London - British Isles

London on Two Slices a Day

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by Ilene Amy Berg

beigel_big.jpgWhat is it with all the Queen’s men? In an earlier piece on great sandwiches in London, I mentioned my British friend Craig, who now lives in LA and told me “there are no great sandwiches in London.” At a recent TV Academy event, I met Steve, a young English director, who said the exact same thing. Even though he admitted that he loved the Brick Lane shop I trumpet below, he later emailed and said: “[I would] argue that 5 or 6 places out of 1000 still means we have a long way to go before we catch up with the US of A.” Then today, adding insult to injury, my friend Colin, who is here visiting from his home in Shepherd’s Bush, said that eating at certain places in Los Angeles is like a religious experience to him! Is he in the same LA I am? London is clearly having a difficult time shedding its age-old reputation as a town where baked beans on toast is a gourmet meal. But listen to me, Craig, Steve, Colin and assorted infidels – you’re out of date and worshipping at the wrong temples! Herewith, more great London sandwiches to try to convert you:

The River Cafe

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by Michael Elias

rivercafe.jpg The good thing about having a sister who owns a restaurant – and The River Café is a great one in my opinion – is that when she’s cooking my son is allowed to order ‘off the menu’. In his case it’s a plate of the most wonderful creamy pasta carbonara. Made special for him with egg yolks the color of oranges, peppered pancetta and the parmesan cheese hand carried from Parma, I suppose. The bad thing is that my sister won’t let me have any. “You don’t need it”, she says looking at my waist. So it’s the regular menu for me.

Chains

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by Anna Harari

piccadilly.jpgSpring break senior year, two months before I graduate from NYU is not exactly a vacation even though I went to London to visit my Dad.  It’s more like preparation for my final senior project, a focused study amalgamating EVERYTHING I’ve learned up ‘til now, split up by small breaks of art, shopping, and of course, food.  Basically, stress oozed out of every pore the entire ten days.  I tried doing yoga; I tried going for runs; I tried a few breathing exercises, and sure, all of that helped, but there’s really only one thing that hit the spot: chain restaurants.

The Providores and Tapas Room

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by Anna Harari

yog.jpg Can we talk about how strange a yoga class in London is?  Stretch out your kidneys, she kept saying.  Elongate your kidneys.  Her British accent easing me from one pose to another…but…kidneys?  Really?  I don’t even know where my kidneys are.  Honestly, I know they’re somewhere in my torso region but to the point where I could isolate them into a stretch.  It was really strange. 

And it got me thinking about other body parts that in my opinion have nothing to do with yoga.  Like my esophagus.  And my appendix.  And, well, my stomach.  Was it grumbling?  Or was I distracted?  By the time we got out and started wandering around Primrose Hill, the gray sky somehow bright and exciting like I wouldn’t mind if it started raining, by that time my stomach definitely was growling.  I’m still not sure what my kidneys were doing but I was hungry.  And it had to be breakfast

The Royal China Restaurant

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by Carolan Nathan

royalchina2When visiting London recently and wanting to try some of the vaunted restaurants there I was fortunate to find The Royal China Restaurant which together with its sister/brother Sun aptly called the Royal China Club hold a place of esteem on Baker Street quite close to the infamous 221B Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes dwelt in times gone by. I had been quite lucky in the weather and this day again I made my way under blue balmy skies looking forward to some good Chinese grub.

The Royal China Club has more of a genteel and rarified atmosphere almost as if overseen by a great Chinese master although this perhaps is what draws a certain element of people here to dine and wine. Great lit up tanks are home to many lobsters swimming around quite aimlessly waiting to be served in a tantalizing array of dishes. And the long bar would be a great place to sip cocktails whilst waiting to be seated.

Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House

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by Carolan Nathan

raw_bar_interiorpicture.jpgOne thing I sadly miss living on the west coast of the USA are the Atlantic sea offerings in all their glorious whiteness and taste. So when I returned to London in September I set out to eat as much fish as I could. This led me to the Wright Brother’s emporium just a hop, skip and a jump from Carnaby Street actually on Kingly Street and Kingly Court (such noble sounding places!!).

A multitude of rooms met my eyes plus a large outdoor patio and great sit around eating bar. I thirsted for a good white wine and the menu answered all my seeking. Lots of champagne and sparking prosecco, a long long list of whites from France and Italy starting with a vin de pays d’Oc and reaching into an 07 Meursault from Dom. Jean Philippe Fichet, and much to chose from in between. For lovers of rose and red there are some great choices too from the Veneto, Provence and Burgundy even a pinot noir from California circa 2009!  Digestifs, armagnacs, cognacs and whiskeys add to the multiple choices for those of us who love to imbibe.

 

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