Friday, 1 March 2013

Adventures Away: Loving London

After the abstinent, penny-pinching borefest that was January, I decided to celebrate February, and my pals’ birthdays, in a little more style with a long weekend of lunching and lushing in London. Here’s a handful of my highlights from my long weekend:

(1) "Restaurant-hopping" became the unintentional theme of the weekend and although there’s a million and one restaurants to try out in the Big Smoke, we decided to start with the one that only served hot dogs and champagne, aka the mega-hyped Bubbledogs. The fun of the experience is in the posh-not-posh novelty of it all, but the ingénue behind the whole, weird niche shebang also serves up a pretty wonderful weiner (you! stop sniggering). They’re booked up till April apparently, so get on the hotdog and bone sharpish if you want to get your paws on a table.

(Part of) Team Bubbledogs

(2) Reverting to a more conventional dining format, we headed over to Caravan, a converted grain store near Kings Cross. Although sadly too dark to decently photograph, it featured dancing rainbow fountains, a waiter schooled in beer and food matching, and a scrumptious menu that included blue cheese with truffled honey and taleggio and parma ham pizza - my fave spot of the weekend…

(3)…with the possible exception of the view 67 storeys up London’s new zooper dooper loved/hated/pointy skyscraper, The Shard. Lucking out with the weather, we enjoyed crystal-clear skies and breathtaking, panoramic views over the city – on a very good day, you can apparently see all the way to France. The price of a trip up to the viewing platform, like the building itself, may be pretty steep at £25 a pop, but there’s not a better way to take in the iconic landmarks of London town. Canary Wharf looked positively titchers.

The Sweetest Ta-View, by Shardy.

(4) All our dining called for some much needed wining, or cocktailing as the case was. The Zetter Townhouse in Farringdon is a madcap cross between a loopy aunt’s living room and a Victorian curiosity shoppe – I was, for example, seated next a stuffed cat in a blue doll’s ballgown - with cocktails as cocktails should be: super-strong, with a plate of free parmesan shortbread on the side. It’s another one you’ll need to book, but it’s worth it. The rose petal gimlet is a must.

Quiet for the cocktails, please.

(5) Fact: cakes you eat on holiday have zero calories*. So I indulged, extensively. I had pretty much the best cupcake EVER at afternoon tea at Beas of Bloomsbury and an unusual but no less tasty pomegranate and beetroot sponge over at quirky bike shop/vintage café Look Mum No Hands.

*in the land of dreams
CAKE! Also bikes hung in an arty way.

(6) Of course a trip to London isn’t complete without a little retail therapy. Trying not to be an irrepressibly touristy out-of-towner I resisted the siren call of Oxford Street (just about) and opted for boutique shopping and street art spotting in Shoreditch and Brick Lane instead. SCP and YCN (acronyms are clearly big in LDN) in particular are musts for anyone into their interior design.

Street art in Shoreditch, and a cheeky Banksy.
Jansen ceramics at SCP; YCN and their limited edition Antony Burrill prints

(7) And finally: we opted out of a Sunday lie-in in favour of brunch at celebrated local eaterie The Modern Pantry which served a host of unusual breakfast delights. Just check out themz berry and ricotta pancakes…

Getting the pancakes started at the Modern Pantry.

A huge thank you to my dear friends John and Tim who took the wonderful photos in this post!


  1. Food porn alert! Food porn alert! I now want cake, fizz, hotdogs and brunch. It looks amazing!