Winter Vacation 2013: London, and Windsor

The London weather was kind to us! Not exactly sunny skies all day but honestly without experiencing the rain (funnily enough sometimes the ground would be wet but we never saw the rain…) we couldn’t ask for more.

Highlights for london… definitely all related to food.

Had the most memorable brunch in Lantana, which was highly recommended by a foodie. The food was great, ingredients were of high quality and there was something for everyone. Finally, no more eggs benedict, eggs florentine, and the like. Mum went with poached eggs, sauteed mushrooms, toasted sourdough and fresh rocket. Dad chose the daily special of french toast made with brioche after the waitress gushed about how good it was. It’s always telling when the place lets their workers try their food. Raving about something cannot be sincere unless you love it yourself!

And I went with the poached pears and greek yogurt combi. Warm poached pears, vanilla-speckled greek yogurt and fresh, crunchy pistachios.

Coffee was also pretty good though nowadays, with coffee joints aplenty back home the expectations are much higher when I have coffee overseas. Didn’t do research on coffee places overseas (wasn’t staying long enough anyway) so unfortunately, I never encountered a cup that could rival the best of Jimmy Monkey, Strangers’ Reunion, Dutch Colony Coffee or Maison Ikkoku.

Go early to Lantana because the queues can snake out of the shop! As we were paying the waitress said business was usually waaay better (the shop was actually comfortably full at that point) and soon enough, the queue outside did actually form.

Living almost next to Selfridges meant that trying Pierre Hermé was a must. Had the seasonal chestnut macaron and the christmas flavour of gingerbread. Expectedly, both were excellent.

Also bought Lola’s cupcakes multiple times. There are mini ones available but I gave in to the inner sugar monster within. Out of the few I tried (more next time!) I loved the carrot cake and chocolate macadamia which had a caramel filling. The latter was so good because the caramel filling helped to moisten the chocolate cake. The weakness for Lola is the slightly dry cake base otherwise I thought the flavour balance and textures were good! Not too sweet for me too.

Ben’s cookies are a better version of our subway cookies. Crunchy on the outside and chewy inside, with a myriad of flavours to choose from. They are bordering on being too sweet (though they were just right for me) so choose wisely (i.e. get bitter flavours like dark chocolate) if you know you don’t have much of a tolerance for sugar.

One will be surprised by the number of Asians inside Burger & Lobster but tourist/Asian-trap or not, the lobsters here satisfied our lobster craving. The steamed lobsters can’t compare to the awesome ones we had in Boston but the lobster roll can. Stuffed between the brioche slices were huge chunks of fresh lobster meat coated with a thin layer of mayo. Very very yummy!

I also visited Bea’s @ Bloomsbury but I missed out on their signature (and controversial) duffin. They offer a huge range of cupcakes but I didn’t try them. Opted for their mince pie and carrot cake which were good, not too sweet, but not great. Okay to be fair we were quite impressed by their carrot cake, but Lola’s tasted better to me.

To me the cafe interior was a little messy. Glass cups weren’t polished, tables were not wiped, the pastries were hidden on different shelves….

We tasted some great wagyu beef (with a light teriyaki sauce), and chestnut ice cream at a small japanese restaurant near our hotel (closest station was Marble Arch). I like how we can find authentic cuisine in London. This place was like any other Izakaya we can find in Japan. Underground, packed with business executives, and bustling as the night went on. Perks of a cosmopolitan city.

In terms of visiting attractions we didn’t do that much. I did finally get to visit the British museum which has an excellent Egyptian section. There was a roaming exhibition in the past which came to SG but they didn’t bring in the real mummies that time! Only the coffins.

Also visited the beautiful Windsor Castle (the building below was close to the area we watched the changing of guard. The main premises are much bigger of course). We were so impressed by Prince Charles’ works of art.

2014 looks like an exciting year ahead! Just got home from Bandung, Indonesia. Made new friends, and we had a fulfilling trip teaching little kids English and sightseeing Bandung. The best friends and I also booked out tickets to Seoul for May. It’s going to be a 10hr flight (inclusive of a transit) without food, and only cabin bags for the forward journey (we purchased luggage for the backward journey haha) but whatever. We can do this! If you have any recommendations for a hanok stay outside of seoul (or any other B&Bs) and places to visit outside Seoul and Jeju please leave a comment or mail me! Thanks (: