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Trip to Bucharest, Romania, 30 Oct - 5 Nov 2016 (Part 3) - trickSHOT Bowling/Restaurant

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One of our best meals in the city of Bucharest in Romania was at this restaurant cum bowling center called trickSHOT. Located in Promenada Mall, a popular mall in Bucharest, this somewhat classy-looking restaurant caught our attention when we saw the variety that they offer on their menu.

Throughout our 1 week there, we actually dined at this restaurant 2-3 times! Yes, it's THAT good that we re-visited this restaurant & it became our favorite for this trip. We even told our colleagues who haven't been there for a meal & we had our team dinner there one of the evenings, where everyone enjoyed themselves & were so full with just the appetizers! Hahahaha...

One of the recommended items on their menu is their Bruchette cu creme de trufe si branza/Bruschetta with truffle cream and cheese. It was truly delectable that we went back for it the 2nd time! Not cheap, but OH-SO-LUSCIOUS!

Bruchette cu creme de trufe si branza/Bruschetta with truffle cream and cheese (RON18.00/ RM18.84 for 170g)
The distinct aroma of truffles is so evident! One piece is certainly not enough. I think I could eat the whole set of 3 pieces up by myself...hehehe...RM6.00/piece for such "luxurious" treat? Why not? At least ONCE!

We tried their pizza, snacks, some mains, salads & soup, all of which satisfied our hunger & planted in us a desire to try out as many items from their menu while we're in Bucharest! Hahaha.

Snack Platter for 2 Persons (RON34.00/ RM35.59 for 450g)
Dips of eggplant cream, yoghurt, & humus with slices of bacon, beef sirloin and smoked duck breast, plus pita bread.
This doesn't feel like a snack at all! We actually had this as a meal & we were stuffed...hahaha...we also shared it among 2-4 pax per portion! Talk about getting your money's worth for the quality of food served :) The eggplant cream & the humus were delicious when eaten with the fresh pita breads. The meat slices were somewhat salty, but when eaten with the pita or even the fresh garden vegetables, they were tasty.

Mediterranean Soup (RON20.00/ RM20.94 per serving)
Seafood, octopus, seaweed, cherry tomatoes
I thought this was quite delicious for a rainy night. I just wanted some soup & something that's not cream-based. The seafood pieces were fresh & the soup came with 2 large prawns, mussels, & squid rings in a slightly creamy tomato-based broth.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice-Cream (RON21.00/ RM21.99 per serving)
Warm chocolate cake oozing with melted chocolate center plus a side of cold vanilla ice-cream. What's not to like? :P

It may not be the cheapest place to have a meal, but if you want a "safe" restaurant for a meal or even a place for team-building where both food & fun are present, I think you can't really go wrong with trickSHOT Restaurant ;) It was certainly a "trick shot" for us to have found such a gem during our short trip here at Bucharest. 'Til my next trip back to Bucharest, I shall continue dreaming of the bruschetta with truffle cream & cheese....mmm...mmm...

trickSHOT Restaurant/Bowling
Promenade Mall, 2nd floor
Calea Floreasca 246B
Tel: Reception: 0756 143 303; Restaurant:0756 143 301; Events: 0756 143 307
Business hours: Daily 10:00a.m. - 2:00a.m.
Email: Reception: rezervari@trickshot.ro; Events: office@trickshot.ro
URL: http://trickshot.ro/
GPS: 44.4784402,26.100988

Presentation (does it look mouth-watering): * * * *
Price (is it affordable - more stars = YES): * * *
Environment (is the place comfortable, cosy, clean, pleasant): * * * 1/2
Taste (is the food delicious, worth coming back for more): * * * *
Service (are the service providers friendly, efficient, polite): * * * 1/2


Best bruschetta with truffle cream & cheese!


Trip to Bucharest, Romania, 30 Oct - 5 Nov 2016 (Part 2) - Caru' cu Bere Restaurant

>> Friday, November 11, 2016

It was my 1st dinner in Bucharest, so PA graciously brought myself & my 2 Singapore office colleagues, SN & M to the well-known restaurant in town called Caru' cu Bere Restaurant.

Palatul/Palace CEC
Caru' cu Bere isn't located on the main road in town, so look out for the Palace of CEC, a large building on Calea Victoriei road opposite the National Museum of Romanian History. This building was built in 1900 & is the headquarter of CEC Bank.

Caru' cu Bere is located on one of the small lanes opposite the Palatul CEC. You can't really miss it as it's the ONLY restaurant with a large crowd, pretty much everyday!

