early sunday morning in central London
my wife and I arrive from the US this sunday a.m., first-timers to London, dropping bags off at hotel at Lancaster Gate, then what, at 8:30 - 9? coffee, tea, scones, a place to get acclimated, either in that area or a short walk or tube ride? thanks all
London takes a while to get moving on a Sunday. Especially Sunday 28 Dec! Probably best to walk west along the northern edge of Kensington Gardens (the west section of Hyde Park) towards Notting Hill which is an up-market district and will offer something more than just another Starbucks. You will pass Queensway, which is a street running north from the park. Queensway is very cosmopolitan and contains some nice shops and restaurants (Hung Tao Chinese is good) but also some pretty trashy souvenir places. Nearby Leinster Terrace has the Halepi Greek restaurant which is worth a visit.
First advice.... try to stay up the entire day if you can (no naps) and you'll feel fairly over the jet-lag by Monday.
Another area you can walk around is Marylebone High St. It's not too far from your hotel (jump on the tube if you like), and there are lots of small coffee places like Paul's or Patisserie Valerie. They are chains but good quality. There are many shops to browse through and it's easy to walk back to Oxford Street if you want to see that shopping area.
One thing many people never get to see is the nearby Wallace Collection. They have a nice restaurant in the museum.. small place and a real gem.
Since it's the holiday season, It might be worth your while to check if any of the sunday markets are open as they offer lots of grazing possibilities.
Tea Palace in Westbourne Grove, is worth a stop, but they open at 10am.
A bit further away in Soho are a number of good cafes: Nordic (for fresh sticky buns, although, I slightly prefer Scandinavian Kitchen in Marylebone), Fenandez & Wells and Flat White. At this time of year, I'd recommend checking that they are open.
BTW, second Hung Tao for wonton/char siu noodles, and also recommend Gold Mine (get the mixed roast meats - roast duck, char siu and siu yok - with rice).
thanks again all. my wife and I took zuriga1's advice and headed for Patisserie Valerie on Marylebone High St. biggest side order of bacon I've ever been served. with the fried eggs and granary bread I was a happy boy.
the chow highlight of the week was stumbling upon the tiny Kolossi Grill on Rosebery near Farringdon, after finding out Moro (our target) was closed. what a great place. lamb soulva, greek salad, excellent fresh food, free mini-tumblers of Metaxa at the end, served by happy, competent, visibly drunk waiters (the 2nd-in-command, fittingly, is a dead ringer for Billy Martin), it was a party. is this how Bourdain feels all the time?
other meals included, in order of preference: curry at Cafe Zed, Brick Lane, middle eastern at Tas (the one at Waterloo/Southwark) and italian at Ask in Paddington, in order of preference. all 3 i would rate as very good if not strip-naked-to-roll-around-in-the-sauce good. good flavors at Cafe Zed, can you go wrong on Brick Lane or is it all chowish? I wanted to try some bites at some of the more casual places on that strip, but could not.....
we also found a good greasy new years morning hangover breakfast at Lite Bite on London St, Paddington.
the pubs were just as important, fell in love, faves in order were Blue Posts on Berwick St in Soho, the Archers at the south end of Brick Lane, and the White Hart at Liverpool St and Bishopsgate, which was open New Years Day and steered us to Brick Lane. can you tell we like dives?
London wins over two more Yanks. thanks again
re: Jamie D
This probably the first time "Ask" has received a positive write up. IMO it is like coming back from the US and with a recommendation for the great Italian food at the "California Pizza Kitchen".
Do I need to re-evaluate my impression of ASK which is a poor imitation of Pizza Express, which in turn is a poor imitation of a real pizza restaurant?
I've only eaten at ASK a handful of times, despite having lived on the same street as the one near Warren St for years. If I want average pizza, I'll go for Pizza Express every time but ASK's offerings are generally ok.
The pasta I've had there was nothing special but certainly not horrible. Certainly better than anything I've ever had at any Carluccio's, which is now banished to my 'Beyond Bland' list forever more.
Maybe high street Italians are easier to criticise because they often serve dishes that are ok in themselves, but often not as good as we can cook at home?