.: Home… is where the heart is :.

Everyone says: home is where the heart is. I totally agree and I have to say my heart is in so many places. Home…. once born in South Portugal, that was what I thought it was going to be my forever home:

This is home! My feet on the wet sand with the sound of the waves breaking slowly as my soundtrack. The smell of the sea, the sound of the seagulls and the boats. If I close my eyes I can easily imagine myself back.

Home was also to go to the mountains and jump between the rocks and climb trees with my sis and my dad

We had a fair amount of outdoors life when growing up and amazing weather! Looking back I feel privileged!

Then I went to uni when I was 17th and moved to Lisbon, which was my home for 8 years! I love Lisbon! This is where most of my friends live and where we’ve started to live together almost 10 years ago.

It means Fado, it means Saudade…. oh I miss it quite a lot! It’s quite funny because since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to live in Lisbon. Every time I go back now it feels like holiday, but still comes harder and harder to come back. Regardless where I am in the world, a big part of my heart will always be in Lisbon!

I also know I’ll be back one day, just a matter of when

Then more than 5 years ago I moved to London and whereas the first year was getting used to it, it started to feel like home.

It’s amazing to live in such a multicultural city surrounded by historical monuments around us. Ever since I moved to South West London, I do feel at home here. I love Chiswick, Kew & Richmond. Love the gardens and the pubs.

I’ve also spent 2 years in Bristol, which I could easily call home as well. The whole lifestyle, people enjoying life a bit more, socialising and being more friendly than in London was something I could easily adapt to

So I have to admit my heart is broken with all this #Brexit topic, because I never believed it would happen at all. The place which I’m calling home might no longer be so in the years to come. I can imagine the pain of the people being sent “home” feel heartbroken when home is precisely where they are. Hard to see a country being broken apart fuelled by lies and blindness.

So who knows what home might be tomorrow, at least I had the joy of considering a few places like home. All of them will always be special to me 🙂

 

.: River Station @ Bristol :.

One of the cities I love the most in UK, apart from London has to be Bristol. After 2 years working there I just love it! Amazing restaurants, really friendly people and such a good life style (as compared with London). So I was really looking forward to come back ever since I left before Christmas.

Obviously I had to stay in the Royal Marriott! It felt quite good to be back and still quite familiar as well. Some of the faces I still recognised from 6 months before.

Because we’ve arrived around lunch time, and before our room would be ready, we decided to go for a nice lunch. As it wasn’t raining (even though it was mostly cloudy) I wanted to go back to RiverStation and enjoy that relaxing view to the river. RiverStation was one of the favourites while I was working there for the relaxing atmosphere and overall good quality food.

I’ve never tried the bar at the bottom floor, but I’ve heard that they have really nice brunch menus. We went straight to the upper floor to the restaurant area. We were friendly welcomed and guided through the cosy tables at the corner in front of the river. It was a really good idea as there were families in the main area, hence a bit more noisy in the middle.

One of the things I love about RiverStation is their seasonal menus. They don’t have a big menu, but they change it according to the seasonal products. They also offer set menu deals which I find really good value. Also, you are offered their delicious bread.

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I felt so relaxed with the sound of the boats outside and the smell of the water. It was really cloudy but still really pleasant.

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I went for the set menu with starter, fish of the day and pudding! All of it really tasty and quite filling too.

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The salted caramel in the brownie was sooooo good! It was full of nuts inside as well. Yummy!

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Once I’m back in Bristol will definitely be back, this is a favourite in the city centre! Maybe not as romantic as the Glassboat, but with better price quality offer.

For more restaurants in Bristol please check here.

Have you been in Bristol before? Any favourite which you would recommend? Have a lovely week! (Weekend is closer!!!)

.: Wed. night out club :.

Yap, that’s right, I’ve created a little dinner club at work. We’ve made a vow to try different restaurants in Bristol, especially because most of us will leave at the end of the year anyway.

The problem with a dinner club at work is that I feel shy photographing the food!!!! So I’ll have to rely on uncle google to find some photos.

The Ox
I had been at The Ox before. If you know Bristol the odds are you’ve been there already or you are looking forward to go. I simply love it! The steaks are delicious and the decor is brilliant, even the chandeliers.

The last time we went there, we’ve ended up being allocated to the cosy room. For mains we’ve decided to share T-Bones. Oh gosh, such a meat feast!!! It’s quite expensive (£65) but it’s worth it, the meat is sublime. It’s way better than the picture below shows.

Then we had Malbec, lots of it. They have a very good wine selection. I didn’t had a dessert as I was quite full, but it was indeed a great evening and one to repeat.

The Ox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CAU

It had to be a competition with The Ox! CAU is quite recent in Bristol but ever since I’ve noticed it I’ve been looking forward to give it a go.

