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Eating My Way Through London

Posted Dec 18 2013 6:00am

I promise this is the final post about my trip to London! And I also promise it’s a good one. I mean, how can you go wrong with an entire post about delicious food. You can’t!

So, I am really lucky in the sense that my coworkers are foodies just like me. This meant that we tried lots of different restaurants and cuisines during my trip.

Prezzo was the first restaurant we ate at in London. It’s a chain that specializes in Italian comfort food. Think salads, soups, pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. I ordered the Arrosto salad that included greens, roasted veggies, olives, goat cheese, and bread. It was heartier and much more flavorful than I imagined. Jas ordered the King Prawns (shrimp) Risotto and absolutely loved it. She said it was rich, flavorful and very comforting.

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That same day we were lucky enough to score a table at Fortnum and Mason for tea and scones. Fortnum and Mason is a store/market and restaurant all wrapped up into one. We were able to walk around the store for a bit before eating, and I was really impressed with the quality and variety of goods available for purchase. There were spreads, pies, chocolate, cheeses, meats, etc. – you name it, it was there!

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When we were finally seated, I ordered a hot chocolate and the scone duo which came with a fruit preserve and butter. In my opinion, the scones were more like American biscuits. And since I love biscuits, I loved these scones. They were dense and chewy and paired perfectly with the preserve. My hot chocolate was also delicious – not too sweet, creamy, and rich. Everyone else had tea (which they loved) and scones. The perfect snack to fuel our day of walking!

For dinner, we ended up at a place called Ping Pong , which specializes in dim sum. What struck me most about this restaurant was the number of vegetarian friendly options. And everything we ordered was so fresh and flavorful (lots of ginger and garlic flavors). Bhusha and I ordered from the preset vegetarian menu so we could try a little bit of a lot of things and were both happy with our choice. And as I mentioned in another post, the drinks are fabulous as well. I ordered the Ginseng Passion and loved the tasting floral, honey, bitter, and fruity flavors all come together in one drink.

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Jas was insistent that I try a traditional English breakfast while in London, so we went to Café Istanbul Meze for brunch. My plate included soft scrambled eggs, broiled tomatoes, wheat (I think?) toast, and beans. It was definitely a unique meal compared to what we eat for a breakfast in the States, but I liked it a lot. Everything was very simply prepared and surprisingly went well together. The eggs were my favorite – super soft, lightly scrambled, with an almost creamy taste. I was not, however, a fan of the Turkish coffee I ordered. ICK! I tried to get through it but had to stop when the liquid part turned into a mud like substance. But it’s totally my fault because I ordered it without asking any questions. Lesson learned!

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Our next meal was an Indian dinner at Sagar . At this point, we were all really hungry, so we started out by ordering a number of appetizers. We each picked something we liked and went with it – dhai puri, stuffed paratha, mogo chips, and aloo tikki. My personal favorite was the dhai puri – each puri was filled and topped with the perfect amount of ingredients (onion, beans, potato, yogurt, chutney, sev). YUM! For our main entrees, we each ordered a masala dosa. As far as dosas go, this was good – crispy without being too oily, stuffed to perfection with a delicious potato filling, and served alongside a duo of sambar (soup) and coconut chutney.

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One night after work, Bhusha, Jas, and I went to a little Italian place called La Porchetta Pollo . It’s a favorite of Bhusha’s and after hearing her rave about it, we decided to give it a go. First of all, the restaurant is as cute as can be! It has a very rustic, homey feel to it and you definitely get the family owned vibe from the get go. We ordered a mozzarella, tomato, and avocado salad to share. This is apparently a very common salad in London. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on the menu here in the US. For my main dish, I ordered the roasted eggplant pizza and loved it! The crust was thin and crispy, the sauce was perfectly seasoned, and the eggplant was garlicky and tender. My mouth is watering as I type this! Jas ordered the Florentine pizza with spinach and egg. I think she was also a happy camper. And Bhusha went with her all-time favorite – the veggie calzone. Even though were stuffed, we decided to end the night on a sweet note with some Tiramisu. It was so soft and light but I couldn’t eat more than a few bites! This is a must visit restaurant the next time I’m in London!

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One of the nights, I gave my awesome coworkers a break and met up with my mom’s cousin who is a native Londoner. We ended up at a place called Patisserie Valerie for dessert. The cakes in the display case were beautiful – almost too pretty to eat…almost! We ordered a double chocolate cake – two layers of rich chocolate cake with a cheesecake like chocolate cream in the middle all topped with whipped chocolate cream. I enjoyed every chocolaty bite!

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Another night, we went to a larger team dinner at a restaurant called Nopi . Nopi is the brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi, a lauded chef known for his exotic, unique creations. We ordered appetizers to share, including marinated olives with pink peppercorns, roasted eggplant in a feta sauce, burrata with spices and white balsamic, and a few other really tasty dishes. I was slightly disappointed to see only one main vegetarian dish on the menu – spiced chickpea patties in a curry and coconut sauce. But it sounded delicious so I went for it. Unfortunately, this dish just did not deliver for me. It was WAY too spicy, and the chickpeas and the sauce had the same texture, thick and a little mushy. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

For my final lunch in London, we headed over to Diwana Bhel Poori House for the huge vegetarian buffet! The girls had warned me that it was going to be a little overwhelming at first, and boy were they right! When I say huge, I mean it – there were so many different dishes to choose from, including salads, chaat, feta rolls, paneer curries, potato dishes, beans, rice, breads, and so much more. My taste buds were so happy with all the different flavors and textures I tried! My plate below says it all. If you want an authentic Indian food experience, this place is for you. Everything tasted homemade and almost as good as my mom’s food!

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For my final night in London, we went to The Shard for dinner and drinks. The Shard is an 87 story skyscraper that is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It goes without saying that the views are absolutely spectacular. I don’t think I fully appreciated London and all its beauty until I saw this view…

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The drinks were also great. I can’t remember the name of the drink I ordered, but I know it had tequila and pomegranate juice. A great combo!

Dinner at Oblix , a restaurant inside The Shard, was over the top delicious and by far my favorite meal. Everything we ordered was fresh, well presented, and unique in terms of flavor. We ordered a number of vegetarian sides to start, including a baked potato, mashed potatoes, macaroni n’ cheese, a pumpkin casserole, beets and goat cheese, carrots in an orange and ginger sauce, and roasted broccoli. For my main entrée, I ordered the ricotta gnocchi. Talk about pillowy and melt in your mouth – this stuff was amazing! And of course, what final dinner would be complete without something sweet. We decided on the brownie sundae for dessert, which was layers of brownies, cookie bits, candied cashews, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and fudge. Yes, it was as good as it sounds!

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And finally, I have to mention Pret A Manger because I freakin love this place. For those of you who have never been to Pret, it’s a chain that serves ready-to-go sandwiches, salads, soups, and more. You just pick what you want and pay – quick and easy. Everything I have ever gotten has been simply delicious…no complicated ingredients or flavors. I love that. During this trip, I fell IN LOVE with the porridge. I got it every morning for breakfast with a side of raspberry and honey compote. American oatmeal has nothing on this stuff, and I wish I had a picture to prove it! I think porridge is made with both steel cut oats and rolled oats, so the texture is a lot thicker with a slight chew. SO SO SO GOOD. Poor Bhusha had to listen to me rave about porridge every morning!

Looking back, I really did get to try a little bit of everything on this trip and what a treat that was!

Annnnd with that I’ll end this post, seeing that its a million pages long! Whoops!

What’s your favorite foodie city?

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