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London short takes

steve h. Dec 18, 2009 06:44 PM

Deb and I spent the last week in London. We got out of Dodge on Thursday so neither weather nor labor strife inconvenienced us.

Some highlights:

Borough Market on Saturday. Bring a string bag, bring an appetite, buy all that appeals to you. If I were a local, I would shop here every Saturday.

Cigala. This is a tapas place near Holborn Station (54 Lamb's Conduit Street). They bake their bread twice a day, their wine list is wonderfully Spanish and the menu is worth exploring more than once. I like sitting downstairs at the bar but you should call it as you see it.

The Thomas Cubitt. The Cubitt (Belgravia) is a yuppy gastro pub. I don't mind standing cheek-to-jowl at the bar because staff is good and the scene entertaining. Eating downstairs is good. Try the Sunday roast (the goose fat roasted potatoes are exceptional). Did I mention the staff?

Ebury is a wine bar in Belgravia. It's an upscale place that's made it's way into my list of "comfortable favorites". Try the duck, the pasta, the bisque and so on. Desserts are very good. Ebury is a keeper.

St. Paul's Cathedral. No, I didn't eat there but I did attend the free Christmas concert on Tuesday night. It was magnificent. Imagine a superb choir, a wonderful orchestra and celebrity readers conspiring to enchant and entertain, all under Christopher Wren's magnificent dome. It was a special evening. I understand that over 2000 people were turned away. Interestingly, Deb and I ran into a friend from Hong Kong and a friend from Connecticut on our walk to dinner. London is the cross roads of the world.

  1. m
    Malik Dec 19, 2009 06:32 AM

    I ate at Cigala last week, and had some pretty good tapas. The best dish of the night was langoustines (I forget what name they were given in the menu), four deliciously sweet large langoustines, fried and perfectly seasoned with sea salt.

    And I was among the 2000 people turned away from the Tuesday night concert at St Paul's. Turns out that queuing up an hour ahead of time was too late...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Malik
      steve h. Dec 19, 2009 02:33 PM

      Hi Malik,

      Deb and I queued up around 5 p.m.. Timing is everything.

      Cigala is a worthy destination. We managed to eat there twice and I wouldn't hesitate to return. I think the plate you liked is their signature dish: cigales a la plancha. Not only are the langoustines grilled to perfection but the alioli is the perfect complement.

      Cigala is a keeper.

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