Hilton Paris La Défense

Landing in Paris at around 7am I was heading to my hotel, the Hilton Paris La Défense, via the RER – 2 trains with a interchange at Châtelet – Les Halles for the onward train to La Défense – all up probably 75 minutes. I was hoping that I could check in early to get some shut eye after the flight from Hong Kong and I struck it lucky in that my room became available just as I was checking in around 10am.

If you’ve been to Paris you’ll know that La Défense is a little out of the city, but not too far. RER takes around 10 minutes, and from memory the Paris Metro was around 20 minutes to get into the city. Not too bad.

If you are at the Arc de Triomphe looking down the Champs-Élysées then if you do a 180° turn you will see the Grande Arche at La Défense. So not too far away but definitely a train ride anywhere.

The hotel is in the CNIT building.

Anyway, now that you know where the hotel is, what was it like?

I had a room that was reasonable size with a desk area behind the bed head. The view was out over the La Défense ‘common’, for the want of a better term. I was on the third floor and heard no noise.

Internet was supplied via Wifi and was decent.

The bed was very comfortable as were the pillows, but being about 8 timezones from home still meant my sleeps were shockingly bad. And that the sun came up around 5am didn’t help me either!

Breakfast was included in the rate I was on which allowed me to have a decent feed, including pastries and freshly cooked waffles, before heading out to explore Paris.

In the evenings you needed to make a decision of whether to train it into Paris, or stay in La Défense. The Tangerine Bar was the hotel bar that I had several drinks at after a day exploring. The menu had a somewhat limited drink and food choice but what you ordered was top notch. One peeve – took a while to get the attention of the serving staff at times.

All round, if your office is out west of Paris it’s a good place to stay but next time I am in Paris I’ll be staying somewhere a little more central.

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Magic Mountain Saloon, Melbourne, Australia

I didn’t even know that place existed until a friend suggested that we meet there for a late lunch.

Magic Mountain Saloon is a Thai / Australia fusion restaurant. The meals are just scrumptious!

We went for a variety of appetisers to share.

First dish was Potted Duck, Spiced Pineapple Relish & Sweet Onion Roti which was beautifully cooked, finely chopped duck that you spread onto the roti and then covered with the pineapple relish. Superb!

Second dish we ordered were Garlic Chive & Water Spinach Dumpling with Black Vinegar & Chilli Soy Sauce. Absolutely sublime to eat.

Lastly we’d ordered the Curried Rice & Mozzarella Balls with a Coriander & Avocado Sauce which were also a good dish.

Highly recommended if you’re up the top end of Little Collins Street.

And the wine and cocktail list is pretty good too if that’s your poison.

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Cornish Arms, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia

I have a mate living up in Brunswick, and rather than him coming into the city for beer and food I sometimes jump on the tram and head 20 minutes north.

Brunswick is a quick tram ride up Elizabeth Street, Royal Parade past Melbourne Uni and then Sydney Road.

The Cornish Arms is a largish pub a couple of tram stops past Barkly Square shopping centre.

Been here a couple of times, the beer choice is good, as is the food menu and specials. If you’re a Vegan, then there’s a reasonable menu just for you.

On the first occasion we went snacks only, a large Salt and Pepper Calamari, Eggplant Chips & Macho Nachos. For 2 people it cost ~$50 and was enough food for the two of us.

Second visit was a Tuesday night and there was a BBQ special running that evening – Vietnamese pork BBQ. I am a sucker for pig cooked anyway so we both decided to try the BBQ, upsized to large for $20/head. First impression was that it was a small meal, but once I started eating it turned out to be more substantial than it looked.

There are specials happening most nights to check out their website.

They do also have a beer garden, but its too cold to be out there these days.

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Daikokuya, Raffles City, Singapore

The memories of my Japanese trip earlier on in 2015 came flooding back as I stumbled upon another good restaurant in the basement food court of Raffles City.

Daikokuya is a chain of restaurants that serve relatively authentic Japanese food. They have a very good menu and I chose one of my standard Japanese meals of Tonkatsu Curry Rice which was yummy. I also had a side dish of Chicken Wings which rounded out the meal well.

The Curry and Wings were washed down with a stubby of Asahi.

All round a reasonable meal but on the expensive side at SG$38.40.

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Urban Roti, Lau Pa Sat, Singapore

I’d been traipsing around the financial area of Singapore when lunchtime arrived. I was a block or so from Lau Pa Sat a huge hawker centre with probably 100 small food stalls selling every conceivable food under the sun.

I had an itch for Indian food and after having a quick look around settled upon Urban Roti. They offer a lunch special of Chicken Biryani but more importantly you can sit in an enclosed restaurant with air-conditioning!

The biryani was quite tasty. not as spicy as I have back home in Melbourne, but good nonetheless. And the size was just about right for lunch.

In all, a reasonable Indian meal if you’re in the area.

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