Europe city hopping: London 2017 (food edition)

We walked and ate our way through London… we were super exhausted on our first night because we had clocked more than 30,000 steps that day. In this post, I will cover the food consumed, and I will talk about the places we visited in the next post.

Pret A Manger

Our first meal in London was actually sandwiches from Pret A Manger. I had been searching for affordable meals/food in London and I saw several branches of Pret A Manger on Google Maps. There was one outlet just outside Liverpool Street station when we arrived in the early morning, so we just grabbed some sandwiches there and ate while we walked to our accommodation. I got myself an egg mayo & watercress sandwich £1.75. No pictures because it’s just your standard egg mayo sandwich.

After we were settled in our accommodation, we started our sightseeing journey and came across yet another Pret A Manger (told you they are everywhere!). I decided to get myself a coconut coffee because non-dairy milks are always good for me. Not the best tasting coffee because we are so used to cow’s milk, but I’m glad that the creamy coconut did not overpower the coffee taste. It wasn’t too lemak.

Bone Daddies

I had the tantanmen £11.40 (sesame, chilli, pork mince, chashu pork, bok choy in chicken bone broth) and he had the yuzu tonkotsu £11.40 (grilled pork belly, spring onion, bamboo, egg in pork bone broth). To be honest, I did not think it was fantastic because I just had Ippudo recently, but I definitely enjoyed it! The chashu and molten egg were wonderful. We also ordered the Korean Fried Chicken £6.80 for 3 wings. I was wowed by how crispy the chicken was, even though it was coated in sauce!

*Note that there is an additional 12.5% service charge on top of the menu prices

Borough Market

It was mid-afternoon when we arrived at Borough Market, so we did not have a lot. Oysters were the main deal for me at Borough Market. These freshly shucked oysters from Richard Haward were so good – huge, plump and full of briny flavor. You may want to note that I usually eat my oysters with a squeeze of lemon juice and a couple drops of Tobasco sauce. I’m no expert. There was another recommendation from my friend, just diagonally across from Richard but I found Richard to be more affordable (£5.50 for 4).

 

Poppies Fish & Chips

You cannot say that you’ve been to England without trying their fish & chips right? Poppies is one of the best known places for fish & chips, so we had to try them. We got ourselves a takeaway order for a large cod and regular fries, because takeaway prices are cheaper and you don’t end up smelling like grease.

The order came up to £10.50 (sorry I cannot remember their individual pricing already but you can find them online) – the chips or steak fries as I know them, are ok, and the fish was moist and the batter still crispy even though I slathered it in malt vinegar and subjected them to a 10 min steambath while we walked back to the hotel. However, the fish was on the thin side, so not a lot of meat for the price.

Portobello market

We had our standing lunch at Portobello market, eating as we move along. We had a chicken samosa for £1.50, and a serving of seafood paella for £7. The chicken samosa was good albeit cold, I really liked the Indian flavors. The paella was a little lackluster, probably because we got the last few portions of the pan, so we got some charred rice and not a lot of seafood.

Le Pain Quotidien

For an afternoon snack, I got myself a plain scone while ZH got himself a chocolate croissant from Le Pain Quotidien. We didn’t know that this was a popular bakery chain but the croissant was good – buttery layers of pastry and bittersweet chocolate. My scone, on the other hand, was a little disappointing. It was a little doughy for my liking.

Big Easy

Burgers & Lobsters has always been a popular choice for lobster-lovers when in London, but I decided to go for Big Easy instead because I’ve heard recent bad reviews about B&L. Big Easy also offers lobsters for a good price. I had the 1.5lb lobster while ZH had the lobster bake. Among the two, we preferred the plain lobster because of the quality of the lobster meat. The other seafood within the lobster bake were not as impressive as the lobster.

Goldmine

This was a highlight of our “eatcapade” as good Chinese food is a rare find in Bremen. It came highly recommended by my friend, and touted as a popular joint of the SIA cabin crew. We ordered the “3 treasures rice” and “jzap kum chao hor” – both items off the menu. Unfortunately, since they are off the menu and the receipt only gave the total price of both dishes (£22.80 for both dishes), I cannot tell you how much they cost individually.

The “3 treasures rice” is basically roast duck, roast pork and char siew with rice. I only tried the roast pork because I don’t really like duck that much and I also had char siew in my hor fun. The roast pork was seasoned beautifully. The roast meat counter was up in front, by the door, so we saw that the restaurant relies on the microwave to heat up the roast meats instead of having the heat lamps. Despite this, the roast pork crackling was still crunchy. Impressive.

I came here for the hor fun because my friend said the wok hei here is good, and you know what? She’s absolutely right. Not many places get the wok hei right, even in Singapore. If I had to nitpick, it would be that the restaurant used kuay teow instead of proper hor fun, but that’s just me saying because I love love love hor fun.

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Europe city hopping: London 2017 (accommodation edition)

We needed to stay near Liverpool Street station because of our early flight at Stansted Airport on Easter Monday, and Leman Locke was my choice of accommodation. It is a new establishment that had opened recently and already has close to perfect ratings on various hotel booking sites.

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The rooms all come with a well-equipped Smeg kitchenette (toaster, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, full fridge) and a welcome care pack was also provided (a bottle of drinking water and a small bottle of milk in the fridge, T2 teas, the little coffee bag co coffee bags, some sugar sticks and Doisy & Dam chocolate bar). By the way, the little coffee bag co blend no. 1 reminded us very much of the local kopi in Singapore! As it was brewing, I casually mentioned how much it smelt like the instant kopi-O that my MIL likes and ZH agrees! He says it tastes like it too.

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The bathroom was outfitted with modern Grohe fittings (woo hoo rainshower!), heated towel rails and mirror. Basic toiletries were also provided (yummy-sounding salted caramel haircare, Himalayan hibiscus shower gel from Kinsey Apothecary).

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The bed is a comfortable Queen (I think…) which was perfect for a good night’s rest after touring the various London sights. There is also a separate living area which social media fans would love because of the famous pink L-shaped sofa. Really, just search for “lemanlocke” hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see many pictures of the cute pink sofa! It was quite comfortable for us to just chill on it and watch K-drama on our tablet. When it got a little chilly, just wrap yourself in the lamb wool shawl that Leman Locke has kindly provided in each room.

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Should you need to wash or iron your clothes, they also have a washer & dryer and ironing board in the room (they also provide washing tablets, so there’s no need to bring your own, unless you’re particular about the brand).

We did not use the Smart TV in the room though because our device does not support mirroring and the free channels did not interest us much.

There were several well-located powerpoints in the room, so there’s no need to fight over who gets to charge their phone first. Leman Locke has also conveniently provided USB charging points so you can just plug in your USB charging cable without the need for an adaptor to the wall socket. For those coming from Europe, do note that UK uses a different plug, and the front desk do not provide any travel adaptor. I had brought a hair iron from Germany (EU plug) and so needed to borrow a travel adaptor, which the front desk staff told me they do not have any. It was only on my last evening that my husband found, by accident, that there was ONE single wall socket that was for EU plugs. I wonder why the staff did not tell me that…

Leman Locke is marketed as a service apartment and therefore they do not offer daily cleaning services. Well, they do actually, for a fee. Otherwise, they clean the rooms every 7 days, and clear the trash from your room every 3-4 days.

If you like any of the items they have kindly provided (toiletries, shawl etc), you’ll be glad to know that Leman Locke also sells them!