Dinner at the Clove Club

The Doc and I marked three years since our first date last Wednesday. Being self-professed foodies, we spent our first date at a Street Feast food festival, and haven’t stopped eating since! If I recall correctly, it went something like this:

  • I was late by half an hour
  • He was 15 minutes early
  • He thought I’d stood him up
  • We didn’t stop talking for about 7 hours – marking it the longest first date ever
  • It was the same day as Eurovision and therefore you can’t forget it 😉

The last three years have flown by in a whirl of fun, food and frolicking. Honestly, we’ve come a long way since then and there was only one way to mark the occasion. We resorted to our favourite list, “The Worlds 50 Best” and decided it was time to tick one more restaurant off it! Specifically, the Clove Club, somewhere I had wanted to try for ages!

We’ve had the pleasure of dining at some of the best restaurants, including Noma in CopenhagenPujol in Mexico City (currently number 20 of the world’s best restaurants), Relae, which has held number 39 twice (post coming soon!) and we have loved the modern takes on the respective cuisines. It’s been amazing to share these experiences together, as two serious foodies, and we often reminisce about those meals even years later.

Last week, our anniversary started in a pretty normal way. I woke up early, went to work, went to the gym and then headed to Shoreditch. It was time to get our feast on!

The Clove Club was one of the first restaurants in the UK to introduce a pre-payment ticketing system, so over two months ahead, we booked in for the extended tasting menu of 9 courses, plus a selection of “snacks”. When the day finally arrived, I wasn’t sure what to expect but an exciting evening was certainly ahead of us.

Ecstatic that the sun was out, we met outside the restaurant, hungry for the feast ahead. We were taken to our seats and promptly started with a glass of Blanc de Blanc champagne before diving into the starters.

Beetroot and apple granita with almond cream _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

Champagne and candle _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

Spider crab _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

Spider Crab Tart _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

The first course was a refreshing beetroot and apple frozen gazpacho with a quenelle of almond cream. The gazpacho was like a savoury sorbet and very moreish. Despite the apple being very subtle (so much so that we couldn’t taste it), each bite left us wanting more. The intense flavour of the nutty and creamy almond cream was bold compared to the other elements and as such, it was the star of the dish. I’d have loved a bit more apple flavour but absolutely adored this as a start to an exciting and experimental meal!

Fried chicken on pine leaves _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

Next, I was presented with a Cornish spider crab tart, with hollandaise made with brown crab, topped with devilled spices and a pretty little chive flower from the Clove Club garden. I loved the theatre of it, served on a ginormous, somewhat scary looking, hollowed crab shell. GENIUS! The filling was piquant and creamy, slightly salty but light. The tart was crisp and really thin. It was incredible. I’d have loved a bigger one as a main actually! The Doc is allergic to shellfish and so was given the tiny tart with some green beans in. Needless to say, it was underwhelming next to my beautiful shellfish delight, and I felt bad. But we ploughed on, and the good egg that my man is, he didn’t complain much, mainly because the next snack arrived of buttermilk fried chicken with a pine salt and a big smile returned to his face.

One thing that has become apparent over the last three years is that whilst we both love a delicious fancy meal out, we also love simple comfort food. For me, comfort food is a perfect homely lasagne, rich with flavour and lots of cheese on top (I defy you to find one that beats my mum’s veggie lasagne!). For the Doc though, he’d happily eat a plate full of macaroni cheese or fried chicken. He tried Clove Club’s Buttermilk fried chicken with pine salt before I did and made THAT face. He was beaming from ear to ear. He said he could eat a bucketful! For me, it was a little bit greasy but in all fairness, I’m no fried chicken connoisseur (I don’t eat KFC and find a lot of fried foods unpleasant!) But, for the guy with a taste for it, it was brilliant. But credit where credit’s are due; it was perfectly cooked, really succulent and the batter was audibly crunchy! Nothing like your average greasy chicken and clearly if you’re a fried chicken fan this stuff would be like crack to you. The Doc LOVED it!

Haggis dougnuts _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

The next snack was a happy surprise. If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll know that recently, I’d travelled to Edinburgh for a family wedding, yet I had managed to resist the temptation of experimenting with haggis (if you don’t follow me yet, then why not do so now!). The next snack consisted of savoury doughnuts filled with haggis and topped with cider vinegar powder; seemingly as Chef Isaac is Scottish, this dish is a nod to his heritage. For those wondering whether to take that bite of haggis or not next time they’re offered, it was tasty and meaty (as expected). In this case, however, I’d have liked more filling in the doughnut. After one bite, the meat was gone and you were left with an empty donut case.

