Sunday, 3 February 2013

London: The Great Food Weekend

A Weekend Stay in London, and the Purpose? ...Food!

Who said that England isn't renowned for its world-class cuisine? With such an intensely diverse variety of food, cooking and culture - and Jamie Oliver - how can London possibly disappoint? 

After booking Richard in for a cooking class at Jamie Oliver's Notting Hill 'Recipease' store (Richard's Christmas present), we headed off to London for a deliciously fun food-packed weekend...

Best Affordable French Cuisine in London!

Once we found our hotel on Friday night (Novotel at Heathrow), we drove a little way into the town towards White City and found a Cafe Rouge. I was so impressed with the waitress, she certainly knew her stuff. I ordered a Bavette steak cooked medium but she told me quite honestly that it would be too tough unless I had it quite rare. I had a 'minute' steak instead (cooked medium-rare) and it was top notch. The creamy, eggy Diane sauce only added to its awesomeness.

Full English: King of Breakfasts

In the morning Richard and I woke up eagerly awaiting our breakfast. We get so excited about hotel breakfasts in the UK as there's nowhere else where you can reliably expect such a good spread (except perhaps Norway - as they seem to have the same 'Breakfast is the most important meal of the day' ethos as us Brits). The breakfast certainly did not disappoint and I proceeded to have a full English, a bowl of cereal, two pains au chocolat, a bowl of fruit, and just to top it off, a piece of toast. Richard probably doubled this, however I was too busy enjoying being in breakfast heaven to notice. 

Learning to Cook the Perfect Steak

Richard's 'cooking the perfect steak' lesson was at 8pm at Recipease, Notting Hill Gate. It was so easy to find as it was pretty much right outside the Notting Hill Gate tube station. We arrived early, had our delicious coffee and 'gourmet hot chocolate,' and headed back downstairs for Richard's little cooking class! The kitchen area was so funky - it was in the middle of the shop and bar area, and it had such vintage character. 

The lady who ran the session gathered everyone around (including me) and told us briefly about starting out in life as a butcher. From there she went on to tell us about the various cuts of steak, and then taste them, whoop-whoop! She was so lovely, and despite me not being in the lesson, insisted that I try the steaks also. It was amazing how they all had such different tastes, and how some of the cheaper cuts tasted more intense (filet is notoriously soft and mild). 

Once the demonstration was done, Richard began cooking his steak and making the sauce to go with it. It's incredible how a simple array of tasty ingredients can make such a delicious taste - chillies, spring onions and lime juice, really yummy. Generously oiling and salting the steak also really intensifies the taste.

The Borough Market - Food Glorious Food!

For any food type or product you could ever want, head over to East London to pay a visit to the Borough Market (Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays). This is one place where quality and quantity can happily co-exist. The sheer amount of smelly, tasty, abundant food products is mind-boggling. Market vendors call merrily over the crowds, big bright signs scream 'buy me, taste me, try me' and most of all, food products with roots from all over the world, displayed lovingly by their creators and vendors, just clamour to be bought and enjoyed.

Italian meat stand - Prosciutto & other treats

Delicious Mortadella

Prosecco - Mmmmm!

Freshest of Fresh Fruit and Veg

Authentic & premium cheeses, too much choice!

The Borough Market is also close to the magnificent Shard building, which can be seen as shown in this picture. It certainly dominates the skyline of this area of the city.

Camden Town & More Food

Our afternoon out in Camden also naturally involved an over exposure to food. See specimen 'giant chocolate donut' opposite!

Also - Behold, the great many hot food stands in the wonderfully manic and alternative Camden Lock and Stables Market (about a 5 minute walk down the main road after turning right outside Camden tube station). Be prepared to be faced with far too much choice for one human being. If Ethiopian food is on the menu (which it is), then you can safely say there is a lot more than your average Chinese food on offer...

For more information on things to do in London, accommodation in London, and really great places to eat and drink in London, please visit My London Page

Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2013 
All Rights Reserved

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