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Kansalaistori – Citizens’ park

Image by Veera Lumme

An eclectic mix. That is the correct travel guide term, I think. That is the kind of crowds you’ll find at Kansalaistori. It is a great junction in the very middle of the city.

Let us imagine you only had one single afternoon (conference guests and biz people) to spend in Helsinki. Better than an Irish pub or Italian/Thai/Mexican/Nepalese restaurant, spend your afternoon people watching. You can grab a take-away of your liking nearby in a regular store.

People go to work through this area, some youngsters hang out there all day with their skateboards, MPs, Government officials and their assistants hurry by as the Parliament building is right there, as well as the Music House. Musicians going to their evening concert, art tourists from the Kiasma Museum, people on bikes – as “Baana”, the through-city bike lane ends there – and as a bonus you have a great vista to Töölönlahti and the Linnanmäki amusement park behind it on a hill (with lights on as the evening comes, it is beauuuutiful).

Maybe, if you are lucky, you’ll get to be part of a protest of some kind: More funds for early childhood education! Gay rights for adoption! Against the cuts the Government has proposed!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot (Show on map)
Kansalaistori WiFi available | Relaxing | Free
24 hours daily

Copyrights Spotted by Locals Helsinki



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Biscotti Cipriani – The treasure trove of biscuits

Image by Mirko Feliziani

You have already noticed I like the vintage side of Rome, haven’t you? So here’s another one of my favorite places “from the past”, just in the middle of that nice residential area of Colle Oppio, and a stone’s throw from Colosseum and Termini station.

One of those small family-run shops, with warm, wooden interiors welcoming you like the hugs of your mother, and the air filled with the bewitching scent of fresh biscuits’ fragrance!

The Premiata Fabbrica di Biscotti Cipriani is an award-winning factory of high quality baked biscuits: a great little shop, tucked away just off the main avenue of via Merulana, on the small tree-lined street of via Carlo Botta. A place frequented by a loyal clientele (I think it’s adorable how some of those people shopping here, are remembering how they grew up with this, or that type of cookies).

The proximity of Cipriani’s shop to the primary school Ruggero Bonghi, in fact, has made it a usual target for hordes of hungry, little students: no wonder if, as grown-ups, they’re still fond of this place!

Cipriani‘s biscotti al limone (lemon cookies), torta cioccolato e pere (cake with chocolate and pears), or manicaretti alle mandorle (almond delicacies) are somehow unforgettable.

I love that they also have a selection of Gluten-free and vegan delicacies – a further expression of the great attention given to customers – which enriches the range of tasty products they’re offering.

Cipriani’s is a bit pricey actually, but the exceptional quality of their products and ingredients – and the joy they bring! – makes it absolutely worth your money.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot ( | Snacks | Croissant € 1
via Carlo Botta, 21 | +390670454229
Tue – Fri 09:00 – 13:30 & 16:30 – 19:30, Sat 09:00 – 13:30

Copyrights Spotted by Locals Rome



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The Meadows & Bruntsfield Links – Golf & barbecues

Image by Toby Foster

You need to make the most of any warmth in Edinburgh, and one of the most popular ways for the locals to enjoy the sun here is spending an afternoon in The Meadows or the Bruntsfield Links. This large stretch of green spans from the university’s central area in Old Town to Bruntsfield in the South, and back up to Tollcross in the West.

There’s not a great deal to say about The Meadows. It’s remarkably flat! It’s just a large, popular open space, that people use for barbecues, afternoon drinking and sports. But I’m not knocking it – sometimes that’s all you need: a frisbee, a six-pack of beer and a few buddies. What’s more, it’s very close to the centre, which is handy!

Bruntsfield Links have a big claim to fame. Supposedly, they are home to the very first golf club in the world. Whether you believe that or not, the links can claim to be the cheapest golf club in the world – this public space has both a summer golf course and a winter course, free for all to use. The Golf Tavern will rent some clubs to you (complete with score card and map) if you don’t bring yours with you wherever you go.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot (Show on map)
The Meadows & Bruntsfield Links | Relaxing | Free
The Meadows
24 hours daily



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Yes, Wagyu is back in Britain, but at what price and what sort of quality? Skepticism was the immediate instinct when I read about Engawa’s Kobe beef claims. A regular misnomer claimed by some restaurants to generally describe fatty beef of questionable provenance.

