For two people who have not yet mastered a decent doggy paddle, can barely float, and are just a tad uncomfortable in deep water, a certain someone and I have the most uncanny love of the beach. Lounging in the sun, a book in one hand and a drink in the other, with the sounds of waves lightly crashing in the background; we like a lot. Energetic watersports or hours spent underwater; we like less.
We’re the lazy kind of beach bums, but beach bums none the less, and will jump at any opportunity for some sand between our toes and a sniff of the salty sea air. Even if this means arriving at the wrong time of year… In our defence, you’d struggle to find perfect beach conditions in Essaouira any time of the year. This sleepy seaside town on Morocco’s coast looks ideal for a spot of sunbathing but the reality is, it’s just far too windy! But as Wellingtonians, we’re used to a little gust of wind so decided it just had to be added to our Morocco itinerary.
I’ve been meaning to go to Roka for quite some time now. Since Taste of London 2014 to be precise; I never forget a meeting, first impressions do count, and Roka’s cod and crab dumplings made quite the impression on me. After fighting a certain someone for the last one, I made a mental note to book in a proper meal at the restaurant soon but that plan fell by the wayside. It was my first year in London so all the old restaurants were new and shiny to me, and all the new restaurants were even shinier… Roka was soon forgotten.
Until Taste of London 2015; same delicious gyozas, same mental note, and even more conviction in my vow to book in a proper meal as I had since learnt of its excellent reputation and IT-restaurant status amongst fashionable food bloggers who dabble in a fair bit of Japanese fine dining! However, once again I was thwarted by my fickle and forgetful nature and it took me almost another year before I finally set foot in one of Roka’s four London restaurants.
I have gone to great lengths for a cup of tea before, but never have I spent over an hour traversing London for the promise of the perfect brew. My journey involved three tube changes, a brisk ten minute walk past some quirky art, a right turn at the ‘halo’, a left turn somewhere else along the way whilst keeping an eye out for wooden decking and pot plants. My palms are getting sweaty just thinking about it now… I am directionally-challenged, I got a little lost, and ironically, I could have really done with a cup of tea.
When I finally arrived at Tea Studio there was no tsk-tsking at my tardiness, just a warm welcome from Kyle, a passionate tea connoisseur and my teacher for the evening’s Tea Brewing Masterclass. Oh yes, you can be a master at brewing tea… something which I definitely am not. Not by a certain someone’s standards (he claims my efforts are too weak) and as I learnt, not by Kyle’s standards either.
When I told a certain someone we were going out for an Italian dinner he was a little surprised… and I sensed, a little unimpressed. Unless we’re actually in Italy, we very rarely choose Italian over the 101 other cuisines and styles at the tips of our tastebuds here in London. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I think my first instinct is that it’s a safe option, even perhaps a boring option.
Hands up, who’s dismissed Italian food because it’s just pizza and often sub-par pasta? Yep, me. Have you also been a little smug and thought, why would I order that in a restaurant when I can make it at home myself? Me again. And have you also realised that of course, you’re very wrong because Italian food is so much more diverse than that… think of the beautiful cured meats and cheeses, think of the rich ragú, think of the gelato! Continue Reading
This city has been my home for over two years now. For a certain someone it’s been much longer; over seven years if you include the stint he did here before yours truly dragged him back, all because I wanted to join the flocks of Kiwis in London. This city has been good to us, but recently we’ve been struck with a case of itchy feet and wondering what other cities could be our future home…
We’ve fantasised about switching this vibrant bubble for one more exotic like Hong Kong or KL, throwing ourselves completely out of our comfort zones for the sake of an adventure! On the flipside, we’ve also talked about turning our backs on the mayhem and opting for somewhere slightly more laid back but equally as enthralling like Lisbon or Porto, two cities we’ve already fallen head over heels for!
Food and travel; two things which are never far from my mind and two which are never mutually exclusive in my life. In my humble opinion, they go hand in hand – like salt and pepper, Bert and Ernie, or churros and chocolate. When we’re off on our jaunts abroad, I care about seeing the sights and visiting the attractions, I really do, but I almost care more about the food.
On the rare occasion we do some research, all those google searches and blog trawling will be about the food. Always. Because we all know that the main sights are religiously marked on those ever so helpful city maps but they never mark the best restaurants, cafes or hole in the wall joints do they? Never! The best, the most authentic, the signature dishes – I need to try them all because god forbid you all think we’ll eat any old thing from any old restaurant on any old street corner.