Archive | Food & Drink

World Gin Day

World Gin Day

Posted on 02 June 2017 by Chris Ford

World Gin Day

The 18th of June brings us World Gin day so we must of course celebrate such a fantastic day and heres some ideas how


The Green Man Pub In Chelmsford  will be showcasing three bespoke cocktails including the VJOP Gimlet, Vesper Martini and Sloe Negroni for £10 each I’m a bit of a Bond fan and always wanted to try a Vesper Martini, and why not?

Photo credit JCBrandon Flickr

Gin and Tonic Icecream!

Yes you read that right, for World Gin Day The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch will be serving Gin and tonic icecream. With botanical infused ice creams, gin sorbet and top topped with crystallised rosemary, savoury wafers or your choice of gin-soaked orange peels it certainly sounds different!  The G&T Icecream will be available from their pop up G&T bar from the 9th to 11th June.


Make your own

How about this refreshing twist on the classic G&T from Bulldog Gin?  They call it the Supersonic G&T

Mix 25ml BULLDOG Gin,100ml Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic and 10ml Cassis.  simple yet amazing !

Gin in the post

If you really want to celebrate Gin why not sign up to Little Gin Box? The Subscription service where for £10 every month you receive two 50ml carefully selected gins from small artisan distillers. With no commitment, you can cancel anytime so not like that gym membership you can’t get out of!

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The Big Easy Boozy Brunch, Canary Wharf

The Big Easy Boozy Brunch, Canary Wharf

Posted on 30 May 2017 by Chris Ford

I’ve made a bit of a habit of bottomless brunches recently. Dare I say this is turning into a series? And with that, I present to you, the Big Easy Boozy Brunch.

The Big Easy is a US style barbecue restaurant currently with three locations in Covent Garden, Kings Road and the one we visited  last weekend in Canary Wharf, a short walk from the DLR and Jubilee Line. The setting by the docks couldn’t be better on a hot sunny day.

Being a BBQ place the menu is meat-focused but there’s also options like lobster and other seafood if beef and pork aren’t your thing. But on our visit we went to try the Boozy brunch and I can confirm it was very boozy!

First of all you have to choose your type of brunch I went for ‘The Big Pig Gig’ which includes unlimited BBQ – and yes that really does mean you can keep asking for more! For two hours after your initial plate of food you can ask your server for more ribs, slaw, fries chopped pork – whatever you fancy more of from that initial plate.  The plate includes Pork ribs , chopped pork, BBQ chicken, pork ribs, smoked beans , fries and corn bread which to be honest when It was placed down in front of me I thought who could eat more than this plate?

The ribs were chunky and meaty and the pork fell off the bone, I’m generally not much of a rib man but these really hit the spot (in fact I did end up asking for some more!). The chicken had a lovely smokey taste with crispy outer skin the meat was soft and delicious from the first bite to the last. The beans were as you may expect smokey flavour beans all in all I was pretty amazed at what had been placed in front of me.

The other brunch option is ‘Lobster Fest’ which is lobster served a choice of three ways, ‘The Pounder’ (a 1lb lobster served with fries)  Lobster Roll or Lobster Mac and Cheese, the latter my girlfriend went for.

The mac and cheese isn’t unlimited but it’s so rich and indulgent with a generous helping of both cheese and lobster involved, I dare to find anyone that could eat more than the one massive dish of the stuff placed in front of you, along with that you also get a bowl of fries and a side salad.

Now onto the boozy part, for your two hour brunch you also have access to unlimited select drinks, these include pints of Big Easy Brew (Big Easy’s own house lager), prosecco , frozen Bacardi Mojitos or house wine. I was really impressed by this, so often these bottomless brunches offer prosecco and no other choice so it was nice to see the option of four different drinks.

So my verdict? We both loved the brunch and both agree we would go back, both the food and service was excellent and we felt offered amazing value for money especially in a typically expensive locale such as Canary Wharf and well unlimited beer and BBQ what’s not to like?

The Boozy Brunch is on offer at Big Easy Saturday and Sunday 11-4 priced at £29.50 all in.

