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Food, Travel, UK

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

September 11, 2017

Rarely do I write about my dining experiences while I travel because I am not a food blogger. Nor I am I planning on becoming one. However, I do enjoy food and seldom hesitate to treat myself to a nice meal out. When visiting a place, I do try to find one place that comes recommended either from other bloggers or on restaurant review sites. A blogger’s review is how I found, The Set Restaurant in Brighton, UK.

The Location

The Set Restaurant is hard to spot from the street and that is because it is located inside The Artist Residence hotel, which looks like a house. If you are looking for directions in Brighton, just head to the British Airways i360 observation tower and head into the square from there.

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

Once you arrive at the hotel, The Set Restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel. The check-in for the hotel and restaurant are the same desk!

The Menu

As the name indicates, the menu is a set menu. There are three set menus to choose from, one of which is a vegetarian option. The menu doesn’t have a large description but I am sure if you asked they would give you more details before you order. The menu does change with the season, though so you might not get the same thing twice! I actually quite like this.

I ordered set three. Before you courses come, they bring you some amuse-bouche or as they call them snacks. At the moment of eating these, I had not decided to write a blog post on the place and did not start taking photos till later! Fortunately, they have an amazing Instagram account with some photos of the food I ate and the cozy interior. The first snack was this cod roe served on a linseed cracker, which was an unexpectedly good!

 

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Served along with the cod roe was a pastry flute filled with cheese and what they called guacamole. It was good, but it wasn’t guacamole for a Texan! The next snack was a chicken nugget serve on cabbage ketchup. Doesn’t sound that appealing, but I really wanted an entire plate of them instead of the rest of the meal! No picture but there is one on their home page.

Next up was the actual courses of the set menu. The first course was a ravioli with goats cheese, tomato consomme, a sun-dried tomato and basil cracker. Another item, I wanted more of!

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

I had chosen to sit at the bar in front of the kitchen since I was alone. I figured it would give me an opportunity to chat with the chef. The great thing was I was able to watch my food being prepared and cooked right in front of me! I watched as they seared a piece of trout for my next course.

Again, it was described as something a bit out of the ordinary. The trout was paired with a slice of watermelon. Next to it was a slaw with crab. The watermelon was a nice compliment to the trout and the tangy crab slaw.

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

Next up was the pork belly served with octopus, a pork croquet and fermented peach ketchup. While I was not a fan of the octopus, the pork belly almost melted in my mouth and who knew peach ketchup would be so amazing.

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

The next course was desert, but of course, they were not going to let me just slide into dessert with all that pork and peach flavor in my mouth! So before that, I was served the palate cleanser of a chocolate lime ice cream stick and, get this, a miso marshmallow! It was so good, they could have forgotten the dessert and I wouldn’t have complained.

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

But of course, dessert did come and it was just as wonderful as the rest. It was a described as a blueberry and chocolate pie. There was pastry shell and inside was a blueberry chocolate mousse with a side of blueberry ice cream. The best part was the crispy cocoa nib brittle that was placed throughout. And yes, that is some salad on top, actually sorrel.

The Set Restaurant, Brighton, UK

In addition to all this, I had a great glass of wine. You did have the option of wine pairings for an additional cost, but I am not a big drinker and think I might have been too drunk to enjoy the food and that would have been a shame!

This wasn’t just a meal, it was an experience! Sitting at the kitchen bar allowed me to ask follow up questions, see what else was being prepared and to really savor the food. It was so good, that I would consider going back to Brighton just to eat here again! This is ranks as one of the best meals of my life.

Wondering what else you can do in Brighton besides eating at The Set Restaurant? Read all about what to do in Brighton here.

 

Art, Museums, Travel, UK

10 Things to do in Brighton

September 4, 2017

Brighton

Brighton was the highlight of my trip to the UK. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that it is next to the sea. I am always happier when there is an ocean nearby. Having seen photos, I knew I wanted to go. However, I wasn’t sure what there was to do in Brighton. After doing some research, I decided I needed two days in Brighton in order to see everything. Here are 10 things to do in Brighton.

1. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Even though I had no idea what to expect, I always have to hit the local museum where every I am. Brighton was no exception. The museum is an interesting mix of decorative arts, local history and art. One of my favorite parts was the exhibition of performance. It had pieces from all over the world related to performance. I also discovered an artist I had not heard of before, John Constable and very much enjoyed his work. There was a temporary exhibition focused on his Brighton works. However, I wasn’t allowed to take photos.

Brighton

2. Royal Pavilion

Built by King George IV when he was Prince of Wales as a pleasure palace. The palace was built in an elaborate style with an Asian flair. Although not in actual Asian style. Each room gets more and more ornate. Another place in which no photographs were allowed, although to be fair, it would damage the decorations if everyone was to take photos. Definitely an unexpected surprise and one of the lesser known Royal Palaces in the UK.

Brighton

3. Brighton Beach

You can glimpse the beach as you walk down from the train station, but its true beauty is seen up close. The color of the water is stunning, especially for such a northern sea. The beach itself is pebbles and not sand, which has its advantages such as no sand in your shoes! The only thing you have to look out for is the aggressive seagulls, who will not hesitate to take you Avocado Chicken Pret Sandwich out of your hand! (Yes, I speak from experience!) If you are brave and are warm blooded enough, you can brave a dip in the water.

Brighton

4. Brighton Palace Pier

Whether arcade games are your thing or not, you must take a stroll on the Brighton Pier. It’s construction began in 1881 making it a historic structure as well. There are places to eat and games to play on the pier. I enjoyed looking at the water from this vantage point and watching the beach goers.

Brighton

5. Hove Beach Huts

The Hove Beach Huts are famous and a beautiful. They are quite a walk from Brighton, but you get to enjoy the amazing view of the sea along the way. Most of them were closed up when I was there and I think that was due to my midweek visit. However, it made for great photography opportunities.

Brighton

Brighton

6. Admire the Architecture

Along the way and back from the Hove beach huts, you can admire the architecture of Brighton and Hove. I am no architecture expert, but the terraced houses are pretty however out of place by the ocean they seem to be. Many of them have been turned into hotels now as they are probably hard to maintain as homes. A good reason to stay in one of those hotels so you can see inside.

Brighton

7. Eat Fish & Chips on the Beach

Fish and chips are quintessential British fare and a must on the Brighton Beach. I ate mine so fast I forgot to take a photo! A food blogger I am not.

8. Walk the Boardwalk

The ability to people watch and shop at the same time is a great reason to walk to the boardwalk in Brighton. There are art shops, beach supply shops and tons of gelato shops! Watching people play on the beach was also a fun site. You can also see the British Airways i360 from the Boardwalk and is a great way to see it if you are not brave enough to go up it.

 

Brighton

9. Watch the Sunset

The sunset in Brighton is spectacular. It sets in a way that highlights the boardwalk. Look towards the British Airways i360 and you can’t miss it. I enjoyed it from both the beach and the boardwalk.

Brighton

 

10. Check out the West Pier

You can’t help but notice the derelict pier in Brighton. The West Pier has experienced a series of disasters over the years and was opened before the Brighton Palace Pier in 1866. It is a haunting site and offers an excellent photography opportunity. It was my favorite subject in Brighton.

Brighton

 

I fell in love with Brighton and could have spent several more days there. What is your favorite thing to do in Brighton?

 

Art, Museums, Travel, UK

Museums of London

August 28, 2017

Museums of London

There are probably more than one hundred museums in London. It can be hard to see them all in a short visit and I didn’t see them all in the month I was there. So how do you choose which ones to visit? For me, it all depends on my interests. Here are the ones I saw and who I recommend each one for.

