Inside the New Yurt Cafe at Limehouse

 

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It’s not everyday that a yurt suddenly appears down the street from your flat, but that’s precisely what happened earlier this week here in my neighbourhood of Limehouse.

My boyfriend alerted me Wednesday morning that free coffee vouchers were being given away at the front of Limehouse station. When I did some investigating, not only did I learned that there was a new coffee shop (inside a yurt) coming to the neighbourhood, but this was in fact all a part of a much greater development project by St. Katharine’s Precinct.

The whole idea behind the project (I think) is to bridge the awkward stretch of no-man’s land between Limehouse and Wapping/St. Katharine’s Dock. The Yurt Cafe, which is housed inside a genuine yurt, just opened a few days ago and I have to say I was pretty impressed.

Yurt_Cafe_Menu

Limehouse doesn’t have a great cafe scene. In fact, it doesn’t really have a lot going on — the area around Limehouse Basin is almost entirely comprised of residential units. So the fact that a little cafe has just opened up within a block of the basin is a pretty big deal to us locals.

The Yurt Cafe looks small on the outside, but the inside is pretty roomy. The cafe features that ‘upcycled’ look that’s so en vogue these days. There’s a little fireplace in there, as well as plenty of seating across a large open space. In addition to a range of coffees and teas, the cafe serves breakfast and lunch foods. When we visited yesterday we opted for two lattes, one lemon polenta cake, and one vegetable quiche. It took a little time for the food to come out, but everything was delicious.

Yurt_Cafe_Fireplace

Going forward I’ll definitely be popping over a few times a week to grab a quick takeaway lunch here. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, I definitely recommend stopping by — even if it’s just to check out the yurt!

Top 5 Places to Celebrate Thanksgiving in London

 
Thanksgiving in London

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/

When I was a kid the 3.5 weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving couldn’t seem further apart. Now that I’m an adult, the whole month of November seems to fly by.

Time is relative, after all.

Anyways, I suppose it is that time of the year when those of us who indulge in the Thanksgiving tradition need to start thinking about what we’re going to do for the holiday. Over here in London, there are actually quite a few places to chow down on turkey, stuffing, and all the fixin’s.

Keep it Classy and Traditional with the Benjamin Franklin House

Thanksgiving in London

Image Source: http://www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org

The Benjamin Franklin House is hosting a traditional Thanksgiving feast- complete with turkey, stuffing, veggies, and pumpkin pie – on the evening of 26 November at the beautiful Clothworker’s Hall in central London. It’s a little pricey at £80/Adult and £45/child, but all proceeds go to supporting the Benjamin Franklin House here in London town. For more info, click here.

Have a Hipster Thanksgiving at the Breakfast Club

If traditional isn’t your thing, then you might want to take a look at what the Breakfast Club is offering this Thanksgiving. The faux American diner is cooking up a Turkey Day menu on 26 November at all its outlets across the city. Some sample dishes include spicy pumpkin soup and baked kale mac n cheese. At £28, it’s one of the cheaper deals in town. For more info, click here.

Enjoy a Traditional Thanksgiving for Less at Bodean’s

Bodean’s sets the standard for American BBQ in London, so it’s only fitting that they serve up a traditional Thanksgiving meal every year. Each of its branches are offering turkey, ham, and all the trimming for a very reasonable £23.95/person. Find the branch closest to you and book ahead – seats fill up quickly!

Tuck into Lobster at a Louisiana Style Thanksgiving with the Big Easy

If you’re in the mood for pit smoked turkey with a heaping side of Lobster, then you’ll want to head on over to the Big Easy on 26 November. Their £30/person Turkey Day menu (+£10 for Lobster) also includes homemade pumpkin pie. Mmmmmm. Click here for more info.

Have a Posh Turkey Day at Christopher’s Grill

This celebrated American establishment in Covent Garden is offering up a delectable Turkey Day menu for £55/person. The menu includes lots of fancy stuff, like goat cheese soufflé, roast corn and chorizo chowder, and pear and almond cobbler. Far from traditional, but it might appeal to the sophisticated side of your palate. Click here for more info.

Can I be honest with all of you for a moment?

I don’t really have the time to list ALL the restaurants offering a Thanksgiving menu – I tried to highlight a wide range of options above, but there are a lot I missed. Here’s a list of other places to chow down on Turkey on 26 November.

Honourable Mentions

The Narrow (see menu here)

Beas of Bloomsbury (takeaway only – see menu here)

Villandry

The Diner

Porky’s

Balthazar London

Tips on Surviving London for Students on a Budget

 
Kensington

London

My undergraduate days may be long behind me (perhaps longer than I’d like to admit!), but I feel for you students out there. Studying in London, whether you’re coming from abroad or another part of the UK, is super super super exciting.

