This weekend I spent a lovely relaxed weekend in London with my friend Oliver exploring the city and discovering hidden gems that I couldn’t wait to share with you!
(Spoiler alert: Most of my recommendations are food related as per usual!)
We stayed at the Citizen M Hotel in Shoreditch (nearest tube Old Street) which was a really fun base for our travels. Because it’s in the financial district most things shut down at the weekend so it’s a peaceful place to escape to after a busy day. However Kings Cross is only 2 stops away so you can be back in the thick of things within 10 minutes!
As you venture deeper into Shoreditch things start to get less formal and more colourful. Trendy coffee houses and bars are popping up all over the place to sit alongside traditional pubs and cut price Bangladeshi restaurants.
We took a wander around the corner from the hotel and found Boxpark. It’s a pop up shopping mall made up of shipping container units which house an eclectic mix of boutique and luxury stores (including Diptyque) as well as an abundance of street food vendors.
(Bear in mind that the shops open at midday on a Sunday. We forgot this – oops!)
The highlight for us was finding Dum Dums Donutterie.
It’s the home of the Zebra Cronut. These babies are layers of croissant and chocolate croissant dough, filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache. They are every bit as delicious as they sound!
If you go to Harrods food court you’ll spot Dum Dum’s cronuts there for £4 a pop, but head over to Boxpark to eat them fresh in store at a snip of the price!
…you might even get invited behind the counter to have your picture taken!
(Excuse the blurry snap, my camera was clearly distracted by all the doughnuts and decided to focus on them!)
Back at the hotel it was time to check in. I knew I was going to like Citizen M as soon as the lift opened and stepped out into the reception area where I was greeted with the sight of funky lights, leather seating, pop art cushions…
…rows upon rows of Penguin classics on one shelf, an assortment of fashion books and all sorts of pop culture figurines.
There were plenty of food and drink options…
…and lots of spacious seating areas and technology hubs.
We decided we’d better see if the rooms lived up to our expectations which had increased tenfold since arriving…
Straight away Oliver made a beeline for the Ipad and was in his element using it to play about with all the room controls. You could change the room temperature, the TV, electric blinds and even the lighting to every hue in the rainbow!
The rooms are not the biggest, but are very cleverly designed to maximise the space. The walk in shower room felt very spacious though and came with luscious scented toiletries and a huge waterfall showerhead.
The rooms were £129 for a Saturday night and I was really impressed with what you get for your money. Breakfast wasn’t included but there were complimentary bottles of water and a free library of movies to watch in the room, plus two drink vouchers redeemable in the hotel bar.
Suitably impressed, we headed out into London in search of a good foodie spot for lunch and I knew just the place to head to!
Regent Street gets pretty unbearable and overcrowded on a Saturday afternoon, but if you slip off down the side street Foulbert’s Place you’ll find yourself in Carnaby. It’s a brilliant place to shop and you actually have a bit of elbow room! It’s also here that you find Kingly Court tucked away; a courtyard surrounded by 3 floors of restaurants and bars.
After much deliberation on which type of cuisine to try we settled on Le Bab, London’s gourmet kebab restaurant.
We shared some Mutton Meatballs with Arabic sauce which were flavourful and fragrant whilst partaking in some rather delicious cocktails.
For my main I had the Paneer Kebab – BBQ paneer (cottage cheese) with a beetroot puree, crispy onion, pickled rainbow chard stem and curry mayo.
It’s best eaten rolled up in the flatbread- fingers are totally allowed! I loved the balance of flavours and didn’t find it at all lacking despite it being a meat free kebab.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering from street to street, peeking in luxury shop windows and spending our imaginary lottery wins. Before heading back to the hotel I had a hankering for some champagne so we stopped off at Searcy’s Champagne Bar inside St Pancras Station. Again, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds in the main bars and don’t mind a tube ride then this is a good place to try.
We ended up doing a Champagne taster menu where 3 champagnes were paired alongside 3 flavours of Joe & Seph’s popcorn in cute little miniature cartons. Isn’t that just the cutest idea?
The following day involved yet more food. Oliver’s parents were in town so we met them for lunch at Mac & Wild (which I’ve reviewed previously here.)
…and due to the fact that I probably consumed two weeks worth of calories in a day and a half, I’m now off to eat a Weight Watcher’s Chicken Curry! Totally worth it though!
Have you been to London? What are your favourite places to visit? Do you have a favourite restaurant?