Tag Archives: Mayfair

Green Card Celebrations

One of the perks of marrying an American, besides the great chat and endless fun, is getting one of those coveted green card thingys. I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but my better half thought it might be novel to have one to pad his wallet. So we hit the gilded streets of Mayfair on a glorious golden morning for our prescheduled appointment at the American Embassy.

London Mount Street Mayfair

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair

Embassy of the United States, London

Embassy of the United States, London

We arrived at Grosvenor Square and were promptly processed through a few lines, then hung out briefly in the main waiting room watching enticing American travel videos on a big screen, before our number was called. After a quick chat, everything was deemed to be in order, and the application was approved!

US Embassy Visa Success

Feeling very accomplished, we headed off to celebrate over a meal…

At my all-time favourite lunch spot, The River Cafe.

River Cafe Lunch Outside

Sipping prosecco with fresh blood orange, we attempted the universal puzzle of deciding what dishes to order.

River Cafe Lunch Menu

Which is no problem, because you simply cannot go wrong!

Insalata di Carciofi - raw Violetta artichoke salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

Insalata di Carciofi – raw Violetta artichoke salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

Calamari ai ferri - chargrilled squid with fresh red chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri – chargrilled squid with fresh red chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri - chargrilled squid with fresh chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri – chargrilled squid with fresh chilli & wild rocket

River Cafe Lunch beer cheers

Spiedino ai ferri - chargrilled scallops & monkfish on a rosemary stick with sea kale, risina beans and anchovy and rosemary sauce

Spiedino ai ferri – chargrilled scallops & monkfish on a rosemary stick with sea kale, risina beans and anchovy and rosemary sauce

Piccione al forno - whole Anjou pigeon wood-roasted in Brunello di Montalcino with potato, radicchio, sage & pancetta al forno

Piccione al forno – whole Anjou pigeon wood-roasted in Brunello di Montalcino with potato, radicchio, sage & pancetta al forno

This pigeon was declared in “the top three” dishes, ever. Which, in other words, is about as good as it gets!

Dessert had to be accompanied by a frosty glass of limoncello. And even after, pleasantly stuffed, we were still reluctant to peel ourselves away from the table.

Pannacotta with Grappa & Rhubarb

Pannacotta with Grappa & Rhubarb

Strolling along the banks of the Thames, we passed Hammersmith Bridge and all the grand residences lining the Lower Mall.

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Riverside House

We came across The Dove, a pub we’ve been aching to visit, so we wandered in for a drink and a look around. The Dove sits right on the water, making it a popular place to watch the annual boat race.

Hammersmith The Dove

Hammersmith The Dove Front

Hammersmith the Dove Seating Inside

Hammersmith The Dove Drink

Hammersmith The Dove Rainy Day

A cosy place to while away a rainy London afternoon. And now that our days here are numbered, we are clinging to the romance of these bleak and wet days more than ever!

Le Chalet at Selfridges

Christmas is two weeks away!

And is this not the most enthusiastic face you’ve ever seen on a man about to head into the holiday hullabaloo that is Christmas shopping on Oxford Street?

Eddie Tube

Our destination: Selfridges.

Essentially, the British version of Macy’s – and a magnet for retail tourism.

Their window displays have become a destination in their own right. Framed in twinkling pine boughs, this year’s theme is fairy tales. Leave it to a department store (founded by an American) to take the enchantment and imagination of childhood fantasies and sell them back to us as merchandising.

Selfridges Bagpiper

Selfridges Window Display Gold Fairytale

Though the fairy tale theme is hardly original, consumers are especially susceptible to their familiar notions of romance and happiness during the holiday period. If, for some people, that happiness just happens to be Chinese handbags stamped with the name of a certain Project Runway star, who am I to judge?*

Selfridges Window Display Winter 2014

Selfridges Window Display Villian

Selfridges Hat in Hand Outside Pine Boughs

Selfridges Window Paddington Tax

Paddington Bear is back on the scene again.

Selfridges Window Paddington

I even bumped into him as we staggered through crowds on the 4th floor Christmas Shop.

Selfridges Paddington

After checking our lists twice and whizzing through the queues for the register, we made tracks to the roof terrace for lunch at the Alpine-themed Le Chalet.

Selfridges Le Chalet Entrance

Selfridges Le Chalet Table

Seated by the window with a view over Mayfair’s pink skies, we could wrestle our bags under the table and order a much-needed drink.

