Friday, 28 February 2014

Corean Chilli - London China Town

Aaah. I have passed Corean Chilli in China Town so many times and I was destined to try this place out at some point in my lifetime. This restaurant actually used to be a Chinese bakery called Garden Bakery. It was one of the most popular Chinese bakeries and restaurants in China Town until it suddenly closed down - I think it was faced by high rents and shortage of customers etc... My favourite bakery closed down!

Well, Corean Chilli took over. It's been around for years and I've been dying to try it out!
Corean Chilli from across the street
Corean Chilli is notoriously infamous amongst the public and Internet. (This is why I wanted to try it out). To be honest restaurants that have a bad reputation tend to have a good turnout of customers. For example Wong Kei on Wardour Street which is well known for bad service (and unfortunately it might lose that special feature in a couple of weeks time due to new management). For me, you have to think about culture and where these people have come from... I've watched too many Korean dramas so I know what to expect with service.
I sat here
I dined alone that day. I was craving for kimchi jigae which is a stew. I had this before when I dined in Arirang two years ago, and have made my own in the past. So I ordered the kimchi jigae, pickled cucumber and a Diet Coke.

I got a free side dish of beansprouts and seaweed.

The kimchi jigae came. It was piping hot as I expected it to be. The rice came in a tin bowl (but I didn't take a picture of that). It had kimchi cabbage, tofu and pork as expected. The stew had the kimchi taste, salty and spicy. But it wasn't as thick or sweet as I wanted it to be. If it had a bit of sugar or honey and maybe a bit of miso paste (if it doesn't have it already) then I think it would have been perfect. The pork wasn't as tender as I wanted it to be, but I ate the whole thing anyway. I could taste some tomatoe substance in it too... hmmm...
Kimchi Jigae

My meal
The pickled cucumber was not too bad. It had chilli all over it. I think if they had added a bit of vinegar to it, this would have been perfect.
Pickled cucumber
Total price came to £14.70. That isn't bad. But of course there's service charge! They ask for a discretionary 12.5% service charge and I was actually expecting a 10% service charge!! Bad!!
My bill
I will come here again another time in the future when I'm bored to try out their jajangmyeon (black bean noodles).

p.s. I thank the waiter in Korean, who was surprised, heheh.

My geeky rating: 3.5/5. It is a fair rating compared to other people's experiences but I think lots of people have different expectations with different restaurants.

Good points:
- Cheap Korean food
- Piping hot food 
- There is a karaoke part in the upstairs area

Bad points:
- Seasoning and ingredients of the foods (read above comments)
- Service was ok but they probably needed an extra hand... Was waiting for my bill to be taken away but had to go to the desk myself
- Service charge of 12.5%!

Address: 51 Charing Cross Rd, Leicester Square, London WC2H 0NE
Phone: 020 7734 6737

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Kawaii Kollective - London China Town Market

Another kawaii stall!!

I was recently messaged by the person who owns this on one my cute store posts. I had passed it several times in the China Town Market not knowing that this was the stall that I was looking for!!
The Kawaii Kollective
Although it is quite tiny compared to some of the other stalls in the China Town Market, there are many cute things hanging about in the stall.

I was quite fascinated with the socks actually. I have a small obsession with cute socks. If there was one of Donghae from Super Junior I would have bought it, but I couldn't see one...
Korean pop star socks
If you're looking for onesies. The cute ones. Then look no further...!!
Kawaii onesies
The toys look so cute, I wished I bought one now!! ^_^
Kawaii toys!!
So if you plan to look for this stall, find Unit G-11. It's opposite to the Mr Panda stall.
Find Unit G-11
Sadly I didn't purchase anything but maybe next time I will... ^_^

Address: Unit G-11, London China Town Market, 55-57 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0NE

Website: http://www.thekawaiikollective.com/

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Chatime 日出茶太 - London China Town

On one Sunday afternoon after buying an iPad Mini (I know... I dislike the iPhone but not the tablet!!) I decided to go to China Town to get some dried orange peel for my parents to eat (since I couldn't find any in the local Asian stores... they were all sold out).

