London’s Food Extravaganza

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.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWalking 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!

img_7629_zps734djj4yWhile 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)

img_8003_zps1gwu7mocGuess 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

img_7630_zpsa7so1vmoI’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)
Other outlets

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnother 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.

img_8012_zpsi4wour33It 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

img_8264_zpssefvjrfdOkay, 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.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetFor 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)

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetLondon 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)

img_8299_zpsz7wvir44Cheers! <3

How do i love London? Let me count the ways…Part IV

hello! (: i’m back with another post on food ^^ hehe. can’t seem to get myself away from it aye :P actually this post shouldn’t really be classified under my london posts since i didn’t eat any of these in london. but then they’re all over UK, and definitely you have got to try them when you’re in london! (: i just absolutely love how UK is so health-friendly, and has such great options for on-the-go lunches when you don’t have the time to prepare your own! they’re so affordable as well! at least in relative terms, which makes it even more attractive (:

Pret-a-Manger can be found everywhere in uk, and it’s the go-to place for quick meals that are oh-soooo-yummy!!!!! i really really love how uk has healthy fast food ;) this is totally grab & go! so convenient, but makes me super happy eating it ;) they have a selection of salads, wraps and all, which are super balanced with all the veggies, meat and (sometimes) carbs. and they all sound so delicious! healthy food is really tasty here, so there’s no reason at all to be unhealthy ;) and their soups!!!!! made fresh everyday, and they’re so delicious ^^ i tried their tomato soup and it was chock full of ingredients and beautifully flavoured with fresh tomatoes. SO good :D

another thing i like about Boots? it carries the Jamie Oliver range of healthy lunches!! :D very interesting variety of salads, wraps and sandwiches. i’m always spoilt for choice! and i especially like how he has these meal plan options, where you can get a salad, drink and snack for a mere £3.45 (if i rmb correctly)!!!! super duper affordable, and it gives you a very complete meal (: i looooove rumblers!!! it’s this granola yogurt which is so yummy! this set super worth it because rumblers is about half this price on its own already.

and marks & spencer has something similar too! ^^ LOVE the M&S here. it’s so much better than the one in singapore!!!! their stores are huge and they sell everything under the sun ^^ i could spend hours in their grocery store, seriously. haha. and their household stuff are so nice too!!! if only it wasn’t so ex :P i think the groceries are still quiteeee reasonable though (: anyway, they’re always having all sorts of promotions, like they have this dinner meal-plan thing, where you can get a three-course meal for two people for a fixed price which is v worth it too! 

i just love how there are so many options for me to choose from when i need to grab lunch. so convenient, so healthy and absolutely tasty ^^

and yay, i’m finally done with my london posts :))) 




How do i love London? Let me count the ways…Part III

no #3 on the to-do list in london is S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G!!!!!! you have absolutely no idea how much i spent in primark. omg. haha i contributed to boosting their economy mannnn :P and together with all the markets in london? ^^ AMAZINGGGG. i just love going to markets (haha but i loathe wet markets in singapore) and there were so many to go to in london! all so different, and great for shopping for different things ^^ 

anyway, let’s start with the more obvious ones first hehe.

primark!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the happiest place on earth haha (not disneyland? oh no, if you’re a girl, primark is your happy place :P)
this was a mere fraction of the stuff that i got from primark. i really went crazy there. and i guess that’s why it’s not a good idea to stay in UK for too long :p i stepped into primark three times, and each time i bought something. shorts, tops, dresses, pyjamas, shoes, accessories, blazers…you name it, i bought it. >.< haha not good at allllll. i did really go crazy there haha. but it was SO CHEAP. i mean seriously!! haha every piece that i got was totally worth it ;) that's what i told myself, which is why i kept buying. but i'm serious! all my shoes were under £5, which is less than $10 especially considering the current exchange rate. so worth it!! the only thing that was probably not considered cheap, but comparable to singapore's prices, were my blazers, which were £15. but they came in such gorgeous colours i just had to get them! super love my new wardrobe now ^^ 

Boots was my heaven #2 ^^ heehee. this is such an awful picture of it. but i LOVED IT. all the beauty products!!!! i swear i could spend hours in there just looking at their whole range of products omgggg. sooooo nice!!!!! and i left london with a huge regret cos i didn’t get some soap&glory stuff i wanted (yay thanks yi for bringing it back for me <3). but it's really so much more worth it to buy the stuff there!!! like less than half the price of that in Sephora in singapore! :O not kidding! bcos boots has the most awesome 3 for the price of 2 deals hehe. love it ;) and plus their range of products is soooo extensive! gonna blog more about the stuff i bought in subsequent posts. i'm so crazy in love with all my beauty products :)) plus they have jamie oliver's lunch sets there which i love too!!! (also will blog about this soon hahaha).

