2 days in London (brief report)


#1

Continued from the Cotswolds and Edinburgh thread.

Day 13:

The breakfast on the Caledonian sleeper was edible but otherwise wretched, and it arrives in London so early that we had to walk around for a few hrs b/f our hotel room was ready (thankfully, the hotel staff allowed us to leave our luggage there). We stayed in the Marylebone region of London.

First step was at No. 106 Baker Street, which is either next to or part of a high-end hotel. Just lovely (but not necessarily destination worthy). A respectable croissant and good sausage. @SpockSpork said that the eggs and coffee were also good.

We wanted more food, and partner saw that Le Fromgerie (https://www.lafromagerie.co.uk) had good reviews. It was EXCELLENT. Very good croissant (although perhaps not as good as Chaumont), and the crust of the toast was perfection. There’s a decent-sized market attached, as well as a small cheese “cave” (cooled room). We had a sample of the Abbaye de Citeaux (creamy, slight funk, wonderful) and the reblochon. The only reason we tried the reblochon was b/c Rachel Koo had mentioned it once on her show, and we of course can’t buy it in the US (unpasturized). The employee hesitated b/f giving us a sample of reblochon and said it wasn’t at its peak and would be a bit liver-y. And he was right. So we took a small amount of the Abbaye de Citeaux to go.




Barrafina (http://www.barrafina.co.uk) for dinner after “The Play that Goes Wrong” (the play was amusing but not amazing).

OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. OHMIGOD. This place was outstanding!!! I don’t drink much, but one wine I’ve enjoyed is Pago de Capellanes (which they had). Partner enjoyed his The Flower and the Bee white. We had morcilla croquettes, brill w/ a cilantro sauce, patas bravas, and arroz negro. It was all utterly delicious, esp the wonderful arroz that had an intense squid flavor infusing every bite. I would happily eat here again and again and again. Price (I think £88 including 2-3 glasse of wine) seemed reasonable, almost cheap, given the quality. I don’t know anything about London’s dining scene, but this is, IMHO, absolutely worth a detour.







Cotswolds and Edinburgh
#2

Day 14:

Our last full day in Europe. ::sigh:: :sob:

Not pictured: a coffee and a rustica of spinach and cheese (which looked like a pasty to me) from Temple of Coffee in Marylebone. Both were fine but nothing particularly noteworthy.

Passed by St. James Chapel in Marylebone on the way to the Wallace Collection. It’s a very small church but worth a stop inside. Very pretty and some interesting history.

The Wallace Collection is excellent and worth the price of admission (suggested donation of £5) for the armour alone. The audio guide is very good, but we saw and heard a few walking tours go by (they only meet perhaps twice a day, so you might want to look up that info b/f you go) and were jealous that we weren’t part of one.

We ate in the cafe, which was very pleasant, ambiance-wise (an enclosed courtyard that felt very much like Spring in DTLA). Food was good but perhaps half step below what you’d get in the Getty cafeteria? The grilled octopus was a bit too lemon-y for my taste, but the burrata + tomato and raspberry swiss roll were good.



W/ apologies to @BradFord, my idea to have afternoon tea at Hide was vetoed (dining partner thought it sounded to avant garde). Having seen a play about Oscar Wilde in Edinburgh, we thought that having afternoon tea at the Hotel Cafe Royal (the cafe of which has a Wilde connection) might be fun.

Can a place be both totally adequate and yet disappointing? When I had afternoon tea at The Ritz in 2013, I remember being utterly delighted. EVERYBODY in the room looked so happy to be there. The interior of the Cafe Royal is gorgeous, but it’s so damn dark that I don’t think I could really make out the expression of most people there. The tables were exceedingly low (which I get might be the “right” way of doing it, but it was still uncomfortable, and our waiter seemed a bit uncomfortable w/ the whole set up b/c he was VERY tall).

The bread for one of the sandwiches was a bit mealy. And the tea didn’t come out until we were nearly done w/ our first round of sandwiches (!!!). Partner didn’t like the desserts; I actually thought they were very tasty, but they were also a bit large. I like the size of petit fours; these were like a half size bigger than that (petit sixes?). The hallway leading to the restrooms has pics of Naomi Campbell, Andy Warhol, and other celebrities… And I think that defines part of the reason I found the experience less than compelling; there was a certain feeling that I didn’t quite belong there (although the service was perfectly friendly). And, b/c the place is so damn dark, I missed the final step down in that hallway and rolled my ankle. Argh.

We did get our scone to go, though, and got a free scone on top of that, which did make for a very nice morning snack in the airport the following day. :slight_smile:


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#3

And that concludes our UK experience. :slight_smile: It was really lovely.

This my third time (over 19 yrs) in London. I actually really liked the Marylebone area, which apparently likes to sell the Sherlock Holmes connection (Baker Street). It honestly felt much like LA’s westside to us (our hotel was literally sandwiched btw a Self-Realizaiton fellowship – yes, the same one located in the Palisades – and a pilates studio). It was also not a particularly crowded area (aside from the Sherlock Holmes museum), feels like a “real” place where people work and live, and had some charming bookstore (esp Daunt Books). It’s an easy tube ride to the West End (w/ 2+ lines running through the area), and I’d happily stay in the area again.