22 August 2014
Comments: 0
22 August 2014, Comments: 0

Part 1 of a 2-part series on London pubs, restaurants and other foodie spots.
Watch for part 2.

This July, I went to my daughter’s graduation in London, England. It was fabulous. I’m so proud of her! But, I’ll spare you the many grad pictures. (I have to say the mortar board toss shot was pretty good though.) 

During my three-week visit, Brianna and I enjoyed a lot of very cool pubs, restaurants and foodie markets in London, Egham and Brighton. (I even had an amazing cocktail in a secret bar – it helps to have a local show you ‘round.) 

In case some of you might be planning a trip to London, I thought a photo gallery with captions and website links (in bold ) would be fun. Hope you enjoy scrolling through it. 

Feel free to use the comments section if you have a question about any of these places. 

1.	There really is a pub on just about every corner in London, although many have now become part of larger corporations.  It was harder for me to find the independent pubs.  Here’s <strong> <a href="http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/anchor-bankside-southwark/p0977/" target="_blank">The Anchor Bankside.</a> </strong>  According to the “Since 1615” on the wall outside, it will be 400 years old next year, although a <strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_Bankside
" target="_blank">Wikipedia article</a> </strong> talks of more history than that even.  I picked this pub over many others to start with since it is the pub where I was introduced to people drinking on the street outside the pub – for blocks on a warm Friday night in July!  

2.	So, here it is, first time drinking on the street with my daughter Brianna.  We wandered away from the pub and were enjoying our pints of cider (in plastic glasses) on the <strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Bridge,_London" target="_blank">Millennium Bridge</a> </strong> of all places, so, I just had to have a selfie!  Cheers!

3.	From the Millennium Bridge, Brianna and I were headed to Blackfriars Lane, near St. Paul’s Cathedral, for an eight-course cava tapas pairing dinner at <strong> <a target="_blank" href="http://cava.co.uk/">Copa De Cava.</a> </strong>  The selection of cavas and tapas were all fantastic!

4.	Here’s a shot of the tasting menu in case you want an idea of what is part of this set tasting menu they offer regularly.  (Check out this <strong> <a href="http://cava.co.uk/tapas/tasting-menu/" target="_blank">link to their website</a> </strong> for a clearer image.)  I would recommend this tasting menu for a spectacular evening out.  But make sure you are not rushing off to the theatre or something after – it took three hours that night since it was a little busy there.

5.	Brianna and I spent quite a bit of time around the <strong> <a href="http://wikitravel.org/en/London/South_Bank" target="_blank">South Bank.</a> </strong>  There’s so much you can do there including theatres, museums, galleries, markets and touristy things, but it is also just a great place to walk around, enjoy some restaurants, pubs and people watch!  I also like the "dolphin lamps" and this <strong> <a href="http://memoirsofametrogirl.com/2013/02/25/dolphin-lamps-on-thames-embankment-history/" target="_blank">blog</a> </strong> about their history.    

6.	<strong> <a href="http://www.wahaca.co.uk/locations/southbank/" target="_blank">Wahaca</a> </strong> is a great Mexican restaurant with several locations.  The South Bank one has been constructed using a variety of railway cars.  I have the Wahaca cookbook and have blogged about a family Mexican feast Brianna and I prepared using it.   Brianna and I shared a lot of starter/small plate type things and a flight of tequila!

7.	Also on the South Bank, and right on the River Thames, the <strong> <a href="http://www.foundersarms.co.uk/" target="_blank">Founder’s Arms</a> </strong> is a great place for a pint and appies or an informal dinner.  I couldn't resist a shot of some fun signage at the bar – like most pubs, the bars are self-service.  Lineups can get four people deep at these popular spots so I had time to get my phone out.  

8.	<strong> <a href="http://www.beatone.co.uk/" target="_blank">Be at One</a> </strong> is a chain of cocktails bars and they have 2 for 1 Happy Hours.  Brianna and her cousin David and I visited the one in Spitalfields near the Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane Market.    (Part two of this blog will have more about the markets around London we visited.)  The weather was so unseasonably warm while I was in London that we always sat outside.

9.	After a few cocktails, we were hungry and decided to try out a nearby place called <strong> <a href="http://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com/home" target="_blank">The Breakfast Club.</a> </strong>  We enjoyed our meals - David’s Cow vs Pig Burger (topped with pulled pork) looked great, but alas, they had no gluten-free buns.  Though, I think the best part had to be when Brianna explained that the fridge on the wall behind us was actually a door to a secret bar.  You need a password – which of course I can’t make public!    

10.	But, since there seems to be other info about this “secret” bar called <strong> <a href="http://www.themayorofscaredycattown.com/" target="_blank">The Mayor of Scary Cat Town</a> </strong> on the web, here’s the cocktail I had.  Peat-Nut Butter Cup: Four Roses bourbon, Advocaat, Mozart dark chocolate, Liqueur 43, peanut butter, Laphroaig spray.  I loved it when the bartender generously misted my glass with <strong> <a href="http://www.laphroaig.com/" target="_blank">Laphroaig</a> </strong> at the table - the smoky aroma!  

