The London Posts | Eats

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

To be brief, if I wasn’t walking around London, I was probably eating. A majority of my trip involved public transportation, lots of coffee, and good food. Seriously, I ate so well in London, along with my best friend Amina. Thanks to some of my favorite Youtubers that live in London, I compiled a thorough list. Along the way, my friends also decided on places to eat that turned into some of the best places I ate.

I truly became one of those people who takes pictures of their food. Every restaurant, coffee shop, or cafe, I was snapping photos before diving in. I mean, I also had to get some actual Snapchats in there too.

Pizza Express

The ultimate pizza chain of London folks. Our first dinner spot of the trip, we trekked out to Waterloo near my best friend’s old dorm from when she studied at Kings. The walk was part of our night of sightseeing before we ultimately ended up at Pizza Express. Located down in the bottom of a building, the interior reminded me of a 60’s style restaurant with the decor throughout. It was busy for a Friday night and our service wasn’t the best. We ordered the Dough Balls Doppio, literally balls of slightly cooked dough, served with pesto, garlic butter, and spiced tomato dip. We ordered them first and they didn’t show up until after we ate our meal. At least our Pollo ad Astra pizza showed up in a timely manner. We had no problem working through the chicken, pepper, and red onion goodness. Don’t worry though, the dough balls didn’t go to waste.

We also had our last dinner at the Pizza Express in Kensington too, just one block away from our hotel. This one was decorated differently, as they all are, but the dough balls and pizza still earned a 100 emoji from me.

Caffe Nero (their Instagram is follow worthy too)

You’re going to hear me talk about coffee a lot. Caffe Nero was the first coffee place I encountered after a wildly overwhelming experience in Harrods. Exhausted and shook, I was in need of caffeine to give me a pick me up, so we stopped off in the one directly across from Harrods. Their menu is quite simple but if I had known what I was doing, I would have probably gotten more specific than the plain Flat White I ordered. We decided to relax and with our coffees in mugs. It was the perfect pick me up for a midday break with how cold it was outside (yes, it was only noon at this point). Along the way, I had a hot chocolate, which was perfect. Then at Heathrow, we had breakfast from here where I had a great iced latte and a blueberry muffin. I definitely recommend bypassing Starbucks in favor of Caffe Nero while in England.

We stumbled upon this bakery/restaurant one day when we were in need of food because we woke up late, enough to miss lunch but not early enough to eat dinner. Amina and I both ordered half avocado on toast with scrambled eggs. Our plates arrived with a roasted tomato and a chocolate chip muffin I ordered. The balance between avocado, egg, and tomato was one of the best things I’d ever had. Absolutely thriving. I also had one of the best lattes of my life (a bold statement I know). It was a Speculoos latte, which I never expected to love so much but when I remember how much I love Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s, it was a match made in heaven. The balance of the light, tasty gingerbread foam to the delicious espresso earned its way onto my legendary lattes list, congratulations!

Everytime I think of Nandos, I have flashbacks to the early days of being a One Direction fan. All you need to know is Niall Horan had an obsession with Nandos, hence the only reason I know that this chicken-based restaurant exists. But the hype from Niall is well deserved since we ate dinner from Nandos twice during our trip. Another England chain, with a few in the States now, it’s mostly chicken on chicken with your choice of spiciness. I’ll take the Lemon & Herb please. We both ordered the Chicken Caesar wrap with Lemon & Herb spice. It only gets better when you get to pick two sides but I went for fries. Amina would swear by the garlic bread and mashed potatoes.

Holborn Grind

One of my favorite brunch spots and places in all of London. I originally saw this place on a London Instagram and was like “ooo,, coffee.” So basically, it was love at first sight. The cafes are all called Grind but depending on where they’re in London, the name depends on the location. So, we hopped on the tube Sunday morning to Holborn where this Grind location lived. Around the corner from the tube stop, it’s hard to miss the neon espresso bar sign right in the window, practically inviting coffee lovers and other people in need of warming up inside for amazingly strong coffee and aesthetically pleasing interiors. The staff were friendly as Londoners go, let me take my photos of the neon wall sign, ‘Love is the drug,’ and probably judged me silently. I have no shame.

I ordered a ham and cheese toastie, a simple delicacy that makes me wish these bonafide grilled cheeses were more of a thing in America. My toastie was quite literally the bomb dot com. I ordered a flat white here as well and the strength of this espresso would knock anyone on their butt. Except for me and maybe the Gilmore girls. Amina felt like she was vibrating after her latte when we went shopping afterwards. I couldn’t relate but that’s probably because I hadn’t stopped vibrating since we landed in London.

Indie, healthy pizza of London. I know about this little place because of Lily Pebbles and how much she’s frequented it over the past few years. By some lucky chance, my cousin was in London about to finish her study abroad program so we met for dinner with one of her friends at Homeslice in Covent Garden. It’s a tiny hole in the wall, not that I know how big the other locations are, tucked back down an alley but that doesn’t stop people from packing themselves in at any and every table. We crammed ourselves into a cozy table by the windows and ordered half butternut squash base with black kale, goat cheese and maybe chicken. Don’t ask me about eating the kale because I didn’t, I hate kale. The other half was margherita, which might sound basic but there was nothing ordinary with how delicious the other half was.

I recommend it for the unique choices, perfect thin but not too thick crust, and overall awesome pizza.

