I wish I could say I’ve hit all the museums, seen all the shows, and dined at all the restaurants since my return to London. But sadly, no. I have been in “logistics and operations” mode nearly every day, getting a bank account, finding a place to live, getting a mobile phone. (Accomplishing all three took me until yesterday because you can’t get a place to live without a bank account and you can’t get a mobile phone without a bank account and no one wants to give you a bank account unless you have somewhere to live, sort of, and no one wants to call you on a U.S. phone number so it’s this endless cycle of endlessly frustrating conversations.) Today, I spent the better part of my day at the estate agent’s, John Lewis, and setting up electricity, water, etc. etc. all online and I only just finished about an hour ago, at 8:15 pm. What did people do before the Internet??
But in between all the busy work and frustration, I have managed to get some nice meals in. Nothing fancy, but me and my London restaurant blog ARE BACK. Just some cheap eats for the most part, but I feel like I am more about the cheap eats these days so here you go, roughly in order of deliciousness.
Sichuan Folk, 32 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR: My temporary flat is just down the road from this spicy little Szechuan joint. (Sorry, the American in mean spells it Szechuan.) The lunch special is an incredibly good value at £6.50 for an entree and soup. I will eat here all the time. Super nice service.
Sasuke Japanese Ramen Bar, 32 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LR: My friends Lee and Matt were lovely enough to let me stay with them in Hither Green for a few days, but I wanted to give them some alone time (and there were only so many episodes of Max & Ruby I could watch) so I spent a few hours last Sunday wandering Soho and checking out what was new to me. I loved the clean lines and simple interior at Sasuke and I really enjoyed my big bowl of ramen too. I feel like Bone Daddies still has the flavor edge for me though. But I still liked it here and would go back.
St. John (the bar), 26 St John St, London EC1M 4AY: I met up with my old colleagues to watch the USA-Germany match in town and then after the match, Lee, Jen and I headed over to the bar at St. John for some snacks. Delicious, delicious snacks. Of course you should go here. I’ll try not to talk about St. John too often though.
Maddy’s Fish Bar, 397 New Cross Road, SE14 6LA: Adventures in New Cross with Ben & Antonia and friends! I LOVED the fish & chips at Maddy’s. Excellent frying technique. If it were closer to Old Street, I’d go all the time. Or well, maybe I should just move to New Cross. ??? A very nice field trip for me, particularly when paired with drinks at The LP Bar two doors down afterwards.
Cay Tre Soho, 42-43 Dean St, London W1D 4PZ: If you can’t tell, I’m a bit of a pho addict after my sojourn in Vietnam. So I dropped into Cay Tre on a Sunday afternoon for a big bowl of deliciousness. Very bustling crowd for early on a Sunday, that’s for sure. I liked it here and I will be back.
Brew Dog Shoreditch, 51 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA. Just like old times, Julie came to town and we did a little East London pub crawl while we waited for the people who had to go to work to finish working and come out and play. We started at Brewdog Shoreditch and enjoyed our mini individual nachos. Nice snacks. Very nice.
Shrimpy’s, King’s Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, London N1C 4UR: I’ve known my friend Brian since we were 14! He moved to London shortly after I left in 2010.(Yes, I have been gone for nearly four years. I can’t believe it myself.) Now that I am back in London, Brian is leaving for Canada! We met up at Shrimpy’s in Kings Cross for a nice meal and a lively, buzzy atmosphere. Shrimpy’s vibe and aesthetic reminds me of Crazy Homies in Westbourne Grove. My skirt steak and chimchurri was a bit of a lost cause, but the service was great and we got a kick out of the penguin wine carafes so I guess there’s that.
Butler’s Wharf Chop House, 6E Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE. I was trying to decide if I wanted to live in Shad Thames again (I lived there for 18 months back in 2004-05) so I had a quick lunch in the bar at the Chop House while I waited to meet the estate agent. I felt like I needed to have fish & chips so I did and while the fish was nice, the chips were a big soggy mess. Service was sweet though.
Meantime Brewery Greenwich, The Pepys Building, The Old Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10 9LW: On my last day staying out in Hither Green, Lee, Anna, me and the kids skipped through Blackheath down to Greenwich, prams and all, where we stopped at the Meantime Brewery for lunch in the garden. It was a lovely day for it. The food was fine — nothing outstanding — but it did the trick. (Although I really wish I had taken a photo of my phallic sausage and mash for you so you could laugh at it as much as we did.)
I may have also eaten at Itsu about 14 times in between too…I’ve missed Itsu!
But I’ve missed you, London, most of all.