Sugared & Spiced

paris, pâtissier in training

Archive for the ‘London travel blog’ tag

[LONDON] Beach Blanket Babylon

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Beach Blanket Babylon

Add: 45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AA*
Tel: 020 7229 2907
Hours: 12pm~12am
Website: www.beachblanket.co.uk
Price: [cocktails] £9.50~14.50 [bar nibbles] £3.50~18
Visited on: Jan 2013

After an exhausting day of walking around in the cold rainy London weather, a cocktail or two by the cozy fireplaces at Beach Blanket Babylon was just what I needed. This restaurant/bar, housed in an old Georgian Mansion in Notting Hill, is lavishly Rococo – baroque candelabrum, gold statues, vases of towering floral arrangements. Drinks by the warm fire in an opulent setting like this – what more can one ask for on a winter evening?

*Second location in Shoreditch, check website for address.

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January 26th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

[LONDON] Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

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Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Add: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Tel: 020 7201 3833
Hours: [Mon-Sun] 12~2:30pm, 6:30~10:30pm
Website: www.dinnerbyheston.com
Price: [lunch set] £36 [a la carte] £55~70
Visited on: Jan 2013

If you are in London or will be there in the near future, go to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and order two things from its menu: meat fruit and tipsy cake.

That is all.

Need more details? Well then. As the restaurant name indicates, Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck is behind the scene, and along with chef Ashley Palmer-Watts he has reworked historical British recipes from as far back as the 14th century. Dinner opened in January 2011, gained a Michelin star within a year, and in 2012 was listed as number 9 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Wowee.

We were lucky to get a window seat overlooking Hyde Park, lively even in the gloomy London weather. Dinner offers a three-course lunch set (£38) as well as a la carte menu, and we decided to give both a try.

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January 26th, 2013 at 4:26 am

[LONDON] St. John

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St. John

Add: 26 Saint John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Tel: 020 3301 8069
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 12~2:45pm, 6~10:45pm [Sat] 6~10:45pm [Sun] 1~2:45pm
Website: www.stjohngroup.uk.com
Price: £30~40/person
Visited on: Jan 2013

A plain, whitewashed restaurant with a “nose-to-tail” philosophy. Ah yes, all parts of the animal are used – neck, tongue, trotters, tail, liver, and heart. For the faint-hearted, there are dishes like seabass with butterbeans, but true gourmands go for the likes of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad.

Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad (£7.20) is one dish that does not change on the menu at St. John. The bone comes from a calf’s leg, and is roasted in oven for twenty minutes until all the bone segments have nice crusty tops. The parsley salad on the side is mixed with thinly sliced shallots and capers, then dressed with lemon juice and olive oil right before serving.

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January 20th, 2013 at 8:42 pm

[LONDON] Shoreditch Grind

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Shoreditch Grind

Add: 213 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR
Tel: 020 7490 7490
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 7am-8pm [Sat] 9am-6pm [Sun] 10am-6pm
Website: www.shoreditchgrind.com
Price: [coffee] £2.50 and up
Visited on: Jan 2013

Cool decor, decent coffee. Not a bad place to rest the feet.

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January 20th, 2013 at 12:08 am

[LONDON] Ottolenghi

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Ottolenghi

Add*: 63 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AD
Tel: 020 7727 1121
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 8am~8pm [Sat] 8am~7pm [Sun] 8:30am~6pm
Website: www.ottolenghi.co.uk
Price: £10~20
Visited on: Jan 2013

There’s a vibrant vitality at Ottolenghi, one that immediately affects you as soon as you step inside. It’s a combination of the sun-filled interior, lush salads on display, and upbeat staff members buzzing around the small shop. Takeaway section at the front and a small table that seats no more than 10 at the back. Serves fresh salads, simple main courses, and glorious, glorious pastries that have me drooling through the window display.

*Four locations available in London, check website for details.

“Uncomplicated, unadulterated, emanating from genuine instincts” is the claim on Ottolenghi’s website. Take a look at this salad display and you will believe it’s true.

