As some of you might know, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I am now 26 and, believe me, that feels OLD!
My birthday present from Chris was a lovely day out in London, eating as much as we could and then enjoying a show. He had lots planned already, so all I had to do was attend and enjoy. Perfect!
We started the day on the train from Norwich in First Class. I say First Class as that’s what Abellio Greater Anglia label it, but it still has to be the worst run train service with the dirtiest, most disgusting trains I have ever had the displeasure of having to use. If you want to see pictures of the filth and read about how the lights, coffee machine and speakers didn’t work either, hop on over to Twitter as I posted it over there!
Following the two hours travelling, we started our day in London having a look around Carnaby Street with the end destination being the fabulous ChoccyWoccyDoodah. Probably best known for the TV series of the same name, they make beautiful cakes from moulding chocolate. They call themselves the ‘cake bakers and dream makers’ and from the moment you step in the door, you can see why!
The cakes on display are nothing short of beautiful! The designs are so incredibly detailed and well thought out, they feel almost magical in their appearance and you can’t help but smile when you look at them! Can you believe all that is made from chocolate?!
The shop has a lot of smaller cakes and chocolate bars etc. for sale too. If you are a chocoholic (like me) then this shop is like heaven.
Upstairs from the main shop is the ‘Bar du Chocolat’ which essentially is a café serving hot chocolate and many, many types of cake. Of course, we couldn’t resist this so went on up to fill ourselves with melted chocolate.
Chris had a white hot chocolate and a slice of chocolate cake and I had a milk hot chocolate and a slice of five layer cake (lemon, ginger, chocolate, coffee and coconut).
The hot chocolate was essentially melted chocolate stirred into hot milk, served with cream and a chocolate cigarillo. However, it was probably some of the nicest hot chocolate I have ever tasted which I guess is due to the great quality chocolate they use.
And then there was THE CAKE. Oh my god, THE CAKE. It was so so tasty. All of the flavours in my slice were distinct and delicious, held together with various truffles and ganaches which were again divine. All slices of cake are served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of raspberry coulis which really help to cut through all that sweet, rich chocolate. Of course, it’s drizzled with more melted chocolate too but that’s a given, right?!
The service was really friendly and welcoming and I thought the prices were reasonable for the large portions we were served. In total, it was just under £17 for the two of us. Not expensive for an experience as indulgent as this!
Once we’d eaten somewhere close to our own body weight in cake, we decided we should make a move. Chris had planned a visit to Borough Market; a little foodie paradise, just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge. The market was filled with top quality cheese, salami, bread, fruit, veg, meat, fish and just about every other kind of food. If I lived in London, I could tell this would be a regular place for me to visit to get top notch ingredients when cooking for special occasions.
All around the market are street food traders selling curries, sandwiches, smoothies and even roast dinners! It was an excellent place to be around lunch time and we were spoiled for choice. In the end, we visited a little stall called Brindisa for their famous ‘Chorizo Roll’.
I think we made a very good choice there! A split and grilled chorizo sausage, with roasted red pepper and peppery rocket. It was delicious, so much so that I was disappointed in myself for not ordering a double (with an extra chorizo and pepper!) but I will definitely be ordering that next time…
The afternoon was spent looking around various places in London. We visited the Natural History Museum which was a really enjoyable afternoon, even if I didn’t get to see the dinosaurs as the queues were too long 🙁
Finally, it was time for dinner and we had a table booked at an award-winning italian just off Shaftsbury Avenue called Boca Di Lupo. We really enjoyed it here; the decor and service was really good and the food was delicious too. They have a pre-theatre menu which was cheaper than the standard menu, so we took advantage of this.
I ordered a pasta dish, with black pepper, guanciale (cured pork cheek) and tomato sauce. Despite being very simple, it certain packed a flavour punch. The pasta was cooked perfectly too, no sloppy spaghetti here!
Chris tends to be a bit more adventurous with meat than I am, and he went for a dish with a roasted leg of rabbit. I didn’t try this but again he said it was very flavoursome and certainly a bargain at the price we paid. His only slight criticism was that it was a little too spicy, though it did say it contained chilli on the menu, so I think that’s his own fault…
All in all, I would definitely like to go back to Bocca Di Lupo. The staff made us feed very welcome and the food was good too.
Our day in London ended with a visit to the theatre to see Les Miserables. Quite simply, this is the best and most moving production I think I have EVER seen (and I have seen quite a few!) Anyone who likes musicals, or even some people who don’t, should make the effort to go and see this; it will knock your socks off.
All in all, I had a fab day out and it was a lovely, thoughtful gift (as always). Yesterday, we went fruit picking and made a whole load of jam, so stay tuned for a few of my own jam recipes in the coming weeks!