london calling

^Trafalgar square under renovation

It was quite chilly in London at the end of October. And there were renovations being done around the city, particularly Trafalgar square. First order of business was picking up the London Pass we bought online from the physical store. It was behind the National Portrait Gallery, one of the buildings surrounding Trafalgar square. Below photo shows my shot of the NP gallery building and hubby with me in the frame taking a picture. 😉

We set out early, and we didn’t opt for breakfast at the hotel because we wanted to eat as much as we can all around the city (unfortunately, did’t work out as expected hehe). Here are some of the food stops we had.

national library 2 looks
My photo (left) and hubby’s photo where I got into the frame (right).

The pick up shop was a bit busy that day, we did some wait and bought some souvenirs since they have an assortment of different trinkets there. We then set off to find a place to eat. The street at the back of the NPG happened to be a strip of restaurants, patisseries, and candy stores. Much to my hunger, we opted for the very first restaurant we found there. One that’s called La Chandelle.

breakfast street
Just behind the National Portrait Gallery

I had the veggie version of their English breakfast menu…bacon and sausages aren’t  included when you opt for this. Although I’m aware that a lot of people say that locals don’t really eat the full breakfast, what’s a tourist to do? I browsed through my London pass book as I dive fork by fork on eggs, beans, mushroom, and in between bites of hash browns and toast. I’m planning in my head how the day would be and where we would go. Of course, consulting the hubby if that’s ok. Then burp! The serving was enough, I’d say, the hash browns already made me full.

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gotta love mushrooms
meat less
meat less

It was very much later when I read the reviews for La Chandelle, and although most were negative, I was just glad we had a good experience. Not something I might be looking forward to again but it sure fuelled us for the day. And it did made us feel full, we had late lunch – probably at 2P.M. that day, we only had to stop for coffee and tea at a Starbucks near the Tower bridge.

 

Edit: That was where I was able to try the chocolate caramel shortbread for the first time…I waited for it to be available in Vienne’s starbucks and it appeared in the shelves in July 2015.

 

restaurant london
street behind the National Portrait Gallery

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The stories on where we went to is on our travel blog, so I’d skip to when we went to Harrods, not exactly to shop, but just to eat. There’s a wide range of food choices, you can buy them packed as souvenirs: teas in caddies, chocolates (godiva, anyone?), cookies, biscuits, and scones. Wines and liqueurs are also in the gift section. There are 32 restaurants high tea, sweets, tapas, fish and chips and even haute cuisine.

 Brompton Road, Harrods
Brompton Road
harrods inside
salami, cheese, sausages
harrods seafood
prawn, lobsters, pistachio tubs, fruits

We opted for Mango Tree, as it was one of the nearer restaurants by the food hall’s entrance (convenient). The wait time was quite longer than expected, no thanks to the amount of people dining. 😀 There’s only 24 seats and you can watch as the food is being prepared. Mango Tree is mostly of Thai cuisine: that mild taste from the north; spicy flavours of the east and south; and the milder palates from central Thailand with a bit of Chinese twist.

We are not as hungry so we opted on some starters and shared a rice meal. I tried the pork pia pak (basically filipino lumpia) and H got the char siu bao (pork siopao for us). He jokingly said, “you went to London just to have siopao and lumpia!” ^_^ The pia pak were a bit dry to my preference and the buns had more bun than meat, teehee!

mangotree
Mango tree counter
siopao lumpia
char siu bao (pork buns), pork pia pak (mixed vegetable spring rolls)

I couldn’t find the photo of the pineapple dish – kow pad saprot (which I originally know as khao pad sapparot). Theirs was way above many levels than what I cook at home. Yes, I cook thai dishes once in a blue moon. Give it to professional chef for such difference.

So we went up to the other floors to shop, and we planned on going back the next day to try another restaurant and to buy some souvenirs. I brought some scones with pistachios and creme, and another with chocolate bits which we had for breakfast the next day.

The sun has set already when we got out. We walked a bit more and ended up at the Natural History Museum.

We went back to Brompton Road since the underground was nearer. We went back to the hotel quite late…we ordered some food and got it delivered and even slept later than ever. ^_^

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Harrods’ facade at night