It’s taken me a while to narrow down how I want to share my travel stories on the blog. I guess it makes sense for me to question where to begin since I’ve never really had an experience quite as grand. After much deliberation, I’ve decided the most natural way to start is where most of my stories start, and that’s with the food.
London is not necessarily known for their food, at least not as far as I knew. When it came to my trip, I obviously envisioned Italy as the food location – I was not wrong, we will go into that later this month. I was pleasantly surprised by what London had to offer my stomach. It turns out that most of my guilty pleasures come from a British background and my mates from across the pond treated me to their finest meat and potato meals. Let’s get into my highlights from the week:
I have regular daydreams of living close enough to a market that I can pick up my weekly fruit and veg so I was super excited to hear about the plethora of markets in London. Robyn and her mom planned our first outing to be at Borough Market. I couldn’t wait to eat after my 8-hour long flight through the night and Robyn couldn’t wait for me to experience her favourite London treat, a pie. Pieminister is an award-winning British pie producer that Robyn swears by so we hopped in line and grabbed two Moodog (steak, ale and bacon) pies with mash and gravy. It was a truly magical experience and one of my only regrets in life was not having another before I came home.
After not receiving a proper invitation from the Queen to join her for tea at Buckingham Palace, we decided to grab a Groupon and head to Tea Terrace at House of Frazer for a quaint and affordable afternoon tea experience. My goodness, this was one of the cutest places I have ever visited. The décor was so precious with novelty teapots and quotes about tea lining the walls. For something as delicate sounding as high tea, I was surprisingly quite full after we finished our treats that consisted of the following: smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, cheese and herbed scones and white chocolate and raspberry scones and clotted cream (Robyn’s mom’s favourite thing). Of course, we also had English breakfast tea. This was by far one of my favourite afternoons!
Obviously, I spent a lot of my time in pubs – they provide easy and delicious meals and have the atmosphere to make you feel like a real Brit. Something to note for people not from London – you are not generally served in pubs, you must go up to the bar to order. I went to quite a few pubs along my journey including The Earl of Camden (where I had Hunter’s chicken – chicken breast with BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese with chips and LOADs of peas) and Anchor Bankside where I split the sausage plate pictured above that came with my first English Yorkshire pudding (the real reason I went to visit in the first place).
Slug & Lettuce
Slug and Lettuce is a national chain pub in London that is definitely worth a mention! First of all, they have Happy Mondays where you can get 50% off food. A deal on food and drinks in London is certainly something worth looking for because it can get quite expensive! One of my favourite London traditions is the fact that almost every bar and pub has happy hour at some point throughout the week! It usually comes in the form of 2-for-1 drinks – definitely nothing to complain about there! I tried Pimms for the first time at Slug and Lettuce to wash down my Swiss Burger (complete with British chips and one of the best coleslaws I’ve ever had).
Meat and Cheese Plate at Planet of the Grapes
On Wednesday, we hit up the “local watering hole”, Planet of the Grapes, for a prosecco and MC board night. We got the MC (meat and cheese) board, chips, a sausage roll, and a Scotch egg. Wondering what a Scotch egg is? So was I. It is a “hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and baked or deep-fried.” Don’t let the weird name and odd look fool you, there is a reason these are all over pub menus in London (it’s because they are delicious!) The sausage rolls in London were about as life-changing as it gets – my personal favourites coming from Marylebone Market (open Sundays). Planet of the Grapes serves their version of the treat with a delicious chipotle ketchup. This place had the coolest vibe – I can’t wait to go back for more fancy nights in the future.
Roast beef has been one of my favourite meals since I was a child (like I said London meals are my favourite guilty pleasure), probably because it is one of the only meals my mom hasn’t perfected. We had hoped to get the classic roast on the first Sunday I was in town but since we were so full from afternoon tea (see above) we didn’t make it in time. If you plan on going to London for a Sunday roast in the future, here’s a fun tip for you: roast is generally served between 12 and 4 p.m. You will have a hard time finding one at 7 p.m. The next week we RUSHED home from Milan/the airport to ensure that we had roast for my final London meal. We went back to the same pub and were all set to order when we found out they were out of beef! The horror! But don’t fear, Robyn’s mom (aka my favourite human) had found another pub that guaranteed roast all day long. We headed a little further down the street and ended up at the Duke of Wellington and I finally got my roast beef (served with horseradish, carrots, cabbage and a Yorkshire pudding the size of my face). Like my trip, the meal was even better than I could have ever dreamed and it was a fitting ending to my perfect week!
Honorable mentions (aka food that I don’t have pictures of):
– Pret: The takeaway place that made me realize Canada’s fast food game is certainly not on point. I visited here a few times for quick treats and tasty healthy lunches to balance out some of the carbs.
– The Golden Hind: Where I got real London fish and chips. I have never liked fish and chips until I had it in London. This place has been around for over 100 years! Obviously they know their stuff.
– Wagamamas: Another amazing chain in London – stop by and get the Chicken Katsu Curry, thank me later. Robyn had the ramen and it was equally delicious.
That’s all for now – stay hungry!