There’s just one problem: London is also happens to be super super super expensive.

It’s a tough enough place to afford as a working professional, so I can only imagine how daunting it is as a student.

But there’s no need to fear future scholars, Girl in London is here to help.

Here is a pretty comprehensive collection of cash-saving tips for living (and enjoying!) London that I’ve picked up over the last five years:

Continue reading

The Ultimate Foodie Experience is Coming to London

 

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Attention all foodies! There is a one-of-a-kind culinary event coming to London.

Barclays Bespoke Offers and gastronomic geniuses Bompas & Parr have come together to create the 200 Club, an exclusive (and unprecedented) 24-hour gourmet dining experience with the longest tasting menu in the world consisting of 200 separate courses served over 24 hours, and with 10 colour-themed meals.

The Details

Diners of the 200 Club will be treated to dishes prepared by eight top chefs. Each meal will consist of 20 bite-sized courses tied to a colour theme. Here are a few examples:

Yellow Breakfast: A morning repast that zings with citrus, caffeine and craft. This culinary explosion will hybridize flavours of the East and West in a high-energy, high-end display of homely food love.

White Elevenses: A British tradition bejewelled in surreal sparkle. Expect custards, shortbread, quiches, clouds of confection sugar and a dreamy sweet vision of the classic treats.

Green Lunch: This meal will be a rustic yet refined version of the garden snacking of yore. Look forward to leafy eating including the freshest greens, meats and cheeses, plus a procession of fluorescent jellies.

Blue Afternoon Snack: A powerhouse of flavour for the lazy hours of the day. Taste an otherworldly array of vibrant and dusty turquoises in the form of naturally tinted roots and skilfully prepared fish.

Bespoke Offers_200 Courses (9)

I think it’s safe to say that the 200 Club is going to be the foodie event of the year!

The Venue

The Factory in Bermondsey, London

When

8AM, 3 September to 8AM, 4 September

Tickets

The 200 Club is offering two types of tickets to this event, but they’re going quickly so you’ll have to act fast!

  1. Ultimate dining experience for two

Treat yourself and a friend to the ultimate dining experience and take part in the entire 24-hour event!

  1. 10 meals sampling experience

From just £49 you can take part in this unprecedented event and enjoy one 20-course meal along with a carafe of wine or two beers.

(This post has been sponsored by Bespoke Offers, but all opinions are my own)

 

 

Fish and Chips with a Side of History at the Mayflower Pub

 
Mayflower Pub

The Mayflower Pub

Historic pubs in London are a dime a dozen, but there’s one in particular that I know will appeal to my fellow Americans. The name kind of says it all for The Mayflower Pub. Nestled in a quiet little corner of Rotherhithe Village, this unassuming public house is thought to mark the site where the famous The Mayflower ship was moored before heading off to Plymouth, and eventually America.

Despite the fact that the pilgrims who made the harrowing journey aboard The Mayflower were English separatists, this bit of history is a point of pride in Rotherhithe. The Mayflower’s captain Christopher Jones is buried just a few blocks from the pub and there is even a statue (albeit a horrific looking one) erected in his honour.

Christopher Jones Statue

Christopher Jones Statue

The pub’s history dates back to 1550, and Christopher Jones would have known it as The Shippe Pub. It’s since changed hands several times and was renamed the Spread Eagle in 1780. It’s been operating in its current incarnation as The Mayflower since the 1950s and offers a unique slice of both British and American history.

Today The Mayflower plays up its special connection with America. Photos of ships and other nautical-themed trinkets line the walls and you can even buy American stamps from the bar. Outside the deck, which hovers precariously over the lapping waters of the Thames, an American flag flies side-by-side with the Union Jack.

American flag with a view of the City of London in the background

Inside The Mayflower is pretty standard for a pub of its age. You can tell its dark wooden benches have seen their fair share of patrons over the decades (if not centuries) and a big, welcoming brick fireplace sits off in the corner. The crowded bar lined with draft ales is the centrepiece of the pub and a series of creaky steps leads to an upstairs dining room.

View of the Mayflower Pub bar

Mayflower Pub bar

Interior of the Mayflower Pub

Interior of the Mayflower Pub

With it being such a nice day outside I opted for a table out on the deck. From here you could see The City of London in the distance, although it felt a world away from this quiet corner of Rotherhithe. The food at The Mayflower is standard pub fare. I had the fish and chips, and my boyfriend chose the burger. Both were fine, but then again we weren’t really there for the food.

Having a pint on the deck

Fish and Chips

While The Mayflower may be a bit guilty of cashing in on its unique heritage, it’s still a proper pub. The atmosphere here is better than what you would find in most pubs around Central London, particularly those within a stone’s throw from popular tourist attractions.