Nearest Tube – Canary Wharf

#Big Easy did offer us a complimentary meal in exchange for a review but as always with the agreement the review would be unbiased, all opinions are our own.

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Giant Robot – Canary Wharf’s new Street food Venue

Giant Robot – Canary Wharf’s new Street food Venue

Posted on 21 April 2017 by Chris Ford

So last night we headed down to Giant Robot in Canary Wharf to check things out. Giant Robot is a Street Feast’s brand new, seven-day-a-week eating and drinking mecca in the heart of Canary Wharf at Crossrail Place.

First of all it wasn’t entirely what I had expected,  I thought Id be walking into essentially an indoor street food market place type deal and it really isn’t that, what I found is a series of permanent food kiosks (three of them as far as I could tell ) and then lots of seating and two bars.

Now I confess I didn’t try the food on this visit but I saw on the next table some city workers tucking into their bucket of fried chicken and I have to say it looked decent and yes the prices were not cheap as Ive noted a few reviews state but they also were not out of this world and we have to remember that we are in London, this is Canary Wharf it’s not going to be KFC prices.

Food on offer is currently Little Jose Spanish tapas , Thunderbird fried chicken and  Bobs Lobster.

What I did try is the bar, in fact the reason of my visit was to check out the much touted 38 tap bar and the beers they had on offer.  The thing is they may well have 38 taps (I counted 20 odd) but at the time of my visit only 12 beers were on, I’m not complaining though they were really nice beers I particular loved the Blue Point Toasted Lager and the Goose Island IPA was as great as it always is, also service was friendly and quick.


The space is a cool one and on a nicer day I could see many an hour spent in the outside area of Giant Robot drinking a cool beer in the sun, maybe next time I go I will try that fried chicken!


Giant Robot , Crossrail Place

Nearest Tube – Canary Wharf




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Review – St Barts – Smithfield

Review – St Barts – Smithfield

Posted on 19 April 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week I popped along to a dinner for bloggers at St Bart’s Brewery in Farringdon so they could showcase their new menu, as well as their drinks offerings.

Overlooking Smithfield’s famous meat market, St Bart’s is part of the Hush Heath Estate group (with another London location by Liverpool Street). Their new ‘barbecue soul food’ menu offers fresh and sustainably sourced British meat, fish and vegetables, smoked using apple wood from their Hush Heath Estate in Kent.

We began with a selection of small plates from the menu to share. The highlight for me was the most amazing Scotch Egg made with a duck’s egg. The yolk was rich and gooey and it was worlds away from the M&S picnic eggs I confess I’m used to eating. Sadly I had to share this with the table as I would have gladly eaten it all there and then!
For the main I decided to look beyond my go-to choice of steak (although the person sitting next to me had it and it looked amazing!) The ribs sounded like a tempting option and made the shortlist too. But in the end I had to go for the smoked brisket. And I’m so glad I did. It was absolutely melt-in-the-mouth and some of the best meat I have tasted in a long while. This is no doubt down to the care that has been taken to source good quality British beef, combined with the apple wood smoking.

Our host for the evening Laurence Bowes, operations director of the Hush Heath Estate group explained: ‘We’re not trying to reinvent the industry or even to be the very best in London. The industry is already altering people’s perceptions of quality meats and barbecued food – St Bart’s is coming along for the ride. What we are doing is offering real food, cooked well and served in a relaxed environment.’

So the food is good, very good, but what about the drink? First of all the award winning English wines from their Hush Heath Estate are front and a must try when you visit. Not much of a wine drinker myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the fruity sparkling Balfour Brut Rosé. The house IPA Jakes Orchard Session IPA was very drinkable too and while Hush Heath don’t make this themselves Laurence told me they were heavily involved in its development and the results are a great IPA which can stand up with the best of the big names out there (and in some cases beat them).

We finished our meal with a last bit of indulgence in the for of a knickerbocker glory, wow just wow!
One final note I’d like to mention the prices. Several of us noted that most of the plates were only £10 each which, considering the location and quality, is a very welcome surprise.

