This is part of a series of posts – to get in the mood, you might want to backtrack a little…
This morning began with pork. Are you sensing a pattern? We fueled our day with Cumberland sausages and scrambled eggs at the Fleet River Bakery (Don’t go the bacon sandwich – too much sandwich and not enough bacon), which turns out to be a lovely little spot to watch the upwardly mobile eat wheat-free granola and discuss their next marathon race or tree hugging session. Lulu and I fitted in perfectly as you would imagine.
Today was all about shopping. We’d sniffed out a couple of areas online after our disastrous attempt yesterday, and set out in sensible shoes on a mission. Mine was to buy a couple of key pieces to add to my wardrobe, things I could never get in Dubai. Lulu’s was to purchase the entire floor stock of Hobbs of London. She bought so many dresses she has started to give them all names, so she can remember why she just had to have them. I did catch her kissing one of them later. She tried to tell me it’s good luck to kiss a hem, and she’ll need some luck when she gets home, after the wad of cashola that has just passed over the counter and away from her joint account.
Lunch stop was at Lanes of London, a venue recommended by fellow Dubian Foodiva in a recent post. I was looking forward to seeing how Park Lane could dish out posh street eats based around the nationalities who hover in particular districts. They name their menu sections after roads, you see, so Kingsland Rd is Vietnamese, Brick Lane Indian, and Edgeware Rd is Arabic. Bit of a hole though, there wasn’t a dried-up lamb chop or a four and twenty pie served in the plastic bag to represent all the Aussies still hovering around Clapham.
Their cocktail list is like many we have found so far (in our 36 hours experience) in London, a book of far-fetched ingredients and poetry, that requires proper reading and perusal. Our thirst made us settle on one the first, because we frankly couldn’t be faffed reading the epic list of libations that followed. We munched on some fairly reasonable green papaya salad, chaat, bbq pork skewars and a half-pint of prawn cocktail. Fair food, but the piece de resistance was the manager – cast in the mould of a young Peter O Toole, with a set of piercing baby blues. Lulu charmed him with her lisping Liz Smilie impressions and Aussie rhyming slang while I considered pinching the bevelled art deco salt shaker. I mean, it’s not thievery if it fits in your purse, right?
Unfortunately, Park lane is at least a couple of kilometers from our hotel, and so the return involved more shopping. This took us through Mayfair, and past some particularly appealing alleyways, lined with olde English character, hundreds of the children of the FTSE100 and their glamorous PAs. We tried to get a drink at Hush. But they don’t do tourists on the terrace out of season, and tried to squirrel us up to the stuffy indoor bar on the first floor. Our second attempt at Mews of Mayfair also left us on the inner, and after a quick glance at the drinks list, and as parched as we were, we decided it was better to slink off in disgrace than pay £18 for a glass of fizz.
We found liquid respite at Kingly off Carnaby, on the cheap side of Regent street at the delightful Urban Tea Rooms, which fortunately serves more than just tea. Even better, the champagne was £9 a glass, and entertainment came for free. We were serenaded by Hare Krishnas, and intrigued by the bearded men hovering at the all-day blues bar next door. The best of all though was the enclosed lane-side pen at the Blue Posts Pub right next door, workers crammed like matches in a newly-purchased box with Friday nighters on a 25 degree day in London, who point-blank refused to either go inside or find another venue to have a pint. There wasn’t enough elbow room for them to lift their glasses to their lips, so we kindly offered them straws.
Fueled with bubbles and courage, we decided to venture further afield, and used the trusty opentable.co.uk which allowed us to peruse all the restaurant availabilities on a a Friday night at late notice, and we managed to book a spot at Tartufo. It’s hidden in the bowels under 11 Cadogan Gardens, a boutique Knightsbridge hotel. It’s an eclectic place with that expensive bordello feel, and features fit for movie sets. The restaurant itself is decorated in 50 shades of grey, but not the naughty kind. It’s decidedly lesser-gentry in feel, full of ladies with steel hair helmets, pearls and twinsets, and their husbands and sons drinking too much and behaving badly.
It seems Tartufo is a little off the tourist track, or perhaps the Maitre’d has a thing for Australians, but we were particularly well looked after. Decadent serves of wine by the glass, adaptations of dishes, football scores and laughter for our non-funny jokes were handed out without restraint. Not bad for a restaurant that has made it to the top 20 secret UK restaurants by The Times, a ‘finest meal of the year’ claim by Grace Dent of the Independent and quite a few more gongs. They were obvioulsy so enamoured by us that they nearly forgot to charge us for a whole bottle of wine, but my guilt hanging over from my earlier salt-shaker thoughts invaded my conscience, and I forced Lulu to point out the mistake. She hit me over the head with her purse, but reluctantly agreed it was best we fessed up.
(all photos are from our instagram feed, hashtgged at #sassyandluluhitlondon – they are taken with an iphone 5, and largely unedited. More photos, hopefully of better quality, along with non-daily writing, will be added in posts upon our return home)
Summary of adventures:
Lanes of London – Well priced for Park lane, cute staff, theftworthy salt shakers, OK food, drinks better 7.5/10
Urban Tea Rooms – well priced drink stop with terrace tables and free wifi. 7/10
Tartufo – Quiet, plush and posh, with nice Italian food at reasonable prices (£30 for 2 courses for dinner) 8/10