• London Food Guide

    Liz Cafe

    Liz Café is my favourite place to have breakfast in London. It located in Shepherd’s Bush, which was near where we were staying in White City. If you end up visiting Westfield London, it is only at 10 minute walk away.

    It is a quaint little rustic shop with a few tables and very friendly service. Much like many café, you order at the counter and the server will bring it to your seat. The breakfasts are relatively inexpensive as far as London food goes so it is great if you are travelling on a budget. Liz Café features salads, pastries, breads, sandwiches, and full breakfasts to choose from.

     

    We decided to get an eggs benedict and a full english (with a cup of tea of course). The eggs benedict was incredible. The eggs were perfectly poached so it had this gorgeous runny yolk. The was salty and smokey, adding another layer of flavour to the dish as it sat on a crispy english muffin. And finally, the star of the show: the hollandaise. It had a beautiful consistency and glossy finish like how all hollandaise should be. The flavours were beautifully balanced and the acidity cut through the richness of the eggs and butter. The eggs benedict was topped off with with pepper though I do wish it had some chives to add an “oomph”. Vegetarians, fear not! They also have eggs florentine which substitutes the ham for spinach. Both of these options are £7.25. 8/10

    A full english is my choice breakfast for most mornings. It’s delicious and you only really need two pans to make. Overall, the full english was lovely and delicious. The baked beans had great flavour though it was a little runny for me. Something that wasn’t runny were the eggs. Unfortunately, they were over (I like mine sunny side) but I wasn’t about to waste food. I’ll tell you what, they were actually tasty though I still prefer a gorgeous runny yolk. I’m not a fan of bacon so I got an extra sausage which were juicy and packed with flavour. The bread was nicely toasted and I will never complain about mushrooms. The full english is priced at £7.95. 7/10

     

  • London Food Guide

    Dishoom

    Let’s get something straight. Indian food is delicious and the Indian food in London is not different. Dishoom has some of the best I’ve ever had. I will however, add a disclaimer: I’ve never been to India so I have never experienced the food there. But Dishoom was… wow. Not only is the food incredible, but the design of the restaurant was beautiful, much like the majority of the restaurants in London.

    It was like stepping into an Irani cafe in 1960s Bombay. The walls and the pillars were lined with mirrors which contrasted the dark mahogany. I remember portraits and other forms of Bombay art lining the walls and down the stairs. 

    Dishoom Covent Garden | Photo by Dishoom

    We decided to dine at Dishoom on Mother’s Day in the UK which meant that every restaurant had a huge queue and this was no different. We queued outside for two hours and I don’t regret a second of it. There was a lady handing out free glasses of chai whilst we waited. Once you get inside the restaurant, they take you downstairs to the bar so you can order drinks whilst you wait to be seated. 

    We ended up sitting by a window so we can watch the Londoners and tourists go by as we enjoyed our meal. The menu a simple sheet with food on one side and drinks on the other. 

    For our appetizer, we ordered the chilli chicken which was a small plate of sticky and sweet chicken. It was garlic-y and ginger-y and it comes with a wedge of lemon to add some acidity to the dish. 

    There were three chutneys to enjoy with your meal and I don’t know what they were but, they were delicious. Some were sweet and some were tangy which added another level of flavour when paired with a dish. This is priced at £6.20.

    8/10

    Chilli Chicken and Chutneys

    The next dish was from the grills section of the menu and it is the dish that everyone says you have to eat when you go to London: Chicken Tikka. Something that I love about grilled Indian meats is the charring. It adds bitterness to the flavour profile and enhances all of the lovely spices used. 8/10

    The black bowl of red curry is the Chicken Ruby, the highlight of our lunch. It was this tomato-based (makhani sauce) that had cardomom, coriander, and cumin notes to the flavour. The chicken was tender and just pulled apart. Whilst it was amazing paired with fragrant basmati rice, there is nothing that can compare with the Chicken Ruby with garlic naan. 10/10

    Now, I’ve had a lot of garlic naan in my life but none of them hold a candle to this one. Like I said, I have a soft spot for food that is nicely charred and this naan is no exception. The bread had crispy edges and a soft centre creating a dynamic of texture. The garlic was so aromatic and the coriander flakes added freshness to help cut through off of the intense flavour. 9/10

    The Chicken Ruby is priced at £10.90 and the garlic naan is priced at £3.50.