An ultra healthy and gourmet cafe in Chelsea that I put on my list after seeing Tanya Burr visit the little shop several times in her vlogs. It was definitely a lot smaller than I was expecting, but then again, everything’s smaller in England. It’s an old country. We barely made it in for the breakfast menu, but once again I was overwhelmed by the mere idea of being in a place I’d seen so many times in a Youtube video. I hastily ordered the Chestnut and Almond waffles which was one big waffle cut diagonally. Instead of syrup (we’re being healthy!!), it came with a little cup of coconut greek yogurt, a mashed banana, and a blackberry, cranberry, and chia compote. Oh, and I did a latte this time.

My breakfast made me feel like I was a frequent shopper at Whole Foods who buys healthy stuff rather than the muffins and chicken nuggets I usually get. The waffle was dense and tasted healthy but the addition of the compote and mashed banana, it was a delightfully sweet (but healthy) breakfast. I don’t know how else to stress how healthy and fancy I felt eating my waffle smothered in fruit. I didn’t touch the yogurt, even though the guy next to me ordered the same thing and covered his waffle in yogurt. Maybe I should have offered him mine. I’ll stick to my Chobani yogurt, thanks.

I'd 100% go back to the Good Life to try other things on the menu and just to feel that good about what I ate. And because I took some great Insta photos there too (feel free to like them here if you haven't).

Yes, we still ate gelato even though it was 40-something degrees outside. This ultra-contemporary but cozy gelato shop holds so many flavors of gelato and other options, it’s enough to make anyone ponder for a few minutes. I really didn’t know what I wanted when I found out they had waffles and crepes, and those could come with gelato too?! Wild.

While Amina pondered over a waffle, I settled on the Snowflake specialty, coconut, with chocolate gelato. It was a hefty serving of gelato; we’re talking a small mountain of gelato that started melting as soon as I sat back down under the heat.

We visited Snowflake after Lily Pebbles visited the gelato shop in one of her vlogs and it became one of Amina’s favorite places when she studied abroad in 2015. It’ll live on my list for next time for the best gelato and even cuter location in the heart of Soho, even though there’s other locations across the city.

After meeting up with one of my friends who lives in London, we went to this burger chain around the corner from my hotel after she suggested it. It was a true burger joint with all sorts of burgers and more on the menu. Trying to decide was harder than I thought, but like real friends do, Indi (my friend) and I ended up ordering the same burger with American cheese, lettuce, and tomato. She made a joke about it having to be American cheese since I was the American visiting, which made me lol. We both even pulled out the red onion hiding within because new choice. Our side were fries but they were more like potato sticks that I no problem making disappear while Indi and I talked away.

Honestly, this was one of the best burger places I’ve ever been to in my life. Indi’s a true burger lover too so I trusted her with my burger needs. It’s delectable, burgery goodness could be compared to Five Guys here but the experience was all Byron. All the credit goes to Indi.

The Espresso Room

God bless having friends to let me fulfill my list while in London because I dragged Indi to this tiny coffee shop near Covent Garden on New Row once we finished shopping. She really didn’t mind and it let us quench our dry throats from talking and breathing in all the London air (which is a lot worse than I realized). I happened to find The Espresso Room on Google maps when I was perusing other places on my list. The aesthetically pleasing photos inside and the equally pleasing menu had me scribble down the coffee shop. I ordered an iced latte with honey because I couldn’t take one more hot coffee. The espresso wasn’t the boldest or strongest but it was perfect in that moment and what I really wanted. But the barista inside was sweet enough to take a photo of Indi & me outside.

Another Youtube recommendation from Lily I believe. This Australian founded, multi-located across London restaurant was a busy place for lunch in Notting Hill, where we had lunch one day when my friend from Nottingham came down to visit. After a brief wait, we were able to order quickly. Thankfully the girl behind the counter was able to make me an iced coffee...again. I couldn’t do another hot coffee with how parched I always was, even though it wasn’t the best I’d ever had. Don’t worry, I drank enough water throughout this trip too that someone would have thought I was part fish.

For my meal, I settled on ricotta hotcakes with bananas and honeycomb butter from their Classics section. Granger & Co. is definitely a healthier place but not as much as The Good Life. I still think of these hotcakes to this day because they were so darn good. They were fluffy, rich, and light all at the same time. I wish they never ended and my banana was a bonus. Forgive me for the Snapchat photo but that’s all the evidence I have of my hotcakes.

Granger & Co. earns a place on my list of restaurants to eat at again when I make it back to London. Anyone who wants a good, healthy-ish but delicious place to eat with good atmosphere and pretty interiors, Granger & Co. is the way to go.

The OG restaurant that’s been on my list probably since I started watching Youtube (now) four years ago. This restaurant is all about breakfast all day with added bonuses across the rest of their menus. They’re all over London, like most of the places above, but each restaurant is different and unique to its location. We went to the London Bridge location, where we still had to wait 30-45 minutes to get inside. We had a mishap the day before of trying to get into the Soho location but after hearing there was an hour wait, we took a hard pass and went to Marks & Spencer’s food hall. But we were determined to eat here on our last day and even though we missed the breakfast menu thanks to our wait, there were still all day brunch options. I went all in on the Elvis waffle which, as you can guess, a buttermilk waffle with bananas, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Except, the banana was caramelized, there was a side of greek yogurt, and I added bacon because I needed some sort of protein in there. It was probably the best looking waffle I’d ever seen.

Amina also ordered Pancakes & Berries which were true American style fluffy pancakes with plenty of berries, whipped cream, and syrup. I’ll definitely order that when I make it back into a Breakfast Club one day. Hopefully my queue won’t be close to an hour again, but when in London they say.

If you're hungry now, then I'm not sorry one bit. I can't wait to go back one day and visit these restaurants again because of how much of an impression they made on me. Hopefully you can add some to your to do lists as well!

If you have any other favorites in London, please let me know!


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