London Baby! - October 2013

After bombarding you all with delicious cocoa-filled photos from our day at Salon Du Chocolat, I wanted to post about the rest of our London trip! It's strange, I pop down now and then to see friends but J & I still don't 'know' London that well, so it was a fab chance to explore more, eat (a lot) and relax for a couple of days too.

Stunning Selfies...(it was windy, ok?!)

We booked last minute and used a Secret Hotel from I've often thought about using this system - it's a way of staying in nicer hotels for less, by keeping the name of the hotel secret until after you have booked (and therefore supposedly preventing everyone from seeing how cheaply these upmarket hotels are able to charge last minute - make sense?). It turns out that a quick Google search will also soon reveal which hotels they are based on their descriptions anyway so you can always check if you aren't into surprises! We ended up in the Radisson Edwardian Grafton right outside Warren Street Tube station and it was a perfect location and great hotel for us.

Main highlights of the long weekend (apart from Salon Du Chocolat) were:
  • DIRTY DANCING ON THE WEST END!!! We got tickets on the day and splurged on great seats - ended up on the 4th row from the stage, it was awesome. (Sidenote: even J enjoyed the all-singing, all-dancing spectacle, and I was singing along and grinning the whole way through)
  • Eating lunch at the new Shake Shack in Covent Garden - memories of being in New York in January flooding back and such good food.
  • Discovering Brasilian cuisine (and cocktails) for the first time at Cabana, also in Covent Garden
  • J also loved the Tudor Royal paintings at the National Portrait Gallery, I must admit to being less interested although loved the photography section on the top floor.
  • Our first time eating Red Velvet Cake....drool.
Llamas in the lobby of the hotel - as you do!

Gorgeous chandeliers in the Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton

The Shake Shack, Covent Garden - slightly confusing ordering system where you queue to order at a cash register, then go elsewhere to queue for your table, then go and collect your food when it's ready and take it to your table - fast though!

This seems like a good life policy to follow...

One malted vanilla shake, crinkly fries, a Smoke Shack Burger and a Shack Burger. Brioche buns and fresh meat - amazing.

Oxford Street was looking particularly atmospheric on Saturday - love the lanterns.

Dinner at Cabana, Covent Garden. Really, really good vibe in there and awesome Brasilian music playing (I was dancing, J was not loving my moves).

Seems good enough to me!

Apologies, not great lighting. We tried delicious Cachaça cocktails and had plantain chips with fresh guacamole (the best guac I've ever had) to start.

For mains, we shared the Spicy Malagueta Chicken skewer (smokey, sticky, SO tender), the Beirut (Syrian flatbread with chicken, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella - spicy but filling) and then the 'Homeslaw' and Cassava chips with chilli mayo. I had never had cassava before (I've since learnt that it's the raw material that gets dried into tapioca), but it has a similar texture to potato although slightly different flavour.

Cabana pride themselves on their skewers (and who can blame them, they are GOOD), so you can watch the chef constantly marinading, flipping, skewering & hanging the meat.

We popped into magical M&M world - so many colours and lights and people!
M is for Mari
Eeeeee musicals!! Last minute tickets and I persuaded J to see Dirty Dancing (thanks also to the ticket man who threw in that he had been forced to see it but had actually enjoyed it). It was FAB. "Join hands and hearts and voices, voices, hearts and handssss" - I was going for it in the audience!

Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column, after our cultural visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

Strolling through Chinatown

Tuscan Sharing Platter and Raspberry Lemonade at Le Pain Quotidien. Could have sat in there for ages people watching and relaxing and eating great food! The artichoke purée was a highlight, although it's a close call versus ricotta + tapenade..

The WHOLE time we were in NY I desparately wanted to go to the Hummingbird Bakery but the best we could do was walk through once so when we passed on in the street in London, we HAD to go in! Gorgeous packaging for a single cupcake!
We shared our first ever Red Velvet Cake - and it was a taste sensation. Too much would have been too sickly but I could quite happily demolish half of this..!!
Hope you enjoyed this post, we hope to visit London again sometime soon so any recommendations on great places to eat or visit always welcome! Hope your week is going well - two days until the weekend guys!


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