Last week we went to Shoryu Soho the first of our adventure to try as much Ramen in London as possible this year.  On our way home, we decided to walk towards Piccadilly Circus (Matthew wanted a cinnabon).  On the way we walked past some lovely red lanterns and I was drawn back towards them like a cat to a box.  We had a look at the menu and noticed it sold Ramen, along with a lot of other authentic looking Japanese food.  We decided there and then that this would be our next Ramen Review.

We didn’t book a table, and arrived at about 6PM.  It wasn’t too busy so we got a table straight away.  I got there first and so sat alone for 5 minutes taking pictures of things while listening to the authentic Japanese musics (there were two songs on at the same time for extra authenticity).

 

Look at this fancy rabbit, she is beautiful.

Matthew arrived and we looked through the menu, I decided to try the Tako Karaage which is basically deep fried octopus.  Matthew got chicken Gyoza which he got a taste for during our visit to Japan.   I ordered the spicy ramen and Matthew had the Pork Ramen.  We also got a medium cold sake to share.  When the sake arrived, it came with a small starting salad covered in what can only be described as “Yaaaaaas dressing”

Sake and salad with Yaaaas dressing

Sake and salad with Yaaaas dressing

I have only ever had Tako Karrage at Yo Sushi, I didn’t get to try it while in Japan.  This was…similar, but a bit of a mixed bag.  It tastes fresher, and unlike at Yo Sushi, you get tentacles and everything.  Some of the pieces were delicious, and the texture was incredible, while others were so chewy that I felt like I was losing weight while chewing.

Toku Karage (Deep fried octopus)

Toku Karage

Matthew’s chicken gyoza was decent, I had one of them and can safely say they are a safe choice with little reward, but little risk.

Safe Gyoza

Safe Gyoza

Within 5 minutes of finishing our starters, our Ramen came.  These Ramen looked proper authentic with one exception.  THAT EGG, it’s just a boiled egg cut in half.  This is not what I came to expect from Ramen, I expect a sort of brown egg with a medium-soft yolk.  I was disappointed immediately before even tasting the broth.

Spicy Ramen with the boring egg

Spicy Ramen with the boring egg

I then tasted the broth, it was delicious…I can forgive the egg, but I won’t forget the egg.

This thing tasted really good though, it was just spicy enough without being off putting.  The noodles were cooked to perfection, but not my favourite type of noodle (slightly too super noodles like for me) and the greens were just like Japan.  The pork was decent, but not a highlight. The egg was awful and I was right to be disappointed.

Matthew drinking Sake

Matthew drinking Sake

Matthew had the pork Ramen, we think… He ordered it, and it had Pork in it, but the lady kept calling if beef so we’re not entirely sure.  He wasn’t as impressed with his Ramen, and after tasting it I can understand why, it’s as a bit bland in comparison to mine, but it was very similar in taste to several places we had ramen in when we visited Japan so I think it was pretty authentic.

Matthew's Pork or Beef Ramen

Matthew’s Pork or Beef Ramen

I am using the word authentic a lot.  I have had better everything from other places I’ve been to, but this was probably the most authentic Japanese experience you can get if you’re looking for the type of food you get when you’re in a village near a temple a few miles out of Kyoto, because this is the type of food you get.

When we asked for the receipt it came promptly with a slice of orange!

Receipt and Orange slice

Look, an orange slice!

We are trying Ramen, and Ramen was only one of the many dishes that Lingo serve.  I would love to go back and try one of their platters and see how that compares.

Dat menu doe

 

After visiting Lingo, I have decided that I need to change my rating system.  I can’t just talk about how good the Ramen is, there’s more to it than that.  So there are now two ratings, I have gone back to my previous review of Shoryu and updated that.

I rate Lingo

RA (out of RAMEN)
AUTHENT (out of AUTHENTIC)

Matthew decided to make some tough new years resolutions including trying Timeouts top Ramen places in London.  To help him through this difficult time, I have decided to join him on this edeaver.  We went to Japan in 2015 and had some of the best Ramen ever and are now seeing if London can compete.

The first place we went to was Shoryu in Soho.

