Bistrotheque – Cambridge Heath, London

One of my all time favourite Sunday Brunch and Steak Tartare restaurants is Bistrotheque in Cambridge Health. It is a hidden away gem in a quiet street of housing, no signs outside and you just walk in and upstairs into a bright and sunny dining room, with large bouquets of flowers, a pianist on a grand piano, cocktail making at the bar and good buzz in the air.

I always get the same thing when I go: a Steak Tartare main (which is mixed with herbs, sauces, capers, etc already, then put neatly on the plate with an egg yolk balancing on the top, and comes with chips and a gem lettuce salad) and a Bloody Mary (which are also really good here).

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Oysters
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The gorgeous steak tartare
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The steak tartare
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The gem leaf salad
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Casual brunch time photo
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Bloody Mary
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Pianist

Great vibe, great food, great service, great Bloody Mary – all very important elements to a Sunday Brunch.

http://www.bistrotheque.com/

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The Ideal Itinerary for a Long Weekend in Barcelona

I always look on blogs when I am travelling to a new city or country to have a good understanding of how my trip should be structured, how to get around (what transport), what to expect, what to eat, etc. So, I have decided to add my Ideal Barcelona Itinerary to the array of travel itineraries out in the internet.

 

DAY 1

I would definitely suggest doing the Sandeman’s New Europe Free Walking Tour on your first day. You will come across places during the tour that you might want to visit properly another day.

Our guide was Brendan Grant, an Irishman and artist who moved to Barcelona many years ago. He is such a great story teller and you can tell how passionate he is about the history of the city. I honestly listened in on everything he explained to us because he was so great at capturing his audience and I learned so much!

I definitely recommend doing the walking tour as it is a lot of fun and you do get to discover the history of Barcelona that doesn’t just involve Gaudi.

http://www.neweuropetours.eu/barcelona/en/home

 

Afterwards, make sure to have a big lunch and then give yourself a bit of break and head to the beach or back to your hotel to relax and then head out to the Tapas Tour for the evening (we also booked this through the New Europe Tours Company).

I say have a big lunch because this is a tour of Tapas but not necessarily a filling dinner for the evening – although it is lots of fun and very interesting. You get to learn about the history of Pinxtos, Tapas, and La Bombas – but also about drinking Spanish cider, wine and Sangria.

 

DAY 2

On your second day go to Casa Batllo in the morning. You can easily buy tickets at the entrance will allow you to get an audio guide as well.

I have never actually had an audio guide like this before! It is interactive and as you walk around the building, into each room and you face the iPhone like screen around, it shows you how each of the rooms would have looked with all the furniture and gives you an audio description.

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Then head to La Boqueria Mercat off Las Ramblas to explore the market place and grab a bit to eat before heading off to Segrada Familia.

Make sure to buy your tickets to Sagrada Familia before hand as they give you a time slot for which you can enter.

It is massive! And still unfinished.

It has the most beautiful lighting inside. Both entrances into the temple are full so much detail so make sure to have a good look around the outside as well. You must make sure to go to the Museum part and also to go down into the Crypt where Gaudi’s tomb is – not many people know about these two areas and end up missing them both.

 

DAY 3

On your last day I would recommend going to the Park Guell. You must book this online about 2 weeks before your trip as it always get booked up.

http://www.parkguell.cat/en/buy-tickets/

Then head off to the Picasso Museum before you head to the airport and back home.

 

Where to stay?

My favourite place to stay in Barcelona is Hotel Europark which is located in the L’Eixample District. It is a great location as you are able to walk to quite a few areas but also it is right by the subway if you need to get an underground train anywhere.

The hotel is amazing service, lovely rooms, a great buffet breakfast (which includes Cava and a delicious selection of hams and cheeses), a tiny gym, a rooftop pool AND the best thing is that it is really well priced.

