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Eating & drinking Lifestyle

Ole Tapas

OLE TAPAS
Address: 台北市大安區安和路一段109巷4號一樓 Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886 909 800 433
Hours: Weekday 6pm – 1am Weekend 6pm – 2am (Monday off)
Website: Ole Tapas FB page

Ole Tapas Bar is a Spanish restaurant and bar in Taipei. Previously located in the Shilin MRT area, a few months ago moved to the downtown, near Xinyi Anhe MRT, very easy to spot in a not-so-hidden alley thanks to its luminous sign and the outside fence painted with the Spanish flag. The interior is simply decorated with a few Spanish motifs, like posters or a Spanish map painted on the wall, creating a warm atmosphere.

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Its friendly chef and owner, Alain, comes from a French and Spanish family, making a singular mix from two very rich cultures, at least talking about gastronomy, and creating his own unique signature in each dish. He goes to the local market every morning, selecting the freshest ingredients by himself. Because of that, the menu changes everyday, rotating the selected dishes and making you want to try everything. The available dishes are posted on the wall, both in English and Chinese.

On this occasion, we tried the whisky shrimps (280 TWD), the clams with white wine sauce (280 TWD), the St. Pierre fish with French mustard (2 pieces for 200 TWD), the skewed piquillo with boletus (200 TWD), eggplant with black sugar cane and a few more. To drink, a good Spanish DO Rioja red wine from their wine collection.

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Eating & drinking Lifestyle

The Apollo

THE APOLLO
Address: 44 Macleay Street, Potts Point, New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 2 8354 0888
Hours: Mon – Thu 6pm – 09:30pm Fri – Sat 12pm – 11pm Sun 12pm – 09:30pm
Website: The Apollo’s FB page

During our holidays in Australia, on Christmas Eve we were in Sydney and all our Sydney friends were already out of the city. So my hubby and I decided to have a romantic dinner at The Apollo. It is located in the same neighborhood where we were staying and some friends recommended it to us, so it was perfect!

The Apollo is in a corner, where two of the walls have huge windows that let the natural light come inside during the day. At night, it is still cozy but the low lighting and the traffic lights outside make the atmosphere change, in a very intimate way. The elegantly minimalist refurbishment includes furniture all made of wood, bare walls of rough concrete, and warm and simple lamps.

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For dinner, we shared several dishes: fried king prawns (6 AUD EA), warm pita bread (4 AUD) served in an original cardboard box like the pizza ones, baked eggplant with pomegranate and almond salad (18 AUD), and grilled BBQ octopus with green olives and potato salad (26 AUD). To drink, two glasses of Nick O’Leary white wine (13.5 AUD each). And for dessert, we shared a walnuts file pastry with coffee cream (12 AUD).

The file pastry dessert was good, though a bit too sweet for my taste. Maybe it is because we were already quite full from the dinner. Everything was delicious, and you can feel that the ingredients are really fresh. I love this Greek cuisine style, traditional cooking with a modern twist, using new elements in the dishes. It is definitely an excellent choice for that or any other evening!

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Eating & drinking Lifestyle

Coogee Pavilion

COOGEE PAVILION
Address: 169 Dolphin St, Coogee NSW 2034, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9240 3000
Hours: Mon – Sun 07:30am – 12am
Website: Coogee Pavilion’s FB page

During our holidays in Australia, we did the Bondi to Coogee walk, near Sydney. It was summer, the sun was shining, the surfers were riding the waves, and we were walking the whole morning. When we arrived at Coogee beach, we saw the beautiful Coogee Pavilion building and we decided that it was time for a light lunch.

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Over 3 floors, it offers pizza, burgers and Mediterranean dishes. The ground floor as an outside terrace, where seagulls pick the food scraps, and an indoor space full of light and tables where people gather and share their food.

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Also on the ground floor, there is a nostalgic games arena with games like noughts and crosses, petanque, ping pong, a giant magnetic scrabble, etc., were kids and not-so-kids can play and have fun.

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On our way to the rooftop, we can appreciate that the whole place is inspired by the sea and decorated with maritime motifs, from the colors used to objects like buoys, paintings, etc., keeping the original spirit of the pavilion but in a modern way.