The British Museum

Museums of London

The British Museum is likely the most famous museum in the world. The museum holds artifacts from around the world, so the name is slightly deceiving. Its most famous artifact is the Rosetta Stone. However, it isn’t all artifacts, there is usually a special exhibition on. When I was there, the special exhibition was The Great Wave by Hokusai. If you enjoy world history or there is a special exhibition you want to see, I recommend a visit. However, it can be very crowded even on week days. Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Museums of London

The next most famous museum in London. I visited the V&A in high school with my Mom and we both remember it being our favorite place in London, so I just had to go back. This museum is an eclectic mix of art, fashion, architecture and decorative arts.  Since they collect in so many areas, there may be several special exhibitions going on at the same time. Anyone who enjoys fashion, architecture or design will enjoy this museum. It can be crowded in some sections of the museum and some were completely empty! Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

Textile and Fashion Museum

Museums of London

A friend recommended the Textile and Fashion Museum to me because of my interest in fashion. What I didn’t realize is they don’t have a permanent collection, so you only see one exhibition. When I was there, the exhibit was about fashion designer Anna Sui. So my advice is to check out the current exhibition before you go. This museum is probably only for the die hard fashion fan. Admission: £9.90 with gift aid

The Geffrye Museum

Museums of London

The Geffrye Museum is billed as the museum of the home. I have always been curious as to the home lives of people of the past and this peaked my interest. Given the size of the museum, I expected more of a mock up of each period. However, each mock up was just the formal living room of each period. While still impressive, I was slightly disappointed. The museum also runs along a long narrow hallway, so it can be difficult to pass people in the museum. I recommend going around the back of the museum to the gardens. I only recommend this museum if you are a very interested in historic homes. Admission: Free

The National Gallery

Museums of London

I managed to make it to the National Gallery on my last full day in London and it did not disappoint! It is full of historic masterpieces including, Monet, Van Gogh and Da Vinci. What I was really glad about is that each section was based on a time period and the highlights were listed on the map. Anyone who loves art or has an interest in a specific artist should visit the National Gallery. Admission: Free

Cutty Sark

Museums of London

Some may not call this a museum, but the Cutty Sark is a part of the Royal Museums Greenwich and is a separate entrance fee. I love boats and to be able to visit a historic clipper ship, I had to go! If you are a boat or maritime fan, then this is a must see for you. Keep in mind that you have to climb up stairs to enter and get around the Cutty Sark. Admission: £13.50

The Queens Gallery

Museums of London

Right next door to the entrance to Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s Gallery. This museum offers rotating exhibitions throughout the year, which are sourced from the Royal Collection. This is another place that you will need to check the current exhibition to see if it is something you are interested in, but I recommend it if you have an interest in art. Due to it being the Queen’s Gallery, I recommend you get advance tickets otherwise you may have to wait some time to get in. Admission: £11

Royal Academy of Arts

Museums of London

The draw of the Royal Academy of Art for me was the Summer Exhibition. This exhibit takes place annually and displays current artist’s work. This exhibit was huge and inspiring. There were all kinds of art on display. There was also another exhibition taking place. Each exhibition is a separate admission. This museum is an art lover’s dream museum. Admission: Varies

The Charterhouse

Museums of London

I actually saw a brochure for The Charterhouse in a pub! So those flyers in hotels and bars do work. The Charterhouse brochure caught my eye because it has been living the nation’s history since 1348! As a history lover, I had to go check it out. The Charterhouse is a working almshouse still today. The members have to be over 60 and in financial need. They help out in the museum and give tours. The members have kept excellent records over the years and they have a small museum. Tours are offered on a reservation basis. The Charterhouse just opened its doors to the public in January 2017, so it is a hidden gem. Admission: Free, tours are a fee

The London Wall

Museums of London

While technically this is not a museum, I am including The London Wall as I think it is a must see while in London. The London Wall is located just outside the Museum of London and that is how I ended up finding it. I never made it to the Museum of London. The wall was built by the Romans around 200 AD and is about two miles long. You can walk most of it, but the day I was there the gate at one of the towers was locked so I only saw a small portion. I could have walked around to the other side but it was getting dark and I thought I would get lost. Any history buff or Roman history expert will love this ruin. Admission: Free

The Tate Modern

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern was my first museum stop in London and I wrote a whole blog post about it here. I am not usually a fan of modern art, but I wanted to see the building. The art was excellent and I really enjoyed my time there. I recommend it for all art enthusiasts even if modern art isn’t your thing. Admission: Free except for special exhibitions

The Postal Museum

I had heard about the Postal Museum and wanted to visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t open until September 4th! The museum is about mail delivery via subway trains in London. You will even be able to ride the mail train, which is what I really wanted to do. So if you get to London, go do this for me, please! Admission: Entry and Mail Rail ride £16, includes donation, entry only £11

What museums in London are your favorites?