    Chicken Ruby, Chicken Tikka, Garlic Naan

     It’s also important to know that Dishoom also known to have an incredible breakfast although we never got the chance to try it. But Dishoom is a place with great ambiance, service, and food. This place is a must when you visit London. The best thing is that there are several locations across London so you don’t have to go out of your way to eat here. But as I said, this is some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had.

    Learn more about Dishoom here.

  • London Food Guide

    Bread Ahead Bakery

    Let’s talk about Bread Ahead Bakery. If you have read my Borough Market Food Guide, you’ll know that I have already mentioned them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: they have the best doughnuts in the world. I’m not exaggerating. I still dream about these doughnuts and I purchased five within three days. They are clouds of happiness that you bite into. Read more about these doughnuts here.

    The rest of Bread Ahead is not as heavenly as their doughnuts but its pretty close. There is a large selection of freshly made pastries and sandwiches available for your enjoyment. They not only taste delicious, but they look amazing. The breads were displayed in baskets and the sandwiches and baked goods were arranged beautifully on cake stands. 

    What I decided to get the mozzarella and pesto sandwich. It featured basil pesto, fresh tomato and rocket, mozzarella, and a ham/prosciutto type meat on a ciabatta bun. The ingredients were high quality which complimented the exceptional bun. Something that I love about London is that you don’t get that dry mozzarella. You always get fresh mozzarella that has a buttery texture and has such a delicate flavour whilst still maintaining the signature “squeakiness” that mozzarella should have. 8/10

    Tomato, Basil Pesto, and Mozzarella Sandwich

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste anything else because I was picking up a snack after a previous food stop. But Bread Ahead Bakery is a must when you are visiting London. You can’t miss it. The windows are decorated with doughnuts and cinnamon rolls (the Bread Ahead signatures) so you can’t resist stopping and admiring their art.

    Bread Ahead Bakery Window Display
    Cinnamon Rolls and Doughnuts
  • London Food Guide

    Bao Soho

    Bao is a modern restaurant in the heart of Soho that serves small Taiwanese dishes. The restaurant was intimate and clean featuring both bar seating and table seating. There is was a small queue outside of the restaurant and it only took around ten minutes for us to be seated. The menu was small and you order is like a Chinese dim sum restaurant, you write the quantity next the the dish you want. 

    The Bao menu includes “Xiao Chi” which translates to “little eats”, “bao”, and “sides”. You are also able to purchase Bao tote bags and t-shirts if you like collecting restaurant souvenirs, this is available to you.

     

    The first thing we ordered the beef soup and braised daikon from the “Xiao Chi” section. At first glance, it looked okay. It was a small bowl of dark liquid with a few rectangles of veg floating in it. 

    I’m going to be honest, it was not very good. The beef soup had no beef in it, so that was a little disappointing. Taiwanese beef soup has beef 99% of the time so I expected at least a bite of meat. Not only that, the soup was incredibly salty. However, there was a nice beef flavour, I won’t deny that but there was just too much salt. Not only that, the daikon didn’t really add any flavour so it wasn’t really that interesting to eat. There is so much you can do with daikon and unlocking the flavour is something that was lacking in this particular dish. I wouldn’t really recommend this soup to anyone and to be frank, you’re better off saving 3.5 quid. I would rate this particular dish a 3/10.

    Beef Soup with Braised Daikon
    Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce

    The next dish was the Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce from the “Xiao Chi” section. I was still hopeful after the beef soup because this place has such high reviews and it was good. The coating on the outside was crispy and the chicken was tender on the inside. What stood out for me was actually the hot sauce. I usually don’t have sauce with my Taiwanese fried chicken because it is already aromatic and bursting with flavour. The dish Bao served was not as flavourful as the fried chicken you would get in Taiwan but it’s close. The hot sauce made up for the lack of aromatic flavour and brought in a bit of spiciness to lift the dish. This was a huge step up from the first “Xiao Chi” and got me excited to try more.