But this is apparently the real deal; Their entire menu fashioned around those famous Tajima black cattle from the South of Japan. They are so into their Kobe beef that they import the whole cattle and do the butchering in-house, which allows them to offer a wide variety of cuts from the animal.

The money behind this latest venture are Salt Group, who operate a dozen restaurants, cafes, bars (and a dog cafe) in Japan. Engawa appears to be their first overseas outing.

Engawa’s closest comparison is probably 511 in Tokyo – offering a kaiseki themed entirely around Kobe Beef. The name 511 comes from the grade of beef offered, which is a measure of the quality and density of marbling. More beef details later in the post.

I visited Engawa with my brother and we did back to back visits, starting off with Friday lunch. Lunch because their cheapest options interested me the most : a Beef Katsu set lunch for £35, and beautifully presented lunch bento boxes which start at £30. Decent katsu is a rare thing in London.

The restaurant can cater to 29 covers, but it is cramped inside a thin rectagular strip at the entrace to the swish Ham Yard Hotel. I suppose it is given its name because of its physical location at the doorstep to the Hotel. Who knows. The kitchen is completely exposed, with a kaiseiki-style kappo/counter. Decor is polished and smart, not unlike what you’d find in a fine Kyoto restaurant. Chefs are mindful that they’re on show, but appear to be rather shy and do not interact with diners. They leave the softly-softly to the excellent front of house who are well trained to handle explanations and are generally knowledgeable about their offerings.


Kobe Beef Katsu Gozen £35


So here we go. About 100 to 120g of fillet is breaded and deep fried, with katsu sauce. On the side, there is a large bowl of seasoned rice with barley and edamame. They also provided a tall cup of kobe beef stock, to enable a chazuke, or simply rice in hot water. Additionally, they also served a soup of kombu dashi. Shredded cabbage in the soup, and not on the side.

It’s a great lunch box. I love it.


Of course, katsu restaurants generally use pork, but really any tender meat (chicken thigh even), preferably something oily and tender, can be a candidate for katsu. And that’s why I think Engawa’s katsu is so good. It’s not meant to be fine obviously, this is simply fried meat and rice. And it is quality meat. You don’t really need the most marbled cut, but you do need a tender cut. I guess eating good katsu is analogous to good fish and chips. OK, I hear you, £35. But it’s good beef, so for me, this is worth it.

That katsu sauce is important as well, tart and sharp like plums and green apples. They could supply a small pestle and mortar for some grind it yourself sesame – like at Katsukara – and this dish would be complete.

Finally, that beef stock is just mouth watering. Kobe beef water. It imparts this incredibly potent expression of perfumed wagyu. The essence of kobe beef. The rice comes seasoned already, but a few spoonfuls of the stock sends it into appetising overdrive. Another bowl please.

I guess if I had to be picky, then this could do with crispier breadcrumbs, airier etc. You can totally geek out on this stuff obviously.

I have been to Maisen, it is decent, but I prefer Katsukara in Kyoto Station (also at Takashimaya Shinjuku). Over there, you get a wide choice of either ribeye, sirloin or tenderloin from those lovely Kurobuta black pigs (same as Berkshire breeds).

You also get tonkatsu as a sandwich, otherwise tonkatsu sando. Like all packaging in Japan, the Maisen ones are beautifully boxed up.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I think ramen fever is almost over, let Tonkatsu be the next. Juicy meat encased in crispy batter, you’ll love it too.

14 piece Bento Box, £40


Isn’t that pretty? It’s like a grid web design, ordered daintiness and pleasing to the eye.

This box gives you a preview of their dinner tasting menu, like an assortment of their craft. In this format, you get a feel for the breath of the kitchen’s abilities. Its just wonderful. Refreshing and perfectly designed for lunch.

