Europe 2013 #2 – UK (London)

After 2 days out of London, it was Sunday and perfect for dim sum. There are many Chinese restaurants in London but I figured that it makes more sense to try something unavailable in Asia.

Hakkasan isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant and it’s obvious from the style of tables they use.

Overall, the food here is pretty good, though very overpriced. As you can see, the food isn’t exactly very traditional, but they put a lot of focus into making it as perfect as possible. The scallop siew mai is a must try if you were to dine here.

Hakkasan

8 Hanway Place

London W1T 1HD

The meal was pretty filling and it isn’t a good idea to be too full if you intend to have high tea later on. To burn some energy the only thing to do is shopping. Harrods is a good idea if you want every big brand in the same place, similar to Lafayette in Paris.

Harrods is a good place to buy wine too.

However, the food hall was pretty disappointing in my opinion, comparing to those of Japanese department stores.

Harrods

87-135 Brompton Rd

Knightsbridge

London SW1X 7XL

I made reservations for The Woseley for the afternoon because I failed to get reservations for the famous Calridge’s afternoon tea. If you are a fan of afternoon tea, do try to book about 3 months in earlier at popular places because it is always fully booked.

As I was still full from lunch, I decided to just go for the Cream Tea (£9.75) which comprises of just scones and tea.

While the scones weren’t really the best I’ve ever had, the Devonshire (or clotted) cream was up to expectations.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly

London W1J 9EB

Fifteen is one of the restaurants I highly recommend trying in London. It is by Jamie Oliver.

Grilled Razor Clams, cucumber, fennel & herb vinaigrette – £10

Dorset crab, rye flatbread, tomato & olive – £13

Bocca di lupo, smoked ricotta, egg yolk & summer truffle – £15

Flat iron steak, potato & cow’s curd – £20

The food looked simple but was very well executed. I found the prices reasonable too. If you’re interested do make reservations as it was pretty packed for the night.

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

15 Westland Place

N1 7LP London

There are a lot of coffee places in London and this is the first one I tried.

Looking like a science lab.

Ozone Omelette w red pepper, spinach, chilli & fried shallots – £7.90

They do serve breakfast too and the Ozone Omelette with smoked salmon (+£2.50) was pretty good. Even though it’s overpriced for an omelette, it was at least quite different from normal.

This is the siphon coffee prepared using the science lab like apparatus.

Hello 🙂

Ozone Coffee

11 Leonard Street

London

EC2A 4AQ

For lunch it was at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, a Michelin 3 star restaurant. Read about it here.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

68 Royal Hospital Rd

London

Greater London SW3 4HP


For dinner, I went to Golden Union for fish and chips and sadly it was bad. I guess the standards must have dropped. I would urge you to go somewhere else instead like the Golden Hind.

Golden Union Fish Bar

38 Poland St

Soho

London W1F 7LY


For lunch on the 3rd day of London, it was at 1 michelin star restaurant Pollen Street Social. Many may know this restaurant because they have one in Singapore too – Pollen at Gardens by the Bay. In Singapore it holds a repuation of being one of the best in town (I have not tried), but for the one in London I found it pretty ordinary and quite overated. Read about it here.

Pollen Street Social

8/10 Pollen St

London W1S 1NQ

Four Seasons restaurant is a very popular choice among the Chinese community, as reported from some source I read online. I had a play to catch around the area so having this as a pre-theatre dinner is a good idea. They have a few outlets and the one I went to was in Wardour Street near the Chinatown area. Chinatown has plenty of Chinese restaurants but most of them seemed unappealing and gimmicky.

The wonton is kind of weird in my opinion. The skin is not what we normally have in Singapore.

Special Roasted Duck (half) – £12.50

This is the highlight of the meal – the roast duck! It is one of the best roast ducks I’ve had but be warned that it is very oily.

Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant

23 Wardour Street

London W1D6PW


Lunch on the 4th day was at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal located in Mandarin Oriental Hotel and it is awarded with 1 michelin star. It was the best meal in London itself. Read more about it here.

Heston Blumenthal

66 Knightsbridge

Hyde Park

London SW1X 7LA

After lunch, it’s good to take a stroll at Hyde Park which is just next to Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

You cannot imagine my joy when I realised that they have Pinkberry in London! I think Pinkberry has the best frozen yogurt ever ever since I had it in New York.

However, it seems that the quality of the toppings was better in New York, and it’s pretty expensive in London. Nevertheless, it’s still better than nothing.

Pinkberry

Selfridges + Co

40 Duke Street

London W1A1A

The next coffee I had in London was at Workshop. It’s quite near Selfridges, near Bond Street. The shop is really small, like a hole in the wall, and they do not even have toilets.

Americano for me.

What left an impression was actually the brewed coffee. Unfortunately, I do not remember what they used but it tasted a lot like Earl Grey Tea!

Workshop

75 Wigmore Street

Marylebone

London W1U 1QD

The next coffee stop was quite gimmicky in my opinion. The shop looked quite quirky/ indie/ artsy fartsy.

The concept was cute but the coffee wasn’t particularly memorable to me.

Tap

193 Wardour Street

London W1F 8ZF

For dinner, I had Argentine Steak at Gaucho. It was my first time trying Argentine Steak and to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect or know what to order. Argentine Steak is not so common in Singapore.

Apparently, Gaucho is quite famous in London and they have many outlets.

They have several options on the menu and I realised that most of them are rather big, so I guess everything’s good for sharing.

The doneness was nailed correctly (medium rare of course) and It was pretty flavourful. I’m not sure what other steak places there are in London but this one’s pretty good.

Gaucho

25 Swallow Street

London W1B 4QR

Picadilly at night.

For the last day of London, lunch was at The Ledbury, a boutique restaurant awarded with 2 Michelin stars. The location of this was off town, in Zone 2 of the London Underground. The experience here was good – the food, ambiance and service was up to standards. The friendly staff even recommended a restaurant in Belgium which we subsequently went to and loved. Read more about The Ledbury here.

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Rd

London W11 2AQ

As it was a Thursday, Borough Market was open. It is a popular market for tourists and maybe locals.

Borough Market

8 Southwark St

London SE1 1TL

Right next to Borough Market was Monmouth Coffee and it was the worst coffee I had in London. Try at your own risk. The brew and espresso here was almost inpalatable. However, since they are so famous, perhaps they have it better at other outlets or something. It could be the barista’s fault for the disappointing drinks.

Monmouth

2 Park Street

The Borough

London SE1 9AB

A coffee stall at Borough Market did better than Monmouth apparently.

For dinner it was Shoryu Ramen, for the sake of trying Ramen in London. Honestly it was not bad, but it would be more like the kind of ramen I’m used to if I could take away the weird toppings they added. The broth, egg and noodles were pretty much up to standard and better than some places in Singapore (like Menya Musashi).

Shoryu Ramen

9 Regent St

London SW1Y 4LR

Picadilly Circus

I love how the London Busses makes the background nicer and full of feel.

This is London, apparently the capital of the world.

This is St Pancras International and I was headed for Brussels on the Eurostar.

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