Browsing Tag

sea food

Blog, Date Spot, Drink, Eat, London

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar and Terrace, Covent Garden

September 25, 2016

A fairly sweltering September means that my hunt for the best alfresco bars (or bars with decent terraces) for post work drinks has continued.  Bronte (my regular), is a big favourite of mine in Central London.  It has a large terrace, a decent bar menu and there’s always a table free.  But apart from that it’s always quite tricky to find a relaxed terrace in Covent Garden or Soho. Further North I have more luck; in Fitzrovia Foley’s has a cool alfresco bar (but with very limited seats), Percy & Founders has a large outside seating area, and Charlotte street offers many restaurants with small terraces ideal for drinks in the sun (the big favourite being the Charlotte Street hotel).  So when Grace Dent wrote a rave review about J Sheekey launching their new Atlantic Bar & Terrace (a revamp from their old Oyster Bar), located in the West End, I thought I’d check it out.

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace, West End

London’s West End is known to be very busy and very touristy, and the immediate area around Leicester Square is not necessarily a place I spend much time.  J Sheekey is right in the thick of theatre-land, tucked away down a little alley way.  It looks pretty old school.  I mean, J Sheeky has been around for decades.  But you can tell that it’s terrace has had a bit of make over; with bright colours and comfy red chairs it looks fresh and welcoming.  And it’s prime people watching territory too (not long after we spotted Ian McKellan smoking a cigarette around the corner).  I also loved its new menu with artwork by my favourite Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake

You can’t just drink here, you need to order some food.  But with a mouth-watering fish-heavy menu, that’s not exactly a problem.  We ordered the sea bass ceviche and the tuna and avocado tartare, both excellent.  The wine list is decent, though it’s easy to leave here with a fairly large bill (a glass of wine and one dish each set us back close to £25 each).

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace, West End

In short, if you’re looking for a pre-theatre or cinema place for an alfresco drink and a quick bite, this is the place for you.  Alternatively, you can of course just stay here for a proper fishy dinner – there’s a reason why this place has been around for so long, the food is great and the service is too.

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar & Terrace

33-35 St Martin’s Court,

London WC2N 4AL

Blog, Croatia

DiVino, Hvar – EAT

August 13, 2016
Divino, Hvar

Croatia is not known for it’s food, but Hvar is spoilt for choice.  While Dalmatino seems to be everyone’s favourite, DiVino gave it a run for its money.  For one, DiVino’s location, setting and view is much better than Dalmatino.  Here you can really enjoy the sunset, with breathtaking views of the Pakleni Islands and the sea.  Their terrace is large and comfortable but inside is nice too if it gets a little chilly.

Divino, Hvar

This really is the place to have sea food.  While some say the food is a bit pricey here, I was not disappointed with the excellent (and massive) tuna steak I had.  It was perfectly cooked, still quite raw in the middle and unbelievably fresh.   They served it with humus and swiss chard, so it was light but still filling.   The prawn risotto was also delicious, and beautifully presented (like all the food I saw come past).

Divino, HvarDivino, Hvar

This is a very romantic spot, and a great date place.  While it’s very close to Carpe Diem Lounge Bar, it’s a far cry from the noisier and more touristy dinner spots along the marina.   Their wine list was also excellent.  Annoyingly I can’t remember what the red wine was we drank here and enjoyed so much (and then asked for at every other restaurant we ate), but it was a local Croatian wine (which are surprisingly good).

If you’re looking for a break from partying at Hula Hula and Carpe Diem, then DiVino is the place to come to for a more sophisticated, refined evening.

Divino

Put križa 1, 21450,

Hvar

Blog, South Africa

Plettenberg Bay: An Overview

December 6, 2015

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STAY

Hunter’s Country House – This is just one of the most charming, prettiest places to stay.  The gardens were incredible, and I loved all the cottages scattered around the estate.  It is such a peaceful place.  You’re 10 minutes drive from Plettenberg Bay, so it’s the perfect location.  Their main sitting room with huge fireplace was so cosy, the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks.  We were upgraded to their top suite/cottage with private pool and garden which was heavenly.

