Route marching around London

Morning all !  I've one more post about the walks that I did with my friend, Jill, while she was staying with me. As per the previous two posts, Jill was in training to walk for a week on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.  She comes over from NZ every year for five years to do a week of the route and this is year two. 

Having done a day's route marching around Richmond Park (see post dated Tues 9 June) we decided to spend several days route marching around London and finding lovely places to have lunch - not difficult in London if you know where to go and I used a book I recently bought called London Design Guide by Max Fraser I highly recommend this book if you want to find interesting places to visit and good eating/drinking spots.

I've highlighted in this post some of the places we visited or ate at along the way, in no particular order.  If you are not living in the UK but planning a trip to London, I hope these places will be on your to-do list!!

First up, the most amazing chocolate shop in Brick Lane called Dark Sugars (they don't yet have a website but their Twitter tag is @DarkSugars).  They have the most incredible selection of handmade chocolates with some unusual flavours like orange & cardamom, gin & lime, cider & cinnamon, pear & raspberry etc.

The day we went to Brick Lane we had lunch at the most fantastic restaurant, Rochelle's Canteen,  on the very quiet, leafy Arnold Circus. My friend Jill had heard about this place back in NZ and it was well worth getting lost to find it! It's actually a cafe/restaurant in the bike shed of a school turned arts & media complex which is behind a high Victorian brick wall and you have to ring a bell in the wall in order to gain entry. They grow all their own vegetables in large raised up beds as you can see in the photos below. Check out these reviews as they are worth a read. We sat outside as it was a warm day. The food was absolutely superb. It's not licensed but you can take your own wine. I was impressed with the fig leaf ice-cream from the leaves of their own fig tree. Never heard of ice-cream made from the leaves but it was sublime.

The next day we walked down Portobello Road after Golborne Road  the latter being my favourite shopping haunt; it's full of antique shops, second hand stalls, interesting boutiques and great Moroccan and Portuguese shops.  From there we route marched walked to Marylebone High Street via Paddington Basin which is the centre of major redevelopment. 

We had lunch in the wonderful La Fromagerie on Moxon Street, just off Marylebone High Street.  This is a deli with the most incredible cheese room, yes a cheese room not a cheese counter!!  Their fresh produce and other items for sale are second to none and they have a small but discerning lunch menu with wines where you sit at the few tables in the shop or outside.  Each day their are different dishes from which to choose.  The grilled octopus I had was superb and Jill's gazpacho was so good we actually returned to La Fromagerie the next day so she could have it again!  La Fromagerie is a haunt for the rich & famous to buy their food and while we were there, we spotted Jude Law choosing come cheeses!

On another day we walked from home (Balham) go the top of Sloane Street and had lunch at Ottolenghi's Belgravia shop which is really a takeaway deli but there is a large round communal table at the back of the shop so we sat there and ate a plate of delicious salads.  The food is excellent in his shops and full of flavour. I'm a huge fan of Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes and have all of his books.

I hope you've enjoyed this whistle stop tour around London.  It's a bit like coals to Newcastle for any Londoner reading this post but I'm sure not all of you Londoners have eaten at Rochelle's Canteen - make the effort to go; you won't be disappointed.


If you’re working on your own home decorating project and looking for some inspiration, please get in touch and see how I can help.