whathappensinlondon

Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

How to enjoy the Thames

In Day to Day on May 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm

SOUTHBANK AND FURTHER ALONG

Ah, the Thames… I’ve got a massive problem with it.

Featured in so many films as a romantic river, meandering innocently through London, it’s not what it seems. Cutting our city in half, it creates the North/South divide whilst at the same time makes getting from one side to the other at the end of any ‘I’ve-had-a-night-that-lasted-past-the-last-train’ nigh on impossible.

Films particularly guilty of making the one of the country’s dirtiest rivers look more exciting/dramatic/interesting/romantic than it is include Love Actually, James Bond and 28 Days Later. So… how to make the most it?

Here are some photos of what it is not like…


Go to the Southbank and visit the Festival Hall. While you’re there, stop off at Skylon and drink loads of their delicious cocktails. They’re expensive, but so worth it – when we go, we always forget the menu and ask the bar staff to recommend their own, but all the classics are all there if you don’t feel like going rogue (just be prepared for a disapproving look when you dare ask for a mojito).

I haven’t had the chance to eat there, but as the bar is located right in the middle of the restaurant, I would still recommend getting dinner. The atmosphere is great, there’s always a nice mix of work groups, families, couples, friends and all the food looks amazing. Also, despite the introduction to this post, the view is pretty spectacular, albeit grey.

The next stop isn’t far away. All through summer (even though it doesn’t feel like it will ever BE summer), there will be a Pimm’s stall outside the Festival Hall with plenty of tables for after-work drinks, dates and post-show chats. One of the best things for me about sitting out on the Southbank (weather permitting, of course) is watching all the runners slogging past as you sip on your fruit infused, ice-cold jug of cocktail. HA.

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Pizza in London

In Day to Day on May 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

GREENWICH/GOODGE STREET/LEICESTER SQUARE

Everyone is a bit burger mad at the moment. Every since The Meatwagon  (now MEATliquor) set up shop in New Cross with its (admittedly delicious) Meateasy pop-up, the craze to find the ‘best burger in London’ has grown into a city-wide obsession. Food critic Marina O’Loughlin nailed it when she said of the joint-de-jour: “If the word means nothing to you, you’re clearly not a burgerphile internet obsessive: it’s been everywhere, like a meaty rash.”

Meateasy

Burgerphile internet obsessive I am not; however I do like the lure of seeking out ‘the best… something’. I can’t really remember what I was looking for when I discovered the Slice Harveseter, but whatever it was became moot once I started reading. Also known as Colin Hagendorf, the 28-year-old New Yorker  has tried a slice of pizza from each and every one of the 362 pizza joints in Manhattan. He told the Wall Street Journal online about the perfect slice:

For Mr. Hagendorf, the best slices display balance above all, cheese and sauce used in moderation upon a solid yet supple crust. He disdains many of the new wave of recession-friendly dollar-per-slice outlets. He also scorns purveyors of Texas-size slices.

Slice Harvester

Two of my extra favourite things about him (apart from devoting two and a half years to eating pizza) are that he used to be a puppeteer and that he describes the start of his expedition as seeking out a project that meant he could “work as little as possible”… whattaguy!

Slice Harvester

I digress. I’m not trying to try every pizza place in London. I don’t need to because I’ve already found two of the best, with a possible third on the way.

First up it’s Bianco43 in Greenwich, South East London. Fairly new, and taking over what used to be a pretty rubbish all-you-can-eat Indian restaurant, the pizzas are excellent and the service is faultless. There are a few good restaurants in Greenwich/Blackheath but as far as Italian food goes, this is the only place I would recommend.

Second, it’s Icco Pizza Restaurant on Goodge Street. Admittedly not the best pizza you will have in your life, it should always be praised on it’s merit of being amazing value for money, especially in a location when they could get away with charging far more. Serving most of their generously sized pizzas for £4, you’d be hard pushed to find anything as cheap that matched up to their standards. I went with a friend who had, for weeks, gone on and on about how mind blowingly good the pizzas were, so my expectations were very high. Much like a canteen, with the noise and chatter to match, they are quick, tasty and best of all, use a buzzer paging system to let you know when your pizza comes out of the oven.

The third is Sartori. I’ve recently discovered the Pizzandevelopment blog and this Italian restaurant just off Leicester Square is their top recommendation. Billed as the ‘best all-rounder… offering stunning antipasti (try the fried Smoked Scamorza), pasta and of course pizza’, I can’t wait to try it out.

Don’t get that in Pizza Express, now do you?