A KuPP half empty @KuPP_Exeter

London lifestyle and the choice of food outlets are the two factors which make the capital so vibrant.

What are customers attracted by? The vast menus and the layout/decor of stores – whether it is a business selling shoes, hats or a restaurant.

KuPP Paddington seems to have the winning formula. Great location, view, menu, interior design. Some people like to say “it is like eating in an IKEA store”. When you think that there are meat balls on the menu… what else can we ask for?!

The “Food Drink Coffee Store” concept is like everything under one roof if you are after that Scandinavian themed eaterie. It all goes from breakfast through lunch to dinner and cocktails if you fancy a bit of a social late night around a beer or homemade drink.

As there was a buzz about a second KuPP venue, we made our way down to Devon. Exeter Queen Street dining quarter is where things have been happening.

Various new restaurants have opened their doors: it is about pizzas, burgers, chicken, lebanese food and… KuPP Exeter.

We headed towards the newly developed Guildhall Shopping Centre. KuPP is encased between the back of GBK and WHSmith. There are no real views when sitting inside.

We arrived late morning and the place was quiet… a few people were having their morning coffees. Of course Devon is a bit more laid back than London…a different pace. A few members of staff were all standing around the bar, almost ignoring us. We still stepped in and asked whether the restaurant was open for service.

We were relieved to know that everything was fine and a table was given to the four of us as well as the lunch menus – the waiter made us aware that breakfast is served until Midday then lunch would start. We had a mini lunch menu (12pm to 5pm) as well as a bigger version (12pm to 10pm), with more dishes available.

Then a waitress came to see us asking if we were here for coffee or to eat!? A confusing question as we all had the lunch menu in our hands – after all she was just checking that we have been looked after.

Time was ticking (15 minutes) and no sign of our waiter. A team member, seemingly a supervisor, said “hello” and when we asked if someone could take our orders, he replied that he will oblige as the waiter was on his lunch break!

Not too sure that such timing is the best way to run a restaurant – aren’t waiters suppose to work when guests are arriving and break to be taken before or after peak times?! The first impression wasn’t exactly what we expected.

Anyway, food orders were taken and send to the open kitchen. Great to see professional chefs preparing your food. We had a second visit from the waitress (same person as mentioned above) who just stopped and apologized as she didn’t know if someone looked after us/took our orders.

At that point, no one was certain if the food we ordered would be served by a fourth member of staff. We could clearly see that the Fika corner was the focus point – as the barista was dealing with take-away hot beverages, fresh juices as well as serving cappuccinos to other guests sitting nearby.

We were excited and impatient to get our open sandwiches with Gravlax, crushed avocados and torn chicken… At least we could all share different flavours.

Eventually, an “army” of staff brought our lunches. It was a battle to determine which was which as the waitresses told us that they haven’t seen those dishes before…

Everything was rather tasty, beautiful to the eyes… the service was painful to watch and a certain lack of confidence was visible. We will certainly return to KuPP Exeter hoping that we won’t leave with the feeling of a KuPP half empty.

scandinavian design and cinnamon swirl

scandinavian design and cinnamon swirl


Royal cake: difficult to qualify this effort

Earlier this month (November 2015), a baker made a life size cake of Prince George.

The effort – according to the photographs – is immense.

Lara Mason (amateur baker) was more than happy to win a gold award for her royal patisserie.

The creation was 91 cm tall. Rather a big and challenging project, which has to be perfect when entering such competition.

It is obvious that making such baking effort must require full concentration and winning would be…the cherry on the cake.

What do you think of the result?

Prince George - Full Size Cake - Lara Mason

Prince George Full Size Cake by Lara Mason


Prince George and lookalike cake

Prince George and lookalike cake

What is intriguing is to see what is actually under the finished product.

Prince George cake - stages

Prince George cake – stages

This really shows the “artisan” work and certainly a few hours spent making the sponge sculpture.

To see more visit BBC News website HERE.


The aftermath of Christmas shopping

When Summer holidays end we can already hear people counting down to Christmas – then, some shops get some decorations on their shelves. Marks and Spencer even sell mince pies in October with a “used by 1st December“. Today, the festive food is totally ready to go. However here again, there are “Christmas mini sausage rolls” for sale but “used by 12th December“?

So, what is it with all this shopping? A kind of need to shop & buy expensive and big gifts? But, should we question whether people are misunderstanding what Christmas is about?

The size and price of the present(s) should be irrelevant – it should be all about the thoughts. A book or a scarf are and should be sufficient to please the other person. However, for some unknown reasons individuals seem to make their own lives more difficult by going to town centres many times… and at the busiest times too. Saturdays and Sundays should be avoided. It is über busy and the stress and tension are very high. It all looks like an assault course, with a lot of angry faces when it comes to queue (patiently) to reach the till.

Christmas shopping Covent Garden by night London

Christmas shopping Covent Garden by night London

The craze is in full swing. When you think that we all have 11 months to think of what to buy for family members, sadly and maybe because of our busy urban lifestyle, it happens that we run out of time.

Also, it is not just about gifts but the food seems to be important as well… maybe too important? Is December the month where we should spend all our savings – just for a couple of days of celebrations during the festive season?

Some of us faced the incredible “black Friday“! Buying because products are reduced: why not as long as we actually need it. Others decided to queue outside some stores from midnight because the aim was to buy to re-sell online for the second wave a few days later – that was “cyber Monday“.

Cyber Monday Vs Black Friday infographic

Usually, after this mad rush to High Streets (wherever you are in the UK), there is the aftermath and spiral of depression. In other terms, after the euphoria comes the massive drop because financial resources are thin(ner) – but life continues with the regular bills to pay. It can be a struggle for some households.

The other potential situation is the rubbish collection. A few years back, some cities were knee-deep in refuse black bags. Exeter was one of them but according to Exeter City Council this was NOT a major issue! In recent news, Newton Abbot recycling centre won’t accept waste from Torbay and this is all due to budget! This doesn’t mean that it will be closed – it is simply the fact that Torbay residents HAVE to use their own recycling plant they have contributed for, rather than the one from their neighbours! Alternatively, some streets and neighbourhood communities could decide to hire a skip from Devon experts – this would avoid all inconvenience. Should this be the way forward?

The aftermath of Christmas can truly cause mayhem in streets of certain cities/towns. Here again, all councils have eleven months to plan and deal with the exceptional excess of cardboards and other packaging from these few festive days.

Why in the twenty first century, are we still facing such predictable and obvious chaos?!

Christmas aftermath dinner

Christmas aftermath dinner