I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life!

London Tube Station

These past few days I have really started to settle in here. I think a big part of this is because I finally switched my SIM card and now have cell service everywhere, making it much easier to navigate and relax. I’ve also been trying to get lost a bit more now that I can always Google Maps my location, because I’ve found that some of the coolest parts of cities are ones you run into by accident.

Prufrock Coffee

Flat White & Peanut Butter Cookie at Prufrock Coffee

Restaurant wise, however, I don’t like getting lost. I always have a game plan. A lot of people have been asking me how I find all the restaurants I go to, and I actually have a reliable system. I always start with Infatuation’s guides and reviews first, and then I do a second check of the places I find there with either Time Out, Eater, or, if it comes to it, Yelp. I also read a lot of restaurant reviews in other newspapers and magazines that I make mental notes of. Anyways, one place that I’m quite delighted Infatuation pointed me in the direction of is Prufrock Coffee. The coffee is some of the best I’ve had in London, and they also have a full breakfast menu as well as smaller treats like the peanut butter cookie in the picture above. Both times I’ve gone I’ve gotten something called a flat white, the first time because that’s what the person in front of me got and the second time because I liked it so much. I think it’s just a latte with some minuscule difference that I don’t know about.

DUM Biryani

Butter Chicken at DUM Biryani

I also stopped a new place in Soho called DUM Biryani House for some Indian food. London’s Indian food has been stellar, just as good as my favorite place in Chicago, Mango Pickle. I had some delicious butter chicken here, but I almost wish I would’ve been a little more adventurous and ordered one of the biryanis. I still don’t quite know what it is, but everyone else in the restaurant was getting it and it seems to be some sort of rice covered in a pastry-like topping and then baked, which makes it look kind of like a shepherd’s pie (absolutely horrible description sorry.) Next time I will try it I promise!

GRABTHAI

My favorite fast casual spot in London is definitely GRABTHAI. London has quite a few concepts like it, which are faster than a typical restaurant and geared towards take-out lunch, but still use really high quality ingredients and make almost everything on site. Their chicken pad thai always hit the spot, and they make thai iced tea too! Score!

Lanterns at Oxford Circus

Tube Station Mural

This wouldn’t be a James Malnati blog post without some art! London has already started putting up its Christmas decorations, which the white lanterns in the first picture are a part of. What do they represent? Snow? Purity? Peace? I couldn’t tell you. The bottom picture is just a mosaic at some train station that I thought looked cool.

FoodCycle Peckham Sign

FoodCycle Peckham Dessert

I also got to volunteer with FoodCycle again this week! It is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of being in London. Back home, I volunteer with children at Breakthrough Urban Ministries, so this is definitely filling the void. FoodCycle uses food that would otherwise go to waste to create three-course vegetarian meals for London’s homeless and low-income residents. Look what we made for dessert this week: apple and peach crumble with fruit salad!

Lobster Noodles at Mandarin Kitchen

What is this you might ask? Mandarin Kitchen’s lobster noodles of course! Where are the noodles you might ask? While this might just look like a plate of vibrant red something, the lobster is presented on top of the noodles, and then your waiter comes and mixes everything together and plates it.

Cocktails at Happiness Forgets

Above all else, the most exciting adventure was to Happiness Forgets, a cocktail bar recently ranked twelfth best in the world. Crazily enough, this was actually a backup plan for the evening, because the first bar we tried to go to (not naming names) was 21+! I thought I had left that tomfoolery in America but alas. I had the Tokyo Collins, a mixture of gin and sake flavored with lemon and grapefruit juice. Quite simple, but crafted so, so well.

Ta-ta for now,

James

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