    The Taiwanese fried chicken is priced at £6.5 which is steep for the small amount of chicken on the plate. I would honestly recommend that unless you desperately want to try Taiwanese fried chicken, don’t go for this. It is lovely and tastes good but I don’t think its worth the price point and it doesn’t hold up to authentic Taiwanese fried chicken. But hey, it’s London. Everything is a bit more expensive and this restaurant is in Soho so I guess I can’t be too harsh. 5/10

    Next were the Baos. The first was the Fried Chicken Bao which featured the same fried chicken from the dish before. It was dressed with kimchi, coriander, and Sichuan mayo. I liked this more than the Xiao Chi version because there were different textures and elements that elevated the experience. The sesame steamed bun was fluffy and moist providing an extra chew to the bao. The kimchi brought in acidity to balance and cut through the richness of the mayo. It is priced at £5.5 and I would give it the same rating: 5.5/10

    The second was the Classic Bao and it had braised pork, peanut powder, fermented veg, and coriander. This wasn’t very memorable to me. I remember liking the peanut powder because of the fragrance and liking the bao because it was softer than the previous but that is about it. Since I can’t remember much about this dish, I unfortunately cannot give it a rating but I can tell you that it is priced at £5.25.

    Fried Chicken Bao
    Classic Bao

    Bao Soho was okay for a quick bite but definitely not enough for a full meal. If you would like to pop by for a quick snack I might recommend it but personally, I just don’t think that it is worth the price point. As a Taiwanese person, the flavours don’t really meet the expectations that I had. But more importantly to me, London is one of the most “foodie” cities and there are so many daBut if you would like to try some Taiwanese food and you are not able to plan a holiday in Taiwan, coming here for a taste of the cuisine won’t do any harm. I would suggest trying out the Baos and having a swig of Taiwanese beer whilst you’re here.

    For all of Bao London’s locations, visit their website here.

  • London Food Guide

    Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

    The Foyer and Reading Room

    An absolute must-do in London is afternoon tea and there is a plethora of options at different budgets. After a bunch of research and saving up money, we decided on Claridge’s London, a five-star hotel in Mayfair. Mayfair is an upscale area to the east of Hyde Park full of high-end restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is within walking distance of Oxford Street, a boulevard lined with high-street shops.

    Claridge’s is located on Brook Street and the nearest tube station is Bond Street which hosts the Central line so it is easily accessible to anyone taking the tube. The afternoon tea is in a restaurant called The Foyer and Reading Room which is in your direct line of sight as you walk into the lobby. We booked our time three months in advance, and if you’re looking to have afternoon tea here, I recommend that you do the same. The earliest you can make a reservation is 90-days but don’t delay. Two months before our trip I was checking the reservations and they were all booked.

    There is no dress code being enforced unlike other luxury afternoon teas, but smart casual is recommended and that is what everyone will be wearing.

    The Foyer had a white coffered ceiling and gold mirrors that lined the walls, reflecting light everywhere. Attached to the ceiling like a chandelier is a shining glass sculpture, immediately drawing your attention. A host greeted us at the entry-way and lead us to our table. There was live pianist and violinist playing dulcet melodies and the harmonic notes just floated through the room. The servers donned with sophisticated white jackets and bow ties.

    The afternoon tea menu was presented to us as a dainty little hardcover book that included not just the food and tea selection, but interesting little backstories and facts about Claridge’s and afternoon tea. The menu also had adorable professional-looking doodles of their teacups and teapots. The tea selection had a variety of teas and described the history and the notes of each specific blend.

    Our server was lovely and explained all of the options for drinks (other than tea, of course). The options included are a Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut, Laurent-Perrier Rosé, and for anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol but classily drinking out a wine glass, jus de raisin pétillant. I went for the champagne and my mom went for the non-alcoholic grape juice. 

     

    The first tea I chose was Claridge’s Blend as it was recommended by our server. It was like an English Breakfast but malty-er. I tend to take black teas with milk because I think it rounds out all of the flavours. Even though it was suggested that I drink it black, I enjoyed it with a splash of milk. On the table, there was a small metal box that contained sugar cubes, sweetener, and brown sugar for the teas. 

