the life and (drinking) times of phil chambers

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Qype: Hanby Ales in Whitchurch

Whitchurch - Food & Drink - Wine, Beer & Spirits

I knew living in Coton was good, but I didn't know quite how good until I chanced upon what is probably my personal Mecca. I'm a bit of a atheist at heart but I would definitely pray 5 times a day in the direction of Hanby Ales, and their great leader, Mr Jack Hanby.

Jack is probably one of the most toasted men alive, after we took 2 barrels of Hanby Ale to Glastonbury with us for the first time in 2005. Nothing less than a stroke of genius, this courageous act (have you ever tried carrying this much beer for 5 miles?) resulted in plastic beakers raised round the campfire till the sun came up for 6 straight days as we lovingly cradled our pints of 'Nutcracker' and 'Cascade'.

Nutcracker is a dark 6% bitter that really hits the spot on those slightly chilly summer evenings in Pilton. Cascade is a lovely light hoppy brew that is deliciously refreshing at anytime of day or night.

When I first turned up at Hanby's - I was given the full brewery tour as we waited for our ale to decant. We sprinted up and down ladders and peered into vats and got back to the floor in time for not a drop to spill. The then packed our handy 40 pint boxes of ale into the boot and paid (cash only!) and set on our way.

I should probably talk about the awards that Hanby Ales have won. I think you could summarise it in one word - loads. Taking the gold at the Great British Beer Festival in the strong ale category for Nutcracker must have been quite a party! But I ramble. Suffice to say, this small corner of an unassuming industrial estate in rural Shropshire is nothing short of magical.

Check out my review of Hanby Ales - I am filchambers - on Qype

it's festival time

Ah, that time of year again. My love for music festivals has stayed with me from that very first day when V Festival used to be in Warrington (!), through Phoenix, Reading, Glastonbury... and on to foreign fields.

This time it's Hurricane, and I feel a little bit like I'm 16 again. That is - unprepared. I went to Phoenix to see Neil Young, with only a 2 man ridge tent, some crisps, and about 6 blackcurrent hooch. Which smashed all over my clothes. Best weekend ever.

Now I live in Hamburg, I don't have any of my camping kit with me at all, so I'm traveling light! No camo-netting, no tarps, no 80 pints of real ale, no coal, no wood, no axe, no goretex. That's all for next week in Glasto. But still - should be good... I will update you!

p.s. - this is probably my first ever real blog post. get me.

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Qype: Ashoka in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Indian

Ah, at last. Thankyou Qypers for finding me a decent Indian restaurant in Germany. The impossible dream, is realised.

SO - expectations were high. Ashoka is rated as THE BEST Indian in Hamburg, and it lived up to the hype. Unfortunately (or conveniently) located on Budapesterstr, you can still hear the traffic if you sit outside. However, the walled garden out front is very pleasant, so you don't feel exactly like you're sat on a main road.

On to business. A fairly standard menu with all my faves, we opted for 2 beers, a mango lassi, poppadums to start, followed by lamb rogan josh and chicken jalfrazi. I actually feel hungry writing that. To be brief, I asked for it hot, and it came hot! It was also delicious, really really nice.

It's €20 per person with the trimmings (which are all chargable), but when you're eating curry this nice, it's not such a high price to pay. Excellent service too - highly recommended.

Check out my review of Ashoka - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Qype: Eisblume in Hamburg


Cracking, and very quirky icecream parlour right in the action in St. Pauli - opposite Mr. Kebab and nextdoor to Toastbar. It's owned by a fantastic lady who speaks a mixture of English and German at all times, and turns up to work dressed in some style. A bit like a old movie star from the 20's.

The icecream itself is to die for, the seating extremely comfortable, and the company amusing. Parfait!

