John Hawkins



Dr John Hawkins

Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff, home to a huge load of pictures, and my daily blog.

My email address is as above - I've put it in an image in a vein attempt to reduce the amount of spam I get.

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Recent Entries:
Day Out in London with Simon and Vanessa
Belgravia with Simon and Vanessa
The Speaker and Oliveto
CASK Pub and Kitchen
Tuesday
Monday
The Day After the Wedding
Lucy and Martin's Wedding
Vera's Accident
Lunch at the Regency Cafe
Wednesday
Tuesday
Cafe Pacifico
Sunday lunch with Andy
Babysitting
Friday
Thursday
Wednesday
I'm going to stop writing this blog
Birthday Lunch
Sunday Afternoon Tea
Walnut Tree
Boooooooring
Late Spring
Great British Beer Festival
Good Day at Work
Belgravia Pubs and Oliveto
Sunday Afternoon Shopping and the Whole Vegetarian Chicken
Breakfast at the Regency Cafe, Physchoville and Brideshead Revisited
Gav's Birthday
Rankin Live Opening Night
Regency Cafe and Okonomiyaki
Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea... and Poland
Japacen
Work/Holiday Buffer

Day Out in London with Simon and Vanessa
[Saturday 29th August]
Our friends Simon and Vanessa were in London today, having arrived the previous evening.

We packed quite a lot in today - started the day off with an early (well early for a weekend) breakfast at the Regency Cafe, which I enjoyed immensely as always - I do hope our guests weren't disappointed given how much I'd hyped the place up beforehand!

After breakfast we went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament - this was a real highlight for me, and I'm really glad Simon and Vanessa had suggested this, as otherwise it's one of those things I could imagine me and Chie never really getting round to. Unfortunately we couldn't take any pictures on the tour, so you'll just have to take my word for it that the whole thing was quite fascinating, the interiors of the Palace of Westminster really are a visual feast, and as a result both Simon and I left having decided we wanted to pursue a career in politics.

At the gift shop I couldn't resist buying a bottle of House of Lords Whisky. This isn't the blend I'd heard about elsewhere, it's a 10 year old "highland" single malt. Intriguingly, although they say it is produced by Chivas brothers, they don't say which distillery it is from. Chivas (now part of Pernod Ricard) own quite a few Speyside distilleries - including Glenlivet and Strathisla, and apparently also Scapa - but surely if this came from one of the Speyside distilleries they'd call it a Speyside malt, not a highland malt? I suppose highland could be used to describe Speysides - the term would be more meaningful to more people...? I'd read elsewhere that a single malt at one time sold as House of Lords was in fact an Edradour, but given that that distiller is not part of the Chivas portfolio that seems a bit unlikely. So, a bit of a mystery, and the web didn't seem to have any definite answers.

The other big item on Simon and Vanessa's agenda for today was Vinopolis - it occurrred to me as we were in Westminster in the morning, and would need to be in Borough in the afternoon, that a very nice way to get between the two would be to take the handy Tate-to-Tate boat service. We were also treated to some nice weather today - a bit of sunshine and a very picturesque blue sky with little inoffensive patches of cloud. So that made for a very pleasant 20 minutes or so - especially as it gave us another chance to see the Houses of Parliament from a different angle.

Once in Borough we took the obligatory tour of the market, had a coffee from the Monmouth Coffee Company (which was rather nice) and bought some apples - apparently the first British russets of the season.

We followed our stroll around the market with a quick lunch at the marvellous George Inn (marvellous here refers to the building - a spectacular galleried coaching inn dating back to 1676).

We'd thought about going on a tour of the Globe, but alas they were doing a rehearsal or something so by the time we'd got there it was already too late. Never mind. After leaving the Globe we had a bit of an adventure with Vanessa's flip flops - the strap on one broke, making it very difficult for Vanessa to walk - and going bare foot didn't seem a very appealing option in that part of London - so we had to gather our wits to find somewhere in the closest possible radius to buy some more.

Once the footwear situation was satisfactorily resolved, Simon and Vanessa went off to do their tour of Vinopolis. Chie and I decided to skip this, having been once before, but did take the opportunity for a good browse around The Whisky Exchange's excellent shop in the same building. I bought myself a bottle of Kilkerran - the new Campbeltown distillery - it's a very delicate and elegant Campbelton malt, with nutty and peppery notes.