Pinot Bianco white wine _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

The Clove Club’s excellent sommelier offered us a mini wine pairing where you could get a trio of wines perfectly matched with the meal – I loved the idea. Considering it was a weeknight a full wine pairing would be way too much for us! The first wine, paired with the snacks, was a light Pinot Bianco. A beautifully aromatic young wine which went down sooooo easily. Honestly, I had slurped it down quicker than I care to admit. From the region of Italy, the grapes for this wine are grown by 140 different farmers who, according to the sommelier, do not agree on which grape tastes the best. As such, no two wines taste the same and we happened to be lucky to get a great one. It’s one of the most delicious wines I’ve tried in ages!

Trout tartare and crisps _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

_ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

The next dish was one of my favourites. A trout tartare with sencha powder (a relative to Schezuan pepper) with the most glorious potato velouté and crunchy mini Jersey Royal potato crisps with Sansho. The velouté was seriously velvetty and incredibly comforting. Reminiscent of a delicious potato soup, I could have eaten a big bowl of just that! In fact, I definitely just googled Clove Club potato soup recipe… no such luck unfortunately. You’ll just have to go there and try this!

My next course was langoustine two ways. First, the delicate tail of the langoustine was lightly grilled a la plancha. It was served with a charcoal cream, so smooth and so smokey. The cream is actually poured onto hot charcoal then quickly strained. Next, a glass appears containing langoustine claw topped with more charcoal cream and a jelly made of langoustine stock and dashi. It was so gorgeous but once again I felt bad enjoying this when the Doc’s shellfish-allergy-friendly dish came out. It was a very simple asparagus with mint served with fresh curds and lemon verbena. I wasn’t convinced by it at all.

Langoustine Tail _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Charcoal cream _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Langoustine _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Asparagus Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Curds with edible flowers _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Having given almost three months notice to the restaurant about our dietary requirements, and given that this is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the world, we couldn’t help but feel cheated by how underwhelming the alternative dishes were. The meal was meant to be a big celebration for us, but it felt pretty unequal that my dish had clearly had so much care and effort (and truly I did appreciate that my dish was pretty sensational) but his dish felt like a mere afterthought. For a restaurant which produces some seriously experimental, creative and tasty dishes, two pieces of asparagus with mint and a curd dip, which wasn’t too exciting (albeit pretty), was a bit of a shame. It was a beautifully presented dip but I thought back to our meals at other high end restaurants like Noma and how much effort they made to ensure no dietary requirement limited the dining experience.

Next up was a beautiful herring dish. The texture of the fish was really unusual and the taste was fantastic. It was meaty and almost doughy (in a good way!) as if a fried doughnut or dumpling. I’ve no idea what they did but it was GOOOD. The vivid green broth had great depth of flavour, lots of savoury notes and just the right amount of saltiness. We quickly forgot the last dish and fell in love with this one. Any fish lovers would adore this!

Herring broth _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Herring broth _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

The sommelier at the Clove Club is truly fantastic – she explained the wines so well and was patient whilst I took snaps! This next white wine, Engelgarten “Garden of the Angels” from 2014 was full bodied with a touch of residual sugar to balance the spices for the next few courses. It was actually so delicious on its own even without a bite of the meal, but paired amazingly.

Engelgarden white wine _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Another highlight at the Clove Club has to be the bread. Oh, the bread! I don’t think I have ever had such incredible bread in London. It was on par with my favourite sourdough which we ate in Copenhagen and I ate way more than my fair share with lashings of the handmade butter.

A little cheats course of its own would be the bread with that butter and a liberal sprinkling of this cinnamon salt with fennel seeds. Seriously, Clove Club, if you had a bakery, I’d be your biggest customer (both figuratively and literally because frankly my willpower just couldn’t resist that bread?)

Cinnamon, fennel seed flakey salt_ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Bread _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Pollock with green curry foam _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Rippon Pinot Noir New Zealand _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Our final wine pairing was a 2012 Pinot Noir from New Zealand – it’s from the central Otago region. This is actually somewhere on my bucket list, where I’d love to go to try the wines and see the vineyards, surrounded by mountains and glaciers. This wine was another incredible one from the Rippon vineyards.

I wouldn’t have thought a red wine would go so well with fish but surprisingly it married perfectly with the next course of Pollock, served with sea aster and onion. It had a subtle flavour of green curry and Karolina encouraged us to sprinkle the cinnamon and fennel salt over the perfectly cooked fish. It was amazing, aromatic and delicious and one of my favourite courses!

Lamb and mint _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

The courses continued to keep coming! Next up, was the Hebridaen smoked lamb with mint jelly and lamb sauce – I loved the flavour but the lamb wasn’t quite there for me, a bit too fatty for my liking. The Doc seemed to love his so I think I just happened to have a fattier piece. The slight smokiness was a really nice touch though and I polished off the lamb sauce with a bit of bread!

