We have just returned from a blissful five days in the capital staying with family. The purpose of our visit was primarily so the Mr could attend a course, but we made a mini holiday of it (why not?!) Other than seeing my lovely cousins, who grow their own fruit and veg and make amazing jam, scones, bread, chutneys (the list goes on!) I was most excited about one thing – tracking down and demolishing one of London’s best doughnuts. There were a few other places I would’ve liked to visit, but a poorly baby meant abandoning plans to go to Babylon at Kensington Roof Gardens & the V&A, so they will have to wait until next time. We managed to go the following places, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in Londinium:
On our first day we wanted to take Little Dude to London Zoo, so we got off the tube at Camden Town and headed to the Global Kitchen for some lunch first. Walking along the canal, we saw a barge making it’s way through the lock as we followed our noses to the multitude of stalls selling mouthwatering meals. Struggling to choose, LD and I grabbed a seat at the long communal tables while Mr Toon Lunch Club got us ‘a surpise.’ As everything looked good I was happy to let him decide! He settled on freshly made falafel & rainbow salad wrap, and some Polish sausage and pierogi (potato dumplings). We washed them down with pink grapefruit iced tea. The pierogi didn’t match up to the ones we had in Krakow, and we were slightly disappointed they weren’t filled with meat (just potato). The sausage was pretty good and had a very definite bite to it. The wrap was tasty if a little light on falafel, but the best bit was the delicious iced tea. Our appetite now sated we headed for the zoo.
I love Borough Market, it’s a food lover’s dream! With stalls selling the best local and artisanal produce tucked under the railways lines in Southwark, it is one of the oldest food markets in London. I headed straight for Bread Ahead, who I became aware of few months ago on Instagram. Everyone seems to be raving about their doughnuts which, along with celeb favourite Chiltern Firehouse‘s crab doughnuts, are being touted as the best London has to offer. I got there just before 12pm and luckily they still had some left (get there before 2pm on a weekday, or 12pm on a Saturday to avoid disappointment!) At £2.50 a pop they’re not cheap but I happily handed over my dosh in exchange for a box of salted caramel and raspberry ripple beauties. They sell 3,000 doughnuts a week so are clearly popular! Their sourdough is also excellent apparently.
I waited till I got back to my cousins’ house to tuck in and I wasn’t disappointed. The golden, light and fluffy dough was unlike any other doughnut I’ve tasted, the filling was to die for (salted caramel creme had a real salty kick which I loved and the raspberry ripple was light, fruity and fresh) basically I was in sugar lover’s heaven. The homemade honeycomb shard in the salted caramel doughnut was the finishing touch.
Given that LD’s name is Leon, we had to visit! I love their whole philosophy of naturally fast food, and the way they run their business. Their restaurant in King’s Cross was always my go-to place for healthy and delicious food for the journey home on work trips to London.
I headed to their Bankside restaurant after Borough Market, and LD and I enjoyed the multitude of photo opps! After telling them LD’s name we got the VIP treatment, he was given a rattle and I was allowed to choose a desert, on the house. We were also helped with our tray and high chair which I’m sure they do for everyone, and you could tell that the staff love their jobs, which is great. I settled on a superfood salad (Broccoli, peas, cucumber, avocado, quinoa, Feta, fresh mint and parsley, toasted seeds and a pot of vinaigrette.) Since I was being so virtuous I added some of their signature baked fries to the order, as well as my free slice of pecan pie. LD and I shared the salad, he loved the cucumber and broccoli alongside his Ella’s Kitchen pouch. The fries were a little on the lukewarm side but the salad was delicious, as was the pie.
Wandering across Wandsworth Common on a sunny afternoon, I happened across this lovely cafe with plenty of outdoor seating overlooking the bowling green. LD and I had a lovely time, him on the rice cakes and me on the coffee and cake, they do a mean banana bread with peanut butter frosting! Very child friendly with lots of kids snacks available and a big playground next door, this is where the millionaire mummies hang out in ‘Nappy Valley.’ We enjoyed our little glimpse into how the other half lives!
Not technically open to the general public but I have to give a shout out to my cousin Liza and her wonderful baking and cooking. We were spoiled with scones, fresh bread every day, chocolate brownies, but my favourite was the frangipane with raspberries we picked from Dave’s allotment. I demolished about a jar’s worth of Dave’s ‘Man Jam’ – home grown strawberries and half the sugar but more than sweet enough. Luckily I got a jar to take home, as well as a jar of homemade chutney. What a treat!
We had a great time in London, wandering around and trying out mainly street food. The multitude of flavours and cuisines available are mind boggling, which is clearly why London is fast becoming the foodie capital of the world (watch out New York!)
Thankfully we don’t have to go cold turkey as there are so many food markets, festivals, and new restaurants opening in North East England all the time. However I’m already dreaming of our next visit to London, need to try those crab doughnuts at Chiltern Firehouse next time (if we can get a table, that is!)