Because we’ve all wanted to try the special cuts, it means that the smallest portion was 400g, so we’ve skipped starters. I’ve ordered Lomito (£28 for 400g) which was massive. I’m not joking, seriously massive piece of steak and so delicious!!!! The pepper sauce was really good as well. I felt it was too much for me, but it was so good I didn’t rested my fork until I’ve finished it all!

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Again it was followed with really nice wine. It wasn’t a cheap meal but it was certainly a very good one! Let’s just say next morning I didn’t had breakfast.

CAU Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Pump House

I had the Pump House on my wishlist for a long while and it was an absolutely brilliant evening! You know the places that take you by surprise? Pump House was one of them. I had pump house on my wishlist for a while now, mostly because of the long list of gins (462 different gins). I booked a table for 4 of us and we had such a great time. First we were sitting down just having beers & gin. The first gin that I was recommended was the seaweed which was absolutely delicious!

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Next I had blackwater. In the meantime we went to our table, a really cosy space and this is when surprise really started. The bone marrow, the cheese, all of the starters were so good that we were just making funny delighted noises, all of us.

Sample photos from the food

Then the Pork belly, absolutely delicious! Points to note you can choose any wine by the glass, that’s right, any wine in the menu! Really tempting to try the food and wine pairing which they offer on Friday’s and Saturdays. Brilliant place to go

Pump House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s been quite an expensive club, but the food experience has been really good!!!

.: A week full of steak :.

It’s been quite crazy recently, between holidays, weekends with friends or just scanning through old photos and last weekend a lovely wedding in Madeira (that’s a Portuguese island famous for being difficult to land and Madeira wine, which is quite similar to Port).

So let’s start with the best steak I’ve ever had, and yes it was in Madeira

So good!!!! I have to admit I was lacking some energy after the landing. It was something like this

The other gorgeous thing about Madeira is the bread “Bolo de caco”

Next day we had an amazing wedding in Funchal, I haven’t seen my photos yet, so have to rely on his for the time being:

Sunday morning – or shall I say lunch time – we only had time for lunch before heading back to the airport

Espetada Madeirense

We were back on Sunday evening, around 12h00 after waiting 1 hour for our taxi in Gatwick. I wish we had the idea to take the car and park it there, it would have been cheaper and better.

Monday it was time to get back to work, so I have to admit waking up at 06h was almost as hard as the landing in Madeira. But I had also an event later that evening at Vinopolis for a wine & cheese tasting event. Yap could get used to this life of working in London!

Tuesday morning back to Bristol for work. Again, waking up at 05h30 was even harder than on Monday. I was feeling really asleep most of the day, so when I went to the hotel and they’ve asked me if I wanted the Flat Iron as the steak of the day, I’ve said yes without thinking.

On Wed. I had booked Cau as part of the Wed. Night Club at work. Cau is an Argentinian chain famous for STEAK!!!! This was such a massive piece of meat! As I wanted to try one of the special cuts, the smaller size was 400g. That’s at least double of what I normally have

But soooo tasty! Steak & Malbec, a combination made in heaven. Will be back into Cau for a normal size piece of steak.

Tonight decided to have the fillet I’ve ordered with stout. So here it goes for steak nr 4. No more steak for a few days at least!

Do you like steak? What’s your favourite place for a good one? Cheers 🙂

.: Boutique Hotels – The Bristol Hotel :.

As you know, I tend to stay a lot in Marriott hotels mostly so I can make the most of my points and enjoy a few weekends away, but once in a while I do enjoy experimenting a boutique hotel, like the one for my weekend in Cornwall.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of staying at the Bristol Hotel and I was seriously impressed!

Location – In front of the river in the Bristol Harbourside

The staff was really polite and friendly throughout my stay, then I reached my room which I felt was brilliantly decorated:

Love the chandeliers, so original!

The desk space, quite modern and neat

And I guess You’ve already noticed my favourite item in the room, the nespresso machine!!!! A few other details is that there were a few universal adapters, for people with European chargers.

A silly selfie on the coffee machine

Yes you can see me reflected on the machine 🙂 In most of the big brand hotels a nespresso machine only comes with upgraded rooms, but in the Bristol Hotel it’s quite the standard. Thank you guys!!!

Bathroom items:

I didn’t took pictures of the breakfast, but it was really delicious and you can see the river just in front of you.

Restaurant / breakfast area – Official Website

I have to say I had a great and experience at this hotel and I may be staying over again, even if there’s no points included.

.: The Stable Bristol :.

Finally I managed to visit The Stable in Bristol. We were discussing the fact that Bristol has really good restaurants when someone mentioned The Stable. 3 pints of Guinness down the line it felt like the best idea ever and that’s precisely were we went.