I would without hesitation recommend St Bart’s to anyone, in fact I already have so that says it all really.
St Barts ,66 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DY
Nearest Tube – Farringdon or Barbican

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Bumbu rum

Amazing Cocktails with Bumbu Rum

Posted on 13 April 2017 by Chris Ford

Bumbu is a small batch craft rum from the west indies, aged in oak barrels for 15 years creating a smooth flavoursome rum that really kept us going back for more when we tried it last weekend, and with this weekend looking to be another sunny one Bumbu have released these great cocktail how to  videos to really make this long weekend a special one

Bumbu Cocktail 'X Marks The Spot' at Hush Brasserie, London, UK from Bumbu Rum Co. on Vimeo.

Bumbu Cocktail 'Darkest Hour' at 65 & King, London, UK from Bumbu Rum Co. on Vimeo.

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Review – Bordelaise , Tooting

Review – Bordelaise , Tooting

Posted on 28 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Last weekend we were invited to try the Sunday roast offerings from new French bistro-cum-steak house Bordelaise located in South London’s Tooting.

I haven’t been to Tooting in years although heard good things but as we approached I have to admit slightly rundown looking indoor market in which Bordelaise is located I feared the worst.

As we passed a grimy looking phone stall and one shut shop after another things were not looking promising. But then we made it down the passage to Bordelaise which – as you can see from my photo – looks amazing (and actually totally out of place with its surroundings).

Bordelaise is owned by the ex-food and drink editor of the Independent and the two owners of other very well regarded restaurants so on paper these guys should know their stuff.

We arrived at midday just as Bordelaise opened and at the time their only customers, this always makes me feel a little strange especially with such a small dining area but service was polite and quick with drinks soon in front of us.

We ordered our roasts, (today was roast chicken with green beans and dauphinoise potatoes) after which our waiter asked us if we would like some cheese while we waited. It would be rude not to wouldn’t it?

We were shown most fantastic display of cheeses from which we picked our selection and were promptly served with some bread while we waited for our roast dinner to be cooked.

The main event soon arrived, as the plate sat down in front of me the smell really was out of this world, and both the portions of chicken and dauphinoise potatoes were extremely generous.

The chicken was perfectly cooked which a lovely crispy skin, the potatoes were completely out of this world though, in fact just over a week later I’m still thinking about their delicious garlicky goodness I only wish I could make these they truly were wonderful.

At £14 this roast is a complete bargain and if they keep these standards up I will without question return for more. After all, I do love my roast dinners.

We were not quite done yet though. I spied a chocolate fondant on the menu and if there is one rule in life you should stick by it’s always order the chocolate fondant. This one was most defiantly the best gooey chocolatey fondant I have ever had, bravo Bordelaise.

Chatting to the waiter about my earlier concern about the somewhat shabby locale, he informed me the arcade was going through somewhat of a regeneration and more and more interesting food spots were opening up. Indeed as I looked more closely on my way out I noticed the now open sushi bar, the craft beer shop and bar and several other spots that were shut when we first arrived. So it seems the future bodes well for both Bordelaise and the arcade.


Bordelaise, Units 9-11, Broadway Market, 29 Tooting High Street, London SW17 0R

Nearest Tube : Tooting Broadway

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Brunch at Galvin HOP

Brunch at Galvin HOP

Posted on 20 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week we reviewed a bottomless brunch at Kupp in Paddington. This week we check out another brunch with bottomless delicious Czech beer but this time its Pilsner Urquell at Galvin HOP.
Located in London’s Spitalfields Square Galvin HOP is their more relaxed pub like annex to the popular Galvin La Chapelle restaurant. Offering more simple straight forward dishes and with Pilsner Urquell (my favourite beer) in their tanks I was keen to check out their brunch offerings.
The brunch menu is served between 11.30 and 4pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays with the option to upgrade to bottomless Pilsner Urquell , Bloody Marys or Prosecco for a really very reasonable £10 for two hours.
As we walked in at 1pm I noticed already the place was busy (I’d suggest you definitely book ahead) we walked through the bar area to the main glass-roofed seating area for our brunch. Having never been here before I didn’t actually specify I wanted to sit here but it was a real bonus as Saturday was a lovely sunny day and the room really lit up through the transparent roof.

