No trip to hampstead would be complete without eating the best crepes in the worlllllddddd! And it looked like the gods were smiling on me, cause I got a car park right opposite the stand.
Thinking it wouldn't take long to eat a couple of crepes, I put in money for half an hour, and walked across.
With crepes in our hands, I really couldnt bear to just sit still at a spot and eat. I wanted to take in the beauty of the surroundings, the tree lined avenue, and the pretty little shops. So we gayly walked down hampstead high road, and peered into every little shop. Until we got to a nice leafy green shade, and sat down, taking in the breeze.
Now is the time to declare that I HATE london parking attendants (KNN CCB). An otherwise perfect afternoon was ruined by an overzealous parking attendant, who despite being told by some kind by passers that I was walking up the hill (When I saw him, running), issued me a 50GBP fine. I gave him a dirty look, and said listen dude, it's on you.
I doubt he gave a shit.
Ok anyway besides, getting lost by driving around, eating peri peri hot chicken, crepes and getting fines. What else is there to do in London?
Shopping lah doi!!!
Now I'm not a big fan of shopping. But having chosen to bring my sister along with me to London, I had no choice but to bring her around shopping and be a "good kor kor". We ditched the car on the second day and took the bus .... ..... thats us on the way shopping ... boo hoo.
Our first stop!? Harrods of course! My dodo sister, claimed she had never gone to harrods in her life! Even though we make on average 2 trips to the UK a year! And I wanted to pick up some souvenirs for certain privileged people, so off to Knightsbridge we went!
Harrods and the entire area of knightsbridge has a real swanky feel. You feel powerful, rich, trendy when you're walking around this area. In fact you feel like pointing your fingers at someone and going bang bang, check me out. Or maybe, thats just me.
But reallyyy, which other departmental store in the world has an opera singer in the middle of all the action. Her beautiful voice bounced off the ceiling and columns with great effect, as though we were in the middle of a dream.
At least I got my dose of high culture. My sister was clearly happy too.
And the happiest ending!??? Why krispy kreme doughnuts hot off the press of course... MY PRECIOUSSSSSS ... I kid you not, I used to eat 2 of these every morning before heading out for lectures, all the way till I felt a little heartburn come on ....
Now remember what I said about all these great restaurant finds in london? When I was studying there, me and my friends would actually make it a point to find somewhere new and eat there, week in week out. Its how we mixed it up a little.
Ms Chee had excitedly told me of certain new places she wanted to bring me to. But to tell you the truth, I wasn't particularly convinced of her taste. She proved me wrong with alllll her choices. They were simply splendid.
The first night, I had demanded Indian food. There are a number of indian restaurants in Angel, Southbank and Paddington that would know me very well. In the 3 years I was in London, and had lived in some of these places, I would order Indian in at least 3 times a week. And I would order the same dishes. VINDALOOOOO, BOMBAY ALOOO and MUSHROOM PILAU. I promise you, the Indian Connesieur, in Paddington did not even have to take my name or address. As soon as I said my order, they would be like ... ok see you laturr boss.
OHHH HOW YOUR TUMMY RUMBLES AFTER A HOOTT HOOTTT CURRY! GLORIOUSSS!!! They just do not do it the same over here. It is not half as hot, and that seriously sucks asss!
Anyway, Kelly's choice for Indian was this place in angel called "rooburoo". The first test had failed. I mean what kind of name is that! I was more used to maharajah of india, or taj mahal, or taste of india, or something like that! This sounded more like an australian restaurant.
And as they piled on the main courses, my sweet friend, familiarity sat down on our table and lit up all these people's faces! And mine too.
For the price the portions are generous, and the curries, actually pretty darn decent (Although still not as good as my trashy takeout). Plus, the mushroom dish was excellent (If you're going to please me, do it with good mushroommms! YUMMYYYYYY! No chinese mushrooms though. eeeEee!)For 11 pounds, you get a starter, main course, and desert! What a good deal! Kelly= 1 BROWNIE POINT (250 brownie points for something nice from ming!)
Kelly's next choice, was a place just down the road from hers. A pizza place. I'm no big fan of pizza, and I had resisted this all the way. I mean, if I wanted pizza, I'd just dial 2353535 when I was back home and eat trashy pizza hut pizza over a korean drama.
Last minute with no better ideas, I decided, Ms Chee was right the first time, she could be right the second (Yes I've known her for yearrsss, but the thought of how her noodles looked in sixth form still haunted me).
CHECK THIS OUT!!! LOOK AT THE SIZEEE OF THAT PIZZA! Its 21 inches wide! Crazyyyy. Thats ted with me by the way. He's a hot shot banker, who will go far for sure, you know it instantly when you meet somebody like him. He's promised to charge me cheap cheap for my IPO.