I feel incredibly lucky to have tried the next course. A bottle of Madeira from 1909 was brought to our table. It literally is older than my grandad (who’s turning 9o this year!) We were given a generous swig to try. It’s sensational. Literally, my goal is to buy a bottle of this stuff to put in the cellar and to open it many years into the future! We were then advised to leave a tiny bit of the Madeira in our wine glasses, therefore, we did as we were told (it wasn’t easy – that stuff is so moreish!)

The waiter arrived with a decanter of hot duck, morel and ginger consommé which was swirled and then poured into the wine glass containing the leftover Madeira! This was really clever cooking. They were definitely onto something incredible with this. It had so much flavour and honestly was pretty sensational. I would have loved if it was poured over something, perhaps some duck breast, to have a variety of textures as on its own it’s just a lot of liquid. Especially with wine and water!

Bottle of Madeira from 1908 _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Madeira in glasses swirling _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Duck Consommé _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog ReviewIn keeping with the last course, we were served a 21 day aged Aylesbury duck breast with a piece of duck sausage, purée of verbena, turnip, toasted almonds and some plum puree. The duck was cooked to perfection and probably the best duck I’ve ever had! See how gloriously pink it is! I loved this very much, and the purees were so tasty I’d have loved a little more! The sausage was bold and packed with flavour so only needed a tiny smidgen with each bite.

Duck Breast with sausage _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Duck Breast close up _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

*Drum roll please!* It’s pudding time. If you’ve made it through my foodie rambling then well done, you!

By this time, we were pretty full, but we can always find a tiny bit of space for pudding, can’t we?

Wild fennel granita came with a blood orange sauce, Ewe’s milk yoghurt, and the most incredible melt-in-the-mouth wafer, made of Ewe’s milk. There was also dehydrated blood orange and raspberry. I don’t even normally like fennel but this was just incredible refreshing. Sophisticated and balanced and a revelation! It was a really fresh pudding and I highly recommend it!

Wild Fennel Granita _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Our final pudding was a Loquat Sorbet with Loquat Kernel Cream and puffed amaranth. I’d never actually heard of a Loquat. It was served with creme anglaise, and a foam infused with the stone. It was topped with a crisp sugar disc with puffed amaranth and popcorn crumb. A winner for any popcorn lover!

Loquat Sorbet Dessert _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

We ended the meal with petit fours of chocolates with a liquid salted caramel centre, and the most delicious barley cakes with an orange marmalade cream. Surprisingly light, just the right side of sweet and moist (yes, I said it!)

Barley Cake with Marmalade Cream _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Reena with Sloe Sherry _ Clove Club _ Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog Review

Finally, we had the most minty bon bon made of mint liquor and Fernet Branca, a taste of fruity sloe sherry, took a photo with the chefs and left full-bellied and grinning. All-in-all it was a brilliant meal at the Clove Club, and a great way to reminisce on our first date, three years ago. Oh and this time, I was right on time (!)

Happy Anniversary Doc, here’s to many more delicious dinners together! xx

Check out the Clove Club over on their website here.

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The Sea Containers Bottomless Brunch at the Mondrian Hotel

In theory, turning 26 isn’t a special birthday. It’s not a quarter of a century, it isn’t a milestone birthday and it isn’t really a traditionally big event. But when you can get together 16 of your faves together for brunch it can only inevitably become a special memory to look back on. Well… that’s if you remember it! No mean feat when there’s prosecco flowing and unlimited Grey Goose Bloody Mary’s…

All I wanted to do this year was get together with close friends and relax. I’ve always liked the Mondrian hotels bars and so, with the promise of bottomless Bloody Mary’s and Prosecco, pretty views, and the ability to fit all 17 of us into one large table, I booked The Mondrian Hotel at Sea Containers for it’s Saturday Brunch. For £50per person (excl. service), you can have two courses and bottomless booze for two hours.

I love the Mondrian Hotel as a venue, as it has so many exciting spots to explore. It’s bright and airy (I love floor to ceiling windows), it serves locally sourced food and, for me, it’s the perfect space to clink glasses with my favourite people (some of whom you may remember from my previous birthdays, travels in Thailand and foodie adventures in London)

We shared reunion hugs, excited hello’s and once we caught the ear of the waiters, the endless flow of prosecco and spicy Bloody Mary’s began. The Doc had just bought me a Canon 750D camera as an INCREDIBLE birthday present (honestly I count my lucky stars), which we took along and played paparazzi with!

It was time to get cracking on the food.

Smashed Avocado on Charred Toast, with ripe cherry tomatoes, fresh coriander, chilli and a soft poached egg. Exactly as it sounds, the crunchy toast played vessel to carry all the soft creamy avo goodness! Simple and delicious.

