Saturday, June 08, 2013

hey london 01: big easy + borough market + balthazar + st martin's courtyard + tatty devine + neal's yard

(Arrrgh! Something crapped up with either my internet connection or Blogger that sent my entire post into some kinda blog matrix! No mood to retype witty anecdotes anymore. Perhaps later when I'm feeling blog-zealous again. In the meantime, nah gambo!) 

Goodness gracious. I'm not even done with last year's travel blog posts and already I'm blogging about this year's. Do bear with me. So here I am in London again. This time mainly as a chaperone to Mmmy. She misses Sophiekins and needed a travelling partner as Dddy was busy with his work. This made me the defacto plus one. Not that I'm complaining of course.

We were fortunate to have purchased the Malaysia Airlines A380 economy seats via MATTA fair at RM2399. 

(image credit:

Thumbs up for:
- more leg room
- remote control fastened just below the monitor screen (no accidentally having your thigh press play on your pause when you're rushing to the loo)
- iPhone / iPad / iPod charge point
- being able to view the aircraft and its immediate surrounding via CCTV (??) fastened to the tail
- immediate selection of beverages upon take off (it used to be juice or water with the nuts but now you can have anything!). I had Coke and white wine. Gluttony will be the death of me. 

See something familiar?

We arrived in the evening and unloaded probably what would be half a year's supply of instant noodles at Sophiekins' flat before heading to The Big Easy Crab Shack. Mmmy loves that place especially their Whole Alaskan Crab. The food there is super! I always have the Bar-B-Q Baby Back Ribs which is yum de la yum! Also, can you imagine.. my *bisou* rose name card I affixed on their name card collection cork board is still there!!? I kid you not. A year later and there it lies.. affixed to the corkboard. Makes me feel as if I've come full circle. So good to get off the plane to such a fulfilling meal. There's a poster in the place which says:

True dat. Ever since our overwhelming experience with them last year, it is now our family's tradition to start or end the London holiday with The Big Easy. 

Big Easy Bar.B.Q + Crabshack 
332-334 Kings Road
London SW3 5UR

Ogling at this Penguin wallpaper over at Osborne and Little just down the road. Perfect for a reading nook!

P.S. Goodness gracious people in Chelsea are beautiful! It's as if the community here is made out of Abercrombie / Quiksilver models. Cuci mata *swipe swipe swipe*

I have no idea how come I've never been to Borough Market! How is this possible that I've never been to this mecca of exotic fine foods and artisanal offerings? I've missed out on too much in life! LOL. Anyhoots this place is a must go especially if you're a foodie 'cos there isn't really much time to explore every single entity / shop all over London and it makes much better sense to just experience them collectively in a market. 

I will always have a soft spot for Borough Market. Just so you know, a large part of Bridget Jones Diary (store of my life!) was filmed around Borough Market. Her flat was above The Globe pub and you will find many scenes familiar.. one in particular where she heads home with shopping bags filled with groceries after a victorious interview with Mark Darcy and Aghani-Heaney couple to cook a birthday feast of omelette, blue soup and marmalade for her urban family. 

A myriad of bread to choose from. Proper bread lagi.

There's just something about fresh English produce. Can't you hear the bulbous spring onion and cheery magenta radishes just scream to you: slice us up and sprinkle us in your salad(!) ?

These are the sort of tomatoes I'd see in cooking shows. Oh and it literally is the size of a cow's heart... probably weighs it too.

Falafel's the new Bahn-Mi. How could one not love falafel especially if the first one has ever tasted is the BEST in London (as claimed by TimeOut London and Evening Standard!)?

Truffle mustard ALL MINEEE!!
This is my favourite stall. I wish I could bring all the mustards home and throw a mustard party!  

L-R: Chicken of The Woods, fresh Samphire, fresh spring truffles

I've never seen a Samphire in my life. Turns out it's a coastal plant available in early summer. It's very salty (tastes like the sea) and looks like a veg-like coral. Great with fish so I was told. Mmmy didn't touch it at all, she thinks they look like they came from outerspace :D

How do you cook wild garlic you ask? I have no idea but bought them anyways. We chucked them into a clam stew Sophiekins made. 

