We love trying out new bars and restaurants, but we also have some tried and true places that we love to go to for date nights.
Gordon’s Wine Bar: Embankment/Charing Cross
Believe it or not on my first trip to London from the US back in 2006, my secondary school pointed out Gordon’s and said it was one of her favourite places in the city. Who would have thought then that I would move here and would it become one of mine? We love going to Gordon’s and picking out a bottle of wine off the specials board.
The bar/indoor area of Gordon’s is always packed and it can be difficult to find a seat. But they have a great outdoor area with awnings,heat lamps and umbrellas. So if you don’t mind sharing a table you can usually find a spot.
Cork & Bottle: Leicester Square
Earlier this year we found a new spot that we love - the Cork & Bottle in Leicester Square. We know what you’re thinking date night in Leicester Square- it’s going to be crowded with tourists. That’s not the case at all. Located right outside the tube station it’s entrance under a faded sign leads to a rickety spiral staircase that leads down to the Cork & Bottle. It has a real intimate feel and is made up of two rooms with several tucked away tables under arches.
They have an extensive wine selection that ranges in type and price. Their food menu has been revamped since we last went, but they still have their Shepherd’s Pie & Hemingway Burger, which are both amazing. Unfortunately, their goat’s cheese & caramelized onion tart seems to have disappeared.
St. Moritz: Tottenham Court Rd., Oxford Circus, Picadilly Circus
St. Mortiz is a Swiss restaurant tucked away down a side street off Oxford Street. It stands out from the surrounding buildings as it looks like a Swiss cottage (inside & out). It’s quite small so we recommend booking ahead. They have both sweet and savory fondues. We love trying out their different cheese fondues.
Riverside Vegetaria: Kingston
When we feel like getting out of central London, one of our favourite places to go is Kingston. It has good shopping, restaurants & the movie tickets are cheaper! Plus it’s a 15-20 minute train ride away from Clapham Junction (30 from Waterloo). Riverside Vegetaria, located on Kingston’s High Street serves up veggie & vegan friendly food (some is wheat & gluten free too).
The restaurant is quite small, but their menu is quite extensive. Our favorites are their penne with pesto and house lasagne. Riverside Vegetaria’s outdoor seating area opens up onto a pathway along the Thames. Once finished with dinner you can walk along and visit the pubs along the river.
One-half of London Foodies had been trying to get the other half of London Foodies to go to the Draft House since we moved to the area in October. Well the other half ended up there on chance night out and is now obsessed with it.
Now we’ve both been (multiple times) and it’s become our go to spot when we want to meet friends in the local area. We genuinely love the food & atmosphere plus the service is great. Also, with one-half of London Foodies being vegetarian it doesn’t hurt that the Draft House’s veggie options are delicious.
Below is a selection of the dishes we’ve had:
Gratinated Macaroni & Cheese w/ Wild Mushrooms: This is some serious mac n cheese. It can be described as uber-cheesy with lots wild mushrooms throughout, not just little specks. This mac is one of the best reasons for why we keep going back.
‘The Smoke’ 8 oz burger w/ smoked chipotle mayo, house-smoked cheddar & home cured bacon with a side of french fries: The carnivore half of London Foodies rates this burger as one of the best he’s ever had (and that’s a lot). He thought that the chipotle mayo, bacon & beef were a match made in heaven.
Sweet potato & mozzarella burger with side of chips: As a vegetarian I’m always on the lookout for a great veggie burger that isn’t too dry or just a frozen patty. The Draft House’s is one of the best veggie burgers I’ve had (on both sides of the Atlantic). While crispy on the outside and the inside is perfectly gooey - not dry at all.
The Draft House has both chunky chips and french fries. We’ve had both and we’re quite partial to the french fries especially with their tangy malt vinegar mayo.
EDIT: Unfortunately, the Draft House has taken the sweet potato & mozzarella burger, however they now have the equally delicious Beirut Burger (below). The new veggie burger has a chickpea and halloumi patty with pickled red onion & labneh. I was obsessed with their sweet potato & mozzarella burger and really disappointed when they got rid of it. But this new veggie burger more than makes up for it (especially the labneh and halloumi).
Fish & chips w/ minted peas: We thought the fish n’ chips were you standard fare and needed some more flavour.
Although we weren’t huge fans of the fish & chips, we really like the other dishes we tried and know we’ll be headed back. We definitely recommend checking out the Draft House.
Hamburger Monday: burger + fries/chips + pint = £9.75
Flat Iron Tuesday: flat iron steak + green salad + pint = £12.75
Draft House Northcote
94 Northcote Road
London SW11 6QW
Draft House Tower Bridge
206-208 Tower Bridge Road
London SE1 2UP
Draft House Westbridge
74-76 Battersea Bridge Road
London SW11 3AG
Zoo Lates is a great night out in London. We’ve gone the past two years and have had a blast! It’s Friday nights in June & July at London Zoo. They have a great food market, silent disco, face painting, bars plus you get to see the animals. The Zoo also puts on special presentations throughout the night like feeding the penguins.
If you can buy early bird tickets (about £10 each) or keep an eye out for Living Social or Groupon deals. Full price tickets run about £20 each (not including any of the food/drinks you buy inside). If you don’t feel like trying the international food market (we don’t know how you could resist) you can bring in your own food or order a picnic - you can’t bring in your own alcohol.
Here’s some pics from our night:
We met this guy!
The squirrel monkeys kept us entertained running and jumping over our heads.
The otters were super cute & very active.
