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Life After Leiths


Jul
18

What do you do when the 9 months of familiarity – of standing at the same steel worktops, cursing at the same gas ovens, washing up the same equipment in plastic basins, checking the same wooden drawers under your benches (knife, fork, spoon, 4 teaspoons, fish slice, slotted spoon, metal spoon, whisk, rolling pin, 2 wooden spoons: DONE), sitting in the same chair in the demonstration room (“oi, that’s my chair, get out”; “I can’t believe she’s sitting in my chair again, what’s she playing at?!”), eating lunch out of plastic bags with plastic cutlery which is guaranteed to snap in the dining room, drinking at the same pub every Friday, wearing the same whites (“do you think I can get away with wearing this apron again?”), finding an endless supply of tea towels strewn around the changing room, laughing with peers and teachers, crying over spilt milk, hospital visits for the more extreme cuts, burns and war wounds, of everything – is just gone? Done? Finished forever? What do you do?

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When in LDN: How to Eat Like a Local


Jan
16


This is Tower Bridge. Not London Bridge. You can tell because it has towers. Duh.

I get asked a lot what the best restaurant in London is and where tourists should go. The former I find a bit tricky to answer (and we’ll get to that in a minute) and as for the latter, I’ve sent out that list of ‘must dos’ so many times in the past year you’d think I’d have written this post long before this point. I hadn’t because I tend to steer away from this becoming a review blog – I review restaurants in my day-to-day so like this to be my own space; this time it’s a plea.

Guys, you have no idea how infuriating it is when somebody visits London and their response is, “meh, it was okay, the food is terrible, though”. What do you mean the food is terrible?! Where did you go? What did you have? Why didn’t you like it?! I usually find out it’s because said individual wanted to “eat like a local” and this meant dodgy fish and chips, watery tepid tea, a big name chef’s restaurant which did not live up to the hype and at least one obligatory pub lunch where everybody around them seemed more interested in drinking than eating; it drives me insane. When I see tourists lining up around the block at Planet Hollywood or the Hard Rock Cafe I want to grab them by the shoulders and shout, ‘WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF’ and the truth is they do it because they simply don’t know otherwise. We all know that feeling – you’ve been walking all day, you’re tired and you spot a beacon of familiarity amongst a land of grey and people trying to get from A to B: it happens. But did you know that just around the corner there’s a place which is a million times better and half the price? Probably not or you wouldn’t be subjecting yourself to tourist traps.

Well, that’s why I’m writing this, but first take every pre-conceived idea of “London” out of your head and throw it away: we’re not all friends with the Queen, my school life was not a scene out of Harry Potter, we aren’t obsessed with William & Kate’s every move and we don’t drink tea by the gallon… well, okay, we probably do the last one but we don’t go out for afternoon tea all the time. Now listen carefully because I’m about to blow your mind.

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Bye-Bye Hong Kong, G’day Sydney!


Jan
23

I’m in Sydney! It’s 10am and I’m looking out over a gloriously sunny view of the city. The Sydney Opera House is just to the right with tiny little ants making their slow way up the Sydney Harbour Bridge (I don’t think I’ll be doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk, but if you don’t have a problem with heights you should! Pretty pricey, though) and beyond that are a mass of buildings, their chrome and glass glinting in the morning sun.

Am I making you jealous? Because if I were you I’d totally be jealous.

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18 Ways To Be Delicious – Hunan, Pimlico Road


Jan
05


Course #1: signature soup with minced pork.

I know it’s ironic, but for one of my first posts of the new year I’m looking back on a meal from the year just gone. When we herald in the new year there’s always an influx of over-ambitious new year’s resolutions, a flurry of excitement about things we wish we could do better, stop doing, do more, etc. This year I haven’t made any resolutions because I don’t need to pin my hopes on the romantic adventure of a lifetime; I do need to exercise more, but saying ‘I will go to the gym/Bikram yoga more’ is one that’s going to get broken – it’s inevitable; and all other material things are just resolutions that I figured would fall by the wayside within hours. Instead I have only this: I will take all experiences, good or bad, and I will grow from them, because that’s something I can definitely stick with.

Food-wise, I only hope that I can continue to eat the best food I can get my hands on, and if that’s one of your “resolutions” too then you need to make a trip to visit Hunan which was one of the best, and definitely the most interesting, meals I had during 2010.

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On Friends & Pho – Mien Tay, Shoreditch


Dec
07

Spend ten minutes with my friends and I and you’ll fast learn that there are two things we like to do: make fun of each other and eat… usually at the same time. Sometimes we even making fun of the way we eat. And when we’re together we just can’t seem to stop laughing, drawing attention to ourselves, or saying the most inappropriate things in public (the last time we ate out together I somehow managed to blurt out the sentence, “next time I text you it’ll have something really exciting in it! Like willies! And knitting!”), and we all love to eat. It goes without saying then that we always have a fantastic time.

For a while now Sam had been saying that she’d heard about this awesome Vietnamese place in Shoreditch that she really wanted to try out, but for whatever reason we’d been putting it off. I was busy, she was busy, everybody else was busy; until finally Sam put her foot down, we were going and she was going to book it, full stop, no excuses. I’m not really sure why we’d put it off that long – I love Vietnamese food, specifically I love pho. I’ve waxed lyrical about the joyous wonders of pho before, but y’know something? It’s really hard to find good pho in London… and I know my pho: when I lived in Malaysia I had amazing pho. So I think the main reason why we kept delaying it is because Shoreditch is, as Brother put it earlier, the “arse-end of East London”. It’s just so damn far away from everything. Or at least far away from me, who lives and works in the arse-end of West London.

But Sam finally booked it, and so on a cold, snowy, blustery day in London I trekked across the city… to the best damn bowl of pho I’ve ever had in London. It was like coming home.

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