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    Tequila, Burrito, Por Favor – Club Burrito, Canterbury

    When I visited Canterbury a couple of weekends ago, my friends and I made the most of being back on student turf and did what students do best… we ‘painted the town red’ two nights on the trot (woahhhhowow).

    However, after an alcohol fueled night on the Friday, we awoke on the Saturday morning feeling a little worse for wear and desperate for something stodgy to soak up the remaining cider sloshing around in our stomachs.

    Therefore, keen to make the most of being back in Canterbury, we trudged our way into the city centre, in search of salvation – of the food variety. Having heard a lot about the delicious and affordable burritos, at one of Canterbury’s newest restaurants ‘Club Burrito’, we thought we would check it out. Carbs – check, cheese – check, meat – check… we were always going to be a bunch of easy to please customers.

    Nestled down one of Canterbury’s quaint, cobbled side streets, Club Burrito sticks out like a sore thumb. With its wacky rodeo-esque sign, vibrant colour scheme, quirky graffiti drawings, kaleidoscopic fairy lights and rustic outside seating area, you can’t help but be enticed by this restaurant’s eccentric, Mexican charm.

    The inside of the restaurant has a chilled out hostel vibe. The bar is lined with vibrant bottles of tequila, vivid coloured soft drinks and Mexican inspired beers and spirits, whilst the walls are plastered in rustic panels of wood, interesting pictures and traditional, brightly coloured masks.

    Club Burrito, Canterbury - Inside - My Culture Craving

    After admiring the eclectic decor, it didn’t take us long to find our way to the counter.

    Laid out like a posh Subway, you order at the counter, watch as they create your heavenly Mexican mix of yum and pay there and then – perfect for when you don’t fancy waiting around for your food (or, when you’re hungover and hungry).

    With a choice of burritos or tacos and a filling of beef, chicken, pork, veggie and toppings, you’re bound to be spoilt for choice. Whatever you choose, everything on the menu is £6.50 (50p extra for guacamole) and of a substantial size. They even serve the burritos wrapped in cute personalised paper and cradled in adorable baskets (it’s the little touches).

    Club Burrito, Canterbury - Burrito - My Culture Craving

    Despite being a little bit messy to eat (I looked like a starved warthog as I devoured mine), my chicken burrito was ‘delicioso’ and really hit the spot. My friend even went back for seconds!

    As well as being a hip place to chill out for a spot of lunch, Club Burrito also hosts a diverse range of exciting events. From open mic nights and live bands to club nights and poetry readings, there’s something for everyone at this upbeat saloon.

    So, head over to Club Burrito for a couple of cocktail potions, a tequila slammer and some slurred poetry…

    I’m hoping next time I visit I’ll be feeling a little more up to sampling one tequila, two tequila, three tequila… four?

    Find out more on their website or on their Facebook or Twitter page.

    4 of my Favorite Restaurants in Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire

    Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the surrounding area are home to some of the most highly esteemed restaurants in the country. From Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin star restaurant, The Fat Duck in Berkshire to Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant, Le Manoir in Oxfordshire, there is adventurous and exquisite food in arms reach of my front door… food, which unfortunately, I can’t bloomin’ well afford (wait until I’ve got into full swing of this employment malarkey, I will treat myself to a meal at one of these restaurant… for blogging purposes only, of course).

    However, in the mean time, my family and I have become experienced in the art of hunting down restaurants in the area, which deliver quality food at an affordable price. Here are our picks of the best restaurants close to our home village, Brill:

    The Angel Restaurant, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire

    This may be a slightly biased choice as I have worked at The Angel Restaurant for over 6 years now however, I have no doubt that the restaurant’s regular diners would agree that eating at The Angel is a culinary delight.

    Known for its outstanding selection of fresh fish, charming character, beautiful conservatory (especially when their Christmas decorations are up) and friendly and attentive staff (if I don’t say so myself), dining here is a must if you’re in the area!