The breakfast hash of chorizo, roast potato, wild garlic, and a beautifully oozy vibrant poached egg. This was my favourite course – I just love all of these ingredients and they married together so well. OMG so good and well balanced. Definitely the best dish there! I actually didn’t order this but managed to convince the Doc to share with me. #birthdaygirlperks

The Egg Sammy wrapped up a sunny side up egg, crispy bacon, Jack cheese, avocado, coriander & chipotle relish in a brioche bun.

Chicken and waffles: crunchy buttermilk waffles, fried chicken, and Sriracha slaw. This was the dish which unfortunately wasn’t well received – it took far too long to arrive and when it did one of the dishes was a little undercooked.

Pancakes were served with fresh tangy blueberries and comforting maple syrup. They’re not actually on the Bottomless Brunch weekend menu but I had requested them when booking as the options on the set menu wouldn’t suit a few of the dietary requirements in the group. Luckily, the chefs at the Mondrian were happy to rustle a stack of these babies! The blueberry pancakes were a proper crowd pleaser – you just can’t go wrong with good fluffy pancakes, can you?! Perfect for the vegetarians in the group, I totally think these should be added to the weekend brunch menu asap. Take note, Sea Containers!

So the food was a little hit-and-miss, but the prosecco and Bloody Mary’s were free-flowing and seriously delicious – the perfect savoury, spicy balance. Sea Containers will even customise them for you in their Bloody Mary bar, but we loved them as they were!

The food took much longer than usual (over an hour) but the staff made up for the slow service with an extra hour of Prosecco and a bottle of Perrier-Jouet, which was fine by me! We took lots of photos, caught up on each other’s adventures and laughed loudly, fuelled with bubbles!

I do love a bottomless brunch but it can be quite an anticlimax when you find yourself heading home mid-afternoon so merry! Once we had finished brunching in Sea Containers, we headed to the most informal bar at the Mondrian, the Den, to continue the celebrations. It’s an inviting, more informal area, perfect for getting comfy and catching up. The Doc did a very sweet, unexpected toast, the birthday singing commenced, and one of my best friends, Gopi and her lovely husband, Kish bought out the most beautiful Wilton’s Hazelnut birthday cake for me. It was one of the best cakes I’ve eaten in years and it was completely devoured within minutes! It was literally the icing on the cake, topping off a perfect birthday bottomless brunch.

Finally, we ended up in the Rumpus room bar, a firm favourite in my list of top London rooftop bars. It’s chic, pretty and serves incredible cocktails and has gorgeous views over London. At this point, the camera was put away and the birthday celebrations wrapped up.

Whilst the bottomless prosecco and Bloody Mary’s at the Mondrian may be guilty of making my memory slightly hazy, I had the best Saturday in absolurely what-felt-like forever. Nothing puts a smile on my face quicker than spending time with these guys and it was a great spot for such a big group.

I’d highly recommend Sea Containers for your next big group brunch. Take a fun group and don’t forget your dancing shoes… it’s inevitable, the party won’t end with the bottomless brunch!

 Which restaurants do you like for big groups? Have you been to The Mondrian Hotel?

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My Travel Menu: 3 places I’ve been lucky to visit

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Canaima Venezuela
I turned 26 last week, whilst I was in Edinburgh, and amidst the celebrations and travel, I took some time out to think. To think about what I loved over the last 26 years and what I’d like to do differently this year.

This got me thinking. I’m a girl who is fully consumed by wanderlust. I’m asked all the time about where I’m going next and yes my list is endless. I’d love to travel the whole world – and that’s no small ambition. This year, I’m going to consciously remember how lucky I am for having been to some of the most wonderful places in the world. I want to take more time out to appreciate the trips I have made, as well as make new discoveries.

Recently, I’ve been joining the monthly Travel Link up, where a group of us travel bloggers write on one topic for one post each month. Last month, I co-hosted the Travel Link up and wrote all about the incredibly inspiring Mexico City. This month’s Travel Link up theme was a bit more abstract! I was asked, “If travel was a menu, what would be your starter (short haul), main (long haul) and/or dessert (a place with a lasting impression)?”

I thought hard and toyed with the paradox of choice. So many options! I’ve been to so many incredible places – where do I start? I decided to go with a few of the places I’ve been daydreaming a lot about recently! So, based on the trips I’ve made, here are three that would make up my “travel menu”.

Hint: There’s a “course” choice in here that you may not have expected from me. Read to the end!

