Tuesday, 19 May 2009

London Food Adventures Part II

Two places I was quite interested to visit this time were Westfield and Selfridges. I'd never been to Westfield, despite it only being a few stops away by tube, and the Selfridges' food hall has long been one of my favourite places to amble around.

Although I failed miserably in my attempt to find a new pair of jeans, I was impressed by Westfield. Everything was clean and well kept, and the snob in me was pleased that fast food chains had been kept out of the main food area. Instead there was an interesting looking risotto stall, along with a Lebanese bakery, a French rotisserie, Indian tiffin boxes, Mexican wraps and a pho stall. I have heard good things about pho, but the queue was massive. I doubt that it was the most authentic stuff you can find in London, but I thought it was interesting that it had been included in a mainstream food court.

Instead I had a frozen yogurt from the salad bar stand. I totally fell in love with frozen yogurt in Canada last year, and would insist that we got a snack every time we passed a Yogen Fruz. It doesn't seem to have caught on much in the UK, and most places just have vanilla yogurt with some random fruit on top. In Canada, they would have a whole freezer full of fruit, and you could choose your own combination to be blended in to your yogurt. The blender was a specialist piece of kit, that blended, chilled and served the yogurt, with the finished product being neatly piped into a bowl rather than scooped out. If you know of somewhere that does this within 500 miles of Edinburgh I would love to visit!

Frozen Yogurt in Westfield

I also spent some time standing outside Wahaca drooling at the menu. As mentioned in my past London post, I love South American food. If I hadn't just eaten all that frozen yogurt I probably would have been tempted by some churros. If I won the lottery and had an extra stomach that would be great, but until then I have to restrain myself.

I hopped on the central line to Bond Street to check out Selfridges. I always get confused about which is the nearest station, and have to stride along Oxford Street dodging thousands of tourists, but I made it in the end. I wasn't really intending to buy anything, especially not since Le Cafe Anglais ate all my money. I particularly enjoyed the chilled counters, as they had some fantastic looking Middle Eastern food on display, as well as a very well stocked fish counter. The butcher's counter had every cut of meat imaginable, including a pig's head. There was also a "raw food" counter with dehydrated carrot cake, which looked too wholesome to be any fun. I was slightly disappointed by the ambient section, as I was trying to get some orzo for my mum. The pasta section had spaghetti, penne and lasagne, and not much else. Poor show.

As it is Selfridges 100th birthday this year, there were lots of promotional products in the trademark yellow.

Selfridges' Centenary Coca Cola

Another culinary first on this trip was dim sum. I am not majorly in to Chinese food, and I've always been a bit scared by the lack of description, especially when in comes to dim sum. I am less wimpy these days, and more likely to order something without knowing what it is, but I still found dim sum a bit too much of an unknown. My friend E, who I have known since primary school, decided we should visit Ping Pong for dinner. As an introduction to the world of dim sum, I thought this was the gentlest route! Again, while the authenticity of some of the dishes must be compromised, I thought it was great that a fairly niche cuisine could be popular enough to form a local chain. I quite enjoyed the dinner, and I especially enjoyed trying some of the more unusual items such as the steamed buns. I have heard there are a couple of decent dim sum places in Edinburgh, so I'll have to give them a go now I have a bit more confidence!

Lastly, here are the Laduree pictures I promised you last time. Sorry for the rubbishness, my camera is 5 years old with 4 megapixels, so the pictures are not the best quality. It was so snazzy when I got it, and now it just looks lame compared to modern cameras!

Jess and I ordered a box of 8 to share. I got lemon, praline, salted caramel and bergamot, Jess got the salted caramel too. (Annoyingly, I can't remember what other flavours she got, I was too absorbed in the macaron goodness!) We ate the first ones nearby, sitting on the base of a statue of Beau Brummell, while the others got saved for a sunny spot in Soho Square.

Macaron Tower

Lemon is still my favourite, although praline is now a contender. The bergamot was too subtle, and just tasted of almonds. I was looking forward to the salted caramel, so much so that I saved it until the end. However it was over-caramelised in my opinion, tasting a little burnt and bitter. I might try to make some macarons at home soon, as the recipe looks hard but not impossible.

Laduree macarons, and my reflection


Anonymous said...

I don't know why I don't have any indoor photos. I think there was too much excitement going on. Food blogger FAIL.

I had a couple of flowery ones. Orange blossom (possibly favourite), violet and blackcurrant (risky, but awesome) and raspberry.

More please!

Jenny said...

I thought you had something floral, but I wasn't sure. I have some orange blossom essence in my cupboard so I might use that in my own macaron attempts!