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Aug 6, 2013 09:40 AM

London: We've done our homework. Help us mind the gaps...

We are booked as follows:

Thursday: Wolseley. This is the day before my traveling companion arrives so I'm booked to dine solo. Good choice for a lady alone?
Friday: Lunch: Gallery Fortnum and Mason (sentimental attachment from living in London in 1970s)
Dinner: Nopi
Saturday: Lunch: Launceston Place
Saturday night we're seeing a show in the West End. We've told ourselves that after such a big lunch we couldn't be hungry again but we are self deceivers and I know we will leave the theater ravenous. What's good and not super greasy in the West End for late evening. Neither of us eat anything that ever walked on four legs.
Sunday: We're doing Heston Blumenthal for dinner. We'll have breakfast in our flat. V&A probable destination. Any good choices for light Sunday lunch?
Monday: Won't be in London
Tuesday: Lunch at Ledbury. Again, West End Theatre area for late snack. I will add that being from Los Angeles we aren't particularly interested in Chinese or Mexican ALTHOUGH I AM SURE THAT SOME OF IT IS REALLY REALLY GOOD.
Wednesday: Tea a Brown's Hotel (sentimental choice) Dinner at Quillon

Any really egregious errors or omissions? I realize due to scheduling we probably won't swing the Burough Market as Sunday will likely be our day at the Tate. Finally, and this will show I haven't been in London for about ten years, I walk almost everywhere and tend to wear a simple dress and sandals without stockings. They're not like Birkenstock sandals and my legs are shaved but I don't do super dressy or high heels. Appropriate for the places we're dining?

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  1. Don't worry about dining alone at the Wolseley. I think it has the best service in London and you'll feel most welcome.
    For your Saturday show, what theatre is it at and what time does it finish?
    You'll be fine in a dress and sandals at the places you mentioned.
    FYI Borough Market isn't open on a Sunday and if by the Tate you mean Tate Modern, this is really close to Borough Market -so maybe you might want to do a bit of juggling. Just a thought.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      I quite like the cafe at Tate Modern for a light lunch. The restaurant is supposed to be pretty decent but I've not eaten there.

      1. re: Harters

        Disappointingly inconsistent lunch at Tate Modern cafeteria - both salads were terrible. Chicken burger & fish and chips were good. Not worth it, even for the convenience.

        1. re: Harters

          I posted a Trip Report for my visit there last fall:

          The view was outstanding in the restaurant (and bar area). The food had its ups and downs and the ambiance wasn't as relaxing as I would have liked.

          FWIW, I also reviewed Bocca Di Lupo, J Sheekey & The Golden Hind Marylebone in that post.

      2. The V&A has a really nice cafe for lunches - better than most museums and the atmosphere is beautiful.

        Be aware that Nopi serves fairly small portions so have a good time ordering lots!

        7 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          zuriga1...a question. Does the V&A have a service restaurant or are they all self-service?

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            From what I remember, the V&A's restaurant is like a cafeteria. One of the dining rooms is beautiful and worth a look-see, even if you don't eat there. There were people eating outdoors on the lawn the day I was last there. I'm not sure if they brought the food from inside, but maybe there was a small cart selling things out there.

            1. re: zuriga1

              Yes, there is a takeway cart with sandwiches, drinks and cakes in the courtyard.
              You can bring food out from the main restaurant (which is self service) right adjacent to the courtyard - you have to ask for takeaway cups etc though, because of the risks of broken glass outside.

              1. re: zuriga1

                That's also what I remember.... the food was pretty good for a light meal. Sometimes you just want a sandwich or soup while travelling!

                1. re: rstuart

                  People usually have a pretty big dinner when travelling. I can't eat a big lunch AND a big dinner, so museum cafes are often a good spot to grab some lunch. The ones in Paris (with a few exceptions) aren't so good. We're lucky here in the London area.

              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                All self service. Different service points for different types of food.

