There’s a special kind of magic when a group of people gather around a table – all the way from a humble cup of tea, through to intricate tasting menus that titillate the palates. Soutine is elegantly in the middle, a Parisien corner of Salon de thé, a St John’s Wood restaurant in a glorious period building. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the newly opened Soutine but as ever, all dreamy pastel metaphors are very much my own.
We gathered, a group of four expats – talking of life, love and kettles (long hilarious story) over a table filled with delectable dishes.
Choosing where to stay in Cappadocia was a tough decision. I’m not being hyper dramatic when I say that I probably spent more time choosing this hotel than I did when I was choosing a wedding dress – and in the end, I made a decision via the less than scientific method of asking Mr Kiwi for two favourites, and flipping a coin. (The hotel, not the dress.)
I love staying in quirky hotels – but they have to carefully tiptoe the line between bland and kitsch, and suit our travelling style. I adore the hotels that have a keen sense of place (it’s also a bonus when they come with animal custodians like our stay with Jasper at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall or the Pygmy goat neighbours in Austin, Texas) and are lovely to come back to at the end of the day.
Our 100-foot tall hot air balloon floated above the ancient Turkish valleys filled with prehistoric stone edifices – and we just gazed in sheer wonder, 1,000 or so feet up in the sky. What I felt as we silently drifted above the pastel horizon while the sun slowly broke, is actually rather hard to express. Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia.
Part of me thought that those images of hundreds of balloons drifting in the pre-dawn light were photoshop creations but here it was, actually unfolding before us like a magical tableau. (Well, some of those images are definitely photoshopped, but that’s a discussion for another time.)
The lushly appointed Grosvenor House Hotel has a lounge in which you’ll want to linger a little longer, overlooking the leafy boughs of Hyde Park. Especially when the table in front of you is set with a glass of champagne and afternoon tea winks at your from it’s silver stand. Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Grosvenor House Hotel, but all dreamy metaphors are very much my own.
Every element of the decor and delectable tea stand are a poetic ode to the tree boughs across Park Lane – they seem so close that they’re almost touchable.
It’s late in the day. Your tummy is rumbling, but you can’t face the thought of first deciding what to cook, working out where to get the ingredients from and then HORROR OF ALL HORRORS cook it in the correct order for a nice dinner. So, I’ve put together this list with 7 of my favourite informal London restaurants.
Think of it as a dinner time gift from me to you (and then probably back to me again because my blog is a sterling memory keeper for those days that I can’t remember anything.)