Cooked items include their slow cooked wagyu, omelette, meatball, potato salad. There’s also sashimi, tuna with grated egg yolk, scallop, yellowtail. On the side, a bowl of seasoned rice and dashi. This is the 14 piece version for £40, though I think the 11 piece version at £30 is the more compelling option, especially for lunch.

It is an interesting and satisfying lunch idea, given the variety of the assortment and the lunch menu really does such present a great impression of Engawa.

We finished with a pudding, tea and had a couple of drinks and paid £137.50 for two. Not cheap, but we liked it so much that we booked a return visit for Saturday night to try their dinner menu.


Their dinner menus are three tasters of increasing prices (£60/£80/£100) and number of courses (3/5/8) and more focused around their prized kobe beef, than the lunch options.

It loosely resembles a kaiseki, except you finish on sushi, rather than rice or noodles. I have limited kaiseki experience, though this dinner immediately reminded me of my visit to Roan Kikunoi. Of course, I’d have to make obviously comparisons to my long-time favourite, The Shiori, when mentioning London Kaiseki.

At the start of the meal, they offered the ribeye and chuck during our service. We both selected the rib on the left.


Their claim to make up about 5% of annual Kobe beef exports doesn’t really add up. Given that they also claim only about 30 cattle leave the shores of Japan, so .. only 1.5 cows per year to Engawa? Is that all they would sell all year?

Questionable stats aside, their top taster only just about sneaks into the three digit range, which is fairly well priced considering the real deal. For reference, I paid about £100 for 100g at 511 in Tokyo.

Speaking of grades, things get a bit woolly, when I probed that department. Our waiter said it’s definitely A5, but wouldn’t commit the full grading. From the picture above, the marbling does mean it is wagyu, but I’ve seen denser ‘flower’ patterns. The actual grade is useful to know because the higher grades (A511 and A512) really are exponentially more expensive than the less fatty ones.

So just briefly then regarding grading. Japan’s meat grading system starts from C and goes upward to A5. This indicates yield and meat/fat quality. The digits 1 to 12 are then appended at the end of the grade to indicate the degree of marbling. We really are interested in the top end, from A5-9, A5-10, A5-11 (hence 511 restaurant above) to the maximum of A5-12.

(For more background on this, I wrote this blog post about Wagyu from two separate visits to Japan.)

To my eye, the meat looks about A5-8, A5-9. What do you reckon?

1. Appetiser
Kobe Beef Yukhoe


Served on a brick of ice.

So we start with a gorgeous wagyu tartare, little cubes of perfumed beef butter, covered in sticky, creamy grated yam. A fine, cold dashi is poured over it and garnished with chopped spring onions. The quality of the beef is apparent. Legit. Delicious.

2. Appetiser
Dashimaki with Kobe Beef Soup
出汁巻き卵 神戸牛出汁あん


Their take on egg & beef, with a thin slice of truffle as garnish. The ‘soup’ is made from Kobe beef stock & dashi and appears to be thickened. This soup is the most gorgeous aspect of the dish. Umami.

This dashimaki is like a rolled omelette, it’s good, but the chawan-mushi version is the superior version of the two. Same beef soup, but the chawan-mushi is a silkened savoury egg custard that gels with the thickened soup. Like Hedone’s umami flan. Gorgeous.

3. Age mono

Tempura of Prawn & Asparagus, with Kumquat.
本日の揚物 「かき揚・唐揚・天婦羅」


Next up is their seasonal deep-fried appetiser. They served a piping hot tempura ‘ball’ of prawn and asparagus, with half a kumquat for a zesty jiz. Meticulous and carefully prepared. Very brief flashes of Kondo. Solid.

4. 7pc Sashimi


We have Spanish tuna and French uni. The rest are sea bass, yellowtail, squid, scallop and salmon. Basically it’s same quality to your favourite izakaya in London, which I suppose is unofficially the Atariya standard.