HuntersHunter's Country House, Plettenberg BAyHunters Country House, Plettenberg Bay

Hunter’s sister property Tsala Treetop Lodge is meant to be very good too (on the same estate).

tsala treetop lodge, plettenberg bay

For the more affordable options: if you want to be in town then the boutique hotel The Grand is recommended.  Emily Moon is meant to be a good 4-star boutique hotel, it’s out of town but right on the river and is also meant to have a good restaurant.

The Grand Plettenberg Bay

COFFEE

Known as the place with the best coffee in Plett, Double Shot is a tiny establishment in a not very interesting mall. But inside it’s cute, with an array of delicious looking cakes and (apparently) a very special Dutch coffee machine.  I had a macchiato (more citrusy than the roasted Italian I am used to – the owner did warn me) – but wonderful. They’re also super friendly there, so if you’re in a rush you can go in a grab a take away for a beach walk or hike.
Double Shot, Plettenberg Bay

COCKTAILS

Plett offers a number of establishments where you can enjoy cocktails with a view.

The Grand, on Main Street, has a lovely terrace where the views at sunset of the beaches and the sea are lovely.  They have a good cocktail menu here.

The Grand, Plettenberg Bay

Equally, the Plettenberg Hotel (Relais & Chateaux) has a nice terrace with lovely views of their infinity pool and the sea. Seagulls will join you for a drink as you watch the sky and distant mountains turn a soft pink. While they don’t have Espresso Martinis on the menu, I asked and they made me a good one.

Plettenberg Hotel, Plettenberg Bay

EAT – BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Fournil de Plett is the best bakery in town, and some what of an institution. It has a wonderful shaded courtyard, as well as a small sunny balcony (for those who wish to smoke). The selection of breads and pastries here is incredible. This is the place for a leisurely brunch, with a good number of healthier options too (avocado on rye, poached eggs, yoghurt).  Their home made lemonade is brilliant and refreshing too.

Fournil de Plett, Plettenberg BayFournil de Plett, Plettenberg Bay

Clare’s Cakes & Deli

Those of you with a sweet tooth will love Clare’s Cakes. They recently opened a Deli next door with delicious jams and cheeses.

Clares Cake, Plettenberg Bay

EAT – LUNCH

The Look Out – for a casual, beachside setting.

Wow, the casual but well-run place has one of the best beach views in the area. While it’s a bit rough and ready, the food is surprisingly good. The tuna sirloin, grilled rare, with wasabi and soya sauce was a real highlight. The tempura prawns were as fresh as they come. Portions are massive, prices low.

The Look Out Deck, PLettenberg BayIMG_4033

Other places apparently worth visiting for a beach side lunch is Enrico, about a 10 minute drive towards Port Elizabeth. Again, with fantastic beach views and good food – we didn’t make it as wanted to stay in town.  Likewise, for your wine fix its worth visiting the Bramon Wine Estate, it love countryside views and some great wines to accompany your lunch. Finally, if you want to eat in a trendier, more polished restaurant in town, then the Grand is the place for you.

EAT – DINNER

  • Fat Fish is raved about in Plettenberg. Some say it’s the best restaurant in town. Whatever the case, this is certainly the place to eat the best fish in town. Don’t come here for the views (a mixture of car park/large hotel/sea in the distance).  The interiors are nicely done, simple but stylish – but make sure you book well in advance if you want to sit inside. If you just want to turn up, like we did, then you can sit outside on thee terrace (again, don’t have high expectations) but be prepared that if can get quite chilly at night. You come here for the food. And it really was phenomenal. We ordered sesame calamari with wasabi mayo (so good, light and un-rubbery) and ceviche (kingsklip with cherry tomatoes) to start which were the right way to start dinner. For mains we ordered a (huge) selection of sushi. Highly recommend the tuna sashimi – the freshest I have ever had. Truly melt in the mouth.  accompanied the meal with a lovely glass of Franschoek wine, and left a happy bunny.

Fat Fish, Plettenberg Bay

Other restaurant recommendations:

  • Zinzi.  The fine dining restaurant of Hunter Hotels (Hunter’s Country house and Tsala).  Very popular and quite trendy.
  • Sea food at the Plettenberg Hotel.  It’s a Relais & Chateaux so the standards are high and the fish is fresh.
  • Emily Moon.  The restaurant is meant to be very romantic at this quirky hotel.

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