H&M, New Look, Topshop….
I never realised how amazing H&M was until i started shopping for clothes for exchange while i was in singapore. strangely when it first opened (maybe bcos of the crowds), i didn’t really enjoy my shopping experience there and couldn’t find anything i fancied! :( only when i started looking for clothes for exchange then i found sooo many nice long sleeved tops (which i’m completely bored of now haha after wearing them repeatedly for the past 5 months T.T i’ve had ENOUGH of long sleeves and pants tyvm). and in europe i loved it too!!! it’s one of the places that i can actually afford to shop at here, and i just loooove their collections (: 

New Look had a 1-for-1 accessories sale while i was here, and so i had quite a number of good buys which were damn awesome! ^^ plus the store has a 10% discount for students! similar to topshop and a few others (:

Paperchase
Paperchase has the most adorable notebooks and papers and all sorts of stationery there!! it’s not cheap, but i wouldn’t say it’s expensive as well. and it was so fun to just look at all the pretty products there! they have a super wide range of the cutest cards. seems like every outlet has slightly different stock though. and i was super sad that i couldn’t find a notebook that i wanted cos i didn’t buy it at another store :'( i still managed to find other nice ones though ^^

BHS
haha this is quite an unconventional store to be talking about. but it just happened that i was looking for some stuff to decorate my bedroom with and so this place was my favourite for shopping for these things!! i guess it’s kinda strange to be buying stuff for my new room to bring all the way back to singapore, but i figured that it was more worth it to buy my stuff here! i know there are places like francfranc in singapore where i can get similar stuff, but for some reason, these pretty things in singapore are just priced quite ridiculously high imo -.- much better to get my stuff here (especially when i was SO LUCKY to buy my stuff when they were going for half price!!! *squeals*) and bring them back in my luggage hehe :P

Markets 
okie and now about the numerous markets london has! :D 

Covent Garden (nearest Tube station: Covent Garden) was great for all the little knick-knacks and quirky stuff! (: i wish i had more time to spend there, but we were completely rushing through because we were on the way to the musical. i managed to get a gorgeous ballet painting/photo that i’ve been searching for a long time though :))

Portobello market is also another market selling lots of knick-knacks in the very quaint and pretty estate of Nottinghill (nearest Tube station) (: they have almost everything you can find there – clothes, food, vintage products etc. and they’re all arranged in an orderly manner (check out the sign in the picture!) which makes for easy shopping ^^ go on a friday or saturday where the full market is open so that there is more to see! hummingbird bakery is there too, remember to get your share of cupcakes ;)

aaaaand my favourite market of all!!!! Borough Market!!!! :D :D :D (nearest Tube station: London Bridge) omg it’s seriously foodie heaven haha. i ate so much there! just trying all the food samples could make me full already :p it’s always so nice going to all these places, where the food is just amazingly fresh! the fruits look so mouth-watering don’t they? ^^ 

before you step into Borough Market itself, check out Rabot Estate! it specialises in all sorts of cocoa products, and their range of merchandise in the store is really interesting! i would say the food is only so-so though. we ordered the classic hot chocolate (£2.75) and the supposedly award-winning sweet cacao wrap (£3.50). i like italian hot chocolate wayyy better, so maybe i’m biased :p but we were really kinda disappointed that the wrap was just a normal crepe, and there was nothing very special about it.

first thing we tried at the market were these delicious portuguese egg tarts!!!!! (: when i saw something that remotely reminded me of home, i was soooo happy. and these were really good!!! i think they were definitely one of the BEST portuguese egg tarts i’ve ever eaten ^^ 

first drink of the day – a glass of champagne each! ;)

and this rump steak sandwich was so so so good!!!!! gosh it looks amazing doesn’t it?! okay the photo is blur, but you can’t deny that it looks so mouth-watering!!!! and it tasted as good as it looked. absolutely juicy, it was literally dripping and we had a whole lot of fun slurping it up hehe. it went so well with all the cheese, vegetables and the dollop of mustard that i added on top. we were just left wanting more more more! it’s so messy to eat, but totally worth the effort ;)

ended off with a cup of sangria! ;) and that’s not all we ate haha. there were LOTS more in between but i shan’t tempt you here. go check it out for yourself! have a light breakfast and head there for lunch ;) the full market is from thurs-sun if i remember correctly! go on those days to get the full experience :D 

didn’t manage to visit camden and bricklane markets!! definitely will go back for them the next time ;) the markets require some planning cos the full markets are usually on the weekends, where you’ll get the most out of your visit, so check the days online and plan accordingly ;)