I will however say that the cuts are well selected and carefully prepped and sliced. Each slice is smooth and tendon-free. I do wonder if they attempt any light ageing, but I can’t be sure.

Overall, a decent sashimi spread, given what’s available (or importable) into Britain. The soya sauce is good here, sweet, maybe spiked with mirin. However, I do think French uni is just terrible. Too bitter. It’s nothing like Hokkaido uni, sweet and creamy, what it is supposed to taste like. Here, the bitternesss is tempered by the sweet ikura. I do wonder why do London restaurants even bother serving sub-standard uni. Just get some raw gambero rosso on the menu instead.

5. Beef Cooked dish
Kobe Beef Daikon


Mmm… the beef is very tender. Carefully boiled. That amazing beef stock makes another appearance, this time served hot. Just delicious, they could easily serve it just as a consomme, it would be so wonderful on its own.

6. Beef Main Dish
I chose Ribeye, medium.


And finally.. the show. Ta-da. Looks about 100g. Maybe 125g and cooked teppan-yaki style.


I asked for medium because I have found that wagyu requires longer heat melt its fat for this sensation of butteriness. At medium rare, you’re still chewing cool fat – not its most flattering temperature. My preference anyway.

The beef is very tender and this distinctive mellow flavour and fragrance, is unmistakably Kobe beef. It’s the same mellow sweetness that shows up in the beef stock, used in the previous dishes.

My past impressions of Kobe beef wasn’t so much butter-like textures but rather, like a sort of beef mousse. This wasn’t mousse-like and it didn’t have that sensation of oil bursting of the meat while chewing. Although, this is sort of a good thing because wagyu can very quickly become queasy when eaten as a grilled steak. Nothing’s definite obviously, but I doubt it is a A5-11, let alone A5-12.

Still, this is good beef and this serves as an excellent introduction to Kobe beef. A5-8 or A5-9 that’s my guess and I think it is clearly reflected in the pricing too. A5-12 would cost so much more. I wouldn’t expect Engawa to be able to get their hands on the best stuff anyway, it is hard enough trying to do that in Tokyo. If you’re to splurge on the best examples of wagyu, you still need to go to source. Anybody have a table booked at Kawamura?

7. Sushi


If I had a choice, I’d swap this out completely. Get me another Kobe Beef Yukhoe. Those sushi platters are pre-prepare and left in a corner, until a table is ready for it. Some just sat there nearly 15 minutes before serving. For one, rice has gone completely cold and started to stick to the board. They appear to use rice and barley for shari, tuna doesn’t appear to be pre-soaked in soya sauce, rather just comes with a mere brush of soya – too dry for me. The kobe beef tartare maki was the best of the lot, but overall, I thought the sushi was just passable.

It is abundantly clear that Engawa aren’t keen on the sushi course, so why bother at all? Not all Japanese restaurants in London need to serve sushi. Either commit to producing three pieces of proper kobe beef nigiri, or drop the course entirely.

I think they should just end the meal properly with rice, soup and pickles. Or just offer beef-fat fried rice. With truffle shavings. Or foie gras. That stuff always hits the spot.

8. Pudding
Deluxe Engawa Fondue


Thankfully the pudding is gorgeous, as a good meal would have been easily undone by that sushi course. A cheesecake without the crumble, almost like a sort of reconstituted ball of goats cheese. Fragile textured cheesecake, like snowflake, so delicate – minor work of art this is. What you can’t see is the red bean paste in the centre. Dunk into the hot green tea white chocolate fondue and yeah, that’s the stuff.

Oozing chocolate, red bean, matcha, sweet cheesecake. What’s not to like? This is worth the price of entry alone. What a pudding.

We also had this during the lunch visit (a tenner during lunch, yikes!) and you have to make sure the dipping sauce is hot. If isn’t, send it back. That hot sauce makes all the difference to experience.

Dinner bill – We paid £249.38 for 2x 8 course menus, 2x kirin beers and 2x green teas. Yes. Expensive.

