Thursday, 24 January 2013

Fancie's new cafe - review

The day was cold, the air crisp and the ground covered in thick snow or slush.
I'd agreed to take my fifteen year old sister who I don't see often enough to her orthodontist appointment, and it just so happened that we were in the vicinity of Fancies fourth and newest establishment on Ecclesall road. It would have been rude not to stop by for lunch, so with snow sodden boots and an empty stomach we entered the cafe. 
It's not Fancies trademark pink which is both surprising and relieving. Instead there are exposed brick walls, dark wood and a counter heaving under the weight of their glorious treats on display.
The blackboard displays their specials and there are menu's with more choices. 
It's packed at 1pm on a Monday with families, it is a snow day after all. 
We were seated at a tiny bar table and I was worried about how on earth I was going to fit my food on. I precariously balanced my belongings on the bar and my camera dropped onto the floor. Luckily another table complete with comfy sofa was vacated and we quickly relocated there. 
The sofa was only slightly swallowing us whole. 
I enjoyed my green tea, accompanied by timer to guide the brewing time. The teapot is quirky and the leaves are whole and fresh.

I ordered a 4 (!!) egg omelette with feta and roasted vegetables, my sister ordered chilli cheese jacket potato. We waited patiently, watching the families and trendy young folk we had as our dining companions. 
Along came our food, we each took pictures. It's alright, no one bats an eyelid these days when it comes to food photography. Thanks hipsters and instagram. 
Anyway, the omelette was clearly huge, the biggest I've ever eaten undoubtedly. A few new potatoes and leaves kept it company until it was re-homed in my belly. 
I enjoyed my omelette, my sister loved her meal. This  place would be perfect should you have a hangover as I'm sure many of the visitors are already aware


We finished by sharing my first ever whoopie pie, the flavour being praline. I couldn't even finish my massive omelette but you cannot go to Fancie and not order cake. It's like going to Starbucks and not ordering coffee. I'm not much of a sugar addict anymore so two bites of this treat that was reminiscent of a Thornton's alpini was enough to satisfy.

Nice place and atmosphere, my favourite out of the four definitely.

Food - 8
Value - 9
Service - 10

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reykjavik - place of mountains, beards and Bjork

I just spent four days in beautiful Iceland. Travelling alone, I explored Reyjavik with plans to see and eat everything but not enough kronas in my wallet. I had an incredible time there.
The main highlight was bumping into one of my lifetime idols - Bjork! She was just strolling down Laugavegur, the main shopping street. I almost fainted and asked her if she was Bjork, even though it was obvious but she looked down then ran across the road! Sadly no photo for me then but still an amazing experience.
The atoms aurora borealis were being lazy and didn't put on a very good display so was rather underwhelmed by that. 
It's not as cold as I expected, the days were between 0-9 degrees. It was actually cooler as I arrived back home. Also the just 5 hours of light took some getting used to.
A welcoming, warm and peppery smelling massive greenhouse was another interesting visit made even better by it's home made tomato soup which was undoubtedly the best I've had, and I'm not a fan of tomatoes normally. Rows of the juicy fruit in various stages of growth were on display and pots of basil and scissors were on tables for you to snip into your soup.
The food was hit and miss. Cafe Loki was incredible , the food was delicate and simple, their rye bread ice cream is just spectacular. Cafe Babalu is quirky and cosy with the best chocolate banana crepes, bulging with thick chocolate sauce. Sushibarinn had wonderful fresh sushi and very delicious salmon tartar with avocado, chilli and black and white sesame. Those three are a must if you visit.
I saw a few geysers and waterfalls too but got very lonely out there, despite being used to travelling alone - at 19 I travelled to Greece on my own for two weeks, saganaki cheese..hello!
Perhaps the loneliness was due to the hotel being a fair walk away from the centre and no one else my age staying there, though I'm pretty sure they were all British, which can be disappointing. 
I'd recommend younger folk (or those young at heart) to stay at the hostel on Laugavegur as the staff are ridiculously friendly and travellers just hang out in the lobby there, enjoying the live music and other activities.

Here are some photos in no particular order.
Lovely soja latte at a restaurant that had no name (popular theme in Reykjavik)
Hotel buffet dinner, soup was so salty!

First introduction to Plokkfiskur, Icelandic fish stew..wasn't expecting this and didn't enjoy. Had the texture of tuna on a jacket potato after being chewed for a while. The bread was lovely, very syrupy

Crepe with maple syrup, flaky and light

Some street art that is prevalent across Reykjavik

Had one of those brownies, they were lovely and the girls here were kind and chatty, recommending the best places for nights out.

At the greenhouse

More art

More tomatoes

The tomato cafe

Lovely soup

More salty vegetable soup at a restaurant out near the geysers

This pecan pie was delicious, great pastry and wobbly sweet filling

Wrapped up enjoying the landscape

Salmon tartare at Sushibarinn

Sushi platter at Sushibarinn

Gorgeous generously filled  chocolate and banana crepe at the wonderful Cafe Babalu

Cafe Babalu

The view from the church tower, looks like the edge of the world!

Simple and elegant food at Cafe Loki. Egg and pickled herring on one rye, incredible buttery rich (much better than before) plokkfiskur on the other accompanied by amazing rye bread ice cream

Traditional Icelandic food - Skyr served with cream and sugar. How I didn't get ill I have no idea!

Amazing bakery. Bought some rye bread to take home and it's dense and sour and lovely

Yellow house

Church tower

Seafood coconut soup at Sushi Samba, also had calamari tempura and the most incredible basil aioli

Inside Cafe Babalu

A lovely scene on a beautiful walk