Chie and I decided to head back to the flat after that, and met up with Simon and Vanessa a little later on for dinner at the our trusty local tapas place, before then taking Simon and Vanessa to the station to get their train back home.
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Belgravia with Simon and Vanessa
[Friday 28th August]
Our friends Simon and Vanessa came to stay for the first half of this weekend, and so for this evening's entertainment I decided to take them on a tour of Belgravia.

It was a subset of the usual fabulous Belgravia pubs, on a typical route - starting with a first drink at the Horse and Groom, then on to the Grenadier where I'd booked us a table for dinner in the restaurant bit at the back. We then finished off the evening with a final drink at the Nag's Head.
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The Speaker and Oliveto
[Thursday 27th August]
After work I met up with Chie and a couple of friends from where she works at a pub called The Speaker. Had a quick drink there, and a chat about international cuisine (where I'm fairly sure I convinced my companions for the evening that France is culinarily the worst country in the world - the best obviously being Japan and/or Italy).

One of Chie's friends - Ruriko-san (who I'd met a few times before) decided to hang around for dinner, and there was only one obvious choice - good old Oliveto. So we headed over there, pleasingly managed to get the only free table, and enjoyed the usual array of fabulous pizza and pasta.
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CASK Pub and Kitchen
[Wednesday 26th August]
Thanks to a tip off from a former colleague, yesterday I'd noticed that on Beer in the Evening's top 40 list, a new pub not far from where I work, had recently been propelled, rather surprisingly, to the number 1 spot. Pimlico is in a bit of a desert when it comes to interesting pubs, so I couldn't quite believe that any pub in that area - let alone a new pub - could be considered, at least according to BITE's users, effectively the best pub in the country.

So this evening, with the help of some colleagues from the office, I went to see what all the fuss was about. Whilst it's never going to be a number 1 for me, I could understand why other people have been so keen on it. I only really like historic / characterful pubs, and for me it's more about the building than the beer - this is a newly refurbished pub on the ground floor of a modern block of flats. The interior is nice enough, but in a new pub it's obviously not going to have all the olde worlde trappings and eccentric nik-naks that I'm so fond of.

The selling point is of course the beer - it has a uniquely interesting selection - 5 British Ales on tap, and apparently over 40 bottled German and Belgian beers behind the bar. I was delighted to find Kölsch there - a German beer I'm very fond of and have struggled to find anywhere in London, and I had a brief chat with the landlord who seemed like a bit of a visionary. So I wish him well in this new venture - beer lovers will love this place - and it can only be a good thing for the area to have a place like this.
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 25th August]
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Monday
[Monday 24th August]
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The Day After the Wedding
[Sunday 23rd August 2009]
Went for a damp (but very nice) walk by the sea in the afternoon, and then had a big family meal in the evening.
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Lucy and Martin's Wedding
[Saturday 22nd August 2009]
Pictures from the wedding, at a rather lovely little church near where Dad lives in North Wales. I only really took pictures of the ceremony, will post links to other people's pictures of the reception when these become available.
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Vera's Accident
[Friday 21st August]
Chie and I took a half day off and got the train to North Wales this afternoon, ahead of Lucy and Martin's wedding this weekend. We arrived in Bangor around 5:30 and were met by Louise (my aunt) who kindly gave us a lift from Bangor to the Llyn.

After dropping our bags off at the B&B, we headed out for dinner at the Lion, which is pretty much the only pubby type pub for miles around. The food wasn't bad at all, but the real highlight is their excellent selection of whiskies. I had a Port Ellen from the Rare Malts series, which was very reasonably priced considering the terrifying sum a bottle of this would probably command now.

Alas, I would like to say we had a jolly evening and then all went to bed early ready to be up early in the morning and help out with final wedding preparations... Well that was partially true - we'd had a jolly evening, and did all go back to the B&B and go to bed. However, there was a rather unfortunate drama still to unfold.

I was awoken some time after 3AM by a shriek - Vera had gone to the loo in the middle of the night, and had fallen over. Louise had been first on the scene and poor old Vera was clearly in a lot of pain. She said almost straight away that she'd broken her arm, and, it turned out later, she was absolutely right. We realised pretty quickly that we'd need to call an ambulance.

Given that we were out in the wilds of North Wales, the nearest hospital was a 45 minute drive away, but the ambulance was stationed much nearer, so they arrived very quickly - probably in under 20 minutes.

So Vera was taken to hospital for x-rays, and to have a cast fitted - she was right, it was broken in two places, and with a slightly cruel irony the break was actually in a 'V' shape.