So here’s the thing about Engawa, I think it’s good because of the supporting gastronomy the chefs have create around the beef is actually solid. The cooking is delicate, commendable and their kobe beef stock is like a sort of magic sauce. Instant umami.

However, like much of Japanese food outside of Japan (or any cuisine for that matter), the best is hardly exported. So if you’re looking for the ultimate Wagyu experience, you’ll only find that at source. You never find it in Britain. And why would you want to when we have such excellent examples of dry-aged British beef and equally excellent establishments who know how to draw out the best aspects of the produce. But that’s really just stating the obvious.

Those three or four appetisers were really redolent of Kyoto. I was surprised by the level of delicacy. It’s obviously not quite as fine, but it gave me the same impression, and for me, it’s those dishes that create value for the 8 course £100 menu. Otherwise, the other two cheaper taster menus actually look less compelling. I don’t know, it’s a tough one, if you could swap the sashimi out for the yukhoe+chawan-mushi, perhaps that would make £60 worth a pop.

Either way, the dinner menu is a one-off thing. If you choose to do it, go with the £100 option because their best dishes are on that menu.

In the mean time, I’m plotting my next visit for the lunch katsu, where the real value appears to be. I think that Engawa’s katsu dish is a great addition to London and something I’d consistently go back for. Like a Goodman lunch steak or a Smokehouse sunday roast. I love it.


Kobe Beef Specialists
£50pp Lunch , £120pp Dinner
2 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT
Picadilly Circus
+44 (0)20 7287 5724



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Centreville – Best oeuf cocotte in Paris

Image by @OutUrbanArtsBoy

Parse a classic bistro and glam it up with a contemporary twist and voila, welcome to Centreville. It’s my favourite stop for late Sunday mornings for the best oeuf-cocotte in the 11th neighbourhood. And as summertime comes, it’s even more worth a stop off. Never too busy and no reason to book.

In my estimation oeuf-cocotte at Centreville is the real deal. Another reason for stopping off at Centreville is the heated pedestrian-level terrace. It’s where I can go, and regardless of the temperature outside, enjoy eating an oeuf-cocotte any time of the year.

So no matter the season, Centreville also satisfies other criteria, like, say, getting a sense of a real French neighbourhood, plus it’s a sun-trapped location. In springtime I’ve ended-up seeing Sunday Brunch as it slips into Apero hour – meaning you can start a late morning with oeuf-cocotte and then juicy green olives.

Because Centreville is at a neighbourly crossroads, look around and at each corner you’ll see bistro, bistro, bistro. One of these is called Pause – Pause Cafe. And she’s Centreville’s bigger sister. In contrast, Centreville has a contemporary edge, and Pause offering is a tad more on the kitschy-fun-side.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot (Show on map)
Centreville | Restaurants (French) | Oeuf Cocotte € 8
43 rue de Charonne | +33148068033
Mon – Sat 08:00 – 02:00, Sun 09:00 – 20:00

Copyrights Spotted by Locals Paris



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If you thought Street Feast were done with the return of the EPIC Dalston Yard and Model Market THINK AGAIN. The team are at it again with Dinerama, a brand new street food arena opening in a huge former bullion truck yard on Great Eastern Street. You’ll be able to get your Street Feast fix mid week, all the way through the weekend, with Dinerama open Thursday-Sunday.

There’ll be six ‘street diners’ from some of our favourite traders: Smokestak, Breddos, Duck ‘n Roll, BBQ Lab, Fundi Pizza and Baba G’s as well as a rotating line up including Street Feast veterans Yum Bun and the brand new venture from Smokestak, BirdBox. There’s also a MASSIVE mezzanine around the edge of the yard which will be home to some of the site’s five brilliant bars, including the Pavilion Bar on Shoreditch Lawn, serving spritz cocktails and fizz.

Thurs – Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-9pm
Dinerama, 19 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3EJ

The post DINERAMA LANDS AT SHOREDTICH YARD appeared first on London On The Inside.