Matthew outside Shoryu in Soho

We started with a steamed bun each, I had the Prawn version while Matthew decided to opt for Chicken.  Matthew was definitely a better judge of steamed bun, as although I was happy with mine after the first bite, I quickly suggested having half each after seeing his face after his first bite.  I was pretty happy with our decision to share as the chicken one was pretty much the best.  Matthew was so happy he declared that the sauce was good enough to eat off the counter (while eating some spilt sauce from the bun from the counter).

We aren’t here for the Steamed buns though, we’re here to talk about the Ramen.

Matthew went for the Dracula Tonkotsu, and I went for the Karaka Tan Tan Tonkotsu, both cost £12.50 and are decent portions.

The Karaka Tan Tan Tonkotsu is spicy and comes with a minced pork rather than with char siu BBQ pork which is a shame, because when I was in Japan, I had pretty much the same style of Ramen with the pork included for less money. First taste of the Ramen and I am hit with salt, it tastes very salty, but then the rest of the flavours kick in and you’re left with a decent, if not spectacular Spicy Ramen flavour.  One thing I was disappointed with was the egg, you only get 1 half an egg and it doesn’t seem to be the sort of tea stained boiled egg you get in Japan (They use soy sauce and other things to give the white of the egg flavour).

Just one half an egg, and it’s white.

The Dracula Tonkotsu is quite delicious with a super strong flavour of garlic (hence the name).  It comes with the char siu that my Ramen lacked and the same half an egg, it also comes topped with ‘garlic chips’.   If I could go again, I would go with this Ramen, and remember to bring my toothbrush for afters.

Didn’t quite finish mine

In addition to the food, we also had cocktails.  Matthew had the Fuyu Lemon, which is basically lemon and ginger loveliness.  I had the Matcha Detox (no alcohol) which was really nice and included matcha green tea powder.

Overall, I would Rate Shoryu

RAM (Out of RAMEN)

 

rendition1.imgThis game is incredible, and I haven’t even played the multiplayer.

Here are the 5 things about the game that I think.

1. The single player experience is just that, an experience.  It’s rare a game gives you the feels while still being fun to play.  I was genuinely close to tears within 5 minutes, I was hungover and cry at most things while hungover though.

2. The game is gorgeous, the engine used in Battlefield is the same as the one used in Star Wars Battlefront and is equally stunning, and in some places even better.
rendition1.img (1)

3. It’s not as realistic as I thought it would be.  Your health recharges, you have a lot of automatic / semi automatic weapons that weren’t as common in WW1 (most were bolt action rifles according to wikipedia).

4. The tank section is just incredible, you feel like you’re in the film Fury but with an older tank in a different war.

5. Just buy it.  There’s no reason not to.  You can get it on PC from CDKeys for only £35.99

http://www.cdkeys.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=battlefield+1

 

itunes

In this episode we venture into travel podcasting by telling you all about our trip to Japan, our investigator investigates the disappearance of Shania Twain and Matthew invents a movie “quiz”.

So let’s talk about Japan guys. It’s literally amazting. It’s the most incredible place that either of us have been. But c’mon, it’s 2016, I can’t describe how good it is in words, and even though it’s a delight even our podcast doesn’t do Japan as much justice as this collection of gifs.

Exhibit 1 – The locals

This is girl group AKB48...because there are actually 48 members of the band

This is girl group AKB48…because there are actually 48 members of the band

Exhibit B – The sporting events

This is cute guys waddling...watch our #Rio2016

This is cute guys waddling…watch out #Rio2016

Exhibit 4 – The respect for nature

language

Next Exhibit – Nature’s respect for you

Final Exhibit – The food!

Still got no idea what the white and pink swirly thing is!

Still got no idea what the white and pink swirly thing is!

So yeah, see, Japan it totes amaze, or sick, or groovy or some other slang word meaning really bloody brilliant.

In the next episode, we’ll have more Freakin Fast Film Fun, but until then, we’ll leave you with this thought from our incredible Tea Ceremony

This is the only time we will ever be in this moment.

Deep man.

itunesHello everyone,

We’ve been gone for a few months to rest our voices so we can come back at you like Cleopatra from the 90s.

cleo

In this episode, we talk about what else is back, drunk cinema, caffeine and it’s affects on the body and music from people in the world. Have a listen!

