London this summer is spectacular, with temperatures hitting a regular 27 degrees and cornflower blue skies without a cloud in sight. Roofs on convertibles come down and people are going shirtless or wearing their bikini tops, sunning in alfresco cafes and parks. It is so lovely this time of the year and we were spending a lot of time outside, taking the dogs for walks and having coffee in parks.
One of the great things about a large cosmopolitan city like London is definitely the quality and diversity of it's dining scene. We were stumped for choice of cuisine. Not only is food good, it was coupled with thoughtful service and chic interiors. There was nothing I could find fault with.
The Wolseley was one place we had brunch in and it was until 1999 a Barclays banking hall. Before that, the original owners sold Woseley cars in the 1920s. The building is historical and very grand, with towering columns and massive ceiling arches. I felt like being in a cathedral. The interior was all black and gold lacquer and all tableware were vintage silverware.
We had brunch there and I ordered the eggs benedict with spinach which were very tasty.
Another night when the while family was together, D booked a table at Cambio De Tercio, an award winning and highly acclaimed spanish restaurant. At first glance, it looked typical with red and orange walls and a busy Thursday night sitting. The menu however gave us a hint that this meal was going to be special.
They recommend that each person order 3-4 tapas or 1 tapas and a main. I went for the multiple tapas option in order to sample dishes as possible.
Some of the tapas choices were fairly ordinary like the spanish tortillas but it carried the El Bulli tag "1998" with it. We hoped that meant it might be interesting and it was. The tortilla came in a martini glass. Bacon and egg gratin was set at the bottom of the glass while white fluffy potato foam sat on it. The texture was unlike anything we expected of a tortilla and it was unbelievebly good.
I picked the gazpacho with lobster tail and cherry ice cream. A deep plate was presented with lobster tails and a dark pinkish scoop of the ice cream. The waiter then brought a carafe of soup and poured it into the dish at the table.
This was the best gazpacho I have ever tasted and the cherry ice cream worked so well with it. The other tapas I had were the crispy ham and bechamel sauce croquettes served with a side of tomato and thyme sauce; and a roasted quail stuffed with foie gras and iberico pork, spinach and cranberries. T ordered the suckling pig and he could not get over it. Everyone ordered different meals and everything was superb.
The plates were licked dry at the end of the meal but I could not resist ordering desserts. If the mains were so good, what of the sweets? We picked just two to share but only one was so unique, it cannot go without a mention.
Gin & Tonic “on a plate”, Bombay Sapphire geleé, tonic water sorbet & lime foam. Unfortunately, we were so in awe with it that before I could take a photo, it was gone. The gin was jellified, tonic was frozen scoop of ice and the lime was like air. It was a perfect ending to a dreamlike experience at Cambio De Tercio.
Of course we can't indulge in extravagant meals all the time but good food is never far away. At every few street corners, there are artisan bakeries offering giant crusty bread loaves, boutique sweet shops tempting you with girlish coloured macaroons, authentic italian delis with homemade pasta and sauces.
Certainly my sort of town.