Saturday, 15 February 2014

Treats of London: Eclectic Food and Drink

The poet and lexicographer Dr Johnson famously once said,

‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’

Over two hundred years after the Doc’s death his words have never been more apt, as London races to regain lost ground and match the restaurants of Paris and bars of Berlin.
Flying into one of London’s many airports allows for easier access to the city than in years gone by. Regular train and bus services operate late into the night, not to mention taxis and – if you want to treat yourself – Blacklane’s London limousine service that will take you straight into the heart of the metropolis.
As you needle your way around the London streets, you are likely to see as much food as you will red telephone boxes and the iconic buses. The Yuppies’ love for the farmers’ market has seen fresh kale and knobby squash stalls pop-up throughout the city from Notting Hill to Bellsize Village. Equally popular has been the craze for street food of another calibre: freshly fried falafel on the Edgware Road, or noodle-soup in Hackney, for instance.

Off the Street

lanes of london
Photo: squaremeal.com

The diversity of the London street food scene had been recreated at Lanes of London, the new restaurant in the Marriot Hotel just off Marble Arch. The concept of the menu takes inspiration from four street food hotspots in London: Indian from Brick Lane, Vietnamese from Kingsland Road, Middle Eastern from the Edgware Road, and – perhaps Brits will blush indignantly at this – burgers and chips from Portobello Road, (street where the riches of ages are stowed).
The Lanes of London concept leads to an exciting menu that matches the drinks list. Sitting at the bar before your meal, it is recommended to try the cocktail Arrack Panch, made up of Sri Lankan arrack, lime and ginger. Equally exotic is the Garden of Edhen, inspired by the orchard Horsh Edhen, and made up of apple juice, syrup and rosewater.
Lanes of London has an extensive wine list ‘from the cellar’, and offers a varied selection of sherries, ports and dessert wines. The last can accompany the fabulously named ‘Poor Knights of Windsor’, a pudding made up of fried and crispy eggy-bread, honey-glazed apples, Calvados ice cream and a jug of custard.
Diamond & Graphite
carbon bar london
Photo: londontown.com

If the night is still young – and with the underground’s extended opening hours, bedtime has been pushed back for all of us at least a couple of hours – then you can head over to Carbon Bar on Old Quebec Street. Carbon Bar, with its cold and sooty industrial design, is sultry and chic and offers a mix of all that is best in London. In the day time you can catch a crystal cool pint of Magners of London Pride and catch the game; when night has fallen, Carbon Bar hosts renowned DJs, best watched from the VIP Champagne Room on the mezzanine.
Open late, if you stay long enough, you may even be able to grab the best squash from Partridges Food Market on your way home.
Even if New York is the city that never sleeps, London is still the city that never tires.

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