Posts Tagged ‘London’

On our last day in Beijing we visited the architectural wonders of the Olympic park. Four years on from the event I was surprised at how clean and well kept this space was although it is more than evident that many of the buildings have been empty for ages and that the space is a bit too vast to be filled properly.

Let it suffice to say that between one tube stop and the other we walked about half an hour.

We weren’t there long, but every day we spent in Beijing was sunny and bright. I honestly didn’t sense any of the terrible pollution although of course if you are next to one of the ring roads it’s a bit smelly. I suppose I was lucky but there you go.

The sensation of space was amazing and although there were people visiting the site and going to the winter wonderland set up for kids within the stadium it felt a bit like the moon.

The inside of the super clean stadium also known as the Bird’s Nest.

That sky is so blue it’s hard to believe tha pollution is a problem. Electric shocks from the static yes, those I did experience at a rate of about 7 a day, sigh!

Olympic seating should be a sport in itself…

There’s an amazing view from the higher levels of the stadium although the actual structure didn’t impress me that much as it felt sort of plastic-y rather than the steel giant that I was expecting.

The winter wonderland set up for kids.

Apparently the building below is supposed to look like a microchip. I suppose it does, but aside from that I rather like it. It’s been named the Digital Beijing Building.

More of the iconic landscapes from the Olympic village. Wonder what London will leave behind?

The Beijing landscape is fascinating with its mix between ultra-modern and industrial (eg the smoke coming out of that factory just behind the stadium). Kind of reminded me of Futurist paintings like the following : Sironi, Paesaggio Urbano

What do you think?


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So, the world’s 50 best restaurants were published yesterday by the website world50best.com

Interestingly there are only 2 Italian restaurants in the list showing that either Italians are not doing a very good job of getting out there and promoting their fine dining or that restauranteurs in dear old Italia have been resting on their laurels a little too long and need to get out there and modernise the experience.

The UK, in fact, jestingly regarded by Italians as the nadir of cooking actually has one more listed restaurant than Italy thanks no doubt to the amazing renaissance that dining has had in the country in the past two decades or so.

Overall the USA has the largest number of fine dining establishments followed by Mediterranean princess, Spain.

These are the top 10:

Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain

 Mugaritz, San Sebastiàn, Spain
D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
Per Se, New York, USA
Alinia, Chicago, USA
Arzak, San Sebastiàn, Spain
Eleven Madison Park, New York USA
Needless to say I’m going to print out the list and after an accurate analysis of my travel and food budget try to eat my way through some of these, but as I think it might not be such an easy task I hope to hear comments and experiences from you!

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Two years in London and not one visit. I was very sorry to discover this on a weekend trip and thus be unable to stock up my pantry with the delights that await in Borough market.

Middle Eastern delights….


Always time for a quick quiche!









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Being back in London and meeting up with all our friends was a delightful home from home and made the last weekend really special.

On Friday evening, after a quick drink on the (fake) grassy bank at the National we headed off to the Swan at the Globe, a Brasserie with a Gastro pub feel (channel faded union jack and pheasant print cushions…) with a stunning view over the Thames and St Paul’s or to quote one of the lovely punters I shared my nosh with ‘That cathedral thing near St Paul’s tube station’….

After a fresh starter of Brixham crab (supporting the fishermen from another sort of home for me!) which could only have been improved by ditching the mayo (why? I ask why put this infamous glop on my food?) I moved on to a delicious tender pink lamb served with provencal veg and olives.

Sadly after all this there was no room for pudding other than a chilled glass of white port!

I certainly recommend booking and as this is a very popular pre-theatre venue  if you are not going to the Globe then avoid the pre and after theatre rush



The Swan at the Globe

Atmosphere: Convivial, bistro chic. Lovely view over St Paul’s and the river

Food:  Gastro pub

Dinner for two: Expect to spend 50 pounds for a starter and a main with a glass of wine

Would we go back? An absolute must for the excellent location

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