Wednesday, 7 May 2014

London Bites: Part 2

So, I’ve been M.I.A for about three weeks. Since returning to London in April, it’s been all gung- ho – in the essay-writing department. This is the first moment I’ve had to settle down with my beloved Mac Book and check emails, browse all my favorite sites and write the second installment of London Bites! In view of going to Nice in about a month, operation diet has commenced yet again for the five millionth time this year. Needless to say that writing this post all about the food that I can't eat came with a certain difficulty...

Currently salivating over my five picks in South London’s CLAPHAM:

1. Located on Clapham high street, one will find ESCA. This place is too scrumptious for words.  Personally, it is the perfect take away for the healthy foodie. Greeted by a spectacular window display of fresh cakes, Italian delicatessen displays and a buzzing interior this place offers quick bites of heaven. Normally there is a magnificent selection of salads and meats, along with hearty soups and warm dishes. Of course dessert is a must with the selection on offer changing every so often. The seating arrangement and general décor is to die for. Very much like Ottolenghi or Le Pain Quotidien, one can find large sharing tables which make the eating experience intimate yet relaxed and more than often, fellow residents can be seen eating whilst simultaneously eating a place of deliciousness. Mother and I popped in last week and we both had a generous portion of salad and meat. I opted for the barbecue chicken with two different salads whilst she opted for the salmon with the same choice of salad. For £10 a head and some left over I would say Esca is definitely worth a visit and then some. Personal recommendation: Any of the salads and any of the desserts! 

2. Moving a little down the road towards the common, another favorite spot with locals. Situated on the corner of a residential road and nestled with other cafés and vintage shops, MACARON PATISSERIE is a fairly new addition to Clapham’s food scene. A perfect little café for a catch-up or a weekend rendezvous with a few friends. Upon entering I felt as if I was in Paris once again regardless of the fact that it has macaron in its name! The café has a small amount of seating outside facing the common where you will find, just like in France, those sophisticated strangers with coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Inside the tables are so French I have no other words to describe them but ‘so French’ whilst the seating and crockery ooze vintage nostalgia. The patisserie is the reason for visiting, with an array of sweet delicacies to entice you in.  There is a good selection of savory dishes and all the baking is done in house, hence why it all tastes a million times better than Tesco Express’s bakery section. And not to mention the good coffee, specialist teas that are infused from whole leaves and the lovely staff who make the whole experience even better. Personal recommendation: Have a try of the mint tea and the mille feuille…MMM. 

3. Behind Clapham South Side, hidden behind the period mansions one will discover Abbeville Road, a quaint suburban gem more commonly known as Abbeville Village.  ABBEVILLE KITCHEN is an integral part of the food scene on this particular road. Having won numerous food awards, this establishment dishes up exquisite food offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, feasting menus and a lengthy wine and spirit list. And, without forgetting to mention, the menus change daily so nothing short of choice at this eatery. A restaurant, which is slightly higher in price point, is still a lovely choice for the innovative and simply delicious food, but also the buzz of Abbeville Road. Personal recommendation: Whatever is on the menu that day and ask for the waiter for the recommendation of a wine.

4. At the other end of Abbeville road, my fourth best bite would have to go to Le Petit Boulanger (more recently known as THE ABBEVILLE BAKERY), the Abbeville Kitchen’s sister outlet. Personally the name change is a shame as it only added to the quintessentially French ambiance that this place oozes. Queues for the cakes/coffee are not uncommon here and the patio out front is a coveted place for those Sunday afternoons when all you want to do is laze in the sun, sipping on something fabulous.  One of my favorite corners in Clapham by far! Personal recommendation: Definitely a croissant and a canelé (a small pastry which hails from Bordeaux). 

5. The last bite on the list goes to BOQUERIA. A trendy tapas bar located on Queenstown Road which is in nearby Battersea, offering dynamic tapas, masterfully accompanied with wine lists that exude alcoholic perfection. A perfect venue for small gatherings and events or informal and impromptu dinners. The pricing is so reasonable that is it almost unbelievable and the menu is clean, short and to the point. There is a wholesome selection for the carnivore and the herbivore and the authentic Spanish bites such as cured hams. Boqueria is La Tasca, only a million times better. Personal recommendation: Langostinos a la parilla con ajo y perejil (garlic prawns), arroz negro (black rice with squid and mussels) and embutidos (cured hams).

I hope you get a chance to visit at least one of these eateries and love it as much as I do! Do leave a comment below if you sample one of the 5 delights above; I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

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