Starter – Short Haul

Copenhagen in Denmark is to me, the perfect weekend break from the UK for any foodie. With flights taking less than two hours, and often costing very little (we once flew for £20 from London Ryanair!) Copenhagen is a perfect spot to soak in some culture, fall in love with the art of Danish hygge (think warming candles, fluffy cushions, minimalist interiors, hot mulled wine over winter and other cosy little pleasures).

Travel Link Up May 2017 - Copenhagen Interior - Lifestyle Enthusiast

I’ve visited twice and even now I’d return happily in an instant. It’s been named the happiest city in the world and I can see why. Not only is it achingly cool but it is laid back, pretty and the people are seriously welcoming.

The fashion scene is, to me, some of the best. I struggle to find pieces I like but both times in Copenhagen I’ve come back with suitcases filled to the brim. You just can’t beat the shopping!

Travel Link Up May 2017 - Copenhagen Interior - Nyhavn - Lifestyle Enthusiast

I love picking which boat I’d have, amongst sherbet coloured Nyhavn, where the canals are. I love walking hand-in-hand with my other half around the maze of cobbled streets. I love catching some sun in the lush, green parks. But most of all, I love the food in Copenhagen!

Travel Link Up May 2017 - Copenhagen Nasturtium - Lifestyle Enthusiast

The capital of Denmark is truly going through a foodies revolution. Scandi-style influences everything from top-notch street foods at Torvehallane Market, kooky little coffee shops to high-end fine-dining iconic restaurants like Noma.  Nordic cuisine to me has the best bread in the world (the sourdough bread from Mirabelle Bakery has a firm spot on my wish list for my last ever meal on earth!).

Travel Link Up May 2017 - Copenhagen - Sourdough Bread - Lifestyle Enthusiast

It’s a small enough place that you could see it in a weekend from the UK, but it’s so charming that you won’t be able to resist going back time after time!

Main course – Long Haul

A truly alternative long haul that I loved was visiting Canaima, in South-Eastern Venezuela, along the border between Guyana and Brazil. We were off to see the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, Salto Ángel, more often known as ‘the Angel falls’. These falls are named after Jimmy Angel, an American who was searching for gold and diamonds in 1935, and instead happened upon these falls.

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Canaima Venezuela 1

There is no road access to Salto Ángel, instead masses of lush wilderness which truly adds to the magic. Honestly, the views on the hike through Canaima National Park are just as breath-taking as Salto Ángel itself, through beautiful smaller waterfalls, with exotic wildlife and incredible colours.

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Canaima Venezuela Sitting by FallsThis was one of the places where truly the journey is equal to the final destination, in terms of beauty, and even though flip flops are officially the worst choice of hiking footwear, I loved this hike so much!

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Canaima Venezuela Hike

It’s a place unlike any other. Canaima is a wildlife-rich destination that didn’t fail to surprise and impress me. I visited with my best friend, without very much research but with a strong bout of wanderlust and a desire to explore. It’s a spectacular national park and one I have incredibly fond memories of!

Sadly, for most, Venezuela is no longer on the tourist to-do list. Whilst it was once a very rich, powerful country, it’s now deemed unstable and relatively unsafe. It’s a real shame as for me, it’s one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve visited.

Despite this, it’s a long-haul destination I won’t ever forget and deserves to be recognised for a place of unrivalled scenery.

Dessert – the spot with a lasting impression

I don’t think I’ll ever forget visiting South America for the first time. I was nineteen years old and went to Argentina and Brazil for 6 weeks on the first independent trip I’d ever made. From this trip, one place stands out to me more than any other, and it is where I escape to in my daydreams on any bad day.

Paraty in Brazil is an easy place to get stuck into and an even easier one in which to linger, amongst the pristine soft flour-like sandy beaches where you can spot turtles and catch a Brazilian tan. Its cobblestoned streets are closed to most cars so pollution is low and there is an easy going vibe. It’s the place I felt safest in all of Brazil, so much so that the hotel owners told us it was fine to hitch hike up the main roads, and we even caught a lift with a man transporting bananas (but that’s a tale for another day!)

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Paraty Brasil - Beach

With dozens of picture-perfect, secluded beaches, rum distilleries and a backdrop of the vivid green jungle, it is my paradise and a place which left an impression like no other. One of my happiest travel memories was diving into the turquoise waters with the sound of samba music on the boat.

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Paraty Brasil - Boat Jump

It’s hard not to fall for Paraty as the people are kind, the beaches are some of the best in the world and the tropical fruit just can’t be beaten! I’ve vowed to go back one day, and if you get the chance you should too!

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Paraty Brasil - Boat

Lifestyle Enthusiast Travel Blog - Paraty Brasil - Beach at Dusk

I’ve been lucky to visit these beautiful places. On the next drizzly grey day in London, well, you know where my mind will be!