Selfridges Le Chalet Window Seat

Selfridges Le Chalet View

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And I’m not talking about a glass of chardonnay…

At Le Chalet, it’s all about the “Choctails”! Served from the hot chocolate bar, these cocoa toddies are deliriously sweet and incredibly boozy! Sip with extreme caution!

Selfridges Le Chalet Choctails

Hazelnut "Choctail"

Hazelnut “Choctail”

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I ordered the Hazelnut, and it was blinkin’ delicious!

While the sugar rush hit our bloodstream, we ordered a few nibbles to fortify us through the rest of the shopping day ahead.

Gooey raclette with sliceds of dry cured beef, pickles and potatoes

Gooey raclette with sliceds of dry cured beef, pickles and potatoes

Selfridges Le Chalet Raclette

Cornish crab with pickled celeriac & mustard

Cornish crab with pickled celeriac & mustard

Peppered tuna with wasabi avocado

Peppered tuna with wasabi avocado

The interlude was just what we needed before round two of Christmas madness resumed.

Selfridges Yoda

A very jolly day out shopping, we had!

*His bags are selling like hotcakes to the English gals (seriously)! So out of awe and admiration to the guy, here’s a tribute to everyone’s favourite reality fashion show personality.

Bo London

Today I met a fellow ex-pat (and chronically late) friend for lunch at Bo London. It sits just opposite Maddox club on Mill Street in Mayfair. Unfortunately, as I was being seated at our suede banquette table, her cabbie was dropping her off at another Mill Street near Tower Bridge! Nothing I could do but swill my glass of grüner veltliner while I waited.

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Having gained notoriety for their infamous “sex on the beach” dish that looks like a used condom tossed into the sand, I thought I’d try a few of the more appetizing options from the lunch menu. I had plenty of time to ponder my choices while the other half of my party re-routed her journey, so by the time she breezed in I had already memorized my order.

The wild mushroom dumplings and the chilli crab fun gor were luscious little parcels of savoriness, but the “X-treme Chinese” we came for were the classic xiao long bao served with a lemongrass vinegar dipping sauce. Careful not to squeeze them too tightly with your chopsticks or risk bursting the soft pouch and loosing all the creamy pork soup inside!

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Cod with saffron miso and braised fennell

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My gal pal wasted no time tucking into her plate of scallops with crispy woba and sugar snap pea foam.

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Coconut creme brûlée with pineapple chilli sorbet

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I had to hurriedly scoot back to work, but a hearty golf clap to the staff who were easily able to accomodate our restricted and somewhat hectic timetable. The set lunch menu gets you 3 dim sum, 1 main and 1 dessert for the thrifty pricetag of £27. Get yourself to Bo London!

Sketch Lecture Room & Library

I was supposed to be babysitting for friends last night while they tried the Tasting Menu at Sketch Lecture Room and Library. Fortunately for me, one of their guests cancelled unexpectedly so they brought me along!

Sketch’s resident concierge David was the first to greet us at reception, in all his exuberant Irish flair and knowledge about the building. Formerly Christian Dior’s London flagship store, 9 Conduit Street now houses a smorgesboard of Sketch ventures: a Lewis Carollesque tearoom-cum-bar in the front parlour, a swamp-themed lace and laser cocktail bar eerily evocative of a nightclub in the Everglades, and a huge white cube dining hall with mismatched design furniture and video art projected onto the ceiling.

Upstairs, we were seated in a vivid Missoni-on-acid sitting room where a waiter rolled in the champagne cart, glasses tinkling. The interior is dizzingly ostentatious – cream tufted leather walls, distressed coloured mirrors, Moroccan lantern chandeliers – but in an obvious way, as if to deflect any elucidation.

The tasting menu was seven courses, the first four of which were seafood. Red meat was surprisingly absent from the menu, but not at all missed!

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Feuilletés:  goat cheese topped with beet root crumb, asparagus financiers, sea bass sashimi wrapped in banana leaf

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Parmesan croutons, vegetable spread, cumin crackers

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Poached Skate with chilled mushroom jelly

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Warm oyster with beetroot mustard jus, Ibérico and Beaufort

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Dover sole and lemon caviar

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Roast scallop over mango and pear with sweet onion syrup

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Asparagus and rocket coulis with burrata ice cream

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Roast chicken breast over vegetable curry with chicken leg confit on the side

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Passionfruit cheesecake, liquorice granata

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Petit fours

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The seriously professional service in a playfully indulgent atmosphere only propped up the already amazing food.

After dinner, pop into the East Bar for cocktails. It’s like being in a white plastic flying saucer with a recessed bar in the middle!

Book online here.