Christmas in London

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December 29, 2008 by Evin

I’ll admit I was expecting to cry on Christmas since we’d be away from our families, but somehow going to London for the holiday weekend curbed the urge to be sad. How could I be sad with a strong Euro in my pocket? Oh, and the post-Christmas sales. Sigh. They were lovely!

We stayed at the Millennium’s Hotel Bailey, across the street from the Gloucester tube stop. Our friend Katie recommended some nice places to eat, two sublime finds in particular. I will write more about the trip later this week once I’ve caught up with life again, but will write about the restaurants now for those of you who can’t wait (or are going to London for New Year’s).

The Sandwich Shop on Gloucester Road (SW7)
Such a find (thanks, Katie)! A personal-sized baguette sandwich for £2 to £3. We picked some up before going to the airport and I ate mine on the plane (it was still chilly and by some miracle the avocado was still green).

Olives in Bailey Hotel on Gloucester Road (SW7)
Afternoon tea is just £11.95 pp and we order one to share and it was plenty. The tea was delicious! I wish they had more sandwiches and less sweets, but that’s just what I was craving at the time (savory not sweet). There were two scones, clotted cream, jam, two petite fours (little cakes), one fruit tart, and four half sandwiches (one each: tomato and cheese, ham and something, egg salad, and smoked salmon). I recommend this as a light bite before a late dinner or a late lunch or an afternoon snack or just about any excuse you want. Though it may not be the most elegant tea, it is affordable compared to some of the other spots in London. And the lack of elegance took away the pressure to have perfect British tea manners, though my pinky did stick out.

Il Borgo on Gloucester Road (SW7)
Italian and charming. Our friend hooked us up with reservations for Christmas Day dinner and we were so grateful!
Unrelated to Il Borgo, but sharing nonetheless… When we went to cancel the reservations at the other place we had (looking rather bedraggled and casually dressed), they greeted us as if ready to seat us early in spite of our appearance. We could see why, one glance in the restaurant showed us the buffet and about four or five people. Maybe if they did charge £50 pp the guests would be feeling more festive and have shown up.

Memories of India on Gloucester Road (SW7) (yes, we spent a lot of time, money, and calories on that road)
Attentive staff and good food. 

Builder’s Arms on Kensington Court Place
I almost do not want to tell anyone about this spot since it is so authentic and a haven from the touristy spots in the city. We had the beef pie and a friend had a club and another friend had the [huge] burger. Great chips (French fries). Perfect off-the-beaten path spot if you’re on Kensington High Street doing some shopping, as we were.

That’s all for now. A real long post with all the tid bits coming soon. Including my thoughts on our London Walks and Big Bus Tour experiences.

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