As promised – a post about my recent travels! And as usual, we start with the food! This will be torture for me as I am fasting, but a promise is a promise!
Ordinarily I do a single food post for the entire trip, but because I spent a considerably longer time in one place on this trip than I did on my other trips – plus I ate A LOT in the UK (natch) – I will make a separate post for Scotland, otherwise we’re gonna be here for quiiiite a while!
1. Brioche Burger
I read about this burger joint whilst researching halal eateries in London. Even in Singapore there are no exclusive burger joints that are halal (save for fast food places). So I was thrilled to find this and made it our mission to seek it out for dinner on our first day in London.
I was too excited and hungry to take a more decent photo so this will have to do. I had the Betty Boop, which according to the website consists of “two 3oz beef patties, American cheese, crispy chicken rashers, caramelised onions, gherkin, lettuce, tomato with secret sauce and our super soft brioche”, with a side of Rustic Chips.
It was marvellous. The brioche really was soft. The beef patty was well-seasoned and cooked to medium perfection. I only didn’t like the so-called caramelised onions. I’m a fan of caramelised onions and make them often. These were no caramelised onions. You can see in the photo they’re still dark pink. Proper caramelised onions are brown. Onions take forever to caramelise though so I sort of get it. But still. I was promised caramelised onions and didn’t get any. Womp womp.
The Rustic Chips were nice and crispy. No complaints there. I preferred SK’s Chilli Chips though, which were the same chips I had but with peppers and onions and chilli sauce added to it. I ate more of those than mine. Oops.
My friend SK’s burger was the lamb burger (not pictured) since he’s Hindu and doesn’t eat beef. He was right that it wasn’t seasoned enough but it really wasn’t bad or anything. He didn’t want to finish the bun for some reason and I ate it for him. I’m a monster.
2. Borough Market
If you follow me on Instagram or FB (no chance I’ll link to them here though, ha!) you would have seen multiple posts and mentions of these balls of amazeballs. I’m talking about these doughnuts from a famous bakery called Bread Ahead, located in the legendary Borough Market. I’m not usually a fan of doughnuts as I’ve never had a really good one. But I’d heard so much about these ones that they were #1 on my List of Things To Eat in London. Yes, I had a list. I made a beeline for the stall the second we stepped foot in Borough Market and promptly ordered the lemon curd and the creme caramel & salted honeycomb.
I bit into the caramel one at the wrong angle on my second bite and it exploded. I had caramel cream dripping down my chin on to my top and I looked ridiculous but I didn’t care. I was in heaven. The doughnut was light and chewy; the custard (both kinds) really filled up the doughnuts and was not so sweet, just perfect. Pure bliss!
They had five flavours on that day and I immediately went to get the other three to take home – the vanilla custard, the regular caramel sans honeycomb, and the chocolate custard with glorious chocolate bits up in it (cacao nibs maybe?). At £2.50 each it meant I had paid a total of £12.50 for five doughnuts – that’s about $26 Singapore dollars! But considering how delicious they were and how happy I was, it was well worth it!
I’d go to London again just for these doughnuts. They are truly, truly special. Yeah, I guess I like doughnuts now!
It makes me angry when people call them macaroons instead of macarons. Gah. My belly was full of doughnuts but I couldn’t resist. I had the blue one, which was earl grey, and a salted caramel. Simply splendid.
SK had a sangria and a duck confit sandwich. I could only stare longingly at it as it wasn’t halal. He said it was heavenly. It sure smelled it!
I got myself a slab of Rocky Road from this stall, which I didn’t break into until I got home to Singapore. I wish I had tasted it earlier so I could have bought more. I almost finished the entire thing in one sitting!
Suddenly it was lunchtime. We had been roaming around Borough Market since the time it opened at 10am, so about three hours. We didn’t even realise it. And we were famished as if all the snacks and samples we had weren’t actual food. Haha. So we headed to a fancy chippy called Fish. Their regular fish and chips of course had to be beer-battered, rendering it inedible for me, so I ordered the tuna burger.