This place is so popular that it's best to make a reservation before heading there, especially on weekend nights.

The restaurant has 2 floors, but most people would prefer to sit at the ground floor as Caru' cu Bere is very popular for their performances as well. You can enjoy their performances during lunch hour & more so during dinner time as the dancers will only appear in the evening :)

List of events taken from their menu

Their menu looks like a newspaper/magazine!
It was actually very confusing to read through for a foreigner; there were just too many words (small fonts too!!) & it seems like there are too vast a variety to choose from that I lost interest in reading the menu after a while. You can take a look at a copy of their menu, available online: here. I noticed that the prices of food here are slightly above average, but there's a constant crowd, which tells me that people find it worth coming here for a meal!

Here are our orders for the evening:

Starter: Platou De Toamnă/ Autumn Platter (RON12.90RM13.57/serving)
Smokey eggplant "Zakusca" dip & Romanian bean casserole with onion
Surprise, surprise! We actually enjoyed this very simple starter of smoked eggplant spread with the fluffy house bread :) It was one of the better dishes that evening. Even the bean casserole was delicious, like a humus, although the eggplant was the winner :) The zakusca was slightly sweet & savory with light seasoning of herbs & spices.

Pâine de casă “Caru’ cu bere” ~ 400 g (RON7.90RM8.31/loaf)
Homemade "On the day" bread - traditional recipe
What's to complain when it comes to freshly-baked bread (apart from having too much served at one go)? :P

Main: Cotlete De Miel Tânăr La Grătar Cu Mămăliguţă (RON56.50; RM59.44/serving)
Grilled lamb chops with polenta ~ 290g 
We found the lamb chops slightly too dry/over-cooked. The polenta was still quite nice, but the lamb chops was a disappointment & was really tough to chew & swallow.

Specialitatea Casei Coilan De Porc Cu Varză Arcă Călită (RON84.00; RM88.37/serving)
House specialty roasted pork knuckle with braised sour cabbage
The pork knuckle is slightly different from the German-style of roasted pork knuckle. I personally prefer the German-style to the Romanian-style as I enjoy the crispy, crackling pork skin that wraps the moist & tender meat. The Romanian version is in my opinion best for pork knuckle porridge...hahaha. This dish came with pickled cabbage, chillies, horseradish, & gherkins plus a side of polenta. Overall, this dish wasn't a total winner, much to our surprise! Perhaps if you're a solid meat eater, you'll enjoy this, but it was just "too much" for us to enjoy.

A magician/clown came over from table to table as well & we didn't know what to do with him, so we 'entertained' him when he wanted to place hats & the parakeet on us...hahaha...we didn't even know if we're supposed to tip him!

Dessert: Papanaşi Delicioşi Cu Brânză Dulce, Smântână Si Dulceaţă ~ 420g (RON19.90; RM20.94/serving of 2 pieces)
Delicious “Romanian” doughnuts with sweet cheese, sour cream and jam
We were actually really full, but we just had to try the recommended dessert of sweet doughnuts ala Romanian-style. Frankly speaking, this was the best dish among all the dishes that we ordered that evening (fluffy doughnut + "sauces")! I'll recommend that you try this, especially if you love doughnuts, cheese, sour cream & jam. It's lip-smacking :P Not overly sweet & has a slight acidic tang to cut through the sweet cheese & sour cream taste.

Our 1st Romanian dinner experience ended with some dance performances by the staff at Caru' cu Bere. It was lovely to witness such traditional folk dances in a typical Romanian-looking restaurant from decades ago. Although the food that evening wasn't to our expectations, I would say that dining at Caru' cu Bere is a must, at least ONCE, if you're in Bucharest :)

Enjoy a short video of 2 dances that I managed to record using my camera :)

Caru' cu Bere
Strada Stavropoleos 5
București 030081
Tel: (+40) 213 137 569/ (+40) 726 282 373 - mobile
Business hours: Opens daily Sun - Thurs 8:00a.m. - 12:00a.m.; Fri & Sat 8:00a.m. - 2:00a.m
URL: www.carucubere.ro
GPS: 44.431991,26.0981124

After dinner, we walked towards the car & stopped by for a photo moment with Trajan & the She-Wolf! :D

Outside the National Museum of Romanian History - Statue of Trajan & the She-Wolf
This is an iconic status, right outside the museum. My first impression of this status was "eeuuww...what a strange-looking statue!".  This bronze 2.15m high statue depicts a nude Trajan, the Roman emperor who conquered Dacia. holding in his arms the Capitoline Wolf (the she-wolf in the founding myth of Rome; the head of the wolf is joined to the tail of a Dacian Draco), which is doubled as the Dacian Draco, the war standard of the Dacians. - Wikipedia

That was the end of my 1st day in Bucharest. Up next, some restaurants reviewed :P

Satisfying Day 1 in Bucharest,


Trip to Bucharest, Romania, 30 Oct - 5 Nov 2016 (Part 1) - Sights & Slurp in Bucharest's Old Town

>> Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's been more than a month since I last published a blog post! Time really flies *gulp* I've been really busy during the entire month of October that I really had no mood nor time to sit down, reflect, & blog about the happenings in my life.