Afterwards I was determined to buy a bubble tea in Chatime even if there was going to be a queue! This company is originally from Taiwan where bubble tea first started, and they've ended opening branches around the world. 日出茶太 (Canto: yat cheut cha taai; Mando: ri chu cha tai) literally means "sunrise tea too". Huh you say? Yeah, that was what I was thinking... Well, if we dissect the meaning 日出 ri chu means "sunrise"; 茶太 cha tai means "tea too", but I think they are using the phonetics hear to make it sound like cha-time. Understandable? I think it makes sense now!

I could see from the menu why this place was so popular! Their range of bubble teas on the menu was long and so it was harder for me to decide on what I wanted...

I think I spent at least 10 minutes or maybe longer standing in the queue... As I was queuing more and more people lined up at this place too. Boy, I have never seen a long queue for bubble tea except for Boba Jam and Cuppacha. And because Chatime is bang right smack in the middle of China Town (plus it's a worldwide brand), people are determined to go there. The locations of Cuppacha and Boba Jam is easily accessible but you don't see extremely long lines of people.
Chatime in China Town, London

Queuing...

Extensive menu!!
Well I ordered in English rather than Mandarin (my Mandarin is still not up to scratch yet). I chose the Roasted Tea mousse and I didn't realise I needed to choose a tea with it, so I chose black tea which was on top of the menu list. You get a receipt with your order number on it. And it took another few minutes for it to be made and served...
Busy, busy, busy
And then I happily took pictures in the shop. Didn't really care if people were watching me. ^_^
Finally got my bubble tea!

Top of the seal

Mousse on top with black tea and ice

Mixing the mousse with the tea
The black tea was nice. I had normal sugar and normal ice. You can actually choose how much ice and sugar you want.

I couldn't taste the mousse until the very end. It tasted very good, but disappointing that I had to wait until the end to drink the mousse! The tapioca balls were chewy but not as chewy as the one I had tasted in Cuppacha.

Service was ok. They just need to smile a bit more (I know it's hard when the queues never end!). I've worked in fast food before during my uni days so I know what it's like. Chatime is a nice big store, but I think I will be heading back to the other bubble tea stores where there is less of a queue, less choice and more time to shop elsewhere!

Prices: £3.25 (small); £3.75 (large)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Castle Turkish Restaurant and BBQ - London Walworth Road

Back to the food...

On the way back from Bath I was thinking really hard about my dinner. I was actually still full from the big lunch I had in Bath, but I still wanted to buy something to eat in case I got hungry later that night. So I chose something local, Castle Turkish Restaurant and BBQ, which opened back in December / January.

There's already a kebab shop lower down in the Walworth Road, so it's nice to see another competitor opening up in the area. This restaurant used to be a coffee shop and I think it has changed with ownership over the years, and now it finally became a kebab shop!
Castle Turkish Restaurant and BBQ 
I had a hard time choosing what to eat as there is quite a lot on the menu to choose from, as with most kebab shops. In the end I chose the mixed shish kebab which is £6.50. I wanted to get chips but thought that might have cost a bit more if I chose that too!
Part of the menu
There were already a few customers and the dining area was light... I think because it's not right in front of a bus stop like the other one is, it's probably hard to attract as many customers around the area although many people who shop and go into Tesco or the local shops will pass it and look inside...

I chose to have a takeaway as I was tired from the road trip. I think I made a good choice.
Having a takeaway!!
So everything was put into foil containers except the pita bread... This is my salad.
Salad
The pita bread is actually massive, I didn't realise until after I took the picture!!
Large pita bread!
The mixed shish which is consistent of chicken and lamb was put on top of a bed of rice. Unlike The Best Kebab, they would offer either chips or rice with the kebab... I didn't get that offer here.
Mixed shish on top of rice
Sauce mix of chilli and yogurt sauce
Sauces
This was a very kebab meal all for £6.50 which is the exact same price as The Best Kebab. There are of course a few differences with the menu items. I found this place quite satisfactory, and was very happy with the large pitta bread which you would only get a smaller one in other shops.

Although I didn't get a choice of chips or rice, my geeky rating is... 5/5... I was full to the max!

