"Welcome, esteemed guests from five lands and four seas, to gather as friends for various delicacies"
Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London
However, a concept that is not alien to this Overseas Chinese Malaysian-now British expat is the comfort of authentic Chinese cooking in a foreign land. A surefire indication of such a establishment is, as is the case with Min Jiang on Kensington High Street, is a chorus of various Chinese accents: I heard the baritones of husky Mainland accents, the clear altos of the Taiwanese; the curious, sometimes soprano-like drawls of the Malaysian Chinese, with Cantonese cadenzas peppering the symphony.
That overture raised the brocade curtain on a gorgeous meal for four at 'London's most authentic Chinese restaurant'.
A BLOCKBUSTER DATE NIGHT IN MAYFAIR THAT STARTED AT
Call me the Alexander Petrovsky of date night. And before any of you shake your fists at me with cries of Team Aidan! or Team Big! (Team Berger? No? Darn right, he was a real wet towel), hear this Sex And The City-binge-watching-sister out. So maybe I'm neither composing 'Ick!'-inducing love songs on my grand piano* nor waltzing in couture** at the local Maccy D's, but if you want me to show you a good time you gotta get your art on (and get to grips with chopsticks - you'll see why in a bit). And as far as London art exhibitions go, it doesn't get bigger than the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Every year, this world-class institution of art hosts its legendary open-submission summer show, with an eye-watering exhibit of over a thousand works within the Palladian-mansion walls of Burlington House. Because either you go big or you go home. Jack Berger, I'm talking to you...#RASUMMER
*but I did compose a painting for my intended...
**although I was wearing Valentino, does that count?
A MARYLEBONE MEMBERS CLUB WITH A MENU UNDER £20
The Cavendish at 35 New Cavendish Street, Fitzrovia
Despite the average champagne socialist's assertions that the antiquated class system (caste system?) is still very much the oppressor of those who dare to dream, the truth is that we live in a world where social mobility is the wind beneath the wings of the bold and the busty (have you forgotten that display at Grand National? Yes, I'm also trying to). Luxury has become increasingly democratic, as exemplified by head chef Douglas Santi's new 'everything £20 or under' menu, launched yesterday at refined Fitzrovia establishment 35 New Cavendish Street.
FROM SOHO TO SHOREDITCH: WHY THIS LONDON LITERARY SALON IS MY FAVOURITE READING ROOM
"If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t f**k them. Don’t sleep with people who don’t read!" Sage dating advice by John Waters for sapiosexuals seeking similar savants. Smart is sexy, end of. So it comes as no surprise that like an moth to a flame (because so many of history's greatest intellectuals are self-destructive like that...) I've gravitated toward the new Shoreditch branch of Soho literary circle The Society Club on Cheshire Street.
When elements combine & form a contemporary yet classic culinary experience
WHAT: A FIRST CLASS TICKET TO CHINESE & PAN-ASIAN CUISINE
WHERE: CHAI WU, HARRODS FIFTH FLOOR, KNIGHTSBRIDGE
I have a theory about the Overseas Chinese: that when it comes to gastronomical pilgrimage, our motherland either exists in a Bermuda Triangle or possesses the ability to bend light in to a cloak. Why else would otherwise perfectly sane Malaysians (including yours truly & family), Singaporeans, Australians etc. in search of the Chinese food of their dreams and heritage completely bypass China, instead seeking outposts far in the land of the white man?! From the accents that staccato the air outside Four Seasons in Bayswater you'd think that you can't get roast duck anywhere else in the world, honestly. Take it from this Malaysian Chinese who by the age of 12 had dined in no less than 21 Chinatowns across 3 different continents: the children of the Orient can't resist our food calling to us from foreign places. Have Chinese food, will travel - now that's an Asian Persuasion.
TWO LUXURY LOVERS, ONE ALDYWCH
Oh, the Strand - that stretch of London spanning Trafalgar Square to the City limits, where every horror story you've ever heard about London traffic (both the four-wheeled and two-legged variety) crawls past some of the city's most iconic landmarks: whether it's the tired and touristy (London Eye) or the underrated yet quintessentially London (basically every pre-war building with a view of the river). At least the view makes for an interesting distration from the ever-climbing taxi meter, yes? Steadfastly self-employed as I am (read: works from bed, attends Skype meetings wearing crispy linen blouse + sweatpants) you'd have to move heaven and earth to get me to venture out of my pocket of East London and into Covent Garden. F/29/Shore-bitch. Will haul arse for: the opera (or Lion King, depends on how long we've been friends), London Fashion Week, and of course the promise of cracking company (I mean, her surname is Lux. Spirits don't come more kindred than that.) + beautiful beverages + good nosh. Because the best things in life are free. I see your contempt for bloggers and raise you my complimentary cocktail.
April 19, 2016
TWO LUXURY LOVERS, ONE ALDYWCH Oh, the Strand - that stretch of London spanning Trafalgar Square to the City limits, where ev...
That's how one sometimes feels when mulling over their sartorial choices for Royal Ascot. The Royal Enclosure dress code can be a sartorial minefield what with the 'fashion police' on high alert for too-bare shoulders, hemlines above the knee, and scant fascinators. Then there's the question of taste - make too little of an effort and one comes across as disrespectful to the noble spirit and history of one of Britain's key social events, but make too much of an effort and risk looking like a painted trollop. There's a fine balance between haute dress and hot mess. I've cantered into both territories - in 2013 I nailed it with a demure Alexander McQueen dress (above), but last year I put in a disgraceful appearance in floral trousers with not-matching top. Of course the latter was thanks to my huge and shocking weight gain - I've blogged about it and my weight loss mission, here - which found me facing a wardrobe full of Ascot-appropriate dresses I suddenly couldn't wear.
But now that I've taken my health and looks into hand, I'm happy to report that this summer will see a much slimmer me. Instead of hiding my figure behind poor outfit choices, I'm going to proudly dress for the shape I've worked hard to regain. So, in collaboration with Debenhams Best of British Outfit Inspiration I've put together what I'd wear to this year's Royal Ascot as well as my suggestions on how to be a knock out at the style states in the Royal Enclosure.