May’s London Haunts – 2014
So I love London, I lived here for a long time when I was married to record producer Tony Visconti but had fallen in love with the city long before that!
This year I was only there for three days – a much-needed respite in my whirlwind promo tour of my book and exhibition in Germany. But I thought I’d fill you in on the few days I spent there visiting favourite haunts and discovering new ones…
I arrive in London from Frankfurt and dash straight off to meet an old girlfriend of mine called Annie. She had booked lunch at a new London restaurant that is supposed to be pretty darn good, it is on Time Out’s top 50 London restaurants and is attached to the London Edition Hotel on Berner’s Street. Well the food was great and I loved the décor, it was very eclectic but not invasive. We had a great catch up and it was so good to see her.
I then raced off to see my friends, Billie and Alan at the Charlotte Street Hotel for tea (you can’t beat tea in England!) as we had dinner reservations but wanted to have a catch up first. I really like the bar in the Charlotte Street Hotel as it is so warm and cosy with great service, and they do a good pot of tea. Billie and I have been a few times before and in the summer it is a great place to sit outside and people watch!
So after a bit of a ‘natter’ as Alan or Billie would say we jumped in a cab to our dinner reservation at The Delaunay…. I looked at the menu and it was Viennese… Ummmmm Billie, I’ve been in GERMANY???? I think I’ve had enough schnitzels! Billie was horrified (in a very British way) but I thought it was just funny! She said it was one of her favourite restaurants at the moment and that it was Austrian so hopefully not the same…. “It is a Weiner schnitzel after all, arguably, the Germans have rather hijacked it?” I did in fact have a type of schnitzel I had seen nowhere on my German travels, a Weiner schnitzel Holstien, which comes with a fried egg, anchovies, capers and a special kind of sauce. It was absolutely delicious. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was great and the service couldn’t have been better! I would definitely recommend it for a yummy breakfast, business lunch or a birthday dinner.
What a day! I fell straight into bed and got some much needed sleep!
In the morning I went to Primark, I always go to Primark when I am in London, I think it is really fantastic. Whenever I am here I buy what I like to call my ‘disposable clothes’. They are such great value and they really do sell everything from socks to suitcases!
We had Lunch at Barshu which is a really delicious Szechuan restaurant on Frith Street – I have started to make going there an annual thing as they do a dish I cannot get enough of – it’s called ‘Ant’s Climbing a Tree’ which is Bean thread noodles with morsels of spicy minced pork. It is YUMMY!
I then met Billie at The Groucho Club on Dean Street, both of us were soaked as it had suddenly poured with rain on the walk over there and neither of us had brought umbrellas. We found ourselves a sofa, ordered some warming drinks and started to go over the final touches needed to my website. Alan joined us too and we talked business for a while (even when I am resting I am working!). I love being in the Groucho, I love how long it has been there for and all the history it has seen! I ended up telling the guys about the time I actually met Groucho with John, it was about 1974 at some Hollywood party. They asked me which party – I said that there had been so many that I couldn’t tell you! But that meeting Groucho had stood out from this one party – after all HE was one of the Marx Bros.
Then more delicious food!!!!!!!! Alan and his lovely friend Gary took me to eat at Hawksmoor Seven Dials in Covent Garden, I had eaten at the Air Street restaurant before so knew I was in for a treat but was very interested to see how similar they were. The answer is that food is the same level of deliciousness but the spaces are very different, which is nice, as it means each one has its own personality. Air Street is kind of Art Deco with booths and is a bit smaller, where as Seven Dials has a livelier vibe and the seating is underground. I would say Air Street is for dates and intimate dinners and Seven Dials is for catching up with old friends, laughing and generally letting loose a bit more. Hawksmoor is famous for its steak, which Gary had, Alan had chicken, I stuck with fish and it was delicious. We had a great night, I heard all about Alan’s motor-biking adventures and Gary’s amazing mountaineering exploits.
I then headed out to see Freda who happened to be in London for a day and hung out with her at the hotel. Alan and Gary went for a nightcap at The Langham Hotel.
I managed to get home after seeing Freda about 2 am! It wasn’t easy getting a taxi that night.
I went to Primark again in the morning, that’s how much I love it!
Then Billie and I needed to talk shop again about my website and all the exciting things I have coming up. So we met for lunch. Now, I know I am New York Chinese born and bred, but when I am in London I have to have my Crispy Aromatic Duck, preferably in China Town. So we went on the hunt, we walked up and down Gerrard Street for a while and finally decided to go to Wan Chai Corner, there were lots of Chinese grandma’s in there and I will always trust a Chinese grandma! The Dim Sum and the duck were delicious – we stuffed ourselves and got so carried away with work that we went back to where I was staying and stayed up late making plans and finishing touches!
Then it was up at 4.30 the next morning and back on a plane to Frankfurt for the Book Fair! Love you long-time London!