Gourmet Travel Travel Junkie Diary of United Kingdom

Hessa Al Khalifa

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Hessa Al Khalifa, founder of HK Finds Blog shares her favorite places in the city she loves the most– “I Crave, I search, I spot & Eat with passion”

HK finds is a Food blog that is exclusively all about my food findings and recommendations, by showcasing restaurants and their dishes through my lens as photo encyclopedia in my blog.

Here is her Diary – Travel Junkie Diary

Destination London, England

Am a constant flyer but my love for London is deep. I consider it the all-time favorite destination ever. There is always a sense of excitement and the city changes constantly thus there is no room for dullness. I am a frequent traveler to London. For 15 years other than GCC countries I never been to anywhere but UK. My love for London’s street food is what brings me back to the city.

Stayed in Thistle Marble Arch hotel

For the last 4 years I have stayed at Thistle Marble Arch hotel in Oxford Street and ofcourse it’s all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Recently they have refurbished the 7th floor so if you are planning to book there, better ask for a room at the 7th floor. One more tip, ask for a room close to the elevators or you will end up walking for more than 2 min just to reach the elevator which is inconvenient. For the room category I always go for double executive room spacious in size and comfy.

Month August/ September

In your suitcase As a food photographer my luggage was full of all the photography travel essentials from lenses to lenses cleaning kit, as usual my tools get along with bread crumbs or drown in chocolate fondue, that’s the story of my life. On my way back one of my hand luggage was dedicated for chocolates only, yes 10kg of only chocolates wink wink.

Diary As a food blogger & photographer, I decided this trip will be a culinary trip full of food spotting from fine dining to street food markets and guess what, I gained 0 KG yes you read that right and I’m sure your eyes just popped out. Well my day usually starts by a morning walk, then will go for breakfast, will later visit street markets, then shopping then lunch then again walk , coffee or tea to renew my energy then light dinner the English way by 6pm then again walk,walk,walk and head to my room and drop dead. In between I scheduled my time to meet my friends who are there for their higher studies to join me for my food spotting & cousins who were there for marathon related trainings & I guess I made them experience my own marathon of food hunting.

Dined in 

It breaks my heart to describe one best dish or restaurant, thus will list down below variety of my favorite places, I promise will try my best to be short.

Favorite Lobster Rolls

Bobs Lobster Food Truck

Why? The best lobster rolls in town, so fresh, tangy and crispy. Loved how the lobster mixture is topped with fresh oregano.

Nearest Tube –  On the go food truck check their twitter account or FB for their spots schedules @BOBs_Lobster

Bobs Lobster
Bobs Lobster

Favorite gem in London China Town

Hong Kong famous eggs waffle filled with Nutella.

Where? Food stall in London China town, there are couple stalls, in Google maps search for Korean chili one of the stall just in front of it.

Why?  Surprisingly crispy waffles, different fillings are available, went for Nutella 1 word Yum.

Nearest Tube – Leicester Square

Hong Kong eggs waffle
Hong Kong eggs waffle

 

Favorite Burger Experience

Ramen burger – Pimp my Ramen food stall

Where?  Pimp my ramen food stall in Greenwich market

Why? Japanese style burger buns replaced with ramen noodles invented by Chef Keizo Shimamoto in 2014 and became a food craze in NYC. The ramen burger at Pimp my ramen food stall served in Filipino/Japanese style by Harry awesome, a Filipino guy who believes in creativity when it comes to food. His ramen burgers are special as the ramen buns, they usually get marinated overnight for better taste and by the way they might look dry but not at all, all in all it was a great and thrilling experience specially if you are a burger lover!!.

Nearest Tube – Cutty Sark DLR @RamenPimp

Ramen burger
Ramen burger

Favorite Desert

Where:? Bad Brownie Co
Why? Had their 2 brownies  sandwich filled with salted caramel sauce & oh my my cant explain tasted SOOO GOOD
Nearest Tube – On the go food stall check their twitter account for their spots schedules

Bad Brownie Co
Bad Brownie Co

Favorite Breakfast/Brunch

Scrambled eggs and the legendary Ricotta hotcakes (pancakes) with honeycomb butter, fresh bananas and syrup.

Where? Granger and co.

