Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Opera, Dim Sum and Afternoon Tea in London, Weekend in Bristol & Food Outings


Hello peeps! Long time no write!

Made a weekend jaunt to London with my mum during Mid-April.
My first Opera experience :)
I have always wondered what it would be like!
We were pondering between a ballet, orchestra or a play.


We watched a ballet called "The Winter's Tale" by The Royal Ballet. 
It is actually a play written by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is known for being melodramatic and tragic but this came with 
a surprise happy ending. Sort of!

It's about a king who was filled with jealousy and suspected the child his bride carried was not his.
And people died along the way. And came back alive again. 

Anyway I was really surprised that opera plays are sooooo popular.
It's not cheap, but it was fullhouse! The seats were pretty much filled.
The seat we got was on the first tier, Donald Gordon Grand Tier.
The tickets sell out really fast too, especially for popular ones like
Nutcracker in July. It's already 90% sold out now. Yikes!

We went to the Ampitheatre Restaurant inside the Royal Opera House.
We had the two course meal and my mum and I ordered the same thing!
Watercress Soup and Roast Cod. Two courses is £20 per person.
I think everything in London is expensive, especially if you convert.
The good thing is it makes you realize that the cost of living in Malaysia is actually very low.



The soup was great! Filling and creamy.



The Roast Cod looked nice but lacked flavour.
 I added some salt and pepper lol.

Again :( everytime I eat out in London where it is western food,
I don't enjoy it as much as I do compared to asian cuisine.

Idk is it because my tastebuds are biased or the food is not up to par.
A bit of both, I think?! But! I am always grateful for whatever food I get to eat.
Because there are people out there starving and without a roof over their head.



Mummy ^^



The amount of people!
The ballet performance was about.... three hours I think? Including the breaks.
It was divided into three sections with breaks in between.
Like 30 minutes break and people would get some snacks, sandwiches or a glass of champagne.

The first section was the longest, about 50 minutes.


It was a good experience!

It's really nice to see that more traditional art etc is well-appreciated here.
In Malaysia going to Operas aren't really a culture.
But here, I can see they really enjoy it!

If you book one box for like eight people in a good seat it can go up to 
£1000! Which is crazy for me.

We went back to Marylebone Hotel to put our luggage and do a bit 
of spa and indoor swimming. I didn't take any pictures!
Because I kind of spoiled my Casio TR while in Hungary and I'm a bit wary now. :/
LOL.



The hotel! I only took pics of it on Snapchat lol.
My username is Bubuchahchah by the way! As always.


Marylebone is within walking distance to Bond Street and Oxford Circus.
I love Oxford Circus! So much shopping. 
London is never boring, compared to Southampton. 

I bought some Pierre Herme macarons from Selfridges!
This one is their matcha flavour. Pierre Herme is my favourite
macaron brand in like, the whole wide world.

I like the texture of their macaron shells. 
Crispy, light, fluffy and chewy all at the same time.

After some spa we went out for dinner.
And we picked a random Thai Restaurant.
It's near Selfridges. I FORGOT THE NAME.



They had two floors, and the other floor is on the basement.
So we walked in and thought the restaurant was empty,
but there were quite a lot of patrons downstairs!


It was a really goooood meal!

My mum takes forever to order at any Asian restaurants lol.
She gets really confused. But with Western cuisine it's fine.


Scallops! This was so-so.


Chicken Satay was the bomb. The peanut sauce was amazing, 
and I liked that they had some pomegranate seeds!


And my favourite! Favourite from Thai cuisine, anyways.
I loveeee Pineapple Fried Rice. Back in Malaysia, when eating Thai cuisine,
I always order Pineapple Fried Rice and Seafood Tom Yam.
Pandan Chicken is also goooood.

The Pineapple Fried Rice was not listed on their ala carte dinner menu,
so I asked the waitress and she said they would make it. Hehe.
Happy tummy, happy kid.

(** I found their name card in my bag! hahaha. The Thai restaurant is called Chaopraya. You can't blame me for not remembering the name lolol. It's their bond street tube :3)

Nom nom.


The next day, we had dim sum. It has been ages!!!!

This was at Royal China in London.


Apparently, it is a really popular dim sum spot in London.
This was a random picture stolen off Google, lol.
That time it was really packed.

Arrive early if you eat there, especially if it's Sunday!
We arrived around 11:30 AM and by 12 PM it became full house and people were queuing outside.
The dim sum are made to order and not the ones that comes in a cart, so it takes a bit longer. 

Oh yeah. Doing assignments and all those Harvard Referencing, I almost had the urge to reference the picture. Royal China, March 2015 [digital image] [retrieved 2 May 2015] available from: http://wjlondon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Royal-China-Queensway-Restaurant.jpg

HAHHAHA. I would seriously die if I had to reference pictures everytime I used them.
But for assignments, gotta do it I guess. 

