About some forever ago, (chill Bella it's only been a month pfft), I went to London with Afiqah on a day trip. East Midlands Train was running a promo, less than £15 for a return train to London - can't say no to that, can I? It was a random decision made by the two of us on Twitter. Afiqah tweeted about the deal, I asked if she wanted to go on a trip, and boom, we were both set and ready to go. After all there's only two of us bebimbos left in this cold English land since Edy is yet to return for her PhD.
Main purpose of the trip?
Yes - food hunting! We have a list of things to be ticked off, so we were pretty determined.
1. Eggs Royale
Arrived nearly at 9am, we set on foot to Dean Street Townhouse near Covent Garden after some googling effort of the best place to have Eggs Benedict/Royale in London.
Meet Afiqah. A PhD student doing Engineering in Sheffield. Highly independent, despite being the only girl the the family. Love love loooveeeee travelling - been to USA and Indonesia on a shoe string - alone. I repeat, a-l-o-n-e. In other words, a solo backpacker. Seen most of Europe. Setting herself to go to Iran this winter. MAJOR RESPECT I CANNOT. If you want to do something new, go on a adventure, learn to be brave, this is the man. Or lady, whatever. She's truly something.
Meet Bella. A Medical student doing Medicine (haha) in Leicester. Highly independent when her husband isn't around, albeit a cry baby. Cries every now and then about littlest thing, such as the weather being too cold or the grocery bags being too heavy. Been wanting to go on a solo trip, but the furthest she went alone was Scotland after her father said no to her going to USA on her own. Itu pun gelabah nak balik rumah sebab nak Facetime. In constant search for cheap flight tickets to Belfast, kesian. And contemplating every now and then if she should start making babies.
NO I CANNOT HAHAHAHAH.
And the star of the morning, Eggs Royale. This is perfection. Utter perfection. At £6.50 each, I think it's worth trying. By that I mean trying bukan makan sampai kenyang sebab mahal. Because you will end up wanting more. The hollandaise sauce was perfect, the egg was beautifully poached, the salmon was generous. Gorgeous. And the cafe interior was very posh, making it a bit awkward for both of us cause it felt like we were on a date.
2. Cronut, or crodoughnut (a hybrid between croissant and doughnut)
This was suggested by AJ back in Leicester, so went on a search for it. If you Google cronuts in London, one of the cafes selling them is Wild & Coffee. It's a cute little award-winning coffee house.
The much sought-after cronut. They only had it in red velvet flavour, but it was enough to make me want more. I didn't expect it would be that good, to be honest. But it was. It took doughnut to a whole new level. There was a bit of doughnut and a bit of croissant in every bite, not to mention the fresh cream at the centre. Verdict, try it. Especially if you have sweet tooth like me. At £3.70 each it did seem a bit pricey, but definitely worth trying.
3. Burger & Lobster
That one place in London where it's a must to post in Instagram, myself included, lol. We went to the branch on Dean Street (just opposite Dean Street Townhouse). It opens at 12pm on Saturdays and we got there at about 11.50am after getting the cronuts. And we were greeted by this.
People lining up for lunch. Looking at the crowd, I was disheartened at first, but boy we were determined. It didn't take long, and once the door opened there were plenty of seats inside. It's quite a big eatery, so if you see people lining up like this, chances are you'll probably only have to wait for a maximum of 10 minutes. Well that's the theory anyway.
Not sure which one gets my attention more, Afiqah's sharp look, or the lobster. Haha.
Senonoh mana, senonoh?
Done and dusted.
I found the place pretty cool. They only have three menus - whole lobster grilled or steamed, lobster roll, and beef burger. We went for the steamed lobster, and hands down, I was sold. There was one time I had grilled lobster in Brussels and that was nowhere near this. Afiqah, on the other hand, had a grilled lobster at Manhattan Fish Market back in KL, and she preferred that more. But still we both agreed the lobster here was amazing and it's definitely worth coming back for. The lobster came with fries and salad and a sauce of your choice. The set is priced at £20 each, but since almost all restaurants in London charge for their service, essentially it's £22.50. Speaking of, I'm so not used to service charge in the UK, and suddenly there's a whopping 12.5% service charge here in London. Makes me feel contented to be in Leicester.
4. Noodle Oodle
Afiqah wanted this one so badly so I had to play along. Haha. This is a halal Chinese restaurant near to Bayswater where Malaysian Student Department (Malaysian Hall) is, making it a famous eatery among the Malaysians in London. Their main specialty is roasted duck, as it's not easy to find halal ducks in the UK.
The dish looks like a chicken rice set as a whole. We got the £10.50 set where it came with dumplings as starter, duck and rice as main, and a choice between banana fritters or some mango delicacy as desserts. And no service charge (hooray!) making it a very very veeerry filling meal. I think we overkilled it with this one, though. You see, we walked for more than an hour from the last place (lobster) to here, and to justify that, we just had to order a set each. Big mistake there. It was too much for us. The whole thing was good, but when you have too much of something good, it becomes the other way round. This is definitely something I would have on a very hangry day (hungry and angry), not on a I-feel-like-eating-everything-in-the-world day.