    Whether you are looking to enjoy a refreshing pimm’s on the terrace during the summer or snuggle up next to a roaring log fire during the winter, The Angel is a memorable experience all year round.

    With meals ranging from £12 – £28 (for the fillet steak) and a great value set menu on offer during the week (two courses for £10.95, three courses for £15) there is no excuse not to check this gem out.

    Dishes you must try: The Thai spiced lobster risotto, twice baked blue cheese souffle, smoked haddock (main course) and chocolate fallen angel.

    The Mole and Chicken, Easington, Buckinghamshire

    Set in the tiny hamlet of Easington, The Mole and Chicken is blessed with scenic views, a homely atmosphere and top notch food!

    I have never been disappointed by the food at this charismatic restaurant and my family and I continue to go back here as often as possible (or, as often as one of us will agree to be designated drive… soooo not as often as we’d hope).

    We went for a meal here last week for my Sister’s birthday (I pulled the short straw… no wine for Lydia) and the food was just as scrumptious as ever!

    Although the food may seem a little pricey, it is well worth the set back and is a small percent of what you would pay at one of the Michelin restaurants close by.

    Dishes you must try: The confit duck salad, steak (the sauces are, stick your finger in the jug and lick the plate, yummy) and shoulder of lamb.

    The Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor, Oxfordshire

    If you’re a fan of Made in Chelsea, you may recognize this restaurant from the scene when Richard takes Kimberley on a first, ridiculously extravagant, date.

    However, this restaurant has A LOT more to offer than it’s Made in Chelsea claim to fame and helipad, one of these things being its well deserved Michelin star!

    Nestled among the secluded Chiltern Hills, The Sir Charles Napier provides mouth-watering, quality food in an idyllic setting, at an affordable price.

    Although their a la carte menu may appear pricey (as would be expected from a Michelin star restaurant) they offer a set lunch and dinner menu from Tuesday – Friday at the unbelievable price of £19.50…. I KNOW!

    Whether enjoyed among the unique sculptures (by Michael Cooper) that are dotted around the restaurant or on the blooming veranda, which fools you into thinking you’re in the South of France, the food is so exquisite it doesn’t really matter where it’s eaten!

    Dishes you must try: The haddock and cheese souffle, John Dory and chocolate and orange pave with salted caramel ice cream and popcorn… put your tongue back into your mouth and stop drooling…

    The Pheasant, Brill, Buckinghamshire

    Overlooking the fabulous windmill, The Pheasant is the perfect place to relax with a crisp glass of wine and watch the sun set over the rolling hills of Buckinghamshire.

    Although The Pheasant is a lot more ‘pub-like’ than the other restaurants and the service is more laid back, the food is delicious, wholesome and not pretentious (basically… people like my greedy Dad don’t go hungry) and can be enjoyed looking over one of the best views in Bucks!

    Dishes you must try: The fish sharing board, pork belly and pie of the day (great value and big enough to feed a small army).

    The Epic of Gilgamesh in Camden, London

    Having read the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ for my English degree, when my Mother proposed going for dinner at this swanky Pan – Asian restaurant situated in the heart of Camden Stables Market, I was intrigued.

    Known for its mishmash of oriental cuisine and extravagant, Babylonian décor, Gilgamesh is a memorable experience for all of the senses!

    After making our way up the escalator (it is very grand) we were greeted by an ornate wall strewn in intricately carved dark wood.

    As we were shown through to our table it became visible that this carved wood spread throughout the restaurant like a beautiful disease – chiselled into the walls, ceiling, chairs, bar and tables.

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, London - My Culture Craving

    The awe-inspiring embellishments were something you would admire in a museum – and they were everywhere.

    The tables and chairs were just as complex as the rest of the restaurant. Offering a mixture of grand, red booths and striking, throne-like chairs decorated in carvings of Babylonian king’s heads and arms – they were both bizarre and majestic.

    This royal ambiance was further enhanced by the table decorations. Scattered with red petals, candles and authentic table wear, all complimented by the twinkling fairy lights which were draped around the restaurant – I felt like I was dining in a royal chamber.

