For five wonderfully cosmopolitan years I lived and worked in London.
I’ll be honest, I initially hated it. I seemed to spend far too much time in close proximity to stranger’s armpits on trains and everything cost at least three times more than it did at home.
Little by little though, I fell in love with the city, and it holds a very special place in my heart today.
The thing I liked the most about living there was the huge variety of restaurant choice.
Coming from a small village, near a small market town the restaurant choice is a tad limited. Pub food, Chinese and if we’re pushing the boat out, Indian. All very acceptable and lovely – but when you’ve lived with the same choices for all of your adult life, it gets to the point where you don’t even need to look at the menu before you order. Suffice to say I was rather excited to suddenly have an entire city full to bursting with culinary choice!
As much as I love food, I don’t like to cook – and working in a city, as I quickly learned, often meant long and irregular hours, so the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve dragged your weary self home after a long day in the office, is to strike up the oven and start cooking.
So, we ate out – a lot.
We had a great group of friends (who happily all felt the same way about eating out and cooking as I did) and we ate out several times a week. Usually spontaneous, I would take great delight in searching Squaremeal during my lunch hour (ok, you’ve got me it was often earlier……like 9.30am) for a fantastic new eatery for us to try.
We rarely ate in the same place, we tried so many different types of cuisine (types I didn’t even know existed!) and we found so many cute little restaurants hidden away and off the beaten track.
The one restaurant I love above any other in London and I have been back to several times (my husband even proposed to me there!) is Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden. It’s in a prime location, but I won’t hold that against it – for me it is the prettiest and most romantic restaurant I’ve ever been in. The food is French influenced and divine, and the service has always been incredible. The last time I went was to celebrate my sister in law’s 30th birthday. We were seated in the conservatory which has the most stunning ceiling which is dripping with cherry blossoms. Quite frankly, if we didn’t have tickets to the theatre I could have sat looking up at them all night – it was just so beautiful!
I sit often and reminisce about our London days – especially now we have two young children, spontaneous meals out are a thing of the past (although I very much hope they shall form a huge part of the future!). We’re currently back to a life of pub food, Chinese and Indian in our small village, near a small market town, and London life feels a million miles away…….sigh.