Note to self: Don’t be the a**hole who packs their suitcase at 0500 in a hostel dorm room.
So jet lag sucks. After falling asleep at around 930 last night I woke up at 330 this morning thinking it had to be at least 7am. I fought with my brain to get a few more hours of sleep, to then be rudely awoken by the slow and annoying zip-zip-zip of the girl in the bunk next to me trying to pack her bag at 5am.
You know when you’re in a cinema and you try to open a wrapper really quietly so you did it really slowly? Then you find that more often than not it’s just better to rip it open quickly… ZIPPERS ARE 1000000X WORSE!
Next thing I know I’ve woken up again at 7 and dash to make a 730 yoga class in SoHo. The yoga class was great and did wonders for releasing all the tension that built up on the plane.
Breakfast this morning saw me eating at Ottolenghi in Spitalfields. Yotam Ottolenghi is an Iranian-British chef who owns a few restaraunts throughout London. I happen to have all of his cookbooks at home and really respect and admire his approach to food.
For breakfast I ate scrambled tofu and rose harissa, served on sourdough with avocado, tomato and crispy jerusalem artichokes. The dish had some really beautiful smokey flavors. The creamy tofu against the crunchy artichoke was a nice pairing. As well as this, the avocado had a nice zing, while the salad was perfectly dressed.
The restaraunt is known for its display tables of food, somehow I managed to show some restraint and didn’t buy anything, but I had to look…!
After leaving Ottolenghi I walked down towards Tower Bridge. I stopped along the way and climbed the 311 steps (which was certificate worthy apparently) to the top of the tower. The spiral staircase made me so dizzy I thought I was going to be sick.
The monument tower was built in 1666 to commemorate those who died in the Great Fire of London. The view from the top was really nice, although the cage wiring got in the way a bit.
The 2 hours of walking built up an appetite and boy was I ready. Lunch at Lyle’s was one of the first things I booked on this entire trip. James Lowe is a well renowned and respected chef in London and Lyle’s is his latest restaraunt venture. A whole bunch of chef’s in Sydney have recently eaten there so I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
The meal started with some sourdough and butter. The bread was super light and fluffy with a beautifully salted butter. I restrained myself from eating the second slice to leave room for all the other food that was about to come.
First course: Squid, artichoke and green almond. The squid was perfectly cooked, with the right amount of bite whilst still remaining creamy. The artichoke and green almonds both on their own and together with the squid were bursting with flavour and complimented the squid really well. I may have used some of my second slice of bread to mop up the juices, a stock made from cooking the squid, according to the waiter. I almost brought the bowl to my mouth to drink the juices because it was so delicious but then remembered I was in a restaraunt and that probably wouldn’t have been very ladylike….
Second course: Smoked eel, potatoes and dulse. Jersey potato mash cooked with eel fat, pickled kelp, powdered dulse seaweed, smoked and grilled eel and a potato crisp. The mash was fantastic, the eel fat flavour really shined through and it melted on the tongue. The kelp and seaweed added to the umami flavour and combined with the eel really let of flavor bombs in my mouth. Every element of the dish worked together and again complemented each other really well.
Third course: Herring milts, Jersey Royals and Sorrel. On first bite I was amazed by the creaminess of the milts. I don’t really know what I was expecting but the depth of flavour was a welcome surprise. The butter and lemon sauce had an amazing tang that danced on the tongue and made the potatoes taste even yummier. The acidic sorrel helped cut through the milt’s creaminess. Again, this was another perfectly balanced dish where each component was great on its own and as part of the complete dish.
Fourth course: Treacle tart with milk ice cream. Not that I had the room for it but the treacle tart with milk ice cream was major amounts of sweet. The crust was short and delicate, whilst the filling was delectably sweet and tasty. It did however push me over the edge, and boy did I need to go for a big walk.
And so I walked, back down to Tower Hill to visit the world heritage listed site that now houses the crown jewels. 2 hours and another 10,000 steps later, I got some pretty decent photos, saw the Crown Jewels (woah, they are huge diamonds) and walked off my amazing lunch.
Naturally, it was time for dinner, this time it was Brick Lane for some Indian food. The food was pretty tasty but for the price I’d have to say Sydney is doing a mighty fine job at the moment!
After last night’s failed attempt at a night out my friend wanted to do her best to keep me awake past 10pm. Naturally that meant hitting a bar and taking advantage of their 2 for 1 cocktails. (Not only are there bars on basically EVERY corner in London, they’re all PACKED, and overflowing, with people!!).
I made it to 10:15pm and then the yawning started. So, here I am now, dozing in and out of sleep at 11:25 while writing this entry. The noise coming from the alley that the hostel window opens on to leaves little to the imagination of the mischief backpackers get up to, luckily I have ear buds that do a good job of cancelling out some of the noise….
Good night! Xx