Springtime in Plymouth


After our lunch at Yukisan, we went to the National Marine Aquarium. We walked past the Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrims set off to America in the 1600s, walking across Sutton Harbour to the aquarium, which is said to be the biggest in the country. We purchased one adult, one student ticket which came to £35. This included the option to return for free within the year, as well as a discount to the nearby Dartmoor Zoo (handy if you are staying in Plymouth for a few days). There is quite a lot to see and a wide variety of marine species. One section I found interesting was the clownfish, which saw a surge of popularity after the release of Finding Nemo in 2003. There was a greater demand to buy them as pets, and this led to overfishing – in some areas of the sea they are now extinct. There are fears that after the release of Finding Dory, the same thing could happen again. This display was quite popular with visitors.

Another thing which was interesting is that the aquarium breed their own Moon Jellyfish. They look magnificent in the water! 

There are walkways where you see the fish underneath and above you, which looks quite spectacular.
The animals are well looked after, and the aquarium places a great emphasis on sustainable fishing and protecting our sea environments, taking care of species for the future. There is an information board which gives you a list of alternative fish to eat, rather than the common ones like cod.

We managed to go through the aquarium in about a hour and a half. When we finished, we headed to the Mayflower Museum, which was nearby.


The Mayflower Museum contains a lot of information about the Mayflower, the first ship to travel from Plymouth to America. Most of the interesting parts are the storyboards on the walls, but there are dress up and activities to keep younger visitors amused. On the very top floor, there is a balcony which gives you a view of the marina – recommended for great views and phototaking.

There is also another floor devoted to types of boats and model ships. There isn’t much to see here, but you can learn a lot. The price is quite cheap to visit £3 for adult and £2.80 for student.

We also saw Smeaton’s Tower, a famous lighthouse.

Plymouth also has hidden gardens. When we went to the entrance of the Elizabethan Gardens, we were puzzled (as were some other visitors at the time) – it didn’t seem like a garden. It is only when you go up the stairs that you see its true beauty. I think it would a perfect place to sit in the warm summer.

For dinner, we went to Sizzall. On the website, they advertise that they do hotpot and Korean BBQ, which interested my partner. We paid £15.99 for the Korean BBQ (you can’t have both, only for groups of five or more). The hostess was friendly but I felt they didn’t explain the Korean BBQ properly. We were confused on how to get our meat! We were led to the top floor (only us, was that a sign?) and we had a electric barbeque to cook on. We eventually received our meat – a selection of squid, prawn, chicken and beef. The quality wasn’t great, and the sauces that the meat came in weren’t that nice in my opinion. The price also included the normal buffet, but I felt there wasn’t a great selection – a few Chinese, Indian, Italian dishes. The food was lukewarm, overcooked and salty. The carbonara was awful – very watery sauce. The bao were kept in steamers, but the dough was very soggy and not a lot of meat inside. I spent most of the time eating the desserts, which were nothing special but fantastic compared to the rest of the fare. I came away feeling hungry and wasting money. The Korean BBQ is not a proper Korean BBQ, or at least, what we were expecting.

Evening time, we went to the Reel Cinemas to watch Beauty and the Beast. The ticket prices are quite cheap although the seats inside weren’t in the best condition. Some seats around us were damaged. The film was great. I wasn’t expecting great things because of the casting but I thought it was truly magical. The set designs and the CGI effects worked well. You almost believe that the objects living in the Beast’s castle were real! The emotional moments were well done, and well balanced with humour. It features the original songs, as well as some new music. Evermore is a new song and I felt it really fitted in the movie, and was a highlight for me.

We stayed in the Imperial Plymouth, a 4 star rated B & B, close to the centre of Plymouth. The staff were friendly and welcoming and the rooms have lots of facilities, and was on the whole, very clean. The only negative was that the wi-fi didn’t work very well, but most of the time we were out sightseeing. The breakfast we had the next morning was delicious! We had the full English – you can tell they use good quality ingredients and it was well cooked. There is also a choice of cereals, yoghurts and fruits at the front of the room. Breakfast and tea/coffee was included in the room price.

Other things we would have like to have seen is the Plymouth Museum and the Elizabethan House (both closed due to refurbishment) and gone to the shops. The Plymouth Gin Distillery is also quite famous – so head on there if you like gin! Also, we would like to go to some better restaurants if we return. Any suggestions?

Yukisan, Plymouth

Recently, we visited Plymouth for the day. We started off with lunch at Yukisan, Devon’s first and oldest Japanese restaurant. Inside the surroundings are quite nice, with Chinese art on display. For a Monday lunchtime, it was quiet. They have a vast menu, but we opted for the lunch set menu – 3 courses for £13.95. The lunch set menu doesn’t have a large range, and not much details on what is included. I opted for the miso salmon, meat bento box and green tea ice cream. My partner chose the prawn tempura and the seafood bento box.

Our starters arrived. The prawn tempura was a mix of prawn and sweet potato. The batter was quite light and it came with dipping sauces. The salmon was delicious. The sauce was full of different flavours – simply delicious.

What followed was our bento boxes. The meat one came with chicken katsu, chicken stir-fried with ginger and spring onions, edamame and cucumber sushi rolls. I would have liked more variety in terms of meat – beef or pork? Sauce was given for the chicken, but just a small amount, so the chicken felt a little dry.

