Yoshi Sushi @ King St, Hammersmith

The winter is really here, isn’t it?!
Last Thursday, I couldn’t stop shivering while I waited for my friend Fei at Hammersmith tube station. We hadn’t seen each other since the last pop-up event, Wild Kingdom. She managed to navigate her cab driver around the murderously busy Hammersmith roundabout and we rendezvoused safely. What shall we eat? It would have to be something soupy and spicy, we agreed. I was not at all familiar around Hammersmith, therefore, she suggested that we could eat at a Japanese / Korean restaurant on King Street.

Yoshi Sushi was situated near Hammersmith Town Hall.
The place was quiet when we scurried inside, rubbing our frosty fingers together.

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Customary appetizers were brought to our table. Small plates of Kimchee – pickled spicy Chinese cabbage and soy sauce marinated bean sprouts…

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For starters, we ordered Tori Karaage – fried chicken…

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And Haemul Pajeon – Korean pancake made with seafood and spring onion…

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Their karaage was probably the least we liked amongst the counterparts we had tried in all over London so far. It was not crispy enough and the meats underneath the coating were too fatty and tasteless. On the contrary, their pancake was the best we had ever tasted. It was sumptuous and the amount of the seafood inside was generous.

For the main course, we ordered a bowl of Jjigae each. I ordered Kimchi Jjigae – Kimchi stew with pork dumpling and tofu while Fei opted for Sundobu Jjigae – spicy soft tofu soup with seafood, spring onion and egg…

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The stews were accompanied by small bowls of steamed rice which lessened the spiciness of chilli. My stew was infused with the segments of green chilli which gave out an intense burst of heat every now and then which made me gulp water and dab my nose with a napkin! In the end, our chilled bodies were sufficiently warmed up from the inside by our spicy dinner…

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After leaving the restaurant, we travelled to Gloucester Road by tube in order to attend her friend’s pop-up event at the restaurant, L’Etranger. At the venue, we ogled a gorgeous fur collection by Rachel. I was especially taken by a knitted mink snood in cobalt blue…

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The. Snoods could be worn like this! Don’t we resemble two happy & funky Eskimos?

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We had one cocktail each at the bar and decided to call the day.
But oh my, how cold the walk from the station to my doorstep was! It was freezing. Then, my sneezing started. At home, I wrapped my neck with a cotton scarf and hugged a hot water bottle in bed. However, I woke up with a proper cold in the morning. Let’s hope that Hubbie won’t bring home any American cold from NYC. Because I have had already enough cold for this winter…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Random Images & Random Thoughts…

It’s the sixth day of me not feeling good.
It turned out that I might have picked up some flu virus when I deposited Hubbie’s shirts at our local dry-cleaner last Tuesday. What a thing to pick up, huh?

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Anyway, this nasty germ wrecks havoc on my daily beauty routine – and given that it is imperative to stick to the routine in order to fend off an onslaught of aging, I still can’t face splashing my face with water and feel like a car wreck, rusting away on the mean street of a dingy backwater. It may sound too melodramatic but when one feels like it’s head full of gunk and has the look to match, and on top of it, it’s grey and raining outside, how can anyone feel anything other than dismal?
Oh, please someone slap me with a hot water bottle so I can snap out of this unhealthy navel-gazing…

Now then, shall I have another rummage through my iPhoto library for stray images?

Hmmm… This one I took at the Saturday vintage market off Brick Lane. The stall was specialised in vintage transport signs…

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Don’t you think it will make a wonderfully original gift for someone special if the road sign or bus blind given has a personal meaning to it? Let’s say they used to live there or they commuted vis a certain bus route or have some romantic connection to the destination, etc. I wouldn’t mind buying a couple of London Transport bus blinds for myself. The route 9, 10 or 159 would do nicely. Anything to evoke sweet memories of our good old original Routemaster, I would love to keep. Before boring & unyielding one-man buses took over London bus route, their iconic red double-decker was manned by a guard with a ticketing machine and the rear of the bus was completely open. The lower deck was semi-exposed to the element, therefore, it was a bit cold & blustery in foul weather. However, the convenience of being able to hop on & off whenever and wherever one wanted was an absolute godsend in some  serioulsly clogged up old place like Central London.

