Little Lamb Hotpot – China Town, London, UK

This is the real Hot Pot that I grew up knowing and loving, not the recent Lancashire Hot Pot I have recently been introduced to that is essentially a stew (why is it not just called a stew? This is beyond me!).

The Chinese Hot Pot is a bubbling pot in the middle of the table with delicious soups (usually two or more) and you have plates of thinly sliced beef, prawns, tofu, vegetables, etc which you put into the bubbling soups to cook. It is a fun, social meal but also extremely delicious, fresh, healthy and homely.

We recently tried Little lamb in China Town which does a £22 per person for whatever you want on the menu – you just cannot waste anything. So we got king prawns, thinly sliced beef, tofu, calamari, vegetables, noodles, fish balls and we ordered two broth soups – one stock broth and one spicy broth. And the cooking commenced.

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Stock broth and spicy Sichuan soup
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Buffet for our hot pot
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Hot pot bubbling away

This was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy evening. The service was great and they didn’t rush us at all so it felt really nice being tucked up in the restaurant with the hot bubbling soup in front of us.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d2326439-Reviews-Little_Lamb-London_England.html

https://www.zomato.com/london/little-lamb-chinatown/menu

https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/little-lamb

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Xi’an Impression – Arsenal, London, UK

You would never have thought to go into this little restaurant across the street from the Arsenal Football Stadium. It is a little shabby and could definitely be mistaken from an average Westernised Chinese take out, but do not be mistaken, the food is amazing! It is real authentic Chinese street from from the Shan Xi region in China.

It is kind of BYOB except there is a corkage charge of £5 so it is not really, but at least there is that option.

If you are a fan of the traditional Chinese chewy noodles then you are in for an absolute treat! Definitely order the dumplings and the handmade noodles (I prefer the ones without the beef). I would also recommend the cucumbers that are ice cold in a watery peanut sauce which is a really refreshing addition to the meal.

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Pork Dumplings
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Pork Dumplings
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Cucumber in Peanut Sauce
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Cucumber is Peanut Sauce
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Sweet Potato Noodles in Spicy Sour Soup
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Sweet Potato Noodles in Spicy Sour Soup
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The Famous Handmade Noodles with Beef
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Handmade Noodles with Beef

http://xianimpression.co.uk

Wong Kei – China Town, London, UK

I know I have blogged about Wong Kei before – but a) that was quite some time ago and b) it is a London China Town institution so deserves the extra attention.

Anyone who studied in London for university knows Wong Kei and it has definitely helped many a poor, struggling London university student in its time.

My favourite thing about Wong Kei is that it is a no frills, well priced, quick and easy restaurant that serves good Chinese food. It genuinely reminds me of the small corner rice and noodle cafes in Hong Kong where the waiters and chefs are shouting at each other and throwing menus at people and slamming food on the tables and it has quite a busy, lively vibe where the waiters are even too busy to have the time to be polite to anyone – which can be comical.

If you have been to the very local cafes in Hong Kong with no English menus and roasted duck and pork hanging in the windows and what we would perceive as rude staff – then you definitely know what I mean. Obviously they do have English menus in Wong Kei but it is pretty much the same kind of vibe.

Wong Kei is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it.

The key to an enjoyable meal in Wong Kei is to a) appreciate the very low prices b) take the rude waiters light-heartedly c) get the right things on the menu.

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Sweet and Sour Pork
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Roasted Pork Belly and Char Siu on Rice

I love Chinese roast meats on rice. This is very typical to find on most street corners in Hong Kong. This is very well priced here. I always go for the belly pork and bbq pork (Char Siu) on rice but I have a friend who love the duck and belly pork as well.

I do also love the Chinese vegetable Choi Sum. It is similar to tenderstem broccoli but instead of the flowery green top, it has long luscious dark green leaves. I order this with oyster sauce.

Then there are the noodle soups – the won ton soup being their most famous. Obviously it isn’t as silky as the ones on the street stalls in Hong Kong but it is still good and there is always something homely about having a simple broth based noodle soup.

The other options are the usual Western-Chinese dishes such a fried rice, duck pancakes, sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce, deep fried spare ribs, etc – which are all good here.

I would recommend just ordering off the menu instead of getting any sort of set menu because then you can just get whatever you like and it is cheap enough to do this.

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Choi Sum with Oyster Sauce

And there you have it. Wong Kei. A London China Town Institution.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d720949-Reviews-Wong_Kei-London_England.html

Kanada-Ya – Soho, London, UK

It was the beginning of the end of summer in London. “In London? What summer?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry I am with you there, but this is when it started feeling cold enough to put tights and a trench coat on and a light scarf in my bag just in case. It was drizzly outside and all we wanted was a big bowl of bone broth noodle soup (to be honest all we really wanted was to be inside the house all day, stay in pajamas and watch telly but we were productive humans and went to work and then met for dinner afterwards).

We decided on Kanada-ya which my friend recommended was really good for ramen, so off to Piccadilly Circus we went and into the tiny little ramen bar and luckily we got a table downstairs in the warmth.

We genuinely wanted everything on the menu and as it was Friday, we thought we would treat ourselves with a portion of Karaage, a portion of Chashu Don, and a Tsuna Onigiri to share and then a bowl of ramen each! Yes, this was a lot of food in hindsight, but at the time we just wanted it all!