Which places have you loved? Have you visited Denmark, Venezuela or Brazil? Have you got any of these on your list? Leave me a comment below, I love to hear from you! xx

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At the beginning of each month, I like to take part in the monthly travel link up hosted on the incredible blogs by AngieEmma, Polly and this month’s special co-host, Binny’s Kitchen and Travel Diaries. You can join in too by leaving a comment below, checking out other posts on the link up, or adding your own post to the widget now until May 7th.

48 Hours in KL – A weekend guide to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant city – a cosmopolitan blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian influence, it blends traditions and culture alongside cutting edge technology. It has vivid banyan trees, iconic minarets, and giant-sized skyscrapers, as well as the traffic to rival many big cities. KL (as it’s fondly called by all locals) is a city of contrasts is busy but so charming, and within just 48 hours you can get a great insight into this friendly but frenetic place.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Views_Lifestyle Enthusiast

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one of the key reasons I wanted to visit KL was for the food. KL boasts some of the best food in the world, influenced by a melting pot of cultures. With every type of restaurant from street hawker markets to high-end restaurants, KL really is a great spot for foodies. Before I went, naively, all I was excited to eat was Penang Curry. I left with a serious new love for Malaysian food and I’m so keen to go back as soon as possible!

So, you’ve got 48 hours in KL. What should you do? What should you eat? Here’s what I’d suggest.

Day 1 

If you’ve taken the same British Airways flight as we did, then you’re probably getting into KL in the early evening. Once you’ve arrived at your accommodation, shower and freshen up, make sure you’ve got some cash (the currency is Malaysian Ringgit) and head out – it’s time to get some food.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Satay Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Jalan Alor at night

Jalan Alor is an entire street dedicated to food – it’s a great way to taste local food in a safe environment. This Hawker market truly comes alive in the evening. I can be excited for weeks after going to a great restaurant, and I’m really loving working through the list of the 50 World’s Best restaurants. However, I’m most excited when surrounded by great food, regardless of surroundings, and food markets abroad are especially exciting to me! With aromatic fragrances, colourful fruits and vegetables, sizzling street food and a buzzing vibe, Jalan Alor has the best of real fast, lipsmackingly-good food. There are no chain restaurants in sight, instead, there are truly local foods cooked quickly in front of your eyes. I absolutely loved it!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Walking through Jalan Alor Foodie Street _ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Stingray Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

This is the first place I’ve tried grilled chilli stingray and sour plum juice and some of the best satay chicken with peanut sauce!

Enjoy the atmosphere, grab a plastic table and enjoy a very cheap, cheerful, and relaxed dinner. For dessert, you just MUST try the fresh coconut ice cream. There are a couple of stalls which serve ice cream, but look for the one that looks like this:

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Coconut Mango Ice Cream Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

I tried a few different stalls and this was my favourite in KL! I defy you to tell me something which is more satisfying to eat than this intoxicatingly-good coconut ice cream, covered in the freshest sweet, ripe, mango and crushed hazelnuts, it was so perfect for a hot evening in KL!

Get a foot massage

They’re cheap and effective. Don’t go expecting a proper spa experience or anything fancy (for that you need to go here) but for around £10 you can get a really good no-frills one-hour-long foot massage. Do let the masseuse know what pressure you like and ideally take headphones so you can put in the music of your choice as you relax.

Try to shed the jet lag

There are so many good bars in KL that you could definitely go to one, and I’m sure you’d love it. That said, we found ourselves so tired and jet lagged and desperate to sleep at a normal time. The foot massage may have contributed to that! I recommend a good hot shower and a night’s sleep at a great hotel or an Airbnb before you kick off Day 2!

Day 2

If you’re anything like me, your jet-lag has meant you didn’t sleep so great. You may be groggy but you may as well wake up and get moving. You’re about to have a great day!

Batu Caves

The Batu caves are a set of giant, limestone caves just North of KL. These iconic caves are popular with lots of tourists and Hindu pilgrims, as well as many monkeys who will be sure to entertain you with their endeavours to steal food!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

The easiest and quickest way to the Batu Caves it to take the train from ‘KL Sentral’ station directly to the Batu Caves. (Top tip: Go early and take very little with you.) There are lots of monkeys who would just love to take your food and drink! Other than a bottle of water and some cash there’s very little you will need here.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Monkey_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

You can easily spend an hour or two here, be sure to see the main cave and also the Ramayana cave which has murals of the story of the Ramayan. The Ramayan is an ancient epic which tells the tale of Prince Rama rescuing his wife Sita from the demon king Ravan. I didn’t know the cave even existing before visiting, it’s truly beautiful and well worth a visit.

