Friday, May 14, 2010

London, England

What a cold week it was.  It's a good thing the food scene in London is taking off.  Stayed with some great new friends and had a ball.

To begin with London has some great new places to get coffee.  And in fact the world barista champion lives in London.  His company Prufock is now serving coffe in the men's clothing store Present. Not only is the espresso outstanding the men's clothes looked cool too.

There are 6 new coffee shops including Dose , if you go into one they will give you a card with all the addresses so you can make the rounds.

They've even got a pizza scene going on but in my opinion it still has a ways to go.  Mostly in the cheese department. Franco Manca has the beginnings (and again I stress this is my opinion) of what could be the best pizza in London.  But they're using some very dry mozarella which is as yellow as butter and is plastic tasting to me.  As you all know I've been making and experimenting with my sourdough pizza so I think I know one or two things.  I think their oven isn't hot enough but what do I know...The place is busy and is the real deal.

London has some very nice wine shops. Planet of the Grapes on Oxford Street (they also have a wine bar). We tasted a lovely Flaccianello 2000 from them.  Went to Borough Market for dinner, fresh meats, produce, seafood, spanish ham, breads etc and, fabulous cheese next door from Neals Yard Dairy and to top it off more amazing coffee from Monmouth Coffee which all makes a trip to London worth the cold spring weather.

There are now so many wonderful places to go I've just included links to the places we went.  I highly recommend a good map and get yourself an Oyster card for the metro (their version of the metro card sort of).

Restaurants have also picked up the pace.  Restaurant St. John has been around for a while setting the pace (thought it's taken a while to catch on), by owner and writer of the book Nose to Tail.  Eat at the bar, not only are the prices a steal compared to dinner, the food is outstanding, the bread other worldly - worth the trip for lunch and they're a few blocks from the Dose coffee shop.

We had dinner at a Moorish restaurant, Moro located in the Exmouth Market.  This lively place serves tapas with a great variety of sherry by the glass.  I had an Amontillado, a Tio Diego Baldespino Jerez de lat Frontera for 4,25 pounds a glass.  The aroma typical of sherry but oh the flavor wonderfully nutty with a great dry finish that went incredibly well with the selection of tapas: fried chickpeas, syrian lentils, anchovies, and of course amazing olives.

To accompany the first course a Martin Berdugo Joven 2008 of Sweet breads and peas (I never knew I could like sweet breads), Salt Cod with Fava beans this was not fishy or salty at all.  These people know how to cook.  Followed by a Ballabrign 2007 Somontano with an earthy deep berry to go with the Lamb, Pork, Chicken and even Sea Bass.  The staff is friendly and accommodating and sat two of us before the other 6 arrived, now isn't that nice.

Eating good food and drinking amazing wine is more fun when you can share it with friends who enjoy it as much as you do.

London has a lot to offer so plan your day.  Stop at the Tate Modern, Yay it's free to get in and you can walk over the Millenium bridge and see the history all around you..

I just wanted to get this out since just arriving home.. There's more to come on Porto and Paris.