Soleto’s 5* dinner and Miss Saigon 5* show

Wednesday, last day of February…

After an interesting but challenging, busy day running around for most of it, I could not wait for my dinner and theatre evening.

I’ve been daydreaming for that first sip of wine for days… I’ve been looking forward to seeing Miss Saigon since we booked our tickets a month ago… I’ve been drooling thinking of the Ravioli from the first moment I saw that Insta Story weeks ago…

It’s all about the little things, I lost count how many times I’ve been told by friends, colleagues, even people I recently met that they love how I enjoy life and make the most of it. It’s true. And I looked forward to this evening more than words can describe.

First stop Soleto, a little Italian just opposite the Mayflower. I’ve never heard of this restaurant until a couple of weeks ago. During one of my long sessions on Instagram exploring, I came across this snap on the Southampton location Insta story of the most gorgeous looking ravioli I’ve ever seen. That’s one of the ways I discover all the little gems I often blog about. I googled the place, as one does and it had great reviews on TripAdvisor.

The gang trusts my instinct when it comes to food and they were all up for trying Soleto before the theatre. I’ve made a reservation a couple of days ago and the lovely manager on the phone after hearing my name asked where I was from as my name sounded Greek. I told her I was Greek Cypriot and she had a giggle before telling me that her husband, George/Yiorgos was Greek and he is the cook, he would be the one preparing our meals. It made my day. It reminded me of my dad, cooking delicious fish every night… I almost knew the food would be amazing.

And it was one of the best three course meals I had in a while. Everyone else agreed.

For a starter we shared the Baked Camembert with Garlic and Rosemary which came with Toasted Ciabatta and Chilli and Onion Chutney. Heavenly runny Camembert, with just the right amount of garlic and herbs, warm, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, homemade ciabatta and delicious, spicy chutney. We loved it so much we ordered a second.

Baked Camembert with Garlic and Rosemary. Toasted Ciabatta and Chilli and Onion Chutney

I usually struggle to choose a main, but this time I knew from the moment I’ve seen it on that story that I had to try the Wild Mushroom Ravioli. Oh my lord. Perfectly cooked ravioli beautifully laid in a creamy Leek and Pine nut Sauce, with of course grated Parmesan on top.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli

I could not decide what to have for pudding, I love a chocolate tart but the lovely manager recommended the Creme Brulee. It was the perfect pudding to finish off this incredible meal. Light and fluffy, not overly sweet.

All the dishes were beautifully presented which makes a difference. If it looks good, it rarely doesn’t taste good!

Creme Brulee

I’m not a big wine drinker but Dave’s recommendation of red hit the spot. Light, smokey, smooth, it was the perfect choice for our meal, especially on a bitterly cold, winter night.

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And for all of that we only paid £35 each, tips included! I’d definitely pay more.

After dinner, warmed up, happy with full belly, we headed to the theatre to see Miss Saigon.

I do not want to reveal much in case you are about to go and see it but it was hands down one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Mayflower.

Incredible props and sets and beautiful, colourful, authentic costumes, for a moment you forget you are in Southampton and you are transferred to 1970’s Vietnam.

The music was amazing, well done to the brilliant orchestra and the maestro co-ordinating the musicians and the outstanding cast singing.

The whole cast was stunning, especially Kim and the Engineer, but everyone was incredible.

I cried in the end not just because of the tragic ending (as one would expect of an Opera adaptation) but because of the beauty of it all, the set, the music, the acting.

Some of my friends and colleagues I’ve talked to afterwards didn’t think it was that brilliant, as they compared it to the London production they’ve seen years ago but as a first-timer I absolutely loved it.

Needless to say I’d recommend it, it’s worth every single penny. And if you decide to go, pop to Soleto for dinner first. I’m going back at the first opportunity to taste more of their dishes.

Delicious food, great company and an amazing show, definitely a night to remember.

Thank you to Solent Staff Scene for the tickets and to the Mayflower for bringing such a great production to Southampton.




Italian Tapas Friday

Happy Friday!

Thank God is Friday. This week has been emotional, busy, full of ups and downs, exhausting.

I’m glad we decided to try Enoteca, the Italian on Bedford place.

The perfect way to celebrate the end of the week.

My lovely friend Jaba recommended this little gem a while ago and today Jamie, Sheba and I gave it a go. I pass by it every day on my way to work and back but is usually quiet so I didn’t think much of it but I’ve heard the best and it has excellent reviews with my all time favourite one: “Just had the Tiramisu. Like angels tap dancing on your tongue. The lamb and the prawns were legendary too. Good work chaps!(Rob Pratt via Facebook)”

Enoteca (the word Enoteca comes from the Greek word Οινοθήκη, which means “wine repository” but is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy) is a small, family run restaurant in the city centre and the menu includes antipasti, sharing platters and tapas.

We love sharing and we wanted to try as much as we could, one of my favourite things to do when eating out, so we had the cheese platter, the griddled lamb cutlets, Arancini (fried breaded risotto balls filled with mozzarella and Nduja salami) and the torta rustica (A filo pastry tart of ricotta, spinach, artichoke).

Everything was delicious! Jamie doesn’t usually like lamb but he loved it at Enoteca! And I personally loved the decoration and the homely feeling, especially their pretty patterned plates.


We could not leave without trying the tiramisu after the glorious review above. And it didn’t disappoint. Light, fluffy cream, sweet, coffee infused lady fingers. I could have 10 of these little pots.


