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3 days in London - please review my research and let me know if I'm way off-base! Need help with Indian in particular; Cambridge tips also welcome!

gamene | Jun 3, 201512:02 PM

Hi Chowhounders,

I'm a long-time lurker but first-time poster. First off, please accept my belated but sincere thanks for all of your informative posts, which have helped me eat my way through most of the U.S., and most recently through Bologna, Modena, and Istanbul.

I am headed to London later this month, arriving on Weds. and departing Sat. afternoon. I'll be working the two full days (Thurs.-Fri.), but do have Weds. and Sat. as well as my evenings free, and was hoping you could all take a peek at my tentative itinerary to let me know if I'm being overambitious or missing anything obvious.

As far as basic parameters, I'm staying and working in Marylebone, near the Bond St. tube stop. I am a female in my mid-30s, and eat a predominantly vegetable-based diet, as well as fish. I enjoy fairly spicy food, and all sorts of ethnic food.

During this, my first, trip to London, I want to have an authentic pub lunch, delicious Indian (does not have to be fancy), fun cocktails, non-touristy late-night eats, and a vegetable-focused meal at a more trendy/upscale place.

Below is my tentative gameplan:

WEDS
- arrive by train from Cambridge around 10am.
- shopping: Harrod's, Fortnam & Mason
- Indian lunch: Chor Bizarre (I love Punjabi), Quilon (veg thali), Truly Indian, Dishoom, and Bbombay Brasserie all seem logistically do-able, and have been recommended in various threads. Which have people recently had the best experience with? Which is most likely to be accessible without a reservation? Which is the most "authentic," or are all of these central-London options considered non-authentic?
- Tate Modern
- Quick pre-theatre dinner: I was thinking I could pick up food at Ottolenghi Belgravia -or- try the pre-theatre menu at the Botanist in Sloane Square, unless anyone has better ideas?
- Show is at 7:30pm at the Royal Court
- Any ideas for a lovely cocktail after the show? I will be with a girlfriend.

THURS
- working at the office all day
- colleagues taking me to lunch
- concert at 7:30pm at a venue near Chalkfarm Road
- was thinking of grabbing a late-ish bite after the concert, at Marathon Kebab House? Any other fun and casual suggestions for that area and that time of night? I'd love a place with "local" flavor!

FRI
- attending a conference near King's Cross
- lunch break at 12:30pm; looking for an "authentic" pub to grab a quick bite during that time, should I try Mabel's? Or should I move the Indian lunch to this day and try the King's Cross location of Dishoom (in which case I need a different recommendation for Weds. lunch, maybe something like a proper tea, but on the early side, since I'll be eating dinner early pre-theatre?)
- Dinner reservation at Ottolenghi at 7:15

SAT
- need a good brunch option near the hotel (Paddington/Marylebone); have seen recommendations for Cocomaya, Grazing Goat, Providores, and Borough Barista. I'd like to be able to lounge here for a bit and really fill up so that I'm not trying to squeeze two meals in before my flight (e.g. a true brunch, combining breakfast and lunch). Which of those -- or what other option -- might be the best fit bearing in mind my dietary preferences? Again I will be with a girlfriend.
- leave for airport around 2pm

Incidentally I will also be in Cambridge earlier in the week, attending an all-day conference on both Monday and Tuesday, staying on campus. Any fantastic (and walkable) early-morning cafe suggestions or do-not-miss (also walkable) dinner suggestions for medium-sized groups (will likely pick up stray colleagues in my field) would also be appreciated.

I apologize for being so needy, and I swear I have done tons of research already, it's just so hard to plan this particular trip itinerary given the time constraints!

THANK YOU in advance for your help!!

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