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Jute Cafe Bar, Dundee – United Kingdom

Toberlone Martini - yummy!Having arrived back from Singapore recently (with jet-lag killing me much more than usual this trip) I managed to bag a precious night out with MrsTravelFreak while calling on granny to entertain the JuniorTravelFreaks.

We were all set for an afternoon of shopping (MrsTravelFreak’s idea) and drinking (my idea) along with a fancy meal out in Auld Reekie (Edinburgh for the uneducated), when we discovered that there was engineering works on the railway line and that a bus replacement service was in operation.  I despise travelling by bus and I despise the fact that ‘they’ had to pick this weekend to perform the engineering works.  I mean, well really!  After some discussion with Mrs TravelFreak we agreed that Dundee was the only real option available to us.

I don’t know a lot about Dundee really other than:

  • It’s cold
  • Dundonians (people from Dundee) call roundabouts ‘circles’ which is a little weird
  • There are always, always roadworks happening right in the middle of the city

We left the train station and found ourselves in the middle of a building site.  Having eventually found somewhere for MrsTravelFreak to shop, I decided it was time for an afternoon libation.  A quick Google search for ‘cocktails Dundee’ came up with very few results; Jute it seemed, was the best option.

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The Bridge Inn, Ratho – United Kingdom

PiggyI was invited out for a not-often-enough midweek dinner with a friend and she suggested this venue. Despite being an Edinburgh born and bred lass, I didn’t know this place existed.

I arrived in the dark so the pub appeared to be nestled by the waterside. Although not in use on a freezing night in November, there was an outside seating area which I imagine would be very pretty on a summers day.

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Pix Pintxos, London – UK

Cocktail SticksThis is an original idea for UK soil and sells a varied selection of Barcelona style Pintxos. These are served buffet style at the front bar. Every item has its own cocktail stick and you are charged based on how many cocktails sticks you have used at the end of the night.
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Amarone, Edinburgh – UK

For Mother’s Day this year, I was treated to lunch at Amarone, an Italian restaurant housed in what used to be a city centre bank.  The restaurant claims to model its contemporary interior on a typical Milanese restaurant, and I was certainly impressed with the simple but stylish décor.  On arrival we were greeted immediately and shown to our table by a friendly member of staff.

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Pizza Express, Queen Street, Glasgow – UK

GermWe recently took a trip to Glasgow to show Number One Son the beautiful Christmas lights and bring Student Daughter home for a bath and some home cooking.  Organised as ever (or just being a control freak), I went online and booked a table at Pizza Express.  We visit this restaurant chain frequently in Edinburgh, as it is a good family restaurant which always offers special deals and tasty food.  A quick search online produced an offer for a three-course set menu at £12.95.  Anyone out there with teenagers will understand you need to save the pennies where you can.  I gleefully printed it off and took it with me.

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Alounak Bayswater, London – UK

FireI had been working with a colleague from their home office in Notting Hill as I had yet to pass the security checks required to be permitted entry to this clients building.  We had worked (a little) and decided it was time for lunch.

Alounak was described a ‘very popular’ and a ‘place that Persian people queue for a table’.  My colleague then went on to explain that they have the most amazing bread that is made fresh for you at the enormous oven that sits just by the entrance.  I was sold – even though they didn’t sell booze (yes, we took our own; heaven forbid we have to have a business lunch sober).

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Cafe Andaluz – Edinburgh, United Kingdom

patterned tileAs a local, I should know better than to venture anywhere near the city centre during the Edinburgh Festival.  But I was presented with a rare opportunity to share a girly lunch with Teenage Daughter before she swans off to university and leaves me with my two menfolk.  Her eatery of choice was Café Andaluz, a tapas restaurant in swanky George Street.

The restaurant is deceptively large and softly-lit by Moroccan-style lanterns suspended from the ceiling.  The walls and floors are decorated with brightly-coloured ceramic tiles, giving the place an authentic Spanish feel. We were greeted immediately on arrival and shown to a table on the upper floor of the restaurant. Continue Reading…

Firezza Canary Wharf, London – UK

Firezza is the sort of posh pizza that would only ever work in London.  The ingredients may well be fresh and they may be well delicious however they still cost a fortune (about £15 each).  On the plus side you can also order Peroni and / or some wine and it will be delivered along with your pizza.  They also do pizza by the 1/2 meter which is kind of fun if there is a few people to feed.

I finished work way later than I should have one night, and for some strange reason I decided to walk back to the place I was staying.  I came across Firezza and decided to venture in; the smell was pretty good and the beers looked really cold.

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La Piazza, Edinburgh – United Kingdom

High heelsHubby wanted to celebrate our anniversary with dinner at a ‘proper’ restaurant, as opposed to a child-friendly pizza chain restaurant.  I duly booked a table for the four of us at La Piazza for 5.30pm on a Saturday night.  Yes, I realise this is the time when old people and small children have tea, but I had tickets to see ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and didn’t want to be late for my long-awaited session of ogling Christian Bale in the Bat Suit.

Edinburgh is currently under siege from on-going tram works, which will hopefully be completed before I reach pension age and become too decrepit to use a tram.  At the time of writing, the road in Shandwick Place is just a big crater, with little pedestrian bridges set up at intervals along the street. We parked the car about five minutes’ walk from the restaurant and negotiated our way from one side of the street to the other, amongst large groups of confused Japanese tourists.

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Pavilion Restaurant @ Hilton East Midlands Airport, United Kingdom

The Pavilion Restaurant at the Hilton East Midlands Airport has three categories of clientèle.  The first are business travellers staying at the hotel.  The second are leisure travellers also staying at the hotel, generally before or after a holiday that departs from the airport.  The third group I feel for the most.  They are local people who go to the Hilton for a ‘posh’ meal.  I know that all of these groups exist as I have observed them all during my many nights here. Continue Reading…

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