Okay referencing aside, the food didn't disappoint and was really great value for money.
It was about £30 for two. At the Thai restaurant, it was about £65. 
So I would definitely recommend Royal China! 
Pound to myr is about £5.7 to RM1 if you're not familiar.
The lowest was like 5.5 one or two months ago. 
Then it was like freaking 6.7 when I just came last year September.



Prawn Chee Cheong Fun. No rice roll or what. 
I like to call it chee cheong fun, super cantonese style.


Salad Prawn! This used to be my favourite when I was a kid.


And of course, egg tarts!

Their egg tarts were the best out of everything I tried. 
It was milky, smooth, sweet but not overpowering.
We ordered another plate because it was so good!


Then, did a bit of shopping on Oxford Street.

Bought some clothes for Spring at Forever 21, courtesy of mummy!
There's not any Forever 21 back in Southampton :(

I think the Forever 21 in London was really on trend,
Spring/Summer clothes gets me excited in a way that Fall/Winter clothes never ever will.
I didn't really care to buy much clothings when it was Fall/Winter because
I know I can't wear it back in Malaysia. But it was essential though,
 otherwise I would freeze during winter and get hypothermia. Lol.

Then. Afternoon Tea! HAHAHA.
So much of eating. 

All of these places mentioned that we visited in London,
were found using google or foursquare or swarm.
I'm so basic hahhaa. But the internet does not disappoint!

Found this gem called "Sketch" in Mayfair, London.



They have a lot of different themed rooms, kind of like The Roof back in Kuala Lumpur but afternoon tea style. The Pink Room I think is where they usually seat their guests, but it was a Sunday and it was full, so we were seated at their Green Room which really, really reminds me of Alice in The Wonderland. It felt like a rabbit would pop out of nowhere to join you for tea.

We had their Sketch Afternoon Tea, £45 per person.
They ask you to order one for each person actually,
but I don't think we could even finished it!

So we asked if we could share and they were fine with it :3
We ordered scones as well.
So British lol.

Oh yeah, I said I always find Western cuisines disappointing,
but afternoon tea in UK has never disappointed me.

HAHAHHAA. I think I'm just fascinated in general.
I love bite-sized food with variety and visual appeal.
Afternoon tea, dim-sum, sushi.

I love them all because there's such a huge variety of things.

AND OH I realized this post is getting longer than I thought it would be,
Lol. It always happens! But I think it's good because it's like practising to write lengthy assignments. One blog post is like two to four thousand words usually. 




Everything is so cute!

Definitely a memorable afternoon tea experience.
Would recommend, especially if you're stopping by in London!




Savoury ones at the bottom, sweet ones at the top.


I really enjoyed their sandwiches!

They put creative twists to them, like it's not something you would expect.
It's not just boring egg mayo sandwich cut into bite sized pieces.

They add garnishes like fish roe and springs of herbs.


Some even came wrapped like this :3



Desserts!


The toilet is the most unusual one I've been in my.. life.
HAHHA.

It's like being in a futuristic movie. 
Or Wall-E's girlfriend. 

They were like individual pods for you to pee in.
Kind of like portaloos, but way cooler.
LUCKILY, IT WASN'T SMELLY.

Portaloo gets smelling really easy.


Then went to Bristol to visit my boyfie Edward! HEHE.

He always comes down to Southampton! Lol.
Thank goodness for National Express, really. 
And that we don't live that far apart! It's about three hours by coach/bus,
or two hours by train. 

Bristol is a much more developed city compared to Southampton.
There's tons more to do.

But Southampton has a lot of cheap lunch places, like £5 a meal.
In Bristol £10 and up is the norm.


And of course! No Bristol trip is complete without visiting Guat Tyng and Qi Yao.
Lolol. Visited Qi Yao at the right time and he had a party in his place with the Taylorians.
Met Joanne, Alex, Wan Ting and a few others! Hehe.


Qi Yao took us to this place called... oh gosh I don't remember.
I'm so bad. HAHAHHA

I think Hong Kong Diner?! Hong Kong something.
But they had nasi lemak and I was craving it.

I think food is always a huge craving. It really feels... very Asian when you get to eat Asian food.
 It's like... an edible photograph!

The nasi lemak... sambal was quite off, not spicy but more like sour.
But the coconut rice, prawn crackers and egg was really good.
I did enjoy it :)


Also tried Bao Wow!

It's Vietnamese based cuisine.
I tried their teriyaki chicken bao.
I'm in loveeeeeee. It was like 3.50, which I think is really cheap!
The bao was deceptively small and very filling!


Also got some books because they were £3 each!
Or four for £10!

I like reading travel books, psychology books, non-fiction, fiction.
I used to be a huge nerd, and spend my lunch breaks in the library during high school.
Lol. Can we please flashback to Sekolah Sri Bestari please,


HAHHAA!

What a refreshing picture.
Well let's see. Theng Loo is in Canada.
Guat Tyng and I are in UK. Weng Hock is in Australia.
Vincent is in San Francisco. Ahmad is in Singapore.

It's quite crazy actually!

