[Food] Dans le noir

We heard about this restaurant from a friend of mine, she tried it previously and thought we might give it a go. Basically this restaurant is located at Farringdon and the beauty of the restaurant is that you dine in the dark. Basically no lights, they made you put anything that produce lights in a locker. You will need to make a booking beforehand, as they need to arrange staff to come in and serve. The staff are visually impaired, which is why they need to arrange them to come in for the number of guests. When you first arrive, the staff will ask you to put stuff in the locker and then ask what type of menu you want to have for your meal, there are 4 to choose from Chef’s special, seafood, meat and vegetarian. You won’t know what the food is until the end. There is no prize for guessing correct but it is quite fun to see how well you did.

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Once you have selected your menu, the staff will ask you to go through a corridor and the waiter will bring you to your table. As it is totally darkness, the waiter will direct you verbally and describe everything around you (such as fork and knife). It is an interesting experience but can be quite scary to lose one of your senses. The waiter will bring you food out and describe to you where he placed it. At first, we tried using fork to eat our food, however there is no way to see how clean our plates were, so we ended up using our hands. Since we can’t see what others were doing, we ended up using the easiest method to clean our plates. The food itself was delicious, we could guess most of the food on our plate. We couldn’t see the presentation but from looking at the photos in the end, the presentation was beautiful. The waiter is really friendly and nice. He described it so well that it felt like I know what I was doing. The main was delicious and the food smells really nice. When we finished, he brought us back to the lighted area and the staff showed us the menu with photos. Although it was quite expensive, £52 for 3 courses, but the experience was really different. I do recommend to try this at least once in your life.

exclusive photo of our date

exclusive photo of our date

For more information, please visit their website: http://london.danslenoir.com/
Address: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU

[Tips] Eminem @ Wembley

Eminem has been one of my favourite artist since high school, I always wanted to go to his concert but due to timing wise, I missed out on my chance until recently when I found out that he was going to play at Wembley. When the ticket released, I went and bought my tickets. I didn’t want to miss out this chance, who knows when I get to see him rap in person? The gate opens at 5pm but I got there about 1 hour early. Boy, was it packed? I think there is about 2000 people already there, people were queuing for food and merchandise. I haven’t been to Wembley before, but just walking around I was absorbing the atmosphere.

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The first gig starts at 7pm but queuing for food and merchandise took a while. So we were seated just before 7pm (our seat was at the top of the stadium). We could see people arriving at the stadium (basically where the football pitch is, they turned into standing area). A quarter of the seating was closed off for the stage. People started to pour in at 8-9 (when the second gig starts). By 9pm, the stadium was packed with people (probably about 80,000 people attended). Eminem came on the stage at 9:20pm and he rapped his songs. Dr Dre came on halfway of his performance and did about 3 songs. I really love the atmosphere, although the sound wasn’t too good. But just listening to him rapping live was amazing. He had his old hits playing last and finished it off with ‘Lose Yourself’. He finished playing just before 11pm.

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Leaving from Wembley is also an experience, imagine 80,000 people trying to catch a tube home. Crowd control was needed so that people can get on the train safely. It was quite an experience especially when the security was playing Eminem songs to calm people down, as everyone was getting impatient.

‘Bad Guy’
‘Square Dance’
‘Won’t Back Down’
‘3AM’
‘Business’
‘Kill You’
‘White America’
‘Mosh’
‘Evil Deeds’
‘Rap God’
‘Marshall Mathers’
‘Don’t Give A Fuck’
‘Still Don’t Give A Fuck’
‘Criminal’
‘The Way I Am’
‘Dead Wrong’
‘The Next Episode’
‘Still Dre’
‘Nuthin’ But A G Thang’
‘Forgot About Dre’
‘Love The Way You Lie’
‘Stan’
‘Sing For The Moment’
‘Like Toy Soldiers’
‘Forever’
‘Berzerk’
‘Survival’
”Till I Collapse’
‘Cinderella Man’
‘The Monster’
‘My Name Is’
‘The Real Slim Shady’
‘Without Me’
‘Not Afraid’
‘Lose Yourself’
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/eminem/78497#BdjY6Lg0Ty8cTWuH.99

[Tips] ClueQuest

We decided to go to ClueQuest one evening, mainly because it is number 1 on tripadvisor on what to do in London. Also they recently opened something similar in Hong Kong. From the website, it doesn’t say much and we didn’t know what to expect. What we know is that we had to book really early, I had to make a booking 2 months in advance. The game goes on for 1 hour with 30 minutes to talk about it after. It comes to roughly £20-25 per person, wasn’t too expensive for a brand new experience. ClueQuest is located at Shoreditch, you can get there via Underground tube (Liverpool St Station) or Overground train (Shoreditch high Street) and it is about 5-10 minutes walk from the station, it is located at a white building, it is quite hidden, you wouldn’t know until you look closely.