11.	One of the most interesting bars in London is the on-stage bar for <strong> <a href="http://www.oncemusical.co.uk/" target="_blank">Once,</a> </strong> playing at the beautiful <strong> <a href="http://www.phoenixtheatrelondon.co.uk/" target="_blank">Phoenix Theatre.</a> </strong>   The set for this musical play is an Irish pub and before the show you are invited on stage to buy a drink.  The actors join you and start singing Irish pub songs around the piano.  After you are invited to take your drink to your seat, the actors continue to play music and the show starts with the first song blending seamlessly.  Brilliant intimate theatre.  I loved the play.   The mirrors are used so well in capturing what is going on from different viewpoints.

12.	<strong> <a href="http://www.gordonswinebar.com/default.php" target="_blank">Gordon’s Wine Bar</a> </strong> is the oldest wine bar in London.  It’s just over the <strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungerford_Bridge_and_Golden_Jubilee_Bridges" target="_blank">Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges</a> </strong> from the South Bank. I loved the atmosphere and the wine list.  The atmosphere inside is quite different to the atmosphere in the large outdoor area with green umbrellas along <strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Embankment_Gardens" target="_blank">Victoria Embankment Gardens,</a> </strong> but both are full of lively people enjoying great wine and friendship.  

13.	<strong> <a href="http://www.themapleleaflondon.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Maple Leaf</a> </strong> is a Canadian-themed pub on Maiden Lane in <strong> <a href="http://www.coventgardenlondonuk.com/" target="_blank">Covent Garden.</a> </strong>  Brianna worked at this pub for several years while she was going to Uni.  They have been able to bring in a selection of Canadian beers which currently includes Sleeman on tap and Moosehead in bottles.  And yes, poutine is on the menu and most often hockey is on the TV screens.  

14.	Just around the corner on Saint Martin’s Lane is <strong> <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g186338-d1043994-r121921119-Chandos-London_England.html" target="_blank">The Chandos</a> </strong> - a pub that serves only <strong> <a href="http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/" target="_blank">Samuel Smith products</a> </strong> – and I mean everything – beer, spirits, even the bags of potato chips (or crisps as they call them in Britain).

15.	Even though <strong> <a href="http://www.lepainquotidien.co.uk/" target="_blank">Le Pain Quotidien</a> </strong> is a wonderful bakery restaurant with beautiful breads, they did have a few gluten-free options for me.  I noticed several locations around London, and from the website I now understand they are worldwide.  I visited the Covent Garden one.  It was another lovely day and most people were sitting outside or near the large open doors, so, this great communal table upstairs was not being used much.  But, a nice spot for another day.  

16.	One night before a show, Brianna and I enjoyed some super Thai appies and cocktails at <strong> <a href="http://www.suda-thai.com/the-restaurant/" target="_blank">Suda Thai Café & Restaurant</a></strong>  on <strong> <a href="http://www.stmartinscourtyard.co.uk/" target="_blank">St. Martin’s Courtyard.</a> </strong>   I really enjoyed these GF options for a light snack. The menu looked very interesting for another visit and dinner.

17.	So, as I mentioned earlier, you can drink anywhere outside in London.  Even the parks.  And even – although I was told you actually are not supposed to – on the commuter trains and The Tube.  Here’s a shot of a bench I enjoyed for an afternoon read after using Brianna's bike for a ride in the Valley Gardens, part of <strong> <a href="http://www.windsor.gov.uk/things-to-do/windsor-great-park-p236491" target="_blank">Windsor Great Park.</a> </strong>  This is in Egham (not far from Windsor Castle), where Brianna went to University.  (Yes, there is some cheese and a half bottle of wine in that back pack!)

18.	This is one of the views I enjoyed from my bench, I don’t think I really got much reading done that day.  Later, I’m pretty sure I saw a couple get engaged just a little farther away in the big valley of the lovely <strong> <a href="http://www.theroyallandscape.co.uk/gardens-and-landscape/the-valley-gardens/" target="_blank">Valley Gardens!</a></strong>  I’m sure they had a whole bottle of wine in their picnic basket.  

19.	The <strong> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savill_Garden" target="_blank">Savill Gardens </a> </strong> are another beautiful section of the 4,800 acre <strong>  <a href="http://www.windsor.gov.uk/things-to-do/windsor-great-park-p236491" target="_blank">Winsdor Great Park. </a> </strong>  One day, after a bike ride around the Virginia Waters I stopped at the <strong>   <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savill_Building" target="_blank">Savill Building</a> </strong> for a nice salmon lunch and looked around the gift shop and little gallery.  The roof of the building is amazing.  

20.	Oh I know I said I wouldn't but what the hell…  Here’s the mortar board toss photo from Brianna’s graduation day at Royal Holloway.  Way to go Brianna!  (And yes <strong><a href="https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/home.aspx" target="_blank"> Royal Holloway</a></strong>  does kind of look like Hogwarts!)
1. There really is a pub on just about every corner in London, although many have now become part of larger corporations. It was harder for me to find the independent pubs. Here’s The Anchor Bankside. According to the “Since 1615” on the wall outside, it will be 400 years old next year, although a Wikipedia article talks of more history than that even. I picked this pub over many others to start with since it is the pub where I was introduced to people drinking on the street outside the pub – for blocks on a warm Friday night in July!


Hi – My name is David Middleton. I work at Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton, Alberta and I’m passionate about sharing good food, wine and music. My Friday afternoon ritual is the highlight of my week! Here’s how it goes: • pick out a cool recipe • pair with a nice bottle of wine • mix some new music – I make a lot of playlists in iTunes! • set out my mise en place and start cookin’ Hope you enjoy!

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