One Week in London

Clockwise – a cappuccino, fruit bowl and yoghurt and croissant for breakfast at the Sandersan before a walk around Fitzoria area of London

I was recently in London to visit the site of the soon-to-be ‘Fitzroy Place‘ – the most important and largest development in the city’s W1 area in 50 years. What they are now building is a collection of 235 residences (from suite to penthouse), retails and offices scheduled for completion in autumn of 2014. We stayed at The Sanderson on Berners Street which is just 5 minutes walk from Oxford Street and Soho area. With 5 tubes stations nearby, along with key attractions and shopping, this is one excellent location if you are to explore London on foot. And we did just that, mostly🙂

The Riding House Cafe’s lunch started with slow roast pork belly, excellent bread and salads

Except for just a few forgettable meals (such as the so-called ‘Malaysian’ dinner at the hotel and one MSG-loaded dinner at a Bayswater Chinese outlet), this post is the blow-by-blow report of what we ate during this whole trip.

On the first day, after a meeting with the developer (Exemplar), we had lunch at the lovely Riding House Cafe on Great Titchfield Street in Fitzrovia area. One thing about Fitzrovia that sets it apart from other W1 zones is that it was initially developed by many families instead of just one or two like others, hence mixed architectures throughout the area and names of the settling families, such as the Tithcfields here, as street names and all.

At the Riding House Cafe, we had excellent, easy-going and super tasty meal of salads, roast pork belly, sirloin steak and halibut before moving on for an excellent long black coffee at Kaffeine on the opposite side of the street.

First day’s dinner started with a few drinks at the Sanderson followed by a ride in a Prius Taxi to Hakkasan restaurant in Mayfair where they serve a platter of creative dim sum and modern versions of traditional Chinese favorites

Our first day’s dinner was an equivalent of a gala reception (meaning lots of good food and hours of drinking, talking and laughing). There were about 8 journalists from Asia and one from London-based Reuters. And we all had this excellent dinner at the Michelin-starred Hakkasan in Mayfair area. I always love the legendary London cab, but still couldn’t curb my enthusiasm when I got into this Prius Taxi🙂. Hakksan has a Thai receptionist and we chatted a bit. It was clearly a big name and very popular restaurant in London. It was totally packed the night we were there and the food, although we had no idea which was which, was all tasty and excellent. I particularly loved their steamed fish fillet which I supposed was drowned in a valvety butter sauce, their gorgeous dim sum and scrumptious fish and prawns balls in sweet and tangy sauce (below).

Dishes that we ate at Hakkasan that night #2
Dishes that we ate at Hakkasan that night #3

The next day, we met with Fitzroy Place’s designated agents (CBRE and Savills) and then had casual lunch at Hush, also in Mayfair, where we choose from their lunch sets. I had this homey macaroni and cheese and juicy grilled fish. All wonderful. I also loved Hush’s airy atmosphere and a sun deck where we can chill while the sun’s out, too.

Our lunch on the second day at Hush, also in Mayfair, featured lunch set of macaroni and cheese (my favorite) and grilled sea snapper

On our third sunny London day, after a visit to the glorious Victoria and Albert Museum, we ate at Morton’s Club which is an exclusive membership club in Mayfair area. Those who frequented London know that Mayfair is the center of London’s centers before things sprawled out to West End, Marylebone, Soho and others. Thanks to its aristocratic roots, Mayfair was the origin of the sought-after W1 address. And this exclusive club has a good view of Berkeley Square. You can even sit out on their small porch enjoying good weather when it’s nice out as well.

At Morton’s which is an exclusive club at Mayfair, we enjoyed Pimms and their excellent sea bream, potato chips and peach tart.

I walked a lot into Soho area because it was close to our hotel and it has small chic shops that I enjoyed. Paul A Young, certainly one of London’s most celebrated chocolatiers, has his shop on Wardour Street with free sampling chunks of his rich and irresistible brownies for customers to nibble. I was practically lost in this shop bewildered by the multitude of their flavoured chocolate truffles that made it so hard both to resist and to choose from. Eventually, I came out with a small box of four…and then, walking by the Leicester Square, I bought a copy of the Telegraph newspaper sold by a lovely lady together with this funky blue Union Jack tote, a Cadbury chocolate bar (fruits and nuts is my fav!) and a small souvenir Union Jack on stick.

Walking in Soho was so much fun and get lost in Paul A Young is a must. Loved their luscious brownies and assorted chocolate truffles.

On the last few days, I had breakfast outside the hotel. Heard from @foodieguide and some other local foodies that Lantana Cafe in Charlotte Place serves excellent hot breakfast, so I was there one lovely morning and ordered this gorgeous poached egg on grilled cornbread and portobello mushroom. Loved it to the last bit.

Fritzrovia’s legendary Bohemian vibe means it is packed with good and trendy restaurants including Lantana where I had breakfast and friand. Below right is the sticky bun and green tea I had at Nordic Bakery at the Golden Square in Soho. Not the best I had eaten.

Walking means using energy which can easily be refilled by a bowl of delicious pho and probably a sticky bun and hot green tea (above at Nordic Bakery at Golden Square in Soho). At Cay Tre in Soho, I had this comforting bowl of pulled chicken breast pho after spending a few fantastic hours at the British Museum. I practically got lost in their ‘Enlightenment’ room where they display small things collected through time since the Discovery eras and on.

The British Museum, pulled chicken breast pho at Cay Tre in Soho, duck confit sandwich at Borough Market and the famous custard cream doughnut at St. John at Maltby Street Market near London Bridge tube station.

My last day in London was a Saturday, so I went to this new Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey area, east of the more popular Borough Market. My quest was this custard cream doughnut from St. John Bakery and Wine on Druid Street. I was there early, but the doughnut almost ran out. It was a good doughnut, although I wished I had brought a drink with me after such a long walk (from London Bridge tube station).

Although on my most comfortable shoes, my legs just refused to walk on further back to Borough Market and all. Fortunately, I was able to hail just one very classic black cab to Borough Market and had a duck confit sandwich for lunch. As usual, I ate my Borough Market lunch at the gorgeous Southwark Cathedral. It was sunny out and I loved London skies when they were clear blue with brush-painted clouds. The market was as crowded as I had feared, but then I was filled and happy and was able to walk on the Millennium Bridge back to W1 where I decided to hail a cab once again to Fortnum & Mason to finish my last shopping mission before flying back home. ^^

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