So, you’re off to London for a coupl’a days, you lucky thing! You’re limited on free time but wanna make sure every morsel that passes your lips is an indulgent and sensory experience.
I know just the places!
Whilst Manchester will forever be my home, I try and plan at least 2 long weekends in our capital every year; to catch up with the platefuls which have previously stolen my heart and to discover the newest drool-inducing creations that native Londoners can’t help but gram about.
Our spring visit to London was centred around All Points East – a music festival at Victoria Park, but since my other half had seen very little of London; what better opportunity to show him some of the culinary highlights from all corners of the city.
Harrods Food Hall
Knightsbridge, West London
I know, I know – fully-fledged Londonites will be cringing at my predictability. There are far more innovative eats when dining the West way; but does it really get any more London than Harrods on Brompton Road? Throw in the fact that Jacob had never stepped inside the rabbit hole that is Harrods, and I simply couldn’t wait for him to discover this veritable wonderland.
“Harrods isn’t just a shop, J…it’s an experience.”
After losing ourselves twice over in amongst the fabulous offerings of Harrod’s luxurious cavern, we followed the sounds of clattering cutlery and smells of savoury spinning rotisserie chicken to find the Food Hall.
A cornucopia of “casual”* sit-down dining options, selling everything from swordfish to seared fillet steak; and a plethora of take-away options for those grab-and-go lunch times (strictly for those lucky enough to purchase on their workplace’s expense account).
EVERYTHING is good, so follow your cravings; but if you’re stuck then you simply can’t go wrong with a sandwich and freshly-made salad.
Hunks of lobster and sweet crab meat, tossed in Japanese mayo and crammed into a buttery brioche roll.
The salad orchestrated to hit harmonious fresh notes, filled with flavour and fabulous textures.
Best enjoyed across the road in Hyde Park. Flavourtown Cupcake optional but highly encouraged.
*Platinum Amex card may be required.
Neal’s Yard, West London
You can’t swing a dough ball in London town without hitting a pizza parlour, and while there’s many a slice being whacked in a wood fire oven all over the city, Homeslice should be at the very top of your agenda.
Nestled in the colourful, blooming and booming Neal’s Yard, Homeslice is a cosy nook with a simple concept; good food, wine and booze and is a constant buzzing hive which bustles with characters, good tunes and naughty slices.
It’s £5 a pop for slices as big as your head, but for £20 you can go the whole hog for a pizza as big as a Covent Garden duplex.
The pizzas might not be the chewy, Napoli pillows of delight which we’re quickly becoming accustomed to in the UK, but their loyalty to fresh, seasonal produce and deeply comforting combinations means their stretched slices are a lil piz’za heaven with every bite.
Borough Market, South London
Forever searching for the world’s perfect doughnut; we dropped by Borough Market to see if Bread Ahead’s offerings could match the sweet Vanilla Custard filling of St John’s at Maltby Street Market.
If you’ve never been to Borough Market or Maltby Street Market, waste no time in getting acquainted with the stalls, the very reason behind the enticing sweet and savoury smells which surround the entirety of Southwark.
Bread Ahead has taken a permanent residence in it’s new cafe down in Soho, but staying true to their roots, you can still find their stalls on a Saturday outside their famous kitchen on Cathedral Street.
Lined up like perfectly plumped soldiers, it’s a Sophie’s Choice of gargantuan proportions.
Opting for the lavish Salted Caramel creation, we sinked our teeth into the generously filled doughnut, eyes rolling in pleasure, until no trace was left sans the sugar in our lips. A totally indulgent experience.
As good as St John’s offerings, and I haven’t stopped thinking of their row of Praline Doughnuts since…
Soho, West London
One afternoon whilst taking a wander around Soho, we all of a sudden became impossibly famished. Not wanting to fill up too much before our dinner reservation in a couple of hours, we decided to pull up a pew in Kingly Court, a delightful buzzing hive of restaurants, bars and independents.
A tremendous spot for people watching and a goldmine for good food, we steered ourselves to Wright Brothers for a 5 o’ clock cocktail and a set of £1 oysters.
Now, admittedly, oysters are not my favourite food. They’re slippery little suckers and whilst I nod and pretend with the rest of ’em, in all honesty all I can taste is seawater!
But for a pound, I was more than happy to give them a fourth chance.
Garnished with pickled red onion, I loaded this on to my freshly chucked oyster and went bottoms up.
Definitely an improvement on previous experiences, however I would still say it’s best chased with a Lavender Gin cocktail.
The best evenings in summer always finish with a scoop of something sweet.
As we scoured the streets for dessert post-pizza one evening, we came across Udderlicious, an independent ice cream parlous with a rolodex of flavours on offer and a queue out of the door.
A simple cone is no way to champion this joint – go for the tub (three flavours minimum – how else can you make a fair judgement?!) And one of the charming servers will happily pile it high for you.
I opted for pistachio, hazelnut and vegan chocolate – the latter the creamiest of the bunch.
The sweetest end to our trip down south.
I could go on and on about the delights of London, so much of which I’m still yet to experience for myself!
We returned to Manchester happy, with blisters on our feet, a tummy full of happiness (mostly carbs) and memories to last a lifetime; what a way to weekend!