It was sadly nothing to shout about. The bun was a little hard and the tuna fell apart within minutes. The chips were just okay. I wish we had gone and got fish wraps from Applebee’s instead (no, not the American chain). The queue was ridunkulously long which was why we chose to head to Fish. Major regret, I tell you.
After lunch we walked around Borough Market some more, reluctant to leave. After a few minutes admiring the fruit displays and taking eleventy pictures of them, I hovered near the stall selling yummy-looking watermelon and watermelon juice, debating whether or not I wanted to shell out £1 for a slice of watermelon. The guy must have read my mind for he offered me a slice, free of charge! Hahaha. Bless him.
3. Smack Deli
It’s day 3 in London and there is more food to stuff my face with! Huzzah!
You can tell that this was another of those “omg, I just want to eat this NOW!” photos. Hehe. I had the California, which consisted of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado mayo with lime, and chives. I really wish I had ordered the Mexican. Don’t get me wrong. This tasted really light and fresh, but it lacked a certain kick. Also, the portion is way too small for £9. It finished so fast for me and I promise I ate slowly! I was sad. AND! The courgette fries were limp. Not crispy at all. What was that all about?!
My friend SV – also known as my favourite German – ordered a whole lobster, champion that he is. It took him ages to get all the flesh out but he was so very gleeful. Me, I have no patience for that sort of thing!
Afterwards it drizzled and we wanted to be inside so we popped into a tea place. No clue where this was. It was tea. I dunno. SV is much more into tea than I am. I had some ice blended berry concoction and there was just too much of it.
For dinner it was another item on my list to cross off – Moroccan Fish Stall in Portobello. We took the bus here, we walked, we almost got lost. But it was going to be worth it. The photos and description I’ve read of this place…oi. The stall operates from a van on the side of the road. Fuss-free eating. I had read to get there “early”, no time specified. We got there at 5ish. That’s okay, right?
Wrong. “Fish finish,” the dude told me after seeing us eye the menu written on his van. My heart sank. The next day was Sunday and they close on Sundays. I had zero chances to eat here. *sigh* So all I could do was snap a picture of the van for future reference and walk away, dejected. When I come back to London eating here will take precedence over anywhere else.
SV and I continued our search for dinner along the street and stumbled upon an empty Palestinian restaurant. The emptiness didn’t seem convincing but by now we were desperate and hangry and were willing to give it a try.
To our utmost surprise our respective dishes surpassed all expectations. My grilled chicken was crispy and flavourful. SV’s chicken breast was just as good. And not that I can’t live without rice but seeing rice on my platter perked me up. Haha. Asians, amirite?
4. Pret a Manger picnic in Hyde Park
We’d spent the morning on a walking tour of the touristy places of London and were exhausted by 1pm. We didn’t feel like forking out much money so we eventually decided on grabbing a couple of sandwiches from Pret. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good either. Oh well. Kept us sated. And it did give us the energy to play with squirrels (SV and SK), do somersaults (SV) and laugh her head off (me).
That night SK and I got back on our (my) halal burger trail. Man, I’d be in major trouble if I lived in London!
I had hoped that my burger would blow me away, but the beef patty was lacking in salt. The “housemade hot sauce” tasted just like regular BBQ sauce to me, which I haaate. Plus, the beef bacon strips were burned! Not impressed. Brioche Burger is better.
This is one of my biggest regrets in life. We headed into Poppies for fish and chips when we were mere steps away from Camden Market, aka food haven. I’d been to Camden Market three years ago. I knew they had many, many, many food stalls. Interesting food at not so steep prices, too. Why oh why did that not occur to me until we had stuffed our bellies full of mediocre fish and chips and couldn’t eat anymore WHYYYYYYYYYY???!!!
Et voilà! All the things I ate in London! As you can see London is a foodie mecca and I can’t wait until I get to go again!