    The first of the courses was the sandwiches which included: smoked salmon, coronation chicken, egg mayonnaise, cucumber, ham, and the chef’s seasonal’s savoury. Anything that you particularly enjoy you can get more of free of charge. We really liked the cucumber, the seasonal savoury, egg mayonaisse, and the smoked salmon so order an extra of each sandwich. It was delicious but a huge mistake because we were too full to finish our pastries. So think twice before ordering more sandwiches or scones.

    Tea Sandwiches
    Claridge's Blend

    The next course was the scones and there were two flavours that were presented to us: raisin and plain. They were served with Cornish clotted cream and Marco Polo gelée. Marco Polo gelée is a jelly created by the gourmet french tea company Mariage Frères. This gelée is exquisite and unlike anything I’ve tasted. It is fruit pectin and a tea infusion sweetened with cane sugar, cooked over a bain-marie. It tastes of fragrant tea without the bitterness when paired with clotted cream, is heavenly. It is available to purchase in Selfridges London or Covent Garden OR if you are stopping in Paris, there are various stores spread across the city. You can find locations here.

    Before we had our scones I decided to choose a different tea. This time I chose Rare Earl Grey. Earl grey is my favourite tea and this one had a strong bergamot flavour with a hint of citrus. I enjoyed this tea more than the Claridge’s Blend, probably because I’m biased to earl grey. The scones were served warm and were so buttery and fluffy. This was my favourite part of the afternoon tea as the scone, cream, and gelée worked together harmoniously to create bursts of rich and smooth flavour. 

    Scones with Clotted Cream and Marco Polo Gelée

    The last course was the most exciting one: the pastries. I’m going to be honest, I can’t remember all of the flavours but I’ll do my best to describe it. It featured four desserts: Hazelnut Paris-Brest, a chocolate-y hazelnut-y cake, a macaron (if I remember correctly, it was passion fruit), and a tartelette with meringue (I think it was of the citrus variety. The hazelnut Paris-brest stood out to me the most. The choux pastry had a lovely crunch in contrast to the creaminess of the praline. The sides were decorated with hazelnuts that added a different texture and an extra nutty flavour.

    The chocolate-y cake thing was so smooth and the textures also worked really well together. However, it was a little sweet for my taste but it had an intense, chocolate flavour. It was indulgent and a good portion for something so rich.

    At this point, we were way too full to finish the other two pastries so we actually got them packed to go. But the desserts themselves were also quite good. The macaron was like a classic French macaron, hard outer shell and gooey on the inside. It was as sweet as I expected it to be, much like a classic macaron. There was a tartness in the filling to offset the sweetness of the shell.

    The tartelette had a crisp, thin, and buttery base with a citrus filling. It was topped with a torched meringue and a decorative piece. The colours were unified and worked well together. This was second pick for me because I have a soft spot for tartelettes and pies. The pastry base was delicious and it is something London in general does so well. The dessert was balanced, delightful, and an overall great end to the evening.

     

    Pastries

    The scones were so good that we had to take some back to our flat. Our server brought us our leftover pastries and extra scones in an elegant box with a couple of chocolate mints.

    Take-out Box and Sugar Box

    This was an incredible experience that I would love to do again. The service was incredible and the food was high-quality. The atmosphere of the Foyer was grand and elegant. It made us feel like we were posh Londoners. Was it expensive? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. This is my place of choice when it comes to a celebratory event or even just to spurge on something nice for yourself. This is probably the favourite thing I did in London and I hope you choose to experience it as well. I rate afternoon tea at the Foyer and Reading Room at Claridge’s London a 10/10.

  • London Food Guide

    Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

    Emilia’s Crafted Pasta is a quaint little trattoria-style restaurant in the City of London near the Tower of London in St. Katherine’s Docks. The founder spent time traveling around Italy learning the techniques and craft of pasta. The special thing about this restaurant is that they make their pasta fresh in house every day and boy, is it delicious.

    St. Katharine’s Docks

    Emilia’s Crafted Pasta has also partnered with Sortedfood, a food business based in London who also have a YouTube channel. I am a part of the Sorted Club which has a program called Sorted Eat, which gives you exclusive benefits at the restaurants they have partnered with. Unfortunately, the Sorted Eat program is currently only available in the the following cities in the UK and USA: London, Edinburgh, Portland (Oregon), Portland (Maine), and New Orleans. If you are visiting any of these cities, consider joining the Sorted Club or even just watching their YouTube channel to find out where the best food in the city is. Find out more about the club here.

