Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Last weekend my friends from Germany came to visit me in Lugano and kindly brought all my belongings with them in a moving van. We planned to stay two nights in Milan and have dinner at Nobu. Nobu is probably my favourite restaurant in the world,  I love Japanese food and in my opinion Nobu is the best.

Initially we planned to have dinner on Saturday night, but my friends arrived very late in Lugano and once all my belongings were inside the house and we drove to Milan, it was almost midnight. Instead, we went Sunday night and we were glad to get a table. It was Milan Fashion Week and Nobu is a Fashionista’s favourite.

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

In Italy, you can still smoke inside the restaurant and we had chosen to be seated upstairs, the non-smoking section, but regretted our choice when we saw the restaurant section downstairs with the bar. While they played cool music downstairs, it was rather quiet upstairs, but unfortunately downstairs was fully booked.

My friend Gina and her friend Katharina had never been to Nobu, so my friend Sabina and I chose to order all our favourite dishes to share. As typical starters, we ordered two portions of Edamame and three different kinds of New Style Sashimi: Scallops, Beef and Tuna. We also ordered the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno. It’s my favourite sashimi dish at Nobu. I chose Mojitos and a cocktail called Armani Red for drinks.

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Probably my favourite dish at Nobu is the Black Cod with Miso. I order it every time I go to Nobu and if it wasn’t so expensive I would order two. We also ordered spicy yellowtail and tuna rolls, as well as pumpkin tempura.

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

While there is no mandatory service charge at Nobu in Milan, Italian restaurants usually charge a coperto, which literally means tableware. The coperto at Nobu is 5 (£3,90) € per person, so quite high compared to the usual amount between 1 and 2,50€ charged in Italy.

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan
Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

Nobu Milan opened in 2000 at the Emporio Armani Store overlooking the peaceful and prestigious neighborhood of Via Pisoni I. The interior is sophisticated and combines the Armani style with traditional Japanese design. I have been to a few Nobus in the world and this is my favourite Nobu interior design with Nobu Berkeley coming second.

Armani Nobu Milan - Japanese restaurant in Milan

We had a wonderful time at the Armani Nobu in Milan and I can’t wait to return soon. Dining at Nobu comes at a price, we paid 370€ (£286)  for the four of us but it’s worth every penny of it. I

My friend Linda and I met for Lunch today. Our destination of choice was Soupe du Jour in Soho. I am a soup lover, but finding a good soup in London is hard. Of course I was pleased to hear from Julia, one of the founders of Soupe du Jour, and couldn’t decline her invitation to try the soups myself.

Soupe du Jour has five classic soups on the menu and these are available throughout the year: The Tomato, The Carrot, The Vegetable, The Chicken and the Chilli. The soups are freshly made every day and they taste delicious. All of them. First, I wanted to order The Chicken soup, but I changed my mind after I tried each of the soups – the Mushroom soup was the one I wanted to eat. Linda decided to eat the Carrot soup.
After you have chosen your soup, you can order some toppings for the soup: Beef meatballs, chicken breast pieces, chorizo (Directly from Spain), Frankfurter (How German!), tofu, Celestine, cottage cheese or croutons. Every soup is served with handmade German bread and the bread tastes great. 
Next to the Classics, Soupe du Jour has two favourite soups that change every month. This month’s favourites are the Mushroom soup with thyme and spring onions and the Mulligatawny: a blend of carrot, coconut and curry.  The favourites are based on seasons and the choices of customers: You can tell Charly (The French part of Soupe du Jour) online or in the shop what you would like to see on the menu. How great is that? I love that somebody is actually listening to the customer’s choices, so if you read this: I want potato soup. A good potato soup and I won’t even mind the carbs I shouldn’t eat these days. If you can make great potato soup, my soul belongs to you forever. 
Suse, the Store Manager, has just as much passion for Soupe du Jour as its founders. After a career in the music industry, she now warmly welcomes every customer and her priority is that everybody leaves Soupe du Hour happy. 

“Soup is family&home for me and Soupe du Jour Soho conveys this exact feeling to its customers.”

Why don’t you have a look yourself at (Link removed) or visit their store in Soho. It’s located at 34 Lexington Street and very easy to find. Just a few minutes walk from Piccadilly, Oxford Circus and Leicester Square Tube Station, it’s an ideal lunch destination before you head off to go shopping wild on Oxford Street. It’s open Monday to Friday from 11am to 8pm and Saturday from 12:30pm – 8pm. All soups are very reasonably priced between £4.50 and £6.50.
All in one, one thing is sure: Soupe du Jour is taking grandma’s soups to the next level!

