Wednesday, 4 July 2012

WIAW: London Baby!

Yesterday's London post didn't happen as I was suffering from a touch of post-holiday blues (not helped by the fact that all my family are jetting off to the sun today - Mum & Colin to Sardinia, and my Dad and sisters to Spain...jealous!!) but I figured a WIAW post would be a good way to write about our first day in London...

Please note that I ate a lot more in London than I normally do - Liam was quite shocked/disgusted by how much I could fit in my belly - there were so many things I wanted to try! So this isn't how I normally eat at home, honest!! ;)

Our train left at 7.50am on Saturday, so all I had at home was an unpictured coffee. Once on the train however...

I had two pain au chocolats, a pot of fruit salad and water for breakfast...

and then spent the rest of the 3 hour journey reading my Kindle and painting my nails...

When we got to Waterloo we suffered a bit of culture shock - 30p to use the toilet??!! ;-O

After taking in our surroundings, we went underground to buy ourselves Oyster cards, and then got a tube from Waterloo to Covent Garden. I'd done a bit of advance research and knew exactly where we were heading - Christopher's Grill for brunch!

We started with a slice of bread each (walnut for me) while looking at the menus...

We were pleased to see that they had non-alcoholic cocktails...

I had a spring iced tea which was quite nice, but mainly tasted like orange juice...

and was nowhere near as amazing as Liam's apple & ginger No-jito!

I love looking at menus online before I go to restaurants, and I'd already narrowed my food choice down to either Huevos California or French toast. In the end I decided to go for Huevos California (a tortilla with salsa, avocado, fried eggs & cheese) as I thought if I started off eating sweet stuff I'd never stop!

This was really tasty, but pretty spicy. I needed something sweet to calm my mouth down (!) so when we saw a table near us have eggs for "main" and then share french toast after, we decided to do the same...

This was divine! French toast with roasted peaches, mascarpone and maple syrup...I mmmmed the whole way through eating my half!!

After brunch, we spent some time walking around Covent Garden, including a shop full of American sweets (we were quite restrained and just bought one thing each - a butterfinger for me, chocolate pretzels for Liam - both of which are currently in the kitchen calling to me!!)

 and then, once we'd made some room in our tummies, we went to a shop that we'd spotted when we first arrived in Covent Garden - The Icecreamists...

They did some amazing ice cream flavours, although Liam was a bit freaked out by the breastmilk ice cream - it took me a while to convince him that it would only be that one flavour that was made with breast milk!!

I had peanut butter and popcorn which were both fantastic although, surprisingly, if I had to pick one I think that popcorn was my favourite! Liam was really boring and had milk chocolate + white sense of adventure! ;) he did try my popcorn ice cream though and liked it!

After our ice cream, we got the tube to South Kensington to our hotel (as we weren't allowed to check in until 2pm). We stayed at the Eden Plaza. It was nice enough - good value for money and a great shower...

but the room itself was teeny tiny - barely enough space to walk past the bed!!

When we were walking from the tube station to the hotel, we'd got a little lost and on our long route to the hotel had stumbled upon a Hummingbird Bakery (with no queue!) - a very happy accident!! When we were back at the hotel room I enjoyed the carrot cupcake...

this was amazing, super soft sponge and gorgeous cream cheese frosting. Liam was still too full from brunch/ice cream to eat his red velvet cupcake (!!) so I can kind of understand why he was shocked that I also ate the macarons I'd bought from Laduree...told you I ate a lot this weekend!!

Lemon-lime, cherry blossom, 2x salted caramel

These were actually quite disappointing and tasted almost stale. As you will see when I write my other London posts, I had a different macaron each day, and the Laduree ones were actually the worst I had. So Hummingbird lived up to the hype, but Laduree, for me, did not.

After I'd finished snacking, we left the hotel and walked to Hyde Park.

Despite the weather reports it was gorgeously sunny, so we dozed on the grass for half an hour...

before walking around the park for another hour or so...

before heading to Harrods food hall!

