28.6.14

a trip to london




Oh London...

You're my kind of city.

Both me and Onno are completely and utterly in love with London, so we were thrilled to visit the city once more a few weeks ago.

We took one of the most uncomfortable and non-relaxed travel methods that exists in the Western world: a nightbus. But, you know, without all the money in the world it does make it possible for us to go on a trip. So the hell with it, we were going to London, and we had more pocket money to spend (London is much nicer with more money, a part from going to museums, everything costs a lot more). 

Anyway! Welcome to this post! (mostly food and drink-pics)

One of the best walks in London is the one where you start at London Bridge and you just follow the river to the West, you immediately see St Pauls across the river, and slowly you start seeing all the proper touristy landmarky buildings: Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge, Southbank and Somerset House. 
The first day we crossed Waterloo Bridge and walked right into Covent Garden.  The real deal actually starts after Waterloo Bridge (the Houses of Parliament never fail to impress).

After the obligatory Thames walk we visited a James Bond exhibition, focussed on all the vehicles that were featured in one of the films. This was pretty awesome. We did the audio tour, which I must say was quite necessary, without it the tour would have been a bit boring. The audio tour had all kind of extra information and little stories about the cars and the production of the movies.

We saw a lot more, but I'm leaving it out of this post, because it's going to be gigantic already.


...A LOT.

Le Pain Quotidien - BREAKFAST
- Southwark - 
Organic foods, breakfast lunch or dinner. Chain. Relaxed atmosphere.



BELGO - DINNER
- Covent Garden - 
Very close to Covent Garden. Always busy and crowded. Very reasonably priced. Loaaads of Belgian beers (yeah Leffe Blond yeah). Menu consists of Belgian dishes, and they have a selection of roast chickens. To conclude: comfort food (not the best, but certainly not bad considering location & price).


SKETCH - LUNCH
- Mayfair - 
We went to Sketch (located right off Regent Street) on a recommendation. Its pricey, but looks spectacular. I googled the restaurant after we visited, and it's a proper high end restaurant, didn't know that at the time! Funny toilets. Pretty menu. Waiting staff was a bit..mweh.. Maybe visit it again with a bag of money, to get the most out of the experience. 


One of the best things about London is that all the museums are free! We had visited the Victoria & Albert Museum before, but we just wanted a quick sniff around, because it's such a gorgeous building and museum. Since it was extremely sunny outside we decided to drink a cup of coffee and have some pastries in the courtyard. Amazing atmosphere!



I'm always having a hard time finding a proper place to eat in the Covent Garden area. There's so many little restaurants, but I don't want fall for any tourist trap. This pub was a very nice exception, just around the corner of Covent Garden. Pretty venue, very light and clean, they  pub serve pub classics and have a nice selection of wines.

UNION STREET CAFE - DINNER
I really wanted to have a really good dinner while in London. A Gordon Ramsay restaurant seemed like a good choice. He has several restaurants all over London, we chose the 'cheapest' one haha. We had a cocktail in their downstairs bar first. The restaurant is located in Southwark, a short walk from Borough Market. It has a very industrial interior, very light and not overly decadent or anything. We ordered a bottle of Montepulciano. My starter was a delicious combination of green asparagus, culatello di zibello (Italian ham) & pecorino.  And my main course was monk fish, parma ham, carrots, peas and mint. Equally really tasty! All in all the food was really good, we just found the service a little disappointing; we were served by 5 different people, quite hastily and not very enthusiastic about the product they were serving. I might be a bit harsh. But I just find it so odd that there's so many people working in restaurants and bars that act like they don't want to be there. But I do recommend it, it's affordable, the food is delicious and a good atmosphere
We poured our own wine, which we weren't suppose to given the looks we got from the wine-lady..

My main: monkfish. 

The restaurant through my glass, felt very arty after the cocktail and the bottle of wine. 




BREWDOG 
- Camden -
We knew a few of their beers already, so we decided it would be cool to visit their Camden bar. It was quite empty (it being 4 in the afternoon on a Monday might have something to do with that), but cool to visit nonetheless. Almost all their beers on draught, and a very enthusiastic bartender telling all about the beers. I always like a knowledgeable and enthusiastic bartender,  we need more of those! We chose a 5 a.m. Saint; a dark red ale with the distinctive Brewdog flavour and a Dogma; a sweet dark ale.

THE WORLD'S END 
- Camden -
We walked through Camden for a bit and ended our North-London trip with a pint of Stella at the World's End, supposedly the pub where Edgar Wright found inspiration. This pub was seriously huge, and kind of disgusting (talking about the toilets... and I'm not faint-hearted). But the beer was nice, look at all the bubbles!
LE PETIT BLANC 
- Covent Garden -
Kind of a tourist trap as it's expensive and not ridiculously nice or anything. Good for one glass and people watching. 
WRIGHT BROTHERS, OYSTER AND PORTER HOUSE 
- Borough Market -
We drank a glass of wine here, next time we should probably try their oysters..
THE OLD THAMESIDE INN 
- Borough Market (area)-
Drinks with a view.
UNION STREET BAR 
- Southwark -
Pre-dinner cocktails! I'm not really into cocktails, but these were seriously good. I had one with gin and mint. Onno made the better choice and had a cocktail with cucumber, gin, raspberries and egg white. 

Although we've been to London several times before, we're still learning how to deal with big city stuff. We made mental notes:
- By all means... avoid the tube during rush hour. 
- Wine is really expensive, bottles are cheaper in comparison. 
- Do some research into where you want to have dinner, to avoid tourist traps or general disappointment. 

Hopefully we will visit London again soon, so we can put all our newly obtained big city skills to the test... Back for more adventures in the food & drinks department, exploring areas we've never been to, visit Tate, Greenwich.. Oh the list is endless.. Can't wait to be there again!