We arrived a couple of days before I started my work so we could spend some time with our friends K. and M. over the weekend. Let's just say that the weekend mostly revolved around food (and the occasional drink here and there).
- After walking around the city a bit and checking out a few shops, M. was really keen to get a cinnamon bun so we stopped by a Nordic Bakery to satisfy his cravings. We grabbed a few refreshments as well and sat on the grass in a small park. The cinnamon bun was freshly baked and warm and I must admit it smelled and looked really appetising.
- We then headed towards Islington since we had bookings there for dinner and drinks later. We stopped by The Pig and Butcher for a Summer Cup just in time as it started pouring rain the moment we got in.
- Dinner that evening took place at Ottolenghi. E. and I had already been to Nopi two years ago and I was really excited to go to another one of Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurants, this time with more of a communal feel to it. We shared quite a few dishes between the four of us (actually almost all of the menu). It was all really flavoursome and every plate was spotless at the end of the meal. Of course, I could not resist ordering something sweet from the wonderful looking dessert buffet. The choice was hard because I wanted to sample everything but I managed to make a decision and ordered a little lemon and pistachio polenta cake (and may have also stolen from E.'s delicious passion fruit and meringue tartlet).
- Dinner was followed by a few drinks at a nearby cocktail bar called after the backstreet it is located on: 69 Colebrooke Row. There I discovered what is probably my favourite cocktail: Silent Neon Flower. It had gin, ambrette seeds and jasmine. It was served in the tiniest of martini glasses but it packed a punch. The ambrette seeds gave the drink an incredible sweet and flowery fragrance. Everybody tried it and we all agreed it was the best cocktail there.
- On the Sunday, after a stop at our friends' local farmers market, we all headed out to the Maltby Street Market which Eoin and I had already visited two years ago. In two years, it has really gotten bigger with many more food options. We went straight to the St John's Bakery stall and grabbed a few donuts (dreamy dreamy custard donuts!). While E. and M. were taking care of buying lunch for all of us, K. and I grabbed Perfect G&Ts garnished with pink grapefruit at the Little Bird Gin stall. The boys had chosen wonderfully at the Aphrodites Food van and we ate some delicious pita bread packed with marinated chicken, sauce and salads and their fantastic pomegranate ketchup. That ketchup is just so unbelievable that I brought back a jar. I am now dreading the day we run out of it because it is not delivered outside of the UK (and I could honestly eat it with a lot of things, especially roast chicken and fried eggs).
- After a small afternoon break at our friend's place (I needed to organise my things for the next day's photo shoot), we went for one last dinner together in the city since E. and I were staying at a hotel near where I worked for the rest of our time there. K. had booked a Peruvian-inspired restaurant called Pachamama. The menu is divided between snacks, sea, land, soil and sweets. We ordered many little dishes and shared them between us. My favourites were the brown crab and yuca churros and the pork belly chicharrones, oh wonderful delicious chicharrones. They were so amazing we ordered more!
Thanks K. and M. for having us over the weekend and booking all those great places!
The next day, we had a bit of time before our flight so I had booked somewhere special as an anniversary gift for E. (we have been married two years already, say what?!). For lunch that day, we ate at Frenchie in Covent Garden and it was just the best meal we had that week, I would honestly go back in a heartbeat if we didn't live so far. I had the starter of foie gras royale with raspberries and pickled girolles, simply incredible. E. ordered the burrata with aged balsamic, white peaches, apricots and basil, so fresh and delicious. The burrata was so creamy and moreish. I then had the Cornish stone bass with peas, borlotti beans and kumquat, very flavoursome and the fish was cooked to perfection. E.'s rabbit ragù pappardelle with confit lemon, kalamata olives and espelette was equally delicious. For the sweet note, I picked the peach and pecan tart with it's very tasty tonka bean ice cream but I have to admit that E.'s dessert choice was an absolute winner. He ordered the bitter chocolate mousse covered in hazelnut crumble and served with bacon ice cream, really divine with a taste of 'please please give me more of this!'.
Here is to our next London trip (something tells me it will be sooner than later) and more delicious food places to try!