Saturday 7 September 2019

30 Hours of Eating and Drinking in London

Mr FFID and I give each other food and drink experiences for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. It's a win-win for both of us as we both can enjoy it and are equally food-obsessed at this stage. For my birthday in May, Mr FFID scored some serious brownie points by planning the perfect 30-hour getaway to London. As hardcore food tourists, we packed a lot into that trip and as usual, I'm sharing all the places we tried here.

So here is what we did...

Day 1 

'FOOD: Bigger than the Plate' Exhibition at the V&A Museum

The main purpose of the trip was to check out this exhibition at the V&A Museum which I mentioned here back in February. FOOD: Bigger than the Plate is a display of about 70 installations from artists to chefs, scientists and farmers. The exhibit is divided according to the four stages of the food cycle (compost, farming, trading and eating). From cups made from coffee grinds to suggestions on how to tackle food waste, visitors can learn a lot about a variety of interesting initiatives which definitely generate food for thought.

V & A Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL


St John's Bread and Wine

As we were staying in Shoreditch we decided to stop for lunch at St John's Bread and Wine which I've been wanting to try for a long time. Located across from the busy Spitafields market it operates as a restaurant and bakery shop with a menu of mainly small plates to share with a big emphasis on nose-to-tail. We shared a few plates such as snails and oakleaf salad and duck hearts with potato cake and quince. Some were very good but others didn't feel like they were so suitable for sharing. We liked the food but felt that it wasn't the best value, I think you have to order a lot to feel like you're eating enough. The restaurant was surprisingly empty at that time of the day and really lacked atmosphere, which probably made the lunch experience a bit dull.

St John's Bread and Wine, 94-96 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6LZ, UK

Pre-dinner drinks

Mikkeller Bar London

On the recommendation of Tom from Vice Coffee Inc we visited the Mikkeller bar in Shoreditch. I'm a big fan of this Danish brewery and their London location was the craft beer pub of my dreams. The bar is owned by 80s' singer Rick Astley in collaboration with Mikkeller, which is why you find small plaques engraved with his songs' lyrics on the tables. The place has a Scandi feels to it and features a selection 20 craft beers on tap. I loved it!

Mikkeller Bar London,  2-4 Hackney Rd, London E2 7NS, UK



You may remember my Ottolenghi pilgrimage from a few years ago? We complemented it by having dinner at Rovi, Yotam Ottolenghi's latest venture. It opened last year and because I told Mr. FFID about it about ten million times he made sure to book it. With a focus on vegetables, ferments and live-fire cooking, Rovi is a spacious and elegant 90 seat restaurant. Once again (like many great spots in London), it's all food you order to share but here this format works especially well as Middle Eastern food is all about being enjoyed with others. It was hard not to order everything on the menu but if I had two make two recommendations I'd say go for the star dish of celeriac shawarma (amazing) and the Jerusalem mixed grill. As you can expect from a restaurant owned by Ottolenghi everything was delectable and colourful and we basically spent the meal commenting on how good the food was. Definitely the highlight of our stay.

Rovi, 59 Wells St, Fitzrovia, London W1A 3AE, UK

Day 2 



With several locations across London, Dishoom define themselves as a Bombay style cafĂ©. We visited the Shoreditch branch which had a cosy covered outdoor space. Inside, the interior was stunning while screaming 'colonialism' at the same time... The breakfast and all-day menus are extensive but we were there to try their famous bacon and egg naans which I'd heard great things about. For £7.50, it certainly sets you up for the day. They put cream cheese, chili tomato jam and fresh herbs on their freshly made naans and they use excellent bacon. A super satisfying brekkie!

Origin Coffee

We got our morning coffee fix in Origin Coffee, a speciality coffee shop on Charlotte Road in Shoreditch. The beans are roasted in Cornwall and the menu showcases a selection of single origin coffee. It's a great little place with a brew bar in the front, some sitting space at the back as well as a training and event space in the basement. Great spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle!



I believe I heard of Lyle's for the first time from Darina Allen when I was doing the Ballymaloe course so it had been on my list for pretty much four years. Since then, it made it onto the world's 50 best restaurants (currently no 33) and has a Michelin star. The decor looked like St John's and the atmosphere was actually similar, quite empty and no real buzz going on, to the point I was almost uncomfortable. Plates range from £4 for a Jersey rock oyster to £26 for bigger plates. We shared a few plates but while the food was seasonal and well-executed it didn't exactly meet my expectations.  I'm glad I ticked it off the list but it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi.

Lyle's,  Tea Bldg, 56 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, London E1 6JJ, UK


The Other Naughty Piglet

I found this restaurant by pure chance on this Eater list as we were trying to fit one last meal in London before getting the train from Victoria Station to Gatwick Airport. The Other Naugty Piglet is a natural wine bar specialising in small plates in a sleek space on the first floor of the Other Palace, a theatre that was showing a play adapted from Nigel Slater's Toast at the time I was there. We enjoyed plates of burrata with truffle and peaches, ham croquettes, a refreshing courgette with mint and feta dish and their OX linguine with cured egg yolk. I wish I was able to attend the show downstairs but we sadly had to leave for Dublin.

That's it for this trip, you can also look at my other London blog posts for more recommendations. 

Disclaimer: this is an independent post, I paid for all my food and drinks