Two weeks ago, on the 26th of March, I was supposed to get on a plane with one of my best friends and go for our yearly trip to London. Because of recent events due to a new virus taking hold of the world we had to make the decision to put our health first and cancel our trip. In hindsight it was the best decision we could have made but even so I’m still sad that I won’t get to see my beloved home away from home this year.
That’s partly why I decided to write this post, to walk down memory lane and revisit all the food I’ve eaten there during the last few years. the other reason is, well, I’ve planned to it for quite some time but haven’t got around to yet. Until now, that is.
I started travelling to London once a year after a December trip with my mother in 2015, although I fell in love with this city in my teens. It’s a city that fits my mood and aesthetics and I’ve collected quite a few favourite shops and stops during the years.
For food shopping I have my definite favourites that I always visit: Fortnum & Mason, Whittards, Hotel Chocolat, Borough Market and Paul A Young (a London trip is not complete without a visit to Paul!). T2 has become a new favourite for tea and I always have to check out Harrod’s little shop at Heathrow airport. I always pack my suitcase to have enough space for all the treats I plan to bring home.
These are all the things we came home with after our fall trip last year. Loads of chocolates, spices, tea and some nice locally distilled gin, although some of the things we bought for friends and family. I think though that this photo sums up what my shopping is usually like when in London quite perfectly.
Last year’s chocolate box from Paul A Young, an absolute must-stop.
One thing that I love is afternoon tea. It’s a classic and if you have a fully laden one you hardly need to eat anything else for the rest of the day.
Now, I’m a sucker for all things unique so I prefer to have one that’s one of a kind. One of my absolute favourites is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s worth every penny in my mind. Fun and flavourful, it’s one that always makes me smile. Also, the gluten free ones tastes just as good as the normal ones. The second time I had it we also brought in the signature cocktail!
My friend and I are both gin lovers so for our first trip together we decided to go for a gin & tea at Mr Fogg’s. It was a really fun experience that started with a small lecture on the history of gin and a light tasting. We got to share a table with two other ladies wich added a social aspect that you don’t always get.
Although I loved the gin themed tea I can never say no to a fairy tale one. Which is why in 2018 my friend and I had the Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea at Sanderson Hotel. I don’t think I’ve eaten so much sugar in my life! They had really worked hard at all the details and while not all things were to my personal taste, overall we were very satisfied and had to take a long walk back to the hotel in order to let our sugar levels settle back down. I think my favourites were the marshmallows mushrooms though 🙂
I loved that the tea were in these little glass bottles so you could sniff them before deciding!
My friend and I love going out for the occasional cocktail and this year we were supposed to go to Opium Bar in Chinatown. I’ve heard a lot about it and looked forward to trying their cocktails but they will have to wait until when we’re able to go. Just like with afternoon tea we both love cocktail bars that are quirky and unique. On our first trip we ended up at Nightjar, a place I highly recommend if you want cocktails with a twist – and especially if you like sharing cocktails! We had their Green Egg and not only was it delicious, it was also beautifully presented in a huge dragon’s egg (which really appealed to our geeky minds).
A Christmas trip requires Christmas cocktails so the following year we booked a table at Mr Fogg’s and enjoyed some of their seasonal treats.
I really look forward to when we can re-book our trip and do all the things we had planned to – and more! One thing that was on our to-do list was a dinner at Dinner By Heston Blumenthal. Now, Heston Blumenthal is one of my all-time favourite chefs and Dinner has been on my bucket list for some years so it was with a very heavy heart that reservation was cancelled. In 2016 I got to cross off one of my biggest food dreams on my list: eating at The Fat Duck. That lunch was magical and I’m so happy I got to share it with my boyfriend and my mother. I promise I will do a proper post about that day but until then, here are some sneak treats.
London has always been a city full of tasty places to visit and I really hope it will survive all that’s going on and come back as strong as ever. I look forward going to the pubs and eat traditional British food (although I still haven’t been able to find gluten free fish & chips, something I deeply miss) and stopping by Chin Chin Ice Cream in Camden to have some of their delicious ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. By the way, if you’ve never had nitro ice cream, you really should! The soft, creamy texture is one you can’t get with conventional methods and it’s really worth a try.
Speaking of pubs, one of my favourite ones is in Bayswater (with the nearest tube stationbeing Lancaster Gate) and is called The Mitre. It’s also hugely popular with ervyone else so you have to be there early or you won’t get a table! The staff is friendly and the food is really good. I particularly remember a Sunday pork belly roast that was so yummy!
What better way to end this piece than with a recommendation of what to eat if you’re flying from Heathrow? Heathrow is my airport of choice and since 2016 I’ve always had lunch at the same place: The Perfectionists Cafe by Heston Blumenthal. So far I’ve eaten their chicken salad and two of their burgers, bacon & cheese and crispy hoisin duck, all of them delicious. And if you’re feeling fancy, why not try one of their cocktails?