Opinion - Kate Coward

London Travel REview

FOOD:

EL&N

48 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1PR

 

            If you could imagine Professor Umbridge’s office as a café, this would be it. This pink infused café is perfect for a quick meal or a nibble of a sweet pan au chocolate. There is an extensive list of coffee, tea, smoothies, and juices for you to explore. For mains, you can get anything from avocado toast & pink oatmeal to Mediterranean baked chicken and pink ribbon pasta. And finally, best of all, are the presented desserts in the café window; they have decadent cakes, Spanish flavored ice cream, and all sorts of pastries. When I went I had the acai bowl which was beautifully decorated but also tasted delicious and refreshing.

Parcafé

53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA

 

            Located in the Dorchester hotel, this quick, classic, pop-in, pop-out café is just what you need any day. Stop in and grab a coffee and croissant and be on your way. 

 

            It was pouring rain outside when I spotted the lovely “Parcafé” sign on the way back to my hotel. I hopped inside, ordered a latte and an almond croissant, read the paper, and headed out again. The croissant was delicious and filled me up until about 3 PM! Take a stroll through Hyde Park and stop by Parcafé on your way out!

HIDE

85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NB

 

            HIDE is a new restaurant in London that’s all the rage. There are three floors, each holding unique characteristics. ABOVE, the upper floor, is a little more expensive than the other two floors. It offers a set lunch and tasting menu. GROUND is the heart of the restaurant and serves an a la carte menu (breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon grazing, and dinner). BELOW is the basement bar.

 

            I went for breakfast and ordered the homemade granola with coconut milk. I’m obsessed with cereal so found this quite tasty. Around the table, we ordered multiple different pastries and bread that the kitchen makes fresh when ordered. 

 

 

Cecconi’s

5A Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London W1S 3EP, United Kingdom

            In the mornings, you’ll walk into Cecconi’s and see lots of people having their business meetings while enjoying their breakfasts. It’s a lovely elegant spot that has some more affordable options for breakfast rather than dinner. They have low windows stretching from every side of the restaurant which allows you to bite into your food while observing the passing people, bikes, and cars. 

 

            I ordered the housemade granola and natural yogurt. Boring, I know, but it was delicious and they gave me a huge portion. All in all, I loved going to Cecconi’s. It’s located on a posh street that’s surrounded by designer stores.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom

 

            The Wolseley is always packed with people no matter what time of day you go. It’s a beautiful restaurant located in Piccadilly, right next to Green Park. Take your time and walk through Green Park on your way and then enter into a grand, high ceilinged, decadent, restaurant for your refreshing meal. The Wolseley is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, so basically all day. It’s very pricey but definitely worth a visit, even just for some coffee. 

 

            I would recommend going for breakfast but honestly, every meal is delightful. We went for dinner and I ordered the eggs benedict. I wasn’t too hungry but the benedict was very good and just what I needed. Also, for every meal, they offer a vegetarian menu. If you do choose to go, go for breakfast. 

Langan’s Brasserie

Stratton St, Mayfair, London W1J 8LB, United Kingdom

 

This historic brasserie has always been popular. It’s a great place to go with business partners and mingle over some classic French foods. I did make a reservation and thank god for that because it was crowded.

 

They give each table a little bread basket and butter. The bread is so good, as usual. For dinner, I ordered the heritage tomato & mozzarella salad with basil dressing. Then for dessert, I got the fruit & berry salad with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

 

TO DO:

 

King’s Cross Station

 

            I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan and have been to almost everywhere that has any relation to the series. But when I went to London, I realized I had not visited Platform 9 3/4! So, after work on Monday, I took the Piccadilly Line from Hyde Park up to King’s Cross Station. There was Harry Potter music playing as I took the escalator up from the tube into King’s Cross. I followed the signs for Platform 9 & 10 and eventually, I found a Harry Potter shop. There was an extensive line of people waiting to take a picture in front of the “Platform 9 3/4” sign. The store was crowded but I managed to spend 50£ on chocolate frogs and every flavor beans - perfect stocking stuffers for my brothers. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more but, after all, it’s a real train station that transports hundreds of people every day.

Selfridges

 

            Selfridges is a shopping mall that is filled head to toe will everything you could think of. Hours would go by and you wouldn’t even realize it! There’s an enormous food section of Selfridges that’s filled with freshly baked pastries, bread, pasta, and other goodies for you to try. On each floor, there’s at least one restaurant with a unique ambiance whether it’s surrounded by plants and greenery or it’s a sweet little elegant diner. Each section of Selfridges is extensive. The shoes and beauty sections practically take-up half a block! Everything in Selfridges is connected, there are no separate stores like in U.S. malls. It’s beautifully decorated and you feel quite glamorous when walking through it. Highly recommend stopping in!
 

Hyde Park & Green Park

 

            Both parks are stunning and are a lovely break from the city bustle. In the morning, you’ll catch some speedy walkers trying to make it to work on time and some bicyclists zooming by you in silence. Hyde Park is much bigger and popular but a perfect place for a morning run. Green Park is directly behind Buckingham Palace. So, if you plan on visiting Buckingham Palace, walk through Green Park on the way. Even better, each park has multiple cafés, so stop for a latte during your park stroll.

Covent Garden

            Covent Garden is a hub for shopping, brunches, and dinner get-togethers. The center is a square that often has scattered street performers from magicians to musicians. There is also the Jubilee Market which is always nice to wander through. It is filled with antiques & collectables, arts & crafts, and some small food booths. I would recommend going to Sushi Samba for lunch or dinner. It’s a modern Japanese restaurant that is beautifully decorated and has a young vibe.
 

The Globe Theatre

 

            First time in London or not, a visit to The Globe is a must. If you didn’t know, The Globe puts on Shakespeare plays twice a year (two seasons). Every show I saw was hilarious and encapsulating. This trip, I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I saw it on Sunday the 13th, their last show. It started off with a proposal from one of the band members!  Then, a member from the audience hopped up on stage with a script (the cast had chosen him just before the play had begun). It was hilarious. Unfortunately, I left during intermission because I had landed that day and was falling asleep. If you would like tickets for The Globe, they’re as little as £5 - those tickets are for standing. The shows that they put on are very good and you tend to forget you’re standing.