Google Places Community Blog – getting to know Chiara Pinto

To get to know me a little better, read about me here as a featured user on the Google Places Community Blog:

Meet your neighbour: Chiara Pinto

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 7:09 AM

Labels: london, user spotlight

Editor’s Note: Now and then we’ll spotlight one of our amazing Google Places reviewers. Both so you guys can start to get to know one another and so we can pull together and share our favourite local places. Today, we introduce you to Chiara Pinto from London.

Want to be one of our Featured Users? Sign up for the newsletter to find out how or follow us on Twitter for community activities in London.

Chiara has been in London for ten years (“Must be the money!”) and loves to spend her time “letting the inner critic out” on the capital’s unsuspecting restaurants. We spoke to Chiara about a few of the best meals she’s had in town, as well as her London insider tips.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Eat my way around the amazing food scene in London; not great for my waistline but it sure is fun!
Share your ultimate London insider tip:
If you’re having a hard day’s shopping on the Kings Road, go to St Luke’s Church just behind the Waitrose. They have lovely grounds and you can pick up some food and have a picnic if the weather’s nice.

Which celeb would you love to see reviewing on Places?
Stephen Fry; he’s so witty I bet his reviews would be riveting!

What’s your favourite Google event you’ve been to and why?
The Modern Pantry brunch; it was just such a perfect start to the weekend. The Bloody Mary jugs didn’t hurt either!

And what are a few of your favourite London places?

Galvin at Windows – Love this place. I’ve never had a bad meal here and they can even make me like things I didn’t think I was going to e.g. liquorice panna cotta. And of course I don’t need to mention the stunning views, the photos speak for themselves!

Gauthier Soho – Gauthier has stunning food and fabulous, unobtrusive service. We had the tasting menu and there wasn’t a course I didn’t like. Highly recommended.

Polpetto at The French House – Adored Polpetto, almost everything we ate was fantastic and the place has a great vibe. Particular standouts for me included the chili garlic prawns, the steak with white truffle sauce and the zucchini fries. The only duff note was the salad of pea, fennel and ricotta, which didn’t have much fennel flavour and was fairly bland. Also getting a special shout out from me is the tiramisu, one of the best I’ve ever eaten but it came in a tiny shot glass, I had serious dessert envy when I saw the massive slice of flourless chocolate cake my friend got. Next time I’m getting two of the tiramisu!!

The Table – All the reviews of this place seem to be for brunch but I can confirm it is equally good for dinner. I ordered the veggie option which came fabulously presented (they’re big on presentation), a huge platter of asparagus, artichoke, courgette and a duck egg. Everything was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The only slightly duff note was my strawberry and coconut cheesecake which was more like a mousse. My brother got the chocolate marquis and definitely won the dessert round. The benches you sit on are heavy (be prepared for an upper body workout when you pull them out) but I think it’s more glam than its cafe name would suggest and it has a lovely courtyard if the weather gets warm again. Recommended.

Posted by Alexandra Sheppard, London community coordinator

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
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