I am a huge London fan. Ever since my first visit a year ago, I have been absolutely in love with the city (if you click on that link, I apologize for the extremely bright pictures – I’d just discovered the ‘creative’ mode on my camera!). Something about it is just so inviting, so welcoming. You step off your terrible airport coach, sweaty, groggy and carrying a backpack twice your size, and yet somehow you just feel like you belong.
I also happen to love my amazing friend Steph. So when she moved to London about a month ago, there was only one thing for it: I was going to have to get myself over there, and quickly.
Needless to say, it was an amazing long weekend. There are so many bloggers out there who know so much more about London than I do (and I shamelessly used their knowledge this weekend!), but I hope you’ll bear with my enthusiasm as I highlight some of my favourite parts of my time in that wondrous city.
After a hectic first morning spent apartment hunting (for Steph, not me!), the eating palooza began at Borough Market.
Steph had raved to me about this raclette stand that made amazing grilled cheese.
As you wait in line, the odour of melting cheese wafts up towards you.
The sandwich did not disappoint. And I’m not even really a grilled cheese kind of a person, as I typically find the bread only gets in the way.
After I’d devoured my sandwich
and half of Steph’s raclette plate, we wandered through the market, sampling all we could. We left with bags full of kale, berries, cheese, brioche, and – somehow – fresh donuts filled with creme anglaise. (They were amazing – wish I’d taken a picture, or at least remembered the name of the stand!)
There is such an amazing selection of fruits and vegetables, too. If I lived in London I would definitely spend half my paycheck on organic this and local that … I just love Borough Market!
That evening we went out to Taqueria, which I’d been dreaming of since my visit last year. Honestly it was slightly less delicious but still magnificent – and so inexpensive! We ordered starters, meals and – ahem – several margaritas each, and it all came out to under 20 pounds per person. Unheard of in the Netherlands.
I went for the beer-battered fish tacos again … How could I resist?
Side note: I loved meeting Steph’s friends. They are so open and welcoming and fun!
The next day, we did what Steph calls her ‘yummy mummy’ routine (though why she calls it that I’m not entirely sure). We took a leisurely stroll to Notting Hill, where Anja was waiting for us, and then grabbed little boxes of heaven from Ottolenghi before continuing on out way to Hyde Park. Pretty much my stereotypical idea of a day in London – and I loved it. I so wish we had Ottolenghi in the Netherlands! Until that day comes, I’ve decided to master the entire contents of Plenty.
We may also have stopped at Harrod’s for a highly touristic and extremely expensive ice cream sundae … When in London?
(Stolen from Steph’s instagram.)
We spent that second evening at an incredible incredible show called The Drowned Man.
If you can go – GO. Seriously. It’s what they call a ‘promenade performance’. Without spoiling anything: as a spectator, you have to check all of your belongings at the door and are given a mask before you can enter. They highly encourage you to go in by yourself and to lose track of your friends. You’re essentially released into this entire new world and left to fend for yourself, and to discover what there is to see. It’s terrifying and exhilerating at first, and then it becomes strangely familiar. There is a main story but there are also secondary characters and so many details to see in the set alone that you just immerse yourself completely. Also, even though the story is definitely spooky and dark, nobody at any time jumps out at you or anything so it’s not too scary, even for me!
Highly recommended. I would actually go back to London just to see it again. (You can check out their trailer here.)
The rest of the night was decidedly less cultural. Steph’s friend Jill had tickets for a party at Cirque le Soir … Definitely an interesting evening! Excellent for people watching.
Our food tourism resumed the next day with brunch at Granger & Co (yum yum yum) and a Sunday roast at Lara’s. I’d never even met her but she was so welcoming and so flexible with my vegetarian needs. I must say that the chicken smelled pretty delicious.
My final day was spent around Oxford Circus and Soho, with Steph highlighting the places she knew would be right up my alley. I fell in love with Carnaby street, it’s just so charming and (to me) so typically British.
I also loved Joe & the Juice – delicious, fresh and surprisingly inexpensive – for London standards, of course. We grabbed lunch there before I scrambled to catch my coach back to the airport.
So this is a major novel, and I apologize! In sum:
I ate everything in London. I love Notting Hill. You must go see The Drowned Man. And Steph is an amazing hostess.
Aaand tomorrow the Easter long-weekend starts! Whether or not you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful few days!