And the rest of the gang. L-R, Jasmine, Kelly, Scott, Jia Yi. I've really got to start trusting my friends. The pizza's size being a novelty and all would not save the restaurant from a bad review, but to tell you the truth, it was pretty darn good tooooo. The crust was pretty thin, and quite crispy too. Only gripe is that we really should have ordered extra mushroom toppings ... ... .... Kelly- 2 brownie points! YAY!
Kelly had been on a roll, so when she told me of a fabulous dim sum place near my apartment (which I stayed in for 2 years, and is now rented out-here it is), I was well excited. YUM CHAAA!!!!!
The restaurant name is Pearl Liang, and its located at Paddington Central, a mixed development that my parents had considered before choosing West End Quay.
The undisputed place to YUM CHA in London before had been Royal China on Baker Street, but the first impression of this place was great. Check out the decor, very contemporary, not at all what you'd expect of a typical london chinese restaurant.
More importantly was the food! We had a feast. Crispy duck (A western creation that kelly insisted on having), Xiao Long Bao, Char Siew Pao, Lou Pa Ko, Cheong Fun, the works basically.
I was dammnned impressed. I mean the xiao long bao for example was actually comparable to Ding Dai Fung, and the rest of the dishes were on par if not better than crystal jade palace at Taka, whose quality has deproved over time.
This is the gang. Good friends I had not seen in a while. It was truly great to see them again.
Cosy and cool restaurants, shopping, peri peri hot chicken, fines, what else!?
Why weekend markets of course!
In my 3 years there, I'm glad to say I've explored almost every major weekend market in London. It's great fun to do on a sunday. Pack my camera in, and head off, sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends.
One of my favourites being so close by to my apartment is Portobello in Notting hill. To get there, I've got to walk through Westbourne Grove/Notting Hill, which is another one of those attas and trendy areas. Yes, I do have the attas blood running through my veins. I like leading a life of extravagance. Trust me, I'm the one who's going to buy an A380 as a private jet if I can afford it! Green peace activists eat your heart out, and suck my fumes in! MWAAHAHAHAHAHA.
Ah yes, the life.
Portobello market is a pretty big weekend market, that runs on Saturday and Sunday. There are three main sections, Antiques, Clothing/Bric a Brac and Food.
Its got a real festive vibe about it. Its happening in Singapore, but I really do support busking. Walking through the tube to the sound of a harp for example really does perk up my day, and I try to show my appreciation whenever my mood allows.
And for girls at least the handmade jewellry and stuff is quite cool. I mean, I don't normally encrouage my sister to spend money, but on one off and unique accessories, I told her go ahead. Buy a piece from Zara for example and you'll see every third person wearing it. Pretty shite if you ask me. Not that I'm a fashion authority in any capacity!
Ms Chee buying fruits.
And look at the PAELLAAA!!!! Spanish la vida loca!!!! Pricks refused to have their photo taken, and turned their backs on me.
Anyway, we couldn't stay long, as I had a flight to catch in the evening. AND I had to buy a duck back! Yes from four seasons! Boss stewie's favourite! My mum was having a MJ session, so I thought it'd be cool for her friends to have duck from London. Once again, thank you kelly for packing it for me! WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT YOU! I lurpe youuu!
Whilst a real short trip, it was a great one. Especially seeing my friends again. Really must apologise to them for being so anti social at times, particularly with my little friend following everywhere! DAMN YOU MR BLACKBERRY! DUN YOU WAVE AT ME!!!! BANG BANG!
Even in the lounge, I couldn't help but log on to monitor my server load and check my emails. AIYAH STRESS! 13 hours without internet! HOWWWW!!!! Lucky I've got a good partner and team! 13 hours later and I was back home unpacking my wares!
It only hit me how much I had bought after I unpacked. A sense of satisfaction settled.
I mean a RYAN GIGGS SIGNED JERSEY! United I love you! YES I DO! The guy is an absoloute legend, playing over 700 games for Man U, and having won more medals than anybody in English footbal history. A true man u fan through and through, when he was playing for man city academy, he was even chided for turning up in red. I'm collecting all this sports memorabilia so when I move out to my own place, I'll have a sports themed room, either the home theatre or the study!
So far i've got hand signed george best, ryan giggs, and christiano ronaldo jerseys. Plus countless scarves and the greatest prize of all. A hand signed PELE book! My preccioouusususss!
Also got some DVDs which are really hard to find in Singapore. Like a picture of britain! The perfect BBC documentary for rainy days when I start missing the UK. It takes you through the beautiful landscapes in britain and gives you a running commentary from poets, artists, and composers who were inspired by those very landscapes. Its sooo good i promise. Especially over a vindaloo ... yum.
And how could I forget my weekly read! "Nuts" magazine! My sisters calls it porn! But really its a one stop resource for everything man! Football news, gadgets, sick shit! Who could ask for more. All that juicy info for 70P! STEAL!
And of course the usual web design magazines, .net, HBR, and forbes (which I stole from the lounge).
PHEWWWW! What a long entry. Its probably a little haphazard, and I've got to give it to wendy for pulling off long posts!