*PR collaboration: I received food and drinks for two in exchange for an honest review of the restaurant.

Zigfrid von Underbelly is situated right next to Hoxton Square in trendy Shoreditch. It was established by the designer and owner Paul Daly ten years ago and the two floor venue functions as a live music venue, restaurant and cocktail bar.

Although the menu offers a great selection of cocktails I decided to order a Diet Coke and my friend drank an Innocent Passion cocktail. The cocktail looked and tasted great. All cocktails are reasonable priced, between £7.60 and £8 and all mocktails cost £4. The drink menu can be found >>here<<.

My friend and I both ate the Ziggy Beef Burger, but while I ate normal chips she chose the homemade wedges. A Ziggy Beef Burger costs £7 with 200g of English beef mince, fresh lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, Cheddar, streaky bacon, mayonnaise and red relish. It tasted great.

The chips and homemade wedges were great too. The food menu can be found >>here<<.

I am surprised the restaurant does not cater for people with dairy and gluten intolerance, nearly everywhere these days gluten free options are available and they are clearly missing on the menu at the moment. Zigrid is currently updating its menu and will offer gluten-free options soon. There are options for vegans and vegetarians though. The service was good and I am likely to return once I am in the area again. It is very easy to find and hard to miss. 
The funky design is definitely an eye catcher. Mismatched chairs, a totem pole and cool pictures hanging on the walls that all want your attention. Did I see an upside down rocking horse hanging on the ceiling? On Thursday it’s Thirsty Friday night with two for one mojitos. That would be probably my favourite night. Who doesn’t love Mojitos? While you sip on your mojitos, a DJ will play a mix of tunes to dance along to. The venue couldn’t fit any better into Shoreditch.

Zigfrid von Underbelly is located at 11 Hoxton Square and the postcode is N1 6NU. Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street and Old Street station are all in walkable distance. Open every day from noon, they close at 1am Monday to Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 3am and Sundays at 12:30am. Bookings can be made on 020 7613 1988. Have a look at their website here:

*PR collaboration: I received food and drinks for two in exchange for an honest review of the restaurant.

I seem to chose Inamo for Goodbye dinners a lot recently. At least, I did so yesterday for the second time in a short time. My friend Heng and her husband left London this afternoon and yesterday we had dinner at Inamo in St. James. Our first choices Nobu and Hakkasan were fully booked out and Inamo had a table for us at a suitable time, so we met at 6:30pm outside the restaurant. Heng and her other half travelled from Edinburgh to London during the day and were both tired. So was I. I had an early meeting in Chelsea at 7am and had to leave early. Afterwards, I spent the day in London and I was tired too.

I previously blogged about the Inamo here.

But first, let me start with cocktails. I had the cocktail of the week while my friends drank Tropical Storms. It’s a non-alcoholic blend of passion fruit, lime and guava juice with a hint of cinnamon. My friend said it was delicious and it certainly looked brilliant. Unfortunately, I do not know what was in my cocktail of the week, but it tasted fantastic.

Edamame, steamed soya beans sprinkled with Maldon sea salt. Edamame beans are served with soy miring dipping sauce and all you have to do is to pop out the beans from the pods. They are great to whet the appetite. I love Edamame and have to order them where ever I can.
My friend Heng ordered the Crispy Silky Tofu. It melts in your mouth and is served with spring onion, daikon and juicy shitake mushrooms. This is not just a dish for vegetarian.
My starter was the Tomato and Avocado Salad. Doesn’t it look to pretty to eat? Cherry tomatoes are marinated in ginger, chilli and shallows and crowned with an avocado flower. I always order this at Inamo – too good to be missed.
We also ordered the Chicken Satay. The chicken skewers are served with a chunky peanut satay sauce. Delicious!
This is by far my favourite dish at a Japanese restaurant. The Black cod with Miso sauce. It is served with pickled ginger stem and you can squeeze the lime over it, but I never do. It is so good by itself. I am actually starting to prefer this black cod for £18.50 to the one at Nobu for £42. 

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi. A classic and can’t be missed when eating at a Japanese restaurant.

For dessert we ate Vanilla Creme Brulee. It was sooo delicious. I can’t wait to return to Inamo soon.

When I lived in Brussels I met a very good friend of mine. Heng, a young girl from China working as an associate at a law firm in Brussels. We would meet daily during her lunch break and explore the restaurants around Avenue Louise and the surrounding areas. We actually travelled together quite a bit as well: New York, Paris, Berlin and I showed her my hometown Cologne. In January 2011 I moved back to London and last year she moved back to Beijing, to marry her boyfriend there who works as an analyst at UBS. I never actually met her other half and when she told me about her travels to London, we wanted our reunion to be something special.

