• Kristin Johnston

London Travels: Eat, drink, and be merry!

Cody and I took a wonderful and much-needed vacation to London in late October and we had the best time! I spent a lot of time doing research on the best places to see, eat, shop, drink, and do, and instead of breaking down our trip day by day, I thought it would be easiest to break it down by category. The first one up is dining!


Monday: Elan Cafe/Duck & Waffle/ The Rock and Sole Fish Plaice


Now, when I first went to ask friends about London, many said to not get my hopes up about the food, but I absolutely LOVE food and eating and was determined to find the tastiest places. When we landed early on Monday morning and checked in to our hotel, we decided to check off a breakfast spot that was on my list and happened to be within walking distance. We headed over to Elan Cafe in Mayfair, be aware the sign actually says EL&N, so we walked by it several times before we found it. It looks tiny from the outside but they have a downstairs area with tables if you wish for full service, or you can grab a sweet snack and drink to go from the main floor. Above you can see my breakfast which was amazing. Seriously, the drink was one of my favorite drinks I have ever had in my life- the Red Roobios Latte. It took me all my self restraint to not guzzle the entire thing after tasting that delicious first sip. The English muffins with smoked salmon was wonderful as well but I won't ever forget that drink! I highly recommend checking out the downstairs even if you don't plan on eating, and below is why - they have some of the prettiest decor including this flower wall that every diner scurried to get a picture with whenever a seat was available.



After taking a short nap and doing some sightseeing, we needed a little snack and thought we should have celebratory drinks to kick off the vacation. We went up to Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor of Heron Tower for this and we were just in awe of the views! I recommend doing at least 1 sky-top restaurant while you are there so that you can see a great view of London. Like nearly every place we ate, this was a little pricey, but keep in mind you are paying for the views as well. The staff was so nice and didn't mind us moving tables a couple times since we were in the bar area and wanted to switch it up to check out different views of the city.



By the end of the evening, after walking lots and getting our bearings, we wanted to check out the food England is most famous for - the fish and chips! I did research on this and decided on The Rock and Sole Fish Plaice in Convent Garden. Since I never can finish a meal and we didn't want to take any leftovers, Cody and I ended up splitting 1 large plate of fried cod and chips. It was SO good and of course I drenched mine in vinegar. I can't speak to any other fish places, but this was great and I loved the history of the restaurant as well.



Tuesday: St. Aymes/Perrier-Jouet Champagne Terrace/Fenchurch Restaurant/Sky Garden


We got up bright and early and grabbed coffee and breakfast sandwiches from a shop by our hotel before planning the stops we wanted to make on the hop on-hop off bus. Since we didn't eat much, we snuck in a snack at another MUST on my list: St. Aymes - famous for their floral displays and equally beautiful 23ct gold beverages. The girls who made my delicious pistachio and gold shake were so sweet and it was nice to chat with them about life in England and America! Cody laughs at how expensive the shake was, but we were quickly realizing that prices were much higher in London and that while an $18 milkshake was a splurge, it wasn't too far off from the norm of prices of other fancy drinks!



We knew we were going to out FANCY restaurant for dinner, so we had a bite and drinks while we were at Harrod's. We wandered around the store for a bit before finding our way to somewhere not on my list that ended up being a very relaxing and quiet spot in the middle of a very busy shopping district - the Perrier-Jouet Champagne Terrace. Champagne + terrace = a little spot of nirvana. The weather was the absolute nicest that afternoon so we enjoyed sitting outside on the patio. The restaurant is located on the 4th floor and offers small bites and beautiful cocktails with edible accoutrements.



Ok so, prepare to save up and #treatyoself because you MUST go to Sky Garden's Fenchurch for dinner. Find out when sunset is, make a reservation prior to that time, and get there early for the most beautiful views of London. Inside the Walkie-Talkie building on the 43rd floor is Sky Garden, and sitting at the top of that space is Fenchurch Restaurant. Y'all, I cannot say enough about how wonderful this place is. Imagine a very large atrium filled with the most beautiful greenery spaces throughout three levels, floor to ceiling windows, and a magnificent sunset followed by pretty twinkling city lights that stretch for miles as the night sky takes over. When we arrived (late due to the train shutting down) there was an extremely long line wrapping itself around the building as people waited to get in for after-work drinks. If you have a reservation, don't look at the line and just find the entrance and they will see to it that you are taken up right away. The food was amazing, the drinks were spectacular, and the entire ambiance was so energetic and fun - I didn't want to leave! After we finished dinner we grabbed a few drinks and hung out on one of the deep windowsill seating areas and took in the views while jamming to the dj. I truly could go on an on about this place, but I will just leave it at this - this was my absolute favorite place for dining/drinks on our entire vacation. It was a truly unforgettable evening!



Wednesday: Peggy Porschen/Wok to Walk


Peggy Porschen is one of THE most instagrammable places in London, from the delicately beautiful floral displays to the charming treats to the sweet decor inside. The floral displays change to reflect the seasons as does the menu. I hope to visit again in the spring or summer, or even Christmas time to see the gorgeous decorations here and at many of the other places we visited previously in the trip!