Amazingly though, as attested by the wedding pictures (see tomorrow's entry), Vera still made it to the wedding. What a hero!
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Lunch at the Regency Cafe
[Thursday 20th August]
Had lunch at the Regency Cage today - a mushroom omelette and chips - very nice indeed!
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 19th August]
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Tuesday
[Tuesday 18th August]
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Cafe Pacifico
[Monday 17th August]
Chie and I went for dinner at old stalwart Cafe Pacifico this evening which was great as ever. Realised I've been coming here for almost a decade now!

Chie went for our old favourite the Quesada Grande, and I tried an interesting enchillada from their "Modern Mexican" menu, which included shiitake - I actually thought that worked rather well.
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Sunday lunch with Andy
[Sunday 16th August]
Sunday lunch at the Mayflower in East London with our friend Andy and his wife, as a sort of early celebration for their wedding anniversary. Didn't have my proper camera with me today so you'll have to settle for some rather naff mobile pictures!

...although on the plus side that does mean some of the photos were geotagged, and thanks to a new feature in Cheese I can use that to generate this neat little map:


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Babysitting
[Saturday 15th August]
Went to Guildford to babysit my newphews and niece this evening.
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Friday
[Friday 14th August]
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Thursday
[Thursday 13th August]
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Wednesday
[Wednesday 12th August]
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I'm going to stop writing this blog
[Tuesday 11th August]
Well as noted the other day, I've just gone over my 2000th entry, which corresponds to more than five years with a blog entry for every single day.

As I may have also mentioned recently, of late I've found this blog increasingly less rewarding to write. Part of the reason for that is that I've had very close to no feedback whatsoever: only one person has added a comment in the last month (thanks Sheri!), and that has been a pretty typical rate over the last year.

So I get the impression either no-one is reading it any more, or the few people that are reading it don't find it interesting at all.

As a result I think I'm probably going to stop writing it.
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Birthday Lunch
[Monday 10th August]
The main event of Vera's 90th birthday weekend, on her actual birthday - a big family meal at a restaurant near Abergavenny.

See the pictures for more info.
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Sunday Afternoon Tea
[Sunday 9th August]
The second event to celebrate Vera's 90th was an afternoon tea party at Vera and Robin's house, mostly for friends of the family.
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Walnut Tree
[Saturday 8th August]
Headed to Abergavenny this afternoon, we were going to be spending the weekend there on an extended celebration of Vera's 90th birthday.

Went for dinner in the evening at the Walnut Tree. It has been a "famous" restaurant near Abergavenny since the 1960s. Despite having been through somes changes of management in recent years, I'd still been wanting to go for a while, and was really pleased we finally made it.

The food was very good - well thought out, seasonal, and the vegetarian options were a refreshing break from the norm. Started with deep fried courgette flowers, for main had a globe artichoke with a pea and mint puree, and for dessert a hazelnut meringue with summer fruits. All done to a very high standard.

Oh look - entry number 2000!
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Boooooooring
[Friday 7th August]
Chie went out for the evening, and all the usual chaps I might go for a beer after work with already had plans. So I just headed home, and had quite a boring evening in by myself - started off watching TV, then got fed up of that, and decided to go through my whisky collection and taste some malts I hadn't tried for a while. Was surprised by how many disappointing whiskies I seem to have considering how much time and money has gone into buying them! Or maybe I just wasn't really in a whisky mood this evening.
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Late Spring
[Thursday 6th August]
The title is appropriate for two reasons. First, the English title of another Ozu film we sort of watched this evening (Banshun in Japanese)... I say "sort of" as I started to fall asleep half way through, and didn't make it to the end. I have really enjoyed the majority of the Ozu films we've watched, but some of the storylines do seem to repeat themselves somewhat, and the "daughter in late twenties still living with widowed father, everyone busily trying to find a husband for her" plotline seemed remarkably similar to Akibiyori or Bakushu one of which (I think) was the last one we watched. I'm not even sure which now. Even the titles are all more or less the same in English - Late Spring, Early Summer, Early Autumn.

The second refers to the weather. Well tenuously - I simply wanted to record that the summer is turning out to be anything-but-summer weather wise. There was a torrential downpour whilst I was walking home from work this evening, and despite having an umbrella I got quite wet. Not a sort of balmy tropical downpour you might expect mid-summer, but a cold, miserable, oppressive deluge that had no place in August whatsoever. I was actually stupid enough to believe the optimistic forecasts for this summer that were made earlier in the year, and like a lot of other people am now feeling somehow cheated. Particularly as it sounds like the only week of good weather so far was the week we were away in South of France! Bloody typical.

