London – Covent Garden and Dinner at the Ivy

Covent Garden

You could visit London twenty times and never see the same thing twice. However, there are some places that draw you back.

Monmouth Street

Covent Garden and the Seven Dials area are probably thought of as pure tourist areas, but I’m OK with that.

Neal’s Yard

If gorgeous buildings, quaint shops, street performers and bustling nightlife are your thing then you’ll love it.

I visited last week when the area was being decorated for Christmas. Little outdoor pods are popping up everywhere to allow people to enjoy outdoor drinking/dining.

The Ivy

As a birthday treat, my friend Bronagh booked us into the Ivy for dinner. There are several Ivy restaurants in London, but the original is in the heart of theatre land and has always been a favourite haunt of acting luvvies as far back as Noel Coward.

Seafood bisque

Smaller than I expected, the service was immaculate from the minute you walk through the door until you leave when the lovely coat check lady slips your coat on and artfully arranges your scarf for you.

Veal Holstein

The gorgeous art deco interior is classy but understated. The lighting is the perfect mix of being flattering to anyone over 30, bright enough to let you celeb spot (you can often catch sight of a Hollywood A lister), and dark enough for people who want to dine ‘discreetly’. It’s the perfect restaurant for people watching.

Chocolate fondant and hazelnut ice cream

The food is also excellent, you don’t survive for as long as the Ivy has in a city with so many restaurants if your food isn’t up to scratch.

The Ivy knows its audience, the food is rich and comforting, with dishes like cottage pie and steaks seeming popular. Classic dishes done well, you won’t find infused foams and molecular gastronomy on the menu.

Pisco and Yuzu Sour
Elderflower and Lychee Martini

It may not be somewhere most people would visit weekly, but well worth visiting for a treat. There are also fabulous watering holes nearby for pre or post dinner cocktails.

London – Borough Food Market

I have visited London lots of times, but it never fails to show me something new.

I visited recently, and heard great things about Borough Market along the South Bank.

The place is a foodies dream, serving street food from around the world, as well as specialist retailers selling everything from sea urchins to hand made pasta and pastries.

If you’re eating from one of the street food vendors you’ll be spoiled for choice, but seating is limited. The market also has good bathroom facilities.

Some vendors are only there on certain days but the market will definitely have something for everyone.