If you are looking for a quick bite and in the area of Oxford Circus, I recommend Wok to Walk. We decided to call it an early night and get something we could take back to eat at the hotel. You can't miss this place as the scents of the grill fill the air. We didn't take any pictures, but I do have this on my Travel highlights on my Instagram. It was a yummy quick stop that definitely hit the spot.


Thursday: Patty & Bun/Gong at The Shard/Bally Ballerson


I forget how I came to hear about Patty & Bun, but I am so glad I did! Cody loved his food so much that we ended up going back again on Saturday! This is also saved on my highlights video, but I did get a picture of the entrance. We enjoyed some delicious burgers (I had the Ari Gold burger both times) and fried cheese appetizers both times! We ate at the London Bridge location on Borough High Street both times.



Ok so here is where I get real honest. I did not LOVE The Shard. There I said it. This was the most recommended place and I would have probably enjoyed it on a different day, but it was rainy and we couldn't see a thing. The drinks were crazy expensive, the drink menu was misleading and I had to send my first drink back, and to top it off, I felt like I got the once over from the staff for my attire. It was one place I could't wait to leave.


We ended our day with a crazy fun evening at Ballie Ballerson with my friend Allie who had recently moved to London! I will go into more detail on this amazing place on my to-do post, but as far as the drinks go, these were also unforgettable! I had the WTAF magical berry drink, the Caprisunha, and the mini-me glittery shot. I have had the magical berry before and it is always so fun to see how the berry completely changes how things taste! If you ever have the chance to try it or go to Ballie Ballerson, I highly recommend you do!



Friday: The Italian Job/Cereal Killer Cafe/Sexy Fish/ Mr. Fogg's Residence

After getting my must-have shots of the location of the famous Love Actually scene, we stumbled on a pizza joint with some good lunch specials. They had a great 10 pound deal for a pizza and a pint so we shared that for lunch. We got the Margherita pizza and it was SO good. The place was cozy with its fireplace, the staff was so friendly and nice, and there was a dog there too so +10 points in my book :)



We continued on and got dessert at Cereal Killer Cafe - a place that was on my list and so fun inside! The concept was started by two guys who wished they could grab a bowl of cereal somewhere instead of a whole breakfast meal, and now they serve all kinds of cereal based delicacies like shakes and sundaes. The inside is completely decked out in everything 90s - TVs playing all the shows we grew up with like Saved by the Bell and Clarissa Explains it all, neon lights and funky wallpaper - the attention to detail to get this right was amazing!


We finished off the day at Sexy Fish - a super chic sushi restaurant in Mayfair where the people were beautiful, drinks were delicious, and the sushi was some of the best we have ever had. We had stopped by Mr. Fogg's prior to going to dinner and even though they were fully committed for the evening, the wonderful doorman suggested we come back about an hour and a half later and see if we could get a table for drinks in the parlor. We were SO glad they were able to accommodate us because this place is amazing! The idea behind it is that you are a guest of Mr. Fogg and the place is decked out with all of his treasure from all of his world travels. This was one of Cody's favorite places too and I highly recommend visiting one of the locations and getting a reservation in advance!



Saturday: Sketch/Breweries/Patty & Bun/10 Bells

Saturday morning we got up and headed to sketch for brunch. Not the best decision because they are known for tea time and we did not get the special room with all the fanciness and insta-worthy bathroom. The food was good, but I was pretty disappointed to miss out on what they are known for - they don't let anyone even in the room if its not tea time either so getting access for a pic of that or even the bathroom wasn't happening. My suggestion is to go during tea time and make sure to have a reservation if you want to visit sketch. If for some reason you miss tea time, be sure to ask to sit in the green/garden room as it is much more beautiful than the bar where we had brunch.


We went back to the hotel, changed, and headed out for the day to meet up with Allie at the railway archways turned vendor spaces for breweries and places to get fresh meat and cheese. We stopped at Crown & Queue because I wanted to try to answer their joke of the day and win a meat stick! The staff was so nice and we loved all of the meats for charcuteries and the like. We ended up forgetting the meat in our hotel room mini fridge and were so bummed about it!



Some of the breweries do not have a taproom, so be aware before you buy and try to open it there, they will not let you because it can get them in trouble. The spaces were cool and we eventually found a taproom where we had a pint before Cody talked us in to going back to Patty & Bun again.



The last place we hit that was on my must-do list was Yolkin! They have the prettiest macaron ice cream sandwiches and they are decorated so beautifully! It was almost too pretty to eat, but it was so yummy looking too I eventually chowed down on it!



Well, that is the end of the pictures for the eat/drink portion of our trip! Did any of these places make it on your must-try list? Have you been to any of these places before? I would love to know! Feel free to check out my travel highlights for some fun videos and drop me a DM if you have any questions about any of these places!


Much love!


Kristin



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