Top tip: For KL, wear comfortable shoes and light clothes that do well in the heat, as you’ll be walking up a lot of steps!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Steps_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Monkey on gate_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Eat dosa and roti canai

A large population of those in KL are of South Indian descent, as such, the Indian food we tried out there was really good. Right by the Batu Caves is a very simple spot called “Dhivya’s Cafe”. Here, you can try a Masala Dosa, a crispy pancake made of lentils, with a spicy potato filling and served with red tomato sambal, coriander and coconut chutneys. A good dosa should be really crispy and very thin, we found the one here to be both of those, and incredibly cheap too! It’s typically eaten for breakfast or lunch, so if you do the Batu Caves first thing in the morning, this could be a perfect spicy brunch!

Alternatively, you could venture back into KL centre and try delicious Roti Canai, my favourite Malaysian dish, which is just as fun to watch being made as it is to eat. Buttery, flaky and soft – it just melts in your mouth. Despite the fact that this is said to be an Indian-influenced dish, I’ve never tried it in India and it’s said to be easier to find in Malaysia than anywhere else! Without a doubt, in one weekend in KL you have no choice but to try both of the above dishes!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Roti Canai being made_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Visit the malls

It’s widely known that KL is a shopaholic’s dream – from high-end malls like Suria KLCC and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to KL’s China Town Petaling Street Market, there’s plenty to buy if you wish to. Rather than blow all my ringgits in one go, I window shopped! We couldn’t resist trying some of the dishes from the mall too!

Walk through the KLCC park

A real surprise for me in KL was this gorgeous park. KLCC park is a 50-acre oasis in between all of the skyscrapers. You’ll see runners shoot by, romance blooming with couples strolling hand-in-hand and families together at the public children’s swimming pool. The highlight of this park is Lake Symphony, with its beautiful fountains and plenty of beautiful shrubs and flowers blooming all around it. Ideally, you could time your trip to see this to coincide with the fountain show, which happens a few times each day with music.

Have cocktails with a view

Through KLCC park you can find the entrance to Trader’s Hotel Kuala Lumpur, where Sky Bar is. Head up to sip some cocktails, high in the sky, around a swimming pool; it’s both bizarre and a fun concept! I found it just a little bit seedy (especially the Ladies Night adverts!) but the views totally make it worthwhile, with vivid pink sunsets and a beautiful dark blanket backdrop once the sun is down, it’s truly one of the best spots for watching the sun go down.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Sunset from Sky Bar_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Night view from Sky Bar_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Day 3

LaZat Malaysia Nyonya Cooking Class

This hands-on cooking class is absolutely brilliant and is a must-do for any foodie in KL. Starting with a market trip, as part of a small group you’ll get a really good insight into Malay and Chinese culture, cooking, and customs. You’ll learn to cook incredible dishes like Roti Jala (a thin pancake style roti which looks like lace), the most flavour-packed delicious chicken curry and beautiful pandan and coconut Onde-Onde (little squidgy desserts!) Nyonya cuisine comes from the descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Malaysia and married with local Malays – it’s spicy and warming and packed with flavour! The chefs at LaZat are kind and best of all this takes places in the most beautiful lush, green surroundings, just outside of KL. You’re certain to leave with a smile on your face!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Lazat Cooking Class Jala Roti _ Lifestyle Enthusiast


Toast to your great trip at Marini’s @ 57 Bar, a rooftop bar on the 57th floor of the Petronas towers. It’s Malaysia’s highest rooftop bar and boasts great music and even better views. It’s the perfect spot to soak in the views of KL, one last time, before you vow to come back another time and head onwards to your next destination!

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Five things you can’t miss when staying at Hotel Mousai

You may have seen in my previous post why I had fallen for the room at the Hotel Mousai – who wouldn’t?! But the room isn’t the only thing I loved there. There are just so many things to do at Hotel Mousai, should you want to!

We had six incredible nights at the Hotel Mousai and whilst it’s hard to pick – here are my top must-do things for those staying at this beautiful resort.

1. Devour the breakfast

Breakfast at Hotel Mousai is honestly up there with the best hotel breakfasts’ I’ve ever had. It was definitely a close contender for my favourite hotel breakfast, high up on the list like that which we loved in Lombok. It’s a totally relaxed affair, served from 7 am to midday. There’s both a buffet and an a la carte menu and you are free to eat from either of these or both! There are a number of spaces for where you can eat too, all of which serve the classics, continental breakfasts, viennoiserie, Croque Madame’s and of course some delicious Mexican breakfast options. We both loved the Mexican chilaquiles (which we had first tried in Mexico City), consisting of fresh crispy tortillas, topped with salsas, soured cream and mole (a traditional full flavoured Mexican sauce, for which many families have their own secret recipe!)

