Curious in London

Covent Garden

When your BFF, who lives 9,000 km away, tells you that she will be in London for a few days, knowing that your flight will only take you 1h40, you can only jump on the next plane. The idea of catching up and spending time together in the unique, bustling city was too tempting not to follow through.

With BFF @Rumpus Room ¦ Image by M Le Cocq

Four days in London are always too short, but for sure we made the best out of them. I immediately started researching for foodie places and, as usual, ended up with a full agenda! It was great to find out that most of the choices on the list were genuine, foodie havens and also exciting to come upon fantastic, unexpected ones. Following the blog’s slogan, we discovered new places while touring foodie spots.  This time it was particularly special, because the experience was shared with BFFs.

There are different ways of exploring London and also too many food options! I am sure that you will appreciate this sneak peek into some proven, foodie places around.

For easy reference, I am listing the peeks under the area where they are located. In case you are not familiar with the neighborhoods of Central London, here is a nice description of them by The Tourist of Life.

CHELSEA

King’s Rd @Chelsea

Rabbit (British) – Yes, British cuisine and of the finest! Perfectly located on lively King’s Road (550 m from Saatchi Gallery), Rabbit is a very nice stop to dine in a country-meets-city place.

The staff was welcoming and friendly. They feature British dishes—traditional as their awarded Sunday roasts—emphasizing the use of sustainable, seasonal, regional produce and ingredients.  The plating has acquired a urban influence, reminding that you are in the heart of Chelsea.

I am so glad that this one was on my BFF’s bucket list. Without a reservation we were lucky that they hold some tables back for walk-ins. Book if you can, especially for dinner.

COVENT GARDEN

Seven Dials @Covent Garden

Rossodisera (Italian) – This little and cozy restaurant is on Monmouth St. 5, a few steps from Insta-worthy Neal’s Yard.

We stopped here twice: First, to enjoy an excellent espresso, catching rays, and watching the people strolling down the street.

The second time it was for an aperitif, taking a table inside.  We loved the atmosphere, the coffee, the spritz, the friendly staff; we will return to try their traditional, Marche dishes.

The place offers specialties from the Marche, this not-too-known Italian region, in an authentic Italian setting.  Now we know that it has been voted 2017 Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in London!

Tip:

  • Check what solosophie has to say about Neal’s Yard.  Don’t miss this colorful, charming side of the city.

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FITZROVIA

Hakkassan (modern Cantonese) – To know that it was the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star and that it maintains it since 2002, tells a lot of this food temple. Located underground, at the end of a side street, you do not expect to find the stupendous premises and the enticing, dimly lit atmosphere.

The bar staff and the 16-m bar itself are stunning. We had one of the best craft cocktails of our lives:  The Chifa-san, mixed with Peruvian Torontel pisco.  I am sure that the cocktail name will bring smiles to Peruvians’ faces … 

Chifa-san (Barsol Torontel pisco, yuzu sake, kaffir lime, ginger and lemongrass cordial)

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Lychee Martini (Belvedere vodka, lychee, lime and orange cream citrate bitters)

We opted for one of the signature menus.

Starters:

Dim sum platter: har gau scallop, shumai Chinese chive dumpling duck, and yam bean dumpling / Salt and pepper squid

Mains:

Pan-fry silver cod / Spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond / Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot / Roasted chicken in satay sauce / Seasonal vegetable / Steamed jasmine rice

Desserts:

An unforgettable fine-dining experience. By the way, there are already thirteen Hakkassan restaurants all over the world.

KNIGHTSBRIDGE

Harrods – If you are in London, visiting its iconic department store is a must. They sell all kind of luxury goods, including food, inside a sumptuous interior. Even if you only go window shopping, its architecture and interior design will impress you.

Tip:

MAYFAIR

Sexy Fish (Japanese) – This was a tip of my BFF’s husband. He had been there once and wanted to show it to us. How right he was! We had an amazing time in this place where all trendy Londoners (and non-Londoners …) are having a cool night out.

 

As soon as you enter, you realize that this is not a usual restaurant. Once indoors, it is as if you were inside a huge aquarium with a glass waterfall façade, sea plants painted on the ceiling, and stunning, huge fish lamps by Frank Gehry “swimming” on top of the busy bar.

Don’t expect a quiet time. The music is very loud, as if you were in a nightclub. They, indeed, have a DJ (Wed to Sat), and she performs in the middle of the dining hall, next to the open kitchen.

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Oh, yes, the food! The menu includes, of course, lots of Japanese-inspired seafood and meat cooked on the grill.

Original presentation of ice cream by Sexy Fish

NOTTING HILL

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Farm Girl (café) – Though on Portobello Road, Farm Girl is a great corner to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Portobello market, the world’s largest antiques market! Enjoy a healthy, nutritional breakfast the Australian way. They offer vegetarian/vegan options; for instance, their “bacon” is made of coconut flesh.

They do not take reservations. Just pop in and at peak hours (breakfast/brunch) expect a queue line.

The Oak W2 (pub with good dining) – We just popped by for some drinks. The place looked nice and the staff was really friendly. I would like to go back to try their kitchen. Apparently they have really good pizzas.

SOHO

Greek St and Old Compton St @Soho

 

Ceviche (Peruvian) – Believe it or not this is my first time blogging about a Peruvian restaurant. I am glad it is Ceviche, because it is representing the Peruvian cuisine in an outstanding way.

