of sumptuous sofas and day beds in the shade for those who burn easily (I’m looking at you TFB). As well as the beautiful pool, the rooftop has a pretty incredible view,  in fact it was so hard to peel ourselves away for lunch we ended up ordering a couple of burgers from the restaurant and staying put. Food and drinks delivered to my daybed, that really is living the dream as far as I’m concerned. As well as the pool, the hotel also boasts a big ass gym and sauna. Not that I would ever use it for anything other than picking up free bottles of water, but I appreciate having it there.

On our first night we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Rooftop Bar & Grill. We were pretty knackered from all the travelling we had done, so decided to get dinner in the hotel.  The menu has a very Australian feel about it with lots of surf and turf like options. I decided to try Sabah Green Tailed Lobster (98MYR) which was served with buttered mushrooms, mixed salad, fired courgette flowers and pea puree. I never turn down lobster, when given the chance to eat it, and I really loved the way it was served with pureed peas. It was like an uber posh fish and chips. TFB true to form got himself a big ass steak. The 350g Black Angus (220MYR) if I’m not mistaken. The steak was served with proper fat chips, which I have longed for them ever since. Our dinner ended with a chocolate brownie with popping candy and celebrity sighting (sort of). At the next table was Dereck of The Holidaze, another travel blogger and perpetual nomad who filled us in on all his Borneo adventures. What a night!

As we were staying in a one bed suite we had access to the exclusive Executive Club lounge. As an executive business woman who does important executive business it is always nice to have a special place to do that. The open plan kitchen is stocked with free drinks and snacks for you to enjoy until your heart is content, however the party really gets started between 5pm-7pm as they offer free cocktails and canapes too. It’s a great way to unwind after a hard day of eating and lying by the pool. It was not my first time enjoying this kind of service but boy did we get our money worth (not that we paid, but you get the idea). I relaxed over Moscow Mules while my beloved enjoyed a refreshing beer or six. There was also a well stocked pre-dinner dining section. The food was different each night but some of the most memorable items were dumplings, curry, fried rice and noodles, as well as a dazzling array of mini cakes and desserts. You could easily skip dinner and fill up here if you liked, though as a diligent and hard working food blogger, I would never skip a meal.

Overall I can’t recommend this hotel enough, if you are looking for a luxurious stay in the city that wont break the bank then this is it. The location is fabulous (next door to the famous Welcome Seafood restaurant), and it’s close to the airport if you have an early or late flight. If you have the funds then I would definitely recommend upgrading to the club level, especially if you eat and drink as much as we do.  Rooms start at 400 MYR per night. For more information or to book a room please visit the hotel website.

Ferry Roasters

If there is one thing that Seoul has no shortage of, it is coffee shops. Seoulites absolutely adore coffee and seem to spend an awful lot of time hanging out in their favourite cafes. So it is no surprise that the city is practically bursting with dozens of cute and quirky places to get a caffeine fix. And before I set off on my travels, I found the most charming one just next to my house that I couldn’t resist sharing with you.

The boat themed coffee shop is conveniently located opposite the fabulous Cre8 Cookies, making it the perfect place to grab a drink after picking up some baked goods, however the nautical theme is not the only specialty, they also serve the world’s most delightful donut topped coffees, yes donut topped coffee! You can have your donut and drink it too. The menu is quite small but I tried a couple of their specialty drinks along with a dozen of their marvelous mini donuts. I placed my order and went up to their fabulous roof top to enjoy the glorious weather that we were having. Though if you don’t like the sun, they have a more covered outdoor space on the main floor, or inside seating.

After about 20 minutes my order finally showed up, and thankfully it was worth the wait. The first thing I tried was the Salted Caramel Latte (6,900), I’m usually a vanilla latte kinda a girl, but the melted marshmallow topping on this coffee was too much to resist. I was at first concerned that the coffee would be too sweet for my liking however it was far saltier than sweet and mixed with the strong coffee it was actually quite tasty. The frothy melted mashmallows added a hint of sweetness and it was actually quite refreshing. So far so good.

My second coffee, yes I was all alone and couldn’t decide what to get so thought I’d treat myself to two instead, was the Tube Latte (6,500). This is the delightful little Homer Simpson donut topped coffee. You can have this served hot or cold, and in this weather over ice seemed very logical. This one was not at all sweet, I’m guessing that’s why there is a donut on top. It was incredibly precious and the coffee was strong, but I need my latte a touch sweeter than this so would ask for some vanilla syrup next time. It was also on the small side, so I’m glad I had two.

