With summer finally running out of its hot, humid breath in Dubai - it's time to get ready for BBQ weather, picnics in the park and post-brunch walks along the beach.
It's also time to plan my winter trips and next month I'll be heading back to one of my favorite foodie cities - London.
London's ability to morph into something completely different with almost every street corner you round never fails to amaze me. So far almost every place I've eaten at feels almost completely different from any other - the cosy nooks around Covent Garden, Shoreditch's edgier eateries, breezy breakfast haunts at King's Cross, gritty Vietnamese and Thai restaurants and rooftop bars skittering over with squirrels - every memory almost seems like it was linked to a completely different city.
This summer I made a couple of quick visits to the English capital - punctuated by drinks in old smuggler's pubs, fresh banh mis gobbled for breakfast and a trip into the charming Cotswolds for a weekend (ok, I guess that's technically not in London).
Here are my top three favourite finds in England this summer:
Quaint thatched roofs, rambling roses, antique shops and artisanal cheeses, what's not to love in the prettier-than-a-postcard villages hidden between sweeping green fields in the Cotswolds? I have been extremely restrained when it comes to impulse buys on recent holidays, but I couldn't resist walking away with a few goodies - including old etched sherry glasses and a gigantic cheeseboard (an absolute steal - still not sure what I'm going to do with it!) from Tewkesbury, an antique silver butter knife and charcoal biscuits (well, something to grace my giant cheeseboard anyway) from Chipping Campden and a wooden honey dipper from Scotts of Stowe - had to be done :)
St Katherine Docks
This is my new favorite aimless rambling area in London and I was happy to find myself there on two separate occasions in the span of a four-day stay the last time I was in London. The handkerchief of a dock just a few steps from Tower Bridge and Wapping is surrounded by stocky brick warehouses, with plenty of places to drop in for a drink or something more substantial. My favorite was the candle-lit, burnished mirror-hung Bravas Tapas. Must haves on the menu include a foie gras creme brulee served with buttery brioche buns and a rich Torta de Santiago soaked through with Pedro Ximenez and morello cherries - yum!
Top of the list of places I just HAD to visit in London - I landed at this amazing market shoved into a side street in Bermondsey for a quick breakfast before heading to the airport. Plans for being picky obviously didn't last long - I think I managed to devour a Scotch Egg coated in chorizo, glistening fried sprats fresh from Billingsgate Market served with a sharp horseradish cream, at least five balls of rich, dark chocolate spiced with cardamom and dusted with raw cocoa from Brick Lane-based Dark Sugars, English beef jerky... the list goes on... all in the span of half an hour. The next time I was in town it was time for some monster oysters slathered in garlic butter and torched to melting perfection right before my eyes. Mmmmmmmm.....
Small, laid back yet with a lively weekend vibe, I think I will be heading back before long :)
What are your favorite London eating haunts/ street food markets/ underground restaurants? I could do with a few more spots to add to my ever-growing list :)
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