Sunday, March 27, 2016

London, 2015/2016

Aubaine, Hyde Park

A really pleasant cafe to have our morning breakfast before a day of exploration as it is located right across the road from Kensington Gardens. I loved the ambience of the place and yes, food was simple but delightful. Located

Google map location: here

Aubaine - Hilton London Hyde Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Kensington Gardens

Google map location: here

The Orangery, Kensington Gardens

One of the things that I really, really wanted to do when I was in London (especially since it was my first time there) was to go to a traditional high tea. We only had time that week for one high tea so I was doing a lot of research online for high tea recommendations.

At first, I was quite keen on having our one high tea at The Ritz (for novelty's sake) but because they had a strict dress code there, it made it quite inconvenient for us. Then, a friend of Mum, who has always had an appreciation of the finer things, recommended The Orangery to us. 

It was perfect. Everything we were hoping for and more. For me, the setting and ambience was just as important as the food/tea selection. It was nestled in the middle of Kensington Gardens and I really enjoyed the historic grandeur of the building itself. We felt like we were having tea from a page in history.

Oh and yes, the nibbles were really delicious. They had a Christmas special selection and I loved the roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sandwich. Teas were really fantastic too. All in all, it ticked all our boxes and would definitely recommend this place to others too for a very typically English experience in London.

Google map location: here

The Orangery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Borough Market

We also met up with my really good friend Jeff from Melbourne who moved to the UK about a year ago. Knowing that we are quite the family of foodies, he decided to take us for a tour around Borough Market. Great place to visit to have a taste of the local produce and delicacies. Enjoyed my time here.

Having a salted beef sandwich while you're here is essential for the experience. I instantly regretted my choice when I saw that there was one particular stall outside that sold incredible looking salted beef sandwich with melted cheese on top. I'd definitely go for that instead of the ordinary one.

Google map location: here

Eat this one!

Roast, Borough Market

Look, I wasn't a fan of this place at all but I thought I'd share it anyway. The only reason why we came here was because I really wanted to have a traditional Sunday roast with yorkshire puddings. This was the only place I found that served it outside of a Sunday night. It was quite an uppity restaurant and recommended by another friend. 

Overall, the only thing I enjoyed was the yorkshire puddings. The beef was quite honestly one of the worst I've had in my life. There was a ring of overcooked layer on the outside and the meat inside had a smell and was very unpleasant. Quite awful, really. Plus, this restaurant was so expensive too so I was surprised by the poor quality. I think living in Australia, you tend to become quite spoilt when it comes to the quality of beef. Was not impressed but at least I satisfied my craving of having a "traditional Sunday roast"? Next time, I'll plan my trip a little better and have it a proper Sunday roast on a Sunday at a proper pub.

Google map location: here

Roast Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Camden Market

Another local food market that my friend Jeff brought us to. Unlike Borough market which was more focused on local produce, Camden is all about the street eats from cuisines around the world. Also a fun place to explore because of the vibrant energy of the place but we were too full to eat by the time we got there. The market is located in the Camden, which I found to be quite an eclectic part of London. 

Google map location: here

Gold Mine, Bayswater

After a few days of being in London, we couldn't help but crave some Asian food (sorry, really couldn't help it). Nothing like a simple, Chinese roast to save the day. Lobsters are seriously, incredibly, unbelievably overpriced in Australia so we wanted to have our lobster fix here in London too.

Most people would recommend the famous Four Seasons restaurant for Chinese roast but when we got to the restaurant, the meat looked very dry and unappetising from the outside. Gold Mine, however, was a few doors down and really caught our attention. The skin was glistening and meat looked really juicy so we walked straight in.

Food here was seriously delicious. The roast duck and crispy roast pork was executed well. Both had the crispy skin and juicy meats. I scoffed them both down with my fluffy white rice with a smile on my face. Next, we had the golden sands lobster. Very generous portions for the price and again, executed well. Overall, we really enjoyed our Chinese meal here. The restaurant was clean and service was good too. So glad that we didn't end up at Four Seasons like other people recommended because it seemed more like a uni student takeaway joint than a proper restaurant. Judging by the look of their meats, I doubt it would've been better than Gold Mine anyway.

Google map location: here

Gold Mine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Craving completely satisfied!

Olley's Traditional Fish & Chips

By now, we've had High Tea, we've had Sunday Roast, the next crucial item on our agenda was a traditional Fish & Chips. Even though, the real traditional way to eat fish & chips is out of a paper bag, but it was pouring one evening and we wanted to go somewhere toasty and indoors. There are a lot of local fish & chip restaurants around London which, to me, is the next best thing. No complaints from my end.

Mum's friend took us to Olley's for dinner and it was yum yum yum. Definitely better than any fish & chip I've had in Australia. The reason I say this is because of the fish they use in London. I love a good cod and would have it over any flake, barramundi or snapper in Australia any day. I love the soft, white, delicate texture of cod and think it goes perfectly well with the light, crunchy batter.

I really enjoyed our fish and chip meal here and definitely recommend it too.

Google map location: here

Olley's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Harrods Food Hall

Ever since I was young, I've always been so fascinated by the clips of Harrods Food Hall that I've seen on TV. It looked like a glorious food haven and I couldn't wait to experience it for myself. Coming here was a bit of a dream come true, really. 

The entire food hall exudes luxury, class and prestige. It was very interesting to see all the foods of utmost quality from around the world. Great experience. Oh and the best part was all the food souvenirs we bought. Most of the Harrods brand confectionary products were on sale and everything that we bought tasted fantastic. Friends and family definitely enjoyed the food gifts we got them too.

Only regret is not taking more photos! But not always to constantly whip out your heavy ass camera when you're indoors at a crowded space. 

Google map location: here

Dinner by Heston, Mandarin Oriental

Even though we now have Dinner by Heston here in Melbourne, I still really wanted to experience the one in London instead. Firstly, because it was the original. Secondly, because I am more generous with my spendings when I'm on holiday so this would definitely not have been a meal I would've paid for in Melbourne.

At first, the restaurant seemed to be fully booked when I tried to make a reservation online (as I had left it to quite late). I was becoming quite desperate so asked if my friend in London could call up the restaurant and try our luck. By sheer luck, they managed to squeeze us in for a lunch on New Year's Eve. Perfect!

They had a 3 course set lunch special for £35, which I thought was fantastic value so Mum and sis opted for that. As for myself, I simply ordered from the normal menu only because I wanted to have the famous meat fruit. The mains alone was around  £35 so, again, their 3 course set lunch for that price was great value.

Overall, the food really blew us away. The meat fruit was hands down the best liver pate I've ever had we couldn't get enough of it. All the dishes were executed perfectly and I could not find a thing to fault. The food was not too complex for fine dining (which I find makes it hard to enjoy) and well thought out. We were very happy with our meal and Mum said that this was one of the best fine dining meals she's had. I concurred. Service as well was impeccable.

Do try and book a table here if you're in town. Well worth the visit

Google map location: here

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Serpentine Lake

Another place we strolled nearby after a really beautiful meal at Dinner by Heston. Perfect way to enjoy a winter's day in London

Google map location: here