If you pass by it, you’ll know by now it smells beautifully every single time!

Photo from google

The Stable is quite well know by the pizzas & ciders. I didn’t try the cider this time, but will be back for more.

The place is quite big, like a big Stable indeed. The staff was quick to find us a table but forgot to explain that we could only order at the bar. So after waiting 30m we’ve decided to go there and ask for our food.

Photo from http://gingeybites.com  – Inside The Stable

The pizzas not only smell beautifully but they also taste really nice. My pizza

Pizza with egg? Just because I can!

Tasty, crunchy as a pizza should be. The flavour was simple but really good. Really good value for money.

It’s the perfect place to go with friends to enjoy cider & pizza and just relax. Will be back again

Location: 5/5
Service: 3/5
Food: 4/5
Choice of drinks and overall menu: 4/5

The best – The pizzas
Could be improved – The service

.: Food week in Bristol :.

Yap, I spend a lot of time in Bristol indeed! This week was quite a crazy one! Was trying to organise dinner on Monday or Tuesday and failed miserably as we were all quite busy. But still managed to have a lot of good food

Monday Night – Fish of the day @ Royal Marriott Hotel

I really love the diversity of fish in Bristol, so every time I can that’s the option I’ll go for. Normally there’s always fish of the day in the hotel. Even though Monday tends to be my soup day, I wanted fish this time.

Yummy fish

When asked if I wanted dessert, I was like “not really hungry but would fancy something sweet”. The ladies in the restaurant were great and they gave me some chocolates. Was really happy with this!

They know how to make me smile!

Tuesdays – Steak Night

Tuesday is the steak night @ the Royal Marriott. I still had to do some work, therefore that’s what I had

Delicious sirloin steak

I really don’t mind going there so often, because I can relax, read a book, do some work – as I did this week – and have a chat with the friendly staff 🙂

Wednesday – RiverStation

As one of our colleagues is leaving the project we had a farewell dinner. It’s a lovely place! Really enjoyed the decor and the overall ambience. As usual when I’m going out with colleagues, I didn’t took any photos, so I’ll have to use google!

The restaurant is split across 2 floors, being the upper floor the quiet one.

This is how it looks from the outside

I went for the rainbow trout, which was really delicious, whereas the guys went for the Argentinian steak – which seemed to be pretty good as well. They also have local beers, such as those from the Bristol Factory

You can check more food photos @ Tripadvisor 

So it was a very good food week indeed!

.: Another food week in Bristol :.

Last week I had lots of good food in Bristol. Indeed Bristol is my favourite city for food – especially for those of you who are fish lovers. Actually I dare say that Bristol is the best quality-life city to live in UK. £1200 you get a 2 bedroom new apartment in the city centre!!!! I’m paying way more to live 40m away from the centre. Oh well. Maybe one day I’ll join the statistics and move out of London too. I guess not for now.

Anyway, I’m enjoying every single week while I work in Bristol. Thus week I went out with friends, so I didn’t took many photos unfortunately. I still feel shy while doing that with colleagues from work. I don’t want to be perceived as un-polite or something.

Monday

Monday evening we went with a group of portuguese friends to Zaza Bazaar. This place is next door to me but I had never been inside. Wow, this is huge! It’s the biggest buffet place I’ve ever been.

The place is so big there is a map inside to guide you through!

Once you get in you’ll be assigned 01h45m to finish your meal. For example, our table was booked for 20h, so we could stay until 21h45. During that time you can eat all you want! On Mondays they have a discount, so it’s £10 per person. Really good right? I thought that as a buffet the food wouldn’t be that great, but the quality is quite nice. You have foods from all over the world, so everyone can go to their favourite cuisines.

Mexican Burritos

I’ve also had the pizzas, pretty nice again considering they are part of a buffet.

I had the chinese duck – yummy

Chinese aromatic duck

My favourite was the vietnamese soup, perfect to end your meal

Vietnamese Pho soup – really fresh!

Make sure you save some space for desserts, they are pretty nice

Happy Calories – all you can eat, say what?

So overall it was a really good experience. Hard to believe it was just a tenner! (english slang for £10 – happy that I’m learning some slang ahhahahah)

Tuesday

On Tuesday I went to the thai place (Thai Edge) with some colleagues. The place has a nice modern decor and it’s well located, next door to the Radisson Blu hotel

I have to say the service was absolutely disappointing! The lady was a bit rude to us. We were talking with each other and she almost shouted as us saying we need to order our drinks. Excuse me to you too! We’ve asked for some sharing platters, which I found quite expensive for what they were. £8 per person, that’s a lot!

Photo from google – Seafood sharing platter

I had the stir fried duck, which was quite nice, but nothing really extraordinary.

