The late Anthony Bourdain once said, “It’s beautiful here. They said that of course, that Budapest is beautiful. But it is in fact almost ludicrously beautiful.” He was referring to the city that is surprising and delicious in its acceptance of old school charm coupled with new age tourism. As I am packing a suitcase, contemplating the average 25 degrees it should be while I am in Hungary, I am hoping this city will once again open itself to me like it did the last time I was there. This time, I am also heading to Szeged, the third largest city in Hungary. The name is said to originate from the Hungarian word for corner (szeg), and this could be a reference to the Tisza river that is located in the city. So, watch this space for the images from this tour and if you are out and about, don't forget the sunscreen!
When the weather is in a decidedly good mood then nothing can go wrong. Case in point, this remarkable lunch in Cape Town where the sun decided it deserved centre stage and rightly so. After trudging through a very cold winter, this drastic, but needed, weather change was definitely a god-send and on a blisteringly hot afternoon we decided to venture into Constantia and have lunch at a restaurant that has become a firm favourite. But, like all things that find a special place in my culinary heart, I am always on the edge of my seat. Will the food live up to the last meal? Will the creations of Glen Williams continue to surprise and confirm the almost cult-status Foxcroft already has?
And it did...and more so. I was so happy with the clever taste combinations, followed by the effortless style in the presentation. Foxcroft provides a wonderful city (no sounds of the city) escape while not being too remote. Add to this mix a tasty vegetarian (or plant-based as the restaurant likes to say) option, interesting events dealing with wine and a professional service team and you had me at hello. I will definitely be back for more.
All photographs appear courtesy of Jürgen Küssow
All photographs appear courtesy of Jürgen Küssow
Offering possibly one of the best views of the famous Table Mountain, De Grendel Wine Estate is in a definite front seat when it comes to ambience. And, if you have the time, then you can definitely go overboard by having a meal with this view...and don't even get me started on the clever decor that incorporates glass, family portraits from the estate and astounding porcelain of the very talented Mervyn Gers.
Ian Bergh is out to impress with fresh produce and plating that makes me smile. I love it when attention is paid to every single detail. Don't get me wrong. Jamie Oliver is great for home cooking, but his plating makes my heart sink. I love the detail some chefs take when serving food and at De Grendel, it is on another level.
We had a fantastic ostrich starter and our mains included beef and fish so fresh, it was the star of the plate. Sadly, the service lacked any interest and maybe it was the other table of businessmen that demanded more attention from our waiter, but either way, it was sad that this soured the mood of what could have been a truly memorable first time meal at De Grendel.
As it is called Lucky Bao, we started off with the dish it is named after. To those who have not tried a bao, it is basically a steamed bun that is then filled with anything from pork to crispy chicken, to soft crab, to tofu. We tried the ramen fried chicken and it was amazing. We skipped the noodles and broth section of the menu and moved on to the 'specialities' which included a Wagyu burger, chicken wings smeared with Gochujang, honey and sesame, seared tuna sandwiches and beef gyoza (which was amazing). We also ordered some nori dusted fries...which was a great side!
With a very cool, dark and yet cozy atmosphere, Lucky Bao manages to bring the food into focus. Sadly, the staff are less attentive, explaining very little of the menu and a long wait meant we had to drink a bit more beer and wine than usual, but blessed with a gorgeous summer evening, this was not exactly torture.
After a long hiatus, Dashing George is back on track with the best from a long, long trip to the sunny climes of South Africa, where the above shot was captured on the famous West Coast. So, with Lana Del Rey singing in the backgound, let's open the chapter from this amazing trip.
We tried the full range here...oyster starters, a creamy soup, raw tuna, chicken, risotto and a wonderful trio of desserts that made me want to sit a bit longer...which we did. After all, with a bottle of MCC accompanying the meal, how could you not?
I cannot believe it is already mid February. 2019 seems to have a mind of its own, dominating and fast, a year that has seen a lot of change and one that is sure to bring a lot more with it. And so, as every year around this time, I am prepping and packing for a trip that feels like second nature, really. It is time to bid the fair Cape hello and soak up some much-needed vitamin D. Yes, it is a relief to escape the winter in Switzerland, but we are having such mild weather that even the plants seem confused, bursting into colour a little too early. So, onwards and forwards. I am almost packed and ready to go...see you soon, Cape Town!
Photograph credit: greyhound.co.za
2019 has started and this is the first post of the year...and I feel a wave of guilt for neglecting my baby. It has been a crazy two months and I must apologise for the lack of posts. As you can see by the picture above, I am off on a trip to my favourite city in the world. It is long overdue (like this post) and I am looking forward to it (despite the average 4 degree temperature for the next few days...but, I have a coat...I have gloves...I have a scarf...). So, all the restaurants are booked (thank you, Jürgen) and the routes are being planned. I hope the rain will be kind to me and that I make it through the city in one piece. It is always a pleasure being in this city because it has the ability to present itself anew as if I am visiting it for the first time...so, I am saying 'bonne chance' to myself and the city of light!
photograph credit: paris.ticketbar.eu