On our trip to London this year, we didn’t spend much time in the city. Half the time was spent travelling to the outer regions of England, and though I enjoyed that immensely, I really missed being in London too. It’s such a captivating city, with so many things to do, places to see, and of course, it’s a melting pot of cultures and cuisines that it’s a heaven for any foodie like me.
Walking past any Ottolenghi bakery is a feast for the eyes, and I’m so glad that there was an outlet just walking distance from our Airbnb. It was a tiny outlet, with barely any seating space, but it was so convenient for us that we dropped by at least 3 times for breakfast throughout our trip. Asking me to choose from the plethora of pastries and treats on display was as if I had to choose a favourite child – it’s impossible!
While we were shopping on one of the days, it began pouring and we were so lucky that SAID was along the street, so we ducked in for some rich, velvety Italian hot chocolate. Ah, perfetto! I’ve really missed Italian hot chocolate, which always reminds me of melted 70% dark chocolate. It’s unparalleled around the world. The chocolate drizzle requires an additional top-up, and I’d say you can do without it, though it does look pretty, doesn’t it?
Address: 41 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 9QL
Open 10am-11pm (Mon-Sat), 11am-10pm (Sun & Holidays)
Guess what, though? Soon after we tried SAID, Dark Sugars stole my heart with their amazing version of hot chocolate. Walk into the store and you’ll be greeted by a massive variety of chocolates in all shapes and flavours. Sample some chocolate truffles, you might get an interesting one! But don’t forget to order their hot chocolate which comes with freshly shaved white, milk and dark chocolate on top. The chocolate is deliciously smooth and thick, with a deep cocoa flavour, characteristic of this store’s roots. The chocolate shavings melt into the drink, enhancing the flavour even further.
Address: 141 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB / 124-126 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU
Open daily 10am-10pm
I’ve heard rave reviews about Patty & Bun, how it has one of the best burgers in London, and I couldn’t wait to try it! Their burgers are saucy, messy and you should be prepared to get your hands dirty, because that’s the best way to enjoy a burger. Definitely go for the ‘Smokey Robinson’ Burger (£8.75), which was a beef patty topped with mounds of caramelised onions, bacon and smokey P&B mayo. To be honest, I wasn’t wowed by the burger, perhaps because my expectations were raised too high. But those chips. Man, they were GOOD. I usually don’t quite like thick cut chips (I prefer the skinny shoestring kind because they’re crispier), but these chips (£2.95), just sprinkled with rosemary salt and served as it is, were so addictive! The flavour of the potato was brought out by the salt perhaps, and they were so crisp on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside. Yum!!!
Address: 22/23 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PD
Open 11.30am-10pm (Mon-Tue), 11.30am-11.30pm (Wed-Fri), 11.30pm-9pm (Sat & Sun)
Another place in London that I was dying to try was Hawksmoor. It’s such a London thing to have Sunday Roast, and it has been something that I’ve been really curious about. Finally managed to have a taste of it, at one of the best places for Sunday Roast too! Hawksmoor has the most incredible steaks. Served on a hot sizzling plate, the steak was thick and juicy, with a lovely red medium-rare interior. The vibe of Hawksmoor is part of what makes the experience such an enjoyable one too! Definitely a place that I would want to return to in future. They have several outlets to choose from, take your pick.
It might seem ironic to visit a Chinese restaurant (of all cuisines!) while we are in London. But when Pearl Liang whips up Chinese dishes with such flair, that is unrivalled even in most places in Asia, we definitely had to give it some credit. It’s a fine dining establishment with an Asian touch, and thankfully without any arrogance. Their specialty is the Lobster noodles which is served with a generously portioned crustacean.
Address: 8 Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London W2 6EZ
Open daily 12pm-11pm
Okay, this one is kind of a tease amongst the rest. We stumbled upon Wahaca while shopping at Westfield. We were hungry and searching for a dinner spot, and while walking along the row of eateries, Wahaca was giving out tacos with a dollop of guacamole. Took a sample, and we were immediately sold. Their guacamole was so delicious!!!! It was unbelievable. I seriously don’t know how they could make a normal avocado taste so good, but we fell in love with it. Their Mexican street food is executed with aplomb and it was a random find which we relished. They have outlets all over UK, so you know where to get an easy Mexican fix.
For cocktails with a view, and a better way to enjoy the cityscape of London, grab a drink at Hutong / Aqua Bar at The Shard. To go up to the viewing gallery at The Shard, entrance tickets start from £25.95. A better way to spend that money is to head up to one of the bars and order a drink instead. Isn’t that a better way to take in those spectacular views, while sipping on a cocktail?
Address: The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
Open 9am-1am (Sun-Thu), 9am-2am (Fri-Sat)
London has so many amazing fine-dining establishments, but you don’t always have to break the bank to visit one of them. There are many restaurants offering set meals from £20/pax, and Avenue was one of them. We chanced upon this restaurant while searching online for a place to eat, and decided to check it out. It was one of the BEST meals we had in London. A three-course meal with a glass of sparkling wine set us back a very reasonable £25/pax, and it was money well spent with the perfect, all-rounded experience. From the moment we were welcomed at the doors, to the service at our table and the exquisite quality of each dish, we revelled in the meal and it was the best ending to our 2 week trip. Thank you, London, for the memories.
Address: 7-9 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1EE
Open 10am-10.30pm (Mon-Sat), 11am-4pm (Sun)