Kyoto Day 2 - The Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji And Fushimi Inari Shrine

September 30, 2015

Kinkakuji aka The Golden Pavilion has to be one of the most iconic temples in Kyoto, so naturally this was a must see on our itinerary. After lunch and an early afternoon wandering around Nishiki market we didn't have all that much time before the temple closed at 5pm and the bus journey there was going to take a while. 

Yauatcha City's £25 Star Menu

September 29, 2015

£25 for a selection of dim sum and a cocktail at high-end restaurant Yauatcha certainly is a value hard to beat, so I decided to check it out with my sister as we both love dim sum.

The newly opened Yauatcha in Liverpool street is very swanky, and full of elegance. It has a more formal vibe to the original branch in Soho which I have been to on 2 occasions, but Yauatcha's modern and sleek stamp is apparent. From the location itself to the half moon shape of the restaurant, this is a lovely venue for special occasions, catching up with girlfriends and perhaps a date.

As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a lovely lady at the reception who took our coats to the cloakroom, and then another member of staff took us to our table. Each and every one of the staff were incredibly attentive without being overwhelming throughout the evening. Service like this just makes me dine whilst being completely relaxed.

A Chocolate Lover's Dream, Sweet Freedom Choc Shot

September 28, 2015

Exciting news for chocoholics and those of us who have a sweet tooth. Sweet Freedom* 'Choc Shots' are just a Chocolate lover's dream!

Finally, there is a healthy chocolate sauce on the market that is low calorie and all natural. Ingredients are derived from cocoa, sugar extracts from fruits and contains no artificial flavouring, colours or preservatives.

From Auto to Manual | Food Photography + Styling Tips in 5 minutes

September 25, 2015

I am absolutely thrilled to share this post on food photography and styling tips which I picked up in 2 hrs flat. Yes, really! Depending on how fast you read, you might be able to pick up some tips in just 5 minutes.

Photography has never been a strong skill of mine and whilst it has improved vastly from my early days as a snap happy teen, there's still plenty of room for improvement. I shoot mainly on my iPhone 5s and sometimes my compact camera, a Canon S95 in auto mode. DSLR's scare me because I don't have the foggiest on how to operate one.

My Home In A Glance + Getting Covered

September 24, 2015

It has been just over a year since we bought our first home and I love sharing my home posts with you guys. We absolutely love the space we have created, so I thought I would share my home in a glance through a few photos. You can see the full kitchen and bathroom updates here.

Our house was in good condition when we bought it and nothing really needed changing, but as my husband and I have very particular taste, we knew we were going to be in for a lot of DIY.

Yolkin Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich, London

September 21, 2015

Guys, guys, guys, let me introduce you to Yolkin, the macaron ice cream sandwich.

Unless you have been living under a stone for the entire summer, you'll have heard about these macaron ice cream sandwiches, a.k.a mac ice, thanks to the hoards of images floating on Instagram, twitter and facebook.

Kyoto Day 2 - Mitsui Garden Hotel and Exploring Nishiki Market

September 18, 2015

After a wonderful stay at Kikokuso on our first day in Kyoto, we head over to Mitsui Garden Hotel in the Sanjo area. At a much more pocket friendly stay of £60 per night (Kikokuso was £330 a night including a kaiseki dinner and traditional Japanese breakfast), this is going to be our hotel for the rest of our stay on Kyoto. 

Al Fresco Pizza at Pizza Express Merchant Square, Paddington

September 16, 2015

I hate it when summer ends. No more blazing sun, bright blue skies and green, green grass or evenings finished with al fresco dining.

Fear not, this is where the new Pizza Express at Merchant Square Paddington comes in!

Royal China Queensway, The Best Dim Sum in London

September 14, 2015

The best dim sum in London? This is not a statement I could make lightly, but Royal China in Queensway deserves that so.

Kyoto Day 1 - Kikokuso Ryokan and A Kaiseki Dinner

September 09, 2015

After a relaxing afternoon exploring Gion, we're back at the ryokan for an early dinner. 

Kikokuso is simply beautiful and encompasses everything we thought a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) would look and feel like. It's a step back into old time Japan, and generations of this family run business is evident in the photos that are dotted around the inn.

Kyoto Day 1 - Riding The Nozomi Shinkansen And Exploring Gion

September 07, 2015

Day 5 of our Japan honeymoon and we are set for Kyoto. Tokyo has been wonderful and we are sad to leave, but we know there is still so much more fun to come. We're booked onto the 10am bullet train that departs Tokyo station, so after 4 hours shut eye and very groggy, we stumble over to Shinjuku station.

Tokyo Day 4 - Roppongi Hills, Sensational Ramen At Mutekiya Ramen, Kabukicho and Piss Alley

September 05, 2015

Last few hours left in Tokyo and we squeeze in Roppongi Hills, the most sensational ramen at Mutekiya Ramen for dinner and a very quick glimpse of Kabukicho and Piss Alley.

Once we arrive back into Shinjuku station after a day trip to Hakone, we go back to our hotel round the corner for a quick freshen up. I love the location of our hotel, and being so close to Shinjuku station was just super for quick refreshers like this. Hotels in Tokyo are not large in size, but they are super clean and very comfortable. We loved our stay at the Hotel Sunroute Plaza, and the vending machines with drinks and ice cube extras were such a nice touch.
We make our way to Roppongi Hill's Tokyo City View Observation Deck to catch the evening views over this incredible city I have come to love in just a few days. From Shinjuku, it's a direct 10 minute ride on the Oedo Subway Line.