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Ladurée – A Sugary French Kiss

Image by Peter Hoffer

Macaron shops have been appearing over London for the last few years. These baked treats seem to be the new fashionable trend for those with a sweet-tooth. I have done my duty as a good Londoner (much to the disappointment of my dentist) and sampled a few macarons around town and my favourite is, without a doubt, those of Ladurée.

This Parisian chain of confectionery shops has four stores in London (some other locations are in Cornhill, Harrod’s and Covent Garden). However I think the Burlington Arcade shop feels the most French. Just looking into the windows of Ladurée seems indulgent (much like looking at the neighbouring jewelry and cashmere shops in the arcade). The shop assistants are dressed impeccably, and the edible window decorations are sumptuous to behold and just oozes sophistication.

The flavours of the macaroons cover a range from vanilla and pistachio to rose and Madagascar chocolate. They are pricey for their petite size (£ 1.75 each), but they are worth it once you bite into these pillowy pockets of sugar. There are also gift boxes to purchase which would make tasty presents for your friends.

There is not much seating space, so I would recommend buying a selection of flavours and share them with a friend while promenading through Burlington Arcade. I guarantee that all of the Ladurée macarons will disappear by the time you finish your walk.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot ( | Coffee & tea, Shopping, Snacks | Macarons £ 1.75
71-72 Burlington Arcade | +442074929155
Mon – Fri 08:30 – 18:30, Sat 09:00 – 18:30, Sun 11:00 – 17:00

Copyrights Spotted by Locals London



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This summer there is no excuse for walking around the capital with bad hair thanks to the hundreds of pop up blow dry bars that are now available. You’d better move quick though, as some of them are only here whilst the sun shines. Here are some of our faves…

French Connection – Blow Bar
For a quick fix whilst dabbling in some retail therapy, head to the pop up salon on the first floor of French Connection on Regent Street. Just £25 for 30 minutes, it’s a quick fix for your hair, and you can get your nails and make up done too so you’re all dolled up for the weekend. www.theblowbar.com

George Northwood’s Bob Bar
The trend for bobs and ‘lobs’ doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. If you’re not brave enough to take the plunge and cut your tresses, stop by George Northwood’s Well Street salon and try on the wigs to get a feel for this trendy new chop before getting yours lobbed off.

Aveda Pop Up
If your hair is in need of a boost after a long commute in rush hour, Aveda’s pop-up in Piccadilly Circus Tube station provides the ultimate salvation. With three DIY styling chairs and experts on hand, you can re-groom within minutes. No appointment necessary. Ideal for those times you emerage from the tube dripping in sweat. www.aveda.co.uk

Cheeky Hair Redchurch LOTI

Cheeky Hair by Josh Wood
The newly refurb Cheeky Parlour on Redchurch Street is the perfect place to hang for an afternoon of pampering. The blow dry bar (headed up by Josh Wood) offers customers 3 styles, from bed head beach ways to the full glam-works.

Hersheson’s Braid Bar
Braids are all the rage right now with festival season upon us, and the stylists at Hersheson’s are on-hand to teach you the basics. With an array of different styles at the pop-up in Topshop, Oxford Street, you’ll be a pro by the end of the summer – only £15 for 15 minutes.

Duck and Dry LOTI

Duck & Dry
If your out and about on the King’s Road and the heavens open, leaving you looking like a drowned rat – pop into Duck & Dry to get the va va voom back into your hair. The aim is to make you feel relaxed and pampered, and even with the speedy service they still offer you snacks and a glass of bubbles!

NuYu London
Brand new to Primrose Hill, and taking over shop from the famous hair salon Mac’s, NuYu London have launched and are offering their customers speedy blow drys alongside laser hair removal and microdermabrasion.

There you have it…now we expect to see you all sporting shiny locks very soon!

The post THE BEST BLOW DRY BARS appeared first on London On The Inside.



