London for me is always going to be a work in progress. In March, I was traveling to Spain, and as usual we came back home, via London. The minute I landed into Heathrow airport, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. The kind one feels when one is back home from a scary journey. (No! Spain was not at all scary! It’s just that kind of feeling!) I told the husband, I felt like I was home. I have studied in London for 2 and half months a few years back, and this city will always hold a special place in my heart. So – London will always be a work in progress, because I will keep going back to it and trying out new stuff.
We have done all the touristy things, so this post is totally about food and drinks.
Wagamamma. It’s a fast food Japanese place, where one sits on a communal table. You will have your own place, but a stranger might be sitting next to you. It wont bother you, because everyone is looking down, busy swallowing their food. It’s wholesome and tasty! http://www.wagamama.com/
Tamarind.By far my favourite Indian restaurant in London. To my mind the quality and service beats the more known places like Veeraswamy etc. http://www.tamarindrestaurant.com/
Novikov. This is a gem among restaurants. Expensive, for sure. But if you have to have one good meal in London, it has to be here. This location houses Asian and Italian restaurants. I’ve only eaten in the Asian, and I absolutely love the food. They have a fresh farmers market within the restaurant. You can purchase vegetables and sea food and take it back home. You can also choose which sea food you would like to eat. Enough food for vegetarians. Try different cocktails and Japanese Whisky. BOOK IN ADVANCE http://www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk/
La Bodega Negra Go to the one in Old Compton Street, Soho. Dark, with a speakeasy feeling. You enter into a craven dark and not dingy. It’s gothic and grunge mixed into one. This is the ambience. The food is as amazing. Fusionish Mexican. Spend a great evening there. BOOK IN ADVANCE http://www.labodeganegra.com/
THE NEW ONES.
Cantina Laredo Fancy Mexican Restaurant. Definately stands out from all other Mexican joints. Good for lunch too. http://www.cantinalaredo.com/
Roka Japanese lunch. Very busy place. I felt a hint of racism here. But absolutely brilliant food. Must go. http://www.rokarestaurant.com/
InParma by Food Roots. Oh Dear!! I am going to go mad writing this one. What can I say. If you are offered a last meal on earth get it here. Its not only the food, its also the passion behind it. The near perfect absolutely fresh ingredients. Simple fare, no over cooking, no over flavouring. Have the Parma Ham and the cheese and the polenta and the pasta of the day. And then have the Lambrusco wine.
We cancelled another dinner booking a few days later and went there again. Please dont miss this one.
Dishoom. If you are craving a good Indian wholesome meal, realise your craving here. Crazy decor, huge place and hearty home food. We tried almost everything, after which I had to leave my family and go get some air, or I would have fallen asleep. I loved the Rajma chawal. It was done to perfection and the aroma of the food itself started a food coma. Lunch or dinner. Oh! and try their lassi and give their nimbu paani a miss. It tasted exactly like the one I have early morning for — um!! http://www.dishoom.com/
Raclette Borough Market On Saturday, (though I believe its open every day now!) the farmers, organic food makers, dessert chefs, Swiss gourmand, beer brewers, organic butchers, fish mongers, cheese makers, Spice mixers – you name them, and they throng to Borough Market to sell their wares. Over the period of time I have bought drunken cheese (soft cheese infused with potent red wine), truffle flavoured honey, spices for Hungarian Goulash, Organic farm milk, fresh cupcakes, Freshly brewed beer, proseco with Creme de Cassis. I have seen 20 types of tomatoes, mad variety of garlic, and foods from regions beyond London. All of this draws me to Borough Market, but what I truly make that compulsory visit (and take everyone I know there) – is for the Raclette. There are numerous food stalls, I have never even seen what they serve. I head straight to the Raclette stall with one minded bullishness. They make it right in front of you. The rapidly melting cheese, oozing into a ready dish of smashed potatoes, laden with gherkins and pickled baby onions – its poetry. Sheer Prose. Its mind-blowing. Grab a proseco first. I cannot give you directions. It’s a labyrinth in there and it’s madly crowded. So do a recce and only then pounce on the food _ Oh! Dear. The Raclette stall also has cheese sandwich. Yeah! it’s a Cheese OverLoad.
Dosa If you are craving Dosa, and Papdi Chaat, head to 5th floor food hall of Selfridges – Oxford Street. It will make you happy – I promise! OTHER THINGS TO DO. Neal’s Yard. Cute quaint place, In Covent Garden. Its within the Seven Dials Street. Neals’ Yard, is this small little colourful yard, with a Gypsy Bohemian feel. Colourful organice cafes, Pubs and restaurants. Visit the Neal’s Remedyshop. Its got organic creams. I love their ” Bee Lovely” hand cream. They also keep essential oils. Wait up and ask for advice. They are really happy to help. Covent Garden. Very cute place. Lots of restaurants, Pubs, Roadside shows. Pubs. How can one go to London and not go to a pub. How can you not have a pint of Guinness everyday? They are scattered all over. And come 4 pm, you can see throngs gathered there for a quick pint before they head home. Once – I was standing out and the husband went in to get us a pint each. A man walked out of the pub with a huge glass of ale in his hand and crossed the road to a kerbside. I must have glanced down at my watch and then up again and caught sight of him once more, and he was wiping his moustache with the sleeve of his shirt.That huge glass was over. In approximately 30 seconds. Don’t underestimate the Brits!
Catch a play. Or a musical. whatever but see one. Your London experience is not over unless you do. Lookup on google and book tickets online. I use http://www.ticketmaster.com (go to the UK page) Or you can go to Piccadilly or Leicester Square and book one in the booths there.