London is full of amazing places to eat. Trying to fit all the restaurants, cafes or food stalls I had seen over the years provided a bit of a challenge, but I narrowed it down to a shortlist. Some of my favourite places to eat were Sketch, Burger and Lobster, Hinds Head in Bray and of course, Afternoon Tea at The Ritz was amazing.
I was originally drawn to Sketch after seeing their amazing decor on Instagram, and they did not disappoint! The room designs and the colours are as vivid in person as they are online. I would suggest booking in advance, I did not, as I underestimated how busy they would be. However, they could find a table for us in the Parlour and allowed us to walk around each room and take photos (I’m guessing I’m not the first person to visit for the decor). I ordered Assam Breakfast tea and a Vanilla/Blackcurrant Tart; I loved both. The tea was delicious; I love tea but am far from a tea connoisseur so that’s as good a description as I can give you right now, but if you love English breakfast, I’m sure you’ll love the Assam Breakfast. The tart was perfect! Not what I was expecting at all, but that’s Sketch really, full of delightful surprises. The tart had a delicious crunchy biscuit base with a layer of blackcurrant compote and covered in vanilla crème bruleè, which was a smooth, sticky icing that tied the ingredients together perfectly. I would definitely recommend adding this to your must-try list.
Another Instagram find was Burger and Lobster. I was hunting for a good Lobster roll as it’s not readily available back home, so after some hashtag searches, I found these guys and their food looked delicious. Of course, the food looked Instagram worthy when I received my lobster roll, but the taste, my gosh! I miss it; I want it, and they need to open in Australia!! The Lobster tasted fresh with a creamy sauce, served on a brioche bun with fries and salad as sides and some extra sauce. It all worked so well together. Check out the photo on my Instagram which also has a link to Burger and Lobster if you want to see more (Warning: I hold no responsibility for the mouth-watering craving you won’t be able to fix unless to live near a restaurant location, view at your own risk).
The Hinds Head, in Bray, is a Michelin star pub & restaurant owned by Heston Blumenthal. After missing out on the much sought after Fat Duck reservation, I looked through the rest of Heston’s website and found he owned the Hinds Head, which is next door to the Fat Duck. So naturally, I booked a table. Bray is easily accessible by train from London, so getting there and back was easy. Walking into the pub, I could tell it was going to be a winner. The low ceilings, wooden beams and vintage cottage decor set the tone for the authentic British menu we were about to see. For entrée I ordered the pea and ham soup, for main: chicken, ham and leek pie with wholegrain mustard cream and new potatoes and for dessert Cheesecake with raspberry and biscuit ice cream. All were delicious, and the service was fantastic. It was everything I had hoped I would experience and was a great budget option for those wanting a taste of the Heston experience.
I am an avid Afternoon Tea (High Tea) enthusiast, so for many years now, Afternoon Tea at The Ritz has been very high on my ‘must’ list. So what better time to visit the Ritz then on my birthday! Everything about the Ritz is glitz and glamour, and their Afternoon Tea is no different. Greeted at the entrance and shown to our table where the server offered to take our photo (I guess pulling our camera’s out as soon as we sat down was a bit of a giveaway of our enthusiasm). They then presented us with the menu of the day. I chose the Ritz Royal English tea as this is my go-to favourite, but they had a lovely selection if you’re more adventurous than me. They then brought out the food on a beautiful stand with 3 tiers. There was a selection of finger sandwiches, scones and small desserts. Once a plate was finished, they refilled the tier with the same selection of delicious food. I’m not sure how often they refill as we only finished one plate of sandwiches and one plate of the desserts. Everything was of high quality, and the servers were very attentive. I found the price particularly reasonable and would return.
The thing these four restaurants have in common is they all consider the whole dining experience. They all had themes that flowed from the interior design through to the menu seamlessly, the service from their staff was professional and friendly and the food was delicious. While each restaurant varies in price, the quality did not, and that’s how I knew they were all people who enjoyed what they did, so it was inevitable I walked away enjoying my experience. I look forward to returning and seeing what else London offers and return to the places I loved.