It's been a few weeks since my last communiqué, but I have an excellent excuse: the Strawberry Blonde and I have moved house. We have left the riverside confines of Wapping for the wilds of Bloomsbury. One of the best things about moving house is that we had an excuse to eat out just about every night for 2 weeks while chaos ruled at home. Who wants to cook when there are boxes to be unpacked and knick knacks to arrange? Not moi! We tried some local restaurants in our new neighbourhood made famous by Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and other literary greats. La Woolf once said "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Who am I to argue?
Cigala is an adorable tapas restaurant on Lamb's Conduit Street, with Jake, one of the founders of Moro, in the kitchen. They have a fabulous wine and sherry list with a wide selection by the glass, including the stellar Alella (white, red & a lusciously rich red dessert wine) from a vineyard just outside of Barcelona- must check it out on my next city break!
We also checked out Ciao Bella, just a few doors away from Cigala. It's cute in an olde-worlde-rustique italiano kind of way. Everyone I have spoken to about Ciao Bella raves. We found it...well...as my Italian grandfather would say....mezze mezze. The Strawberry Blonde and I have been spoiled by having Il Bordello on our Wapping doorstep for two years. No one beats them for quality, friendliness, menu and most importantly taste.
Our fave new find is literally a hole in the wall. The Espresso Room on Great Ormond St. just across from the famous childrens hospital serves the most divine espresso in thimble sized tumblers. The coffee is clean, rich, with citrus and chocolate notes, and a big hit of buzz to boot. They have a selection of posh sandwiches, pastries and brownies from nearby tea boutique Bea's of Bloomsbury. Charles Dickens loved London's coffee houses so I am sure he would approve.
And when I finally decide to head back into the kitchen, finding fabulous ingredients will be a breeze. We happen to have a sweet little deli and grocers round the corner, too. Kennards stocks lots of fresh breads, vegetables, salads, cheeses- and most impressively- fresh fish which is delivered to the shop every day by the fisherman himself- no Billingsgate middleman required. This keeps the prices low and the freshness high- a real luxury for a fish lover like myself.
Life in Bloomsbury....what's not to like?!