Oh didn’t we have a lovely day, the day we went to London.
Before it all goes mad this summer with weddings, the brilliant cook and I made a trip to London Town to gather inspiration. I was there to get ideas for styling, photo shoots and Elsie Florence homeware.
We wanted to eat and see as any different and delicious things as possible in only 2 days.
We started off by meeting my beloved at his favourite Soho haunt Randle & Albin. Luckily for us Ed Baines happened to be there recipe testing and ended up having lunch with us. As always the food was totally delicious and I must apologise in advance for my dreadful photos which do it no justice.
Rather full and totally satisfied we made our way through Soho soaking up the atmosphere to Gerrard Street in China town. Chinese new year was looming. I love the Chinese culture and lived in Hong Kong years ago, so a trip to my favoutite Chinese super market and homeware shop is a must. Two Chinese dragons later I have the perfect pieces for my new shop window display. Well we do live next door to a Chinese take away and it is only polite to embrace their culture and celebrations.
Next it was on to our favourite haunt Anthropologie. It used to be a secret shopping destination for visits to New York but now the secrets well and truly out and its in London town.
Still this beautiful bird cushion is for sharing i guess.
We were rather exhausted by this point and took rather a long time chilling out on a very comfy sofa. No one seemed to mind.
Thankfully we had arranged to meet two girlfriends at Centre points bar, Paramount for a large glass of wine or two. Fabulous views and great atmosphere once you managed to get past the irritating girl on the front desk. We might be country mice, but really.
The view made it all worth while.
Going out with 3 cooks generally means that you try out lots of delicious food, something I am very happy to do. So supper at Nopi, Ottolenghi’s restaurant. And goodness me it was delicious. Amazing Babba ganoush but not as we know it served with such yummy flat bread and that was just a starter.
I know its weird but I think I am starting to have a slight obsession for a cool loo. I saw a lot in London. The ones at Nopi were no exception. All the doors were mirrored, rather Venetian and rather tricky to find your way out after a few drinks! Kindly they marked OUT on the floor for people like me with no sence of direction.
The next day we decided to hit the other end of town, head East and soak up the atmosphere of Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane market. First breakfast at Leon. I love it here. I first went with my daughter and great friend Kate who is an amazing phototgrapher and has an eye for lovely things and an appetite for scrummy food.
Breakfast was a winner. Wholesome but yummy. A quick trip to the loo before we left, again very cool. Lovely mirrors and sharing with the boys is also something I haven’t done since my beloved built Fabric nightclub in Smithfields with its unisex loo’s.
We left Spitalfields and headed for Petticoat Lane. Fabric shops, street food and Oriental super markets. I love a bit of plastic. I love India and Hong Kong. Kitch and colourful so it was easy to find things I love which I can use for food shoots and window displays. But tucked amongst the plastic salad bowls and flip flops, spices and saucepans was a vintage bottle of Fairy liquid. Something I hadn’t seen since I was about 10.
And next to it these hairclips. I just love the packaging.
Laden down with plasticfantastic items bulging from our bags we sauntered through the streets taking in the atmosphere and the smells of oriental street food being cooked up for hoards of cool people all in the know of which stall was the best. Gorgeous breaded chicken cut into strips and put in wraps with chilli sauce and crunchy salad. We had to abstain after our very filling oaty power fruit smoothie at Leon. We still had to go to lunch at the Modern Pantry!
After a long jaunt over to Clerkenwell we were ready for a lightish lunch and a large glass of wine at the Modern Pantry.
Modern comes from the Latin term modernus; pertaining to, or characteristic of the current period. It conjures up the excitement of something new, fresh and original. Pantry comes from the Latin word panis, meaning bread. A pantry is a cupboard or room which houses the necessities of life… Together, these two words embody The Modern Pantry’s philosophy: the desire to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients.
We decided to share starters so we could sample lots of different flavours. Huge scallops with carrot purree, cassava chips with creme frais and chilli sambal, stuffed pigs cheek….. it was a feast of fresh produce, clever flavours and exciting ingrediants.
Too delicious. Worth a trip.
Eventually we headed homeward for the A303 and country life. We maybe country mice now but saying that there’s a lot of London down in the west country make no mistake.