High school will always be a fond memory.
When I was a high school student, I thought trivial matters like late homeworks were the end of the world. Little did I know what bigger problems there would be as we grow up. 7AM-4PM in the school, so cocooned from the outside world. I do miss being with my classmates! All those funny jokes and sleeping in class. HAHAHHAA. 


And there is Mei Yen aka the bestie beside me. HAHHAA
Puan Rekha put is right at the center and front. Idk why lol but it did made me concentrate better.
AND HARDER TO FALL ASLEEP IN CLASS.

I would always get into trouble for making Mei Yen laugh because the noise was earth-shattering. I was in 5 Science 2 and the class beside aka 5 Arts 1 would hear it.


In high school I had zero idea how to dress up and was really rough like a man.
I think. I pull the most ugly faces ever. But it was a very brilliant period of my life,
least to say :)




Mahjong with Guat Tyng, Qi Yao and Edward at Rainbow Casino!

HAHAHHAA. I was quite surprised that I won like five to six times in a row,
until Qi Yao won the last round.

Well... I've got a dirty little secret.

Ever since my last jaunt to Rainbow Casino, I downloaded a mahjong app.
HAHHAHA. BOTH Hong Kong and Taiwanese versions.
But we play really informally, like we didn't count the points or anything.

Just if you get enough "kong" "pong" or "shun" and a pair of eyes with no unmatched tiles left.
Mahjong is quite easy to learn, and addictive. But I think counting the points would be hard. Yih Wern is the expert at this hahha I remember she was always looking for mahjong kaki.


Asian Supermarkets really brings me unsurmountable happpiness!
Albeit in short doses and a mild guilt afterwards HHAAHAH.
But there's something about a taste of home that is always precious.

But, no need to talk so nostalgic! I will be back home soon!

Anddd some other random outings when Edward came to Southampton :3
This whole blog post is like a mish mash of outings during April! 


We ate at this Pho place in Portswood, Southampton.
Portswood is about a 10min bus ride from the city centre.
That row has a lot of restaurants, like good deals one and Asian cuisines.
I ordered their clear spring roll with prawns.
It was really good and refreshing, with the peanut sauce!

The others tried Pho but I find that it's a bit bland!
I like Thai boat noodles more. I miss Boat Noodle in Empire Damansara!

We went with Ai Lynn, Wen Chien, Jin and his girlfriend Su!
Su Hyeon, I think? Hope I didn't write it wrongly lol.
She was really sporting! First time meeting her actually.


Then we went to Sprinkles. I think.
There are so many desserts parlour in Southampton!
I can't remember which is which!!!

Desserts parlour with waffles and ice cream etc are all the rage here.
Some of them even open till like 1AM.

There's Scoops, Sprinkles, Treatz.
Edward and I shared milk chocolate waffle!
Added hazelnut ice cream and it was goood.

But waffles are a must to share with, otherwise it will taste a bit too tacky.



Went to Mango Thai in the city centre for our monthsary date!

IT WAS REALLY GOOD.

It was like 4PM and I haven't eaten and went to the gym,
so I walloped everything. I finished the rice noodles. 
YUM. It was spicy too.

The tom yum was really good. Quite pricey, about 15 pounds per person.
But service was really good and the tom yum tasted superbly authentic!

Glad we went when I had a huge appetite lolol.
Boyfie on the other hand had a hard time finishing his fried rice and kept 
stealing my food! He said idk why but stealing people's food tastes better.
HAHAH. I think it was because I was slurping my rice noodles and it tasted real good for me.


Made chicken pesto with broccoli for boyfie! ^^
He's a true to heart carnivore and needs meat to feel satisfied.


Gym gym !


Fitbit is reallyyyy cool! You have like challenges you can participate with your friends.
Jin gave me the Fitbit Charge! He found it while clubbing and I shamelessly asked for it so he gave it for my birthday lolol. Retail price is like 80-100 pounds depending on the model! 


It is basically an activity tracker and tracks your steps. 

If I don't walk to the gym/city/uni, the step counts will be really low.
If I go to the city it will  be around 6000 steps for round trip.
Gym will be easily 10 000 steps.

Erm. Idk if I will walk that much back in Malaysia!


I forgot what I was doing that day.
I think going to the city and gym back and forth.
No car, legs will be transport. Lol.



Loving the warmer weather now.
Recently it's been raining so it's colder,
but I do feel the difference compared to two months back!

Andddd lastly!

I'm very excited!

Booked for Santorini, Greece for our trip this May.
With Edward :3


Hotel!


Oia


Amoudi Bay in Oia


Ios Beach which is a short boat ride away.

Hehe! Been doing some research on activities to do.
Will be spending six days there! I know if I go back Malaysia and try to go back to Santorini,
the flight ticket alone would bomb everything. It's really expensive! But flying from UK is much better.

Anyway! Grateful for everything in life.

I think I should do an experience on studying abroad/ expectations vs reality soon! ^^
Because I've always wondered what it was like before I experienced it myself.
Stay tuned hehe.

Till then peeps! xx




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