Chie made Japanese curry for dinner tonight, which was very nice.
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Great British Beer Festival
[Wednesday 5th August]
Went to the GBBF today.

I've been to Reading Beer festival a few times - several years on the trot in fact (2003, 2004, 2005) and also way back in 1997. I remember really enjoying these - it's small but very popular, and when the weather was nice (which it mostly wasn't!) it was lovely to sit out on the grass and enjoy a pint of interesting local ale. Also went to Woodcote Steam Rally once, which has a sort of mini-beer festival tacked on, and rather enjoyed that too.

So I'd kind of expected the GBBF would be something similar. I guess in a sense it was - the basic format was the same - lots of stands with lots of different beers to try - but somehow for me the banality of Earl's Court just rather killed it. It's like a multi storey car park. Plus there seemed to be just too many people, which meant a lot of it was just spent queuing.

Oh well. Did have some nice milds and a couple of nice ciders (well one nice cider and one I wasn't so keen on) I suppose, but there was just something about the venue that meant I couldn't really enjoy it to the full.
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Good Day at Work
[Tuesday 4th August]
Quite a good day at work today. Since starting the new project (almost three months ago now) I'd been a little concerned that I hadn't really been able to make much of an impact. On top of the obvious situation that I had a whole new set of technologies to learn, I have been sort of the only person in my office working in this specific area, and so it had been a bit hard to get "traction". That's to say, in order to implement the features I'm working on, it means modifying some fairly core bits of some of the company's fairly high profile products. These pieces are "owned" by other people in other offices, who often didn't seem to get what I was trying to achieve, and have therefore - quite naturally - put up some resistance to me making those changes.

All of that coupled with the fact that everyone was a bit unclear about the direction of the features I'm working on, and the fact that the first aspect of it that I'd worked on had to be put on hold, all meant overall I didn't have a huge amount to show for my time on the new project so far. I've been a bit worried my new team might be wondering if they've been lumbered with a bit of a liability.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, today I received an encouraging (and quite tangible) bit of annual performance feedback. This, combined with having quite a positive chat with my new manager, and on top of that getting something up and running which I was rather pleased with, meant my sense of self esteem at work received a very definite boost today.

Met up with Chie at the supermarket afterwork to buy things for dinner, and had an unimaginative but pleasant meal of salad and then spaghetti. Spent the remainder of the evening on the phone to Dad (haven't spoken to him in ages) and getting the blog up to date.
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Belgravia Pubs and Oliveto
[Monday 3rd August]
Was invited out for a beer by a chap from my former team who isn't able to go for after work drinks that often owing to a rather oppressive commute. Not one to want to pass up a rare opportunity I jumped at the chance, and another of my former team mates ended up joining us as well.

We went to a couple of Belgravia stalwarts - The Horse and Groom followed by the Star Tavern - both on good form this evening I'm pleased to report.

Pleasingly the chaps were also in the market for some dinner, and it didn't take much arm twisting to persuade them to go along to Oliveto, which, despite some protestation from one of my colleagues, I am still convinced has far and away the best pizza in London. It was of course fantastic as ever.
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Sunday Afternoon Shopping and the Whole Vegetarian Chicken
[Sunday 2nd August]
A very typical sort of weekend day for us with a meandering and varied trip into the centre of London. Including:
  1. Lunch at the restaurant in the basement of Mitsukoshi. I had vegetable tempura, Chie had tonkatsu.
  2. I bought a new shirt at Harvie and Hudson on Jermyn Street.
  3. Bought some tea and olive oil in Fortnum and Mason.
  4. Had coffee and a bit of cake at La Maison du Chocolat on Piccadilly.
  5. Bought assorted vegetarian goods at Fresh and Wild in Soho.
  6. Bought a "whole vegetarian chicken" at the See Woo Chinese supermarket in Chinatown.

Back at home in the evening we had an odd sort of dinner, which had started off being planned as ramen - we were going to have noodles in a simple soup, then make a separate stir fry and slices of the "whole vegetarian chicken" all combined together. However we ended up eating all these components separately.

