07 April 2013

Good Days and Sunshine

It's been a pretty hectic weekend. Dr E was visiting from Australia and there were plenty of assorted social occasions and birthday celebrations to keep me entertained, most of which revolved around food and/or drink. It didn't hurt that the sun has finally decided to get its hat on and although it wasn't exactly warm, it was a lot more pleasant than it has been for months.

Bubbledogs preview

On Friday night Dr E and I went to Bubbledogs with a couple of other university friends, but I'll be doing a more detailed review of that in due course. I had hoped to take them all to Bourne & Hollingsworth for a cocktail afterwards but it was a Friday night and we hadn't booked, so we ended up in the Carpenter's Arms instead, which is a decent enough pub, just off Tottenham Court Road. They have a roof garden, which will be nice in the summer.

Bottomless coffee at Bea's Diner

Bea's buttermilk pancakes with strawberries

It was then a relatively early start on Saturday to make it to Bea's Diner for 10 am, with Dr E and a slightly different combination of our university friends. The weather was certainly a lot more clement than the last time I went, and spirits were high. After Friday night's hot dog fest, I decided to refrain from the bacon and went for the 'healthy' option of buttermilk pancakes with roasted strawberries. That and three mugs of 'bottomless' Hasbean coffee, and a subsequent macchiato at Monmouth's Maltby Street outlet, was enough to keep me buzzing for a while.

People-watching at the Tate Modern

St Paul's and the North Bank in the sunshine

We wandered over to the Tate Modern, as some of our group were going to see the Lichtenstein retrospective. The rest of us people-watched for a while, and then we went to the cafe for afternoon tea. I ordered a coke float from the Lichtenstein-themed special menu (a bargain at £2). Then it was back towards London Bridge for a few drinks at the Market Porter, before heading over Tower Bridge for our dinner date at Café Spice Namaste, an Indian restaurant near Aldgate. The food was really good quality: I had a chicken pasanda, which was a little spicier than my usual chicken korma order, but still within my comfort zone. The menu is pretty creative—there is a springbok curry, for example—and the starters, many of which are veggie-friendly, looked really good. I then headed back over the river for another friend's birthday celebration in Kennington.

Art or Ikea?

After the weekend's excesses, I felt much better after my run this morning, although the sunshine had brought out the crowds, even at a relatively early hour. I then met some more university friends at CASK in Pimlico, which was chosen on the basis of its craft beer selection and its roasts. I can't speak for the former but the roast chicken with stuffing and all the trimmings was delicious. I did also consume at least some ale in the gravy, and in the rich chocolate cake I had for pudding.

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