Roppongi Hills houses apartments, offices, shops, restaurants, an observation deck, a museum and recreational areas. This spider figure was pretty cool, very large and quite eerie at night!

These night view photos of Tokyo give me goosebumps! It's so wonderfully romantic and alive with bright lights from around the city and cars zooming about. The observation deck was a peaceful way to spend time soaking in this amazing city and I was happy that we were able to make time to see this.

A cafe inside Roppongi Hills. This is the kind of stuff you see all around Tokyo and there is just no other city like it.

Whilst we were on the observation desk, we saw the lights from the rainbow bridge and the ferris wheel, but didn't manage to see Tokyo tower light up. As we left and were on our way out, we were lucky to just catch it as it lit up!

Our evening ended romantically with a golden heart, a pond, and sparkly Tokyo Tower in the background.

Our bellies were rumbling by now. We had missed dinner and it was close to 10.30pm as we left Ropponghi Hills. There was a ramen bar on my eat list we had yet to tick off, and after a bit of stumbling around, we finally got ourselves to Ikebukuro. From Ikebukuro JR station, it's the East Exit and a 10 minute walk to Mutekiya ramen. This ramen joint is open until 4am every day!!

And the queues at nearly midnight are still nuts.

Once we are finally inside, it doesn't take too long for our food to arrive. And the ramen was sensational!!

The broth was just so delicious and coated every strand of the bouncy ramen. Adding freshly pressed garlic and a splash of vinegar took this bowl of awesomeness to another level! This was serious travel food magic.

The gyoza's were missable though.

This was our favourite place for udon in Tokyo and mustn't be missed. There are chains all over Tokyo, and whilst we couldn't see an English name for it, the Japanese characters were easy to recognise.

Back at Shinjuku and on our way to Kabukicho, this little takoyaki van had midnight-snack written all over it! I've heard Tokyo takoyaki differs from takoyaki in Osaka, the home of takoyaki and that it has a cleaner flavour.

I was happy to test out that theory although we had not yet headed to Osaka at this point on our trip. I have to say I didn't enjoy Tokyo's version too much. There was a lot of dough and just a bit average. Still, I liked that I could buy takoyaki from a van at 1am!
As you're not allowed to take photos once inside Kabukicho, Tokyo's red light district, we just took a quick stroll through. Nothing unusual or dodgy to report, but all the men in black suits standing outside the club and bar doors were a little scary at this time of the night.

5 minutes round the corner is the famous Piss Alley which we knew about after seeing it on B-Kyu's blog. We imagine this alley would be busy in the evening with lots of tiny but incredibly cozy izakayas to offer a chilled beer and lots of beer snacks and light grills. Sad we weren't able to fit it in this time, but this is on our hit list when we eventually make it back to Japan.

And that's the end of our amazing adventures in Tokyo. 

This was the most exhausting part of our honeymoon. We literally hit the ground running as soon as we landed and throughout the 4 days, we had about 5-6 hrs sleep every night after walking for an average of 12-14hrs during the day. But it was worth the sore feet and tiredness to see/eat/experience Tokyo to the max on our short time here.

We're heading to Kyoto first thing in the morning. Sayonara Tokyo, but it's not goodbye forever. I'll be back.

My Top 5 Inexpensive Japanese Restaurants in London

September 02, 2015

Want to eat some great Japanese food but not sure how to find inexpensive Japanese restaurants in London? 

Japanese food has become one of my favourite cuisines over the years, especially after our honeymoon in Japan, and I am always up for a Japanese meal when in London. I'm not talking about your usual sushi from Wasabi or Itsu, Japanese food is so much more than just sushi. 

Here are my favourite authentic Japanese restaurants in London that averages £15-£25 per person for dinner. 

1. Koya Bar
Koya Bar specialises in handmade udon, a thick chewy round noodle made from wheat and rice flour. This restaurant is just like the udon bars on the streets of Tokyo, and there is no other in central London. Order the udon cold with a side of hot soup, this ensures you get to try the bouncy, toothsome noodles before the hot soup softens it. My pick is always the delicious beef in soup with cold udon.   

2. Eat Tokyo
Not too much of a secret amongst Japanese foodie fans. I go to the Holborn branch, but there are other branches too. The humongous sashimi boat is only £35 and can feed 4 easily. As they are so busy all the time, the freshness and quality of ingredients is apparent. The menu is huge too, ranging from the excellent value bento boxes to unagi don to deep fried oysters. See my full review here.

3. Tonkotsu
Battle of the ramens in London are still going strong and out of all the big ones (Shoryu, Bone Daddies, Ittenbari, Kanada-Ya), my favourite is Tonkotsu in Soho. The ramen is springy with a slight chew to them and I like that they are not too eggy either. The fixin's and soup base are also great, my picks are the Tokyo and Tonkotsu ramens.   

4. Nagomi
A cute and quirky little Japanese restaurant just off Oxford Street. The cooking is homey, such as their pork simmered with potatoes in dashi, and their Takoyaki is also a close replicate of the famed octopus balls in Osaka. See my full review here.

5. Lingo
One of the newer Japanese restaurants in London that opened it doors around 2 years ago. Peek through the window and you will see mainly Japanese customers, a great indication of authenticity. Bento boxes, sushi and katsu dons are my orders here.   

Do you know of any inexpensive Japanese restaurants in London that should be on this list too? 

© LUCY LOVES TO EAT • Theme by MG Studio.