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Karaage
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Karaage
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Chasiu Don
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Tsuna Onigiri

The karaage (or fried chicken bites) were absolutely delicious especially when dipped in the side sauce of yuzu mayo – this was my favourite of the . The pork on the Chasiu Don literally fell apart because it was so soft and along with the sauce and the rice, it was a marriage made in heaven. The Onigiri was probably my least favourite but only because the other two dishes were both bursting with great flavours and it was very difficult to compete with those flavours.

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The Vegetarian Ramen
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The Truffle Ramen
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The Spicy Yuzu Ramen

I had the spicy yuzu ramen and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the broth was. It was extremely creamy from all the hours of bone broth creating. I did try the vegetarian ramen broth and it tasted very much like a creamy mushroom soup. The ramen was all very good. I would say it was disappointing that none of the ramen options on the menu came with the famous ramen egg that has been soaked in soy sauce and we all had to order this as an extra to our dishes – this felt a little bit wrong as traditionally there really should have been an egg in there or at least a ramen option with an egg on the menu.

Overall the food was great! It is a nice, warm, little noodle bar. The service was very quick and the food was reasonably priced.

Definitely worth a try!

http://www.kanada-ya.com/piccadilly

Bar Taperia Loli – Alcossebra, Spain

My favourite restaurant in Alcossebra this trip was Loli’s which is a little restaurant on the port. It was really busy in there and there was a real buzz to the place the night we went. The tables were mostly full and it smelt mouth wateringly good.

It is owned by a German man and a Spanish women so they specialise in both German and Spanish dishes.

We decided on the hot stone steak, a jacket potato, fries and a mixed salad to share.

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Mixed Salad

The mixed salad in Alcossebre always seems to come with tuna on top, which can be nice if you are having a very light meal, but can be extra filling if you are already having quite a big meal.

The steak came out raw with hot stones on the side so we could cook them ourselves. I loved the fun of cooking it all and also it meant that we could eat the steak however we liked. I like mine pretty rare but if you wanted it well done, you just need to leave it on the stone for a little longer. They gave us very good cuts of meat that were not chewy at all.

It sounds odd but the fun of “playing with food” made the meal even more enjoyable.

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MEAT!
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Hot stones for the steaks
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about to get cooking
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Steak’s cooking on the hot stone

This was my favourite meal of the trip! Fun, lively, and good quality food.

https://www.taperia-loli.com/

Los Bodegueros – Old Town, Ibiza, Spain

The Old Town in Ibiza is beautifully quaint and rich in history. The town is built in and around the castle walls. All the streets are made of cobblestones and the little passages that are full of shops and restaurants are great to explore.

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The streets of Old Town Ibiza

We went to Los Bodegueros just on the outskirts of the Old Town because it was easy for us to leave our suitcases here before we went to the airport and then grab a cab from the main road.

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The restaurant – The Ants are promoting a party in Ushuaia called Ants

There were four of us and we ordered lots of different tapas plates as we were about to get a flight home back to London and it would be ages until we would have a meal again.

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Prawns Pil Pil

The Prawns Pil Pil came still bubbling away in the little plate. They weren’t overcooked though even though they seems to still be cooking away in the plate.

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Patatas Bravas
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Tapas sharing platter

The tapas platter we chose came with a potato and seafood salad, chorizo sausages, calamari and seafood croquettes. We of course also ordered patatas bravas and padron peppers because what is tapas without these two dishes?

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Padron Peppers
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The Jamon Platter

And finally we also ordered the ham platter which came with a selection of different ham slices, bread and the tomato sauce to spread onto the bread slices.

Everything was absolutely delicious (I genuinely cannot fault anything), the service was great, and we were so glad they were open and serving food even though it was only 5pm.

A fabulous meal to end our amazing trip to Ibiza.

http://www.restaurantelosbodeguerosibiza.es/es/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g664638-d2645861-Reviews-Los_Bodegueros-Ibiza_Town_Ibiza_Balearic_Islands.html

Sunset Ashram – Cala Comte, Ibiza, Spain

I have to be honest, the idea of Ibiza never appealed to me. In my mind, Ibiza was very different to how I experienced it.

I thought that I needed to go once to see what it was all about and I was surprised at how beautiful the island actually is, how good the food is and how much fun I had.

One place I found particularly beautiful is Cala Comte, a secluded beach with the clearest water. When I swam in the sea I could see schools of large fish swimming around me and it was amazing.

There are only two restaurants in this part of the island and we decided to go one of the restaurants called Sunset Ashram for dinner.

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We sat down, ordered our drinks and food and then witnessed the most beautiful sunset ever! It was absolutely stunning and we all sat facing it as the sun went down. Once the sun fully set and it went down below the ocean ahead of us, the whole beach burst into applause, wolf whistles and cheering. It was quite a heart warming moment to be a part of to be honest.

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The food was really well cooked and presented – I just wish there was a bit more of it because it was so delicious! It was a little pricier than the normal restaurant in Spain but it was worth it for the beach, sunset, and views.

I had the tuna steak which was cooked to perfection. Perfectly seared on the outside and pink on the inside with some gorgeous flavours that didn’t take away from the natural flavours of the fish.

We stayed well into the evening and shared a dessert platter between us all. It was very relaxed and we were not rushed out at all.

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Steak
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Curry
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Tuna
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Tuna
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Dessert Platter
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Dessert Platter

Perfect setting, perfect dinner, perfect sunset.

http://www.sunsetashram.com/en/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g673348-d2316915-Reviews-Sunset_Ashram-Sant_Josep_de_Sa_Talaia_Ibiza_Balearic_Islands.html