Birthday Bonus: A Weekend of Deliciousness

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is "deliciousness" even a word? If it isn't, it should be as it sums up my birthday weekend perfectly! 

London offers up some fabulous restaurants, cafés and food joints so when myself, my Mum and my Aunt headed there for a weekend I saw a little bonus post in the making. 

We travelled up on the Saturday morning, stopping at the services for a quick coffee and to grab some water bottles to keep hydrated throughout the day. We managed to get in to London just after midday and with some time to spare before our show, we decided to quench our thirst and grab a drink. We found a busy little pub near to the Apollo Victoria Theatre and ordered some very "summer-afternoon-esque" drinks of Pimms - yum!

After the quick stop, we headed to the theatre to see Wicked (which is ah-may-zing, review coming soon!). Once it was over, we tootled over to the Hard Rock Cafe near Hyde Park. Having been there the last time in London, we knew we had to go again. The restaurant has fantastic food, great music, brilliant service and just an awesome atmosphere with this visit being no different! If you're planning to go, be warned that there is usually a long wait but don't let that put you off, it's worth it. Once seated, we chose our drinks; the three of us decided on Pino Coladas to which singing "if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain..." ensued. They were delish

I had stuffed potato skins to start which were full of cheese, smoked bacon and spring onions and came with a sour cream dip on the side. They were really nice and even though there weren't that many of them, they were filling all the same. 

For the main, I chose the Fiesta Burger which was so good! It consisted of a toasted brioche bun and burger layered with melted Jack cheese, roasted jalepeño salsa, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo and vine-ripened tomatoes, how lush does that sound?! Unfortunately, it got the better of me and I became stuffed very quickly so couldn't finish it - boo! - but my word, the burst of different flavours in one burger was impressive. 

We also shared a stack of onion rings that were just as nice as everything else throughout the evening. Not too greasy and very yummy - win, win!

Sunday, the day of my birthday, rolled around and we decided to have a leisurely stroll around one of my favourite places in London, Covent Garden. Feeling peckish, we found a cute little café called Le Pain Quotidien to have a light brunch.  I went for a Cappuccino (the cup featured in my Nails of the Week #4 post!) and an Almond Croissant - a new found love of mine. Both were bloomin' lovely and much needed! 

In the early evening we made our way to St James' Park for a champagne picnic. As we had a late breakfast/early lunch and nothing other than water throughout the day, by the time we found the little Tesco to buy our goodies, we were rather ravenous. Picnics are one of my favourite things to do in summer and my family tend to do picnics exceptionally well meaning it was the perfect way to spend my birthday night. Ours consisted of bread, cheeses, humous, salad, crisps, olives, sundried tomatoes, an assortment of salamis, dips and patê; all of which was so scrummy I can't even put it in to words! With some champagne and beautiful views of the lake and park from my uber comfy deckchair, the whole thing was simply fab!

With the plan to do a few more "touristy" things on Monday, the need for an early breakfast to get us going was strong. We headed to Leicester Square and found a little diner called Angus Steakhouse nearby. We all had a bacon sarnie, I had tea and the other two had coffee. The sandwich was the best bacon sandwich I have ever had, it was awesome! The bread was "proper" bread from a crusty loaf and had butter on, the bacon was smoked and with the added red and brown sauce (yes, I have both and I know it sounds weird but don't knock it until you try it!!), it was mouthwateringly good. The service was great and the price not bad either. One of the best brekkies I have had in a long time!

After seeing some of the sites and realising it was early afternoon, we decided to find somewhere to eat near Trafalgar Square. It was boiling hot and muggy so without wanting to wander around aimlessly and with our feet aching big time at this point, we saw Pizza Express and the decision was unanimous. I was so hot and thirsty that I had (and downed pretty instantly!) a Belvoir Raspberry Lemonade, it was beautiful. Sweet with a slight citrus tang and so refreshing. 

For starter, I wanted something cool and fresh so I went for Mozzarella and Tomato Salad. It was enjoyable, though could have done with a some basil leaves or something to make it more salady. 

Risotto Fresco caught my eye for main and I was really happy with the choice.  It was oak-smoked salmon with garlic and parsley in a white wine risotto, finished with rocket leaves and lemon. Despite the portion size being on the slightly smaller size compared to the others, it was filling, tasted delicious and went very well with my cold glass of rosé. 

I really like Pizza Express, the food is always good and the price is reasonable, but I'm afraid to say that the service at this one was poor. The staff were rude and impatient, forgot drinks orders and just didn't seem to want to be there. I know we can all begrudge going to work some days, but the restaurant was air conditioned so was cool compared to the boiling hot streets and when you work as a waitress/waiter, customer service is a massive factor. It was very disappointing. 

All in all, the few days in London can be described ultimately as delicious, scrumptious, divine - I could go on... 

Do you know of any good places to eat in London? Let me know in the comments below and I'll try to give them a visit next time I'm down!

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Amy Tinson