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Woluwepark – Park life

Image by Davy Verbeke

The two of us are face to face. We’re having one of our staring contests again. More than three minutes have gone by. Maybe this time I’ll win? Oh no. Can’t help myself. I smile. I failed, once more. Fair is fair: you get the bread…

Parks in Brussels abound. It makes the city one of the greenest capitals of Europe. I love to go for a Sunday stroll in the park of Woluwe – one of four parks laced together by two car roads. Although I’m not particularly fond of car species in a park environment, these grounds have enough other interesting fauna and flora to make up for that.

This English style park was designed to please the turn of the 20th century bourgeoisie. One century later, the various slopes, grassy plains, big ponds, waterbirds and sequoia trees have not lost their appealing qualities. In winter, I closely inspect the most fascinating fungi. In summer, I play frisbee or kubb or I chill out in the wooden salon made out of tree-trunks. All over the park, dogs are chasing radio-controlled cars, other dogs’ behinds or their own. Beware though. The giant swans will come mighty close and stare at you. Don’t worry, they only want to be fed whatever you’ve got in your hands.

Oh, and there is one car that I don’t mind seeing in the Woluwepark: that waffle truck near the round pond.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Details about this spot (Show on map)
Woluwepark | Relaxing | Free
24 hours daily

Copyrights Spotted by Locals Brussels



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CB on the Road

Edirne has more meat to offer beyond the glistening liver that bears its name. Deniz Börek Salonu has crowned the top of Saraçlar Caddesi since 1986. Every morning, lines of salivating citizens hurry to work with crunchy poğaças or sit down to enjoy steaming heaps of stuffed pastry. While there are many börek places in Edirne, few are able to produce the consistently delicious product that Deniz is known for. Imagine, if you will, savory labyrinthine baklava sheets of golden brown pastry, stuffed like sausages. The bready tubes are baked, set on a hot table in a window, then viciously chopped into strips with a knife that looks like it should belong to a 19th-century werewolf hunter. Common fare at börek places are kıymalı (minced meat), peynirli (salty white cheese), patatesli (potatoes) and ıspanaklı (spinach).

The insanity of the lunch hour at Deniz is like a controlled tornado. The thunk of the börek knife, steady splatter of the ayran frother and calls of waiters with orders create a song danced to by the patrons hunting tables and the staff hauling börek. One waiter showed us a scar running a length of his arm that he received when carrying a hot tray of börek from the ovens. Runners with carts full of freshly prepared börek tubes cross the busy thoroughfares of downtown Edirne to refill missing provisions. While the ovens are situated at Deniz Börek, the dough is roughed up several blocks away. Dough shaped like humped flying saucers is flattened to the thickness of tissue paper, tossed in the air like a massive pizza membrane and then buttered. Huge vats of the golden fat are literally on hand to slather the delicate dough as it is folded over and over again. After it is brought down to size, the filling is spread on top and the dough is rolled into a tube and gently placed on a baking tray. Deniz prides itself on having quality oil, flour and fillings, but perhaps its greatest strength is its kıyma.

Kıyma is minced meat that ranges from spicy and pungent to sweet and supple, depending on who makes it. It is not uncommon to bite through the crispy phyllo pastry that composes the outer shell of the börek to find little kıyma inside. While deceptive, this is understandable due to the price of meat in Turkey. The fluffy air pockets that should hold meat act in the same way as the French fries that always seem to end up inside döner kebap. They are filler. What makes Deniz different is that nearly every bite of börek is bursting with sweet, delicious meat. The secret: onions. They simply keep adding miniscule shavings of onion until the taste is right. Upon baking, the onions seemingly dissolve into the meat and caramelize, bringing out a sumptuous sweet and salty flavor that must have addictive properties. That being said, it is important to arrive at Deniz before 4pm, when things slow down. Kıymalı börek tends to go fast, but if you are lucky you will only have to wait ten minutes for a new batch to be delivered and baked.

Address: Hürriyet Meydanı No:1, Çarşı, Edirne Merkez
Telephone: +90 284 212 3594
Hours: 7am-5pm
(photos by Theodore Charles)

The post CB on the Road appeared first on Culinary Backstreets.


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How many cabins (Cruise)

How many people (Land tours)

Additional Comments


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