Good points:
- Wide selection on the menu
- Food was really filling
- Food was separated into different containers - which I actually found surprising!
- Friendly staff

Bad points:
- Just not having the choice of rice or chips

Address: 210 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE
Telephone: 02077016794

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mayday 五月天 - Now-Here Concert 2014 - London Wembley Arena

Woohoo!! Mayday 五月天 came back to London for their second concert which was supposed to be in September 2013 but was cancelled due to bad weather in the seas of Taiwan - their equipment couldn't be shipped in time for the concert!! But thankfully they decided to do it differently this time round. Mayday 五月天 are going to hold a European Tour!! Woooow!! I was like, what? But you've been around London and some of the European places before (but didn't realise it was going to be a tour ¬,¬")... Anyway, I bought my ticket back in November 2013, and I was expecting a good seat... Wrong!! I got a bad seat...

If you can't remember who Mayday 五月天 are read my previous blogpost here. So summary: there's five members, Ashin (lead vocalist), Monster (lead guitarist), Stone (lead guitarist), Masa (bass guitarist) and Ming (drummer).

五月天!我不開心啦!因為我的坐位太低啦!看不到你!Translation: "Mayday! I'm not happy! My seat was too low! Couldn't see at all!" :( Wembley Arena needs to sort out their seating arrangements. How do they expect people to see if it is expected that the people in front might stand up? Outrageous! The small screens didn't help either... And I paid £68.75 in total for it :( I was also not pleased at how staff at Wembley Arena were stopping people using their cameras... I didn't see them block others from using their phones! So disappointed. If concert goers want people to not use their phones and cameras, they should at least state this on the concert ticket (on the front in bold) or at the beginning of the concert like they do in the cinemas and theatres, not just randomly tell people to stop using our own equipment. That's just selfishness!!!!!!!!!!! And that goes with all concert venues!!
This is how far back I was

Everyone in front just stood up... :(

Everyone with their sticks

More people on this end
This years concert called Now-Here was almost the same to the previous concert they held in London with one additional new song towards the end...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hong Kong Bistro Noodle Bar - Bath City

So after touring around the Roman Baths it was off to find food!! Miss Pinky and I were both starving as we hardly had anything to eat during that morning on our way to Bath and Stonehenge. We went to investigate the food areas, and I knew Miss Pinky really wanted a beer and a meal, but we couldn't see a pub, (however we did see loads afterwards!). It's not hard to get lost in the city centre of Bath but it is hard to find a good place to eat.

Some restaurants looked ok, but they were not what we wanted. Some were just the same as London, so we didn't opt for those. In the end we ate Chinese food at Hong Kong Bistro Noodle Bar. ¬,¬"" How comes we always end up eating Chinese food? This is the reason why I have started to eat alone on some occasions as you will see in the next few blogposts...
Hong Kong Bistro Noodle Bar
May I just point out that Bath has A LOT of Chinese students most likely studying at Bath University. Plus they have a lot of Chinese tourists too, probably to look at the Roman Baths.

Anyway, we were handed two menus. One long one written in English, and then the shorter one was in Traditional Chinese and English. The menu cover was in Simplified Chinese, and I was telling that this place might not be authentic Hong Kongese style as some Chinese restaurants out of London tend to be managed by Mandarin speaking Chinese... However I was wrong! I admit to that!! It was run by Cantonese speaking staff, although I think the waiters/waitresses spoke Mandarin and probably needed to practice on the Cantonese side (otherwise my Cantonese was bad... ¬,¬). Blah.

I was having a hard time to choose as I didn't know the quality of this restaurant, although it seemed like the popular choice amongst the Bath Citizens and also the Chinese students / residents.