Oh, these are classic! Mr.B, working as a model…

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One day, Hubbie & I jokingly decided to register Mr.B with a model agency. We thought it may subsidise his upkeep. And it did!

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Being amiable and unflappable, Mr.B made a very good model for press ad or TV. And his stoic professionalism in chihuahua way earned him regular clients and a steady flow of assignments until the recession hit UK in 2008.
*ALAS*

This cute Pie & Mash sign, I came across on Lever Street EC1…

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Pie & mash is the one cuisine I have yet to sample. Since this type of eatery is in decline, I must try it before they disappear too.

I don’t know why I took this picture…

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It must have been taken at Eat, Topshop Oxford Circus when I was waiting for my friend before our girl’s night out?
I was probably a bit bored and fooling around with my iPhone camera. A perfect toy for killing time.

This street art by Wreckage International was located at the north end of Whitecross Street…

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I don’t know why but the art reminds me a Coca-Cola bottle.
Maybe to do with her curvy body or its red & white colour scheme?

This limo, hopelessly stuck at Hoxton Square, was quite a sight. He couldn’t manoeuvre left or right, foward or backward…

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The driver was red-faced and panicking while the rest of us, looking at him bemused. I was in a hurry and didn’t hang around. I hope he managed to wriggle out of the mess without scratching anything.

Oh my thoughts are so inconsistent and incoherent. Please blame the gunk invading my brain…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pale (but tasty!) Nosh @ Sedap, Old Street

The weather has turned, hasn’t it?
Sadly, I miss a whole spell of the recent warm weather due to having to recover from a minor operation which I underwent last Friday. Still, I am an optimistic kind, hoping for another Indian Summer’s return.

After my aforementioned visit to Best of Britannia, I met up with Hubbie for a quick supper before heading home together. He suggested Carluccio’s Smithfield and we drove around the square to find a parking space. Yet none was available and we gave up after circling the square twice. Being crestfallen and unsure what we could have for supper, we headed home.  Then, we saw a familiar green façade of Sedap, glowing in the night on Old Street.
“Let’s eat at Sedap!” Yay!!

Sedap is a restaurant specialised in Singaporean / Malaysian cuisine and established itself at the current location since 2009. The restaurant is situated very close to our home (less than 10 minutes away on foot), therefore, their home-delivery is lightning quick which we find it very handy.

For starters, we shared vegetable spring rolls…

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The spring rolls were crisp on the outside yet its stuffing was moist and flavoursome.
By the way, about this orangey sweet chill sauce in the photo, is this a standard sauce for this particular dish in Singapore & Malaysia too? Apart from UK, USA and Spain, I have never encountered the sauce, not even in Japan.
I am kind of curious if the sauce is a westernised version of something else.

The spring rolls were followed by our No.1 favourite starter, pork dumplings…

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Behold these plump beauties!

Their pork dumpling is different from Japanese Gyoza. The texture of the skin is much more robust than its Japanese counterpart. Also, the filling is different. While the Japanese version contains finely chopped green leafy vegetable, such as cabbage or Chinese chive in a mixture of seasoned pork mince, the Sedap’s dumpling is more or less pork mince only.
The  dumplings were accompanied by soy sauce based dipping sauce. A hint of vinegar was detected in the pale brown sauce with tiny ginger sticks. The dumplings were so tasty and we ended up succumbing to a second helping!

