London: burgers at The Fire Station, Waterloo

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I admit, I am sometimes a food snob. Not all the time, but when I go out to a restaurant, cheap or not, I want nice food.

So I am really against bad tourist trap style restaurants which London is littered with in the central areas. To be honest I thought that The Fire Station, a popular watering hole near Waterloo, was a bit like that. A central spot near one of the busiest stations in the country will be busy so long as the drinks are fine, so why would they bother about the food?!

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But, I may have to eat my hat, as I recently visited this restaurant and bar and found their burgers really good. I mean REALLY good.

The patty was nice and juicy, the bun soft but sturdy, the sauce nice and the fries too. Plus they have a great menu for children (even a three course meal including dough balls, a small burger and ice cream – I’d happily order that for myself!) and decent service even though they were rammed with customers. Thanks for proving me wrong! And thanks to my colleague for convincing me to go there with my friends.

The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8SB

 

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London: dinner at my new favourite pub!

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I’ve already told you about the lovely Sand’s End pub that I lived near for several years. They have a sister pub (and restaurant) in Chelsea, and as I suspected it to be just as good, I took my friends Maria and Daniel and their children there for dinner when they were visiting.

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And I couldn’t have found a better day to show off this cosy gem of a pub! It was absolutely freezing this Saturday and as we walked into the warmth of the pub and the saw the roaring fire and the water bowls for the dogs we felt right at home.
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All of us (apart from maybe the toddler) were cold and hungry so we quickly ordered drinks and some deliciously lemony hummus and toasted foccacia.

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Then we had a hard time choosing from the menu, and in the end decided on the burger for all of us – to avoid food envy! But the rest of the menu looked great too.

It came with lovely triple-cooked chips and had a celeriac remoulade in the burger, which was lovely, but I would have liked a little bit more sauce. Otherwise it was great; nice patty and a good brioche bun.

The Cross Keys, 1 Lawrence Street, Chelsea, London SW3 5NB

Gotland: Sylvis döttrar café on Fårö

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A real ‘must’ when visiting Fårö, the little island just north of Gotland, is a fika (coffee and cake) at Sylvis döttrar, a bakery and café on the island. My friends mentioned it like an institution; it must have been around for years, so we made sure to visit in the afternoon.

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The place was very popular with a long queue of tourists waiting to buy their baked goods, but we were not all that impressed.

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Both mother and I are keen bakers and we all found the cakes a little basic. And some slightly dry. I got a sense that the café was past its prime, living on its reputation from years ago.

A real shame, when so many people come here for fika all summer long.

Sylvis döttrar, Fårö Bukleks 1526, 624 67 Fårö, Sweden 

Malmö: lunch at the new food market

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When I was at home in Sweden for Christmas, everybody was talking about the new Saluhall (food market) that opened in Malmö in November. There used to be a food market in the centre of town when I was younger but it was redeveloped around 10 years ago. I really liked the old one, although it was more like a food court than a food market, but this new one is a good mix of both. It may lack Borough Market’s charm and diversity but I’m still really impressed by it. The space is used really well and although there aren’t that many vendors everything is there; produce, flowers and nice food. And everything is of the best quality.

My friends Malin and Emma  and I came here for lunch but next time I really want to buy groceries as well.

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The three of us had completely different lunches but ate together at a shared table upstairs. Most food stalls have seating but you can sit anywhere you find an empty table.

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I was absolutely starving (verging on hangry) and decided on a burger from Falafel & Burgers as I’d heard they were very good. And it was. it was rather greasy, but in a good way. Will definitely go back.

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Emma had a salad from her new favourite place Holy Greens. They have some really interesting flavour combinations, like this one with melon and mint.

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Malin was also starving and decided on a pizza.

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Hedvigsdal only have two pizzas on there menu (cheeky!) but apparently they’re so good one doesn’t need a bigger menu. Can’t wait to try one when I next visit. And love the fact that the pizza comes in a basket!

The food market is really nice and although not bang in the middle of town it’s a short walk away from the Central Station. It’s really buzzing here at meal times so I would suggest coming early or late to avoid queues.

Malmö Saluhall, Gibraltargatan 6, 211 18 Malmö, Sweden

Bo Drake, Soho

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Before Christmas the girls and I managed to fit in a dinner in Soho and we decided we wanted to try Bo Drake, a Korean restaurant in Soho. When we arrived, thinking we had booked a table but it was for another evening, the staff luckily managed to seat us at the communal table.

After some prosecco we decided to order a few different dishes to share, some from the special’s board and some from the a’la carte menu.

First up were the specials: wagyu beef sliders with truffle mayo (yum!), cheddar and red onion jelly in brioche buns (above) and  lobster baos with squid ink. Both were utterly amazing!

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We also had some sweet potato fries with kimchi island (a spin on Thousand Island that really worked), and the fries were really good. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Which isn’t that easy to do with sweet potatoes.

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We also had aubergine in miso which was soft, sweet and sticky. I just love aubergine in Asian cooking!

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We also shared a bo ssäm; pulled pork with a bit of heat served with lettuce leaves, kimchi and dips. It’s messy but fun to make the little parcels and the flavours of the meat were really nice.

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The last dish of the evening was the smoked bobo chicken with a sticky glaze, sesame seeds, spring onions and spicy mayo. Also very nice!

The food at Bo Drake was great and I would happily go back. Initially the service was good but as the restaurant got busier it became quite slow, leaving a little room for improvement but I otherwise like this cosy place a lot.

Bo Drake, 6 Greek St, London W1D 4DE

Burgers at Patty & Bun

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There are plenty of burger places (joints sounds so American!) in London, it seems we just can’t get enough of it. And although I have a few favourites I never want to miss out on a good burger.

My friend Ro took me to Patty & Bun by Liverpool Street station one Sunday and although this place is a chain (albeit a small one), the burgers are really good.

The few times I’ve eaten here I’ve always had the same burger, Ari Gold, served with cheese and an amazing chilli mayo. The burgers are seriously messy to eat but very good. The bun is a brioche-style bun, that I prefer, and the fries are skin-on, also a plus in my book!

Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7PD 

Sushi lunch at Bota Sera, Split, Croatia

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My dear friend and travel companion Gaby loves researching and it was thanks to her efforts we found this sushi restaurant in Split. It appears sushi is more fine dining than take away here and it was certainly the first time I ate sushi on a linen tablecloth. Very pleasant! We also had an amuse bouche (lovely tuna paté with crostini) while waiting for our sushi to be prepared.

The restaurant we went to is called Bota Sera, overlooking one of Split’s many (pebbly) beaches.

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We chose four different type or rolls that we shared and they were all very nice. From left to right; salmon skin roll, tiger roll, philadelphia roll and rainbow roll.

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We also tried their vegetarian spring roll which was more like a huge croqueta than a typical spring roll. It was very nice though, and I loved the honey dip with fresh red chilli that it was served with.

There are quite a lot of different food influences in Croatia, especially Italian, but it was nice to find sushi as well as I always crave it in hot weather.

Bota Sera, BAČVICE BB, 21 000 SPLIT