The whole vegetarian chicken was surprisingly good - it's a sort of seitan / wheat protein based substance, and was quite reminiscent of the excellent vegetarian tonkatsu I used to have at Rohlan, my favourite restaurant in Tokyo.
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Breakfast at the Regency Cafe, Physchoville and Brideshead Revisited
[Saturday 1st August]
Inevitably following last night's exertions I didn't feel absolutely at my best this morning, but nonetheless I was utterly determined to go for another fantastic breakfast at my new favourite eatery - the excellent Regency Cafe.

So Chie and I headed out some time after 10, actually a fairly respectable time considering we'd been out until quite late, and wandered over to the Regency. I had what is rapidly becoming "the usual" including the superbly crisp hash browns, the very flavoursome mushrooms, and the sublimely delicious bubble and squeak. Quite fantastic once again.

Chie had arranged to go and visit a friend in the afternoon, so after a quick bit of shopping I headed home and Chie headed off to the station.

I then proceeded to have a gloriously lazy day, including watching the entire series to date of Psychoville on BBC iPlayer. I still haven't quite made my mind up whether I liked it or not - there were some very League of Gentlemen-esque moments which I quite enjoyed, but some of it just seemed a bit rough around the edges, and certainly by the last episode I started to feel it was dragging on a bit.

Chie came back in the evening, and we had a very lazy sort of dinner with some reheated chilli that I'd found in the freezer. For the remainder of the evening we (well mainly I) watched the recent film remake of Brideshead Revisisted. Found the first half of it enchanting - a wonderful but probably entirely unrealistic portrayal of 1920s England amongst the upper classes - but towards the end of the film it started to get somewhat melancholy. Still, overall I found it an enjoyable cinematic experience, and was surprised to read later that the film had been somewhat poorly received by the critics. I suppose I ought to consider reading the book at some point... maybe...
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Gav's Birthday
[Friday 31st July]
A distinctly Japanese themed night out to celebrate Gav's birthday - yakitori at Bincho followed by karaoke at Karaoke Box in Smithfields.

See the pictures for more details...
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Rankin Live Opening Night
[Thursday 30th July]
I've recently started following whisky industry superstar Richard Paterson on Twitter. This morning I saw a tweet from him forwarding on a link to a blogpost on the Snow Leopard Vodka website with a chance to win an invitation to the opening night of celebrity photographer Rankin's new exhibition: Rankin Live, at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. I think Snow Leopard Vodka were partly sponsoring the event.

The question was pretty simple (name the grain that Snow Leopard Vodka was made from), so on a bit of a whim I entered and then didn't give it much thought. To my pleasant surprise I got an email later on in the day saying that I was one of the three winners.

So, after work, Chie and I headed over to Brick Lane. On arrival at Brick Lane, conscious that there would be free drinks at the event but probably nothing to eat, we thought it wise to have a quick snack first, and popped into a very popular bagel shop Chie had been to once before for an embarrassingly cheap filled bagel sandwich each.

We weren't really sure what to expect of the event itself - I'd read there were going to be some celebrity guests, and I'd never really been to this sort of "red carpet" type event before. Sure enough when we arrived there were a lot of paparazzi outside the door, which had several bouncers and a gaggle of those women-with-clipboards - whatever you call them. Eventually they managed to find my name on the guest list - I think I'd been tacked on as a bit of a footnote - and we headed inside.

It was all very swish inside - champagne on arrival, and even though we got there quite early the place was already teeming with arty types - a delightfully eclectic mix of people. The Old Brewery makes a great space for this sort of thing - it's a big space, but the first half of it is kind of a series of corridors, so the exhibition isn't overwhelmed.

I'm not exactly an art critic so I'm not going to attempt to give a meaningful assessment of Rankin's work, but although they're almost entirely portraits there's a lot of variety in themes and subjects and I'm pretty sure most people would find at least something of interest here.

I was keen whilst there to try some of the Snow Leopard Vodka - given that they'd put us on the guest list - and eventually managed to find a couple of cocktails at one of the bars. One was a Moscow Mule and the other a French Martini. Not sure the French Martini was really my cup of tea, but the mule was simple and refreshing and very enjoyable.

We got there not long after they opened at 6:30, and so by about 9 we'd seen everything we wanted to see, and had been all the way round twice. I guess the celebrity guests (in particular Gillian Anderson was apparently going to be there) were either being fashionably late or were discretely tucked away in a corner somewhere. So the only celebrities we saw were actor Marc Warren and possibly Erin O' Connor (a model)... but still there were plenty of trendy and glamorous people there who may or may not have been famous so I wasn't particularly disappointed.