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, London - Camden - My Culture Craving

    The food was just as splendid as the décor.

    We ordered a mixture of different oriental dishes including, pomello banh trang, prawn and scallop dim sum, prawn tempura, vegetarian red Thai curry and Gilgamesh fried rice.  Although all of the dishes were delicious, the red Thai curry was outstanding and tasted exactly as it did when I tried it in Thailand…

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, London - Food - My Culture Craving

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, London - Feast - My Culture Craving

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, London - Curry - My Culture Craving

    If we had not been in such a respectable restaurant I think I would have licked the bowl!

    However, as the food is a little on the pricy side, if you are on a budget, you could always pop in for one of their many yummy cocktail (unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try one so can’t recommend) and have a nosy around…

    And you know, while you’re at it, you may as well order a bowl of red Thai curry as well.

    I promise you. It is a decision you will not regret…

    Glitz at the Ritz – Picadilly Circus, London

    It was my best friends last couple of weeks in England.

    Soon, she was going to be packing up her life in the quaint village of Brill, Buckinghamshire to move to the scenic land of the Kiwis – New Zealand, and we were desperately trying to think of something we could do which would give her an unforgettable British send off.

    So we asked ourselves – what is ‘typically’ British?

    Fish n’ chips, the Royal Family, roast dinners, beer, the London eye, pubs, The Houses of Parliament, football, tea… TEA… AFTERNOON TEA!

    And where better place to go to indulge in an extravagant selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones than – The Ritz!

    Glitz at the Ritz - My Culture Craving

    After getting dressed up in what I hoped was suitable attire for The Ritz and finding my way through the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus (the closest London tube station to The Ritz), I arrived at the hotel with a feeling of excitement and anticipation.

    Following adjusting my outfit, discreetly changing my shoes (heels on the underground were a big no no for me… I have been known to fall over standing still so I’d have had no hope in heels) and finding my friend and both of our Mums, we glided (as elegantly as we could) past the immaculately groomed door men, through the grand entrance hall and into the spectacular Palm Court (where afternoon tea is served).

    Glitz at the Ritz - Hallway - My Culture Craving

    Glitz at the Ritz - Decor - My Culture Craving

    The decor, was just beautiful.

    The ceiling was sprinkled with a mixture of white and gold intricate carvings, which were illuminated by the exquisite chandeliers that twinkled throughout the room.

    The magnificent ceiling was complimented by the crisp, white table cloths, gold chairs, ornate blue, white and silver tableware, vibrant, potted flowers and the serene sound of the harmonious band, which sailed through the room.

    Glitz at the Ritz - Table - My Culture Craving

    Glitz at the Ritz - Glasses - My Culture Craving

    Glitz at the Ritz - Cup - My Culture Craving

    After being seated we were instantly poured a glass of champagne and offered a selection of luxurious tea and coffee.

    Glitz at the Ritz - Champagne - My Culture Craving

    Once we had relaxed into our seats, a traditional three tier tray bursting with lavish finger sandwiches, colourful macaroons and an assortment of scrumptious pastries and cakes was swooped onto our table.

    Glitz at the Ritz - Food - My Culture Craving

    We were in finger food heaven.

    After demolishing all of the sandwiches we had been given, my friend and I sat there pondering over the minimal amount of sandwiches we had been given for the small fortune we had paid (£59 per person with champagne or £47 without) – how very wrong we were…

    In the corner of our eyes we both caught a glimpse of a large silver tray being carried from table to table by one of the attentive members of staff. A tray.. filled with more sandwiches!

    Two sandwich trays down and we decided it was about time we moved onto the scones… oh the scones – they were explosions of creamy, fruity yumminess.

    As we all admitted defeat on the food front we chatted about how much of a relaxing, memorable and British day we had all had – a day which, I hope, will encourage my best friend to come back to visit England, if not to see me, at least for another one of those impressive scones!

    If you have a special occasion coming up or you just want to feel like royalty for a couple of hours, head to The Ritz!

