We visited Camden Lock Market on an early Wednesday morning and of course, we planned on finding a place there to have breakfast and our most important morning coffee! Roaming through the alleys we came upon Ruby Dock Cafe. With a breakfast/brunch menu and some delicious looking baked goods displayed on the counter we couldn’t resist. I’m obsessed with anything iced (and yes, I still order iced coffees in this frigid Canadian weather!) so it was an iced latte and toasted banana bread topped with cinnamon butter – it was delicious! A perfect way to start the day! If you’re in for something lighter, the friand (a small french cake that is apparently popular in Australia) is a good choice. I didn’t know this prior to popping into Ruby Dock but it looks like the owners also own two other popular restaurants in London: Lantana Cafe and Salvation Jane. I think I need to add these onto my next visit
Author Archives: naokoeats
Its been 13 years since the last time I was at Camden Lock Market and a lot has changed! From what I remember about the market, the majority of the vendors sold goods like clothing, art, housewares, etc. Food now has a dominating presence here reflecting the increase in sophistication of the British palate. Everything from Peruvian food to Dutch pancakes to Polish pierogies! Coffee bars, cafes and chocolatiers are scattered around the market – you will even find a nitro-ice cream lab! We went first thing in the morning around 10am so most vendors were just setting up – highly recommend going for lunch during the week as long as you don’t mind crowds. If you’re on the hunt for the typical “London” souvenirs (i.e. mugs, postcards, magnets, etc.), the street from the Camden tube station leading up to the market is lined with souvenir shops – the most choice and variety I’ve seen around London! Here’s some of my favourite photos – there was so much to capture!
No, that is not a spelling error, it really is called Rock & Sole “Plaice”! Who knew when I was booking a place to stay in London that it would be around the corner from the oldest fish and chips shop. Yes, the Rock & Sole Plaice has been around since 1871 and on a late night snack run, we decided it was a perfect chance to get some traditional fish and chips. We snuck in just before close and quickly learned that the halibut was sold out. However, the menu was pretty extensive – its the first time I’ve seen scampi, skate and steak & kidney? At a fish and chips joint to boot! I went with traditional cod and chips. And if you like ketchup with your fries, you won’t find that here. Its only vinegar and/or salt for your chips! Good thing my fish and chips came in a box that was strong enough to stand up to all the vinegar I like to pour on my chips. The fish was meaty and delicious with a crispy batter coating – exactly what you would expect from a good British fish and chips shop!
The Harrods Food Hall reminds me of the department stores in Japan! What I loved about them was that each one had a food hall in the basement level of the department store, so full with ready made foods, a bakery, restaurants and food gifts! I could spend hours just roaming the aisles – well, I definitely did that here in Harrods. My favourite room was the bakery and patisserie room – you can’t pass these counters without having at least a look, the rainbow cake was calling me However, if there’s one thing the English do well, its their sausage rolls and pies. I have to admit, whenever I travel to London I grab one of these to go at least two or three times during my visit. There’s something about meat inside buttery pastry/pies that completely satisfies my hunger!
One of the biggest challenges out there is finding good healthy food on the go – key words “on the go”! As I walk around, there are so many food gems to discover in this cosmopolitan city. Across the street from our apartment, a couple of new office towers went up along with new restaurants on the ground level – one of them, Pod. The idea here is healthy food served in compostable packaging. For breakfast, its eggs in many different ways – I ordered the Energizer Scrambled Eggs with avocado, mozzarella, tomatoes and served with whole wheat toast. It was a simple meal but exactly what my body needed and it was delicious! And for a snack, the flapjack. I’ve been seeing the “flapjack” all over London, so you know I had to try it….its like a homemade granola bar, just a bit drier.
So when I was doing research on what restaurants to hit in London, the Social Eating House appeared on a number of “Top” lists. Of course, this meant I needed to try it out! Located in SOHO on a small street just south of Oxford street. The restaurant had a great vibe, relaxed with big leather banquettes. The food was fantastic with well thought out combination of ingredients. I must say though, the best part of the meal was the dessert! As a kid, I loved fig newtons so when I saw BBQ black fig with a fig roll on the dessert menu, I just had to have it! How can anyone resist homemade fig newtons? It was delicious with muscat grapes, balsamic ice cream and sugared tarragon leaves. However, the best dessert of the night has to go to the PBJ cherryade parfait with peanut ice cream and cherry jam donuts! If you love peanut butter and jelly, this is the dessert for you! Check out our meal!
I’m taking a one post break from my travels to write about my evening at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this past weekend. If you’re a lover of wine and live in the Toronto, this is a fantastic way to discover lesser known wines and try some without having to buy an entire bottle! The concept is great, you purchase a general admission ticket and then purchase ticket stubs that represent a dollar per stub and basically represent your currency to purchase samples. Most wines/spirits cost 1-3 tickets, beers are usually 1-2 tickets and food was around 4-5 tickets. This year, the expo seemed to focus more on food choices with some of the best food vendors I’ve remembered in recent past. There were many local restaurants with booths like Brassaii, Ki, Guu, Big Daddy’s and Franks to name a few. My favourite, the Frankie Goes To Buffalo hot dog from Franks. Panko crusted and deep fried with buffalo wing sauce – it was delish (although the dogs from Iceland still top my list!). Best drink of the night, the Tag Royale….perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, a really easy cocktail to drink! Already looking forward to next year’s expo!
Hello LONDON, I love you!
Its been just under two years since I’ve been back to London and I’ve missed it. And in a city as densely populated and cosmopolitan as it is, its small quaint places like Damson Cafe that really make the city unique. Hidden on a side street just a block a way from the Oxford and Tottenham Court Road tube station, the “country farm” atmosphere is inviting and a perfect place to grab a coffee and catch up with a friend. The front counter perfectly displays homemade baked goods, one of which catches my eye – the Victoria Sponge! Just landing in London, how can I resist a cake named after Queen Victoria! Typically made with raspberry jam, the Damson’s version is made with blueberry preserves and whip cream sandwiched between two layers of sponge cake! It was deliciously moist and totally hit the spot. And to go with the cake, a “Flat White” – espresso with steamed milk and no foam, the perfect afternoon snack!
Most of you know that I love grocery shopping! I think it tells so much about a country’s culture. With such a small country like Iceland (population approx. 350,000), it was tough to find items that were actually made in Iceland. Most of the things I found were imported from Copenhagen, which makes sense since the country used to be a colony of Denmark. But below are some shots I took of the gems I found while shopping at Iceland’s grocery stores (Bonus, Kronan and Hagkaup). My favourite item: Skyr! I loved it so much I had it every morning Its Iceland’s equivalent of “greek yogurt” – thick and smooth and comes in a variety of flavours! My favourite was pear! And like in North America with the popularity of yogurt drinks, they also sold a drinkable version. I just love dairy!!!
You can’t go to Iceland and not eat fish or seafood at some point, its an Island! Another recommendation by our trusted rentee was Fishmarkadurinn (or Fish Market). Located in a coastal-looking house in the middle of downtown Reykjavik, we were seated at the kitchen bar, a perfect spot to watch all the action! Now, I don’t associate sushi with Iceland but my friend I decided she was craving sushi, I on the other hand stuck with salted cod….it was so meaty and buttery! But I think the best part was dessert. We ordered the traditional apple cake as well as something called Muchi. It was some sort of custard texture and their version had a distinct lemongrass flavour infused. It was the highlight of the meal and a perfect way to end our last meal in Iceland.