Exploring Carnaby Street

Last October London became my home. Despite it being V E R Y new, I felt very settled. Jumping on and off tubes, sidling through new alleyways, exploring leafy parks. Then life got in the way. Moving in with someone means compromising. T and I both love weekend adventures but they were often packed in. Exchanged for nights cooking together, prior engagements or cleaning the bath. S U C K Y.  But, we decided to make some time in the calendar and explore Carnaby street. This is what we found.

Bibambap

Sunday’s never mean early starts. This gal needs beauty sleep. We left Greenwich and boarded the DLR to Tottenham Court Road at around midday ready for hot food. T had suggested a place called Bibambap a Korean restaurant nearby. We were quickly seated and hastily scoured the menu. The way to order at Bibambap is to decide on a main ingredient. (Chilli chicken for me and Tofu for T) Then add brown/white rice and an egg. We stuck to white rice/no egg and two portions of Kimchi. With two incredibly cold diet cokes to begin the food came quickly. The food was delicious – not greasy and well flavoured. Oh, and very hot. (We both quickly burnt our tongues.) With hot and miso sauce accompaniments we were very happy. Only wobble- only needed one portion of Kimchi.

Leaving Bibimbap T showed me where he volunteers for Samaritans and I finally got to view T’s well-loved Veggie Pret. I assumed it would be marketed like a regular Pret. Nope. T and I tried think of clever French translations to market this very popular pret. We failed spectacularly.

Bibambap @ Carnaby Street

Shopping

We trawled Carnaby street wandering in and out of stores we couldn’t afford. Doctor Martins in wild colours, I’ve always wanted a pair other than the hand-me-downs I inherited. Mine are asoft baby pink but I’ve got my eyes on an intense maroon pair. As we wandered I made a mental list of all the restaurants I want. No need to visit. The Rum Kitchen sits on high on that list. We hunted high and low around ChoccyWoccyDooDah but couldn’t decide on one thing to buy. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Carnaby Street Installation

Carnaby Street Lights

Nespresso

We wandered towards the hell that is Regent Street. The crowds were intense so we stooped into what we later learned is the Nespresso Flagship Store. It’s a world in itself. Tens of people milling around waiting patiently for their coffee coinessuer to help suggest flavours, blends and roasts. There’s a coffee bar with a queuing system and hundreds of different coffee pots. Metallic greens, pinks and oranges. It’s incredible – and terrifying in equal measures.

Simit Sarayi

Wanting to rest our feet we found a tiny Turkish café called Simit Sarayi. We ordered Turkish tea and the lightest Pistachio Cake. Filled with heavenly vanilla sponge, cream and crunchy nuts we demolished it. (and should have ordered a second.) The menu was filled with oozing feta pastries and crunchy chocolaty rolls. Pizza covered in gooey cheese and salted pretzels filled to the brim with hard cheese and slack with salted ham.

We finished our escapade with a visit to the Lego store. Finding it very (very) busy we took a photo of the swaying queue, linked arms and wandered back to Piccadilly Circus to take a tube back home. Perfect Sunday – full bellies and cheeks heavy with laughter.

Pistachio Cake @ Simit Sarayi

When was the last time you explored Carnaby Street? What did I miss?

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