Our Long Weekend in Rome – Day 3 by Alec Warriner

Day three began with a lazy lay in and an expresso from the authentic Italian café around the corner from our apartment. We then walked back up over the top of the Roman Forum, down onto the Piazza Venezia and down a street named Via del Corso. On this street discovered a brilliant shop called Gutteridge; now for all you gents out there I highly recommend that you visit this store, it is a taste of true Italian style and will leave you feeling very dapper indeed. So our third day became a day of shopping and enjoying an unplanned stroll around the streets of Rome.

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After a day of filling our bags with shopping and emptying our wallets, we decided that as it was our final evening in Rome that we should of course dine in style. Now I had planned to go to one a Rome’s most recommended restaurants, but as promised this isn’t a blog on Rome that the guide books would mirror. So in my ever romantic style I forgot to make a reservation and we ended up eating in the restaurant on the other side of the road called Barzilia. Now trip adviser gives this restaurant a 4 out of 5, but I would without question give it a 5 stars. The food was spectacular as you might expect for a small doing it themselves eatery. We both had pasta and the portions were huge, making the two bottles of red wine and prosecco a little harder to manage, but we got there in the end. The staff were brilliant, enjoyable and fun to speak with, their recommendations were spot on and to top it all off they gave us limoncello shots for free at the end of the meal!

But it doesn’t stop there folks. The waitress pointed us the direction of her cousin’s bar at the top of the road called Black Market on Via Panisperna, luckily for us it was literally a left turn and walk up the road. This cocktail bar with live Jazz is the cool, trendy and underground scene of Rome we had heard so much about and were thrilled to have found. We sat at the ridiculous high bar and order two drinks, a live jazz band played the final riffs of a song and their set, it was now 12:30am. The whole bar is covered with art of all forms and you can’t help but spend your time starring deeply at the pieces as the bar itself is very dimly lit, because it’s insanely trendy guys ha! But one particular piece caught our eye, a photograph of a naked lady laying on front on a bed. This piece happened to be for sale at a cost of €180, now it may have been the drink thinking this and it certainly was at the point of purchase, but we thought we have to have it. So it now sits proudly on our wall in London. A definite memento of our time in Rome.

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However in true Brits abroad style our night did not end there, we then followed another recommendation to a little known bar called APT in Monti, and in case you were wondering yes we had our new purchase with us. Now little can be told about the rest of the evening, but what I can tell you is that we stayed there with the owner of the bar and bar staff until 3:30am. APT is a proud member of the exclusive club, The Best Bars in Europe. This wasn’t down to our rather late evening there, but the bar had been given the accolade only the night before. So we were pretty chuffed to close our incredible weekend in Rome with a night full of amazing surprises and a little bit of drinking!

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So in conclusion guys, our recommendations are stay as central as possible as Rome is easily accessible by foot and tour buses. Get lost in the historic streets, enjoy the food and drink. Of course visit all the famous sites and make the most of your time around them. But if I was going to give a most important tip, that would be to try and make friends, be open to off the map recommendations as this is how we found our most memorable / not so memorable times. Rome is truly one of the best cities we’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

Central London – The Food Guide! By Nicole Duncan

When exploring London, deciding where to go to eat and drink can get quite overwhelming as there are SO many options! I have put together a collection of my top recommendations along with a few sneaky tips  and tricks for your time in this fabulous capital city.

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First of all a few essential apps to download:

  • **City mapper – This app will tell you all combination of  trains/tubes/walking/taxi etc that you would need to take to get to your destination. An absolute must have.
  • **Uber so that you can get taxis quickly and cheaply.

If you do decided to go to any of the following places it might be a good idea to try and book, some places don’t do bookings at all in which case just turn up but always good to double check this. Be warned you will need to wait to get seated in most places – but this is ok as they usually have a bar!

Bone Daddies – This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. It serves a series of different Ramen  (hearty Asian noodle soup) and you can pair that up with a number of  different sides. The service is fast and friendly, it is reasonably priced and the accompanying 70/80s punk music is a great addition to the experience. You also have bibs and hair bobbles on the tables, to stop getting Ramen all over you!

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Caravan Kings Cross – Famous for it’s breakfast and it’s relaxed attitude, this is a great place to grab some nice coffee and have some delicious food. Based in a listed Victorian building, the setting is almost as good as the food!.

Franco Manca is a sourdough pizza place which started off as a small independent restaurant in Brixton Village. It has exploded in popularity and is now all over the city! It is reasonably priced and has a great relaxed atmosphere.

Flat Iron – This is a steak house that only has one cut on it’s menu which is the ‘Flat Iron’. They will occasionally have other specials on but their menu is incredibly small, simple and extremely tasty. The best part of all of this is that it is only £10 for the Flat Iron steak which in London is an absolute steal! You also get given a meat cleaver instead of a knife and these are available to buy too, should you wish to. Cheap and delicious and good craft beers too!

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Wahaca is a Mexican street food restaurant- really good and reasonably priced too. Does amazing cocktails and you can choose either to get 3 or 4 of the smaller dishes or one of larger main plates. It is very different to your bog standard Mexican burrito joint and offers a wide variety of seasonal and exciting options. This is also another place which started off with just one restaurant and has spread like wildfire across the city.

Bubbledogs – Offers up the unusual combination of Champagne and gourmet hot dogs. It is a bit of a gimmick to be honest but never the less quite a fun night out ** Also note that through the back there is a secret Restaurant called The Kitchen Table. This won a Michelin star back in 2014 and you have the unique experience of sitting around the kitchen and watching and interacting with the chef.

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Honest Burger – in my opinion is one of the best burgers in London and the rosemary chips are not to be missed! Again, this venue also has some nice craft beers.

Breakfast Club – As you would guess,  is a great place for breakfasts and I love it’s huge menu of pancakes! It is an American themed restaurant and in it’s Spittalfields branch even has it’s own Speakeasy bar. **To get into this bar you need to go through the SMEG fridge door and then give a password. (Password can be found on the website or their twitter). The bar is called ‘The Mayor of Scardey Cat Town’ and it has a great menu of cocktails and accompanying bar food menu.

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Sticks and Sushi – This is a chain of restaurants from Denmark and specialisies in traditional Sushi and Yakatori sticks and is absolutely delicious. They also have ahuge wine and cocktail menu that goes along with the food nicely!

-Big Easy – This is another American themed restaurant however this is a place that specialising in BBQ’d meat and food of the South.  ** I would definitely advise pre-booking here. It also has a huge selection of Bourbon and cocktails. It is a little more expensive than some of the other places on the list but the portion sizes are huge and you also get your own bib whilst eating, so you can get some great pictures too!

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I hope this has made things a bit simpler for you and that you find something which tickles your fancy! Make sure and let us know how you get on!

GVS Co xx

 

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