We also tried Anna-Mae’s Classic Mac n Cheese at the international food market. It has a 3 cheese sauce and it’s full of super gooey deliciousness. They have several toppings choices including the Spicy Juan (Chipotle, sour cream, jalepenos & coriander), the Kanye Western (beef hotdogs, homemade BBQ sauce & chives), and the Don Macaroni (pesto, bacon, & basil).
We also had a burger from Cattle Grid and our friends picked up some Indian Food from the Indian Room
It was a greet weekend for hitting up markets & festivals and we did both!
We have been hearing a lot of buzz about Maltby St. Market near London Bridge so we decided to check it out. It’s open on Saturdays from 9AM - 2PM. It’s tucked away under old railway arches and we took a round about way of getting there, which was supposedly quicker (about a 10-15 minute walk from London Bridge).
It was smaller than we thought (space & traders-wise), but everything looked delicious. We grabbed a ‘duffin’ with jam filling (a donut in the shape of a muffin) from Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s stall. We thought it was interesting concept, but we weren’t completely sold on it. My thing with muffins is that they need to be moist and this donut-muffin combo didn’t live up to our expectations.
We then headed over to Borough Market to grab some lunch. The carnivore half of London Foodies had a veal burger from Baxter’s since they were out of beef burgers. While he usually loves Baxter’s, he wasn’t the biggest fan of the veal burger.
While the Veggie half grabbed a toasted cheese sandwich from Kappacasein (you can see my thoughts on it here). I’ve heard some people call it the best-toasted cheese ever, but as a self-professed toasted cheese aficionado I wouldn’t go that far. I would say that it is one of the best in London (another good one is from the Norbiton Fine Cheese Co).
We finished our trip with Chocolate Brownie ice cream from Real France. It was very creamy with HUGE chunks of brownie.
The US classic grilled Cheese or as the Brits called it ‘toasted cheese’ or ‘cheese on toast’ is my absolute favourite food ever. All of my friends make fun of me for my love of anything that includes bread and cheese. In the US, grilled cheese is really trendy with food trucks and grilled cheese restaurants offering gourmet options. Unfortunately, this trend hasn’t caught on across the pond.
There is however Kappacasein in Borough Market. They do a great toasted cheese with a cheddar and onion mix. The bread is nice & crispy while the cheese/onion mix is super gooey. The price is a little steep —£5, but it is great for a treat every once in awhile!
The weather this weekend was AMAZING and we decided to take full advantage of it. We hadn’t been up to Borough Market in a couple of months so a trip there was long over due. We hit up our favourite vendors to make a perfect picnic.
- The Flour Station’s London Loaf
- Mushroom Pate from Pate Moi
- Our favourite pesto from Borough Olives and their chilli stuffed olives & chilli marinated olives.
We also decided to celebrate the sunshine by grabbing some Sangria in a to-go glass!
After we had everything for the picnic we headed to Battersea Park & spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing & catching up on some reading.
We finished off our Saturday night with drinks at the Windmill on Clapham Common’s beer garden.
On Sunday we decided to head up to Hampstead Heath, but first we grabbed some lunch at Giraffe near Belsize Park.
The Full English
Then headed over to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Hampstead Heath.
The Swimming Pond
View from Parliament Hill
On a side note we also found a Starbucks in Belsize Park that serves Passion Iced Tea, our all time favourite summer drink! It’s a staple in American Starbucks, but it’s difficult to find in London. They seem to only serve it in areas with high ex-pat populations. We wish more places did fruity iced-teas in London!
Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!
The Plough on St. John’s Hill near Clapham Junction is one of our favourite restaurants. We first discovered it last summer when we were looking for flats. They weren’t open yet but had their menu out front and let’s just say it was love at first sight. And once we found our flat we headed to the Plough to check it out.
We love the food, drinks and atmosphere. Plus the service is always great. They just changed their menu so we went to check out some of the new items!
RIP Black Bean Sliders - one of favourites that is no longer on the menu.
Baked pretzel sticks w/ cream cheese & jalapeño dipping sauce
Prime British beef burger with smoked cheddar, cured streaky bacon, roasted paprika, jalapeño chutney and a side of straw fries.
And we can’t not get the mac n cheese!
Chunky black bean chili with corn fritters and sweet potato fries.
We went to Spring Fest at Bavarian Beer House (Old Street) last weekend and had a blast!
Here’s some pictures from the evening!
Had a DELICIOUS brunch at the Breakfast Club in Angel on Saturday. The line for a table was out the door, but it went pretty quickly. The atmosphere was great and so was the music - who doesn’t want to listen to Beyonce while eating pancakes?!
We’ve been craving/searching for a decent smoothie—and we found it, lots of it! At the Breakfast Club you can get an entire PITCHER of smoothie! We had the Pommy Granny (pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, apples & ginger). We thought the ginger added a nice kick to the smoothie’s aftertaste.
We also had the Pancakes and Berries with maple syrup, vanilla cream, fresh raspberries and blueberries. And the pancakes were American style, just the way we like it. They were a little too sugary, but overall they were delicious!
The service was great and the waitresses were all very friendly. It was really hard to pick what to have because everything sounded so good— we’ll definitely be going back!
EDIT: We went back! The first time I went to The Breakfast Club the other half of London Foodies wasn’t there. I knew he’d love it, so on his birthday when he was craving a full english breakfast at 2 in the afternoon I knew exactly where to take him.
This time we went to their Soho branch and had the same charm as the Angel branch - we loved the decor.
This time we had the banana milkshake & mango go smoothie (mango, strawberry & orange).
Followed by the Full Monty (bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, fried potatoes, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato and toasted multigrain bread) for the birthday boy.
And the veggie burger with smoked applewood cheese, portobello mushroom & caramelised red onion relish and a side of chips..
The birthday boy loved his breakfast — we’ll definitely be back again!