Bali has always been a hot vacation spot in South-East Asia, but in recent years, websites such as “The Bali Bible” have highlighted some of the most alluring and charismatic places to visit.

With over half a milli0n followers on their Instagram account, they’ve gained themselves quite a reputation, so it’s no wonder that the iconic Ku De Ta made it to “best rated” for bars & restaurants in Bali.

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Kicking off our one-year anniversary celebrations, George and I headed to Ku De Ta for dinner just after sunset, George’s treat!

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We were overly-excited to discover that Ku De Ta served one of our favourite brand of wine back in the UK (Kaiken).

One of the most popular reasons for visiting Ku De Ta for many is to unwind with a cocktail as you admire the unrivalled ‘Bali sunset’, so try and incorporate sunset to make the evening as magical as possible.

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The mood lighting is set to low at Ku De Ta, so my flash will definitely take away some of the loveliness of the food, but it will have to do! This was just one Iberian cured meats pre-starter dish, we chose the chorizo and expected it to be on the modest side, but on the contrary, the portions were very generous (and delicious).

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The prawn & snapper ‘chao shou’ dumplings were the highlight of the evening for me. Dim-sum with spicy chilli sauce has always been my favourite style of the dish, so this had me satisfied from the first mouthful. When we visited, the accompaniment to the dumplings was baked ricotta (which didn’t work so well in my opinion), but just a week later they seemed to have changed this to tofu instead!

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George opted for the suckling pig ‘urutan’ (sounds slightly odd but urutan is a type of dry fermented Balinese sausage), once again the description for this item on the Ku De Ta menu has changed, but the most important thing to know is that the meat was incredibly delicious and I would thoroughly recommend if you’re a pulled pork lover.

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My main was the parmesan & sumac crusted pork roasted apple with potato puree and red cabbage. The pork was less tender and more about the flavour, and when it’s parmesan crusted you aren’t really going to complain. However, this dish didn’t wow me, but by this point I was slightly full and still reminiscing about the dim-sum (oops).

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George opted for a steak based main, my flash is not doing the dish any favours here but it was beautiful. I’m a big fan of establishments that actually serve steak “medium rare” or even “rare”, the way it should be (in my opinion), so Ku De Ta wins there! The service was friendly from start to finish and the restaurant is big enough that we weren’t cramped next to any other tables.

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No meal is ever complete without one last indulgent pudding that you’ve somehow made extra stomach space for. After our meal, we went for a wonder by the front of the restaurant which overlooks the beach – stopping here for an after-dinner cocktail is a great idea for anyone who has the stomach room 🙂

 

Thank-you, Ku De Ta, you lived up to your many accolades.

Chiltern Firehouse is renowned for it’s affiliation with celebrities and high flyers. Unlike some other top end restaurant’s in London, Chiltern Firehouse has no dress code but “smart-casual” is preferred – it’s entry policy is more based upon who you are rather than what you’re wearing.

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We started off with champs as we ogled over the wine menu. Something I was unaware of before I arrived was the “hidden garden behind the mirror” … but more on that later. Now for the bit you’re all waiting for, the food!

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Bacon cornbread with chipotle-maple butter 

The menu is packed full of wicked and wonderful unique creations. You’ll be able to find certain ‘classics’, but they’ll be combined with flavours to create dishes that I doubt many people will have experienced before.

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My starter was a “steak tartare” – packed with chipotle and hot sauce to add a spicy twist to this classic

I seriously could have eaten more of this, I loved the spicy kick.

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George had “Hay-roasted pigeon with walnut mole and yoghurt” – beautifully presented

I was nervous to try pigeon for the first time. Nevertheless, I’m never one to shy away from experimenting with food. All I can say is that it reminded me of a rare duck breast, but with a faint gamey taste – it wasn’t unpleasant by any means.

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The ‘Alice in Wonderland-esque’ “drink me” bottle was filled with BBQ sauce, combined with the dill on the toast was a unique fusion of flavours.

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“Aged beef fillet with mushroom caramel and roasted onions” 

My beef fillet had a hint of “oak-smoke” on the crust, which gave it a blackened outside and a perfectly rare interior, just the way I like it! Unfortunately, it seems like they left the whole “wow factor” of the plate down to the texture and quality of the meat (which in all fairness was incredible). However, the onions were a little too vapid for my liking as big bold flavours are my thing and the mushroom caramel didn’t add too much either, but they made my plate look charming nevertheless.

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George’s slow-cooked lamb with artichoke was beautifully tender.

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The meal was finished off with a bang as they brought out my chocolate pudding (of course I chose the chocolate pudding) with a personalised “happy birthday.”

After all of the wine and lovely food, we carried our drinks down to the loo’s (yes, the loo’s), which aren’t unisex but both contain mirrored doors that lead to a hidden garden.