    So when I showed up, the hostess welcomed us to the restaurants and brought us each a glass of house red wine on the house. Our place mat was our menu and was beautifully simplistic like how Italian food should be. The menu had a little clause explaining the history of pasta and had cute little doodles of different pasta shapes offered at the restaurant. 

    I opted for the four-hour slow cooked béchamel bolognese with grated parmesan. It features pappardelle, a flat, wide egg-based noodle  making it softer and fluffier than regular pasta. The béchamel bolognese was rich and flavourful, balancing the fluffyness of the pappardelle. The dish was topped off with a giant heap of parmesan (who doesn’t love that). The dish is priced at £12,50. Rating: 8/10

    4-hour slow cooked bechamel bolognese with grated parmesan

    We also ordered the homemade parmesan, pecorino, and basil pesto with a pasta called casarecce. These noodles are short and twisted so they look like they are rolling in on themselves holding the fragrant sauce beautifully. Basil is one of my favourite herbs and the flavour is incredibly intense. Pecorino is a sharp cheese made of sheeps milk that adds an even more umami to the dish than just parmesan. This dish is also a vegetarian option and is priced at £11. Rating: 7/10

    Homemade parmesan, pecorino, and basil pesto

    To finish off the meal, we decided to get dessert and our server recommended the Emilia Special. It was vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey with crushed amaretti and cantuccini biscuits. The dynamic between the amaretti biscuits and the crunchy and crisp twiced baked cantuccini biscuits brought wonderful textures to the dessert. You’d think that the honey would make the dish too sweet but it added a freshness to all of the existing flavours. This dessert is priced at £6. Rating: 7.5/10

    Emilia’s Special

    I would definitely recommend that you visit Emilia’s Crafted Pasta. You can definitely tell the difference between fresh and dry pasta and this restaurant specialized in using simple ingredients to create magnificent pasta and other Italian dishes. The price range per person is £10-£25 making that average for a meal in London.

    Find out more by visiting Emilia’s Crafted Pasta here.

  • London Food Guide

    Borough Market

    Borough Market is my favourite place in London. It is lively, vibrant, and full of everything a foodie would love. From food vendors to restaurants to fresh produce. This place has EVERYTHING. We actually spent some time one day here, and then came back because we enjoyed it so much. Located about a five minute walk from the Shard, it’s a convenient spot to kill some time or grab something to eat whilst exploring the oldest food market in London. 

    There are usually crowds of people bustling through, especially if it’s lunchtime and there will be queues at the most popular vendors. The market itself is pretty big as it has a covered area where the main market is and an uncovered area where there are vendors that sell quick eats.

    When you walk into the main market, the first thing you will notice is the small carts that are selling breads and cheeses displayed in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. Not to mention everything on their cart already looks absolutely delicious and you want to purchase every single item they are selling. The atmosphere is unique, artisanal, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

    Beef Topside Sandwich with Horseradish Cream

    Now, I am a huge fan of Sortedfood which is a YouTube channel and also a business that runs a food club based in London. They the source of my food inspiration and the main reason why I wanted to go to London. They do a variety of series on their YouTube channel introducing the best food in London and I knew I just had to go there. They did a food marathon where they ate 26.2 dishes around London in just 24 hours and they spent some time here at Borough Market. So I decided to try them all… well not all because that pork pie looked massive but I made up for it by eating something else.

    Starting with Roast To Go, there was also a queue at the counter. There is an actual restaurant called Roast that is on the second floor serving classic British dishes if you’re looking for a sit-down place. We opted for the sandwich because we wanted to try as much as we could. My mom and I decided to have the beef topside sandwich with horseradish cream. If I’m going to be honest, it was good. But it wasn’t amazing. The horseradish tasted great and it complimented the other flavours however, the roast beef as a little bit under-seasoned. It could have done with a touch of salt to help bring out that beef flavour. But overall, it was good. I would give it a 5/10. Not bad, but there is definitely room for improvement.

