Big news in my life: I’m headed to London tonight to visit my sister and I couldn’t be more excited. Partly because I get a week away from the office, but mostly to see her. Oh, and also because London is great.
New York has my heart but like any sane person I enjoy getting away for awhile.
We’ve got a packed agenda–two days in the Lake District, a visit to National Portrait Gallery to see an exhibit on Vogue, a trip to Oxford, checking out every food market we can get to, and food. Lots and lots of food.
I’ve been to London twice before–once when I was little and again this past October when my sister first moved there. I don’t remember much from the first time except for Harrod’s and double decker buses, and a Lebanese restaurant called Al Hamra that my dad still says is the best place he’s ever eaten. We’re going back next Friday so that will be an exciting homecoming of sorts.
But most of my memories from Londontowne come from the week I spent there in the fall. I went with my mother and cousins and while my sister worked all day (sorry kid!) we went everywhere and saw everything. Like Windsor Castle, and Kensington Palace, and Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court and basically anywhere a royal once lived.
Mostly though, we ate. So to get myself amped up I’m going to take a trip down memory lane and share all the best things I ate (or drank) while I was there.
While I probably won’t post during the trip, I will definitely Instagram ad nauseum so follow me here @whisksandwit if you don’t already!
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Absolutely not the best food, but there’s been a pub at this location since 1538. I’d been in the country for 3ish hours and was jetlagged as anything so I made the questionable decision to order a roast beef sandwich. It was actually not bad and came, unexpectedly, with curry coleslaw.
I’m a huge fan of pub food in general, and fish and chips in particular, so tried to hit as many as possible.
Cute, cozy, picturesque, and they love gin, what could be better? I feel like this place encapsulated the “modern” pub, with a menu featuring new takes on classics. My sister and I split mushrooms on toast and roasted aubergine, which is a big hit over there.
Sunday Roast at the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill
One of my major food goals for this trip was to eat a Sunday roast, and I put a lot of research behind it. Ultimately, we ended up at this popular spot across the street from a park in lovely Notting Hill. And the Sunday Roast did not disappoint.
Seriously can we put the Benedicts aside and make this a thing in the States? Tender meat, roasted veggies, potatoes bathing in au jus…this is a dream come true. It’s also a lot of food so I don’t think I could make it an every-Sunday thing.
One of the first things my sister learned when she moved to London is that everything is a chain. Seriously, everything. You may think you’ve found a special hole-in-the-wall but two weeks later you’ll be at a different place in a different neighborhood with a different name and you’ll look at the menu and it’s exactly the same. This is apparently because there are 4 restaurant groups in the entirety of London and they own everything.
Cappuccino at Kew Gardens
It was just your average cappuccino, but sitting outside in the sun in the midst of fabulous gardens, I never wanted to leave.
The American Bar at the Savoy
Let me preface this by saying that if you’re getting a drink at The Savoy you’re spending at least $30…per drink.
Which means you should choose wisely. Which is hard because the menu is extensive and every drink looks amazing. They’re based around historical events and organized first by “worlds” i.e. “world of gin” and then chronologically. The one I got commemorated Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
I don’t remember everything that was in it but I know it had gin and Earl Grey syrup because you can’t get more British than that. Best of all, it came topped with a spun sugar crown which made it almost worth $35.
So that’s all for now! Can’t wait to recount all my edible adventures when I get home (which is hopefully never).