A Birthday & A Gastronomic Adventure in London

Wednesday, 13 March 2013
breakfastclub2
breakfastclub1
breakfastclub4
breakfastclub5
breakfastclub6
cutiepie
Cutie Pie


I once asked Lil L and her friend who they thought was the scariest mom they'd ever encountered. They immediately pointed to me. Geeeeezzz! Honesty is over-rated. Anyways.... being the scary mother (Asian tiger mom yada yada yada) that I am, I gave my precious and only child a couple of options to celebrate her birthday.

Thankfully, she didn't go down the birthday party route because dealing with 20 squealing divas ain't the way I imagine spending my precious weekend. Instead, we had one of the most amazing weekends in London watching the Lion King, catching up with her godparents (self professed scary mom number 2) who are one of our closest friends and their gorgeous cutie pie as well as eating our way from one end of London to the other (okay, it's an exaggeration but I've now ditched my skinny jeans in place of track pants). Lil L declared it was the best birthday ever.

First stop: The Breakfast Club situated in the heart of the famous Spitalfields. It's unpretentious, kitschy, gimmicky, noisy, wannabe American type restaurant that served okay food. The service is excellent and the queue stretched right out to the street. There's a cool Smeg fridge door which is in fact a real door that takes you downstairs to a nightclub.

 princi
Princi

We dashed off to the Lyceum Theater just in time to watch the Lion King which was truly a spectacular performance. I dragged the hubs and Lil L off to Soho to taste the best ramen noodles in town (Bone Daddies Ramen Bar). They admitted the noodles were good enough to knock their socks off. We wandered down Wardour St in search of a birthday cake. As always, there was a queue to get into Princi, a popular Milanese bakery/pizzeria which has spilled outside to the pavement. We grabbed a couple of rolls and vowed to visit again one day.


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Next Stop: Hummingbird Bakery. I've resisted buying their cookbook thinking it was yet another Magnolia Bakery knock off. I'm no cupcake fan but their red velvet cake was seriously moist, scrumptious and to die for but not sickeningly sweet. I'm one of those weird individuals who scrape icing off the cake but their cream cheese icing was delicious.



honestburger2

I managed to snag a cheap last minute room at an Ibis hotel near our friends' apartment. Get this, £49 for the 3 of us! My father was utterly convinced it would be a rat infested hole. It couldn't be further from the truth. The room was sparkling clean and new. It was also a 3 minute walk to the DLR train station. I'm not all that fussed about hotel rooms as long as the location's good and the room's clean. We headed out the next morning to a local church and bumped into a friend that I haven't seen in 20 years (hi there, Eileen!).

Ever since I read about Honest Burgers from Fleurette, I've been itching to check it out. Funnily enough, Fleurette was wondering whether I'd made it there last weekend. Now that's what I call foodie telepathy! Before I bit into their massive burger, I knew it'd be a good one just by looking at their plates. Hah! You thought I was going to say something intelligent like the beef came from cows which had daily massages, ate organic grass and hay and slept in a cow hotel. No. They use Falcon enamelware which is exactly what I've switched to these days. The rosemary fries were soooooo soooooo good. So was the coleslaw.

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Lil L's godmother and I attempted to take a photo together and was photobombed by an elf in a grey coat.

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Next shot with the said elf was a little better.

Outfit: Christys' fedora, Alexander Wang t-shirt, Etoile Isabel Marant Kady jacket (similar here), James Jeans Twiggy, The Kooples trainers (similar here), Louis Vuitton leopard stole and Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 35cm

My Etoile Isabel Marant Kady leather jacket was a godsend this winter. I've worn it non-stop as it's roomy enough to wear a few layers underneath without looking like a puffer fish. The temperature dropped drastically on Sunday and snowstorm was in the horizon. To top it off, I'd forgotten to bring my sweater as well. Thankfully, the jacket acted like a windproof outerwear despite wearing only a thermal vest and a thin Alexander Wang t-shirt underneath.


dessert

By the time we staggered off in search of another warm cafe, we were too full to eat anything else including those luscious, mouthwatering sweet delights and only managed a hot drink.