    The next thing on my list was Scotchtails scotch eggs which was hard to find at first because I was only looking in the main market. But once you go past the stone arch, you will find a load of other vendors that give you so many more options for quick eats like coffees and macarons. I unfortunately got too excited about the scotch eggs and forgot to take a photo but it was delightful. Perfectly cooked eggs with wonderfully spiced pork sausage around it. The breading was beautifully golden and the crunchy texture added another layer to the experience. The two halves of scotch eggs were served on a bed of rocket that gave it a pop of colour and cut through the heavier flavours with its freshness. 7/10

    Now I know this seems like a lot of food (and it was), but we had some more. The next stop was Turnips which sells lovely fresh produce and are displayed beautifully. They have a varieties and assortments of fruits and veg that are hard to find in Canada. I’ve never seen so many types of mushrooms and tomatoes in my life.

    They had a special stand where they make seasonal dishes. When we were there, they were using their incredible array of mushrooms to make risotto. The main mushroom they use is Organic British Sharpham Park Spelt which they combine with freshly grated parmesan. The mushrooms are first roasted in the smaller of the two wok-type pans and then added to the risotto which was in a HUGE pan. The rice was perfectly cooked and the mushrooms combined with the parmesan was this harmony of umami that just melts into your mouth. The only real critique is that there are some bites that are quite salty but most of it was great. 8/10

    Sharpham Park Spelt Risotto
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    The next stop was Fish! which were some pretty bangin’ fish and chips. This was the first of our fish and chips experiences and it was great. Make sure you have an appetite because it was super filling, even between the two of us. I do have a better recommendation for fish and chips that will come later (stay tuned). But this is a fantastic option if that is what you’re craving.

    The last of the Borough Market stops was Bread Ahead doughnuts. These aren’t sold at the Bread Ahead stall near the main entrance to the market but at the Bread Ahead Bakery & School right across from Fish!. These doughnuts have a separate stall that’s how good they are. Now listen, I am not exaggerating when I say that their classic vanilla doughnut is the best doughnut I have ever had. You cannot even imagine that it was like. The fluffy dough with the slight crunch of the caster sugar coating on the outside and the smooth airy vanilla custard filling bursting at the seams. It was pure heaven. And it wasn’t too sweet. Now listen, I understand that these aren’t the cheapest doughnuts in the world. At £3 each it is a bit steep but if you’re going to take anything from this blog, please take this: these doughnuts are worth it. If you are worried about loving these after tasting one and wanting more, worry not, they have a deal. 4 for 10 quid. And that is exactly what we did. 

    We loved these doughnuts so much, that the next day we went back and purchased four more. One of each flavour. Salted caramel and honeycomb (top left) was the sweetest of them all and to be honest, it was my least favourite but if you love caramel, I would definitely recommend it (after classic vanilla, of course). Hazelnut and Almond praline (top right) was delicious and I love hazelnuts and almonds AND praline so you can see that there was no way it could go wrong. Velvet chocolate which was this rich and smooth chocolate-y goodness and ranked second in the best doughnut competition. The last one was the blueberry jam which is a lovely alternative to the usually raspberry or strawberry jelly. I love blueberries and the jam (you’re going to see a trend in these Europe food guides) wasn’t too sweet. It packed a punch when it came to flavour and was balanced by the fluffy doughnut. They were all great but none of them held a candle to the classic vanilla. 10/10

    IMG_6499

    After eating everything, we decided to explore and roam the market for things other than lunch. There was this wonderful trader that sells these wonderful spices. There were so many blends that you wouldn’t think would exist. Like a black cherry spices, beetroot latte, coffee spice, pineapple powder, and get this, bee pollen. I didn’t purchase anything because had about thirty-seven days left of our trip but if this was the last leg, I would be hauling home kilos of their products. London is a dream for a foodie where you can get easy access to the most amazing ingredients and food experiences.

    Like I said, Borough Market is my favourite place in London and I had such a wonderful time there. Yes, it is an extremely touristy spot Yes, it’s extremely crowded. Yes, everyone recommends it. They recommend it for a reason. It is definitely worth a visit to grab a not-so-quick lunch.

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