In the end I chose the fried dumplings and curry beef brisket and rice! ^_^ Good choice I think! I also chose to have a bubble tea... Yay! (whilst Miss Pinky opted for Coke).
Miss Pinky doesn't know what bubble tea is!! Shocking!!
The dumplings were nice and hot when they came out. I was very happy because they looked big and juicy inside. Ultimately one of the best places to have fried dumplings. I am salivating right now...
Fried dumplings
The curry beef brisket on the other hand was good, but the beef was a bit tough - it needed a bit more brewing time. Sauce and rice were brilliant, and they even added some radish into it. Never had radish with curry beef brisket before... Well big pieces of it anyway...
Curry beef brisket and rice
Miss Pinky ordered the duck and char siu noodle soup... Unfortunately it didn't mention that it had prawns in it (she's allergic to prawns). Miss Pinky was so lucky to have checked her food beforehand - she has to double check all the time when it comes to Chinese food!! It was very hard to get the staffs attention even with me holding up my hand for some service was quite difficult...! In the end Miss Pinky had to take her bowl of hot noodle soup to the front and ask for a new bowl... Miss Pinky sat there sad faced looking at me eat my food. :(
Duck and char siu noodle soup... can you spot the prawn? I can!!
However she did have nice starters! Fried squid and crispy fried lamb! These were wonderful I have to say. Good texture and good flavouring.
Fried squid
Crispy fried lamb
Eventually Miss Pinky's fresh bowl came. It had no prawns in it this time round...

We were both full, Miss Pinky couldn't move, heheheh... Total price came to around £35, I think (it was over a week ago, and it was definitely less than £40!). To me the prices on the menu looked expensive compared to the pricesI get in London China Town. But because of the portion sizes, I think it was definitely worth it in the end.

My geeking rating: 4.5/5 (service and the prawns gave this place a lower mark, otherwise it would've got 5/5 because of portion sizes)

Good points:
- Good portion sized food
- Nice starters, really liked them
- Spacious restaurant

Bad points:
- Slow service
- Need to indicate ingredients in the dishes
- Expensive (but worth it)

Address: 33 Southgate St, Bath, Avon BA1 1TP

Telephone: 01225 318500




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    Wednesday, 19 February 2014

    Stonehenge and Bath

    Time for another trip across the UK!! ^_^

    Miss Pinky was being a clever woman. She emailed me one morning with a Groupon offer for Stonehenge and Bath for £32.50 with Premier Tours! Yeah!! I've wanted to go to Stonehenge and also Bath for a very long time. Well done Miss Pinky for spotting this offer!! The original price was £65 but cut down to 50% with this offer. So lucky. ^_^

    Miss Pinky and I met up at a bus stop and made our way to Victoria Coach Station. We got there too early - well at least we wouldn't be late. ;) So we sat and talked as if we haven't seen each other for a very long time... Just before it was 8 am, it was a bit chaotic as there were several tours going on at the same time. But anyway we managed to get onto the coach... In the email I was sent it said I did not need to print off my Groupon vouchers but I was asked for them for the tour guide... So definitely print those vouchers off...

    Our tour guide was very good indeed who gave some very good history, unfortunately some of the travelers were talking too much, and I think it got on some people's nerves. Lots of London history I already knew about. Miss Pinky was also pointing out buildings that she works on. She was still in work mode on a weekend!!

    Some people got some shut eye for a good hour. Unfortunately I can't sleep on coaches. 

    Our first stop was Stonehenge! Woohoo (or not so woohoo). I have always wanted to go to Stonehenge, and our tour guide gave us some really good history about it. All I can say is that I think it was definitely used as a sundial for farming. What do you think?
    Stonehenge Visitor's Centre - which is 2 miles away from the stones!!
    If you get there early, then you will be lucky. Best thing is to queue up for the train or the little buses that go up from the visitor's centre as soon as you arrive. The train is slower than the bus by the way!! Unfortunately we were a few meters away from the site and we couldn't go and touch the stones. :( To be honest I was fairly disappointed at the site... I was thinking it will be grand. That was not so.
    Slow train service

    Stonehenge ^_^

    From a different angle

    Old rock

    Stonehenge from a distance
    So back to the visitor's centre via the slow train again. Miss Pinky and I were quite lucky as it started raining. 

    Sunday, 16 February 2014

    Marie's Cafe - London Waterloo

    At the time I was I was on leave in January (from work) when I had tonsillitis, I had went out with Miss Pinky who had time off from work to find some Thai food... This is going to be a very short post!!

