Just to show that we Yanks have no hard feelings about that pesky Revolutionary War business, I want to share some photos from a recent trip to London. In my opinion, the food in London is some of the most inventive and delicious in the world. On this particular visit, we sampled a wide range of London’s culinary delights: a country gastropub, a whimsical teatime, a champagne lunch, and the always-amazing Ottolenghi; I could have stayed for months and barely scratched the surface.
As a newbie at photography, I’m limiting my photos for this post to those that came out well enough to share. I wish I had better shots from the Star and Eagle pub in Kent, where they served the freshest Dover sole I’ve ever had, or from the Library at Sketch on Conduit Street, where the food and service are sublime and the décor so unique that I even tried – and failed – to take a photo of the bathroom!
What I do have, however, are several shots from Ottolenghi, the shop/restaurant/cookbook sensation that is taking the food world by storm. Yotam Ottolenghi’s amalgam of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Israeli cuisine is so original that there aren’t really adequate superlatives to describe it. I’ll be using recipes from both the Jerusalem and Ottolenghi cookbooks in the future. Some of these recipes went right into the dinner rotation at our house, and became immediate favorites. (I didn’t realize that I only took photos of their desserts, but it’s the first thing you see when you walk in, and – well, you see how distracting they are.)
And then there’s tea – one of my favorite things to do in London – though I don’t know how they stave off the calories with a fourth meal thrown into the mix every day. My daughter Alice and I went to the Alice in Wonderland Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. (When you have a daughter named Alice who bears a passing resemblance to the real Alice in Wonderland, what else would we do?) It is charmingly whimsical, and very clever. The sugar cubes arrived at the table in a little musical jewelry box with a dancing ballerina inside, and the napkin rings had riddles on them. I’ll let the photos speak for the rest of it.
And there is Bob Bob Ricard, a quirky restaurant that serves comfort food and champagne. Who could argue with that combination? We were there for lunch, a beautiful chicken and mushroom pie (photo below), and were tickled by the decadent “Press for champagne” button at each table, that allows patrons to call for champagne as if it were a burning emergency.
Elizabeth Street is a feast for the senses; there are more delicious bakeries in the space of a couple of blocks than you can stake a baguette at. Poilane, Baker and Spice, and Peggy Porschen Cakes beckon temptingly. This does not begin to cover the retail window-shopping opportunities at Jo Malone, Jenny Packham, Phillip Treacy, and others too numerous to name. Below are some photos from Peggy Porschen Cakes, which looks like the kind of place Willy Wonka would love.
I can’t leave out Laduree, that paean to the macaron. It may have started in Paris, but there’s nothing like this tiny spot for a quick cup of tea and a toothsome sweet before plunging into Burlington Arcade. Their cookies boast taste combinations that seem impossible, until you taste them. Laduree has been the thin end of the wedge of the macaron revolution, and now they’re available in New York if you can’t get to Paris or London.