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We got there about 15 minutes before the game starts. Before we start, we got briefed by the game controller (ClueQuest staff). She told us the background of the story of the game to get us into characters. We won’t spoiled the game, but you don’t need to be good at maths or science. It is all about common sense and observation. With the 2 powers, you will be able to complete the game. Basically you get locked into a room, the aim is to find the exit. To find the exit, you will need to unlocked the puzzle with clues which you find in the room. Overall, it is quite fun and such an experience. It is also about teamwork as well.

For more information, please visit their website: cluequest.co.uk/
Address: 11 Plough Yard, The City, London EC2A 3LP

[Tips] Limbo

So we missed out last year to go and see a show at London wonderground. London Wonderground is an event which is hosted by Southbank centre. To get there, the closest tube station is Waterloo. So this year we decided to give it a go with one of their performance they offer. We decided to go to Limbo, basically it is a smaller version of Cirque du Soleil. We got our tickets on the day, which we missed out on the cheapest tickets on stall. We ended up getting booth seat, what that mean is we get to sit at the booth. Each booth can sit 10 people, if you have less than 10 people, you will need to share with others. Anyway, I picked up the tickets at the box office and wander around Southbank to find some food.

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The performance starts at 7:30pm and it goes for 75 minutes. So as there is no allocated seating, it was first in first serve. So we were in the queue quite early so that we can get a better seating. The interior was like a circus tent, but a smaller version. The performance is quite fun and entertaining, although it went for 75 minutes but it felt longer. Some of the acts were quite terrifying, and the roles are switched. I thought some performance would have done by male but in the actual performance it was done by a female or vice versa. There were quite a lot of audience engagement in the performance, which I think it made this show so special.

For more information, please visit their website: http://www.londonwonderground.co.uk

[Tips] Holland Park

We have been to West London for a while, only recently we decide to go to Holland Park. There was a time when we went to Holland Park, but due to the bike incident, I didn’t want to go in to check it out. To get to Holland Park, you can catch a tube to Holland Park via Central line. I took up running the other day, we ran to Holland Park and finally got to see what it offers. It is quite a big park, quite nice track to run, as it is not just flat ground. When we explore, we saw more than we expected.

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There are basketball courts, at the time, the netball players were training and waiting for the game to start. When we got further, we saw the oval, it looked like a cricket ground. Next to the cricket ground, there is a golf drive range practise net. There were also cricket batting net as well, there is also a couple of tennis courts as well. Past those sporting practise area, there is a free gym playground. I wasn’t expecting that to appear in the park, but I love the idea when I spent quite amount of money at the gym which I rarely use. It is nice to find a free gym playground for me to exercise. That part is quite close the entrance of the park at the Kensington High St. I do recommend to check out the park when you have a chance

[Food] Belgo

We tried this restaurant with a friend, we picked this place as we haven’t been to Belgian restaurant in London before. It is a Belgian restaurant located quite close to Holborn station. When we walked into the restaurant, the smell from the kitchen did increase my appetite. I quite like the atmosphere with big group of gatherings. It is quite spacious and had a lot of large tables.

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The service itself was alright from the staff, although they have plenty of staff but they weren’t too informative and attentive. We need to wave a few times in order to get their attention. The speed of the food was quite good, the presentation of the food is alright. The food was quite good, it is similar to what we had in Belgium before. I had the mussels and chips. The flavour is quite good and it does remind me of Brugge. The price isn’t too expensive despite of its location. It is something different to other cuisine on the same street. They also sell alot of Belgian beers, which is good match for mussels. Also they have a non-alcoholic Belgian beer. I do recommend ordering mussels in the restaurant.

For more information, please visit their website
Address: 50 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LJ

[Trip] Italy – Food

The food is amazing in Italy, since we have never been to Italy before. When we got to Rome, we tried the Italian food. We questioned ourselves whether it is better than other places. We tried the pasta for one of our lunches, they have lots to choose from. I tried the red base pasta as well as the clam pasta. Boy, that was one of the best pasta dishes I ever had. The pasta is fresh and cooked just about the right temperature. The ingredients are so fresh and just goes so well with the pasta.

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We tried the pizza, we managed to take a photo with the man who made the base of the pizza. We went to the local Italian pizza restaurant near our hotel. In the restaurant, it was packed with locals. One of the waiter didn’t understand English, so another waiter had to take our order. But the pizza in there is one of the best pizza I ever had. It is so different to the other pizza I had in other places. I guess you can’t compared. The pizza in Italy is one size, just enough to fill you up. I went for the simple pizza, which is tomato, basil and mozzarella. That was so good, I still remember the first taste of the pizza.

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Another thing we tried was parma ham, it is similar to the Jamon we had in Spain. The ham in Italy is less stronger flavour than Spain, but it is still delicious. We tried the parma ham with melon, boy, do they match well? That was our first time trying something like that. We questioned whether it can go well together. The Italians do know how to mix the flavour up. Parma ham is quite cheap in Rome, we brought back a few packets. But our experience, you have to have it within 2 days of the cutting. After 2 days, the tastes deteriorates. We both enjoyed the parma ham, we had quite a bit while we were in Rome. Also you have to try the olives in Italy, I love the taste of how fresh it is. We tried the olives in the market, boy, was that fresh? It tasted like green apple freshly picked off the tree. That is what we felt like to us.