It being a weekend and all, I figured I would treat myself to a dozen their adorable mini donuts. There are two different flavours, cinnamon sugar, and basil parmesan. I decided to try both and got a half order of each (7,500). Donuts are a rare find in this city, at least outside of the big chains. These were made there and then on the spot, which accounted for my 20 minute wait. I loved having a mix of sweet and savoury, it is the best of both worlds. The cinnamon sugar were soft and fluffy in the middle while the savoury basil parmesan were addictively good and probably my favourites of the day, whoever thought of putting parmesan in a donut is a genius!

Overall I thought this pace was fab and I will probably come again to hang out on the roof top and grab some donuts. It is not the cheapest coffee in the neighbourhood but if you are looking for something a bit different or a cute place to meet friends than this is it.

Ferry Roasters is located at 225-22 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt. After you pass the Happy Store keep an eye out for an alleyway on the right hand side and you will see Ferry Roasters on your left, just past Cre8 Cookies. For more information you can call them on 02-6015-2022. They are open Tuesday – Sunday 12:30pm -9pm.

Seoul’s Best Burger

Move over Fashion week, it is time for Seoul’s most important event, American Burger Week! Well technically it’s burger fortnight. From April 14th –  28th, 13 of Seoul’s burger restaurants will be participating in the special event which is being hosted by the US Beef Council. The restaurants involved are Gony’s, Gilbert’s Burger & Fries, NY B&B, The Melting Pot, Devils door, Rye Post, Meat & Bun, Burger B, Say cheese, Itaewon the Burger, Kinders, Firebell, and Fingertips. I’m told that all the restaurants in question use American beef and will be running promotions and giveaways for the two weeks. Now I  haven’t been to all of the restaurants in question,  but I have been to a fair few, some I was in love with, some not so much. So as it’s burger week and all, I thought I would use this opportunity to list my favourite places in Seoul to get a burger.

1. Itaewon the Burger – This baby while still quite new is absolutely top of my list, number one because the burgers are flame grilled hunks of deliciousness but also because it’s in my neigbourhood. There are two burgers that I love here. The Big Double Burger (12,900) which includes two meat patties, bacon and cheese, or the Avocadict burger (13,800), which includes a mountain of avocado, a beef patty, cheese, bacon, pickles, special sauce, lettuce and tomato. The prize for number one probably has to go to the Big Double, as the Avocadict although delicious fails at being a burger slightly by being so impossible to eat.

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2. NY B&B – This place is my Gangnam go to. Again this place is fairly new, but they have really came up with some awesome homemade burgers. The Wasabi Burger (11,500) is probably my favourite. This delight is topped with Pepper Jack cheese, grilled onion, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi mayo. As much as I love wasabi I was first a little skeptical about this meaty treat but it has ended up being my favourite on their menu. The menu is pretty large, so there is something for everyone. Special mentions for the Once in a Bleu Moon and the Bubba Gump which were both pretty good too.

3. Gony’s – Gony’s is a new comer to me and I was kinda torn between this one and Gilbert for third place but I decided to give Gony’s the edge because they also serve a mean chicken burger and that is pretty hard thing to find in Seoul. On the beef front the Bacon Cheeseburger (9,800) is pure perfection and everything you are looking for in a good old fashioned burger.

4. Gilbert’s Burgers & Fries – Gilbert’s always serves a good burger and they have quite a few locations too, making it the most accessible on the list. My favourite burger on their menu is the 5oz Gilbert (10,500). This one is topped with American cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce, bacon, fried egg, and a homemade sauce. As you can see from above the egg yolk oozes out of the side of the burger which really gets my motor running and adds an extra richness to the burger.

5. WinK – Last place on this list goes to WinK who have been making some really solid burgers for the past year. I’m kinda torn when it comes to choosing my favourite though. I adore The Mega Burger (14,000), which has everything but the kitchen sink on it but it really works. Inside the buttered bun is a 150g whole beef patty, pulled pork, several kinds of cheese, egg, avocado, lettuce onions, tomato, and mayo. However I’m also partial to the brand new Mushroom & Emmental burger (11,500), which I tried on my last brunch visit. So I guess it depends on whether you like mushrooms or not.

Do you agree or disagree? Have I missed out your favourite? Please comment below with your thoughts about Seoul’s best burger.  For more details about Korea Burger Week  check out their website. For full reviews and directions of the restaurants please click the links above.