The next adventure saw me reunite with my uni friend and former house mate, Jo. I’ve missed this girl even though we use to annoy each other sometimes to the point of tears back in our uni days. I miss her enthusiasm for everything, her passion for food like me and just her general Jo- ness. Having her down for the weekend was really great fun and made me reminisce about my days of youth… OK- well- last year….
On Friday, after meeting a flustered and back pack clad and, unusually for her, heeled Jo from the station, I gave her a quick tour of the house, she abandoned her heels (back to normal Jo) and then had a last minute primp before heading out for a night on the town. We meandered into the city centre aboard the tube and mingled with the fellow revellers in London, Soho, on a Friday night. We found our way to the Two Chairman pub– a charming little establishment all dark wood, burgundy walls and actors from the local theatres. From there, and after meeting some very eccentric characters, one of which included a musician who tinkled the piano at The Savoy and had recently been assaulted via a ‘thump in the face’, we made our way to Garlic and Shots. This place looked like it served amazing food on the ground floor, but we spiralled down stairs into the cemetery bar, and even further down to the crypt where heavy metal blasted and a coffin acted as a table. Continuing the theme, all the spirits were spiked with garlic, even the coke! It wasn’t the most pleasant thing to drink but talk about commitment to a theme! Like the drinks in peoples’ glasses, the number of our crowd dwindled until there were just five of us. The resounding cheer for ‘FOOD’ came about and we ended up ad Balans, a 24 hour restaurant which looked like a strip bar, think velvet booths, metal chaining curtains and neon. It was weird having a sit down meal so early/late. Savoy got an English breakfast whilst the birthday boy, a burger.
The next day, I finally made it to Borough Market. How have I not been there yet!? For someone who thinks about food a lot, this place was market stall heaven. Cheese, sausages, custard donuts oozing with fresh cream, salted truffles, dosas, sandwiches bigger than my face and paella bubbling away in huge flat cauldrons inviting punters to watch the witchcraft of saffron and seafood infuse in Spanish rice. The place was a bomb of colours and smells and never has the phrase spoiled for choice been more apt. Also, instagram heaven.
Later that afternoon, we concocted a plan for afternoon tea- after all it is quintessentially English and London. Me, Jo, Grace and her friend Charlie waltzed into The Ritz only to be politely turned away by the doorman. They informed us: no denim, open toe shoes, sneakers, and smart dress is required. Don’t get me wrong, we looked hot damnnn, just not ‘oh darhlingggg’ enough for the Ritz. We also have to book 12 weeks in advance next time.
In the end, we settled for Caffe Concerto on regent Street whose fluffy meringues in clouds of sunset pink and pastries piled high with cream have always tempted me. Though the scones were a delight, the incredibly rude service left a bad taste in my mouth. Not dissatisfied though, we scurried out of Café Concerto and past the Ritz, head held low in embarrassment and hopped on the tube back to reality ready for Monday morning.