I drooled over Lola's cupcakes and desserts...

but only ended up buying some Joe&Seph's popcorn (caramel, cinnamon & coconut - I haven't tried it yet but it sounds delicious!)

and a little bit of sushi as a pre-dinner snack (again, Liam didn't eat anything at this wonder he thought I was a piggy!!)

The breaded things on the left were shitake mushrooms stuffed with cheese and sweetcorn, really good!

For dinner, we'd booked a table at Umami in South Kensington, only 4 minutes walk from the hotel.

The restaurant encourages sharing, and a lot of the dishes can either be ordered in a small or sharing size. To start, Liam and I shared the Gado Gado salad, which was fried tofu with warm vegetables (bean sprouts, pepper, green beans etc)...

and we also shared a Roti Canai which was lentil daal with delicious flatbread. I had three quarters of this as Liam also had a couple of skewers of chicken complaints from me!!

I also had a cocktail with lychee liqueur and vodka...

For my main course I opted for Pad Thai Jae which was rice noodles with fried tofu, broccoli, courgette and a sweet tamarind sauce...

This was good, although I did find that in both this and the Gado Gado salad, the tofu didn't have the best consistency - spongy rather than firm.

We didn't have dessert as Liam didn't like anything on the menu, plus he was full. I, however, stopped off at Tesco on the way back to the hotel for my 3rd and final solo-eating session of the day. A Millionaire Shortbread Krispy Kreme donut (wish we could buy these in Devon, I miss them!!) plus a salted caramel yoghurt...

After this I was well and truly full, so went to sleep to get myself ready to eat more again the next day! ;)

As you will see in the logo at the start of this post, What I Ate Wednesday is focusing on fitness as well as food this month. I didn't do any fitness other than lots of walking on Saturday, but I have been getting more into fitness classes recently. Last night I went to a spin class and I am really feeling it in my thighs today!! The instructor was injured so wasn't on a bike himself, which I think either made it harder or made me push myself more as I felt he was watching to check we were actually turning the resistance up, spinning fast etc. Maybe I pushed myself too much though as the instructor came over to my bike twice to turn the resistance down (cringe!) - both myself and my littlest sister go very very red when we exercise so I guess he was worried about my ability to breathe!! I do think I found the class a lot harder as a result of eating like the above all weekend though...happy to be slightly more back on track with my eating today.

Have you ever heard of breast milk icecream? Would you try it?? I'd heard of it before, but this was the first time I'd actually seen it being sold. With choices like peanut butter and popcorn instead, I definitely wasn't tempted (!!), but I suppose in some ways it's no weirder than eating cows breast milk??!! :-/


  1. What a day of delicious food, I don't know what to comment on first! You can't come to London and NOT try a hummingbird cupcake (I've had a few from there and the carrot one is definitely the best, so good call!) or a Laduree macaroon (shame they were disappointing). Both your brunch and dinner meals looks lovely too. I've never heard of either of those restaurants in London so I'll have to check them out next time I'm in those areas :) The breast milk ice cream just sounds... wrong, very wrong! I definitely wouldn't pick that flavour, especially not when there's chocolate and PB on offer!

    1. Mmmm, I want more Hummingbird cupcakes, wish I lived closer!

      Yes, I recommend both the restaurants - esp Christopher's Grill, that brunch was amazing!!

  2. EWWWWWWWW I would not try breast milk ice cream! I'd rather have no ice cream (and coming from me, that's saying something)! I'm sure Liam wasn't really disgusted - vacation is for enjoying and it's silly to think about healthy eating when you're on one. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Health shouldn't get in the way of living :)

    1. Haha, yes I think I agree with you!! No, it was more he just couldn't understand how I was still eating when he'd already eaten less than me, and he was so full!

  3. Oh my word I have serious food envy right now :-) Looks like you had an amazing time, I Love London and really don't make the effort to go up enough (mmmmmm I feel a challenge coming on !!!)

