Ondine – Edinburgh (UK)

I first visited Ondine shortly after chef-patron Roy Brett launched it six years ago. The food and service were so memorable that I vowed to return. I recently had the opportunity to have my birthday meal at this luxurious seafood restaurant in Edinburgh and it was as wonderful as I remembered… even better, if that’s at all possible.

Collage Ondine

Ondine

Ondine isn’t easy to spot from the street. From the George IV Bridge entrance of an unassuming building, it’s a flight of stairs (lift available) to the first floor so it very much feels like a hidden gem. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with its high ceilings, large windows, mosaic columns, quirky artwork and stunning circular oyster bar.

Ondine Interior

The origin of the word “ondine” comes from the name of a water nymph, so it was only fitting to have a painting titled “Mermaids of Iona” in the lobby. Paulo was particularly delighted with the image… because the colours matched his suit and shirt. No other reason, of course!

Mermaids

We were given a table by the window with a lovely view over Victoria street. We chose an early time for our dinner reservations so it was quiet when we arrived but by the time we left, the place was full, including the oyster bar. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant.

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Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack – Covent Garden, London (UK)

American barbecue and seafood restaurant Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack is a relatively new addition to the Covent Garden restaurant scene. Housed in a former electrical power station, the place is huge and spread out over 2 floors. The décor is crabshack-meets-industrial, but it works.

Cover

CollageInside

We popped in for lunch at around noon (coincidentally it was the 4th of July, Independence Day) and were fortunate to get a table without a reservation. The place did fill up quickly soon afterwards. I was really pleased that our servers were helpful and friendly. In fact, all of the staff were just fantastic!

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The Cholmondeley Arms – Cholmondeley, Malpas, Cheshire (UK)

I’ve been to The Cholmondeley Arms several times since I first discovered it in 2012 on a trip to Chester. It’s located in the village of Cholmondeley, near Malpas in Cheshire. I always make a point to visit this picturesque pub for lunch when I am in Chester or Liverpool as it is on the way back to Cambridge. Paulo and I recently returned to the ‘Chum’ for a much anticipated lunch.

Sign - The Cholmondeley Arms

Sign – The Cholmondeley Arms

Pub - The Cholmondeley Arms

Pub – The Cholmondeley Arms

It’s one of my favourite pubs as the food, drink and ambience are quite special. The pub is a former Victorian schoolhouse built in 1862 and was first converted in 1988. It was refurbished a few years ago by the new owners who celebrated its past as a schoolhouse. The result is a beautifully decorated and charming place to spend a few hours over great food and drink. They have a dizzying selection of gins and some excellent local beers. The menu consists of freshly made classics that are expertly prepared and presented.

Charming interior and exterior

Charming interior and exterior

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