Hot Numbers – Gwydir Street, Cambridge (UK)

In 2011 coffee shop Hot Numbers opened its first location at Dale’s, the decommissioned brewery on Gwydir Street just off Cambridge’s vibrant Mill Road. Combining owner Simon Fraser’s love for coffee and music, Hot Numbers was named after the former record store in neighbouring Kingston Street (check out the restored mural/ghost sign there).

Since then, Hot Numbers has firmly established itself as an independent specialty coffee company with the addition of a roastery, a coffee wholesale business, a second site on Trumpington Street and an extensive refurbishment at the original location. Hot Numbers hosts a variety of musical, artistic and foodie events such as live music, vinyl listening nights, art exhibitions and weekly food trucks. A unique spot in Cambridge, Hot Numbers delivers the whole package as a place for social interaction, fuelled by quality coffee, drinks and food. It’s firmly on its way to becoming a Cambridge institution.

It’s evident that Hot Numbers strives for progress and maintains a competitive edge, as any good business would do. After all, at one time Mill Road was severely lacking in quality food and drink establishments but it is thriving now. Not resting on its laurels, Hot Numbers has recently developed an exciting new brunch menu for their Gwydir Street location that stands out from run-of-the-mill offerings. It’s a bold move rendered possible by completely changing the kitchen and bringing in a development chef/consultant so the food can be made in-house. The result strikes the perfect balance between innovation and familiarity. It’s an inventive menu that elevates the humble brunch from the norm yet still retains familiar elements.

It all kicks off at 7:30am with “breakfasty” options available till 11am. Choose from apricot yoghurt panna cotta with roasted peaches and granola, coconut milk porridge with raspberries, as well as freshly baked cornbread with three choices for toppings (honey & goats cheese, raspberries & Greek yoghurt and peaches & whipped ricotta).

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foodPark at The North Pole: VIP Launch – Cambridge (UK)

I was honoured to be invited to the VIP Launch of foodPark Cambridge at The North Pole, which was held on 20 November, 2014. For the first time, foodPark was able to make Parker’s Piece its winter home… a bonus for this increasingly popular collective of street food traders as well as the many people celebrating the winter festivities at The North Pole. A brilliant collaboration in an enchanting city centre location!

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foodPark’s daily pop-up street food market and bar is running alongside The North Pole’s ice rink and funfair, which means you can access the foodPark during its trading hours, with no entrance fee.

However, in the midst of such a magical and festive winter setting it only makes sense to give the ice rink a whirl, or take the kids to the many rides and attractions The North Pole has to offer.

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GaNaDaRa – Montreal (Canada)

My husband and I have been curious about Korean food, particularly Bibimbap, for a while now. I just so happen to have a niece who is somewhat of an expert on all things Korean. So when the opportunity to visit my family in my hometown of Montreal arose, I knew a venture into Korean fare would be on the proverbial menu.

My niece has been raving about GaNaDaRa in downtown Montreal and has introduced it to friends and family. Her parents (my sister and brother-in-law) have become converts. When this place first opened two years ago, it was an immediate hit with the student population due its big portions and decent prices. However, word has gotten out that this is not just a studenty cheap-eats kind of place. GaNaDaRa serves up some delicious Korean specialties. They do it well and they do in with great efficiency. When we popped in here for lunch last week, there was a mix of customers: students, business people on their lunch break and us (the tourists, so to speak).

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The place is small but the tables turn over quickly. We were a group of 5, considered large for an establishment of this size, so we made a point of arriving at noon before the queue formed at the door. We were seated at the back near the TV that, as my niece explained, showed K-pop videos. This really added to the charming ambience and I enjoyed reading all of the cute sayings painted on the walls.

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