Foodie Brașov

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With so many activities and walking and hiking, plus the fresh air that always encouraged my appetite, Brasov called my name with a lot of foodie temptations. From classical Romanian restaurants with Transylvanian specific menus – it means a lot of red chilli pepper – to Chinese and German inspired cuisine, this city has a lot of interesting offers for the curious food lovers. Depends what you are in the mood for. One day, for instance, I wanted some gourmet chocolate and paid a visit to the newly opened Chocolat,  branded smartly as a ’boutique-restaurant’. My Ispahan – fresh raspberry mousse, macaron, raspberry again, dulce de leche and a beautiful rose petal on the top brought a fountain of sweetness and fine sugar into my palate. Perfumed, crunchy elegant, with the surprising cold leche in the middle was unforgettable and one of the top foodie experience of the summer. Chocolat, the subsidiary of a similar but richer in offer restaurant in Bucharest, also  has vegan chocolate and a delicious black coffee – to be tasted with a teaspoon of brown sugar.

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Some other day, I wanted to have my first Singaporean noodles, at the restaurant on Appollonia Hirscher Street no. 2. The street is close to the central Piata Sfatului, the main tourist area, where are situated restaurants and bars, many of them offered at a good price with moderately English speaking waiters. The service was hectic and very slow and not necessarily friendly, although I was speaking the language, but at the end, I was brought my rice noodles with veggies, ginger, lemon grass. Too watery and unexpected sweet and not necessarily with a special taste, but a good combination after all.

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Still hungry, I ordered some fish and chips, with tartar sauce and zucchini chips, that, again, were not like the original tasty fish and chips, maybe too oily and the veggies too roasted to keep their original taste, but my hunger calmed down after a while.

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I was luckier with the cocktail too, the honeymoon fresh combination of orange juice, apple, lime and maple syrup. I didn’t feel too much apple, but it was a good choice for the late summer hot evening.

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I could not resist to not have a coffee too, a creme brulée made of double espresso, caramel and milk. Brought hot was a contrast with the previous non-alcoholic cocktail, but brought me at the normal body temperature. Very sweet but still strong enough.

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In the yard of the recently renovated synagogue from Poarta Schei no. 27, there was open a kosher restaurant, a perfect choice for an outdoor meal during the summer. It’s a small friendly place, with nice young people and a lot of traditional foods cooked according to the kosher style (those careful about the highest level of glatt – strictest kosher standards – should request, of course, detailed information from the knowledgeable rabbinical authority). The huge lemonade, that reminded me of the lemonade I cannot have enough in Israel was brought and my day was looking much better.

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The cycle of memories continued with the tasty beef meatballs soup – the Romanian ciorba de perișoare – with a lot of veggies and the exact quality of salt to make it tasty which reminded me of childhood and home-made food.

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I continued with a well done steak with French fries, as simple and tasty as possible.

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As everywhere in Eastern Europe, expect to find a lot of street counters too, selling various traditional pastry and pretzels – covrigi – as well as Turkish-inspired foods as kebap and falafel.

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One of my favourite places by far was the farmer’s market near Star shop, not only for the delicious fruits – was finally was able to have enough cherries without thwarting my careful financial planning for the month – but also for the social interaction. Once you enter this space, expect to be called by one vendor or another to buy rather for them, at a better, sometimes negotiable price. It goes for flowers and everything else sold there.

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Shortly upon arrival, I was more than once recommended to have at least one stop at a famous local crepe store – The House of Crepes/Casa Clătitelor. I was not too delighted with the service – seriously, it’s such a pity that people look and behave so unhappy when they serve you – but some unhappy minutes put aside, I fully enjoyed my fatty crepes: banana filled, with a lot of whipped cream and caramel on the top, accompanied by a fresh lemonade. The indoor space is quite dark but outdoors it’s best also because it is situated on a central street and, together with some bunch of teenagers that were spending some hours here, I did some serious street watching. Me, of course, for the noble aim of travel writing.

Brasov was my best foodie stop during my trip to Romania and was glad that I discover some new full flavoured corners of the city. This is how the good travel memories are always kept tasty.

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Golders Green food tour

Eating was never one of my biggest targets when on the road, but once my travel preoccupations increased, so did my interest in testing local foods and flavours. When in London, I always try to get the latest good kosher restaurants and trends and where else can I find inspiration but in Golders Green? And I never got disappointments, as the local food scenery is dynamic and diverse, trying to answer the needs of the very sophisticated customers. The home cooking in this part of London is extremely diverse and sophisticated and if you want to impress and take the people out of their homes for dinner you should be very good and to offer the best quality menu at a good price. 

Since my last adventures in the world of Golders Green food, some of the restaurants reviewed closed down – Yum Yum for instance – but new one appeared, inviting the food writer I wish to be to test them at least once. Many offer the possibility of take away – sometimes in exchange of a little extra fee.

I am very careful with the Chinese food, but after a long diet, I decided that Met Su Yan – a game of words and sounds, as in Hebrew metsuyan means ‘excellent’ – could be a good choice for a special evening. Especially on Sundays it can be very crowded so a reservation is highly recommended. The place is cute, clean, but a bit crowded, if more than half of the tables are taken. The prices are 3-4-star, but the portions are big. If you decide a 3- or 4-course menu, you will get a good price and a lot of food of your choice. The service is good, with the waitresses patient enough to explain to the non-educated customer all the details of the mysterious names of some of the plates. The cuisine is not necessarily Chinese, but also Vietnamese – I strongly recommend the coconut rolls – or Japanese – lovely sushi choices for the curious and passionate or Thai – not to miss the Pad Thai. I was not extremely impressed by the sauces – especially for the duck with plum sauce – but instantly went in love with the mango duck. Mouthwatering only when I think about it. As for the sweets, highly recommended the ginger icecream. The next time I’m back, there is where I want to start my food trip.

Late on a Saturday evening, Isola Bella is not open and if not going there for one of the delicious cakes – I went there the last Thursday and tasted an Irish cream meringue that finished too fast – why not continuing with more meat meals? I can’t refuse such an offer and tried Sami’s. Two days after we were back. I did not like the red decorations and the lights, but otherwise it is clean and with a friendly service. They have a lot of Iraqi specialities – the zaatar bread is unforgettable – and well done skewers. The chicken Tikka is unexpectedly delicious – I don’t trust always the Indian specialities prepared in a not typical Indian restaurant -, but the simple Chicken skewers are light and tasty too. I liked the roasted potatoes and the coleslaw, but I am sure there are more hidden gems in the menu. The choice of desserts isn’t that great, but a vanilla or choco icecream (parve) can end up the meal in a very smooth way. 

Curious to check if everything is fine, I stopped by at Dolce Vita (again) where I was overwhelmed by flavours and taste of the risotto salmon. As usual, the choices of fish and salads is good and the taste accordingly. The green beans salad and the olives at the beginning were good enough to appease my big hunger after hours of travel.

The last on the list was SoYo, where I wanted to have only a simple frozen yoghurt.  It is usually busy during the morning – they serve a 7.95 £ breakfast menu that looks quite rich. But there are also soups and salads and pasta, and some smoothies too. Upstairs it is a playground with heavy air conditioning during the summer. It is medium priced and not very clean. My biggest disappointment was the service: unfriendly, unhappy and delayed. I will return only if all the restaurants, pubs and fast foods around are closed. Image