ROOFTOP

Mama Shelter, Selma Ave, Hollywood, LA

I arrived… at sunset, hungry and jet-lagged after landing in California at 6am local time (2am NZ time), and had managed to stay awake all day, wandering Hollywood Boulevard and Griffith Observatory

I chose here because… it's the rooftop restaurant of Mama Shelter, the hotel I was staying in, and just two floors up in the elevator. I planned to scoff a quick solo dinner then hit the hay.

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My first impression was… that I was so happy with my choice. The view was great - across Hollywood's rooftops and out to the Hollywood Hills and the infamous sign. The bar/restaurant wraps around the entire roof, so you get 360-degree views of the City of Angels as it lights up. The colourful chairs, picnic tables and umbrellas, combined with oversized potted palms and strings of small bare lightbulbs gave a cool, holiday vibe.

My next impression was...

someone please hurry up and feed me. It took a while before the server came to take my order. It was a busy night but in LA service terms it was really slow.

I ate… crispy pork belly tacos - braised pork, butter lettuce, daikon kimchi, ssamjang, sweet pickles, daikon sprouts - served with corn esquite and slaw. Perfectly balanced flavours and every mouthful a winner - even if it was just a mix of rice and corn, which was perfectly sweet and salty and I'd eat a bucket of it as a snack at the movies if that were an option. And it should be.

The highlight was…

the crunch of perfectly rendered fat on the crispy pork belly with the bite of kimchi and pickles.

Dessert was… limited. Only soft-serve ice-cream available. I decided to save my calories, I had a long stay in America ahead of me, with no doubt hugely-portioned meals, so I figured every little helps.

Come here if… you want a buzzing Hollywood hangout with an A-list view. It's also open for breakfast, weekend bottomless brunch, lunch, and just drinks. Note, it gets quite chilly when the sun goes down. There are heaters that belt out a lot of heat, and staff can give you blankets. But if you're prone to the cold, bring something warm. (Yes, Mum).

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The bill… $32.85, but I paid $38.50 to leave a decent tip.