Grandma’s Kitchen with Raspberries (Kuchnia u Babci Maliny)

We fell in love with Krakow, Poland on the very first day that we set foot into this beautiful Eastern European city. It has an elegant, resplendent vibe to it, and seems to echo of old-school glamour down every street that we took. Kuchnia u Babci Maliny , meaning Grandma’s Kitchen with Raspberries (such a friendly, welcoming name!) was recommended by our hostel’s receptionist as a good place for lunch to fill our hungry tummies after a few hours of travelling out from Leeds. It was here that we had our first encounters with the magic of Polish dumplings, otherwise known as pierogis.

It was located just a few streets away from the main train station where our hostel was located near, and right opposite it was the majestic Juliusz Slowacki Theatre.

We loved dining in Poland for so many different reasons; being in Eastern Europe, prices are very much lower than what you usually encounter in Western European cities, and the servings are amazing as well. Furthermore, Polish cuisine just feels so hearty, comforting and exudes a vibe of eating someone’s homecooked food. Even now I can feel the nostalgia for these meals that we had months ago.

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York Cocoa House

York certainly deserves its reputation for chocolate ; after all, Rowntree’s, the first Nestle company was started up here eons ago, and we’ve been in love with the smooth, milky texture of even off-the-counter chocolate bars sold at Tesco’s or Costcutters for cheap ever since we got here. York Cocoa House boasts a name for being a one-step destination for chocolate lovers ; they’ve got chocolate workshops, coffee, hot chocolate and an assorted array of chocolate cakes, chocolates that you can take home and even chocolate-influenced savoury dishes!

At the beginning of the summer term after Easter break we strolled into town with Meryl on a rainy Sunday, wanting to see if it really lives up to its name or not (:

I had originally envisioned an old-school , cosy cafe atmosphere to this place, but the interior was more like an interesting confluence of sorts – it’s bright, airy and modern with fluorescent lighting making everything come into sharp relief. The goods are worth examining, albeit a little touristy, but for the weekend wanderer who just wants to take home a little reminder of York this will be a good place to stop by for a bit.

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Creperie Titia (Dartmouth)

Creperie Titia is a casual, lovely little place in Dartmouth to stop by for – you guessed it – sweet and savoury crepes on a sunny afternoon in Dartmouth, Devon.

We shared a selection of savoury crepes for lunch right after Huiting’s commissioning at the naval college, and what was kind of distinctive about these savoury crepes was how light and thin the skin was, so that the flavours don’t get lost in all the flour, egg and butter used. At about £7-£8 for each crepe, which could well be a full meal, it is pretty decently priced!

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Five and Dime (Singapore)

The Five and Dime , located along River Valley Road in Singapore, is a great place to while a lazy Sunday afternoon away while beating the heat at the same time.

What I like about the place is that it is not over-populated like many well-known cafes in the country, and that it exudes an authentic, friendly vibe with approachable staff who are decidedly unpretentious.

Our cups of mocha latte, served on old-school red plastic plates and with a nostalgic fancy gem biscuit thrown in for a quick touch of whimsy. It was great coffee, strong and not overly sweet, with a right balance of bitter set off by the intoxicating aroma of mocha. At about $6.00 per cup, I wouldn’t say that it is cheap, but it beats stopping at yet another Starbucks and offers a great atmosphere to chill for a bit.

They also offer Western-style meals, and apparently their pasta is also worth a try!

On another note, it would be a great idea to take a stroll down River Valley Road and head off into the Liang Court area near Clarke Quay if you find that you have time on your hands. It’s a rustic, charming old area adorned with beautifully preserved shophouses of age-old Peranakan grandeur.

Five and Dime Eatery
297 River Valley Road

Singapore

+65 9236 5002

 

The Hairy Fig

If we had to pick a cafe in York that is quintessentially English, and serves up English food that is best representative of the fine produce that the Yorkshire country has to offer, The Hairy Fig would definitely be it. Situated in Fossgate, the Hairy Fig , painted in vintage green, is quick to catch the eye, but all too readily dismissed as a butchery with the display of ham, sauces, wine and cheese. In fact, it is a foods deli shop-cum-cafe, so you would be able to sit down for a meal in the dining area, and perhaps bring home some of the produce to share with family and friends!

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Datscha (Berlin)

After an incredulous work-out (navigating our way from the air-port to our hostel in a foreign land with language barriers and lugging our duffel up and down various flight of stairs) it is only natural to be rewarded with food.

Our hostel is located at  Warschauer Straße and seems to be alienated from any real food places, unless you are into settling for some push-cart fare. A brief conversation with the receptionist and us looking very much like tourists, diving into maps and looking at the road signs saw us winding up in a  funky looking street, reminiscent of Haji Lane with a much more natural vibe to it.  The receptionist had recommended us a cafe but we gave it a miss for the entire street  of Kopernikusstraße  and beyond was lined up with a rich variety of cafes and shops.

Eventually we settled for Datscha (Gabriel-Max-Straße) after being drawn to the whole set up of the place and it’s popularity with the locals. and  all I can say is this was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Best impromptu decision ever!

It was Easter then so it was supposedly chilly but we were blessed with sunshine amidst the cold on this beautiful Sunday morning. Shades on, alfresco dining, the German accent drifting around, people smoking, backs against walls… ghetto cars, a quiet but happening corner in a neighbourhood…. dining in with the locals with our tired feet and hungry tummies, Datscha puts a great start to our time in Berlin.

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Nowa Prowincja (Krakow, Poland)

Of all the cafes that we have visited in Europe thus far, the historic Nowa Prowincja in Krakow could possibly be the one that fits the bill perfectly for my ideal cafe : wrapping my fingers around a cup of their unique hot chocolate, sitting at one of the rustic tables inside and soaking up the laid-back, chatty atmosphere, catching up with a good friend over meaningful conversation.


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Barbakan

Barbakan was the first cafe we visited when the Spring term started and it could possibly be our favourite cafe in York by far. Serving up delicious authentic Polish cuisine for lunch and dinner, it is a small cosy establishment located along Walmgate (right beside the popular Il Paradiso del Cibo, and not too far from The Blue Bicycle as well).

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Cafe Continental (Durham)

I visited Andrea in Durham last term during the amazing Lumiere Festival (a massive installation event that transforms the whole of Durham and attracts visitors from all over the Northern England region), and we were ravenous for food after waking up so early (me to catch the train, her to fetch me from the station!)

If you’re looking for a cosy, hearty brunch place in Durham, Cafe Continental is definitely the place to go. Breakfast is served 9am-12 noon, and they’ve got a great variety of dishes for other meals as well.

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The Elephant House (and Harry Potter)

Everybody in Edinburgh seems to know about The Elephant House.

Then again, how can they not?

It is home to arguably the most popular global phenomenon in literature ever: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, even going so far as to proudly brandish a sign on its facade: the Birthplace of Harry Potter. Backtrack a decade or so, and you can imagine Rowling spending hours in this little place, nursing a cup of coffee, weaving the dense magical realms of the world that is Harry Potter under the scratch of her pen while looking out at the Edinburgh Castle through the window.

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