This was a trip where I did everything I wanted, threw caution into the wind, played it by ear with friends (making almost no plans beforehand and meeting people on the last minute), going from one restaurant to another, shopping at one store after another, and just being. In other words, the bf and I simply wandered about the streets of London, mostly on foot (Oh my goodness, my feet hurt so bad, despite wearing my very comfortable shoes), and had a whale of a time.
We ate at:
- Dishoom – This is a wonderful cafe. I know, I know, I always rave about cafes and restaurants but this cafe is just…more than wonderful. It’s located in Covent Garden but once you step into the cafe, you are transported to Bombay (the little that I know of Bombay, from watching hundred of Hindi movies ;)) and served street food like Pav Bhaji and Masala Chai (in the same type of glass they use in the movies!). You can also try fusion food like Bacon Naan Rolls or Chilli Cheese Toast. If you are ever at Covent Garden and feel like eating something better than a sandwich, please go to Dishoom 🙂 The bf and I went here twice in two days – we liked it *that* much.
- Masala Zone – This is a restaurant that I love visiting as they have all the Indian street food I see in the movies (if you couldn’t tell yet, I love movies ;)) and I get to eat them without having to go to India. I love Chaat – it’s basically Indian street food and not good for me as most of it is fried, but when you are in a city like London, and being served a beautiful, rare (for me) dish like Chaat, you just have to eat it. It’s a sin to deny yourself Chaat. Paapri Chaat and Samosa Chaat are served here, on top of Chappatis (which I cannot get in Norway) and Chicken Curry. *Dreamy sigh* The bf and I met up with Mpt and his girlfriend here. Meeting the two of them was the icing on the cake.
- New World Dim Sum – My cousin, S and her bf took us here for Dim Sum. It’s a very authentic Chinese Dim Sum place where there is no menu. The way Dim Sum is served here is waitresses go around with carts filled with different types of Dim Sums and then you pick what you like from the cart. Technically there are no price tags either so you just eat what you like, the waitresses mark it on a piece of paper on your table..then you ask for the bill later. Now the Dim Sum here was delicious. They even had Char Siu and Char Siu Baos here – exactly what I wanted to eat.
- Pho Cafe – When the bf and I dragged ourselves to Pho Cafe one evening, we were beat; we had been walking around Covent Garden, Oxford Street and SoHo for a good 7 hours or so, not to mention a trip to Tower of London that morning. So you can imagine how tired we were. Of course after having dinner at Pho Cafe, we walked out smiling. The Pho with chicken was soooo good. We also had fresh, cold apple juice there.
- Graphic Bar – My cousin S and her bf brought us here for some really good cocktails (mocktails for me) and delicious snacks. The Baba Ghanoush and Pita were really good. I also caved and ate french fries here as I saw it on the menu and just could not resist. I think I eat french fries every three months or so 🙂
- Carnaby Burger Co – A few hours before we had to head off to the airport, we went to SoHo and Oxford Street again as I was having a bit of separation anxiety with my favourite stores. On our way back to the hotel we stopped by Carnaby St to have lunch and Carnaby Burger Co was our choice of restaurant. We had fuss-free, delicious burgers and large glasses of cold water for some pre-flight hydration. Perfect for a sunny day.
- Tower of London – We’ve been to the Tower of London once, in 2010, but we did not have the energy to queue in line to see the Crown Jewels. So, this time we thought we’d go back there again and see the Crown Jewels as well as the Royal Beasts exhibit which seems to be new.
- Tate Modern – I have never been to Tate Modern before so this time we made it a point to visit it. It’s so nice to see art get so much respect and recognition. One of the exhibits we saw was Poetry & Dream which was a little bit dark, but very impressive. Seeing a real Picasso painting was definitely a highlight of our visit there 🙂
- Spitalfields Market – This was a very nice market and of course it helped that there was a branch of Wagamama within the market itself. I picked up some handmade accessories here (one of my few weaknesses).
- Brick Lane area – The bf and I met up with our friend and former colleague, J, here and wandered around the area while getting rained on. It was a bit strange to be here actually as we usually hang out around central London – Oxford St, Bond St, Regent St area and Covent Garden or Leicester Square. So this was a bit of an eye opening experience.
- Carnaby St – Carnaby St is beautiful. It has all the shops I love (not to mention Liberty – where you can find literally anything like NARS and other wonderful brands like Shu Uemura and even Korres, all under one roof. Definitely a cosmetics lover’s heaven). I could have spent a full day here but I think in the end we spent about 2 hours or so. When I go to London again, I hope to spend a full day wandering around this street 🙂
- Covent Garden – I love Covent Garden for it’s mix of shops, restaurants, cafes, and the ambience. If you are hungry, you can literally eat at any restaurant/cafe here because that’s how good the food at Covent Garden is. I was hunting for the Jo Malone store as I remember there was a branch here, but could not find it at all. Maybe I was wrong. I did pick up a bottle of Jo Malone perfume later at Selfridges 🙂
- China Town (Gerrard St) – Ah, to eat authentic Chinese food again. I think I miss Chinese food the most because I can get Northern Indian food here but Chinese food is either not authentic (not Malaysian Chinese style at least) or just too expensive here. Apart from the Dim Sum place, the bf and I simply wandered around here while I tried to resist buying groceries and food items as I wanted to keep my luggage at a reasonable weight. Perhaps on another trip, I shall venture into the grocery stores and stock up on spices.
Last but not least, here’s a photograph of me 🙂
I know it must be a bit strange for me to keep wanting to go back to London all the time. Part of me knows that traveling is more enjoyable if you keep visiting different cities, but for some reason, London is like a mystery to me that I keep itching to unravel. I think I will never tire of going to London.