For the main course, I ordered a bowl of Singapore Laksa. And for forever spice-shy Hubbie, a plate of vegetarian fried rice with egg was recommended.
I love my Hubbie to bits, however his definite shortcoming is his inability to ingest any spicy food. When I am with him, we can never eat Thai, Indian, Mexican, Korean, etc, unless we order the dishes which are free from chilli and wasabi. As soon as he feels even a slightest tingly sensation on the tongue, he complains bitterly, “It’s too spicy!” He reacts the same to even Japanese curry which is definitely on the moderate side. In order to mitigate the spiciness for him, I have to garnish the curry with omelette or fried egg with runny yoke. *SIGH*

Here comes my Singapore Laksa…

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Just looking at rich coconut based curry soup, my heart was filled with glowing warmth. And of course, tasting the first mouthful was a heaven on earth! It was just so tasty!
Being intrigued by my ecstatic countenance, Hubbie asked if he could have a mouthful as well. I did give him a plenty of warning about how spicy the soup was but he didn’t listen. He gulped it heedlessly and then a cough or two followed immediately. Red-faced & wide-open eyed, he groaned, “My god, that was fiery!” Well, what did I tell you? Were you not paying attention?
A tiny, tiny, objection I have towards their Singapore Laksa would be about the thick vermicelli they used for this dish. I found the vermicelli was too slithery for that lovely creamy soup to cling to. I will definitely request them to make mine with yellow wheat noodle next time.

The dinner in all looked short of colour but certainly was not lack of flavour. In fact, my mouth is watering again by just looking the photos…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Paper @ Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea

On Sunday, we decided to check out the Saatchi Gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ off Sloane Square. One of my favourite WordPress bloggers, Sequins and Cherry Blossom, reviewed the current exhibition “Paper” recently and I was very much intrigued by it.
So, there we were, having parked our car successfully on a single yellow line on Clivedon Place and striding happily towards the gallery. As we turned into Sloane Square, guess who we bumped into? Mr.Saatchi himself! He was standing in front of the brassiere, Colbert, chatting to his female companion.
Once we reached another side of the square, Hubbie joked, ‘At least, he wasn’t grabbing her throat’. Oh, what a thing to say! I was fascinated to see Mr.Saatchi in the flesh. Does he always dress in the same manner? A white shirt with a dark blue / black suit paired with super shiny brogues. Does he have a row of identical suits neatly displayed in a grand walk-in closet in his mansion? And a pile of neatly hand pressed identical shirts on the shelf?
Hmmm… It wouldn’t surprise me since he came across to me like a super control freak.

The exhibition “Paper” was an extensive affair. It occupied 10 gallery spaces.
As the title suggested, primary material featured in the exhibition was paper.
The exhibits which caught my attention as it follows.

“Fragments of Time” by Miler Lagos…

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Old newspaper was collated, shaped and coloured as giant twiglets. I thought the work portrayed time and decay poetically.

“Golden Arch Parkway McDonald’s” by Yuken Teruya…

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This artist utilized shopping bags from ordinary commercial outlets for his works.
A part of the bag was cut away to the shape as a tree.

The visitors were captivated by super minuscule bonsais in bags…

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The works put a smile on every visitor’s face.

“Nature Scene 2011” by Tom Thayer…

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Puppet-like cranes stood pensively in front of the image of the tree graced with birds in all shapes and colours.
The piece was adorned with coloured papers which resembled an elaborate embroidery.

“Love Nothing More” by Storm Tharp…

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“Window 2010” by Storm Tharp…

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The method employed on each painting depicted features of its sitter with surprising canniness. It was enchanting.

“Kite-Planes” by Marcelo Jácome…

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The work resembled a flock of colourful birds flying out from their waterhole in the African savannah.

“Floating City” by Han Feng…

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The delicate piece was made with tracing paper.
Each paper block had an image of building superimposed. And they were clustered together to have the look of a city block…

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Fragile pieces were suspended from the ceiling and created a dreamlike floating cityscape.

The present Saatchi Gallery is much more suitable for modern art exhibitions than the previous one at the County Hall, a former HQ of Greater London Council…

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Neutral backdrops and diffused overall lighting, as well as plenty of space to walk around and examine the works, they are essential criteria for any gallery which houses modern art, especially oversized sculptural works.
At the Saatchi Gallery, it was achieved flawlessly.

After satisfying our eyes, we decided to do likewise to our stomach.
‘Do you fancy Dutch pancake?’ ‘Oh yeah, please!’
We headed to My Old Dutch, Holborn.

