Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Euro-Gastronomic Trail

Last July i spent almost 10 days in Europe..namely London, Paris and Rome...a trip of a lifetime? Yes you bet it..i had a wonderful time in all these 3 locations, meeting different types of people, attitudes and faces. From the friendly, jovial and outspoken Brits, to the friendly but more reserved French and lastly to the (shockingly) harsh and non-smiling Italians...yes...i enjoyed it all.And will i return again to all these places? Definitely..especially Paris as i can safely say that i had literally fell in love with Paris air (though foul-smelling it may be) and the feeling of spaciousness of its city.

And to all my fellow muslim readers, im wishing you a happy and pleasant fasting as we are already in the month of Ramadhan. And during this month, no other topic can best be spoken than the topic on food..right? For that reason, i will reserve my traveling stories in Europe and instead will write about the foods that we have savoured during our stay in these 3 countries.

a) London

i)SportsBar & Grill-Victoria Station-

Mouth watering-vegetarian English Breakfast washed down with thick and fluffy cappucino

The serving is quite big and elaborate as you can see from the picture, there are 2 fried eggs, 4 cuts of buttered bread, 2 pieces of vegetarian sausages, sauteed mushroom and tomatoes and baked beans in tomato sauce.To tell you the truth, i ended up not finishing the whole serving as i was already full by the time i finished my last bread.

Taste wise i believe they are tasty..relatively saying as all other western food of similar nature with monotonous'll either get a salty taste, sour or will never be the combination of's either or.

The cappuccino is actually a large size (yes..i am greedy :) ). We have to fork out GBP 2.70 for this one cup (equivalent to RM 11-well never do the maths if you dont want to disturb your appetite..right?). My verdict on this cappuccino is that it's just a plain and normal tasting cup of cappuccino..nothing special..served it purpose and nothing more.

We visited this cafe on our last day of our Euro trip. Thus, ive sampled few cups of better tasting cappuccinos in other previous cities to merit my verdict on this cappuccino.

Sportsbar & Grill is located on the 1st Floor of Victoria Station, London. Price is on the high-side so get ready to fork-out your wallet of at least GBP 10 for and english breakfast here.

b) Paris

i) Castel Cafe-Avenue De Suffren-Paris (just within a walking distance from Eiffel Tower)

Fluffy and tasty Mushroom Omelette with Salad on the side & the best tasting Cappuccino ever!!

I kid you not... everyone should taste the cappuccino served in this cafe at least once in their was so rich tasting and have a wonderful aroma..each sip of its creamy texture will elevate your senses..the taste of sweet, sharp, bitter are all intertwined in this one cup of heavenly goodness.....

 The omelet is nice as well and the salads were fresh and crisp. All in all a satisfying breakfast in a laid back and quite street of Paris. A nice place to sit back and relax after that long climb up the Eiffel. Price of the cappuccino is (again) on the high side, Euro 6.00. Omelette is priced at Euro 9.50

ii) Cafe Du Nord-Opposite Paris Gar De Nord Station

Camembert Cheese Sandwich & Cappuccino

How many cups of cappuccinos ive drank up to now??keep on counting :)

This cafe is centrally located opposite the entrance of Paris Gar De Nord train station. Here i ordered Camembert Cheese Sandwich..which is more suitable for people with strong jaw and teeth as the bread was rock-hard!....

... and an "Okay" tasting cappuccino..this one didn't leave much impression...just normal and plain cappuccino..more like the one you can buy in supermarket.

Sandwich is priced at Euro 3.50 and Cappuccino at Euro 5.50

 Other breakfast offerings in this cafe were omelet and a breakfast set consisting of one hot beverage, one orange juice, bread and croissant served with jam and butter, as ordered by my friends.Each is priced at Euro 6++.

iii) Middle-Eastern Cafe-Paris

Steak in Arabian bread with fries

We had our dinner at this small restaurant, serving halal mid-eastern kebabs, pizzas, burgers and steaks. The steak served here is actually similar to what we call kebab back home, sliced meat or chicken, wrapped in bread.As this was served with fries, it was a very good value for cost-cautious traveler like us  as you can get
this filling food for just Euro 5 and it's served with fries and carbonated drink.

iv) Ryanair flight from Paris to Rome-

Saile & Sabga Cappuccino with Baklava

This cappuccino is the second best cappuccino ive tasted through out this trip. It's priced at Euro 3.50 as part of the hot beverages sold on board our Ryanair flight from Paris to Rome. It has  a very subtle sweet taste and the taste of the coffee is not sharp nor diluted with the said sweet taste, in short it's just perfectly blended and rich tasting with a very nice aroma. I do hope they'll open their outlets in KL one day and i am already contemplating of becoming a franchisee of the same..that serious hehe...

Oh..sorry for the not-so-nice looking baklava. I bought it a day earlier from a shop near to our hotel, run by a middle-eastern man. There were so many sweet offerings in the shop from baklava to pastries to breads and i bet you they are all SWEET...

This baklava (not sure of its name) is made of thin layer of dough, twisted into round shape, deep-fried, dipped in honey and lastly sprinkled with pistachios bits.Too sweet for my liking but would be a heavenly bite for those with sweet-tooth.

c) Rome

i) Acropoli Hotel

Complimentary Breakfast-rock-hard bread served with butter, jam and chocolate spread with coffee or hot chocolate

The breakfast we had in our hotel in Rome clearly reflects the local attitude and behaviour..hard and harsh and non-smiling. Dont be surprised if you are a first timer here and you feel like being treated badly or discriminated..its just that Italian are generally (in my opinion) not as friendly as people in Paris or London. I did meet a wonderful and friendly sales-girl in Adidas shop..and that was did meet some others who were friendly but they were really rare breed here in "eternal city" of Rome.

We do love the hot chocolate though...

ii) Halal Pizza

We came across a small pizzeria run by a middle-eastern guy. We ordered different types of pizza with high  anticipation that we would taste the best ever pizza..truth be told..they were all too salty and nothing to shout about..i would rather settle for Dominos anytime...

ii) Rosati Ristorante-Piazza Del Popolo

Penne Arabbiatta & Mushroom Spaghetti

We had a wonderful time dining in this "ristorante". The ambiance was nice, overlooking one of the famous piazza, the decor was stylish..only the service could have been was rather slow.Despite all those, we tasted the most prefectly "aldante" cooked penne and spaghetti here. They looked simple but the tastes were wonderful. Price was of the high side and im sure most people there couldn't believe that we could afford to dine talks louder than words....

iii) Indian Restaurant-Termini Station

This Indian Restaurant, serving halal dishes was located just across the road from Termini Station. We had our lunch of chicken briyani here and packed some kebab for our dinner as well. The portion size is generous as with each plate of briyani, you will get two big cuts of chicken breasts. Taste was nice but lacking the taste of spices and aroma of the bryani that we'll find back home. The kebab is must try.The meat is succulent and the bread is soft and nicely wrapped all the fillings therein.

We had a great time sampling the local (& non local) foods during our euro trip...
but after eating all the above for one whole week, what i really craved for was a hot steaming plate of nasi lemak...will write more on our euro adventure in my next installments...till then..happy fasting!

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