Thank you Jamie and Shebz for our lovely lunch today. One to remember!

I’m definitely going back again to try the rest of the menu and their wine. Needless to say, is now one of my favourite lunch places in Southampton. Great, delicious food, decent prices, fast service, friendly staff and local, independent, cute little restaurant.

I hope more people get to know and try it and support it, it will be a shame if it closes down because of the big, chain competitors.

I don’t get paid to write about any of these places, this is my honest opinion and hopefully this comes across through my posts.

Have a lovely weekend, however you are spending it!


A week of great food, Richard III and the Addams Family.

What a week it has been!

A couple of weeks ago my frustration reached dangerous heights because I can’t do what I really want to do as fast as I’d like to, mainly due to financial reasons (money doesn’t bring happiness, I know, but it definitely helps) and felt very unproductive.

So I decided to take advantage of the free courses through the uni on (I’m on the second series of singing training with the great late Jeannie Deva), got back into learning Italian with DuoLingo and started the free Google Digital Garage suite of digital marketing lessons (you get a certificate in the end, which makes a difference).

And for mental and physical wellbeing I’m doing Adriene Mishler’s 31 Day Yoga Revolution (awesome!) and keep reading. I’ve recently finished When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed and died of cancer at the age of 37. Incredible man, surgeon and writer. It’s worth a read.

But more on the book and the rest of my activities on my next post later  this week, with more details and links if you are interested.

This post is all about the Richard III play I saw at the Salisbury cathedral and the Addams Family at the Mayflower.

A couple of months ago the big boss Dave, Donna, Suzanne and I, after our Opera taster (first time I’ve ever been, and it was incredible) were looking for our next culture excursion. Donna has previously seen productions by Antic Disposition ( a London-based theatre company that runs classic plays in an innovative way, in unique locations.

So we booked tickets to see Richard III in Salisbury Cathedral last Thursday.

We left Salisbury at 4:30pm as we were first having dinner at 6pm at a little Italian place I found great reviews for on Tripadvisor, ( especially for their chocolate cake, which I looked forward to trying. I didn’t stop talking about it for days!

It took us 2 HOURS to get to Salisbury, there was horrific traffic, so we arrived at Salisbury at 6:30pm, thinking of what to have for dinner in the little time we had left before the play, maybe a Burger King or any fast food. But we  thought to go to the restaurant first and asked them how fast they could prepare dinner for us. Might as well give it a go.

The service was incredible. A big thank you to the manager and the staff for preparing our food as fast as they could. We ordered at 6:40pm, the mains arrived in 15 minutes and I finished mine in 10 minutes, the fastest I’ve ever eaten, in a desperate effort to make enough time to try their chocolate cake.

And I was not disappointed. It was delicious! The unexpected Nutella layer was the icing on the cake (hah I just read this sentence again). I finished my pudding in the record time of 2 minutes and we had 10 minutes to run to the Cathedral.

I got a bit distracted by the cake display and I asked the manager about their cakes. He told me all about how all their food, including their cakes is homemade and they make different ones every day. They had tiramisu, chocolate truffle, mango cheesecake and panna cotta on that day! I’m going again when I get the chance to try more of their puddings.

We finally made it at the Cathedral on time (after the restaurant manager let us out from the back door to save us more time!).

I’ve passed by the Salisbury cathedral before but I’ve never been inside. I was in awe. What a gorgeous building. There is something special, mystical about old buildings that I love.

The play took place in the middle of the Cathedral, with seats set on the left and the right of the ‘stage’ area. We booked seats in the front row and I’m glad we did. I got the chance to watch carefully every actor, their expressions, their movements, everything.

What an amazing production! The atmosphere was breathtaking, the natural light coming in from the large stained glass windows. All the actors were incredible, never broke out of character although we were literally in their faces.

Richard III winked at me when he deliriously gloated about his scheming and plotting (always in character, he wasn’t hitting on me!) and I was given a little flag to wave when Edward V arrived to London to be crowned king, which I kept to remember this night.

I didn’t really know much about Richard III and sometimes Shakespeare is not easy to follow but this play was incredible. I can’t wait to go see their next one. I’d definitely recommend it to everyone!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening I’ll never forget.

A couple of days ago a colleague told us about an offer a friend at Mayflower emailed him about(thank you Michael!), £10 tickets for any seats to see the Addams Family, starring Les Dennis, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Samantha Womack, amongst others.

So I booked great seats and last night, two friends and I went to see the Addams Family. I loved the movie when I was a kid and unashamedly I occasionally still watch it on a lazy Sunday afternoon but didn’t know whether I’d enjoy the musical adaptation.

I was extremely tired, as I woke up super early the day before to do my yoga class and didn’t come home from Salisbury until 11pm, I thought’ I’d probably fall asleep in the theatre, the seats at the Mayflower are very comfy.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the whole production (and I didn’t fall asleep).

Great costumes and sets, a lots of laughter, brilliant singing and the cast was amazing.

The biggest surprise for me was Les Dennis who played Uncle Fester. I’ve only known him as the presenter of Family Fortunes, I didn’t know he could sing that well and he was hilarious!

It’s been a productive, fun and entertaining week. I’m still tired but all worth it.

I now have the weekend to recuperate, get organised and make plans for the next couple of months, including my Christmas ticket home!

Not owning a credit card and saving money is painful but necessary if I’ll ever change career, move on and travel more. But this week reminded me that I can still have fun and enjoy my life as it is in the meantime.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!