I assume that, having passed the baton to me, Adam’s excitement at being a travel blogger has gone the same way as his baking obsession (which lasted two weeks) and his Nutribullet (four weeks).

Actually Matthew, I still use the Nutribullet for my breakfast I just get up 2 hours before you so you wouldn’t notice.  Also, it’s not my fault that everything I baked tasted like washing up liquid.

However, for you, dear reader, this can only be a good thing.

I take up the blogging on the morning of our second day in Biarritz…

After a sit down shower (the apartment we were in had a sloping ceiling and standing was not an option) we quickly erased all traces that we’d ever been there. Our train from Biarritz to Bordeaux wasn’t until the early afternoon so we arranged to leave our luggage and go for a final explore/ice cream.

I was disappointed that after 10:00 all the nearby café’s already seemed to be closing up for a siesta. Do they even have siesta in France?! So instead, we headed to Biarritz market ‘Les Halles’ in the hope of finding an indulgent patisserie. Several aisles of enormous vegetables and pungent cheese later we continued our search for breakfast.

Market with Matt

With our hunger pangs mounting we found brasserie Le Royalty (http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187080-d1809240-Reviews-Le_Royalty-Biarritz_Basque_Country_Pyrenees_Atlantiques_Aquitaine.html) where we picked up petit dejuner of bread, croissants, preserves, OJ and hot drink for 7€. Just around the corner we found Maison Adam (http://www.maisonadam.fr/boutique-en-ligne/), and you can imagine the squeals of excitement that he’s supressing in this picture.

Maison Adam

We had a couple of hours to kill, and wanted to soak up as much of the incredible view as we could, so headed back to the beach and headed north. There was a lighthouse in the mid distance, and before we knew it, we were climbing steps to get to its base.

Lighthouse in Biarritz

Stopping briefly to watch what Adam said was ‘a poor blind woman thinking she’s fishing’

Blind woman fishing

The view from there was good, but somehow not quite as breath-taking looking back at the bay as it was looking out from it. We grabbed a quick drink (Adam: Water, Matt: Fresh OJ) and tried our luck with the giant sundial…which thought it was 3 in the afternoon in November.

Still a great view

Adam also got excited on seeing a quintessentially French looking guy in a beret.

FRENCH MAN

FRENCH MAN

As we made our way back to collect our luggage we stopped in for another ice cream. After some time Adam emerged from Dodin (http://www.dodin.eu/) with two ice creams and having ‘educated’ the French on grapefruits. A quick beer later and we were on the road again.

Having watched 3 series of The Amazing Race before our travels, I got super excited every time we got on a new mode of transport! The bus to Biarritz train station cost 1€ and took us about 25 mins.

Matt wanted this image for some reason

Matt wanted this image for some reason

We arrived about an hour before our train, but with enough time to book our tickets and eat lunch. I had a steak which was still mooing, but despite my reservations I ate it, and was pleasantly surprised.

Our train was BUSY, thankfully we had reserved seats. I made some good headway through my book (Five People You Meet In Heaven – 3 stars) and Adam went through the photos to determine which ones were publishable.

Arriving in Bordeaux was the first time that my meticulous planning let us down. Following a fair amount of UK-based stress (hiring a car without a credit card is tricky) and several laps of the station we failed to find the car hire office. It turns out it’s a good 15 minute walk from the station in a sketchy area. Despite having booked over the phone with Avis before leaving, the car hire lady bamboozled me with additional charges, deposits, insurance uplifts and other things. I’d like to tell you how much the car hire cost, but frankly I don’t know!

Driving in central Bordeaux is NOT recommended. Pedestrians have no regard for the road, likewise for bikes, and most of the other motorists. Add to that rush hour traffic, narrow 18th century cobbeled streets and a backwards car and it’s an understatement to say that I was a bit stressed.

We found a secure car park (Place Camille Julian, not exactly a bargain at 19€ per day, but it was largely our fault for booking a car for what was essentially a city break!). We collected the AirBnB keys and entered the property. After hanging out in a dark, damp tunnel which smelled strongly of fish trying to figure out which apartment we needed, we eventually realised we were in the wrong building, on the wrong street!

