The Pig Hotel | On the Beach, Studland

The Pig Hotel
I can’t quiet remember how I ended up finding this place but finding it made me and my friend really happy. This English country house style hotel right on the beach in Studland is just perfect for a quick get away from busy London. It’s a rough 3 hour drive from west London.
Imagine a beautiful villa with 23 cozy rooms, a stunning view over sea, a beautifully kept garden where they keep bees and grow vegetables etc that they serve in their AMAZING restaurant that is located in their greenhouse and has this amazing light shining in. I loved the interior style; very UK countryside! Reminded me a bit of the Soho House Group. A lot of wood, comfortable armchairs and sofa’s and little corners to relax and drink tea (or something stronger than that), a beautiful cozy lounge with a big fireplace, boardgames up for grasp, a treatment caravan outside that has been transformed into this wood panelled cozy room etc. The staff is super friendly and really care about making your stay memorable. On top of all of this you can go on beautiful long walks in the area (for example in the fields with beautiful views of the Old Harry Rocks). Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AU | +44 01929 450288 | £££ | Website

The Pig Hotel on the Beach

The Palomar Restaurant | London

The Palomar Restaurant
Yes! I managed to get a reservation by trying the waitlist and it worked. Currently this place is bloody popular and I now understand why the waitlist was the only option to get a table asap. Love this place. It’s small and cozy with blue leather boots, dark wooden tables, floors and panelled walls and mosaic details. There is a counter / bar where they do life cooking and the music is turned up. This makes you want to order an Espresso Martini after dinner instead of Fresh Mint Tea. The food they serve is modern day Jerusalem and is out of this world. We basically asked the nice guy serving us if he could recommend some dishes and followed all his advice without regret. Unfortunately we had so much of the delicious polenta that we really had no space left for dessert. Regrettably, because they looked great.  I just love this kitchen with their interesting combination of flavours and spices. My personal favorites were: Kubaneh, fattoush salad, beetroot carpaccio (see below), Polenta Jerusalem Style (with truffle OMG). Wish I could go back every week. 34 Rupert Street, London  | +4420 7439 8777 | Tube: Piccadilly Circus / Leicester Square | £££ | Website
Palomar

Mossel en Gin | Amsterdam

image1
When the weather is good and you are looking for a lively relaxed place with picnic style garden, good food and drinks, Mossel and Gin is the place to go. It’s a little gem hidden on the Westergas area. They serve mussel dishes (mossel pannetjes) in all kinds of different versions including Thai and Chilli (with chorizo) which were both great, and we loved the fries! – there are other food options available if you’re not a fan of mussels. Also the gin & tonic menu is crazy with lots of funky options. We’re a big fan! Goschalklaan 12, Amsterdam | Tel: 0031(0)20 486 5869) | Website | €€

Toscanini | Amsterdam

toscanini
I have tried to make a reservation here a million times but they are always fully booked so I was so incredibly excited that I managed to get a table last night by just walking in! Probably already known well by lots of you but a absolute winner if you ask me!! Best Italian food and wine menu. Great atmosphere in the cozy Jordaan. Super nice, no nonsense staff. Open kitchen and really nice open interior that is made cozy with candles in the evenings. I would recommend this place for dinner with lovers, friends, business and parents! Lindengracht 75 | +3120 623 2813 | Website | €€€ | Tram 3 (Willemstraat)

Roka Mayfair | London

Roka mayfair
Oh my what is this restaurant good… Heavenly…The best. I am in love. I had trouble getting a reservation here so I would recommend making a reservation a few weeks before especially if you want to go in the weekend.
I also recommend you try the Premium tasting menu.. Expensive but the best, and it allows you to try things you may not select yourself. I basically could not speak a few times because I was just trying to figure out how to express myself about the divine food that entered my mouth haha…
Okay so; the restaurant is located in Mayfair (there is another Roka in Marlybone – see Guusje’s post), has a contemporary Japanese Robatayaki cuisine (award-winning) and has room for about 80 people in the main dining area, a few high tables with stools for 2 guests and seats around their Robatayaki grill. They also have a few tables outside on the pavement. The grill is in the center of the restaurant and the whole place has a warm contemporary feel to it. I wish I could eat here everyday! 30 North Audley Street, Mayfair, London | +4420 7305 5644 | ££££ | Tube; Marble Arch or Bond Street | Website | Map