Visiting The Mayflower

If you’re an American history nut and happen to be visiting London, then this is the place to sit back and have a pint. If you do intend to visit, I recommend making a reservation at least a few days in advance. The Mayflower sits right on the Thames, about a 2-minute walk from Rotherhithe Overground Station.

For tourists, I would suggest you visit the Tower of London and/or Tower Bridge in the morning, then head to The Mayflower for lunch. To get there, take the DLR from Tower Gateway to Shadwell. From Shadwell, take the Overground south two stops to Rotherhithe. The total journey time should be around 15 minutes.

Sunday Brunchin’ … East London Style

 

Why hello there! It’s been a while!

I’ve just returned from a fantabulous Christmas break and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but all that will have to wait until I’m all caught up with work, life, and all that pesky stuff in between.

I got back on Friday night, which happened to be New Year’s Day, and this weekend has been a tornado of unpacking and preparing for my next adventure. After a whirlwind Saturday I woke up late today, as one does on a lazy Sunday, and popped out the door to visit the tried and true Sunday Upmarket on Brick Lane. For the uninitiated, the Upmarket is very stereotypical East London – hipster, artsy, and in the throws of gentrification. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that it’s a great place to grab a quick bite to eat.

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View opposite the Sunday Upmarket – there’s so much going on in this photo!

After two weeks of gorging on schnitzel, wurst, and all manner of potato dumplings and sauerkraut, the street stalls at the Sunday Upmarket were the perfect place for an ‘alternative’ sunday brunch. For our first course, I opted for a personal favourite of mine: Chinese-style pork buns. They’re 2 for £4.50 at the market and are perfect for snacking on as you browse the other stalls. Up next was the main event. Seeking something a little on the lighter side, I opted for Rollicious, a Vietnamese pop-up vendor that specialises in Vietnamese spring rolls.

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So many rolls to choose from . . .

Rollicious offers five different rolls, including a lamb and pomegranate roll that I was curious about, but too scared to try. Instead I went with the prawn and pork rolls, both of which were delicious. My other half went in a heartier direction and ordered a roll alongside a whole plate of rice noodles, salad, and pork.

vietnamese_food

Brunch is served!

So it may not have been gourmet eating, but it was quick, tasty, cheap (£10.30 for both dishes), and pretty healthy. A trip to the Sunday Upmarket, followed by a quick browse of Old Spitalfields before venturing across the City of London to Bank Station was the perfect way to get back in a London state of mind after what amounts to 25 days away from the city in the past month.

As I get caught up with everything over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for LOTS of new blog posts to come about my recent adventures on the continent (of Europe, that is)!

Bibimbapin’ in London

 

London is full of of great little restaurants. You just have to wade through all the bland chain eateries to find them. Don’t get me wrong, I do my fair share of popping into Pret when I get lazy, but usually each week I make it a point to try something different. Last week, after visiting Somerset House, I made my way to Fitzrovia to check out the new Bibimbap on Charlotte Street.

Named after the iconic Korean dish, Bibimbap is a cheery little restaurant with bright lights and a casual atmosphere. The walls are adorned with polaroid images and there’s plenty of K-pop pumping through the speakers to prepare you for the food to come.

Bibimbap

We arrived pretty early for dinner and were seated right away. I ordered the chilli squid and pork mandoo. The squid was a little on the rubbery side, but the mandoo was perfect – crispy on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside.  However, when you visit a restaurant called Bibimbap, it’s not the appetisers you’re after.

mandoo

Mandoo

The menu options here are pretty simple, which is great for those of us who aren’t too familiar with the cuisine. The mains are divided into rice dishes, noodles dishes, and bibimbap. As tempting as the rise dishes were, we both went with bibimbap (when in Rome, right?).

seafood_bibimbap

Seafood Bibimbap

Both steaming hot mains were served to us in a traditional stone bowl (hint: don’t touch it!!).  Bibimbaps are an all-in-one meal with rice, diced vegetables, and meat, topped off with a raw egg. The heat of the bowl cooks the eggs as you mix the ingredients around and the rice also becomes deliciously crispy.

Between the beef and the seafood, the beef was the real winner. It’s tender, it’s savoury, and blends perfectly with the rice and veggies to create the perfect cosy meal on a cold winter day. The seafood wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t have the same kick as the beef.

beef_bibimbap

Beef Bibimbap

At less than £9 per dish, it’s hard to beat Bibimbap in terms of affordability, especially considering it’s in the middle of Fitzrovia. If you’ve never tried Korean food before, this is a good place to start. It’s fast, it’s fresh, and it’s pretty darn tasty. You can try different sides and a main or two without breaking your budget.

So here’s the real question. Will I be back? Yes.