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January 18th, 2013 at 7:01 am

[LONDON] Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson Hotel

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Sanderson Hotel

Add: 50 Berners Street London, W1T 3NG
Tel: 020 7300 1400
Hours: [afternoon tea] 11am – 5:30pm
Website: www.sandersonlondon.com
Price: [afternoon tea] £35 [champagne afternoon tea] £45
Visited on: Dec 2012

People tell me that having high tea at a fancy hotel (read: Ritz-Carlton) in London is an absolute must, but I wasn’t so enthusiastic about this type of classic three-tiered affairs since I’ve already tried quite a few in some very prestigious five-star establishments. I was pretty set on skipping afternoon tea in London until I read about Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at Sanderson Hotel: “We invite you to tumble down the rabbit hole and enjoy the wonderful world of Afternoon Tea in our beautiful Courtyard Garden…with menus hidden inside vintage books, napkins wrapped with riddles, teapots adorned with kings and queens…”

Curious, very curious.

So I made a booking for tea at Sanderson Hotel (£35/person, or £45 with champagne) to experience its Alice in Wonderland set up. Indeed, the napkins came wrapped with riddles.

And menus were hidden inside vintage books.

Teapots, adorned with kings and queens.

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January 18th, 2013 at 5:14 am

[LONDON] The Ledbury

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The Ledbury

Add: 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AQ
Tel: 020 7792 9090
Hours: [Mon] 6:30~10:15pm [Tue-Sat] 12~2pm, 6:30~10:15pm [Sun] 12~2:30pm, 7~10pm
Website: www.theledbury.com
Price: [lunch] £45/5 courses, £85/8 Courses [dinner] £90/8 Courses
Visited on: Jan 2013

Let’s start with the accolades. 2 Michelin stars, #14 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2012, London Restaurant of the Year 2012 by Food and Travel Magazine, and UK’s best restaurant for the third year in a row by National Restaurant Awards. I was lucky enough to snatch one of its highly coveted tables due to a last-minute cancellation on January 1, so this was where my first meal of 2013 took place. Elegant decor, refined service, and most importantly, dishes with delicate and layered flavors that are imaginative but not overly radical.

What a meal to start the new year.

Amuse bouche: Poppy Seed Tartlet with Gruyere Cream. Crispy, creamy, with a hint of cumin.

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January 17th, 2013 at 5:01 am

[LONDON] Cafeand

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Cafeand

Add: 77 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Tel: 020 3487 0980
Hours: [Wed-Sun] 10:30am~6pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
Website: www.cafeand.co.uk
Price: [pies and tarts] approx. £5
Visited on: Jan 2013

Stumbling upon Cafeand was pure serendipity. I was wandering in Shoreditch on my last day in London, and this small concept store with a glass-to-ceiling shopfront attracted my attention. Upon entering, I was delighted to find a clean little cafe serving freshly-made, healthy, and delicious-looking pies and tarts. Good for the body, good for the soul.

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January 13th, 2013 at 9:23 pm

[LONDON] Daylesford Organic

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Daylesford Organic

Add: 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RH
Tel: 020 7313 8050
Hours: [Mon-Sat] 8am~7pm [Sun] 10am~4pm
Website: www.daylesfordorganic.com
Price: [bakery] £2.50~5.50 [main courses] £10~15
Visited on: Jan 2013

What it is: a grocery with heaps of shining produce and artisanal cheeses, a deli/bakery with freshly tossed salads and baked goods, and a sit-down restaurant that serves simple meals throughout the day. The idea of Daylesford Organic is simple – to provide fresh, organic food directly from farm to city. Why yes, what a lovely concept.

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January 9th, 2013 at 2:22 am

[LONDON] The Wolseley

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The Wolseley

Add: 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
Tel: 020 7499 6996
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 7am~12am [Sat] 8am~12am [Sun] 8am~11pm
Website: www.thewolseley.com
Price: [breakfast] £15~20
Visited on: Jan 2013

Breakfast at The Wolseley is an institution. There’s even a book dedicated to it, literally titled “Breakfast at The Wolesley”, written by British restaurant critic A.A. Gill – and this could very well be a marketing gimmick, but I did find breakfast here to be an enjoyable experience. Grandiose decor, lively atmosphere, and pleasant if not especially memorable food. A must do in London? Not really, but if you have the spare time, why not?

Beautiful interior.

Busy bees in and outside the kitchen.

Freshly baked viennoiseries.

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Written by sugarednspiced

January 9th, 2013 at 1:19 am