Galvin Hop
Firstly we had to select our drink, I knew already I wanted to go for the bottomless Pilsner Urquell, my girlfriend chose likewise and as we studied our menus our beautifully poured beers quickly arrived.

Galvin Hop
To start we shared some bread with quite possibly the tastiest smoked salmon I’ve ever tried, it seemed so fresh and flavoursome (maybe I’ve just always had bad salmon?) it really was rather good. The portion for the price was really generous as well.

Galvin Hop
Then onto our mains, by this time I was feeling more in a lunch frame of mind so I went for the deluxe burger which came with a fried pickle on top as well as amazing crunchy fat chips.

Galvin Hop
My girlfriend went for the steak and eggs which I was immediately jealous of when it arrived but I can’t eat two meals so it just means I will have to return so I can try it!
Throughout the meal Galvin Hops staff were excellent at staying on top of refreshing our beers and barely did I have a mouthful left before they were over with a replacement. What more can you ask for?
As we finished our meal our charming server explained she had recently returned from Pilsen in the Czech Republic (now called Czechia) where she had been trained how to pour the perfect pint of Pilsner Urquell. She asked us if we would like to see the different pours on offer, we of course said yes!

Galvin Hop
As you can see in the photo above the two pours were on the left the Hladinka pour with over a third of the glass foam results in less carbonation and a smoother drink. On the right the Milko pour which has a small amount of pilsner at the bottom with the rest of the glass filled with the wonderfully sweet pilsner foam, a desert in itself some Czechs argue! If you go I would highly recommend you ask to try these pours after your meal.
We thoroughly enjoyed our brunch at Galvin HOP, in fact we are already planning our return so I think that tells you all you need to know.

Galvin Hop
Galvin HOP ,35 Spital Square, London
Nearest Tube : Liverpool Street



*Galvin HOP offered us a free meal but agreed we would write an unbiased review, all words are the writers own and my love for Pilsner Urquell is strong and true.

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Flight Night at Jackson & Rye

Flight Night at Jackson & Rye

Posted on 14 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Jackson & Rye , we reviewed their latest city opening last year and if you remember we were blown away with the food and service well they contacted me recently about their new ‘ Flight Night’ which I went along to check out.

jackson & Rye

With ‘Rye’ in their name you can probably guess these guys are fans of Rye whiskeys so their latest concept Flight night is all about that. With so many varieties of Rye available there’s a flight to suit most taste and Jackson & Rye have designed a concept to show this off.

The four flights kicking off flight night are laid out below, James Goggin , Jackson and Ryes Rye expert explained to us that the whiskies have been grouped into categories that encompass the main flavour profiles whiskies can exhibit.


The WRYEht Brothers – The Perfect introduction to Rye

jackson & Rye

Ezra Brooks Striaght Rye  – Rittenhouse Straight Rye – Copper Fox Rye

Possibly my favourite of the flights we tried on the night, the Ezra Brooks in particular interested me and the story behind the brand. It was originally created in 1957 to take advantage of the shortage at the time of Jack Daniels even down to the label being just a tad similar!  I loved the spicy sweetness from this whiskey, James explained this comes from charring of the barrels.

The Rittenhouse was interesting in that its 100% Proof and James explained has stayed relatively the same since it was first produced in 1934 , this Rye was again sweet with hints of honey and orange,very nice!

Cooper Fox only opened their distillery in 2005 so a relatively new player in the whiskey world. This whiskey is made with barley, able and cherry wood producing a lovely fruitiness.

For the Love of Rye – Thee Ryes in in Rye content

Bulleit Rye – FEW Rye – High West Rendevous Rye

Bulleit known for their high rye content whiskies it makes sense they would produce a Rye and this one is my favourite of this flight , spicy with a hint of cherry this is one I have plans to pick up a bottle of.

FEW has a lower rye content that the Bulleit and is 46.5% Cask strength, as my grandad would say that will put hairs on your chest!  This one was a little strong for me but still really interesting to try.