    1. I hadn't been in over 10 years until last weekend :( Hopefully won't leave it so long next time!

  4. Not going to lie, I threw up in my mouth a little when I read the words 'Breast Milk' on the ice cream flavours. And look how many scoops are gone from the container - some people must like it (I'm picturing drooling older men...eeeeeww). Cow milk makes me feel queasy too though! The few times in the past I've eaten Greek Yoghurt the minute I think about where it comes from I start gagging a bit.

    There's an instructor at spin at my gym that *never* gets on the bike and always marches around turning up people's resistance. It's definitely a harder workout than any of the others!


    1. Haha, I hadn't even noticed how much had gone, but yes, yuck! Cows milk makes me feel ill when I think about it too, but I'm currently burying my head in the sand :-/ I've cut down - using almond milk for smoothies etc, and using organic milk when I "need" it for coffee & tea, but still not really great!

  5. I think I need to go to London - seems like a foodie heaven! Your breakfast on the train looks super delicious :)

    1. Definitely so many different foods to try in London...I want to go back already! :)

  6. It looks like you had such an amazing time- I need to visit London again soon. Breast milk ice cream sounds freaky!

  7. Really breast milk ice cream is more suitable for humans than cows (breast) milk, like you say, but I don't like the idea of it- but I don't really like thinking too much about cows milk either.
    Cyber candy have a website- we have ordered stuff from them before as Andy loves Mountain Dew which you could not get over here.
    Those Hummingbird cupcakes look lovely- a friend bought some for me once but I have never actually been- I must change that!

    1. Completely agree with your first sentence. As I wrote to Jess, I've been trying to cut down my milk consumption but haven't yet found a non-dairy milk that I like for my coffee/tea. Maybe I need to try simple soy milk again...I like soy lattes from Costa.
      Oooh, I didn't know Cyber Candy had a website, thanks! I've ordered from American Sweets before but the tax they put on stuff is ridiculous!
      Hummingbird cupcakes were one of my favourite foods of the weekend, so perfect! :)

  8. aaaaaand now I'm going to cry because I miss home :(
    that aside, I'm glad you had fun! thank goodness I never tried to use the toilet at Waterloo- I never paid for the loo in London!
    my flat mates told me about breast milk ice cream but I don't think I'd try it, as much as I love odd flavours. I'm more a froyo fan as it is.

    1. Oh no, sorry! :(
      I wish I lived closer to London too, I'm sure you saw much more of it in your short time here than I ever have!

  9. This makes me want to go to London even more!

  10. Those pictures at the park are fantastic! Your food looks wonderful as well, but I completely understand why you bought that butterfingers. I always crave familiar food!

    1. I've only ever had a butterfinger once before, love them though! We can't buy them here very easily :(

  11. Replies
    1. I know, I crave them again everytime I see the photos!!

  12. Wow - seems like you did a proper food tour of London. I do the same too and I always go to Wasabi for some sushi :)

    1. I had sushi of some kind every day! Admittedly only from Harrods on Saturday and Selfridges on Monday...the sushi at Feng Sushi was definitely the best I had, yum!

  13. London is one of my most favorite places in the world. I lived in Oxford for a year and I'm back to Cambridge for the next 3 for school! Can't wait to live in England full time.

  14. Looks like you had a great time in London! I want to see more about what you bought in Wholefoods!!!
    I've heard of the breast milk ice cream. I wonder where they get the women from to supply the breat milk. Isn't that an odd thing to think though? Haha! I suppose it's not that strange though, I mean cow's milk is from cow's breasts, kind of?!?
    I really want to try the macaroons, but I'm sad to hear the ones you tried weren't that nice. Maybe I'll just have to wait to go and try some in Paris!
    So glad you had a lovely time on your Anniversary weekend, the year really had flown by. I remember reading your wedding posts! Congratulations xxx

    1. I will post about Wholefoods on Wednesday, promise!! :)
      The macarons I had on Sunday and Monday were good, just not the Laduree ones :(

      Thanks, I agree, I can't believe how quickly the year has gone!


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