EATS: London – Vol. 1

No matter how near or far you are from home, a recommendation for a good restaurant or bar is always nice to have.  EATS is a collection of places that I’ve enjoyed during my travels.

The Golden Hind
I came across this place in my search for traditional fish and chips in London and was hooked (so to speak) because of The Golden Hind’s 100-year history dating back to 1914.  The portions are hearty and reasonably priced, and its simple menu also includes salads for non-fish eaters like me.  Although it lacked an Old World pub feel, the small cafe felt untouristy, catering to people of all ages from older couples to families with young children.  The service was warm and friendly, plus you can BYOB if you want to enjoy beer or wine with your meal.

The Golden Hind, 73 Marylebone Lane, +44 20 7486 3644, thegoldenhind.snack.ws

Mr. Fogg’s
From the moment you finally find the nondescript entrance to Mr. Fogg’s (look for the dapper doorman), you’ll embark on a delightful journey back in time.  The cocktail bar is inspired by the 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, a theme that’s woven throughout its whimsical décor – from balloons to bicycles to birdcages – and creative cocktail menu, which reads like a novel itself with seemingly endless options that are organized by spirit.  Libations are a bit pricy, but easy to justify after you see the beautiful presentation served by staff dressed in period costume.  Judging by the line that wrapped around the corner (and the standing-room only inside), Mr. Fogg’s seems to be popular among locals and tourists alike.  And on Friday and Saturday afternoons, the establishment’s Tipsy Tea is a fun twist on the English ritual.

Mr. Fogg’s, 15 Bruton Lane, +44 20 7036 0608, mr-foggs.com 

Punjab
London is truly an international city where you’ll find almost every type of cuisine, and this Indian restaurant came recommended to us by some friends who used to live in the city.  Located north of Covent Garden, Punjab is a fourth generation family-owned business that proudly boasts its status as the UK’s oldest North Indian restaurant.  There was a line out the door on the Saturday night we visited, which was still there when we left.  Inside the silk walls are decorated with photos, newspaper clippings and other mementos, creating a casual environment that is matched with just the right amount of service.  Punjab’s menu offers a huge selection of Punjabi-style cuisine, making it almost impossible to decide.  We ordered a few curry dishes and naan bread, and still managed to save room for dessert – don’t skip the kulfi, India’s answer to ice cream and the perfect ending to a spice-rich meal.  

Punjab, 80 Neal Street, +44 20 7836 9787, punjab.co.uk

Harrods Food Halls
The iconic department store’s world-famous food halls attract visitors from near and far.  Located on the ground floor at Harrods, you’ll be able to find almost every type of food imaginable – from tea, pastries and candy to fresh pasta, seafood, meats and cheeses.  It’s truly a feast for all the senses as you push through the crowds in the tilled halls, each with beautiful glass display cases, smartly dressed staff and ornate ceilings that echo the wares sold below.  Prices seem inflated with the tourist audience in mind, but where else can you find a 10£ macaron made with rare truffles?

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, +44 20 7730 1234, harrods.com

The Swan
Originally a coaching inn from 1721, The Swan is located adjacent to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.  Just like the former establishment would take in weary travelers for the night, it was the perfect place for us to refuel and recharge after hours of walking in the winter cold.  In warmer weather this historic pub offers a family-friendly patio overlooking the park, and a cozy wooden interior that’s great year-round.  In addition, live music happens at The Swan every Saturday night.  Even if you decide to sit at a table, step up to the bar to order your food and drink.  The Swan has a limited menu of nightly specials, which included fish and chips, roasted meat and other smalle bites, and feels like a place that brings together families and friends.

The Swan, 66 Bayswater Road, +44 20 7262 5204, swanbayswater.co.uk 

Afternoon Tea
As you might expect, there are no shortage of places to partake in afternoon tea in London. While you have your choice among classics like The Wolseley, The Savoy Hotel, Fortnum & Mason and The Palm Court at The Ritz, there are other options for every budget and style.  Many smaller cafes have afternoon tea for two (this is what we did), offering a similar presentation of scones with clotted cream and jam, bite-sized sweets and sandwiches.  There are also some places with unique afternoon tea experiences like Tipsy Tea at Mr. Fogg’s (see above), Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley for fashionistas and Chinese-style tea at Bō Làng.

Various locations

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