High West is also a newbie, the distillery was setup in 2008 after the owners became inspired after a visit to Makers Mark. High West honours the way Rye used to be made with a high rye content and full flavour.

The Many Faces of America – A trio of Bourbon, Rye and Malt

jackson & Rye

Makers Mark Bourbon – Sonoma Rye – Balcones Single Malt

Makers Mark contains no Rye instead Wheat, resulting in a caramel flavour with a sweet sugar soft on the palette.

Sonoma again a new distillery opened in 2010 , they use grains from all over the world. Using two copper pot stills over an open fire this whiskey is distilled twice.

The Balcones distillery was setup nine years ago from scratch including building their own stills. Their goal was to produce a Texas Whiskey. The result is a big, bold single malt.

The Sprit of America – Three traditional Bourbon flights

jackson & Rye

Eagle Rare Bourbon – Basil Hayden’s Bourbon – Smooth Ambler Contradiction

Eagle Rare bourbon is produced by Buffalo Trace and is regularly touted by those in the know as the best value bourbon for the price, this is a smooth dry bourbon with hints of toffee.

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon is produced by Jim Beam but is steeped in history dating back to 1796, Mr Hayden was one of the first to add rye to their bourbon, this is a spicey sweet whiskey with a hint of peppermint.

Finally Smooth Ambler Contradiction is a wheated bourbon and rye bourbon blend from west Virginia.  This one tasted of vanilla and coffee, possibly the most interesting of the bunch to me.


Flight Nights are available at Jackson and Rye every Wednesday for £9.95 for three small shots.

For me info on flight night and Jackson & Rye head over to

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Review: Kupp, Paddington Bottomless Brunch

Review: Kupp, Paddington Bottomless Brunch

Posted on 13 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week I had a real craving for some Krusovice, a Czech pilsner that’s not widely available in the UK at the moment.

But one of the places it is available is in KuPP in Paddington so we made plans to ‘Czech’ this riverside venue out at the weekend.

Kupp bottomless brunch

KuPP’s website says the menu was developed around a desire to use notable Scandinavian ingredients in a British way, having never been to the region I was really interested to see what it had to offer.

We arrived at KuPP on a lovely sunny day eager to have some lunch and tuck into some quality Czech beer, on the table I noticed they had a bottomless brunch menu. I see these things as a bit of a challenge much to my girlfriends dismay!  What’s interesting about the bottomless brunch here is that it includes beer, most places do them with prosecco, so again this excited me. Bring it on!

Kupp bottomless brunch

With any type of bottomless or unlimited offer there are rules, in this case for £30 we had 90mins in which time we could have as many pints or a choice of two cocktails and smorgasbords as we liked, providing we had finished the previous one beforehand.

Service started off a tad slow, and we wondered if this was part of the plan to stop me consuming more than one pint but no things soon picked up as the restaurant filled up a bit and we got tucked into our food.

Kupp Bottomless Brunch

Fiske board

The smorgasbords are quite substantial, with a generous helping of smoked salmon and trout and prawns the ‘Fiske’ board was a favourite of both of ours, it tasted fresh and was well presented.

Kupp Bottomless Brunch

KuPP board

The KuPP board had lovely mini meatballs and a gorgeous chorizo sausage roll as highlights.

Kupp Bottomless Brunch

Smokin Roast board

Finally we tried the Smokin Roast board, which was a kind of deconstructed roast dinner while my girlfriend tried to eat some of the veggie board but realised she had taken on too much by that point!

Kupp Bottomless Brunch

Veggie Board

The beer of course was on point (I knew it would be) but the real surprise for me was the food, it was of such high quality I guess higher than I was expecting for something like this I would without a doubt recommend KuPP for their brunch and most even more to try some beautiful Krusovice by the canal in the sun.

Kupp, Paddington

Nearest Tube : Paddington /Edgware Road

Kupp bottomless brunch


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A Beery break in Brno, Czechia

A Beery break in Brno, Czechia

Posted on 09 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Brno is the second largest city in  Czechia (formaly the  Czech Republic), Prague being the first, and in  my mind a far nicer place to go. Yes Prague has a lot of history and is beautiful but there are so many sites devoted to the place I thought I would talk about my favourite Czech city Brno.