**Please excuse the quality of the photos. These were all taken using my Samsung Galaxy Note phone as my camera battery died on me.




The Breakfast Club
12-16 Artillery Lane
London E1 7LS
Tube: Liverpool St


Bone Daddies Ramen Noodle Bar
30-31 Peter Street 
London W1F0AR
Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Princi 
135 Wardour St
London W1F 0UT
Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Hummingbird Bakery
155a Wardour St
London W1F 8WG
Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Honest Burgers
4A Meard St
London W1F 0EF
Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus
 

56 comments:

  1. That definitely sounds like the best birthday ever! Good job, Lil L and happy belated birthday! :)

    M, I'm glad to find that you're one of those weird individuals who scrape icing off cakes because I'm like that, too! I think we should go get ramen when we meet along with some cupcakes!

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    1. W, I'm just penning an email to you right at this moment. For sure, I'll definitely take you to the ramen place and cupcakes!

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  2. Everything looks so great, and now I would die to try those cupcakes!! :)

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  3. Oh belated happy birthday to your lovely little girl! Love the photobomb shot.
    Sounds like such a fabulous weekend - and now you have got me hungry and ready for dinner :)

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    1. Ammu, I would go through the entire gastronomic tour again but for the safety of my waistline, I shouldn't.

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  4. Hi there! What a totally wonderful birthday weekend for you all-I am bookmarking this post for when I next have the munchies for something gorgeous in London! xxx

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    1. It's all within walking distance from each other with the exception of Breakfast Club. Hope you'll enjoy your next trip to London.

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  5. Your photos are amazing as always. You've so made me want to book up and stroll round London! I love driving in but it's never for an over night stay - yours was a bargain! Just zoomed in on your coat - fab! I WANT your scarf - pleeeease??? Tip off on getting it on a discount somewhere or not possible?x

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    1. Natalie, I used to swoop in and out within a day but we decided to spend more time with our friends. I bought my leopard stole secondhand years and years ago but it certainly wasn't a bargain. Have you thought trying the equivalent from becksondergaard?

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    2. Yes that's exactly what we do, it's such an amazing city we never do it justice and miss all these hidden gem's that you've shared. I love Becksondergaard scarves but it would never be a LV ! One day, one day! x

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    3. I'm not sure about the quality of these LV stoles nowadays but mine's rather ghastly after a lot of wear throughout the years. There are hundreds of pulled threads and runs all over. On the other hand, my Hermes ones still look rather immaculate.

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    4. Ok, I want a Hermes one now - that will please the hubby lol! Maybe the Becksondergaard after all thenx

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  6. Aw sounds like you all had a lovely time, what great way to spend a birthday. Adore the photos and love what you are wearing :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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    1. We sure did! Judging by your photos in Paris, it looked like you had a fantastic time there.

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  7. All these goodies remind me the good food we had when in London.
    I have eversince developed a passion for preparing a Carrot Cake for every week-end...
    Joyeux Anniversaire to your sweet Girl !

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    1. Where did you go in London? I saw your post but I can't remember whether you mentioned about any particular restaurants you'd been to.

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  8. Happy Birthday to Lil L! She look so happy. What a lovely way to spend a weekend and birthday. The Lion King is absolutely fantastic- the costumes alone. And to think I was skeptical.

    What a gorgeous cutie pie! She's absolutely stunning.

    PS- I'm sure I'll be a scary/helicopter mom when I have kids too.

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    1. Haha....I'm far from a helicopter mom (sink or swim!) but boy, can I be a scary mom. I can't deal with unruly or ill mannered kids. The lady who played the baboon in the Lion King was absolutely incredible.

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  9. Marlene, your photos are always so gorgeous. If I ever do make it to your side of the pond in the near future, can you please give me lessons? Also, quick question - I've been holding off on the Falcon rice plates because I'm not sure what size to get -- do you know what size those plates at Honest Burger were, I just need to gauge what will work best for people during a summer barbecue!

    Thanks!!