To kick-start & resurrect the blog, I thought I'll share on my recent business travel to Bucharest, Romania, a country where I would never have thought of visiting on my own if not for work purposes :) I was there for only a week of meetings, so I had only 1 free day during the weekend before meetings started & another free day during transit at Amsterdam, on my way back home. It was a really short trip as I had to be back right after since it's the peak of the project & I had other commitments back home, but I'm really thankful for the interesting experience in this part of the world.

I arrived at Bucharest on Sunday midnight, so I had some time to sleep before spending the entire Sunday out in the city together with my church friend, PA, who is based there for work. I'm really thankful to meet him there as it's been almost 2 years since we last met!

We attended church service at the IBC International Church of Bucharest, before heading to the old town for lunch & sight-seeing, led by PA & COS, my tour guides for the day :) We parked somewhere near the Palatul CEC before making our way towards the old part of town, which was an interesting sight. There are a couple of thoughts that I have on the city of Bucharest:

  1. People park their cars everywhere & anywhere! If you think that Malaysia is law-less, we have a competitor here in East Europe *lol* Cars are parked on the sidewalks, curbs, & even in the middle of a street! The best part: you won't get a summon. Instead, you may have to 'tip' some "car park attendants" who guides you to a parking spot & 'takes care of your car'! I was baffled...hahaha...there isn't any time limit as well, so if you're brave enough to drive in Bucharest, you can enjoy parking just about anywhere that your car can fit.
  2. The buildings are really old. It feels as if time stopped in Bucharest, especially in the old town. The architecture & design of the buildings truly tell a story that I wish I could hear personally from the builders back then on their experiences in building the city. Oh, the buildings are standing next to each other & the entire city is packed with such old buildings as well, that if I'm alone, I may feel a 'lil lost since most of them look very similar to each other.
  3. Public amenities & properties are quite vandalized & covered with graffiti. To think that this happens to mostly third world countries or emerging countries like Malaysia, you'll be surprised to see that even the walls of the majestic, colonial-looking, University of Bucharest is covered with graffiti. Not only that, the bridges & pavements have graffiti too. Maybe street art is popular here?
  4. Orthodox churches are scattered all around the city, but not all of them are still functioning as churches. It was my 1st time entering so many orthodox churches & my greatest discovery is to find the walls of these 'ancient churches' EXTREMELY clean! It may look old & the drawings/paintings on the walls may look faded, but when I swiped my hand across the walls just to test if it's dusty, I was amazed that it's cleaner than a restaurant's table. *wow*
The first Orthodox church that we came across was the Biserica Stavropoleos, an Orthodox monastery & church from 1724, partly rebuilt in the early 1900s after earthquake damage. - Google. I have to say that this church is very small, but really clean. People were still walking in to pray & worship publicly; something that I rarely see in KL.

Strada Stavropoleos 4, București 030167, Romania
Tel: (+40) 21 313 4747
URL: stavropoleos.ro
GPS: 44.4315788, 26.0978268

The ceiling & walls were beautifully painted!

The monastery court yard

PA said this is something we MUST do during autumn...hahaha...
Photo credit: PA

We walked through streets & alleys of buildings, towering over us, before deciding to stop for our lunch break at a cafe called Arcade Cafe.

Arcade Cafe
Strada Smârdan 30, București 030167, Romania
Tel: (+40) 21 314 5066
Business hours: Opens daily 9:30a.m. - 5:00a.m.
GPS: 44.4316692, 26.097207

Exterior of Arcade Cafe, right below the Nomad Skybar

This was a random find & it's our first time to this cafe. On the overall, the food here tastes pretty good. Being my 1st meal in the city of Bucharest, I felt that the food here is slightly on the saltier side & is more meaty in general.

The menu

Fresh green apple with mint (RON14.00; RM14.48/glass)
No complaints. It's as fresh as it gets, but isn't peppermint-ish. It just tastes fresh with the sprig of mint leaves (and probably some blended into the drink).

