Things I Ate in London (Week Two)

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As you’ll see, my food-based adventures took a less than healthy turn in my second week. I just went for comfort food all the time, probably because I was pretty tired and the hotel bed was small and not so nice and I was beginning to wish I had British things available to me all the time. Is it possible to feel homesick for the place you’re still in?

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Probably one of my favourite restaurants of the trip was Mother Mash – a restaurant that only serves mashed potato, sausages and pies. I’d found it on the TripAdvisor app but couldn’t really find it. It was only when I got lost in Soho that found it!

I had the colcannon which, I must say, wasn’t as good as the stuff my Irish ex used to make me, but the lamb sausages were really good – and the gravy. Omg. The gravy.

There are vegetarian and gluten free options so everyone is happy!

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When I read that my hotel’s breakfast might not be the best around, I did a little google for other breakfast options in the area. One of them was Koya – an udon restaurant. I miss Japanese breakfasts SO MUCH but don’t have the time to make them at home usually. The above breakfast was pretty expensive at 20 pounds, but to be fair it did fill me up for the whole day and I didn’t eat a thing else until breakfast the next day!

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I paid extra to have natto – fermented soy beans. Very much an acquired taste and they pong a bit too but they are SO yummy on rice. Natto is so stringy I always end up getting some on my chin, which stinks for the rest of the day…

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I’d heard very good things about the cafe at Foyles, a massive (and wonderful) bookshop. There was free wifi, gluten free cakes and so many different teas and quirky drinks to choose from. The seats were old church pews which were nice but made my bum hurt after a while.

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It’s no secret that Camden Market is my favourite place in the world. I stayed very much in Soho for most of the two weeks and only left once – to visit my favourite place.

I skipped most of the market as it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as it used to (it’s so full of tourists and the items on sale tend to be random things imported from Asia) so I headed straight to the food market.

Camden’s craft beer seems to be a big thing right now, and I tried the Hells beer. It was really light which meant it went really well with the food on offer…

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…especially the Christmas cake brownie I chose over real food!! AHHHH that brownie was SO GOOD and the girl selling it said that the Christmas one was the least popular!

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Very near to work was a Mexican restaurant called Tortilla. It’s a fast food restaurant which was a shame as it would have been nice to spend a little longer with my meal there, but it was really yummy anyway. Everything is fresh and this is very much clean eating. There are vegetarian options (though they say they don’t serve refried beans as they are too unhealthy) and I had the corn tortillas instead of wheat.

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TripAdvisor wouldn’t stop trying to get me to go to Bodeans – a BBQ restaurant. I was a little worried about going there since I’d not been eating very healthily but then I gave in and gave it a go.

With all the groups queuing up outside, I felt really cheeky being able to slip through since I was eating alone. Hehe.

One of the things I loved about Bodeans the most was the wide range of rare beers available. It took me ages before I was able to choose which one to have – but it was really yummy!

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A slightly annoying that there were mirrors in front of me – I don’t want to be watching myself eat messy food!

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I chose the pork sandwich, which was apparently voted the best sandwich in London! The sandwich itself was ok. I think I would have been happier with a burger (…I’m always happier with a burger…) but I chose sweet potato chips instead of regular chips and that was a very good decision. The sauce was super yummy too.

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Everyday we would take it in turns to choose where to have lunch, and when I was writing the post about what I ate in my first week in London, I noticed that Leon had a very yummy sounding Christmas wrap so I decided to have that for lunch. It was DELICIOUS. SO good. I love the chips there too – being big and crinkly, it just makes them taste even better.

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In an effort to find the nicest wifi cafe near to me (I’d need a year in London to find the best on in the city!) I went off to 5th View, which is on the 5th floor of the massive Waterstone’s at Piccadilly. Sadly, they’d switched it up a bit and turned it into a cocktail bar and it was so busy I couldn’t get a seat by the windows. I sat at the bar, gazing over the tops of people’s heads to look at the London skyline. I decided not to eat properly there and just had some snack sausages and a lovely cordial drink while I internetted.

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As I was going round the most British of shops, M&S, I decided not to eat out but to eat from their ready made foods. They had a great selection of yummy foods from which a certain amount of the money goes to charity. I had a very yummy and slobby dinner on my bed watching tv!

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On the last night the people I was working with treated me to a slightly posh dinner at Newman Street Tavern. It was a lovely modern pub, with great atmosphere. I started with a chowder (note to self: start making chowder again…)

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And ended with a shepherd’s pie. OM NOM NOM!

Well, as you can see, my second week wasn’t exactly green, but I think at Christmas it’s perfectly fine to eat a little more than normal. Comfort food ahoy!

There were so many places I missed off my list that I hope I can make it to London again soon to finish them all off…though I think London will ALWAYS have something new to try!

Liberty London

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While I was in London I happened to take a new turn and found one of the oldest department stores in Britain – Liberty. I decided to brave this shop in the busiest shopping period of the year in order to get some presents for both my Grandmas and one of my sisters.

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First stop – beauty. It’s really awesome because there are loads of signs explaining why the products are great.

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Grandmas – SORTED. Even though it was packed, the staff still had the time to advise me which was nice.

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Spent way too much time looking over all the different cards. One thing Germany can’t do is cards.

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Onward to the home department…then through to the Christmas shop…

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So many pretty sparkly things!! The head home buyer spends the whole year looking for the perfect collections – and it really shows.

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LOVED these. If I thought I could take them home without ruining them, I would have bought them in a flash.

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Look at this cheeky chappy!

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There’s a fab new show on channel 4 about this very department store – and I’m addicted. I was in the shop before I saw the show, and there really is an amazing feeling about the place. It’s like magic.

Here’s an advert for the show. If you have access to UK tv (*cough*proxy*cough*) then go for it and have a look on the channel 4 website!

What I Ate in London (Week One)

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Would you like some London food porn? OF COURSE YOU DO – if there’s one thing I know about my readers, it’s that you like cats and food. I’ve not seen a single cat this week so to make up for the lack of cat pictures have some photos of food.

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YES that’s hummus! It seems the magic phrase here in London right now is “street food” and on my walk to work I noticed a place called Yalla Yalla who do Lebanese street food. I would love to go on a foodie tour of Beirut but unfortunately it’s not the dafest place to be and so I have to make do with what’s available…

The hummus was amazing. Really yummy. And with nice warm bread to dip in…MMMM…

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I also ordered something which I would have avoided normally but the menu told me this dish had won some kind of prize. So that’s how I ended up ordering chicken livers in pomegranate sauce. It really REALLY was yummy.

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Breakfast at Pret a Manger! I have breakfast at the hotel but it’s really busy and also I don’t have wifi there so I like to go to Pret to do internety things for half an hour. Their porridge is pretty good and you can choose from a selection of toppings.

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Probably my favourite food of this trip. I really want to go back to Carnaby Burger Co but I’m not sure I’ll have the time.

I was walking around the Carnaby St area looking for food and saw a sign in the window saying that they had free wifi! Free wifi AND burgers?! Hello heaven!! The burger was really good and the chips…omg the chips…

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Creamy smooth guacamole AND chilli sauce. What a combo! It was heaven.

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Crussh is one of the many “healthy fast food” outlets that deal mainly in smoothies, wraps and sushi. They advertised organic porridge but I chose a breakfast bowl instead – and was shocked to find that it was icy cold!! Probably one for the summer…

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Somewhere in Chinatown I found a little Chinese bakery and couldn’t help buying a bao – Chinese steamed bun with filling. This one had meat inside it…I was trying to find some kind of niku-man like I had in Japan. It wasn’t in any way like that but it was SOOOOO yummy.

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I met up with a girlfriend and went to Shoryu – a ramen place.

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They had gluten free ramen!! It was super yummy and really hit the spot. MMMM look at that kara-age!

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They had gluten free niku-man here but it wasn’t really right…and the gluten free-ness of it made it kinda yucky. Good job the ramen was awesome!!

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I finally found Leon and tried their breakfast pot. It was tiiiiiny but contained everything you’d expect in an English breakfast – beans, sausage, beans, bacon, beans and egg. With beans on top. It was really yummy but didn’t fill my up til lunch, that’s for sure!

I certainly haven’t been eating healthily in London but pfft, it’s Christmas and I’m on holiday and I love food!

Hello from London!

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Ahhhh Pret a Manger. My savior.

