Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure

8th Mar 2014
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 1/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Aubergine with goats curd at 28-50 Wine Works
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 2/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Corn fritters, smashed avocado at Lantana Caf
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 3/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Young beetroot and peas salad at Hawksmoor
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 4/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Tuna tartare at Mediterraneo
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 5/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Scarsdale Tavern
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 6/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Beef Roast at Scarsdale Tavern
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 7/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
Prawn Cocktail at Wine Workshop and Kitchen
Photo of Foodie In London: A Delicious Adventure 8/8 by Dianne Bortoletto
BERT Sandwich at Lantana Cafe

London feels like home. Everything is so familiar, so easy. Everything works. Everything functions. Everyone understands me. This trip was an opportunity to catch up with some old acquaintances and friends. London really turned on the weather for me – NOT.  Rain, cloud. It felt weird to have to wear warm clothes again after sweltering in Italia. Traveling around London is always a lot of fun. The city is always on the move with never a single boring moment. The funniest thing was standing outside having drinks. The pavement was marked with a white line and everyone standing outside with a drink had to be within the white line. It was funny watching the beef cake bouncers telling everyone to step inside the line all time. So different to Italia. Imagine trying to get Italians to do that?! It would never happen!

This trip was also an opportunity to visit some of my old hangouts. Bayswater was my old ‘hood’ in London and I know the area really well. It was great to walk around there again, visiting some of my favorite shops. I also went walking through Hyde Park, which is one of my most favorite places in London. It feels like a sanctuary away from the bustle of the big city – big old oak trees, pretty flower gardens, people out enjoying life jogging with their dogs, or lazing on the grass. I love it.

But, more than anything, as a foodie, I enjoy exploring the food scene in London. Any holiday in London is incomplete without food. London is brimming with pubs, restaurants and cafes. These are not just places to socialize but also to enjoy some good food! Here are a few great places to eat in London that I personally enjoy. 

I caught up with some old friends for a nice, cozy Sunday brunch here. It’s a short walk from High Street Kensington tube and once you turn off High Street Ken into Edwardes Square, it’s like you have been transported to a tiny little English village. The Scarsdale itself is a traditional English pub, posh-suburb-style. There’s a little umbrellaed beer garden out the front, and a large bar about two steps from the front door. Heavy drapes frame the windows and the walls were tastefully decorated with old fashioned paintings and English memorabilia without being cluttered. As for the food, the blackboard menu featuring delicious sounding dishes such as the slow roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary and redcurrant (15.95 pounds) couldn’t kill my hankering for a traditional English roast. All of us ordered the same thing, Roast Beef-- that means we were also going to have a Yorkshire pudding, the traditional baked batter that is served with roast beef; its purpose is to mop up the gravy. The meal was delicious and by the end we were so full we had beer. Can't explain this one!
Photo of The Scarsdale Tavern, Edwardes Square, London, United Kingdom by Dianne Bortoletto
Seldom do I get to drink great coffee that I can write about. Here it was at Lantana Cafe, A small yet packed cafe on Charlotte Lane, a cute little lane just a couple of turns off the busy (and ugly) Tottenham Court Road. After the first sip of my cappuccino, I wanted to kiss the barista. Ah!! Decent coffee at last. Coffee lovers will know how important this is! For brunch (as we had missed the breakfast service) I had the corn fritters with crispy bacon, fresh rocket, slow roast tomatoes, chili jam and crème fraiche (10 pounds) and added a fried egg. It was all delicious which was evident since no one said a word till the meal was over! We ended up ordering another cappuccino. Couldn't resist! The service was quite relaxed. We were greeted and seated straight away and given water promptly without asking. Other tempting menu items included grilled haloumi and roast beet-root salad (7.50 pounds), Crispy pork belly ciabatta roll with cress and chili mayo (12 pounds), smoked haddock, pea and lemon risotto (10 pounds), and Confit duck leg w/ red cabbage, fennel and raisin coleslaw (9.5 pounds).
Photo of Lantana Cafe, Charlotte Place, London, United Kingdom by Dianne Bortoletto
Not having booked a table on a Saturday, we were lucky enough to find a table here. Hawksmoor specializes in steak and it is the ultimate carnivore’s dream. The meat is supplied by the Ginger Pig, a well-regarded producer. Steaks are charged by weight, for example, T-bone £7.50 per 100g, sirloin £8.50 per 100g. I was with two of my friends, Claire and Zorba. Zorba’s steak tasted smoky and delicious. He enjoyed it, although he said it wasn’t the best ever steak of his life. But still very, very good. I went for two starters instead. I loved the sound of them both and couldn’t choose between the pork belly ribs and the young beetroot and pea salad with goats cheese and tarragon. The ribs were sticky, fatty and oh so tasty. The beetroot salad was really yummy, and it felt good to eat vegetables again.
Photo of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Commercial Street, London, United Kingdom by Dianne Bortoletto
We went for a nice rich dinner at Mediterraneo. The corner restaurant was packed on a Thursday night. The interior is like a house with rooms and we were sitting what I would expect to be a lounge or sitting room. The waiters are nearly all Italian and dress as the waiters in Italy dress – smartly with crisp white shirts and black vests. For starter, I chose tuna tartare that tasted delicious and fresh. For my main course I couldn’t decide what to have. So I ended up going with spaghetti alle vongole (with clams). It was good, but I have to say, it was not ‘oh my god amazingly delicious’. I’m getting picky, I think! I ate most of it and Zorba finished it off. It was one of the few times that I’ve had food envy at a restaurant – I normally choose really well! Zorba had fresh pasta with mushrooms and bacon. The pasta was silky, the sauce was hearty and beautiful. The first bottle of wine, an Italian primitivo from Puglia was lovely drinking. It needed several minutes to breathe as it was a bit sharp initially. Once it opened up, it was lovely.
Photo of Mediterraneo, Kensington Park Road, London, United Kingdom by Dianne Bortoletto
I was recommended this place by my food editor Chris and I am grateful! 28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen in Marylebone is a great food and wine experience. It offers more than 30 wines available by the glass, carafe and bottle at reasonable prices. The wines were interesting and not the standard kind of wine list you see in every place. The food is French bistro style also featuring charcuterie, with a daily-changing menu from the executive chef, Paul Walsh. The decor is modern urban with a French touch – the back wall is stacked with branded wooden wine boxes and there is a big central round bar complete with bar stools. The service was exceptional. Really fabulous! To start, I had the rolled grilled Aubergine with goats curd and pine nuts (GBP 6.75) followed by a main course size prawn cocktail with pickled cucumber (GBP 12.95). Both my dished were really amazing. The Aubergine (eggplant for all my Aussie readers) was sensational. I was kind of secretly wishing I had ordered that for main and had a bigger portion. A Spanish wine was chosen for me for this dish – a 2010 Sameiras Blanco, Ribeiro, AC Guilin, Spain. The slightly acidic white wine balanced the richness of the goats curd beautifully. We ended with a nice Prawn Cocktail.
Photo of 28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen, Marylebone Lane, London, United Kingdom by Dianne Bortoletto