Eating My Way Around London – Part II

Every time I visit London it grows on me a bit more. It’s fun, it’s lively and it’s awe-inspiring to see the number of young entrepreneurs, particularly women, running successful and exciting new businesses. Case in point – possibly my favourite café ever – 26 grains in Neal’s Yard. It’s no secret I’m a porridge lover and 26 grains is the holy grail of porridge. Now not to be misled, they also do pancakes, waffles, smoothie bowls, eggs and other savouries (all packed full of superfoods), but for me I’m always going to go there for the porridge passion!

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Nordic Spice: Coconut milk oats, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, seeds, raisins, coconut yoghurt, banana & maple.

Left: Almond milk oats, blueberry compote, seeds, toasted coconut, strawberries, almond butter & amaranth. Right: Almond milk oats, matcha coconut ice-cream, cacao crumble, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, amaranth & popped quinoa.

A new arrival since my last visit to Neal’s Yard was Salad Pride, another healthy haven with Insta-perfect, edible flower embellished salads as well as a selection of sugar-free treats.

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While you’re in the vicinity it would be a shame not to stop by Neal’s Yard Remedies. I love their huge wall of superfoods and neat little Tincture bar at the back of the shop.

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Venturing away from my Neal’s Yard Sanctuary I visited the beauitful Kensington area for the first time and sough out Juice Baby. Specialising in cold pressed juices, raw salads, smoothies and the reason why I was there – dairy-free Almond Crunch ice-cream 🙂

A short ten minute walk from Juice Baby is another café worthy of a visit, The Good Life Eatery. The only downside to this place is if you’re dining alone they have no wifi and no real view either so bring a book! I had their Lean Machine bowl with brown rice, baked sweet potato falafels, roasted vegetable ratatouille, kale and omega seeds. 

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Ok so I wasn’t only eating my way around London – I also drank my way a bit too! 😛

As I was visiting for a friend’s birthday, in true ladies of leisure style, we booked a rooftop table at The Boundary in Shoreditch, tucking into a cold shellfish platter and sipping on some bubbles if you don’t mind! A cute place with nice good views and blankets and heaters provided on those cooler evenings.

Following said night of wine and some stronger liquids the following day we set out for the Saturday Broadway Market where my eyes definitely were bigger than my belly and I nearly had to be rolled home! The selection of delicious foods was over-whelming and there truly is something for all tastes. We chose Hanoi kitchen – be warned this has to be one of the most ungraceful bowls of food to eat on a public street with poor chopstick skills and a hangover!

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Hanoi Kitchen; Bun Noodle Pots (gluten free on request) – Vermicelli noodles, lettuce, pickled carrots, beansprouts, fresh herbs, crispy shallots, peanuts and spicy tofu.
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Quirky café Tiosk at Broadway Market and two of its just as quirky customers.
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Muesli with poached pears, coconut yoghut, berries, seeds and coconut flakes from Tiosk café at Broadway market.

As we were making to leave the market we spotted a second vegan-packed market area that’s almost hidden in a small courtyard on the left hand side at the park entrance to the main market area.

And little did I know the best dish of the day by far was hidden in here, despite how unassuming it looked! I in fact had no intentions of buying this curry but once handed a free taster at Makatcha I was soon opening my purse and handing over my cash for a box of their chicken rendang. I would put it down as one of the tastiest things I have ever tried and I’ve tried a lot! The box consists of Pulled chicken in a Rendang base served with rice, veg, peanut sauce and achar but they also had beef and vegan options available.

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As a long time follower of Deliciously Ella, the healthy food Instagrammer turned cookbook author, it was a no-brainer to check out her first café, The Mae Deli, located a short walk from Hyde Park.

On the day we visited it was jam packed and extremely hot and humid sitting downstairs which took away from the enjoyment of the experience a bit plus I was served a warm smoothie after they ran out of ice, which had to be sent back, but our lunch was hearty and tasty. My only critique on that front would be the soft, cold-served falafel – as a huge falafel fan they gotta be hot & crunchy!

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Sun-dried tomato falafels, kale, sweet potato & chickpea curry, brown rice, lentils & curried cauliflower

After a number of days of healthy salad lunches and lots of trekking around I was craving a wholesome warming big bowl of something and Thai red curry always wins my heart for that so while in the Notting Hill area we dined at Market Thai and it ticked all those boxes. Honest, tasty food.

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Thai red curries times two.