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    1. Hiya! These so so photos are all taken with my Samsung phone. Feeling slightly embarrassed about the snapshots. For sure! More than happy to give you lessons as long as you remember that I'm no expert. The plates were the same size as mine - 22cm which is rather larger. I use it as a pasta (too big!) and pie dish.

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  10. LOL, you're so hilarious, Marlene. You totally got me at the "cow hotel" part. foodie telepathy is hands down my new favorite expression.

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    1. You gotta admit, it's true. How freaky that you were thinking about me going to Honest Burgers last weekend!

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  11. Have to say you're lucky she didn't want to host a party, I remember how manic those were from when I was a child and can't say I ever look forward to being in attendance at one again LOL. Anyway, sounds like she had a lovely birthday - the cupcakes look so delish! x

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    1. I think the simplest parties are the best. Last year, we had the kids go for a countryside walk (read: free party) followed by lunch at a Japanese fusion place. They had tons of fun entertaining themselves but seriously, I can't deal with more than 2 kids!

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  12. I can see why Lil L had such an awesome birthday! What a cool way to spend it! The picture of the two of you is such a sweet mother and daughter shot and you both look great. I really like that hat on you! :)

    xxTheresa

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    1. Thanks so much, T! The hat was a lifesaver. So wishing for a warm winter like the one you're getting at the moment.

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  13. Happy birthday Lil L!! I just love that she'd rather spend the day with her mum than with friends, although it does sound like planning this birthday trip was no small feat. I wish someone would spoil me like that. It looks like you've got a budding young fashionista on your hands, soon she's going to be requesting a Birkin of her own. Oh and a Smeg fridge door used as a real door? That's bloody brilliant! Btw I was thinking of you when writing today's blog post. Wanted to link it up with your article but it took too long going through your archives.

    xx Jenee C.
    {camo meets couture}

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    1. Nooo.....don't say that! She'll have to get a Birkin herself! Yup, apparently they commissioned it from Smeg to have it built as a proper door. Yikes! It's not easy searching through my blog, is it? Me bad.

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  14. You all look like you had a wonderful day and happy belated birthday greetings to Lil L again. This is no slight on your photography but a credit to your wonderful picture taking actually - you just have an eye for what makes a good photo regardless of what you use to take it. Samsung or DSLR - the photos are still ten times better than the average blogger's.

    Next time I come to London, I want to go to Bone Daddies for noodles with you! And I have the Hummingbird Bakery book believe it or not. I have yet to open it and I have had it a couple of years. A baker I am not.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sue. I'll totally drag you off to the ramen bar. And then we'll go hunting for dessert.

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  15. Oh I was just thinking how good your photos are.
    I think I've been in that bar through the fridge. How random.
    I LOVE that photo with L, so funny! She looks like monkey magic :-)
    What a grown up lady she is choosing a day out like that rather than having a princess party xx

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    1. She's so going to regret that she photobombed my shot when she's a little older. And then I'm going to show it to ALL her friends.

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  16. Gosh, I wish my phone pics were even half as good as yours. Love your Kady jacket, the scarf and your elf, too.

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  17. sounds like such a fun birthday indeed, lil l looks adorable, love the photobomb :)

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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  18. Love everything about this post! Taking copious notes!!! You guys look so cute!

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  19. And, this would have been a perfect Bday celebration for moi! Lucky Lil L!! Happy Bday to Cutie Pie!
    Your mom looks SO young!!

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  20. What a wonderful birthday celebration.. Lil L is so blessed and happy birthday to her:)

    Indeed, you have an eye for photography, be it using a DSLR or a smart phone! The photos are so crisp.

    You are so inspiring and I am looking forward to the weekend before the hols so I can have more time with my children!

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  21. Dear Marlene

    I love your blog! I've been reading your blog for a while now and all your pictures are perfect.

    Which Ibis hotel is this ? I might be going to the UK soon and I'm always on the lookout for clean and affordable hotels :)

    Thank you!