Frigarui Aromate De Pui Servite Pe Lipie cu Mix De Salata Si Sos Tzatiki (RON25.00;RM25.85/serving)
Flavored chicken skewers served with tortilla, mixed salad & tzatiki sauce

Coaste De Porc Marinate In Bere Neagra, Miere Si Sos Soia (RON33.00; RM34.13/serving)
Marinated pork with black beer, honey & soya sauce, served with red cabbage & carrots salad & vinaigrette dressing.
Really tender & tastes alike our Chinese "tau yue bak" (soya sauce pork belly)!

Cârnaţi Ardeleneşti Cu Piure De Cartofi Si Salata Varga Rosie (RON27.00; RM27.92/serving)
Romanian sausages with mashed potatoes & red cabbage salad.
I had this & thought that the sausages were really salty! Hahaha...it's not a moist sausage, but a rather coarsely minced meat sausage that's marinated with herbs & spices. It was an interesting Romanian experience, though not the best one.

After lunch, we walked around the old town area & stopped by a couple of 'tourist spots'. Below are some of the places that we walked pass/visited:

Vlad Tepes statue @ Palatul Voievodal Curtea Veche
Strada Franceză 25, București 030167, Romania
Tel: (+40) 21 314 0375
Business hours: Opens daily 10:00a.m. - 6:00p.m.
URL: muzeulbucurestiului.ro
GPS: 44.4301081,26.1011552

When the country, Romania, is mentioned, people will think of 2 things: 1) dracula 2) Transylvania. Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, is an evil prince, whose favorite method of executing people were through impalement. We came across one of his statues in the old town of Bucharest, right outside a church...hahaha...only God knows how evil & cruel he has been to the people here when he was alive. *shudders*

Biserica Sfântul Antonie - Curtea Veche
Strada Franceză 33, București 030105, Romania
Tel: (+40) 722 607 103 (Mobile)
URL: biserica-sfantul-anton.ro
GPS: 44.4301081,26.1014303

Saint Anthony Church is another orthodox church that's beautifully built on both the inside & outside. It amazes me how well-maintained this church is, considering it was built on 1559! It stands right beside the Curtea Veche, the Old Princely Court, a palace during the rule of Vlad III.

We continued walked towards Strada Halelor & Splaiul Independentei, the 2 main streets in the city, to head towards the Palace of Parliament. On that particular day, we saw a mass of people walking in commemoration of some loved ones who died in a fire of a building nearby, a year ago (if I'm not mistaken).

Graffiti on the bridge across Dâmbovița River

Old buildings/shops on both sides of the road

Right before the Palace of Parliament, we came across a really nice park in the city center, where the colors of autumn were just vividly painting that part of town :) The weather was cool & just lovely for a walk around the city.

Parcul Izvor
GPS: 44.4294835,26.0794038

Colors of autumn :)

A couple playing table tennis in the park!

Palatul Parlamentului/ Palace of Parliament
Strada Izvor 2-4, București, Romania
Tel: (+40) 21 316 0300
Opening hours: March - October, Daily 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.; November - February, Daily 10:00a.m. - 4:00p.m.
URL: cdep.ro
GPS: 44.4294835,26.0794038

The Palace of Parliament is the second largest administrative building in the world, after The Pentagon in the United States. PA mentioned that the government at that time was just crazy to build such a large parliament building when people at that time were living in great poverty :( We didn't enter the building for a tour since it's not free (hahaha) & we didn't have that much time anyway.

We concluded our "tour of the city" by walking through the beautiful Izvor Park again to get to our car :) What an interesting walking tour!

Some festival/street stalls were erected at one end of the park...this fascinated me :D

Freshly squeezed grape juice, anyone? It's RON10.00/bottle.

Food stalls selling a variety of snacks

Romanian traditional clothes for sale
Apparently these blouses are really expensive. I saw that the prices start from RON100 onwards & this was already very cheap. The usual good quality ones costs at least RON600! *eek!*

The last few blocks of buildings we passed before we reached our car - Institutul Cervantes

Cercul Militar Naţional

We were quite zonked by the time we got to the car! Pretty much a whole afternoon of walking :D I slept probably less than 8 hours for the past TWO days due to the travel, but I'm quite pleased with myself to survive Day 1 at Bucharest...hahaha.

The crazy path that we walked! Almost 5km, if not more?
This is just the estimate as I can't recall 100% which path/roads we took since I was just tagging along with PA & COS.

Stay tuned for more posts on my Bucharest trip!

1st time in Europe!

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