So, we’ve just finished eating and drinking our way around London on what will be a pretty epic eating and drinking tour of Europe. We’re away for six weeks and will be stopping in London, Paris, Bordeaux, San Sebastián, Barcelona, Zurich, Zermatt, Venice, Florence, Rome and Santorini. I’m turning 30 while in Paris and doing it in style!
Whilst researching the trip, I started compiling a list of restaurants to visit at each of the cities we’re going to. By the time it reached the third page of a Word document it was getting a bit out of control and I figured there had to be a better way of doing things – enter Google Maps. I was able to look up and favourite all the places on my list and it would mark them on the map with a little star – very handy for when we were out and about and looking for somewhere to eat. The maps are even available offline, so if you have an idea of where you are, you can find somewhere to eat. Here’s what my map of London looked like!
I had previously booked Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (no luck getting into The Fat Duck; spending three days making his Black Forest Gateau had no pull whatsoever!) and The Ledbury, so we planned on using the list to guide us for the other meals. Posts on these restaurants to come separately.
We started our list of highlights with lunch at Pitt Cue Co. who were recently involved in somewhat of a Twitter spat about whether the newly opened MeatMother in Melbourne had copied them – read more in BurgerMary’s post. We went for lunch but the place was busy and the wait for a seat too long, so we got takeaway – pulled pork and sausage sandwiches that were equally as good and messy as each other.
We caught up with CorkLift, an old friend from high school at Polpo Covent Garden. We were planning on a drink at the bar downstairs but quickly backtracked when we saw posters hanging up celebrating someone’s 40th. Whoops! Upstairs we couldn’t have a drink without ordering some food due to liquor licensing, so we each ordered something small as we were heading to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal that night and didn’t want to spoil our appetites. I had the croquettes with my Campari spritz that were delicious and I’d happily head back to try out more of the menu.
Although I don’t have any of his cookbooks, a trip to London wasn’t going to be complete
without a trip to Ottolenghi. We visited the Knightsbridge store for lunch and the Islington one for breakfast. For lunch I had chicken accompanied by baby potato and cauliflower salads, while D had salmon with hummus and a beetroot salad. The food display at each store was enough to make anyone drool. We couldn’t resist a passionfruit meringue tart and raspberry meringue. For breakfast I had the shakshuka while D had French toast with berry coulis and creme fraiche.
We didn’t make it to the Borough Market on a market day, but did manage to stop by for lunch, where I picked up a salt beef bagel and crumbly salted caramel fudge.
Several tweeps had said we needed to visit Neal’s Yard Dairy at the market, but then discovered another location in Covent Garden very close to us. If you like cheese, the place is pretty much heaven on earth!
They let us taste whatever we wanted and helped choose samples based on our preferences. I loved that the sales assistant would always have a sample himself when giving us one! We ended up buying three cheeses – Tunworth (raw cow’s milk), Ragstone (raw goat’s milk) and Dorstone (raw goat’s milk). Clearly we were up for getting a raw milk fix, and given we’re both still standing, I’m really not sure what the fuss is about. Each time we opened the fridge at the apartment the whole place would fill with the delightful aroma of smelly cheeses.
On our final night we ended up at Hawksmoor Seven Dials for steak. It’s the kind of steakhouse you go to where you order a steak and they bring out a beautiful piece of meat cooked to perfection, without sides or sauces – you order them separately. You can order steak off the menu, or check out the chalkboard for what cuts they have available that day, usually of the larger variety for sharing. Meat on the chalkboard is charged per 100g. I ordered a 300g rib eye off the chalkboard while D ordered the 300g fillet off the regular menu, accompanied by mac ‘n’ cheese and chips.
Whatever you do, don’t BYO wine!
And now for Paris! Pastries, baguettes, croissants. Bring. It. On.