Celebrating Sakura at Sake no Hana

The cherry blossom or sakura is much revered in Japan. Each spring, as the pretty pink flowers engulf cherry trees throughout the Japanese islands, the evening news includes a blossom report, tagging the towns and cities where the blossoms have appeared, until the entire map of Japan, from Okinawa in the south to Hokkaido in the far…

Maguro, London W9

When we first moved to Maida Vale some years ago, Monsieur and I missed having a sushi bar within easy reach of chez nous. To eat Japanese at the weekend, we’d have to travel. Not as far as Tokyo, of course, but across a postcode or two. Sometimes, that’s not what you need at the end of…

Yoisho and the Dream Sashimi Sea

I have a dear, small, Scandinavian friend who, like me, loves food. This friend has survived a life-altering, direction-changing year, culminating in a decision to leave London in favour of her Tokyo-based love, going via Denmark to enjoy some quality family time. Needless to say, she couldn’t possibly leave the country without first dining with…

Tinnura, Sardinia – Where the walls don’t only have ears…

Sardinia is an island of secrets and quiet beauty, the most precious delights of which are likely to be tucked away from tour bus routes. Driving into the island’s hinterland on a warm May day, Monsieur and I rounded a bend on a country highway to discover one such unexpected treasure: the painted village of Tinnura. Tinnura’s church lies…

Minnie the Wonder Bunny

When I was a wide-eyed early twenty-something, I moved from my hometown of Auckland to Sydney to work at a hotel in King’s Cross and no, it wasn’t offering ‘private client services’. At work, I made many wonderful friends, most of whom were gay because (a) the hotel industry is known for being a pink profession…

Learning to like tofu

LiKo (Little Korea Restaurant) 2-3 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BG, Tel 020 7434 1601 In the darkest days of January, when we were still in the throes of post-Christmas empty pocket-dom, a pair of my colleagues and I conjured a carrot to dangle before our noses and lead us out of the gloom: we decided…

Flicking knives on Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions that has the potential to fail miserably. If you’re single, it can make you feel very alone. If you’re part of a couple, apart from being the romantic zenith of the calendar ,it can be very expensive, tacky, and can have the opposite of its intended effect by…

A Package for The Planet (a.k.a. The Monkey’s Uncle)

Some while back, My Friend, The Planet (otherwise known as Planet Ross) sent me his blue monkey. He’s a funny little figurine with a pointy hat that probably has some sort of spiritual significance, but the only spiritual influence he’s had so far in London has been scaring one of my colleagues so much just…

Monkeys at work

You may recently have read my post about the Blue Monkey that Planetross sent me from Japan. Well, here’s a link that all monkey lovers out there should truly appreciate. This is a Japanese restaurant with a different sort of staff, and it’s already on the Epicurienne list of Must Eat There One Day. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7654267.stm

Blue Monkey Oracle Visits London

Planetross has a Blue Monkey Oracle who gives him Life Advice. Blue Monkey got tired of doing that in Japanese and decided to travel to London to stay with me and learn Engris. He got here yesterday. PR had warned me that the packing was plentiful and it was; Blue Monkey arrived intact, although a…

Yoshi Sushi Bento

I love having Bento for lunch. It’s a great way to eat Japanese – a partitioned lunchbox contains a balanced offering of salad, tempura and/or some sort of meat or fish, rice and some palate-cleansing fruit to finish. I used to work near a place where you could have a Bento lunch box for £5.00. Apparently…

Crazy Playmobil

My brother and I grew up with Playmobil – little people who came in theme sets, from the Wild West with forts, cowboys and Indians, hospitals with operating theatres and ambulances. Today, Playmobil is still going strong, but I don’t think the German manufacturers will be able to get their heads around this little number….