So the final days of my holiday approach, I wake up nice and early to savour the day (every minute counts now) and have an amazing breakfast at my hotel. I decide to be healthy and have an egg white omelette with shrimp and vegetables. Okay I kinda cheat and have a cappuccino. I am told the sweet chocolate thingys on top the cappuccino have antioxidants so they are good for you 🙂 ! Oh c’mon don’t give me that look – you know it’s true!
Then I’m off to Claridges, a lovely bar in Mayfair. I just love this place, its my little home in London. My hotels change, my travel companions change, but Claridges has been a fixture in my travel plans since 2006. In that time the waitresses here have come and gone, the UK Government has changed, the AUD/GBP is very different to what it was in 2006, but my love for this place remains unchanged. (The photo below is courtesy of Claridges, as you are asked to refrain from taking photos there, so I thought I would give you some context on what the bar looks like)
I am here to meet a friend. I first met her randomly in Sydney and she lives in london and works in the fast paced world of FX. We haven’t met in over a year, so I’m really looking forward to it. Lots to catch-up on. We chat about her new job, life in London, my travels and what I’m up to Sydney. We both recently have been to Venice, so we trade stories on the city.
Then we get to the ordering. She goes for the Negroni and I opt for a glass of the Bobal ‘La Malkerida’ Utiel-Requena (a spanish wine). It’s a soft silky wine, a favourite… I just love this place. We are brought some beautiful candied and spicy assortment of nuts and some flaky pastry fingers topped with sesame. It’s a relaxed environment, the staff are like cocker spaniels (eager to please) and the red leather seats add to experience.
I am also feeling peckish, so I opt for my usual, the square meal. The Square Meal arrives. There is creme fraiche, Naccarii caviar barquett, cornets of tuna, avocado and wasabi (looks like ice cream cones), Confit duck rolls with plum jam and of course the baked potato with lobster remoulade. The soft salty confit duck skin and crispy coating of the roll is an experience in textures. The saltiness of the duck with the soft sweet plum jam is ying and yang type dining experience. The Caviar is perfect; the saltiness of the caviar, the creme fraiche and the crumbly pastry combined to form the perfect dining symphony. The tuna cornets are beautiful; the fresh tuna with the spice of the wasabi go perfectly well with the sweet cones they are in. I just love this dish!!
Then we finish our drinks and say goodbye… It’s sad, the tyranny of distance means it’s going to be a while till our next catch-up. 🙁 . I then have to race off through the crowded streets to get to the Nordic Bakery.
I manage to get there just on time and my friend is already there waiting with a coffee in hand. We wait to find a table and start chatting immediately about, life in London and life in Sydney. We then find our seat. I have already ordered a coffee (coffee here is really good) and I have an oven pancake with honey. We take a seat. She tells me its a Swedish bakery and she likes it because she can pass off as a Swedish girl. I tell her she looks more like Uma Thurman, but she disagrees.
Then I decide to try the Oven Pancake. I take a spoonful of the pancake, careful to ensure I have enough honey on the piece to get the full taste experience. The pancake has that pancake doughy taste with the sweet stickiness of the honey adding that extra flavour. I am so engrossed in my conversation, I forget to take a photo!! So the photo below isn’t how the pancake looked like when I first ordered it (real sorry).
The conversation continues along politics, industrialisation of emerging economies and the ideal solution to inequality etc. I can see you all rolling your eyes as you read this, so I will hop off my soap box and continue with the food part of the story…. Then, she orders a cinnamon type pastry. She has been raving about this pastry, so I am quite eager to see what it’s like. It is brought to the table and she cuts it open to offer me a piece. It’s warm, the waft of bread and cinnamon hits my face, I then take a piece and when I make it through the crusty outside, I am greeted with the soft, warm, silky dough on the inside sandwiched between bits of smooth gravely cinnamon. The cinnamon populates my entire mouth, swimming through every taste buds. It’s lovely. It’s not a pastry it’s an experience.
We continue our chat, then we both have to head-off. She will be back in Sydney soon, so the farewell is not for long… the journey continues tomorrow is my final day in London!