Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Top 5 Things We’ll miss about the UK

Well our time here in the UK has come to an end. We now begin to slowly make our way home to Australia. Our time here has been unforgettable and truly life changing.  Over the last 2 years I posted things on this blog largely to do with the cocktail culture and the hospitality trade outside of Australia. But our trip has been so much more than cocktails and food. It been about experiencing a lifestyle which is different to what we have been used to in Australia. Sure you can go and holiday to the UK and see all the popular tourist attractions, but it is only when you get stuck into the day to day life of working and living that you get a true understanding on what life is like in the UK.  It has also made Cara and I appreciate what we have in Australia. The large open spaces, the gorgeous weather, cheaper  living expenses amongst many other things. In saying this though, there are many things that we will miss about Great Britain. On our last night in London, we decided to visit a bar which we’ve been just recently been voted as one of the top 3 bars in the world, a place called “NightJar”. It is at this bar where we’ll have our last cocktail in the UK, and reflect on the last couple of years. We decided to think back and put together a list of the “Top 5 things we are going to miss about the UK”. 

(In no particular order)

The Classic British Pie:  In Australia you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find a “Schnitzel” on every pub menu. But in the UK, it's the classic pie. Usually a steak and ale pie, or a beef and Guinness pie, Cara and I had our fair share of this popular pub dish. Always served with chips and vegetables or in some cases, mushy peas.  Some of the pies we’ve had in our travels have been amazing. We think only maybe a very select few pubs in Australia could compete with the quality of the pies. 

You’ll never run out of things to do in London:  We have spent most of our time living and working in London and even after living somewhere for so long, there is always something new to do. A new exhibition, a new west end show, a different market to check out. You never seem to be short of things to do. I’ve heard this quote many times since being in London, “If you are tired of London, you are tired of life”.   This saying seems to mostly ring true. Although the hectic busy lifestyle of London can wear thin after a while. We’ll never get sick of exploring the city and discovering new hidden gems which make London so special.  

The Picture Perfect Countryside:  When we would go out our little adventures outside of London, and even when we toured the Scottish highlands, we could not get enough of how beautiful the landscape is outside the big sprawling cities. We saw plenty of pristine green rolling hills which look like landscape paintings, something which we don’t see much of in the baron outback of Australia. The Aussie countryside has it’s own beautiful qualities, but nothing as lush and green as the UK.

The Accessibility to the rest of Europe:  What makes the UK so appealing to many Australians is the close proximity to the rest of Europe. Cara and I have certainly taken advantage of this, doing quick trips to Italy (3 times), France (Twice), Spain and also Ireland just recently. Living in Australia means you are so far away from (what feels like) the rest of the world.  

Friends and Family:  Last but certainly not least, we will miss our friends and family who we’ve spent so much time with over the last 2 years. For me, I had the chance to see my extended family, who I’ve not seen since I was 3 years old. I have no memory of that trip, so it was like I was meeting family for the first time. They have all made Cara and I feel welcome and at home, and for that we can not thank them enough.  We’ve also made many close friends who we are all urging to make the trip to Australia. Whether they make it over or not, we’ll certainly stay in touch with all of them.  

Of course there are going to be many other things we’ll miss about the UK. I’ll miss the Haggis in Scotland. Haggis, Neeps and Tatties was a dish I fell in love with living in Glasgow. It’s something I probably won't eat for a long time, if ever again. Also, being a big fan of European football, I’ll miss watching games in primetime. It’s back to either staying up, or setting the alarm to watch live soccer in the middle of the night. 

We sat at Nightjar reflecting on our time and we had the pleasure of drinking some of their delicious cocktail creations. We were joined by some friends and began working our way through the menu. Every cocktail served at Nightjar was an amazing work of art. We could understand why this bar is regarded as one of the best in the world. It was hard to pick out our favourite drink of the night, so I thought I’d share 2 cocktails from our Nightjar experience. One drink which stood out was a cocktail called a “Naked Lady”. This consisted of Santa Teresa Claro Rum, Umeshu (a sour Japanese liqueur), lemon juice, egg white and grenadine. It was a simple drink with a nice, well balanced flavour, but what made this cocktail amazing, was it’s presentation. The use of icing sugar on the outside of the glass and the egg shell floating in the drink made for an interesting look. The egg shell was filled with tiny easter eggs and the foam created by shaking the egg white, made it strong enough to hold the weight of the shell. Along with the egg shell, was an assortment of berries, which added to the overall presentation of the drink. The recipe itself was quite simple, but the presentation made this cocktail fun and was certainly a conversation point with us all. Another cocktail which blew us away with it’s unique design was a drink called “Chicha Morada”. This consisted of vodka, sherry, date syrup and Peruvian blue corn soda. Again, another simple recipe, but the fact that it came out to our table served inside a butternut pumpkin and topped off with berries almost made the taste irrelevant. The cocktail looked so impressive it was almost too good to drink.  Every drink we ordered at Nightjar was a mystery as to how it would be served. It made for a fun filled evening with friends as we celebrated our last night in the UK.

As mentioned, Our time in the UK has been unforgettable. But our trip is far from done. Next stop... Iceland!!

“Naked Lady”
In a shaker:
45ml Santa Teresa Claro Rum
15ml Umeshu Liqueur
15ml Lemon Juice
Dash of Egg White
Dash of Grenadine
Shake Hard and Strain into Cocktail glass

“Chicha Morada”
Build inside a Butternut Pumpkin:
60ml Vodka
15ml Sherry
15ml Date Syrup
Add Crushed Ice
Top with Peruvian Blue Corn Soda
Garnish with Berries

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