Pollen Street Social

Hiya! (: so i’ve been wanting to do this post for the longest time, but as usual i’ve been procrastinating :p supposed to do it before my london food post actually! but i’ll link it to that page anyway, now that it’s up ^^
Pollen Street Social was the last restaurant we went to before leaving London (boohooooooo), and it was such a great way to end off our trip with a bang! :D good food always makes me happy ^^ and OMG. i just realised that Pollen at Gardens by the Bay is related to this restaurant!!! :O it’s under the same head chef! how cool is that ;) never tried the one in Singapore before though haha. Pollen Street Social isn’t a michelin-star restaurant, and to be honest, i wasn’t too stoked about the food until dessert came around. but the ambience and service were top-notch, comparable to that of Petrus (:

a three course set lunch at Pollen Street Social will set you back £29.50.

we began with a starter of crackly pig’s skin. it was fried beautifully – not too oily, with a delightfully crisp texture to it. this came with a bowl of green olives, which were really tasty!
for the appetizer, i went for the grilled mackerel with “waldorf salad”, walnut powder and english radish. the salad was deconstructed for a gorgeous presentation, and i loved how fresh and simple the mackerel was done.
my main dish of Wiltshire pork belly, spiced cheek and apple mustard puree had a surprisingly Asian flavour to it, which was much appreciated! the pork belly and spiced cheek were braised till wonderfully tender, and they melted in my mouth, releasing a cacophony of tastes.
then came desserts! :D my favourite part of the meal, and i was glad that it was the longest part of the meal ;) hehe.
we were firstly invited to the bar, which was an AMAZING experience, being so close to the dessert chefs, watching them prepare our food. it was an absolutely mouth-watering experience ^^
our dessert amuse bouche were these adorable ice creams! i realised that such tiny ice cream cones seem to be pretty common in london! at least, i’ve noticed them in at least three places. so adorable!! the chocolate ice cream was deliciously rich, and it had nuts inside which i loved :D 
a lemon-y sorbet followed, to cleanse our palate. i loved how refreshing it was, and it helped wash away the richness from the chocolate ice cream and meal before that, to prepare us for our ACTUAL dessert ;)
i was initially apprehensive about ordering the “tiramisu” hot chocolate coffee because i was worried about it affecting my sleep during the flight. (needn’t have worried because i subsequently conked out for 10hours on the plane without knowing lol) but i’m SO GLAD that i did!!!! it was soooo good. the lovely wobbly custard-like pudding below complemented the chocolate ice cream perfectly, with the bits of chocolate cake and chocolate pieces. and the hot chocolate coffee that came with it? tasted like a blend of italian hot chocolate + caffè (espresso). nice!! (although i only took a couple of sips haha)
and finallyyyyy, we ended off with these lovely little cakes! kinda like madeleines, i guess that would be the closest thing i could liken it to. loved loved LOVED these!!!! they were absolutely delicious!!!! they’d popped out freshly from the oven, and this ended our meal on the sweetest note ever :’)
happy people xx 
Pollen Street Social
8/10 Pollen Street, London, Greater London W1S 1NQ
Tel.: +44 20 7290 7600

How do i love London? Let me count the ways…Part II

Food. 
ah, it makes up at least half of the beautiful memories when i visit a place ^^ haha can’t resist at all lol! my tastebuds took a trip all around the world while i was in london! love how international this city is, just like singapore :)) where we can get ANY kind of food we want, and at any time of the day. i had so many delicious meals while i was in london! of course the best was Petrus (haha duh, it’s not michelin-star for nothing and i’m not being biased here!). but there were so many other awesome ones as well like burger & lobster, roast duck, english tea and pollen street social ^^ those in this post are (without a doubt) good too, but for the special mentions, must try them first! ;)
on our first night there, my tastebuds travelled to Belgium, which is somewhere i haven’t been to yet! (pity…i must plan a trip to the benelux-cologne region sometime!!!!)
at Belgo, they have this weekday beat-the-clock promotion where you pay the price at the time shown on your food order! so cool right ;) so means the earlier you go, the cheaper your meal is! this is valid from 5pm-6.30pm, for certain dishes. in UK, you have got to try MUSSELS. i swear i’ve never seen such huge, plump mussels in my whole life (never knew they even existed in this size :O) until i first tried them in scotland! and they are AMAZING!!!! super big and juice and tasty ^^ 1/2kg of traditionalle and another 1/2kg of provençale, to make the most of the deal ;) super worth it. they come with fries on the side which are really addictive! haha. since UK is famous for fish and chips, that’s what we ordered as well (£12.50). although i really don’t know what’s so special about it? haha. it was quite nice, but to me, fish & chips is about the same everywhere.
Belgo
50 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LJ, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 20 7813 2233
there are so many types of places to eat in London, and Harrods is one of them! haha the food hall is omghhkp!!! i was literally gonna start drooling the moment i stepped in. SO.MUCH.FOOD. everywhere! pies, cakes, paté, chocolate, breads, tea, meat, seafood. whatever you want, i’m pretty sure they have it there. don’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing that we went there right after Petrus and we were stuffed already :'( couldn’t eat a thing. just walked around and looked and omg i wish i could have bought something!! haha we didn’t. but you definitely should! and of course, if you can afford it, go shopping ;)
Harrods
87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
now don’t these little darlings look so delectable! i’ve heard raving reviews about Hummingbird Bakery‘s cupcakes way before i came to London, whether on instagram or from friends’ recommendations. haha. bought then while i was portobello market! (: and i love how fluffy and yummy they were!! i found the icing on top a little too sweet though. anw, the red velvet is da bombz – you must must must order it!!! and also the carrot cake flavour! (: 
Hummingbird Bakery
133 Portobello Rd, London, Greater London W11 2DY, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 20 7851 1795

