Note to self: Check the weather forecast of the country you are travelling to before you leave.
IT’S HOT IN LONDON. I don’t know why I thought that it was going to be cold while I was here, but let me tell you it is not.
The heat/ another annoying girl in my dorm woke me up at 630 this morning, not happy Jan! So, I decided to do something useful and went for a run through Hyde Park. The sun was shining and the birds were quite literally singing, it was a very lovely morning, I was glad I decided to get out of bed!
Knowing that another Ottolenghi was around the corner from Hyde Park I decided to go there again, but being the eager beaver that I was I had to wait 10 minutes for them to open. I had the shakshuka and it was super tasty, probably the nicest baked eggs I’ve had in ages. The capsicum and tomato in the sauce packed an absolute punch that was complemented nicely by the creamy labneh.
A friend who lives in Brighton caught the train up to visit and we spent the day exploring Notting Hill. The suburb is so pretty, the coloured house fronts with bold doors and flower pots gave me massive house envy.
By 2 o’clock I was completely fed up with the heat. A quick trip to H&M solved my problems and I now have some shorts and t-shirts to wear throughout the rest of Europe whilst my London winter gear flies back to Sydney…rookie.
Now, what trip to London would be complete without some scones with jam and cream? After walking around in the heat for 5 hours Eirlys and I had definitely worked up an appetite for it. I had originally wanted to go to Tea & Tattle but when we showed up they were fully booked for the entire day, who knew you had to make a reservation for tea! So we stopped in to the Dean street Townhouse on the same street as the hostel and paid £8 for a pot of tea and some scones. The tea was great, hats off to them for getting that right, but the scones were on the bready side and I’m about 80% sure the clotted cream upset my stomach later that evening.
After a much needed lie down (you know when your feet are so tired you can feel them pulsating?) we headed off to NOPI for dinner, Yotam Ottolenghi’s more upscale restaraunt in SoHo (don’t worry I know I have an obsession, I own all 4 cookbooks and an Ottolenghi apron).
Eirlys does her best to eat as vegan as possible so we ate a very vegetable based dinner, which, given that one of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks is completely vegetable based, was super easy to do.
We started off with the roasted aubergine, almond yogurt and picked chilli salad. Now I’m bias because I love eggplant but this was super delicious. The eggplant was cooked perfectly, it was silky smooth in texture, smokey in flavour, and, when paired with the almond yogurt, made me smile with pure joy.
The Jersey Royal potato salad was served with chimichurri and grilled gem lettuce. The potatoes were cooked well and the gem lettuce and chimichurri added some pickled/tanginess to the dish.
We did order a Koji rainbow trout dish served with, labneh, yuzu kosho, watercress and macadamia. The trout was cooked to a perfect medium rare, the watercress and macadamia pesto, when mixed with the labneh made for a yummy paste and the tart yuzu kosho tied the whole dish together.
Next up were the courgette and manouri fritters with cardamom yogurt. YUMMMM. These were absolutely delicious. Manouri is a type of Greek cheese made as a by-product when producing fetta, it’s super creamy and went really well with the zucchini. The cardamom yogurt was really bloody tasty too and I’m definitely going to be adding cardamom to my yogurt when I get home.
Last but most certainly not least was hands down my favourite dish of the night, the heritage tomatoes, mojama, nori aioli and shiso side salad. I pretty much jumped out of my chair and did a happy dance when I had my first mouthful of this. I’ve heard chef’s talk about umami before, I understand it’s the fifth ‘delicious’ taste, I know that foods like miso and nori are laced with it, but HOLY HELL I have never tasted anything like this before. It was so bloody delicious I can’t even explain it. The tomatoes were sweet and a perfect ratio of crunchy to soft. That nori aioli though, was so yum I used my bread to mop up all the excess sauce at the end, no way was I leaving any of that behind. First thing I’m doing when I get back to Sydney is searching my NOPI cookbook for this recipe.
There was an eclectic mix of desserts on offer, we decided to go for the baked chocolate ganache with plum soil and orange oil. A chocolate lovers heaven, this was decadently sweet but also fun to eat due to the popping candy style nature of the plum soil.
Unsure if he was put up on a dare, Eirlys and I were stopped on the street by a random guy to ask if we were sisters while we were walking home. Not quite sure if he was trying to pick us up we laughed out loud given the fact that Eirlys is a brunette with very fair British skin and I’m currently a blonde with just a little bit more of a tan than Eirlys.
Knowing that it was my last night in London and I was in the presence of a true Brit I knew I needed to do a grocery shop run. For those that know me well, one of my favourite things to do in another country is go to their supermarkets/convenience stores and try some of their famous/weird/questionable snacks.
In the mood for a bit of chocolate Eirlys chose the greatest hits from her childhood for me to try.
Prawn cocktail crisps: They sound gross but they’re basically light and tangy chips. 6/10
Hobnobs: somewhere between an anzac biscuit and a digestive biscuit covered in chocolate. Could see how they’d be even more amazing dipped in a tea. 9/10
Jaffa cakes: sponge type cookie with an orange jelly disc on top that is then covered in chocolate. I love choc orange flavours but the sponge cookie was a bit strange. 6.5/10
Lion bar: filled wafer with caramel and ‘crisp cereal’ covered in chocolate. This was pretty good, I love wafers and caramel so good match basically. 8/10
Toffee crisp: rice bubbles and toffee mixed together and covered in chocolate. Kind of like a chocolate crackle but not really? 7/10
Double decker: marshmallow nougat that sits on top of some rice bubbles that is then coated in chocolate. This was weird but yum. The marshmallow nougat had a really yum flavour. My favourite of the 3 chocolate bars. 8.5/10
Well that’s it, my time in London has come to a close. I leave for Paris after breakfast tomorrow and I absolutely can not wait!!!
Good night! Xx