Archives for the month of: June, 2012

 

Old Street and it’s surrounding environment of Shoreditch and Hoxton Square never fail to offer somewhere to eat or drink. It’s a great area to be in of an evening (especially if the weather is good). One of those little gems is Floripa Bar. As Old Street arcs round and becomes Great Eastern Street, round the corner from the Old Fire Station and a stones throw from the Hoxton Hotel you’ll find the wonderful Brazilian bar that makes a real effort to impress.

It’s name is artistically taken from the nickname of a Balearic style city-island off the coast of Brazil and it certainly brings it’s culture to London. High ceilings and decorative wall artwork bring the interior to life, displaying a large 5ft plus parrot as you head out the front to an outside seating area covered by an awning. Large wooden tables that house a decent size party of 8-10 adorn the centre of the room and in the corner a small stage ready and waiting live bands.

The large ‘beach bar’ runs across the back wall of the main room and houses a plethora of spirits. The cocktails are a real taste sensation. Effort is placed into their creation and they are blended to perfection. A friend and I opted to try something different (in truth our palettes required a different kind of kick). I actually chose one of the lower priced range (from £7.50 – £9) named ‘Jumping Devil’ which has a little twist on the El Diablo classic. I’ll let you make your own judgement but needless to say I’ll be getting it again. My partner in crime chose the Caipirinha (twice). It’s creation and presentation equally measured. The bar man knew what he was doing. This is to name but two on a seriously healthy sized drinks menu. For those that enjoy a tipple there’s plenty to choose from. Before eating we opted for a Brazilian beer. Whilst in Rome and all that. The Palma Louca is a light, refreshing bottled beer and I feared I’d become quite partial!

After those cocktails we were eager to try their tapas selection and I’m glad we did. With a selection of salads, snacks and sides we opted to diversify. Brazilian Salt Fish Croquettes, Chargrilled Chicken Thighs the extremely tasty Linguica Calabrese Sausage and a side of Rice with peppers. This was well prepared, tasty food. Especially those sausages. Full of flavour without the immediate spice of the chorizo. Decent portions (although I would have liked another chicken piece). We both politely declined dessert. I’ve never found it go at all well with a beer. Next time.

The service, from arrival to leaving time, was very good. Helpful, without being intrusive, and knowledgeable. Initially I had forgotten the name of the beer we drank and the next day called the bar to see if they could help me out. A friendly lady answered and went as far as to head to the stock outside to find the name. All done with a smile and a joke. Great stuff.

This multi purpose bar has a wonderful atmosphere and stepping out of a cloudy early evening in London and into this type of environment is a real pleasure.

We’ll be going back.

My fiancee and I had headed down to the lovely Ilfracombe to join up with friends for a wedding in the outrageously beautiful ‘Tunnels beaches’. Like everyone else we arrived a day earlier to enjoy some drinks and nibbles. We ended up at a great little restaurant, a stones throw from the sea. With the weather well and truly on our side we looked forward to relaxing with friends.

Gazpacho Spanish Restaurant at The Boat House

Head to Gazpacho Spanish Restaurant’s Homepage

Gazpacho is located right on the seafront as the road curves past the local museum. It has ‘glorious views overlooking the Celtic Sea’. There’s plenty of room to house 25+ people outside, and that is where we stayed all night. The service (considering they were under staffed) was top notch. Pleasant, timely, apologetic (for the extra 20 or 30 seconds wait). It’s the sort of place where you feel obliged to help stack plates, not because the service is poor but, because you want to help out the hard working staff!

Inside, the restaurant was kept clean and tidy and began to fill up as the night continued. Mediterranean style design with oranges and browns helped add to the authenticity of the place and its accompanying menu. Really good Spanish tapas. Very authentic. Very well prepared and presented. The aubergine fritters a favourite of mine (Berenjena Frita Con Miel). Oh and the crispy white bait. We were a healthy sized group and ended up ordering a real selection of tapas, all served on wooden trays, and a wonderful seafood paella.

Gazpacho Tapas

Of course I’m a little biased on the atmosphere because I was surrounded by friends but inside certainly seemed to be housed with people enjoying the food and having fun. We planned to go back after the wedding but were unfortunately a little worse for wear! If you are heading down for a relaxing break in Devon you really should take a trip to Gazpacho.