Travel, UK

A Day Trip to Bath

August 14, 2017

A Day Trip to Bath

Even though Bath is quite a ways away from London for a day trip, I decided I was going to make it one. My main motivation for going to Bath was to see the Roman Baths. The quickest way to Bath from London was by train. To avoid the commuter crowds at the train station, I took a late morning train that arrived in Bath just before noon. Bath is very much a walking town so no need for a taxi or bus upon arrival.

Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are a short walk from the train station. Normally, I would have booked my tickets for an attraction like this in advance, but I had decided to take a chance and not do this for the Roman Baths. My gamble paid off as it was raining and I only had to wait in line for about ten minutes. Granted a few of those minutes were in the rain, so make sure you have your umbrella.

Being a self-proclaimed museum critic, I was pleasantly surprised with the layout of the museum. You being by looking out onto the main bath from above. Along the way, there are codes to punch into the audio guide that is included in your ticket. I recommend getting the audio guide as it was more informative than the labels around the exhibition.

A Day Trip to Bath

You make your way around the exhibition learning about the history and discovery of the Roman Baths eventually ending up outside next to the main bath area. You can still see the steam rising from the natural hot spring that the baths were built around.

A Day Trip to Bath

Once on this level, you can explore more of the actual baths including the smaller bath areas and changing rooms. Given that the spring is still active you could, in theory, still use this as a spa today. Although they discourage you jumping in for a bath!

A Day Trip to Bath

The Roman Baths can get quite crowded as it is not a large space inside, but it is definitely worth seeing. Somehow they have survived all these years and remain in great condition.

A Day Trip to Bath

Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House

Rarely can I say I have combined my love of history with my meal, but this was the case at Sally Lunn’s restaurant. It is located inside one of oldest houses in Bath. The lowest floor dates to 1150, but they have found evidence of Roman occupation in the cellar.

A Day Trip to Bath

I knew I had picked a good place when there was a line for a table! I wasn’t even really sure what kind of food they served, but I was willing to take a chance. Soon I learned I was in for the treat that is the Sally Lunn Bun!

The bun is not like a hamburger bun. It is lighter and bigger and slightly sweet. You can get it with a sweet or savory topping. Since I was there for lunch, I opted for savory. I also decided to get the three-course meal since this might be my only visit to Bath!

A Day Trip to Bath

The three-course meal included a soup, a bun and apple cake. The soup offerings were pea and mint or vegetable. Not being English, I opted for the vegetable. It is quite possibly the best vegetable soup I have ever had! I ordered the Smoked Salmon with cream cheese and lemon. The combination was perfect. The bun is light and airy with a hint of sweet that enhanced the flavor the outstanding Scottish salmon. After that, I was expecting an amazing apple cake but was disappointed as it was dry and not very flavourful. However, I still recommend going, just get dessert somewhere else!

Victoria Art Gallery

The Victoria Art Gallery might be small but it has some amazing pieces inside. There is a wonderful portrait of King Henry VIII. Entrance is free into the art gallery as well. It won’t take you more than thirty minutes to walk through it unless you read every label.

A Day Trip to Bath

Shopping

While I am not much of a shopper especially while on vacation, it was hard to not want to walk up and down the main shopping street. It was mostly cars free. There were all the usual shops with a few unique ones as well. What was really nice was all the flowers and umbrellas decorating the streets!

A Day Trip to Bath

A Day Trip to Bath

Bath was a great day trip and if the weather is nice, there are lots more outdoor things to explore there. What is your favorite thing to do in Bath?