I always told her about that amazing steak restaurant and so she asked me if we could have dinner there. Meant was the Gaucho Restaurant chain, my favourite venues are the one in Swallow Street, Tower Bridge and of course the one in Richmond. At Gaucho they pride themselves on the basic philosophy of provenance. To them this means authenticity, assurance and rigorous attention to obtain the finest quality ingredients at source. I have been to Gaucho many times and I can only second that. Before I moved to Brussels I went once or twice a week. 
Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures and only with my iPhone, which didn’t turn out great, but we were planning to have (lots of) cocktails after dinner and I don’t take my camera with me when I won’t get home until 3am in the morning. 
All the beef comes from Argentina and only cattle that feed on the rich Pampas of carefully selected farms qualify. You can truly taste the quality of the beef. Have you ever been to a steak restaurant, that is so confident about its meat tenderness, that it doesn’t even have steak knives? No? You probably haven’t been to the Gaucho yet. Try it at least once!
We didn’t order starters and proceeded straight to our main course: We all ordered bife de lomo. Lomo fillet is tender and lean meat, a 300g fillet costs £34.75. As sides, we ate asparagus, french beans and tomato salad. The tomato salad costs £5 and the asparagus and french beans £5.25 each. 
A good steak can’t be eaten without a good red wine and even though I am a white wine drinker, our waiter Marcos recommend a fantastic wine to us. Luigi Bosca Malbec is an intense purple colourful wine, with distinct aromas of ripe red fruits, spices and black pepper. A bottle costs £56.50. The food, wine and service were outstanding as always and I am looking forward to my next dinner there.

Have you ever been to one of the Gaucho restaurants? What did you think? My friends loved it. Heng misses all the food in Europe and of course the great wine, so she was delighted with my choice of restaurant. Afterwards we went for cocktails to the Nobu in Berkeley Street, where we stayed until 2am when they closed the doors.

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Although I am German and I have lived in London for seven years I actually never been to a German restaurant in London. Can you believe it? When I was asked to offer my opinion on the Stein’s in Kingston I was excited to finally try out the Bavarian cuisine on the other side of the pond. 

Stein’s Kingston is the second venue of Stein’s. The outdoor venue in Richmond turned out to be an incredible success, so that the owners Bele and Reinhard Weiss were looking for a second location. The idea was to combine the outdoor experience with an authentic indoor venue. What better location to open such a place than right upon the River Thames? 
It used to be a small tea room, but it’s hard to tell its past since an architect transformed the old Victorian cottage into the cosy chalet styled restaurant it is today. Every item was selected and imported from Germany and Austria and the effort clearly paid off: It’s an authentic Bavarian atmosphere.

My friend Moni and I met outside the restaurant, it is only a few minutes to walk from Kingston Station and easy to find. Upon arrival we were greeted by a lovely receptionist and could choose between a table outside or inside. Of course we wanted to sit on the terrace and enjoy the view of the river. Our table was parallel to the Thames and as the terrace’s level is higher than the river we had a great view of the bypassing boats and landscape.

The waitress quickly came to give us the menu and took our drink orders. I didn’t feel like drinking alcohol and instead of drinking German beer, I ordered a diet coke and my friend still mineral water. 
The menu is great, a friendly introduction on the first page from the owners and an autumn menu, followed by lots of German dishes. It took me a while to choose, so many great dishes, and you can’t order it all, can you?
As a starter we chose Obatzda, it’s a savoury cheese spread speciality served with radish and a Bretzel. The starter costs £7.50 and is suitable for vegetarians. The Bretzel is freshly baked and tasted delicious. I had a hard time finding nice Bretzels in London, but today I did. 
My main course was a Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad. I am not a huge fan of potato salad, you know the one that you can buy in the supermarket? It’s full of artificial flavours and tastes horrible. The potato salad at Stein’s is freshly prepared and tastes amazing. I ate it all up before actually eating the Schnitzel. The Schnitzel was delicious, thin and tender and all in one was it a huge portion for £15.40.
Moni, my friend, ordered Käsespätzle. Käsespätzle are a German noodle speciality from the County Schwaben and mixed with cheese and onions. It is suitable for vegetarians, my friend Moni actually is one, and costs £10.40. A thumbs up from Moni for the dish. 
The portions are huge and neither of us could eat a bit more, but seeing the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte on the menu, we couldn’t resist and decided to share a piece of it. A piece costs £3.95 and again, it is huge. Sometimes the strong taste of Kirsch liquor puts me off the cake but here it was just right. My friend Moni agreed. 
Good service is very important to me. Bad service can ruin the best meal, however the service was nothing but outstanding. Several members of staff regularly checked up on us, even though the restaurant was full and a private party was celebrating on the second level of the restaurant. The location is great, easy to find and just by the river. It makes a great location to enjoy a cold German beer in summer and I can’t wait to return on a sunny day. If there is one downside to the restaurant, then it is that I live so far away from it. I would also recommend people planning to go to book a table in advance. Spaces are limited and you don’t want to miss out on a busy Saturday night. 
The restaurant is located at 56 High Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1HN and tables can be booked on 020 85462411. Please let the staff know if you bring a pushchair, require a high chair, wish to sit on the terrace or inside and whether you want to smoke on the terrace. The nearest rail station is Kingston and the 458, 459, 515 and 801 bus lines stop close to the restaurant. If you have any enquiries, please email Stein’s at! 
Have a look at the website here.

