the life and (drinking) times of phil chambers

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Nice quirky little hotel and restaurant on the seafront in Negombo. I didn't actually see the sea as it was dark at the time, but you can certainly hear it!

It's owned by a Swiss chap who does quite a bit to make you welcome - the iced rose water welcome drink was particularly nice after another 35 degree day in Sri Lanka.

The restaurant specialises in seafood, and we had a the platter, which was a little on the overcooked side to be honest. However, it was rather pleasant to be able to order some decent wine.

Not a bad stop if you need to stay somewhere close to the airport.
Check out my review of The Icebear - I am filchambers - on Qype

Dortmund - Hotels & Holidays - Hotels

Reasonably cheap, yet reasonably soulless chain hotel that is incredibly handy for Dortmund station. Not the best place to start the industrial heritage trail - I think Essen is a better bet, but everything is so close together here that it doesn't matter so much.

Dortmund is interesting. You might want to perhaps... avoid it?! (apologies to any residents)
Check out my review of NH Dortmund Hotel - I am filchambers - on Qype

Hamburg - Shopping - Home Shopping - Glass & Porcelain

This independent homeware shop sells a wide range of high-quality things, mostly for your kitchen. I was looking for one of those roasting tins that you can vary the size of, which must be one of the few things they don't stock. I did however, happen upon a fantastic white oven-proof dish for my pasta bakes, so I came out happy. Superb professional service, would recommend to anyone.
Check out my review of Lenffer & Sohn KG - I am filchambers - on Qype


Fantastic and very well hidden cafe in what looks like an abandoned building in the Zollverein Coking Plant. The zucchini soup was some of the nicest my friend had every eaten, and it certainly warmed you up after a day in the freezing grey rain exploring Essen's industrial heritage. Be sure to check out the photo exhibition upstairs, the building is incredible.
Check out my review of Kokerei Cafe Restaurant Zollverein - I am filchambers - on Qype

Essen - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants - Bistros

Nice cafe/lounge bar in Essen, open all day and with decent service. It is very, very pink.

Duckstein reasonably priced at €2.30 a bottle.
Check out my review of zucca - I am filchambers - on Qype


Probably the most expensive airport cafe I have... in fact, no... DEFINITELY the most expensive airport cafe I've ever been to! However, I guess if you're inside the arctic circle then hamburgers aren't going to be cheap. They are in fact, 16 quid here. So I didn't have one, I had a smoothie instead, and it was bloody nice.
Check out my review of Picnic - I am filchambers - on Qype


Fantastic airport which is but a short walk to the city centre, and to my amazement has scheduled helicopter services! If you like turboprops, it's a great place to see a lot.

SAS aren't operating Dorniers out here anymore, I think it's all Dash variants.

This was famously the airport that Gary Powers was heading for when his U2 got shot down over Russia. I think they have one in the local aerospace museum, although sadly I didn't have the time to visit.
Check out my review of Bodø Lufthaven / Bodø Airport (IATA: BOO) - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 27 April 2009

Sigiriya - Hotels & Holidays - Hotels

If you're looking for a decent, great value place to stay in Sigiriya that isn't full of tourists, and is a bit off the beaten track - look no further! We paid a fairly barginous $25 a night a nice double room with a/c, set in beautiful garden surroundings.

There isn't a pool or usual hotel trappings, but there is breakfast included, and the most fantastic local food cooked to order (they'll buy whatever you want!), and you can while away the afternoons playing cricket with the staff. A great base for an early start to climb the rock, and if you're really lucky you'll see wild elephants roaming the lanes at night!

On a slightly hilarious note, their tagline is: "A place to stay". Top marketing!
Check out my review of The Lion Rock - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 24 April 2009


Fairly solid sports bar which shows a lot of live billiards, a game to which I haven't the faintest idea of the rules. They only serve one type of beer, just the way the chairman likes it. The main attraction of Bangalore airport, and this bar in particular, is that it's full of sparrows!
Check out my review of Kingfisher Sports Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Muenchen - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants - Chinese

Delicious, fairly styling (although not as stylish as before the makeover), and reasonably priced Chinese near Josephsplatz in Munich. The menu is quite hilarious, lots of references to Mao and a little red book on every table. Funny how it's OK to joke about one mass murderer but not another, isn't it!

The Yunnan-style soup I had to start was perhaps the nicest chinese soup I've ever had!
Check out my review of Mao - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Qype: Galle face hotel in Colombo

Colombo - Hotels & Holidays - Hotels

Cracking outpost of the British Empire dating from the 1860's, and thankfully it hasn't changed a bit since then. Even some of the staff are originals! The guestbook reads like a who's who of the 20th century.

It's actually pretty good value to stay in the old wing at $60/night for a large suite with a sea view. The decor is getting a bit tired, but it add the the charm really, and I can't get enough of polished hardwood flooring, I really can't.

All rooms are a/c, but a/c from the 1920s so it's too loud to actually have on while you sleep, so open the window and listen to the waves instead.

The facilities are top notch, and you can dine out in a different restaurant around 5 nights, although my favourite was the giant buffet on the veranda, which is fantastic.

So all in all, if you've one night in Columbo, you can't go wrong staying here. Be sure to check out the gunboats patrolling off the coast, and the man who's job it is to scare crows with a catapult!
Check out my review of Galle face hotel - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 20 April 2009

Qype: Chez Andre in Paris

Paris - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants - French - Parisian Bistro

Lovely bistro just off the Champs Elysees. I had a nice meal here on Thursday night, superb Fois Gras to start, but slightly let down by my steak au poivre which was hardly rare, but served more like well done. Was this because I'm English? I'm not sure.

Other than that, the wine was excellent and the service super-friendly and accommodating, so I would definitely come back. Oh and, if you're stuck in the queue waiting to get in Le Relais de l'Entrecôte across the street, don't - come in here instead!
Check out my review of Chez Andre - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 3 April 2009

Qype: Den Gode Nabo in Trondheim


"Hi, what beers do you have in bottles then?"

"London Pride, ESB, Pedigree...about 150 in fact."

My god! I can't buy bitter in Germany but sleepy Trondheim has it in the first pub we visit! What a fantastic place. It feels just like you're in the bottom of an old ship, with the floors listing at odd angles, fishing nets adorning the ceilings, and the only light coming from candles. Inside, you'll find a lovely mix of people who enjoy their beer, and if you're not used to paying local prices, you really do have to love it! Two bottles of ESB will set you back around 190NOK (about 19EUR!!), but hell, you're probably on holiday right?

Highly recommended.
Check out my review of Den Gode Nabo - I am filchambers - on Qype

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Qype: Marathon Kebab House in London

London - Eating & Drinking - Fastfood & Takeaway - Kebabs

I remember little of Marathon. But the evidence was all there to see the next day. Dry clean only. Damn. Must have enjoyed it though...
Check out my review of Marathon Kebab House - I am filchambers - on Qype