Visiting London next week
I'm hoping that everyone can check out my itinerary for London next week and let me know what you think in terms of do-ability. My husband, 2 year old, and myself will be staying at St. Ermin's Hotel and I hope to get some suggestions of great places nearby to grab meals. Also, being that I have a toddler, I would like to know if there is a supermarket near the hotel. We are born and bred NYers and LOVE to try all types of food. We love Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Thai ... you name it. We have dined at some fantastic restaurants like Le Bernardin, Daniel, Jean Georges, Bouley, and Chez Panisse but with a a toddler, that's not happening in London. So far we have:
Marks and Spencer
Wagamama Bloomsbury - NEED A REC HERE TOO!!
Great Queen Street – Dinner
Have breakfast at café near hotel ANY RECOMMENDATIONS???
The Wolseley - Afternoon tea
Fortnum & Mason
***** NEED A LIGHT DINNER REC
Harrods, Harvey Nichols
Maybe lunch at Ishbilia
V&A Museum - MAY DO LUNCH HERE
Natural History museum
Masters Super Fish or Laughing DINNER
Borough Market –
BUS TOUR ALONG THAMES
Tate Modern (?)
Regent St Christmas lights
Some places to eat that I thought could be a great meal but not expensive are:
Thanks in advance!!!!!
My first thought is that Maltings Cafe is only open in the morning or at lunchtime. Zucca is its sister restaurant on Bermondsey St which I love. Magadalen is another option in that area.
My second tip tip is that St Paul's has a nice restaurant which is reasonably priced and it means you get to see the cathedral for free (but not the Whispering Gallery).
Close to Oxford St/Regent St is Marylebone High St which has some nice cafés and a good fish and chip shop called The Golden Hind. If you like cheese, you could try La Fromagerie which is one of the best cheese shops in London and has an informal cafe at the back.
More thoughts: Wagamama's is a chain - it's OK but not great. Bea's of Bloomsbury might be a better option for you near the British Museum. I quite like Busaba Eathai myself, although haven't been in a while.
For a light dinner you might consider Chinatown for dimsum - my fussy (Chinese Malaysian) friend loves Plum Valley. The OH rates Yauatcha in Soho but I still haven't been. On another thread people whose opinions I trust are recommending Noura for Lebanese - there's one not too far from your hotel.
Ishbilia is also Lebanese.
Folk on this board tend to rave about the food there. I thought it was OK (although not as good as Noura) - but I had just about the worst service I can recall in any restaurant. Ever. I was made to feel entirely unwelcome as a single diner - even though I had reserved as such and that they were not busy. The words I would prefer to use to describe Ishbilia and, in particular, their staff are not suitable for a public board.
I would not recommend TAS over Ishbilia. Harters, wonderful man and food expert extraordinaire that he is, is the only person I've ever complain about Ishbilia. I've been there 3 times or more in the past 5 years and have always enjoyed the food and service. My only hint would be to tell them you don't want the large salad bowl on the table. They charge for it, and I never can eat that much. Many assume it's 'on the house.'
Yes, that's it.
Frankly I prefer Lebanese over Turkish if you are indeed considering between the two.... although I've been to neither Ishbiliya or Noura. But if you are just looking for a decent place near the BM, TAS will certainly be better than many of the other options. We used to stay just around the corner when in London before we gained access to our friend's flat in Nottinghill.
I would do lunch at Harvey Nicks, they have great restaurants. Oxo Brasserie and Oxo Restaurant are great, but any of them are pretty good. I am also a big fan of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar at Harrod's (and truth be told, I love The Georgian at Harrod's, but buffets aren't quite Chow worthy even when they are fun).
Their is an EAT near your hotel. Not quite a foodie adventure, but pretty solid for what it is.
Masters Superfish and Laughing Halibut are both good, but I like Geales Restaurant and The Golden Hind for fish and chips and there is a thread out there floating around about London's best.
Although if you eat the pudding in most pubs, you may come away wondering what all the fuss is about. It'll be overly sweet, mono-dimensional and, most probably, bought in from a wholesaler. Seek it out in one of the better places where it is possible that the chef has an understanding of the flavours of the Sharrow Bay Hotel original.
Thanks everyone for your help. We ate at:
Ishbilia which was EXCELLENT - the Aubergine Fatoush was wonderful and now I am on a mission to replicate it at home
Wagamama - the chicken katsu curry was pretty good but we were in a rush so we couldn't really travel for better food
The Wolseley - afternoon tea - the scones were AMAZING and I talked to Russell Brand!
The Laughing Halibut - Fish and Chips - was just ok
Great Queen Street - Arbroath smokie with cream and chives and ginger beer - so good
We also ate quick lunches at EAT and M&S Simply Food. So sad that I couldn't find a sticky toffee pudding anywhere.
Highlights of the trip - the Harrods Food halls, the first floor of Fortnum and Mason, and Borough Market - where we managed to eat a Brindisa Chorizo sandwich, a Kappacasein cheese sandwich, chicken empanadas, and a chicken funghi pie from pieminister! Also loved the Winter Wonderland and Holiday and Market at Hyde Park where my husband enjoyed a Springbok burger - it was that or the zebra burger!
Had a great time in London, even with a potty training two year old :)
I think the OP has already completed their trip, but in case anyone else is referencing this thread, Thursday is a better day for Borough, in my opinion, as it is less crowded than Friday. And although the market gives official hours of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, a good number of the vendors are actually open every day, and weekday visits can be much more pleasant than trying to squeeze in with the weekend crowds.
As Harters has mentioned, there are a lot of permanent retailers in the market that are open every day during the week: Ginger Pig, Neal's Yard Dairy, Monmouth coffee, plus many of the fruit and vege stalls, Brindisa etc, so it's still worth stopping by (depending on what you want your experience to be - it's fine for me to pick stuff up for dinner on my way home), but there just won't be as many stalls.
I am the OP and that's exactly right. I was told that Fridays and Saturdays are very crowded and we had a great time on Thursday. The market was bustling and had a great vibe but was not annoyingly crowded.
And Chicfille I was "doing my homework" by posting here to confirm with people who actually live in London.