 

 

Frith St @Soho

 

 

Ceviche is just opposite Koya Udon Bar, an udon noodle bar that I wanted to check on Frith St, a street with lots of little restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Standing in front of Ceviche, we could not resist getting in “just for a ceviche and a pisco sour”.  The end of the story is that we never made it to the udon bar …

 

Instead, we had a fantastic lunch, chatting with friendly Julio, a Peruvian, who is in charge of the bar and prepared for us homely pisco sours.

He also suggested us some dishes, all prepared deliciously “con cariño” (with love); see order slip.  Comfort food at its best in the Soho!

 

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Trivia: I knew about Ceviche of Martin Morales, because my BFF had given me some years ago Ceviche, Martin Morales’s first cookbook, as a present.

Now he has published a second book, Andina, and opened three more restaurants in London: Ceviche Old St, Andina, and Casita Andina. A good proof that he is doing things right.

 

 

 

 

Koya Udon Bar (udon noodle bar) – Because we had no more time, this one is still on the bucket list.

Yauatcha (dim sum, patisserie) – This modern dim-sum teahouse belongs to the Hakkassan group, and there are nine Yauatchas around the world.

Behind this door is the most fantastic dim sum! ¦ Image by M Le Cocq

The setting at the bar and dining area is contemporary, following the Hakkassan scheme.

There is a wide choice of dishes.  We tried the classic ones, and they were all delicious.  We enjoyed the freshness of the products, as well as the respect for traditional methods and flavors.

If you are a dim-sum lover, this is definitely THE place!

For those with a sweet tooth, there is a wide choice of irresistible patisserie.

Tips:

  • Music Stores and Studios:  Head to Denmark Street, a place with lots of music history.  For guitars, bass, etc.,  Wunjo Guitars and Regent Sounds.

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SOUTH BANK

NEO Bankside (left) and Tate Modern (right) @South Bank

Gail’s (artisan bakery and café) – Gail’s is a good option for a coffee/tea break in a casual, laid-back atmosphere. They are proud of baking sourdough using traditional methods.

They have already 38 bakeries spread all over London; you will certainly come across one of them. We tried the one right at the NEO Bankside, conveniently located opposite the Tate Modern.

Rumpus Room @Mondrian at Sea Containers (rooftop bar) – Certainly a very nice spot for sundowners–or drinks at any time of the day–with great views of the city skyline and the Thames making its way.

View from the rooftop @Rumpus Room

Tip:

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SOUTHWARK

The Shard @Southwark

Bedales @ Borough Market (wine bar and shop) – This was my first time in this beautiful, historic market.

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Bedales is a wine bar with a nice concept of offering a menu of interesting wines by the glass. The food served at the bar is seasonal and comes from the market, mainly nibbles, cold cuts and cheeses. The setting fits perfectly: a small bar, wall racks stacked with wine bottles, and wooden furniture that invites to take a sit and taste the wine.

We decided to try something different.  A wine that was not listed under bubbles, white, rosé, or red, but under ‘orange’:   Moscatel, Bodegas Bernabe, El Carro 2015, Alicante, Spain.   Interesting.  We liked this orange.

Bedales is also a wine shop with a large selection of bottles and is also present in two other markets (Spitalfields and Leadenhall).

WESTMINSTER

Caffé Grana (café) – If you are a looking for good-quality coffee, stop at this café, located inside the St. James’s Park underground station (just one stop from Victoria).  You will feel like being in an Italian café (bar).

It is always nice to finish with a good coffee!

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18 thoughts on “Curious in London

  1. Como siempre super interesante leerte y lindísimas las fotos, provoca ir a cada lugar que nos presentas con tanto detalle. Gracias!! Abrazo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, did you/we do a lot. Was great fun to do and great fun to recap on by reading through your blog. Thanks Patty, it was so good to see you both. J-P

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Me siento tan, pero tan afortunada de tener unos BFFs siempre listos a darnos el encuentro en donde sea que nos encontremos y especialmente haber tenido la suerte de disfrutar tanto estos días juntos en Londres. Sé que no será el único viaje que haremos juntos este año y que nos quedan muchos sneak peeks por descubrir, carcajadas por estrenar… So much to do, food to try, drinks to enjoy, places to discover… and so little time! :))) Hasta prontito, gracias por compartir tan lindas fotos. Nos haces sentir famosos y especiales… besos. Mariana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Querida tocaya, es un honor muy grande que alguien tan entendida en comida, disfrute de lo que escribo. Gracias! Ahora que la comida peruana se está difundiendo por todo el mundo, da gusto encontrar sitios donde realmente está muy bien representada.

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  4. Patty, te felicito por el blog y por las fotos que estas tomando! Estan muy lindas! Uno puede empezar a saborear cada plato solo mirandolas! Buenisimos tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Muy bueno Patty. Me va a ser super útil. Me encanta la mezcla de fotos de la comida, exteriores y ademas tips. Voy a ver si puedo llegar a la exposición de Picasso. Nosotros también estuvimos en el la terraza del Tate gozando de la vista y un cafecito para reponer energías.

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    1. Lo máximo, Gaby, que encuentres datitos útiles. Ya me contarás! El día en el Tate, llovió, así que nada con la terraza … Encontramos justo en frente un Gail’s, así que perfecto.

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