If you love eating out and haven’t got a Taste Card yet, you absolutely must. Salvador and Amanda is one of the places where you get 50% off food Monday-Thursday so that’s how we discovered this place, which is a stone’s throw from Covent Garden and Leicester Square stations.
This is one of the few tapas bars I’ve been to in the UK that has a genuinely Spanish feel to it. It’s underground, it’s candlelit, it’s warm, it’s ambient and throughout our entire meal we were accompanied by a guy playing Spanish guitar on a little bandstand in the middle of the restaurant. All of which made for an incredibly pleasant dining environment.
I’m not ashamed to say that between four of us we TOTALLY pigged out, ordering the Tortilla Española, Patatas Bravas, stuffed peppers, mini tuna pies, grilled queen half shell scallops with crispy Iberico ham, pan-fried baby chorizo, meatballs in tomato sauce, chicken wings roasted in lemon and chilli, chicken breast wrapped in Serrano ham… oh, and a lovely bottle of wine: the Terrassa Tempranillo Spain 2009.
The best bit? With our Taste Card discount, all of that cost us £19.50 a head. Not half bad for dinner in central London, eh?
The only downside of the place was that the service was a little slow, despite it not being that busy. We had to walk up to the bar every time we wanted to get the attention of a member of staff and our dishes were all served randomly and at different times. However, seeing as we got such a great bargain on the Taste Card, we didn’t make a fuss. I wouldn’t have been so happy to overlook it had we been paying the full price of about £40 per head though.
I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely love shopping, although I prefer to go at times that are a little quieter so that I’m not waiting in endless queues or being elbowed out of the way whilst browsing the sale racks. This is why I absolutely HATE shopping on Oxford Street as soon as we begin to even vaguely approach Christmas time. So, for a change, my boyfriend and I decided to head to Shepherd’s Bush and explore the enormous shopping mall that is Westfield.
I must admit, I was rather dubious about this place – I expected it to be crammed, busy and generic – but it wasn’t. There are several different parts to the mall – first, there’s ‘The Village’ where you’ll find the places that I can only dream of being able to afford to shop in: Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Burberry etc. I had a little nose around in these places, but everything costs about a squillion pounds and the ludicrously well turned-out shop assistants and their burly security guard chums don’t make you feel very welcome. After a very short while I felt it was time to seek out the more familiar environs of H&M, New Look, Topshop and Accessorize.
In this place you’ll find every generic high street store you can think of, and as they’re all flagship stores they’re all huge and incredibly well-laid out. It’s an absolutely pleasure to shop here. The sheer enormity of the place is quite dizzying though – you could easily lose an entire day wandering around (which we pretty much did).
My favourite part of Westfield though, was the food court. There’s a Pho (Vietnamese street food), a Mexican canteen, a mini Indian restaurant, Italian food, salad bars, a fish and chip place… it smells absolutely divine. I went to a little place called Ooze Risotteria where I had the most enormous salad for the bargain price of £7.95. Utterly delicious.