for some sweet and savoury crepes, try Kensington Creperie! (: they have a really wide range of crepes and waffles for you to choose from, which makes it fun! there are some hits and misses though. so choose wisely :p the crepe that we liked was the mexican chili crepe (£8.95) – with chicken, chopped red hot chili peppers, red kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, sweetcorn, hot chili sauce and cheddar cheese. sounds like a mouthful! and that’s what we liked ;) how it was full of ingredients and had a lovely spicy zing to it :D for sweets, i didn’t like the crepe we chose, but instead i’d recommend the chocolate crunchy nuts waffle (£6.95). take your pick of milk/dark/white chocolate on a waffle topped with hazelnuts, peanuts and flaked almonds, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! :D crunchy and scrumptious ^^ the service here sucks though. the only instance of BAD SERVICE i experienced in the whole of UK. super annoyed -.- gonna blacklist them haha. but it was really quite irritating how the service staff had such a poor attitude, all the way until we were supposed to pay the bill then she became more polite -.- oh please, that is so not gonna work. 
Kensington Creperie/Creamerie Creperie
2-6, Exhibition Rd, London, Greater London SW7 2HF, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 20 7589 8947

wow i love this pic! haha. looking at it brings back memories already :D of huge portions and walking really far to find this restaurant lol! Big Easy is an american diner, which serves humongous portions as you can tell from this picture here. this was just our appetizer, can you believe it?! and it’s meant for two people, but it fed four of us just nicely. the restaurant is located really far from the Tube station though! we walked like maybe 1.5km from Sloane Square station O.o although i think South Kensington station might be nearer. the good thing is that it helped work up our appetite for this huge meal haha. it was soooo good. just look at that! impossible to resist haha. it’s the grand appetizer platter for 2 (£19.50) consisting of wings, jalapeno peppers, calamari (loved this!), tenders, potato skins, corn chips (yummm!), prawn crackers and dipping sauces (honey mustard, tartar sauce, salsa etc). 
i got my baby back ribs (£15.90 for the full rack)!!!! which was SO AWESOMELY GOOD. not as big as i imagined it to be (after seeing the potential of the appetizer haha), but it was really good! slathered in smokey bbq sauce, the meat was ultra tender and fell off the bone when i pierced it with my fork. *drools*
the new england clam chowder (£5.95) was good too! very thick and surprisingly filling even though the bowl didn’t look thaaat big. it was a little too peppery for my liking though! but we were happily stuffed at the end of the meal :D for hungry people and americans craving some hometown food, this is the place to be ;) they also have super good daily deals which you have to check out! if i’m not wrong, monday is the day where you get free flow of ribs :O now i’m tempting you aren’t i? ;) check it out.
Big Easy
332-334 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UR, United Kingdom ‎
Tel.: +44 20 7352 4071

for our last dinner in london, we went to Bill’s Restaurant. i realised that every single meal i had was a different kind of cuisine! :O amazed. hahaha. Bill’s serves mediterranean style food, and it has a really pretty restaurant setting (: for starters, we got the crispy lemon squid (£5.95), which was done perfectly crispy and not too oily. the lemon added a zingy refreshing flavour which was nice! our marinated half chicken (£10.95) had a generous taste of spices, and i loved the rice that came with it. the king tiger prawn and salmon skewers (£11.35) was probably my favourite dish with its interesting presentation and blend of flavours. finally, the halloumi and hummus (£8.95) was good too! we also ordered the chargrilled chop of suffolk pork (£11.95) from the specials menu, but i found that slightly dry. 
haha this is an attempt-to-be-artistic shot :p nah just kidding. it’s just that we ate halfway then i decided it’s nice so i took a pic of it. looooved their pecan pie (£5.95) :D the pastry was crumbly-delicious and anything with nuts appeals to me ;) 
Bill’s Restaurant
St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2E, 9AB
Tel.: +44 0207 240 8183