Saturday, December 17, 2016

London 2016 Highlights: The Food

London 2016 Travel Highlight Blog
February 26 - March 9, 2016
Blog #2: The Food

Gone are the days of yonder when all British food was boiled and tasteless. Enter the new London -- the key phrase is everything is awesome. Here goes.

Now that's a welcome!
We stayed at The Savoy for the first night of our trip before I moved to the hotel work had us in. Talk about a welcome fit for a King and Queen -- in fact there were enough chocolate strawberries here to feed the entire Royal Family! An astonishingly kind and warm welcome, and they were SO GOOD.

WOW. Seriously amazing welcome.
NOPI - Ottolenghi's new restaurant
We met up with the illustrious EJ and Sue on our first night -- a mere couple hours off the plane and we were off to see them. I am following in EJ's footsteps it would seem :) We went to the fantastic NOPI restaurant, which is by the chef Yotam Ottolenghi (of the famous "Jerusalem" cookbook). The food was in quite a different style from OTTOLENGHI in Islington where we went last year, and as always with his restaurants, a very high quality and interesting mix of fresh flavours and ingredients.

Particularly epic was the passionfruit drink, and well, you can see that was a hit.

Gordon's Wine Bar
You can't marry a cute Gordon and not go to a wine bar that has the same last name as her. Our next hotel was across town so we figured while right next-door to Gordon's Wine Bar, we may as well go while it was super convenient. So we stood out in the cold having some late night bread, cheese and wine. Jet lag is for the birds!

After only 2 weeks of marriage, she's already taking my good advice and bringing a warm hat.

Random Biltong
I don't know why San Francisco doesn't get their act together and start producing exponentially more Biltong than they are currently producing. I suspect there may be almost zero South Africans in the Bay Area, but nonetheless, Biltong is legendary. I am so pleased that for whatever reason (lots of ex-South Africans, one would imagine), you can find Biltong all over the place in London.

From the Fortnum & Mason food hall, of all places
This was in Selfridge's!
We got some good pizza-pies while in London. The best place I think was a spot called Homeslice that just happens to be around the corner from the London office in a tiny neighbourhood area called Neal's Yard. I didn't sit down for a whole pie there, just got a slice to go a few times and it was always stellar.

We also hit up a place that was highly recommended near our new hotel called Franco Manca. It was pretty darn good, and I love a place that serves you wine in a tumbler -- it feels so French. Not world-changing, but good.

OMG. Well, last time I was in London I freaked out about the best darn Indian Food I've ever tasted: (see: I ate this without Michal last time so it was top priority to get her to Dishoom this time. We went, and boy, did they deliver. The food was so insanely amazing I forgot to take any pictures whatsoever of the experience, save for this one final picture of the Memsahib's Mess we got for dessert.

Thankfully, it was so amazing that Michal suggested we go again later in the week -- which was literally the smartest and most insightful thing I have ever heard.

Aside: the American mini-chain of Mexican restaurants, Cantina Laredo, where we had our wedding Fri night "rehearsal" dinner is, for some reason, also in London and right beside Dishoom. That was a surprise!

Here's Dishoom Round 2:

Chicken Ruby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAN that place is the best.

Other fun food experiences
We went to a few more fun and random places while in London, here's a few more stories and photos.

Early on in the trip it was a Sunday afternoon and I thought, "Hey, wait, Sunday pub lunch!" There was a pub down the road from us and so we got the traditional pub lunch. Also, super funny that Mother's Day is called "Mothering Sunday".

We also went to another spot later in the week and got some very British-y food, like this pea soup and funny pie thing.

Breakfast at my hotel was super helpful and very solid -- lots of nice cheese and fun little mini-danishes. This was very useful to have early in the morning before heading to the Subway.

In the evenings a few nights we just went with simpler things, like this bottle of wine from a nearby Italian wine shop, and Byron's Proper Burgers, which were proper good!

Other random stuff that was fun that I did/saw:

Monmouth Coffee -- the Blue Bottle of London :)
This looked GOOD
That's no chocolate egg! It's a monster!
There are but a choice few things in the world I love more than weird flavoured yoghurts.

There was a cheese shop right across the road from our new hotel and we walked in trying to get something easy to go and she hardcore upsold us to the unpasturized melted cheese goop + wine. It was well worth it as the food was stellar, and this type of cheese is not available everywhere.

A Cheeky Nando's eh?! The internet meme-ness of Nando's Chicken is undeniable, but it's very hard as a foreigner to figure out if people are making fun of it, if they like it, if they think it's actually fancy, if they hate it and they are making fun of the people who go there, or if they are kindof indifferent to the food there. Since it's Britain, it's probably a confusing combination of all of those things. Anyway, Nando's is weird and surprisingly expensive but fun!!! We decided to go and see what the fuss is all about. It's an odd establishment, the way you pay first and so on, and other stuff about it too. Weird times. But good!

Afterwards, we also got dessert.
Finally, the way home. I still have Star Alliance Gold Status and so it's great to still make use of it as much as possible while I've got it! That means we could go back into the United Lounge in LHR which is AMAZING. They have all different kinds of Elderflower drink mixes, great hot food, and so so much to get you ready for a long flight. This place is pretty amazing. Makes me want to intentionally fly via London when I am going other places!

And so concludes the Food part of our tour. Stay tuned for a few more London 2016 Highlight blogs!

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