                1. re: Harters

                  Thanks all. The last time I was in that main food hall it was the night of the V&A's Halloween party and the atmosphere seemed almost frenzied. It was merely a coincidence I'd ended up there that day but it was also quite a shock as I descended the stairs from the quiet sanctuary of upper floor of the gallery and walked into a noisy sea of costumed party-goers!! It would have been nice to sit down and watch the festivities but the dining area was incredibly busy with long lines everywhere. I ended up walking to the Harrod's food hall and dining there.

                  I'd wondered if there was another restaurant at the V&A that offered full service as sometimes it's nice to just settle in and be looked after...especially at the end of a long day of work and a little gallery going to wind down.

            2. For late night West End it kind of depends where the theatre s and what time the play finishes. Lots of he good places do close at 11 although I tend to assume that means last orders rather than throwing everyone out. I could be wrong. But if your play finishes before 10.30 and you are near St Martins lane, the Green Man and French Horn do small plates which may be just the thing if you have had lunch. Terroirs round the corner does something similar (and they are related). If you just want dessert, I'd go for the treacle tart at Le Pain Quotidien in Covent Garden Plaza.
              Second the vote for the V&A for lunch, great food, amazing room

              5 Replies
              1. re: Londonlinda

                V&A cafe can be packed to the rafters - and was on both occasions we've been recently - made it impossible to get lunch.

                1. re: Harters

                  That's why I've trained DH to have lunch at about noon rather than 1 or 2 when things get impossible... most everywhere. He never eats much lunch anyway, so he's willing to make me happy. I hate crowds. Do I sound like a tyrant? :-)

                  1. re: Harters

                    Guessing it might be slightly less busy when the deservedly sold out David Bowie exhibition ends this weekend!

                    1. re: Londonlinda

                      Actually it seemed no more packed when we came to see the Bowie exhibition than when we'd been last December.

                      I can thoroughly recommend the nearby Maroush 2 if the caff is jammed.

                      1. re: Harters

                        Ah, I should have read this prior to posting above Harters. Very good to know about this spot. I've made a note in my Blackberry so I'll know for my next visit. Thanks!

                2. If you're trying to rule out cuisines that are good in LA, like Chinese and Mexican, I would also rule out Japanese (loved the sushi after an elegant feast at Sushi Zo recently), Thai, Persian, Korean and European cuisines.

                  To fill some obvious gaps, why not consider:

                  - Malaysian/Singaporean such as Sedap for Penang style Nyona

                  - African e.g. West African at Le Taliet - see or Nigerian at 805
                  How's the Ethiopian cuisine in LA? There's a couple good places in North London like Lalibela and Queen of Sheba.

                  - Indian e.g. Lahore Nihari (much better than the highly hyped places like Tayyabs), Chennai Dosa (both different regions from the Keralan Quilon)

                  1. Thanks all. Flight too late for the Wolseley. So far we have enormously enjoyed Nopi and Launceston Place. Theaters we're attending are the Apollo and Noel Coward. Have no idea what time they let out but suspect around 10:30. Actually we have a little Ethiopia in Los Angeles so that is readily available. We're doing the Tates on Sunday but have a big dinner that night. Should we just pick up something at one of the museum cafes or is there a great snacking destination in the vicinity? Anything near our theaters worth checking it out or should we high tail it elsewhere? Thanks to all of you for your help thus far.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Layne Murphy

                      Sounds like you're here right now, so welcome. The play at the Noel Coward Theatre finishes at 10.00 ish (I just checked my programme!) so you can go across to the Green Man and French Horn which is almost opposite; you would have plenty of time to eat. You might want to book.

                      Glad you liked Nopi.

                      1. re: Layne Murphy

                        Malaysian Kopitiam on Charing Cross Road is open till 11pm -- get the roti canai.

                        Yalla Yalla (Lebanese) in Soho serves food till 11:30pm on a Saturday.

                        Both near the theatre.