Accommodation

A Foodie Weekend in London

6/05/2013 07:43:00 PM

Hi everybody! I'm back in Germany now after a fab five days in London and Paris! The weekend in London was all about destination-eating, with meals planned and booked well in advance (all organised from Australia!), and activities arranged around the meals. Check it out!

First stop was actually not in London at all, but in Paris! I took the train from Mannheim to Paris, met my friend Clarice (who lives there), and we took the Eurostar to London together. On the way to the train, we made a quick stop at Lafayette Gourmet to pick up some cheese!

Cheese counter at Galeries Lafayette
Woah! We were almost overwhelmed with choice, and in the end we picked a lovely brie with dried figs. Looks almost like a sandwich, don't you think?
Brie à la Figue

We enjoyed a very glamorous little picnic in the Eurostar departures hall before the train: the brie à la figueBrötchen that I'd bought in Germany that morning, and an asparagus frittata made by Clarice!
Picnic: German Brötchen, Asparagus frittata, brie à la figue

So, whilst in London, Clarice stayed with family, and I stayed in the most fantastic flat in Notting Hill, which I found - with only eleven days' notice!!! - on Airbnb. It was such a great find too: a lovely, modern and comfortable flat in a central location. Random fact: it only cost £17 to get a Black Cab there from Kings Cross station, which was perfect, as we arrived late at night and I was way too exhausted to navigate the Tube. I reflect, with gratitude, that the exchange rate is so very good right now. (Approx. $1.6AUD to £1.00 - last time I went to England it was $2.5AUD to the pound!) I also find it so cool that drivers of Black Cabs know the geography of London inside out, and that you don't need to direct them or anything. (Read here about "The Knowledge" that cab drivers must possess before they can be licensed).

The neighbourhood was really interesting, with lots of shops and cafes, and I felt very safe walking around at night, which is always important. The owner was very sweet and we got along really well, as she was quite the foodie, and we even went out for a drink on my first night while she showed me around the neighbourhood. For my little 2-night trip, she actually took the sofa bed while I took the main bedroom, but in normal circumstances (i.e. with longer notice!) you'd have the flat to yourself.
View from the bedroom window

I'd feel a bit weird publishing photos of the inside of the flat, as it is actually someone's home, but rest assured that I highly recommend it. If anyone is travelling to London and is keen to stay there, let me know, and I'll happily email you the Air B&B link!

Ok, so full disclosure - one of the selling points of that flat was that it's a stone's throw from the original Ottolenghi cafe! Aaaaargh! Fangirl freakout! Clarice and I visited a good three times over the two-day trip, and it was just as good as I had hoped it would be. Blogpost to come!
Gorgeous display at Ottolenghi Notting Hill

On the Saturday morning, we took a walk through Borough Market, which has so many amazing stalls and is definitely worth a look, despite being crazy busy! If I were interested in doing proper food shopping, I'm sure I'd get frustrated at all the slow-walking, camera-waving tourists! (Myself included, sorry locals!) I wonder if locals avoid the market on Saturdays and just shop during the week?
Borough Market
We'd wanted to go to Monmouth Coffee ("closest thing to rival the good coffee in Australia", according to Clarice), but the line, even for takeaway, was crazy long! Oh well! If we'd had more time, I would have loved to buy some produce and cook a big meal too - they have so many unusual things we can't get in Australia! (Including Zebra burgers, whaaaat?!) You may remember last time I went to London, we bought a big gammon from Borough Market and cooked Nigella's ham in cherry coke - such fun! (I also wrote another post about Borough Market in 2006.)

Lunch that day was at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which was seriously delicious and amazing - we literally couldn't fault any aspect of the experience. Of course, full blogpost to come, but for now, check out this picture of their famous Meat Fruit dish!
Meat Fruit (c.1500) - Mandarin, chicken liver & foie gras parfait, grilled bread - £15.00

And in a slightly less ritzy move, that afternoon we did a Supermarket Sweep, stocking up on British goodies at a local Waitrose and Sainsbury's. As you (might) be able to guess, I love my McVitie's! (What can I say, they were almost all half price, how could I not?)
Supermarket Sweep
For dinner that night, we headed to Nopi, another Yotam Ottolenghi venture, in the West End (near Piccadilly Circus). The simple, unfussy food here was a total contrast to Heston's, but equally delicious. Below we have a dish of burrata with blood orange, baby basil, coriander seeds and a mild lavender oil. I'll be blogging the meal in full, of course.
Burrata, blood orange, coriander seeds, lavender oil - £12.00
The London weekend happened to coincide with the Champions League final - which, funnily enough, was between two German teams: Dortmund and Bayern München - so the city was awash with German tourists (I just can't escape!) Here is the Eros Fountain in Picadilly Circus covered in spirited (but still well behaved) Dortmund supporters!
Eros Fountain, Piccadilly Circus
I took the below photo as we were waiting for the night bus - how beautiful was the full moon?
"Aa-ooooooo... werewolf in London!"

The next day, Clarice suggested we check out Brick Lane, a cool, cosmopolitan area that was once a Jewish area and is now predominantly a Bangladeshi area. There was also a distinct hipster vibe, with street art, lots of cafes and diners, and a very busy street market.
Street sign in both English & Bengali

Mario street art, Brick Lane

Retro table settings at the market

All Star Lanes

I got this super cute fork and spoon necklace at one of the markets. Only £5 and totally me!
Fork and Spoon Necklace

Later that afternoon, we stopped by Fortnum and Mason for an altogether posher Supermarket Sweep, and to finish off the weekend, we enjoyed a fabulous Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley! I'll be blogging about it in full too.
Afternoon Tea at The Wolseley - £22.50

And that was the London weekend! Such fun! The weather was great, and the food was all fantastic - there wasn't a single dud meal or item. (Except, if I'm being picky, Ottolenghi's coffee, which couldn't compare to its amazing food, but I think Melbournians are quite spoiled when it comes to coffee!) I'm looking forward to blogging all the different meals! Yay!

Posts about my previous trip to London are categorised under the label: "London 2006".

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8 comments

  1. See? This is why we're friends. Fancy meals out and then giddy supermarket sweeps. HIGH FIVE.

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  2. What an amazing weekend in London!! :D I'd love to try most of those things :D

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  3. I love the english supermarkets. Looking forward to the meal posts :)

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  4. Wow! what a great lil getaway! Fig cheese. Uhhhh, sounds amazing!

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  5. It seems you had a lot of fun. I can imagine that. There are so many things to see and do and ... eat.

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  6. Welcome baaaack! Ahuh, very conveniently located next to Ottolenghi cafe I see LOL! Love all the London street pics

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  7. I bet you must've had an AWESOME trip ! I have followed your adventures on your Instagram and have been so jealous :) I wish I had bought more things at the supermarket when I was there I am totally ADDICTED to the Digestive bars!

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  8. You were gone for ageeeeeeeeesssssss and my instagram feed was jealous!

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