Friday, January 23, 2015

Peckham Bazaar review

Hands up if you ever believed that there's no such thing as a good restaurant in the south east region of London? Yep, we've all thought about that at least once. But not only are there good restaurants down here, there are loads of hidden gems. One of them is Peckham Bazaar.

Peckham Bazaar started out as a pop-up restaurant in an old pub on the boundary of Peckham and Nunhead. Its location within modest rows of Victorian terraces, low rise council flats and a Grand Design house, might not be an obvious destination for culinary fans, but trust me, it is worth trotting up here (as we so occasionally do from Brockley).
They have since become a permanent fixture at the same location. Peckham Bazaar describes themselves as a pan-Balkan restaurant, and you can tell by the eastern European influences that goes into their innovative dishes. The menu changes daily and seasonally, depending on what ingredients their chefs can lay their hands on. This ensure that at least each visit will be a unique experience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quantum of the Seas balcony stateroom tour

During our short weekend trip on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas pre-inaugural sailing, we stayed at an ocean view balcony stateroom. These rooms are typically about 198 sq ft in size in addition to a 55 sq ft ocean facing balcony. Our cabin is room 228 located on deck 10 (10228).

The room comes with a large king size bed, shower room, a large Samsung TV, numerous storage space, a desk with two USB sockets, a telephone and sofa, Our room also has a connecting door to the adjacent cabins, which can be formed together as a family connected junior suite with a single large balcony. This can accommodate 8 to 10 guests via three separate bedrooms.

Configurations will vary, but the short video above will hopefully give you an idea to the layout and size of a typical balcony stateroom.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Setting sail on Royal Caribbean's newest smart ship 'Quantum of the Seas'

Me, on board our first ever cruise
Last week my partner and I were invited to board Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, at their pre-inaugural sail from Southampton for two nights. This was an event catered for the media, members of the press, bloggers, VIPs, travel agents and staff members.
Two70 lounge which can be reconfigured as a performance theatre
This was our first cruise so I had no idea of what to expect. The closest I have ever experience anything like this was in Vegas almost twenty years ago. A mini city resort on a giant boat is probably the closest I can describe this ship. Quantum of the Seas is the first of a new breed of smart ships called the Quantum-class, and is currently the second largest cruise ship in the world, just behind Royal Caribbean's own massive Oasis-class ships. Read on for my impressions.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer featuring Brockley (and some other stuff)

Marvel Studios and Disney today released the first public trailer of Avengers: Age of Ultron, next year's guaranteed superhero blockbuster. I won't bore you with my analysis, except, well, you just have to watch it. If it is at least half as good as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then I will be happy bunny - and it sure looks like it may.
More importantly, within all the shots of Ultron in its various incarnation, Iron Man's Hulkbuster and Hulk destroying half of Johannesburg and Hawkeye being Hawkeye, is a short blink it or miss it 1940s flashback sequence featuring Captain America with who I believe is Stark Senior or Bucky, and Peggy Carter. This was shot back in April at Brockley's very own art deco Rivoli Ballroom.

April 2015 can't come soon enough. Hail Hydra.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

London Street Food

Street food is all the rage these days, as it has always been. The quality has improved beyond anything we've had before, and often if I need my daily dose of calorie boost I would seek out a food truck.

Here are my picks for some of the best street food operating in London right now, in no particular order.

Bleecker St Burger (Spitalfields Market, South Bank Queen's Walk, Street Feast Dalston Feast)

Bleecker St Burger won the annual London Burger Bash with their special New York style burger made out black pudding sandwiched between two patties of beef. And it tastes so darn good. Top it off with a cup of their delicious sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taruna Homestay review

Taruna Homestay is a family run bed and breakfast in Pemuteran, North Bali. We stayed there for two nights during our trip to Bali last month (wow, has it only been that long?). Of all the places we've been and stayed in, Taruna was in one of the least touristy and developed area, which suited us just fine.

Each of the twelve bedroom is designed as an individual villa, with their own private entrances and terrace via the courtyard (which leads to a small but nice swimming pool). The bedrooms comes with their individual outdoor shower and toilet area, which we found unnerving at first.

Pemuteran beach
Our room has air conditioning but we did not use it often preferring to use the ceiling fan instead. The room was clean, if a bit outdated in decor and dark. As a budget homestay, there isn't such luxuries like a TV (why would you want one?), but you do get a kettle, daily mineral water and free wifi access for your Instagramming needs. You won't get much privacy as each rooms are on the ground floor unless you have the curtains shut at all times.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bali: A GoPro holiday

Hello! It's been a while since I wrote on here. We've just returned from our holiday in Malaysia and Bali. Malaysia is the country of birth where I last visited 7-8 years ago, so it was more of a catch up visit (mainly with food).

This was my first trip to Bali and it was amazing. Long story short, we stayed at Kuta for a couple of nights, more out of obligation than necessity. A bit of advice - avoid Kuta and Denpasar as a whole, as the area is a bit of a hell hole and brings out the worst in Bali and tourists.

We moved on to North Bali and stayed at Pemuteran for a couple of nights. The B&B we stayed in is Taruna, a small family run business who were keen to help out with the planning of all our activities. While Kuta is populated by families and surfers, North Bali is far quieter. The people are friendlier and you meet all sorts of European backpackers. Pemuteran is a great base for those wishing to dive in Menjangan Island or visit the beaches of Lovina.

For this trip, my Nikon stayed at home. In its place was a GoPro Hero3+ action camera. We had a couple of reason for bringing a GoPro instead of a high quality image shooter. Firstly, we wanted to travel light and secondly, a waterproof case for a SLR costs more than a GoPro itself. And finally, I just wanted to get my hands dirty on trying out video shooting and editing.

In any case, here's five minutes of our Bali trip, edited down from tens of hours of footage using GoPro's excellent Studio 2.0 program with their Hero3 reel template. Bring on next year!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Street Feast Lewisham - Model Market

Today marks the launch of the Lewisham chapter of Street Feast. Hosted at the derelict abandoned 1950s Model Market just off Lewisham High Street, the organisers has used to opportunity to inject some much needed vibe into the local scene. Foodies who lives in Lewisham has one less reason to make the trek to East London. A good thing too as I personally find East London to be a victim of its own success.

Argument about the march of gentrification aside, the feeling that I've got from speaking with some longer term residents as well as newer residents like us, is that Lewisham has been waiting for something like this to happen to their beloved by often neglected town centre.  After all, Lewisham (and by extension, South East London) has long been a laughing stock of inner London (fun fact: Lewisham is the only inner London borough that isn't connected to the London Underground).