Wild asparagus that looks more like wheat than anything else.  

I bought a pack of assorted shrooms. We don't get as much variety back home. It was quite exhilarating to see such a diverse choice in fungi. 

Pimms in the afternoon? Hell yeah! We're on holiday and it's marvellous!

This buffalo mozarella mini cone sent me straight to the loo but it was oh-so-worth-it! 

Radishes weren't on the list but these were just begging to be bought! 

Sophiekins introduced me to the wonderful world of Ceps! They're nasty looking but they're savoury as hell. 

Who knew tomatoes could be this exciting??

Find this familiar? When it's not a chic flower shop, it's the entrance to Leaky Cauldron (Prisoner of Azkaban). Awesome kan? 

Chez Michele
7A Stoney Street,
Borough Market

The peonies in Chez Michele are exceptionally stunning. 

Love. Just love.

Borough Market
8 Southwark Street

I don't know about you but doesn't The Shard look creepily like...

Image credit: Tom Danvers. Turns out I wasn't the only one in that department :D

Voila! Our Borough Market haul! Everything just looks so mouth-watering.. makes me feel like going all Cookie Monsta on them!

After a lovely morning we decided to let the merriment prolong by having a late lunch over at...

... which I was told is a French bistro opened by Englishmen of (The Wolseley) in New York. The response has been stellar that they brought it over to London.

What's charming about the place, apart from the vintage decor which makes Balthazar pass off as if it has been in London forever(!), is that it shares the same space as The London Film Museum in a building called The Flower Cellars. The building is called The. Flower. Cellars. You cannot get a cooler building name than this.

Yah the dude photobombed my picture. Damn. It was almost.. spontaneous. 

The dining experience was pretty alright. It's a very busy place so do reserve in advance for those who intend to dine during peak hours. Also this means the wait staff is running all around and can take some time to serve you. Otherwise the delightful combination of Lillet aperitif and their super foie gras certainly made me feel nice inside.

This is very good foie gras. The lobster spaghetti that came after was just so-so. 

Escargot in a French bistro. Cliche but delicious. 

I love that they have dried lavender in pots with L'Occitane hand lotions in their restrooms. I have an obsession with taking pictures of posh eatery bathrooms. They're like the eyes to the face.. window.. something like that.

4-6 Russell Street 
London WC2B 5HZ

Covent Garden Market is so much more fun in summer.

Covent Garden Market
130 King Street
London ON N6A 1C5

St Martin's Courtyard is a small lil' space just off Covent Garden. It was pretty quiet when I dropped by. I thought it was a garden-like street mall. It was in a sense but it definitely was't vibrant when I was there. The only pretty about the place is their flower shop.

The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. 

St Martin's Courtyard
Slingsby Place
London WC2

Seven Dials

I hadn't managed to get my Name Necklace the last time so it was definitely a mission to get one this time. If you're looking to get one, do not go to their store in Shoreditch as they do not do personalized items there.

W.A.N.T (but stuck to my name necklace and nothing more). Yeayyy to proper self-control!
It is seriously tres fantastique. If only it wasn't £160... le sigh..

Tatty Devine
44 Monmouth Street

I've always felt a personal connection with Neal's Yard. Something about the new age vibe with their apothecarial beauty shop, dairy shop and vegan cafe just makes me feel at home. I've always hoped to grow Bisou BonBon in that direction.

This World Food Cafe vegan brownie blew my mind! I never thought vegan pastry could be this good..

Monty Python lived here. Awesome, non? I just love seeing Blue Plaques all over London. It's a wonderful effort to remind us that each building has its own story to tell and fair share of wacky tenants. Wish Malaysia would do something like this rather than build a mall / shoplot over everything!

I want a bench just like this :)

Neal's Yard Remedies
15 Neal's Yard

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