Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Our Foodie trip to London - Xmas 2010!

We took a trip to London between Xmas and New Year as we wanted to get out of Cambridge to stretch our legs and sample a few yummy treats around London...Mainly because we hadn't realllllllllly indulged over the festive week (Which was unlike us!) and partly because of various recommendation's and suggestions throughout the last few months....there were SO many places we wanted to try....we didn't actually know where to start!

So firstly, we took a lovely long walk around Hyde Park, where a few years earlier we had visited and experienced the wonders of their *Winter Wonderland*.....Wonderland back then being quite ironic, the only wonder really being.....HOW is this titled *Winter Wonderland*?! hehe....It was far from wonderful back then and very small indeed....a few burger and hotdog stalls, and a couple of rickety fairground rides around the Ice Skating rink... A little disappointing.

Well....a second trip back there proved a revelation!...it was more than a *Wonderland* now!...It was a whole spectacular land of wonderment and more importantly......a lot more exotic food on offer hehe....!

.......Ok....Exotic perhaps not....! But a massive market with rows on rows of wooden shacks, very reminiscent of Xmas markets in Europe-(Prague held a similar one when we visited there a few years back!)
Lots of stalls with handmade jewellery, arts and crafts, and lovely smelling festive warm ciders, mulled wines, meat of every kind, doughnuts, cupcakes, popcorn, roasted chestnuts.... the list goes on and on!
We spent hours just wandering around and sampling the goodies, including a tasty and very large white German Sausage, which was very interesting....still undecided on if I actually enjoyed it! But glad we didn't go for the spicy one...as this had a kick to it for sure!

We also tried these very cute mini pancake puffs with a choice of topping....the lady who ran the stall didn't speak very good English, however the choice was made....Baileys....Thinking we may receive a Baileys cream or similar...we were pleasently surprised to find the pancakes were COVERED in Baileys Liquer, which was warming in the freezing wind to say the least! - A definate kick in the right direction for 11am on a Thursday morning!

Anybody looking for a festive experience in London...*Winter Wonderland* at Hyde Park is a real MUST!
Great for kids of all ages!!! Fairground rides actually put some rides at Alton Towers to shame!
And for foodies, and crafty bloggers, just make sure you head there next year! - Just Brilliant fun for everybody!

When we finally were able to tear ourselves away from the fun in Hyde Park, we did some of the touristy side of London...we visited Buckingham Palace for the first time in YEARS and stared through the gates with all the other tourists haha....we even pretended to be tourists for a laugh and put on accents, trying to *Blend in* ....feeling like complete idiots, we soon left and headed towards Kensington for a bit of daydreaming and drooling over the rows of elegant town houses and cars worth more than our annual wages put together!

After yet more walking, we decided to head to Conduit Street for a spot of Afternoon tea at a place that had been reccomended to us by a few people over the last few weeks....SKETCH.
A very modern twist on Afternoon tea... but slightly baffling for us Non-London folk!
We stepped off the street and into near darkness in a large corridor, and had we not been met by a a very friendly hostess who took our name, gave us a seat and said she would call us when a table was available, we would have been completely disorientated and would have most likely walked straight out again.

We waited for 25 minutes, and were shown to a small table in the corner behind the counter.....which disabled our view of any of the room, other than our very cute gold table and low comfy boudoir chairs that we had been sat on.
A bit disappointing, as the room was huge and there was a LOT to see and watch, so it was such a shame to have to seat anybody behind the counter so they can't see out!....
...Anyway, we waited for a waitress...most of whom seemed more interested in clearing tables to get more people in, than actually serving the guests they had seated....and when somebody did finally serve us, she was very forgetful...and BIZARRELY....they don't take down your order on paper....they memorise your order.

...Now this WOULD be impressive, if she had remembered our order.
It was simple, two pots of tea, both different... but not difficult choices.
One Cream Tea.
One piece of Chocolate Cake.
Two Madaleines.

The lovely girl repeated it back to us twice before leaving us...and both times she repeated the order back incorrectly.... Why they aren't allowed to write down your order is beyond me : s

So when we finally got our pots of tea, mine was incorrect, but I didn't want to hassle the poor girl, so didn't say anything and enjoyed it regardless : )
We also enjoyed watching the Japanese girls beside us trying to figure out how to add clotted cream to their scones, and deciding that patting it around the edges was the way to go : ) Bless them, very sweet and very amusing to watch.

This place was a little too trendy for us both, when we have decided that we do prefer a more traditional take on afternoon tea.
The Nightclub-esque (Very loud and pumping!) music, and the ever-dimming lights were both very offputting, as we couldn't see our food or tea, and couldn't hear each other without shouting....

All in all...lovely to try somewhere new and different, however would not rush back : (

However, this fusion of Tearoom / Michelin star restaurant-cum-evening / Art Gallery was a very interesting venue, and had some very quirky art pieces dotted around. The light fittings were mesmerising and their staff are all VERY friendly and accomodating.
The hostess did put our waistlines to shame, she looked amazing  and was very good at remembering our names for a personal touch on arrival.
- Perhaps on a different dayand at a different time, it could be a different story, but for the expense, we were a little disappointed with our overall experience to say the least.

In between walks here, there and everywhere, and several stops in shops for some more spending hehe.....we did make one last stop to the notorious *Selfridges* for some take-away goodies to enjoy at home over the New Year weekend!
We indulged in some *Lola's Cupcakes*, 2 large, 2 mini, including a seasonal Gingerbread cupcake and a mini Carrot Cupcake for the mister, and a delicious Oreo Cupcake and mini Peanut Butter Cupcake for me : )
All were as tasty as we had been told. And for a good cupcake, they come HIGHLY reccomended!

My most favourite indulgence of the day has to be my stop at the amazing Pierre Herme counter for some delicate macarons.
I spent a long time choosing my 7 treats to take home and savour, and BOY did I savour them.
I enjoyed each and every one of them with a glass of sparkling wine on my sofa in front of the Xmas Tree.

Should I only be allowed ONE treat next year, this would be it!!!

Until next Xmas!....

(...Where I will officially be.......

................Mrs Sue Flay ; )


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