The first thing you notice is there are no stag parties like in Prague, the locals simply won’t tolerate it, bars won’t let men in in big groups for fear of the town getting the Stag destination reputation that  Prague has and for this I’m very thankful for. Brno is a place you can go with a small group of friends or as a couple and feel right at home. Here are my top beer and food tips from my multiple trips to Brno in recent years.


The Czechs aren’t using the Euro yet so you will need some Czech Krouns , we found a weekend of generous drinking and eating left us with plenty of change from the £100 we brought with us, so Brno certainly won’t break the bank.


We stayed at the Barcelo Palace, it’s a nice hotel located in I think the perfect spot as its central while not right in the town centre either, within two minutes you are able to get to some top spots.


The Czech Republic’s national drink of choice is beer, and they tend to have the pilsner style (having invented it hardly surprising) and you will find no shortage of watering holes around the city, here are some of my favourites


Pivnice U Poutníka – Starobrněnská 16, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

A Small front room bar with a larger back space.  There were t wo taps on my visit, the double hop Poutnik and the nefiltrovany Poutnik 12 lezak, both delicious and the only place Im aware of to get them in Brno. This place gets really popular in the evening and things keep going until the early hours.

Pivnice U Poutníka

Starobrno Brewery , Mendlovo nám. 158/20, 603 00 Staré Brno, Czechia


Starobrno is the big beer of Brno and this is where is made right here in town. The Taproom and restaurant is massive and has been completely refurbed in recent years offering modern décor with classic traditional dishes and more contemporary both served to excellent standards. Of course the beer is as fresh as can be served directly from the brewery next door it doesn’t have far to travel!



Výtopna, Starobrněnská 339/12, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

While you won’t be blown away by the food here ( think fast food, burgers etc ) all your drinks are delivered by the model train that travels around from the bar to all the tables, you have to have one pint of Starobrno here just to experience that!

U Bláhovky – 54 Gorkého St.

U Bláhovky

This place has had a cult following since the late 1990s. Excellent Plzeň (Pilsner lager) on tap in fact this place was recommended to my by Vaclav the Pilsner Urquell head brewer as serving a great pint and hes right it does. You should get here early though this place fills up quickly in the evenings but it’s worth the visit and you will most certainly be drinking with locals. One warning this place is about a 20min walk from the main square but not an unpleasant one and google maps is your friend.

Pivnice U Kocoura, Biskupská 6, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Pivnice U Kocoura

Along with their own brand lager and Pilsner Urquel this place has a rotating tap menu from different Czech breweries and was the only place in Brno I had an IPA which was both Czech And delicious. The bar and inside seating area is quite small but outside is a large beer garden boasting a fantastic view for you to take in while enjoying your beer.


Potrefená Husa Brno , Starobrněnská 334/3, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Potrefená Husa Brno

This place is part of a chain owned by the Staropramen brewery but don’t let that put you off we really like it. Its modern cool bar with great food and the entire Staropramen range including the excellent unfiltered version. Also has a nice outside seating area.

Pegas Brno , Jakubská 4, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Pegas Brno

This is a cool beer hall and microbrewery, they only sell their beers and they are really good. Lots of locals in here and grumpy waiters, but worth it. Theres also a hotel upstairs which I have stayed at in the past , but in my opinion not worth the premium they charge for it.


Monte Bú restaurant,  Údolní 532/76, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Monte Bú restaurant

This place is a bit of a cab right away but so worth it. Certainly the best steak Ive ever had and really cheap too, I had the tomahawk steak which is served and cut at your table, all washed down with fantastic pilsner even talking about this makes me want to go back.

Monte Bú restaurant


If you are London based like me Ryanair fly directly into Brno airport from Stanstead , Id also recommend booking a taxi in advance for airport pickup as there isn’t a rank as such and most cabs hanging around are already pre booked. There is a bus service from the airport into town but I have yet to try it.

I hope this has inspired you to take your own trip to Brno its one of my favourite places to holiday and maybe it will be yours soon too.



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