Internet at the hotel is 10 pounds a day so I’m sticking to wifi cafes and so on – so I expect this week will be very quiet on the blogging front. On one hand it’s good to be able to live without my internet life beeping at my phone every few seconds, but on the other hand I do love the internet…

I have a ritual every time I come back to the UK – as soon as I get out into the airport I go to a WH Smiths (no reason why it’s always there, but they’re always the first shop I see) and buy a cornish pasty, ribena and a load of magazines.

This time, I got in and found that my sister was also in London so I got to see her for a quick coffee. She’s growing up so fast I can’t believe it. The sucky thing about being an expat for me is that when I first left for Japan, both my sisters were in primary school in their cute little uniforms, and now one is in 6th form getting ready for uni and the other is a GCSE-taking fashionista. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much with them and I can never ever get that back.

I have a few posts planned on the word pad on my computer so hopefully I can get back to real blogging soon!

Do you have any rituals that you do when you go back home?

London Food – Peyton and Byrne

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While waiting for the Eurostar in St Pancras station, I had a small bite to eat at a lovely cafe called Payton and Byrne. It’s tucked away between many other food offerings in the main part of the station so it’s easy to miss – and in fact was pretty empty too, with just one loud and obnoxious woman and her male friend in there when I visited.

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The muesli was OUT OF THIS WORLD. So good. I cannot even put into words how yummy this was. You need to try it, though. The apple and cinnamon yogurt was also pretty good, and washed down with some apple juice, it was a great start to my day!

The staff were pretty bored-looking and not very lively, but this was the only downside, I think.

Check out their website here, and see all the different offerings this company has! I’d love to visit more of their shops!

Food in London

 

I don’t miss much from home – I think I have a pretty nice life here in Frankfurt. But when I do go home like I did last month, I really start to miss certain things. The one thing that stood out this time was the food culture in London.

German food, on the whole, is nice. I like me a nice slab of pork as much as the next girl. But it’s not very varied and the supermarkets are packed with the same stuff all the time – aside from a few seasonal things (it was strawberries and asparagus until recently. Now it’s pears, cabbage and pumpkin.) I walked around just a small Tescos in London and there were so many things that jumped right out at me. From soups to pies to cold meats… there was so much I wanted to buy. I don’t feel that inspiration in German supermarkets.

 

Here in Frankfurt we have the indoor market which is arguably the best place to shop for food in Frankfurt. But I was just blown away in London by the amount of street food going on; home made cakes, fresh juices… and pop up food vans too, selling gourmet food as well as icecream, coffee and quick snacks.

 

The range of world food on offer was also truly amazing. I honestly couldn’t eat everything I wanted to try.

 

This place was an AMAZING gluten free and vegan cookie shop in Camden Market. Just imagine – a whole shop dedicated to cookies I can eat without getting sick!!

 

The thing that got me the most in London was the emphasis on home grown, handmade, organic, wholewheat, locally produced food. People care about this stuff back home – *I* care about this stuff! I love love love the sandwich shop Eat. Good wholesome food made by super happy people. Good soups, lots of filling sandwiches, humous and salads. This is EXACTLY the kind of place I wish was available here in Frankfurt. There are bio shops here of course. But that is more catering to vegetarians.

The food in London was just out of this world. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Scenes from China Town (London)

 

China Town in London is another must, after Camden Town! I took a short walk through it and saw some interesting things – not enough to write whole posts about. Hope you enjoy the snaps!

 

Sadly they wouldn’t let me take photos inside the shop, but they were chock-a-block with Japanese cosmetics and beauty products. In general, I saw so many Japanese products on sale, in shops and on markets. It seems that people can’t get enough of Japanese face masks, fake eyelashes, shampoo and everything in between.

 

I managed to find some awesome bubble tea in a place with hand made gyoza. I was going to order some gyoza after but the woman was slightly rude and snatched the menu from my hands…

 

Here’s another new thing – purikura. There were real Japanese machines in here. They were pretty expensive to use though.

 

But these guys sure enjoyed themselves!

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

 

I saw this being blogged about before I went to London – the Bourjois 1 Second Magic Nail Polish Remover. I paint my nails a lot, so I was really interested in a way to take off my nailvarnish without too much faff. And I find that especially when I layer my nails with cracking varnish, or glitter or whatnot, it is SUCH a pain to get off. Life is so hard.

I found it in Boots when I was back home and had to buy it – it may be available in Germany too. I’ve not checked yet…

The “magic” of it is that inside the tub is a big sponge with a hole in it. You stick your finger in it, spin it around once and then when you bring your finger back out, it’s polish free!