*Sponsored Article

My friend Nina is moving back to Germany soon to pursue her studies and last night was our last opportunity to spend an evening together. We started off with a ride on the Necrobus, a theatrical sightseeing tour, showing the darker side of London while providing a piece of comedy horror theatre. It was great and I will blog about it on another occasion. Afterwards we went for dinner to Inamo St. James, I didn’t tell my friend about the restaurant until we got there and of course she loved it.

Inamo St. James is an innovative oriental fusion restaurant, that combines interactive ordering with a high standard of food. Located on Regent Street in the West End, just off Piccadilly Circus, Inamo St. James is the perfect place to impress your friends and family. Inamo uses E-Table, the world’s first interactive food ordering system with overhead projection technology to give the customer complete control over their dining experience. In addition to ordering food from the interactive table, guests are able to choose from a range of virtual tablecloths, view the Inamo chefs working in real time using the ‘Chef Cam’ function and explore a wide range of practical services such as taxi booking facilities.

We started with ordering sparkling water and sake mojitos. Mojitos are my all time favourite and they are made with honjozo genshu sake for a special twist. What we ate as ‘starters’: edamame beans £4.25, crispy silky tofu £6.25, tomato and avocado salad £5.75, seared tuna sashimi £7.50 and a salmon sashimi plate for £5.50.
Inamo does not have starters and main dishes as such. The idea is to order a selection of small, larger and side dishes and hence we didn’t order much after our first round of food. My friend ate a spicy Aubergine dish, for £5.25 and even tough it was a side dish it was a huge portion. We actually shared the bowl and it was so delicious. I love Black Cod and if it’s on the menu I will order it. I discovered the dish at Nobu and while it costs a whopping £42 there, it only costs £18.50 at Inamo while tasting just as good.

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On Saturday I went groceries shopping with my friend at Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street. After wishing we could carry more of their amazing food home, we decided to have lunch on the first floor of the store. There are several restaurants on the first floor and I decided to eat some sushi at Genji Sushi. Genji is a premier provider of all-natural sushi and Japanese cuisine. Their mission is to serve food-lovers with delicious Japanese-inspired food and knowledge to lead happy and healthy lives.

The Victorian Lemonade was my drink of choice. It was hot and I needed something to cool down. As a starter I had the miso soup and while it was okay, it wasn’t the best Miso soup. My favourite Miso Soup is the Nobu one and so far I haven’t come across a better one. The sashimi plate on the other side was beautifully arranged and the sashimi tasted amazing.

The sashimi comes with two pieces of hotate-gai ほたて貝 (scallops), three pieces of sake  (salmon), two pieces of saba さば (mackerel), three pieces of akami まぐろ (tuna) and two pieces of hamachi はまち (yellowtail).

The sashimi platter including the miso soup was £19.89 and my Victorian lemonade was £2.75. All in all it was a good experience but the service could have been better, considering the prices for a very casual restaurant inside a groceries store.

Whole Foods Market is on Kensington High Street, close to the tube station and if you haven’t been there yet, you should totally check it out. 

After buying a new iPhone at the Apple Store in Covent Garden I decided to have lunch at Shake Shack inside the Market Building. The fast casual restaurant was opened last year and its popularity has grown ever since. It is the one and only in England. I discovered Shake Shack while I was in New York one year with my friend and I love it ever since. We noticed the restaurant as people queued around the block waiting to be served. May I add that it was winter, cold and raining? If people are happy to do all that for burger and fries, they must be damn good, right? We started queuing and 45 minutes we could finally order. I will never forget how great the burger tasted, especially after being soaking wet and cold. Since then I am a Shake Shake convert and burgers somewhere else will never taste the same.

