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Quick London Report

The Turtle (Bay) Dove | Jun 22, 2005 03:18 PM

I was just in London for a few days and didn't make it most of the restaurants on my list, but did have some enjoyable meals thanks to Chowhound!

Good:
1) At Borough Market, I wished I was there with many people or was capable of eating more because much more I'd like to have tried, but definitely enjoyed the chorizo sandwich from the Brindisa Stand, the grilled scallops from the guy right next to Southwark Cathedral, and the dry cider topped with lemonade nearthe pub on the Southwark Cathedral side. I also bought some delicious strawberries (cheaper and better than what I've gotten at the Greenmarket in NY so far this year) and some really good preserves from a stand that said they were only there every other Friday. Of course, I got some cheese from Neal's Yard too! I could spend all day in that store. Some stands were up and running by 11:30 on a Friday, but the market didn't really get going until noon, when it immediately became packed wall to wall with people (it couldn't have helped that Time Out London had just done a story on it that week).

2) C&R Malaysian - squid with petai was excellent. The fish cakes were flavorful but very rubbery and so not as much to our taste. Very good peanut sauce on the gado-gado. Sitting in the very hot basement was just a touch less enjoyable!

3) Simurgh - very pretty room! A belly dancer come out briefly at one point, which I can never decide if I find to be a plus or a minus in a restaurant. I think I generally find Persian food a bit too sweet for my taste, but it was still good. We had: an eggplant dip appetizer, duck skewers with orange rice (the duck was good, the rice was too orange-y for us), and lamb with lime stew with dill rice, sour cherry rice, and plain rice. The stew was good, not great, but the sour cherry rice was very good.

4) Fish restaurant by Borough Market. Ate lunch there outside on a Sunday afternoon. Menu, with all of its politically correct asides kept us amused, but the fish was very fresh and tasty (sea bream with salsa verde for me, plaice with spicy salsa for my bf) and the bok choy it was served with was particularly good.

5) Samuel Smith's at Ye Old Chesire Cheese! Besides, that, though, I barely spend any time in pubs, which I certainly regret, as I definitely did NOT get my fill of good beer. It was the perfect weather for Pimm's though, which we had other places and very much enjoyed.

6) Discovered I could have a quick breakfast by getting the bottled yogurt smothies from Marks&Spencer, which unlike most of the same genre in the US, were not absurdly sweet (a touch sweet - lots of apple juice, but not unbearably so) nor loaded with things besides fruit and yogurt.

Indifferent
1) Great Eastern Dining Room - asian fusion in the City. Looked like some dishes were better than what I had, swordfish in banana leaf. Fried squid appetizer was good, and some others had an appetizer with betel leaf that looked really interesting.

2) The two coffee chains that, along with Starbucks, seem to be EVERYWHERE now are Costa and Nero. I thought Nero was better, FWIW.

3) In order to sit outside at a bar on Leicester Square (All Bar One or some such thing?), we ordered some snacks - a duck quesedilla thing and hummus - both of which were actually pretty good. Waiters remarkable incompetent (we actually had ordered different food, but finally took what came).

Bad
1) For various reasons, ended up wandering into random place in Chinatown for dinner. I think we ended up at the Feng Shui Inn. The food was edible only because it was so tasteless as to be innocuous. Yuck.

2) Chicken, leek, ham pie at Square Pie Company in Selfridge's. I should have known better, and I know I could have done much better at Selfridge's, but I was in a state where Chowhound instincts got submerged under exhaustion and hunger. Quite unfortunate. Yuck.

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