A lot of people have been saying that it’s not taking all of their varnish off, but I have to say that it’s worked 100% for me every time I’ve used it so far. It has almond oil in it as well to keep your nails healthy – though it’s a tad greasy at first, it melts into your skin to make your fingers so lovely and soft!

I’ve used a lot of nail varnish wipes before and hate the smell, the texture and the greasy feeling afterwards. This has none of that. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this product and I think not only will I buy it again, but I will keep this as my go-to nail varnish remover from now on!

You can find this in Boots or Superdrug (and so on…) in the UK and I will get back to you on whether it is available in Germany!

Breakfast with Jamie Oliver

 

The breakfast in the hotel I stayed in at the end of my London stay was terrible, so I set off each day to find myself some food. One morning, I just happened to come across one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Recipease.

 

I would never have noticed it if it hadn’t been for the absolutely delicious smell coming from the massive glass building. On the first floor there were lessons going on (some girls learning how to prepare fish and some boys learning to bake). Upstairs was the actual restaurant.

 

Little known fact – I love beans. So naturally, I had the bean breakfast. It was pretty spicy, but I scoffed the lot down and it was SOOOOO yummy. This was about 8 pounds.

 

And of course it would be really rude not to have their homemade lemonade. I must say, though, Frankfurt’s offerings are MUCH better. I wasn’t impressed, Jamie! Sorry!

 

Down in the shop they sold all kinds of yummy things, including these baking kits. All you need to do is as an egg and then bake! They looked so yummy.

A lot of people are very anti-Jamie Oliver, but I quite like him. He genuinely wants to improve Britain and he did wonders for the schools. This restaurant was everything Jamie stands for – learning more about food, simple, home grown yummy stuff and super down to earth and friendly staff. Nothing was ridiculously expensive and I knew I was being fed with good food.

I visite the Notting Hill location but there are 3 restaurants over England to go to! Check them out!

Camden Market for Dummies

 

Aged 16, I stood in London with my friend, and gazed around at the people going by and at the crazy coloured shop fronts. We were stood at the station by Camden Market. As we walked towards the stalls, someone offered my friend some magic mushrooms. We bought a tray of Chinese food and sat on a wall to eat it. Minutes later, a big black car pulled up with Sharon Osbourne in it. We were sat outside MTV studios. The sights, the smells, the cheap food, the feeling that we were rebels… from that moment on Camden Market has been my favourite place in the world and no trip to London is complete without a visit.

 

Camden is no longer the lawless place it once was – in fact it’s pretty mainstream these days. But even so, it’s a great place to shop – if you know what you’re doing! Here’s my Camden guide, to help you through the maze!

 

As you step out of Camden Town station, turn right and head down the road. There is one big market on your right. Use this market as a good preview of what’s coming up – but don’t buy from here until the end. The reason being is that the stuff here is more expensive and you’ll see the same items down the road for a lot cheaper. A novice will buy a t-shirt from here for 15 pounds then find it for 7 or 8 down the road!

If you do want to buy something from here, haggle. Never accept the first offer as it’s always overpriced.

 

Along the side of the road there are lots of pretty cool shops. Punky Fish has always been popular here. I was just sad to see they’ve taken their super cool “manga” style mannequins away and replaced them with boring ones. The shops along here are a good place to find cheap shoes.

 

Cross over the road and the markets continue inside a small building by the canal. This is the place to buy handmade jewellery.

 

And outside the back of this, there is some awesome food and nice places by the canal to sit and eat. The tea shop up the top of the building is a recommendation of mine!

 

The last stage of the journey I can’t help you much with – you go into the biggest market at the back of the canal building and just walk until you get lots. There are lots of different areas (like “designers’s row”) but the best thing is to just keep walking and discover amazing stalls. The food isn’t as good round this part (the stuff by the lock is better) but for home made clothes, Korean imports and just general awesomeness, this is THE place to be.

I feel as though Camden has grown up with me. When I was a rebellious (hahahaha…) kid, it was the place that made me feel like I was breaking rules. With the fire that happened a few years ago, Camden has grown and become more mainstream – added Asian fashion, and added to its culinary areas. It’s really the spirit of London, with such unique people and amazing views.

If you are visiting London and like walking and shopping, you need to go to Camden! You can get to it on the Northern Line.