November 2018, off I go again back to the same yacht for the 4th time (call me a boomerang). Guess I’ll be missing Christmas at home again for the 8th year running, but the money tree in my garden isn’t growing as quickly as id like it too unfortunately.
The yacht is currently hulled out in the Shipyard, in Senglea, Malta. A country I have been wanting to explore for some time now. Its nearing winter and nights are rolling in darker and colder, however no where near as cold as they would be in the UK right now, so this definitely hasn’t stopped me from getting out and about to explore (even though I did think I was off to the Maldives, so literally have a suitcase full of summer threads). Opps its going to be a long winter.
My first thoughts when wandering the streets of Malta were of how old and tired the buildings look,(it sort of made me feel like I was in a war zone in Iraq or how I would imagine that to look) but in a very quaint kind of way . I loved the endless sloping streets with hidden doorways and shutters opening up to small shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. As you can probably imagine the vibe at night compared to during the day is very different and some streets aren’t even recognisable when all the bars open and fill with people in the evenings.
To avoid the islands traffic there is a ferry system that operates from city to city. From Pulumbo shipyard where I am staying, I can catch the ferry to both valletta, Maltas capital, and what I like to call the old town and then to Sliema, Malta’s shopping and restaurant hub and what I like to call the new, cosmopolitan part of the island, also very close to St Julians the main party area full of clubs and bars that literally carry on into the very wee, early hours of every morning, if you’re looking for a good night out this is defiantly the place to head to.
Of course since being here, I have tried but a few restaurants and bars. Firstly in Sliema my two most memorable eating experiences were in Giorgios and Medasia, both restaurants are along the sea front, so always seem to be busy and excellent for people watching. I love to sit and watch the passers by, making up stories in my head of what their lives may be like, its like an audio book i’ve created for myself.
Giorgios has a great menu, packed with a whole variety of cuisines, burgers, pastas, pizza’s, salads, you name it they have got it, I am always super sceptical about restaurants that offer such big menus, as I worry they have bitten off too much and won’t really be able to perfect anything. However Giorgios proved me wrong, I ate there with my girlfriends and we all ordered completely different meals and were all extremely happy, the food was great and portion sizes were definitely not stingy. 100% worth a visit if you are looking for a good feed of home comfort or even just a coffee or fresh juice and to just sit and watch the world go by, such a good spot.
Medasia, only a short walk down the road from Giorgios, serves anything Asian from aromatic peking duck, to spring rolls and every kind of sushi roll under the sun, this place is always heaving with large groups and a word to the wise on Mondays they have all you can eat sushi for 25 euro, now you can’t beat that, can you!
Back in Valletta, on the other hand, this is more the kind of place you would want to go to find a hidden gem down a narrow alley, somewhere with real character, that you’re not likely to have eaten in before. I frequented a few in my month staying there.
My favourite for brunch was the Kingsway, on the main street, next to the big square, again another great people watching spot and whilst there I tried the local Maltese delicacy “rabbit”, yes that’s right the cute fluffy animal, you have as a pet when you’re a kid, only I had mine in a burger, I really wasn’t sure what I’d think of it, but just knew that I had to try it, ‘when in Rome’ and all that. To my delight it wasn’t a waste of money at all, it was a white meat, much like chicken but much more flavoursome, a burst of salt streams your saliva when biting into it. I would most certainly eat it again, sorry bugs bunny!
The Taproom I visited on a few occasions, such a great set up. A very small restaurant but done so well, with cozy lil booths and one large, large table at the end down by the open kitchen and bar. Where you can watch the chefs set fire to your food literally and see the bar tenders shake up your cocktails, which by the way are extremely good and all come served in crystal glasses, which definitely gains points with me.
A cocktail served in a decent glass, with a little bit of garnish, the kind you want to take a photo of, well its worth paying a little extra for.
The food is quite pricey, but they have some really interesting combinations on the menu, a lot of steaks and seafood all accompanied with delicious flavours things like the all expensive and rich tasting truffle mushrooms. All in all a great vibe in this place, perfect for cocktails and a light meal with entertaining surroundings, and located in a central spot on the highstreet with easy access to all the other bars, once you fall out of this one.
There are so many places to try in Valletta and these were just a couple of my favourite experiences, there will be so many more if you just get a good pair of walking shoes on and wander the quaint, cobbeled streets.
Whatever you do make sure you stop down one of the sloping, narrow streets to enjoy a coffee and feel like a local (just make sure you don’t fall off your chair, when balanced on the stairs, it’s a skill for sure) I enjoyed Exquisite Chocolate, the chocolates were more like small pieces of artwork, incredible and the coffee packs a nice punch too!
I’d like to hear of some of your favourite hideouts, if you have been to Malta, please share them with me?