I recently read an interesting Buzzfeed article, it was shared on Facebook by a friend I haven’t seen in years. The article is called: 57 Reasons living in London ruins you for life.
This friend is not actually from London, but like the writer of this article, she was bitten by the London bug a long time ago and is yet to leave – and I don’t blame her. Why? Because London is like a drug. Yes, you may scoff, but I know, I was born and raised here. I make no apologies for my love affair with this sometimes grubby and grey (but always evolving )place. Maybe it’s because no matter where you go in London you are never alone, nor do you ever know what to expect or who you might meet.
This is somewhat due to the sheer variety of cultures to be found here – so of course, it’s little wonder that my ‘Around the world in London’ list was so easy to put together. This list is for those people who want a little taste of the world, without actually leaving the city…
Two words spring to mind when I think of Thai Sqaure Spa; luxury and decadence. I am yet to visit Thailand, however in many ways Thai Square Spa gave me a taste of a Thailand that I am keen to experience. For those who need an escape, the spa’s traditionally decorated rooms and range of treatments (which include ancient remedies and rituals) will take you far away from the cobbled streets of Covent Garden and the throngs of tourists. I have been to lots of spas, but Thai Square Spa is probably the most visually impressive. With a Mosaic Steam Rasul Suite and a stunning indoor and outdoor relaxation area, this is a real escape for those who want wellbeing of the mind, body and soul – especially if Thailand is on your ‘places to visit’ bucket list. Like Thai food? Check out their restaurant too.
Fika: A little bit of Sweden in Brick Lane
Fika is a beautiful restaurant serving the most delicious Swedish food. My evening at Fika was like being in a winter wonderland – well, more like a beautiful Scandinavian forest – with indoor trees and even an elk or two. The atmosphere is lovely here, and the waiters are as attentive as they are knowledgeable about traditional Swedish fair. Fika is a real gem of a place and if an evening spent being transported to a Swedish hideaway is what you need, Fika is a must visit. Food like Elderflower Chicken, Pulled Ox Cheek and Big Elk Burgers are served here, however the highlight of my meal was the Tre Sorters Sill, a pickled herring starter served with purple potatoes and dill yoghurt. My meal was literally so beautiful that I didn’t want to eat it (but I did). There’s even a rooftop garden for you to sit in and enjoy your Swedish pancakes or a bottle of Swedish beer. All in all, Fika is a lovely little Scandinavian gem hidden away in the middle of London. I had never tried Swedish cuisine before, so this was a great little find for me. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.
Caterina55: Real Italian food in Moorgate, from recipes of old
Recently opened, Caterina55 is a wonderful Italian eatery that really deserves to be on anyone’s top ten ‘London eats’ list. My meal here was pretty spectacular and even though the restaurant itself does not have a traditional Italian look, the food is absolutely on point. The staff here are friendly and helpful and the chefs are adept at recreating age old recipes in no time at all. On my last visit I had the opportunity to meet the Manager who talked me through their many dishes and Italian drinks and desserts – passion like this should be bottled and served to other restaurants, I left feeling full of both Italian food and culture! So, if you fancy a little Rigatone All’Amatriciana, some Zuppa Di Farro or even a Burger Di Manzo Organico, then there is a little piece of Italy waiting for you in London’s financial district. A wonderful place, highly recommended.
Like a hidden oasis, Dolphin Square is not unlike the spas I have escaped to after a day’s shopping in Marrakesh’s busy El Fna Square. Serene and romantic – there is muted lighting and Moroccan design throughout – this spa is the only one in London where guests can have a complete immersion in the age old cleansing and purifying rituals of a true Moroccan Hammam, Rhassoul and salt infused steam room. For those who want the complete Moroccan experience, I can recommend the Luxury Hammam Ritual which is a full body treatment involving a mint leaf foot ritual, purifying Rhassoul clay application and Shea butter to replace moisture. This is probably the closest you will get to a Moroccan Hammam, without actually visiting Morocco. I left feeling completely revived.
Who could resist such a great little piece of Manhattan? With delicious cuisine and an authentically chic Manhattan look I know I couldn’t. Manhattan Bar and Grill looks and feels like an upmarket ‘spendy’ restaurant and bar, yet its menu is actually pretty accessible, with every kind of steak done every possible way – and the prices are not astronomical either. A visit to Manhattan Grill is pretty special, (the highlight of my evening was a chocolate cake that was so good I had to take a moment) the food and décor are exactly what one needs on a Friday night and the happy face and empty plate of my fellow diner pretty much said it all. There are plenty of other main meals besides steak, as well as side dishes and a fantastic cocktail menu – however, remember this is a steakhouse, so steak lovers will be particularly happy with this choice. A visit to Manhattan Bar and Grill will make you feel like you’ve actually stepped into a chic Manhattan restaurant …so, there’s no need to cross the pond to feel like you’ve eaten there.
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