Photo from google – stir fry duck

Maybe I’ll give it another go, just because it’s a convenient location and a friend has very good reviews from this place. But the service was terrible and the food a bit overpriced for what it was. I still prefer Koh Thai Tapas, as the food is really tasty, cheaper and with way better service (at least the 3 times or more I’ve been there)

Wednesday

Wednesday 12h30 I felt that I hadn’t digested my breakfast yet, so I did something I hadn’t done for ages! I went out. I took a walk along the harbourside. I was actually trying to find this place (The crepe and coffee) and I did, but because there’s almost no space to seat down and it’s freezing I left it for another day and went instead for a quick toasty at Arnolfini Cafe bar.

Quite a big toasty but the capuccino wasn’t great.

For dinner I’ve stayed in the hotel, as I had some slides to finish while I was waiting for my food. I love the soups in the hotel, they tend to be really good and all I need for the evening

Carrot creamy soup… delicious!

I was planning to stay with the soup only, but was tempted for some desserts. Look at this gorgeous piece of happy calories:

Creamy yummy happy calories!!!

Thursday
Went out for lunch to buy bread @ Bordeaux Quay – they have really nice bread by the way! Then I had a quick lunch @The slug and lettuce

Grilled chicken with peppers and salad

So overall it was a good food week! Well actually my friends by this stage most likely believe I do food reviews for living and all I do is eating, as I kept posting food photos hahahahaha

Any nice place you’ve discovered recently?

Cheers 🙂

.: Tapas in Bristol :.

You know what? The more I think about it – the more I see myself living in Bristol one day! There’s so many good restaurants around, lots of nice events on the weekends (when I’m never there) and such a good vibe overall. Yes, seriously one day I think I would like to move out. It’s so much easier to have a good quality of life!

What’s the point of living in London if a) I’m rarely here b) I can’t enjoy all the city has to offer. In Bristol I find that it’s a lot easier to enjoy what’s around you and people seem a lot happier as well.

Last week was freezing cold – literally! (Some of my colleagues had the pleasure of enjoying some snow. I haven’t seen any 😦 You see, being Portuguese snowing seems a pretty exotic event for us)  but still I managed to have a nice food-week.

On my first night went for cream mushroom soup & mussels

Yummy soup, perfect for a winter cold night

Yummy mussels are yummy

I love these mussels with tachers sauce! It’s a shame they seem to have changed the recipe a bit, and there’s almost no sauce now.

On the 2nd night I’ve decided that I wanted some spanish food, so headed for La Tomatina. La Tomatina is located just in front of college green

As I went middle of the week and it was so cold outside, the place was almost empty.

The staff was friendly throughout the meal. I’ve decided to go for the bread platter (Pan rustico) which is served with olive oil. Perfect combination, isn’t it?

A lot of bread for one!!!

Calamares con alioli and gambas al aglio (which was the best in my view).

The garlic sauce from the prawns was sooo good

2 tapas and the bread was more than enough for one person, so I didn’t had any more space for dessert. So overall I would say it’s worth the visit. Ideally you should go with a bigger group so you can try different things.

On my 3rd night I went out with a friend to Bordeaux Quay. I had the special fish of the day – which it seems was the special of the next day too. Next day I went there for a business lunch as well. The place is quite big and it seems now they’ve added a bakery as well. Will try to buy some bread on Thursday (if I don’t forget!!!)

What you’re favourite restaurant in Bristol? I’m looking forward to go to the Ox again! Same for Bento Boss.

.: Dining in Bristol – Piccolino :.

I had been in Piccolino before with my colleagues, but this week to me was the best! I was lucky enough to get a table outside with the heathers, the environment is just perfect! I have to say I didn’t took any pictures, so I’ll have to use those available on google.

Piccolino is part of a chain, same as San Carlo, it can still keep it’s authenticity. It’s one of those groups that doesn’t disappoint.

It’s perfectly located in the city centre just outside Cabot Circus Shopping and also a few steps away from a Marriott Hotel. It’s a good place to go for a work dinner, or outside for a more cosy environment.

The Service

Last time I was there I felt it was too formal, but this time it felt a bit more personal and relaxed, which I’ve really enjoyed. We had a nice house wine and pasta.

The Food

There’s a lot of good options in the menu. From fish, to pasta, meat or pizzas (I never tried the pizzas before, but some friends say that’s the weakest point)

I think the first time I had the steak which was really tasty and tender:

Yesterday I had the crab linguine, really really tasty! The other guys also had starters and they seem to be pretty good as well

And finally we went for the recommendation: Jamaican coffee (Mount Gay Rum)

So overall it’s a good place to go. I need to try the London one

I also had time to take a few photos from the Christmas market. Mentioning of which I’m going soon to the german christmas markets 😀