Moving down to the capital to start a real life job, earning real life wages and paying real life bills was a somewhat daunting prospect a few months ago. Yet, as I now come to the end of my first month of ‘London living’, I realise that I have not even had a second to contemplate this next chapter of my life…
It really has gone so fast.
September is always a busy month for me, whether its starting school, university, or now my new job, its also autumn and suddenly the run up to Christmas feels as though its round the corner! G has his birthday, which I like to plan ahead for and not to mention, its my birthday too, which I often try to stretch over about three weeks!
So, since arriving in London on the 3rd of September I have been trying really hard to juggle my life in order to do that ‘work-life-balance’ thing that adults talk about. In the process my body clock has completely reversed and I no longer can stay awake past 9:30pm on weekdays – how I coped at uni is beyond me!
However, whilst I’ve been adapting to ‘real life’ and getting used to working 8/9 hour shifts, remembering to get something in for dinner and squeezing in a few runs here and there, I have also been lucky enough to explore a few gems in London over the past month which I just have to tell you all about…
*I am not being paid to recommend these places, just genuinely loved them!*
Hakkasan (Hanway Place) – ££££
8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD
This Michelin star Chinese restaurant has earned its place in my list of favourites and its not hard to tell why. The location itself is one to remember, down a dark alley with only a woman waiting with a clipboard to show you the way down the stairs to discover an open expanse of buzzing, lively and full tables, it really is magical. The food, of course, was divine – not only did it taste incredible, showcasing both traditional and original Chinese cuisine, it was artistically presented so as to make a show of the whole evening. For a special occasion this is perfect to ensure that it’s a night to remember.
Muriel’s Kitchen (Soho) – ££
36-38 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TT
A real instagram-haven, this photogenic spot is brimming with ‘homeliness’. Whether it’s the hanging plants on the ceiling, the quirky kitchen-utensil wallpaper in the toilets, or the incredible food they have to offer, British classics with a modern twist – what’s not to love? Rocking up for brunch on Sunday morning, every table was full (I’d recommend booking)! There were an abundance of hot drinks, smoothies and milkshakes to start you off, before we all ordered a variety of plates from the quinoa, avocado and poached egg ‘MK Buddha Bowl’, the traditional ‘Full English’ and even ‘Seasonal Berry Pancakes’!
Gaucho (City) – ££££
1 Bell Inn Yard, London, EC3V 0BL
Calling all steak lovers, this Argentinian chain is a must. Bringing the different 300g varieties of steak available to your table, the waiter talks you through each cut, recommending and explaining the tastes with expert knowledge. There is so much choice, not only with the meat, but also with sauces, salads and sides, which showcase classic flavours with extra flair. Cooked to perfection, my fillet steak was complimented with Béarnaise sauce, an heirloom tomato salad and broccoli topped with stilton. For dessert I managed to indulge in a dulce de leche cheesecake and birthday truffles (it was my birthday so it was justified, just!). The atmosphere of the restaurant added to the evening, with a darkly lit interior, cow-skin patterned chairs and furniture and a live guitar and singer duet playing in the background.
Greenwich Market – £
Greenwich, London, SE10 9HZ
Being based in Greenwich for the first 4 months of my new job, I felt as though I had to explore the borough as soon as I arrived to get my bearings. Not only are there an abundance of restaurants and cafés, local shops and lots of history including the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory and Meridian Line, there is the most fabulous market that comes alive at the weekends. Filled with small artisan stalls, there is a food market that is always buzzing and full of tourists and locals alike. Selling everything from homemade vegan pizzas (@littleleaffood), to lamb and halloumi Greek wraps, Mexican tacos to Nutella injected doughnuts, there is something for everyone here and is perfect to visit with friends and family. Located just minutes away from Greenwich Park, another gem of London, you can walk for miles in this unexpected green open space.
R O K A – £££
40 Canary Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5FW
As if I had not been spoiled enough for my birthday, G treated me again. This time, just round the corner in Canary Wharf we headed to ‘R O K A’, a Japanese restaurant serving the finest of food. The main premise of this restaurant is that you share your dishes, which I am a big fan of as it means that you get to try lots of unique flavours without feeling like you’re going to explode. With my sushi addiction ever growing we started with Californian Rolls (predictable I know, but my favourite), as well as steamed edamame beans with sea salt and tempura tiger prawns. We then moved onto salmon fillet teriyaki with sansho salt, chicken and spring onion skewers, with sweet potato baked in bamboo husk and asparagus. We even indulged in dessert where I ordered the fanciest cheesecake I’ve ever tasted with blueberry ice-cream. An absolutely stunning restaurant.
So if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion, or just fancy a meal out in the capital I would highly recommend one of the above. Alternatively if you have anywhere that tops your list of favourite venues please let me know so I can check them out next time!