The seafood came with the same salmon as the starter and the prawn tempura, which we also had for the starters! The menu doesn’t give details of what is included in these bento boxes, but when we ordered, the waitress could have mentioned that the prawn tempura would also be featured in the bento box, so we could have ordered something different.

I had green tea ice cream to finish off. It was ok, but not the best quality ice cream.

People have given Yukisan rave reviews about the food and service. I felt a little disappointed – perhaps it was the dishes that we chose? If we were to return, I would select from the main menu instead. The service was good, if a little slow to start off with.

KuPP, Exeter

Queen Street has recently undergone a transformation into the new area of modern dining. Many restaurants have opened there in the last few months which have introduced Exeter to different types of cuisine, one of them being KuPP, which specialises in Scandinavian food.

The restaurant looks impressive inside, but it is very quiet for a lunchtime. Other restaurants in the area have many people eating, but not this one. Although it isn’t busy, the staff haven’t checked the tables – there are crumbs on the seat, the seating isn’t straight and there is a fork missing from the cutlery sets. We have to wait a while before ordering, and when we do, we decide to go for the sharing platter. To drink, I go for an English Breakfast Canton Tea. The tea set up is quite nice – the teapot and mug looks good and I like the milk being in the glass bottle.

And this is the sharing platter! Sourdough bread, rabbit pate, crisp breads, Swedish meatballs, chorizo sausage roll, cheese, meats and salad. It was a bit mixed for me – the meatballs and sausage roll were delicious,  but I wasn’t amazed by the rest. At £25 for one sharing plate, I feel it is quite expensive for what you actually got.

I also ordered the skinny fries with a herb salt. These were good!

After we finished, we paid at the counter. They sell a lot of pastries and cakes and they do a good deal for a pastry and a hot drink.

The food, in my opinion, was nothing special and quite expensive. This may be because of the particular dish I ordered. If I was to return, I would order something from the regular menu. However, there is a lot of competition in the surrounding area with Absurd Bird and Terrace restaurant, I may be more likely to go to these places instead. The service, although a little slow, was friendly, and the restaurant looks great inside.

Happy National Pie Week!

Last week (March 6th to March 12th) was a week to celebrate the best of British pies. I went to Brewers Fayre to try their special Beef and Doom Bar Ale pudding, served with cheese and chive mashed potato, a mass of green beans and gravy.

Although it is more of an American treat, I saw this Moon Pie in So Sweet, Barnstaple. Moon Pie is similar to a Wagon Wheel but the biscuit base differs. This is a special Double Decker Moon Pie, a chocolate coated moon pie sandwich with marshmallow filling.

Hello Sushi!

I was looking for a birthday present idea when I stumbled on a tutorial for amigurumi sushi by NVKatherine.

I initially used the written tutorial pattern which is linked in the video description, but I would suggest using the video as it makes it so much clearer. The written tutorial didn’t make it clear that you had to make two pieces each for the toppings, so my pieces turned out a little different. However, it is generally an easy pattern (especially if you refer to the video tutorial), perfect if you are a crochet beginner.

So this is what I ended up making…what do you think?

Meiji Create-a-Gummy Sushi Bar

This is a DIY candy set from Meiji in which you can create your own gummy sushi pieces.

In the packet you get the pieces laid out. It is fairly easy to assemble, you just stick the gummy pieces together. The bottom layer gummies were stuck together in my set, so I had to get a fork to cut them apart.

The sushi pieces look cute and taste nice. The top pieces taste like strawberry and lemon. It isn’t as challenging or exciting as other DIY candy sets I have tried but it is easy to put together ans the end result is nice.

The Pelican, Barnstaple

The Pelican is a fish and chip restaurant and takeaway in Sticklepath, Barnstaple. It recently underwent a big redecoration in the restaurant in the last year or two, and it was runner up for a National Fish and Chip Shop Award!

This was the first time I went to try it, and I was expecting good things! There is quite a good selection on the menu – traditional things like cod, haddock, chips (their website actually offers all-you-can-eat chips if you run out!), as well as curries and fish pies. They do also have specials, although the waiter didn’t really promote them to us. The specials board says they have smoked haddock fish cakes using fresh, local fish delivered on that day. We shared the crab cakes and I had scampi and chips.

The crab cakes were ok, I wasn’t a big fan of them. The portion for a starter is quite large however.

The scampi was plentiful – normally most portion sizes I get are quite small, and there is lots of scampi meat (they use scampi whole tail). They were cooked just right and the chips were delicious – the right texture and not greasy unlike others I have eaten. I also took a quick bite from my partner’s cod and chips, and the batter is light and the fish looks and tastes fresh. Again, it wasn’t greasy.

We squeezed in room for a sweet. We had the Summer Berry Cheesecake and Mario’s Homemade Apple Pie. The portions were larger than I expected!

The cheesecake wasn’t the best I have had but the apple pie was nice. I wish there was an option to have it served with hot custard – that would have been even better!

Overall, the food was to a good standard and the price is not too expensive. The restaurant is beautiful, service is friendly and there is parking on site. The small criticisms I have is that some of the cutlery was dirty and the menus are sticky. Paying more attention to detail would make this experience even better.