So some time around 9 we headed out, and decided to get something to eat. Being on Brick Lane the obvious choice was of course Indian food, and after fighting through the rather irritating blokes trying to persuade us to go into their restaurants, we settled on a place called Shampan which Chie had been told by colleagues of hers was pretty decent. It was actually pretty good - whilst the vegetarian thali I ordered was fairly average, the vegetable kofte we also ordered were very tasty indeed.

Overall a very fun and unusual night out, thanks very much to the folks at Snow Leopard Vodka for the invitation!
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Regency Cafe and Okonomiyaki
[Wednesday 29th July]
Managed to persaude a couple of colleagues to go out for lunch today, and the three of us headed over to my new favourite eatery - the Regency Cafe. It's the first time I've been there for lunch. I had a veggie burger with chips and beans - decent honest food - very satisfying!

In the evening I continued my attempt to not eat cheese this week by eating more East Asian type food - so tonight we thought we'd have okonomiyaki. Slightly ironically though my favourite okonomiyaki is topped with cheese, garlic and Japanese mushrooms (an imitation of one they server at Abeno - they call it a "kiso mix"). Still, it wasn't much cheese, but that said the whole thing was fried and then served with mayonnaise so it's credentials as any kind of healthy option are on somewhat shaky grounds.

I also made a second okonomiyaki with kimchi in it, which came out rather well (if anything better than the kiso one).
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Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea... and Poland
[Tuesday 28th July]
Went out to the pub after work with the two usual suspects. Started off at Belgravia stalwart The Grenadier, then after a discussion about how it's been a while since we went to any pubs we hadn't already been to, we set out purposefully to try and achieve just that...

So we headed into Knightsbridge (mainly because it was the only area direction from Belgravia we hadn't already thoroughly plundered) but found it to be something of a wasteland in pub terms - a couple of places we found on the map which sounded OK had either closed for refurbishment or disappeared altogether, and so we were left with just The Bunch of Grapes. It was OK I suppose, but something about it was lacking somehow.

Food was then discussed, and I remembered there was a Polish restaurant I'd wanted to try near South Kensington called Daquise, so we gave that a go. I think this was pretty much my first experience of Polish food and to be honest I'm not sure I really liked it - it seemed a bit bland and stodgy... but obviously it wouldn't be fair to write off an entire country's cuisine based on one meal in a restaurant! ...and I doesn't even seem fair to be particularly negative about this specific place either - it had a nice atmosphere and the staff seemed very nice. I guess I should give Polish food a second chance at some point.

After dinner we wanted to squeeze in one more pub, so we wandered down into Chelsea, and happened upon The Angelsea Arms which rather appealed to me. Quite an upmarket sort of clientele as you might expect given the area, but nonetheless very much a proper pub, with decent beers and a nice interior and exterior.

Overall a very pleasant and varied evening!

See a list of tonight's pubs at Have You Tried or the same three but on a map.
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Japacen
[Monday 27th July]
As a result of the fairly limited scope for vegetarian food available in Devon, I ended up eating a lot of cheese last week - possibly the worst offender being a whole baked camembert one night. So as a result I thought I should try and lay off the cheese a bit this week.

So my thoughts turned to Japanese food, and after work Chie and I arranged to meet near Piccadilly and go and do some Japanese food shopping. We mostly shop at Rice Wine shop, but today seemingly felt like a change so instead went to the Japan Centre, or as the local Japanese population tend to call it Japacen. It's much better sense the recent refurbishment.

Bought some Japanese provisions there, including some ready made sushi, a new bag of Japanese rice plus the usual kim chi, tofu, etc.

As it was quite a pleasant evening we ended up walking all the way home from there, stopping off en route at St. Stephen's Tavern - the one right next to the House of Parliament. I'd never tried it before thinking it was probably going to be a bit touristy, but inside it was actually a fairly decent pub.

Back at home we had a big table full of assorted Japanese delicacies for dinner. Very nice.
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Work/Holiday Buffer
[Sunday 26th July]
It has become something of a convention to schedule in at least one day of doing nothing much at home between coming back from holiday and going back to work again. Today comprised of just that - very little indeed - I only left the flat to buy supplies for breakfast (a typical weekend fry-up).

I did manage to get all the pictures from our Dartmouth holiday sorted out, commented and uploaded - this always seems to end up taking a long time!
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