Since we were already near Bayswater, we went to Malaysian Hall to pray and me, to see Kak Na, the warden. Had ginger tea and kuih seri muka at the canteen while waiting for her, which too bad I didn't take the pictures, since it's a rare occasion for me to go for kuih Melayu at the Malaysian Hall.
Met Kak Na and the whole family, and she insisted on us staying for dinner (as she always does), but we had trains to catch. By the way, another thing on Afiqah's list was Tinseltown, but we were too full for that. And everyone knows Tinseltown applies the same 'hangry' rule, they do big portions and their milkshakes are to die for, so by that time we thought it was probably a bit too much. Takde rejeki. But well, Leicester has Tinseltown so it's not a big deal! Good reason to make her come to Leicester anyway. Heh.
Later that night only we realised we didn't have any pictures together, so here goes.
Parted ways at London St Pancras where Afiqah took the train back to Sheffield while myself to Leicester. And I can proudly say I had one of the best food hunt in London on that day.
I think most of it went to how we both are so easy-minded. We didn't mind walking, which having said that, we only took the tube from Malaysian Hall to St Pancras. And it's not everyday when you have a friend who's so easy going and not fussed over small things. Like going in and out of stores along Oxford Street, skimming through sales without really buying anything. I mean, I don't have that many friends, but when I do, I really treasure them.
Having said that, we had salmon, lobster, duck, and nearly lamb in one day! Total damage including train tickets was less than £50. Worth every single pence. Ahh, of London and all the glorious food.
If you remember my Lincoln post well, this is another post that might be related to it.
No we're not talking about Boston, USA. This is Boston, Lincolnshire.
Now let's talk geography. Boston is north-east to Leicester, whereas Lincoln is a bit more up north but less towards east of Leicester. As a point of reference, Nottingham is shortly up north to Leicester. Which means that Nottingham is closer to Lincoln than Boston.
Note Leicester at the bottom left corner and Nottingham directly above it.
Why am I explaining this? One of the reasons is because Nottingham, Lincoln and Boston all fall into one deanery, The Trent. This is important if you're applying for a Junior Doctor job. If you're not, you can move on to the next reason.
The next reason is to get to Lincoln or Boston by train, you'll have to pass through Nottingham. And here's the real issue. Since Boston is further away from Nottingham, it takes longer to get there as compared to Lincoln. If last time we had to take the train for about two hours to Lincoln, this time it's a three-hour journey on the train.
A three-hour journey on the train from Leicester might as well get me to Cardiff.
It's just that Boston is so kampung that all the trains are kampung ones, the ones with very loud engines running on very bumpy railways, and very infrequent that the last train leaving Boston to Nottingham is probably before 7pm everyday.
But on the plus side, the accommodation is really nice, exactly the same as Lincoln, ensuite and all.
And another plus side is all three of us, the housemates - Nadd, Lin and I are here. Nadd's doing Perioperative Block (general surgery) while Lin and I are doing MSK. And that's Musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) for you non Medic people.
To be honest I'm not sure why am I rambling about this in the first place. I was actually feeling sappy just now (I always do when I'm on outblock), but ended up explaining the geography of Trent to you guys. My apologies.
But here's a picture to share the sappiness in me.
You know it's genuine happiness bila mata pun hilang. Perfection.
"So you had a bad consultation with one patient. But as soon as the patient walked out the door, you have a very important thing to do - housekeeping. Keep your mind and emotion in check. Take a deep breath, and remember, whoever comes in next, is a new patient. They don't know what happened in the last consultation, they don't know if you messed up with your diagnosis or management plan. They are new to you as you are to them, but only if you do your housekeeping."
So you guys already know that my brother, Zahid got married over the summer right? But what I'm yet to share is that he came to Dublin to be with his wife for a week plus. Pretty much like how I went to stay in Belfast for a month after we got married la, something like that. Apparently our family has a thing for long distance relationship, lol.
Zahid came to Dublin on the third week I started my classes after summer, and just in time when Adam came back from Malaysia. So Adam and I decided to make a trip down to Dublin.
And this post is just going to be a crapload of rubbish photos from my sad iPhone 4s. I desperately need a phone with a nicer camera, people. I mean, it doesn't have to be an iPhone 6, just something with a decent camera, please?
No? Okay :(
Left Belfast on Thursday afternoon to arrive Dublin at 3pm. Went to get some Euros and..... Had to wait for an hour for the newly-wed.
I was fuming.
I consider myself as somewhat quite high tolerance to things la. Pain, people, unfortunate events. I'm quite good at calming myself down when disaster happens. Missed flights? Okay. Lost money? Okay. I mean, can't do anything about it so let it be. But one thing that I really suck at is..
God knows how much I HATE WAITING. Especially for people. Unpunctual people. I'm almost always very punctual up to the minute. When I say 4.30, I mean, 4-three-zero. Not 4.34 or 4.40. And waiting is just not my forte.
So imagine when we had to wait for them for about an hour, with the parking meter running like leaking tap. And if you don't already know, here I tell you. Parking cost in Dublin is very very very expensive. And there we were spending an hour by the canal donating parking money to the Dublin city council.