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Gelato is how we finished our trip off. In our stay, we had about 14 different flavours of gelatos from about 6-7 different stores. Boy, do I love gelato? I love the fact that they have all sorts of random flavours, from your normal fruit flavour to mango to rice. It is so good, luckily we had good weather, so gelato was the best thing to cool ourselves down from our walking. The gelato in Rome is so smooth, you can compared to sorbet at times, other times you can compare to ice cream. Gelato isn’t too expensive but it is sure our snacks to get around Rome.

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[Trip] Italy – Rome

Rome is the capital city of Italy, it is about 3 hours flight from London. The city uses Euro as their currency and speak Italian as their national language. However their English is quite good, we were able to get around Rome with our limited Italian. You can get Euro via money exchange or ATM around the city or airport. The weather was beautiful throughout our trip, except on our first day when it was pouring with bucket of water down. We were able to get a tan from the Italian sun. The city has a pretty good transportation system, where most tourist attractions can get to by the train station (metro). You can get a return pass or daily pass. If you purchase the day pass (eg 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours), you will need to buy it from a newsstand (newsagent stand in the train station). The ticket machine in the metro station can get you a single or return trip. You can purchase outer city tickets on the main train station. The day pass works similar to the oyster card system in London, you tap in and out of the station, which is pretty good, as you don’t need to worry how much you have left in the card.
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One of the random places we went in Rome was the cat corner. Basically it is this ruined place where the strayed cats hang around. It started off a small place and then it became a protection area for strayed cats. They have rules to try and stop people from luring the cats on the street, however some of the cats are pretty smart and they just hang around the protected area. From looking at the square, we think there are about 50 cats we can see with our eyes. I’m sure there are more than that.

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Another place we went to is the military war memorial, reason why we went there is because to us, that was our landmark for us to get around in Rome. It is free to enter and you can walk up to the top and have a look at the view of Rome from the top. We spent around 30 minutes inside, most of the time we were just admiring the view from the top. They have interesting sculptures inside the memorial. Most of them are massive, they are about 3 storeys high.

One thing we do recommend you to do in Rome is wandering around the side street. It is so simple to get lost in Rome, however through our wandering, we were managed to find these random small stores where they sold leather goods, groceries, gelatos, etc. Just admiring the side street, their architecture is so beautiful. I do recommend a good pair of walking shoes if you are going to wander through the street of Rome. They aren’t the nicest path, most of them are cobblestone path. I think we spend most of our trip wandering around the streets more than looking at the tourist attractions.

[Trip] Italy – Coliseum

So we decided to go to Coliseum on a weekday, because the boy was reading in forums that the queue can take more than 1-2 hours during weekend. We walked past a few times as we were wandering around the street of Rome. Yes, the queue was massive during the lunchtime period. It was a good idea to go there during weekdays. We went there in the morning, we waited about 30 minutes to purchase our tickets. There is an admission fee to go inside the Coliseum, but you can also purchase the ticket which includes the forum (next to Coliseum). Once you are inside, you can spend as long as you want in there. It is a magnificent building, I’m so surprised to see how much are still standing. Inside the building, there are exhibitions of the artwork of other European countries and also the history of coliseum. We went there on a beautiful clear sky, so we spent quite some time on the outside and admiring the building. If the weather wasn’t too promising, then we wouldn’t have spent too much time on the outside.

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The forum is basically a large area with some old structures are still left standing. They have signs which explains what the building was meant to be. It is a large area (but to me, it felt like a maze). We spent 15 minutes trying to find a toilet and exit out of the forum. Of course, on a good day, you can spend as long as you want inside the forum. It is a nice walk and educational journey, learning about old buildings.

[Trip] Italy – Rome markets

Since we both like browsing in the market, we decided to see for ourselves in Rome. We went to the food market, they normally open during the lunch time period (around 11am to 3pm). I remember a time when I arrived at 4pm, they were practically closed. So I had to wait until the next day to browse the food market. The market is located in the middle of Rome (not that convenient, as it is not close to a tram station nor train station). You need to wait about 20 minutes, and it is quite easy to get lost in the Rome streets. The food market sells pasta and its topping flavours, truffles, fresh vegetable and fruit. It is quite small, it is about 1 section of borough market. But I just love browsing the food market.

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The other market is located just outside of Rome, you can get there via the tram. It is about 20-35 minutes tram ride and there is a stop just outside of the market. The market itself is quite big, it goes through about 3-4 streets. I had the best olives in the market, it is from Sicily. It is so fresh and nice (something I never tasted before). The market sells almost everything from antique to clothing to IT peripheral to anything you can think of. You can spend about half a day just browsing the stalls. It is so fun, I quite like market snacks (in this case, olives) in the market. It was so unexpectedly delicious.

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