Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Jan 15, 2012 10:45 AM

One day - need one lunch, one activity (such as a museum) and one dinner (and maybe one cocktail place?)

Hello London chowhounders,

I am a Canadian just recently landed in your fair city for the next four months. My sister is coming on route from Kenya (where she had a two week work assignment) for a one night lay-over next Saturday, January 21st. Does anyone care to sketch out a possible itinerary around food for us? We'll have from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The whole day should be doable in jeans. Price point: £15-20; lunch; £50-70 dinner (each) Some areas I'd love to explore Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, the east end, Brixon etc. But, having said that we can travel far and wide with our oyster card and Soho, Chelsea, Pimlico, Fulham, and? and? would be great too. Having read through a lot of posts I am interested in trying Bull and Last, St. John's, or Delhi Grill in Angel or the Cinnamon Club (for the setting) - just to give you an idea. We both love to walk, love art, beauty, nature, and most especially love good food in a relaxed atmosphere. What would be your dream day with these guidelines? Where would you take YOUR sister from Canada? Since we do Asian so well in Canada I'd rather stick to British or Indian, Italian, Spanish etc. But what we're really after is a lovely day in London. Any cafes in museums that we should give a try? Or what about your favorite hidden gem to make the centre point of the day? A place with a great view of the Thames? A great street? etc. etc.

THANK YOU for your ideas! Your help (and knowledge) is really appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A thirteen hour London foodathon? Excellent.

    Meet at London Bridge tube station and have an hour in the adjacent Borough Market. Tube over to Kinghtsbridge tube station for a swing through Harvey Nichols lovely 5th floor food shop, and then walk 5 minutes to the astonishing Harrods Food Halls. Plenty of spots in Harrods for a good lunch. Then a ten minute stroll to the Victoria & Albert Museum (best in London, I think) for a couple of hours digestive respite. Another 5 minutes walk gets you to South Kensington with many good bars, or a little further finds the Anglesea Arms in Selwood Terrace. For dinner in South Ken. I would go to La Bouchee, or Bangkok in Bute Street. Lots of nearby places for a late night gargle after supper. Alka Seltzer widely available.

    1. I'd suggest you have lunch at the V&A's cafe. It's more inviting than the bustle of Harrod's and is beautiful to gaze at as well. Harrod's is touristy and overpriced.

      There's a beautiful view of the Thames from the Blueprint Cafe in the Design Museum. The food isn't extraordinary, but the Thames is and a walk down the South Bank from the Borough Market is a very interesting one.

      7 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        Agree about Harrods being too touristy. The crowds are dreadful as well. Think I would only go there if it was first thing in the morning and I needed to get something specific. Selfridges is a nicer store, on Oxford Street, for a department store and it also has a food hall.

        V&A is a wonderful museum Or you could go to Tate Modern when you down on the Thames.

        1. re: zuriga1

          Agree, we had a lovely walk on Sunday from Waterloo down to Shad Thames along the river. Potential stops along the way include Tate Modern, Design Museum, London Dungeon (!), Globe Theatre, Millennium Bridge and St Pauls, and foodie areas such as Borough Market, South Bank food market, Bermondsey st and Maltby st.

          1. re: gembellina

            Thank you Robin, zuriga1,cathodetube and gembellina! We will definitely be starting the day at Burrough Market (is 8;30 a.m. too early for a raclette sandwich - maybe), then on to Bermondsey and Maltby St. Then we'll gauge our moods - V&A and South Kensington or a walk to Columbia St., Lamb's Conduit and Exmouth Market for a little walk/explore. After a bit of a rest in North London we'll head out again for dinner - any ideas for a cozy place with friendly service and GOOD FOOD? Something very British? Persian?

            1. re: sweethoney

              If you are in North London The Bull and Last - great food, cozy, relaxed and very good friendly service. It ticks all the boxes.

              1. re: PhilD

                Hi PhiiD,

                Thanks for that rec. I was thinking about Bull and Last (from all the rave reviews here on CH) but wonder if we'll have trouble getting a seat?

                1. re: sweethoney

                  Probably if you don't book - a Saturday night will be popular.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    Hello all,

                    Thank you for all your help. With all your advice this is what we did:

                    1.) Borough Market meet up at 8:30 a.m. Sister ate the grilled cheese sandwich and LOVED it. A two thumbs up for sure. The cappuccino stall beside these fellows was divine as well. I contented myself with a heavenly chai tea and a flax seed flapjack that was delectable, I bought some ground flax seed to fortify my oatmeal too;

                    2.) Walk up to Bermondsey to see the Antique Market - not open on Saturdays but got a lovely bag of lettuce/greens from an organic farmer;

                    3.) Thames River path walk from London Bridge to Tate Modern. Lunch in restaurant on 7th floor. At noon we were one of a few tables but 1 p.m. it was packed. Splendid view of the Thames, excellent service and a very good meal (8 out of 10 says my sister). She had the broccoli /stilton soup which was a heady mix of these two bold flavours and I had a goat cheese, pear, beetroot salad which was quite tiny and contained my pet peeve: a wilted lettuce leave. How does that leave the kitchen?? We both then had the freshest, juiciest mackerel deep-fried with a tangy, tamarind (?) sauce and cucumber salad which was curiously (but also quite yummily) matchsticks made just of the skin. Good cappuccino to finish a good meal and no room left for dessert;

                    4.) A quick toot around the very packed gallery and then we were back out along the Thames, crossing the Millenium Bridge, over to St. Paul's Cathedral and down to the Inner Temples which were closed! A big disappointment but we made up for it by heading over to Covent Garden to watch the buskers and contemplate buying gorgeous things made from Scottish wool and then took a break at Great Queen St. pub - me for a negroni, my sister for a class of savignon blanc and then to read the Guardian while the staff had their meal before the dinner rush. Very pleasant.

                    5.) Walk to Marks and Spenser on Oxford St. for underwear (knickers as you call them) because M&S is not available in Canada and there is nothing better than M&S knickers and socks;

                    6.) Tube ride to Charles Lamb Free House in Islington at 6:30 - adorable little place but not a seat to be had amid the very noisy, happy people so went to plan B - the Elk and the Woods in Camden Passage only to get a frown at the door: "No reservation?" and then it was getting desperate and we would have gone anywhere but found Med right next door - our lucky day. Got a table, soft jazz/house music playing, friendly (if harried staff) and really a most delicious duck confit with broad beans I have ever had - now I have never had it mind you but it was yummy and I'm going to be ordering this whenever I see it on the menu from now on. My sister thoroughly enjoyed her chicken dijonaisse with mash which can best be described as a savory bonbon so rich and creamy was this confection.

                    A very good day!

                    Happy eating in London and thanks again for your help.