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 Head out here for “Cigarettes and men” 

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The heated outdoor area made us feel like we were on a street in Bali and the soundproofing added a wonderful serenity to the area as we sipped on our Malbec’s.

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Thank-you Chiltern Firehouse for making my birthday extra special!

I kickstarted Valentines weekend with a surprise dinner at Duck & Waffle from my lovely boyfriend. Duck & Waffle is the highest restaurant in the UK, with stunning food to match the stunning views while you dine (not to mention it’s open for business 24/7).

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Duck & Waffle

Upon entering the Heron Tower you are taken up a glass walled lift to the 40th floor. Spectacular views are there to greet you, but this might be a slightly “jelly legged” experience for anyone afraid of heights.

The menu is something a little bit different. You can order very small snacks, bread or small plates to start, followed by a main meal (many of which are to share).

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Dinner with a view

The wine menu doesn’t come in cheap. We payed £56 for a bottle of Malbec but the average price, in my opinion, is around £50-60 for a bottle of wine.

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The “stilton and onion jam bread”(£6) was INCREDIBLE. I was expecting the typical “cheese flavoured bread” with jam on the side, but oh no, this substantial portion of bread was oozing with stilton and still piping hot when it arrived at our table. A definite winner for blue cheese lovers.

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This was followed by the gorgeous “Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes” (£11). I’m a big lover of artichokes but I’ve never had them cooked before. They carried quite a nutty flavour (probably accentuated by the toasted seeds) and they were delicious.

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The last of our small plates was the divine “Angus Beef Tartare” (£11). Meals like this make me wonder how I was ever a vegetarian for four years (sorry to all you veggies). There’s nothing like rare steak. The “marmite egg yolk” in the middle was something a little bit different.

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Continuing with the steak theme, we shared a “38 day aged 500g Angus bone-in Rib-Eye” (£40). I’ve always been fond of cabbage and bacon as a combination and the capers added a nice little twist. It was quite a fatty bit of meat, but packed full of flavour.

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The winner for me has to be the dessert, the Dark Chocolate Sundae (£11). I’d normally opt for savoury over sweet any day but my main weakness is peanut butter ice cream. Want to know exactly what is in that mess? Think peanut butter, dark chocolate, caramel, brownies and some sort of crunchy granola at the bottom.

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We finished off the meal (as if we needed more food) with a box of biscuits (£4).

I would definitely come back to Duck & Waffle just as the sun is setting for a very special dining experience.

If you want to visit: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Take a peak at the website: https://duckandwaffle.com/

The Punchbowl in Mayfair is hidden away on a side street off of Berkeley Square. It is one of London’s oldest pubs and the beautiful Grade II listen building makes a wonderful setting for a drink or dinner out. Having opened in 1729 and being formerly owned by Guy Ritchie means that the pub has both old and new history.

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The Dining Room 

Sometimes all you’re in the mood for on a Friday night is traditional pub food, but with so many chain pubs cluttering the streets nowadays, it can sometimes be hard to find freshly made pub food that is worth your money.

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We ate in the dining room on the first floor which offers modern pub food. The ground floor is the main pub level and this offers the same menu except you are seated in the heart of the pub, this seemed incredibly busy and bustling but a little too warm and loud for a quiet Friday night dinner.

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The decor in the dining room was modernised and fresh whilst still offering a cosy feel. Classics such as “fish and chips” and “pie of the day” are on the menu but everything is made freshly made and the vegetables are sourced from the New Covent Garden market. The dishes aren’t overpriced for a pub in Mayfair and the service we received was outstanding.

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A gorgeous Malbec

For starters we had hummus and flatbread (£3.50) sourdough (£1) and ham hock with piccalilli (£8)

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For mains George had pie of the day (£16.50) which was steak and ale, mash and kale. The kale was cooked with salt which made it so much more delicious. I had the pumpkin risotto (£12.50) which was a very hearty portion and incredibly rich and delicious. Cooked to perfection!

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We had to fit in a pudding..Bailey’s cheesecake and raspberry sorbet, delicious!

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The 18th Century building has been renovated and jazzed up using artistic paintings covering the walls, making it a very interesting place to be indeed.

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The Punchbowl is perfect for a quiet dining experience in Mayfair where after your meal you can stroll downstairs and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of the pub. If that doesn’t impress you, then the amazing customer service and delicious food certainly will!

If you want to visit: 41 Farm Street, London, W1J 5RP

Take a peak at the website: www.punchbowllondon.com

My exciting first blog post will be about the best steaks I have enjoyed in London! Here are my top 3 restaurant’s based on service, food and atmosphere…

3. SOPHIE’S STEAKHOUSE 311-313 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9QH

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In third place is Sophie’s Steakhouse in Chelsea. In terms of service, Sophie’s Steakhouse was down-to-earth and positive. It was very busy and buzzing in here, meaning our waiter was slightly frantic, definitely more of a young person’s restaurant. The fillet steak (£30) was cooked well, very rare yet very very tender and incredibly generous with the portion – the phrase “melt in the mouth” has never been more relevant. The Rib eye comes in at £25 and the sirloin at £29. The creamed spinach side (£4.50) works stunningly with the steak. The steak also come with a bernaise sauce (in a separate pot), dripping fries and a house salad, so it is the best value for money out of of my top 3 restaurants. Sophie’s Steakhouse is great for a mid-week dinner outing with friends if you want to wine & dine in Chelsea.