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Then before bidding adieu to London and my dear friend we went for once last hurrah at Giraffe in Spitalfields. Always lots of options for every kind of diner.

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The Classic burger & The Soul Bowl with chicken, brown rice and a fried egg (plus a sneaky side of sweet potato fries!)

If you’re a foodie and you haven’t been to London – you crazy. Get yo ass on a plane A-SAP! 

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Eating My Way Around London – Part I

I recently took a short trip to London to visit some family & friends living there so here is a couple of great places I recommend checking out if you too are headed that way!

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26 grains

So good I went twice! And lucky for me – because I went on a Sunday (end of one week) and again on my final morning which was Tuesday, I got to try out two of their weekly specials!

Porridge I would probably list as my favourite food. Some people laugh at this, others grimace. For many it’s “poverty food” – reminiscent of college days when there is nothing else in the cupboards; but what can I say I just love the stuff! Breakfast or dinner – gimme!! So 26 grains was a no-brain winner for me.

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26grains isn’t the only gem located in the heavenly alleyway of Neal’s Yard, it is  also home to Wild Food Café and Blend & Press.

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Blend & Press sells pressed juices, raw chocolates and treats, raw sambos and a select few high quality food products. While Wild Food Café is dishing up all kinds of delicious raw, vegan colourful fresh foods.

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Sushi-Say

Tucked away in Wilsden Green, just next to Wilsden Green tube station, is this little family-run Japanese restaurant. It doesn’t look too appealing from the outside but I’m told it is always full and a quick Google search will show you it comes highly rated across the capital. For us, it was just a short walk from my family’s home so an ideal first evening dinner spot.

I had boiled edamame and yakitori chicken – grilled on a skewer, to begin. Followed by salted black cod for my main. If you’re very hungry, be warned, portions are small. The food was OK. To be honest, I couldn’t see what all the hype was about.

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Throughout the rest of my trip I spent my time exploring various areas with family and friends. If you can, definitely try and visit over a weekend as we stumbled upon so many great Sunday markets, including Holborn Slow Food Market and many more around Spitalfields and Brick Lane.

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Check out these amazing vegan treats & “love bombs”!

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Brick Lane is really busy but really fun – we even saw a music video being shot as we wandered around in the rain. There is so many fresh food stalls, little markets, quirky shops and eateries – including the most intoxicating chocolate shop and Cereal Killers, the newly-famous breakfast cereal café. There is also great Indian food to be got around here I’m told by a friend in the know.

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(Cereal Killers definitely isn’t the healthiest choice – I saw sugary cereals then piled high with crumbled Oreos and all sorts of toppings; but it’s fun to go in and check out!)

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A sign from one of the numerous food stalls on Brick Lane.

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Old Spitalfields Market is really nice to stroll around and then sit down and soak up the atmosphere from one of the many street food stalls or they have cafés and restaurants too if that’s more to your liking. Including Ottolenghi’s infamously good café just a short walk away.

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Personally, I love street food. I love the communal vibe and supporting people who are out there serving up their fare.

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It was difficult to choose with such a choice and the great thing is everyone wants to give you samples to taste! (You could probably fill up on these alone!)

We sampled some Indian and Egyptian foods before finally deciding on the healthy vegan option! (Surprise surprise  I know – but it was so vibrant and colourful my friends nor I could resist!

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And they had healthy goodies to sneak in my handbag for later! 😉

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Sufficiently stuffed after Spitalfield’s we then came across The Sunday Up Market in the Old Truman Brewery – which has just as extensive selection of food stalls to choose from. Seriously, my foodie brain and senses were in over-drive wandering around. As full as my tummy was I just wanted to try it all!

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If hipster is your thang. Then you have to visit Shoreditch, a short walk from Brick Lane area. East London is oozing uber-coolness. We stopped by T2 Tea Shop for some fresh hot and iced tea samples as well as checking out some of the neighbouring artisan stores.

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My final market hit-list was Borough Market – however, don’t make my mistake and visit on a Monday, when many of the stalls don’t open! 😦 It was also a very wet morning so my trip consisted of a quick look around the stalls that were open before escaping into Rabot 1745 chocolate café for a soy milk hot chocolate. They use really high quality chocolate, have chocolate on tap and have a very interesting food menu with every dish incorporating chocolate which I would love to try in the future.

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Finally it was time to bid London adieú with a final airport meal in Giraffe in Stanstead airport; Tofu & Squash Laksa.

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See you again soon London! X