19 Dec 2014

DOWNTON

I've owned this coat for a number of years now - it was handed down to me from my mother (who has exceptional taste, I must say!). The last time I wore it on the blog, it was extremely oversized and a tad shapeless, as many vintage items tend to be. For a while, I was content to leave it that way, but I finally decided to have it altered by Jarv's excellent tailor last month, and it's almost like having a brand new coat. We kept the length and general size but brought it in at the waist, pleating it at the back, and bringing the sleeves in just a little.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || vintage camel winter coat, Guess jeans
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || vintage camel winter coat, Guess jeans

We shot these during our 3 year anniversary getaway at the Four Seasons Hampshire estate (I'll show you more of that, later!), as the sun was beginning to go down. At 4pm. Typical British winter.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || vintage camel winter coat, Guess jeans
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || vintage camel winter coat, Guess jeans
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || vintage camel winter coat, Guess jeans

Get the look with one of these stylish camel coats (with options to suit all budgets):

17 Dec 2014

RESTAURANT STORY


Tucked away on a little concrete island between two streets,  Restaurant Story is, at first glance, rather Scandinavian in design, with light wooden panels, curved geometrical lines and large floor to ceiling windows.

"Is this it? Are we here?" we mused as we crossed the street to the mysterious, sign-free building, walking around two door-less sides before coming to a small entrance marked "Story", glad to escape the grip of the icy cold wind.


Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London

I had seen a lunch review of this place and after checking out the website, decided it was perfect for Jarv's birthday dinner. Little did I expect I'd be on a waiting list for the next available Friday night, as none were free in the next three months. So, I booked a mid-week dinner instead (which, by the way, was still a month and a half after his birthday. Book well in advance, I warn you!).

You have the option of one of two menus - the 6 course or the 10 course. We went all out, naturally. The evening began with a thoughtful birthday card for Jarv, signed by all the chefs and staff.

We were served a number of amuse bouche courses - crispy cod skins, savoury Oreos with smoked eel mousse filling (so delicious I could have eaten ten) and about three or four more (I won't ruin all the surprises for you!).

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, crispy cod skins amuse bouche
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, Storeo amuse bouche with eel mousse
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, amuse bouche
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, amuse bouche
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, seafood amuse bouche

The ten course meal begins.

Yes, all those dishes above are just warming you up. At some point, a candle will have been brought over. As you tuck in to the canapes, it slowly melts and drips down into the plate below. Now, if you've read anything about Restaurant Story before, you probably know by now that the candle is, in fact, edible - made of beef dripping. Some gorgeous baked bread is brought out to dip into it. Healthy, this course is most certainly not, but incredibly delicious it is.


Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, sourdough bread with beef dripping candle


Then, course after course, each one delighting the palate and eyes with exciting flavours and gorgeous presentation.


Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, onion, apple and old tom

Onion, apple and old tom.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, scallops, cucumber and dill ash

Scallops, cucumber and dill ash.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, pastry pie

Forgive me! This meal took place over a month ago and I've forgotten what's inside this pastry - I'll have to ask Jarv and hopefully update this.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, heritage potato, radish and coal

Heritage potato, radish and coal. I love potato. Anything potato, give it to me now. So, yes, I could have eaten an entire bowl of this.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, tale of a quail

Tale of a quail (above and below). This was presented beautifully on a nest, with different parts of the quail cooked various ways.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, tale of a quail
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, fallow deer, yeast and dandelion

Fallow deer, yeast and dandelion.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, foie gras, grapes and sorrel

Foie gras, grapes and sorrel. Creamy and slightly sweet, by this point I was completely stuffed - thankfully, we were then onto desserts.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London

We were offered a palate cleanser of sorbet:

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, palate cleanser
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, flower custard

Flower custard. I couldn't get enough of this one - sweet, silky deliciousness through and through.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Restaurant Story, London, almond and dill dessert

Almond and dill - a firm customer favourite at the restaurant, this is a tasty dish. An unlikely combination for a dessert, but one that works brilliantly.

Story is young, fresh and innovative, and Tom Sellers does an excellent job of creating concoctions that delight the senses; sight, smell, taste, texture. One or two of the dishes were, I'll admit, good but nothing spectacular, perhaps focused more on aesthetics and skill than flavour. And at times, the experience felt a little over the top, even slightly pretentious (for example, one course was presented with a card talking about foraging and how eating the wild plants made us 'part of the landscape')...but for the most part, the evening was plate after plate of "Oooh!" and "Mmmm". Having been to Fat Duck not long ago, I can safely say that Restaurant Story is like its younger sibling - cool, fun, a little more relaxed (and easier on the wallet), but with food just as fancy and suitable for a special occasion.

Would I go again? Yes, I would. We had a wonderful evening, Jarv enjoyed his birthday dinner immensely, the staff were pleasant and attentive and we left with full and satisfied bellies.

13 Dec 2014

24 HRS IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN

The final leg of our ten day trip, after Bali, was a one day stopover in Taiwan, before flying home to London on a Sunday.

And so, Taipei began with a five minute check in at The Landis, a quick change of clothes, and then rushing straight out the door (having met my friend, who lives there, in the lobby) into the night. We had arrived at the airport at around 10pm and were at the Shilin Night Market by 11.30pm. 

Here, we feasted on everything. Fried chicken pieces the size of my face, entire deep fried duck heads (pictured below), bubble tea (oh, so much bubble tea) made with brown sugar for a richer, slightly burnt and sweet flavour, grilled prawns that we fished ourselves into a bucket, and more.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

We toppled into bed by 2am, hoping to sleep it all off in time for tomorrow.

Early afternoon was spent exploring the stunning architectural creations at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (for those who might not know, Chiang Kai-shek was the former President of the Republic of China). The main hall is the grand looking building with steps leading up towards it. It is framed on either side by the National Theater and National Concert Hall (both also pictured below).

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || National Theater/Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Memorial Square in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Memorial Square in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Memorial Square in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || National Theater/Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall, Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Memorial Square, Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Taipei, Memorial Square

Lunch was had on the go, at one of a hundred street stalls serving delectable delights, the smells wafting over to our nostrils from every which way. Sensory overload took hold and we queued this way and that, first for (more) bubble tea and then for pillow-y buns of heaven stuffed with freshly cooked and marinated pork.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || 24 hours in Taipei, Taiwan, street food

The rest of the day we walked around the city, stopping occasionally for a coffee or a snack. So much of it reminded me of home (Shanghai), but on a much quieter, calmer, smaller scale. I'll admit, I much prefer Shanghai, still, bias or no bias - it's thriving, exciting, fascinating, happening. Taipei seems like a city more for, perhaps, an easygoing kind of lifestyle. There is a lot more greenery than other large cities, which is actually wonderful. It brings with it a sense of peace and cleanliness. 

When evening rolled around and it was deemed acceptable to have a drink, we stopped off by the hotel to change and hopped in a taxi to the W hotel.  Turns out we'd accidentally walked into a Gay Pride party and were surrounded almost entirely by (extremely good looking) men in large groups. Ahem, which I didn't mind. :)

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || W hotel in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || 101 building, Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || A Taipei, Taiwan, walkway
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || night time at Taipei, Taiwan

The evening ended with a few hours at Sappho, an intimate underground jazz bar where the cool kids of Taipei are to be found. We watched the live performance of an awesome group, O.S.T, had a couple of G&Ts and headed back to the hotel at around 1am to catch some shut-eye before our early morning flight.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || O.S.T performing at Sappho in Taipei, Taiwan
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || 24 hours in Taipei, Taiwan

A huge thank you to Sammy for showing us around her city. We miss you here in London!