Scary Alley

Once we finally found our digs we dumped our stuff and took a moment to recover from the stress of the whole situation.

We had a quick walk around the local area we decided to take dinner at Le Chaudon, largely because it looked like the sort of restaurant that Carrie Bradshaw would casually hang out in. On reflection she’d probably stretch a little further than 19€ for a three course meal, and I wouldn’t blame her.

We retired to the apartment to devise a plan for the following day.

It took us just over 2  hours to get from San Sebastian to Biarritz.  After the  initial sadness of only spending a few hours in San Sebastian, I was relieved to find that we were in somewhere equally as beautiful.Biarritz

Imagine if Blackpool was beautiful and in France and clean and hot and everything that Blackpool isn’t. That’s what you get with Biarritz. We used Airbnb and stayed about 3 minutes’ walk from the beach on Rue Du Port Vieux. The apartment was comfortable and the host was lovely. We ‘checked in’ and then immediately went for a walk to the beach until we came across this amazing train bus thing.
Trainbus

We hopped on this for a quick tour of Biarritz, taking us around the town in roughly 40 minutes with a free audio guide and the novelty of being in a train bus. It was €6 each, but worth it for these views View in Biarritz

And being in a train bus

IMG_0949 Adam and Matt and a trainbus

We then went for an ice cream, or as they say in French “J’adore L’glace” and had a walk around the coast. We saw so many good things. For example

    1. Matthew did this
IMG_09942. A dog did this
doggy in the water
Doggy getting out of the water
3. I had a beer here
Beer drinking spot4. I found this view
Amazing View

Our Airbnb host recommended a place for us to have dinner while watching the sunset. It was a place called Eden Rock.
Eden Rock Biarritz

We had a meat and cheese plate which was incredible and about 20€. We then had a few beers and watch the sunset while talking to some pilots from America. They were proper republicans and eventually we had to leave otherwise I would have said something they would have regretted. We then went for a quick walk and then went back to the apartment to sleep.

Sunset in Biarritz

 

 

On the Sunday we left Bilbao by coach and  traveled to San Sebastian where we had 3 hours before  catching another coach to Biarritz.

Those three hours were three of the coolest of the holiday.  The weather was beautiful and the town is incredible to walk through.

We got a bus from the coach station into the centre (costing 1.65€ for a single journey).   It  took about 10 minutes and we ended up here.
San Telmo MuseoaThere were about 30 people knocking around and we thought we were in a ghost town, we walked just to the right of the San Telmo Museoa (they grey building  above) and ended  up at the sea with some incredible views.  It’s amazing how a sunny day and some water can put a smile on your face.
San SebastianWe then had a walk around the town, which has some really old looking  buildings and art around the streets which is nice.
Old Building in San SebastianArt in San Sebastian

We rounded a corner and were confronted with a massive crowd down one street just opposite the building above.

Busy street in San SebastianIsn’t it weird how everywhere seems to really like to advertise their pharmacies?  We powered our way through the busy street thinking we would head towards that church in the background of the above image, unfortunately Matthew joined a marching band instead.

Matthew joining a march

We then got distracted by boats (It was the day of the boat racing or something)

Boats

We didn’t have a lot more time and so we decided we should head back to the coach station.  On the way to the bus stop we were confronted with mental protesters who thought it was a good idea to throw fireworks out of a window to protest about who knows what.  (We later found out there was a vote on if the area should  become independent from Spain the day we were there and the protests were likely to do with that)

Then we got a bus back to the coach station via this fountain.
FountainThen it was off to Biarritz!

Day 1

We arrived in Bilbao at 23:00 on Friday 4th September after our flight through Vueiling was cancelled and changed without us knowing until we went to check in. What a bunch of turds. The flight should have been at 18:40, but was pushed back to 20:00 and then we didn’t take off until 20:30. When we were in the air, the stewards did not do a very good job of serving us drinks as we didn’t get any drinks. Matthew was grumpy at this –

Matthew looking grumpy

Once in Bilbao we got a taxi from the airport which took about 20 minutes to get to the centre where our hotel (Hotel Ercilla) was located, it cost about 25€. We arrived in the hotel, dropped off our stuff and immediately went out and got drunk at the nearest bar we could find. There was a great sense of ‘I don’t care who’s car this is, I will lean on it and rest my drink on it’s roof’ which was nice. Speaking fluent Spanish I ordered too many drinks because the barman was obviously not listening to me. One of these drinks was called Kalimotxo (pronounced ‘Calimocho’) which was a mix of equal parts cheap red wine and Coca Cola. It is much nicer than it sounds and got me suitably drunk. Then we went to a kebab shop but it was closed and we ended up with a Subway sandwich instead.