I would also recommend:

The thick cut onion rings (£4), if you’re in the mood for pigging out with your meal then definitely get these as an added side to your steak.

2. HAWKSMOOR SPITALFIELDS 157A Commercial St, London, E1 6BJ

In second place is Hawksmoor Spitalfields, self proclaimed as “the best steak restaurant in the UK,” the fillet comes in at £34 which again I had, the ribeye is £30 and the Sirloin is £27.50. The creamed spinach (£5) is incredible here, by far the best side I have ever had! Once again it was very busy and loud in here due to the tables being relatively close together, that’s the reason why it has come in 2nd place (the steak was just as mouth-watering as 1st place). However, the service was amazing. My boyfriend and I were offered a free starter due to our main only being slightly delayed (it was hardly delayed). I would definitely recommend Hawksmoor if you don’t mind the noise. It’s a thriving and buzzing atmosphere on a Friday night, so head here with some friends or maybe an exciting date if you want a lively atmosphere!

I would also recommend:

Puddings: The Peanut Butter shortbread (£7.50) and Salted Caramel Rolo’s (£4), both to die for if you have a sweet tooth.

2. MAZE GRILL 10-13 Grovesnor Square, London, WIK 6JP

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Maze Grill, Mayfair

The winner has to be Maze Grill in Mayfair. The fillet steak (rare breed) comes in at an eye watering £40, but it is worth every penny, I have accompanied it with the blue cheese sauce for an extra £2.50 both of the times I have been (yes, I had to go again!). In terms of flavour, texture and size, Maze Grill ticks all three boxes.

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Medium rare fillet steak with peppercorn sauce and garlic

If you opt for the Mac & Cheese, be warned it is a little on the salty side but still incredibly delectable. The service was attentive and polite, and it wasn’t too noisy as the tables were spaced well apart. We were given iPad’s in which to choose our wine, wine boff’s like my father could sit there for hours trying to choose a suitable bottle. I would recommend a Malbec with the steak as it compliments it beautifully, a bold Syrah also hit’s the spot. If you fancy a cocktail before you dine then enjoy one (£13-£15) in Maze Restaurant, (not to be confused with Maze grill) which is in the same building but on the left, rather than the right, as you enter. Maze Grill has been filled with an eclectic crowd both of the times I went; tourists, families, young couples, old couples and groups of friends. It seems like a wonderful setting for a birthday or for a special occasion. The restaurant is also notorious for its sushi and sashimi so if you’re more of a fish lover then Maze Grill can accommodate you too.

I also recommend:

Small Plates – Buffalo Chicken Fillets (£5)

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Buffalo chicken fillets

If you’re into bold, spicy, punchy flavours then this is the perfect starter for you, I could eat this all day, it also comes as a main course and it is exactly the same in terms of flavour.

One other restaurant that I would recommend is Flat Iron (9 Denmark St, Soho, WC2H 8LS). If you’re on a budget in Soho and want a steak night then this is the place to go! The only steak they serve is a “flat iron” steak for £10, also known as the “butler steak” or “oyster blade steak.”

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Flat Iron steak

The cut is from the shoulder of the animal and it is slightly tougher than the average fillet or rib eye, however it is packed full of flavour and the sides are marvellous. I had creamed spinach (£3) and dripping cooked fries (£2.50), all sides are between maybe £2.50-£3.50. The atmosphere in Flat Iron is great for a date night, the lighting is slightly darker and it’s a rather small area, however if the tables are full then you could be seated at the bar which actually makes for a very intimate and fun dining experience. Be warned it is an incredibly popular restaurant and they don’t take reservation’s so you could have to wait upto over an hour on a Friday or Saturday night.

I would also recommend: The salted caramel sundae (£3.50) is deceivingly delicious,  it erupts from what appears to be a whipped cream dispenser into a small cup, however once the mousse is sprinkled with sea salt it becomes a scrumptious, light dessert. If you’re with a partner who has a big appetite I would recommend getting two as they can disappear incredibly quickly.

If you want to “do it yourself” with steak then Wholefoods (Piccadilly Circus, Camden, Kensington, Fulham & Clapham Junction) do an incredible Wagyu steak for £10.

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Wagyu Beef

Simply season with salt, pepper and garlic paste and cook on an incredibly high heat in a pan full of melted butter for 2 & a half minutes on each side to accomplish a medium rare steak. Beautiful!