    It is definitely one to get ticked of off your bucket list and is worth every penny. However, reserve a table well in advance as they do book up very quickly.

    Afternoon tea takes place at – 11.30, 13.30, 15.30, 17.30 and 19.30 and be warned prices are going up as of 1st October 2014.

    Happy indulging 🙂

    The Canterbury Cafes

    During my three years studying at the University of Kent I have spent a considerable amount of time being in awe of and admiring the beauty of the city of Canterbury.

    Along side working hard for my studies and keeping up with my all important social life I have also tried my best to discover the ins and outs of what this historic city has to offer.

    Being an avid coffee drinker I spent my breaks from shopping in town… I mean buying books for my course, seeking out the best cafes.

    So, here are a collection of my favourite cafes I came across in Canterbury and why I think they offer something a little more unique than your bog standard Starbucks (not that I have anything against Starbucks… they sell a mug of refillable filter coffee the size of a tankard for just £1.50 – the perfect student hangover fix).

    The Canterbury Cafes - Tiny Tim's Tearooms - My Culture Craving

    Tiny Tim’s Tearoom

    This cute cafe is located in a rickety and supposedly haunted building (check out their website for the low down on the ghost sightings).

    It is hidden away down one of Canterbury’s many cobbled paths of off the high street and offers a diverse selection of coffee and tea from all over the world (I went for the Colombian cafetière which I would highly recommend).

    They also have an indulgent breakfast, lunch, cakes and desserts and afternoon tea menu all of which are at a reasonable price (£17.50 per person for afternoon/high tea and £34 per person for afternoon tea and a bottle of bubbly).

    If you are looking for a quaint yet, bustling cafe which serves traditional English and Kentish food and drink then look no further.

    Just be cautious when going to the toilet as this is where the ghosts are rumored to hang out…

    The Canterbury Cafes - Boho - My Culture Craving

    Boho 

    Probably my favourite cafe in Canterbury, Boho takes bohemian decor to new heights. Directly on the high street of Canterbury, you can’t help but be absorbed by this cafe’s wacky choice of wallpaper, eccentric gallery of clocks, bizarre array of table cloths and safari-like garden terrace.

    There’s enough to keep you busy here without even looking at the menu.

    However, it is most definitely worth having a look at the menu…

    On some of my many visits to Boho I have indulged in a fragrant bouillabaisse, a scrumptious Stilton and pine nut stuffed mushroom, a fresh parma ham, balsamic glaze and goat’s cheese sandwich and (if you’re not drooling by now) one of their impressive gourmet burgers –  all of which were washed down with a pint of Whitstable’s finest raspberry beer (interesting, but definitely worth a try).

    Although it may seem a little more pricey than some of the other cafes in Canterbury, the taste and presentation delivered here in the food lives up to a la carte restaurant standards and with the addition of the quirky decor and bustling atmosphere, it is a gem not to be missed whilst in Canterbury.

    The Canterbury Cafes - Oscar and Bentleys - My Culture Craving

    Oscar & Bentleys 

    This elegant and traditional cafe is a new addition to Canterbury (2012) and is a coffee shop with a difference – everything it serves is gluten-free.

    From having a couple of friends with an intolerance to gluten I understand how difficult it can be for them to find food which they can indulge in. Therefore, the emergence of this exciting new cafe was a god send for these friends – they could satisfy that itch for cake and biscuits without experiencing the repercussions.

    However, whether you are gluten-free or not, Oscar & Bentley’s grand, twinkling chandelier, inviting outside seating area and vast selection of affordable food (I’ve heard the duck wrap is a popular choice) and drink definitely still makes it a worthwhile visit!

    Last Thursday I went there after my graduation (keep an eye out for a post about graduating in the Cathedral) to make the most of their 25% off champagne offer.

    It’s safe to say… It was a moment of pure indulgence and luxury – but one well deserved… I like to think.

    Enjoy your coffee drinking and cake eating in Canterbury!