I did, however, fall in love with amaranth granola in Mexico and it was a winner for me here at Hotel Mousai, available each day as part of the buffet. Amaranth is a bit like a grain, couscous sized, and is gluten-free. It makes a lovely crispy breakfast cereal and I really loved starting my day with it, deliciously coated in a little honey, with yoghurt, nuts and fresh fruits. My favourite item though, without any doubt, was the beautiful bircher muesli (also frequently known as overnight oats). Now I’ve had a lot of bircher muesli before, and I often make it at home, but truly I am yet to taste one as delicious as the one at Hotel Mousai. Alongside oats, soy milk and yoghurt, it had freshly grated coconut, cinnamon and pecan nuts in it. Eating that, with views of the sea, is a memory which for me, even now a year on, is still up there with some of my happiest! The hospitality of the kitchen team was unrivalled – they even wrote down the recipe for me when I told them I loved it!

Hotel Mousai breakfast buffet - Lifestyle Enthusiast

There are a few places within the resort where you can have your breakfast. If you can leave your room then I’d highly recommend going to the Terrace, with unbeatable lush green views; it’s the perfect spot to start your day with great coffee, tea, or a mimosa. There’s also the option to take your breakfast at the Blanca Blue restaurant, which is also great but shared with Garza Blanca so more suitable for families (Hotel Mousai is adults-only), but my firm favourite was the Hotel Mousai terrace. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your hotel room, well I wouldn’t blame you, you could always order room service from your iPad and eat it whilst out on your balcony!

2. Get your spa on!

Hotel Mousai’s spa, ‘Spa Imagine’, is seriously a sight for sore eyes. It’s as luxurious as can be! I enjoyed a great massage but actually, what you mustn’t miss out on is Spa Imagine’s Hydrotherapy Circuit – it’s brilliant! It sits on the fifteenth floor with 360-degree views. Between the steam room, sauna, pressure massage rain shower, vitality pool, whirlpool and cold plunge pool – you’re left relieved of all tension. You’re assigned a spa butler upon arrival (yes really!), who advises on the best order for you and provides you with towels and chlorophyll water for rehydration. It’s truly something special and I wish I had spent more time there!

Hotel Mousai Spa - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Source: Tafer Resorts

Hotel Mousai Spa - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Source: Tafer Resorts


3. Work out

I should start by letting you know that I don’t usually go to the gym on holiday, but after a week of heavy meals and margaritas I was keen to get some exercise in. Well, that and the fact that my jet lag would lead to me waking up each morning by 6 am! I made myself a little routine and didn’t try to resist the jet lag. Instead, I’d quietly sneak out to the gym, via the breakfast terrace where the lovely guys would be setting up. They would let me grab a tiny chia pudding and some berries to get me started as pre-gym fuel. I’d then listen to music and watch the sunrise from the gym, as it has exceptional views of the pacific ocean. After a workout, I’d stretch in the extra exercise room and then head back to my suite, shower up, and dress for a proper breakfast with my other half. Serious bliss and it allows you more space for tortillas and ice cream by the pool!

The complimentary yoga offered by the hotel is Kundalini style, rather than the Vinyasa flow that I’m used to, so I was a little sceptical at first. That said, it was a great way to start a morning and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather practice yoga than by the river with the sunshine lightly warming my shoulders!

4. Unplug

Annoyingly for a 5* hotel, the wifi is not included in the price. At first, I was a little frustrated by this, having to let go of my Instagram and Twitter addictions, but quickly I realised how unnecessary it was. There’s no need for the Internet when there’s a view this good, there’s yoga by the river, paddleboarding, hikes in the surrounding mountains and trips to see waterfalls, all complimentary for guests at the Mousai. Oh, and of course there are views that just cannot be beaten! We chose to just unplug from the internet and rest up, for the most part.


5. Visit Hiroshi

We stayed at Hotel Mousai on a bed and breakfast basis as we like the variety of being able to go out and try other restaurants, but given how beautiful the hotel was we did find ourselves not wanting to leave! One evening we tried Hiroshi, Hotel Mousai’s Japanese restaurant. It serves contemporary Asian inspired food with plenty of fresh sushi and sashimi. The food wasn’t quite as punchy as I liked (I’ve been spoiled by the delicious food at Kurobuta and Sticks and Sushi here in London), but it was really beautifully presented and I just loved listening to the sound of the waves softly lapping the ocean whilst we dined in Hiroshi. The cocktails were really great and they’re difficult to resist!

For more information, head to the Hotel Mousai website.

What do you love to do on holiday? Where have you loved staying most? Any must-try experiences at those hotels? I love to read about them so please do share these with me in the comments below, or via Instagram or Twitter!