Rant ends here.
Met them couple, had some nice Japanese food but no picture because I was still fuming. Adam was understanding enough not to direct any conversation towards me because he knew I wouldn't be bothered. Marah okay marah. I TAK SUKA ORANG LAMBAT.
Rant ends here, this time for real.
Still, the self-conscience inside me cooled down after a while. After that we went to some posh tea room. Had caramel something tea, so nice! Again, no pictures of tea whatsoever because my phone is sad. These pictures of us were taken pun because Zahid asked us to. I mean not everyday (not even every year!) that I get to see him in Europe!
And there was a moment of eureka I realised how similar we look!
Back in Malaysia I have a bunch of guy friends who just 'adored' Zahid because he's so jambu and kinda cute. Kinda. And they thought he's cool too because there was a time when we were housemates (my parents were in Sarawak) and we got to do loads of cool stuff. So they thought he's the cool brother who does cool things but sadly, has a lame sister. I still remember when my friends and I went on a road trip to my cousin's wedding in Kedah, my friends were usha-ing him from afar. I was like, seriously people??? You guys gay or whatt??!?
And how come you guys don't think I'm cool too? Pfft.
Anyways, here's a picture of us, probably not very cool, but just because.
And here's the highlight of the trip to Dublin.
Went to Nyonya with Mau, Pija and Acap! Haven't seen Pija for aaaages! The last time I saw her was before I got married so that was like, more than two years ago! Aaaaaa excited!!!!
Here's Mau busy playing host.
Here's Acap busy singing - guys his voice is amazing!!
Here's the newly-wed, being all newly-wed-ish.
And here's Adam with his classic couldn't-be-bothered-I'm-just-hungry pose.
Just love the crowd!
Okay, one thing that people should keep in mind is, nothing is impossible when Pija and Bella meet. Pija was my roomate back in KMB. And we did lots of strange things back then - stalking people sampai padang bola being one of them. BAHAHHAHAHAH. She's one of those whom I don't have to meet or talk to every day, nor every month or year, but just get along once we do meet. In fact, probably get along a little bit too much. We keep telling people, don't put Bella and Pija in the same room, or you'll get all sort of strange stuff happening. Like that evening, we took hold of the mic like nobody's business. And who knows how amazing her voice is!!!
And I didn't know Zahid sings. I mean, I know la he got nice voice, but to actually sing karaoke rock kapak, woahhh!! Adam said our family has that voice - the high pitch menjerit voice. Good thing or not, well.. Hahahah.
Boy did we have fun.
We stayed the night at Mau's place. Mau and Acap are housemates, with Shahir and Syauqan. And man their place is sooo cool!
And all I have is a picture of Adam fiddling around this as we kept ooh-ahh-ing in awe at the place after Mau and Acap had left to hospital. (no one's ill, we're just a bunch of medics whose second home is hospital, pfft).
And another picture of the sort of automatic gate where the car park is. How pathetic of me. Tsk.
Left the place before noon to send Zahid to the airport as he was going back to Malaysia, and we had to make our way back to Belfast. And here's me being dramatic.
We even matched each other! Bahahaahah.
Zahid and I, we were very close. Were, because it was a thing in the past. He's the first guy best friend I have ever had. Whenever we were on the phone, my friends around me would wonder if I was talking to my boyfriend or something. Because we were so so so close that it drove my mom crazy when we had our romantic banters. We even call each other I-you, saya-awak, when the rest of the family call each other by names.
I still remember when we went for umrah with my parents and grandma, my mom wouldn't let us sit together on the flight to Jeddah from Cairo, Egypt. That because we sat next to each other in the first leg of the journey (KL-Cairo) and all we did was laugh, gossip, watch movies, play games etc. And my mom thought it would be nice if we could spend the time in our flight reading some du'as, getting familiar with the dos and don'ts in umrah. Of course I rebelled. I sat there not talking to my grandma throughout the whole flight. Hahahahaha!
Among our siblings, Zahid and I are the only ones separated by two years apart. The rest of us has a four-year gap between each other. So that makes us become more like friends. We used to share secrets. When we said pillow talk, we really meant pillow talk - i.e. lying staring at the ceiling telling stories catching up with life etc. And the one year period when I had to defer my entry to uni was probably the closest we've been. Left for work early in the morning, came home to find food on the table, prayed together, telling each other how the day went, the usual mundane stuff.
We were friends.
Were. Because things have changed. I guess that's what happen when you become friends. Things change. If we were to remain with the siblings-type relationship, it probably won't feel as different. Because he now acts more like a brother to me. And calls himself Aban (for some reasons the name sticks) rather than Zahid. And calls me Angah, instead of my name, which he never did. And I grow on to call him Aban too, which was an issue in the big family when we were younger because I refused to call him Abang.
Sappy moments aside, it was a reaaaaaally nice short trip to Dublin. Dublin makes me miss Izleen and KN, but these people are nothing short. Gotta thank them awesome crowd - Mau, Pija and Acap for making it happen!