Check out my review of Eisblume - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Maharaja in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Indian

The lamb rogan josh was definitely nicer than the chicken tikka masala, but I have to concur with what Andrew has written below - this isn't anything like somewhere on the curry mile. It is however, a lot closer to a British Indian restaurant than anywhere else I've been in Hamburg, so plus points for that. The rice was lovely, and came with pomegranate seeds in it, and I had literally the nicest mango lassi I've ever had too. Fantastic service to boot, so, worth 4 stars compared to its peers.

Check out my review of Maharaja - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 9 June 2008

Qype: hamburg city beach club in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Restaurants - Beer Garden

Great beach club! Distinctly more upmarket than Strand Pauli - mainly because the sand is really clean here, and people use ashtrays. It's got a nice dipping pool of water near the riverside, a smoothie bar, and a kitchen serving up meat-based treats. They also have around 7 plasmas dedicated to Euro 2008 - although they can be a bit hard to see in the all the sunshine.

Highly recommended - but take a few quid with you, it's not the cheapest place in Hamburg!

Check out my review of hamburg city beach club - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 6 June 2008

Qype: Gröninger Braukeller in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs - Restaurants - German

2 words: Pork Heaven. I knew we were onto a good thing when 2 whole roast pigs were carried past us on the way in. Salivating, and not just at the staff, we explored further. It's a labyrinth of beer and meat, and mountainous potatoes. The sort of place you'd dreamed Germany was like, but if you're in the North, have been shielded from.

I came away from here a lot fatter, and with 5 litres of finest Groninger beer on my shoulders, a very happy man.

Check out my review of Gröninger Braukeller - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: indigo2 in London

London - Nightlife - Music Venues

I concur with the above! This is a really well done, intimate music venue. I really didn't know what to expect when getting the Thames Clipper boat down to the Millennium Tent to see my favourite ever artist, Andrew Bird. This was a one-off show as he's in the middle of recording his new album right now. The gig was, well, probably the best I've ever been too. But this review is of the venue... and, that was pretty damn good too. No sticky floors in sight here, just miles of bars making it really easy to get served, and a low stage with sunken floor, all standing, and brilliant acoustics. This is as close as you could come to a 'your front room' feeling in a 1000 capacity venue - well worth braving the 40 minute boat trip!

Check out my review of indigo2 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Horseshoe in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

I came here on the back of the other Qype reviews, and largely agree. I really liked the real ales, and the huge tables, so I could really spread the paper out with ease. I wasn't so keen on the weird snorting man behind us. What is it about Hampsted?!

Didn't actually try the food as had just had a roast in The Hollybush up the road, but it looked nice, and the kitchen in the pub is a nice touch.

Check out my review of The Horseshoe - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Hollybush in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

This pub is really good. Old world feel with distinctly gastro menu. Friendly service and some cracking ales. I might have given it 5 stars if it were not for the intensely loud man sat next to us who insisted on droning on about property prices for an hour. In the end we had to leave! But, if he hadn't been there, this may have been a 5 star experience.

Check out my review of The Hollybush - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Housemakers / Colour Supplies in Whitchurch

Whitchurch - Shopping - Bric-a-Brac

This is probably my favourite shop in Whitchurch. I stop by on approximately an annual basis to stock up on camping supplies for the summer festival season, but mostly Glasto. It's a veritable Aladdin's cave stuffed with all sorts of useful products. At one time or another, I have bought:

- a collapsable wheelbarrow
- collapsable washing line poles
- tarpaulins
- thermos cups
- camping gas
- rope
- firelighters
- knives
- torches
- paint
- a pair of wellies

In short, everything you need for a pleasant Glastonbury experience! It's not really a camping shop of course, but more a shop that seems to sell everything in the world that is useful. Now what are they called...?

Check out my review of Housemakers / Colour Supplies - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Strandpauli in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Restaurants - Beer Garden

Suntan o'clock! It really is kind of like being on a real beach, except you've just walked from your house and you can't actually jump in the Elbe, just see it. A relaxed vibe, decent seating/cushions if you get in early, and a nice bar that will even serve Weissbier with a straw - totally tropical. My only gripe would be the amount of cigarette butts in the sand. So no 5th star. Still - something very different and cool to show off to your English friends!