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The rooftop features four indoor and outdoor bars, all with a Coogee ocean view. The light and the ocean breeze entering through the windows fill the space. One remark: the rooftop area is an adults only space.

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As the weather was really warm, everybody was enjoying a cold drink outside. For a light lunch, we choose two light dishes asa summer tomato and watermelon salad with burrata, vincotto and basil (23 AUD), and raw tuna, white soy and roasted garlic oil, daikon, shiso, toasted nori (23 AUD), both super fresh and delicious! To think about these dishes, it still makes my mouth water!

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Eating & drinking Lifestyle

La Pepita

LA PEPITA
Address: Plaça Verdaguer, 9 Tarragona (Spain)
Tel: +34 699 493 448
Website: La Pepita’s FB page

During my stay in Spain, I went with some friends to have dinner at La Pepita, in Tarragona. La Pepita is a new restaurant located in the center of the city, near its older sister La Lola.

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As it’s typical in Spain, the restaurant has a terrace but, since it’s already a bit cold outside, we decided to have dinner inside. Its interior is cozy and welcoming, combining wooden tables and chairs with elements like lovely wallpapers, vintage objects and flowers everywhere, even hanging from the ceiling. One of my favorite pieces is that they have recycled old theater armchairs into seats for the restaurant.

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To start, we shared three tapas: hummus accompanied with bread (6.60€), braves al caliu (kind of spicy potatoes) (4.60€) and provolone with sobrasada (6.90€), also with some bread.

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Then we ordered two “pepites”, their specialty. A “pepita” is a kind of thin and crunchy dough, similar to puff pastry. One “pepita” was with cheddar cheese, bacon and egg (7.20€), and the other one was with chicken, goat cheese and lamb’s lettuce (7.10€).

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We finished this delicious dinner with two desserts (around 5€ each): an almond cake with cream, and a “pepita” that was double, one filled with white chocolate and the other with dark chocolate.

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Eating & drinking Lifestyle

VVG Hideaway

VVG HIDEAWAY
Address: 台北市士林區菁山路136號
Tel: 02 2862 6488
Hours: Mon – Sun 12pm – 9pm
Website: VVG Hideaway’s FB page

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VVG Hideaway is a restaurant that belongs to the VVG Group. VVG, that stands for “Very Very Good”, is one of Taiwan’s best known lifestyle brands. VVG Group leads a whole lifestyle concept; the group has a boutique hotel (VVG BB + B), a bistro (VVG Bistro [好樣餐廳]), a restaurant (VVG Thinking [好樣思維]), a cafe (VVG Action [好樣情事]), a restaurant themed for kids (and not so kids) (VVG Pomme [好樣蘋果兒]), a bookstore (VVG Something [好樣本事]), a bakery and a crafts/DIY boutique (VVG Chiffon [好樣喜歡]), and a shop, cafe & bookstore (文房VVG Chapter).

VVG Hideaway is in Yangmingshan mountain, in the outskirts of Taipei. It’s somehow hidden, a bit difficult to find, but totally worth the trip. The access is through a garden with a beautiful fountain.

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Going up the stairs, you can see an aromatic herbs garden with rosemary, basil, etc. Then you arrive at the outside terrace, which has a nice view, and the entrance of the restaurant.

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The building, all white bricks, big windows and skylights, has incredible amounts of light. The decoration is simple: white walls and some mirrors to reflect the light, wood furniture and light wood floors. Some curtains or folding screens create some corners and separate spaces to give more intimacy.

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The menu has a bit of everything: appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta and desserts. We ordered the sautéed assorted mushroom and bread salad with prosciutto and baked eggs (360NTD), and two sandwiches (380NTD each): one with French ham, cheese and seared vegetables; and another with shiitake mushroom and Grana padano cheese with homemade rosemary mayonnaise, both served with VVG chips.

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As there is always room for something sweet, we ordered two latte (220NTD each) and a carrot cake to share (180 NTD).

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It started raining after lunch, so we stayed taking a look at the store area. Imitating a big living room, some sofas face the big windows with views over the mountain, while other sofas face each other, perfect for calmed conversations while listening the sound of the rain. There is even an interior garden!

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At the store you can buy multiple things, from stationary products, craft supplies, handmade products, to books and travel guides, all from a curated selection by VVG.

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