Sawyer & Gray

sawyer and gray
By accident I ended up in this completely amazing little bar in Islington (walking distance from Highbury and Islington station) I had a reservation in Le Coq next door and went to wait for our table to be ready in this charming place. So cute. It is the place you want to take your friends from out of town to, to show them how cute, cool, funky and creative London is as a city! Their kitchen is too small to start a ‘real’ restaurant so they are only open on Fridays and Saturdays for tapas etc. The rest of the week just breakfast and lunch.  290 Saint Paul’s Road, Islington, London | Tube; Highbury & Islington | £££ | Website

Le Coq | London

Le Coq Islington
Love this little restaurant in Islington on walking distance from Highbury & Islington Station and right next to the BEST bar ever (Sawyer and Grey) In le Coq you pick a starter and as a main you’ll get the most amazing, juicy, free range roast chicken with sides of your choice… The interior is cozy with an open plan kitchen, small tables, industrial details and big windows overlooking St Paul’s Road. Perfect restaurant to go as an easy dinner during the week, with your parents when in the neighbourhood or with your romantic date. Probably wise to make a reservation on time if you are planning to go here in the weekend. On top of this they have a private dining room, do take away and office delivery and catering for large parties! 292-294 Saint Paul’s Road, London |+4420 7359 5055 | Tube; Highbury & Islington | £££ |  WebsiteMap

Cépage | London

Cepage Notting Hill
I am back on the road in our hood (and other ‘hoods’ so stay tuned) I am so excited about this new restaurant on Westbourne Park Road! It’s the perfect French little bistro. Small, cozy, good location, delicious food and great wine list. You’ll be served by French, eat French and feel French when here.

The restaurant does not come cheap and the dishes are small and to share. When we were dining here at the bar they told us they are focusing on small proper wine makers in France. So most wines here, you won’t be able to find in the shops in London and are really good. This makes it all more charming to me! Love the place and will definitely be back for more delicious French signature dishes and wine! 69 Westbourne Park road, London W2 5QH | +44203 602 8890 | Twitter: @cepagesWPR | Tube; Royal Oak or Ladbroke Grove | Map

Baros Island | Maldives

Baros Island, Maldives
Should you be in need for a serious break from your fast, busy, loud, crazy but happy little working life or are you looking for a beach / pool side kind of Honeymoon this is probably (most certainly) the place to go.
One island, one resort, 45 beachside and 30 over-water Villas that are all very stylish and comfortable.
3 restaurants, two bars, sand bank dining, in house villa dining, sunset dining on a boat etc.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 13.04.10
We went here 10 months after the birth of our first baby girl (without her) and I would totally recommend doing the same to all new parents. It was so relaxing. If you want to visit towns, go shopping and culture sniffing this is not the place to go. If you want to sleep, eat, sleep, swim, sleep, getting massages, beauty treatments and read books it is.  The diving and snorkelling on the island is absolutely amazing with (harmless) sharks, colourful fish and sea turtles coming really close. The Baros signature massage is heaven so you must go for it for sure! Lastly I loved the teppanyaki grill they have in one restaurant where a very sweet Indonesian chef is giving a show to his guests a few nights a week.
dining-exp
 The water villas are beautiful but I would perhaps just as much recommend staying in beach front villa because you will have direct access to the sea (and they create a sort of private space on the beach before you enter the ‘public’ beach.) You can swim in the water around the over-water villas as well but the water is shallow there so better swimming from the beach. No children under 8 are allowed here and even when fully booked it doesn’t feel crowded… Conclusion; you go.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 13.02.47

Maldives | +960 664-2672 |$$$$$ |Website

Shrimpy’s | Kings Cross, London

Shrimpy's London Kings Cross snackettes dinette
If a place offers Snackettes, I’m generally sold. I love sharing plates so I can try lots of different things. Especially if it includes chips and dips and deep fried chillies. Shrimpy’s call themselves a deluxe dinette, offering burgers, chippies, as well as some other more healthy options. The restaurant was set up by the old crew behind Bistroteque and they renovated an old filling station to launch Shrimpy’s. The interior is a bit of a weird mix but I like it. Expect a good time surrounded by fun wall illustrations, lots of random golden pineapples, palm trees and a few giraffes.. PS. They have lots of seating space outside too. Goods Way | Tube: King’s Cross | Website | £££