    Michele

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    1. Hi Michele

      Thank you for the lovely compliment! This is the Ibis Docklands Excel (http://www.ibis.com/gb/booking/hotels-list.shtml). It is a little far away from the tourist attraction sites but doable if you don't mind the longer traveling time. The breakfast is pretty impressive - £8.95 for all you can eat buffet. The only thing I'd suggest is check out the tube status for the week as there are always tons of engineering work going on. Secondly, you can also nab last minute deals on hotel.com. Hope this helps!

      Marlene

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  22. That sounds like the perfect weekend - kudos to Lil L for knowing how to appreciate the good things in life already at such a young age. I am also an icing scraper - ugh nothing worse than something too sweet.

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  23. Sure does sound like an amazing weekend far superior to a stupid kids party - I used to hate hosting them!

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  25. Ok this post is just full of things I love (and a cutie baby. Look at those cheeks!) Firstly, RED VELVET from The Hummingbird is my most favourite cake in life (and I like a lot of cake) Just looking at those pics is making me want one right now. And secondly 'The Breakfast Club' is my favourite movie and I always walk past that place but not once have I ever thought to go inside, next time. The last time I went to Princi the queue was so ridiculous we had to go somewhere else which sucked. Sounds like your little girl had a lovely birthday, she's adorable btw. Glad for you she didn't go down the party route either, those are an actual nightmare. Sounds like you had a lovely day, I need to get my ass back down there stat!

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    1. I've walked past Princi 3 times now and I haven't been able to get a seat each time. I'm thinking of trying out the Hummingbird Bakery red velvet recipe. It's so good that I'm actually craving for it.

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  26. What a beautiful birthday for Little L. Please pass on a huge (and belated) happy birthday wish from us! Really stunning photographs. It's really nice to see you all had such a special few days together. The spots you visited are definitely on my hot spots to visit next time I'm in London.

    xx Mandi

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  27. Ok , I am so late to the party but I know you had a smashing Birthday for lil L (she's so much fun just like her mama!). I love your outfit (I wore my framboise Kady last week with my LV stole too!). Great minds think alike. And thanks for those addresses in London. I will check them out for sure. And do you know we stayed at the Ibis in the docklands last year with the kiddos and big sister?only problem, (major!), the tube wasn't working on that weekend so it was hectic going to town:(I decided to stay more in the centre of town next time...
    Oh, And we went to a Lion King matinee during our weekend.
    Have a great weekend
    Bises

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    1. Freida, thank goodness for the Kady since the cold season is lasting for ages. Be sure you let me know on your next trip here. It'd be great if the 3 of us including Kayin can be in Paris at the same time.

      We only stayed there because it's a short taxi ride from her godparents' place. Ack, I can sympathize with the engineering work. It was the first thing I checked when I booked. The only problem is if you're not booking last minute, it's hard to check the status.

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  28. I already commented in instagram but really, her kungfu pose is sooo hilarious!
    Are you really a tiger mom..it'shard to imagine you would be ;)

    I like this outfit. Everytime you put on the hat...everything instantly looks chic. :)

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    1. I'm a Tiger mom wannabe. Trying REALLY hard to be one. Just have to teach her to be more scared of me :P

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  29. Looking fantastic - what a chic outfit...love it all! Was coming on to ask about the hotel details also but I see you commented on it above. Thanks for the tip-off...I ::may:: be coming over again in the next few months. Still working out costs etc. Have a great weekend, Avx

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    1. Avril, just make sure the DLR is working on the day if you're staying at Ibis.

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  30. Happy belated birthday to your daughter! It sure looks like a wonderful day! I'm so sorry for my late comments, I am so behind with following all the blogs lately.

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  31. I used to go to the Hummingbird bakery in Portobello Road. Then I tried some of their cupcakes at the Soho branch and they were all stale. Won't bother again. Have you tried Peggy Porschen in Belgravia? You can also have tea in there. We also have some very good people in my area, East Dulwich, who make lovely cupcakes and supply them to local shops as well as having market stalls. You could try to visit some of the London markets when you are next here. Brockley Market on a Saturday is good and is easily reachable from East London.

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    1. Catherine, you're a star. Thank you for the recommendation. I haven't tried Peggy Porschen nor Brockley market but I'm going to write that down on my Things to do in London list.

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