Friday, June 4, 2010

Eating Our Way Through London!

Many of you already know that I am soon to be married. When my girls asked what kind of stagette I would like, I naturally thought of far off places and great food. Thankfully, they were all up to the challenge and so to London we went! Here are some of the food adventure highlights:

Red Fort: our first stop in London was an Indian restaurant of course, in Soho. Red Fort was newly renovated and offered a great deal for lunch: 3 courses for 12£. I, of course, ventured off the set menu and had a monk fish tiki to start and prawn risotto. Overall, the best value was still the 3 course meals, which came with more than enough sides for all of us to share. You really can't go wrong with Indian food in London.

Olivomare: good thing we walked around a lot because dinner found us at Olivomare, a Sardinian restaurant featuring lots of seafood! It was a funky place with a great vibe and plenty of delicious sounding items on the menu to choose from. I had cuttlefish with squid ink to start, which was literally a giant slab of cuttlefish (yum) and shared the sea urchin crostini. My general belief is that sea urchin is only good in Japan...but the crostini was pretty good. I still prefer sea urchin fresh and sashimi style, but it was uniquely prepared here, boasting a nice, sweet flavor. For mains, Lorena and I shared a Sardinian stew, which frankly was a bit disappointing although filled with lots of fish, and a more impressive salt crusted sea bream. The fish was uniquely prepared and the highlight of my meal. For dessert, we decided to try the one thing on the menu we didn't recognize, the sebada. essentially a light, puffy cheese fritter dipped in honey. It was delicious!

The Woseley: This is the hottest new place for brunch in London! It is so popular, in fact, there was no way for us to get a weekend brunch reservation so Friday it was. And of course, it was still packed! We were welcomed with a lovely pastry basket to celebrate Lorena's birthday and my stagette (although it said happy birthday to us both but whatever), thanks to Marissa. After a big start, I still found room for my crepe complet - a savory crepe filled with eggs, cheese, and bacon...lots of bacon. In fact, there was lots of bacon for everyone! A delicious brunch at this grand cafe, definitely worth checking out, but make early reservations!

The Orangery: A visit to London, and in particular, Kensington Palace, would not be complete without high tea. We had our taste of traditional tea (albeit iced because it was far too hot for regular tea) at the beautiful Orangery that was built for Queen Anne. There are an assortment of wonderful teas, cakes and pastries. I indulged in a delicious chocolate hazelnut torte. And the highlight? We ran into Stella McCartney on our way out!! What a bonus to have a celebrity siting - Stella with her kids and husband in tow for high tea. Felt like we were hanging with locals :)

Salt Yard: Friday night found us at this small casual chic restaurant, which reminded me of Trevor's Kitchen in Toronto. We were ready to go tapa crazy. Lorena, Rita and I arrived first and we were quick to order a charcuterie and cheese plate to start, we opted for the Spanish selection for both. While we had lots and lots of food, the highlights were the mackerel crostini (great suggestion from Marissa), the mackerel tartar, confit of pork belly, and roasted spring chicken with truffles macaroni. We ordered some vegetable dishes, but frankly none were very good. Stick to the meat and fishes!

Borough Market: Saturday was a new food adventure as we explored Borough Market. It was like foodie heaven! It was packed with goodies of all sorts, and plenty bustling as well. Our first stop was also my favorite, raclette melted on potatoes. The cheese smelled extremely strong, so i was a bit worried to start, but it was absolutely delicious! We got 2 between the 6 of us, which was more than filling enough. Our other stops included wild boar sausage, served with both cranberry and peppercorn sauce, and seared scallops served with bacon. The market also boasted a number of other homey items like a mushroom pate we would have all loved to take home but was just too inconvenient to carry around in the heat. Borough Market is a must stop.

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