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http://www.hoteleuropark.com/es/

Bar Central La Boqueria – Barcelona, Spain

After walking around Mercat De La Boqueria, the famous market just off Las Ramblas, my Mum and I decided to get some lunch. There are lots of gorgeous smells around the market with various different restaurants. We chose Bar Central La Boqueria, a restaurant which is part of the market with bar stools and high tables along the side.

The seafood on ice at the front looked so fresh and the aroma from their grill was so mouthwatering that we had to just get it all. We chose octopus (Polpo), snails, and scallop and some padron peppers. The snails were a little more rich and stew-like than we had expected, but the rest was absolutely delicious and writing this makes me want to eat it all over again.

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One to check out if you are ever in the market and needing a bite to eat.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d2374383-Reviews-Bar_Central_la_Boqueria-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

Restaurante Cheriff – Barcelona, Spain

After a long 3 hour walk around the historical Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, Julia, Mike, my Mum and I decided we wanted a good Paella, so after researching the best Paella spots in Barcelona (not touristy, not a chain, not too La-Di-Da) we found a gorgeously rustic, local spot for our lunch – Restaurante Cheriff.

We ordered some pan con tomat and some Iberica ham to nibble on while we waited for our main, which we washed down with a cold Spanish white wine. The bread was gorgeously crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, which was perfect and the ham had so much earthy flavour to it.

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We decided on the squid ink paella, which was so creamy and came with mussels, and the mixed seafood paella which was a little more zesty and literally came with every seafood you could ask for.

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The food, the restaurant itself and the service were all excellent! I will definitely go back again and I definitely recommend if you are looking for a good paella spot.

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https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d997670-Reviews-Restaurante_Cheriff-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

Ciudad Condal – Barcelona, Spain

Ciudad Condal is an institution in Barcelona. It has been around for years and people line up for anything up to an hour to get a table there, but it is worth the wait!

The atmosphere is buzzing to say the least – with all the waiters in a good mood, singing loudly behind the bar and serving the tables with big laughs and cheeky jokes with the customers.

My Mum and I came together and we only waited 15 minutes before we got a table.

Our waiter was charming and we just told him roughly what we wanted and he recommended the dishes that we should get, which was perfect! He ordered very well!

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Thick Smoked Salmon Slices on Bread
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Grilled Calamari
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Prawn Pil Pil
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Fried Sardines
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Anchovies
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Crema Catalana

I would definitely recommend going Ciudad Condal and I will definitely be coming back to try some more dishes.

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ciudad-Condal/168195233218836

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d1059712-Reviews-Ciudad_Condal-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

Vinitus – Barcelona, Spain

Yes, I have written about Vinitus before! Yes, it is the same one! But it is so good, that is deserves another write up! I recently went to Barcelona with my Mum and she had never been to Barcelona before so obviously I had to take her to one of my favourite tapas restaurants there.

We sat at the bar – which is my favourite seat because you get to watch the chefs cooking away and you can point at which dish you want behind the counter. We ordered some Sangria and look around the counter to see what we felt like eating.

They have a seafood counter with fresh seafood that they bring in everyday and so we ordered lots of it! We had baby calamari, clams and prawns which were all gorgeous. We also ordered padron peppers which are my absolute favourite and some seafood salad.

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It is genuinely one of my favourite tapas spots and it is so well priced! Definitely worth a visit!

 

https://m.facebook.com/pages/Vinitus/562839933859697

Hotel Molitor Paris – Paris, France

For the last day of Sandra’s hen do we went to the Hotel Molitor Paris for a Detox Yoga Class and then enjoyed the hammam (steam room) and spa with all the Clarin’s products.

After the yoga, steam and getting ready, we went up to the roof terrace for some lunch. The views of the pool and around the hotel were so picturesque – I felt like I was in a film!

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View of the pool from the rooftop
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On the roof terrace
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The Burger
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The sausages
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The tuna steak
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The steak

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I food was simple but good quality and fresh. We all ordered something from the grill/ BBQ. I had a steak which was delicious!

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http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-7326-hotel-molitor-paris-mgallery-by-sofitel/index.shtml

https://www.facebook.com/MolitorParis/