    I suggested this place Marie's Cafe which is we, well Mr Picky, Miss Pinky and Master H had their breakfast before Hyper Japan last year. It was a must try for their Thai food!!
    Marie's Cafe
    They have some basic lunch sets costing less than £6. Unfortunately service was really slow that afternoon. Not sure why. They probably expect a lot of people that day.

    I had the chicken massan since I didn't think my body could have handled spicy food that day. It was ok. I was actually expecting a bit more but you have to remember that this place is actually a cafe as well as a Thai restaurant. My chicken skewers were not bad.
    Chicken skewers and chicken massan
    I forgot what Miss Pinky had. I think it was beef mixed with vegetables. She hardly touched her chicken wings because it was practically burnt she said. Miss Pinky was not happy at all!
    Miss Pinky's food
    Our meals cost £6.50 each, which is not bad. A cheap lunch set is better than nothing.

    If you do end up going here I suggest the breakfasts more than the Thai food.

    My geeky rating: 3/5

    Good points:
    - Cheap Thai food
    - Breakfasts are popular

    Bad points:
    - Very slow service
    - A bit cramped
    - Not a lot of food

    Address: 90 Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London SE1 7AB
    Telephone: 020 7928 1050


    Saturday, 15 February 2014

    Kimchee (To Go) - New Oxford Street

    I forgot to write about this place back in January, so I'm briefly going to blog about it.

    Korean food is really hitting the British market. Some people love it, some people hate it. It depends on tastebuds really!

    Well I love kimchi. Especially if it's been preserved for a long time. Bitter kimchi is definitely not my thing and it's amazing how the Koreans have adapted the kimchi for a foreigner's tastebuds in the past few years. ^_^ The refridgerated kimichi I keep buying keeps changing...!

    Since I love kimchi I thought I might as well stop at this place Kimchee with MummyGeek which is located at the top of New Oxford Street from the Tottenham Court Road end. I can't actually remember why I ended up around there but I was looking for a photobooth so that I can renew my passport... Oh it was difficult just finding a photobooth on a Sunday. Everywhere was closed or the booths didn't work. I had ended up in Victoria Station taking my pictures!!
    Outside Kimchee in New Oxford Street
    Back to this place. It's quite new. A few months old to be exact. This place used to be an Argos, and before that - I can't remember! An electronics place? I've lived in London for too long...

    At first, I thought they wouldserve hot food at the counter... Unfortunately it's not one of those Korean restaurants. The actual Kimchee restaurant is located in Holborn. This one is just a "takeaway" store. So in this place you actually select your food from the fridges. There's quite a selection too!!

    I actually thought the food was on display and I would have to order at the counter, but no, you actually select the food from the fridge, take it the till and pay for it. You can takeaway or you can eat in. 
    Small section of fridges
    The eat in section is just massive! But I took mine away... 
    Massive eating area with pretty lamp shades
     I chose the Cheese Kimchee Kimbap and the Yang Yeum Chicken (spicy chicken)...
    My takeaway bag

    Spicy Chicken and Cheese Kimbap
    I was very curious about the Cheese Kimchee Kimbap because I've never had kimbap with cheese in it!! It had a very interesting taste to it. ^_^ Very cheesy and spicy at the same time.
    Cheese Kimchee Kimbap
    The Yang Yeum Chicken I remember very well... Tasty chicken, definitely spicy and just fried very well. The chicken was just tender. The sauce was quite runny when I got home, but it still tasted good.
    Yang Yeum Chicken
    Total cost came to £6.90. It is a tiny bit expensive, but at least there's no service charge...

    Need to try out their restaurant version - probably in a few months time...

    My geeky rating: 4.5/5

    Good points:
    - Good selection of cold and there's also hot food, which you will probably need to ask the till people to heat up
    - Ok service
    - Good for lunches!!

    Bad points:
    - I think they can compensate some of the eating area with a couple more fridges to save having to walk all the way to the end if you want more food... just a thought...

    Address: 106 New Oxford Street, London WC1 1HB
    Telephone: 0207 637 0937



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