Food reviews and recipes

Pan Chai at Harrod’s

Back when I lived in New York, I would go out to eat sushi around once a week. It would be a ritual I had with my mom – the one thing we would schedule in consistently, when I would be swamped with school and extracurriculars and she was busy with work. We would catch up and chew the fat(ty tuna) – and even though we did it every week, it always felt special, and like a treat.

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Nowadays, my weekly sushi routine usually involves grabbing a couple of salmon avocado handrolls, hunched over my laptop at the office. So when I was invited to pop down to Harrod’s and check out Pan Chai, I was pretty excited.

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It’s located in the food hall of Harrod’s – 22 leather and marble clad seats where shoppers can sample fresh, pan-Asian fare without interrupting their shopping trip. As a result, it is fantastic for people-watching – if you’re looking for an intimate, romantic meal then this might not be one for you, but it’s definitely one to bring your best friend to.

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We started with the seaweed salad, which was topped with sesame seeds. It was slightly pickled, and had bite, and by far the simplest dish we had during our visit.

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If you go to Harrod’s, then you probably love the dramatic – and the rest of our meal at Pan Chai was like a trip to the theatre in the best way possible. The first signature sushi roll we ordered was the Harrod’s Special – fresh snow crab with avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with seared scallops, black caviar and spring onions.

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In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with the crab and avocado combination, but it paled in comparison to the negitoro maki, which is one of my favourites. Negitoro is spicy tuna with spring onions, and this was made with chopped tuna belly – it was mouthwateringly good.

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I’m definitely quite conservative when it comes to my sushi choices, though, and I absolutely loved the simple flavours from the nigiri kiku platter. With sushi, as long as the quality of the ingredients is there, you don’t need to combine too many flavours or textures – it just works.

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The nigiri kiku platter included a foie gras roll that I still dream about one month after my visit – it was like butter. You also got tuna belly, salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, shrimp, wagyu tartar, scallop and grilled eel, along with the usual fillers (in my opinion!) of cooked prawn, tamago and tuna.

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It was all absolutely delicious, the tuna belly and the wagyu tartar really standing out as well.

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I had a really enjoyable experience at Pan Chai, but the only drawback I had with the menu was the total lack of dessert options. We settled for a kir royale and a bellini, but given how much I enjoyed the nigiri in particular, I would’ve loved to have finished the meal with something sweet. If you’re ever in need of a bite to eat during a shopping spree, I’d definitely recommend the nigiri platter.

Have you eaten at Pan Chai? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Town, Kaimuki

One of my favourite meals I had when I was last in Hawaii was at Town, in Kaimuki.

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“Local first, organic where possible, and with aloha always” – their menu focuses on local ingredients and flavours with Italian influences.

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Six of us split everything family-style, and I’d definitely recommend going that route, cause you’ll want to try a bit of everything.

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The pate was one of my favourites, and like everything I tried at Town was simple, but crafted perfectly. You really can’t go wrong with fresh ingredients, and there is clearly a lot of thought behind each ingredient and dish.

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The chicken leg with aioli, freekeh, fennel and tatsoi was another favourite – I loved the combination of flavours and cuisines, which is quite Hawaiian in itself.

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I don’t usually have a sweet tooth, but I couldn’t resist the apple banana cream pie. I absolutely love apple bananas, and this was so creamy, but not too overpowering as I can find banoffee pie to be sometimes – it had a cleaner flavour, and was seriously incredible.

The neighbourhood is also further out from the bustling tourist area of Waikiki, so there weren’t as many tourists there which made for a really nice meal out.

Have you been to Town? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Town, Kaimuki, 3435 Waialae Ave # 104, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA.

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

Proud East #PopUpJapan

Last Thursday I went along to the launch of Proud East‘s latest takeover – #PopUpJapan.

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Rin & Charles ❤ @proud_east #PopUpJapan

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Until the 18th of June, Proud East in Haggerston will be home to Japanese cinema, cooking classes, games, cocktails and will be serving up food from the folks behind Tonkotsu.

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I highly recommend the umeshu (Japanese plum wine) gin cocktails, and the Kitachino Nest ale, too.

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Be sure to check the pop up out while it’s on – more details can be found on their website here.

Will you be checking out the Proud East #PopUpJapan takeover? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!



A Weekend in Mexico City

Back in February I was lucky enough to go to Mexico City for work. It’s always been a dream of mine to go, as I am a massive fan of Mexican food and culture, and I spent one of the best weeks of my life there. I was there for a week, and most of it was spent working – it ended up being an extremely hectic week. I managed to extend the trip so I got the weekend there, and was lucky enough that one of my friends from school recently moved back, so I was able to get some incredible recommendations.

I absolutely fell in love with the city, and would love to go back one day – but I managed to pack quite a bit into my weekend!

Sightseeing, Museums and Culture

I started out staying in the Reforma neighbourhood, so extremely near the Diego Rivera Mural Museum, Bella Artes, and the Franz Mayer Museum.

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I’ve loved Frida Kahlo’s work ever since I can remember, so a visit to Casa Azul was an absolute must for me. I had one of the most memorable mornings of my life there, and couldn’t recommend it enough. I thoroughly recommend buying tickets in advance though, as you’ll be queuing for hours otherwise.

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After Casa Azul, I spent some time wandering around the Coyoacan neighbourhood, too – although the market there was pretty overrated (I’ve got some great recommendations for shopping coming up).

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The museums in Mexico City were really amazing – I managed to get to the National Museum of Anthropology, which was also walking distance from the Museo Tamayo.

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I also wandered around Zocalo, and walked up to the top of Chapultepec Castle.

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Shopping and Eating

My wonderful friend Mercedes gave me the best recommendation for shopping in Mexico City – Bazaar Sabado (or Saturday Bazaar) in San Angel. It’s only on Saturdays, but they had the most beautiful and unusual pieces – not your usual tourist tat. We also stopped off at La Camelia Cantabar for delicious ceviche and chicharrones (pork crackling). It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

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That’s not to say I’m above the usual tourist tat – I managed to pick up several souvenirs at the Mercado de Artesanias, where they had some amazing agua frescas and quesadillas, too.

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Other foodie highlights included La Cerveceria de Barrio for their fish tostadas, and Taqueria El Caifan for their tacos.

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Going out

The nightlife was excellent in Mexico City, but two particular highlights were a Mezcal bar called Bosforo (where they also served quesadillas with crickets) – they had excellent Mezcal and cocktails there. For dancing, I had an excellent time at Cafe Paraiso – it was so much fun.

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Getting around

I spent most of the time getting Ubers, but spent the last day getting a Turibus around, which was cheap and a fantastic way to see the whole city.

Have you ever been to Mexico City? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Paradise Cove

No trip to Hawaii would be complete without visiting a luau.

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It’s unbelievably touristy, and incredibly kitschy, but it’s just one of those things you really have to throw yourself into. We went to Paradise Cove on my last trip, and I had such a fun evening – it was really fun to be surrounded by people visiting from totally different points in their life. You’d be sat next to those celebrating their golden wedding anniversary, to those on their honeymoon – all sitting round a big table, family-style.

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Whenever you book any touristy trips like luaus, scuba tours, or even when you are getting souvenirs, I’d thoroughly recommend going to the Swap Meet and Market Place at Aloha Stadium. It’s on every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and you can find your usual tourist tat as well as deals on tours for a fraction of the price you’d find in Waikiki.

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You have to go in prepared for the level of cheesiness, but watching people dance with fire is always a good time, especially when there are Mai Tais involved!

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The sunset alone is worth going for – it’s absolutely breathtaking.

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Have you ever been to a luau? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!