Today I ordered a double ShackBurger with fries and a diet coke. A single Shake Shack cheeseburger costs £5 and the double £8. It is 100% Aberdeen Agnus beef. The ShackBurger comes with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. The ShackSauce is so delicious, it really makes Shack Shake unique. While the burgers are fantastic, I feel always let down by the fries. Yes, they look amazing but they don’t taste good. The staff is very friendly, you enter the restaurant through one door, order and then leave through another door to wait for the food. You get a device which shakes when your order is ready. What a clever idea!

Shake Shack is a fast casual restaurant chain based in New York and is owned by the Union Square Hospitality Group. Starting out in 2000 inside Madison Square Park as a food cart, the chain has now grown steadily in popularity. Today the chain is the biggest of the Union Square Hospitality Group’s Portfolio. Its average store performance of US4$ million is more than twice that of McDonald’s average store performance within the United States. Shake Shack is not only well-known for its burgers and hot dogs but also for its milk shakes. They are rated as some of the best in the industry. The chain customises its menu to the local flavours of its restaurant. Last but not least: The Shake Shack Menu.
Should you ever come across one of their restaurants, you should order something. However, be careful: You might get addicted. Have you been to Shake Shack yet? Either here or somewhere in the States? What did you think? Feel free to post your comment below. 

My friend, I and the three children between us spend the rather chilly morning on Brighton Pier and we were really looking forward to a meal at the Palm Court restaurant. We all have never been there and believe me nobody of us will ever return. We were placed from one waitress at a table for four, next to a table with a couple. The couple was not amused at all by the presence of our children. Before I continue I want to mention that all our children are used to going out for lunch and dinner at restaurants and are quiet and well-behaved. So it really isn’t that they are screaming, running and throwing food around. They made very clear that they weren’t happy about the situation and when the waitress offered to place them somewhere else they simple refused with the words ‘No we were here first’ . The waitress then took our orders but shortly afterwards another waiter came and asked us to leave as the table was for four persons and we were five of us. It was clearly not an issue space wise, because my friend’s children sat next to her on the bench and we didn’t use up any more space than four people would have done. We left and we will never return to this horrible place. They should have clearly dealt differently with the situation and not placed us there in the first place. It is their loss, not ours.

So what is it that an apparently family-friendly restaurants deals like this with such a situation? Why would you go to a restaurant when it clearly states to be children-friendly but you don’t like children? Should I contact their manager and complain? What are your opinions?

Last night was my farewell dinner. I didn’t want to have a farewell party because that, would it make even harder for me to leave Brussels. As much as I am looking forward to go to London as much I will miss my friends in Brussels. After all, I nearly lived a year in this beautiful city. The dinner was at Et qui va Ramener Le chien which means And bring the dog?.

The restaurant looks beautiful from the inside and the service was excellent. The wine was very good and so was the food, although I have to be honest: It wasn’t the best food I ever had. I didn’t have an entrée. As a main course I chose the Filet de Cabillaud, Crevettes et purée (cod with shrimps and mashed potatoes). For dessert I ordered Tiramisu aux spéculoos.

The main course was 20€, the dessert was 7€ and the bottle of wine was 21€. The restaurant is in Brussels, the website is only in French, but the menu was available in three languages: English, French and Dutch.

Thanks to my friend Heng and Lei who made my last evening in Brussels very special.

London was amazing. I had so much fun there. Just arriving in London made me the happiest person in the world. I wasn’t even bothered by the tourists. They usually annoy me a lot. On Saturday night I had dinner at the Inamo Restaurant. The restaurant is located at 134-136 Wardour Street in Soho. We walked there from our hotel which was just next to Piccadilly Circus. Heng and I shared a bottle of wine. You have to know that Heng is not used to drinking wine a lot and after two glasses of wine for her the evening started to get hilarious. Unfortunately, they did not have Black Cod Miso that night, but the alternative was delicious too and the E-Touch menu is another reason why we will return to Inamo. Sunday morning we went to East London and had a little stroll in Spitalfields Market. We then went to have lunch in Chinatown and shopped on Regent’s Street. I miss the Lush shop there. We decided to get our hair done at Toni&Guy so we went to Covent Garden. Heng got a blow dry and I got my hair curled. We both looked absolutely amazing and couldn’t get quickly enough to the Nobu on Berkeley Street, where we had dinner before we went back to Brussels. I certainly can’t wait to move back to London at the end of January.