Check out my review of Strandpauli - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Buckingham Palace in London

London - Arts & Entertainment - Landmarks

What better day out in London than tea with the Queen?! For a paltry £15 you can take tea and scones with Her Majesty, a slice of something truly English. When I stand in front of here, hand on heart, thinking of all my tax returns that have gone to maintain this fabulous place... it brings a little tear to my eye.

TIP: be sure to check the flag is up, otherwise, she's not home.

Check out my review of Buckingham Palace - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Lucky Star in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Home of the famous 50cent Mexicana shot - a shot made from tabasco sauce mixed with vodka and tequila! And they have one of those cool electronic dart boards. Not busy (dead) on a Tuesday night at 2000 - but open none the less! We stayed for 5 minutes... apparently, I have been here before...

Check out my review of Lucky Star - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Bambi in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars

Cool, kitsch, tiny bar on the top end of Hamburger Berg - probably the coolest street in Hamburg. It's got the obligatory lesbian barmaid, table football, and awesomely weird projection TV of very trippy cartoons. Quite amusingly we had a banging trance DJ laying down the tunes to all 4 of us in the bar last night... not busy on Tuesdays, but great fun none-the-less.

Check out my review of Bambi - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Royal Oak at Fritham in Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

If you could imagine your perfect pub, in a perfect setting, with perfect food, perfect beer, and perfect company, then you have probably just thought about The Royal Oak.

It was a little like something out of a really nice dream. Idyllic forest clearing houses thatched ale house full of pork pies, pate, and real ale served directly from the barrel. Wild horses roam around you, and live jazz floats on the breeze... why can't all pubs be like this?!

Check out my review of Royal Oak at Fritham - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Lamb and Flag in Oxford

Oxford - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

This is really what all pubs should be like. Except that if they were, loads of annoying people would drink here. Fortunately, they can stick to all-bar-one and we can stick to The Lamb and Flag! I don't really need to repeat what others have said - it's a solid setup, bags of history, lashings of ale. Lovely.

Check out my review of The Lamb and Flag - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Hotel Moti International in Mumbai

Mumbai - Travel & Hotels - Hotels - Travel & Hotels - Hostels

Hotel Moti, what do I say? Well - it's not a 5 star place! It's fairly dark, but then, not oppressively warm either. The staff, and particularly the owner (whose name escapes me right now) are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to make your feel welcome. The rooms are basic, the en-suite bathrooms even more so. But, I like the fading colonial grandeur of the place, and the neighbourhood (Colaba) is absolutely fantastic. Very British, and the Gateway to India, where the last British ships departed from the Jewel in the Crown of the empire, is just around the corner.

Rooms are around 17GBP a night as far as I can remember - more expensive than you'd think.

Check out my review of Hotel Moti International - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Leopold Café & Bar in Mumbai

Mumbai - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes - Pubs & Bars - Bars

Great cafe/bar in downtown Colaba. It's on the main drag so you can't really miss the place - also bit of a backpacker magnet so plenty of chatting to do here. They do deals on large pitchers of beer, and it's reasonably cheap as far as I remember.

The place has a great old colonial feel, as well you might expect, dating from the 1870s. So, come here, get a G&T ordered, and bask in the cool breeze of the ceiling fans.

Check out my review of Leopold Café & Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Knust in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs - Nightlife - Music Venues

Somehow I've not managed to review Knust! Strange. Anyway - I love this venue. What's not to like? I've seen The Hoosiers, Vampire Weekend, The National, Haydn... and loads more. You get even generally get tickets on the door for a lot of things. It's a fantastic size, not too big but big enough, cheap beer, and the bands invariably come out and drink in the bar later on, so great for meeting celebs. Outside, they show the big football games for free, and have a bratwurst stand run by two really friendly guys who have been known to ply us with free beer! Fantastic!

Check out my review of Knust - I am filchambers - on Qype

first post!

hello world!