Nursing latte, we waited for our pancake impatiently…

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We both ordered the same thing.
My Old Dutch – smoked bacon, chicken, ham, sweet pepper, mushrooms, sweet corn & cheese.
The pancake may appear massive at first glance. However, the dough is paper-thin therefore much lighter than pizza…

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Apart from their Amsterdammer – sautéed apple & smoked bacon with maple syrup, we’ve never tried anything else.
I know I should be more imaginative and adventurous.
Maybe I could order Chicken Curry (pancake with basmati rice?! Do they really go together?) or Chill Con Came (pancake with Mexican twist?) so I wouldn’t be such a food bore.
However, Dutch pancake appeals to me only when I want predictable & soothing fare.

Their Dutch apple pie is one of the best in town…

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A perfect amount of cinnamon! Yum!!
Damn, we should have ordered it one each, instead of sharing one like a goody two shoes…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

IKEA @ Wembley

After visiting the RAF Museum, we decided to make a detour to IKEA Wembley.
We had been acutely short of wooden hangers for quite sometimes. And since we came by car, buying them at IKEA then rather than at John Lewis later, made more sense at the time.
Hubbie insisted that we should give that damn sat nav one last chance, so off we went while a TomTom voice cajoling.
Well, would you like to know how the sat nav performed? It led us to the Tesco Extra next door instead of IKEA Wembley! We just couldn’t face the unyielding North Circular any more, so parked our car at the Tesco and proceeded to the IKEA on foot. *SIGH*

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We picked up a yellow bag each and wandered into the superstore.
IKEA on Saturday, it was probably not the best time to visit, it dawned on us belatedly.
The aisle was saturated with carts, push-baggies, children, grannies, etc. We endured this surprizingly energy-sapping slow hike behind the crowd until we reached the restaurant.

‘One thing no one should do is to go shopping with an empty stomach’, Hubbie reasoned and I wholeheartedly agreed with him. So we joined a queue with a tray in hands…

Tarts…

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Jellies…

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Salad platters…

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I never had tried their famous meatballs ever at any of the IKEAs I had shopped- Croydon, Lakeside & Wembley, in my entire time in UK. Well, it was about to change…

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My meatballs with mash & peas!

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Hmmm…, an ultimate comfort food, I thought.
It was bland but also predictable and reassuring. A kind of food to be most welcome when you are under stress, like shopping in IKEA on Saturday.

Once having psyched ourselves up, we hoisted the yellow bags over our shoulders and headed to Market hall.
Finding wooden hangers was easy peasy. We grabbed 4 sets and stuffed in the bag. Then, we saw a plushy faux sheepskin rug in black. Wouldn’t it be perfect for Mr.B? So, we grabbed it too.
Then, our next quest turned out to be a nightmare. We were looking for a circular shaped mouse pad which I bought from IKEA Croydon 5 years ago. Please don’t laugh but that was how long I had been avoiding shopping at the superstore. We zigzagged the shop floor like beach-combing. Yet, no mouse pad in any shape or colour.
Why aren’t there any shop assistant in sight? We were nearly at the end of our tether. Then, a guy in a IKEA yellow polo shirt materialised like a mirage so we grabbed him! ‘Do you sell any mouse pad? If you do where can we find it?’ He looked back at us in mild bewilderment and suggested to try the desk & laptop department upstairs. Oh noooo, are you kidding us? We rolled our eyes and trudged up the stairs.
Where the he** is the desk & laptop department? It was very far, very very far away…
Well, for our weary soul, it felt like a nightmarishly long trek, dodging oncoming carts, push-baggies and people.
Eventually, we found the area with lots of desks & swivel chairs. But alas, no sign of mouse pad. Ohhhh, whatever. They no longer sold any mouse pad.

With just hangers and a rug in the bags, we queued up at the till…

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While the rest of the shoppers standing by their carts laden with heaps of cardboard boxes in all shapes, we were there with less than two bags full. We felt pathetic.

A journey home was uneventful (which was a very good thing).
We presented Mr.B with his new rug and he loved it! Oh well, taking account of his delight, our ordeal at IKEA was not entirely in vain…

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He was hanging on to the rug tightly last night…

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And likewise, this morning…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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