Why? If you are a breakfast person and you love pancakes this is the right place. GO early in the morning or waiting queues could reach to 2 hours. Pancakes are served till 5 pm

Nearest Tube – Bays water

Granger & Co
Granger & Co

Favorite Ice cold brew coffee

Where? Tap Coffee

Why? Woken up in L town craving caffeine to kick start your day and awaken your senses? this bottle of magic will definitely do the job

Nearest Tube – Oxford circus

Tap Coffee
Tap Coffee

Favorite Sushi

Award winning mini volcano roll and Lobster maki roll

Where? Tsunami Restaurant

Why? Tsunami is not the only Japanese restaurant in L town, but definitely one of the best. Their sushi’s are always piece of art.

Nearest Tube – Oxford circus

Sushi
Sushi

Favorite Coffee Break

Flat white and Affogato

Where? Attendant Coffee

Why? Coffee house formerly was Victorian male public toilet. Lovely tourist attraction place to explore with nice coffee. Don’t worry the place has been scrubbed like new.

Nearest Tube – Oxford circus

Attendant coffee
Attendant coffee

Favorite Pizza

Margarita Pizza

Where? Home Slice

Why? My favorite pizza in L town, the base the toppings all just perfect. The place really gets packed all day, my favorite timing to go at 12pm when they first open don’t be late.

Nearest Tube – Covent Garden

Home Slice
Home Slice

Favorite Ice cream

Chin Chin Lab

Where? Camden Town Market.

Why? London’s first nitrogen Ice-Cream store, their flavors are just of out this world. I experienced their raspberry, chocolate & caramel & for the toppings and loved that you can go for cardamom as an option plus honeycomb & caramelized pretzels were oh my my.

Nearest Tube – Camden Town

Chin Chin Lab
Chin Chin Lab

Favorite Hot chocolate

Choocy Woccy Doodah

Where? Choocy Woccy Doodah in Carnaby Street

Why? The most sinful place in L town a chocolatier specialized in artisan cakes and chocolate goodies. My experience with their hot chocolate was so delightful and dreamy. A smile was formed with every sip.

Nearest Tube – Oxford Circus

Choccy woccy doodah
Choccy woccy doodah

Favorite Tapas

Pix Pintxos

Where? Pix Pintxos. Been to 2 of their branches in Soho & in Neal’s St. in Covent Garden

Why? Great tapas place with cozy atmosphere. Accidentally stumbled on to this place while roaming around in Covent Garden, The moment you enter you can easily recognize this as a tapas place, loved the concept where you can get and pick what you want and then the staff will just count the total of sticks you grabbed.

Nearest Tube – Oxford circus or Covent Garden

Pix Pintxos
Pix Pintxos

Favorite Indian fine dining

Trishna

Where? Trishna the amazing Indian Michelin star restaurant in the heart of Marylebone

Why? Loved everything about this place from starters to the mains & desserts. Had the best experience with Fowl tikka tandoori style and their strawberry faloodah dessert not to be missed.

Nearest Tube -Marylebone or Bond Street

Trishna
Trishna

Favorite Peruvian fine dining

Where:? Coya

Why? Hip trendy place with great Peruvian food with a twist. Packed all the time so better book a table 1 week a head especially if you are going in the weekend. Sea bass risotto is to die for, the blend and seasoning all just WOW.

Nearest Tube – Hyde Park Corner

Coya
Coya

Shopped Other than Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nicolas for exclusive perfumes one shop not to be missed at all is Cyber Candy again it is a convenient hidden gem store all about chocolates and candies from Milka chocolates to vintage Pepsi.

Tips When it comes to London remember 1 thing PLANNING, PLANNING and PLANNING!. Every night plan your next day ahead in terms of where you want to go and the transportation. Set plan A, B and C with your preferable way of transportation. My favorite is the Underground but in weekends the service usually gets interrupted. On rainy days avoid using the buses; my second favorite in terms of the transportation is “Uber” app where you can hire your private taxi with 1 or 2 clicks from your smart phone. I will not be surprised if one day this service becomes equivalent to electricity and internet.

In terms of the culture, I believe we should respect other country’s customs and traditions to avoid unnecessary hassle and to enjoy the overall vacation adventure.

Mode of Travel I always fly through Emirates Airlines, the experience is always satisfactory and the treatment all round great.

Hessa Al Khalifa, founder of HK Finds Blog shares her favorite places in the city she loves the most– “I Crave, I search, I spot & Eat with passion”

HK finds is a Food blog that is exclusively all about my food findings and recommendations, by showcasing restaurants and their dishes through my lens as photo encyclopedia in my blog.

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