As the nights draw just that little bit longer, schools return from the long break and you can almost smell it in the air. Autumn is just around the corner. The cases are starting to be packed back away under the stairs, bed or in the garage...or in my case they are standing in my spare room waiting for the next adventure. You know me, Judith Chalmers eat your heart out! As you do that you might be wondering, how long until the next break? Maybe you are even already sneakily thinking about the next window of respite, perhaps a weekend away with your other half or a girly trip to have a break from the norm.
If you are, and even if you are not, I've got the ideal suggestion for those of you reading this from the UK, and perhaps a few here in the Emirates too. A weekend in London. A few weeks ago Matt and I spent a fantastic long weekend in London. Shortly I will come onto some ideas based on the excellent things that we experience there. But while we were there I also experienced a feeling that is perhaps one of the first signs of really feeling my age.
On our London weekend we were lucky enough to dine at some of the most amazing restaurants; drink at exclusive bars and shop with the very best of them. At the ripe old age of my mid-late thirties, after years of working hard, finally the budget was there. Yes, the budget to allow you to experience all of the things that as a 25 year old you could only dream of. It's all looking promising, right? As we headed out to a late dinner on our third consecutive night, off the back of drinks, and a lunch engagement earlier that day, I felt totally exhausted. What was becoming apparent was that my budget having caught up, my stamina was lagging some way behind.
Was this a case of Lambrini longevity on a champagne budget?
I have not quite pondered long enough yet to know the answer to that question. So in the meantime these wonderful London experiences can be done all together, as we did, or one at a time. Either way, they were all on our bucket list and they were all excellent.
The name is, well, ordinary. The place is outstanding - from the food to the onyx encrusted Frank Gehry touched decor - if not a little over the top. But who cares. This is bucket-list time. Many a review has been written about this celeb spotter's paradise of a Japanese fusion eatery. Nsetled at the south eastern corner of Mayfair's Berkeley, Square, the location is simply outstanding. All sorts, from Kate Moss to David Cameron apparently have dined here. When we graced Sexy Fish, it was just your immac lifers and a swathe of nameless London's elite, well to us anyway. The food is fairly typical but superbly executed modern Asian fusion. Loads of Japanese robata (essentially meat flavoured sticks), miso cod, etc. After a few hours on our table, and after much protest we retired to the bar area which is also suitably immac. Everyone should people watch at Sexy Fish at least once.
Bob Bob Ricard
Located within ground zero Soho, this is a bustling location for a fairly over the top art-deco inspired brasserie. The drinks are very good; and so is the food. But what I loved most about this place is the novel "champagne button". Yes, you heard right, a champagne button. One push of the button and the friendly waiting staff are quickly on hand with your favourite bottle of French fizz. What a quirky idea. And what about the name, you ask? Well, so did we. Two investors, Bob and Richard. Bob put in two-thirds of the capital so got his name there twice. Richard sounded better, or more posh, as Ricard. Bob Bob Ricard was born, and it is so worth the visit. Check out my video on instagram @PIPERRYAN.
What can I say. This is a London legend. Situated on Mount Street in Mayfair, this institution is outstanding. From the moment you arrive at door of this "clubby" dining room where you greeted on the street by doormen as you step out of your cab, to the moment you leave, you can only love this place. Scott's seems to get its fair share of celebrity visibility - refer to the now famous Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi's spat in 2014 - but it does not take away from the class of the place. On the menu protein is king with loads of red meat and fish. If you want somewhere to celebrate a special or memorable occasion, go here.
Corner Restaurant and Champagne Bar
I love this place. In fact so much, that I have been twice in very recent times. It is the perfect spot if you want to while away an afternoon or break up a Selfridges shop-a-thon. Perched on the fourth floor of my favourite department store (Selfridges), they do excellent "Skinny" champagne and the food is top shelf.
Hakkasan - Mayfair
When Hakkasan opened its Mayfair restaurant 2010 it was an instant hit and the perfect compliment to the original London offering. And now 6 years on, it retains a Michelin star and is still heaving. The hidden gem at Hakkasan, at least in my opinion, is the bar. The bar tenders are attentive and know exactly what they are doing. So if you go, be sure to arrive early and try an impeccably executed cocktail before dinner.
Those are my London bucket list eating recommendations. There are places in London with more Michelin stars. Places run by celeb chefs. All sorts of places. But these places each have that special something; that special sauce, for a time and a place, which makes each of them uniquely immac. Do them one at a time. Do them all together like we did. Either way none will disappoint.
And as I write this I realise that doing all of these things together would test even the most hardy party animal, leaving them feeling more like Paul Gasgoine and less like Paula Radcliffe...although there was that incident where even she was caught short on the streets of London.
Love, Piper x