Day 2

Our second day (only full day) in Bilbao involved a lot of walking and some busing. Our first point of call was a rock that Matthew got unnervingly excited about.
Matthew on a rock We then found the only reason Matthew wanted to come to Bilbao (he wasn’t aware of the rock until we passed it), the Guggenheim Museum. This is a freaking awesome building from the outside, it looks amazing from any angle and had quite a lot of ‘art’ outside, mostly by the artist Jeff Coons including this giant dog.

Giant flower dog Entry to the museum is 15€ per adult and includes an audio guide in the price.

Matthew with the audio guides

Matthew with the audio guides

Inside the museum you have 4 distinct sections. The first is a section dedicated to metal swirls that you walk through. I was underwhelmed by this as it was a bit like walking through a dangerous building site.
Matthew in a giant metal thing
The second section was an audio and visual piece dedicated to birds and oil I think. Up stairs on the top floor you have an ‘artist’ who has pieces reminiscent of a child’s drawings, but with words like ‘Black Police, oh the irony’ written on them. I didn’t like this section because I don’t like ‘art’ that I could do.

Then onto the middle floor we have the Jeff Koons exhibition. This was OK, with some interesting pieces including this cat in a sock.
Cat in a sock by Jeff Coons

We then walked to the old town section of the city and had a walk around. There were a lot of shops, but very few of them were open, which we found strange for a Saturday. We decided it was time to eat and had what the locals call ‘tapas’ but it’s not like any tapas I  have had and it was good. Walking through the old town we found a big square called Plaza Nueva 10 and had a look at the options at the various bars, restaurants and cafes. It turns out the offers were all pretty much the same which was basically tapas sandwiches.
All of the tapas sandwiches

We found a place called Bertok Berria which offered 6 tapas sandwiches and a bottle of red or white wine for only €15! What a bargain, you’d pay this just for the wine in London, and it would be a rubbish wine. This wine was very good and got us a bit too drunk for 2PM but in a good way.  The only  issue I had was t hat in the prawn thing, I had to remove the poo pipe.
Prawn poo removal
Following lunch we wandered for a short while until we found a place to buy desert. We ended up with one of these things to share, unfortunately I was too intoxicated to remember what it was called but everywhere sold them.
Egg cake thing
They are basically an egg custard with a lot of meringue on top. I wasn’t aware of this otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased it as egg custards are gross.

Egg cake thingMatthew liked it.

We then went on a bus tour with an open bottle of wine we bought from a corner shop for 5€.

Bus tour

The bus tour was quite good but took us to places we had already seen through walking earlier in the day so there wasn’t much point as you can walk around fairly easily  in about 2 hours. We got the last one which took us around the town and finished outside the Guggenheim Museum at 18:00. This cost us 12€ each which is reasonable but you can walk around fairly easily as it isn’t a big city.
Back at the museumIt was then off to the hotel for a siesta. 3 hours later, we left the hotel and got the metro back to the old town area with a plan to go for dinner. The metro is a great way to get around Bilbao as it’s cheap (1.50€ for a single) and air conditioned. We walked through the old town and like earlier there wasn’t a lot open. We found a reasonably priced restaurant and had an average meal. I had steak with a cheese sauce, it was a bit like a weatherspoons steak to be honest (slightly below average). Matthew had cod with garlic mouse which he very much enjoyed. We shared a starter of cubed potatoes with some tomatoes and mayonnaise on and a bottle of red rioja and it came to just over €30 which is pretty good value.

Then we realised that we couldn’t easily get to our next destination by train as we were travelling on a Sunday and there were no trains…so we went back to the hotel to plan.