On the fifth day of our trip, since EC and her husband went back to work, G and I continued our exploration. There were many different markets in London that you can check out – all depends on your preference (or expertise). Spitalfields Market (Liverpool St. station), Borough Market (London Bridge station), Camden Market (Camden Town station), Broadway Market (Bethnal Green station), Flower Market (Old st. or Bethnal Green station).
Due to the time constraint, we could only visit one or maximum two markets. So we picked the Portobello Market. The weather was good. We took the tube to Notting Hill Gate station. Came out of the station and followed the signs, we walked down the street to the market. On our way, we saw a few vintage stores. However, according to G, who’s our semi-vintage expert now, most of the items were quite expensive – overpriced – same as many other things in London. Nevertheless, I love the market. I guess once you’ve looked at the same types of stores again and again (like any mall in Toronto), you’ll definitely appreciate the independent stores. And after this trip, I find myself more in love with old stuffs – vintage – so they call it. Many of them are of good quality and unique.
At the market, you are given a lot of selections – you can buy fruits and vegetables, everything new vs. everything vintage, everything useful vs. everything nonsense.
After 4-5 days, G and I were craving for fruits. So we bought a few nectarines. Although they were a bit sour – it was still good. Walking down the street… we saw an old man with a dog. He started chatting with us and asked us where we were from and this and that… G, the dog-lover, went crazy again (lol). Then the old man started talking about history and we left.
We walked by a few deli/cafe, they were however not very special, and we wanted something more than that. Finally… we saw this restarant, S & M Cafe, at the end of the street. After checking out its menu, we gave it a try.
When we went in there, I think we were one of the few customers. The staffs were ok-friendly. So we sat down at one of the tables. The place looked like a family restaurant with the red-white checker table cloth and lots of pictures on the wall.
After checking out their menu as well as the special on the blackboard… Here’s what we ordered: Basically, an English breakfast combo.
After lunch, we tubed to the next station to check out the Mayfair area… Lots of high-end designer stores, jewellery shops, expensive cars. Nothing I could afford… or that I would like to spend a fortune on. Walking down the street – it seemed that I could smell the expensive-ness. One of the less expensive stores might be Vivienne Westwood. We just walked by since we were to lazy to ring the bell to get in. Yes, the door was locked and we were supposed to ring the bell. We also checked out the Mulberry store, as well as the Paul Smith Sale Shop – I wouldn’t say that was a good hunt though. London is very nice in a sense that everything’s almost within walking distance.
Walking, walking and keep walking… We came to the (more affordable) shopping area, Oxford Street, where the Selfridges is located. Yeee… WC.1 – I wish we had something like this in Toronto (or there’s already such place and I just didn’t notice). For at least as one pound, you can use the very nice lady’s room. And for a few more pounds… you can use other services. In case you are in a rush to the next date, this is a very good place to go and touch up your makeup or to enjoy manicure/makeover, etc. Indulge yourselves, ladies.
In London, of course we also checked out Harrod’s. The first time I went there, I bought a lot of cookies and sweets and souvenirs from there. But this time, I wouldn’t fall into this tourist trap. The security used a not-so-friendly tone to ask me to hand carry my backpack. I totally understood where he was coming from – but… his tone was a bit unfriendly.
Try to enjoy life whenever possible. Think about the positive side even in a not-so-good situation. In Chinese – be a bit “ar Q” never hurts.
When we were in Harrod’s, G and I decided to treat ourselves and went to Ladurée – the French tearoom from Paris. Their signature macaron was a must try. They came in many different flavour – Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, Rose petal, Pistachio, Salted butter Caramel, Cherry amaretto, Raspberry, Orange blossom, Mint, Coconut, Chestnut, etc. We got the minimum order, which is about 8 pieces. We didn’t eat it until we got home at night and shared it with everyone. To be honest, I find them really sweet, but they are good with English tea. And I loved the Rose Petal one (eww… suddenly that makes me think of the rose petal that MR and I chewed on last nite -_-) I guess, if you are sitting in the tearoom enjoying the cakes and macarons, the feeling would be quite different. But to me, I still like to bring it back and share with others. It’s more relaxing and merry when things are shared.
After walking for a whole afternoon, G and I became hungry again. Even though we were going to eat with EC, we couldn’t help going into this Yo Sushi to get some food. After this trip, I found that G has become a bigger eater in the past 10 years. She can really eat! Gosh… I wonder what would happen if we were in the same city. We’d become two big fat ladies.
Finally, EC got off work and we headed to the next stop – Indian food, a time-honoured London experience. We went to the New Tayyab (Whitechapel station), one of the finest Punjabi restaurant. When we arrived, it was about 6:30ish. The place was quite empty. I thought “Hummm this is it?” But we went in anyway. It was a bit strange since we were the only few female in the whole restaurant.
After looking at the menu, we still couldn’t decide what to order. While eating there, we also saw a lot of pictures and autographs on the wall. It seemed that famous people from all around the world have come to this place before.
The waiter helped us out and quickly ordered 3 main dishes and 1 sizzling plate + tasty naan breads for us. The food was very good. When we left, we finally noticed the FULLHOUSE and LINEUP outside the restaurant. OMG. I was glad that we arrived early, and it was a good choice. Not expensive but good food.
We then went to the Town of London, walked around…